Wednesday, December 7, 2011


It was late October, 2010, and I was feeling especially anti social being as I was reeling from the recent news that my wife had been diagnosed with cancer. I was at the motorcycle shop to purchase some parts for my scooter, you know, carry on as normal until we knew more about her cancer. Standing at the parts counter, there were three guys behind me that I was paying no attention to, that is up to when I distinctly over heard them talking about a 'sawed off, short, fat faggot mother fucker', I turned just enough to see them nod, yes they were discussing me. They then turned and began walking out the shop, and I said, "Well, you can suck this faggot mother's dick!" In unison they stopped and returned, this is when I noticed they were wearing colors. Knowing if I ran, they would catch me, and beat me up, so I simply said I was only joking, it was no big deal, and I was sorry. "What did you SAY?" the closest one to me asked. Again I told them it was no big deal. "Tell me what you said!" So, I looked him in the eye, and repeated most of my remark, most of it in that a was unable to say dic....when like a trip hammer his fist connected with my jaw, knocking my glasses across the sales floor. I immediatetly knew I was injured, I did not fall or lose consisousness, but had blue birds and stars circling my head. Reaching up to feel with my hand which I was accutely aware was a broken jaw, the three turned and calmly walked to the door. "HEY," I yelled to them, they turned and waited. "Thanks," "For what?" the one I offended asked. "For only hitting me once, fucker!" With a shared look of suprise at my remark and a shared shrug, they left the building. Needless to say, I had created quite a stir in the place and the employees hurriedly went about closing the store, knowing, for sure I was going to get the police involved. I went to the owner and with broken face apologized for making trouble in his buisness, and asked his permission to take myself to hospital.

At the hospital the cops arrived in the form of a very concerned detective, telling me the staff called them about my assualt. Knowing that to say anything to the law would most likely not be in my best interest, I declined to give him any information.

The day I returned home, jaw wired shut and under the influence of powerful pain meds, I returned to the motorcycle shop. Upon my arrival, I got many wary stares, and questioned as to why I had returned. Again I appologized for my stupid remark, and told them I was not going to make any trouble, as I had all I wanted and did not want to have the 81 men after me for all time. This made sense to them, but they were courious about the details of the assualt, as all they knew was I had been injured by one of their customers. So with clenched jaw, from being wired shut I said, "You know how bikers ride extremely loud motorcycles? Well it must have caused a hearing loss to the guy that hit me. I told him to suck my dick, but I he thought I said 'Break my jaw!'" They fell about the place laughing and slapping me on the back. "You're crazy!!" The owners son said, "You had balls enough to come around after that, and then you joke about it! You're alright, I hope you learned something." "Yeah, like I wished my jaw was wired then, so I couldn't have opened my mouth." For quite some time I was known as 'glass jaw ken.' A name I certainly earned.

My maxiofacial surgeon told me that putting my lower mandible back in place was 'challenging.' You see, with one punch, the guy had broken my jaw in about seven places. And except for the left side of my face being numb, like novocaine, and some sensitiveity inside my mouth, nearly two years later, I made out all right.

Leaving The City by The Bay

At quitting time in the City, there is a very narrow time frame  in which to get off the surface streets and reach the freeway before gridlock sets in.  If you are just minutes late leaving the job, you are stuck in traffic and go nowhere fast, for hours, not miles  This incident took place on a Friday afternoon, the beginning of a three day hoilday, Easter, I think,  I had barely made it to the freeway, and there was already so much traffic, some people were driving on the shoulder.  Jockeying for position,  getting into their particular lane, and just like the rest of us, wanting to  get out of town, or in some cases just wanted to be infront of the car ahead of them.  I was then and am even now uncomfortable driving with so much traffic.  We were idiling, only just moving, but let there be a space big enough, or almost big enough that another car could squeeze into, it got filled.  It had occoured to me previously that unfilled spaces were much like chum, shark food, so to speak and every car was a shark, because no sooner did a space open up, at least and never less than three cars made a bee line to plug the hole.  Today the sharks were hungry, I found myself in a feeding frenzy.

