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Faith & Jacob

Something That Made Me Happy When I Came Home…

Eddie had these floppy ears.  He’d hear the garage door open and was always on the other side of the door sitting and waiting for it to open.  He never made a sound but I knew he was there.

I’d wait a minute and…. nothing.

Then I’d lightly tap the door key against the glass and he’d just POP up…  He had the ability to just launch himself from sitting to three times his height. :)  When he’d get to the max height and he would hit that split second of weightlessness before beginning a freefall to the floor his ears would ‘rise’ up (or actually they’d just stay there while the rest of him began to fall away).  It was the funniest thing.  I could sit there 20 minutes if I wanted and everytime I’d tap he’d leap and his ears would flop. :)

Then I’d go in and he would not leave you alone until you bent down and patted him and acknowleged that he was there… then he’d trot off into another part of the house for awhile. :)

I miss that pooch. :(

Quarters of the 50 United States

When I got married in 2000 the woman I married had two children from a previous marriage.  Jacob was 8 when we got married and Faith was 11.  The new 50 State commemorative quarters had started the year before so there were like 5 out from 1999 and 2 from 2000.  My mom and dad came up for the wedding and while they were there I guess they picked up a cardboard thingie that stands up and holds the quarters.  There were five spots on each line and each line was a year – 1999 through 2008… 10 lines… 10 years.

The kids took the 5 quarters I had from 1999 and the 2 from 2000 and put them in their places and admired it.  They put the card on the window sill in our kitchen.  We looked at the card with all the empty spaces still in it.  I pointed to the bottom row… “By the time we get down here Faith, you’ll be in your second year of COLLEGE”.

Her eyes got big and bright.  You could tell she thought “man, we’ll be collecting quarters for 10 years… COLLEGE.  2008 might as well have been a million years away.  :)

Over the years, everytime I got a ‘new’ quarter I’d bring it home, give it to the kids and they’d plug it into it’s spot on the card.

They’ve been gone now for coming up on three years this April.  Neither of them have spoken to me since the day they walked out the door.  They only live a few miles away. :(

I’ve kept that card.  I’ve moved twice since I sold the home we lived in and the kids grew up in.  I kept putting in the quarters.  The other day I got a Hawaii quarter out of a vending machine at work.  Number 50.

I took it home and pushed it into the last remaining empty spot.

Jacob is now almost 18.  Faith is 20.

She’s a sophmore at University of Tennessee – Knoxville.

I sure do miss them. :(

End Of March, 2008

Wow.  It’s the last day of March, 2008.  It’s been almost two years now since my ex-wife told me she wanted a divorce and that she was leaving.  I guess that is one of the reasons I feel so down.  My ex-wife turned 43 just a few days ago.  I used to always give her a thoughtful card… writing in it how much I loved her and how happy I was to have met her… you know I don’t think she ever remembered my birthday even once?  Maybe one or two times… but for the most part she’d ask me in July sometime ‘Don’t you have a birthday coming up soon?’  and I’d just smile and say ‘Yeah, next June.’

Oh well.  I haven’t seen Faith or Jacob since the night before they left.  I missed Jacobs graduation from 8th grade.  I’ve wondered how he made out at Christian Brothers where he went to High School.  We decided that he was on the wrong path nearing the end of 8th grade with grades and behavior and thought the more disciplined environment at Christian Brothers would help.  He’s near the end of 10th grade by now.  I wonder how he made out?  I miss the time we used to spend together watching “My Name Is Earl” and “Everybody Hates Chris”.  He used to listen to a lot of my old rock CDs too… introducing him to Led Zepplin and The Stones.  We’d go to breakfast a lot too on Saturday mornings.. to the West Street Diner.  I used to like taking him there.  It gave us time to just ourselves.

Faith graduated High School and went off to college but I’m not really sure where.  I suspect she went to UT Knoxville which is where we had planned to send her anyway.  I hope she’s enjoying herself and having a good  experience out on her own.  She’ll be good at it.  She was very mature and I was so proud of her when she managed to fly to Oregon by herself.  I made sure she could reach me via cell phone at any time but she really did a superb job on her own.

She is a wonderful writer.  I always felt she’d end up being a writer somewhere… yet her uncle is a big shot at TBS in Atlanta so I can also see her as a television personality.  She’s beautiful and has a great personality.  Maybe I’ll see her on TV one day.

Anyway, enough moping.  You know my therapist has been on me for over a year to join some online dating service.  She says that once I meet someone else to care about I’ll stop having these silly feelings about missing the people who left me.

I know she’s right.  I think it’s probably time to start.  In the next month or so I’m going to sign up and see if I can’t meet someone new to care about and who cares about me.

OK!  Today is he start of the 2008 BASEBALL SEASON!!!  Go Phillies!

Also, in my previous entry (really written by my mom) she mentioned that my uncle Fred had cancer as well.  He was having some surgery on his bowel last weekend.  Well, she told me on Sunday that he died Saturday night.  I don’t know the particulars, but you know what?  This has been a REALLY shitty two years for me.

1. My wife leaves and takes the only family I’ve ever had away.
2. I find out my sister has lung cancer – stage IV.
3. Our divorce becomes final and my ex-wife has me return Eddie – the dog they left with me when they left and who had been with me 24 hours a day the entire last year – to them as part of the settlement.  I’ve not seen the pooch since.  BTW, here is a picture of Eddie with my nieces cat “Monkey” at Christmas in 2006.

