whisper to a scream ...

Last week instead of accomplishing two out of two things I wound up accomplishing three out of four. In addition to getting my truck battery replaced I learned my rear brake pads needed replacement. The total cost came out less due to a sale they were having on brake jobs, and also because my battery was under warranty. This resulted in a prorated cost for the replacement. I also shifted funds around which will be available for my upcoming trip. More than enough to cover me, but I've emergency funds in standby should things go bad. The last thing I didn't get to was replacing the RV battery. I pushed it back because there really isn't a rush. It's a 30 minute job which I can do the day before leaving.

Mom showed up at the dealer about a half hour after I arrived for an oil change. It wasn't a coincidence. She didn't bring up what's been going on and instead waited for me to do so. I didn't, at least until we had a few minutes left before leaving. No fighting, just talking, and a lot of listening to each other. What followed was her failed attempts to understand and/or deflections by minimizing some key events (both present and past). Nothing was resolved. She didn't quite get this either. There's nothing to resolve because the damage has always been long past that point. Recognition by all the involved parties was merely a formality. 


currying favor

This is something I've been meaning to get to, but didn't because of all the family stuff. The biking has only helped me deal with it so much. I needed another outlet so the brain dumps here was another outlet. Sorry again for taking things off track (oh, there I go again with the idioms).

I forgot today is Easter Sunday so battery-palooza is off since the places I need to go to are closed. Monday it is!

So about three or four months ago I was on one of my small house/living video binges and stumbled across, what I thought was, a phenomenal documentary. The name is "Welcome to India" and was put out by the BBC in 2012. I checked and it's still available on Youtube in the original three parts. Sacha Dhawan narrates it and for those who don't know. He played the character Manmeet in the short lived TV show Outsourced as well as various movies and TV shows. 

The people and their stories are heartwarming despite how dire their circumstances might seem. India is way ahead of us where overpopulation and limited space are concerned. The resourcefulness of the people there goes well beyond what I've had to imagine towards simply earning a living on a daily basis.

I hope you enjoy the documentary as much as I did, and take away something special. It's worth it!



Thursday morning, after breakfast, I packed up and hauled off all the dried goods to my travel trailer. I spent most of the morning there doing spot checks and making sure everything was in good working order. Once I was satisfied I proceeded to my next task of shifting funds around. I was expecting it to take longer since the last bank took almost three weeks to process my request. My credit union (where the funds are now) said they can turn this around in a 24 hour period. The only thing I'm left waiting for is the renewal tags on my truck to arrive. I hope they get here sooner than later.

I also made a few calls to the town where I'll be staying. No better way to get a lay of the land than from the locals. Also made sure they carry Bridgie's brand of food, which they do.

The battery in my truck is starting to die out and will need to be replaced before I leave. This will be the second time I've had to replace it. The original and replacement both lasted four years each. I was told that living in extreme temperatures would drastically shorten the life, but didn't think it would be that short. Growing up here in Socal I was spoiled by them lasting an average 6-8 years. Moving to places like Minnesota and then Texas I did put them through pretty extreme weather. The battery in my trailer is pretty much dead and needs to be replaced. This will be a fun project tomorrow.

The fallout from Idiom-gate hasn't quite settled yet but I haven't been pestered since the initial incident. I'm really not on speaking terms with dad or sis at this point, and I'm totally ok with that. I told them both to leave me be until they get their shit sorted, or never bother me again. Mom and I are talking, so there's that.

I'm looking forward to this departure. For now I wait.

Teardrop by Massive Attack on Grooveshark


white noise

Where do you send things to, when your heart ain't got no room? - Lauren O'Connell

So after all was said and done you might have thought this family stabilized and on the road to getting better. You'd be wrong. Things are as dysfunctional as ever and this is the status quo. Anyone whose put enough time between themselves and unhealthy situations can relate. I'm disappointed, disillusioned, disheartened, and simply done. I won't bore you guys with any more details about this family unless (swine achieve flight) things actually improved. Until then, this part of my narrative is over. I've got nothing left to give and have begun to regret my decision in returning home.

Today I called my aunt to give her an update. Yes the same aunt who whips my dad back into line. Funny thing about her is she's not like that at all. She happens to be one of the most centered people I have in my life. In my youth I possessed all the rage and unpredictability of my parents combined. Through mistakes and experience I managed to learn and overcome. My aunt never judged and never ever once made me feel bad or guilty for my mistakes in life. She only tried to help me understand where I went wrong. The lessons often took years for me to realize, but I learned them.