While doing the commuter crawl, headed to the Bay Bridge, I saw ther approach lane, uh, approaching, and I am two lanes to far to the left.  I knew I had to become a shark, only I had no time to wait for an openning, I needed to make one, soon.  The exit was still pretty far away, bur with the traffic so thick, and us going so slow, I had to assume the driving style so often used at me.  So I signaled, waited for the car to my right to slow some, and moved.  OK, great, now to do it again.  The cars in the far right wouldn't give me a break, and now I had to move over or it would be several miles at this speed before I could turn around and start the crawl over again.  I signaled.  Nothing.   I gave other drivers an imploring look along with a shrug, I really REALLY needed to change places.  I tapped the horn, to show intent, I pointed and gave a 'please, sir, may I move over' look.  Fine, I began with an ever so slow drift, the car along side me slowed enough for another driver to try and fill the hole.   Shark time, I was getting that spot or we would have a fender bender.  The car, a rather older model of station wagon apparently felt the same way, and was determined as much as me to have that hole.  So I struck, and filled the spot just in time to exit onto  the de-acceleration lane.  (funny, it being called a de-acceleration lane, I could have walked faster)  The station wagon was furious at me, and using the shoulder, passed me, remember we are slower than a quick walk, and bumper to bumper.  With both hands out the driver's winow, and screaming at the top of his lungs, I HEARD him, and my windows were up.`   "FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE MOTHER FUCKER!  SON OF A BITCH FUCKING DICK HEADED FUCKING FUCKER FUCK!!"  Those were his exact words, I was stunned that he apparently thought I waited for him, cut HIM off, targeted HIM, because HE was the one I wanted to make angry.  And I'm the one with anger issues?   I was already off the freeway and on the Bay Bridge approach, he is passing me on the right, both hands off the wheel, looking real  hard at me,  all the time  cussing and so angry that his spit hit my passenger window (!).  Obviously  I am some sort of, or exactly what he yelled to me.  Wanting only to GTFO of town, I slowed down even slower to give him his space, one car lengh ahead, no more , no less,  and no matter to me at all.  Except, except, except that when he pulled ahead of me he jerked the wheel hard left, bounced over the gutter and got back on the freeway, into the hole I had made only a few seconds earlier.   Now with his left hand out the window giving me the one finger 'hi' sign, he was looking into the mirror back at me and I could see that he was still telling me all the things I was to HIM, for what I had done to HIM, just as if I could hear HIM.

With that being the only  exception, the trip home was stuffed with bumper to bumper traffic,  but there was no reason for anyone to shark up, and the trip was relative uneventful.

The Dream

At some point this past night, I found myself in that place between sleep and wakefulness, and she was there beside me, in the bed, facing me, our legs intertwined together, one arm under her head, the other one hugging her. I lightly kissed her hair and she smiled sleepily and told me to 'behave.' This morning I woke and as I stretched in the bed, I felt wonderful! She must already be up, maybe using the bathroom....I got out of the bed, "Linda, if you're in there, we're sharing!" But she was not. Ah, maybe making coffee. I entered the kitchen and, what the hell? Where could she...? Then I realized. Like getting hit in the face with ice cold water. Reality. Foolish boy! She's been gone now nearly two years. And yet, I had started to look around for her. I even called out her name! I woke up actually believing that she was somewhere in the house with me. It just felt so, so normal, so like she really was here. Tricked by my own self. Crushed. I thought that this kind of sudden and intense feeling of sorrow was over with. I always miss her, but today, this day, I had actually forgotten for a moment that she is dead. Now I am heart broken all over again, and I haven't yet stopped crying. I look out the window, and the sky is crying with me. We raised our kids and they are on their own now. Linda and I enjoyed just enough empty nester time that we had developed a routine which included spending as much time together as possible, at home, sitting on the couch holding hands and talking, reading, and playing games. When she was first diagnosed, we still sat on the couch talking, mostly about the treatments and what we at first referred to as the 'adventure.' With the exception of only a few of days, Linda and I spent all our time together now. I still had the house to care for, and bills to pay, groceries to purchase, and 'scripts to fill, and it seemed she was in hospital as much as not, but when everyone else left for the day and went to their homes and their family, it was just us, together, alone, by ourselves. As the treatments took their toll, and she grew weaker by the day, I began to realize the gravity of our situation. Slowly, and without noticing at first, my life became all about Linda. That is not the burden, don't misunderstand me, again. I was up to the task, but no longer is there any semblance of routine, or schedule, however it is very demanding, and it is completely different than anything we had done in twenty three years our life together, and therefore became routine Then one day at home, with friends and family around, she died. Just like that. Linda no more. So tiny, drawn, ravaged by the effects of the cancer, and barely recognizable from the vibrant and active person she was just ten months ago, we were holding hands when she past, and my life changed completely once again. To say that surviving a spouse is a rollercoaster ride would be an understatement, to be sure

