Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Practical tasks are on my mind. A., my grandson, in his 20s, has a handicap. Nothing shows to the casual observer. It is a chemical imbalance that requires He take medication. If He doesn't, He can't function. A. is so handsome, I wonder if I should underwrite a model's portfolio for him. Would He be interested in modeling?
A list of tasks to support A. is on my mind: He needs a copy of his birth certificate. He needs to sign up for food stamps. He needs something to do to keep him busy all day. A. is very intellegent. He needs a budget to help him structure use of his social security disability check. He needs to keep busy instead of idling in neutral all day.
At the same time, I am half way through a move. There are boxes every where. My painter friend and his son have agreed to help me move the big pieces....the entertainment center, treadmill, china cabinet, queen size bed. A. and I have moved the little stuff. God! there is a lot of little stuff. As soon as my storage pieces arrive, I can empty some of the boxes out and place my linens, dishes, "stuff" into the cupboards, drawers and behind doors. Order, in good time.
My audio components are on the floor. I would love to hear some good sound, some good music. I will be so glad when A. and I can hook up the components and turn them on. I will be so glad to get the tapes (audio and movies) , CDs, DVDs, records, flat screen TV properly put away. Boxes of books are everywhere. I need to build bookcases.
When I have my own stuff put away, what shall I do with, where shall I put the duplicates? I am combining two households into one. Some things are scheduled for a garage sale / tag sale. They go into the garage until spring. I hope that the mice don't take up winter housekeeping among my things in the garage. They probably will.
Some things that are used only occasionally, go into the basement. It's a little basement. My boxes take up the entire right side of the basement. If I need anything, I have to walk sideways between the boxes. Family: Please don't buy me anything. I am drowning in material blessings.
Before the large pieces arrive, it is important to me that the area be clean where the pieces will stand. This house is impossible to keep clean. It is an old house. I need to seal the basement walls and floors. The pores of those surfaces oozes dust and flakes . I vacuum the floor in the basement and sweep down the walls. In a few days, it looks like I never did anything. My furnace turns on. The forced air system blows the stuff all through the house. I blow my nose and sneeze a lot. I have two hepa filters working constantly to clean the air.
The Melba Street house was my home for almost 30 years. I had a place for everything. This new house is laid out differently. A favorite painting that hung on my kitchen wall , won't be able to hang on my new kitchen wall. I've lost wall space to doorways and windows. I need the remaining wall space for kitchen cabinets.
Where shall I hang my paintings that make sense? I don't want to just "stick them up any where". Slowly, the layout of furniture, paintings, color schemes is revealed to me. My kitchen painting is hung at the foot of the stairs. The placement is right. It also suggests a color scheme for this part of the house. The secondary colors in the painting, aqua and green, would be a great color choice / tint for the wall behind the painting, or perhaps as secondary colors in carpeting as well.
OK Gardenbug...get off the computer and start cleaning the baseboards and walls.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A coffer dam is a hole in water. It is an artificial condition. Construction workers make them by dropping a cylinder into water and pumping the water out. It is used for the construction of bridge foundations and similar structures that stand in water. The name coffer dam is a corruption of the term coffin dam, because many good men have died in them. Working in a coffer dam is very dangerous.
I was looking at a map of New Orleans and pondering the devastation that Hurricane Katrina did to the people of that famous city. So much material is washed down the Mississippi river, it changes the shore line yearly.
Engineers have addressed the flood of water and washed- in soil , trying to control a natural condition. They build large walls to channel the water. They run large pumps to keep the water out of the city. It occured to me that New Orleans is situated in a coffer dam.
All that water, heat and humidity invite termites to invade wooden structures...even trees. The good people of New Orleans are constantly fighting and losing the battle against termites.
Our changing weather pattern is not debatable. Our weather pattern is changing. It could be a 25 year cycle or it could be a longer cycle due to global warming. Scientists predict more and more severe hurricanes, drought and flood, snow, severe cold and severe heat as this weather pattern continues.
All of the above , makes for a poor prognosis for New Orleans.
When the midwest was suffering severe floods, one town voted to relocate from a river flood plane to higher ground. Government helped them accomplish this. I think I learned of this by watching NOVA on television, but I'm not sure. It was some time ago.
If I had a vote, I would vote to relocate New Orleans to higher ground and save a lot of human misery. New Orleans should not be rebuilt where it is.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I am a fan of Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes fame. I like it that He bypasses social politeness and says what a lot of people are too polite to say for themselves. I like it that He was a World War 2 veteran. They're my heros. I like it that Andy lives in my State. When I drive through his town, I wonder which house is his? They are all lovely. He is such a curmugeon.
The paper said that Andy Rooney would be speaking at a book signing in a town that is a short commute from my home town. I have to go and buy the book. Perhaps I can meet him and get his autograph. The talk He gave was similar to his essays on the television: direct and honest.
I bought the book and stood in line to get it autographed. He is signing book after book without looking up, but for some reason, when I reach the front of the line, He looks at me.
I said,"Hello, Mr. Rooney. My grandson, Anthony, has ambitions to be a writer. I am buying your book as a gift for him."
Mr. Rooney's answer was,"I don't care."
He is right in character.
I have two cast iron bathtubs. One has been well taken care of. No abrasive polish was used on it. I imagine that grandma took her towel and wiped the tub dry when she was finished. The tub is about 90 years old and still has a shiny glass finish on it. It looks almost new.
The other tub was scrubbed to within an inch of its life, as they say. the glass finish is worn off. The surface is porous, picks up dirt and stains.
I am forced to use bleach and commercial products on tub number two and still it doesn't look so hot. It makes me think of teeth care.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Editing Moses
July 9, 2000
I sure wish I lived in a world where people abided by the ten commandments and the golden rule. Ah, Me! Human nature being what it is, I shall never see that day. Perhaps the language of the commandments makes them obscure. What young person understands that their father's hoary head means gray hair? My neighbor does not have any beasts of burden in his back yard on Melba Street. I do not covet his ass! Therefore, with apologies to the first author, I take the liberty of updating the ten commandments.

