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I'm Here, Not There / additionally — The Unexpected Miracle

Basically, I am hiding in a cave. But it's not particularly dark, nor dank. Nope, I'd suggest dry and warm is the thematic equivalent. Or possibly, it's more so the thermostatic likeness.

So while living in this garage, I must remain unheard and unseen for the duration - I shan't be deported, nor formally imprisoned as a result of my being known, but I would likely be cast away. At least my move-in (move-out) options are more nearly optimal now, because….

I F****** GOT APPROVED FOR SSI!

YES. I DID. FOR REAL. IT HAPPENED!

I SHALL RECEIVE A SMALL AMOUNT OF MONTHLY INCOME. REAL MONEY! WOOHOO!!!

So now I can purchase my Gogo Squeeze Applesauce (up to 4 units ingested per day). Annnnddd more importantly … So Delicious Dark Chocolate (fake) ice cream (made with coconut milk) is now part of my daily agenda.

I had some last night and it was gloriously good (something besides applesauce!). It was so so good. It tasted like chocolate and it felt good in my mouth and I swallowed it and I didn't choke and I didn't get all weird afterwards and I wanted more and more and more but I had less and less just to make sure but wow super wow was that so good, and as the name implicates, so delicious!

Ice Cream Unrelated

Ummm…. I am contending though, with intestinal upset. So I was able to orally tolerate a wee bit of Imodium last night. I'm going to be sick again soon, this morning, but hopefully this is a temporary adjustment phase. I think it's because my intestinal bloating is greatly reduced, and my colon is empty, so this super high fiber formula is coursing right through me at 18,000 mph.

So yeah, that's why I'm awake at 4:08 in the morning. Not because they are changing my roommate's diaper with each of the 150 watt light bulbs blaring. Not because the nurse is giving him his wee hours medication after adjusting his grinding squealing bed up and down up and down. Not because the CNAs left the door open and I can hear Dora screaming from across the hallway that there's someone in her bed murdering her to death. Or it's that the CNAs having a loud discussion in regards to some unfortunate boyfriend event, or it's about they're raised rent (again) or having to do with the ridiculous prices they're charging for gasoline.

Nope. None of that.

Thunder Foot

My former wife (despite her obvious muscle mass) is a petite little thing, but even so, when she wakes up at 5:08 in the morning, I wake up, too. I can hear her marching around upstairs. I know exactly where she is at all times based on pounding her footfalls. Yep, she walks heel to toe. And if you ask me, she has no toes. No digits at the end of her feet. But she's always walked that way. And then the walking ceases and the shower water runs through the pipes, and the pipes run above the garage and the water noisily drains through the pipes.

But no, it's not that bad. It's not THAT noisy. I really should be able to adapt and sleep through that. Or in the least, after having been woken up early on any given morning, I should be able to take a nap whenever I so choose. Unless, the evil-doing leaf blowers return!

So just as I'm getting ready to take my first ever garage nap (at 8:16 a.m. yesterday morning) the groundskeeper people showed up. Full force. Full throttle. Yikes! Easy off on that throttle!!!

Their stay is intensely loud. But as is often the case, they've departed within an hour's time. Just like that. Magical, huh?

Slow Escaping

So, in between multiple bouts of commode usage, I made a "run" for it. My intention was to take a short roll away from Garageland. A subtle escaping. Making way, before any potentially curious residents return from the office - return home from their jobs.

I roll out the door and head off to the right. Around the corner, then around the next building, and I am FREE! Mostly. Almost. I'm on my way to being free. No one to keep track of me, no one monitoring my actions. No reason to be stealth (while roaming around). No one is going to report me. Well, let's hope not. I also don't need a pass to go wherever I need to go. I can just go. As long as I'm not obvious with my departure and return. As long as I am not found out. As long as nobody knows I'm illegally living in a garage.

Wait, there's a problem. A speed bump. A rather large one. The hump is way too difficult for my chair to handle. I would capsize. In an instant. Escape … aborted.

So I doubled back and try to take a different route, adjacent to the mailbox area, and then around the swimming pool. The sidewalk is narrow as heck, so yes indeed, a new perilous journey for yours truly. With hard angles and a notable drop off to my right, I downshift. Not for real, my downshifting is figurative, of course.

