Dear Dad – Mom in the hospital again

Hi Dad.

Jody took mom to the hospital again on Wednesday morning.  She had been feeling really bad quite often after she left the last time.  Monday and Tuesday were really bad.  She was weak, tired and shaking.  We were thinking it was side effects of all the medication she is on.

It seems even with the pacemaker and medication her Atrial Fibrillation was still happening.  The indications are weaknesss, shaking loss of appetite etc.  She had all that.  I visited her last night.  The AFib was still happening.  She felt better but it was still out of control.

This morning they did a stress test to see if maybe she had some artery blockage somewhere causing her blood pressure to vary wildly sometimes over 200.   We are waiting the results.  Hopefully they find something.

I’m feeling that her end is near.  She’s 88 and lived a long and loving life even after you were gone.  She did a lot of traveling and lived her life her own way.  She’s ready to go and accepting the end gracefully.  I’m sure if I make it to 88 I will be gladly ready to meet death.

It’s not for sure yet but it may not be more than a year or so max unless things change somehow.  Other than Afib and high blood pressure, she is in amazingly good shape.  Things could turn around and give her a few more years.  I was hoping she could be around long enough to see my new house I’m about to start construction on.  Maybe.

She has signed a non-resuscitation agreement and does not want to linger around if things go bad.  I can’t blame her.  Hopefully, like my own wishes, she will go in her sleep one night.   I hope you’ll be there when she arrives when the time comes.

I don’t want to linger on these thoughts right now but I sure hope I will be able to accept it.  When she’s gone then I will truly be alone in this world.  But that’s the ship I built and I will have to sail on it.

Think happy thoughts for either a good recovery or a quick ending.  She should be coming home tomorrow and I’ll visit her after work.  At least she is in good spirits.  She’s a strong woman having had to raise two boys all by herself.  There’s nobody better.



Dear Dad – Wanda in the Hospital too

Hi again dad.  I didn’t think I would be writing to you so soon but as I was visiting mom in her hospital room, I got a call from aunt Puddin.  She said  your daughter, Wanda, called the EMS and is on her way to the hospital in Seguin.  She has been having heart issues for a long time and had a stent put in a few months ago.  She kept having fast heartbeat problems and finally went to the hospital.   I’m betting she will need a pacemaker too.

I am kind of partly in shock and mostly just don’t know what I am supposed to do.  What do normal people do when their mom and sister are in the hospital?  I’m just kind of keeping in touch, visiting and keeping on as best I can.

I guess heart problems run in the family on both sides.  I guess Jody and I are doomed.  So far I am doing well since we caught it in time and I’ve changed my eating lifestyle to keep my cholesterol down.  I should be OK as far as heart disease but who knows if I’ll end up with major heart rate issues.  I had an “Extra” heartbeat issue that medication seems to be controlling pretty well.  Hope it stays in check.

I’m not planning on living a long life.  If I can hang in there until I make it to 70 and stay relatively healthy then I’ll count that as a win.  That’s long enough anyway.  By that time I will have accomplished all my earthly goals anyway and will just be waiting.

Keep Mom and Wanda in your thoughts if you are able.


Wanda is back home now.  There were no major symptoms when she got to the hospital.  She has been having the issue for a long time so she will go to the doctor and wear a heart monitor for 24 hours to get a snapshot of the issue.

Dear Dad – Mom In Hospital

Hi Dad.

Just wanted to let you know that Mom is in the hospital.  On Tuesday, July 3rd, she called me at work that morning and told me she thought she was having a stroke.  The EMS was just arriving and took her to the hospital.  I took the rest of the day off and met her at the Methodist Hospital.

It was a mild stroke.  She was feeling fine other than having trouble walking and writing.  Her lip and fingers were tingling.  They had her on a heart monitor and soon found out that she was having Atrial Fibrillation, a high speed beating of the upper chamber of the heart.  This can cause blood to pool in the chamber and cause clots that can go to the brain.  This was obviously the cause of the stroke.  She doesn’t feel it when it is happening so it may have been happening for quite some time.

