Preparation

Yesterday was a strange day. 😐 I feel good, having completed a bunch of stuff that I felt neededΒ completing, but the nature of the stuff left me feeling a little uneasy – and definitely unable to fall asleep at a normal hour. πŸ˜• Despite that, I managed to have some awesome dreams. Awesome enough to have actually woken me up every hour or so – but of course I can’t remember a single detail at the moment. 😠 I’m just lucky that they weren’t about the topic at hand yesterday.

Of course I expect my upcoming surgery to go fine, but being the type of person that I am I’ve gone into “prepare” mode – just in case it doesn’t. 😳 As part of that preparation process, I spent a good amount of time typing out letters to my cousin Jim and my ex-wife Genesee, as they would be the ones handling everything in the event that things need to be handled. Those letters are just my way of easing them into the process. (Since I was the executor for my aunt, I learned a few tips and tricks.)

They won’t even get those letters unless the situation calls for it, so that allowed me to be a little more free with what I said… but for the most part it was just explaining my will, explaining my wishes when it came to my personal belongings, explaining a good deal about how the process will go, and what they will need to do to keep things moving along, hopefully without too many hiccups and at a reasonable pace. 😎 It’s a lot to ask of someone, so I also made sure that my appreciation was made super clear.

But between the several pages that I wrote for Mongo, and then the three pages that I wrote for Gen… I was just doing a whole lot of thinking about a topic that nobody wants to have to think about. It wasn’t all bad… in fact, a lot of the thinking that I did was about good memories, good times, good things with family and friends, etc. 😊 Oh, and I’m up to 19 separate audio recordings when it comes to the little archive of messages that I’m recording for people to have and listen to after I’m gone… which, like I said, I don’t anticipate happening for a good long while. πŸ™‚ I’m actually really enjoying doing that.

Don’t take this the wrong way. 🀨 All of this preparation is just being done out of necessity, and it’s something that any responsible person would want to do before a major surgery. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ It can just really mess with your head when you end up dwelling on the topic for too long. I’m still good though, and I know everyone that loves me has my back. 😏 I’m still optimistic about this surgery, I’m gonna get through it, and then whatever is next is next. One step at a time.

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The Calm

Tomorrow (if I stick to my current self-imposed schedule)Β is shaping up to be a doctor/test heavy day, so I spent today in a way where I mostly didn’t have to think or talk about all of that. Nothing out of the ordinary… saw a couple of friends, went to a couple of thrift stores, grabbed some food… keeping myself distracted with the good-yet-mundane. 😏

Since the holiday weekend is coming to an end tonight, I can no longer put off dealing with the stack of mail and bills from the past week and a half. πŸ˜’ I’m sure you can understand my logic… didn’t do it FridayΒ ‘cuz it was almost the weekend, didn’t do it Saturday since banking stuff wouldn’t go through on a Sunday, and didn’t do it on Sunday because today is Labor Day. 😁 I’m all out of procrastinator tricks, so here I am at the laptop. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Oh, and the thrift… I actually picked up a few things. πŸ™‚ There’s an obscure-ish British comedy show that I like called The Mighty Boosh, and I actually found a big ol’ hardback book that focuses on it. I can’t even imagine how or why it even got created, but yay me. πŸ™ŒπŸ» The second thing was a Roland EP-3 digital piano. (Because four keyboards in the house just wasn’t enough… heh) I haven’t tested it yet, but it looks solid, and was only $9.99. 😯 How could I not, eh? The third thing is actually pretty silly, but also not…

When I was a baby, one of my relatives (I believe it was my Uncle (?) Frank) got me a stuffed panda bear as a gift. I kept that thing with me when I slept for years… long enough that I have actual memories of it and not just from photos – not to mention that I still have the well-worn, one-eye-less guy still sitting in a box here in my house as evidence. πŸ˜…