At the end of the sidewalk path I arrive at the pavement junction, once again. But there's no handicapped ramp, or declining depression that leads to the street. A veritable cliff prevents me from continuing. This complex is not very wheelchair accessible.

Am I stuck here? Am I imprisoned on this property? Heck, I thought I'd be attaining a fair amount of freedom, and now this. It's as though I am surrounded by an imaginary moat.

I laugh out loud, because who wouldn't?

Now I'm doubling back. I am a mouse in a maze frantically looking for my dairy-free chunk of cheese. Yes, that's what I feel like - escape, and a need for cheese!

Paydirt is Elusive.

There's one option left - the only path not yet chosen. Yes, there's a long sidewalk run around the back side of the units, a sidewalk that parallels the green space, the place where everybody let's their dogs poop, which is also the place where they don't clean up after they're pooping puppies. At least, that's the way it was in the olden days.

And then after two final hairpin turns, there I am. I finally found a way out. An escape route. Wheelchair handicap disabled person access!

My next obstacle is the gate. Yes, I live in a gated community. That means I'm surrounded by gates, opening and closing all the livelong day. The problem being, I cannot trigger the gate because I do not have a triggering mechanism. I have to wait for vehicles to exit and then follow them. Tailgate them outta here.

I could possibly maybe leave the property through a pedestrian gate, but the gate is wrought iron metal and heavy as heck. It would be very difficult for me to unlock the gate while also full-forcing it open.

Luckily, I don't have to wait long. Three cars line up at the gate, ready to exit the property, and soon thereafter the gates open. I briefly wait, then follow them along the cobblestone exit way.

The road is paved with bricks, so is that the same as cobblestone? I mean, they're pretty octagon shaped bricks, not the ugly red kind you'll find back east in northeastern Indiana, nor especially, the south side of Chicago. Davenport, Iowa? East St Louis. You catch my drift, right? Red bricks galore.

I'm heading west, riding along the main thoroughfare. Lots of traffic flying by. I need to make my way to 20th street, the side street in question.

Once I do, the peacefulness envelopes me. And soon thereafter, I'm at the park. The most local park I'll have access to. It's rather barren, and really, its presence, along with its primary purpose is to contain flood waters. Overflow. Excess. So it's really a huge huge dozens of acres wide (and long) flood water retention area.

Note: rarely have I noted measurable water within its breadth, which makes sense, living in the desert

It's also a place where I used to take my son, where we used to go for batting practice sessions. I was very ill back then. But I would pitch several buckets worth of baseballs to him, and then he'd smack the crap out of them. And then we'd have to retrieve several dozen baseballs afterwards. All over the place. Near and far.

Much due to the flatness, it seems those baseballs would roll forever and ever.

I was frequently out of breath, exhausted, having great difficulty completing the task. Then several months along, I could no longer fetch the baseballs. Instead, I sat upon the overturned bucket, tossing batting practice balls underhand. And then finally, it became too difficult to even walk from the car down the embankment to the park area. But let's not go there right now. Painful memories in painful places. I miss having a son.

People

There's a woman walking a dog at the far end of the park. I know she's going to come up and talk to me. They always do. Well, not always. But often. I make a good target.

So Catherine comes up and engages me. She asks me about things. I tell her things. She lives right across in the park and gives me her phone number in case I ever need any help or anything else. And it's probably a good thing that I have someone, right from the get-go. Just in case. I don't know anybody else in the neighborhood. Not anymore. I hadn't been out and about (like a real person) since 2014. Lots of things change in nine years. I mean, would anybody actually remember me in this neighborhood?

Warmth

I'm back in the garage. I didn't expect it to be so warm inside. It's only 78° outside, which is absolutely wonderfully fantastic and well below normal for this time of year. But it's 85° inside the garage.

And then overnight it got down to a rather brisk 48° fahrenheit. But inside the garage? It was 80°. Heck, this garage is better insulated than the condo above me. I was thinking I'd need a parka straight off. Heavy blankets. Wool socks. A space heater. But no, none of that is necessary at all. But how about a swamp cooler? Yeah, maybe one of those. Ha!

