Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The tax problem will be less than anticipated- in fact, we are getting a little money back. After paying the accountant and getting each of our cars tuned up we will break even. All I ask out of life is to break even- not really, but that's how I pretend to roll.

How do we owe no taxes when K- didn't pay taxes? My rental property lost so much money that it bore the brunt of the tax money owed. I knew that the rental property would not be rented while we searched for a buyer but I wasn't too concerned because we rarely took any of the profit out of the house so there was more than enough to pay the mortgage during the year of waiting- hence the lack of panic when it wasn't moving. I didn't realize that my Limited Liability was tied into our personal finances, in fact, I thought the purpose of the LLC was to protect you from your companies losses- but I'm not going to argue with the accountant. The bottom line is the LLC lost enough money to counter K-'s not paying takes. Two negatives really do equal a positive, go figure.

If all goes well my rental house will be sold on Friday morning. Most of that money earned will go to our Paris Account some will go to a new laptop for me and the rest will go to pay off what little debt we have. It's fun to see the fruits of these labors come in, but we shouldn't get used to it. When we quit our jobs we will be broke!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I was standing outside Oak Street, finishing up a cigarette before the AA meeting began. I saw a red sports car pull up and out of the passenger side stepped a woman. The car sped off as she crossed the street to go to the meeting. She was all dolled up, make up applied, hair just right, you could tell it was her first time at an AA meeting.

It’s easy to tell when someone is there for the first time they are either beat down mentally and often physically, they shake and they are full of shame or they come strolling in as Kristen did put together extra well. Yes, they will go to AA as they were court ordered, but they will make damn sure it obvious that they don’t belong with a bunch of drunks. I liked her right off the bat and she and I, with time, would become close friends. She asked where the meeting was, I pointed through the doors, she smiled, took a deep breath and walked in.

She never could stay sober; she’d get a couple of months and then go back drinking. She died in June at the age of 28. Between the alcohol, drugs and the eating disorder her body just couldn’t take it. Her family had a closed casket, because her body and face showed signs of the struggle. Some of her friends were bothered that it was a closed casket. I, for one, was glad they did it. Kristen liked to look good, she wouldn’t have wanted us to see her any other way- of course maybe that’s what killed her.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The day almost got away from me. The goal was to write Monday through Friday and I racked my brain, but I didn't have a solid thought. I have fleeting wisps of ideas that don't mean anything to myself, much less to anyone else.

I was walking downstairs thinking about a movie I enjoyed "Kiss, Kiss, Bang Bang" starring Robert Downey Jr. who, in my opinion, is an incredible actor . He's not only a great actor but he's also a drug addict. To do even one of those things is hard but to do both takes commitment. I then am thinking how I always confuse him with Morten Downey Jr, even though they can't be any more different and then I think, man, oh man I really like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So my thoughts are all over the place- it's been one of those days.

I didn't watch the Oscars, but I heard them because K- had the TV so loud while I studied French- she is apparently over her remorse regarding the "tax thingy". I did see the opening- Ellen Degeneris is hilarious. I've always liked her, even before lesbian was the new black, and buttcrack was the new cleavage, by the way her girlfriend is hot. Her girlfriend, who's name I've forgotten, was in one of my favorite TV shows of all time, Arrested Development- definitely rentable. That show was funny, over the top, and incredibly well written which would explain why the took it off the air.

So it's 7:55 PM Monday evening and I'm sneaking this post in under the wire. It was phoned in and I apologize that that but if you go to Daily Fix on the righthand side of your screen you will find several people who wrote wonderful things about- Art, Oscars, Puzzles, High School, Drunken Work Functions and much, much more.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I've never been a fan of jewelry for men. For me there is a vanity that is associated with this that I've never wanted to project, much like the wearing of cologne.

But when I was younger I had an obsession for puzzle rings. I don't know if they even still make these. It was a gold ring made up of 5 or 6 thin bands which were braided together. These could be unbraided but you had to know how to put it back together- which would explain the 'puzzle' aspect of the ring. I never could put them back together but was fortunate to have a hippy chick who lived down the street which would reassemble it for me. She tried to teach me, but to know avail. Of course, why learn if a pretty hippy chick will do it for you.

There was only one place I knew to get them and that was the Cupboard, which was a headshop one neighborhood over for us. It seems to me that I spent a fair amount of time at the Cupboard in my younger years. Wippets were legal then (at least I think they were) and that was a good place to get them. I doubt that my parents were aware of the places we spent our days. We left the house in the morning, came in for a peanut and jelly sandwich for lunch and returned for dinner, there was not a lot of unnecessary supervision. This taught us independence, leadership, how to smoke cigarettes at an early age,and where in the woods one could usually find an old Playboy Magazine.

