But. . ah. screw it, you know? I’ve rambled, babbled, run on and lamented about that crap quite enough. I felt my whole world was caving in on me, blah blah blah.
I’m over it.
I’m happy. Detroit’s happy. The kids are okay. Nothing else really matters.
I mean, I’ve got money problems. And other problems that could be solved with more money. But I’ve already fixed most of them, and now it’s down to a manageable few. I hope.
And I am ready, once again, to get on the fucking stage. Next week, I’m back on open Mic night. Check my comedy blog for details on that story.
I hope to be able to get some computer time to check out your blogs as well, see how it’s going, and so forth. I’ll catch up with you all. Leah, haven’t been ignoring you–just gotta figure out where you are and how to get there. Hope you and the babies are well. Everybody else–I’ll be around.
Sure. Take the Robert K Byrd Memorial Highway past Robertsville into Byrdstown. Get off On Robert K Byrd Ave, and go left.
Yes. Everything is a left turn. To continue: stay on Robert K Byrd Ave, until you cross the Robert K Byrd Expressway. Just past that, on the left, is The Robert K Byrd Memorial Library and Frozen Yogurt Stand. Turn left there. On Your left is The Robert K Byrd Memorial to the Fallen Heroes of Fringe Groups and Radical Organization–
What the–? I never heard of anything like that.
You’ll recognize it because of the statues of men wearing white hoods burning a cross. Anyway, just past that is Robert K Byrd Street. Turn left, go about 6 blocks, and on your left will be the Robert K Byrd ACLU Memorial, surrounded by a moat containing lawyers. Turn left there, and you’ll cross Robert K Byrd Ave, and the next block has the Robert K Byrd Memorial Public Bathroom and Socialist Reading Room. For a small fee–
Wait–Did you say "Robert K Byrd Ave" again? Didn’t I just make three left turns? Couldn’t I have just turned right?
No. Take a look at the sign.
"Robert K Byrd Memorial Roadway and Infrastructure System. No right turn ANY TIME, ANYWHERE. Have A Politically Correct Day"
Monday, I worked in the restaurant, no A/C. Briefly, it’s not that it doesn’t work, it’s that the owner won’t run it. It’s not powerful enough to compete with all the equipment in the store anyway, so why bother? It needs to be upgraded to a larger unit.
I’ve run into this before, at Domino’s Pizza. Delivery and carry out only. If it was dine in, and there would be customers in the store, of course it would be fixed. But it’s just the employees, so. . . fuck ’em.
I understand Scott’s philosophy about this now–it’s a small restaurant, small business, and the budget is tight. Running the A/C means very literally that he will work for free for the summer months. Any profit whatsoever will go to the electric bill.
(And occasionally I flashback to the fall of ’04, when I almost bought the restaurant. Words cannot express how glad I am that I didn’t.)
But I don’t think Scott fully appreciates how painful it is for everyone else. He likes it hot. He’s a freak. I have mentioned that in the winter, I have come into the store and turned the heat *down* when he has it turned up to 87 degrees. The Alien Lizard King that is the boss doesn’t appear to have the same sensibilities that the rest of us humans do.
Maybe their plan is to slow cook us, then eat us? I swear, I saw him looking at us and licking his lips when he thought we weren’t looking.
So, when it’s 60 degrees outside, or colder, it’s a comfortable 70ish in the store. At 70, it’s a doable 80. Once it reaches 80 or higher, things get interesting.
We have the front door and the back door open, and several fans positioned all over the place. There are two exhaust hoods, sucking air out–in theory, hot air–over the pizza oven and the grill. BUT–there is a grill. A deep fryer. A potato oven, and a potato warmer. A fry warmer. Pizza oven. And half a dozen coolers and freezers, which put out heat as well, while they cooler their insides.
In the main part of the store, it is generally 5 to 10 degrees hotter than outside. But the area I have to be in to cook? And, okay, I don’t even mean directly in front of the grill, because I spend as little time there as possible. But just in the middle of all the equipment–I took a thermometer out of the cooler because I wanted to know. The thermostat stopped at 90, and the needle was pegged way past that. Impressive looking, but much in the way of accuracy.
So I took the thermometer from the cooler, and laid it on the table. It was warm to the touch. In fact, everything was warm–or hot–to the touch. Normally anything you touch in a room, like say, in your house or whathaveyou, is going to be cool to the touch, because it is cooler than your body temperature. What does it mean when it’s warm to the touch?
