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Michelle's birthday was yesterday, the "big four-oh", and (no surprise) it was no big deal. Forty is supposed to be the big number, but like me it came with  sort of a "yeah, ok, whatever. Is there cake?" kind of attitude. I got her a silk(ish) scarf in deep blues woven with celtic knotwork. I picked it up at the KC feis while she was otherwise occupied. I hid it in the van and just left it there, so she's been driving around with her gift eight feet away for weeks. For herself she got a Mylander torte, a layer-cake sort of confection of marzipan, raspberry jam and Kirsch brandy from Andrés. I don't care for them, but she loves them and, well, there you go.

The drought almost completely destroyed ten years worth of maintenance on both yards, reducing any area not shaded by the sun to dead ground and weeds. I finally mowed the back last weekend after not touching it since May, and most of what I trimmed was mulberry, creeping charlie, carpet weed and something I've always called "tassel grass" for want of a better name. Those latter two don't really mow, they just bend over and bind the lawn mower blade. It was slow going.

The front of the house. Note the conspicuous absence of a porch.The margin of the driveway is obscured by a strip of carpet weed a foot wide, and is now damaged enough that I'm going to have to bite the bullet and budget to replace at least the first twenty feet before the next summer is over. I know how to do a slab, but I've never actually done it before, so yet one more challenge to overcome.

The house remains front porch-less. I made the mistake of destroying the porch without first purchasing the materials to replace it, and during the destruction two things happened: my Lowes card didn't get paid down as fast as I anticipated and the weather turned unmanageably hot. Now the temperatures have cooled and we have a different source of funding for the materials, the plan is to have a porch we can use (just a deck with steps) by Halloween, and a completed porch (with railings and lights) by Thanksgiving. Once renaissance festival is over and the Seamlyne queue is cleared, that's quite doable. I should be able to have "Phase 1" done in a weekend, and "Phase 2" in two or three. If I can somehow find an air-powered framing nailer, it will go really really fast.

Many difficulties with Katie just now that I plan to write about in our family blog, The Road Less Ordinary. Having to think long term, but the short term is a minefield.
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Need the heat to break. I hate to whine about it, but it's starting to affect my overall attitude. I'm fatalistic by nature, and the constant, unrelenting heat and dry is adding a measure of apathy that is really dangerous. It's started to bleed into my overall attitude - home and work. Not good.

I discovered last weekend that the dry conditions have exacerbated all the problems in our foundation: the blocks on the North end of the house are literally being shifted apart from one another. There are gaps in some places wide enough to stick a pencil into. I'm not panicked about it: it's on a gable end, thus non-load bearing, and there is a second foundation (actually a first foundation, to be technical) just three feet inside it, so having the outer foundation crumbling won't cause the house to collapse, but it's just One More Thing.

The yard is dead - I don't think it's just dormant. I've never seen it as dry as it is; even the crabgrass couldn't survive. The only things living are the carpet weed and scraggly mulberry bushes trying to gain a foothold. We've kept the vegetable garden and the herbs watered, but other than that I am content to let the lawn languish. I've put a lot of work into the lawn over the last several years, but...as I said, apathy.


Seamlyne has more paid orders in its queue at this moment that it has ever had in its history, and most of them came in within a few days of each other, and a variety of regions are represented. The only scary part is that several of them have deadlines within a few days or weeks of each other, so keeping up with them will be a challenge. We can do it, though, I've no doubt of that.


The day job hasn't changed much. For one of our projects - adding a data push from our system to a third party - I am at the mercy of the third party, and they are notoriously slow and unhelpful. A fair chunk of money depends upon the completion of the project, and I've no confidence that it will happen in a timely fashion.


Several weeks ago I committed to some fence repair for a friend who is putting her present home on the market. I'm replacing about a hundred pickets. I made this commitment while the temperatures were still reasonable and like an idiot put off the work, little reckoning that the temps would rise and stay above a hundred degrees. I'm about half done, working last Saturday and Sunday morning. The fence is in shade and it wasn't actually that bad.

It has been a while since I put that kind of effort into that kind of activity, and my hands - even now, three days later - are sore and don't want to make a fist. I feel the strain deep into my wrists and forearms. It's a good ache, because it means that I did something.



