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JIM UPDATE – 24 Hours With the Toughest Honkey I Know

 

**I found this in a draft folder from 3 years ago after visiting Jim in the hospital following his stroke.  It never got finished due to my schedule when I returned.  I felt it should be posted as a celebration of how spectacularly Jim has fought back from his affliction.  So with only the ado of love and admiration…**

I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend with Jim in his therapy facility.  I was on the ground in Washington for only 24 hours, but I felt like I experienced a month of life and I managed to do so much more than just visit my dear friend and running mate in the hospital.

Washington

I babysat the kids for a few hours, and got to see how much his two year old had grown since I last saw her at a month old.  I got to see Jim’s mother, who has held the job of keeping the kids happy and normal while mommy and daddy are away at the hospital; and with an 11 year old, a 5 year old and a 2 year old that is no simple task.  I can assure you she has done it beautifully, and done it at the sacrifice of being by her son’s side as much as she would like.  None of us who wish Jim well should ever overlook the contributions of those people who are so tirelessly supporting the family.

Two other such people are Casey’s sister and father.  They flew in, from Minnesota and California respectively, to help Casey get prepared for Christmas, and just to check in on the family. They took Casey out to do some basic shopping for the family and managed to get 10 large boxes of Christmas decorations put up in just over two hours.  They also made a cracking pulled pork, I can’t stress that enough.

I was fortunate enough to stay the night in Jim’s room with he and his wife.  She sleeps on an inflatable mattress next to his hospital bed, the place she’s been since he was first hospitalized, and does so with plucky aplomb.  She’s adopted the new normal their lives have found with the same forward-looking tenacity of the 13 year old girl I met so many years ago while working together at Camp Frasier in Irvine nearly two decades ago.  She’s always had an enviable ability to slog forward through any situation, with the finish line always in sight.  I’d call her a strong woman, but she’d beat me senseless for doing so, so I’ll simply call her what I feel she is: a pretty cool chick.

It was about 2 pm when I arrived underneath a thick cover of ash grey clouds that threatened at every moment to open up into a light autumn drizzle, and kept the early afternoon lit with the diffuse light of early evening.  The artist in me loved the lighting scheme, just a little melancholy and possibly forbidding, but the prospect of the sun’s resolve to punch through the darkness.  As Washington residents, I’m sure it was simply another day for Jim and Casey, but for this Southern Californian it was far more poetic.

Jim’s Room

Jim’s room is spacious for a single, like a dorm room with one bed and desk set removed.  The room is populated with get well cards and Muppets naturally, with the occasional Star Wars action figure donated by his 5 year old son to keep an eye on daddy.  There’s a small fridge and a private bathroom, a recliner and a picture window with a nice view that looks over the facility’s courtyard.

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Jim’s eyes were alive and smiling, even though he has some temporary facial paralysis on his left side from the stroke.  He was sitting in a wheel chair, his left arm resting on an attached tray, across the midline of his body.  His children had painted his nails on his affected hand a wonderful shade of Kermit green when he first went in to the hospital, a visual cue to help him remember to engage that side of his body.  It had been a couple of weeks and that nail varnish was chipped from wear while Jim idly stroked, poked and prodded his affected hand with his right hand.  It had become habit it seemed, partly to keep the nerves in his affected side stimulated, and partly I feel due to the same impulse we all have to casually poke at a limb that’s fallen asleep.

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I watched Casey do a bed transfer with Jim while I sipped my coffee feeling a bit useless and noted to myself that for a wee speck of a thing she’s staggeringly powerful.  We talked about how he’s been, what his therapists are doing with him, and lamented the food.  It was mostly just jibber jabber, three old friends catching up while one of them reclined in bed, unconsciously poking at an uncooperative hand.  Then a quick couple of hours later, I was called out to watch the kids back at the house so Casey and her family could have some time together and do some shopping for Christmas, and of course give Jim’s mother some very rare uninterrupted face time with her son.

The Guy Time

When I returned from my quick jaunt babysitting and shooed Jim’s mother away to the house for some pulled pork and beets, I got my first alone time with my best friend.  We talked about the future a lot.  The financial uncertainty, and the options they have, and decisions there are to make.  We talked about how amazing the family has been.  We talked about Casey getting laid off in the middle of this exercise through the American medical system.  And then I asked a question I had been dreading to ask, because I didn’t know how he would answer; “What is the hardest thing about… this?”

It’s a loaded question with so many rightfully selfish answers that would be reasonable, understandable, but hard to spin.  Walking, sitting up, picking up something with two hands are just a few examples of possible answers.  I was ready for one of them.  I wasn’t ready for the answer I got, but in retrospect it was the only one I should have expected from someone like Jim.

“My kids.  I miss my kids.”

Jim, as most of you must know, has been the primary caregiver – stay at home dad if you will – for his three children since Chloe was born 11 years ago.  He’s spent the last decade wiping noses and bottoms and catching frogs and coloring; while getting a culinary degree, working in wine shops, and learning the intricacies of wine making.  He suddenly found himself only seeing his three children in short visits here and there.  Without his children, Jim was finding himself without three of his best friends.

A group of well-wishers had donated a new iPod to Jim while he was still in intensive care to replace his old and broken iPod, and not only did it give him his music library for the boring times, it gave him a window to his children through Skype.  He lights up around his kids, even on a screen, but it was palpable how much he wanted to be around them in person.  I don’t know why I didn’t expect that answer from him; possibly because I don’t have children of my own

It doesn’t easily sleep three who aren’t – special friends – but it is possible.

To be continued later tonight when I get home.

