Sunday, November 30, 2008


Life is blessed, for sure, when one finds love, his soul mate, his joy, his laughter, his partner, his commiserator, his dinner date, his morningstar, his shared mind. Two minds as one. It is very nice.

Beautiful green-blue-gray eyes offset by sooty black lashes, full womanly figure, soft rose petal lips. It is very nice. Soft hands, delicate little fingers, pretty, dainty feet. It is very nice.

Whenever I hear this song (and God damn! it was impossible to find the actual Van Morrison recording!) I think of her. Schmaltzy wedding song? Maybe. But, to me, it resonates, and I listen to it over and over again when I am feeling blue.


Point number two: when I was driving home from my morning meeting, I saw no less than five cops doing their civic duty: meeting those quotas. Caveat driverus: driver beware.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Though this picture casts the boys in a warm golden light, perhaps intimating at their cherubic souls, they are assuredly not always angels. Oliver likes to void both his bowels and his bladder on the basement floor, sometimes, and Lou is a lick-aholic and he also barks too loudly and too often, sometimes.

Oliver is a canine Eddie Haskell: all sweet and wonderful to the adults, but when they're not looking, he gets into more than his fair share of mischief, including but not limited to: the aforementioned penchant to use the bowels of the house as a toilet, the humping of Meegie's daughter's leg (the humping of my sister's arm), overeating, chewing up baseball hats, toothing the fluffy door draft-stopper (not quite chewing it, tearing it to pieces, but close enough), the penchant for always fucking up the window dressings with his fat little head (the better to see and bay at the passers-by), and more things that I can't really remember. I love the little guy, though. He's got Personality Plus! I love the little fella though, in this shot, he scarily reminds me of Vice President Dick Cheney. Yikes.

Lou is golden. He is, by far, my favorite. Though he, too, has been pissing me off, of late. (Not too much, though; my love for them renders me a softie, a push-over, when they be bad.) He's gotten into the habit of rearing up on his hind legs and slapping his front paws on the kitchen counter, the better to sniff and rip at all the food that may be up there, don'tcha know.

I got back from work today, and Meegie said to me, "They left a surprise for you in the living room."

Removing my work boots, I slanted my head towards her and asked, "Is it poop or piss or is it Destruction?"

"Destruction," she answered. "Time to cage 'em, Adam."

I sighed. She was right. I had tried to be benevolent to my boys, leaving them out in the house, lately, but, she was right. Back to the basement for them, where they can enjoy a nice ten-by-eight cage...and food...and toys. In my mind, images of torn-up couch cushions and blasted pillows danced.

I walked into the living room. It wasn't that bad. (Adam the Enabler.) They'd just gotten into the garbage and torn/strewn the Gravy Train bag and a couple of paper plates on the carpet. Easy to clean up and no lasting damage. But. But! It is still unacceptable. When I leave them by their lonesomes, I expect/desire/long for them to be Doggie Statues: no poop, no piss, no garbage-raiding, no hat-chewing, no rug-rearranging, no baddy doggy behavior.

Pipe-dream? Yes. Never to be acquired? Yes. Do I care? No. They have blessed my life in innumerable ways, Louie especially. You should learn to take the bad with the good. It's the only way to maintain sanity. Fuck it. I don't really care, for the most part. If they get all bowel-y on precious items (or the carpet) then I might get angry. As it stands right now, their house privliges have been revoked. They'll basement-sit. I still love them, though.

They're just living too high on the hog right now. They have to be brought back to earth. I can't even begin to imagine why this started to happen. I thought that, for the most part, I ruled Casa Adam with a fist made of iron. I guess I overrated my Alpha Male status.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The first couple of weeks after my Dad died, I ensconced myself in Cocoon Adam, going to work, turning down overtime, coming home and basically whiling away time by playing video games and petting the dogs. I was left a message on Memorial Day, but I chose not to call back and go in, jettisoning, as it were, the triple-time to some other lucky sap. Every day after that--literally--I had the opportunity to stay over at work and collect some much-needed (NEEDED) money. But, I stuck to my (lazy?) guns and passed on the (often) easy money.