1. Know that all there is, is created by the Great Creator. All the earth and everything in and on it is created by the Great Creator. The stars, the atoms that make up your body and the elements that make up the atoms, was thus created. Let us glorify the Great Creator and give thanks for the gift of life and for the world that We have inherited. Put aside some time each week, dedicated to him/her, to give thanks and to petition for guidance and blessings. Worship nothing greater than the Great Creator, neither money nor power over others nor power to control your own life nor statues and images nor your own image shall be greater than the one who created everything. First, love God.

2. Meet with others who share your religious view. Worship jointly, so your glorification of the only God is magnified. As you are made in his/her image, his/her love flows through you to others. Worship God in community.

3. Let each individual become all he is capable of being. Manifest yourself and your talents. You are responsible for the health of your mind and your body. Fill your mind with knowledge and wisdom gained of experience. Do not pollute your mind with negative, hopeless thoughts or images of violence and distruction. Keep your body strong and healthy. Do not pollute your body with addictive substances or substances that obliterates your reality. Each biological function has its place. Use moderation in all things biological: eating, sleeping, sex, elimination, exercise. Know that God gave you two guidance systems to help you through life. One is your mind and the ability to reason. The other is your emotional barometer that tells you if you are in a good place or a threatening place. Reason alone leads to inhumanity. Emotional indulgences alone leads to hedonism or irrational behavior. Use both guidance systems in balance. You alone are responsible for your actions and your life. Love yourself

4. The earth is made for the Glory of the Great Creator. Everything in and on it belongs to the Great Creator. Every species is from his/her hand. As the dominant life form on earth, it is humanity's responsibility to care for the earth. Only God can erase a species by his/her natural processes. Mankind shall not distroy any species, which has been given the right to life by God, whether it is useful to us or not. Likewise, mankind shall gently use and enjoy all the blessings of the earth, air and water and return each element, unchanged and unspoiled, so each element is healthy and abundant for the next generations to come. Our biology requires us to eat, but there will come a day when We shall rise above this and not have to eat any living thing, which extinguishes individual life. Until then, eat as low on the food chain as you can and still maintain your health, which is also a gift from God. You are a steward for the earth. Love the earth and everything on it.

