A War Games Dream

I dreamed I was playing war games. Not the kind where troops are loaded into aircraft and dropped somewhere while aircraft fly sorties and ships maneuver, such as the ones I did as an adult in the military. No, this was the board games type where famous battles are played out to see how you fare compare to the real deal, on boards pre-home computers. I used to play these all the time. I’d started with Battleship, progressed to Risk, Axis & Allies, and then got into more complex games. I’d even gone so far as to invent my own.

In this dream, I was a teenager. Like a movie, I was watching me. Walking around outside, I found small hills shaped like mountains and forests that rose to my thighs. Pieces about two feet tall were all around. Each was shaped as a tank to represent armor units, infantry, jets, destroyers, aircraft carriers, submarines, etc.

I realized I was on a huge board game. I wasn’t sure if I was a player, so I walked around, regarding the different pieces. They were very cool to me. The first pieces encountered were of WW II in Europe and north Africa, I discovered pieces from the American Civil War in one section, then found the Napoleonic Wars.

Someone told me it was my turn. I asked questions about what was going on, like, which side am I on, and what I was supposed to be doing. As the other explained it, I realized it was my father as he was when I was young. I was just grappling with pieces to make my first move when the dream ended.

Awakening, I chuckled about the war the subconscious neurons like to play as they engage in their own games.

The Magazine Dream

Spanky, a navigator who I worked with in Germany, was in my dream. He wanted a Playboy magazine but didn’t have time to get it. I decided that I would get it for him.

I ordered it and it arrived. Before I could give it to him, he had to go on a mission. My wife didn’t want a magazine like that in the house, so I had to hide it. I ran around the house considering hiding places, finally deciding that I’d hide it behind the HVAC return filter. She’d NEVER look there. But as I was hiding it, Spanky came in. I gave him the mag. Delighted, he took it with him and left on another mission.

Meanwhile, I’d received a red notice in the mail. The note said in big black marker, “Your package delivery was delayed by bad weather. We apologize for the delay.” The note confused me because I wasn’t expecting any delivery except the magazine. It had already arrived.

I then went to my wife and told her I’d bought the magazine for Spanky. That angered her, but I shrugged it off. Spanky wanted it, and I thought he deserved it. It only cost me five dollars, including delivery. I thought that was a good deal.

Monday’s Theme Music

Salutations from the third rock from the sun. Today, we mark Monday, April 5, 2021 on the calendar. Here in Ashland, Sol presented at 6:47 AM and is expected to vacate the area at 7:41 PM. Temperatures are cooler today, just 47 degrees F right now, with supposed highs in the mid-sixties. Rain showers are likely.

Had half a cuppa coffee already. Taste buds are singing praises about the flavor and the caffeine is bubbling in my blood. Musically, me mind is mired in 1979 this AM, with Rainbow’s cover of “Since You’ve Been Gone” dominating the neurons. I think this has to do with a dream medley that I experienced that left me thinking about people I socialized with in different locations who I no longer see. Some have died, but with others, different paths were taken and gap emerged that keep us away from one another.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and get the vax. Cheers

Mom’s Call

I’d just been saying to my wife, “Getting hold of Mom is so hard.”

“Why?” She was peering over her glasses, typing on her computer. She’s always doing that – or reading or bathing (much time is spent in the bathtub reading) – so I’m not bothered by bothering her.

“She doesn’t text, or answer emails. I don’t think she checks her email every day or even every other day. She says she’s going to call back, but she doesn’t. She leaves a number but she doesn’t answer it. It doesn’t even go to her email.” I shook my head, dismayed by the recitation. Mom lives a continent away. Visiting her is a challenge. It’s rural on both ends. Rural meaning, no airports within an hour. Rural, meaning the flights to the nearest airport means travel days that begin and end in darkness on either end.

I’d just been saying/thinking these things when the phone rang. Suspicious of telemarketers – they’re focused on car warranties right now (meanwhile, I’m receiving solicitations about being cremated or getting my hearing tested in the mail) – I checked the number. “Mom’s number,” I said, answering the phone.

Hello was exchanged and I began my opening remarks. “How are you? I’ve been calling since you last called but I don’t get any answer.”

“Your father is dead.”

“Really?” Suspicions reared up. “You told me that three times before.”

“Twice. The other time was him.”

“No, he told you that he committed suicide.”

“It was a note.”

“Still, you called me and told me Dad was dead.”

“I thought he was.”

“That he’d killed himself.”

“I thought he had.”

I left the office to wander the house, a nervous habit I had when talking with Mom. “Even though there wasn’t a body.”

“I thought he was being thoughtful and had gone off and killed himself in the woods. He’s really dead this time.”

“Is there a body this time?”

“Yes.”

“I think I need third-party verification.”

“Your sister is here.”

“Which one?”

“Debby.”

“Debby? Really?”

“Yes, she came up to see us. She and the boys drove up. The got here last Thursday. She’s staying in the spare room. Her boys are staying with Jean. I think Jean got the better deal.”