When it starts, it goes on for quite a while so the doctors decided to give her a pacemaker.  The surgery went quickly and smoothly and she felt fine afterwards.  We were hoping all would be well now but it keeps happening even with the pacemaker.  She says they are making adjustments to it so it will be more effective.

In the meantime, she has been in the hospital for five days now and is getting tired of being there but it may be best for her to stay until they get it under control.  I’m wondering if they should do a cardiac ablation to destroy the node that causes the fast beating.  I guess that’s not out of the question.  I wonder how they can tell where it is.  A heart has multiple nodes as backup.

Once they get it figured out, she will go directly to rehab so they can help her with her walking.   She says she is walking better now as they help her from the bed to the restroom.  I’m thinking she will breeze through the rehab and be able to go back home pretty quickly.   Wanda said she could stay with her for a while to help her out.  That would be nice.  She needs to spend more time with Mom anyway.  I’m stuck at work all the time so I can’t be there all day.

Until they get the fibrillation under control I’m still worried.   She is in good spirits other than wanting to get out of there.  Lying in a bed all day isn’t as fun as you would think.  She is, otherwise, in great health so I think she could easily have a number of good years left.  If the fibrillation stops then she may not have another stroke again.  It’s putting up a fight though.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Puddin and Wanda will probably come to town and visit with her tomorrow.  I’ll meet them there.  Jody and his wife Margo have also been visiting her almost every day.

Love you Dad.  Wish you were here.

For anyone else reading this, I know you don’t care but thanks for caring enough to read it.


Happy Birthday Dad

10857842_10152967334435808_4442059488339811613_nApril 12th is my Dad’s birthday.  He would be 89 today had he not died in 1977 when I was 9.  I’m sure you don’t care because everyone has or had a dad at one point.  It’s kind of common if you think about it so why should anyone care.

I don’t have many memories of him left other than the pictures my mom took.  I don’t remember what he sounded like.  Even looking at his picture seems strange.  It’s like looking at a picture of a stranger.

11220805_10152967330355808_7594170958551938337_nHe was a good man and a great father from what I do remember.  He was very creative.  He invented the weed-eater and the Jet-Ski back in the 60s.  Too bad he didn’t patent the ideas.  I can see where I got so much of my technical and DIY abilities.  It must be hereditary.

He made the weed-eater by attaching a vacuum cleaner motor to a mop handle.  He put plastic “strings” through two of the blower vanes.  It was extremely fast and violent but it worked.

I always wonder how my life might be different had he not died from heart disease when he was 48.  I’m not sure they had stents or angioplasty back then.  He could have easily been saved as I was when I turned 48 and suffered the family time-bomb.

How is a boy affected by growing up without a father?  Not having a father-figure to guide him through the structural years.  I did the best I could and now I am as I am.  I’m sure my whole life would have been different.  Better?  Maybe.  Perhaps I would have turned out like all the regular people.  Would that be good?  I’m not so sure.  I don’t really want to be one of the regular people.

Whatever.  These are the chronicles of life and death and everything between.

Happy Birthday, Dad, Wherever you are.


Dear Dad – Laundry Room Remodel

Subject: Laundry Room Remodel

Hi Dad.

Just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you.  Mom and I are working on a remodel of the laundry room at her house.  It really hasn’t changed since you last put on the paneling and shelves sometime in the 50’s.  The particle board shelving was getting saggy and a leak in the roof caused the ceiling paneling to start falling apart.  It had a pretty good run considering it lasted as-is for around  61 years.

We’ve worked on it for a few Wednesday evenings when I go visit and we just finished removing the paneling.  It was fun to see the old bathroom tile board that you put out there after removing it from the bathroom.  I never knew it was there.  It has some calculations that you had written on the wall as you were figuring out something.  That really gave me a connection to you.   That tile-board is on there pretty good with nails so next week I’ll bring a pry-bar to get it off.

Our next step will be to add a wall switch and maybe some recessed lighting over the machines.   The old ceiling socket with the pull string served it’s purpose.  Time to upgrade.  I’m also going to move the outlet for the machines to the back wall so the wires will plug in more easily.