Here’s where the silly comes in. Walking past the toys and stuffed things, I caught a panda bear in my peripheral vision – and when I actually looked over at it, I immediately thought about my own old bear, the family back then, not to mention all of the aforementioned pictures that I’ve seen of me and that bear. πŸ™„πŸΌ Heh… and at that point, my bear and that bear were suddenly, unintentionally, and officially connected through all of the feels that I was having at that moment – so I had to get him. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜„

He’s obviously quite a bit healthier looking than my well-loved teddy, so it won’t creep me out if I put him on my “no explanation” bookshelf of crap in the bedroom, which is probably what I’ll end up doing. I texted Genesee about it, so I could sort of laugh at myself as she laughed with me, and ponder over what unknown history that bear has… and explained to her why I couldn’t leave him there on the shelf with the rest of the low-rent stuffies. 😏

Silly, but not…

Kleeko

I made a lowball online auction bid the other day for a Colecovision system, Atari adapter, several joysticks, and about 60 games with instructions. Never thought that I’d actually win it at the price that I bid, but I did, so yesterday I drove up to Pataskala to pick it all up. πŸ™‚ I was worried I’d have to park a block away due to the small driveway being clogged with picker-uppers like me, but when we got there it was pull in, walk about 20 feet to pay the d00d, grab the goods, and then bounce. 😎 I paid around $25 for it all, and according to recently sold item checks on eBay, it’s easily worth 3x that price parted out. My first “score” in a long, long time.

Before heading up for all that I swung by and picked up Dad. Neither of us had been over towards Millersport (where I grew up) or Buckeye Lake recently, so we kind of did the fifty cent tour of the key spots after grabbing the auction goods. It’s hard to imagine that it’s been nearly 40 years since we originally moved there, with the town now being a 50/50 mix of “familiar” and “different.” 🀨 The first house we lived in looks like it’s been updated and well kept over the years, while the second house we lived in… heh… let’s just say it’s a real shame what’s been done to it, and that I’m surprised that the town’s powers-that-be haven’t had a word with whoever owns and maintains it. πŸ˜’

The drive around Buckeye Lake and Leib’s Island was more about checking out the damage done by all of the new dam work around the north shore, and whatever the hell they’re doing in the formerly peaceful bits at the entrance to the island. 😠 You can tell that once it’s done it’s probably going to be fine, not counting a few folks who used to have lakefront property who no longer do… but yeah, it looks like a giant clusterfuck at the moment, and you can’t help but feel bad for the folks that have been putting up with all the construction and mess for the past couple of years.

But the tour was a good test of our brains… trying to remember the names of all of the people who lived or worked in this house or that business as we drove down each street. I think we both had at least sparks of memories that we probably haven’t thought of for several decades. πŸ˜… It’s just weird that I’m actually old enough for so many things or buildings to have been thought of, built, used, updated, and razed to the ground… like the truck stop that Mom worked at for a while, where I used to play Star Castle and Spiders in the arcade there. 😁 At least the pizza shop is still in Millersport, where I used to play to get the weekly high scores on Pleiades and Donkey Kong Jr to win a free pizza now and then.

Meandering Thoughts

I’ve been anxiously waiting for the weekend to get here. 😐 While technically the day of the week doesn’t matter too much when it comes to my life, right now I’m using these “weekend” days as a crutch for my struggles of the moment. 😟 I’ve had a string of challenging days which have gotten progressively worse, mostly because I’m dwelling on a few things that I’m incapable of doing at the moment. Things that other people are somewhat countingΒ on me to be able to do. 😬 No matter what it might be, I hate when I can’t be “reliably reliable” for my friends or family… so while I do continue to work on myself, I really needed this weekend so I could chill and tell myselfΒ “Just take it easy on yourself for a couple of days. It’s the weekend.”