What does it mean when it’s hot?
The phone rang, and I answered it. The phone burned my ear. The keys on the computer keyboard were warm. I went to wash my hands, and the liquid soap felt like hot water. I checked the thermometer about every 10 minutes–it continued to rise. Finally, it topped out. Finally, it stopped going up. I checked it a few times because I don’t think I was thinking clearly, plus there was a constant stream of sweat pouring down my face.
Outside, it wasn’t quite 100.
I had made up my mind over the weekend, actually, that I was going to close early this night. I knew the heat was coming, and I was looking for an excuse. It wasn’t as fun as I thought it was going to be. I was dizzy, weak, and struggling. I moved around mechanically, cleaning. I hope I did a decent job.
But I figured, just one night, and Monday, it’ll be justified to close early. But the heat. . .continues. Relentlessly. It remains. I work again Thursday, and then Saturday. And the heat will remain, and be hotter.
So what am I gonna do? Suffer through it, I suppose. Suffer through the gravity. But I’m not gonna do nuthin extra. Like be nice to the customer. Or cook special orders. Or clean with any zeal. Or, really, anything over the bare minimum.
These are the thoughts I had as the heat turned my brain into stir-fried monkeys: It’s a matter of perspective. Say your ideal temp is 70. Say it! GO ON! Say it! To be at 90, or 100–that’s 30 degrees over your ideal temp. I would say that’s uncomfortable for most people. That’s, what?–50 degree difference? 70 minus 50 is practically 30, or 40. what is it? You get the idea. 117 is 89 degrees higher than your ideal temp of 63. Subtract 117 from 58, and you end up somewhere in the 20s, like 27 degrees. I can work in 27 degrees. I’m comfortable in 27 degrees. I can be naked in 27 degrees. But where is the lizard king in 27 degrees? Over there, with his tongue stuck to the goddamn pole, Larry Byrd! Whatdaya think of that? Huh?
I’ve been hot. I’ve been cold. I prefer to be cold. I’m happier when my nipples are hard.
While I’m at it, yes I am going to post all the crap I wrote when we didn’t have the internet, and I was saving it to post. Don’t worry, it’s almost over. And I have a couple of short, funny ones for ya. Peace out.
It’s starting to sound like a fucking country song. In fact, I may have started to write it. . . but you’ll never see it.
Here are the facts of the case: We moved into my original house, the one I had rented. The divorce decree says I have to refinance it or sell it. The intent was, I’m supposed to sell it, and any profit goes towards my children’s education. That was fine and dandy when I was staying in my dad’s house, and I thought I was going to stay there.
Meanwhile, the ex has to refi or sell the big house. She gets to keep the equity in it, to buy a new house, or shove up her ass for all I care. There is . . .a good 60 grand in equity in her house. Thirty of that is what we put down on it, borrowed against the house I have. Which, of course, I have to pay. The rest is what it has increased in value, plus paying the loan. Maybe not 60, cause the market is down, but at least 50.
My house is worth, on a good day, one hundred thousand. But here’s the kicker: Not if I sell it. I got grandfathered in on the electrical (it still has an actual fuse box, not circuit breakers), but if I sell, that will need to be updated to pass the dreaded city inspection. Taking that and other things off the top, the house is worth 90 at most. More than likely low 80s. There is a loan for 64 thousand on it, borrowed against it to get the downpayment for the big house, plus paying off our debt, plus all the nice furniture my ex has. What does that leave me? Not much.
So, she gets to keep her house, or sell it and buy another one. And I’m supposed to sell this one, pay off debt, use the profit for college, and get nothing.
Buyer’s remorse? A moment of clarity? The reason I agreed–other than being free of her–is because it said refinance, and if that wasn’t possible, then sell. Same for her. But no time limit is given. No time frame whatsoever is mentioned. But the bottom line is, is that fair? The indication from my lawyer was that her lawyer wants be me to get on it, now. Chop-chop! Sell the fucking house.
And leave me homeless. That’s the whole point. Leave me with nothing. She gets absolutely everything, and I get absolutely nothing. After Detroit did all that work. After she did all that work, twice, to two different houses. And here it is, with finally, the promise of a home, and they want me to take it away from her. From us.
It would be better for me to refinance it, and borrow some money to pay for his college. . .
