Sign in to your account



This field is required


forgot your password?


New to the site? Create an account →

Blog · blog comments

  64 articles   clear


Like I’m going to fall over

tcr! · Apr 17, 2018 at 7:26 pm

I haven’t been writing as much because I’ve been struggling with my nicotine addiction. All sorts of things happen and don’t happen when I try to quit.

Sometimes I’ll spout off something about quitting on social media or whatever but lately I’ve just been keeping my struggles to myself. Because unless somebody was a daily smoker for over 30 years, they don’t really get it. I know people are trying to help but move along. Sometimes we just need to vent.

And then vaping made my addiction even worse because I could do it anywhere at anytime. I would vape at Maggie’s school during her recitals and in team meetings at work, too. I would use my vapor in the dentist’s restroom before I went in to see them.

When I go into withdrawal my ears will ring. Ring to the point that I can hear them in the next room. My head will start to hurt. Like I have a vice slowly squeezing my temples. It’s not a sharp pain but dull and warm and oh so intense. And when it’s really bad I’ll start to get lightheaded. Like I’m going to fall over. Detox always makes my stomach bloated and gurgly regardless of which drug it is. My intestines will fill with witches brew and putrid toxins.

I’ve not been sleeping that great at night which makes it hard for me to concentrate throughout the day. Concentrate on writing or whatever. And then because I’m tired I drink more caffeine. In the early evening when I’m dragging both feet I’ll make a couple cups of coffee because I’m missing my old smoking friend. I’ll jump from one drug to another. Trade this addiction for that one. I didn’t realize I was even doing it at first with the coffees because when you’re a drug addict the addiction is sneaky and silent.

I’ve quit smoking probably 20 times and generally end up smoking again because the physical pain gets to be too much. And I know that if I smoke or vape or whatever all that pain goes away.

And then I stopped this morning and bought a pack cigarettes because the hellfire withdrawal had been kicking my ass for the better part of two days. I’ll do that every now and then, buy a pack, smoke one or two and then throw the unsmoked away.

I never tell anyone when I buy a pack of cigarettes because everybody is always disappointed. Because I’m the poster child for success or something.

It was snowing this morning. In the middle of April. And as I was standing outside the gas station smoking, a guy came up to me and asked for a cigarette. He had to be at least 20 years younger and wasn’t wearing a winter coat. He was missing half of his index and middle fingers on one hand. He had a plastic grocery sack full of things he hadn’t bought recently.

He seemed reluctant to ask me for a smoke but he still did because nicotine is a powerful bitch. I gave him three cigarettes and he was more than grateful. I could see the look of relief on his face. I treated him with dignity and respect because all people deserve that no matter where they are in life. No matter what really.

He reminded me of my 19 year old self when I lived in Cedar Rapids with one of my brothers. No job, no money, and desperately needing something to fill my soul. Standing in the morning snowfall regardless of the cold, feeding my addictions however I could.

Somehow I made it out of that era with all my fingers and toes attached. But I easily couldn’t have. Somehow I made it out of that life alive and now have my own house, a career, beautiful daughters, a gorgeous girlfriend, and all that.

Somehow I made it over the hump and to the place where I have a choice in life.

Driving away I wish I would’ve given him the whole pack. I wanted to tell him that he could make it out, too. Make it out of whatever place he was in. That life is bigger than where your next cigarette comes from.

But I didn’t think about any of that until I was driving away. Plus, I’m suspicious by default.

Anyways, never underestimate the impact you have on people, especially strangers.

#confessional #smokersunite #diariespodcast

Add a Comment

It’d be better if you signed in before commenting


Reply

Sunday brunch with Gibson the Brave

tcr! · Apr 15, 2018 at 8:34 am

This is another story from the book I was writing a few years back. Again, the book was mostly bullshit but I do enjoy some of the one-off stories.


—Friday; afternoon

Now that another workday was done and he lay in bed, his thought trains were his own again. Frank enjoyed the comfort, the disconnection that “bed” brought. Indeed, his midday siestas were spiritually divine. He could roam the countryside of his mind and drift…in random thoughts…

One of the last times he’d seen his mighty friend, Gibson the Brave, was on a Sunday, late morning, maybe two years ago. Gibson had just finished painting his kitchen while his wife was away visiting family and he was trying to look confident and put together. It was only window dressing though, morning-after jitters refused to hide behind the blinds.