It's fun to think back on the days when my life was no more confusing than how to reassemble a puzzle ring and help came in the form of a pretty hippy girl.

I put a new dress on this post for Sunday Scribbles

Updates: A few comments have arisen regarding what a wippet is. In retrospect I probably could have done without including it in the post. A wippet is a small canister of nitrous oxide. You would fill a balloon with the nitrous oxide (using a wippet dispenser) and inhale. The late 70's were little silly.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Rut Row Raggy

It's funny to have just written about change, especially the fear of change. What I didn't expect is that maybe I should have been fearing no change.

K- called me in a panic. Apparently when she was filling out her tax status for a job that began last year she inadvertently checked a wrong box. No problem I'm thinking, I usually check the wrong box. Well this might be a problem because it turned out that she has not paid any federal taxes last year which means we will owe them a lot of money. This could effect many things because the Paris move was tight to begin with.

Bones once told me, "that's how life comes at you sometimes". I'm keeping good thoughts- we shall see what we shall see.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Fear is a corrosive thread that can run through and ruin a life. I don’t recall being particularly fearful when I was growing up. I was afraid of ghosts and had nightmares that any child would, but some fears snuck up on me as I got older. I remember being asked to sing a stanza of Good King Wenceslas in front of my elementary school- I had no fear of that at all. My sister even claims that I did an impromptu dance as I sang. You would never catch me doing that now because of fear.

Fear is a peculiar thing, obviously it is required in order to survive but it can be a bit of a double-edged sword. I fear certain neighborhoods at night and some even during the day that is a rational fear. I have a fear on enclosed areas such as elevators, which know this is an irrational fear. I don’t fear the elevator cable snapping which would be a healthy fear. Put another way: I’d rather have the elevator fall than be stuck between two floors. I don’t fear airplanes but that seems like a healthy fear, but I am uncomfortable in the back seat of a car for an extended time which is admittedly foolish.

Rational Fears
Someone I love getting hurt
My parents passing away
Drinking – although I fear this less in that I don’t think I will
Waking up from a nightmare at 3:00 AM- it isn’t rational but it makes sense

Irrational Fears
Enclosed areas
Panic Attacks
Public Speaking
Being the center of attention
Fear of being lost (but only while walking- and not when I’m traveling- go figure)

I don’t have very many rational fears- I didn’t realize that until I wrote this silly little list out, but irrational fears?- fugetaboutit. Irrational fears have directed my life in many ways. These fears have subsided somewhat since I’ve quite drinking and have attempted to live a spiritual life but they are still there and they crop up when, as we say in recovery lingo, “I’m feeling ate up”. When I’m edgy, hateful, selfish, self-seeking these fears grow. I have to keep spiritual fit or these fears will begin to run my life again. If this happens I would then have a healthy fear of self-medicating. Drinking, for me, washes all the fears away.

I’ve been thinking about fear because we will have some major changes in our lives. These changes will be good in the long run but they will fill me with fear in the short term. It’s best that I recognize this now, so there are no surprises and that I keep on some kind of spiritual path. Is this something everyone has to do or just us garden variety drunks?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Have I mentioned that we are going to Paris in two weeks?...I have...once or twice you say. What's that?.. I need to shut the fuck up about it already?

Well we are going to Paris to scope it out March 9th. Through an on-line agency I found a pretty cool apartment (pictured) to rent for the week. I highly recommend renting apartments rather than hotels when traveling- it is so much nicer having a kitchen.

Anyway I found this nice place and emailed the agency about it.
They told me, "it is available."
I said, "great- send over the paperwork."
They wrote back two days later asking "are you interested? It is available"
I replied that "yes indeed I'm interested and I'm glad its available."
They sent another email saying "we need to check with the owner to see if it is available."
I said, more to myself than anyone "Huh?"
They sent a another message saying "we can' get in touch with the owner, you need to choose a different apartment."

Meanwhile, K- (I believe I've mentioned that she is much smarter than I) went to a different agency, found the same apartment and today rented it for a cheaper amount of money. Her motto is "retail is for sucka's" and ...well.. I'm a sucka'

Wait a minute, I did mention that we are going to Paris, didn't I? Such Language!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Feel free to skip over this entry. I wanted to begin a new subject label about writing. I found an interesting passage in my Flaubert book about how he would write. It inspired me and I thought I ought to gather anything that inspires me because I am so often without inspiration. I will say the biggest inspiration I've had were the very kind words of Self Taught Artist, Penelope and Simon Chase- Thanks!