And right now I don’t even want to do that. Every one of them, from the ex, to all the kids–the big kids, anyway–
Shit. Okay, I don’t know how they really feel. I know they are more on her side than mine, and that’s fine. But I need somebody on my goddamn side in this. My son doesn’t want to talk to me. He blames me for him not having a car when it’s his fault for picking the goddamn thing out. Plus, I believe his girlfriend is a little cunt who has heard only my ex’s side of things, and I’m a bastard to her, which gets reflected back in his eyes. My older daughter is so ignorant about money things–greedy and nitpicky–she can only see what other people owe her, not what she owes anyone else. So she can only see what I owe my ex, not what my ex owes me.
My older son. . .I don’t know. He expects me–I don’t know. I fucking don’t know. They all want me to do shit for them, but they can’t help out or do shit for me. Why won’t Mike let his brother borrow his truck to go to work in, until I get the car fixed? Cause they aren’t getting along, and they’re too stubborn, and they would rather just blame me? Mike’s a fucking mechanic, why won’t he come and help me with the goddamn car?
I didn’t think I had. I was trying to be civil thoughout all of this. But they may burning them with me. They–none of them–really want anything to do with me. They just want my money. They say they "understand" my side, but they don’t really. My older daughter wants to know why I didn’t get presents for her kids’ birthdays. Mitchell wanted me to buy a car, and now he wants me to pay for school. Mike wants me to pay for all this stuff, and doesn’t understand why I can’t. The ex, of course, wants her child support.
The only thing Miranda wants is to spend some time with me.
Part of me–a very big part of me–wants to just leave. Pack up (or not pack up; just take what I have) and go. Go to California and be homeless, and be a burden to the state. Drive to Canada and learn to eat pea soup and mayonaise. Go to Florida and live in the islands like Hemingway and Jimmy Buffet.
Leave everything. Leave it all behind. Leave Detroit? I guess. I would have to give that up as well. Maybe I was never meant to have real happiness. Leave and be a hermit, a loner, a miser. Wear crappy, dirty clothes, and gloves with holes in them, and push a shopping cart. . .on the beach. . . and talk to myself. A cave overlooking the beach? I could grow out my beard. I’ve always wanted a ponytail, too. But a cave would be neat. I wonder if I could get satellite there. . .I wouldn’t need cell phone service. People only call me when they want something.
What means anything to me now, anyway? Her, of course. The reason I was willing to go through this, the prize. The light at the end of the tunnel. But the tunnel keeps getting longer, like someone is pulling a prank on me. Bastards. My kids? I feel so distant and alienated from my son, and it hurts. I actually feel closer to Alex, Detroit’s son right now. My surrogate son. He doesn’t see me as a father, which is only right, I understand. I just don’t want to freak him out. He’s one of the few people who doesn’t hate me. Give it time, I suppose. Once he gets to know me–
My little girl? I feel like I’ve hurt her so much already, she might be better off without me.
And she would hear, from her mom and brothers and sister, and from aunts and uncles–about what I was like. Why I was the way I was. From their perspective, shit they couldn’t understand. Their own misguided opinion that they pass off as enlightenment.
And from her mother, especially. She will never admit that she knows the reason I left. Not because of another woman; that was where I went, not why. She could never tell her daughter the truth: that it was herself. How she treated me, mistreated me, abused me. Neglected me. Took me for granted.
And never understood me.
No, it will always be: "Him and that damn internet. He found a whore on there and left me."
What made me look? What made me respond?
Is that what they’ll say about me? When they finally give up looking for me…after not really trying that hard. They’ll have a little service, declare me dead, eat moscocholi and potato salad, and talk about what a bizarre person I was.
My ex-wife’s brother, Mike will say, "He sure was an odd duck."
As I’m backpacking across Argentina, or driving to Europe in a Volkwagon van, or sleeping on the beach in New Jersey–what will they say about me? "I always thought he would do this?" or "I never expected this?" How about, "Am I the beneficiary?"
More than likely, I won’t flee. But God, I feel like it. I feel like doing it for retribution. They want my life, my money. If I quit my job and leave, they can have none of it. They want me to do things their way, by their rules, and control me, have reign o’er me. "You can have your own life, if you want to. But you are still beholden to us." If I leave, they can’t have me anymore. They can’t fucking have me. Their fucking claws, metaphorically, ripping at my heart. But the pain is real. It’s not metaphorical. It hurts, dammit. It hurts.
