Comfortably Numb

comfortably numbSome may recognize the subject title as the name of a song by Pink Floyd. Libby and I were talking last evening about life in general and I said that I had learned to not let things bother me like they used to do. I only get upset with people I don’t know. Namely people in other cars around me when I’m driving are my triggers. They’re idiots in large part, but that’s another story. I was told by my previous wife that I had to be leader of the pack. She may have been right, but I just don’t like being crowded in. I move at my own pace which is the envelope pushing limit above the speed limit. Okay, how’d I get onto this rabbit trail?

Oh, comfortably numb. Being able to absorb things around me and swallow it up and go on is something I’m good at here in my latter years. The problem arises when like eating something bad, it does affect me, but I don’t fret over it. I was recently in a situation where I had to enter a man’s home where the situation was tense. Another guy and I went into this man’s home to retrieve some items belonging to someone else. I already knew before I got there this guy had a gun. I was not going unprepared. I have a concealed carry and my gun was on me. The man who lives there had what appeared to be his parents in attendance when we entered. The man did not get out of his chair the whole time and my summation of this was he was sitting on his gun. I did not leave my back to him at any time there and we were out quickly. After I got back home it hit me the seriousness of the situation. I went to bed and slept four hours from exhaustion. But I was able to absorb the heightened sense of danger and get through it. I’ve known the day that I would not have been able to do that.

Libby looked at me when I said I was able to not let things bother me and said I should be able to because of modern medicine. Sertraline and Lorazepam are a part of my day, every day. I’m not an abuser. I stay true to my regime and really don’t take a full dose of either when I do take it. I take just enough to make the difference between a difficult day and a good day. You could say comfortably numb.

When I first started taking Sertraline all the side effect hit me. Profuse sweating was the most horrible physical side of them. I’d break out sweating like a whore in church, proverbially speaking. The other was a disorder that was quite interesting, but I’ll let you go look that up and draw your own conclusions. So eventually I halved the dose to get the desire effect with less side-effect. I found my balance.

Another side-effect was that it left me emotionally flat. I didn’t get upset about anything. Even bad drivers on the road didn’t bother me. I lost that side-effect when I half dosed. Smiling here. I could have cut my hand off with a skill saw and I would have calmly wrapped it and gone to the ER. Of course I’d take my hand with me for reattachment, but eh. I was okay. Just something I would have had to deal with, but nothing to get excited about.

I do have a very active mind that is always calculating situations for what possible outcomes might happen. It leads to ever conclusive scenarios that don’t shut off. It’s never been proven or diagnosed, but I’m pretty sure I have some thought process that is always leading me from one thing to another never really completely solving any of them. Some might call it ADHD or something like that. Whatever it is I’ve learned to cope with it except in one area. I can’t shut my mind off when I go to bed anymore. It is still actively sorting out situations when I go to bed. To my rescue come Lorazepam. I half dose that too for the desired effect and I sleep comfortably with unusual dreams that I’m a non-participant most of the time, so it has little effect on me.

Life at my present age is something that I wondered about years ago. Would I be paranoid about death and waiting for my demise? Now that I’m here and on these medications I have no emotion about it one way or the other. I don’t anticipate death. I anticipate life. Libby has refreshed my life and given me something to live for.

Comfortably numb? Yes. To some extent I am, but still I have an awareness that doesn’t require I get excited or depressed about whatever is going on. I’ve learned to absorb it. Life is here to enjoy.

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Peace Within. . .

I laid down on my bed last night and just soaked in all the new freshness of a completely redone room. It felt so good. I just wish the rest of the house was the same. It will happen.

I stood in front of the bathroom mirror last evening as I thought. . . I have a few good years left on this earth. I want to make it a better time to enjoy the fruits of my labors. I don’t know how much longer before I start having issues that will take away freedom to enjoy life to the fullest. I’ve lost three of my brothers. All younger than me. I don’t question why I’m still here and in decent health. The matters of the world can go to hell. Just leave me alone and let me be. I don’t feel like today, tomorrow, next week, month or year will be “that” time. I just know I want to enjoy life a little more than the work-a-day world.

The politics of the world, the struggles of the few to be leaders for whatever reason, the power hungry can all do whatever they want, but their own devices will sooner or later catch up to them and they’ll pay for whatever it is they do, no matter if it be good or bad. I can worry myself into a corner, but why should I? I have to live to my best and make my own way to peace for myself.

I just plain feel it’s time to slow down from the faster pace of “doing” all the time.  I’m reminded of a verse in the Bible that says:

. . .For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.  – I Tim 4:8

Peace comes from within the spirit and soul.  Taking care of the body is of little value compared to obtaining that peace.

