Odds and Ends No. 38


I just poured myself a prize. The last cup
of my morning coffee in my thermos.
Why a prize? Simple. I deserved one; to

celebrate that I shredded the huge pile
of waste paper in my home office. You
know the box that file folders come in?

Well, I use one of those as a to-be-
shredded paper bin. It sits on top of the
dusty seldom used record player in front

of my desk. The pile has been overflowing
long enough. It took me about an hour to
shred it all. I had to dump the small

shredder bin four or five times. No secret
stuff; mostly junk mail trying to sell me
medical or life insurance or trying to get

me to sell my house to them. Junk just
the same. A year ago last summer, we
realized the yard company had our water

system turned up to water too often so
they could justify coming every month to
trim and clean very little. Anyway, we fired

them for more than that over a year ago
also hoping to bring our water bill down.
She looked out the window yesterday and

remarked, “The plants are dying. They
weren’t dying yesterday, but they are dying
today.” We walked out back. Our backyard

isn’t much bigger than our car; one of the
smallest in the neighborhood. She was
right. I watered by hand yesterday and

tested the irrigation system today. I turned
it back on to the old settings. It is a drip
system. One hour from five to six in the

morning every other day. I have not been
able to get a straight story on desert plant
irrigation for seven years. Everyone you ask

has a different solution that requires more
math than I’m willing to apply to the task.
That is why I checked, saw the old settings,

and just turned them on. Maybe too much;
maybe not. You can be sure of one thing.
Our water bill is going up. Just another

reason why I’d be happier living on the
eleventh floor anywhere. Remember, I’m
color blind. Dead or alive the plants look

about the same to me. Not my thing. I have
no idea what is supposed to flower or not.
Fall in Indiana meant only one thing to me.

Leaves fall. And I had to pick them up. I’ve
been telling people my whole life, I’m a city
boy, and I’d love to live in the city. That

eleventh floor dream is still with me! Streets,
sidewalks, buildings, people, crowds. Someday.
I can dream, can’t I? Don’t get me wrong, I’m

thankful for our sweet home and love it. Yet,
there is a part of me that misses the sites and
smells of the city. I confess—I’ve always

loved the smell of diesel. Trucks, tanks, APCs!
And downtown. Downtown any town smells.
Meanwhile, my coffee is about gone. Not so

with the antibiotics. Day five of ten. (I’ll
spare you the laundry list of drugs that
started with a shot of Prednisone last

Wednesday.) Thank God for my NP who I
got in to see fast. (Over the counter always
fails. Why do I still try it?) Looking out the

window, the wind is picking up, so I’ll wait
until about six to take the garbage out so the
cans don’t blow down the street. I wonder

what the wind is like downtown on the
eleventh floor? May happen, may not, but
my mind is on the eleventh floor today.

I need to listen to some of my old records,
too. Good stuff. Good jazz. Good classical.
Great vocals, etc. Why did I stop doing that?

Odds and Ends No. 32


I stared at this blank page long enough.
A lot going through my mind but not
getting through to the page, so I went

back to my openSUSE Tumbleweed
desktop and played a game hoping it
would jar something profound loose.

I just spit my gum out. She had a pack
on the counter. I had eaten a simple
sandwich, three radishes, and three

olives not caring if my stomach virus
and nagging cold go berserk. Maybe it
was the Dijon or my mild cup of tea,

but I thought a stick of gum would
help. It didn’t. It was like a burst of
sweet chemicals in my mouth and

in minutes turned to rubber that I
could no longer chew. That quickly
reminded me why I don’t chew gum

anymore. I thought the game would be
a great alternative to thinking. I was
wrong even though the pieces started

falling faster at Level 3. This is the
only thing I do right-handed as the
arrow buttons are on the right side of

the keyboard. Surprised I can play at
all. But by Level 6 I was still shaking
my head about events in Paris and

the ongoing anal political events with
North Korea wondering if world stupidity
would prevail. I couldn’t concentrate

any longer and crashed.

Score 1739980
Lines 61
Level 7

Respectable score even though I
feel like crap. Just as well. I believe
good writing (or art forms) are just

that: Good. Not driven by an agenda
or filled with hate, anger, abuse, and
the like. I came close to the edge up

there thinking of world events. Well,
I do have views, opinions, and yada
yada, yada. Many things. But rather,

the Apostle Paul told the Philippians,
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is

just, whatever is pure, whatever is
lovely, whatever is commendable, if
there is any excellence, if there is

anything worthy of praise, think about
these things.” She just got home. I
helped her in with a few things; decided

to eat a carrot. As I walked back to my
red desk, I asked, “Did you get your toes
done?” “Yes,” she said. Walking back to

her, I said, “I forgot to look; let me see!”
A beautiful Bougainvillea color. “Very
pretty!” Back at my desk, I wished the

carrot was a cigar because I don’t smoke
anymore. Not since 1976; but the desire
still lingers. Listen, I want you to have

hope, not fear. Hard to do in the chaos of
the world today. Paul continued, “What
you have learned and received and heard

and seen in me—practice these things,
and the God of peace will be with you.” A
carrot, cigar, or world news can’t top that.