hankrules2011

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Posts Tagged ‘sadness’

Reflections

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 14, 2014

Hi. It’s been awhile since I’ve actually written anything here, besides book reviews. Sorry. A lot has been going on. My mom moved from Chattanooga to Knoxville and we’ve been back and forth between the two cities a lot lately. In fact, we’ve seen my mom four of the past five weekends, which is more than we saw her when she lived here in Chattanooga.  It’s been very tiring.

A few weeks ago, we went to my high school class’s 30th reunion in Knoxville. It was pretty good, but a little odd too. So strange to see how people have changed, including me. We got a few good pics, had fun catching up with some people, and had a good time. It was nice to introduce my wife to my old classmates.

This month marks the five month anniversary of our cat Toby’s death. We miss him horribly and I wish he could have lived long enough to move to our new house with us. I’d love to see him running around here. Strangely, our other cat, Henry, has been doing some Toby-like things lately, like he’s channeling Toby. Very odd.

This month also marks the one year anniversary of my father’s death last year. He died mowing my yard and it was — and still is — a huge shock. There are so many things I wish I could have and would have told him and so many things I would like to tell him now. We really miss him. We’ve stopped at his gravestone in Knoxville a few times.

Meanwhile, I love my mother, but … she’s been driving me crazy ever since Dad died. She’s got a LOT of anxiety about a lot of things, which is somewhat understandable, but she calls me all the time. Like 6-18 times a day! She’s gotten better over the past few weeks, but the damage has been done. Now when she calls, I just sigh and pick up the phone. It’s hard. She’s changed a lot. She’s not the mom I grew up knowing and loving. She’s become extremely ADD and OCD, and that makes things difficult. And she refuses to acknowledge such things. I also got her to get Life Alert because she’s elderly and living alone. But she refuses to wear the necklace! She says she doesn’t like it and it’s “psychological.” But why is she paying $70 a month for a service she doesn’t use??? And last weekend, she fell down our stairs. She’s very lucky she didn’t get hurt. What would happen if she fell at her new place? She would not have us to help her. That’s what Life Alert is for! I don’t understand why she doesn’t get it, why she’s being so damn stubborn.

Anyway, this month also marks the six month anniversary of getting my new car. I still love my Camry. It’s so much better than my money pit BMW was. I’ve put 4,000 miles on it, mostly driving back and forth between Chattanooga and Knoxville, and that annoys me some. I don’t like to put miles on my cars. Still, it’s a great ride and I got a great deal on it and I’m very happy with it.

When health permits, my wife and I like to go to the shooting range. We have a .22 rifle we both like to shoot and my wife is quite good with it. We also have other guns we enjoy shooting, among them a Ruger 9 mm, a Glock 23, a Beretta PX4 Storm, a Ruger .22, a S&W Bodyguard, a SCCY 9 mm, and a Taurus revolver. Among others. I’m pretty good with the Ruger 9 mm, but need to work on the others. I think I’m going to really like the SCCY. It’s new and I think it’s going to be pretty good. I got a good deal on it on gunbroker.com.

I did something to my arm recently and have been having to go to physical therapy for it. It really hurts. It’s probably just tendinitis, but it’s bad. Meanwhile, my wife has a severe case of poison ivy. It’s all over and it’s tormenting her. I feel really bad for her. We need to find the plants she touched and get rid of them, but neither of us are that good at identifying poison ivy.

Oh, also, this month is our six month anniversary of moving into our new house! We love it here. It’s so much quieter and safer than our old place. We still haven’t gotten most of the pictures up, but we’re otherwise unpacked and we really like it. However, we can’t sell our old house. No one will buy it. No one is buying ANY house in our old neighborhood. We’ve lowered the price three times and have had two open houses, but nothing. We actually did get an offer a couple of months ago, but it fell through when their credit was damaged and they lost their loan. That sucked. It’s a nice house, but not in a very good area, so the property values suck and crime is bad. I wish we could sell it though. I’m sure there have to be people out there who would like it. It’s got character! It’s got a HUGE den and a HUGE kitchen and hardwood floors and a fireplace. Three beds, two baths, 2100 square feet, one level home. The yard isn’t that great though, and I think that’s probably hurting it. Oh well. Maybe one of these days….

