The Colonel’s Plan – Poultry Farming

August 8, 2018

Dear Daddy – 

We have chickens. For the first time since 1971, we have chickens. Christian proposed the idea for my birthday, and the others conspired to keep it from me. On Saturday, the day before my actual birthday, they sprung it on me. Renee had gone out to “run errands” for the day, and I had stayed home to rest, primarily. My head and neck had been hurting for three days—tension, no doubt. I was going to try to do a little work, taking apart the deck, and our shrubs were still in need of some additional trimming. I lamented that the boys rarely came over any more, and I felt stuck with a lot of work by myself. 

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The Colonel’s Plan – Walking Toward the Future

Please note that this was written seven months ago. It’s all still true. I have made no decisions. I am still in the same job, and still thinking that it might be interesting enough to keep me in place for a while. There are no deep, dark secrets here; just me thinking out loud. To my co-workers–my work family–be aware that I will not retire without having another job. As of today, I haven’t so much as gone on an interview. Deep breaths. 

July 31, 2018

Dear Daddy –

The green bathroom is ready for the plumbers. Did I say that already? I may have. I’ve started the pink bathroom now. Did I say that already? I may have. It’s very hard to hold anything in your head when your life is controlled by lists. 

Last night, I posted the letter from January which talked about the meeting with the Maryland lawyer. Today I’m setting up a meeting with him to draft the new deed for the house on Simpson Road, and working with the North Carolina lawyer on adding a right of way to one of the deeds down there. The five North Carolina deeds have been condensed down to four deeds—two for Charles, who is getting non-connecting lots, one for Susan, which combines two deeds, and one that they’ll share. But the road to the Chocolate house crosses Susan’s land. Now that they’re owned by two different people, even though they are family members, we need to record a right of way. 

This is not my house, but it’s a pretty accurate reflection of what my childhood was, inside my own head.

I need to meet with a financial planner. Paying my own mortgage and two car payments, paying tuition, and assuming a loan against your house is going to be a challenge. I need advice on that. (And I half suspect that the “advice” may be: seek psychiatric help.)

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The Colonel’s Plan – Welcome Home, Mother

February 27th, 2019

This one is a little late this week. Busy week, with Fire Station visits, meetings and a Kansas concert at the Lyric! This post is also not six months back-dated, as a lot is going on right now, and I want to keep people in the loop. 

Dear Daddy–

Mother came home from the hospital today, after 20 days. Well, to be accurate, she was in the hospital for the better part of five days. She actually came home from Encore, an assisted living and skilled nursing facility, this morning. She had been there for two weeks’ physical and occupational therapy, teaching her how to walk and get up and down from a chair without falling. 

We’ll see if it worked. I already caught her edging around the table without her walker once today. 

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The Colonel’s Plan – A Misplaced Step

July 25, 2018

Dear Daddy –

We had another death in the family this week. Different family. My Fire Department family. I didn’t know Nate well, and can’t summon a memory even of a conversation we’ve had. Monday morning, very early, he responded with Engine 101 to a fire just around the corner from your house. It’s a huge house, twice the size of yours. I’ve heard estimates from 8,000 to 12,000 square feet. 

After he and his officer had entered the house, the floor gave way beneath Nate’s feet and he plunged into a crawlspace below. His comrades literally went through fire to save him. Emergency Medical was on the scene and ready. 

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The Colonel’s Plan – The Sky (among other things) is Falling

February 13, 2019

Dear Daddy —

Clearing the tree. Simpson Road has always been tree-lined, but, today, a lot of the trees were horizontal.

This is another letter I’ll publish immediately, because a lot has happened while I’ve been quiet these past two weeks. Part of it has kept me from publishing a blog entry. Part of it is news you would need to know about if you were here… or news that wouldn’t be news, because it wouldn’t have happened, if you were here.

Mother’s been sick for over a week, and actually spent this past weekend in the hospital, her first hospital stay, she points out, since she beat skin cancer in 1974. 

