Beat me daddy eight to the bar

I don’t know what to think.    Rebecka’s back.

[ If you don’t know what this entry is about see:  A little excitement here, Posted on January 17, 2018 by Old Jules]

This morning the maintenance man came to work on my central heat.    He knows everything that goes on around here, so I followed him to the basement to kibitz and find out the latest dirt for Eisenhower Ridge apartments.

Thought I’d prime the pump by  telling him about the deputies picking up Rebecka.   He didn’t let me finish.    “She’s back!”

I thought he meant from some earlier beating, so I told him about the deputies.   “Yeah, I know, but she’s back.”   He rolled his eyes.   “I just saw her over there before I came to your place.   My daughter was going to do something over there but when I saw Rebecka I sent her home.”   [Donny has a college age daughter who helps him on some of the maintenance jobs when she can].

Soooooo.    That’s what I get for expecting things of people.

 

What can I say?     I’ve got to quit having expectations.

Rebecka is back.

Old Jules

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Heigh-ho the holly, this life is most jolly!

Lee, one of the lesser lost souls who lives in the house next door to this one, brought to mind a little Shakespeare I was surprised I could still quote to myself the other day.

Lee is a closet alcoholic, a heroin addict, as heavy a smoker as he can beg, or afford after he’s taken care of his other addictions, and not a bad guy if you can put up with him.    He’ll try not to steal from you if he can help it, manipulate you and play on your sympathy to trick you into giving him rides to feed the drug, booze or cigarette hungers, and ignore you, or scowl at you when he doesn’t need anything.

Because deep down, Lee is a white hater.    If there were black robes and hoods and a black KKK he’d be out burning crosses in the front lawns where white folks live.   But he can be fairly personable most of the time if he’s thinking he might cadge a ‘loan’ or a ride somewhere.

Anyway, the first few months I moved here, being one of the lucky few who own cars, I hauled Lee to the food pantries a few times, let him con me into taking him down to KC because ‘there was a guy down there who was going to pay him some money owed him’.   And one day I was dropping some of my better history library off in grocery bags on the porch of James, [another history buff the next house down] when he braced me.

“What you leaving groceries on James’s porch for?    I need groceries!”

Well, I wasn’t about to loan nor give any money to Lee, but I went to the grocery store and picked up $20 worth of food for him I knew he couldn’t resell.   Basics.

But I digressed.

The other day I was playing chess with a couple of buddies in a waiting room up at the hospital.    We meet over there because they’re smokers and they can’t smoke in that waiting room.

Coming down after a few games I ran into Lee in the hallway.    We gossiped about how cold it was and I thought he was coming to my car with me for a ride home.   But his other lost-soul-mate was parked next to my car.    So he got in a moment, then came back out and leaned over conspiratorial and cagy.

“Hey man!    Do you have a few bucks you can give me?”

“No.”

“Well,” he muttered.  “Next time you need someone to run around with you, find someone else.”

I was dumbfounded.  The only time Lee and I have ever done anything together we were taking him somewhere.     Between times he barely speaks to me unless he’s begging money and I’m refusing.

Which somehow brought to mind who?    William Shakespeare.    Who else?

 

Heigh Ho, The Holly

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh ho, sing heigh ho, unto the green holly;
most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remember’d not.
Heigh ho, sing heigh ho, unto the green holly:
most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

William Shakespeare

Sounds as though old Lee’s not going to give me the benefit of his company as a consequence of me not giving him some money.  If you want good friends it’s going to cost you.

Best offer I’ve had all year.

Old Jules

Heater doesn’t work? Prove it!

If you’re a company contracted to manage a bunch of old houses such as these you’re obviously going to want to squeeze every dollar you can out of it.   After all, you’re dealing with a bunch of old drunks, addicts, derelicts and other fallout from the mainstream human experience.    So one of the things you’ll do from the start is pretend all those complaints of failings in the buildings you contracted to maintain get ignored as long as possible.

During this cold spell I’m told there have been a rash of complaints of old sissie veterans who thought their central heating units ought to be working better.   Mostly they’re lying.    Just want something to complain about.  I know because last year when my heater didn’t heat the place the manager explained it to me.