...before beginning to write, he (Flaubert) sketched out on paper, in telegraphic phrases, the general plan of the book. Then he developed the different parts in more detailed outlines. These outlines were followed by drafts written very freely, as inspiration dictated. Then began the arduous task of revision. He would go over his drafts word by word, tightening, chiseling indefatigably, rejoicing if at the end of the day he had saved a few sentences. These sentences he would shout out loud in the silence of his study. If they passed the test, he would consider them definitive. If, not, then he would set to work furiously on them again until they sounded the way he wanted them to. And at the end of these exhausting verbal acrobatics he obtained the miracle of a prose that gave the illusion of naturalness and ease.

Flaubert by Henri Troyat

It's funny when you read biographies about classic writers you often think they would be staid, dull people. This biography on Gustave Flaubert I'm reading is downright salacious. The French and their hookers, oh my.
It occurred to me that I’ve been writing about my friend Bones for some time and that I never finished his story

I had been away from the coffee house gang for quite awhile. I didn’t feel bad about it, I felt that I was in a rut- hanging out with the same people- no one’s lives moving forward, other interests etc. But I probably hadn’t seen Bones since his car broke down outside the coffee shop several months before and D.P. well before that.

I had heard through the grapevine that Bones’ emphysema was getting the better of him. He was spending a fair amount of time in the hospital. The drawing of breath and not getting anything looks to be torture.

Bones who had always valued his independent ways, was slowly and then very quickly losing his independents. It was decided, not by him, that he needed to give up his apartment, his independent living, his car and probably his switch-blade and move to a ‘home’. From what I gathered he was somewhat resigned to this fact and had become very tired- which should have been a red flag to anyone who knew him. He signed over the title of his car to a mutual friend with limited resources. He drove from the ‘home’ to his apartment to finish up any final business he had, while he was in his apartment he shot himself in the head.

D.P. called me to let me know what had happened. My last run in with the coffee house gang was around Bone’s casket. Bones was wearing a sweater with a scene depicting a couple skiing. It seemed like a cruel joke.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I had a very nice weekend, a lot of reading. I felt as though I shoveled the walk 5 times but really that’s the only physical exercise I had.

I’ve been very good about reading so far this year. The key to increasing your reading is to stop watching TV and the key to cutting down your TV viewing is to get rid of cable. The book I began this weekend was a biography on the French writer Flaubert by Henri Troyat. The book is excellent and very detailed and while Flaubert is interesting what is more exciting is Henri Troyat- this guy is great. I read several of his biographies in the past and had forgotten how compelling he makes the story. The biographies that I’ve read by him are Chekhov, Tolstoy, Catherine the Great, Peter the Great I guess the translator ought to be given kudos as well. My favorite, if I remember correctly, was Chekhov, but they are all worthwhile.

I received some great advice from Self Taught Artist and Frog with a Blog (look at me linking to sites 'n shit) regarding the year-long rental in Paris. As you may recall, after doing the math I found it would cost us $40,000 to rent the apartment we were looking at. K- and I need to investigate this a little further. That is too much money that is basically pissed away. At $40,000 dollars we are looking at a pretty healthy down payment on buying a place in Paris. Of course, I suspect they French banks aren’t interested in lending mortgage money to an unemployed couple. Banks are funny like that.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

I’ve been working on a story that has me pretty fired up. I’ve thought about this tale for many years, I’ve stopped and started but now I’m moving forward. I’d like to have it written before moving to Paris in August.

The basic premise is a man hits the age of 33. His life is not what he anticipated, his marriage has ended and he realizes that he has been floating for 10 years. He realizes that his pursuit of money, possessions, work status all of it means nothing. Everything he has based his life on is false. He has become an empty shell of a man with nothing solid that he can tether himself to. He didn’t realize that to deal with this lack of connectedness he has been numbing himself with TV, alcohol, pornography, pills etc. He is attempting to awaken- but it is easier said than done. Blah blah blah, you get the picture.
When I was a young boy I was prone to crushes. I remember once reading a true story and falling in love with the main character whose name was Nancy. She was beautiful, courageous and strong. The artist that drew her used simple charcoal strokes that made my young heart flutter.

The story progressed through her early years, her life in the wilderness with her family, her trials and tribulations. My heart broke as a tall gangly fellow began to court her and she seemed to be as taken with him as he with her. I retreated to my room when they married. “I just don’t feel well mom.” I said, trying to hold back the tears, when she asked what was wrong. I realized Nancy would never be mine when she gave birth. I managed to move on.

