Archive for October, 2014

Fear is not necessarily a bad thing, though it seems so when it visits the heart. It keeps a person motivated, one step ahead of the lion. Times wasted on false fears are wasted times. That fact of life came clear to me recently.

. . . . . . . . . .In July I decided to move a sturdy, relatively small rotating rack for hanging hangared  clothes from the laundry room to my bed room. It had been in my home since I bought it. I was using a more conventional braced bar for hanging clothes fresh out of the dryer to settle and finish drying, and the rotary arrangement in my bedroom would allow me to place attire planned for wearing the next morning in easy reach when I’d be in a rush to dash into the new day. Days later as a load of dirty duds agitated merrily in the Kenmore (so to speak), I decided to move the rack to my bed room. Only one problem: I could not find it. I looked everywhere in the basement. I even looked into corners in my bedroom.  Heck, maybe I had brought it up and forgotten about it already. I was totally stymied.

Flashback to January 2012 in the days following my fall from slipping on ice on my front porch and the surgery that returned my separated upper quad tendons to my kneecaps where God had intended them to be. Some wonderful friends spent a lot of time and labor (after one picked up my house key from me at the hospital) arranging furniture,  moving my bed from my bedroom to the living room, closer to the television and La-Z-Boy, so I could better respond to visitors and ambulate to and from kitchen with my lower extremities “caged” in full leg braces during a period of critical in-home recuperation. This July, more than a year later, it occurred to me that maybe one of my friends had taken a liking to my rotary clothes rack in the basement and “liberated it.” Of course, I made no mention of my suspicion to my friends. They had truly proven their friendship and saved my bacon in early 2012. I don’t know how I would have made such an astounding recovery without them. Still I wondered, silently; didn’t feel angry, just sad, and I missed the clothes rack.Job4287.14-3

Job4287.14-2About a week ago, I was removing the last vestiges of my aviation collection from the basement, preparing to take it out to the airport museum when I stopped in my tracks in a seldom-visited part of the laundry area  . . . and found myself staring at my rotating clothes rack precisely where I had put it probably three years ago! Funny thing is I decided to leave it in the basement; no need to bring it to my bedroom after all. But if I change my mind I will durn-sure remember where it is!

. . . . . . . . . . .Soon after my father died in December 1994, I discovered a colorful sport coat in his closet. It was a perfect fit for me, and I began wearing it to events where I recited poetry and played guitar. People complimented me about it, asked me about it.  I’ve always felt that “the Entertainer” engaged for an occasion should not be mistaken for “the Caterer” or “the Furnace Repair Technician.” So the “amazing Technicolor sport coat” served me well. . . that is until it disappeared. I had played some songs and recited some poetry at a downtown Springfield arts event in July, and hadn’t given a thought to the sport coat until I was asked to play/sing for an Alzheimer’s association fundraising event in late August. When I went to my closet to set it out in the living room a few days before the big event . . . I could not find it! Had I left it downtown? I posted the news that I had lost it and if anyone had seen it to let kn know on Facebook. No one responded. DANG! Suddenly I felt like Sampson must have felt after awakening one fine morning to discover Delilah had shorn his hair from his head; rendered it BALD and him with no power. This was not a major crisis for my performance. Everything went great. BUT it sure “put the kibosh” on my creative writing. I was sad. I missed my sport coat, and that — plus some other unhappy action that relieved me of two friends I had cherished for decades,  convinced me I would never write another poem or song. And I MEANT that. No more poetry or lyrics from me, dammit! Straws that broke my camel’s back? Hell NO! BRICKS and SLINGS and ARROWS and TOIL and TROUBLE that broke my camel’s back!Jobcoat

A few days ago, I found my sport coat under a long winter coat in the corner of my parlor. Result: end of paranoia about my talisman. I still haven’t written a line of new poetry or lyric, but I am blogging more, and that’s a good sign. I am reasonably confident poetry will follow.