Yesterday, the call came over the radio, as Adena and I were driving back to the yard, and Steve said, "Adena, we need a GLW and a TMO to go to downtown Royal Oak for a broken two-inch. The contractors were boring for a new line and when they pulled it back, apparently, it caught the main at the coupling and snapped it."

Adena had something planned with her son, but the option was still there for me to go out, with a different GLW, and work on the main break. "Come on," she said to me with her years-of-smoking gravel-rattle, "you've been bitching about not having money; here's your chance."

I still wasn't convinced, though, as I pulled the 44--think, "big truck"--into the parking lot, that I was going to go out and earn some extra money. Once I get into a pattern--it doesn't matter what--it seems to me that I have a very hard time getting out of said pattern. I don't easily "break the cycle."

Fuggit, I said to myself as I walked into headquarters, I need the money, Meagan or Mom can maybe let the boys out, and did I mention that I need the money? Sack up, my lazy A-Bomb, and get your ass out there. Pep-talk completed, I told Steve that, yes, I would be happy to go out, and I waited as he searched for a GLW to take the job.

Gas Lines Worker (GLW) Rod said that he'd take the job and Emilio, a TMO like me, also went out there. Ten hours later, we were done. Ten hours. It seems like a long time, and it was. First, there was the assessment of the situation--GLW and supervisor both with their ideas of how it should be done--and then there was the waiting for the needed parts and the careful digging 'round fiber optic cables and electric lines...but, still, ten hours was a long time. But, for me, it was needed. Never mind the money, though it is good: eight hours of time-and-a-half and two-and-a-half hours of double time and two twenty-dollar meal tickets? I'll take it! No, what was good for me was that, over the course of the eighteen-and-a-half hour day, I realized that this is exactly what I need.

I don't think about my Dad a lot, at least not consciously. I feel the memories of him congregating in the back of my skull--not quite babbling/bubbling to the surface--but they never really enter my daily thought processes. I realized something yesterday, and today, and, I reckon, the days before yesterday: I am really starting to miss my father. I miss the solidity of him. I miss hearing his voice and seeing the twinkles in his eyes. I have pretty much successfully scoured from my mind (repressed) the last few weeks of his life, and, though I know that they're in there, somewhere, I am quite happy in not wallowing in my loss. This happens, I tell myself. It is a part of life. Life is cyclical. Cherish your memories of him as a healthy man/father/husband and reiterate to yourself that, in death, most things are not celluoid romanticism. Death is messy. But (good) memories are forever.

And that cognizance helps me, I think. But I am human. And my mind is sometimes out of my control. Though I want to purge the grief, I think that said grief feels that it is just fine and dandy where it is. Hovering somewhere around my hypothalamus. LOL

Repression as a defense mechanism. Shit.

So, I've found work helps. It is far better to be outside, dealing with the transmission of fossil fuels (?) than to be at home, desultorily blowing shit (and people) up in Grand Theft Auto IV on the Xbox 360.

Dad was always a hard worker; it might make him smile from above to see me busting my ass for the greenbacks. (I said yes to an eight-hour shift on Saturday, too. Eight more hours of time-and-a-half: bring it.) (Oh, and I am also on-call this weekend. Sweet. It is nice when you like your job. I like the adrenaline and I like the sneaky toxicity and I like the physical work and I like the money and the comraderie...sweet! =o) I like my job!)


Today I stopped at my Mom's house (not "the parents' house," anymore) and I got some vegetarian stuffed peppers that she made--"They may smell a little gross, Adam, but it's just because of the soy product"--and, after I smelled the peppers (they smelled just fine and delicious, my worrying Mommy) I grabbed up the Detroit Free Press from Sunday, the paper in which my Dad's obituary was printed. My mom slid the peppers into a little bag and she placed the newspaper and one of my Dad's Grateful Dead T-shirts into another bag and I went back outside and climbed up into the 44 and flashed the rotating lights at my mom as she stood in the front doorway, waving good-bye, a practice that I poo-poo but secretly love.