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To Go or Not To Go, That Is The Question

Today there is snow and ice on the ground. It can be considered a typical February weather event. Still, local folks still don’t seem to have enough of it to gain experience in driving in it nor does our DOT have equipment to properly maintain roads for clear passage.

Libby and I came in to work today two hours late because we decided on our own accord it wasn’t safe. You would think with the diversity of people in a military setting we’d have a sufficient pool of knowledge to anticipate and maintain a ready communication with its staff whether active duty or civilian. But that’s not the case.

It snowed yesterday until the ground was covered and then it sleeted on top of that to seal it on the roads, then the command decided to let us all go home. They said be safe and everyone scurried off into the roadways slick with this sure recipe of ice, snow and temps in the upper 20’s. As we left they assured us for the present moment we would be on a regular schedule for today. Surely they jest.

I was up at my usual time this morning and after venturing out we made the plan to wait till the sun was up.   Why? Because we checked the news on TV and there was nothing to indicate a change in status. I checked the base website. It was on a two hour delay, but us, no such announcement. The Navy operates on its own accord in events like this. The hospital Facebook page carried nothing newer than a fifteen hour old announcement from the previous day. Nothing new to parallel the base’s announcement of the delay was to be seen.

The leadership of the hospital at present can’t necessarily be blamed. It’s been this way since I’ve worked here. That’s twenty-seven year’s worth of the same.

Employees are always frustrated by the hold over in bad weather and then expected to come in on time with the roads still impassable on the side roads. Some even live several miles away. They, as well as me, are left to wonder what to do, especially when we are required to arbitrarily take leave.  All I can hope for is that someone will decide to give the civilian workforce admin time.

There’s still a hitch in the get-a-long though. Some contractors don’t allow for pay to employees to operate under the command’s admin time policy. Without question they will have to use leave or get no pay for time off. What gets me is that these contracting companies get paid for so many days, even it an employee is out without pay. How do they make money, you ask? At the expense and possibly the life of one of their employees, because if they know they’re not getting paid they will venture out no matter what to ensure they have money to support their families and themselves if no one else. Why would I think a contractor is so selfish? I know one for sure is under investigation for misappropriation of funds. Look it up if you like. It’s news in Maryland. They shouldn’t even be allowed to hold government contracts.

My rant this morning is brought to you by normal everyday life. It’s not new nor will it get old. Or maybe it has already has.

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I’m Home

Walking up from my garage this morning elicited new thoughts. I haven’t moved for 27 years until a month ago. I have known for years the voice of God Home 20150111and also the open door principle.

I felt the urging some time ago to look at this house Lib and I are now in. I played with the thought for some time, but placed it off the table. Then mid-November the prodding came afresh. I told Lib to let’s take a closer look at this house. I called the agent and set up a showing. We found it had been built in 1973. It is brick and is solid. It had been mildly updated, but much updating is still needed in the kitchen, dining and hallway. The doors needed new knobs, but really the whole set of inside doors should be replaced. The flooring was done with a very cheap grade of laminate wood grain flooring. The baseboards, quarter round and door facings had been replaced by someone with just enough experience to cut a piece of wood. They didn’t know much about a measuring tape, though. The bathroom had been completely overhauled with a new tub and it was very fresh and with functional tub, toilet, cabinet and vanity. But the walls are not very likeable. The trim was amateurish. The flooring was not level and upon inspection we found sometime joists had been attacked by termites, but had been repaired and treated. There were other floor joists that needed new supports, which I had the owner repair before purchase. The previous owner had had new double pane windows installed, but two already had that foggy look and I had them fix those as well.

Sounds like I should have walked away from the needs this house has, but here’s what happened. Lib wanted the house and I did as well for the fact that it has a half-acre yard with a huge unattached garage and paved driveway. I later found the garage was once a welding shop business by the previous owner. He and his wife had passed on and the children were selling it as sort of an estate sale. They, being the owners then, were willing to sell at a giveaway price. It had been reduced by ten thousand dollars. All I will say is when I heard the selling price I was astounded to find it well under $100 grand.

Looking at the state of the house and the state of my previous home didn’t take much for Lib and I to agree to offer whatever the owners were asking. Problem was the day we looked at it we found there was another interested party. Problem one. Yet I felt to go ahead with the offer.

Later that day I was told to secure the offer I would need to get approved for the loan. That was not a problem. The next morning after church Lib and I went to a mortgage loan representative and were approved on the spot. We stopped by on the way back home to look at the inside of the garage and the realty agent told me then that the other prospective party had declined to place a bid. Now it was up to Lib and me.