“Probably.”

“Do you want to talk to her? She’ll tell you that your Dad is dead.”

I stopped at the living room back window. A blue jay was screeching in the back yard. Our black cat watched from atop a sunny knoll. “No, I don’t trust Debby any more than you.”

“I understand.”

I changed hands and thought. “What about my other sisters?”

“They’re not here.”

“Have you told them?”

“Yes. Jean is at work. She’s coming over when she gets off, after she picks up the boys. The boys are going to school from home. Rooming.”

“Zooming.”

“That’s what I said.”

“Is anyone there with them?”

“Yes, of course, Dibo.”

“Is he sober?”

“He says he is. Jean doesn’t have any alcohol in the house any longer. Dibo drank it all. She won’t let him buy more.”

“Where there’s a credit card, there’s a way.” I was quoting Mom from her previous calls.

“She took his credit cards away from him.”

“What about Jan?”

“I don’t think Dibo is drinking any more. He quit smoking, too, except for medical marijuana. He lost a lot of weight but now he’s gained most of it back.”

“Did you tell Jan?”

Mom hesitated. “No, I didn’t tell Jan.”

“Why not?”

“She has other things that she’s dealing with.”

“What?”

“Well, she got into an argument over a parking space. Apparently, some words were exchanged. Anyway, some people filmed it with their phones. Now they’re calling her Karen and she’s in jail for assault with a shopping cart.”

I sighed, trying to think of a response. I heard water running on the other end. Talking followed. “What’s going on?”

The talking continued. So did the water sounds. “Mom? Hello, Mom? It’s me, your son. You’re on the phone. Hello?”

Changing hands, I walked the house, listening and thinking.

Mom finally said, “Your father’s up. I need to make him dinner. I’ll call you later, okay? I love you, bye.”

She hung up before I replied. Pressing the phone’s off button, I walked back into the office where my wife continued typing.

“Was that your Mom?”

“Yes.”

“How is everything?”

“Dad is still alive. Debby is visiting, Dibo is straight, and Jan is in jail.”

“Same as last time.”

“Yep.” I sat in my office chair and swiveled it to the front window. A heavy sigh rolled up out of my chest. “Some day she’ll accept that Dad divorced her and the others don’t exist.” I always said that. It never happened. I just went along with it all.

“Phone calls will be a lot shorter.”

I stared out the front window, wistfully watching a man and woman walking a dog. They seemed so normal. But so did Mom. “Yes, they will.”

A Crush of Dreams

What a crush of dreams the night held. First came stupidity.

I was in a broad, lightly-used parking light. A woman with two girls (daughters, I assumed), were on blankets and towels on the parking lot, sunning themselves. All were fair skinned. The youngest was to her mother’s right, with her arms thrust out to either side.

Along comes a red car. It backs up and turns. Although there are scant other cars on this lot, they do this right in front of the threesome. As I do, I realize that they’re going to run over the young girl’s arm.

It’s a little red SUV. I run toward the SUV as it backs, shouting at them to stop. The woman and her daughters look over at me. The SUV’s windows are down. Its occupants all turn and look at me but the driver keeps back, going right over the girl’s arm, rear wheels, front. The girls screams. The SUV keeps going, then turns and pulls forward, away from the girl and me. They’re still oblivious about what has happened. The mother is attending the daughter. I run to the SUV, shouting at them, “What’s wrong with you? You ran over that girl’s arm.” The driver, a middle-aged white woman seems confused.

Without further resolution, I’m in a parking lot. A young woman in bright green shorts is laying on the asphalt. A car comes up and runs over her legs.

I watch with shock. Then, I think, again?

Dream shift. I’m in bed, naked and aroused. A petite brunette woman comes in a blue shirt and jeans. We seem to know each other. We start joking and goofing around, then she begins making up the bed with me in it. I fondle her breasts and ask if she wants to scream. Laughing, she replies, “Oh, why not?” She jumps into bed with me.

Now I’m at home. It’s a weird, disjointed place. I don’t recognize it and I’m struggling to recognize changes. Other people are there, my wife’s friends, apparently. I ignore them as I walk around, looking for my wife, trying to understand the changes that have been put in place. I’ve been working all night; now I want to rest. But she’s decided to have a party. This infuriates me; didn’t she realize that I need my rest and the party noise will keep me awake? Glaring at her, I find a bench to sleep on, pulling covers up over my head.

Unable to sleep, I keep changing locations but the noises keep me up. I went to find my wife to register my complaints but she blew me off.

Next, we’re out somewhere with other couples. A guy asks her to dance. I’m pissed at her because she decided to sit at the other end of the table. I thought, WTF? After dancing with the guy, she gestures at me from across the room, ‘want to dance?’. I ignore her. She goes off to dance with the other guy again. Disgusted, angry, I leave the area and find myself in a cold, dark, wet place.

That’s where it ended.

Two Short Dreams

‘Nudder busy dream night. Two stayed strongest with me. One which I found funny involved my wife.

