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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

 


Prost!

Today I celebrate thehomelesseditor.com hitting a quarter-million pageviews.

This odd journey over these last two years has brought me much joy, new friendships, a fair amount of free beer from friends and strangers. And certainly no little pain, all documented here in 333 posts.

Oh, what a strange trip it’s been.

I had not anticipated this as my last blog had 55 pageviews. I just needed something to do.

It’s not always been pleasant, as I promised myself to be truthful about the good and the bad and some of it has been more personal than I care to write publicly. I am, after all, a son of the Wisconsin Northwoods. We’re only allotted two to four feelings per guy. That’s a weight-based allotment.

Some of it has been downright painful for me. Describing various bouts of deep clinical depression – a condition I’ve dealt with for 25 years – was as painful as any writing I’ve ever done. I completed those entries, at least satisfied by the truth of it.

Even as I gained employment and a place to live, I kept writing and then as fate would have it, I became displaced again. And then had to find a permanent address.

And as long as I have readership, I continued to write.  When I was in Fourth Grade, the teacher was asking students what they wanted to be when they grew up. I said wanted to be a writer. “Mr. Jackson, no one will pay to read what you write,” said the teacher at the Catholic grade school.

That turned out to be wrong as I’ve been a professional journalist for 30 years this month. And while I don’t get paid to write this blog, I will continue to write – or at least type – while there are folks patient with my typos. (I usually write and edit the blog while I have a couple of drinks at the end of the day. Go figure.)

The friends and connections I've made warm my heart (I'm thinking of you, Bertha). The criticism, I slough off given I was first criticized in a newspaper in high school -- 40 years ago.

And you know what? I'm going to keep going.

It's been an exercise in being publicly truthful about bad circumstances and I now see more light at the end of the tunnel. There's always been light but sometimes it's been a pin prick as viewed through a pinhole camera.

Thank you, dear readers for joining me on my journey.

Peace unto the Ukraine and peace and thanks unto you my brothers and sisters.


 

Monday, May 16, 2022

 


Part of moving is settling in.

Which is also a nice way of avoiding some unpacking, which I believe is going to go on until I die.

I spent Saturday and Sunday putting up some herb boxes and planted them mostly on Sunday while I enjoyed the first decently warm day since last July. (It is, after all, northern Wisconsin.) I waited until 5 p.m. to enjoy a beverage. Almost 5 p.m.

The herbs are rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil and BC bud. Shhhh on the last one.

A close look at the photo also shows a beefsteak tomato plant in a pot -- the woman who sold it to me said it will last until the end of August and I should get 100 tomatoes off the plant. She also sold me a pot of salad lettuce -- you can see that perched on the corner of the deck railing.

My friend Kellie gave me a nice outdoor table plus two chairs, With the two chairs that used to be my living room furniture, I now have a nice little outdoor set waiting only for me to buy a grill. What's that you say? I don't need a grill? I'm a son of the Wisconsin northwoods. People like me have better relationships with grills than with other human beings.

Imagine a steak cooking on the grill while I take some fresh rosemary, a clove of garlic and mash that together with mortar and pestle for a fresh steak topping. I salivated while writing that.

On a nice day, when not working, you'll find me on the herb deck this summer.

Enjoying normalcy. I'll report back on what that's like.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace and normalcy unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, May 13, 2022

 I'm going all-in old fogey here.

So happy to be home, where I can have my little patterns. I understand the psychological reason why change becomes more difficult as we age. I have that in me.

But I also have additional reasons for the comfort of a routine.

First, I really haven't been able to have that for at least three years now and I probably could go back even longer as I have moved too much. Let me say this so the reader can understand: I HAVE MOVED TOO MUCH.

There you go yet it is the life I've lived.

In the past, my patterns have included every Saturday morning, I made a cheese omlette with a side of cantaloupe and either decent coffee or tea. My Saturday night was making dinner while listening to "Prairie Home Companion." Sunday morning, I'd eat breakfast out while reading the Sunday New York Times. My kid, the recent college graduate, at age 10 referred to the Sunday Times as "dad's girlfriend" because we couldn't begin the day without me picking her up.

I'm not so much and old fogey, though, as setting parameters about how life is lived. I read as a young man that Albert Einstein had seven suits that were exactly the same. The point was he didn't have to waste thought on what he'd wear that day.

I am no Einstein. 

But the lesson I learned was I ought to concentrate time and thought on important issues and forego the small stuff.

A regular routine does that for me. It reduces the pressure of change.

Routine also allows me to bask in more special moments that matter more than the mundane. I love my friends and family. I love eating Italian in Boston with Kid who would not allow me to tell Mafia jokes because, as she said, "they are here."

So I am home. I will settle in. I'll maintain a schedule.

Then I will enjoy something strange, miraculous, maybe even life-changing fun.

And I'll tell the story here.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace and funky life stories unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

 An alert reader has asked why I've dropped "the" in front of "Ukraine."

It's because another alert reader, Ginger, who is affiliated with Indiana University and one of my many Bloomington friends. She noted that Ukrainian students at the school have noted the difference.

Russians for decades have used "the" in front of "Ukraine" to imply the country is merely a region of Russia. This an insidious campaign that goes back to Stalin, who sent millions of Russians into other countries in the Soviet Republic to undermine their autonomy.

By using just "Ukraine," we acknowledge the sovereignty of Ukraine. I've only recently learned this.

Another IU professor educates us at this website: The Politics of “Ukraine” Versus “the Ukraine” - SAPIENS

Thanks, IU folks, for all you've done for me -- which often included buying me beer.

Pease unto Ukraine and peace and education unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, May 9, 2022

 A homeless editor ought not be involved in modern travel.

I used to fly often -- always on the company dime -- and considered myself sophisticated. Hell, savvy.

But this trip was essentially a confused son of the Wisconsin Northwoods wondering through vast crowds of people until some nice person notices the look on my face and asks, "Can I help you, sir?" I'm not unlike Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. Your world frightens and confuses me.

Someone undressed me -- and not just with their eyes. Removing my belt, some stomach pushed my pants on a race to the ground. Despite my age, my hands were quick enough to catch them. I had to take off my shoes just like I was at my friend Kellie's house. At least she always has a bottle of free gin at her place.

These major airports serve as little cities, moving tens of thousands of through them each day. But I've grown used to living in smaller cities and love my final home in Hayward, Wisconsin, a town of 2,400. 

I'm not sure I care for the sophisticated life, though it was certainly worth any pain to see Kid graduate before she heads to Hollywood. (A phrase that will remain forever odd to write.)

I will say the big airports are great people watching. I saw more faces, heard more languages and can't imagine the colors and creeds. Oh, the humanity.

Somewhere out there, a blogger whom I passed is writing about this guy they saw at the airport who was red-faced and wearing a huge blue shirt. "It looked like one of the Bluemen stung by a bee," that person is writing. (That's a good line.)

I write this from Boston Logan, land in Minneapolis at 6:30 p.m., hit home at 9 p.m.