Monday morning was a holiday from work, so I had gone out to get something to eat at the local Piggly Wiggly and decided to stop at my neighbor’s business across the street. When I asked him was he interested he looked at me like I was pulling his leg and it took several acknowledgements to get him to believe I wasn’t. He asked me how much and I told him. On the spot he offered to buy at the price I asked. Deal. I’d made an offer, gotten approved and sold my house in a span of three days. On the fourth day I was moving out of my house into this house.  I had told Libby when God moves He can move quickly so she should be prepared.

The provocation to look at this house again was God speaking to me. Once I looked and spoke what I was hearing, things happened so quickly Libby could not believe it. Doors opened left and right. We’ve been in this house paying rent to live here from the middle of November until closing and now for almost a month since closing.

Surprisingly I do not miss my two acres down the road seven tenths of a mile. I feel very much at home here. I’m sitting in my living room tapping this out on my laptop while the Contemporary Christian music channel plays on Pandora, feeling the blessing of God upon this house.

It’s the little things that count as well, which to some would seem not important and

Veteran's Day Parade in Morehead City NC

Veteran’s Day Parade in Morehead City NC

material. I gave up a 1955 BelAir Chevy when I gave my heart to God in 1977 because I felt Him tell me it was my god. It was a true statement. Now all those years later I feel that owning the car I’d always wanted was a gift and now I have a garage to put it in and cover it up so I can take it out and drive it and enjoy it. And Libby and I do enjoy it with the top down breezing down the highway.

Still Libby has a nice car and I have yet an old beater of an S10 for hauling stuff around in. We both have wonderful jobs and I hope to retire the end of this year.

I know there are people who think they hurt me because I hurt them, but in reality I can’t be hurt. The love of God is strong on and in me. I have forgiven them. I release them to God. Libby and I are recognized for our love for each other in our church and we’ve developed new friends and we have become a part of the community of Richlands. In all the years I’ve lived here I’ve not felt that till we moved into this house just a month ago. Strange as it may seem, I’d never felt this way.

Yes, I admit my decisions hurt some people close to me, but I’ve found from other friends and family that their viewpoint was I was not a well man then. To me I was in a fight for my life. I knew I was dying and I had to get out of it. I made only one mistake. Not having done it sooner.

So my thought as I walked up from the garage this morning? It is that I’m “home” for the Libby and Me and Church St Pub with Bob and Judy 20141101first time in a long time and I have the love of a woman who truly knows unconditional love and demands nothing of me, but to be myself. I ask nothing of her other than to not change who she is. She’s everything I pictured in my early teens when I asked God what my wife would be like. I can’t marry her as yet because of the liberality with which the judge meted out “punishment” on me in alimony to my previous relationship. Under the laws of the state of NC I am bound to that, but my heart is unbound in the realm of the spirit and I have all I ever wanted in life and cannot be brought down, not because of me, but by the help and blessings of God am I standing. That’s my thoughts this morning.

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My Belief

Christmas is a holiday that for years I have not celebrated. What?? I did a lot of research in history, Biblically and historically. I settled on one fact. If we cannot celebrate His birth everyday, we missed the need for his life. . . to die as a sacrifice for each one of us individually.

Libby has a problem with me on that. Of course He was born. It was well recorded in all aspects except one. When. Only by supposition do we get an idea of when. I chose to thank Him each day for His birth. I do enjoy the Christmas themes and such. I will even give gifts and enjoy family, such as it is this time of year. We have a blow-up snowman in our yard, wreath on the door. There’s a tree in one room with gifts under it.

My beliefs are mine. Yours are yours and I respect all who do celebrate Christmas. I’m coming around to some degree.

To the retail world though it’s their bread and butter so advertising starts now before Halloween and there’s Black Friday and now the Black Saturday, the week before Christmas. People fighting over gifts, news reports on sales and all for what? It’s all in the name of Christ’s birth. I feel alone sometimes in this belief of mine, but still I hold onto the need for people to know EVERY day is a fresh new day to know of His birth. . .and death.

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Gray Hairs in the Sideburns

I’ve had this thought running through my head for quite some time. Gray hairs in the sideburns is a memory that I have from back in my forties.

I was at work one day when I got up and wandered off to the bathroom or “head” as it’s called in the military. Oh, I work for and with the Navy in a medical facility. I did my business and proceeded to the sink to wash my hands. When I looked up into the mirror I saw the tell-tale sign of age. It was the dreaded gray hair. Just one, but that was all it took. In a sort of panic I reached up and grabbed it and pulled it out, returning my sideburn back to its only color. Whew! What a scare.

Of course, over time I found myself pulling more of them out realizing all the while I would either have no sideburns left or I would lose the battle and find no color left in those tufts of hair in front of my ears. True to form, the signs of age slowly overtook me and now years later I find that there is no other color than gray for my sideburns.