I guess I should be happy for her, she lived a good, long life and her son grew up to be the 16th president of the United States, but I can’t help but think she would have been happier with me.

Yes, I had a boyhood crush on Abraham Lincoln’s mother.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I've been emailing with Paris Attitude attempting to find a suitable apartment in Paris for the year.

K- and I are used to some space but this is something we will be giving up. I would like two bedrooms- one for us and one that can be a study and a place for visitors. The apartment also needs to allow cats.

We found a nice apartment furnished well, I'm not crazy about the black and white theme but it's in the 2nd arrondissement. It was a little more than we intended 1,950 euros per month which translates to $2,565 American. What we forgot to factor in was the agency fee -$3,000 and the deposit -$5,130. For the year, our housing would cost almost $40,000! -ZOIKS- of course we get the 5 grand back at the end of the year, unless we go "Keith Moon" on the place. (the poor guy trashes a few hotel rooms and is labeled for life).

That was more than we anticipated. We need to sit down and figure this one out. I've seen other places in crappy neighborhoods and not particularly comfortable looking for cheaper but its a quality of life issue. translation: now that I'm older I don't want to live in a shithole.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

In 1966 my dad bought a Volkswagon bus. My mom was surprised when he drove it home- she didn't really care what kind of car he bought but she knew she'd have trouble getting into the bus wearing a skirt. It was a convertible, not one of those small sun roofs, it was a full fledged, canvas, push it all the way back, convertible roof. It made sense for them to buy this, they had six small children and…well, it was a convertible 1966 bus- I’m not sure how many more reasons you need.

I remember as a child growing tall enough to stand on the back of the middle seat and being able to peer over the edge of the roof as we drove. No more than my eyes, the top of my head and two tiny hands were visible, I was a living, mobile “Kilroy Was Here”. My oldest brother would hold my youngest brother as we drove so he could see. I don’t recall there being many safety rules for the kids in the bus. We weren’t allowed to throw stuff out of the roof but other than that it was pretty much anarchy. The unwritten rule was that if you could jump up to the edge of the roof and hang there by your armpits with your legs dangling, you were allowed to ride like this.

People would always smile and wave at us as we drove by. It must have been an odd sight to see 6 children’s head peering out of the top of the roof as it drove down the street. We would wave back and smile. Every trip to the grocery store or to go swimming was a parade.

Continued February 15, 2007
We drove this car 2 days to Harwich Port in Cape Cod. It seems insane now but my parent, their 6 kids, my Aunt and her 4 kids piled into the VW bus and drove for two days to the small beach house we rented. I can’t imaging driving that far with 14 children under the age of 10 in one car. The middle bench seat was removed so that all the kids could find a little piece of floor to sit on. Armed with only an AM radio station and our best singing voices we set out to travel the eastern half of the U.S.. My dad was adament about us going to the beach, years later he explained that the first time he had seen the ocean was when we was in the army, he wasn’t going to let that happen to his kids. We made this trip for 3 or 4 years. I wrote about having a family re-union this summer at Harwich Port- we all flew, I don't recall the flight.

My parents bought a new car for the family in the mid 70's, a green station wagon. The bus became the "kid’s car", which, of course, is the kiss of death for any car. Everyone learned to drive a stick on that car(except me and my little brother) and it passed from 16 year old to 16 year old. The interior showed signs of wear, burns from careless cigarettes and new found teenage freedom. Whenever you made a sharp left turn the passenger door would fly open. It must have seemed odd to any newcomer in the car. It wasn’t even mentioned, the door would fly open at 50 miles an hour, reach out and pull it shut, no need to comment on it. We had to give it a little push to get the running start. It finally died in the early 80’s and was sold, unceremoniously to a man whose name I don’t even know.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's just icy today. We get just enough snow to impact the city a few times a year but not enough to teach any of us how to drive properly in it. It's good to admit that you can't drive in the snow- there is no shame in that. With this self realization you know that you have to drive cautiously, with enough room between the next driver.

My drive to work is relatively quick, the only treacherous part is a hill that goes through the woods. This hill becomes a mess when it snows. I've gone down that hill sideways before. I have seen hundreds of wrecks on this little stretch and strangely enough they all have involved SUV's.

I have a theory about SUV's or perhaps more so about their drivers. SUV's a probably very good in hilly and snowy conditions, but just because you have a car that is made for these conditions doesn't make you any better a driver. I'm amazed at how often an SUV will ride right up on your ass in crappy weather.