As you know, I’ve really been enjoying reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books lately. They’re really enjoyable and he’s so witty. A lot of fun. I still like reading Philip K Dick too though. I haven’t read much nonfiction lately though, and I was doing a lot of that over the past couple of years. Maybe I got burned out on it, I don’t know. We have a great, huge used bookstore here where you can pick up six or seven books for $10. It’s great.

Election season is coming up and the two Republican candidates for Congress here are really going at it. The incumbent is an asshole Tea Party-type who is the angriest, most hateful person I’ve ever seen. We saw them debate on TV. The other guy is really young, but it seems he wants to work with everyone on issues, so I really hope he wins. Of course, I’m a Democrat, but here in Chattanooga, no Democrat ever has a chance at winning anything, so it’s really tough. I hate living in a Red state. I often wish I was back in L.A. My wife often wishes she was back in Maryland. Oh well.

I guess that’s it for now. We’re trying to get well. I’m trying to deal with my mother. Things go on. It’s a month of reflections. Thanks for joining me. Cheers!

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Depression

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 28, 2014

I think I’ve been in a deep depression since Toby’s death last month. And I think his death magnifies my father’s death last year. I should be feeling good, living in a nice, new house in a nice, quiet, safe neighborhood, but all I can think about is how Toby isn’t here and doesn’t get to see it and live in it and how Dad can’t experience it — he was a great handyman — and how he can’t help out around the house. It’s really disappointing and I’ve been struggling. My wife has commented on it. I don’t know how to snap out of it. Of course it’s not been helped by the poor, grey weather. That’s really been getting to me too. Years ago I was diagnosed with SAD — Seasonal Affective Disorder — but I’ve never been treated for it. Basically it’s getting deeply depressed due to extended poor weather, most common during the winter. I finally caved in and bought one of those lights for it. You’re supposed to be exposed to it for about an hour each morning, but I haven’t found or made that kind of time for it, so I don’t know that it’s doing any good. I’m spending about 20 minutes a day in front of it. I need to make a better effort. Meanwhile, I’ve been listless and I don’t care about a lot of the things I normally care about. Gretchen misses Toby and my dad too, but she only got to experience being with Toby for two and a half years. He spent his entire six years with me. I watched him grow from a demon imp kitten who I wanted to kill to a loveable, dependable companion cat whose company I really enjoyed. I/we really miss him. He had become Gretchen’s cat, so to speak, over the past few years. When she came home from work, he would jump up and go to greet her, just like a dog. I’m also having to deal with my mother, who I think has unresolved issues regarding Dad’s death and who is lonely and doesn’t know how to deal with many things, such as financial things. I’m having to help her a lot, but she calls me a lot and comes over and sometimes it’s a little overwhelming. She just bought a condo up in Knoxville and will be moving back up there in a little over a month, so that’s going to change the dynamics, but it will also be weird and I’m going to worry about her living alone at her age up there without me able to come over to help her with short notice. Additionally, my job situation hasn’t changed and our cash is starting to run low due to all we’ve paid out to contractors for new home repair issues — electricians, plumbers, appliance repairmen, handymen, etc. I’ve also had car issues and have had to pay some big bills for that, and I need a new oil pan gasket which, the dealer says, costs $1,700 alone just for the stupid part, never mind the labor costs. I’ve got a lot on my mind. I’ve got a lot going on. Things are starting to ease up now, which is good, but all I can feel is blah. I’ve had moments of happiness — time spent with my wife, time spent reading or going to the gun range for some target practice — but generally I just feel bad. And I don’t know how to fix it.

