Suggested title: Ghosts, Lots of Ghosts
Info-box: stuffing_diced_potatoes; cheese_puffs; mm_grandmother_passes_away
Jun04; Electrician is installing the new ceiling fan
He told me I was going to get a lot of air from now on when I’m in the recliner. I sat down and tried it and he’s right. I told him it would be great if I didn’t have to carry the oscillating fan around with me any more.
The time is 4:14.
I came out to charge the laptop and right now someone is working on the back door but I don’t know why.
Ummm….maybe they’re spraying WD-40 on the lock, Oaf?
I noticed the TV had been plugged into the wall behind the table I set it on so I unplugged it then got the multi socket plug from behind Aunt Tom’s desk. That thing has been back there for maybe twenty years. Mom installed it while we were still married.
I came back into the living room and disconnected everything from the extension cord. One of the workers came over and helped me plug the electronics in and now the modem, TV, and antenna are all connected into one outlet. The extension cord that ran across the carpet from the surge protector is gone now too and for the first time in years I don’t have to worry about tripping over it.
I checked all the switches and discovered that the hall light and the light in the middle bedroom still weren’t working. The lead electrician came in so I mentioned it to him. He flipped the switches and he couldn’t get them to come on either so he and his helper are trying to fix it right now. The time is 4:47.
They still haven’t been able to get the hall light to come on. The boss just told me he’s going to have to stop by tomorrow. I told him I’m sorry he has to come back out but he said we’ll do the paperwork before he leaves then promised he would pop in real quick in the morning and replace the fixture.
He also said he’d sprayed the back door lock and it’s working now. I tried the key in the top lock but it doesn’t work, it still only unlocks the front.
He brought his iPad over to Monsieur Frogs table, knelt down next to the recliner and we talked about how much they’re going to charge me. I think I’ll still have about a thousand left when they take everything out.
I asked him for a card and he says he will bring me one in the morning when he comes to fix the hall light. Oh crap the AC snapped on again. The time is 5:41.
Dude, I just checked the Word Counter and I’m already 300 words into the week of May14!
I checked my account again too and I got $1018. 03 left. The company charged me 90 + 780 + 877.08 = 1747.08.
I hope my SS check covers my last three bills again this month. If it does, I can look into getting a TV antenna from one of the local businesses that advertises good reception, even in poor weather.
I kept hitting my head on the new ceiling fan while I was rooling up the sidewalk so I had to remove the globes and bulbs. I’ll try to get use to ducking so I can put them back in-I hope. Also one of the switches in my bathroom that was working when the electricians left doesn’t work anymore.
Today is Jun04. I was watching Crime Watch Daily when I got a call from one of the secretaries at the electric company.
She informed me that a tech was on his way.
I told her, “Thank you…” and, “I’ve been expecting him.”
I was of course stuffing hash browns in my mouth when I heard the knock. I was a little annoyed but I got up and opened Squirrel Gate. I’m kind of upset because of the new switch in the bathroom that’s already broken. Anyway, the electrician was his usual optimistic self and I tried to be nice but I wasn’t feeling any enthusiasm.
I told him and his helper, “Good morning” when they greeted me but turned right back around and finished my potatoes.
The lead guy asked what was up with the ceiling fan. I told him how I’d started bumping my head on it last night after they left. I let him know that it’s my fault and not his.
I was halfway through my egg on toast sandwich when he notified me that the hall light was working. I looked and smiled when I saw it burning again. He set the business card I’d asked him to bring last night on the coffee table then we told each other to have a nice day.
I checked my bank account to see if he’d charged me for coming out but it’s still showing $1018. When I sat down to put stupid stuff on the internet I checked my gmail and he’d sent an invoice showing a zero balance.
I also found a service plan brochure next to the card. Last night while he was on his knee next to the recliner he said he was going to sign me up for the plan but I been thinking about it and I’m not interested.
The reason I say that is because well for one thing they hadn’t even finished wiring yesterday when the light switch in the middle bedroom stopped working and I already wrote about the switch in the back bathroom.
If I email him I’ll tell him I’m not going to sign up for the plan because it looks like I’m going to be right back where I started. The lights have alreday begun going out again.