Gibson recalled to Frank how his wife had seriously said, “Don’t drink both bottles of wine this weekend” and he smiled ashamed. There was some relief in Gibson’s implied confessional but they both knew his wife would bring the fury upon him that night.

They moved to the dining room and Gibson sat Indian style on the floor, steadying himself. He looked like he’d just as soon lie down right where he was. He soldiered on though, dipping and wiping his brush in the white paint as he prepared to engage the formal dining room. His hand started to shake as he attempted to physically will his brush to glide just above the base board.

Two dollars said the empty wine bottles were hidden at the bottom of the recycling bin and too bad their dining room would end up looking like a drunk painter had cut the trim.

He felt sorry for Gibson the Brave and wondered how much hangover pain he was in. He could see the agony on his face, and knew the weight of being an under-performing drunk in the eyes of the Missus.

Diagonal across the dock from where Frank lived, Gibson’s struggle was close to home and way too familiar.

Honestly, Frank was more than glad that none of the brush strokes were on his shoulders. This was Gibson’s time to dance in the hungover spotlight.

While he watched Gibson’s artistic handy work, he himself felt the guiltiness of getting away with alcoholism. He’d been in Gibson’s house two weekends past feeding their dog. But mostly he’d been sneaking shots from the kitchen counter’s bottle of rum while the dog was out pee’ing — he had had his own shakes to tend to that particular day. In the there and then, he smiled to himself as he wondered if Gibson had taken the wrath for that drop in fluid as well.

As the final memory domino fell, his mind unwittingly wandered back to the there and then, came away from Gibson’s kitchen twice removed.

Frank thought to himself, “I wish I could loose myself in that for a little longer. Gibson was a good man.”

It all faded though and there he was laying in bed again. He tried to snatch it back one more time but barely remembered what else he and Gibson talked about that day. Frank could only recall the “don’t drink all the wine” conversation even though he’d visited Gibson for a good hour or two.

He only had pockets of feelings left from that day, only remembered how he knew Gibson must’ve felt. And how he had felt those times in the presence of a kindred spirit, bonding on motorcycles and cheap wine and marital bliss.

Gibson and wife and dog were long gone these days, having returned to the heartland to be closer to their kin.

Frank thought to himself some more, “Maybe life isn’t so much about our adventures but maybe it’s about the people we share our adventures with.”

#confessional #ekwyd

Add a Comment

It’d be better if you signed in before commenting


Reply

On the perimeter

tcr! · Apr 8, 2018 at 9:33 am

A few years back I started writing a book. Well, I don’t know if you could call a book but it was similar to how I write now with one-off stories and the like. It did have a somewhat linear flow between the stories though.

It was mostly bullshit, too.

But I was thinking about one of the stories last night, one that was about the Allison Avenue era.

I haven’t felt much like writing anything new this month so here you go.


—Monday; morning

Frank was thinking of a conversation he and Nine had the night before as she started the kettle boiling for that morning’s coffee.

> FRANK: What’s your password again?
> NINE: Crater…regular.

That was such a minor conversation but sometimes something minor was all it took to start his cognitive trains a rolling.

“Regular” was a word that Nine used often enough that it always caught Frank’s attention. She was still in her single digits and Frank could tell that “fitting in” already had a place in her life.

“That should never be on a child’s mind,” he thought. It was still on his too much. Part of his job as a parent was to try and make it just not that important to Nine.

Frank was in his ninth year, just as Nine was now, when all social hell broke loose. His parents had bought a new house on the other side of town. The old home sat in the middle of an old block and this new house sat at the end of a new block.

At the old home he didn’t feel separate from the neighbors or their kids. He had known everybody since the proverbial “before he could remember.” He knew which yards to cut through and which yards to stay out of. He knew the cars, the cracks in the street, and the animals and the trees. He knew when people came and went. The telephone pole in the back corner had memories of he and Queen Penelope climbing the left-right rungs. The garage’s backside had memories of him busted for playing with matches.

Going outside from the old front door he could look left, he could look right, and everything was familiar. It wasn’t safe, maybe a little sketchy now and then, but it was all home…as far as his eyes could see.

