Sunday, July 30, 2006


I ache for the touch of a woman.
The brush of a hard nipple - a soft breast.
The touch of fingers slowly inching up the inside of a thigh.
I ache for liquid surrender last felt too long ago.
How long?
What is a kiss like? Can't remember.
Something about losing oneself, soft lip, wet tongue,
Hand behind the head - pressing.
Something missing,
Something wrong.
Breath - that's it. Forgot to breathe.
That's a kiss.
Sleeping spoons.
Hand encircles breast.
All is soft, worn, wrung passion limp.
I ache for this.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"What Is It Like?"

I had lunch today with a couple of friends. We talked of many things…for guys. We even talked of feelings, but only at the end, when it was safe because we knew that we would have to go our separate ways and therefore, not have to delve too deeply. These are good guys. They care. They really want to know what it is like to go through what I have been through. “What is it like?” they ask.

What is it like to learn that you have an incurable and fatal disease when you are forty-five with two children under the age of five? What is it like to hear from your lover’s lips that she may have an incurable and much more fatal disease the night you return from a two-week European trip, jetlagged to the max, longing only to sink into endless sleep in your own bed after being on the road for so long? What is it like to walk, ghostlike, through your daily existence, hearing folks complain endlessly about trivial, mindless, inequities, inconveniences, personality conflicts – parking tickets, ego slights, unfortunate working conditions – when you carry the weight of the world, wondering if your children will remember you when you are gone. What is it like to hold your love’s hand as she breathes her last breath and leaves you with all of the responsibility?

Lonely is what it is like.

“How do you do it?” I am asked.

“What choice have I?” I think to myself.

This is not really a matter of choice. I would have chosen none of it, but that is not an option. The choice is what you will have for breakfast; what will fill your morning, your afternoon, your evening. When will you take the little pills that assure sleep through the dark hours? These are the choices.

I have been told that what I have done over the last several years has been admirable, good, and even wise. I don’t feel admirable, good, or wise. I feel like a man without a lot of options who did what had to be done to get through the day. I did what I could and depending on your point of view, it was admirable, good, and wise – or maybe just painting by numbers. In any event, I could not, and will not, be able to change the big picture. The world spins round regardless of what I do every day. Life begins, and ends, without consulting me. My sphere of influence is much smaller.

I can directly influence my dog, my children, and myself (in order of ascending difficulty). Not much else – unless you count those thistles I summarily executed. Even here, in this little world defined by the walls of our house, it could be argued that my influence is weak. The children after all, are arrows that have already left the bow. What can the archer do but wait to see if they hit the mark, and even that may not be available to me. I control only by deferment, by intimidation, and by control of the checkbook, which is not to undermine the importance of the latter, for it appears that my offspring have a weakness for money and what they think it can buy.

When asked at lunch about all of this, I said that I suppose I could look upon it and think, “What a streak of rotten luck.” But then, I could also look at our lives and say, “What an unbelievable deliverance of good fortune,” for I live a life of richness that ninety-nine percent of the inhabitants of this world will never know. I have two beautiful, gifted, and talented children who will go out into the world bearing the fruits of this bountiful and rewarding inheritance that C and I were able to give them. We are surrounded by caring and supportive family and friends who truly care about us and who will do whatever is within their power to help us along. We are truly blessed.

So, how do I answer the question of “What is it like?”

I don’t know. I only know that when I wake up in the morning, I think about what to have for breakfast.


Friday, July 14, 2006


I think the loneliness is the hardest part, especially at night. The kids have not been around much. Both were away for a week earlier this month and now J has been gone all this week. K might as well be gone – I don’t see her much.

People have said, “Stay busy, don’t sit around alone, and don’t drink too much.” Good advice, but not very practical. Folks were very good about coming over and helping with meals just before, and just after C died, but that has stopped and I am fine with that. One can only take so much of that intensity.

But what does one do after that? Living in the woods has many fine qualities, but being able to step out one’s door and walk the streets looking at life happening is not one of them. I have been stopping in to C’s old restaurant a couple of times a week to sit at the bar and have a glass of good red wine and perhaps a sandwich or salad, and that is nice, but still a pretty solitary thing.

I don’t know what I am looking for. Perhaps it is just the sound of others living their lives. I feel like a ghost myself. C’s death took part of me with her you see. Half here, half gone, unable to claim either state.

I suppose this is all a part of the grieving process. I have read some on that and I am exhibiting many of the signs: nervous energy, difficulty sleeping, reduced mental acuity, absent-mindedness. A hell of a thing.

I am trying to make plans that will force me to organize and function, but it seems just too difficult at times. My kitchen table is half covered with piles of documents related to C’s estate and the ever present medical bills. I keep telling myself that I need to get organized and file all of these things so that I can find them when I need them, but no adequate system presents itself to me, so they sit where they are now. This means no dinner parties in the near future.

Please don’t take all of this as whining, or a plea for help. I know that help is out there at the asking. This is more an attempt to document my state of mind as I go through the myriad phases of grief and healing (hopefully). I know that there are a million self-help books out there, and peer groups, and professional therapists who are available, but that is not my way – at least not yet.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The End of Solitude

Things are now back to what passes for normal around here. I survived nearly a week of solitude while K and J frolicked in the company of other family members; one out west and one up north.