I gotta admit though, when I saw everything working I got very nostalgic.
I remember when I use to smoke on Friday at 9:00. I’d leave a different light on every night then on Thursday I’d turn on the one in the utility room. On Friday and Saturday I’d fire up the party lamp. Then Sunday, before I cashed, I’d turn on the light over the sink in my bathroom and on subsequent nights I’d work my way out until Thursday when I’d leave the light on in the utility room again. Those days are long gone but it was nice to see all the lights in the house come on, even if it was only for one day.
Later while I was still looking back I remembered writing about ‘the end of an era’ the night Olga’s Christmas lights didn’t come on. I probably started leaving her ceiling light on every other Tuesday after that.
Dude, I think that string of lights is still in the middle bedroom closet. I wonder what would happen if I plugged them in right now?
Okay, I tried them and none of them came on but I looked up the price on my Walmart account and they’re very cheap. I’m not going to order any though I just wondered why they didn’t last very long.
Today is Jun05. I’m way ahead in my journal but since it’s Friday and last week’s post is in the can I will probably have plenty of time to edit whatever I get done towards the next two weeks’ quotas. I’ll try to keep it short though.
Because today is Friday, I had to give my milk the sniff test and the jug I got last Thursday from Walmart did not pass. I been kind of wanting to go to Stripes to see if they have Cheese Puffs so when the 8:30 walking alarm sounded I grabbed my hat and my mask and took off.
I walked up the back alley and it felt like half of March, all of April and May, and the first 4 days in June never even happened. I haven’t been practicing any coping strategies but when confronted with hostility, I didn’t feel my face turn red. Yay!
I got to the store and saw that some of the patrons were wearing masks but not everybody. There was a UPS driver coming out when I reached the door so he held it open for me but before I went in, I asked him if we had to wear a mask. He wasn’t wearing one so all he did was shrug. I thanked him and once inside I saw that the cashiers were wearing masks but not all the customers had theirs on.
I walked around the aisles to the chips and they had lots of bags of Cheese Puffs so I grabbed two thinking that would give me enough to last hopefully, until at least Jun20. It’s because I like to alternate between potato chips and Cheese Puffs when I have my second snack at 7:40.
I continued on to the back coolers and saw they were stocked up on milk, too so I grabbed another bottle of Bordens. When I had everything I walked towards the registers, stood on the social distance mat, and started scoping out the displays.
They’ve put pies out in front of the register again so when the friendly cashier motioned me over I grabbed a lemon and a cherry. After exiting I didn’t walk to the turnaround tree. I think I’ll go back to my regular routes next week.
Monday I’ll walk to the ATM and get some cash then try to make an appointment at Cedar Hut. If they tell me I have to wear a mask though I may have to wait until I can score one. Olga offered me three surgical masks the last time she was here but I didn’t take her up on it. I’m hoping my barber won’t make me wear one next time I have to go in for a haircut but we shall see.
Today is Jun08. I’ve been hearing a bird all day. It sounds like it’s in the bread tree but I’ve been sitting outside waiting for the alarms to sound and have yet to locate it. It sounds very close so I’ve been trying to identify what kind it is. Sometimes I think it’s a nightingale but it doesn’t make the three repetitive chirps like a nightingale does.
I went to check the mail during the six o’clock hour and thought about looking around the yard and Olga’s swing tree on my way back up the driveway but when I returned I didn’t hear anything. I didn’t get any mail either so I came back inside to grab my glasses and that’s when I started hearing it again.
When I stepped back onto the porch I found out why I couldn’t spot it. It’s on the ground and it looks injured. Wow, I say that every year don’t I?
This one has yellow feathers but I can’t identify it because I don’t recall seeing one before. I turned on the camera and tried to get close enough to take a picture but it hopped off the edge of the porch and hobbled along the bottom of the skirting. I left it alone hoping it would come back and hide again and after I sat down it actually did turn around.
When the 6:15 editing alarm sounded I could see it’s head when I looked over the Director’s chair but I’m still going to leave it alone. I think it’s best to let nature take it’s course when an injured bird takes refuge in and around the porch. I just hope I don’t find it’s body or see it get eaten by the grey cat.