Sometimes he would drive through that old neighborhood on Google Maps Street View and just feel stuff. The houses were different and he thought there were less trees. His old home in particular had different colored siding and the concrete front landing had been replaced by steps atop lattice. The garage was also gone, the garage that had kept his dad’s hotrod Plymouth that he and Penelope played on and in.

He wished he could see the backyard from the map. Frank shifted his head to try and look around the digital picture of the house.

After a few months at the new house Frank expected to find a Poltergeist graveyard around somewhere. The new houses on the new block were freshly built and the yards were freshly sodded. He knew most of the grownups’ first names on this new street but he didn’t feel a thing about them other than unwelcome. He felt looked down on but he couldn’t verbalize or even understand that. They were obviously “better” than him. That’s how he remembered that set of neighbors.

“We don’t want your kind around here,” one of moms had said to him while he was playing on her back patio with her boy. Frank didn’t know what to do with this surprise shame…so he just left.

Those times when you’re a kid and just want to run away? That was one of his.

Had Frank done something to offend her? No crimes came to mind. Maybe somebody in his new house had done something and he was guilty by that association. Who knows. Kids don’t think about big things like this. They only internalize.

It made him sad to think of when he had said his goodbyes to his old neighborhood peeps, folk he had spent his whole nine year life getting to know. Traded them in for a new set of everyday friends. He bonded with maybe ten percent of his new classmates and another twenty percent, well…he came to avoid them at all cost. They weren’t boy bullies, they were girls. With claws and teeth and words that beat him up. Words that squeezed him so hard internally that he had a social, spiritual collapse.

Most of the people in that area seemed to need an electrical outlet and Frank had arrived just in time for their shock therapy. Just in time for their voltage voice dial that was cranking up to eleven. He was the youngest with that set of siblings and wasn’t strong like King Leon or Queen Penelope. He couldn’t repel all the electric mosquitoes, he never stood a chance.

Deeply engrossed in thought while exploring this territory, he remembered what it felt like to be “one of” with his old friends, felt like he belonged, because he’d been there since day one.

“This shit’s fucking important.” his thoughts demanded from the keyboard that morning.

Never again did he really feel that group inclusion…with all the new houses he’d move to and with all the new schools he’d go to. When you join a group, you have no credibility, you start at zero by default. You will always be on the perimeter, you will always be excluded. You get to the point where you prefer it that way.

His sentimental thermometer started to return to normal. Maybe those William Street kids had only initially excluded him. Maybe there were some good seagulls in that second flock. He didn’t get to stay long enough to find out. His parents would soon divorce and that would usher in a whole new era for therapy.

Frank glanced at the clock and scoffed. It was almost 7AM. “Dammit, I have to get ready for work just as I was really digging into something.”

“Get in the same truck, drive the same route, to the same office, to sit in the same chair, to do the same job, to eat the same apple…” that he had for the past nine years.

As he was driving to work, his truck antenna hit the same pair of branches they hit everyday and he thought, “‘Regular’ — I sneer at social norms and regularity.” Like it or not, he was a comfortable outcast, often self-imposed, and he felt deeply guided (pulled) into instability and upheaval. That was his regular.

He didn’t like using the word in that way because “regular” was Nine’s word and he didn’t want to associate his own childhood with her. He wanted much more for her.

#confessional #ekwyd

Add a Comment

It’d be better if you signed in before commenting


Reply

Moments of belligerence

tcr! · Mar 6, 2018 at 9:06 am

Friends. Family. Total strangers. I don’t consider himself an arrogant person.

One evening, however, when I was running “who do I have to blow” late, I was pulled over. You may have heard this policeman story before. It was many years ago so don’t get too excited.

Anyways, when the officer walked up to my driver’s side window, I flicked my cigarette down toward his lazily shined shoes. I didn’t consciously do this, had no intention of being jerky, no intention of premeditated arrogance. It just happened.

I got a ticket for “disposing of flammable materials from a vehicle” that day. I never paid it.

We all have moments of belligerence I suppose.

And then there was that one time in high school when I was walking home by myself. A guy I was friends with drove past in his little red VW. I gave him the bird as he went by. Again, I don’t know why I did. It just happened.

