Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Know.

Yeah, I'm supposed to write about that guy, the one we'll call Guy. He's another aided person/mentally ill individual we dealt with back in the day. He was an ex-marine, a Nam vet. His mental illness had little or nothing at all to do with his service. He was probably always crazy, he just hid it better when he was younger. That's what the ER doctor said. I will tell you about him, I promise. I just don't have the time right now.

So after weeks of looking, my daughter and I finally found her first car. a '99 Dodge Neon with 72K miles. The car is immaculate. Well maintained by this guy she bought it from. The car Blue Books at thirty-four hundred. She got it for two grand. The guy even filled the tank up for her before we picked it up the other day. Nice guy. So she has her own wheels now. Payed for it with her own money, and she got her own insurance in her name. Wasn't too long ago, like three years ago, I was teaching her how to drive. It seems like it was only a week before that I was teaching her how to ride a bike.

I had to replace the sending unit for the oil pressure gauge on our old Jeep. One day the oil pressure just peeked all the way at the high end. I almost soiled my jeans. It only took a minute for me to realize that the motor was humming along nice and smooth, that it must have been the gauge, but that was not a fun minute. Forty bucks for the sending unit. Oh well. Now I have to replace the radiator, got a small leak in the radiator itself. When I was a kid you could have that fixed, or buy a re-built radiator pretty cheap. These days they make them out of aluminium and plastic. You can't really braze and silver aluminium and plastic. One hundred and thirty-four dollars for a new radiator. I called the auto parts guy this morning, he has to order it. I'll pick it up on Friday. I know what I'll be doing on Saturday.

I was sick as a dog this past Saturday night, early Sunday morning. Riding the porcelain train. Nasty bug going around here. Still not a hundred percent. Stayed home from work last night.

Have to run. Lots to do.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Messed Up Kid.

So there is this blog I really enjoy. I really should have a link to it here on my own blog. Seeing as how I'm technically challenged, and borderline lazy, I don't.
She has this post up there about mental illness. It really makes you think. It also reminds me of several I.R.'s, or Incident Reports that were generated when I was a cop in Jersey.

The first I.R. that came to mind involved a kid, I won't use his name so we'll just call him Kid. Anyway, Kid would walk around with a Walkman on. No batteries present in that Walkman but he would hear the music. One night he climbed up an apartment building fire escape and jumped across the alley below, landing on the roof of a grocery store. He took all his clothes off and began yelling at people down in the street. My partner and I arrived and knew we had to be careful. I began to talk to Kid from the alley. I knew him, we had dealt with him before. While I had him distracted my partner made his way up to the roof. The manager of the grocery store let him use the interior service stairs. Kid heard my partner coming and tried to run away. At that point I hauled ass into the store and up the stairs myself. It took both of us to subdue Kid without hurting him. Our biggest fear was that he would jump off the roof. People below were cheering and screaming while we chased the naked Kid around that rooftop for about a full minute before my partner was able to tackle him and I was able to cuff him up. He was sent to the County for observation and released three days later.

Just a few short weeks after that incident, Kid called 9-1-1 and told the operator his name. He said he had a pistol and intended to shoot his parents. Three two man cars were dispatched to his parents house, a shift supervisor arrived as well. We took up positions on foot. None of us wanted to be sitting in a marked car with an armed Kid roaming around. The supervisor, who was a lieutenant and our sergeant who had also arrived on scene were in the house with Kid's parents. My partner saw him first, a foot chase ensued. We cornered him in a parking garage behind some garden apartments down the block. Kid had a brown in color paper bag in his right hand. Kid began to raise the paper bag as if it contained a weapon. Kid pointed that bag directly at my partner while I drew my Glock and was literally within a second of shooting Kid in the head from a distance of about six feet. The head shot was the only shot I had, a parked car stood between us. My partner stood directly in front of Kid, toe to toe. The only reason I did not shoot is because my partner, an ex-marine and former boxer, hit Kid square on the jaw with a punch that came from Kansas. The bag Kid was holding went flying and smashed against the hood of the parked car. It contained an empty glass bottle, a pint of gin. Even with the sledgehammer punch my partner had placed so squarely on Kid's chin, it still took four of us to subdue him, again without hurting him. This time Kid was sent to a state psych. facility and released three months later.