I wish I could say that I spent that time finding inner peace in a lotus position, meditating on the meaning of life. What I actually did was meditate on lunacy of automobile repair and designers who put retaining nuts in locations that cannot be seen and can only be reached by threading 18 inches of ¼ in socket extensions up through a small hole in a bracket whilst laying on one’s back staring up at the incomprehensible assemblage that makes up the underside of a car’s dashboard, with a small hand tool jabbing the kidneys and sweat running in small rivers into one’s ears. Whenever I tired of that, I went and pulled thistles until my sanity returned.

It wasn’t all fun and games. There were old friends to visit with and fireworks to watch. One must take care of those annual obligations, no matter how strong the siren call of the broken brake servo.

In the end, the previously pristine coverage of the drain field with its colorful purple tipped thistles now looks more like a partially shaved cat with huge bald spots where the robust thistles once stood. All the neighboring vegetation (also mostly weeds I am sure, but not on the “C pull list”) is now lying listlessly on its side – no longer supported by the strong, but prickly thistle. I’m sure C would have approved, but it has done nothing to improve the appearance of the place.

I also finally tackled the problem of the kitchen sink. The same person who designed the hidden nut gem in my car must have also advised on the installation of our kitchen sink. In most counter/sink marriages that I have known, the sink rests upon the counter with a cushion of sealing caulk between the two that keeps moisture from leaking under and rotting away the fiberboard cabinetry. When this caulk eventually ages, dries out, and begins to participate in the destruction of one’s real estate, it is a fairly simple matter to gently raise the sink (careful not to fracture delicate high pressure water lines – don’t ask) and lay down a fresh bead of caulk after thoroughly cleaning out the old.

Thanks to “blind nut consulting” our kitchen sink was set down on top of the cabinet substructure, a bead of caulk laid around the TOP edge of the stainless steel sink rim, and then two tons of 2 inch thick Kasota sandstone counter was set down on top of the whole affair.

Years later, after the house had settled to a more comfortable position, the base cabinet system lowered itself by a small fraction of an inch on one end of the sink. As the caulk aged, the waterproof seal gave way and moisture began to pass through the seam. This was true especially when Hydraulic J was at his station doing dishes. His favorite tool of choice was the handheld spray nozzle that unfortunately came as standard equipment with our faucet set. The resulting shotgun technique of dish rinsing had the amusing effect of launching food product, grease, and high velocity water in almost all directions. The result was that rotting caulk (and other things) began to protrude from the joint between the sink and the stone counter.

I was able to ignore it for a time, but knowing that procrastination would only accelerate the science project in and under the sink, I finally decided to attempt a repair. Doing this during the week when both kids were gone made a lot of sense.

I considered my options. I could attempt to jack up the counter which would almost certainly result in having to take out a second mortgage to pay for the replacement of the stone counter. I could lower the cabinets further with the help of a sawzall (available for rent almost anywhere – amazing tools of destruction). I had to reluctantly discard that option when I could not come up with a reliable plan to return what was left of the cabinet to a sound and attractive position.

Finally, I just went after the old caulk with a putty knife and a dentists pick. I was rewarded with a smelly collection of caulk bits that looked amazingly like little worms except that they did not crawl around in the sink. Since the cabinet had dropped only on one side of the sink, the crack was easy to clean out at that end, but increasingly difficult, and finally impossible to do as one progressed toward the intact end where the seal was to all appearances good.

Like the federal government, I gave it a good go then left with a declaration of victory. Hopefully, my war will go better.

After letting the whole thing air out and dry for a few days, I ran a new bead of silicone caulk around the entire seam, taking care to pump as much as I could into any available space. It certainly looks better now, but only time will tell if it will stand up to Hydraulic J.

Now with a houseful of kids again –


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Spontaneous Nekkid Sunday

Today is SNS at my house. All chores and activities are being conducted without hindrance of clothing (except the thistles, I might add).

Actually, it was the thistles that did it. I have been slowly picking away (NPI) at them for the past week, but for the last two days, I have been lazy. So, today, armed with determination that comes from clean living and a good night's sleep (required from days of unclean living and little sleep), I strode forth at 7 AM dressed in long sleeves, long pants, and tall rubber boots to harass and generally kill the herd of thistles that live up on our drain field.

This must be done early in the day before the heat starts to accumulate due to the excessive clothing required, but even so, it is a matter of seconds - not minutes - before I am drenched in sweat. This morning was no exception and after forty-five minutes of this, I declared victory and left the field.

Once in the mud room, I doffed the boots, pants, and shirt and stood there dripping. Then I thought, "Hey, wait a minute. I am home alone. The kids are both gone for several days and the dog doesn't care. I'll just stay naked." That was approximately six hours ago. What a great feeling. The chores are done; the bread is in the oven; the annual maintenance on the HVAC system is taken care of; the paper is read - and all without a thread on.

We live in the woods and even the nearest neighbor has only broken vision through thick trees so I even took to sitting out on the screen porch. My only concern would be if someone dropped by unexpectedly, but then again, it wouldn't be the first time I answered the door nekkid (but the first time in about 30 years).

Overall, I would recommend it. The AC has been off all day (had that maintenance to do) and I have been totally comfortable in my natural state. I did have to take extra care when transferring a pan of boiling hot water from the stovetop to the oven for the final rise of the bread dough, but managed to get through that unscathed.

Opps, gotta go and get the bread out of the oven. Don't come over unannounced unless you are female and nekkid too.

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