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I'm not a person who loves the heat, as I've said many times. This prolonged heat wave, lacking even the respite of an occasional rain shower, is getting to me. I can't get cool no matter what I try, even in my basement shop which typically hovers around seventy degrees. It's almost like my operating temperature has risen to match my environment. It's only at night, after I've showered and gone to bed still damp, laying under the ceiling fan, that I start to feel better. Autumn can't come soon enough.

On the bright side, if there is one, I am becoming somewhat acclimated to the temperatures which makes venturing out the heat a little easier - as long as I stay out of the sun. I committed a long while back to doing some fence maintenance for a friend, and I've managed to get the hours of work in while the fence is in shade, though I'm sure her neighbors don't think much of the early morning noise. (Sunday, I stayed out a little longer than I should have, and I have a very mild sunburn, my first of the season.) I've got about four more hours worth of work to do.

I've begun to think that a move to more temperate climes - the Pacific Northwest, for instance - should be a serious consideration for my family. Katie deals with the heat little better than I do despite the resiliency of her young age, and if we are to assume that climate change will continue as predicted, summers in Missouri are only going to get hotter.
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That was an unexpectedly emotional start to my day.

Let me introduce you to my brother, Mike.

Read more... )

DIY Update

May. 14th, 2012 02:05 pm
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It turned out to be quite the weekend. We got a lot of gardening done, in spite of a persistent migraine for Michelle. In the garden now we have cucumber; zucchini; bell peppers, poblano chilis; two tomato plants (couldn't tell you what kind, those are all Michelle's). Left to plant are garlic (which we won't harvest for a year and a half), bush beans, and potatoes.

It looks like the shed I hoped to finally build is going to have to wait yet another season. Our front porch, which has been cracking for many years but has remained basically whole has started to crumble: the bottom step lost a corner, the other steps are showing cracks, and it will only get worse from there. Time to pull out the sledgehammers.

The gas meter and line to the house is inches from the porch, so the plan is to demolish the porch - a reinforced concrete slab on a foundation of cinder blocks - a little at a time, starting at the meter and working back from it. I'll take the rubble a bucket at a time and find a place to dump it on some back country road between home and work. The slab will go first, then I'll take down the cinder blocks, taking care to preserve them for future use.

The new porch will be long and narrow, about 5' x 15', and extend from the South edge of the existing porch to under the double-window in the living room. It will have a railing of turned spindles.

To that end, this weekend I installed a new storm door on the door to the side porch, and we'll use that entrance from now on, until the new porch is safe to use.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Random thought: it's been several years since I took out the wall between the living room and the dining room, creating the arch and opening up the space. Late at night, though, I still mentally go for the light switch where the wall used to be.
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It was very busy, and very productive, and, for the first time in many weeks, something close to normal. 
 
Technical Matters
 
Saturday we went out as a family. I had some electronics from work to drop off at The Surplus Exchange for e-cycling, ultimately deciding to keep the two PCs - I'll convert one of them for my own personal use. Nothing wrong with them that a little TLC (read: not being used by DataGuy) wouldn't cure. I've been pointed to Zorin as a possible alternative OS to Windows, and I'm going to give it a shot. Frank pointed me to a DAW* called Reaper - if I can make a go of that on the new OS, then I'll be able to jettison Windows on the downstairs (shop/studio) PC.
 
Family and Health
 
That done, I took my family out for a late lunch/early dinner to Ghengis Khan, the original mongolian barbecue. Miraculously, the kids both ate well: they loved the flavors, and watching the guys cook their food on the large (large? gigantic) flat-top grill was just too cool. (Ironically, I can make the same sort of food with the same flavor profiles at home and they turn their noses up at it.) Jami flirted shamelessly with our waitress, a curvy, pretty blonde girl with some beautiful tattoo work. Apple don't fall far from the tree, I guess.
 
That was all fun, but the best part was just being out. Michelle didn't have a migraine and we were able to function normally - or close enough that it doesn't matter - for the first time in a long time. It was wonderful. She is making progress every week, and while some days are better than others the trend is toward the good.
 
She has expressed an interest in walking/exercising again, so to that end I moved the treadmill from the garage to the dining room, a job that I should probably have had help with but just did anyway. It's a pro-sumer levelI'm guessing the thing weighs about 150 pounds and is large and unwieldy to boot. My hand-cart is one of the small variety, good for moving the odd stack of boxes, and I pushed it and my thigh muscles to the limit of their operational specs, but by god I got the thing done. 
 
