First of all, I'm sorry not to have written the last several days. These "year in review" posts are very time consuming to write, as you can imagine. On Thursday, I was busy with other things, and as of Friday morning, I was at my mother's, where my internet connectivity was spotty at best. I returned to the city on Sunday evening and turned in early.
I could have written some shorter, non "year in review" posts, but I really like the blog post number being the same as the year in discussion.
Also, after tomorrow's post, where I discuss the first six months or 2012, I will be running a few other blog posts about other subjects. Then, after a few days, I have decided to go back in time to cover the years from 1968 through 1986. You will remember I began the year in review posts with 1987. I don't remember much before 1968. Many of these very early blog posts will be brief.
Anyway, let's discuss 2011.
In 2011, I turned 47. It was my first full year without my father. I was dividing my time among my house, the cottage, and my mother's. I would mow her lawn more than I mowed my own. I bought a new weed whacker to replace the older one that didn't work well, and which my mother had spent far too much money refurbishing. The new one runs on a battery, and I got a second battery. Works great.
In May 2011, I was out mowing her lawn when the lawn tractor got stuck, and stuck such that I could not move it, no way, no how. I looked across the street and noticed a guy mowing his own lawn. I went over and introduced myself. Unfortunately, he was wearing headphones and didn't hear me or see me, so I gave him quite a fright when I tapped him on the shoulder. Once he got over his shock, he was very helpful. Together, we used a large 2x4 and a tree stump to create a fulcrum that freed the lawn tractor. I threw it in reverse and it nearly slammed into my new friend's lawn tractor. I have been very careful not to mow that part of the lawn ever since. I really should get a push lawn mower for my mother's.
I spent 2 decent weeks at the cottage, although the trespassers were making their extreme presence known. They just don't get it. They just don't care. I don't understand those people, and they all think we're assholes for being territorial.
My mother had a stroke in September which required me to be away from work for a couple of weeks. She required surgery to remove the blockage that could cause a second stroke, which might have killed her. I was able to take advantage of the family illness days afforded us so that I could be with her and not tap into my vacation allottment. As luck would have it, though, I was criticized for it when I returned to work because I hadn't kept a low enough profile. I would tweet stuff and update the blog; and people took it that I was on vacation when I wasn't. I was running back and forth to the hospital several times a day worried sick about my mother; the tweets and blog updates were my way to relieve stress as I don't drink much and stay away from recreational drugs. At any rate, I have learned from my "mistake". If I need to use any more family illness days going forward, I will shut down the blog and tweet and update my FB status either not at all, or very, very little until my return to work. That should appease the people who complained about me last year. Harrumph!
My mother is doing much better now. Thank you for your concern.
That was in September, as I mentioned, after my 2 weeks of vacation. Normally, we would both be at the cottage in September, and in October, and perhaps into November. However, due to my mother's condition, and working on my father's estate, I haven't been to the cottage since the Labour Day weekend. Patricia was at the cottage several times after that, without her Bevboy. In fact, she's there as I type these humble words, doubtless wondering why I'm not there with her.
In November, after a couple of false starts, a guy at my work came to my mother's and bought the bulk of my father's power tools. Many of those tools performed tasks that I would never require be done. I need a decent cordless drill and a few hand tools and that's about it. The sucky part is that the main cordless drill still down there only holds a charge for 45 seconds or so. The second one probably works great; but I have no idea where the charger is. Only about half the bits for the original one still exist.
The other two executors, my sisters, did not participate in the sale of my dad's power tools. It was me and the two guys who came by to pick them up. A lot of work for 3 middle-aged men. The 15 inch planer was sold (goody!); I thought Dad had used it, but he had bought it on spec, more or less, and apparently never even plugged it in. He had also bought a generator that he apparently never used. The generator has been sold. That was not part of the original sale of goods, but I did not feel comfortable with the existence of a generator in my mother's garage. Those things tend to go missing in the Valley. If certain people had known there was a generator there, they would have stolen it. There was one guy in particular who was nosing around there last year when I was in there. I'm sure he was casing the joint. He is the brother-in-law of a person who's fairly high up in the provincial government, a person I once thought was my friend. I don't trust either man as far as I could throw him. The brother-in-law was actually peeking through the garage window last week, looking for a roto tiller that I had apparently promised to sell him. He talked to my mother about my promise, which I never made, intimated or implied. I wouldn't sell that man the sweat off my doings. If she had had a key, my mother might have let him go out there where he would have had a merry old time. That's why she doesn't have a key. The roto tiller was also sold to Bruce, along with many other tools and appliances, including a snow blower. Anything that this brother-in-law would have wanted is probably gone. Poor baby.
A couple of other things happened last year. Well, a lot of things, but a couple that I will tell you about. On March 1st, my dad's rental property finally left the family and was sold officially to the people who now own it. From the time that it was sold until the closing date of March 1st, the house remained our responsibility. On February 28th, the final day it belonged to the estate, I went through the place one last time, taking many pictures, and shooting much video. I knew it would be the final time I would be in the house, and nothing has happened to make me think otherwise. I am not sure if I would accept an invitation to return to the house, to be honest with you.