I know I have done wrong, but I have been trying to make it right. At least, I thought I was trying to make it right. But everybody wants a piece of me, and when they’re done, all the good parts will be gone, with nothing left but the gizzard and liver.
You know what? What did I do, precisely, that was so wrong? A little bit of infidelity? Technically, yes. But–I left my ex before I was ever with Detroit. So. . .I left. left my wife, kids, family. I suppose leaving my kids was the worst thing I did. But I tried to arrange it so that I could still be in–
I have been trying so hard, working so hard to make things work out. Just to have a little peace. A little happiness. Lowering my standards, accepting less and less. Giving up and giving in, and giving out. Giving up ground.
Real happiness is fleeting anyway. It can never last. Bastards.
So. We’re in. In the house. We moved. Friday we got the permit, Saturday we moved some stuff, and Sunday we moved the rest. We started early on Sunday, but maybe not early enough. 8am. I had hoped to be done by noon, before it got too god-awful hot. But noon rolled around, then 1, then 2. . . and it was getting harder and harder. I swear I thought I could do it, but the heat just really takes it out of ya. Know what I mean?
We were only going about.. .really? One, two–maybe six blocks. I went to my cousin’s and got the trailer. Pickup and trailer, I thought it would be two trips. It turned into three, then four. Was it just four? Wait–maybe five. I don’t really remember, because it started to get really hot, and it was humid as hell. Not only that, but there was a lot of moisture in the air as well.
The first three trips took about two and half hours, and each trip after that took an hour and a half. Each. It took all the energy we had just to go back out into the heat.
Oh, Christ. I’m working at the restaurant tonight. No air conditioning. In August. With a heat advisory in effect. Listen, when it’s 80 degrees outside, it’s generally 95 to 100 in the store. If it’s 90 outside, it’s easily 110 in the store. Hotter by the grill. It’s supposed to be 98 degrees. today. What will the tempurature be in the restaurant?
That’s a really good question. When they take me to the hospital for heat exhaustion, hopefully they will check the temp. Seriously, I will close early if I start to feel faint. Or more faint than I usually do when I work in that kind of heat. August is the worst. I see a light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is September. Christ in a really hot sidecar–
Ugh, this wasn’t going to be a bitchfest, I guess you just got lucky. I wanted to talk about my house. My new house. My old house. Our house. It’s a very-very-very fine house.
I remember when I first moved there, 91 or 92? Wait. Mitchell was –Shit, my memory. We were still living in Jennings in 93, the year of The Big Flood. And it was the next year we moved, 94. Mitchell was 5, going on 6.
The house needed alot of work–I think mainly because Dad went about it the wrong way. They (the city) wants you to fix it first, then call for an inspection. He called for an inspection right away, which I’m sure pissed off the inspector, to the tune of about 6 pages of shit to fix.
Two months later, we finally get all these little items fixed, and we move in. The difference, the dichotomy of the empty house and empty space versus what it was like to be full of people and furniture has just always fascinated me.
And then we moved out. I had to work on it to rent it out, and the place that had once been home seemed so static and dead.
Again, I remember visiting my rentor (to collect the rent and make small talk), and viewing just the living room, hallway, and kitchen–oh, and one of the bathrooms–and just amazed at how different it looked decorated in a style completely different from my own.
She abandon the place. I felt–
You know, I have no idea what my emotions were. So much has gone on, so much has happened to me. I can honestly say that when I surveyed the aftermath of of the disaster my rentor left behind, I really felt no emotion. I felt no tie, no connection to the house. Kind of a metaphor for my ex?
And then the whole thing with my sister happened, and I needed a place to stay.
Detroit loved the house. Firt of all, it represented freedom from my sister, but she also liked the house itself. The kitchen, for one, she loves. It is fairly large, and I remodelled it maybe 10 years ago. Lots of cabinets, lots of counter space. She loves the floors, too, the Pergo. When we can, we’ll get rid of the carpet in the bedrooms. We are losing some things, like a basement, and a garage. But there is a shed (which I built), and a patio already there–something I would have had to make at the other house. My dad’s.