What I am doing is leaving the garage door partially (very slightly) open. Tiny, yet full-on noticeable amounts of fresh air is subtly flowing - which makes this warmth tolerable.

Bottom Line?

So after 2 years and 27 days of nursing home living, here I am now.


I'll stop right here. It seems I'm approaching 1600 words. That's way too many. I apologize. Perhaps I will slice and dice and remove a paragraph or three making this effort less mentally strenuous.


Take care, and thank you for following along!
Howard





My Nightlight (being red and abstract)

IMG_20231030_230252.jpg



prior to getting settled - a work in progress

IMG_20231029_132855.jpg

Comments

two years twenty seven days.......really?

I really cannot get over that YOU GOT DISABILITY. The system CAME THROUGH~!!

the garage is "smaller" than I envisioned (being from Two Car California) (five, five car garages also exist)

but finished on the interior, should "improve" temperature variations (ie it could be hotter)

Yeah, you would want to crack that door open if at all possible . Try to capture that 5 am air: trap it inside. Until at least 7 am....
 
So happy you finally got approved Howard! It's been a long time coming.

I've lived in apts with residents above me and I always thought that they were heavy footed and stomping instead of walking normally but really it's just the way it sounds when someone lives above you. I eventually got used to it.

Is there a possibility of you getting an automatic gate opener so you don't have to wait for someone coming in or going out?

I'm sooooooooooo glad you found a way out of the grounds and looking forward to all the new discoveries you will have. I watched a documentary last night on Nursing home residents who weren't allowed to leave the building during the pandemic. They said it would have made all the difference in the world if they could have gone outside in their chairs. It really does make a big difference.
 
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Well, Howard, you made it. Congrats and all that. Why don't you provide a cake and drinks for us?....we'll celebrate your SSI. Unfortunately, the party may dig too far into your funds.

Well, I guess you didn't go trick or treating, or have any of the little darlings at your metal door, but you should be aware that candy should be 50% off tomorrow. Fill up, make yourself sick.....celebrate.

Glad you found a rather circuitous route out of the garage, but now you'll know what to do. Spend some of that money of a warm coat, hat and gloves for your outings. I worry about people not being warm enough.

Have you talked to your son since being out? He may visit you....heck, harass him and tell him you'd really like to spend some time with him. At least you will have done it.

Mrs. Howard sounds like she has been very helpful. Good of her, and now you can share your chocolate ice cream. A real date, Howard, how long as it been?

Rod cut my hair today. It's very thick and I can't be honest with myself and say it looked better long, instead of this this bush style. I can't remember how I used to style it before. I changed it a lot. My big news for this week although we're also lining up visitors again. I'll limp along until Xmas.

You should be sleeping in and I really hope you'll be able to. We'll miss hearing the nursing home exploits, but know that you won't. You're young and can still take advantage of life....bribe your son with the chocolate ice cream also. Heck, use anything that will work. Just BEHAVE yourself during your newest adventure. It's good news and you're definitely in better shape than when you entered the "Good Times Nursing Facility." That says a lot. Yours, Lenora
 
Yeah, you would want to crack that door open if at all possible . Try to capture that 5 am air: trap it inside. Until at least 7 am....
That's exactly what I'm trying to do. And then in the afternoon I'm hoping to be well enough to go outdoors, where it feels a fair amount cooler and less stuffy than inside here.

Now I've just got to get a handle on my intestinal distress. Afraid to wander too far away... Ughhh!!! Imodium helps a little bit. Double yikes.

And yes, the kitty is still here, but she's scared to come into the garage. Then again, she's pretty much scared of everything.
 
The nice thing about your problems now is that you know what to think of before your next move…
Yes, having money coming in soon will give me a few options. Worst case scenario, I can rent a room for 6 or 700 dollars per month. And since I don't eat, drink, smoke, or do drugs, I should be okay.

But everything should be okay here, at least in the short term.

I'm also hoping to qualify for food stamps again, as well.
 
I've lived in apts with residents above me and I always thought that they were heavy footed
I know what you mean. I've been in that situation before. But in this case, she enthusiastically grinds her heels into the floorboards! LOL

She's done better the past 48 hours, working out her toe muscles.