It was a stupid thing to do. Had I lost control of it I could have easily destroyed the treadmill, or a nearby piece or furniture, one or all of the pets, or me, or some combination of all of that. My back and legs are both reminding me of the folly of pride.
 
Music
 
My birthday is tomorrow. I'll be 46, and I'm trying not to do the mental countdown to 54 (the age at which my dad died). We don't have anything planned, and I'm totally okay with that. (It's amazing how one's priorities change when one's health - or the health of one's spouse - goes to shit.) I did splurge for a birthday present for myself, though.
 
I've always wanted a phrase recorder/looper. It's a device that goes between your guitar and amp, about the size of a kid's lunchbox with two foot pedals on the face, one for "record/playback", one for "stop." It records what you play and plays it back: the performer just taps the appropriate button with his foot as he goes (I've heard it called a "stomp box" for that reason.) Because it's foot controlled, you can create and use phrases on the fly, and add a lot of depth to your performance. I've experimented some already, and the results are encouraging.
 
Michelle's grandmother Ruby actually made it possible. I'd gotten a small amount of money from her mom that I figured to use as seed money for the "looper fund". It was the check from Ruby that made it immediately possible, and, cannily, she sent two checks. I'm just guessing here, but I think she knew with just one, my birthday money would probably just go to pay bills, and she didn't want that, so she sent a second, larger check for the household. ...aaaaaand off to Guitar Center I went.
 
I've wanted one of these things for a long time, at least two years, when we saw Tim Thompson use one. Using his (same model as mine, I think - it's not like there's twenty different brands) he was able to deliver a really complex performance, just him alone on stage. It was impressive as hell and I decided then I wanted one. Just took me this long to do it. You can read about it here if you care to.
 
Home Improvement
 
With the treadmill out of the way (it had been in the garage) I suddenly had enough free space to do something toward the house. A month or so ago I purchased a cabinet for the kitchen to complete what I call the "coffee wall" - the length of counter space where I keep my coffee maker. Tossing on another 30" (plus a planned foot of additional counter) will complete the "L" of cabinets, and I've started forming a plan as to how to make the countertop. 
 
I pulled the cabinet out of mothballs, so to speak, and started the finishing process. First: 75/25 mineral spirits/polyurethane as a grain sealer, then Golden Oak stain. It was completely dry this morning, but I didn't get up early enough to put on the first coat of poly. I'll do that this evening. In doing the finishing, I found the cabinet was more damaged than I thought (I knew it was damaged, but failed to note how badly...the discount was worth it, though). A back corner at the bottom is completely gone so I'll have to put a new bottom in it, possibly a portion of the back.

So, that was my weekend. Long, busy, tiring, productive. Mostly normal. 
 
* digital audio workstation. 

 
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 The children are enjoying going to public school. I think they both appreciate getting out of the house and each other's company as much as anything. (If you missed that we aren't home schooling any more, this article explains it all.) However, they are also exposed to a whole new germ pool, and Jami's been sick off and on (mostly on) for a couple of weeks. Thus, by extension, Michelle and I are also exposed.

Courtesy snip... )
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Day Job

 Well, the Big Server Move of 2011 appears to finally be done, at least from my perspective. There are still some data issues that need to be addressed but those aren't mine. DataGuy has his work cut out for him in the MS SQL transition from 2005 to 2008. Better him than me. That transition was the hardest we've ever had because we moved all the sites and data at once and immediately cancelled our previous contract, leaving us with no fallback position in case something went wrong, which of course it did. DataGuy went on vacation that week, leaving me the sole responsible party, cleaning up a mess created from a decision I never would have supported had I been consulted, which I wasn't.

I came close to quitting my job that week. If we didn't have the debt load we do, I would have. In any case, as I've already said, the company has the remainder of 2011 to improve my life, then I start shopping my resumé.

Home

Unable to stand it anymore, I mowed the front lawn on Monday. The back was already done, a tough job because of the India crabgrass, which doesn't mulch or get blown back into the bag, but binds in the mower blade and kills the engine about every fifty feet.

The front wasn't so bad, but I got it in my head to clean the end of the driveway. Our driveway is about 150' long and slopes downward to the back yard, where the gate and turf beyond form a sort of dam. There collects all the dirt, gravel, sand, and shmutz runoff when it rains, and over the years it's created a rather thick bed for weeds. I mowed them all down, then grabbed the shovel, intent upon chucking all that over the gate to the back yard where it all belongs anyway.