K- is home today, working remote because of the weather. I'm thinking we need a little Indian food and a large fire in the fireplace tonight. I'd like to have a little ice cream to finish the day but K- usually makes me feel guilty about buying this little treat which takes some of the pleasure out it. I'm of the mind that if I don't drink or smoke anymore I should be allowed to eat ice cream.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I was sitting in the front window of a coffee shop when I was pulled from my book by honking. A car was stopped in the street and everyone behind the car was honking. I saw it was Bones sitting behind the wheel of his Capris. I went out there. His car stopped and wasn’t turning over. All the honking and commotion was causing him to have a panic attack. I got a few folks together and we pushed his car to the side.

I hated to see Bones like this, lost and scared. He was shaking and was having trouble catching his breath. He was diagnosed with emphysema about a year ago and while he cut down on his smoking he never stopped. Truth be told, he is 80 plus years old and he isn’t going to quit smoking.

I just spoke of normal things while we waited for the tow truck. I know about panic attacks, as long as someone speaks of everyday things they go away. He started to relax a little; the initial fear of causing the disturbance was done. He breathing became normal, well as normal as it was going to be. I hadn’t seen him in a long time. I didn’t frequent that coffee bar where we first met. He asked about K- and about the house I bought.

I had forgotten that he was somewhat involved in the purchase of that house. When I put an offer in on the house I’m living in now I told him about it. I was nervous because they could still show the house while my offer was being considered. I had a fear someone would but in a higher offer. The realtor called me a couple days later and asked if I knew what had happened to the “For Sale” signs that were in front of the house and at the bottom of the street, I didn’t and hadn’t thought anymore of it. It occurred to me after the fact that Bones had stolen them all. “It’s bullshit they are still showin’ that house.” He told me after I asked him about it. He also called from the backyard of the house about trees that needed to be trimmed. “How’d you get in the backyard, the gate is locked?” I asked, remembering that even realtor didn’t have a key for it. He ignored the question as he gave me the low down on his impressions of the backyard “You’re gonna have to do something about them trees… and you’ll probably need a new lock on the gate” he added.

That conversation seemed like a long time ago and he looked older and worn out. After the tow truck came, I drove him to his apartment. I offered to pick him up later to get his car but he said his grandson would take him.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

How I Read The Sunday New York Times

My favorite part of the Sunday New York Times is the Book Reviews. Specifically the letters to the editors in the book review. So this is where I begin. Every week some author writes in to bitch about a crappy review they got the week before. I love it, its a school yard fight,

Critic: "Your book sucked"
Author: "No it didn't You suck!"
Critic: Your mamma suck
Kid playing 4 Square: "oooo that boy say his mamma suck"

After that I read the hardcover best seller list and place an order with the library. I'll receive the book 5 weeks later and think "why did I order this?" I then peruse the paperback bestsellers for kicks.
Wow DaVinci Code is still there, how about the Devil in the White City? Yup
...and A Million Little Lies Pieces, the James Fry scam? Yup still there too, all is well in the world.

I read A Million Little Pieces before the ruckus broke out on that. I don't know if you remember. It was the supposedly true story of James Fry and his attempt at getting sober and all his shenanigans. I knew it was bullshit, not because of the outrageous stories- those happen, although probably not to him, but because he has several places in the book where poor white guys are referring to him, an upper middle class white guy, as the bravest, toughest man they've ever met. Trust me, poor young white guys hate rich young white guys. No guy who grew up in the street would refer to James' rich, punk-ass as "tough". They might call him a "punk-ass mother fucker", beat the shit out of him and steal his watch but that's about it. They would probably beat him up just for calling himself James. But that's neither here nor there.

A quick perusal of the travel section. My sister used to call it the Dream Section.I look for any place that I have been so I can say to K- "I've been there" I, of course search for anything about Paris, as you may have gathered, I'm a bit obsessed with Paris. It would be a great disappointment to get move there and not like it.

I should at this point move to the front page or the Week in Review, but I roll right into Sunday Styles. I make a stab at the cross word puzzle- I used to be able to finish them but I'm so out of practice that I barely make a dent. After this I make a start for current events, but a nap is generally calling me and this is a call I take.
It's important to have something to look forward to in the winter. I know we should all live in and for the moment but my eye is always toward the future.

K- and I bought tickets to visit Paris in March. Probably not the best time to go and not even a particularly inexpensive time to go but a'going we are. K- wants to get her masters at the American University in Paris. She is going to interview with the school and sit in a few classes. I'm going's unclear what I'll be doing. I'm meeting with apartment renting agencies to check out a few apartments that will be available to rent for the year. Other than that I'll be 'chillin' as the kids say. (Are they still saying that Penelope?) My brother, sister-in-law and their two kids will be there at the same time. They, having stolen our idea, are planning the same move.