I always had mixed feeling about that other house. Dad built it in the early 1970's after my brother died. He would work all day and then pick away at that house on nights and weekends. After it was built, he rented it out to various folks before my sister moved in in January of 1986. She remained in that house until January of 2011.
For the 25 years she lived there, I was in the house perhaps 50 times. I seldom felt welcome there. She changed the locks on the house and refused to give a key to my father. Think about that for a moment. The amount of rent charged for the property did not increase for those two and a half decades, mostly for political reasons that have to do with not renting property to a close relative lest you run afoul of other relatives. There was therefore no money coming into Dad's coffers to pay for increasingly-much-needed repairs. Upon Dad's death, selling the place was the best thing we could do for it. It would finally, at long last, receive the TLC that it very much required.
The new co-owner works in the place where my mother gets her hair done. She showed me some pictures not long ago of all the work that they have done to the place. She told of the sheer effort it took her and her partner to remove the cabinetry that Dad built long ago. I pictured Dad looking down on them with an combination of admiration and annoyance.
Let's talk about Hallowe'en for a few paragraphs.
For 10 years or so, I was in the habit of giving out comic books to local kids. The squeals of delight from the children made it all worth it to me. "Mommy! I got a Superman comic. Read it to me!", the 15 year old kid would scream to his parents. Little children loved them too.
I did the same thing in 2011. Afterward, I went on to Facebook for the pages concerning my neighbourhood. I saw something that made my blood run cold. Some woman on the page was complaining about the man who was giving out comic books that featured violent acts and questionable content.
I was always very careful not to give out some of the comics that I do own. There was a publisher back in the day called Eros. You can imagine what they put out. Never gave out anything of the kind.
One comic that these people fixated on was called The DNAgents, published in the 1980's by Eclipse comics. It was written by the notorious pornographer Mark Evanier, best known for writing literally thousands of comics featuring such characters as Scooby Doo, Garfield the Cat, Blackhawk, and dozens of characters known as funny animals. Chances are, if you read comics in the 1970's featuring any of those characters, you read more than a few Evanier books. He also has written 1000's of hours of television, most notably as a story editor/writer on "Welcome Back, Kotter", but he has done so much more. I have exchanged a few emails with the man over the years and regularly check out his website, which is right here.
Anyway, DNAgents was an X-Men-type book featuring superheroes who were non-human teenagers who looked human. They were created through genetic engineering, and not through the result of humping in the back seat of a car.
One of the issues I gave away this past Hallowe'en was an issue of this comic book in which one character says to another, "You don't have any genitalia!" They didn't show any genitalia; they just used the word. The woman focused on this the way that a mongoose focuses on a laser beam, the way that a computer focuses on data, the way that a Rottweiler focuses on a pork chop.
Over the next few days, I lurked on that page, reading these horrible things about myself. One person was going to knock on my door and "confront" me. I therefore kept my doors locked at all times, with the alarm set, for fear of a potential confrontation with some guy who might express his disappointment. Another couple of people were going to "report" me, whatever that means. If it meant calling the police or the media and having the latter parked outside my house for 3 days, then that would not go over well, either.
A few people in the area came to my defense, and I am grateful to them for that. But others kept hammering away at me, not knowing, not caring that I might be reading these hateful comments.
Obviously, my days of giving away comics in this area are over and done with. I do not need the hassle or the aggravation or the stress of trying to do the right thing, only to be ripped to pieces by these people.
I am stuck with these comics. I do not want to give them away for the reasons stated above. I don't want to throw them out with other recycled papers for the reasons stated above. My God, if some kid saw these comics on the curb in a clear bag and showed them to his parents, then I'd be in for another world of hurt.
All I can think of is to burn these comics in my mother's furnace. Before you go off the rails about burning books, the books are mine to do with as I please, including destroying them to keep them out of the hands of people I don't want to have them.
Over the next few months I will be taking these comics home and storing them in my father's old workshop downstairs. Once I figure out how to use the wood furnace, and the weather gets colder, they will find a final, toasty home.
And now you know... the rest of the story.
In 2011, I interviewed Cub Carson, Brad Dryen, Floyd, Kate Milton, Dan Barton, JAX, Neil Spence, Shane Wilson, Robert Maillet, Drakaina Muse, Debbie Rochon (on the cover of the current issue of Fangoria!), and Julia Kirkey (that one hasn't run yet). In one day, I had lunch with Jeff Cogswell and dinner appetizers with Cub Carson and Brad Dryden, who worked together in Ottawa several years ago. I began to interview Katey Day, only to realize that her life story is so fascinating and complicated that I will have to sit down with her for a week of Sundays to get it all. I found out a ton of information about legendary CJCH broadcaster Norm Riley. I believe I refuted some of the things stated about him by others.
2011 was a busy year for me. I had some good times with the radio people. I had some crappy times what with health crises for my mother and the distress associated with spending too much time on Facebook. I believe I am a stronger person for what I went through last year. It all leads nicely into 2012, or at least the first half of it. I will discuss that stuff... tomorrow.
See you then.