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The Colonel’s Plan – Worn Gears

July 18, 2018

Dear Daddy –

I didn’t write to you last week, and I just realized I’ve skipped sharing these letters on my website for two weeks. It’s been a busy and crazy time. 

Mother, Susan and Charles are in North Carolina right now. Mother wanted to see your tombstone, which took quite a few months after your funeral to be placed. Apparently the man who supplied marble to the local tombstone maker was killed in an accident. (Is there a word for a person who makes tombstones? Like farrier or cobbler?) And then the usual slow pace of life in Yancey County probably also kept the gears from turning too fast. Might be for the best. Gears that turn too fast heat up and can be damaged. I think something like that has been happening to my gears lately. 

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The Colonel’s Plan – The Green Bathroom

July 4th, 2018

Dear Daddy –

The green bathroom is almost ready for the plumber to come. It’s been quite the task to get there. It’s the biggest of the bathrooms. It adjoins the master bedroom on the first floor. It’s actually subdivided into three small rooms, with a 5′ by 6′ entryway for the sink and countertop, a similarly sized space for the bathtub and toilet, and then a 10′ by 4′ dressing room with an additional sink and space for a dressing table and lighted mirror. 

It would have had the most tile. There were seven boxes of standard square tile, seven boxes of the arabesque tile, and then all the trim pieces. I don’t honestly know where you planned for it all to go. I think, based on the fact that you did not finish the walls around the main sink, that you had planned to tile both the bathtub surround and two of the three sink walls. I did not elect to do all that. As I’ve mentioned, I never knew what your plan was for the floor, but I bought porcelain woodgrain for it. 

The Arabesque tile around the tub.

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The Colonel’s Plan-Optimism Goes Negative

The astute reader will note that this post bears yesterday’s date, not one six months in the past. It’s been a rough week. Hell, it’s been a rough year and a piece. It was time to sit down and say some things that, well, maybe I should have said a while ago. . 

January 9, 2019

Dear Daddy—

This time in my life causes me to raise my voice in protest and declare, “I am a positive person. Indeed, I’m the most positive person you’re ever likely to meet.” Why “In protest?” Because, for as long as I can remember, people have told me I was a negative person.

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The Colonel’s Plan – Lists

Sorry for the missed week, everybody. I was out of town for Christmas, and writing and vacations do not mix for me. Even though these blogs are written six months ahead, I didn’t even want to take the time out to edit and post while spending time off. And then we hosted our annual New Years’ party on the day our eldest cat, Oreo, died. So the past two weeks have not been conducive to posting. Thanks for sticking with me through 2018, Happy New Year, and I hope you continue to enjoy! — Steve

June 27th, 2018

Dear Daddy –

The Colonel’s desk, with his DayTimer files visible at bottom left.

As I have time to go through the papers in your library, one of the things I’m finding a lot of is lists. There are a lot of those tan “Things To Do” pads, a lot of Day-Timers in authentic Day-Timer™ file boxes, and various date books. Some of the file boxes contain microfiche instead of Day-Timers, and many of the date books have only a few pages filled out. The 1985 date book sitting in front of me is completed only for February 25th and 26th. I know for fact that there’s another book for that year, more complete. That’s the year Renee and I met, so I saved it for reading, to see what you were up to. I may not have been paying much attention at the time.  Continue reading

The Colonel’s Plan – Back to the Junkyard

June 20th, 2018

Dear Daddy –

The 1982 Impala leaving its yard-mate, the 1981 Chevette.

Last time I talked about the cars you let leave here under their own steam. As your dementia set in, you did let some others leave, on tow trucks presumably. One of them really annoyed me. 

There was “a man” that you “hired” to work on landscaping the property around the house. “A man” is in quotes not because I doubt his gender, but because that’s all he’s ever been called in my presence. I don’t know his name. I know he lived “somewhere in Montgomery County” and that Mother thinks he died, based on the fact that he stopped coming here and you never heard anything else from him. “Hired” is in quotes because you did not actually pay him. 

Mr. Man told you he was cutting down and trimming the many wild and unmaintained trees on the property. He also told you he was hauling them away for firewood and taking the brush to the landfill. 

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