So I went out and bought a radiator heater and a bottle-top propane heater and barely even attempt to use the central heat.     I try to keep the thermostat at 61 degrees.

thermostat jan 18 2018

radiator jan 18 2018

propane jan 18 2018

Sorry but the radiator just can’t keep up with Zero degrees F outdoors.    But anticipating the response to my maintenance request I applied the use of a tool I picked up on sale a while back.    It’s magic!   Somehow this little pistolie can read the surface temperature of all manner of objects from a distance, along with the ambient temperature.

In other words you can point it into your heat outlet vents and find out the temperature of the air coming out of there as it emerges!

thermo gun jan 18 2018

thermo gun 2 jan 18 2018

No room for arguments, evasions or excuses.

I’ve loaned this to the other guys in the building and they’ve all become believers.   And my own maintenance request is getting some respect in the proper quarters.

Heck, I’d loan it to some of the folks in the other buildings, too, but someone would trade it for a bottle of whiskey or some skag.

Thanks for the visit.

Old Jules

Those Christmas stockings

Christmas stocking

Hi readers.    Thanks for coming by.

I was just reminded when I went outdoors to see if my car would start that the most appreciated Christmas gifts I’ve ever given anyone came in 2017.   Neck warmers.

I bought a dozen calf-length tube socks off EBay, and 20 pounds of rice.  Filled all those stockings with rice and tied off the ends.    These places we’re living tend to be cold partly because we each pay our own electric bills and we’re mostly on severely limited incomes.    But the houses are old, too, and just trying to get it ‘warm’ by most measures might well be doomed to failure.

But I’ve digressed.

For Christmas I made a big meatloaf and laid out a spread out in the lobby for a number of the old vets living around here who didn’t have anyone nor anywhere to go.    And for each of them, and several others, I made ‘Christmas stockings’.    Neck warmers.  Put those stockings into the microwave for 3.5 minutes and drape it around your shoulders and it will drive away your fears of the future for an hour or more.

But when I went outdoors, I was going to say before history broke in with all its matter-of-fact was, here came one of those old guys walking toward the office with his Christmas stocking between his Yukon cap and his coat collar.

“Managing to keep that neck from freezing and falling off?”   I couldn’t help grinning.

“It ain’t my neck I’m worried about!   It’s my brass monkey.”

Gave me a warm red glow without even having to put mine in the microwave.

Thanks for the visit.

Old Jules

Echoes of the past – some books I used to love

In the early 1960s while I was stationed in Korea an officer I worked with dropped a paperback book onto my desk.   “You need to read this.”    The book was The Revolt of Gunner Asch, by Hans Helmut Kirst.     A novel about a young man in the German army during WWII.

I loved that book and it launched me into several years of good reading of other tomes by Hans Helmut Kirst.     Several Gunner Asch sequels, The Night of the Generals, The Officer Factory, The Adventures of Private Faust, The Seventh Day, and the Nights of the Long Knives.

So a while back I decided to try to find those Kirst books to read again before I die.    The 40-or-so libraries in the system here didn’t have it, so I put out a search on Inter Library Loan, came up with The Officer Factory, but none of the others.

The Officer Factory arrived and reinforced my hopes I could find the others somewhere.

Well, they’re out there New and Used on Amazon, but the days of inexpensive reads for used books are long gone.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_pg_2?rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Ahans+helmut+kirst&page=2&keywords=hans+helmut+kirst&ie=UTF8&qid=1516206685

I’m thinking I’ll have to wait until my next lifetime to read the rest of those great books.    Don’t know what’s happened to the reading public when libraries don’t carry titles just because they happen to have been written before the librarians were born.

If you happen to be hungry for something to read and have money to spend on books, check out Hans Helmut Kirst ….. you won’t regret it.

Old Jules

A little excitement here

It being colder than a well-diggers brass bra the past several days, we’re forced to entertain ourselves by watching carefully out the windows, reading [I’ll talk some about that], and watching movies.     The other tenants read somewhat less and watch tv, I reckons.     So when we meet down in the little ‘lobby’ that used to be a sort of lobby mornings we’re all full of news.