Most recent paranoia . . . A deletable expletive I’ve named 666 who has been a hellish . . . . . . .  .”problem renter” in my upstairs half of my duplex for the past few years,  parted company with the domicile and the lease agreement without giving me 30 days’ notice, leaving me with a vacant and significantly DAMAGED living quarters I must repair and re-rent ASAP. I spent three days following her exit picking up trash and debris from her star-crossed residency, and was ready to spent time a fourth day when I could not find the new keys made for the new locks last Friday. MAJOR SHOCK. I had returned home early Tuesday to work on the place in waning dusk light. For about an hour I looked in every place I could have possibly put the keys.  It also occurred to me that I MIGHT have left them in the front door when  I finished a very productive Sunday upstairs. I IMAGINED that 666 might have returned to the place Monday, found the key in the door gone upstairs (she knew I’d be at work) and further damaged the place, perhaps knocking some holes in the walls, rubbing more excrement into the carpeting and breaking more floor tiles . . . . it was a very unhappy vision, created whole cloth from my paranoid imagination.  A call to the local lock specialist arranged for him to visit the duplex while I was at work and make/install three new locks . . . . .  that is unless I found the keys where I had misplaced them at the aviation museum, I would look and call him if unsuccessful. I looked, was unsuccessful and called him. He said he’d be over in about two hours to change the locks. GREAT. About an hour later, I arrived at my employer and, just to be sure I’d covered all the bases, parked a few spaces away from where I usually park, exited vehicle, started searching the lot  . . . . and FOUND the keys to the vacated upstairs!  I rushed to the phone inside, called the locksmith and cancelled the service call. He was happy and so was I.

Wednesday after work I did some more cleaning upstairs before dark, but before that I attached the upstairs keys to my key chain with the other keys.

WOW! Resolutions to three totally unproductive paranoias within the span of a single week. There are none waiting for resolution now; few significant conflicts either.

It’s nutty being older. My ears are not what they used to be. I hear things only slightly sometimes. I turn at my desk at home and catch the sound of something indistinct. I let it ride. I probably brushed a pen off my desk with a wayfaring elbow. I’ll look later. Maybe it  was an envelope with a bill. I’ll look later. I get out of my pickup truck after arriving at employer and hear something hit the concrete: probably a few pennies fell from my change pocket; not a big deal . . . unless they’re not pennies but keys to the upstairs.

So many of life’s paranoias come from not paying attention. I don’t pay attention because so much of my life doesn’t matter any more. I understand that it should matter more. A re-thinking and re-focusing of my waning expectations of life seems to be called for here.

not that it would matter

Live long . . . . . and proper


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Until I repair some real issues with the floor in the duplex upstairs, vacated on one day’s notice by the woman I call 666, I don’t stand a chance renting the duplex. And the weekend has thrown a real speed bump into the momentum I established for one day. I will resume taking pickup truck loads of plastic bags with what she left behind to my employer who gave me permission to put them into his company dumpster. I still haven’t been paid since August and don’t know when I’ll be paid. This sorry state is causing me to do stupid things.

Determined to make a dent in gathering trash and re-usable material yesterday, I worked upstairs longer than I planned. On the way to recite some of my favorite Vachel Lindsay poems as the world approaches Dead Poets Week, I discovered my fuel gauge indicating “running on empty.” Following the morning’s diversion for fuel I made a necessary diversion to the airport museum where I keep my camera. I had planned to be at Lindsay’s grave site close to 11 so I could contemplate the great poet and perhaps, draft a new poem with pen and clipboarded paper I brought. On arrival at Oak Ridge Cemetery, I got lost looking for the Lindsay family plot. I was due to recite, a personal commitment I had made to his memory at noon. There had been some publicity shared by my friend “Chief Falling Leaf” (Walter Skold, a New Englander who created Dead Poets Day and Week; also some from Poets and Writers of Springfield, and I wanted to show up for my own event! Noon came and went. I began looking for parked cars in the distance. Maybe there would be people waiting at the site to hear me. I saw no cars. For almost 30 minutes I drove around what I would have sworn to be  territory where he was buried. The cemetery is very hilly with grave stones all over the place.  I repeated some parts of my search path probably five times in my 10 to 20 mile and hour crawl. I knew I was not seeing every part of the acres, but I didn’t have the presence of mind to find what I had not covered. I even departed the place at its southern gate on Monument Avenue after entering from J. David Jones Parkway to the west. It was obvious the cemetery office was closed so I didn’t even stop to double check. It’s a municipal cemetery. They don’t work weekends. I was embarrassed and ashamed of my failure.  I will never let this happen again.  I will visit the office3 just south of the Monument gate and get a map. I will take pictures at intersections and write directions. Yesterday at 12:25 I gave up and went home CRUSHED.