If I can pull it together I will bring a laptop with me do a little writing. I've been looking at laptops to buy- I like the Mac Pro, any suggestions?
Here is the apartment we are renting for the week.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

At a U2 concert in Dublin, Ireland Bono asked the audience for quiet. Then, in the silence, he starts to slowly clap his hands. Holding the audience in total silence, he says into the microphone: "Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies." A voice from the crowd pierces the silence: "Fookin stop doing it then!"
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Literate Good Citizen

You read to inform or entertain yourself, but you're not nerdy about it. You've read most major classics (in school) and you have a favorite genre or two.

Book Snob
Dedicated Reader
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Saying I'm a "literate reader" is an insult wrapped in a compliment. It is essentially saying "oohhhh look, he's tying his shoes".

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Sunday Scribble is the word "Yummy". This word doesn't mean very much to me so I wont submit a post as it would just be forcing it. But I was thinking about the word last night. It is such a cutesy word and unless it is being spoken by a child is just annoying. I’ve never heard a gang-banger look at a big old blunt he had just taken a hit off of and say, "Damn, that shit is yummy." I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I’m just saying I hasn’t happened on my watch. Another word that should probably stay in the childhood years is "tummy". Adults use the word and I cringe. "My tummy is upset, I'm going ot use the potty" WTF is that about? As you can imaging that song with the lyric "Yummy, Yummy ,Yummy I've got love in my tummy" makes me want to wretch.

(I may be in a sour mood today- I'm feeling less then yummy)
This morning I found that my lovely cat Ponette had thrown up again. She threw up on a piece of mail (Netflix, apparently not a fan of Extras) and covered the throw up with another letter.

Nicely played Ponette.
(Two cat posts in a week? I never thought I'd become 'that guy'- but she's so damn cute)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I’m not one of those people that think my dreams are interesting to others. I share especially strange or nightmarish dreams with K- with the understanding that she is probably not listening to me.

What I say: “Man, I had the weirdest dream last night it was raining inside the room, but the rain that came down was brown and tasted bad.”

What K- hears: “Man, I had the... (white noise, white noise- dry cleaning is so great- white noise, whatever happened to that Scott boy? mmmmm) ... tasted bad

So anyway last night I had a dream that the rental house was leaking, the ceiling were shiny with moisture and little brown drips were landing on me.

Not a particularly interesting dream but it corresponds with something that happened to me during the “dark years.” The dark years were a period of a little over 10 years that are very hazy to me. I was asleep, very soundly (read: passed out) in a Motel 6 in a place called Owensboro, Kentucky, which is re-known for its mutton. That isn’t the gross part of the story but it could be. Anyway, for some reason I was in a Motel 6 and I had been drinking heavily as was my wont in the dark years. I awoke (read: came to) at some point because little drips of water were falling on me from the ceiling. I looked up and the entire ceiling was shiny with moisture and little brown drops of water were dropping down. There was a light drizzle in the room of brown water.

I must have gotten up at some point in the night, turned on the shower, very hot and fallen back to sleep. The steam filled the tiny Motel 6 room for hours causing everything to be damp especially the ceiling. Why little brown drips of water, you ask? It was the nicotine that had been collecting on the ceiling for years.

OK this post is depressing and I’m stopping now.
I was reminded that we are moving to Paris in 6 months, and other than possibly selling the rental house and some research I haven't done anything.

We still need to get an international insurance company, fingerprint check with the FBI (homeland security is such crap), apply for visas, have enough money in an account to satisfy France (but they don't tell you what the $ amount should be), attempt to sell our house so we can have some money in an account, sell the cars by late summer, have the cat approved to move to France, get some kind of storage for everything we aren't going to sell, oh yea and I should probably learn to drive a stick shift...yea yea I know -back off.

hmmmm I better focus- but before I focus I need to ponder allowing the FBI to have my fingerprints on file. This bothers me for some reason. I don't intent to rob a bank, but I'd like to have the option to leave some prints behind without getting caught if I do.

(Update: This is the fourth post that has referenced my robbing a bank, perhaps I need to do some soul searching. What color is my parachute?)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It's cold in my little corner of the Midwest. We are all doing what we can to stay warm.
I should probably let this go but I can't. Someone visited a post I wrote about Jim Morrison's bathtub and left a comment. I'm still surprised when someone actually reads what I have written and is kind enough to say hello.