Happily.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace and happiness unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Sunday, May 8, 2022

 


I introduce graduate Kid to the world.

As we parents and grandparents sat through the solemn ceremony, I largely sobbed and snotted.

The combination of a cold, Boston allergens and and my sodden heart combine to let loose the jets of my eyes and nose. During one significant blow during a quiet time, the lady in front of me turned and gave me the stink eye. Perhaps she was hit by a little of my apple sauce.

Needless to say, the Homeless Editor stuck out like a sore thumb -- covered in snot. 

I'm so proud of what she's accomplished as it's a testament to what she's overcome in her road here. She's a tough little broad who happens to be quite brilliant in anything she chases. And kind. And funny.


Here's Kid with mom, who was gracious enough to pay for me to fly here and put me up. Se kindly put up with the sobbing and snotting, which I did so prodigiously I became a less-desirable graduation mate.

Kid's mom had finals this week and planned for the whole crew to get to the graduation. She shared a tendency of my Boston cabbie to answer problems with a request from the Lord: "Aw, Jesus."


Kid took me out for lunch, because of my continual climb out of my difficulties, to a legitimate Italian joint in Boston's North End. We each enjoyed gnocchi and then came the appearance of what appeared to be a Boston don, seen over Kid's shoulder. Kid insisted I not make mafia jokes because there were likely some in the restaurant, perhaps including the guy in the track suit at the front door. "Father," she said, using the term she uses when she's serious, "don't do that here." She forbade me from doing an impression of the Godfather; telling the waiter that the whole meal was "what do ya call it? Buttafuoco!"; and telling the don behind her he should "leave the gun; take the cannoli."

(Sidenote: "Buttafuoco!" would be a great name for a musical.)

What a beautiful day.

My heart is full and not just with gnocchi.

It's love of Kid and life and aid of friends and family and at least one glass of Prosecco. 

Peace unto Ukraine and peace and full hearts unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

I felt like Odysseus.

My trip to see Clare graduate, paid for entirely by my ex-wife, has been a series of obstacles. Certainly not like the Ithacan king of yore, also known as Ulysses. 

Friday night as I geared up for the trip packing maybe six items, I found I had lost my Debit card  -- that's where my money lay but only in a spare and barren place where currency has not taken root.

Imagine tearing up an apartment that's already torn up from a second unpacking in at least a year. I walked through my steps during the day. Then after five hours I realized how much money I had on the card. Where did I determine that? Ah! Walgreens, where I was picking up cold medication because for some reason whenever I make a trip, I get a cold. 

I checked out the route days earlier but when I clicked into Google Maps this morning, I asked for directions to "Minneapolis airport." Google Maps has lost most of its snarky commentary so it did not note the airport is a sprawling place. Of course I ended up in some back alley where deliveries of myriad  goods are made. I imagine it's the place where my friend Mickey Modl and I once picked  up a body for the funeral home where he worked. We didn't lock the car in Hudson, Wis., on return because we figured any thief deserved what he wrought.

That means I missed my first flight but American Airlines, which offered excellent service throughout my trip, rebooked me to fly through O'Hare to Boston. (By the way the names of those two cities are not pronounced the same manner as the rest of the country. The rest of us don't add extra syllables.)

I haven't travelled via airplane since 2010 when I was flown gratis to Los Angeles to be part of an exercise in investigative health care reporting. I was roomed in room 666, a bad omen. Nothing happened although there was some pig blood running down walls. No big deal. In the Wisconsin Nort'woods, we make blood sausage out of such a thing. 

I was no longer used to the stutters, shifts and lunging airplanes evidence on takeoff on landing. The only thing that assuaged me was the realization is that is how I walk by about 9 p.m.

Almost every night.

My connection in O'Hare -- bigger than most countries -- was wrong but fixed and I landed on a windy night in Boston with a thud.

And an appreciation that after the last three years, that difficulties aren't the end, but only obstacles to overcome.

Then there was the cab driver.

He waved me over, with meaty hands and long hair so greasy I could have made French fries in it.

I showed him the address of the hotel.

"Aw, Jesus," he said.

He had opened the trunk of the car and asked if I needed to put my miniscule backpack in it. I said no.

"Aw, Jesus," he said.

At first I thought I my body would be found in Southie, with already fat birds pecking at my body. "I sense a heavy fish fry taste with undertones of Jack Daniels."

But it turned out he said "Jesus" about everything. That was his coping mechanism. His arch enemies were red lights -- that's natural for cab drivers -- the New England Patriots, whom he loves, and young drivers. And his billing system, which he fought with the ferocity of a young Tom Brady.

I made it to my hotel which is so high above my standards I didn't know what to do. Thankfully, my ex-wife had warned them to be aware of a disheveled and confused man who appeared to have walked out from "The Field of Dreams."

"Can I play me some ball?"

Needing a cheap place to eat, the Albanian bartender, Gizeem, told me to go to 4th Street which sits kitty corner from the hotel.

I write from here where I'm having a couple drinks before eating what appears to be an excellent cheeseburger. I texted Clare about my location and she responded "4th Street is lit." As a lifelong editor, I responded "4th Street is lighted."

The bartender asked what I needed. I said, a Jack Daniels Manhattan, a couple extra bar napkins and emotional support.

She failed to give the latter so I pointed that out and she asked what I needed.

I said I needed her to pat my hand and say, "You're going OK, fatty."

Without hesitation, she patted my hand and said, "You're doing OK.

What a trip thus far.

I might not be Odysseus but I'd certainly go through anything to be at kid's graduation.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace and joy unto you my brothers and sisters.



Wednesday, May 4, 2022

 May 1 passed without a word from me.

That's the two-year anniversary of this blog but I'm up to my hind end in work, unpacking and getting ready to go see Clare graduate in Boston. (I apologize for writing "hind end" for my sensitive readers.) 

These two years have been been a trip, baby. One that challenged every single facet of me, energy, intellect, perseverance, shit, sanity.

But I'm here and have been blessed along this long road far beyond my capability to understand. Friends and strangers have helped with money, places to stay, moving my stupid collection of books and typewriters and too much cooking equipment.

They have listened and read my stories and my whining.

There have been setbacks but those have always been outnumbered by joy.

While writing this tonight at a local drinking establishment, I talked with friends and we experienced bountiful laughter and closer friendship,

I'm now in a place where I sense stability as I haven't in some time. And I am welcomed.

I spoke to the local Rotary Club today, many of whom welcomed me a year after my arrival but quoted from past columns they remember. As someone who writes, my heart is warmed.

And as someone who considers himself a writer, tries to be a writer, still wants after half a century to be a writer, this blog still gives me succor. If people want to read my meandering missives, I'll fill that space.

The only misgiving would be that my obituary -- as editor I get 10 percent off but only kid gets to enjoy that benefit -- will include "homeless editor." It is my hope the obit starts with "good father."