This one is very noisy and I’ve never seen any like that. Usually they’ll remain quiet and try to stay out of sight like the baby mockingbird did last year.
Dude, I only need 13 more words and I’ll have Wednesday’s quota. Yay!
I can still hear the bird so I went and looked out the kitchen window. Now I’m wondering if it’s a whippoorwill. It kind of sounds like one and it has a mask. Hold on. It’s not a whippoorwill I looked it up and it’s called a Yellow-breasted Chat.
I also found a video and it must get it’s name from the way it chatters. That’s exactly what the bird on my porch has been doing all day.
Today is Jun09. I didn’t get up and walk after all. I stayed in bed until 8:00. I slept real good last night though.
I had a vivid dream but all I remember about it was getting startled by my dead brother Billy. He poked his head into the doorway and scared the crap out of me. I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
The oscilating fan makes weird noises at night. Last night wasn’t the first time I’d been awakened by strange voices. The last time it happened I laid awake and listened and it was creepy. I could almost make out what they were saying.
Later I dreamed Bill gave me some kind of box that I could watch TV on.
Dude, I just got hit by another wave of nostalgia.
We use to live in the same seedy hotel in Fort Worth back in the seventies. He had a steady job so he put a television in his room. While he was out getting drunk at night and seeing women he let me go in his room and watch TV. That’s when I got hooked on Battlestar Galactica and I think I first started watching it when the name changed to Battlestar Galactica 78.
The TV box he gave me in the dream was about the size of a jack in the box and I’m remembering that it might have had more than four sides like Tetrahedral Dice. Bill signed me up and then when I wanted to watch something I had to tell whoever was listening to put it on for me.
The voice asked what I wanted so I said, “Battlestar Galactica” and the last thing I remember is hearing the person telling someone to crank it up for me.
I didn’t drink my two cups of coffee this morning. As soon as I brushed my teeth and put on clothes I started breakfast. As a result, I’ve been falling asleep a lot.
I didn’t want to go looking for the injured bird I wrote about. I was afraid I’d find him laying on his back with ants all over him. I didn’t even look out the kitchen window but when I did go to sit outside I’m pretty sure I heard a Chat.
Today is Jun10. When I checked my phone this morning I was surprised to see a text message. I opened it and it was from Sqrl. She said MM’s grandmother passed away last night then went on to say she’s in charge of the funeral (you go, Girl!) and they’re taking cash donations.
It made me feel sad so I told her I would contribute fifty but right now I don’t have any cash. She texted again a few minutes later and asked if I need her to stop by later.
I took her up on it and said “Please stop by if you can.”
Jun10 Hephzibah said to open it (2Tim 3:12)
I haven’t heard from her since.
I’m glad she’s going to stop by because she can pick up my card and withdraw a hunnert. That way I can donate the $50 and get $20 for a hair cut. I have to try to remember to ask her for the surgical mask she offered as well.
While I was watching the News on CBS about Newark I kind of wondered if anybody was going to start a memorial in the grandmother’s yard. I wanted to set the Winnie the Pooh bear La La left here when MM and her were staying with me under one of her trees. Now that I think about it the grandmother might have brought it over because I remember her bringing a toy once. I wanted to set it under the rubber tree plant next to her porch when I passed by on my way to the pedestrian symbol intersection but I was afraid I’d run into Tio.
At 8:30 I grabbed the hat they gave me and my phone. This morning I kind of wanted to know how far towards HEB I can get in fifteen minutes so I set the timer and took off. I didn’t even look over as I passed the Grandmother’s trailer but I did notice the same two cars under her carport.
When I got to the drainage ditch I remembered I’d forgotten to put my robber’s mask in my back pocket. I’m pretty sure we’re no longer required to wear one in public but I still think it’s a good idea to carry it. You never know what the cops are going to do.
As I neared the tracks I looked over towards the motel I use to stay at during the Feast to see what kind of railroad cars were parked there. This time I saw both hopper and tank cars. I remember there’s always some kind of cars lined up but I don’t recall ever seeing a combination of both.
I walked up to the pole and hit the south crossing button with my elbow then when the pedestrian symbol lit up I crossed and hit the one pointing west.