That was a mistake: the heat got me. I felt drunk most of yesterday, but not the pleasant, buzzy sort of drunk I can reach and maintain for hours at a party, but the one-toke-over-the-line-Sweet-Jesus kind of drunk, where every swallow of any food or drink makes me nauseous and I feel vaguely stupid...or stupidly vague, either works. I hate to cancel performances - and had only done so twice before - but I had to cancel a gig at Spin! Pizza. The thought of standing and singing for two hours in 105º of heat index made me light-headed and, frankly, a little panicky.

Upon examination, I think the problem might be better addressed by opening the gate and merely pushing the shmutz to the back yard with a snow or coal shovel, instead of lifting and throwing it over. Yeah, that ought to work. I could even do it with the garden hose, maybe even give that job to the kids to do. I like that even better.


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Quite a mixed bag of a weekend, but ultimately it ended up on a good note.

Side Work is a bitch, sometimes.

I'll try to keep this story brief. I've been doing the website for The Stage Coffee House & Deli. It's not a huge money maker - hell, neither is the coffee house - but it's a few extra dollars here and there in cash. Grocery stores don't mind cash. 

Actually, yeah, it got kinda long. )

Seamlyne

It's been very quiet, and I'm kinda glad. Flu-B (yep, officially) makes it tough to keep up on orders, so I'm heartily glad there haven't been any. There were two to finish up, and they're a few days further out for shipping than I'd prefer, so I finished both up today.

More general update-y stuff... )
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Quite a mixed bag of a weekend, but ultimately it ended up on a good note.

Side Work is a bitch, sometimes.

I'll try to keep this story brief. I've been doing the website for The Stage Coffee House & Deli. It's not a huge money maker - hell, neither is the coffee house - but it's a few extra dollars here and there in cash. Grocery stores don't mind cash. 

Actually, yeah, it got kinda long. )

Seamlyne

It's been very quiet, and I'm kinda glad. Flu-B (yep, officially) makes it tough to keep up on orders, so I'm heartily glad there haven't been any. There were two to finish up, and they're a few days further out for shipping than I'd prefer, so I finished both up today.

More general update-y stuff... )
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It was quite a weekend.

Seamlyne

I made the promise of having a doublet built by the end of the weekend, giving me Friday night and the weekend to do so. Thirty two yards of piping, five yards of corduroy, and four yards of coat lining later, it's done. I sincerely miss my industrial straight stitch. Working on the domestic was fine - it's a damn good machine, after all - but it is all for all a domestic, lacking the power and speed that would have pushed the job at least marginally faster.

In total, it took about twelve hours. 

Through the project, though, two things came to light: if I'm going to continue the business - and there's every reason to think I will - I have to re-populate my shop with commercial machines. The small serger is starting to struggle a bit, so a serger will be the first purchase - that, or a new foot for the 5-thread that will allow me to use it for tights making.

Family

For the first time in a long time, Katie is really sick. 102º fever, chills, aches, cough. Jami is showing symptoms. It's only a matter of time, I'm guessing, before Michelle and/or I get it. 

I hate this: having been exposed, I'm acutely aware of every little ache and pain, every tickle in the throat, wondering if it's the first signs coming down sick myself. That pain in my shoulder? Could be from having to struggle with the fabric in that particularly difficult section around the sleeve cap, or it could be the beginnings of muscle aches. That mild nausea? Could be the fact that I'm on week three of bad sleep, or could be The Bug. You just don't know.

Citrus the hamster died overnight. She'd been suffering from a cold, which for an animal with a respiratory system no larger than the last joint of my index finger is frequently fatal. Katie was crushed and called me at work to tell me, though within an hour she was on the Club Penguin website playing a game. Aspergers is a weird thing.

Music

Had a concert Saturday night. Not much of a crowd; I'm starting to wonder if it's me, the venue, or the time of year. The concert itself was okay, but by the second half I was playing for the usual suspects, about a half dozen people. It's a little disheartening, but probably just as well: I have been so profoundly tired lately, and it showed up in my playing. Many small mistakes, verbal gaffes as well as flubs on the guitar.

In Other News

So, I've taken on the website for The Stage Coffee House (formerly Munchies, formerly Stone Bridge), and as a part of that project, I created a new logo. That logo is now on the front of the building. As a result, I've got leads on at least two other websites. Side work, for the win.

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It was quite a weekend.