And so I fly out to Boston Saturday to see my daughter graduate Sunday. She's promised to take me out to dinner Sunday and then I fly back Monday. I intend to ask when she visits me this summer, in God's County of the Wisconsin Nort'woods, she stay for awhile, even up to a month. She can write in the quiet of our place, perhaps joining me in writing together. I'll also ask her to write a blog post here about what she's learned of me from this blog -- essentially a public diary during this troubled time.

I'm going to blog through the trip to Boston as I haven't been on a flight since 2010 and about the import of seeing my little newborn turn into this intellectual powerhouse a mere 21 years later.

I promise you I will sob for most of the trip so I'm investing in facial tissues and will continue to hydrate. With what I will not promise.

These two years have been the most amazing in my life, for good and bad reasons.

Yet I'm here and look forward not just to the next two years will be but the next two days and two weeks and two months.

A reader sent me a link that the phrase "the Ukraine" is outdated so I shall not use it again. (As an aside, I'm outdated generally.)

Peace unto Ukraine and peace and clarity unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, May 2, 2022

 


"Hi, my name is Rich -- I have a typewriter problem."

"Hi, Rich."

My problem became evident this weekend when I unpacked my fifth typewriter. And the photo above is the typewriter I keep at work, technically the sixth.  (See, when you're hiding typewriters, it's a problem.)

The addiction has been ongoing. I once had 40 typewriters dating all the way back to 1892 -- just 20 years after the introduction of the first commercial machine.

But I was moving from Richmond, Ind., to Valparaiso, Ind., without a team of movers and saw the collection as a bigger pain in the butt than it was worth. When I told my friend Angie I had to sell the typewriters, she gasped audibly. Yes, we treated the sale as a death in the family.

I held on to just two, my first, purchased at the newspaper in Wisconsin Rapids for $5 and ably brought back to working condition by a retired repairman who likely worked on the first model. The other is a bright pink Royal purchased for my kid when she was into pink, about age five.

She once invited a friend over to play "newspaper" -- not unlike what I play -- and her friend lightly brushed the keys as one does with the modern computer.

"No," Clare said. "You have to plunge them" echoing my words and how she was raised.

Slowly, slowly, the problem return. Friends would give me one and then I'd see a pristine Underwood at a good price. All it needed was a ribbon, which you can still buy in the dark corners of the internet.

I do not have plans to rid myself of any of the current machines, as all have a use for different purposes. I'm using an electric as I take notes about a future book project that I believe, humbly, will change the world.

For now, though, no more typewriters. I can control myself.

I swear.

Peace unto the Ukraine and peace and a decent writing machine unto you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, April 29, 2022

 It occurred to me Thursday, while driving between my newspapers, that I've not taken the time to consider my trauma over the past couple of years.

I haven't suffered the trauma of losing a loved one, at least recently. Nor have I been in a terrible crash or been beaten up. Hell, I haven't even dated Amber Heard.

But I have suffered.

Now I have to figure out how I deal with it. 

As I drove with radio off -- drive time is great thinking time -- I thought about how I've not addressed this. I'm not going to play the game of comparing tragedies. I'm not going to do the Monty Pythong thing where distinguished gentlemen argue who had it worst. 

As I've climbed from the bottom hole of my troubles, I tried to keeping moving forward -- even if a centimeter at a time. While doing that, I brushed off indignities, depression, panic, anxiety. I almost had my first anxiety attack Wednesday yet I'm fully housed, paid well and love my job. That's likely what led to me considering the trauma issue.

Remember, I consider myself the luckiest man in the world. The breaks I've received, the help handed to me, new friends, all the blessings a person can receive and I've counted and stored each in my brain.

But I've also played that Wisconsin man thing -- probably more than Wisconsin -- where I wave off pain. "It's nothing," I've said to myself thousands of times over the last three years.

I'm reminded of Homer Simpson's advice to his children: Bury your feelings way down deep inside you, where you'll never hear from them again.

I'm working on my feelings -- both of them.

Peace unto the Ukraine and peace and feelings unto you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, April 25, 2022

 The unpacking continues.

Wow, nice pots and pans. Too many of them, including a set from Simply Ming that I didn't need but man, they are nice pans.

What's this? A really nice Bulova watch? When did I have money -- and the gall -- to buy a nice watch? It doesn't fit my current asceticism. 

There's a waffle maker I've never, ever used. I now understand why Eggo was such a giant leap forward for humanity.

Oh, and a smoothie set I've never used. That will go off to a friend's kid. As did the complex citrus juice another friend took home Sunday after she brought me food and checked to see if the stacks of boxes and fallen over on me. They had not.

My well-used Panini press survived three years of storage and I can't wait to press foods with it. (I make a pretty decent seasoned turkey burger with it, topping the sandwich off with some ranch dressing and a couple slices of tomatoes.)

I have a foot-high stack of The New York Review of Books that I don't think I will catch up with. The stack, when bound with twine, could make a pretty good boat anchor around the lakes here.

There are a number of boxes of clothes -- I was unaware I had so many. I'm not sure if any will fit. And has the leisure suit passed in popularity?

By the end of the week, I'll have the boxes from the living room cleared -- most of them are kitchen items. Then I'll move on to the boxes in the study/guest bedroom. Then, someday, perhaps not even this year, I'll finalize my bedroom.

Peace unto the Ukraine and piss unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, April 22, 2022

 Two weeks is too long.

I'm sorry for my absence as I enjoy this space, thehomelesseditor.com.

The move is done but the unpacking must move forward more quickly than slowly. At this point, rather than carefully and particularly put useless items away, I'm just opening boxes and placing stuff in open flat tops and some empty drawers.

Empty drawers is a great band name.

I've also been busy at work, failing to take off at least one day a week -- one of my New Year's resolutions. So that resolution goes the ways of others, i.e. lose weight, learn an instrument, getting a gigolo job.

Gigolo job is a great band name.

I heard last week from Bertha, who continues to look out for me. Thank you, Bertha. She looks out for my welfare, offers me advice and sends $27 each time. She bemoaned my inability to follow advice about getting a woman friend. I believe Bertha has not seen a clear photo of me. And I hope she is not bothered that I used the money to buy some drinks for myself. Or I could consider the drink as a woman friend named Tanqueray martini.

Tanqueray martini would be a great band name.

Each night, as I unpack more stuff -- things I haven't seen for three years in most cases -- one thought becomes more and more clear: I have too much crap.

I'm ambivalent if Too Much Crap would be a good bad name. A decent bumper sticker perhaps. But not a band name. Please advise.

Again, I'm sorry I've been gone too long particularly as we move toward a two-year anniversary of this blog in little more than a week. Although I had multiple places to stay during my sojourn, this blog has been something of a home for me even if virtual.

Thanks for joining me on this surreal journey.

Peace unto the Ukraine and peace unto you my brothers and sisters.

(Editor's note: Peace unto the Ukraine would be a band I would see everyday. Peace Unto You My Brothers and Sisters would be a great name for a Hippie Praise Band that sneaks beer between sets. For the record, the beer would be Miller Lite. "And Jesus said, "Thou art less filling and tasteth great.")