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Linda's tamales

Linda, Linda, Linda, there were things she excelled at, things she could care less about, and things
she pretty much knew she had down pat. Cooking was the last on this list. Girl didn t need no
cookbook, knew what she was doing, cooked for some time now, she enjoyed cooking, and did in
fact produce some pretty memorable meals.
One of my faves, steamed aspera grass wrapped in thin sliced ham, lightly fried then blanketed
with Hollandaise sauce. With an entre on the side, good stuff indeed! I cook also, have been
since before I met the girl. I refer to the cookbook, every time, hard cooked eggs, look em up.
Regardless of how many times I ve done it or how simple a dish, I read the entire recipe.
I learned working in the trades, you have to follow the directions, read the print. Although I soon
learned the plan is often wrong! That s part of the reason it needs to be studied. Sometimes a lot
of study. Having said that, when the blueprint is wrong, it s right! Build according to the plan.
Do not deviate. My only job was to follow direction. Not second guess a highly trained, CAD
assisted college graduate. Either ask about an issue, through RFI, or build using the dimensions
given, and explain when an owner or architect, asks if you have gone mad. Show them the funny
page, says so right there, look. Surly, you knew there is supposed to be a door? How you expect
to use this space? Its your plan, I have no idea what you are thinking, I just build. You want a
door? Show me where it goes. On the plan, I m just a dumb old carpenter. This releases you
from liability, if you religiously follow the plan, and they are wrong, it is on them to pay for the
correction. If, however, you assume, and do the correction, without approval, you way over step
your authority, what if is structurally significant? And you field correct it, not being a licenced
architect, you might have seriously undermined the integrity of the structure. So, follow the plan.
If the plan is wrong, it is still correct. This has economic benefits also, you back charge for
having to custom build, off the plan, this charge, isn t part of the signed contract, although it is
spelled out in the contract, just what will be charged for plan changes. Some cases where there a
lot of mistakes in the plan, this can amount up to and beyond the original bid. Bad plans equal
more money. Makes them check their work, also. Architect s share in cost over runs, if their
plans contain too many mistakes. There are people who s job is to find these plans and take full
advantage of them. Ka-Ching!!
 My meals nearly always taste the same today as they did last month, or last year. Read, follow
the plan, measure, cook, taste alright. Linda, I never use that, I have a memory! I have one too,
sometimes I forget. So the quality of our dinners suffered some, we got used to it, who wants
their food to always taste the same, gets boring that. We even had a game to go along, called,
  What s the Missing Ingredient? Kids and I loved the game, got Linda involved also. Maybe
she left stuff out just to play the game?? Until I took over cooking, but that is for a separate topic.
One year, she enlisted me to help with about ten dozen tamales. My job, the only thing I did was
spread the masa on the corn husks, table spoon of meat, roll, then do it again. Thanksgiving,
Christmas, New Year s, Easter, every one best excuse for tamales ever. The rest of the year, not
so much. Ten dozen! Making them for friends and family, even have a few to sell. This was not
her first time, she made them with her Mother and family since she was little. Using Mama s
recipe now, nothing like keeping a tradition alive. The only real difference? Ten dozen, just the
two of us, took hours, cooking the meat and sauces, soaking the husks, kneading the masa. Hot
too, had to open the door. Usually, from my observations, Linda would begin steaming the
tamales as soon as enough were assembled to cook a batch. This time, so much to do, one step at
a time, didn t want to forget and over cook, or burn them. Need them all, have some to sell, too.
Tamale making seems to require that the kitchen get totally trashed, maybe so you clean it real