There was work to do at the vacated duplex. As I dragged myself into my part of the house I felt a slight headache coming on (I almost never get headaches) and I was exhausted and depressed. I lay down for a nap about 12:45 and awakened at 4:10. Instead of feeling refreshed, I felt more of what I felt when I lay down. I had promised some friends I would attend a classical guitar concert with my camera. I emailed the emcee of the event to let him know I would not come. I could not be good company with anyone. I was doing him a favor by not coming.

And so it’s been. Since I don’t have a TV but have discovered lots of aviation and music sites on YouTube, I watched that, sitting in my straight-backed desk chair in my bedroom office. Lots of Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins and aviation . . . . and more aviation. I would have preferred my recliner in front of my broken TV in the living room, but I got by. Ate one of my  Shop N Save salads about 9:oo, read a book a friend had donated to the museum a few weeks ago. Returned to sleep about 11 and awakened today about 4.

I’ve been in no hurry  this morning, but I’ve accomplished a lot.  From the basement to the living room I brought the last of my aviation collection — some built models and the last of the empty kit boxes. I told a friend a few weeks ago, I want to be certain that when I die, no stranger entering my house will ever suppose I had anything to do with airplanes. It’s a strange goal, a little bit crazy, a little bit bitter, but every day this week I will deliver some of it to the airport in my pick up truck “Anne’s” spacious cabin while bags from 666 upstairs ride in the open truck bed in back to be deposited in my employer’s dumpster.

Since visiting the grocer Thursday, I’ve enjoyed something I’ve not savored here for at least two years: cups of Folger’s instant coffee. I’ve enjoyed Folgers at employer and coffee from AeroKnow Museum host Horizon Aviation, but I’ve not spent enough time here at my home in mornings to justify it here. Now that I’m going to be spending less time at the airport until the upstairs is LEASED, coffee in the morning is a minor “positive,” and I’m ready for every positive I can engage.

Another “comin up” deed this morning besides washing every dish encountered in kitchen and dining room: the clocks on my microwave and stove have been blinking “00:00” since about June when an area power loss worked its way with them. For months I’ve just shrugged my shoulders. After not wearing a watch since about 20o4, last July I bought a cheap watch (less than $20), and I’ve been fine with that. A month ago I even reset the clock on my bedroom clock radio. My living room clock where I never go these days? Well, I’ll get around to that whenever; let’s not go overboard here. Time will pass.  Heck all of us will pass . . . even if we flunk.

It’s 8:45 now. On the desk on my left here at bedroom office are poems and entry forms for a poetry contest for a national stone collecting organization. I’ve been the judge for this contest every year when more than two members have contributed poems to the contest dating back to 1997 or so. The same contest chairman contacts me after a busy summer of “rockhound” activity and the September contest, asks me if I will judge it again, and I always say “yes.” I’m not as prolific a writer these days as I used to be when I had some poet friends in Springfield, but I don’t rely on my glorious better days as a poet in this “hovel that the fools call paradise” (as I sang in one of my poem/songs 15 years ago)  to define me as a “legitimate” poet.  All I need to do that is my conscious will to do so. I will read the poems, judge them and share constructive comments with the authors . . . . . Monday at work. And if I’m not able, I’ll bring it home and finish that Monday night.

By 9:00 a today, I will be working with the upstairs debacle for at least an hour, taking pictures of some items I will later offer for sale. Then out to the airport to process the pictures and work with museum tasks. So far it’s been a “comin’ UP” Sunday, what my friend John McClellan might call “slightly above below average” <— album title of a CD of brilliant guitar players sharing Chet Atkins tunes, he played on and produced.

And you know something, dear readers and/or friends?
I hope  you are having a good day, too!

Live long . . . . . . .  and proper.








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The word from my upstairs renter that she would renew her lease with me until next April restored my outlook significantly a few days ago. Today I am — figuratively speaking — lying in a ditch in a pool of my own vomit.