Such as, yesterday the deputies came past on the way to the corner house apartments, pulled in and stayed a while.    I donned my arctic gear and went out onto the porch to see who was getting busted.

Turned out they were moving out the girl-friend of a guy we call Bird Whistle.   I don’t know his real name.    He’s a scowling crackhead, old vet white hater who works over in the main hospital pushing patients around sometimes.    Beats hell out of this woman enough to have the cops out there frequently.      I’ve never seen her when her face wasn’t so full of bruises a person can’t tell how she might have looked once.

Anyway, she was a prostitute in town when she came across Bird Whistle and he brought her down here to live with him.    A few months ago she totaled his car, so they’ve been begging rides for smokes and whiskey, making nuisances of themselves.  I’d never talked to her until the day she flagged me down and offered me a BJ if I’d take her to the liquor store.    [I refused—grapevine has it she gives them for five bucks to anyone in the market.     Not worth it.].

We’d all puzzled over how he stayed out of jail, beating her up that way, and held his job at the hospital only showing up half the time and taking off anytime he could get some crack..

But I’ve digressed.

Those deputies went inside a while, and came back out with Rebecka [the name she goes by is Rebecka], all of them toting bags and pillowcases stuffed with what was probably her belongings.    The deputies got back in the car, but she ran back in and returned in a few minutes with more loot from the apartment.    And the lot of them, her and deputies drove away.

Well, they were no sooner gone than the other residents down there scurried out like a bunch of cockroaches and hurried away in all directions, afoot, or in whatever vehicles they had that would start.

Johnny and I hashed this out this morning.    We figure Bird Whistle beat hell out of her one too many times, and as soon as he was gone, she called the cops asking to be taken to a family violence shelter.    And she must have remarked while she was waiting for the deputies that she was going to spill the beans about all the other crap going on down there.

So everyone must have thought it was a good time to take a powder for a while.   No cars and no lights down there last night.     So maybe Rebecka had a nice night somewhere without any crack and not getting billy-hell beaten out of her.

We’re all thinking Bird might be in jail, but that might be too much to hope for around here.    We’ve had bets going for a long time whether someone would get killed before anyone did anything to stop all that crap.

So now the only woman likely to get beaten up by her man is Sandy, the next building over.    An old Army nurse who has a boyfriend named Daniel Northern who knocks her around enough to bring the cops and get restraining orders for a while.   But somehow love always wins out and before you know it he’s back.

Love conquers all.

Thanks for the visit.

Old Jules

Baby it’s cold outside. And inside is nothing to brag about.

 

jan 16 2018 zero

Hi readers.   Thanks for coming by for a read.

I think our ancestors would most likely consider us a passle of sissies.   These old houses have seen a lot of extended periods when the outside temps didn’t get up to freezing.    Bound to have.    And in those days they were relying on steam radiators, fireplaces,  and lots of blankets.

Well heck.    I think yesterday it got into the 20s F for the first time in over a week.   And if it’s going to get into the teens today there’s no sign of it.     The ‘central heat’ here, combined with my electric radiator heater are just about able to keep the indoor temp up to 61 degrees F.   That’s not the level of warmth I find inspires me to take a badly needed shower, to I tried using the Coleman 30,000 BTU tank-top heater to get things nearer a welcome taste of clean.

Nothing doing!    The carbon monoxide detector kicked in before it got up to 65 degrees F.

This wouldn’t have been a problem for my granddad living in his tarpaper shack out in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico.    He’d have been just trying to keep the 2.5 gallon galvanized bucket he kept by the door for drinking water and to dipper into a washbasin from freezing solid.     If he could manage that a bath could wait until spring.

But Walter E. Hudson  my old granddaddy, didn’t much like bathing anyway.   “Do it too often and you’ll wash off all that protection.”    I’m guessing the people who lived in this house probably subscribed to the same doctrine.

But I have it on good authority we’re looking at some serious global warming, coming soon.    So I’ll plan on a shower then.    And try to keep an adequate supply of clean underwear.

Thanks for the visit.

Old Jules