Next we will put up the drywall and do the floor.  We will probably use some kind of ceramic tile depending on what the sub floor looks like.  It should end up being a nice modern and bright room.  Instead of shelves we’ll put up a couple of wall cabinets.

It’s going to be nice.  Wish you could help.

Love and miss you so much.


Dear Dad – Catching You Up


Hi Dad.

A lot has happened since you last saw me 37 years ago.   Mom did a pretty good job raising me and Jody by herself.  It was hard for her.  I was pretty young when you left us and I don’t have a lot of personal memories of you.  Jody was so young he has no memories at all.  That was possibly good for him because not knowing what you are missing makes it easier.  Mom never remarried or even dated. She never seemed to have any interest in finding another husband. She was very brave to go it alone.  I guess that is why I am who am today.

I did pretty well throughout my school years.  I never really enjoyed school but managed my way through with decent grades.   I joined the band with Vincent and Gregory in middle school and stuck with it through high school.  I played the oboe.  I know you played the trumpet and I wish I could have heard you play.  It meant a lot to me to follow in your footsteps to appreciate music.  I’m in a community band right now.  It is really quite an amazing group. These people are very talented and we are possibly the best community band in the United States.  I am proud to be in this band.  I wish you could hear us play.  I often look out into the audience and pretend you are out there watching.  Mom once told me after a concert that you would have been proud.   It was one of the happiest moments of my life to hear that.

After High school I went on to San Antonio College and got an Associates degree in digital electronics.   I then continued my education at UTSA where I studied electrical engineering.  Computers were just becoming a thing and I got sidetracked and never finished my degree.

I worked at Brooks Air Force Base for three years first installing networking then moved on to computer support.  I enjoyed my time there.  I worked with a fun group during the network installation time.  It was possibly the best job I ever had.  I felt like I fit in.  Something I haven’t felt since then.

Next I got a position at Southwest Research Institute.  You visited there once before I was born.  Mom has a picture of you and Wanda at the water fountain.  I don’t know why you were there but It always gave me a feeling of connection to you because I worked in a building less than 100 feet from where you were standing in the picture.  I worked there for 18 years.  The job was easy and paid well but was boring an I was incredibly lonely.  My whole life was lonely.  I became extremely depressed and constantly thought about suicide.  It’s a wonder I lasted so long.   Eventually things changed at work and my position was no longer viable.  It was far past time for me to move on so I gave my notice.

I have a huge savings and investment plan so I am taking time off. How long.  I don’t know.  Possibly a year.  I’m taking it easy and waiting for the right job to come along.  I’m not in a hurry.

Personally, I am rather screwed up.  I’m not like regular people and find it difficult to fit in anywhere.   I have a few acquaintances but I find it difficult to call them friends.  Friends are people you can tell your deepest, darkest secrets to and they will still love you.  These people are not like that.  I don’t spend a lot of time with them because we just have so little in common.  I pretend to be as normal as possible but that’s just not me.  I do not enjoy our time together.

So basically, I live a solitary, lonely, empty life.  I take after you in many ways.  I love to build stuff and invent new things.  I don’t take after you in the way you were able to be friends with anyone and be so outgoing.  I often think about how my life might be different if you had been able to share your secrets of life and influence me in the ways of manliness.   It might have made me a normal person like everyone else.

Mom took so many pictures of you.  It’s all I have to remember you by.  I sure wish somebody had taken some video or even audio of you.  I would love to know what your voice sounded like.  You would think a person might remember such a thing but I was so young.  Even the nine years I spent with you has virtually faded away after such a long time.   Video and audio recording was not that common back then.  Super 8 was around but I guess nobody could afford it.  You would be amazed what it is like now.  There are cameras everywhere and being on video and in pictures is so common.  It’s a whole new world of technology that I know you would love.  Things have come a long way since the punched cards you worked with.  People carry around phones that have a billion times more computing power than the mainframe you had at CPS.  Can you imagine?

Mom is doing well.  She’s 84 this year and still very healthy and energetic.   It pains me to see her living alone but it doesn’t seem to bother her.  I sure wish she had someone to make her life easier.  I do my best to make sure she has everything she needs.  I visit her every Sunday.  We go out for lunch and I take care of her to-do list.  She is basically my best friend but I still can’t talk to her about my problems because I don’t want her to worry about me.  There’s nothing she can do about it anyway.