Suggested title: Kissed by the Rain and Warmed by the Sun; Hold On
I walked at a steady pace like I always do but I don’t think I made it to the motel, I think the alarm went off just as I was passing the ATM sign. I don’t use that bank by the way, it always looks empty and kind of creepy.
I reset the timer as I was turning around then headed back to the house. You aren’t going to believe this but it sounded again just as I’d stepped through Squirrel Gate. I hadn’t even taken my hat off.
Dude, I’m getting way too far ahead in my journal again. I’ve already got all of next week’s done and I really don’t even have to write anything until Saturday the 13th.
I got two new episodes I need to write about though, so I’ll try to keep it short. In fact, I’m thinking I’ll do 215 words right now and then try to write the other 215 tonight after the 6:15 editing alarm goes off like I’m supposed to. I shouldn’t be writing right now as a matter fact. It’s 2:05 and I should be editing. It’s just that I’m afraid I might leave something out which, unfortunately I’m quite famous for doing.
Anywho, I got another letter from Spectrum begging me to sign up for cable. They’re starting to wear me down, especially since I keep having to change channels a lot in an attempt to find one that doesn’t turn all fuzzy at exactly the wrong time.
The latest offer was to bundle internet and TV for 45.99 each per month. Since I can’t find anybody to put in an air antenna, I decided to take them up on it.
I called the number on the card but they told me there was a long line and I should speak to a representative through my account. I got in and opened the chat box and the first thing I asked was if I take the 45.99 bundle guarantee for one year can I pre-pay. The lady never did answer my question and I ended up with a $145 per month plan.
She did promise to send me a card and told me to keep it in a safe place for when I need to return the equipment. What does that tell me?
It suggests that they’re going to go all “Frog in a frying pan” on me again.
Well, I ended up writing 334 words which means I’ll have to try to keep the second episode down to approximately 100 words.
Olga texted me while I was putting stupid stuff on the internet and said she was on her way. I had not showered so I asked her to take the green card and get the cash herself. Before she got here I straightened the mattress cover on the green chair and set the Winnie the Pooh bear, a candle MM left here, my green card and a sticky note with my PIN number on the seat cushion.
She knocked then came in and we greeted each other. She walked over towards the chair and asked about the ceiling fan lights. I told her I keep banging my head on them then started to explain why I’d chosen the toy and the candle.
She informed me MM had to go to another funeral home due to the fact that the place she works at raised the price for cremation. She said she’s still going to try and raise funds for the family though.
She asked me if I was interested in attending the viewing but I declined. I’m afraid they’ll try to get more money from me which is all right but I happen to know that MM’s grandmother had a boyfriend. When I told Olga, she commented that he’s probably an alcoholic and broke.
“Yep.”, I said although I really have no idea.
She was in a hurry to get back to her job and asked about returning the card. I told her to withdraw a hundred and try to get tens so I could give MM’s family fifty and Olga ten then maybe get a haircut with what’s left over.
I also remembered to ask for a mask and she promised she would bring me one after work when she returns the card and the change.
The last editing alarm is about to sound and I can hear the rain starting again.
Now it’s the six o’clock hour. I came on to update the latest Sqrl episode.
Well first of all let me tell you what happened after I wrote earlier about hearing rain hitting the roof. A terrible lightning storm passed overhead and blew the lights out. Believe it or not I sensed that it was going to happen so I jumped up and started microwaving my hamburger patty while I still had electricity but it didn’t even get halfway done.
I tried sitting on the porch to catch the cool wind but the rain was blowing sideways so I had to come back in. When it subsided, the wind died down too so I went back outside. Dude, the humidity is really really bad plus I got attacked by swarms and swarms of mosquitos.
I remained in my directors chair until about 5:45 when I noticed that the party lamp was lit. I came back in and watched the last of the news while I stuffed the hamburger meat on waffle sandwich in my mouth.
While I was resetting my Dad’s digital clock Olga called. She said she was going to stay at work late and asked if it would be all right to drop the card off tomorrow.
I told her, “Sure, whenever you want.”
She informed me that she’d given the fifty to MM through Facebook but that’s all she said. Maybe she’ll tell me more tomorrow. She said she’s going to try to drop the card off before she goes to work. Right now I better check my bank account. brb. Well that little episode cost me $103.
