When we were four




When we were four

Originally uploaded by jkauffman

Once again my father has upstaged me in our computer arms race. It seems that every time I buy a computer he buys a better one. To be fair, our replacement cycles are similarly modest, he earns more money, and his computing needs are more robust… but come on dad! Give a nerd a break.

Well this time he didn’t get another computer – he just got the film scanner I’ve been lusting. (Not really a dedicated film scanner, but a mid-range flatbed with a transparency adapter for serviceable, if not perfect film scans.)

I’ve been longing for a film scanner for a while now, because most of the old family pics are slides. My grandfather took lots of pics with slide film with an old SLR, and so did my father… so there’s a treasure waiting to be pulled out and scanned for my library.

If I had the time saved I’d be tempted to take a week off from work, just to go over and sort through them all, digitizing like a mad geek.

This picture is an early sample my dad brought over a week ago. It’s me, my parents, and Christy at the old house in Billerica, MA – probably sometime in 1975.

Bad signs

Those are the kind of signs I don’t like too much… but who does? (Sometimes I think I just sit here and type shit, just for the sake of typing. Although, I’m getting to like this funky iMac keyboard, so there are worse things I could be doing that typing crap for the sake of typing.)

Dad’s making the drive to Chattahoochee for the first time this weekend. I thought I might go, but Cheryl thinks it’d be a bad idea, what with me being sick this week (again). To be fair, I can’t lay it all on Cheryl. I don’t much feel like spending all day in the car either. I’d sit here and tell you that my mother wouldn’t want me to get sick coming to visit her, but I’m not sure she’d notice one way or the other. The mom I knew ten years ago might not want me to come, but the 2007 model is pretty unpredictable. I’d tell you my dad would rather I stay home, but I’m not sure that’d be true either. It’s not that my father wishes me ill, but I think matters have gone way beyond being hard on him. I went by tonight for a lesson in cat feeding (a long story that I don’t feel like telling right now), and he let me in his latest fear… that his trip this weekend might be a waste. It seems the latest development is my mother is refusing my father’s calls.

If my father wasn’t already numb from nine months of hell, I think he would have been devastated. As it was, I could still see that it was hurting him. My dad would like to believe that my mother was making progress, but the bits and pieces I hear (many much worse that this) suggest she’s backsliding horribly.

The state web site for the hospital in Chattahoochee says it’s on the National Register of Historic places. This doesn’t make me feel any better, knowing the history of mental hospitals in this country (and to be fair, other places as well). I’m sure they’ve remodeled a few times since the original construction, but a reputation is a hard thing to overcome.

Is it me, or does it seem like I’ve typed this same entry at least a dozen times?

I just wish this was over. I’m well beyond hope. I’d just like to be done… and it feels like a horrible, despicable thing to admit. But in a way that’s o.k., because I feel pretty horrible.

I’ve decided that I’m going to put a stop to my habit of going in to work on mornings when I feel like shit, eking out a half day of work before going back home exhausted. Fuck work.

I’ve heard people say that swearing is the product of a mind that lacks creativity. Well you know what? I don’t feel terribly creative, but I do feel like a little catharsis is in order… and sometimes a little profanity is just what the doctor ordered. You may think I’m just saying that, but my sister is a doctor and she can swear like a sailor.

I suppose that’s enough typing for one night.

Leave it to my father

He says I’m a perfect square today. It took me a while, and I have the benefit of knowing what today is.

I’m six squared today.
(Dad’s an engineer, and we grew up with a lot of math in the house.)

My dad is always good for a “huh?”

… followed by a nice chuckle.

What do I write now?

I’ve long ago run out of words. Everyone is in bed, it’s just me, and I want to feel better. A Mac keyboard has been my outlet for a long time… going back to the good old Mac Plus days after my high school graduation. Now? Nothing.

It seems like even these words have graced my screen before. Simply put, my mind is a hollow shell.

In this ongoing medical drama, I feel worst about my father. (I wrote about him once, though I never shared.) The depression, anxiety, and psychosis have been a life long horror for my mother, but I can’t help but wonder if nothing’s left at this point. On the other hand, my father’s all there… in far too many ways. Once you get beyond the bizarre nature of psychosis, in some ways its easier to see my mother like this. She’s been fighting psychological demons for most of her life. However, my father’s always been steady. He’s always been the rock. Now he’s unsettled. Now he’s shaken. Now he’s the one that doesn’t know what to do. Mind you, he’s just as sharp as he’s ever been – and that’s pretty sharp, but the situation he finds himself in is one that has few answers, and LOTS of societal indifference.

So here I am… nothing of substance to say, wanting terribly to say something, and putzing around after midnight when I should be sleeping.