I am 46 now and am so unhappy.  I am lonely and can’t stand living here in Texas.  It is so hot.  I sure wish you didn’t let her talk you into moving here.  Michigan would have been far more suitable for me.  I love the cold and snow.  We haven’t had snow here since 1985.  The heat is killing me and I go to bed every night praying for death but morning always comes.  It is very disappointing.

Texas has become Mexico now.   In your time, everyone was white but now San Antonio is 90 percent Mexican.  It further gives me the feeling of not belonging.   I would really like to move to Colorado both for the weather and for the fellowship.  I visited a small town up there a few times.  I was amazed to see the beautiful people and the weather in summer is so awesome.  They even have snow in the winter.  It’s everything I could possibly ask for.

Unfortunately Mom has no interest in moving and I can’t move away from her and leave her with nobody at all.  Jody and Wanda are not much help because Jody has a wife and job and little interest in helping mom with anything.  Wanda lives in Seguin and hardly ever leaves her house.   I’ve spent little time with her over the years because she has always lived in another city or town.  I’ve been very sad about that.  So basically.  I’m stuck here.

For the last four months I’ve been taking that break from working. I do enjoy not having to get up in the mornings and waste the majority of my life sitting alone in an office wishing for death. I’m afraid that I will not be able to make myself get another job. I will have to do it eventually.  I have enough cash to live about 12 years without working if I have no major expenses.  More like 10 in reality.  I still have like 16 years before I can access my retirement portfolio and another 2 years before I can get Social Security. (If it still exists when I get there.)

I have a number of small inventions that I might make and sell on the internet for a little cash.  I don’t have the money or energy to patent them so if somebody steal the ideas then I just have to give up.  That’s OK.  I’ve been through it before.  By the time somebody else makes and sells them cheaper, I’m tired of the gig anyway.  It would be great if somebody could take my ideas and get patents and give me 1% of the profits.  I would be fine with that and could live happily.

I live a financially simple life.  Not having friends or family makes living cheap.  I paid off my mortgage and don’t have any car payments or credit card debt.  I spend about 15K a year.  I’m studying for my computer certifications.  I never bothered with them because I had a good job and didn’t need to do that.  Now they might look good on my resume.  It should be easy to get them because I already know all that stuff.

I’m also thinking of getting an electrician’s license.  I am naturally skilled in that area and think it might be fun work.  I love electrical stuff.  I took a short sample electricians test without even studying anything and was able to answer the majority of the questions.  I would love to move to Colorado and be an electrician.  Can you imagine?  It’s WAY too hot to do that here.  I love working with solar power.  I built my own solar panel system for the house.  It’s illegally installed but I don’t care.  It saves me $20 a month on my electric bill.

For now I’m just trying to rest and enjoy not working for a while. It’s not easy because I’ve been in school and working for around 39 years.  I don’t know how to relax anymore.  I always feel like I need to be doing something so I try to work on projects around the house and help family and friends with their problems.  I kind of hope that if there is a such a thing as Karma that one day I might get some of that goodness back my way.

I’ve applied for a few interesting jobs over the last few months but haven’t had any luck.  I wish there was a way I could convey my awesomeness in a resume.  It is actually a shame for them not to hire me.  They don’t know what they are missing.  I’ll work on my resume over time.  Maybe in a year I’ll be ready to go back to work and the resume will be as awesome as I am.

It’s near the end of summer now and school has started so now that the masses have returned to their jobs and education I might take a short trip or two.  I would like to explore some of the small towns in central Texas.  That way I might get away from San Antonio but still be close enough to help mom when she needs me.  I don’t know. Change is scary and moving is such a pain.  It’s overwhelming to actually do what I want to do.   Because of that I am basically trapped in a bad life in a bad place.  If I only had a close friend or a family to support me I could be more confident.

Wow.  I have so much to tell you and this email is already really long.  I’ll let you go for now and write again later.   You probably have some harps to fix or pipe organs to program.

I love you and miss you more than anything in the world.