good, get the old stuff too. How does the masa end up on the walls? Don t ask me! How
should I know, my job was to put the stuff on the corn husks, wasn t looking around. Like I said,
the kitchen hot, me too, Linda, she s the one working though, had masa and sauce in her hair, on
her face, all over her chest, uh, blouse, using her hands, brushing back hair, wiping sweat from her
brow, we usually ended up making sure one of us was as messy as the other. Would get so the
kids would come running, then they get some too. Linda placed some in the pot, and soon
enough, Tamales! I always liked them, eat so many at once I get sick. We sat at the table
remarking that we really did something this year, ever see so many tamales? Soon enough, or just
in time, out the pot they come, got to wait, too hot. Burn the mouth, not fun. So with me keeping
an eye on the cooked tamale s, Linda re-loaded the steamer, went for plates and once more we
talked, Always look forward to the first taste of the first batch of the season, we talked about it so
much, I almost got a cramp in my taste buds, needed a tamale fix NOW! As we unrolled our treat,
it was immediately apparent something was wrong, terribly wrong,. As Linda s face went from
anticipation to confusion, to disappointment, to shock, to embarrassment, I scooped up some of
mine and ate. It was nasty, the worst, knew from experience Linda cooked creatively, I didn t
think she was capable of cooking this poorly. As I tried to keep from gagging, Linda announced
she had forgotten the lard!! Only the second most important ingredient besides the corn. She
hadn t eaten any yet, crushed, she said we could eat them ourselves, certainly couldn t give or sell
these. Wait, Linda, there s more. With a question on her face, I said, You forgot the salt, also.
Most important ingredient number three. There is only one other ingredient for the masa, beef
broth. And just like in base ball, she was out. Had to go lay down. Invested a lot of time, effort
and money in something even the dog wouldn t eat. It s O.K. honey, we can salvage as much as
we can, I ll begin recovering the meat, and tossing out the masa and husks, go to the store, get
what we need. It took twice as long, cost a third more, and she second guessed herself
relentlessly. Success at last! As I said in the beginning, Linda made some memorable meals....