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A Review of The Mourning Handbook

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 6, 2013

The Mourning Handbook: The Most Comprehensive Resource Offering Practical and Compassionate Advice on Coping with All Aspects of Death and DyingThe Mourning Handbook: The Most Comprehensive Resource Offering Practical and Compassionate Advice on Coping with All Aspects of Death and Dying by Helen Fitzgerald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I got this book a couple of weeks ago because my father just died a few weeks ago. I got several grief recovery books and I think this one was the best of the bunch. It’s pretty comprehensive and easy to read, and it’s divided up into chunks so that you can go to a section that deals with your particular issues at the moment. It doesn’t have to be read cover to cover (although I did that). Among some of the helpful issues it addresses is denial (“Don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that you can avoid the process of grief.”), anger (“You may be angry at yourself for what you may have said or not said, or for not responding calmly or quickly enough, or for being healthy and alive.” It then gives tips on dealing with anger.), and more. One section that was helpful for me was the death of a parent when you’re an adult. For many people, this signifies the loss of your childhood, the loss of unconditional love, the loss of a certain sense of security, the loss of a friend as well as a parent, the loss of financial support, and more. Although there’s not a lot of coping strategies the author provides here (which I think is a weakness of the book), it’s good to see some issues I’m facing are the same ones faced by others who lose parents. That helps. The book further goes on to advise people not to make major decisions for quite awhile, which is something I’ve seen repeated elsewhere. It gives many reasons not to do so and they make sense. Another helpful section for me was on witnessing a death, particularly if it’s a sudden or violent death (such as my father’s). It was highly traumatizing, and the book advises seeking the help of a professional, but doesn’t give too many other strategies, a continued weakness of the book.

Toward the end of the book, there’s a section titled “You Know You Are Getting Better When…” and it provides a list of things you can do or will do which indicate improvement in your life. These include looking forward to holidays, reviewing both pleasant and unpleasant memories, driving by yourself without crying, when you no longer feel tired all the time, when you can concentrate on a book or favorite television program, etc. In reading this list, I’ve come to the conclusion that while I’m still grieving, I am improving, so that’s good.

I’m going to contrast this book to one I didn’t really find too helpful — The Grief Recovery Handbook by James and Friedman. It’s a pretty harsh book to read, often telling the reader that what one hears or feels is distorted, such as guilt, etc. There were some helpful things, but overall it had an unsympathetic tone which didn’t resonate with me. The Mourning Handbook had a much more nurturing feel to it and I appreciated that.

It’s a shame that anybody has to read such books at all, but I guess it’s a process of life most of us have to deal with at some point, so I’m glad I discovered this book. I’d recommend this book for anyone who’s experienced a death by a family member or even a friend. It’s a good resource and I’m glad I read it.

View all my reviews

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Some Thoughts

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 5, 2013

I woke up in tears this morning. I woke up thinking about the many times my dad came to see my basketball games in school, as well as my football and baseball games. How many times we played catch in the backyard. How that was never going to be a possibility again. It’s been five weeks since his death and I still feel like I’m in a state of shock.

Then I started thinking about what a great packer and mover he was. He was the best. I’ve moved some 27 times, including four cross country moves. He would fly out to L.A. to help me pack up, load the moving truck, and drive it back east. Hell, he packed up my townhouse when I got divorced a few years ago and took care of that move since I was in the hospital. He was relentless. He could pack like no other. And now we’re kicking around the idea of at some point in the future moving up to Knoxville so Mom could rejoin her many friends and church there, and he won’t be around to take care of things. I’ll have to do it. I’m pretty confident I can do it — he taught me well — but it’s unsettling to think of moving without Dad around.

I met with my therapist this morning. And I just finished a book on mourning. I wonder how long I’ll mourn. Some people apparently do for years. I don’t want to be one of those people. I don’t want to wake up in tears seven months from now thinking about Dad. There’s a grief recovery class starting in October near me that I’ve been thinking about registering for, but I don’t know how helpful it will be. Mom started going to one this week, and she was surprised at just how helpful that first meeting was, so maybe I’ll give it shot. I’d like to think that I’d be relatively okay by October though. I don’t know how long this process is or will take. It’s frustrating.