Friday, April 8, 2022

 I don't want to be one of the Collyer brothers.

They are the most famous hoarders of all time. They died within days of each other. One of them was disabled and relied on his brother to feed him. The other brother, who fed him an odd diet of black bread, peanut butter and 100 oranges a week, died while delivering food to his brother when a pile of junk fell on him and he was crushed.

That's what my apartment looks like right now.

I have a pathway through the living room. Same for the two bedrooms and the kitchen. But it's not a pile of stuff. Everything is boxed until it isn't so.

What's going to happen this weekend is a massive unpacking where I don't look to put stuff away. I'm just going to take it out of the box and put it on a flat surface.

In moves past, I've tried to make the change orderly but I've learned that takes too much time.

I'm just going to take the crap out of boxes for two days and deal with whatever happens.

I'm tired of not being settled so let's be unsettled but have access to my stuff.

Additionally, I'm coming up on three years since I've seen most of my stuff. I'll unload and if I don't need it, donate the stuff to local agencies.

In the way I've lived over the last half decade, stuff means less. Yet it will be fun to see what I've missed and how I'll use it.

Please look up the stories on the Collyer brothers.

And peace unto the Ukraine, the lives of the Collyer brother and unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

 


Here's Kid in Hollywood last week. Her internship job that day was to deliver 15-20 scripts for various production agencies around town.

For this task she wore a famous T-shirt from here in Hayward, Wisconsin. It's from Lynn's Custom Meats. The shirt reads, "You can't beat Lynn's meat."

In the words of Larry the Cable Guy, "That's some funny stuff right there."

I just found out today that one of her bosses exhorted her to get a script on to someone's doorstep despite some impediments include a closed gate. Kid studied the situation, climbed the fence and delivered the script to the doorstep as requested. Then climbed her way out.

I'm incredibly proud of her.

She's the smartest person I know, she's kind and open-minded and, obviously, funny.

It's helluva thing bringing someone into this world and that little blob of humanity turns into something like Kid.

I've written before and I'll write again, when I was a young man, I thought I had something great in me. 

It turned out to be Kid.

Peace unto the Ukraine and peace and spectacular children unto you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, April 4, 2022


 

Were one to to peak into my new place, it would appear I'm a collector of the finest cardboard in America.

A licensed cardboardian.

Note the different names on the boxes.

That represents moves from professional movers in Burlington, North Carolina, to Bloomington, Indiana. Then from storage at the newspaper to storage in my friend Josh's garage. Then from his garage to the house I was renting in Hayward, Wisconsin. Then from the house where I was partially unpacked to storage in my friend Kelly's garage. And finally from there to the new abode about three blocks away.

Over that time, I picked up boxes where I could but often had to buy them because I was being kicked out quickly. (Please note I've been kicked out of plenty of fine joints in my time.)

The unpacking begins in earnest Tuesday night. (Tonight I had to buy the new move items, the key being a shower curtain with rings to hang them on. Soap, shampoo, plastic cups and paper plates -- the housewares of a transient imp.)

This weekend, I shall cook. If you're local stop by.

Peace unto the Ukraine and peace and impishness unto all of my brothers and sisters.

Friday, April 1, 2022

 Tomorrow I will have an address and it will be official.

My landlord's contractors are moving me into me into my new place. I met the mover today and noted my knees are shot. The boss is a gracious guy who said, "We'll carry the boxes -- your only job is to point."

I can do that.

This will be the last of homelessness, I hope and suspect, well into the future. 

I'm working on a plan where in five years, I'll buy a plot of land and in another five years I'll buy one of those tiny homes and build on that plot. And when I have the opportunity to retire, probably about age 70, I'll have my own place in the Northwoods.

That means if you come to visit, bring a tent. I'll provide copious food and drink. And on the upside, you won't have to listen to me snore -- which by that time will sound like a T-Rex chewing glass.

I've noted earlier I'm going to unpack like a fiend. That means chaos in the short term but the sooner I can get to cooking for myself and friends every night, I will be pleased. The sooner I can get my desktop and laptop, the more I can work on serious writing projects. As soon as I can get a grill, the more carcinogens I can swallow (please pronounce "swaller").

I imagine Saturday night I will remain at the Steakhouse & Lodge as I'll need Sunday to set the place up for basic living.

As someone who's moved much, the first thing I'll get tomorrow is a shower curtain and a towel. I learned that lesson moving from Beaver Dam to Wisconsin Rapids in 1992. I already have a box of other essentials like paper towels, paper plates, plasticware and garbage bags.

After about 25 moves, I've become a pro.

Finally, I can check out normalcy for a while. Full transparency: I'm not normal. 

But I can make soup, grill some brats or steak, hell, I can make a crappy frozen pizza in my oven.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace and frozen pizza unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Monday, March 28, 2022

I can't wait to cook.

I'm saving recipes and thinking about setting up a schedule for the first month in the new place, inviting folks over to enjoy the bounty.

In my last place, I did not unpack quickly enough but in this new joint -- I promise myself -- I'm going to unpack in a fury and get to settling in within a month.

Besides reading and writing, my third avocation is cooking. Well, eating comes before cooking but it's the chicken and the egg thing.

Fat guy gotta eat.

As I anticipate the move, I simply cannot spend time thinking about the most useless news of the day -- Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars Sunday. I do not have an operating television to watch nor do I have an operating interest in actually watching.

I simply don't care.

It doesn't crack my top 100 concerns of the day.

Here are my first top 10:

-- How is Kid doing?

-- How is mom doing?

-- How is family?

-- What about my friends?

-- Have I treated every person today with dignity and respect?

-- Have I imbued every human interaction with real sincerity? Have I connected?

--  Have I enjoyed the moment?

-- Did I stay in the moment?

-- Did I chew slowly, identifying tastes?

-- What did the Green Bay Packers so?

I try to break down complex, overwhelming problems of the day into what I can control. And that is how I act and react to others.

So when I move back into a place with an address, everyone will be invited over to my join for some drinks, Julia Childs recipes and some decent -- even indecent -- conversation.

I won't slap most of you.

Peace unto Ukraina and peace and friendship unto you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, March 25, 2022

Sometimes plans change -- and that's OK.

I didn't get moved into the new place today because there's work left. That's actually good news. In addition to new carpeting, linoleum, my landlords added new cabinets and a new kitchen sink. So when folks ask what's new, I can say "everything including the kitchen sink" and be literally correct.

I tracked down mail that I've missed in the past month and there's a lot from a guy named bill. Some lower case cool going on there.  Like e.e. cummings.

And when you receive all your mail for a month, you see trends. I receive The New Yorker, The New York Times and the New York Review of Books. Pattern. I receive Food & Wine and Bon Appetite magazines, only two because Gourmet shut down in 2009. Finally, Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, the Whiskey Advocate, Vodka Advocate, Brandy Advocate, Bar Rail Advocate, Let Me Tell You Something Else Advocate and, finally, the Vomit Advocate. (Don't use the scratch and sniff in that magazine, let me advise.)