A little something about Linda

Widowed, at 57, could not have imagined such a thing one year ago, thought didn't even enter the mind. Thirty years. Now, can't stop myself, always there, running in the background, like a program on my computer. Long enough time has past, so I pretty much go through my days without being outwardly affected when thoughts of my loss creep in. Many times I can talk affectionately about Linda and our life, with a smile, and not even barely be brought to tears. Others, I will be completely absorbed with the present, shopping for food, cleaning the joint up, reading even. I get sucker punched, hits me, thirty years, she's dead, stops me from what I'm doing, watched as the cancer ate at her, takes over completely and I feel as if all the air is gone, and I have the most hopeless, helpless, I just want to, really, I just want to die also feeling. Oh, not again! I try to get that "normal" feeling, my wife, taken. I try to make my life normal. Sure miss that smile. It's a process, long, hard, sometimes miserable miss her so much can't get away from it though how I wish sometimes I could just forget about it all, dead, in my arms never to see her again, process.
Working to 'normalize,' (what ever THAT means) my life, I have received helpful advice from caring friends, and others. Early on however, I wore my pain and frustration on my sleeve, I must be in a dream, her death was all I could talk about. When folks would talk with me, it was always me saying how bad it is, lonely, how unfair. They would roll their eyes, "He's at it again. Can't you talk about anything else? She's gone, not coming back, you are alive, join the living. Get past this before it consumes you." And soon enough, I had alienated just about everyone that ever said they cared. I didn't know how bad it could get! Never had this kind of feeling before. I have a pretty big imagination, I could have NEVER imagined this, and probably wouldn't have wanted to hear it from anyone else, either.
New resolve! I AM alive. I have lots to live for! She's dead. Held on to her as the grim reaper took her from me. He was gentle enough, going to give him props for that. They're right, conceal my emotions, be Kenny once more. Thirty years, alone now. I began the task by evaluating my situation, missing her so much. Let's see now, Linda dead, after a brutal all or nothing slug fest with cancer. She was a fighter, fought hard to beat it, except she brought a knife to a gun fight. Retired now, don't have to look for work anymore. Double edged sword that one, gone the frustration of not being able to get a job, and having people tell me that I just don’t want to work, or I would be. Or landing a job and quit so I could stay with my wife. Now all my time is my one to answer to, no one depending on me, no one to share with. I'm not trying to say completely isolated, I could talk with Linda about things I wouldn't tell a Doctor, or even a Priest. I can do anything I want, except I only want Linda, I want my lover, I want to not be alone, I want to be with her some more.
Stop visualizing the events which were the past year of my life. More than half her weight, gone. Stifle the urge to 'share' my pain with people who could not understand wish I could talk to her again what I am going through, until it happens to them. Then go see Kenny, he will listen, he knows, he's been talking about it every day since she died. And so I climbed off the pity pot, showered, shaved, put on clean clothes. Threw open the door, and walked back out into the world. The sky was bluer then, and the grass doesn't seem so green anymore. Now when I take in a deep breath, it's to try to keep from crying.
Soon enough though, I would cross paths with some of those aforementioned people, smile at them, greeting, friendly small talk, O.K. see you later! And as I walked away, still within hearing distance: "Wow, only a few months, he acts as if nothing has changed, I wonder if he even misses her?" Damned when I do, damned when I don't. Well I'm strong, 'I don't need no arms around me, I don’t need no drugs to calm me, I don't think I need anything at all.' (Pink Floyd, Another Brick in The Wall) So, I pretty much Linda's not coming back keep to myself now, stay home, try to, I remember the day she gave that to me, keep busy, if not, things well up, best to push them down, maybe, she was so pleased when she found this under the covers, then they go away. Not much chance that. Not anytime soon. At least I am not burdening friends and family with my issues. Got me a high dollar best friend for that. No less than once a week for fifty minutes, gives me all his attention, till my time is up. Then I'm ushered out the door like a guest that over stayed his welcome. They don't want to hear it, make them think about their own mortality, no, they're not ready for that, too depressing to even consider. Brings the expression 'Out of sight, out of mind,' to, well, mind. Paint the house, keep moving, arrange the furniture, don't go to bed until I can't stay up any longer, I'm moving on! "My god, now he's eliminating the memory and the presence of Linda. Cold, uncaring S.O.B.. He'll be looking for a replacement soon enough, you'll see. I wonder if he ever really cared." Best I avoid contact, think about her all the time now, not give their tongues an excuse to wag. And I won't have to consider their opinions. Concentrate on thickening my skin, fortify my resolve. That's the ticket!! I just loathe when people see something, and with only a cursory glance, think they know exactly what the situation is. No need to talk to him, I can clearly see what going on. Jerk, I don't want to talk to him at all, now.
I was quite surprised when I learned there are few people in my shoes, relatively young, and healthy, having to evaluate not only their past, and future, but their present. And then it is usually the man that expires first.
Tried grief counseling, once, I was twenty years junior to everyone else there, and the only man. They wanted me to turn my life over to Jesus, after explaining to me that it was God that took Linda from me! Had to grin at the irony of that, let Him guide me. "I wont even get out of bed until I've spoken with God, He tells me what to do." "Yes, God is the answer, until you accept Jesus as your personal savior, you wont know true happiness." Sure, I'll sign right up. How long have you been angry with God for making her sick? Actually, I'm not, thought it was life style, genetics, and her own denial when she first started feeling bad. "Oh, you’re the one in denial, God's plan, that's why Linda got sick and died." Made as much sense to me as being told that God did it because I was not Catholic, and living in sin by not being married, AND being instrumental in bringing a bastard child into the world! I asked, How do you know it wasn't the Devil, isn't that the kind of people he goes for? Haven't spoken to them since. They even went so far as to not inform me that Linda was being honored at an event. Found out when one of my caring friends called to tell me that my absence was 'noticed.' Had to tell her this was the first I'd heard, and why didn't the event organizers inform me? You're just going to have to ask them yourself.
My days were literally filled with the anticipation (love spellchecker!) of getting home to hear Linda share her day with me, and telling her about mine. With all other issues considered, I was living a great life, knew it, too. Could always share my thoughts, ideas, fears, whatever, with someone truly interested in what I was saying, and ever eager to hear more.
