Quality Private Time

It’s Saturday afternoon, and I have a few hours to myself.  I’m trying to savor every one of them, but I am so prone to boredom these days that it’s hard to motivate myself to do anything.  The weather is nice, but I have no desire to be out in it.

Steph is at an all-day meeting at the Unitarian Church, and Susie is at a birthday party that’s within walking distance from our place.  The chaos tonight will come with Pat and Tanya’s (we stayed with them during the August heat wave and right after Steph got out of the hospital) daughter (and older of two children) Gianna.  Gianna will be spending the night with us.  She’s about six weeks younger than Susie, and she and Susie have clicked big time since meeting at our New Year’s Eve party.

Speaking of New Year’s, the Jewish year 5768 began earlier this month, and I am grateful to see it come.  The year 5767 was what Mike Doonesbury calls “a kidney stone of a year,” with one misfortune after another.

We will soon be moving.  The landlord is planning to gut our half-double and convert it into one unit, so we’ve begun looking for a new place.  I spent the other night walking around Franklinton with a notepad and pen, jotting down addresses and phone numbers of potential renters–just like earlier this summer, although we can’t afford to waffle any more.  In a day or two, I hope to explore The Hilltop, the area where St. Mary Magdalene School is.  Ideally, we want a place where it’s convenient for Susie to walk to school.  I just hope we get a three-bedroom place, so I can have my office, like I do at home.

Earlier this week, I was up, banging away on the manual typewriter far later than I should have on a work night.  But there was a decent output–I typed five pages (and finished a chapter) of my children’s book, The Sad Hospital, and also wrote two poems.  They weren’t exactly “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” but I liked them and may just submit them for publication.  I have submitted one, “Deuterocanonical Advice to Those Who Say They Write” to The Funny Paper, but have not heard a word yet.  A check in my mailbox would be nice.

Steph, Susie, and I spent several hours at Meijer last night, buying clothes for Susie, buying gifts for the birthday girl she’s with right now, and (in my case) filling prescriptions and buying stamps.  (I have to go back out there Monday–they didn’t have enough Lithium or Lamictal (for treating bipolar disorder–I do not have epilepsy) in stock, so after work Monday I make the trek out to Georgesville Rd. to pick up what they owe me.  I had a cheeseburger in the grill there.

I mailed $11 to Advanced Business Machines in Freehold, N.J. earlier this afternoon.  (If that town sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the birthplace of Bruce Springsteen.)  I will take the challenge of National Novel-Writing Month this November and try to write a 150-page novel in a month, so I need to have a good machine.  My Smith-Corona Galaxie XII is sticking way too much, and I have a hard time dialing down my speed to accommodate it.  I have a very low frustration threshold, so you can imagine why writing wasn’t a pleasant experience for me lately.

My Royal Royalite, however, my $ .80 baby, seems to be okay, except that the ribbon is shot.  Between having been used before I bought it at the thrift store, I’ve used it to the point where the ribbon looks like a sieve.  Advanced Business Machines sells typewriter ribbons of all makes and models.  Once the ribbon arrives, I’ll probably be using the Royalite more than the Smith-Corona.  The Royalite handles much better, it’s smaller, and I can even put it across my knees to work.

Some bad news today: As Susie and I were walking back from Tim Horton, we passed the Westside Pharmacy, where I try to fill all my prescriptions, since they’re a neighborhood-owned business.  I should say they were a neighborhood-owned business.  I glanced inside, and all the inventory was off the shelves, and there was a big sign in the window saying our prescriptions and records had been transferred to the CVS in Franklinton Square.

Pre-Lunch Entry

This is being typed (rapidly, but accurately, I hope) in the Sullivant Library at Ohio State.  Steph and Susie are at church quite a ways up High Street, and I’ve goofed off much of the morning in putting my typewriter article into final form, so this will not be one of my longer entries.  Hate to disappoint my fans (or as Bugs Bunny says, “Ah!  Me public!” as roses shower down on him.

There were frost warnings out all over Central Ohio, so when I left the house, I put on a sweatshirt and a denim jacket.  Then when I went past Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium on the bus, its time-and-temperature sign says 59 degrees!  So I’ll probably be too hot all day.

I wanted to get my hair cut after the Kafe Kerouac entry that precedes this one, but I walked up there and found out the place had closed at 6.  I went across the street to a small new clothing store that had opened up, so I could throw away a Coke can.  I ended up talking to Adam, the store’s owner, for about 45 minutes.

Susie told us she was teased by a boy at school for having a Revol phone.  Her tormentor has a Verizon Wireless.  (Revol is a Cleveland-based company with flat rate service for its customers–incoming, outgoing, and text messages.  The drawback is that they’re so cheap that competitors won’t let them use their towers.  Go to http://www.revol.us to see their coverage area.)