An hour later, I was at home. My darling Meegie was over--I had texted her to, if she could, let the dogs out because I didn't know how long I'd be on the leak today (it was not a difficult one to fix)--and she asked if the paper held the obituary and I said yes, and she opened up the paper to the Death Notices and she read it at the kitchen counter and she sighed and said, "Oh-hhhh." Kind of a sad, plaintive, reassuring, this-is-my-sweetheart's-Daddy's-obituary kind of utterance. We adjourned to the living room and I opened the paper to the Obituaries.

No. He didn't belong there. No. That isn't quite right. I knew that, physically, he is gone. No more will I hear my Dad clear his throat. No more will I see him lounging in his chair. No more will I feel the bony bulk of his body as I envelop him in a hug. I won't ever again feel the scrubby tickle of his beard as I kiss him on the cheek.

I just mean to say that he didn't belong there, amongst the "Death Notices," because, dammit, he is my father. He's all mixed in with the Raus and the Masalins and the Vandenbroucks and the Wilsons and the Essians and the Kourys and the Blooms. And all the pictures, all the dead people, smiling out at the reader...well, wait. One of the deceased, Ginny Draw, she looks like she knew what was coming. White-haired and beady-eyed, our Sweet Virginia looks out of the newsprint, 'neath low-cast eyebrows, and her countenance seems to say, "Whatchu looking at, Buster? You should have seen me fifty years ago. I was a firecracker!"

And then there is Dad. He is in the lower lefthand corner of 6B. My mother and my sisters and I chose his picture well. It captures Robert Raymond. In it, my dad is standing before a big body of water (Lake Superior? Lake Michigan?) and his head is tilted at a playful angle. (He was always playful.) His full white beard offsets his jaunty safari hat and his eyes, I am sure, are twinkling bright behind his shades. This is Bobby B.

Intellectually, I know he does, but--dammit--emotionally, I fail to see how he fits with the guy with the glasses, the Polish woman, the Kilroy-rhyme-dude. They're all gone, and their families are sad. They died. They bought the farm. They kicked it. Their breaths were eliminated., exactly, does my Daddy fit into this oh-so exclusive club?

Obituaries. I don't mean to knock them or the black-and-whites who make up the community, but it makes me sad, somehow, to see my Daddy lumped in with the rest of the bunch. And, of course, I know why. Obviously, it is because I have so many memories of and love for my father and the rest of the bunch are strangers. I wonder.... No, I'm just wondering through my fingertips. I wonder, though, if one can buy a full page--no other black-and-whites floating about--just a full page in the newspaper for a loved one. You think? I know, I'd be dear. It'd be expensive. But, just wondering. If my Mom dies--or my sisters?!--I'm buying a whole page for them, money be damned. I'll just take the funeral costs--I assume everyone is going the Blowtorch Way--and I'll invest it into the crinkly shrine of newsprint.

Balls. I hate this shit. I can't even really believe he is gone. It really has not sunk in. I swim the river of Denial. Emotionally, that is. My prickish intellectual brain is far past the fact. It says, "We live and then we die." No shit? Shit. We are expendable, all of us. We need to make way for the next influx of squinty-eyed, shit-dropping, tear-spouting babies. What?! Who the fuck are they?!

All this to say: I am getting back to Life, but I miss my Daddy dearly.

Peace. Rest, Dad. Enjoy the heavenly party, man. We're all right down here. God! I love the guy. He was/is a special part of my Life. Kudos, Daddy. You did good. Though you never pronounced "antenna" right. ;-)


One last thing, ladies: Have you ever tried the cucumbers-on-the-eyes-trick to rid yourself of bags and worrisome wrinkles and shit? Have ye? If you have, lemme know if it works. I am sick and tired of looking sick and tired. I want my peepers back! =o)
Postscript: I just realized: my Dad died on November 2nd, the Mexican Day of the Dead. Do you think? On some level? He played a final prank? I'd love to believe that. That was Dad. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I absolutely love it when this happens: I awake to the jangling alarm clock in the living room and think to myself, Shit, time to go to work. Can't I get just ten more minutes of sleep?