The last time I saw kid was in the doorway of a church. I had him at gunpoint while three other cops took him down and cuffed him. It seems that he had entered our station house and pointed a loaded pistol, a real pistol this time, at the desk sergeant who drew his own sidearm and ordered Kid to drop his weapon. Kid turned and ran out of the station while the desk sergeant called for back-up. We were right near the station when the call went out over the radio. We saw Kid running. My partner was driving so I jumped out of the still rolling radio car while the brakes screeched to a halt. Kid cut back through a parking lot and ran across a busy street, almost getting hit by a car in the process. I stayed on him. My partner was now driving around the block against the flow of traffic to cut Kid off on the other side. The sirens were screaming, everyone was rolling and the street was full of flashing red lights in a matter of seconds. It was still just me and Kid. I could see the gun in his hand when he tried to enter the church. I had him cold. The church door was locked. He threw the gun and started crying. I didn't say anything. I kept him covered while catching my breath as the other guys came charging out of the darkness and slammed Kid on the ground. We were done playing with Kid. Kid had crossed the line. It was a real gun this time. Kid went to prison. I don't know what ever happened to Kid.

I'll write some more about this other guy we used to deal with too. This other guy was also mentally ill, just like Kid. We'll call this other guy, Guy. Next post.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Salt. Chip. Shovel. Sweep. Salt.

Yeah, so last night it was raining and snowing at the same time. A couple of us step out off The Dock around midnight to hang a smoke before we punch out at the end of our shift. It was raining and snowing at the same time. Weather report says a high of thirty-four degrees today. Weather report says it's going to get real cold this weekend. We're talking single digit cold.

So my wife comes home from work this morning. She says maybe she wants to run some errands. Maybe stop for lunch like we did yesterday when we had to go to the bank. Yesterday we shared a small pie at our favorite pizza place. She had her half with peppers and onions, olives and mushrooms. I had my half with sausage and pepperoni, onions and peppers. It was damn good. We ordered a large extra cheese to bring home for the girls. The younger baby girl was pretty happy with that when she got home from school. The older baby girl had some when she got home from work.

So I'm thinking that maybe because we had such a nice time together yesterday, and we really did have a good time. Lots of laughs, good conversation. Yeah, so I'm thinking how nice it would be to do that again today. So I wanted to jump on the offer to take my wife out and run some errands when she got home from work. I had to decline. I had to clean up the steps and the sidewalks after last night's rain and snow. With the deep freeze coming, it had to be done. We probably shouldn't spend the money anyway. We spent almost thirty dollars for lunch and the pizza to go. That's enough for now. I absolutely hated saying no to my wife this morning. I would rather hang out with her than chip the ice. I'm trying to be responsible. Chip the ice.

She's sleeping now. I won't see her 'til midnight tonight when I get home from my shift down on The Dock. She's not working overtime this weekend so she'll be home. I'm glad she's not going in for the overtime shift. She did that last week. I know the extra money is nice, but she works too hard as it is. I worry about her. I feel bad that she has to work at all. She likes to work, but it would be nice if it were an option rather than survival.

Hey Tommy, I was listening to the news before. They were sayin' that the government is going to try to do something about the economy. It's only been years with all of us out here in Blue Collar Land drowning. It seems that the Dow is losing money. The Dow is slipping. Can't have that now can we. God forbid all those Wall Street guys lose a little money while they continue to send our jobs out of the country and pay us less for what little work is left here for us to do.

Those assholes in Washington, who are supposed to work for us, better do something quick. If they keep letting these business school graduates and lawyers run the show, there ain't goin' to be too much left for them to govern. Yeah, and look who's runnin' for President these days? That's right bro. Lawyers and business school graduates. Like we can really trust any one of these people to do what's best for the whole country, and not just what's best for their own rich friends. Change. That's what they are all sayin' now. Make a change. Time for a change. Like it's some kind of big deal. Like it's goin' to be so hard to do things a little different. Like doing the right thing, doing your job. Doing the job that you were elected to do, the job that we pay you to do. Like that's so friggin' challenging. Like they are goin' to have to work soooo hard, and sacrifice soooo much. We should all feel bad for them. Look how hard they work. They have to raise all that money from the rich people and the corporations. It's really hard.