I’m through making trips to Knoxville with Mom on business. It’s been going on every week, including several times a week, ever since Dad died. Now we just have to figure out a way to sell his fishing boat, and Mom will have to make one more Knoxville trip in a month or so and that’s it. Mom’s going to wait awhile on getting rid of Dad’s clothes, etc., although she might donate his books to a library.

Yesterday I mowed the back yard and the back terrace. That’s what Dad was doing when he died. It was kind of creepy. I haven’t been able to mow because of all the rain, although two weeks ago I paid a lawn service to mow the yard. I ingested a lot of dust, grass, and bugs and wondered about what Dad ingested when he was mowing before he stopped to come to our back patio for a glass of water before collapsing. I hope his brain shut down quickly like my doctor said it probably did, because it seemed to me like he was suffering for a good 20+ minutes there on my patio. My doctor said it was the body’s involuntary reflexes — that he had probably already died. I don’t know. I can’t get it out of my head. And I can’t get what he looked like at the hospital after he was declared dead out of my head. He was dark yellow. And cold. He looked frightening. And he had been alive just an hour before. It’s freaky to think about.

I deleted the last six pictures I had of Dad. Two were taken at the hospital after he died and four were taken at the funeral home when he was in a casket, all done up for Mom and me before his cremation. I just couldn’t look at them. They were so morbid. My therapist said that was a good break and will allow me to remember him as I want to and should — as a vibrant, loving father and husband. My last picture I then have of him is at my wedding reception in April. He was happy that day. That’s how I want to remember him.

I guess that’s all for now. I was going to mow the front and side yards today, but the grass really isn’t that long, so I think I’ll wait until tomorrow. I have a number of things I need to do anyway. Sorry if this blog post seems morbid. I have a lot on my mind.

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Anniversary

Posted by Scott Holstad on August 30, 2013

Today is the one month anniversary of my father’s death in my backyard. It still seems so unbelievable, so surreal. One minute, he’s mowing my grass, the next he’s dead on the ground. It really seems cruel. I’m still stunned that I didn’t get to see him coherent on his last day alive. That bothers me so much. I wish I could have said some things, done some things. Mom’s telling people he had been depressed and was “ready to go.” I don’t believe that. Yes, he had been depressed, ever since he retired. He thought he had no further value, which was untrue, but he still had plans and dreams. He wanted to take we four back up to Nova Scotia where we once lived and show my wife around. They were going up to Pittsburgh to be with old friends that weekend. He wanted to take we four up to Iowa and Minnesota to visit family and show Gretchen around. He still had a lot of life in him and I resent the fact that it was yanked away from him, and he from us.

There’s one thing I’m trying to keep in mind though. Mom showed me a computer print out Dad brought over to my house on his last day alive, for me to keep and ponder. It reads “The past should be left in the past because it can destroy your future. Live your life for what tomorrow has to offer, not for what yesterday has taken away.” Wow! How prophetic was that??? Did he somehow know? I can’t believe that he did, but why did he bring that to me on that particular day? I do need to look to the future and quit tormenting myself about the past, about what I didn’t say or didn’t do. I said a lot and did everything I could possibly do to keep him alive. It wasn’t enough. The paramedics couldn’t save him either, so maybe I’ve been too hard on myself.

My mom is doing okay. Yesterday was their 49th wedding anniversary, and she and Gretchen and I went out to eat. Some tears were shed, but Dad was fondly remembered. I just can’t believe I can never pick up the phone and call him again and get one of his funny emails he sent me. It’s quite sad, really. RIP Dad.

