Sunday, December 21, 2008

About Face.

I don't see myself in the mirror. I'm there. I know I'm there. I just don't see myself. If I could really see myself I'd probably run away.

Yeah, it's snowing. Not a good day to go anywhere. My wife just went upstairs to lay down. She's been up since Friday morning. She napped on the couch for a few hours early Saturday evening but that's it. The Tamoxifen is messing with her. She started taking it on Friday as per her doctor's instructions. Last night she had deep aching pain in her bones. That's the Tamoxifen.

I have to make a base for the inflatable Frosty. The anchors they give you don't quite cut it. I used para cord and tent stakes for the guide lines. The little ones that come with Frosty were not enough. When the wind blows real hard, and it does do that here, he will pull out of the ground even if he's not inflated. I'm going to use some three quarter pine boards and screw the metal stand down to them. I can then sit some nice heavy flat rocks on those boards. Frosty will be stable. You have to secure your gear. That's important.

The older baby girl is home from college for Christmas. She's crashing in the living room with the clicker and one of the dogs on her lap. It's good to see her back home. It's good to see her relax.

The younger baby girl just had breakfast and went up to her room to read. She asked me if I would tell her when I'm done with this computer. I told her I'll be done soon. She smiled at me. I love to see that.

I argued with my wife again last night. She feels like crap. I wasn't seeing it. I was tired. I didn't just let her have that. I don't know how to handle any of this. I just keep acting like everything is still the same. It's not the same. It will never be the same again. I have a real hard time saying what it is. Saying how I feel. Saying what I think. She knows that. She tells me that. I deny it.

The truth is this. I've had a pit in my stomach for a year now. I am so damn scared. I don't want to lose her. The sicker she got from the chemo, the scarier it got for me. It's not about me. I have to face the truth. I'm not sure what that truth is. Half of my life is about avoiding the truth. She told me that last night. I know she's right. She said she feels trapped. She depends on my insurance and income. She's not able to work and take care of herself. She's no longer independent. She said she feels like I'm taking advantage of that. Maybe I am. I don't know if I am. I don't know as much truth about myself as I should. I do know that there is much to face. I don't want to face myself. The ugly stuff. The nasty stuff. The stuff that makes me cringe. The stuff that would not be there had I faced it when I should have. Or faced it the way it should have been faced at the time. I'm much better at looking out. I will face anything as long as it's not me. Now I may be losing her because of me. I have to face this. I have to stop, look, and listen to myself. To sort it all out and say it out loud. I really don't want to do this but I have to.

Honesty is scary.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It Goes.

Another week just rolled on by. Quickly. More Pittsburgh trips in the semi. Down to Pechin's and Nickman's on Friday in the snow. It's a little bit dangerous driving the eighteen wheeler in the snow. The Jake brake can cause the tractor wheels to slip. The foot brake can cause the trailer wheels to slide, leading to a jackknife situation. Riding south on 119/22/66 with thirty-thousand pounds of cargo was not as bad as riding back north with an empty trailer. Had a couple of dicey moments. It's all good.

My wife is facing the cancer now. Facing it like she has not faced it before. Now that the chemo is done it seems like there is nothing looming on the immediate horizon. She has been crying by herself. The events of the past year and a half have come home to hit her. Hard.

The younger baby girl is now thirteen. We will take her out for dinner tonight. Her choice.

It just goes on.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


It's Sunday. December Seventh. So it was sixty-six years ago that the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked Pearl Harbor. When I was a little kid it was twenty- something years. Many of the parents in our neighborhood would remember this day. Most of my friends had fathers who fought in the war, with a few exceptions. Some of the younger dads served in Korea. I had a sixth grade teacher who fought in WWII, Korea and then spent some time in Vietnam in the early days of our involvement there. He was from North Carolina originally. His wife was from New Jersey. They were both teachers. He spent twenty-five years in the Army. He retired in 1965. I was in his sixth grade class in 1973.

I had a friend who lived on the block behind me. His grandparents came from Ireland. His father made a combat jump with the 82nd on D-Day. We only knew that because my friend's mother told us. His father never talked about it. His father was a cop in Newark. My old friend from the neighborhood is a cop too. State Police. It's an Irish thing I guess.

Another friend of mine. A very good friend. His father had been an Army Medic. He was tall and lean. He was very soft spoken but very tough. He was a truck mechanic at one of the big breweries in Newark. I broke my arm when I was seven. A stupid accident. The result of doing something stupid. Actually I was trying to fly but that's another story. Anyway, my friend's father made a kick ass splint and he made it very quickly. The bone was sticking out of my fore arm so he used rolled up newspaper and towels. The doctors at the hospital were impressed with the improvised dressing. They wanted to know who had done that. My mother told them it had been our neighbor and that he had been an Army Medic. That seemed to make sense to the doctors at the hospital.

I had a neighbor three doors down, to the north of my house. He lost his legs in WWII. He was Italian. He was very nice. When I was maybe five or six years old I asked him what happened to his legs. I thought he said he lost them in the water. So for quite some time I was thinking a shark bit them off or something. What he actually said was the war. Not the water.

In my high school, one of the administrators had been a young officer in the 82nd. He had been at that battle in Holland. It was a bridge that the paratroopers were trying to hang on to before the Germans could blow it up. The paratroopers were way out in front of their lines. They were on their own. They took some serious casualties. Someone made a movie about it once. The movie was called A Bridge Too Far. I think. Anyway, he was one of the guys you got sent to see when you screwed up and got in trouble. I knew him quite well. I remember the day I told him that my future plans involved the Army and airborne school. I told him I wanted to be a Ranger. I remember how he smiled. His mouth smiled but the rest of his face stayed stone cold. He told me I had better start doing some push-ups. He told me I'd better start running every day. I told him that I was in good shape. He agreed. He said I was in good shape, for a civilian. He told me that I'd better start getting mentally tough as well. He smiled again. That stone face smile. He just said good luck with that and sent me out of his office without any disciplinary action taken for whatever infraction it was that landed me there in the first place.

My own father and his older brother served. Other than anecdotal stories they never talked about it either. Ever.

Hey Tommy. It's been a while I know. My wife is doing okay I guess. Well, as okay as one can expect. We had a big argument yesterday. I wrote all this stuff about December 7th because I don't want to deal with the reality. I still don't want to so I won't. I will say this Tommy. I have a lot of work to do. I said some really stupid things yesterday. My biggest mistake was saying anything at all. Whenever I try to say what I think or feel, it's always a lame attempt at defending myself. It always comes out wrong. I just don't have what it takes to be a vocal person. Not when it comes to real stuff anyway. I can shoot the shit all day long about nothing. When it comes to real stuff I'm just better off keeping my mouth shut. You know what I mean Tommy.