This Is How I Do… Unfortunately

Kinda overdid it yesterday, so I paid for it last night and today. 😟 Had a little boost of energy or motivation so I tried to make the most of it. First stop was Tim’s for some coffee, but then I headed over to Great Clips so Toni could cut my hair. She had several people that requested her before me, so I ended up waiting well over an hour. I had her do something a little different this time, but I’m not sure I like it… 50/50 odds that I’ll end up shaving my head before the week is over. 😏

After that I went over to Walmart to get a new pair of shoes and some other crap. My old ones were actually worn through on the bottom, and since I prefer the look of boots – I did end up getting a steel-toed version. Of course that will set off the metal detectors at the IC place, and I’ll inevitably get the side-eye from someone about why I need steel-toed boots if I’m not working. πŸ™„ They’ll have to just take my word… they’re cheap, they last a long time, they look good, and they’re actually comfortable. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ What else can I say?

While I was there I finally stopped by the vision center and made my eye appointment. I’m tired of having a hard time driving at night because of my shitty old backup glasses with an Rx from years and years ago. 😠 That adds another appointment to my already busy first-half of January, but I did have one thing fall off the calendar unexpectedly.

I’m not sure if it was a request from my attorneys, their attorneys, or something the IC just decided itself – but it looks like my hearing has been continued, with a rescheduled date yet to be determined. πŸ€¨πŸ˜• I’m not sure if it has something to do with the concurrent court case… meh… I suppose I should be glad that there’s a little more time before it goes down, but I don’t really need any more time. I wanna get things settled.

But the last thing yesterday… Bri was in town at her cousin’s place, so I stopped by there and dropped off her Christmas present that I got a little bit late. I also picked up a pack of Bertie Botts jelly beans for Brantley and me to try at random – and hope that we didn’t get the gross ones. 😏 Out of four, the only good one I got was banana… and while he got a bunch of gross ones as well, he’d only bite them in half and then wanted me to eat the rest. πŸ˜„ I’m glad I picked that up at the last moment though, he had a ball with ’em.

Got home and realized that not only did I use up all of my social juice, but my neck was killing me as well. 😣 Went to bed early but woke up at 2:30 with my neck frozen. Took my morning meds a little early to fight that, and it ended up knocking me out around 10am until 2pm… so not only is my sleep screwed up, but my neck is still bad. 😠 Gonna take a hot shower in a bit and then put a Salonpas patch on… that’s about all I can do.

Luckily no appointments tomorrow, so we’ll see how things go tonight.

Two Good Stops

I waited and saved my Christmas visiting until the day after Christmas. First stop was at Pizza Cottage to pick up a pizza for me and Dad. We’ve been texting a lot, but since I’ve been sick for the past week and a half it’s been a while since I had been in for a visit. He got himself a new set of wheels, much better than the last one… took it for a test drive and it handles good and has a comfy seat for my crappy back. 😏

After a couple hours there I had to take off so I could make it over to Bri’s and have some time there before it got dark. When I got there, Bri let me in and told me that the kids were out back in the playground / courtyard area, and as soon as I walked out the back door Brantley saw me and said “Hey Uncle Bobby, come watch me skate!” as if he had seen me just yesterday. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ƒ Last time he saw me in person was at his birthday in July, and before that… well, it had been quite a while… probably like a year and a half. πŸ˜•

The first three years of his life, I was around all the time. (Including his birth.) In fact, it was in my front yard that he learned to walk. 😌 (Safer out there with nothing to run into, and mooshy grass for whenever he stumbled.) Plus, the Easter Bunny left clues and eggs and a basket here at my house for him, and he followed them all and found his way to the basket. There’s too much to mention – but it went from three years of me being around, then poof, he was with his dad for quite a while. 😟 Now that he’s back home with his mom, I thought for sure that he would have forgotten all the time he and his mom spent with me.