I re-read the post and couldn't help but notice that it was looking a little ragged around the edges -as though it wasn't expecting a gentleman caller. Some modifiers were misplaced, participles dangled and a sentence ended with a preposition*. Surely this is no way to answer the door. It's as though the post opened the door thinking it was a girlfriend coming over to eat Ben & Jerry's ice cream and watch Sex in the City reruns. It turned out to be handsome new neighbor wanting to borrow eggs, because he loves to bake and he isn't gay. There the post was, in a house coat,dirty slippers and a mouth full of Chunky Monkey- quickly brushing a stray lock hair behind her ear and adding a comma where there hadn't been one before. Like Blanche Dubois arranging her hair before she utters, "I've always depended upon the kindness of strangers."

Well the post has pulled it together, it looks good and, more importantly, it knows it looks good. It tells the handsome new neighbor confidently to "run on down to the corner and fetch me a lemon ice." (must be said with your best southern accent)

* This is neither here nor there but as I wrote this I was reminded of something my sister said that still makes me laugh. She was telling me a story and ended a sentence with a preposition. And it went a little something like this...

Misplaced Sister: (telling a long involved story)... where's it at? he asked me
Misplaced: (interrupting) You really shouldn't end your sentence with a preposition.
Misplaced Sister: Good point, Where's it at ...asshole.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Last year K- and I decided to get rid of Cable TV. Easy Right? No, not easy at all, but it had to be done. We had stopped reading, we had stopped talking. We would sit in front of the TV and eat dinner. It was too easy to come home and turn on the TV- it is too easy to turn off your brain.

When you first get cable you're excited and why not, the world is at your finger tips. After about two weeks you realize it isn't the world at your fingertips as much as several hundred channels of shit. You come to see it as a waste of money and time. "How many times can they play Karate Kid?" You ask yourself. The answer is "a lot".

The human mind is an incredibly adaptable thing, after about 3 weeks cable TV starts to get interesting and exciting again. You realize that you were wrong, cable isn't bad, cable good. Cable and all it has to offer is beautiful. E entertainment is just like People Magazine except someone is reading it to you and the pictures move!!!! "What in the Sam Hill is Lindsy Lohan doing?!" I cry at the top of my lungs. "Is she really an alcoholic, I can't think all that coke is good for her sobriety, maybe its different in California". I'm worried sick about the Olsen Twins, are they ok- they seem so sad and they still look like little Troll Dolls. I'd send Bob Sagget to offer TV parental guidance (which is the best kind) but I'm worried he might try whore them out for pot or a bit part in a commercial

The TV stayed on. I became fascinated with Paris Hilton. Back in B.C. (Before Cable) I never found her attractive but after two weeks of continuous coverage her beauty is revealed to me. Why, She looks plastic, just like my TV...and shiny, and very very interesting. She must be all of these things because I continue to watch. My life had no purpose in B.C.- there was nothing to aspire to. Now I realize I will be happy if I am ripped like Pitt and as wealthy as Trump. A marriage will always be filled with romance there will be no disagreements. Friends tell me that I need to get back to reality- but I am deep in reality, The Apprentice, The Nanny, Big Brother, Fear Factor. don't tell me about reality- you need to be black or white, good or evil or you will be voted off, fired or given a sound dressing down to. You can't be a mixture of both its too confusing for an hour long show.There is no room for gray in reality.

I had to admit there was a problem and that my life had become unmanageable. Today I'm cable free but I'll never be cured. I have a daily reprieve, if I don't watch today- just for today, I can live a pretty normal life. I still dream that there could be a laugh track whenever I say something clever and that my theme song would play every time I walked into a room but that's just my disease talking. I'll be ok- just let me just curl up in the fetal position for a little while...I'll be fine.

Monday, February 05, 2007

This weekend was a bust. My back kept me laid up and is causing me trouble even today. I walk with both knees bent and my shoulders hunched over, I walk a little like the orangutans in the first Planet of the Apes. Whenever I pass the full length mirror I yell, "you won't like what you find out there!" to an imaginary Charlton Heston.-Spoiler Alert- He, in fact, does not like what he finds out there. Strangely enough, in the book (yes I read the book) The Charlton Heston character smacks Nova (the hot chick) around- of course it was written in the early 50's by a Frenchman. I'm not judging, I'm just saying- but I digress. The point is I was laid up this weekend.

Luckily I ordered a few books from the library and picked them up on Friday- and have spent the entire weekend reading. I also rented the TV show "My Name Is Earl, which is surprisingly funny.

This weekend I've been reading The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham. I read this for the first time several years ago and I'm enchanted with it. I've been working on a story that is somewhat similar and have been meaning to re-look at the book- I have not been disappointed.