Bullshit. They could fix that in a second. They are the ones who have set the system up this way. They are the ones who will not let anybody else in. But they work so hard. We should all be thankful for their tireless efforts, while they sell our country out from under us. They have their supporters holding up signs in the background whenever they get in front of the cameras. The signs all say CHANGE. Just like that, in big bold letters. How stupid do they think we are? How damn insulting to us all. As if a friggin' cardboard sign is goin' to get you my vote because it has the word CHANGE on it.

Hey Tommy. I'm sorry man. I don't mean to get up on a soapbox and rant about politics. I'm just pissed off 'cause I had to chip the ice.


The puppy was gone. Somebody else fell in love with him. We are conflicted. The responsible adults are glad. The dog lovers are sad.

Guess it was not meant to be.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Not sure, but I think my wife is buying a puppy. She's at the pet store up at the mall right now. We had to go to the mall the other day. We had to return something, and get a couple of work shirts for my wife because she needs a couple more warm shirts to wear at The Plant.

So we run in the pet store, like we always do, to see the puppies, like we always do. It's fun to goof out with the puppies. We never have a problem walking away without buying one. We have two dogs already. We have never bought a dog from a pet store. Our big Shep came from a breeder. The Mutt was free, an ad in the paper that said free puppies.

So we both fell head over heels for this little Cairn Terrier. He's so full of life, and so damn smart. You can tell he's smart, it's in his eyes. So the guy at the store asks us if we want him to open the puppy pen so we can visit with him. My wife says no. It's me who caves in. I say yes. This little dog just won our hearts. You should have seen her holding him. It brought tears to my eyes. When I was holding him, he gave me kisses and I swear he winked at me.

So I'm ready to give the guy a deposit, go back the next day and get him. My wife says no, we really shouldn't do that. We talk in the Jeep on the ride home. We know we shouldn't do this. Well, today she came home from work, washed up and put some clean clothes on. She left saying she had some errands to run. I saw the twinkle in her eye. I know we shouldn't do this. I really hope she comes home with the puppy. The money would come out of our extra "work on this old fixer-upper house fund".

Three dogs? Why the hell not? You only go around once in this life. Nothing wrong with a little crazy and lots of love. We all love dogs in this house. The Westminster dog show is like the Super Bowl here. We tape it. We set up a table in the living room and order pizza. We cook all kinds of stuff and settle in for the four hours worth of canine TV. We all pick our favorites. We yell and cheer. We shout and cry foul when the judging does not go our way. Three dogs?

Yeah, three dogs. It will put a smile on her face. I love to see her smile.

Hey Tommy. Man I am tellin' you bro. This little dog is just full of all the stuff you want to see in a dog. I'm crazy about him. I really hope she gets him. I really hope she doesn't "come to her senses" all of the sudden. Dogs rule. Dogs are so much better than people sometimes. Dogs don't judge. Dogs just love you. Besides, it's a security issue. The Cairn Terrier is supposed to be very alert, an excellent watchdog. I know he's little, won't way more than ten or twelve pounds full grown. Like Toto. Yeah, Toto was a Cairn Terrier. So if he alerts, well that's when the Shep does her thing. Dogs are better than an alarm system. I know, I'm rationalizing. I really hope she comes home with that puppy. They are a Scottish breed, the Cairn Terrier is. I don't care what the girls decide to name him. I'm calling him Angus.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


It's just cool. Being able to rip songs from my CD's and put them in a playlist to burn my own custom CD's later. I'm ripping Molly Hatchet right now. Just ripped Zep II a couple minutes ago.

Okay. Now ripping Johnny A. Get Inside is the name of the album. My sister sent it to me for Christmas. It is personally autographed to me. I don't know how she did that. I guess she must have gone to see him play.

I have an old canvas bag full of CD's. I'm going through them this weekend. I'm going to rip what I want and burn myself some good mixes. It's my weekend this weekend. My wife said. She said that I've been working hard. She said that she's not going to ask anything of me this weekend, that I should just chill and do what I want. I do have a project that I've been working on, I would like to work on that. I can't right now though, or rather, I don't want to. I might even have a couple beers later on tonight.

I will be writing, I know that for sure. I am actually going to write some on

It's funny. My wife tells me that I've been working hard. She did at least ten hours overtime this week, maybe more. She has breast cancer. She tells me that I've been working hard.

Got my new burn list playing right now. Hip Bone, Johnny A. Too good. I can't stand how good this is. Tony Bennett is next.