Even having said that, it’s only partially effective, so my brain took it upon itself to engage in other distractions. Twitter is always a “go to” place for relatively irrelevant engagement. It seems most of the world goes there to loudly and/or angrily broadcast their opinions (often barely grounded in facts, if at all) and I usually end up trying to educate the exceedingly ignorant, insulting, and condescending of the lot. I know the odds are slim that I’d ever get any of them to think beyond their narrow view of reality… but like I said, it’s more distraction than crusade. (Plus it lets me act like an asshole to those that deserve it. Everyone needs that outlet sometimesπŸ€”)

Lots of discussions about gun control and the Parkland kids, talk about the recent military engagement in Syria and the potential consequences… πŸ€“ but then somehow I got diverted towards more random/fun Twitter and Google searches. I think it started with things about Atlantic City, since I’m considering a trip there sometime this year, but then I ended up looking through local auction listings – which switched my brain over to straight nostalgia mode. 😊

One of the first things that I came across (which was weird, since I was just wondering about it a few days ago) was a vintage “Poosh-M-Up” pinball-ish type game… one that my Dad had when he lived here at this house. πŸ€— It’s funny, one of those things where my memory of the game and the location are inseparable. I’m assuming my grandparents originally bought it for him, but then I ended up playing with it once I was old enough. πŸ‘¦πŸ» But yeah, such a random thing to accidentally come across… and there’s actually quite a few varieties of this game, and I plan on reading about the history of them all. πŸ™‚ I never considered there’d be a bunch of ’em out there like this.

This local auction though, it has several items that I’m kinda interested in. 😯 That pinball game, old Atari game consoles and computers, other misc old toys of my era… and even though it’s in Mt Vernon, that actually motivates me to go a little more – since it’s a sleepy little town and there might not be many people that show up to outbid me. 😁 So after looking up that stuff on eBay, it made me think of other old games that I had when I was a kid, so of course I started looking up some of those things as well. I know that I always threaten to do an entire blog entry devoted to pricing toys from my personal childhood, but I really think that I’m gonna do that later tonight if my brain remains in its current happy place. πŸ˜‹

I’mma Ramble For A Min

I don’t know if I’m going to have to deal with that nonsense every thirty days, but at least yesterday I was finally able to get the situation resolved. πŸ˜’ Everything ended up getting approved and paid for (after I got a refund for what I paid the day before) by the workers comp insurance. Everyone that I spoke to on the phone was super nice and helpful, which was almost disappointing – since I was really needing to shout at some people by that point. 😐 But yeah, it’s all settled for this month…

Now I’m sitting here in the house, living room floor covered with cat hair, wondering when my new vacuum cleaner is finally going to ship from Amazon. 🀨 I got it as part of a Black Friday / Cyber Monday/Week sale, but it wasn’t in stock at the moment and was advertised that it would ship in about a week. (It’s been about a week.) Meh… at least I don’t have any company coming over to see my furry carpet. πŸ™„

Outside, nothing has changed. It’s cold now, so stuff has stopped growing, but I never did get around to hiring someone to trim back all the hedges and other shit around the yard. πŸ™ It doesn’t look that bad, but it stays in the back of my mind that it needs tended to. πŸ˜’ That’ll probably be a “spring thing” to deal with before the lawn even requires mowing for the first time.

This house. I really don’t know what I want to do about it. It’s way too much house for one person, but it’s never been lived in by anyone other than a Batina. Grandparents, Dad, Aunt C, and now me. 😳 Lots of memories here, both good and bad… and it will/would be hard to not feel a little bit guilty about selling it and moving somewhere else. 😟 It shouldn’t be that way, but you know me – and how much memories / history / nostalgia / etc plays into my life. Plus, it’s the last thing that acts as “established Batina history/presence” and man would it feel weird to not have it around anymore to keep me feeling connected to my past. Hard to explain… but anyway…

Thankfully, now that I have all of my required meds in my system I’m feeling pretty good. Neck is still feeling more funky than it has in a long time, but I’m trying not to complain. I’m still waiting to see if the MRI is approved… and I’m hoping that if it’s not, that maybe I can use my Medicare insurance to cover most of it. Because I’m not doing it just to do it… something feels different, not good, and it’s making me a bit anxious. 😬 It’s been a decade since my cervical fusion surgery, so I don’t think it’s that far fetched to think that things may have changed in there since then.