Detroit corrected me on the nomenclature. This place now is "Our" house; the previous place is "dad’s" house. It makes sense to me. I still have use of the garage at Dad’s house, and we have storage there. I’m going by tonight to pick up the last vestiges–a few remaining pieces of whatnot that we forgot, and to drop of our keys. I still keep one for emergency–my sister’s idea–and I give her the garage door opener, but I have the code to get in. So. There we are.
The difference from when we were fixing it (when Detroit was fixing it and I was watchin) and now, when we have our stuff in it, is striking. It feels. . . new, and not at all familiar. Did you know that? Did you realize it was going to be that way? Nothing is bringing back old memories to me. The only thing that hasn’t changed, really, is the floor, and the walls of stone in the living room. But the furniture is different, the arrangement is different, the paint is different–
The people are different.
Which is funny, see, cause, when I saw The Storm and gave her some child support money, I told her about the house and that we were moving in. Her response?
"You know, I’m happy for you, I know you needed a place to live, and I’m glad you’re moving in. But can you do me a favor? Can you just not talk about it? I don’t want to hear about it, okay? There are just too many memories there. We were there a long time. I don’t want to talk about it."
Okay. Fine. But it didn’t do it for me. . .No painful memories brought to forebear. To me it’s all fresh and new and clean. Maybe because of my poor memory, or maybe because I just. . .block it.
One last thing, and then I’ll get out of your hair. The one thing that seems different from being here, as opposed to 6 blocks away, at my dad’s house, is the neighborhood.
No, the neighborhood’s not different. How I view it is. For the last several months I never really felt a part of it, attached. But now that we are officially in the house, I finally feel like I belong. And I never had that much of a disconnect to begin with, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for Detroit and Alex. I certainly hope–I want, really–for both of them to feel like they belong.
Like a homeless wandering psychopath, I have lived in four or five different places in the last year, as has Detroit. For me, it was –My old house, then my dad’s, then the apartment, then my dad’s again, and now finally. . .
A place to call home.
For Detroit, it was her old home, the apartment, my dad’s, and now our home.
This tiny little house, this quaint fixer-upper, this cuter starter home–This is our home. Oh, don’t worry. Things aren’t perfect yet. If anything, this is a bone we’ve been thrown to temporarily appease us. We still have all of our other problems. Plus, a few new ones, like having to pay child support and being behind on the loan for this house.
But still, at least we have a place to call our own. For now. I’ll never move again? I ain’t saying that shit anymore. Never again. Maybe "I’ll never move again. . . this year."
I hope I can live up to that.
About the house:
It’s tiny. Small. A wee thing. A charming three-bedroom ranch, on a slab–no basement. 950 square feet, roughly. Except for the yard, it would be an apartment.
The yard is nice, and fairly large, as far as a yard in a subdivision goes. No garage, or even a carport, just a driveway. But there are plans, man. There are plans. The front I did alot of landscaping to, when I lived here before. I wish I had some before and after pictures, cause man, it looks nice now.
In the back, I made a patio. A big one, it’s about 20 feet by 20 feet. I think. There is also the shed I built, and the swingset/playground I built.
Inside, the kitchen is fairly large. And recently remodeled. Detroit loves it. It has lots of counter space, lots of cabinets, lots of room. I did the work.
The living room and hallway have the pergo-type floor, it’s in decent shape. Not perfect. Hell, my rentor had 5 kids; I’m surprised the house still stands. Two walls in the living room are stone. Real stone, set in mortar. I guess one of the previous owners was a . . .mortician? Is that what they do? The bedrooms are smaller than I remember. But I had a king size bed in the bedroom before, so I imagine this queen will go.
And there are two bathrooms. Or, one and a half. The "master bedroom" has it’s own "master bath": a half bath attached. It’s nice to be able to get up in the middle of the night and pee without getting dressed. I really don’t know how people did it in the days of outhouses.
And that was the tour, I hope you liked it. It’s good to have a place to call home. I was not that excited about it–still a little bitter about not getting my dad’s house. All the space, all the garage–
But this is mine. And there’s no doubt that it’s mine. Barring, of course, the back taxes that I owe, and the ability to refinance it, otherwise I default and have to sell it. Other than that, though, yeah: Totally mine.
And totally Detroit’s. The pure joy and happiness in her eyes when the house was approved for occupancy just filled my heart with happiness. We can move in.
And before I left for work, she . …expressed her appreciation. Being a man, I can say that it’s the kind of thing that made it all worthwhile.