The point in this whole post is to say that I am a clever little monkey...I mean orangutan and pain has made me loopy and incoherent.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I have an on-going problem with my lower back. I started going to a chiropractor about a year ago and it began to feel better. X-rays show that I had osteo-arthritis which sounded so much better than "a pre-slipped disc condition" which my doctors have always referred to it as.

4 months ago I began going to the gym- weights, jogging, walking and biking -the whole nine yards. Lo and behold my back began to get better. I would have some discomfort sometimes but nothing constant. I was a new man- look at me everyone I'm a reformed smoker, ex-drinker and now singing the praises of exercise. I have become all that I once despised.

I woke up this morning with the old pain returned. I went to the gym for a little tread mill action and it got worse. I was in so much pain that I was forced to do the thing that I consider the kiss of death for lower back pain and that is lay down. I've reviewed what I did yesterday looking for clues into the days developments- nothing. Now, as I lie in bed, stewing in my own thoughts, I have come to the conclusion that K- is a bed hog and last night I was forced to sleep clutching the edge of my half of the bed in an effort not to plummet to the floor. I vaguely remember having to dodge her pointing little elbows. I also had a dream that she had an affair- so she is suspect across the board.

While she gallivants around this Saturday night- I lie in bed and think about how I've been done wrong.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Sunday Scribble prompt for today was 'Goodbyes'. Who have you had to say goodbye to? For some reason I’ve written about goodbyes this week. Goodbye to the Midwest, D.P. -the laughing Buddha and D- the heroin addict waitress. It’s a week for goodbyes. When I saw the prompt I thought about my heroin addict friend that I had to say goodbye to. I also felt that I didn’t have to write today because I had done my submission. On the drive to work, I reconsidered. The deal I made with myself was to write 5 days a week Monday through Friday at the very least. It doesn’t matter if its crappy or good, just write. I have to keep an eye on myself, I can be slippery when it comes to keeping a commitment to myself.

So I thought about ‘goodbyes’ again. It’s the nature of who I am that I will say goodbye to a lot of people, often very young. It’s not by accident that I am acquainted with a lot of drug addicts and alcoholics. These people, by their their very nature, have a high mortality rate.

All the goodbyes I think about are sad. Kristen died from drugs, but also anorexia, her heart just finally gave out. Michael overdosed, Ray shot himself in the head, Joey is in prison forever. There are almost too many to list. Where are the happy goodbyes?

…and then I remembered, 9 years ago I said goodbye to the person I had become. That was a happy goodbye.

Update: I re-read this post and wondered what is that a picture of and what was I thinking when I included it? Then I remembered, it is a phoenix, as in a phoenix rising from the ashes- which was meant to represent me. It actually looks more like a turkey that's been thrown in the air while someone took its picture. That, too, is a fair representation of me.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

D.P., a guy I used to chum around with is a smart and clever guy. He has a great sense of humor and a huge belly laugh. He reminded me of a big laughing Buddha.

He receives social security checks which I never understood. He usually held a job and other than being a little weird about women he seemed ok. In my early days I was as liberal as they come. Social services are the price we pay to live in a civilized society was my motto, (actually it was, 'another one over here barkeep').

DP had a guy who he used to be friends with as his payee. Essentially what a payee does is have the SS checks sent to him, help the recipient with a budget and basically make sure that all the money doesn’t go to hookers and crack.

DP felt the guy was screwing him over and asked me to take over this role. I was fine with it, although I did tell him that I would take these duties seriously and that he needed to consider that before he got me involved with it.

I was planning a party at the house on Hays for a friend of mine who had just had their second child, DP was co-hosting this party because he is good at organization and food preparation. We had a great day going to Cosco, and planning the festivities, etc. As I said DP is a smart, funny guy and a joy to spend the day with. Afterwards we would go to social services to arrange the change.

When we got to social services I had to be interviewed, DP immediately changed. He started talking to the social services rep in a child’s voice and he kept saying “I don’t understand”, at one point he started to almost cry with frustration. …”but the guy my last guardian stole my money.” It was all an act. It was complete bullshit, DP was working the system and he did it shamelessly, profitably and very well.

I still believe that social services are the price we pay to live in a civilized society but I would be curious to know how many people milk the system. If you want to be uplifted by the struggle of people to get better and then depressed by the number of people that work it, go to a dependency 12 step meeting- Zoiks.

DP and I eventually had a falling out over his budget, as was to be expected, and he had me replaced as his payee, which was fine because I couldn’t help but feel like an accomplice. I’m still pretty liberal, but I am less na├»ve than I once was.