She told me Sunday we could meet Monday after dinner to sign the new lease which I had prepared. We agreed I’d come home early, at 7 pm so we could talk on my front porch.Then she told me one of the showers (upstairs has two) was broken. I told her to arrange to arrange for it to be  fixed on her schedule, and I’d write the check. Then she told me her washing machine was broken and needed me to fix that. I replied that since she owns her washing machine, I was not obligated to pay for its repair, any more than I would pay if her television set broke.

I arrived home at 6:55 and did not see her vehicle, so I Facebook messaged her that if she didn’t respond to my message by 7:30, I’d have to leave to run an errand. She replied a little before 7:30 that Monday night was bad, and I should call her anytime Tuesday after I came home.

Late Tuesday afternoon she messaged me that  a deal on a house she wanted to purchase had come through for her. She would move out  Wednesday and leave her key in my mailbox. I did not respond.  If I could not respond in a positive, constructive way, I did not want to respond at all.  Later she messaged me that she would not be able to completely move out Wednesday and would be glad to pay me for a few more days of being there. WOW. First stabs me in the heart and then ask if she can suck my blood!

I didn’t reply for awhile. I wanted to get some rest and clear my head, and believe it or not, with a little help from my friend “Carlo Rossi” (Burgundy) I did. When I awakened about 1:30 this morning I felt like if there were a train leaving for Chicago in half an hour, I wanted to be UNDER it! I returned to the computer and messaged her that the only way to prevent me from changing the locks October 2 is for her to pay me rent for October. A property owner is entitled to a one month advance notice to vacate, same as any renter. I don’t intend to look for a response until after the conclusion of an event I promised to attend. No reason to change my plans in order to hang around my house and worry about her. She will do what she will.

That’s about all there is to say. I’m exhausted.

Funny thing about vomit — figuratively speaking — you know? There is a time to let it out and a time to suck it up. This is a time to suck it up. . . . . . .

I knew she would be moving Wednesday, and I was in no rush to get home. I had a monthly aviation-connected meeting/cookout to attend. I had committed to a side dish earlier and I needed to be around some sentient beings, so I attended; had a fair time. Untypically, I returned to my museum office, instead of going home and stayed until 9:30 when I departed . . . DREADING what I found. Dealing with a vicious, lying psychopath is tricky business. She was gone, but her porch light was on and front-front door (storm door? the lighter outer door) was open, and it was obvious she was gone, unloading at her new residence and would be returning. I had enjoyed a decent meal, wasn’t hungry, but mentally I was as faded as my jeans (Thank you Janis Joplin.) I turned off all the lights in my quarters, groped my way to bed, took a loooooooong three or four hits from “Carlo Rossi,” turned on some beautiful classical music perfuming the “ear waves” from WILL-FM Urbana, Illinois and went swiftly and serenely to sleep.

When I awoke about 2 am, I turned on some lights and rearranged furniture in what will be my winter office, the second, smaller bedroom where I will have guitars, pen and paper but no computer. I’m very happy with the result. For most of a year I’ve had no lamp or pole light in that room. After moving a few things in my front parlor, I moved a lamp from there to my new “office,” and discovered it will work out very well. The visibility at 3:10 am is perfect. I’m also going to start building some long-stored plastic models of sailing ships in the new room. I have said for years that aviation is my life, but square-rigged sailing ships are my hobby. By 3:30, I sensed I was done with my early morning burst of productive creativity. I had somehow validated my Wednesday. Before returning to bed and more beautiful music, I exited my front door to see how the house looked. It was okay. She had closed and locked the door. There were no lights visible from the sidewalk at 3:35. It was a rain soaked but perfect evening in so many ways. It would have been great to share it with a consenting adult woman and some good wine, sitting on the covered porch and talking, but these are imperfect times. The lack of said company did not break my heart, but I could have used it just the same.

I awoke from sleep, Round 2, about 7 and felt truly well rested. After working at the museum for awhile, I visited my bank to take out a home equity loan that will allow me to catch up with most overdue bills. I decided that the deletable expletive will not determine my attitude during this rough patch in the time-space continuum. That is what I will do. And that is what I’m doing now. It’s a better day than yesterday, but I believe tomorrow will be even better.

Thanks for reading Honey & Quinine.

Live long . . . . . .and proper.

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