Now, I'm the extra peace of a jigsaw puzzle. The puzzle is complete, and there is no where to put me. I am the proverbial square peg. After Linda, I feel like I just don't fit, anywhere. Suddenly after thirty years of moving forward, working to a shared goal, my transmission's broke, and in the worst possible place, the middle of my life road, everything whizzing by no one stopping to offer a helping hand, too busy with their own lives. I know, I was, I am the same way. So here I sit, gunning the motor, switching the gears, and I just can't move, although I'm really trying, nothing is happening. The most frustrating thing, what really gets me riled up, I feel helpless, I've been self reliant most if not all my adult life. There was a time, not long ago either, when almost nothing could stop me, I could fix anything, I was confident, knew when I was in over my head, and able to stop before I made it worse. Now it's all foreign to me, all my reference points, the experiences I could recall to bring sense to my life seem useless to be of any help now. And I end up remembering how it was, how it will never be again.
Absolutely clueless as to where, how to restart my life, I do try though, every long, sometimes miserable, day, and I make mistakes, I do, had people tell me as much. I didn't receive an instruction manual with the ashes. Your advice has been helpful. Thank you very much! People tell me what I'm doing wrong, or better yet, what I didn't do right, but NO ONE tells me how I should proceed. Afraid, or maybe unable to give advice, all too willing to give opinions though. I'm not angry at them, if I don't know, how can I expect others who have yet to experience the same to have even an inkling of how I feel, what I need or what I'm to do with myself. Oh, they say, 'I know, when my cousin died, the worst.' Or, 'When my father passed, I didn't think I could carry on.' Not even remotely the same, like comparing apples to grapefruit. Oh, were you living with your cousin/father for thirty years as mates, did you sleep with them almost every night? Were you sexually intimate? Does your dead relative permeate every surface of your home? Your car? Are they tangled in the cobwebs of your mind? Did you clean their puke, or change their bedding when their bowels moved? She in so much pain, even to touch her brought tears. Having to move her, to avoid bed sores, change the sheets, even wiping drool from her mouth was so painful she could not help but cry. Did you have to do that? Was it as painful for you as it was for me? Did you hold them, during the last moments of their life, as they quietly studied every crease, every mole and every hair on your face. Did they tell you how frightened they were, dying and all. Did you really sit there, promising to walk with them, for as long as you were allowed, until it was time for them to pass. Wasn't that so touching when you said that. How they took on that grateful, peaceful look, and then said, "You would do that for me? Kenny, I love you so much." Then, the breath left her lungs, and she didn't inhale. I could see the light leave her eyes, because she never took them off me for the last hour of her life, and I didn't stop looking into hers. At that moment, when her jaw relaxed slightly, I realized how tightly she had been holding my hand, because she released her grip. I wanted to go with her. Jump right in, "Baby! Wait, I'm coming, right behind you!" Even still, sometimes, I wish I could have. Being there, with her as she died, was at once the most intimate, loving, spiritual and the most terrifying experience of my life. We had never been closer than at that moment, and I will not see her again. Death has to be better than this. She doesn't suffer any longer, can't be all that bad, why else does everybody eventually do it then? I have a survivor's guilt, I'm here, spending money, fixing the house, making it nice again, the way I did it for her. No one to share it with, just as soon put a match to it all. You have no idea, and yet, you don't want to hear it. Best to avoid such conversations, too depressing that. And me? What's the use in talking about it? It's a done deal, over, finished. Nothing will change that. Too uncomfortable to speak of death, and survivors. He probably wants to be left alone now anyway. Let's not bother him, not even by calling.
I took such comfort in knowing that soon I would be home, with her, sit with her, Linda, holding hands, talking, listening, laughing at all the absurdity around us, and knowing everything was alright, because we had each other. Us and Them, that’s how she liked to say it. Even had Pink Floyd playing it during her memorial. To walk with her, to lean on her, to carry her, or be carried when I needed it.. Over used cliché' here: She completed me. Gave purpose to my life, she depended on me, maybe not as much as I now realize I depended on her, but I always knew I didn't ever want to be without her. Couldn't imagine how profound It is.
I took great care and consideration of her feelings, trying everyday to not make her question her decision to be with me. I loved her because she loved me, and that made me love her even more. Linda had her 'faults,' there were things about that girl....She couldn't reconcile a checking account, apparently had no concept, didn't or wouldn't check the oil, to name a few. Sometimes I would get a call from her at work, "Kenny, I forgot my.....would you bring it to me." Once, she even wore different color shoes to work! Instead of me getting angry, or admonishing her for something she did or couldn't do, I was always brought to smiles, and I would drop whatever I was doing to rush to her. You see, Linda's shortcomings were the things that made me love her so much, poor girl, can't get along without ME. Needs ME. Calls ME. I need to be needed, again. Never wanting to see her fail, I would quickly gather whatever it was and get to her soonest. With a big smile from me, a sheepish grin from her, both of us knowing, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. We could laugh and share, not argue and fight. I loved (love) that woman, not in spite of, but because of her idiosyncrasies.(that spell checker again) Side Track: Linda's feet weren't pretty, they weren't. She would always make comments, 'Don't look, I hate my feet, my feet are so ugly! Don't want you to see them.' Every time we would get 'together' she would mention those feet. One time, knowing, just knowing she was going to remind me how she felt about the way her feet looked, I had two little paper bags with me. She started 'Oh, please, my feet don't look...' Without a word, I got my little bags, and started to place one on her foot, "What are you doing?" ….Then the laughter erupted from her mouth, real, true amusement upon visualizing the "So ugly I had to put a bag over......" I didn't use the bags, and Linda didn't mention her ugly feet again, except to relive that day with me, and always with a laugh and a warm, loving smile, that was the day she realized, knew that I cared for her, all of her, ugly feet included. Thirty years. She put up with me for that long, longer, I'm sure, had she lived. She knew me as well as anyone did, better than most, and she still liked me! Wanted to be with me. Needed me. Poor girl, couldn't get along if I wasn't there to find her glasses, or cell phone, purse, keys. The first time I told her, in the most sincere, honest way, that I couldn't love her any less, she was hurt, why would I say such a thing? Because I figured if I told her I couldn't love her any more, I would be telling her I had given all my love, already, no 'more' for later, we couldn't grow. By saying I couldn't love her any less, there was always more to give, plenty, and not a chance that I would love her any less than I do now. I made sure before I ran that past her, that I had an out, that could convince her that she need not worry. It's all so good. She did understand my play on words, but for weeks, everyone she saw, she would ask them for their first reactions to that statement coming from their spouse. It ran almost 50/50. across the board. Yes, she kept a score card, showed it to me, proof. She was convinced more people would see it the way she first reacted to it, that's the why of the score card, even went so far as to teasingly accuse me of calling everyone and getting them 'on my side.' Sometimes, she just couldn't want me to be right, especially since it sounded so wrong. Though it grated on her when she heard it, she didn't question the sentiment, and soon enough, was using it herself, on me. Oh, how we loved to love each other.

