It Looks Like I Did It This Time!

Three … Count ’em … Three!

On Thursday, I went to see my doctor, who immediately suggested that I get the right side of my ribs X-Rayed. Which I did, but the radiologist never got around to telling me the good … or bad … news. But he had conveyed the info to my doctor, who called me on Friday with the news. I broke three ribs.

Tuesday, the day of the fall, wasn’t so bad, as my body’s own deception system was in force. Wednesday and Thursday, however, were horrible. If a butterfly had collided with me, I would have screamed in pain. Everything seemed to result in spasms of pure torture. Worst were the nights: Spasms attacked me when I laid me down in bed, spasms attacked me if I moved so much as a millimeter, and spasms attacked me when I had to get up out of bed. If I had to go to the bathroom during the night, I awakened Martine with my screams upon shifting my legs to the left and getting up.

Yesterday, my doctor prescribed some acetaminophen with codeine to help me get through the night. It worked, and I actually slept a full eight hours last night—and that’s after napping an hour and a half on the couch while watching Vincente Minnelli’s Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), a film that I love. And today was altogether better. The miscellaneous spasms seemed to have ceased altogether. Only when I have to lead with my torso do I have any serious pain. I have learned to get up using my knees to take the brunt of the weight (though that won’t work with our high bed) and to lead with my left when I do have to get up.

I have been led to believe that healing will take anywhere between six and eight weeks—but I already feel some slight changes for the better. I still can’t drive safely because I can’t steer crisply without getting my left hand over-involved.

So it looks like my retirement begins with a much-needed rest. I still have two work days the week after Christmas, but there won’t be much to do. I just have to take the bus, which isn’t too bad.

Although she is still planning to leave, Martine has put the departure date off until I get better. She has been incredibly helpful. So we still mean a great deal to each other: She is just on a different life journey. I am grateful to her for her help.

 

A Checkered Career

Starting at the End of This Month

I have been working now for just a few months shy of half a century. At the end of this month, the accounting firm for which I have been working will close its doors. At this point I am not sure whether I will continue to seek part-time work. I thought you might find it interesting to follow my work career from beginning to end:

  • 1968 – Work at System Development Corporation in Santa Monica proofreading a digital version of the Merriam-Webster 7th Collegiate Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster New Pocket Dictionary. A film student at UCLA, I was hired to replace a young woman who just so happens to have been murdered by a film student at UCLA (whom I didn’t know, honest!)
  • 1969 – Picked up computer programming on my own and worked as a programmer for Research & Special Projects Statistical Services at System Development Corporation.
  • 1971 – Worked at programming to process the 1970 census tapes at Becker & Hayes, a subsidiary of John Wiley & Sons, Publishers. Programmed the first version of CENSAC, which accessed a full but highly compressed set of 1970 Census tapes.
  • 1973 – My census programming job at Becker & Hayes morphed into Urban Decision Systems (UDS), where I continued to work on demographic data retrieval systems for research and site location. Worked on the ONSITE system, wrote technical documentation for it, and put together a marketing program for the company’s sstems and services.
  • 1991 – UDS folded. I worked to help create a new company called Desktop Marketing Corporation, but it never really went anywhere.
  • 1992 – Worked as an IT specialist for Lewis, Joffe & Company, a tax accounting firm.
  • 2008 – When Lewis, Joffe & Company split into two pieces, I went to work for Brian Lewis & Company doing tax accounting support and IT.
  • 2018 – ?

What with Martine’s desire to leave (she’s still with me for now) and the possible end of my working career, I am facing new challenges. I can promise you one thing, however: I will not put on weird multicolored pants, put on weight, and play golf.

Wish Me Luck!

The Healing Power of Chicken

Chicken, Rice, and Hummus at Sevan Chicken in Glendale

Martine has been feeling depressed for some time now. It has affected her eating, the way she spends her time, and the way she interacts with me. Today, there was some clearing. We usually attend the Three Stooges Festival at the Alex Theater the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Martine actually suggested we go. (Yes, there are some women who love the Stooges.) On the way, we stopped at Sevan Chicken, an Armenian rotisserie chicken restaurant at the corner of Glenoaks and Kensington in Glendale. It was always Martine’s favorite place, and chicken has always been her meat of choice. It did me good to see her tear into it.

Then we went over to the Alex Theater on Brand Avenue, purchased tickets, and waited in line to see six Stooges film—in 35mm studio prints yet—including “A Plumbing We Will Go” (1940), as shown in the photo below.