Didn’t Know I’d Want It

Clicking around on YouTube, somehow I ended up finding a video of a couple of kids reviewing video games… but these kids just happened to be doing so in 1991 at the Bally’s Aladdin’s Castle in Atlantic City. 😯 I’d have liked to have seen the even older arcade though, because it’s the one of which I have the most memory. It was actually built into the front of Bally’s Park Place casino and looked out onto the boardwalk and ocean. πŸ™‚ Right next to the little art gallery shop where they had sculptures made of garbage on display.

That, of course, caused me to click around a bit longer… trying yet again to find pictures of any of those casino arcades from the mid-80s, but just like usual – I came up empty, other than a few random posts in dusty corners of the web, where people were requesting the same sort of photos that I’m looking for. 😟 And like one of those folks said, “It never occurred to me that I should take pictures of the boring old arcade that I went to every weekend.” And that way of thinking makes sense. πŸ€” Something that doesn’t seem like a big deal to you at the time…Β you’re unlikely to bother making a visual record of it, because your brain isn’t thinking ahead to consider that you (or anyone else) might one day wish that you could look back at that stuff from the future.

That refreshed my memory and added a little more spark to my current level of photographic motivation. When I got my 3D camera, I considered going around town and just taking random pictures of anything and everything… providing a 3D snapshot of Lancaster from “a couple of days back in 2014” or whenever, for people to look at in awe decades from now. πŸ˜ƒ But of course I never did it. 😏 Shit, even now there’s a couple local Facebook groups where people make a hobby of finding “vintage” pics of the city, the buildings, the stores, the people, and sharing them with everyone – which ends up getting them 100s of likes and shares.

I’m not worried about the popularity of any shots that I might take now, I’m just using that as an example of how photos that I take now may be looked back on in amazement several decades from now – especially if I compose shots that people haven’t thought of already taking. πŸ€“πŸ“· I’m just not sure if I’d be better off taking “normal” shots with my high megapixel dSLR, or if I should use the 3D or 360Β° cameras just to make them more unique. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I realize that it’ll be much, much easier for future generations to find digital photos from the current age – so if I want them to mean something or to get a special look in the future, I’ll have to figure out what tricks I wanna use. Whether by using an unusual type of camera, or by just giving extra thought to the location and composure of the shots themselves.

This is making my evening fun though… just running all of these things through my head, even when there’s probably only a 10% chance of me actually doing any of it. My brain hasn’t really cared to think about anything photo-wise for many months now, so it’s nice just to have a little bit of “that feeling” again. I’ll have to grab one of my notebooks here in a minute and start jotting down some ideas before it all starts to dissipate.

This Used To Be My Playground

I had to go in town earlier to work on some annuity claim paperwork that Dad needs, then after I left the bank I went and hosed off the car. Rather than heading straight back home, I decided to ride around town for a minute… something that I actually haven’t done for a while now.

I’m noticing more than ever that this town feels like a different place to me now. I think it’s because I’ve seen too much of the negative of Lancaster, not only through various groups on Facebook but in person as well. The Lancaster of 2017 is nothing like the Lancaster from when I was a kid. (said every old person ever)Β  The difference here is that the younger generations see that the town is turning to shit as well, so it’s not just my nostalgic brain playing tricks on me.

It really wasn’t even that long ago that the town still felt like it was mine. I doubt that there’s a road in this town that hasn’t been touched by my cousin Jim and I on our bikes back in the day. Then once we learned to drive, it was “fox hunting” on the CB… which took us to the edges of town and onward. Everything about this city was familiar to us, and that feeling lasted a long time…

But now, the memories don’t immediately pop up anymore. I could probably sit here and give you a memory for any street that you’d care to name, but when I’m out driving on those same roads now… that’s all they are, just roads. Just roads in a crappy, poor, crumbling, drug-addicted town. Nothing about it feels familiar. I think I’ll try harder to get the feeling back though, at least in part, before time wins and erases it all.