My phone just went off, signaling me that I should head up Chipotle way.

Dear, Neglected Diary

 This is, I believe, the longest I have gone without posting since I began this blog a year ago.  I apologize to all my readers and fans who have been going through withdrawal lo these many weeks.  Please understand that this blog is the most difficult project I’ve undertaken since I created the heavens and the earth.

Susie is a two-party person, at least she is today.  She went to a birthday party this afternoon at the home of one of her classmates at St. Mary Magdalene, and had a blast there.  (I did, too–I camped out in the Hilltop Library while she was at the party.  We were only 1.5 blocks and a cell phone call apart.

Susie is enjoying St. Mary Magdalene, and has made quite a few friends.  She turns 10 on October 6, so I’ll meet quite a few of her female classmates.  Susie and I mailed the invitations last night.  It’s a girls-only party, and Steph had to get the parents’ addresses from the school office.  (The school has a very wise policy: No handing out of invitations on school property unless everyone in the class is invited.  I wish that the schools I went to, public and private, would have adopted a policy like that.  It would have saved me a lot of grief.)

I put the finishing touches on an article called “Keys to My Heart,” which describes my return to the manual typewriter, and just how much more productive I have been since I returned to it.  I remember a kids’ show on PBS when I was a preteen called ZOOM, which was always looking for contributions (artwork, poetry, game ideas, plays) from their viewers.  Their jingle consisted of the line “Take your typewriter, pencil, or pen, and if you make a mistake, you gotta do it again!”

Steph and I have practically been at swords’ points over the late hours I’ve been keeping.  “Writing” is one of the items on the chore list she makes daily, and I take it to heart.  It’s intoxicating; once I sit down at the typewriter, rotsa ruck getting me to leave and go to bed.  Even when I’ve laid off caffeine for the night, I can be moving on sheer adrenaline.  Steph had mixed emotions the other night.  I didn’t get into bed until almost 1 a.m. (on a work night), but when the Muse finally deserted me for the night, I was still wide awake, so I put a load of clothes in the dryer, washed the dishes, took the dog out for a walk, and took out the trash in my office and in the bathroom.  Waking her up when I came into the bedroom, however, negated all of the above.

“Keys to My Heart,” ironically enough, did not touch a typewriter.  Last Saturday night, Steph had fallen asleep after a bout of insomnia.  I, as usual, was wide awake, and the 48 Hours broadcast that night was one I had already seen.  So I began writing with the tools I had at hand.  This meant using a steno notebook that had been a union log, a red ballpoint pen whose ink was uncertain, and a golf pencil that I had on my night table along with the charger for my cell phone and the clock radio.

Then I went to Sullivant Hall and typed it as a Google Document, but not successfully–something glitched and when I tried to call it up again, it turned out the file was cybertoast.  So I spent this morning at Sullivant Hall retyping it into the system.  Susie was with me, and she played her computer games and went to her Bratz and Barbie Websites and left me in peace.

So, I praised typewriters using pencil, pen, paper, and Google Documents.  “Irony abounds,” as Arthur Bremer wrote in his diary.  (Arthur Bremer was the man who shot and paralyzed Alabama governor George Wallace in 1972.  He will be paroled before the end of the year.)

I’m typing this at Kafe Kerouac just north of the Ohio State campus, a football-free zone.  None of the people here (your humble diarist included) are wearing OSU insignia, and a compact disk of soft guitar music is playing.  When I send this diary into cyberspace, I’m buying a copy of James A. Michener’s The Novel and then heading a little further north to get my hair cut and beard trimmed.  Steph and Susie are at a birthday party for Steph’s friend Anne.  Anne is a law student and she will be there with her old friends, her law school friends, and her Sufi friends (Anne converted to Sufism from the Episcopal Church).  I was invited, but my social phobia is just too severe at this point to hang out with a bunch of people.  One or two is about my limit these days, and that’s on a good day.

I add one new drug to my pharmocopia.  I’m now on Abilify, which is used to treat both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  I have the first, not the second.  The long years of misdiagnosis are over, which makes me feel a lot better.  After years of being misdiagnosed as ADHD, and taking all the drugs for them (except Strattera), Dr. Schneir finally had the common sense to realize that the combination of bipolar disorder and Asperger’s disorder often resembles ADHD.

I wish Kafe Kerouac’s chess tournaments started later in the evening.  Susie would love to watch.  She plays well, but this is out of her league for now.  Those of you in Columbus who read this blog, go to http://www.kafekerouac.com.  They have a poetry group here, but I have no interest in joining it or participating.  People in poetry groups remind me of teenage boys bragging about sex: It’s a safe bet that the more they talk about it, the less they’re doing it.