***Nothing further was written***

Social Media Civility

Why Simpson/Hemstead Never Gets Elected: 06/13/14

Here is where I’ll muse over the 13 year failure that has been the Simpson/Hemstead campaign, starting on Friday the 13th, 2014.

I tried entering “boomoy” into my phone, and the predictive text changed it to “vomit.”

Even after I had it learn the word “boomoy.”

"My smartphone might be trying to smarten me."

“My smartphone might be trying to smarten me.”

Slow Month

Friends, supporters, well-wishers, errant web-travelers, and even Nixonian Enemies;  July was a rather busy month around the day job, what with stuff needing to be done.  Simpson/Hemstead is not gone, nor have we abandoned our pursuit of the White House or even a cracking fat free brownie.

This week we will begin rolling out more content.  Thanks for your patience.  Okay, go do shit now to keep yourself occupied until we get back.

TODAY IS THE DAY YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR

If you’ve been holding off buying a light colored Simpson/Hemstead t-shirt then today is your lucky day!  Today only (ends at midnight) cafepress is reducing price of white or light colored shirts to 15 dollars!  That’s the price of a Grande Macchiato with a squirt of every syrup Starbucks has.*

So click on the store here and pick up a shirt, you could find yourself boasting these beautiful slogans:

Groping costs extra

And it's a quick "meh"

Get to the point, the bi-partisan point.

 

when you do buy one or all of them, send us a picture of you in them outside somewhere, showing you have no shame.

 

20 Years Ago Quite Recently

I graduated high school twenty years ago this year, which means that I have a 20 year reunion coming up in August.   It’s an interesting feeling, the idea of seeing those people again.  But then I’m struck by a thought; I didn’t see most of those people IN high school.

It wasn’t a horribly large high school by today’s standards: roughly 3400 total student, 637ish seniors, but it was sizable and swelling at the seams.  One entire baseball diamond had already been converted to blacktop to hold a dozen barracks-style portables and even those were beginning to get full.  But that’s not really the reason I didn’t talk with most of my graduating class, or at least I don’t think it was.

Either way,  I spent a lot of time with the band.  Marching, Orchestra, Symphonic, you name it; thems wuz my peeps.

It's like a reverse Mormon polygamist home... but with a jam band.

We weren’t as age clique intensive as some of the other activities.  I’m good friend with 7 years of graduates, ranging from the class of 88 through the class of 94.  Those are the people I spent trips with, went on overnighters with, spent countless hours trapped in busses with.  Even the people I learned to change into our marching uniforms with while avoiding getting a 14 year old chubby from all the girls in their underwear around me.

I look through the photos on the website of people now, hoping for a clue as to who they are and I find myself even more confused than before.  Not only did I not talk to these people when I was in high school, but everyone looks freaking different now and half of them have different last names.

I mean seriously, back in high school I looked like this:

I'm the one with my pants on my head.

Look at me, just a raving jackass of 17 years old.  Ready to do anything for a laugh, with a vaguely glassy and somewhat stupid look in my eye.

But that was 20 years ago.  I’m 37 now.  I’m a grown man.  I look like this:

Okay, maybe I'm a bad example

Well anyway I suspect a great deal of the evening will be spent saying, “Who the f$ck are you,” while handing out Vote Simpson/Hemstead propaganda.

Yes, you’re Goddamned right I’m bringing buttons and stickers and shirts.

Even More Shopping!!!

Simpson/Hemstead has spent the last three months polling the hell out of anyone who would speak to them,  investment bankers, visual effects artists, high school girls, that gap-toothed bum woman on La Brea, and of course the uncool tranny chick with a dick, and we’ve found out what we’ve been missing in our online store.  We’re proud to say that we’ve finally fixed this problem.

Let’s say you’re out with the girls, and you want to be casual.  You know, you don’t want to throw the “Hey check out my rack,” vibe right out of the gate, and it’s only casual 6pm drinks after work, so your “always works” short dress and 3/4 pound of whore paint you use on the weekends just wouldn’t be appropriate.  However, you don’t want to limit yourself to another night watching Big Bang Theory reruns by yourself (possibly with a cat or 17), stuffing a tub of Ben and Jerry’s down your unpainted maw and wondering why you suddenly find Sheldon on your “he’ll do” list.  Well, that’s where Simpson/Hemstead comes in.

Let me introduce you to our newest section, coyly titled “Maybe…

Finally a way to keep your honor, but still cut through the chase.  Let’s face it, dating is hard, meeting people is harder; especially when that good looking guy across the bar with the 8 pack abs, and smoldering smile also has that “I want to pet the rabbits George,” fog behind his eyes.   This is the perfect shirt for the casual encounter, just open up your jacket a button or two, and let the possibilities fly.

Wear it under your blouse at work, at the gym, the supermarket, planned parenthood, tea party rallies, high schools, colleges, Al Anon meetings, Pee-Wee Soccer games, BBQs, Therapy sessions, etc…  This shirt works in EVERY situation.*

Go buy one today.  Buy two.

*not intended for men’s correctional facilities.

Vote Simpson/Hemstead Top Searches 033111

At least white fluffy puppies are defeating white power.

This is what particular milkshakes are bringing people to the Simpson/Hemstead yard today.

Here’s what disappoints me:

Maltese puppies are beating out Simpson/Hemstead on their own page.

Hitler is tying Simpson/Hemstead.

Here’s what I’m happy with:

People have stopped hunting for Scott Leberecht’s girlfriend on our page.

The fucker looking for Hitler will have a photo of a half-naked Daniel Radcliffe embossed on a stock image of Mein Kampf as his reward.

Maltese puppies are beating Hitler.

Vote Simpson/Hemstead has actually become a term people have searched for to find our site.  That’s gotta be a good sign for the campaign.

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