Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Okay, I've been busy and things have been hectic, but I guess it's time to write something, even if it's only highlights of the past few days.

Work has been scarce during the normal daylight hours so I've been putting in a lot of nights and weekends to make sure I have a paycheck. Chasing after a paycheck is a sorry business, but at least it means that for about 24 hours on payday I have enough money to pay my bills and buy a second hand glass or three. Not much else at this point.

I got my probation review and they mentioned that they are dissatisfied with the amount of work I turn in on any given day because it is inconsistent. It couldn't be that when I first started and was blasting away with anywhere from 50-60 pages a day they told me to slow down or that the doctors then went on strike and getting any work at all was iffy at best. Naw, it couldn't be that. But you can bet I mentioned it. For a whole two weeks we had loads of work and were behind about three days and now we're back to hitting the button to get work and getting nothing but nothing, which has forced me to switch my schedule to when everyone else in the company is sleeping and get my work then. Of course I am having a bit of trouble adjusting to nights, but I'll get there eventually and I have all the operative reports I can handle in 8 hours -- or more.

Besides work I have also been sleeping some and getting ensconced in my new digs. Yes, I have actually bought items that make this move more permanent and more difficult to get away from should I choose to go driveabout again any time soon. I am actually putting down roots -- and not just in the garden and yard. All the clothes are off the bed and on hangers in the closet, which for some things is pretty interesting since I do not have a dresser or bureau right now. I had extra space in the bathroom cabinet and I dare anyone to go looking into my cabinets because they will get a face full of lacy, silky and frilly underthings. In one of the huge vanity drawers I put my socks, stockings and garter belts (or suspender belts for the Brits among you). The rest of the clothes are hanging in the closet away from prying eyes, along with the feather bed on which I spent my first month of floor sleeping and which the landlady gave me to keep. I'll use it when and if the snow flies on this side of the Divide.

I cleaned, I polished and I washed dishes, especially now since I can't think of leaving dishes in the sink without remembering the landlady's story about her mother who didn't like dishes (I must have been channeling her since I moved away from home) and left them in the sink for a week at a time when the landlady and her sister had to wash them, spending hours up to their armpits in hot, soap water. I picture Cinderella and I'm sure she felt the same. I don't leave the dishes for a week and there aren't THAT many to do since I live alone and do not own pots, pans, dishes or silverware yet, outside of a couple bowls, some plastic silverware (two three forks, one spoon and a knife), three kitchen knives, three big Gladware containers, one sauce pan and a 9x11" sheet cake pan. So you see? I don't have that much to wash. I do wash the plastic TV dinner trays before I pack them up and taken them for recycling, but that's just good manners and keeps down the rats. Keeps them down here, too. Doesn't work for the spiders who happily spin their webs on every available surface, but not have a lot of available surface for them to web -- like furniture, knick knacks and, well, furniture, they are forced to keep their webs in corners and on window sills and blinds.

I have one more load of laundry to do and I'll do that today and get it put away so that the floor in front of the doorway between the living room and bedroom will be bare again. It will also show the little flecks of lint and feathers from the feather bed, but it's all good.

Last week I also got a call from Beanie to tell me Mom had her blood served to her on Friday (she goes for monthly fill-ups because of really nasty pernicious anemia but really it's just vampirism so she can go into the sun occasionally without the black tinted windows on the van/hearse) and Dad visited his doctor to have get his PSA results. There was a 1-point jump in three months and the doctor told Dad it was cancer, but not in the prostate this time. It has been six years since his radiation treatments and we won't talk about the pad he has to wear because of bleeding (no, not THAT kind of bleeding -- the other end -- he IS a GUY), but he still has four years to go on his supposed remission. Guess someone forgot to tell his manufacturer. Doc thinks it might be throat cancer because Dad has this tickle in the back of his throat and keeps coughing, which drives Mom batty and she yells at him to COUGH OR QUIT, but he believes it might be colon cancer. A PSA is prostatic specific antigen and is a blood test to test for the presence of cancer in the prostate. I'm still figuring out how that would tell if he has cancer in some other portion of his body. His prostate isn't enlarged so it is doubtful he has prostate cancer again. The radiation took care of that and ruptured nearly all the blood vessels in his rectum and colon. I think it's a false alarm and the doctor needs to redo the test and check the results, but instead the doctor has opted for two very expensive tests, both of which involve radioactive isotopes. One is a bone scan and the other is called propaising, but I haven't heard of it and can't find anything on it, so I think they got the test name wrong. We will see what we will see.

Of course Mom has another problem. She's forgetting time. Not like she always has so that we are late to every family and social function where she is involved, but fading out like having more TIAs or mini strokes. She's terrified because that is how Granny Goodwitch was before the multiple strokes that put her in the nursing home with half her brain solidified and nonfunctional and eventually led to her prolonged and protracted dying where she was cut open, tubed and kept alive without dignity or decency, but that's another story. So all is not well with Casa Cornwell in the wilds of southern Ohio.

This prompted my father to ask me two weeks ago when I was coming back. I asked him, "When are you dying?" He laughed and said not for a long time, not knowing what the next week held in store for him. I answered, "Well, then I won't be coming back for a long time." He laughed and liked the conversation so well he has repeated it to family, friends and strangers. Last week's news about more cancer and the possibility of chemotherapy and losing his hair prompted a similar exchange. I told him, "If you think this news will get me back there any sooner, nice try but it ain't gonna work. I'm still not coming back." He laughed and began telling the latest installment in our running joke.

