Monday, July 28, 2014


Yeah, yeah, yeah. I haven't posted anything in what, weeks? Months? I've been busy. And if you notice the title of this post, you should be able to figure out exactly what's been going on. It hasn't been fun, not by any stretch of the imagination. But at the end of the day we're safe and secure, and that's what really matters. But since you really want to know – or maybe nobody's actually reading this other than the occasional bot or meth addict, and the audience I'm being so conversational and chatty with strictly in my mind – here's what's been happening.

Things got rolling about four months ago, when Joy found out that my now former little brother – more on that later - was sneaking into our room to steal things. At first it was little things, paint brushes and such. But then Joy noticed that some of her painkillers were missing. We went to my mother to let her know what was going on, and she ignored us. Joy demanded that I put a lock on the door to our room, and I found one at the local Wal-Mart. A month later, the little bastard noticed the lock on the door and ran to his mother. I got a text message demanding I remove the lock from her, and barely half an hour later another message came, this one calling me deluded for believing my wife's accusations. A third message simply ordered me to move out. Now.

Did I fail to mention that I was in Nevada at the time, in the middle of a gig with Steppen Stonz at the Atlantis in Reno? They've refused to answer any of my phone calls or text messages since. And with me eight hundred miles away and unable to do anything to rectify the situation, I told Joy that I'd do what I could when I got back to town.

She wound up in the spare bedroom of a friend of ours, and I stayed with her there for a week or so, until my next run to Nevada. I spent that time trying to make arrangements for a more permanent place to stay, and we got my father to agree to buy a fifth-wheel trailer for us that we could move to a local RV park. I'd have to quit the band and get a real job, but by now I was angry enough that I was willing to overcome my general antipathy towards the normal workaday world and join in for however long was necessary. The fun part would be actually finding a job in a county with an effective unemployment rate still around fifteen to twenty percent. But more on that later.

I still had one last run to Nevada to make, and ties to sever as gently as possible. A week in Elko came first at the Red Lion, and that went pretty well, other than our keyboard player Chris deciding to bail on us at the absolute last minute. Jef Derderian came back to help us out for a few days before a new player came in to play the last night of that gig. He's a nice kid from Las Vegas named Dominico – sorry, I don't have his last name. He was another friend of Jef's, continuing that strange line of players that have passed through the band since Mike and Arthur sent Cliff packing. Miguel, Alex, Jef, Chris, and now Dominico. That lack of consistency must be driving Mike and Arthur nuts. And my impending departure wouldn't help things any. After Elko, we had a few days off before heading to Minden for three nights at the Carson Valley Inn. I set up the pop-up trailer and settled in for a few days to recover and plot a strategy to break the news as gently as possible to the guys while we were in Minden.

A string of thunderstorms was passing over Northern Nevada the day I headed up to Minden. In hindsight, I should've recognized the omen for what it was and stayed in Reno. Arriving at the CVI, I found out that I wasn't expected – nor were the rest of us. Simply put, we weren't on the schedule. I did my best to contain my shock and anger and told the manager that came down to inform me of the situation that there had to be some sort of error, and I'd let the rest of the guys know what was going on, and I told them that while I was disappointed, I wasn't angry with them and that they were doing the best they could to help a confused drummer. The manager told me that she'd give Stew Stewart a call, and I told her that I'd call Mike to see if there was some way the gig could be rescued.

Mike didn't take the news well. Y'see, he's very neat and organized when it comes to the band's calendar. Stew had given us this particular week on the schedule back in December – something I'd told the CVI – and he wrote the dates down in his calendar as Stew gave them to him over the phone. He called Stew, and the response he got back was either a study in ignorance or pure chutzpah – we were supposed to be playing John Ascuaga's Nugget that weekend. Either way, his response was total bullshit because the Nugget had closed its cabaret, new ownership deciding to move the sports-book into the cabaret's new location while the space that held Trader Dick's would now become a Mickey Gilley's Honky-Tonk, part of said new ownership's goal to move the Nugget to a country-and-western theme. Regardless of the tack of Stew's line of bullshit, we were still out a gig. And this would continue to haunt me – and it still is, and will likely do so for at least the remainder of the summer.

I retreated back to the pop-up and hunkered down for what would now be two weeks off. After some frantic searching and e-mailing, I found a buyer for the trailer. A polite young Hispanic couple handed me a sum of money that I split with Michelle and Bill before driving away with the trailer the day before I started what would be my last gig with Steppen Stonz back at the Atlantis. I informed the guys of my situation that week, and I think they handled it pretty well. I told them that I didn't want to quit the group, but I had no choice. They let me know that should I ever come back to Nevada, my chair would be waiting for me. Maybe I'll be able to take that offer up someday. But I kinda doubt it.

Upon my return to Port Angeles, my father confirmed that he'd buy us a trailer, though it'd likely be an older one that needed repairs and cleaning. The weekend after I got home, he purchased a particular trailer that an old friend of his had for sale, and he and I did our best to clean it up and make it fit for human habitation. Then we found out that it needed a new refrigerator and some work on the floors do to water damage. At the end of the day, he admitted to me that he should've bought a different trailer – any money he'd saved in the original purchase was long gone, and that he'd spent twice the purchase price on repairing the thing. And after a few fits and starts, we found a place to park the trailer.

We're living in the Peabody Creek RV Park now, just above downtown Port Angeles. And our home is an old Alpenlite 32' fifth-wheel. No cable or internet, but we're dealing with that as best as we can. My drums are stashed at my father's place for safe keeping. And after six weeks of searching, I found a job, working for a company associated with Safeway. Eventually I'll be merchandising stores in five counties, working overnight for $12.50 an hour and mileage. I actually start my orientation tomorrow, a regional manager driving up from Portland in the morning to do the deed. It's still only part-time work, but our bills are modest enough that as little as twenty hours a week should cover things nicely. We'll still require government assistance, but hopefully things will hold at least through the winter. By then, we might be in a much better situation.

Joy's attorney here in town was able to get Social Security to hear her case again – though I think a letter to our local Congressman may have helped as well. The hearing is at the end of September, and a positive result could put a not insignificant sum of back SS/D benefits in our pockets by the time her birthday rolls around, and around seventeen hundred a month in our bank account for the rest of her life. And where we go from there is up to us. Staying in Port Angeles is an option, but not my preferred option. After my mother's decision to believe whatever story her drug-addict criminal subhuman child over the truth of his criminal behavior and kick us out of the house, I chose to disown them – and I've even gone to the extent of removing pictures of myself from their house, systematically writing myself out of their history. And Joy and I have a few other surprises in store for them. Nothing illegal or physically damaging, mind you. But it will be painful to them nonetheless.

I've done my best to remain positive through all this. It isn't easy. But nothing worth having ever is, as the old saying goes. But there's a light at the end of the tunnel now. I have a job. I have a home. I have the woman I love at my side. And with luck the future will become a lot brighter in the near future. I should let go of all the anger I have towards my former family. But it's hard to do so. I want to punish them for their stupidity and arrogance. But I think watching my mother and stepfather descend into senility with only a shiftless lazy punk to look after them, a phony hipster with no desire to do anything other than sponge off of them – I think that's revenge enough for me. I have more important things to worry about. I have a family. I have Joy, her children and grandchildren. I have my friends. I'm still trying to get a local band together, though that may never come to anything really fruitful. I even got the opportunity to play a sort-of reunion with Powerlight last weekend, and that could lead to future gigs if my work schedule allows it.

But what's most important is that I need to put my nose to the proverbial grindstone and work hard to maintain what I have in front of me. I have to put the past behind me and move forward.

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