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October 22, 2018 / TeknoKai

My Life in 82 Pictures

Hello internet friends!

I hope that you are all well today.  I am just returning from another hiatus  –  you know, it sucks when you can’t work because of constant pain and all you can do is try to lie around and alleviate it as best you can.  Many, many days are spent using Lamaze style trancing and breathing to try and keep my total pain level just below the “please put a bullet through my head” mark.  I have been asked (time and time again, as I’ve been trying to get my disability now, unsuccessfully to date, for about 6 years running (though my next hearing date from the wonderful people at the Social Security Office of Adjudication And Review, or ODAR as they like to be called, is currently set for Jan 9 upcoming, (#CrossedFingers! )), “How do you spend your days, mostly?”. So, i thought I’d take a few minutes of my obviously unending time to share with you guys a glimpse of how I manage to stay sane through the endless days of waiting and waiting (and waiting … (I think you get the point)), so here is a glimpse of my illustrious life life, in full color “pictorama”! Please bear with me – I am far from a professional photographer, and I mainly use my iPhone (6 Plus) for watching TV to help try and ignore my constant battle with the forces of neural warfare currently occupying my every waking hour. But I do know how to click a button on a screen, so, here goes!

However, let me say this before I start on my photo journey with you – the other question that I am constantly asked in conjunction with the previous enquiry, is “Can you describe your pain?”.  Well, after suffering through it constantly for the last 6 years or so, yes, I think I can!  I have thought thoroughly through this question, and here is the best way I can exquisitely describe for you my “normal pain level”.  Be prepared – this is not for the weak hearted.

Imagine, if you will, the thinnest, sharpest, kitchen sized knife blade you can.  All pretty and shiny and honed to a razor’s width and edge.  Now bring that blade up to almost melting point, hot enough that it blazes with the red fury of pure fire itself.  With surgical precision, slowly draw that hot, sharpened blade horizontally across your lower back at around your L5 vertebrae.  Keep it moving excruciating slowly from side to side but mainly focused on your spine.  Now, while you are enjoying this pleasant bit of warmth – run two live, uncovered electrical wires up and down both legs, from hip to ankle, and set them to humming at around a nice 120V AC (say, the strength of sticking a moist finger in a light socket) and let that start constantly thrumming up and down those gorgeous gams of yours.  Set the timer for infinity, and sit back and (try to) relax.  After those first 5 or 6 (vastly growing into years, by your reckoning) seconds, you might begin to get an idea of what I live through every second of every day.  And they want to take the only medicine that actually helps numb this colossal, fiery, paper-cuttingly feeling away from me now, because the “World is in an Opioid Epidemic”?  Please – some people may have abused the system, but trust me, there are those of us who rely on those most precious moments of relief to just survive.

Anyway, that’s about the best way I can sum up my personal hell for the average layman.  How’re you doing this morning?

Ok, so now that that’s out the way, Here’s the real reason I posted this blog today.  Trust me -some of my family members are going to go bat-shi@t crazy when they find out I’m doing this – though I honestly don’t know why.  They don’t live with me currently – I live with my oldest unmarried aunt in my grandmother and grandfather’s lifetime home.  But they will (eventually) see this, and (I’m sure) I’ll be in for (yet another) a$$ reaming when they do.  I don’t really see why – they didn’t stay here – they moved out and modernized with the world at life’s usual pace.  There were 5 aunts and 1 uncle who did “leave the nest” and start families of their own, granting me more cousins than I can actually think about at one time, but there were a precious few who became spinsters and gentlemen of age, and they were my real and bestest family ever.

But the others will (eventually) see this and think I am airing out our family’s deepest, darkest closet – but that is not my intention.  I only mean to share with THE WORLD how life goes on in my neck of the woods.  Some of you will know exactly what I’m showing you.  Some of you will think I’ve lost me freaking mind.  Either way…

This is how people actually lived, “back in the day”.  I grew up in this house, with my maternal Grandmother, two unmarried aunts, two unmarried uncles (all siblings), and my grandmother’s brother.  I have remained as each one of them slowly got sick, and, eventually, passed away. From the time I was a toddler, when my Mom and Dad divorced, basically I lived here, with these aunts and uncles, (more like brothers and sisters) and until I left and went off to college, and then eventually started my long and illustrious career in IT Management and Consultancy, and got a place of my own.

I stayed away until about 5 years ago, when my physical problems got so bad that I could no longer hold a job, and I unfortunately had to take up residency with my oldest living aunt (of the ones who never married, but stayed home all their lives). So now, in this house that has actually transcended generations, and is now more of a blend of the pre-technological and the digital culture than one would possibly imagine.  There are some things we do daily that our ancestors back to my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather’s time did, and a couple of thing that we only do now, with the advent of today’s technology.  If you want to see a timeline mashup, then you’ve come to the right place, my friend.  Some of these images may astound you in ways that you might not even think possible in this day of digital revolution, 2018.  But I assure you – nothing I’m going to share here is faked in any way – this is how I live, on a daily basis, while I await my one more chance to stand before the adjudicate judge in January…

So without further ado, let us begin!