So I'll move next week and I can't wait.

I love my Steakhouse Lodge family but I was trying to determine this week why I feel so bad. Morning meditation -- now done on the edge of my bed because my knees are shot -- often brings clarity. I realized staying in a hotel room by oneself for an extended period of time makes me feel lonely. I never feel alone otherwise. Alone does not equal lonely. I enjoy my time alone. My two favorite past times are reading and writing and those are alone activities. But I'm home alone with my stuff.

That's not lonely to me.

The end is nigh for hotel living over long periods of time. After this most recent stay, I'll resolve to stay in temporary housing only temporarily. 

I'm thankful for so many good things in my life while the world is aflame.

Peace unto those in the Ukraine and peace and serenity unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

 Yes, the trolls hit this space some time ago and as the pageviews continue up, the trolling is up.

Some friends noticed this trend recently although I've followed for some time. See, I get notified by email when there's a comment on a post. As trolls started to hit, I was in the midst of enough tumult I chose not to take the time to delete comments.

Yet I've learned lessons from the trolls:

-- There's a lot of herpes out there.

-- Even with poor credit, you can get an unlimited loan with no money down.

-- Those who have straying partners can find help from any number of gurus and doctors and the occasional potion that includes the testicular components of the chupacabra. 

-- If I need some money, a mere $100 can net me $3,000 in less than a week.

-- Boy, herpes is here to stay.

-- It is now considered poor behavior to stone your spouse after said spouse has committed adultery.

-- For a reasonable price, I can get a passport to countries that don't even exist. Freedonia anyone?

-- No money down and you can hold own a palatial home of your own.

-- Herpes, herpes, herpes.

After today, I promise to delete the offenders -- despite all my readers with herpes -- and work as much as I can to delete all the previous offenders.

Peace unto all of my brothers and sisters in the Ukraine and peace and no herpes to all of you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, March 21, 2022

 I will have a new address come Saturday. 

10598 Glenwood Drive, Hayward, WI 54843.

The landlord's movers will pick up and move my junk Friday about six blocks from where it's stored in a friend's garage.

Then Saturday, I'll be able to lay my freakishly large head on of my pillows on my mattress on the floor. To you, that might sound pathetic. To me? It sounds like home.

My new landlord damn near took the place to the studs, so I'll have new carpeting, paint and appliances. Kid will have her own room, along with my library of books and one of my writing desks.  Yes, one of my writing desks. Different kinds of writing call for different desks, after all.

I'm going to be able to cook again and having been storing recipe ideas for this time. Everyone is welcome to join me with a couple day's notice. 

I will have a deck so my first big expenditure is a Weber grill, which will go well-used here in the northwoods. I'm within walking distance of Lynn's Custom meats, makers of the best bratwurst I've ever had. Lynn has a fabulous and all local meat counter so I shall avail myself often -- along with cooking all the fresh veg I'm going to get at the farmer's market that's only months away. (I'm attempting to assuage friends concerned I'll go caveman with a new grill. I've found a recipe for making a grilled ratatouille that looks righteous.)

Then I'll settle. I'll cook. I'll write after a day of reading and writing. I'll feed friends and visitors.

Peace unto my Ukrainian brothers and sisters and peace and home unto you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, March 18, 2022

 


Thirty eight years after graduation, Marty Crowe remains a part of my life.

I wrote a column some months ago about being contacted by Marty's daughter, Maureen, saying she was going through his papers and found one of my old high school assignments among them. "A college level paper" Marty had written at the top. 

Marty Crowe was a teacher of poetry and literature at my high school in Chippewa Falls. He was also the basketball coach

That column led to to the author of a Marty Crowe biography to contact me and send a copy of the book, which I received this week.

Which has led to a wave of guilt and  self-reflection.

I was not as respectful to Marty in high school as I should have been. I was a smart-ass and a mean smart-ass at that. I respected no one and joked about everyone.

Years after graduating, I looked at my senior yearbook and most people wrote they were afraid to write anything because I would make fun of them.

I was a bully.

Yet Marty stuck with me. I could never get out of my head his reading of Randall Jarrell's poem, "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner":

"From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose."

Marty's dramatic reading, in his gravelly voice, was profoundly dramatic.

And he'd repeat the haunting last line.

Marty was a sports coach who took pride in teaching poetry rather than physical education.
He knew history, he knew social justice.

I look forward to reading the book, which has already included a quote from my friend
Becky from the graduating class of 1984.

In the years since, I've worked hard to stop being such an ass. I imagine Marty was part of
that, too. All these years later.

Teaching me to be better.

Peace unto all of Ukraine. Peace unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Monday, March 14, 2022

 



.

I love my hotel room here in the Northwoods.

First, in order to enter, I have this thing called a "room key" that's actually a key.

I enjoy that here in the Northwoods. If the key works, has worked, will work, why change?

The second photo is of a pheasant -- I believe it has passed -- whom I've named Fred Funk because I believe his business card simply read "Fred Funk, pheasant." Said card did not include a phone number because I don't think he had a phone.

There there's Joe Buck -- no not the football analyst -- a local fellow who, as he aged, slowed somewhat. Thus the mounting.

These two hang over my bed in my neatly appointed and hyper clean room. I've found in my travels over these last year I don't need much other than my traveling bag, my electronic equipment and some rot gut gin to be happy.

I still can't turn on the TV because I'm the least capable adult in the world. I haven't had an operating TV for half a decade and am debating whether I should change that once I move into my new place.

In the bathroom, I have a place to clean myself so my colleagues have less to complain about. The room has one of those multi-dispensers for soap, conditioner and shampoo. I don't even have to buy those and I like the environmentally friendly nature of it.

I get some takeout but I also have a fridge and microwave for the minimal chef in me while also cutting down on costs. A box of the finest cardboard vino sits next to the rotgut for the sophisticate in my.

I'm catching up on reading a couple of books on my iPad, the first being "Extra Life" about how society has largely doubled life expectancy in the last 100 years. The two biggest factors? Vaccinations and municipal water systems. Pasteurization comes in a close third.

The other book is "The Dawn of Everything," which talks about how societies organized before hunter/gatherers settled in around 10,000 BCE.

When, after a day of reading and writing at work and I need downtime? Netflex, Hulu, Amazon provide me whatever I want to watch. I'm watching a great Kurt Vonnegut documentary these last two days. I tend toward documentaries so I'm looking for something to binge watch while I wait for "Only Murders in the Building."

In the context of today's world, I remain a lucky man.

Peace to Ukraine and peace to you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, March 11, 2022

 The problems of one homeless editor don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

Old posts embarrass me as I look at the images coming out of Ukraine. Dead bodies litter the streets, including babies and children. Millions wait to escape at train stations while millions of others have been bombed out of house and home. Millions more face starvation.