On another note, I’ve been bald since my late twenties and have only had one fleeting moment of fear of the lack of hair and surprising to me it occurred in the same bathroom at the hospital. That moment had me not wanting to go back into the hallway. For God’s sake I was bald and people would be looking at me. Then rationality came back. I’d been like this for almost twenty years and people already knew I was bald. So what.

I’m staying out of that bathroom, though. No telling what I might be struck with some future visit.

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Here’s something people sometimes. . .well most of the time, don’t like. Change. It’s inevitable. Just by virtue of being alive creates change. I guess the real culprit of change is what changes. If it’s a good change, we’re okay with it, but some change isn’t so welcome.

Getting older doesn’t bode well for change in many lives. I have been very fortunate to have as few ills as can be expected by some. Oh, I’m dealing with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and general aches and pains associated with growing old, but overall, I’m feeling pretty decent.

I know some about my age, who are tremendously tried in one health issue or another. Heart, kidney, lungs infested with cancer and so on are not diseases I look at lightly. Any of these can be the early end of an otherwise productive life.

My middle brother died the day after my birthday a year ago this past week from lung cancer. He’d always been a hard working man. He lived life in a way that had people looking to him as a fill in dad, uncle or whatever they saw as a kind, caring and compassionate individual. He helped many by being a friend, confidant and took no judgmental thought to whoever they were. Mike could always be depended upon for help.

I could go on about Danny or Timmy, who have both passed on. Jamie or “Tad” as we called him when he was young is still here and living in Hawaii. He feels life has given him a new home there and I understand. He’s not judged for who or what he lives by. That’s where he should be. He is the Omega of the five brothers. I am the Alpha.

What I’m really after is this. If I write about myself please bare with me. It’s how I adjust and view the changes in my life. It helps me to keep things in perspective.

For thirty-seven years I was married. By law I still am, but by the heart and Spirit of God I’m not. Please don’t be judgmental about this. We had a very liberal judge in our proceedings towards divorce who thought I should part with more of my income than is justifiable. Even the appellate attorney I consulted agrees the judge overstepped his bounds by denying me my Constitutional rights to pursue said divorce by taking so much of my rightful income making it so I am unable to financially subsist if I file for a final decree. The cost of fighting for my right was too prohibitive and lengthy for me to do so as well with the court of appeals. I made a statement that I committed adultery to cut costs as well, which was not supposed to be used in the finality of the trial, but was apparently used weightily against me. Remarks that were said by me were taken out of context by the judge without any questioning of me on the stand as to the veracity of what was said.

To put it mildly I was overly punished for what was done without any answers to my questions of what happened on the other side of the coin, so to speak. I hold no need for retribution, punishment or otherwise towards my ex-spouse or what she has had done to me. I have presented myself before God and man and I have been forgiven and I am justified to pursue life as it is. It is not my choice to live with the woman I love and care for in the manner we do. We are bound by the laws of the state to have to live this way until something changes. Change. That word again.

Okay, let’s “change” the subject. I had an epiphany this past week. It’s a change I knew was coming and toyed with it for the last two or three years, but now it’s going to become a reality. I picked up my retirement package this week. I have set a date of 31 December of next year. I have six months or so from now to acclimate to the next change. In July of next year the package will begin to move forward. Reality of this change is causing reassessment of who I am and what am I to do.

Another change has occurred as of yesterday. I’ve also toyed with this idea of my home and property. It is a two acre yard and I do enjoy working in it, but age is creeping up on me now and I’m not getting as much done anymore as quickly as I would like. I have to pace myself. Two acres is going to become too much for me to maintain. I must downsize.

There’s a brick home about a mile from here that’s for sale and Libby and I have been154 Trott Road 1 eyeing it for a few months now and yesterday we decided it was time to look at it closer. It’s a small three bedroom, one bath with carport home and a detached garage big enough for what we need. The yard is about a half acre with drainage around one side. It was very well maintained by the previous owner and appears to be in solid condition. The price is very reasonable, so we have as of this morning put in a bid on the home and have been preapproved. Moving to this home will give Libby and I something that we can call our very own, as the home I’m in now was from my previous life. This new home is perfect with good neighbors around us. Mary Ann and Roy Metts live right across the road and she was all over it when we told her a while back we were kind of interested in buying this house. It’s a very well maintained neighborhood as well. Very well manicured lawns and such by every owner along this road is par for the course. The church we attend is within walking distance and the new Walmart going up is just up on the end of the road across Hwy 258 from this house. And the biggest thing for me is that there is no HOA. I hate HOA’s.

The house payments you ask? Let’s say it’s half the average house payment for most people. The estimated payment is about the same as I’m paying now. That’s not bad.

Change is ultimately going to have to happen. No matter what we or anyone else has to say about the matter. What can happen is that we play a part in the change to the best of our ability.

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