Michigan

Rainy Day Bored

Rainy Day BoredBloody hell this town is boring in March.  Especially on a cold rainy day.  I took a long drive yesterday.  Enjoyed some music, wandered aimlessly in a mall and didn’t spend a dime.  Well other than the gas to get me there and back.  I just needed to get out of town.  Think and such.  Also browsed a truck with a plow.  Was a bit beat up and had that nasty double cab syndrome.  I don’t need all that seating.  I mean I want a truck, to use as a truck.  Not a damned family sedan.  Which generally reduces the box size.  Anyway…

Today is Sunday.  Not a lot going on.  Especially in Gayrock.  Turned in my growing collection of pocket change for dollar bills and that was about it.  I can either go out to eat, or shop at the same 5 lousy stores.  I’m in Walmart way too much.  Meijer is freaking useless in my opinion.  (If someone says produce one more time, I’m going to punch them.  If that’s all Meijer is good for, it’s not worth the effort.)  Can’t afford a new gun yet.  So Jay’s is out.  Kohls is way over priced and doesn’t carry any clothing for me.  (Three racks is NOT a Big and Tall selection.)  I mean seriously, am I the only one who thinks Kohls is just pointless and pricey?  Big Lots is slowly becoming a junk store.  Especially their furniture.  A chair bought from there didn’t last 6 months before it started to fall apart.  😕

It’s too rainy for me to want to go shooting.  Thanks to the extreme lack of indoor shooting ranges around here.  Still not playing Warcraft.  Well, at least the retail version.  Though the private server market isn’t much better.  I maybe play 30 minutes a day at most before it annoys me.  I’m praying Pantheon will return MMORPG’s to their glory days.  GTA Online still isn’t fun, good thing I didn’t actually pay for it 😉  (No it’s not pirated, I got it as a gift.)

Tomorrow I hope to head up to Petoskey to look at possible trucks and explore.  I’ve always liked Petoskey.  Loved the year and a half I lived there.  Maybe next weekend I’ll take an all day trip to Traverse City and browse the downtown shops.  If I recall correctly, there was some great ones years ago.  I hope they’re still there.

Other than that, not a lot has gone on in my life lately.  With perhaps one exception.   I’m actually surprised no one has asked about it, but perhaps no one noticed.  Darla and I split.  It’s not her fault.  It’s mine.  I made the decision.  I won’t go into detail, but I want everyone to know that I still think she’s a very kindhearted woman.  I wish her nothing but the best in her life.  I hope we can remain friends.

Mr. Plow

Plow TruckI’m so over this snow shit already.  It seems lately all I do between job one and job two is shovel and blow snow.  Then by the time I get to the night job I’m exhausted and frozen.  Just to run about cleaning off my car 15 times a night to trudge through other peoples driveways that aren’t plowed and porches covered in snow.  I’m tired of freezing my ass off and being physically spent every night.

Not to mention, yesterday during early morning whiteout conditions, Darla’s car wouldn’t start.  So being I had to have my car for the night job, I tried to drive her to work in Grayling.  I think we topped speeds of 30 miles an hour.  Though mostly under 20 until we got to Waters.  I said, fuck this and turned around for home.  No job is worth having a heart attack over while stressing out in bad winter weather.

My next two goals are thus: 1) Get a house.  Hopefully by next winter.  2) Trade my car in for a truck with a plow.

I’ve grown up here and have never needed four-wheel-drive.  I have a fond memory of my friend Jeff using his 4×4 to pull out a car in the snow and he got stuck too.  I used my two-wheel-drive truck to pull them both out 😉  Granted, I was on the road while they were both in the snow.  Still felt good to know how to deal with it.  I digress.

Frankly winters up here are harsh and I’m over freezing my nuts off and getting my Carhartt clothing soaked nearly every day to keep my drive and walkways clean.  I want to sit inside a nice warm truck and be able to push the snow around.  Then do minor shoveling and snow blowing and be done with it.  Besides, I’ve been dying for a truck for years.  I’m going to make it happen one way or another.  It’s long past time to work on my dreams.

Commercial Radio Simply Sucks

Can't Find Good MusicIt seems no matter where I live, I can’t find a radio station that plays new upbeat rock music.  I had pretty much the same problem in Virginia.  Anything that resembled what I was remotely interested in, only happens once or twice a day on select stations.  The rest of the time it’s incoherent pop music with repetitive hooks and annoying noises.  Or it’s the same acid rock from the 70’s that has been playing for over 40 years.