I don't want to see these images but I force myself so I can serve as a witness.

At worst, I have been inconvenienced. I've been well served and well fed -- the fattest homeless guy ever.

While in the Ukraine men, women and children are being slaughtered all because of the ego of one evil man.

I've been studying the philosophy of just wars for decades now -- the theory suggests the difference between an unjust war and a just war. This might be the most unjust war in a long time. Ukraine did nothing to even suggest a danger to Russia. Nothing.

War should only occur under attack, in self-defense and as the last means to a dangerous situation.

Not for made-up concerns.

Not for aggression for aggression's sake.

And not for an evil little man attempting to salve his razor-thin ego.

Peace unto Ukraine and to all of you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, March 7, 2022

A gentleman walked into the newspaper office today and said, "I'm the guy you hate."

It was the guy who bought my house.

"I told you I don't hate anyone," I said and we shook hands. We had talked before when he reached out to me after the sale.

Oddly, our circumstances aren't much different. He had sold his house some months ago while downsizing and struggled to find something in this area, which suffers from a lack of housing of any kind. So for half a year, he's been looking for a place to stay and it turned out to be my rental.

I'd written a local newspaper column about how my personal situation bodes ill for the entire community. We continue to grow because of natural beauty plus the many amenities not normal to a small town because of the tourism industry. However, we need servers and bartenders and bussers and the kind of employees tourism and expanding populations need. And there's no housing for those folks.

The guy was nice enough to bring in some items I'd left -- I missed one kitchen cabinet. We talked and laughed. He's a good guy. He also reads this blog, which makes him even better.

As he left, I reminded him we talked about going out and having a drink after we're both settled in.

"OK," he said. "But I'm buying -- because you're homeless."

It is my narrative after all. 

Peace and free drinks unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, March 4, 2022

There is a description in "Long, Dark Tea Time of the Soul" where the Norse god Odin describes why he likes staying in hospitals on Earth because the rooms and the bedding are crisp and clean and they come with a certain sense of order.

I'm living in a hotel room this week, and next, and probably next, and feel the same way.

I've learned to need little over these last few years. There's a bed, a little table, a mini-fridge, a coffee maker and a microwave. In the bathroom, the soap and shampoo are offered via bulk.

I'm only responsible for eating and drinking, two duties I do well.

In the "Tea Time" book, written by Douglas Adams, famous for "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series, Odin loves the consistency of hospitals. If you're going to read "Tea Time," take on its predecessor "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" first. Splendid fun.

The two- to three-week stay at a hotel is a break from the subtle duties of life, cleaning, cooking, taking care of myself.

I'm basically like a zoo animal -- except no one no one shows up to see my cuteness. But there is a sign on my window, "Don't feed the editor."

It remains a place and time where, when not working, I can read and write.

Celebrate for me because those are my favorite pass times, even if that's also my job description.

Peace and orderliness unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, February 28, 2022

I've decided for the next two weeks, when I'm not working at work, I will not be working at home even if home is a king-size bed.

I shall lounge about in my hotel room, likely in my drawers while reading, writing and sipping.

That's a homeless man's vacation. On occasion I'll wander over to the steakhouse where I'll sup with friends sharing my bon mots like a seasonal snowstorm.

That sounds better than an old man living in a hotel room in his underwear, right?

Part of living is perspective. We all see the world through different shades but what we fail to understand is we can choose the shades. My shade will be positive. Another shade will be forgiveness. Certainly a shade will be smart-assery.

Shit. I'm starting to sound like a lyric from the rock band Rush. (Paraphrasing Linda Richman on SNL, the band was neither a rock band nor in a rush. Discuss.)

I plan on finishing two books I'm working on, "Extra Life," about how society has doubled life expectancy in 100 years, and "The Dawn of Everything," which takes a look at how early societies formed and operated.

If those don't sound fun, they are not but I'm learning.

I might read an old book of Calvin and Hobbes as a sorbet afterward, which were fun to read and I still learned something.

And, oh, some sipping.

Peace and sipping unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

I am back at a hotel.

Technically homeless again.

But other than the aching knees and back, the $500 moving bill, and the general inconvenience, it's not so bad.

You see, the Steakhouse Lodge is family for me. I stayed there for a month while finding a place to live and then stayed there for a week while my furnace was being fixed. I go there every Friday night for fish fry -- the equivalent of church to children of the Northwoods.

I've been invited to the houses of friends who work there. I get to attend staff parties. We're so friendly that when I arrived tonight to pick up my room key, I received nothing but insults. You know that's love in the Nort'woods.

Staff had just finished a late lunch serving volunteers from the American Birkebeiner, so my friends -- no, my family -- plated me leftovers and bought me a drink as they knew the transition I am making once again.

The two young men who moved me today worked their butts off, nearly running between boxes and the useless items I've accrued in my 56 years. The younger of the two, Tyson, picked up a box and said, "Oh, this one is books." I knew immediately it was the Catholic Encyclopedia that is a family heirloom. Every time I move, those two or three boxes bring moans. The set was a gift from the parish to my great uncle Father Robert Agnew, the first priest at St. Olaf in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. My dad had them in his law office when he died and no one wanted them. I did and still use them when they're not in a box in storage.

I promised the other young man, Dan, when I found some of writing books I'd call him as he's an aspiring writer. The moving business slows in the winters here -- it was a balmy 20 degrees for the move from my house into a friend's garage -- and he thought he could use the time writing. Of course, I encouraged him as I think everyone should write.

Right now my knees ache and so hot I'm pretty sure I could poach an egg an each. But I'm also sitting at The Ranch, a classic Wisconsin supper club that will serve me a relish tray. What's that? Some munchies that will feed me and potentially encourage a couple drinks before dinner.

Somehow this weekend, the stress, pressure and unpleasantness of being uprooted once again melded into a sense of belonging.

Being homeless -- for two or three weeks -- doesn't mean I'm not home.

Peace and home unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, February 25, 2022

Box by box.

That's been my week.

One of my favorite stories is is "Bird by Bird," Annie Lamott's great book about writing. In it, she tells a childhood story about how she put off a grade-school assignment where she had to write a report on dozens of birds. She put off the work until the night before. Her dad sat down with her and helped her with the first bird story. She asked, "How are we going to get to 30? Her dad said, "Bird by bird."

I'm down to one open box in each room. Saturday morning, I'll place the box next to a table and sweep anything on a flat surface into the box and tape it up. Even if it's glass. Even if it's as delicate as Tony Romo.

There.

Packed.

Then a friend is coming over to help clean. 

Sunday, the professional movers arrive. I had friends lined up -- I can't afford professionals -- but I have to move during what is "Birkie weekend," the one weekend of the year where 10,000 skiers and 10,000 fans show up for the biggest cross country ski event in the United States.

That night, I'll check back into the restaurant where I stayed for a month when moving here. And when my furnace was fixed. The rooms are nice and clean and the folks are like family.

I damn well might have a steak that night.