Curly Trapped in His Plumbing

After the films, it was time for … more chicken! We drove to Elena’s Greek and Armenian Restaurant on Glendale Blvd. and Acacia. I had my favorite lamb kebab, while Martine had chicken kebab. I myself am not a great aficionado of poultry, but it made me happy to see Martine come out of her blue funk for however short a time. It means that, maybe, there’s hope.

 

Two Abysses

A Hiker Walking Along a Narrow Ridge Trail with Mount Rainier in the Background

In my dealings with Martine, I am faced with two abysses. On one hand, I wish to be compassionate with a woman I have loved for thirty years. On the other, I don’t want to destroy myself by not looking sufficiently after my own survival. It is possible to be so compassionate that I no longer have the wherewithal to support myself in my fairly abstemious life style.

Martine is clearly in need of counseling. Unfortunately, I cannot force her to see a therapist if she doesn’t want to; and she clearly doesn’t want to. She is currently planning another escape, this time to Salt Lake City, where she thinks she will get free or super cheap housing when she really doesn’t have much money to spend. I fully expect for this second escapade to fail; and I will be called by her or some social worker to send her a ticket back to Los Angeles.

Each time she returns to L.A., she will hate the city (and perhaps me, too) even more. Yet she is not healthy enough to live on the streets, especially in a city that has a real winter.

I am walking on a narrow path and have to find my way somehow.

 

Weekend Getaway

Palm Desert, CA

Next weekend, I will leave town for the weekend and spend some time with my brother in Palm Desert while Martine holds down the fort in L.A. The desert is nice this time of year, and I look forward to spending some time with Dan. I’d like to see the houses he is building and just spend some quality family time. While I am there, I will hold off on posting new blogs.

I need a short respite from my problems with Martine. Things may wind up all right in the long run (I hope). Over the last eight weeks, however, I have been stressed mostly by worrying about what would happen to Martine if she decided to be homeless by choice. In our culture, I see nothing good coming out of that. Even when this country pays lip service to the homeless, that’s about all they can expect. A large percentage of them are violent bums (what the Elizabethans called “sturdy beggars,” who commit all sorts of crimes—especially on the persons of helpless homeless women).

The Flip Side of the Coin

We’re Still Not Back to Normal

One can never take a relationship for granted. Beginning in July, Martine told me she wanted to get out of Los Angeles. And, just by the way, I wasn’t picking up my stuff. Now that she’s back to L.A., it looks as if she was returned under duress. And now I’m a monster who doesn’t pick up after myself.

Now what does this picking up involve? If I move one of her vitamins over two inches to make room for something I have to make room for in the refrigerator and I don’t return it to its original position, I’m not picking up after myself. Yesterday it was a small triangular piece of paper that somehow got out of the garbage can. In other words, it’s infractions of the “Who moved my cheese?” variety of which I am guilty.

Martine after her week in Northern California is depressed and angry, and I am here—available to be blamed. I feel a bit irritated for being the subject of blame when my sins are all of the venial variety. Nobody’s perfect. I just have to maintain my cool and try to edge her into a mental healthcare program for her own good.

Yes, I still love her, but she is clearly not thinking straight. If Martine gets away again, which is highly likely, she has no money. Nobody’s going to give her free housing and then leave her alone. Well, except maybe me. But it’s a delicate matter which can go either way. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Martine Is Back

Martine in Salem, Massachusetts in 2005

Last night, around 10 PM, I went to the Greyhound Bus Station in L.A.’s Skid Row neighborhood and waited for Martine to arrive from Sacramento. I will not describe all the events of the past few days: It is up to Martine to describe everything that happened. We had been together for about twenty-five years, and Martine was tired of Los Angeles, tired of my West L.A. apartment, and a little tired of me besides. Unfortunately for her, she was unable with her resources to live by herself in Northern California; so she consented to return to me and the mess that is Los Angeles.

We will try again. I like Los Angeles, though for financial reasons, I am unable to live in deluxe accommodations with air conditioning and plumbing that is more reliable than what we have in our 1946-vintage building. One thing I am serious about is getting rid of a few thousand books, though that will take considerable time and energy. The weather has begun to change from torrid Santa Ana Winds to the cooler Fall pattern (though we can still be in for a few hot days).

My heart jumped for joy as I saw Martine step off the Sacramento bus and head toward me. Second chances are rare things, but I am determined.