Seamlyne

I made the promise of having a doublet built by the end of the weekend, giving me Friday night and the weekend to do so. Thirty two yards of piping, five yards of corduroy, and four yards of coat lining later, it's done. I sincerely miss my industrial straight stitch. Working on the domestic was fine - it's a damn good machine, after all - but it is all for all a domestic, lacking the power and speed that would have pushed the job at least marginally faster.

In total, it took about twelve hours. 

Through the project, though, two things came to light: if I'm going to continue the business - and there's every reason to think I will - I have to re-populate my shop with commercial machines. The small serger is starting to struggle a bit, so a serger will be the first purchase - that, or a new foot for the 5-thread that will allow me to use it for tights making.

Family

For the first time in a long time, Katie is really sick. 102º fever, chills, aches, cough. Jami is showing symptoms. It's only a matter of time, I'm guessing, before Michelle and/or I get it. 

I hate this: having been exposed, I'm acutely aware of every little ache and pain, every tickle in the throat, wondering if it's the first signs coming down sick myself. That pain in my shoulder? Could be from having to struggle with the fabric in that particularly difficult section around the sleeve cap, or it could be the beginnings of muscle aches. That mild nausea? Could be the fact that I'm on week three of bad sleep, or could be The Bug. You just don't know.

Citrus the hamster died overnight. She'd been suffering from a cold, which for an animal with a respiratory system no larger than the last joint of my index finger is frequently fatal. Katie was crushed and called me at work to tell me, though within an hour she was on the Club Penguin website playing a game. Aspergers is a weird thing.

Music

Had a concert Saturday night. Not much of a crowd; I'm starting to wonder if it's me, the venue, or the time of year. The concert itself was okay, but by the second half I was playing for the usual suspects, about a half dozen people. It's a little disheartening, but probably just as well: I have been so profoundly tired lately, and it showed up in my playing. Many small mistakes, verbal gaffes as well as flubs on the guitar.

In Other News

So, I've taken on the website for The Stage Coffee House (formerly Munchies, formerly Stone Bridge), and as a part of that project, I created a new logo. That logo is now on the front of the building. As a result, I've got leads on at least two other websites. Side work, for the win.

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I don't know Jim and his wife, Brenda, well. I do know that he is a terrific artist - a cardinal of his creation is framed on our living room wall. He is in his fifties, and rarely without something for his hands to do: stippling pens and parchment, or knitting. Jim has been to nearly every performance I've ever given at Stone Bridge, has always tipped generously, and he and his wife have been kind beyond measure to Michelle and I. Brenda always asks Michelle about the kids, about her projects. 

I found out tonight that Brenda died yesterday. She'd had stents put in a month or so ago, so maybe it was related to that. She wasn't feeling well yesterday, so Jim took her to the doctor who found nothing wrong and sent them home. Jim went to work as usual, Brenda stayed home to rest. He found her when he arrived home from work.

I'm okay. As I said, I don't know them well, and Jim more than Brenda since she spoke to Michelle much more than me. I'm shocked at the suddenness of it, and deeply sorry for Jim. Word from The Crew is that he hasn't slept since 3:00am yesterday, and that someone with access to pharmaceuticals is going to fix that tonight.

We're having a get together at the coffeehouse Thursday night, taking up a collection to help him with their bills and the sudden expenses, and I'll go if I can. Her funeral is Friday. 
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I don't know Jim and his wife, Brenda, well. I do know that he is a terrific artist - a cardinal of his creation is framed on our living room wall. He is in his fifties, and rarely without something for his hands to do: stippling pens and parchment, or knitting. Jim has been to nearly every performance I've ever given at Stone Bridge, has always tipped generously, and he and his wife have been kind beyond measure to Michelle and I. Brenda always asks Michelle about the kids, about her projects. 

I found out tonight that Brenda died yesterday. She'd had stents put in a month or so ago, so maybe it was related to that. She wasn't feeling well yesterday, so Jim took her to the doctor who found nothing wrong and sent them home. Jim went to work as usual, Brenda stayed home to rest. He found her when he arrived home from work.

I'm okay. As I said, I don't know them well, and Jim more than Brenda since she spoke to Michelle much more than me. I'm shocked at the suddenness of it, and deeply sorry for Jim. Word from The Crew is that he hasn't slept since 3:00am yesterday, and that someone with access to pharmaceuticals is going to fix that tonight.