OK. So I thought I was finished unloading details about the dysfunctional family but that's not the case. As I was typing this out tonight my sister texted me a second time to chastise me (again) for using an idiom with my nephew the night prior. She did it once in the morning and I didn't feel the offense was quite near as bad as she made out. It really wasn't. It was when she did it again tonight because the father (who is no longer a daily part of his own son's life) felt it was wrong. It was an idiom! Wanna know what it was? After we played fetch with the dogs, we went to wash his little hands. I referred to them as "bad boys" in the context of "let's wash these bad boys". Her reason for chastising me was that they don't want to refer to any body parts as good or bad. OK, fair enough but I was never informed of this decision before. How was I to know this? I know I have a potty mouth, and it takes all I've got to not swear in front of the little guy. Anyone who knows me knows that that's an accomplishment in of itself when I don't. I'm proud to say that, to date, I've avoided any bad language around him. So back to the "bad boys" idiom. So what would happen if he heard it from someone they couldn't chastise? OMFG, how would they deal with it then?!? Before I go on any further allow me to underscore how unfair this is in the context of what also took place that night. The little guy also began repeating a word he heard my mother use when she addressed my father directly. This is a phonetic representation, but the word was "pan-chuy". The word in English means nothing. In an unknown dialect of Chinese it means penis or dick. This is mom's pet name for dad. His pet name for her is the Chinese (unknown dialect) word for vagina. The kid only started repeating DICK in Chinese last night for whatever reason. He didn't bring it up with mommy and daddy today because he can't relate since it's a different language. I made sure mommy was made aware of this since she saw fit to pursue me a second time. It's yet another reason why I'm so indignant about all of this. So to be sure I'm not losing my mind, I did what any sane person would. I asked friends of mine who are parents. Most of them thought, scratch most, all thought it was overkill and ridiculous. It's easy enough to write off new inexperienced parents, but they thought it was stupid. What about the ones who have remained intact as families and have more than two kids. They also agreed, overkill. By the way, thank each and every one of you for letting me know I wasn't in the wrong. 

I made the mistake of relaying this injustice to my dad. He decided to explode in anger saying I should know (at a very high volume) that everyone is different and should never repeat an idiom to a child. At that second I know he didn't have the foggiest idea of what the definition of an idiom is. I said to him "say it louder again dad, if you're louder that means you're that much more right". He shouted louder again. I egged him on with a sarcastic "oh that made it crystal clear dad. you are right!". Yes, the idiom contained in the final reply was completely lost on him only confirming that he doesn't understand. I am done.

This is what I get for coming to help my family. Never again. 

Original comic


we can work it out

So the other day sis and I finally got a chance to catch up and straighten things out. Skipping the details we figured out that it was my mother's insatiable need to meddle in affairs that are not of her concern. She was doing to her what she had tried with me not more than a month prior. We dealt with this as we always do, by both letting her know she crossed a boundary that was not hers to cross. This doesn't end it, but usually stops her for a couple of months. It gives us a break to deal with the real issues at hand. Well, my break will last longer with my upcoming departure.

I had a talk with one of my aunt's on dad's side of the family. When things are at their worst he has a tendency to ignore our pleas and his sister has a way of getting through to him. This usually occurs after she gets an update on what's really going on instead of what he tells her.

Today during breakfast I made mom spit out a mouthful of coffee all over the kitchen floor. She did her best to hold it in but wound up losing it. I was explaining to her why the littlest (again) member of the family would run out into the backyard to bark at whatever she'd heard. They don't take her out for walks enough and she has a limited world in which she lives. Oreo spends most of her time living within the boundaries of the kitchen and backyard. It's enough room for a dog her size, but you tend to kind of lose your mind over time when there's little to no interaction with the outside world. Then when I said "kind of like how dad chooses to live in a limited space doing the same thing day in day out and exploding in anger at nothing randomly" which is when she took a mouthful of coffee. It was all of about 10 seconds when she quickly turned her head as the weight of my words dawned on her and sploosh! Oreo discovered today that she really loves coffee.


everybody eats when they come to my house

Over the last week I had the good fortune to finally pickup a Santoku knife. I meant to get one sooner, but could never find a decent one at a price I was willing to pay. This week Macy's had a sale on a mid line J.A. Henckels one, so I scooped it up for half the normal cost. I also own one of their chefs knives and it's been a staple in my kitchen. My first time using one was at my sisters house last year. I immediately fell in love with how much easier it was to use compared to my chefs knife.

So about four years ago my sister had sent me a gift card for Cost Plus World Market. I moved shortly after receiving it and was in a moving box where it remained until I did that major cleaning in 2010. I didn't think there were any in San Antonio and never bothered to look. It was packed away again and didn't see the light of day again until last month. I found it and gave it to mom to buy something for herself. We both went and she found herself a real nice casserole dish with lid. I also wound up finding something for myself and the trailer. I picked up a stainless steel Karahi, which is essentially the Indian version of a wok. The difference between this and a Chinese wok is the pan is a bit narrower at the top making it deeper overall. It also doubles as a serving dish. A happy accident resulted in that the lid to a stainless steel fry pan I once owned (it died falling out of a moving box and was bent beyond repair) fits perfectly.

A lot more varied ethnic/international markets had opened up while I was living away. I'm taking advantage by restocking (at hugely discounted prices) the rarer spices and assorted dried goods that are almost impossible to come by at regular supermarkets and/or small town markets. There are some things I can find at a supermarket, but usually at much higher costs. For example Garam Masala spice sells at $6-8 for a standard sized spice bottle of it. I paid $2 for a bottle twice the size. Basmati rice normally runs around $5 for a 1 pound bag, I paid half that for a three pound bag. I love Indian food and know it's gonna be impossible to come by where I'm going so this will lessen the blow. Hawaiian food is another favorite where I can generally find most of what I need anywhere, but there are a few things. Sushi rice can sometimes be found at supermarkets, however Furikake is a bit harder to come by. I use them to make Spam Musubi. It's super easy to make and keeps well. I sometimes stash one or two in my map bag while hiking.