Oh, I didn't mention my kids

I have akready spoken about my Linda, but didn't say a word about the kids.  All now grown and on their own, there could be no prouder father than I.  Robin, the boy, and from my first wife, came to live with us before he was a teen ager.  Linda helped me raise him as if he were her own. 
Emily, Linda's only child was a hand full from the beginning.  Nothing wrong in that, except from the time she could talk and walk, she never met a stranger.  When playing in the front, and someone would walk past, she would talk and walk with them right off the property, if we didn't keep a constant eye on her.  Solved that be installing a fence at the end of my lawn, she would stop there instead of walking around it and follow the passersby.  Emily even toilet trained herself.  We had begun to show her, set her on the pot and all, but were suprised when she headed for the bathroom and after some moments, called, "MOM!  DAD! Quick come look!"  Running to her, not even guessing what was the matter, we saw her looking intently into the bowl, upon seeing us, she smiled broadly, pointed into the tiolet and said proudly, 'It's the letter 'J'!"  We fell apart at that.  Riding in my truck, toddler Emmers, (my name for her) was fooling around with a tape measure she saw in the seat.  "Leave that alone, you're going to get hurt."  "No, I know what I'm doing."  Three, maybe four years old!  Driving along I heard the familiar, zzzzippp, snap!  from the tape.  Emily tossed it into the seat, and placed one hand over the other.  "Got hurt, didn't you?"  "No, daddy, I'm just through looking at it."  as she raised her hand to her face, and blew on it.
Emily kept us in stiches, quick witted even when very young, she was also mischevious.  One time, she found the TV 'troller' as she still refers to today.  It was a second device, we used another one.  On this occasion, Em hid and while Linda and I looked at some show, the chanel would sudennly change, or the TV would shut off.  Each time, Linda or I would grab the troller, and resume watching.  This went on long enough for us to wonder if there was something wrong with our set, or the cable.  It began to get annoying, that is until Emily gave herself up by laughing.
Around ten years old or so, one of Emily's friends invited her to a father/daughter church function at the local park.  We went, played some games, listened about Jesus's Love, and made crafts.  During the crafting, multi media, Emily was making a necklace from beads that had letters on them.  This was when WWJD? was popular.  Some woman , the crafts  overseer, what ever, was making her rounds, smiling, patting little heads, and comenting, "Oh, very nice."  and other encouragement.  Then she walked over to us.  Emily's necklace had letters arranged: DJWW.  As the woman was prepared to give praise, her face changed, "What's this?  Child why would you do such a thing?  This is BLASPHAMY!"  Emily looked at the woman, who was by this time sure she was in the presance of a devil, and simply asked, "What's wrong with Devil Just Wont Win?"  Stunned she was, she straightend up, "Oh, why, nothing, child.  I thought that you, uh, it's just that I never thought THAT!"  The woman walked on, unsteady, like she had been drinking.  Looking at me now, Emily said,  "Daddy, let's leave, that lady was weird!"
Poor child, I was angry, we were encouraged to 'use your imagination, express your faith!  Here Emily did just that, and was accused of being un-christian.  She felt it, hurt by it, and did not accept any other simular invitations.

