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BY Michael

02/01 Direct Link
The Sunday program for HOS this week is piano music. It is nice piano music. In a while I will be playing my piano. Some of the combinations of notes I make will be nice piano. Some will not be. I cannot always explain the difference. I suppose that is part of learning the piano, a thing which will take the rest of my life if I continue to stay with it. Just now I am sleepy. It may be the codeine from the cough syrup the doctor prescribed. If I am too sleepy I wonít be able to play.
02/02 Direct Link
I was planning to work on income tax today. It is not such a difficult thing. I have done it before. There is something about it that seems to be difficult. Iím not sure what it is. I think I have all the forms and documents I will need. I just need to clear a space on my desk to work. That will be a difficulty, but doing that will ease the process. I will separate the tax papers from the other papers. Then as I work the taxes I will separate the papers I have used from the others.
02/03 Direct Link
My right arm has started hurting. The last time it was my left arm, exactly the same pain, so I know what to expect. The doctor will take an x-ray and will find nothing wrong. Then he will send me for physical therapy which will cause me considerable additional pain and will do nothing to help. After six months or so, the arm will get better on its own. In the meantime, I will have to get used to the unreasonable pain at random points in my day. I will have to get used to your trying to treat me.
02/04 Direct Link
My mother walks the road in front of the house with her dog. The cat follows behind. She walks west to the cemetery gates. She can see my fatherís grave from there. He has been buried for only two months if that long. The dog will go there by herself to visit him if she can get out. Then my mother will turn east, passing her own house and walking to the driveway to my sisterís house. It is a similar path that I rode a tricycle an impossible number of years ago myself. Except my father was alive then.
02/05 Direct Link
There are other stories my mother tells, countless and I am collecting them somewhere in my mind. It is the mother I see, different from the mother my sister sees, different from the mother the pastor sees. The mother I see never gets angry, which is not like my mother at all. She must save that for my sister and for the pastor. It is as if she thinks I have been injured somehow and she is shielding me from that part of herself. She shields me from a lot. I am not sure why. Do I seem that fragile?
02/06 Direct Link
I am getting tired. I will not be able to keep this up so much longer. Already I want to cry into the sleep. I want to crawl into my bed and beneath the covers. I will be safe there from something. I am not sure what it is but I know it is palpable. It is real. It follows me in the day and at night it gets confused and cannot find me. What would happen if it could find me in the night? I donít think that would be a good thing. Hence I need to be hidden.
02/07 Direct Link
Sometimes I seem to be working at floor level, crawling on my hands and knees from one word to the next. What would Matthew have had to say about this? He would have understood I think. He was my writing buddy until he died. I need another writing buddy I suppose. Where does one find a writing buddy? Do you take out a want ad on Craigís list? Does someone answer who will murder you and hide your body in a dumpster? Someone who will then write about what he did on the 100 Words site? Life can be dangerous.
02/08 Direct Link
I ate the chocolate covered donut this morning. To be exact, I ate one of the chocolate covered donuts. There were two of them left. We had bought six donuts in a plastic container. Three were chocolate covered. Three were covered with sugar. The ones covered with sugar were better. I had expected more out of the chocolate covered donuts. You warned me they were messy, so when I got one this morning I put it on a small paper plate and ate it with a fork. It turned out to be a necessary precaution. Caution before the actual act.
02/09 Direct Link
You come in to ask if I want a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. Or maybe it is merely to ask if I want mayo on my bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. Then you come back to ask if I want mayonnaise or Miracle Whip. I opt for the Miracle whip and then slip back into the dream. The sun is bright on the snow outside and I am hunting rabbits with my father. It is cold and my fingers are numb as I hold my shotgun. The cornstalk stubble points skyward and is stubborn as I trip over it.
02/10 Direct Link
I wound the clock this morning. I saw it would need winding soon but it was a quarter to nine so I didnít want to struggle to get the key in under the hour hand and I waited until ten minutes to nine. I opened the door on the clock, pressing in to release the pressure on it and turning the catch. Each weight took twelve cranks to get to its starting position. When I am finished I return the key to its glass shelf and shut the door and latch it. It should be good for a week now.