We're having a get together at the coffeehouse Thursday night, taking up a collection to help him with their bills and the sudden expenses, and I'll go if I can. Her funeral is Friday. 
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (hat)
For the second night in a row, I dreamed of my brother David. 

We weren't close, and I have few memories of him. David was about eight years older than me, in pictures he's beautiful and very blonde. He was a talented, one might even say gifted, musician, whose hobby at seventeen years old was restoring pipe organs, and he did good work. I grew up with a pipe organ - bellows, pipes, console and all - filling every inch of space in the basement. He sang with a lovely tenor voice. He was also, as it happens, gay.

He committed suicide in the summer a 1977, a few months short of his nineteenth birthday. Our father could never accept David's orientation and threw him out of our house, subsequently (and correctly) blaming himself for David's death for the rest of his life. 

My father came into my bedroom one morning and woke me to say that David had had "an accident." I asked, fatal? Dad said yes. I nodded, and dad left to do whatever it is you do when your son is found in a running vehicle with the exhaust connected to the driver's side window with the plastic hose from a vacuum cleaner. (The basement pipe organ was dismantled and sold for scrap within a year.)

For my part, I got dressed, glad that I didn't have to stick around and deal with the mess, and left for my friend's house down the street. Besides noting the empty space at the table that Thanksgiving, I gave no further thought to the matter. Aspergers in practical application.

As I've grown older, I have wished David had lived. From what I understand, he was an interesting person and would have been good to know. I haven't missed him, per sé, because I did not know him.

The dream was not exactly the same both nights, but was similar in theme and location: a brownstone apartment building where I was either working or living (my dreams are rarely so specific as to make writing them down easy - my dreams are directed by David Lynch, I think.)

I arrived home (or came out of my office) to find David in a chair being ministered to by a nurse/doctor/barber. He was bandaged about his head and hands but otherwise okay. I spoke to him, telling him how glad I was to see him, how glad he was okay, and that he needed to live because I wanted to get to know him. I wanted my brother alive.

In last night's dream I worked my way past the nurse/doctor/barber and hugged him.

That was it. I awoke many miles from Spancil Hill, so to speak.

I don't know if there is a message I'm supposed to take away from this. I certainly don't think David is trying to communicate with me from beyond the grave, not three decades after the fact and at a time in my life when I'm not listening or even amenable to the idea. (If he is, he's doing a piss-poor job of it.)

Maybe I'll dream again. Maybe the third night there will be an answer. Probably, I worked it out by writing and it won't come again.

What a weird night.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (hat)
For the second night in a row, I dreamed of my brother David. 

We weren't close, and I have few memories of him. David was about eight years older than me, in pictures he's beautiful and very blonde. He was a talented, one might even say gifted, musician, whose hobby at seventeen years old was restoring pipe organs, and he did good work. I grew up with a pipe organ - bellows, pipes, console and all - filling every inch of space in the basement. He sang with a lovely tenor voice. He was also, as it happens, gay.

He committed suicide in the summer a 1977, a few months short of his nineteenth birthday. Our father could never accept David's orientation and threw him out of our house, subsequently (and correctly) blaming himself for David's death for the rest of his life. 

My father came into my bedroom one morning and woke me to say that David had had "an accident." I asked, fatal? Dad said yes. I nodded, and dad left to do whatever it is you do when your son is found in a running vehicle with the exhaust connected to the driver's side window with the plastic hose from a vacuum cleaner. (The basement pipe organ was dismantled and sold for scrap within a year.)

For my part, I got dressed, glad that I didn't have to stick around and deal with the mess, and left for my friend's house down the street. Besides noting the empty space at the table that Thanksgiving, I gave no further thought to the matter. Aspergers in practical application.

As I've grown older, I have wished David had lived. From what I understand, he was an interesting person and would have been good to know. I haven't missed him, per sé, because I did not know him.

The dream was not exactly the same both nights, but was similar in theme and location: a brownstone apartment building where I was either working or living (my dreams are rarely so specific as to make writing them down easy - my dreams are directed by David Lynch, I think.)

I arrived home (or came out of my office) to find David in a chair being ministered to by a nurse/doctor/barber. He was bandaged about his head and hands but otherwise okay. I spoke to him, telling him how glad I was to see him, how glad he was okay, and that he needed to live because I wanted to get to know him. I wanted my brother alive.

In last night's dream I worked my way past the nurse/doctor/barber and hugged him.

That was it. I awoke many miles from Spancil Hill, so to speak.