Got some exciting stuff going on right now, related to writing. It's all top secret. Getting some help. I really need the help.........This is to weird. Tony Bennett is singing on my computer. It's an old Johnny Mercer song, I Wanna Be Around. Anyway, when I adjusted the volume the last line I had written here went to bold. The font actually turned bold. So, I adjusted the volume again and it went back to its normal look. Too weird.

Oh man. I've got a couple lottery tickets to check. Marshall Tucker, Take The Highway. The Parrot is diggin' it. He's all fired up and happy. Dogs are sleepin'. Younger baby girl is upstairs in her room doin' whatever it is she's doin'. Probably reading or playing video games, or planning on taking over the world. The older baby girl is waiting for her boyfriend to pick her up so they can go to Pittsburgh, see a movie and eat. She says she'll be home late. My wife is sleeping 'cause she worked overtime last night. I have fourteen beers in the fridge. Four bottles of Yuengling Black and Tan. Five cans of Yuengling Lager and five bottles of MGD. These various beers have been accumulating since Thanksgiving. I've had two Black and Tans and one Lager over the last few weeks. My wife had one MGD. Think I'll be puttin' a dent in the stash this weekend. Don't want the beer to go bad. That would a shame. John Prine is tellin' me all about Lake Marie right now. The Italian sausages are sizzlin' on the grill, that's what John Prine just said. Standin' by peaceful waters.

The Dead. Friend Of The Devil. He loaned him twenty bills........I do so love this song. There was a time in my life, a very long time ago, when it seemed likely that I'd be settin' out runnin' too.

The screen door just slammed. Mary is a vision, dancin' across the floor. Thunder Road. Junior High School, 1974/75. I remember when I first heard this song. Still sends chills sometimes. If it catches me just right that is. It just caught me just right......I need a cigarette. My computer is singing, sounds just like Bruce, and I ain't even drinkin' yet.

Oh man. Al Green. He's so tired......Lucinda Williams. Righteously.

I'm just sittin' back. Got my head resting against the wall. What Is And What Should Never Be.
I was seven years old when ZepII came out........It only goes to baby baby baby.

See, now this is a good song. Gary Allen. Smoke Rings In The Dark. This guy has a great voice. The computer says this song was written by Houston Robert and Rivers Rutherford. How strange. Texas and New Jersey.

That was hard to write because The Allman Brothers were playing Statesboro Blues. Now Molly Hatchet is playing an Allman Brothers song. Dreams I'll Never See. I don't usually like covers. I love this one. My wife says "it rolls". That's how she describes it. She says that about Springsteen's, She's The One also. She likes songs that roll.

I just did a spell check. Blogger says I spelled Allman Brothers wrong. Well, it says I spelled Allman wrong. Brothers I got right.

Ramble On. Led Zeppelin. This song rolls too. I saw Zep at the Garden thirty years ago.

Well. Time to get to work. I've got some writing to do. After that I'm going to work on this hallway, then I'm going to kick back later. Sink a few cold ones.

Stormy Monday. That Duane sure could play the guitar.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Hey Tommy, it's me.

How you been? I know it's been a little while. Been busy. Hey, I was thinkin' about something. I was thinkin' that maybe you would be votin' for Mr. Obama, if you were votin' that is. I was thinkin' how you never really cared for politics, or politicians. I was thinkin' how you'd probably like this guy. He seems honest. Seems. I saw him interviewed a few months back. One of those stupid TV news magazine shows. Anyway, the reporter asked him about drug use in his youth. He gave an honest answer. It could have cost him but I guess it didn't. Maybe most of us out here in the real world don't give a rat's ass about he smoked a little weed, or snorted a little coke back in the day. It's a stupid question anyway. Now, if some candidate were an active drug user, well that of course would make a difference. Another reason why I'd think you'd like him bro. If this guy is elected president, it would really piss a lot of people off. I know you'd get a kick out that.

Hey Tommy. These morons on TV. They keep talkin' about experience. They keep sayin' that he's got no experience, he's not "qualified" to be president. Well, I checked. The Constitution says that if you want to be president you have be born in this country, and you have to be at least thirty-five years old. Mr. Obama has those qualifications. Anyway, I know you don't care much for politics, or politicians. I just was thinkin', you'd like this guy. If he gets the nod, I'm votin' for him.