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An Update

Posted by Scott Holstad on August 25, 2013

So after our break in of two weeks ago, we now have a home security system in place. We signed with ADS Security, a regional home security company with a good reputation and we now have an alarm system in place on all four doors, as well as interior motion sensors. We also have signs in our yard. We feel a lot safer now. Yeah, you can have all kinds of weapons in your house and plans for robberies when you’re there, but those don’t do any good when you’re not around. The break ins in this neighborhood have been happening between 10 AM and noon on weekdays when people aren’t around. Ours was on a Tuesday in broad daylight! How brazen. ADS responds in 45 seconds or less, so we feel like this security system is a good investment and we feel a lot safer now.

Meanwhile, we’re still trying to get used to Dad’s death three and a half weeks ago. It still feels so unreal. I can’t believe he’s no longer around. And I can’t get the image of him on the ground gasping and moaning as he died out of my mind, and of my mouth to mouth as he was obviously dead by then. I feel helpless and guilty. I feel a great sense of loss. And my mom is trying to do her best, but she’s been overwhelmed and is a little OCD about many things. I’m trying to be patient with her.

Mom had a DVD made of Dad’s funeral service and we got a copy. We watched it a few days ago. It seemed surreal. I’m glad we have it, but it’s a little weird too.

We got the items that were stolen replaced, and my external backup worked for my computer, so I’m happy about that. There was only one software program I had to buy again, as it didn’t transfer over. That’s okay.

I had a lot of poetry submissions to Ray’s Road Review to go through. They had really piled up. I accepted poems from two people and rejected many from quite a few people.

Yesterday we went to a seminar given on the Affordable Care Act to educate people about the details. It was pretty informative. Since neither of us has employer given insurance, we’re hoping this will really help us out come January.

Mom sold Dad’s car. That was kind of sad. Next up, it’s time to sell his fishing boat. I have no idea how to find out basic information on it and how to determine what to ask for it. I need help with this. Mom’s going to be donating Dad’s books to the library of their home church in Knoxville and I guess she’ll be giving his clothes to Goodwill. She’s going to get rid of his tools, although I think I’ll take a number of them myself. Mom’s freaking out about finances, because she’s never had to worry about this before, but I’m trying to remind her that Dad left her in good shape. She doesn’t seem to get it sometimes.

We didn’t go to church today. Gretchen went biking and I want to cut the grass, but it poured last night and I think the grass is too wet to cut. I think we’ve had one day all summer long without rain. It’s been crazy! You’d think we live in Seattle or London. I’ve never seen a summer like this. I can’t wait for fall. At least football’s here. That’s something. I do think, however, that my Steelers are going to suck this year, and I have no idea how UT is going to do with their new coach.

I guess that’s all for now. Just wanted to give an update. More book reviews to come later this week. Cheers!

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Dad’s Frugality

Posted by Scott Holstad on August 16, 2013

My parents have always been frugal. When I was younger, I thought of them as cheap. Miserly often. Don’t get me wrong — there was always food on the table and I had comforts I took for granted, frankly. It’s just that I graduated from an affluent high school where my peers were driving Porsche’s. I drove Chevy’s. A 1966 Impala my junior year and a 1979 Chevette my senior year. I was mortified. My friends would fly out to Colorado over winter break for some skiing and would go down to Panama Beach for spring break. I stayed home. We took occasional summer vacation trips, usually to visit family, but otherwise my parents took very few trips, instead depending on television and movies to fulfill their travel fantasies. When I went to college, I pledged the most prestigious fraternity. It allowed in two public school kids a year. I was one of them. Everyone’s parents were country club rich and they all seemed to drive a Mercedes. By then, I was driving an Olds. I was mortified. We wouldn’t go out to eat or to movies. Dad believed in putting money away for retirement. He hammered that home to me so many times, that if I had a dollar for every time he told me that, I’d be rich now. Unfortunately, I’ve always had bad spending habits. When I had the money, I spent it. When I was out of work, I cashed in my 401K to make it to the next job. I don’t have much saved. My parents lived in a modest house, although it was nice and in a distinctly middle class neighborhood. When they moved from Knoxville to Chattanooga to be near me, they “down sized” to a smaller house and saved money that way. They were retired by then, so it mattered. Dad spent a lot of money on one venture, and I’ve been worried about their financial future. Dad apparently had been too. He spent the last two years looking for a job, before getting a part time job as a driver for Enterprise three months ago. It had to be humiliating for him, because he’d been in a position of authority in a white collar business for 50 years. Still, he said he needed the money. I haven’t been able to work due to health concerns, although I’ve been looking recently, so he had been helping me out financially, which made me feel guilty, because he could ill afford it.