This is where I differ from the “you darn kids” kind of older man.  I’m not stuck in one generation for music.  I like new music, I just prefer it to be rock and roll.  Not rap, R&B, hip-hop, pop or similar.  Hardly any of the bands I enjoy get played anywhere I’ve lived or traveled through. If it weren’t for the internet, I pretty much wouldn’t hear the music I like at all.  If anything I will hear something from Panic! At The Disco and maybe a Paramore song.  But no All Time Low, Flyleaf or any of my other favorite bands.  Although it’s not Pandora that helped me find the music I love.  They did just what every radio station has done.  Starts out decent.  Then suddenly I’m listening to Steppenwolf.  Turns out iHeartRadio knows what I like.  Spotify isn’t bad either, but I’m not about to pay $10 a month for it.

Up until recently, I didn’t really notice what the stations around here played as I didn’t have a car.  I just streamed my music on my desktop, laptop and phone.  Now that I do, I have to suffer through commercials, lousy DJ’s and industry standard crap.  It’s an older car with a cassette player.  Yikes.  I tried a cassette adapter for my phone to play my MP3’s or stream iHeartRadio, but it was mostly static background.  I tried a bluetooth adapter, sounds much better.  However, this is when I found out that any bump in the road causes whatever cassette that is in the deck to eject.  🙄

Thus, I’m stuck listening to the crappy local radio stations until I get a different car.  Can’t really see putting a nice stereo deck in a car that isn’t worth much more than the deck itself.  Although the way it runs and drives, that may be a few years from now.

Looking Like Home

Firstly, I’d like to thank all those that helped me get my little place up and running 🙂  Gene for helping me get this placeJennifer for the cool blue rocking chair!  My Aunt Bonny and Uncle Roger for the tan rocking chair.  John for the Bookcase, Microwave and Blender.  Allen & Adam for the cool smoothie maker (which I use almost daily).  Jeff for the kick ass Dresser and Nightstand.  My Mom for helping me get to Michigan and giving the bookcase a nice refinish.  Bethany for the sweet dishes setAmber for taking care of Chase and selling the truck for me.  And to all the folks that helped me unload that damned 26′ truck!  (Adam, Allen, Stacey, Aunt Marty, Eddie and his boys)  And not to forget Fran for the kick-ass going away (or GTFO) party!  I’d be nowhere if it weren’t for my awesome friends and family!!

Also a special thanks to my boss for allowing me to keep my job and benefits so far away from the home office!  That makes an incredible difference!

All their help I’ve been able to get back on my feet solidly.  It feels really good and it’s such a blessing, that after the worst years of my life, I’m finally able to have this.  There’s still a struggle to go.  Still a mountain of medical bills to pay.  Sometimes I stress over it.  I’m still certainly feeling lonely at times when no one can come around.  But it’s getting better and better and I couldn’t possibly ask for more.  Though with nickels here and dimes there, I am slowly making this a bearable place to live.  It’s by far better than some places I’ve had to live in the past.

In comparison to what it looked like just a couple of months ago, it’s so much nicer.  Just look at it now!  (yes, the posters are fake, but planned)

Thank You All!!

Porch Monkey 4 Life

Porch Monkey 4 LifeWhile yes, it’s a reference from one of my all-time favorite movies.  It’s also a term I’ve heard all my life.  Though growing up in this small town so far up north, I never once associated the term with anything resembling racism.  My mother called me this when I sat on the porch bored as a kid.  Watching the traffic go by.  I never thought much of the term since.  That is until the Kevin Smith movie, Clerks II came out.  Even then it was one hell of a funny skit.

So why would I think of this now?  Turns out, it’s the number one activity here in Gaylord.  I’ve walked every day since coming back to town.  Doesn’t matter if I’m out at 7am on my way to a doctor appointment or just walking about after work, even when I am enjoying the star lit night hours.  I am guaranteed to go past a house where folks are just chilling on their porch.  Enjoying their coffee, tea, beer, cigarettes or whatever else.  In some cases, there’s not even a lot for them to enjoy viewing.  Perhaps some crooked tree in their neighbors yard, as their own yard is either missing or isn’t attractive.  Or perhaps to watch the rusty cars, obnoxiously loud motorcycles and the rice burning family sedans with cherry bomb mufflers go by.  For most folks, there are some fantastic looking yards around.  If the townsfolk aren’t chilling on their porches, they are working hard on their elaborate and elegant yards here.  Plus, you can actually enjoy the stars at night around here.  The streets aren’t overloaded with lights.  Although in the winter, there is a killer view coming back to town from Treetops Resort.  Where the lights we put up during Christmas reflect off the snow and light up the night sky.  Right now though, the weather is wonderful in the afternoon and into the evening.  So I too have found myself just chilling on my tiny deck just outside my front door.  Even just to watch the rain.  It’s incredibly peaceful.  Being a Porch Monkey here is just a pastime to us.  Nothing more.  The Great White North as we get referred too sometimes, is obviously because of the snow.  However, the majority of the population here is one shade or another of white as well.