I don't know if there is a message I'm supposed to take away from this. I certainly don't think David is trying to communicate with me from beyond the grave, not three decades after the fact and at a time in my life when I'm not listening or even amenable to the idea. (If he is, he's doing a piss-poor job of it.)

Maybe I'll dream again. Maybe the third night there will be an answer. Probably, I worked it out by writing and it won't come again.

What a weird night.
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The first half of the saga can be found here, should you need any background.

On Saturday morning, after a particularly terrible breakfast at "Mary's", a local greasy spoon in what was a truck stop back when Hwy 2 cut through the middle of town as what was optimistically called "The Viaduct", we drove into downtown for coffee. 

Click to visit her Facebook page!Nebraska City has two coffee shops, one of which has a very large "going out of business" sign in the window, and one that serves really, really good truffles called Janie's. We stopped for coffee, and, naturally, I made arrangements to come back that afternoon with my guitar. Rhonda, being a lover of Celtic music, readily agreed.

We did the Tree Adventure, Part I, then back into town. We spent a terrific hour there: I sat and played through my songbook while Michelle and the kids played "Trouble" and gin rummy in one of the booths. I'd kind of hoped to be able to play for Rhonda, the owner, but she was stuck in the back decorating a cake. Nevertheless, before we left, she came out and I gave her a song in parting, "Armstrong's Goodnight."  She told me that the next time we were in the area, I should let her know and she'd advertise the visit and host a concert. 

Click for the actual mapSome of you know that I am working on a song about the POW camps that existed in the midwest in World War II. My mother used to speak of hearing the POWs singing at night and as a child I never thought anything about it. Having now written a song about it, it occurred to me that I didn't know where the Weeping Water camp actually was, though I did know there was one there. I thought I might know where it was - an area of town across the creek known today as "Swede Town" - and as it turns out I was incorrect. 

After chatting with the folks at the Weeping Water Museum - "My backyard is at the edge of the camp.." - "They used to walk the POWs by my house on work detail..." I realized I'd been driving through the camp and never realized it: the main road into town from the South cuts through where it used to be. Most of the buildings are gone - some were moved and repurposed, some rotted away and were torn down. The road into the camp is pretty much just a driveway so we didn't follow it down, but there are still three buildings we could identify as barracks, ugly little nondescript things. 

As issues go, there are far more important problems in the world that need solving, but it was a personal quest for me, and I'm glad for the information.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
The first half of the saga can be found here, should you need any background.

On Saturday morning, after a particularly terrible breakfast at "Mary's", a local greasy spoon in what was a truck stop back when Hwy 2 cut through the middle of town as what was optimistically called "The Viaduct", we drove into downtown for coffee. 

Click to visit her Facebook page!Nebraska City has two coffee shops, one of which has a very large "going out of business" sign in the window, and one that serves really, really good truffles called Janie's. We stopped for coffee, and, naturally, I made arrangements to come back that afternoon with my guitar. Rhonda, being a lover of Celtic music, readily agreed.

We did the Tree Adventure, Part I, then back into town. We spent a terrific hour there: I sat and played through my songbook while Michelle and the kids played "Trouble" and gin rummy in one of the booths. I'd kind of hoped to be able to play for Rhonda, the owner, but she was stuck in the back decorating a cake. Nevertheless, before we left, she came out and I gave her a song in parting, "Armstrong's Goodnight."  She told me that the next time we were in the area, I should let her know and she'd advertise the visit and host a concert. 

Click for the actual mapSome of you know that I am working on a song about the POW camps that existed in the midwest in World War II. My mother used to speak of hearing the POWs singing at night and as a child I never thought anything about it. Having now written a song about it, it occurred to me that I didn't know where the Weeping Water camp actually was, though I did know there was one there. I thought I might know where it was - an area of town across the creek known today as "Swede Town" - and as it turns out I was incorrect. 

After chatting with the folks at the Weeping Water Museum - "My backyard is at the edge of the camp.." - "They used to walk the POWs by my house on work detail..." I realized I'd been driving through the camp and never realized it: the main road into town from the South cuts through where it used to be. Most of the buildings are gone - some were moved and repurposed, some rotted away and were torn down. The road into the camp is pretty much just a driveway so we didn't follow it down, but there are still three buildings we could identify as barracks, ugly little nondescript things. 

As issues go, there are far more important problems in the world that need solving, but it was a personal quest for me, and I'm glad for the information.

December 2016

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