So imagine my surprise when Mom and I went to meet with Dad’s financial adviser after his death and found out he had stashed a pretty decent sum of money away all these years! Mom won’t have to worry at all, and I’m hoping she’ll be around for 20-25 more years. (She’s 83.) He did well. His frugality paid off. He was a great example and I feel like I’ve been a disappointment to him because I wasn’t able — and in some cases, willing — to follow his example. I have an average life insurance policy, so that if I should die, Gretchen would have something, but it’s not enough and I know it. Of course, we all wish Dad were still here. It’s been over two weeks now and I’m still trying to get used to the fact that he’s dead. We all are. But Dad did well. I’m proud of him. And now I’m somewhat upset that they didn’t use some of their money to take some of the trips they wanted to take. Oh well. Life goes on.

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It’s Over

Posted by Scott Holstad on August 11, 2013

Dad’s funeral was Friday in Knoxville and now we’re back in Chattanooga. It’s over. It’s really hard to believe, surreal even. It just doesn’t make sense that he was alive and well two weeks ago and now he’s buried in the ground. It seems cruel. As my wife said, though, at least my mother and I were with him when he unexpectedly died, and as much as I want to believe the CPR could have saved him, I’ve been assured it wouldn’t have, so we were with Dad during his last moments. That’s good.

We had the graveside burial service Friday morning, just for family. There were about 25 people there. They came from Georgia, the Carolinas, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, California, Virginia, Kentucky. Quite a gathering. The minister was good. I carried Dad’s urn/box to the grave site. Mom cried on my shoulder as the minister spoke. I shed a few years myself. When it was over, Mom got up and sung a song for Dad and then spoke — heck, she preached a sermon! Boy, did she go on. But everyone hung in there and we left Dad to be covered in earth. Mom’s going to be buried next to him when it’s her turn, and Gretchen and I are going to be buried next to them when it’s ours.

We went back to the church and had a lovely lunch, carefully prepared by wonderful cooks. It was delicious. We also got to speak with some of the family members. Soon after, we went into the church (we ate lunch in another building — there are five buildings on the church campus) and gathered in a side room to be taken into the sanctuary when it was time. When we were led in, I was a little stunned at how many people were there. I’d say there were probably 800 people in attendance. The sanctuary wasn’t completely filled, but the front was, and people were sitting on both side wings with some in the balcony.

The funeral service was lovely. We sang some of Dad’s favorite hymns, one of his favorite ministers read from the Bible and prayed, my cousin Jane read a nice poem she wrote in tribute, and three people spoke. I was one of them. People asked me if I was nervous in front of all those people, but I wasn’t. First, I read a poem Gretchen wrote in tribute to Dad, and then I read what I had prepared. I went on too long, but I had a lot to say and I felt good about it. I successfully tried not to get too choked up at the end. Then the senior minister preached a short message that was fitting and good, and the family was led out to receive guests. And let me tell you — that was grueling! Gretchen and I had picked out a number of pictures of Dad from various stages of his life and she had put them together quite nicely, so people looked at that, but it was essentially a madhouse. People were grabbing us and talking to us from all directions. It was overwhelming. I was proud of Gretchen, who’s typically a wallflower. She did quite well. And I was overwhelmed at how many people complemented me on my eulogy! At least 400 people said they were touched by it, that it was great, and some asked me to email them copies of it. Wow! And at least 100 people told us how great Gretchen’s poem was too. That was awesome. Unfortunately, many of our family members had to go, so it was just me, Gretchen, and Mom. The crowd was huge. I saw some of my friends, but could only talk to them for a minute — with apologies. I saw Chris, who came down from Virginia. All I got to say was hi and thanks. I saw Monica, who came up from Sweetwater with her boys. My friend Joanne came all the way over from Nashville, and I got maybe two minutes with her. Apparently Anthony was there and Little Amy was there, but we didn’t get to see them as the line was too long. I saw my old friend Eunice, and got to introduce her to Gretchen, which was cool. Arnold and Sarah were there, and Gretchen met Sarah for the first time. Robb and Wayne were there. And so many old family friends. It was truly overwhelming. And even though we had asked that all donations be made to Dad’s favorite charity, Mission India, Mom received some donations to her, which was nice and sweet.