To me, being a Porch Monkey has nothing to do with color or race.  It’s just something we do to pass the time.  So like Randal Graves, I’m taking it back 🙂

Settling In

My little apartment is finally starting to take shape and look like a place to call home.  I finally have places for folks to sit!  (hint, hint – visitors welcome 🙂 )  Still in desperate need of storage as evident by my clothes are in a cardboard box in the bedroom and I still have 3 full packed boxes I dig through frequently to get things.  So storage options are still on my list.  Been checking craigslist, thrift stores and so on.  If anyone sees something decent yet cheap, let me know.  I’ll figure out a way to get it to the apartment somehow.

Not pictured, is the bookshelf that John gave me.  It’s currently being refinished.

Isn’t it nice, orderly and clean!?!  Such a refreshing change for me on that aspect alone 😀  Of course I did spend some hours scrubbing the tile floors, and vacuuming at great length the carpets.  They could use a shampoo when I can find a machine to borrow.

Even more shocking, I’ve been cooking.  Yes, my apologies to the neighbors for the bad smells.  I’m trying dammit! 😆  Although I think I have the Banana Smoothie just about perfected 😀  As soon as I get some baking pans, I’ll start dabbling in that too.

Also it’s evident that I need more picture frames.  I’ve got one up!  Possibly a scenic wall piece too.

As per request of a friend, he had me make an Amazon Wish List.  This is not by any means a request for everyone to look at.  I don’t expect anyone to buy me anything.  The list I keep on here is for folks to keep an eye out for things, with some links for reference.  If you wish to buy me something purely because you want too, fine.  I’m not asking anyone to do that.

Seriously, I’ve been in town a month now, seen a few people.  Would love to see all those who haven’t come by yet.  If you don’t want to come to my apartment, we can meet somewhere in town.  Everything is within walking distance of where I’m living.  I’d be happy to meet you for coffee or a drink (or whatever) with all of you.

Glad to be Back!

Happy to be Back in MichiganIt’s been just over a week and had the stabbing pains of a couple of spurs on my spine to deal with and yet I feel so good.  Emotionally mostly.  I can’t believe how much I really missed living in Northern Lower Michigan.  It’s so damned beautiful and it’s a clear difference when it comes to the folks who live here.  I’ve had so many random and pleasant conversations already with people I’ve never met.  You just don’t get that in the big city.

In so many ways, it’s almost as if I never left.  It’s still beautiful, it’s still has that down home feel to it.  Even if my town got a little bit bigger.  Not big enough to have it’s own Starbucks, but at least a tiny one in one of the more popular grocery stores.  Right next to the in-store Dairy Queen.  We also have a Cold Stone too, but it’s shared with some place that’s called Tim Hortons.  I guess it’s similar to a Starbucks.  Hell for indulgence, that’s all I really need anyways.  The hometown restaurants are the places to go for food.  Not those national chain places.  Just tried Sweet and Sour Coleslaw.  Never going to want regular coleslaw again, it’s freakin’ awesome!

I’ve already had friends greet me and more are on the way today and on Thursday.  There’s some nice little meeting places down the street from me that serves really good food.  Timothy’s Pub, Alpine Tavern, Gobblers and BigBuck Brewery & Steakhouse just to name a few.  They all apparently need a better web designer.  (hint, hint) Just about everything I need is in walking distance which will help me lose weight and I won’t need a car right away.  Besides, gas is currently $4.28/gal here.  Can you say Holy Bank Drain Batman?

My sons have grown so much, and are now fine young men who love me as if I had been here all along.  I just can’t wish for anything better.  I’m so looking forward to spending all the possible time I can with my friends and family.  I’m positive I’ve done the right thing this time.  For the first time in years, I’ve made a good decision.

Took a quick walk before work last Friday and it was just as I had remembered.  The sun coming up glistening off the dew covered grass, the smell in the air.  Somehow it just smells cleaner.  Perhaps due to the much smaller population and abundance of trees.  Only one dead shopping center that should be bulldozed down verses one every couple of blocks and traffic as far as thee I can see.

I do dearly miss my family in Virginia already and the fluffy dog that once stood by my side every moment I was home.  I so wished I could’ve brought him with me.  Sadly not one place I could afford allowed pets.  As for my family in VA, they all have an open invitation to come visit.