I get out of bed and walk into the living room, ready to let the boys out and make myself a lunch and motorvate to work, and then I realize--Saturday.


Hoodwinking the Sleepy Adam is easy, but that moment of non-working euphoria is worth it.

Happy Saturday, y'all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Happy Veterans' Day, everybody. I don't know if the salutation "happy" is appropriate, given that the day is meant to honor those who have served and/or died for our country, but, hell, I am happy, so there's that, at least.

I missed a call this morning from work, calling to get a crew to come in and work on some omnipresent snafu. It would have been nice to go in to work, getting called in on a holiday. I don't want to even do the math...triple-time plus a call-in, plus a meal ticket...something like that. I missed it, though, and that's fine. Though I am in severe need of extra cash (I was paid 90% during my time off, but, of course, no overtime and no on-call money), today I need to be a father to my furry mute chilluns.

They are scratching incessantly and their shots are overdue. Also, and this pained me to see, Lou has a problem with his rear left paw. Yesterday he was lying on the couch, kind of gnawing at his foot and, eventually, I went over to him and pulled his paw out of his mouth. Without really examining the situation, I ran my hand over his nails and was surprised when he yelped in pain and shot his mouth towards my hand. What the fuck, Louie? I was a bit taken aback. I hadn't done anything rough with his paw, but the yelp was one of pure unadulterated pain and his jaw-snap towards my hand concerned me, as well. I took his paw tenderly in my hand and stroked his neck and had a looky-see. Lou had that "I'm-sorry-Adam" look on his face and his ears were back like they are when he is embarrassed and his tail was thumping softly against the cushion. The kid lost a claw, somehow. His "pinky" nail on his left rear paw is gone, leaving nothing but an empty socket and, assuredly, a whole hell of a lot of pain when it's fucked with. How'd it happen? I have no clue. It looks like a clean excavation, almost as if it (the claw) were secured in channel lock, or something, and unceremoniously jerked out of its bed.

It hurts me to write that. Ouch.

Lou is getting along fine, only slightly favoring his rear leg, but, luckily, I was able to procure a 3:00 appointment at the veteranarian's office. I'll take him (and the completely obnoxious Oliver) to the vet's and try to kill three birds with one stone: shots, anti-itching, and I'll see what I have to do to take care of Lou's paw.

It sucks to miss triple-time (but I was sleeping at 6:45 when the call came in) but I have to take care of my boys. I have been slacking in their basic care; I need to make amends.

Anyway, enjoy your Tuesday. And come on Inauguration Day! Please! Let's start over!


Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Dear Dad,

Tonight we had the kids and our significant others and mom and Aunt JoAnne and Uncle Jim and Uncle Al over and we gathered around the table and had pizza and looked at pictures of you and remembered your spirit globe-trottings and political volunteerism and we hoped and prayed that you were in a better place. And--and I weep as I write this--I am sure you are. It was so damned tough at the end for you and for us and I, though I cried when I heard that you passed on to the other side at 5:25 on Sunday morning, I also cried tears of joy because I knew that your suffering was now done. You were in a better place and free to talk with your brother and your mother and any other friends and family members who beat you to the other side.

But, Dad! I wish you could have experienced tonight's political events. I wish you could have held on, sound of mind, though perhaps unsound of body, to have seen Barack Obama become the first African-American president-elect. God, it makes my soul glad to see that, maybe for once, we as a nation can overlook insignificant things such as race and creed and, for once, come together to vote for the better man. We stuck it to the system. We turned out and voted and the better man won.

I wish you could have seen it.

Learn to change; why can't we do it?

Dad, I hope that you're looking down and smiling, man. It is surely a sight to see. I love you, Dad.