The service was at 2 PM. We didn’t get to leave until nearly 5:30. We went back to the place we were staying and then went to a restaurant to meet with 10 family members for dinner. When we returned, some visitors came to see Mom, which Gretchen and I thought was kind of rude. We were beat. It was 9 PM. Why were they too good to stand in line like the rest? Why did we have to stay up entertaining guests after such an exhausting day? And when they started talking regressive conservative politics, I got ticked off and stormed out. Mom was embarrassed, but I didn’t want to embarrass her further by saying something rude to these people, so I left. Most of the people in that church are very nice people, but it is a conservative, evangelical church, and Gretchen and I don’t have much in common with their political and spiritual beliefs.

We finally drove back to Chattanooga yesterday, just beat. And Gretchen and I went out to get a TV to replace the one that was stolen last week, and I ordered a new customized computer to replace the stolen one. I hope it gets here soon and I hope that my backup works, or I’m screwed.

It was a good day, a good weekend, and one that honored my father, but now I feel empty and hollow inside and I miss him, as do Gretchen and my mother. I worry about my elderly mother who doesn’t want to live in that house alone. I can understand that. But she won’t move to assisted living and we don’t have the room to have her move in with us. Her house is too small for us to move there, so we’re talking about the possibility of selling both houses and buying one big one for we three to live in together. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we try to sort this out. Gretchen and I skipped church today, because we’ve had our fill of people for awhile. I guess things will get back to some sense of normalcy, but it’s still going to be strange. I really miss Dad.

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Bad Week

Posted by Scott Holstad on August 8, 2013

Today, we’re going up to Knoxville for Dad’s funeral tomorrow. It’s going to be a very long day tomorrow. We have 27 family members driving and flying in from all over the country. It’ll be good to see them. I’m going to speak. I hope I do well. I hope I don’t break down in front of 1,000 people. I really do miss Dad. I just got back from my doctor and he was shocked. He gave me a bear hug, which was nice. He’s an emotional fellow.

However, Tuesday afternoon, I was driving home from Knoxville with Mom when Gretchen called. She asked if I’d left the front door open. Of course I hadn’t. She then discovered it had been demolished, smashed to smithereens by some thieves. She called the police who filed a report, but didn’t even dust for fingerprints. All they took was our 46″ RCA HDTV, a fancy surge protector, and my critically important iMac. It could have been much worse. They left the new PC, as well as Gretchen’s laptop. The cats were somewhat traumatized, especially Toby. He wouldn’t come out of Gretchen’s closet for hours and he was jumpy all night. We were pissed!!! What assholes. And I have my resume on there, my books, my RRR stuff, my work, everything. Software. I hope that when I get a new Mac, my backups will work, or I’m totally screwed. Mom called the insurance company to get the homeowner’s policy working. We should be reimbursed for the TV, the computer, some software (MS Office), and the front door. Meanwhile I had to stay up all night long to guard the house because we couldn’t close the busted door and no asshole would come install a new one! I sat up all night! A friend called me at 4 AM and we talked for an hour and a half, which was nice. Helped keep me awake. I talked with contractors and Home Depot, etc., yesterday morning and most couldn’t get to this EMERGENCY for another day or two, which wasn’t going to work for me, and the others wanted to charge like $800 plus parts. I found a contractor through Home Depot who charged me $350 for parts and labor, which is awesome. He did a good job too. I guess we won’t get a new TV or computer until next week, since we’ll be in Knoxville for Dad’s funeral for three days. Oh well. Guess we’ll read a lot. Still, we feel unsafe here. We feel violated. Gretchen wants a big dog and I want ADT — an alarm service, which statistically cuts down on breakins. We just can’t afford them right now. I may talk to Mom about it and we may get one anyway. It’s that necessary. We live in a fairly decent neighborhood, but there is so much crime here, it’s not funny. And this robbery was in broad daylight! How brazen. You’d think a neighbor would hear our door being kicked down.