But I went out to where he was skating… and falling… a lot… πŸ˜… and I said “Grab my arm if you want me to help hold you up.” and he replied “No, I can do it…” as he continued falling. πŸ˜„ But he was having a good time, and was proud of the little bits he was able to skate. Then we went to the basketball hoop and threw the ball around some. Two of his little girlfriends also came over to play, and those kids were sinking shot after shot, granny style. Shooting with my good arm and continuously missing, one of the girls said “You suck.” and I agreed. πŸ˜‚ She wasn’t being jerky, she said it in a funny way…

I had my iPad with me, so we went back to the porch where Bri was still sitting and started watching some of the videos of him from when he was here at the house doing this and that, and he really did seem to remember most of the stuff he was seeing. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ I wasn’t sure that 5-year-old brain would have memories of 2 to 3-year-old brain stuff, but it seems like it did. He opened the gift that I got him, and then helped open his little brother’s gift since Bryson is only 8 months old and would probably take a few hours. 😏

It was nice though… he took to me as if no time had passed at all. I guess everything I did when he was younger made a good enough impression, so that makes me happy. We looked at some more old pictures on the iPad, he showed me his tablet that he got, and he was playing a game that I actually have on my phone – so we got to sit and try to figure out some puzzles together. πŸ™‚ Granted, it’s Christmas, but still… he seems really happy there, and the fact that he remembers so much about me makes me happy too.

After watching the videos, he asked if they could all come back out to my house sometime. Heh… poor kid, my house is boring as shit… 😏 but I’m glad that he liked it here enough back then that he’d wanna come back out now. Maybe I’ll straighten the place up a bit and have them over some evening to watch a movie or something. Oh, and I do have my shelf of collectibles (aka “toys“) to get into if he gets too bored. 😁

Christmas Eve

It sure would have been nice if there was some snow on the ground or at least some flurries falling… but we get what we get. πŸ™‚ And tomorrow, that will be 50 degrees and mostly sunny throughout the day.

I’m spending this evening watching a bunch of Christmas specials and movies, getting as much “in the spirit” as I think I’m gonna be able… plus during the day I’ve been texting with Dad, Genesee, Bri, Squirtman, and Cassi… so even though I’ve not been feeling good enough to go out and do anything – at least I’m still keeping in touch with folks. (I’ll assume Amy’s lack of reply today is because she has a house full of boys that will be awaiting Santa’s services, which may also be taking up a good chunk of her time and energy. 😏 )

This is the first Christmas without Mom, and that’s sure full of suck… 😒 but I’m doing my best to focus on all the good memories from my childhood, when Mom and Dad made sure that Santa delivered quite the elaborate experience. 😌 Remembering the music, the big old complicated tree, the bubble lights, the angel tree-topper with the cotton all around the base, hanging up all of the ugly ornaments that I’d make – including an “ET” alien, obscene amounts of icicles, leaving out cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, leaving a letter for Santa and getting a reply the next day, the little boot that got filled with M&Ms, and opening presents such as a Knight Rider slot-car track, my first Atari 2600, a talking KITT car, a little programmable robot that made all kinds of racket, Dukes of Hazzard BarnBusters stunt set, etc…

(Crikey… 😯 don’t look at how much that stuff is actually going for now… it almost hurts. πŸ˜… )

Back then it was probably 50/50 “about the presents” for me – but now, of course, it’s all about the memories surrounding everything. 😌 I hope that all parents do their best to see that Santa gives their kids at least half as good of an experience as I had – cuz even at that, they’d still be happy. It’s strange how few years the “Santa” years really were, yet Christmas still retained that same feeling all through the years. And those relatively few “Santa” years still feel like they went on forever back then. 😌

Out Of The Loop Too Long

A while back I used to go to auctions a lot, but it’s been years now since I’ve been. But there was one older fella that was always at the local one that I’d go to with my girlfriend at the time, Kayla. We both liked buying the random boxes of junk that would go for only a few dollars, and he would always dig out any shampoo, makeup, or random girly stuff from the boxes that he’d win and give it to me and Kayla. 😏

I actually ended up running into him again somewhere after the local auction house closed… I wish I could remember where it was. πŸ€” But he invited me to come out some time to see all the stuff that he had for sale at his house, which was also a Christmas tree farm. He and his wife had an entire extra building outside their house, where he had the better of his auction winnings on display and for sale for anyone who came out for a tree. And obviously any time he invited someone out.

But watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special just now, and seeing them hunting for a tree, it made me think of him… and sadly it looks like he passed away a couple of years ago. I’d say it’s been about six years since I was last out to his place, and he had stowed away a bunch of Atari and Nintendo stuff for me, which he sold to me cheap, because he knew that was the kinda stuff I was usually looking for at the auctions. 😌 He was a great guy, just soft spoken and nice… it’s a shame I didn’t get to interact with him any more than I did. I didn’t even realize that he was formerly a local fireman… he just never spoke of it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But yeah, he was one of those people that you were glad to have met.

johnJohn BeckΒ  |Β  1943 – 2017

I think I’ll tell Mom to tell him that I said “Hi.” πŸ˜‡

More Nostalgia

I live in the past more than I probably should, but the past day or two have been nice… old memories being brought back to life as I texted back and forth with Dad last night. πŸ™‚ I can’t even remember how we got on the subject, but around my junior high years we moved to a house in the country – significantly different in almost every way from our former place, and of course with me going to a new school. 😳

Oh, I remember… we were talking about all of our various kitties over the years. And while living out on the hill, the strays apparently came with the house. 😏 But because they weren’t really pet pets, and I don’t say that to belittle their worth in any way, but between that and me being rather young – I had forgotten a lot about them. 😟 But once Dad mentioned their names, all these memories instantly popped back into my head. Weird how the brain can have stuff stored away that well, where you can’t even access it by just trying – but an outside influence can provide the key. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

But yeah, memories of the outside kitties, memories of the bus driver forgetting that a new kid now lived in that house – and therefore blowing past me as I stood in the dark, in the snow… πŸ˜„ I remember more about the bus rides and the time spent with my couple of good friends at that new school than I do about the time actually in school. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Moving was a pretty big deal, so it was nice to go back to the town where I originally started school eventually. But another pretty kewl memory… getting a portable little B/W TV one Christmas, that I could take in my bedroom to watch broadcast TV at night as I went to sleep. (Man… I’m old… lol) I’m not sure if I was supposed to be watching TV, but yeah…

Then I wake up today, start clicking around through YouTube on the TV, and they suggested a video from 8-Bit Guy about the new “The C64” full sized Commodore 64 replica / emulator with functional keyboard. πŸ˜ƒ My first computer was a VIC-20 that Dad and I got at Hamvention. I can’t remember how much it was, but I feel like it was pretty reasonable… a big box full of VIC shit along with the computer. πŸ€“ No disk drive yet, but then later on I upgraded along the Commodore path to the C64 with a 1541-II drive – as did my cousin – which lead to lots of “freeware” copying with him and friends. πŸ€«πŸ˜„

But of course since that was such a big part of my childhood, seeing this thing instantly made me want it. 🀀

Believe it or not, I had actually already ordered one from these folks years ago. They had a crowdfunding thing going on, but then they decided to produce The C64 Mini first due to the then-fad of “mini” game consoles being released. It was probably the right move, at least to fill their bank accounts, but it delayed the full sized version – so I requested and got a refund. πŸ˜• Since then I’ve gotten the Mini though, and now, years after it was due to come out, it looks like I’ll eventually be getting a full-sized version as well. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I can use the excuse that the audio and video lag on the full sized version is less than the Mini, so not only will it be nice to have the keyboard – but technically there is a performance improvement since they’ve optimized the emulator code. (Not to mention double the USB ports, which is a bigger deal than you’d think.)

Not sure why they didn’t go the FPGA route, but it looks good enough for me.

Catching Up

I’m going to try and practice my brevity with this entry… πŸ™„πŸ˜

Furnace repair job is done. First thing was the blower capacitor that absolutely needed replacement, the second thing a couple days ago was replacing the intake fan and motor. It was still working, but it was drawing too many amps for what it was rated at, plus you could actually see cracks and “forming damage” which would have been dumb to not have replaced as well. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜• Sounds different now, but runs as it should, has a little better output, so hopefully that gets me a few more years with it.

Since I didn’t do any Black Friday shopping, I actually decided to hit a few thrift stores. I bought a janky little radio / tape / CD / record player unit. I mean, it’s small and generic, and was probably crap even when it was new – but the record player part, the tone arm hadn’t even been un-twist-tied – so even though the other stuff looks in rough shape, I’m hoping the record player will work with my sound system just for Christmas vinyl playing this year. πŸŽ„πŸŽΆβ˜ƒοΈ

I also got a factory sealed, “damaged packaging” Kenmore microwave at half the price of retail. (They had a bunch of various models, probably from a pallet purchase) An almost imperceptible teeny dent on one edge, but my old one was struggling after years and years of use – so the $39.99 was worth the risk. ☒️😳 I should probably try to actually cook something in it today before I get too cocky though. 😏 But she looks nice sitting there with all of the lights and LCD stuff actually working.