When I saw him the next day at school he asked me why I had flipped him off. Feeling somewhat on the spot and held accountable for what I’d done, I told him it was because I was walking and he was not.

He then said to me, “you should’ve asked me for a ride” in a gentle, veritable kinda way. Instead of ratcheting the conversation up with more arrogance, he extended his hand in friendship.

Bill was a legitimately good guy. A better person than I was at the time for sure. We weren’t close friends but I still considered him my friend. And knowing Bill made me want to be somebody like him. Helped me realize that it’s okay to not only ask for what I need but also for what I want, what I’d like. Because friends do things for each other. Just because they’re friends.

Being a jerk by default never did me any favors. Granted in high school I didn’t really know how to do any better but in the here-and-now I’m grateful for those little interactions that helped me learn.

In that brief conversation before class started, Bill taught me that conflicts can be short circuited with friendly compassion.

I regret not getting to know more people in high school. I was too wrapped up in me and my chaos to make that happen. But looking back now as I drive to work, I’m sure there was a whole lot more Breakfast Club there that I didn’t even know about.

I’m in the math club, uh, the Latin, and the physics club… physics club.

#confessional #trafficnews #advancedsoul #diariespodcast

Add a Comment

It’d be better if you signed in before commenting


Reply

Mostly it just makes you feel worse

tcr! · Feb 10, 2018 at 11:00 am

Two telephones mounted on the bookshelf

And then there was that one time when one of my brothers called me out of the blue. I hadn’t talked to him in close to three years and we were just catching up, talking about a whole lot of nothing. And then without warning or skipping a beat or barely pausing for a breath, he asked me if, when we all lived together, if I had slept with his girlfriend.

Oh 😬

I wasn’t taken completely off guard as I stood in the kitchen with the phone up to my ear. I knew that this day was coming but still, somethings you can never truly prepare for.

I hesitated for a moment and then said “yes” and that I was sorry. Relationships are sacred and I played a part in destroying one of his. I didn’t really want to say anything to him, own that dreadful behavior but I confessed because he deserved an honest answer. He deserved me being accountable to him right then and there. Plus, lying makes me crazy and being honest keeps me sane.

After he heard my confession he kinda acted like it wasn’t a big deal but I could tell that his feelings were hurt. Getting confirmation for something you knew all along was true often doesn’t make you feel any better. Mostly it just makes you feel worse.

You maybe wondering why I hadn’t made my amends to him sooner. I have a fairly simple answer. It had been over 10 years since the three of us had lived together and I had only seen him one time since, maybe in 1999. Just in passing really. There are certain subjects where one needs to wait until the time is right. Carelessly blurting out secrets of this magnitude can be just as reckless and as hurtful as whatever crime has been committed.

And yeah, I could’ve called or written him a letter since we lived in different states but I wanted to talk with him face-to-face. I felt he deserve that, that physical closeness. I wanted him to see the real remorse and regret in my eyes, the pain in my heart for what I had done to him, the pain I had caused. So when he called in 2002 and asked me point blank, I knew it was time.

After I came clean my brother and I’s conversation didn’t last much longer. Hanging up the phone I was filled with sadness, didn’t feel I had his forgiveness. There had only been an admission.

I had admired and looked up to him for much of my life. When we were kids he had never really treated me as an equal. Older brothers generally don’t, but when he had invited me to come live with them I felt that had all changed. Like I was one of his peers. And then I had let him down. Well, more than that. I had broken his heart.

My ex-wife was in the next room and she had heard most of our phone call. She could tell that I was rattled when she came into the kitchen. I told her what the scoop was, what I had done. She was supportive and understanding, said all the things one should say…but I always wondered how much of those few moments had changed her perception of me.

Anyways, another decade and more have passed and I’ve let most of my guilt go. I pray that god heals him in time just as god has healed me as well. I hope he finds his peace but also know he has his own share of demons in the basement to deal with. And most of them have nothing to do with me.

I’ve only talked to him one other time since that particular phone call, sometime in 2011 I think. He called me from a payphone drunk and obnoxious, yelling at people passing him by on the street. I was embarrassed for him. And it’s hard for me to admire him anymore. Even more so when between rants he angrily said to me, “What, are you too good to talk to me anymore?”