So, what’s next? That’s my big question. Things come in threes. We’ve had Dad’s death last week, our house robbed this week. What’s going to happen next week? Gretchen wants to do a house cleansing. I’m not opposed to the idea, although I don’t know how helpful it would be. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers these days. It’s pretty rough.

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Old Diary Excerpts

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 17, 2012

On April 11th, I wrote a post called Finding My Old Diaries in which I told of finding 16 old diaries of mine dating from 1984 to 1992 in an old box I haven’t touched since the ’90s. I’ve been slowly reading through them. I’m now on volume 7, starting July 29, 1987. I’ve realized in these first six volumes what an insipid twit I was. In my defense, I was a teenager going on 20, so I guess I’m allowed a mulligan, right? Heh. God, I was obsessed with relationships, sex, friends, music, sports and several other things. Wow, I was a drama queen! Hopefully I’ll mature in the coming volumes.

I thought I’d print a few excerpts from one of my old diaries about my wonderful long gone dog, Scamper, dying. She was a Schnauzer and had been my best friend for close to 16 years. Anyway, here goes:

August 10, 1987: I dug Scamper’s grave tonight. It’s very sad, incredibly unhappy, and I’ve been crying nonstop. She’s going to be killed tomorrow. Stroke. Wouldn’t make it. 15 1/2 good years. You couldn’t ask for a better dog. I’m going to miss her a lot….

August 17, 1987: Scamper died today finally. Mom took her. From what I understand, it was peaceful at least. I’m really very sad. I love her and I’m going to miss her…. I hope she’s happy now.

August 18, 1987: Scamp’s gone and I’m so terribly sad. She’s lying in her little grave, all alone. I feel like being bitter about it, want to be bitter, but there’s no one to be bitter at…. Last night, Chip and Laura came over and we went to Dee’s. We went out for some beer. Laura brought me flowers and they consoled me. I was really touched. It was truly very nice of them….

Well, enough of that. I didn’t write very much. My entries were all quite short back then. My later diaries have much longer entries, some that stretch on for pages. For a little levity, here is part of an entry from the next month.

September 10, 1987: This trip to Hilton Head was great — 10 days, eight of which were rainy. Nonetheless, we had a damn blast! We hit all the bars and restaurants for happy hours. I think I gained six pounds! I drank a lot of Becks Dark, Sol, and gin collins. At Ruby’s, we ran into Brian B and Mark L from Knoxville and ran around with them. About 20 of us rented CQ’s yacht one night and went out until about 3:30 AM. We had a keg, six cases of beer, and seven bottles of wine. One of the girls fell overboard and another got sick, but a good time was had by all (or nearly all — heh!)….

OK, so I partied a lot in college. Sue me. Everyone else did too. LOL! I guess this is it for now. I’ve encountered many interesting entries among all of the completely superficial ones, and it’s bringing back a lot of (hazy) memories. I’m really glad I found these. Maybe if I happen upon something else remotely interesting, I’ll blog about it….

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