5. You are a conduit for God's love. It is your responsibility to administer to others, by yourself or in groups, to uplift others, to manifest this love, to the best of your ability and with wisdom, so that no harm or humiliation or dependency is created on the one who needs help. The one question you will be asked when you return to God after your death is this: "What have you done to help others?" Deal with those around you, as you would have them treat you in your dealings in life. Look for no payment. If you can, be helpful anonymously. Know that the Great Creator created all races and individuals no matter how different they seem to you. We are social beings and need one another. Work in community for the good of all, even those who hold minority positions. This is your responsibility and is not to be avoided, hoping that someone else will step in. Let love manifest in community. Love and help one another.

6. Give honor and respect to your parents, regardless of their age and usefulness to you. They did the best they could for you as you were growing up. Being human, they made mistakes. Forgive them. Take care of them when they can no longer take care of themselves. They gave you life, your biology and your cultural heritage. They took care of you when you could not take care of yourself. Love your father and your mother.

7. The Great Creator created marriage as the foundation for families. It is sacred. There are three entities in marriage: two persons and God. It is a covenent. Therefore, don't interfer in another's marriage. Do not commit adultry. Likewise, single adults should reserve sex for marriage. A physical union without emotional commitment is exploiting one another for hedonistic purposes. Likewise, having children outside of marriage is a sin because it deprives the child of the benefit of growing up within a marriage. The children's needs supercedes the hedonistic urges of the parents. Let love manifest in marriage.

8. Parents are commanded to take child raising very seriously. It is all right to choose to not have children, but if you do, children are a responsibility, a charge from God. They are not possessions, nor are they an extension of your ego, even if they look like you. Children should be treated with respect and educated with discipline so they will grow up with the ability to self-discipline, with knowledge of the commandments, with the ability to work productively and in community. Know that the light of God is within the smallest child. Life begins with the first viable breath. God breathed into Adam and he became alive. Let love manifest in families.

9. You are commanded to respect each others personal boundaries. If it isn't yours, then you shall not steal it, covet it, or distroy it. You shall respect your neighbor's property, his family, his right to live peaceably in community. If your neighbor's child is in danger, rescue him as if he was your own. You are commanded to not distroy other's reputations by gossip or rumor or lie. If you have anything to say, say it face to face. In this way, if there is an error in your understanding, it can be corrected without damage to anyone. Guard carefully what comes out of your mouth. Much distruction comes from that source. Live by the golden rule: Treat others as you want them to treat you. Love and respect your neighbors.

10. All life comes from God. Only God can call it back. It is a sin to perform group murder called war among nations. It is a sin to murder in the name of the state which We call capital punishment. It is a sin to extinguish another person's life. Do not murder.

We live in a modern age, electronic, noisy and crowded. Sometimes it seems as if Mose's commandments are outdated, but they are not. Most of the ills of our societies can be traced to a lack of understanding that these basic tenants are still wise and still function to guide us through our life. I have learned these truths through my own life experiences.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A. is now settled in his new room. He's gone through the mall, bought the underwear he needed, made a medical appointment, contacted his brother. We buy groceries and A. eats them. He was way too thin. I like to see A. eat healthy foods. A. is working on staying healthy.
He helps me with things. It is really nice to have a grandson around...and a handsome one, too.
Since I am moving, A. helps move boxes. What a chore! Drive to Melba. Walk up stairs. Grab box. Walk down stairs. Over and over until the truck is filled. Then, drive to Park C. Open truck tailgate. Get box. Walk it inside and up the stairs. Walk down stairs. Get another box. Four trips up and down stairs for each box. I am drowning in boxes of stuff, combining 3 households into one. I have too many beds, dishes, microwaves, glasses. Things that will be sold or discarded, are sorted and put in the garage. Stuff that I might want to use later, or a grandson might want to have when setting up his own apartment, goes into the basement. I have way too many books, records, audio recordings, videos, sheet music. But I want all of it. Maybe I could let some books go....after I've skimmed them again.
Tomorrow, the proceedure repeats until the Melba St. house is empty. We wait for S. to have some free time to move the big stuff...like the couch with a day bed in it...and the entertainment center. I disconnected all the wires and took the components apart. Hope I can reconnect all those speakers, DVD player, tape deck, turn table, tape player correctly.
On the day of the "official" move, I had the phone company disconnect my phone on Melba Street and connect it on Park Circle. Since I am in the same town, I keep the same phone number. Friends find me where ever I am.
Moving day: both phones are dead. At the neighbor's house, I phone the phone company. They activated the phone lines on Park Circle, they say. I say the phone isn't working. I need a repair man. Wait of 3 days without a phone or use of my computer. Repair man arrives. Nice man. It seems the last time I moved out of this house, the phone technician disconnected some wires. Problem fixed. I have working phones and use of my computer to go on line.
Nope, not fixed yet.
The computer can go on line. All the phones can dial out, except for the splitter line for the computer and a companion answering machine and telephone. It seems the phone is dead . Double check all the connections. Can't find a problem. Perhaps I am asking one telephone jack to support too many appliances. The phone and answering machine are disconnected. I have no other place to plug them in at the moment. So if you call to leave me a message, I have no answering machine working to take your call. Sorry.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