02/11 Direct Link
Big brown stripes in the grass. The neighbor missed the driveway again. She does that, or her kids do that. Iím not sure which. The snowplow misses our driveway, scraping up slabs of the front yard. The piano sits quietly in the corner. You can play one song and then sneak in a piece of another song. It is frustrating though. You learn songs and then forget them, so there is really little you can play without music in front of you. Maybe that gets better as I get better. That would be nice. Iíll have to ask my teacher.
02/12 Direct Link
My mother insisted I go for a walk today. I probably wonít. Iíve too much other stuff to do. She goes for a walk most every day. I asked her how far I should walk, and she said a half a mile after thinking about it a bit. Thatís not so bad. I used to walk five miles a day. She was talking about her dog and cat again. ďDonít get a dog or a cat,Ē she says. ďThey are too much work.Ē ďOK,Ē I answer. ďI wonít.Ē out the window a garbage truck rolls by across the dog park.
02/13 Direct Link
I got the results from my chest x-ray this morning. Everything is normal. My cough must be a leftover rattle from the wretched sickness I had several weeks ago. I hear a thud, as if the door were opened, but it is too early for you to get home and there would be no other thuds unless it were a delivery man. I do have a package en-route, but it is not due to arrive for another week. The handle fell off the clothes dryer door. Broke off might be a better choice of words. It was not very well-designed.
02/14 Direct Link
I have been adopting the ways of an old person. It happened while I was not looking. I donít use a cane yet, but I do take naps in the afternoon. When I go outside I layer up to stay warm. Visiting my mother, I happened to sit in a chair where she had an electric lap blanket that was turned on. My chair now has an electric lap blanket and I find myself strangely attracted to the warmth this gives off. I donít smoke anymore. I donít drink alcohol because I am afraid it will interact with my meds.
02/15 Direct Link
I wound the clock this morning. It may have been 13 revolutions for each weight this time. It was pretty far gone. It is a Saturday. The light pours through the door wall over the snow. My right arm has gone bad the way my left arm went last year. Last year I took the left arm to the doctor who x-rayíd it and sent me to physical therapy. I donít think any of it helped much and I still have some trouble with the left arm. This year I am just using my right arm as much as possible.
02/16 Direct Link
The arm hurt whenever I tried to move it. It hurt from my hand to my shoulder and sometimes a muscle twitch would cause me to yelp in pain. I couldnít find a position where it didnít hurt. I had trouble getting dressed and undressed. I had trouble in the shower. I couldnít open the car door without pain. It was much worse last year than this year though. The physical therapy may have helped a little. They emphasized range of motion exercises and massaged it for me. I learned to keep heat on it. Icepack doesnít seem to help.
02/17 Direct Link
Itís becoming more obvious to me that I may not live indefinitely. I donít know where I got the idea that I would. It was that my father and mother seemed to be. Then my father died and I think thatís when that idea went out the window. Oh I knew I was not immortal before. I was nearly obsessed with the idea. But it is different now. While there was a part of me that believed I would continue to go on, that part has quietly died its own death. Now I am quietly arranging myself for the inevitable.
02/18 Direct Link
Watching the fingers fly over Keyboard A, over Keyboard B, over Keyboard C, over so many keyboards in my life. Spoiled by the Royal. IBM. Piano. I suppose the reason I feel more competent here than on the piano is that I can go slower here. I suppose also that I have had much more time on a QWERTY board than the piano. I rub my hands. The ache goes all the way up my arm and into my back. Itís on the right arm this time. It was on the left last year. I got physical therapy for that.
02/19 Direct Link
The teacher cancelled my piano lesson today. The snow was deep. She sent me a text. I was surprised because she has a new jeep. I thought she would want to take it out and play. But maybe that was why she cancelled her piano lessons, so she could go out and play in her jeep. It could have been out of consideration for her students. It could have been that they closed the music store. Thatís alright with me. I could use another week to work on what I already have. To be truthful, I could use another year.