New tires have been performing well. Not only do I not have to air them up once every week or so due to leakage, but I can also actually feel a difference in them when I drive on wet roads. I’m glad to have swapped them before the snow really gets here. πŸš—πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘πŸ» Took the car through the wash the other day so it would scrub off all the grease pen marks and tire mounting goo, so they’d look like normal tires as they should.

Gen got me a couple more security cameras for my birthday, so I’ve been moving them all around a bit, getting nearly complete coverage of my outside property – and indoor coverage in all the places where boogers might try to sneak in. πŸ“Ή (And no, they aren’t Ring cameras) I don’t really worry about break-ins or even package theft, but at least the lawn guys and Amazon people won’t be able to sneak up on me, eh?

So all of that stuff above has helped reduce some of my stress, so on days like this I can just chill and not be dwelling on everything. Tomorrow gets busy again though. Gonna go see Dad for a short visit, then my doctor appointment – followed by a “fingers crossed” (as always) trip to the pharmacy, along with a few other misc things depending on how “up to it” I’m feeling.

I’m also anticipating getting mail from the Industrial Commission before the weekend with my hearing date, but I’ve not been dwelling on that either. Once I get the time and date, then I will sit and put the finishing touches on my argument / case – should I even be asked any questions or offered the chance to speak. πŸ™„πŸ˜’ And speaking of mail, I finally have my drill, my bits, and all the appropriate pieces of wood, screws, washers, nuts, etc – that I should be able to swap the mailbox this weekend. πŸ˜„Β (Y’all need to understand my fear of how much pain this could cause, should it not go as easily as I hope.)

Okay… I know that’s a lot of paragraphs for allegedly trying to be concise, but I really did write this differently than I normally would – trying to leave out smaller details and avoiding elaborating… because all those things could have had way more detail or “story” to them. πŸ€“ Plus, this covers like two or three weeks worth of crap. Weather is still causing havoc with my joints, despite avoiding as much movement in the gimped areas as possible. πŸ˜’ Still annoyed by that every day, but also still reminding myself that a lot of folks have it a lot worse than me, so I try to keep the self-pity to a minimum.

Phones: Everything’s Easier

Speaking of the holidays… over the past couple of days I’ve been trying to get my phone loaded up with all of our familiar family Christmas songs. Most of them are everyone else’s family songs as well, sung by old favorites, and those are pretty easily found on Spotify. πŸ˜‹πŸŽ„πŸŽΆ So I just pick the ones that I want and add them to a playlist. The good cheezy 70s sounding ones though, the ones on obscure albums or even records that Firestone and Goodyear would give away each year… those are a bit more difficult to come by.

Terry Baxter and His Orchestra… I had to go on Amazon a few years ago and buy one particular album in MP3 format, which I now have to actually copy over to my phone – rather than just streaming them like the others on Spotify. And it’s funny, there are a few albums that were released under that artist’s name – but upon googling to find out what he looked like, or just more about him in general… it turns out that it was likely just a name that the record company put on albums of similar sound, when they were really just performed by a house band or even different folks. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

(In the upper right corner of this video you can select from 42 songs in the playlist for this album.)

Doesn’t make any difference to me… but still, that’s an interesting thing to find out about 40 years later. But now I’ve got all the happy ones, some sad ones, 8-bit / chiptune Christmas covers, and even a few from the South Park / Mr Hankey Christmas episode ready to go. πŸ˜‹ I’m doing all this now, while I’m in a decent mood, because I wanna try a little harder this year to not let the whole season just blow by me. For various reasons over the past several years, the “holiday mood” has been harder to come by – but being able to play these songs as I fart around the house or drive in town for food or whatever… it’ll help.

I still need to find a good version of “Christmas Chimes are Calling” from one of my favorite specials:

Now I have to look in the basement at some point and see if I still have a tree. πŸ€”πŸ§