Starting Monday, it's back to work and a more relaxing time for the next two to three weeks. Then I'll move into my second residence in a year.

Peace and relaxation unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, February 21, 2022

Long-time reader "Dad" is right. I'll celebrate the good and there's been much of it.

I have a friend who is letting me use her garage for storage over a couple of weeks. So that's checked off the list I've been using as a coping mechanism.

Another friend gave me the name of movers who have been a pleasure to deal with. Check.

I'm booked at the Steakhouse Lodge starting Sunday night, the end of my moving day, for a couple weeks until I get into my new place. Check.

And a new place. Check.

A couple drinks each night. Check.

Friendship, support and the occasional sarcastic joke at my expense. Check, check, check.

I've often told my reporters that when covering long-term stories, sometimes you advance the story a mile and sometimes you advance it an inch. But you still advance.

In life, I keep moving forward -- like a shark. Keep moving and often I'll move forward an inch and in other cases it's more like a broad jump. And I mean a broad jump from when I was young and lithe. Not now. (There's an old joke from Louie Anderson. He was talking about his competition in the Olympics. "Pole Vault? Drove that sucker into the ground. Broad jump? Killed her.")

There's also the old Chinese proverb: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Peace and elephant sandwiches unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, February 18, 2022

 Leaving work tonight, I paraphrased the Buddha for a colleague: Suffering comes from want. We want only good things, happiness. If we can let go of want, then we can let go of suffering.

"But," I added, "I want a Jack Daniels Manhattan so I'm leaving and Buddha can go (expletive) himself."

Ah, the joys of sophisticated newsroom banter.

I experienced some suffering this week but a long-time reader of this blog, Dad, noted I have a job and friends and life. Dad's wisdom is true.

As I stumbled from obstacle to obstacle this week, I overcame mostly with the help from dear friends, virtually all of whom have known me less than a year.

My one-year anniversary was Wednesday and I treated colleagues with doughnuts. (At one point, I brought fruit and salads for celebrations -- they were not eaten. Pizza and doughnuts? I'm a workplace god.)

I had grown too accustomed to being the guy who didn't need help and as I think about this last week, I realized folks have helped me my entire life and I should have done a better job of acknowledgement. 

Friends have helped me this last week with moving issues, living issues -- hell, emotional support as far as emotions go in the Wisconsin Northwoods.

Here's a one-act play about it:

Bartender: How's it goin', fella.

Patron: Oh, pretty low, huh.

Bartender: Here's your drink.

Patron: Cripes.

(End scene.)

So my help this week has been in the form of dealing with the minutia of another, unwanted move and that's included drinks.

I'm reminded of a lesson from the Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who said problems in life are like waves, inevitable and unstoppable. But if you can learn to ride the waves rather than drowning under them, you'll live.

Especially waves of Jack Daniels Manhattans.

Peace and riding the waves unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a place to live.

Not just yet, though.

A friend of mine who owns a duplex has an opening and he lives next door. The likelihood that he'll sell out from underneath me is low. Once the current tenant leaves, he's going to have a crew come in, clean and fix whatever needs to be fixed.

The duplex is near one of my watering holes and that's not because I have many watering holes but because Wisconsin law requires a bar every 600 feet. But, full transparency, I do have a number of watering holes. That number? Don't ask journalists to do math.

The logistics are funky but I've made a shocking number of friends willing to help load, move and store my useless crap. Then I'll get a room at the Steakhouse Lodge, one of my little families in town where I stayed for a month when I moved here. (Try the steak. It's among the best I've ever had and I've eaten me some steak.)

And then those same friends will help me again to settle in. When the warm weather sets in, I'll have a grillout to celebrate them. I'm told the weather warms up about July 4.

Finally, I will settle. 

Peace and settlement and love to all of you my brothers and sisters.

Monday, February 14, 2022

 I sat on my butt this week, doing nothing.

Even though I had much to do.

I'm tired and when going through depression I have an extraordinarily difficult time accomplishing anything worthwhile.

So I've adopted a coping mechanism, one of which I have used on and off for years. It's simple: Make a list of duties. Then once I'm done with one duty, I cross it off the list and move on to the next one. I once read the mere act of putting a line through a finished task releases dopamine in the brain and God knows I need that.

I'll get two boxes repacked each night this week and then five or more each weekend day. 

I'll make progress I swear.

And I'll alert you, dear reader, when progress occurs.

Peace and progress to all of you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, February 11, 2022

On this, my 300th blog post, I want to thank all the readers who joined me on this trip.

I thank you for all the sweet notes and cards and support and sympathy.

When the journey began, I merely wanted to have something to do each day. My previous blog had 55 pageviews -- 45 of which were mine. 

Frankly, I don't know why you've continued with me, particularly in the "sad sack, woe is me" times but thank you, thank you, thank you.

I had been thinking about how to wind this all down at some point. Perhaps when my rental was furnished, I would take a video of home and share it and say goodbye.

Or when I could purchase a grill, something that always makes me feel at home.

Maybe my daughter -- who reports she's doing great in Hollywood -- would interview me for a final post.

But then the trip has added this latest blip, where in three weeks I'm putting my stuff into storage and moving back into a hotel. (This one will not have prostitutes or drug dealers next to me. It is, as the Three Stooges used to say, a classy joint.)

One pony is I continue to work and love my job.

Nearly two years ago, other journalists interviewed me about my predicament and the most common question was "What do you want people to know?"

I always said understand the brittle nature of our economy. You can be a hard-working, job-loving employee and still end up in difficult circumstances. Sadly, I moved too much over the years, which is expensive, failing to understand the importance of stability. I have dear friends in all of the 12 cities I've lived in and hundreds of other friends in other places. I truly love so many people I couldn't count -- largely because I have the math skills of a word guy.

Thanks folks and I'll keep telling the story of the Homeless Editor.

Peace and stability unto all of you my friends and brothers and sisters.


Monday, February 7, 2022

Here's my pony for the day: I have great colleagues.

These people, who truly care about the mission of small-town journalism, are good.

We all came to our jobs from different backgrounds. Some Navy, some legal assistance work, certainly some bartending, a couple of guys who've been at this for more than 40 years.

They work their butts off virtually every day, including weekends and holidays, and at the oddest hours. Grumbling? Hell yes. If someone works in a newsroom and doesn't complain, I'm going to assume they're dead.

(And if they have croaked, I offer 10 percent off obits. I'm that kind of boss.)

Their hard work and concerns sooth the bad days and frost the good ones. Also, any cake reference is positive.

I spent half days at each of the two newspapers today where I'm general manager and enjoyed both morning and afternoon.

The folks have offered tremendous support during my difficulties and, using the massive networks they've built in their respective communities, put out the word on my behalf.

Even on the worst days, it's easy to get up because I get to work with these folks.