02/20 Direct Link
My hearing is going. Hell everything is going, but hearing is the current topic. People have been complaining about my hearing for decades, but I plod along, slowly learning to read lips. Making sure to turn my right side to people when they are talking to me. Young people are often hardest to understand, particularly young girls. Their voices are pitched in the range of hearing loss for older people and they tend to talk very fast. I have thought about a hearing aid, but I am reluctant for some reason. My mother says they are a waste of money.
02/21 Direct Link
My mother said she got about an inch of snow last night in Ohio. We got about a foot and it is still falling. She said Georgia Ann wanted to build a snowman. It was her first real snowfall. Georgia Ann is my motherís great granddaughter. I think that makes her my second cousin or my great niece or something like that. My mother told Georgia Ann she needed to go visit her uncle Mike (me). She told her I had all the snow. Georgia Ann went home talking excitedly about her uncle Mike. They didnít understand what she said.
02/22 Direct Link
So my mother was suggesting Georgia Ann come visit her uncle Mike for a couple weeks. My mother is a born trouble maker. She was laughing that Iíd be ready to send Georgia Ann home after the first night. Georgia Ann is a bright girl and very busy. My mother also offered to give me her cat. She said Suze would love the cat. Once again I know my mother has no intention of getting rid of her cat, a 23-pound calico named Angel. She was sleeping on the top of my motherís chair as my mother talked to me.
02/23 Direct Link
My mother remarked that she should get some flowers for my fatherís grave because his birthday was coming up. This will be my fatherís first birthday underground. His birthday is March 12. He would have been 95. My mother will be 94 this May. Her birthday is May 4. I was surprised when my father died. I wasnít prepared for it. I think about him daily. But then I think about my mother daily too. I think about everyone daily it seems and maybe that is why my brain gets so tired and overwhelmed, thinking about all of those people.
02/24 Direct Link
I put my boots on before I went out. I used a shoehorn. They go on easily that way. I laced them up and put on my coat. I had already gotten the snow shovel off the deck, banging it against the rail to knock off the accumulation from the falling snow. Outside the snow was not as bad as I thought it would be. It was 32 degrees and it was melting on the roads and drives. I shoveled a path along each side of the car and a path along the back. Then I cleaned off the car.
02/25 Direct Link
He was dreaming again. It was an older car he was in, late 40ís, early 50ís. It needed a muffler, and the shocks were bad. He had an impression of the rocker panel floating over the pavement passing by below, up and down; up and down. He could hear the raw rumble of the exhaust and could smell the decaying interior of the car. It was a faded green. There was something hanging from the rear-view mirror, a twisted bit of faded twine. There was nothing attached to it. He could see the round speedometer. It hovered over 35 mph.
02/26 Direct Link
He walked his mortal body down the street, under an old elm tree that should have been dead by then. He came to the corner of the parking lot for the little IGA store. He had a line of sight to the dumpsters. He remembered putting boxes in the dumpster. Walking around to the front of the store he went in one of the two doors there, the ďinĒ door. He must have walked around the corner to clock in. Today he would stock shelves. Stocking shelves was easy, and he liked the quiet and orderly aspect of this work.
02/27 Direct Link
It was cold. He could feel a cool breeze. He was thinking it might be from the humidifier on the landing at the top of the stairs. He wasnít feeling well. There was a kink in the side of his brain for some reason and he could tell it wasnít working right. Perhaps it would go away on its own in a little bit. He could sense it doing its own thing as he sat there. It was playing a little animated movie. The movie scared him and made him whimper involuntarily. He would be glad when it was over.
02/28 Direct Link
She went to the new Dollar Store today. She hadnít planned to go, but her daughter had shown up with two of the grandchildren, her daughterís grandchildren. The plan was to go to the Dollar store. School was out for some reason and she had the kids. She didnít want to go to the Dollar Store. She wanted to take a nap this morning. They already had one Dollar Store. Why did they need another one? But she needed some bread and some cat food. She liked this store. It was clean. That was because it was new, she thought.