Feeling a bit of rock n’ roll over the whole thing.  Press Play! ↓

Kick-Ass Friend Award!

Kick-Ass Friend AwardThis award goes to a ..  well  a Kick-Ass friend!  Some folks will offer you a shoulder to lean on.  Some will like you only if you constantly make them smile.  Some will do favors for you.  Some will do a combination of all of those things.

Then there is one or two in the whole crowd that will make you feel wonderful just by them being who they are.  They will do things for you, and not blink, complain or even have a second thought about the matter.  You don’t find many people like this today.  Hell, in many cases, people can be so shallow that there are deeper mud puddles that won’t even get your feet wet when you step in them.

I’m talking about Gene Gammon.  The she recently helped me secure a place to live when I move back home.

Why am I making such a fuss over it?  It’s because I left Michigan nearly 20 years ago.  Vanishing, but not without a trace.  I’ve always made it relatively easy to find me.  But that’s not the point.  The point is I left and fell out of touch with family and friends.  I let myself fall away from everyone I knew and loved.

When Gene and I reconnected, it was like it had only been hours since we last talked.  We caught back up, we laughed, made plans on doing things and it was excellent.

Then I asked her if she’d do me this favor.  I know it was a lot to ask of her as she works full time and raises 3 teenage girls.  Which I know from experience is tough to do even with two parents.  She’s dealing with a loss and restarting her own life.  Yet, she managed to take time out of her busy schedule and social life to make appointments with people and go visit, inspect and photograph apartments for me.  She’s one kick-ass friend!

Thank you Gene!

Now… I need someone to help me move a body…  Any volunteers?  (just kidding sheesh)

30-ish Day Notice

NoticeOK folks.  The time is nearly upon us.  Some will be happy, some will be sad.  Some may feel like running away and joining the foreign legion.  Can’t say I’d blame you.  Most of you know I’m moving back to Gaylord Michigan.  Time to go home.  I’ve got about a month left before the trucks actually roll out.  So those in VA that want to see me before I go, make your plans now.  Those who want to celebrate my departure with a “Thank God and Greyhound He’s Gone” party, you’ll want to wait until June 1st (as I’ll be gone by then).

This is also sufficient time for those in Michigan to prepare themselves for my arrival.  Either by welcoming me home, moving to another country or at least changing your voice mail to sound like your number is owned by some Cuban family so I’ll leave you alone.

I’m not going to be shy here either, any help would be appreciated.  Whether it’s helping pack or unpack the truck or if you want to just wish me and my Mom well on our journey.  You can also drop a few dollars if you like to us via PayPal.

Short URL: https://gden.net/donate

Going back to the Big Mitten

Being in my current situation, I’ve had a whole lot of time to think.  Too much actually.  While the front view of my life looks devastating, there is as they say a “silver lining”.  See, since my recent divorce, I have learned my youngest daughter is moving to New York to be with her man after she graduates school in 2013.  My oldest daughter is moving to Kansas.  The only real family I have in Virginia is my Mom.  She ended up here after a bad circumstance of her own a few years back.  She’s never been really happy here either.  Everything I came here for is gone now.  My big job at Gateway only lasted 2 years until they pulled the plug and outsourced it all.  Since then I’ve been working for a small ISP that has been slowly going out of business for half a decade.  The kids will soon be moving away.

I haven’t seen my sons who live in Michigan since 2007 when my oldest graduated High School.  I missed my youngest son’s graduation.  It’s been eating at me that I can’t afford to go see them for a couple weeks each year.  It’s just too damned expensive with the economy being as it has been for the past few years.  If the economy is getting better, I surely haven’t seen it.  As well, they haven’t been able to come see me either.

So I got to thinking.  If I saved up a couple thousand dollars to go visit them and have nothing to come back here for anyways…  Why come back at all?  So I had a sit down with my Mom and she agrees, there is really nothing holding either of us here.  So we’ve decided to save up money enough to get us by for a month in Michigan, plus travel to Michigan and a truck rental.  It will take working two jobs for a while to save up the money.  But in a few months, we’ll be moving back to my home town of Gaylord, Michigan.  It’s a small tourist town, but it has a unexplainable magic.  I’ve heard of many folks like me who have left and most of them end up coming back.  No real reason as to why other than it was home.  I want to go home to see my sons.  This is the time and way to do it.

Hampton Roads, Virginia has never felt like home.  I wanted it too, but it never quite fit.  So all in all, this seemed to have worked out well.

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