You see, when I left Ohio nearly three years ago I swore I wouldn't come back until someone died. Looks like they're trying awfully hard, but it isn't going to work. I've been through these situations before. I go back and no one dies -- FOR YEARS. I'm happy where I am and if they really need to see me so badly (and I'm sure most of you will remember the week of horror that ensued when Mom visited last fall) they can come out here. If I won't consider moving to New Mexico for good money and a good friend, I certainly am not going to contemplate moving back to a place it's better to be FROM than living IN. Solly, Chahllie, you got no egg roll with this one.

All of this brings me up to Sunday night when a strange occurrence, well, occurred.

I was working in my office on the sun porch where there are lots of windows and no blinds, drapes or curtains of any kind to screen me from the rest of the world -- or the rest of the world from me -- and why I wear clothes most of the time now (at least when I'm actually in this room. Okay, so I just wear a T shirt and nothing else, except occasionally socks, but no one can see that I'm naked below the waist. Anyway, on this particular night I was fully dressed and wearing shoes (too lazy to take them off from my jaunt earlier in the day) and beginning another work day/night. I was working on a particularly technical operative report when something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. A car was sitting next to the curb across the street at the stop sign with its turn signal blinking away. It wasn't moving and there was no traffic. No one got in or out of the car. It just sat there, turn signal blinking and blinking and blinking. I watched it for a couple minutes, feeling somewhat unsettled, and finished the dictation. When I was done about 10 minutes later, the car was still sitting with the turn signal blinking and no traffic going up or down the street. It should be noted that it was after 11:00 PM. I watched for a few minutes and the car finally moved, but I got the sense that I was being watched. The only light was from the two computer monitors and a little lamp on the top of the CPU so the watcher probably only saw my silhouette, but it was obvious they were watching. There are no tree branches or trees in the way between the stop sign and my windowed perch. The car angled toward 24th going north and waited, turn signal blinking, not moving. About 90 seconds later a car drove south down 24th and when it passed the car pulled onto 24th going north. It was a little old silver Subaru station wagon. I should have thought to get the license plate number, but I wasn't thinking about the details, just watching the watcher watch me. The thing is that I've been told that particular car has watched this house and me on previous occasions and I believe I know who it is. Can't say for sure until I have proof, like the license plate number, but you can be sure I'll keep watching for the watcher.

That brings me up to yesterday. Since my paycheck posted yesterday instead of today, and since they delivered my brand new 27-inch color TV (that I have still not plugged in or hooked the DVD player to), I called and double checked the cable installation date on Saturday, got a cheaper monthly rate and paid the first month in advance. Like I said, it's getting harder and harder for me to pick up and move by packing my meager possessions in my car and hitting the road. Computers I will move, but not a TV. It's like sticking a bullseye on the roof of my car and saying BREAK IN - NEW TV IN BACK SEAT. I like to travel light and the TV and pictures and bed and feather bed and the table I have to buy today to put the TV on are not light in the least...unless of course I decide to leave this apartment furnished if I get the urge to go driveabout again.

The only other news of the past week is the package I received from Beanie on Saturday. I have a new Aztec amulet and wear it on a cheap silver chain that once contained a jeweled flip flop that I bought at the visitors center on the way to Pikes Peak when was here last month. So I asked my mother, who has more jewelry than Mr. T (pay attention to the reference), if she had a simple single chain in silver or gold (the amulet is raised gold tracery on silver) she could send. She gave Beanie five chains to send. When I opened the very heavy package and ripped off the covering paper Mr. T's jewelry stared back at me in ropes of gold, silver and black. The landlady said, "Your mother must not know you very well. They don't look like anything you would wear." She is right.

I called Mom to ask her if she had ever met me before and thanked her for the gaudy and unusable chains that I will be sending back when I can afford the freight on so much weight. She said that is what I asked her for. I replied, "When did simple single chain ever mean THIS?" She launched into a technical and very detailed discussion of the types of links that make up a chain ad infinitum and nearly ad nauseam. "But these are ROPES not chains," I protested. "They are chains. One of them should do. Or you can go to K-Mart and buy a simple chain for $4 or $5." I may just stick with my $2.99 jeweled flip flop-less chain and forget about jewelry for a while. It's like asking for food and being faced with a banquet of bat's brains, jellied monkey guts and big fat bugs and losing your appetite for the rest of your life. I'm cured. When she goes to the great furnace in the dells she can give her jewelry to the rest of the females and Mr. T wannabes in the family. I don't need any unless they can be easily and quickly converted into electronic equipment and travel vouchers for a closer association with the world.

So this long and rambling post comes to an end with one more small hint at what is coming in the future. Chicken love has turned my father into a raving lunatic and Beanie is going down the mazy path with him.

Oh, and I am utterly smitten by a tall young man with a shy smile holding a diploma in a cap and gown. His picture is in the frame that came with the box of stationery a certain Kansas City, Missourian left here and who has been bugging me, despite being chastised and castigated by a prevaricating narcissistic drama queen obsessed with baseball an LJ denizen.

That is all. Disperse quietly and orderly to the exits.

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