Can't get this thing to do what I want

I wanted to copy from my files, and move them here.  I have already commited some of my thoughts to computer.  In retrospect, I should have used paper instead.  Spent enough time trying to move a file from my word program to here, I already wrote it once, just 'copy then paste.'  Only it comes across in program language, squares and backward E's and all manner of letters and symbles, unreadable, spent so much time trying to transfer the file in readable form, I could have been doing something constructive.  I already said I don't know much about computers.  The more I use this thing, the less I know.  I have three or four word programs, and not one of them will copy and paste to something a person could read.  Will print it though.  Maybe trying to tell me to give up, nothing interesting, or possibly trying to keep me from posting something embarassing, or worse, but still, I keep trying.  I was able to send one as an attachment that could be read, but now I haven't figured out how to attach the attachment and bring it here.  Good thing I have nothing better to do with my time.  Frustratung, it is, like the day I was going to connect my printer.  One of my printers, I have five of them.  I have printers that also scan, printers that FAX, printers that copy, and one printer that 'publishes documents to the web.'  Some do all this, some only print.  My newest printer is about ten years old.  Got one so big and bulky I can barly lift it, one so small, it's cute.  I disconnected my printer when I took my 'puter in to have it programed after I killed the hard drive, at least four years ago.  Sat here on my desk, I just didn't get around to hooking it up.  There were no driver's, I downloaded one off the net, printer won't print, I did this, I did that and I did the other thing, no print.  After (hate to admit this) eighteen hours, I uninstalled the driver, deleted the printer in control panel, reinstalled, and success!  Now it tells me to replace ink carts.  Up town I go, after paying sixty bucks for ink, it then tells 'printer not responding'!  More troubleshooting, more this, more that, more... I grabed the thing and wires dangling, tossed it into the trash.  I have other printers.  I can use one of them for sure.  The printer I threw away is ten years old, my newest, I couldn't find the power cord for one, one of them had an interface connection my computer just laughed at when I went to plug it in.  I gave up.  Two days, sixty dollars, I know when I'm in over my head, don't need no stinking printer!  I did need to go to Best Buy, to purchase a new card reader, fried mine the other day looking at memory cards of Linda's that I've been finding all over.  Walked up to the automatic doors, and entered, there, displayed right in front of me, first thing I saw of the store inventory, a printer, fax, copier, on sale $49.95!!!  And here all along, I thought I knew when I was in over my head, and knew when to stop.  My biggest problem?  I didn't bake the card reader first.

I have a microwave oven, it's so old, I think Moses used it on the Ark.  Works though, so I use it sometimes, like when I recently remodeled my kitchen.  The poor oven, it has issues, the lights dim for a moment when I start it, growls, buzzes and even shakes a bit when working.  Sometimes it doesn't tell me when it's finished, and occaisionally after setting the timer for, lets say four minutes, it will upon hitting the start button, advance the timer to forty minutes!  I know this, I watch the count down for a bit, if it doesnt advance after a couple of seconds, it's good to go.
One night, I poped a Marie Callender entre' into the box pushed the four minutes, started it, and walked away.  Four minutes is not a long time, just enough time for me to go do something while I wait.  Enough time for me to forget I even put something in the micro at all.  While puttering I smelled food, now I live close to town, and often smell steak or fish being prepared at a local restruant.  KFC not too far away, smell them also.  There is a taco truck across the street, and when the wind is just right I can enjoy the aroma of carne asada!  So I payed no attention to the smell of food, like I said, I forget sometimes.  Soon enough I detected the oder of fresh baked apple pie, still folding clothes, putting this here, moving that there, I suddenly remembered I had something in the oven, when the sweet smells of food turned into the stench of burned animal flesh, and plastic.  Quickly I rushed to the kitchen, and opening the oven door, the only way I know to stop the thing, out poured the blue, heavy smoke, made me cough a little, waving my hand and peering inside, I saw a lump of bubbling smoking black, it didn't resemble what I had placed inside, the plastic tray was even melted!  Four minutes is not a very long  time, but it took all the next day to air out the house, and considerably longer than four minutes to clean my oven.