4. My cousin Toni gets lung cancer.  They remove her lung and she seems to still be doing ok.
5. One of my Aunts finds out she has liver cancer.  I won’t give details for her privacy.
6. My dad finds out he has a tumor on his pancreas that may be cancer.
7. Two days after we find out about my dad, my sister “Babe” dies of cancer.
8. My uncle Fred goes in to have his gallbladder removed and they don’t do it because they find he is full of cancer.
9. My dad has surgery.  Seems successful.  We’ll see.  He has some minor complications going on right now, but it was still cancer.  We’ll see what the future course is once he is over this major surgery.
10. My uncle Fred goes in for some bowel surgery over the past weekend and dies Saturday night.

What next????  Sheesh.

The surgeon seems to think dad’s ‘leakage’ in his bowel or Pancreas will heal on its own so he doesn’t expect more surgery.  Mom says he’s feeling better.  They’re feeding him through some sort of mainline thing that goes right into an artery in his neck.  Mom didn’t want to tell dad that his brother had died until he was doing better, but she decided to tell him last night.  I haven’t spoken to her today so I’ll try to get ahold of her later.

Sorry for the negative post.  I think I’m just going to go home from work and watch the Phillies game which I TIVOed today.

Happy March…

I guess it’s time for another entry.  Not much going on these days.  Well actually I guess there ALWAYS is something going on.  Let’s see.  Last weekend I was down to the lake with my buddy Ivan.  I had helped him build his lake house a couple years ago so I have a key to go down whenever I want… which is pretty much every few weeks.  I’m usually doing things down there related to myself.  I own a lake property in Double Springs, AL which I am now selling.  I found another property in Crane Hill, AL (same lake) that I prefer to build on.  My first lot was in a convienent development right on a state highway, but there were some issues going on over there that did not please me.  Besides that, it is in an area of the lake up in the National Forest quite far from where most of my friends live.

 Anyway, so that lot is up for sale.  If anyone is interested you can see it at LOT 22 – LAKESHORE EAST ESTATES (plug).  I stopped by the Lot22 lot the other day and spread a 50lb bag of grass seed to try to get some more ground cover going.  It hasn’t rained much at the lake over the last few years, but of course we got a deluge of rain right after I put down the seed.  I’m sure the fish will love it. LOL.

If anyone is interested in looking at pictures of my new lot – the one I plan to build on – have a looksee: LOT 172 – CEDAR COVE ESTATES

When I bought the second lot I had the bank combine the mortgage from the first with the new one… they used the equity in the first lot as collateral.  I can’t start building my house until I sell the first lot though.  When I do I need to pay down the huge mortgage on the lots to 100k.  Then after I put aside some money for taxes I’ll have some cash to start building the new house.  Plus I guess I’ll be able to get a construction loan at that point.

I have an UMF (unseen magical force) trying to get me to buy a boat.  I have a new boat dock coming but I only bought it because I’ll need one eventually and the prices keep going up like crazy… I really, really dont need a BOAT right now though.  What I need to do is build a HOUSE.  And besides, the prices of boats will probably drop this year as gas prices rise to $4 (on their way to $5) a gallon.

Speaking of that I need to sell my airplane too.  It is a giant money pit and I don’t ever use it anymore… yet it still costs me 6-8k a year in maintenance.  It must go.  In the next few months.  That will give me money to pay off the balance I owe on my boat dock and also to add to what I’ll have to start the house.

The BIG news this writting is about my dad.  My dad has been having some issues with pain and chills and vomiting and other things for awhile now.  He finally got some tests done and two days before Babe passed away he found out he has a tumor on his pancreas.  Hopefully this is not cancer… but the doctor said that if it isn’t, it will be soon.  So it has to come out.  Now.

The procedure is a very complicated one that I dont know much about.  It’s called a Pancreaticoduodenectomy (or “Whipple Procedure” for short).  It’s a very complicated surgery that involves removing different organs from your body, doing what you need to do, then putting them all back.  The biggest problem is that multiple organs share the same blood supply.

He’s having it done at the Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa and the surgeon is supposed to be one of the best with a lot of experience in this procedure.  Still, its worrisome.  Dad isn’t ‘old’ by any means, but he’s still 70.  The surgery has a 10% mortality rate anyway and age probably makes it worse.  I’m also sure that the stress on him the last few months with having to watch his daughter pass away isn’t going to help either.

I’ll be flying down to Tampa on Saturday.  We’ll all hang out with my Aunt & Uncle who are visiting that week.  The surgery is Monday morning.  Please say a prayer for my dad if you will.

I will write again to let everyone know how it goes.  I need to get back to work now. :)

Here is a photo of my sister Babe, Me & my dad the night before I graduated from Marine Corps boot camp in Parris Island, SC.  It was September 1977.  Babe was like 16 years old.  I was 18.  Dad was 39.  How about those glasses I’m wearing?  Cool huh?  And what about the purple flare pants, Playboy Bunny tshirt, leather sandals and dark socks on Dad?

Here is another one of me, dad & my ex-step daughter Faith in the hot tub one night in March 2001.