I ended that conversation by hanging up on him. Part of being restored to sanity means realizing I don’t have to tolerate abuse from someone in the present just because I hurt them in the past.

Mostly, I do feel as if I have peace with my brother now. I’ve came to terms with my part in all of it. And I did the only thing I could do in a grim situation like that: be direct, honest, and sincere.

And yes, what goes around comes around.

#confessional #relationships #diariespodcast

Add a Comment

It’d be better if you signed in before commenting


Reply

Feb 2nd, 2018 at 8:55:33 am

tcr! · Feb 2, 2018 at 8:55 am

One time when I was 10 or 11 I spilled grape juice on my white t-shirt before school. So I did what you’re supposed to do and hid it behind my dresser.

#confessional

tcr! tcr! · Feb 2, 2018 at 9:02 am

It was a John Deere t-shirt with green trim around the neck and sleeves. I don’t know if the mystery was ever solved.

Add a Comment

It’d be better if you signed in before commenting


Reply

Holidays come once a year

tcr! · Jan 28, 2018 at 11:30 am

Holidays come once a year
In the mid 2000s I made and hung this in our kitchen. Because I’m an asshole.

I never really think (or have thought) about anybody else.

Like if I have four hours of no responsibility I will sit and play video games for four hours. I won’t call anybody, I won’t go see anybody. I’ll just do my own thing.[1] And it’s not like that hate people or whatever. I honestly just don’t think about them when I’m full of me.

Sure, when I was a kid, teenager, 20 something I would call people and wander over to their houses because I wanted to see them. But everything was just based around what I wanted to do. It wasn’t up until a few years ago when I started thinking outside of just “my box.” And trust me I still don’t always think outside of me all the time or by default.

Isolating from other people really kicked in when I got married. I would just hang out with my ex-wife and the girls. My life’s dynamic changed from being single and stealing wheelchairs to being a homebody.[2]

But still even being a husband and a dad, most of what I did at home was centered around me and what I wanted to do. Okay, not all of it but if I didn’t have anything to be responsible for I was off doing my own thing or finding something on TV that I wanted to watch.

Here’s a good example.

After the girls were in bed I never said to my ex-wife, “Let’s watch show X because I know you like that one.” Sure, I would watch her shows but the thing is: it was never my idea. I never said to the girls, “let’s go eat at restaurant X because that’s your mom’s favorite place.”

Fine, it would be my idea if it was Mother’s Day but that’s a bunch of shit. It’s the days that aren’t holidays, the days that aren’t special — those are the ones count.

It was even more horrible when I was drinking. “I’m gonna go get donuts for us this morning.” That was really code for “I’m hungover and going to the liquor store. And after I’ve took 2-3 healthy shots just to mute the fires of hell, I’ll bring back a box of random donuts.”

Brief aside.

Spiritual? Humble? Me? You’d be humble if you were me, too. If you wanted to make breakfast for your family, because you’d changed, because you realized sitting by yourself in “your box” was kinda lonely — and then nobody was home.

No, I’m not coming down on myself or feeling like I fucked everything up. I’ve came to terms with falling down in life. It’s more like after reading Mark Manson’s article[3] on loss I was doing some self-evaluation. It’s good for me to do spot checks on my behaviors lest I go down to the basement in the morning and then come back up when it’s dark. And didn’t even know the sun had came and went.

Maybe it’s just how men are wired, too. Hunting, gathering, and gaming in the basement while the women are nesting and making dinner for the family. I never made dinner for the family when I was married. Well, I used to make pies every Sunday night but it wasn’t because I was making banana cream for us as a family to enjoy. I was making it because I like pies, like making pies, and like eating said pies.

But seriously though.

Sometimes Maggie’s with her mom for the weekend and I’m home alone and then because I’m real good at thinking, I think about stuff. A lot. And again, not in the self-deprecating kinda way but more in the “here’s my part in a series of blundering events and moving forward I’d rather not repeat ye blunderings.”

And yes, life can still be all about me. It’s my life and I have things I want to do, shows I want to watch, ad nauseam but my takeaway after my last great loss is that other people are what counts. Messaging someone, asking if I can come over just to see them, just to hang out, well that gives me a good feeling that finishing the next level in my video game never did. Because I know I’m doing it for them and not for me. Because I want to. Because fellow humans are sacred.