When I turned the TV off I went back out to feed the mosquitos.
I saw two Yellow-Breasted Chats flying around above me in the telephone wires but they weren’t making any noise. Next I heard the mockingbirds fussing so I started looking for something to throw. Usually when I hear them squawking like that I know they’re signalling the presence of a cat. When I stood up however, I didn’t see any.
I heard something on the roof of the porch though and when I looked up I saw a squirrel’s tail hanging over the edge of one of the sheets of tin. The two mockingbirds kept flying towards it and I watched the squirrel climb down the post that holds up the north end of the porch. He didn’t come all the way to the concrete floor though he stopped about midway then turned around and scurried back up onto the roof.
Today’s Jun11. I was throwing my usual three fistfuls of diced potatoes into the skillet when I heard a knock.
I knew it would be Olga and I’d already opened the window over the sink so I yelled, “Come on in.”
I didn’t hear the door open so I covered the potatoes and hurried through the living room. When I opened Squirrel Gate, Olga was standing there with a handful of bills. She also had the green card and a couple of masks.
She gave me two twenties and the card then held up the masks.
“Which one do you want?”, she inquired.
She was offering a grey and a rather flowery one. The colored mask looked kind of like the one she wears so I pointed to the plain one.
“I knew you’d choose that one.”, she said handing it to me.
“I just need it to get a haircut.”, I replied.
She told me she needed to get to work so I thanked her but after she turned to go to her car I remembered to talk to her about the groceries. I still don’t like using her food stamps so I’m thinking maybe I start walking to HEB again and bringing my stuff back home in a Lyft.
“I’ll let you know about the groceries.”, I quickly told her.
She smiled and said she got a $900 credit on her EBT this month.
“Wow!” I exclaimed, “How come they keep giving you food stamps?”
She said she didn’t know but it’s probably because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Ah!”, I exclaimed.
She said I can use $300 if I want so I told her again that I’d let her know. I’ll probably let her pick up my order but if I have to give her that much cash then I hope she’s willing to make two trips like I have to do every month.
It’s because right now I only got one more dispenser of water plus I’m about to run out of Land O’ lakes margarine and blueberry waffles. Anyway, I’ll talk to her about it.
I was snoozing waiting for the 2:05 editing alarm to sound when another knock woke me. I opened the door to see MM standing there. She looked really upset and told me she wanted a hug so I put my arms around her and she started bawling. My school tee shirt is still wet from her tears.
She told me she had just come from the funeral service. She sobbed as she talked about holding her grandma’s hand while she was taking her last breath. She showed me a picture and said she saw a tear fall from her eye.
She also mentioned that the grandmother had always planned to be cremated.
Apparently her family was about to get together at don Pepe’s. She didn’t invite me she thanked me for the donation then turned to leave. She remembered something so she stopped, turned back around, and said she was going to be visiting more often because she really misses her grandmother.
“I understand.”, I answered.
I started getting equipment from Spectrum later. Fedex delivered an envelope first and inside was a cable card. I called the Samsung help line to find out where I was supposed to plug it in at and was informed that nowadays the cable provider puts a plug on the modem.
Later when I was going to check the mail I found a box on the step. I set it inside then after editing I tore it open and started reading up on how to do the self installation. After I unpacked everything I discovered the new modem they sent and the old one I been using are exactly the same. I hooked the old one back up then turned on the TV to make sure the Spectrum app still works. When Andy Griffeth came on I called the help line.
The person I spoke to said he doesn’t know why they sent me a new one. He did a check and said the old one is completely up to date. He told me to just return the new equipment so I had him email me the address to the nearest store.
I guess I’ll have someone drive me there one of these days.
He also told me that the reason my monthly bill went up to $145 is because I signed up for the streaming ‘Silver Package.’ I’ll look online when I get a chance to see what extra stations I’m supposed to be getting.
I found the TV guide on the laptop. The agent mentioned HBO and I saw a lot of their channels but I haven’t seen anything else different from the old schedule.
I did see that they’ll be showing new episodes of House Hunters and now I know what I’ll be watching when I turn the TV on at 9:00.