My grandson is here for the holidays. Perhaps He will agree to relocate permanently. His brother is here. I am here. That's the biggest gathering of family he has. Every one else is scattered around the country.
A. was living in Fort Worth Texas. Why he was there is beyond me. Probably folks from that area can enlighten me. It was like throwing a dart at the map and saying,"I'll live there." No reason in particular. His brother said that A. went to Texas because it is warm. If He is homeless, He can sleep under a bridge and not freeze to death. Anyways, A. is coming to Melba Street. I sent him a one way bus ticket. He gets on the bus on November 1 and should arrive at Union Station on November 3. That's a long bus ride. I could do it when I was his age, but I wouldn't want to do it now.
Then my attorney calls me. "Didn't I tell you? You have to be in court for your Mom's probate hearing on November 2 and 3." Oh great.
November 3 at 8AM. The bus arrives. A. is not on it. I race back to Court to give my testimoney. Race back to Union Station. Sit and cool down for several bus arrivals from NYC. No A. I read the entire Readers Digest. This magazine, which I used to enjoy, is now mostly ads. Readers Digest gets tossed. Lunch is junk food. Did A. leave a message for me on my answering machine? I don't use a cell phone. Drive back home
Back home, there is a message from A. His bus is late. He will be several hours late.
I drive back to Union Station. If I could have talked to A., I would have said that He should call me when He gets in. Instead, I sit in the station and check every bus from NYC. No A.
Back home late afternoon. I'm hungry. The phone message says that A. took the wrong bus. In order for him to get on another bus, He needs another $10. He says He will sleep at Union Station. I know when He wakes up, He will still be short ten bucks. How do I get the money to him? I can wire it via Western Union, but have no way to let him know He has to go to Western Union.
Call to Greyhound 800 Number. They say to call the Port Authority Police. Greyhound gives me the phone number.
I call Port Authority Police. A very nice officer listens to my story and takes my phone number. Wait Wait Wait. A Social Worker calls back. They have A.
When A. learned that He could not use his old ticket, He threw it away. Now I have to buy a new and more expensive ticket. The social worker says He will call me back after he learns how much the ticket will cost. Call back: $20. The next bus leaves at 7:15 PM.
Call to Greyhound 800 number. They take my information. Oh, they have a block on that bus. It is within the two hour window. Can't guarantee the ticket will go through on time. I have to purchase the ticket at Union Station.
Call to the local Greyhound office at Union Station. They take down my information. I am watching the ticking clock. Sorry, they have a policy that they don't take credit card information over the phone. I have to come in and personally buy the ticket. Oh, there is a $15 extra charge for wiring the ticket to the Port Authority. Race in the car to Union Station.
Purchase ticket. Get confirmation number. Race back home. Call social worker. Give confirmation number. A. is escorted to the correct bus by social worker with only 15 minutes to spare.
For the fifth time that day, I drive to Union Station. At 9:45 PM, I greet A. as He exits the Greyhound Bus in Union Station. A. is very hungry. No wonder.