#photos #confessional #relationships #diariespodcast


  1. Jimi said to me once, “you’re too good at being alone.”

  2. I’m not complaining. Most days I don’t have the energy to go out after dark these days.

  3. I didn’t read it in its entirety because as he said, “it’s a monster of an article.”

marney0160 marney0160 · Jan 28, 2018 at 9:11 pm

Wow. Great stuff. I guess I’m guilty of the same thing. So the next time a friend who’s interested in seeing a great home that’s having an Open House says he’ll go whenever I am ready cuz he’s been home hibernating (isolating) all day, I’ll get out of myself and my isolating ways, be intune with the moment and join him. You’re exactly right humans are sacred. Namaste my friend!

tcr! tcr! · Jan 28, 2018 at 9:44 pm

Nah, it’s all good. I totally get the not wanting to do much after work thing. 😊

But we should go the next time they have an open house. And bring your EMF reader thing. There’s got to be something supernatural lurking.

marney0160 marney0160 · Jan 29, 2018 at 5:23 pm

Sounds like a great plan!

tcr! tcr! · Jan 30, 2018 at 3:46 pm

👻👍

tcr! tcr! · Jan 30, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Maggie and I would also like to see your instrument collection.

Add a Comment

It’d be better if you signed in before commenting


Reply

Jan 17th, 2018 at 7:59:38 pm

tcr! · Jan 17, 2018 at 7:59 pm

I’m always so proud of myself when I walk out of the grocery store without any ice cream.

In related news: I’m always so disappointed with myself when I’m sitting on the couch without any ice cream.

#confessional

Add a Comment

It’d be better if you signed in before commenting


Reply

Does anyone have experience with fire extinguishers?

tcr! · Dec 18, 2017 at 6:19 pm

Using them and/or buying them for home use? I feel like I should have one at home but the only time I’ve ever used one is when…

One of my brothers and I had been up all night drinking and were out in an alley a few blocks from our apartment. So then a fire extinguisher magically appeared, as they often do under such circumstances. We had no choice but to check the integrity of the unit, being all but the junior firemen that we were.

Within minutes the area’s paperboy appeared on his morning route. As if fate.

Have I told this story before?

Anyways, this paperboy must’ve felt like he’d walked into a trap because as soon as his eyes met the extinguisher he was sprinting in the other direction. My brother and I didn’t make eye contact. If a mouse is placed in front of a cat the cat will give chase. Without hesitation.

Imagine if you will two drunkards, war crying while chasing a paperboy down the street at 5am with a fire extinguisher. Used to its maximum potential.

Rest easy, of course he out ran us. Our night was winding down while his day was winding up. I’m not a mean-spirited person either. I see the escapade more as a friendly game of stranger tag. That’s a thing.

The moral of the story: when stars collide and circumstances present themselves, one should seize such good fortune.

Or not. I guess it depends on one’s age.

Also, I probably owe somebody an amends.

#confessional

jimi hindrance experience jimi hindrance experience · Dec 18, 2017 at 7:42 pm

At the library, over one I knocked. No sense of humor, they had. A big deal, you’d of thought.

tcr! tcr! · Dec 18, 2017 at 8:35 pm

That’s funny 😊 Did the extinguisher go crazy?

jimi hindrance experience jimi hindrance experience · Dec 20, 2017 at 12:48 am

Slightly. Even when it was happening I knew it was over reaction on their part. They had it in their mind that I was being mischievous. It was an accident.

tcr! tcr! · Dec 20, 2017 at 9:14 am

I’ve never been a fan of automatic judgment.

Add a Comment

It’d be better if you signed in before commenting


Reply

Making perfect plans

tcr! · Oct 16, 2017 at 8:47 am

Sometimes I’m gonna do something.

I plan it out in my head and think, “This is perfect. This lines up here and that lines up there.”

And then I don’t do it.

And then the next morning I think, “I’m glad I didn’t do that.”

#confessional #diariespodcast

Add a Comment

It’d be better if you signed in before commenting


Reply


But wait!!

Get all the photos, articles, and oh so much more delivered in a slick print each month. 💖 Go now →