Peace and collegiality unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, February 4, 2022

An old joke my mom told me when I was a kid:

A mother has twins, one of whom is a complete optimist and the other a complete pessimist. She takes the kids to a therapist who separates them. The pessimist was put into a room filled with toys. The optimist led into a room with horse shit. A half hour later, the therapist looks into the room with toys and the pessimist. He hadn't touched a one. "I'll break something," he said. Then the therapist looks in on the optimist, who's virtually swimming in the shit. "What are you doing?" the therapist asked. The kid says, "With all this poop, there must be a pony in here somewhere."

I spent part of the morning looking for my pony.

Upsides:

-- Because I had only started unpacking, I have much less packing to do.

-- My Hayward friends are all beautiful people, as were friends in my previous 11 cities.

-- It's warming up to 20 degrees above from 20 below. With wind, it's worse. You can't imagine how good 20 degrees feels especially with the sun peeking out.

-- I get to meet more people, bankers, Realtors, debt collectors. It adds to the cornucopia of humans in my life.

-- Like Gloria Gaynor, I will survive.

But it's tiring. My exhaustion level is through the roof. As long as I have one over my head.

I plan to sleep in Saturday morning, get a late breakfast and work for a while at the newspaper. Then I'll return home to pack until I'm exhausted. Thankfully, I have some Jack's pizza in my freezer. (I have a thing for that cheap stuff. When I was in college, a grocery store in Eau Claire regularly held sales where 10 Jack's pizzas cost $10. It's the taste of my youth.)

Peace and a pony unto all of you my brothers and sisters.



Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The house sold.

I now have 28 days to find a new place to live.

In five days, I've gone from unpacking and settled to not knowing what's next -- but I am used to that.

One thousand and seven days ago, I wrote the first blog post here about checking into a Motel 8, standing in line behind a woman who had two convenience store bags as luggage. The manager of the joint listed strict rules who could be in the room and what would happen if the guidelines were violated. When he started his speech to me, I said I'd heard them and assured that I was a professional, an executive editor just minutes ago. He said it didn't matter and repeated his speech.

As I've written, finding a new place to live in Hayward, buying or renting, is virtually impossible. Consider the house I rented was never on the market and I found out it was up for sale five days ago. The house last sold in August 2020 for $140,000 and it's being sold for $194,500 just 18 months later.

So I'll pack what I had unpacked and move into a room at the Steakhouse Lodge, where I stayed during my first month in town. The staff are no longer staff but my Hayward family. I was invited to Thanksgiving and Christmas parties with them. Some of them have had me over for dinner.

At the same time, while working at the two newspapers where I'm general manager, I'll pursue two paths. The first is finding another rental but that's like looking for Sasquatch. You hear about an opening, you might spot a sign but it's fleeting and untrue.

I'll also seek to buy a home so I'm no longer a victim to the whims of the market. Someone is willing to co-sign for me as I have bad credit given what's happened over the last couple of years. I'll have to buy something small and imperfect and actually saw a Realtor today about a house. 

The house is so small, it could move into me.

Thank you, ladies and germs.

The intent of this blog has never been to be a pity party. Just a journalistic timeline of what's happened to me. I'm no Debbie Downer -- although we have something in common -- neither of us can have children.

I'll find a way, with help from my Hayward family, to move forward. I've been through worse. And while I remain the luckiest man in the world, I'll be honest, I'm tired.

But now back to repacking.

Peace and certainty unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, January 31, 2022

It seems house owning is out -- and so might be renting.

Although I found a dear friend willing to co-sign a loan, a beautiful human being throughout, the cost of the house has increased by more than $50,000 in the 18 months since the last sale.

That put the house well out of any range for me.

I looked around the potential houses for sale but in this time, in the Hayward market, it's either decrepit or palatial. When a home description starts with, "Must be comfortable with the smell of leftover meth," that's more than a fixer upper.

But there's nothing to rent here in God's country.

The singular thing I've made a call on right now is a 700-square-foot upper and I've not had a call back.

In the two counties where I work, there are only three apartments I've found and two of them are for elderly. Per the rules, I'm old but not elderly.

The question becomes how far away from my job can I comfortably live.

I don't care to be a case story for the woes of housing. I've already been through this.

All the uncertainty, it's exhausting.

Peace and certainty unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Saturday, January 29, 2022

 I made the rounds today and made connections on properties and bank possibilities.

Frankly, I don't care for it.

Not being homeless to me is largely about have a place to settle and relax. Once again, I'm not settled and it's hard to relax.

I've talked to folks about owning and received great advice, despite my lack of knowledge about these issues. I've been an owner of four houses but my then wife, smarter than me, generally handled the details. I was only there for my looks.

On the second prong of what happens next, I asked people about rentable properties and the answer in Hayward is always this: You're shit out of luck.

But I actually have a couple leads.

I also talked to my kid who is now out in Hollywood working in a production company. While she interns during the day, she's also working on an original screenplay, "My Loser Dad." I hope it's fictional. Danny Devito is up for the loser dad role. I'm not taking that personally.

In my new crisis, I try to keep in mind Buddhist principles. Want is the base of pain. Not wanting relieves us from pain.

Yet, goddamnit, I just once some solace. Some peace. A little bit of relaxation for a while before the next wave hits.

I've received many heartening notes and messages from friends, thank you. They give me solace.

Peace and a home unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, January 28, 2022

The "Homeless" part of the blog title beckons.

It turns out the house I rent is going on the market and I'll likely have to move again. The kicker on moving again in Hayward is there are virtually no rentals. I lucked into this one. Most rental units have waiting lists.

I spent part of today approaching banks for a loan, potentially buying the place. On the positive side, I'm building equity -- and my monthly payment would decrease by hundreds of dollars. By the time I retire in 15 years, I would have savings. (I had to look up that word to see what it means.)

But I must deal with reality. That is I have a less-than-positive credit score. And "less-than-positive" means "crappy." And crappy is a synonym for another word. For instance, this year, I didn't get a W-2. I received a W-0.5.

I talked to three banks today and had a mixed experience. There's always a litany of questions, and inevitably we came to me being out of work came up and the whole "without a permanent address." What's that mean" they asked. "Well, technically it's being kind of homeless." You were homeless? "I always had a place to stay that was dry and safe and clean." At three banks: pause, pause, pause.

It comes down to credit score ultimately and when I last looked, mine was below 600 and banks, all of them, need at least 620. It's hard to tell what mine is because I needed deep-sea expert Robert Ballard -- the guy who found the Titanic -- to find it.

It seems unlikely I can buy, even though I can make the payments and save money at the same time.

The system is not set up for those on the cusp, even for someone who has worked since age 16 and still works 65 hours a week at age 56.

I'm working in two directions -- seeking a loan and looking for a rental -- equally. In the short term, I always have the Steakhouse Lodge, where I stayed for a month before getting into my current home.

Keep in mind this is not a Debbie Downer post. It is a journalist honestly reporting his own story. And as I write this, I'm having a Manhattan at the Steakhouse, my Hayward family, waiting for my Wisconsin fish fry. I have my troubles but I also have my blessings.

Peace and hearth unto you my brothers and sisters.