Oh, hey Tommy. One other thing man. When I saw that interview? His wife was there. She asked the American people to let her know if they see him smokin' a cigarette. I guess he was supposed to quit smokin'. Seems like maybe he sneaks one every now and then. It just makes him seem a little bit more real to me. I don't know, maybe it's stupid. It's just a little thing, but what the hell else do you have to go by?

Oh man. Hey bro. You got to see The Parrot right now. He's givin' me the evil eye. I gave him some of his favorite treats to keep him quiet and happy so's my wife can sleep 'cause she worked all night. I think he thinks I'm goin' to be tryin' to take it from him. He's a trip, The Parrot is.

Yeah so I called my father back on Sunday like I said. I agreed to go and see him soon. I told him I got to work out the logistics 'cause the Myrtle, our old BMW, ain't runnin' right now. We're sharin' the old Jeep 'til we figure somethin' out, or 'til we get our tax return and maybe I can find me an old beater truck or somethin'. Anyway, he calls me back yesterday and tells me to rent a car. He says he'll pay for it. He says he'll give the rental guy his credit card number over the phone. I guess that works. I guess he's serious about seein' me sooner than later. I guess time is critical.

Still not sure how I feel about all this, just yet. I can't go there if I'm goin' to lose my temper. No sense in yellin' at a dying old man. I don't want to do that. I have to make sure I'm ready to say what needs to be said. I'll say it I guess, even if I don't mean it I'll say it. Isn't that what you're supposed to do? I have talked to my wife about it. She's supportive and cool, like always. I've also talked to Beetus about it. Same thing there. This is somethin' I have to figure out on my own.

The hard part is this Tommy. I don't care about all that shit from when I was a kid. It's the crap he threw at my kids that I can't get over. Like the song says; "Jesus can forgive, but a daddy don't forget." You know what I mean bro?

This is the shit I don't like. None of this is simple. Life really ain't that hard. It's people that make it so hard. I like simple. You know, like I was sayin' before. The Simple.

Catch you later Tommy. Hope all is well where you are. Wherever that is.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Long Distance.

Received a call this afternoon. It was my father. Haven't spoken in over two years. It never has gone well. This was different. He's dying. You can hear it in his voice. He's dying.

My wife and I were upstairs, the younger baby girl was up there with us. We were moving our bed back into our bedroom. She painted the bedroom. We were hurrying a little, I had to go to work. The phone rang. The machine answered. The phone rang again, the machine answered. When we were done I went downstairs and hit play. His voice is shaky, unsure, confused. He sounds so very old. The first message, he says he wants to talk. The second message, he says "thank you operator". Confused.

My wife smiles at me. She smiles at me with her understanding eyes. She says I should call him back. She stays upstairs with our younger baby girl. I go back down to the kitchen and use the wall phone. I'm already a little late for work. This is important.

So he answers the phone. He sounds surprised to hear it's me. He says he had trouble dialing my number, had to have the operator help him. He says he wants to see me. I've heard that before, but never from him. He says he's glad he called. I tell him I'm glad he called too. I'm really not sure if I am, glad he called. I have to tell him that though, he sounds like he's dying. I'm not that cold.

He says he has Hodgkin's, just finished up with eighteen weeks of chemo. Says his long gray hair and his beard are all gone. He says he went to the barber for a close shave and a buzz cut before it started falling out. He says he didn't want all that falling hair to clog the drains and mess up the washer. It's kind of funny, his long gray hair and the beard. This guy is well past eighty. A WWII vet who gave me nothing but a hard time over my long hair when I was a teen in the seventies.

He says he doesn't go out much these days. Says he only goes to his A.A. meetings twice a week, when he can. He's hooked up to oxygen. He drilled a hole in the floor and ran seventy feet of tubing down to his shop in the basement so he doesn't have to carry one of those bottles around with him while he's working on stuff. His machine provides the 02, and fills up bottles for travel.

I told him I had to go to work. I told him I couldn't talk for very long. He asked me to call him back on Sunday morning, when my mother is at church. I told him I would.

Things were not too busy down on The Dock tonight. I kept trying to keep busy though. I don't want to think too much about all this. I'll call him on Sunday. I'll think about it then. I will go see him as well. I suppose I should, at least once before he's gone.

My family has ghosts in the closet. Old ghosts, and some newer ones too. I don't like the secrets. I don't like the lies. I don't want to talk about any of it any more. It's all over anyway. Too much talking is just that. Too much talking ruins everything.

Sometimes long distance is a very good thing.