First off, here’s me, for those of you who might have forgotten what I look like, since I do have a habit of disappearing now and then,

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yeah… not the best selfie in the world, but full on truth!

Now, here’s a view of the (almost) famous Highway 14 East in  Louisville, MS, from the top of our driveway, looking first toward the west (townwise) then looking east (towards Macon, MS…

 

 

We are actually, the “22530” mailbox.  The other one is our neighbor across the road, and up the hill…

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They are up the hill, and we are “down in the valley”…

 

Here is a widdershins walk around the house, from the north side (facing the highway up the hill) all the way around to the east side, which is the actual front of the house…

 

on the back side of the house, the south facing side, you will see our wonderful “Well” – yes, it is hand drawn, and yes, we use it – daily!

 

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And here’s a view looking at the front of the house from the base of the driveway, and then looking back up the driveway toward Highway 14 East…

 

 

OK, well, that’s a pretty good panorama of the outside, let’s go up on the front porch!

 

 

Ok, well, her we go on a walkthru of the house.  this is a view from inside the front door, followed by an all around view of the living room.  Yes, that’s a cast iron heater.  And yes,  we have a fire this morning.  It was in the 30’s when we woke up…

 

 

And here’s my lovely aunt, Geraldine!  She’s the strongest and kindest person that I have ever known.  When everyone else in the family that stayed at home got sick and eventually passed away, she way the eternal caregiver – the bastion of strength that kept everything up and going.  She’s now 81, and I swear it’s the new 18…

 

 

Here’s a quick view of our bedroom – yes, we share a room like sister and brother.  You can tell which bed is mine, it’s the one turned down already!

 

 

Yes – my family has been a perpetual hoarder of pictures…

Then – we go into the second bedroom.  This one used to be my Grandma and Grandpa’s room.  She had the bed by the window (which now acts as a closet, with stored clothes neatly folded in piles and covered by a sheet), and his was the one facing the wall – with the other clothes (that are actually used) neatly folded and piled up… what can I say – we ran out of space, like 3 decades ago…

 

 

And oh, but what do we have here!?  Yep, welcome to the 19th century toilet system.  Yep, you guessed it.  There is no running water in this house.  That’s what the Well is for!  But don’t worry, we don’t drink the well water (anymore).  We buy our drinking water.  We use the Well water for washing up and cleaning dishes, you know… regular stuff. But how do you get rid of the waste that builds up (half-daily), you ask?  Remember those woods out back and up the hill?  Well, there’s a path through there…

 

 

Actually, this house didn’t even get indoor electricity until as recently as 2004!  At that time my Grandmother fell and broke her hip, and became bedridden – her daughter (Geraldine, the one I’m now living with) finally was able to have electricity put in!  Mamaw never wanted it.  Apparently a house she lived in when she was a girl had it installed and then caught fire and burned down.  She never allowed it in this house until she was unable to protest anymore…

But let’s rewind to this nice black box of stuff at the foot of Papaw’s bed – that’s my own personal TARDIS!  Yeppers – EVERYTHING I own is inside that little black box, from what few clothes to pictures to books I have left to my name… and the MacBook air I’m typing on as well as the iPhone 6 Plus I’m sending this through cell net on…

 

 

 

Now come on – who amongst you can say that you live as lightly as me?  See, one thing I have had to come to terms with during this extended 6 year battle with Social Security Disability, is that I have systematically had to lose EVERYTHING I HAD of value to survive.  You wanna talk about tough times?  Come see me…

But the one thing I can say for sure is that 1) I have always had a pillow to lay down on and 2) I have food to eat, thanks to the generous sharing of my loving aunt and best friend, whose own Social Security payment is just valued at $770 every month (yes, that is not a typo, there are no more zeroes coming here!) So actually, even with the family members who are gonna see this (eventually) and totally freak out (eventually), I can say that now, just as when I was at the ripe old age of 10 or so, am actually the richest man in the world.  And I dare anyone to prove me wrong.

 

So, to finish out the tour of my wonderful, special, pioneer days/modernization mashup tour of the bestest house i could ever want, here is a glimpse of our bountifully overflowing kitchen and the third bedroom, which has probably become the biggest walk-in closet in the world…

 

 

And yes, your eyes are NOT deceiving you, that is a classic cast iron stove, (which we don’t use anymore) standing proudly beside the full electric oven (which we use everyday) …

Come on, can any of you claim to have a more fun and interesting house than this – filled more with memories of love and laughter than any world possession found inside?

Thanks for being my friends, internet friends…

Here’s to hoping that something amazing will (finally) happen in January!

Teknokai~

 

Oh, btw – I think I made it in less than 82.  That’s how many i uploaded, but I didn’t account for the duplicates and edits.  So, anyone actually counting – please let let me know how many I ^actually^ did use?…

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