I watched a documentary last night on Nursing home residents who weren't allowed to leave the building during the pandemic. They said it would have made all the difference in the world if they could have gone outside in their chairs. It really does make a big difference.

Exactly. I was fighting for this (intermittently, of course) the whole time I was there. They never bring anybody outside. Never ever ever, unless I insist that they do so on an individualized basis. But no one else was advocating for the residents, in regards to going outside. And the only residents that did go outside, were the ones smoking a billion cigarettes just outside my window.

In most instances with most residents, I feel it would be better just to flat-out die, rather than be locked in a room, in bed, in front of a television set... lonely and abandoned.

And most of the time, the blinds and shutters are closed all day, so the room is dark as night.


Oh, please keep in mind, the place where I was staying is considered to be a five-star nursing home. I've heard stories from other places in the vicinity (via staff members), and it gets a hell of a lot worse elsewhere, trust me.
 
Glad you found a rather circuitous route out of the garage, but now you'll know what to do. Spend some of that money of a warm coat, hat and gloves for your outings. I worry about people not being warm enough.

Hi! I still have all the clothing items you sent me last winter. Or was that the winter prior? Yeah, probably that was it.

I'm not all that concerned with staying warm inside here, unless we drop into the 30s at night. Although, the past two decades the temperatures, especially at night, I've been continually increasing on average. So instead of the 30s, now we typically get down into the 40s during the winter.

Have you talked to your son since being out? He may visit you....heck, harass him and tell him you'd really like to spend some time with him.

We can communicating regularly via text, due to the Arizona Diamondbacks being in the world series and such.

But yeah, possibly we may be able to meet somewhere. I can't have people coming here to visit me though. I've got to remain in hiding, for the most part. I don't want to attract any undue attention.

Mrs. Howard sounds like she has been very helpful.

Yes. The best part of all this is that she doesn't have to be as concerned with my health issues now.

Additionally, she doesn't like it down here, because it's a garage, it's uncomfortable, and we've got mosquitoes. Mosquitoes love her. And she is a very bad reaction to their bites. But ever since I've been ill, I've never had one mosquito bite. They stay the heck away from me at all times. And if they land on my skin, ever so briefly, they're dead within a few dozen seconds. My body is toxic, apparently! LOL

I think I've determined that my blood is too acidic. Or the opposite of that.


Oh, and at least you know your hair will grow back eventually. I'm sure it looks fine. :)
 
And yes, the kitty is still here, but she's scared to come into the garage. Then again, she's pretty much scared of everything.
oh, well maybe she will get brave and visit you, once she knows when your around....

Now I've just got to get a handle on my intestinal distress. Afraid to wander too far away... Ughhh!!!

yeah: that part can be challenging.

I see how my digestion would be not cooperating with the lifestyle of just go cruise along and not Worry About It, Alfred E Newman.
 
Oh, please keep in mind, the place where I was staying is considered to be a five-star nursing home. I've heard stories from other places in the vicinity (via staff members), and it gets a hell of a lot worse elsewhere, trust me.
Yes, I found out alot from locals who were employed at nearby facilities.
 
Howard - amazing blog as always. I'm very glad for you that your SSI was finally approved! I haven't been following your story but being in your ex's garage seems to be a good thing, so I'm glad for you about that as well. I do think you need to write a book - compile your writings - you really do have a gift. You turn what could be utterly depressing or demoralizing in someone else's hands into adventure, and oftentimes comedy :)
 
oh, well maybe she will get brave and visit you, once she knows when your around....

Yes, the kitty cat is becoming more brave and has visited me the past couple of days, ever so briefly.

She's absolutely scared of everything

turn what could be utterly depressing or demoralizing in someone else's hands into adventure, and oftentimes comedy :)

Thank you for the support.

It's funny, my writing mimics the way my mind processes in real life (i.e. hopeful). I wonder if that's true of all other "writer" types? ... Ha! Never really considered that angle. Hmmm ... do my favorite authors do this as well? Or do they take on entirely different personas and attitudes and such while in the writing groove?

So perhaps if my mind projected differently, so too would the words appear in such a way.
 
Hi Howard.....Did you get your back pay for your SSI? Many people don't know that you can get such a payment going back to your first application.

We can then have that party! Yours, Lenora
 

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