I've just about got a nice little international kitchen ready to roll.

Everybody Eats When They Come To My House by Cab Calloway & His Orchestral on Grooveshark


watching the wheels

So in the wake of leftovers-gate I stated that I'm leaving. I am, and soon. More on that, in another post though. Families are a very wonderful, complex, and infuriating thing at varying times. All of them have their strengths and weaknesses. Despite how long apart you are from them, it's all too easy to fall back into the trappings that made you crazy around them. This is what happened to me.

Things were great for the first couple of months. The usual problems were there and were dealt with accordingly. It was the ones I'd forgotten about that got the better of me. You see I'd forgotten how unrelenting and manipulative my mother can be when she disagrees with something. She's not as bad now as when we were younger, and I don't mean to make her sound like royal bitch. She's not, but she has been caught and called out when doing it. So a quick catch up and I'll resume my story. I was supposed to leave around Oct/Nov of last year. I was convinced I should stay since I'd be returning for Thanksgiving, and (again a month later) for Xmas. It made sense so I stayed with a rescheduled mid February departure. The situation with my sister is what prompted me to stay. Because I was feeling rather uneasy about what was going on with her, and not knowing what to do. I was feeling somewhat helpless. This is when mom decided to strike. Basically she incessantly nags, questions your decisions, and expresses every single fear she has over whatever it is you want to do. It's annoying and I fight it. Eventually you stop resisting just so she'll think you've acquiesced, when you really only wanted her to stop. It's at this point when you're so worn down that her fears start to become your own. Since I was already worried about my sister at the time, it wasn't much of a stretch for the other stuff to creep in. So in short, I got scared about what I had already planned, had done, and still want to do. When I came to and realized what had happened I was pissed. Very indignant also because of some of the things she'd said. This, in light of me being the one who is debt free and owns his own home while she still owes more than half for hers.

What's kind of strange is that my sister was driving me to leave, but was weeks before her situation went south. After is when she began encouraging me to enroll in the culinary arts program. Understandably so given what was going on. She wants me to stick around. She didn't want my mom to say anything to me about the leftovers incident. Mainly because it resulted in exactly what followed. By the way mom took responsibility for it and even tried to talk to sis about it. Sis wasn't having any of it and avoided the topic. She also hasn't even addressed it with me. I can understand not doing so at the time, but it's been a couple of weeks. I'm not gonna nag her about it, but I do feel some sort of explanation is due given that I was the one being dragged through the mud here.

I'm also ditching out on the culinary arts program because of what tuition will cost as an out of state resident. It's four times the amount. Technically I can prove that I've been here for the time required, but part of that means giving up my Texas state residency. There is no way in hell that I'll ever become a resident of California ever again. State leadership here is morally and financially bankrupt. Now there may be a way around it, but then again why bother when I'm leaving. It doesn't have to be here, and I can do this elsewhere.

My father kind of stays out of it. Mostly he sits in his recliner watching kung fu soap operas all day. He's earned that, but doing that all of the time is also a huge part of the problem. He complains about the medication he has to take and how my mother never cooks anything that is safe for his diabetes and gout ailments. He's right about the food, but he also doesn't do a lot to help himself in other ways. We've been doing our best to encourage the man to get out and walk. He doesn't have to walk a marathon, just any amount of distance and time will do. Case and point, he's taking pills due to a deficiency. This is the kind of deficiency that is cured by getting some sunlight. His other issues can be helped by just walking. He's also skipping out on the kind of examinations anyone of his age and gender should be doing. He doesn't like the discomfort he has to go through, and has developed somewhat of a defeatists attitude regarding if they were to discover something fatal. He is as stubborn as the animal year he was born to. The year of the Ox. My father also has anger issues. He explodes instead of dealing with things in a patient manner, often times towards my mother. It's gotten worse over the last few years in that he explodes over things that he has no control over, nor should he ever care about. He's very careful around my sister, but this is only because he knows she'll cut him off from seeing his grandson. She's already had to correct some behaviors the little guy picked up from gramp's. There's already a time when he was cutoff because of it. His negative behaviors are toxic as I caught myself slipping into them a few times.

You reach a point where you're no longer helping and everything is a wasted effort. This is where I'm at with my family. Leftovers-gate is simply what finally woke me up. So I've made my plans and will be leaving here soon. I've got a few weeks before I go due to some loose ends that need tying up. I won't be staying on my property as was previously planned, but will be stopping by there to get the real estate agent moving on it's sale. I won't disclose where I'll be until after I've arrived. I can say that I'm taking a bit of a chance with my new plans, but the rewards will definitely be worth it. At least for me and my life. I may fall flat on my face but I've done that before and know how to pick myself back up.

Watching The Wheels (Original Remaster) by John Lennon And Yoko Ono on Grooveshark