Before that happened, though, I needed to get my phlegm tested to see if I had the flu. The local lab couldn’t test me for circular, bureaucratic reasons. I knew of a lab, though. Just needed to take my phlegm to another lab. So, I spit into a small piece of plastic, folded that in half, and put it into a plastic bag. Then off I went!

The lab wasn’t amused. They were downright pissed. “We can’t test this! What’s wrong with you?”

Chagrinned, I returned to report my failure to get my flu results because my sample had dried up and become contaminated. The man in charge was angry. He’d just received the report from the lab and was chastising everyone there, demanding to know who was responsible. I immediately went to him and told him, “It was me and only me. I’m the one who did it, all on my own. Put all the blame on me.”

He started righteously chewing me out but as he did, I could tell that he was trying not to laugh. That made me start laughing. He finally gave up and we both started laughing. He told me that what I’d done was silly and not to do it again, and then we went on our ways.

My way took me and my wife into a car on the road. We were young, in our early twenties. Ahead of us, a pickup truck was stopped in our lane. Weirdly, thinking back on it, we were driving on the left side of the road. The steering wheel was in the right place, though. Anyway, a pale metallic green, second-gen Prius — you probably know the type, it’s the ubiquitous spaceship-looking version that I seem to encounter all over the place — crossed the double-yellow line, pulled out into the other lane and passed the pickup — on a hill, going into a curve. Not safe, was what my wife and I said. Much finger gesturing and shouting ensued by both parties involved ahead of us. The pickup immediately started after the Prius with my wife and I right behind them.

We all pulled into a busy, dusty parking lot. My wife and I hurried into a little cafeteria-like place. She rushed to the counter. Two younger blonde twin women were approaching the counter, gabbing as they went. My wife deftly managed to reach the counter first. Holding up a quarter, which the male cashier accepted, she said, “Lemonade, please.”

The cashier answered, “I need to serve these two women first. They were here before you.”

“Then I went my quarter back,” my wife snapped.

“One gently used quarter returned to its previous owner,” the cashier said with a smile. My wife stomped off.

She was angry. Going to a table, she spread out newspaper sections to read. But, too angry to read, she then marched off, leaving the paper there. The cashier came up as she was departing the table. Pointing at the sections, he began, “Could you please,” but she rushed off without looking at him. He then appeared very dejected and walked away.

Seeing this, I quietly went up, folded up the newspaper sections, and put the paper back into the basket.

Amazonitis

A brief bout of Amazonitis hit our house this week. Don’t know if you’ve ever been afflicted. Essentially, it’s a common medical condition brought on by something that Amazon or its affiliates do. First, someone’s mood grows foul. The person is then often afflicted with spurts of anger and short temper, accompanied by swearing at the computer. Side-effects include swearing at other people, the news, and animals.

My wife was afflicted first. Her book club is meeting on Wednesday next week. The book chosen for 2021 is Girl, Woman, Other. As soon as the announcement was made in early December, I went online to the library, checked for copies, and put it on hold. I was number two billion on five copies. (Yes, that’s an exaggeration for effect; actual number was seventeen on six copies.) (My wife’s library card doesn’t permit her to put books on hold online. Her card is part of an older system. The system was revamped five years ago. One needed to go in and get a new card. She never did that, so my card is used for her requests along with my requests. I don’t mind; I need to keep the karma points.) (Okay, I mind a little.)

I tracked progress of the book on hold. I’d reach number nine by the last week of December. Okay, the library book wasn’t going to be received in time. In lockdown, finding it locally was something she shied away from doing. The book was ordered online from Amazon.

Amazonian wheels began turning. The order was processed. Shipment took place. Estimated delivery was by 8 PM on January 8th. Candles were lit. The vigil began. Shipment notifications claimed it was out for delivery. The front lights were turned on to help the deliverer find their way.

Eight PM passed without a delivery. “It’s not here,” my wife growled, the first stage of Amazonitis. “Let me see what the tracking notification says.” She opened her computer. “What the actual fuck! They say it’s in Hillsborough, Oregon.”

Hillsborough is a suburb of Portland, about two hundred ninety miles away.

My wife turned to me. “It’s not going to be here until between the twelfth and fourteenth now. Book club is on the thirteenth. I won’t have time to read the book. Where can I get it?”

I did online searches of local bookstores to see what could be done. Wasn’t in.

“Can you order on Kindle?” my wife asked. “Do you have an app? Can I read it on the iPad?” Lots of questions, for which I thought, sure. That’s when my Amazonitis struck.

I went to Amazon, found the book, and ordered a digital copy. Amazon said, “Download our free app and read it now!” I downloaded the app. “Your devices don’t support the app,” Amazon answered. “Want to buy a new device that does?”

WTAF? You’re telling me that I can’t read it with your app on my ‘puter? WTAF?

I didn’t realize it then, but I’d already caught the Amazonitis.

The bug was spreading fast through me. Two of our floofs, Tucker and Boo, started a hissing and growling contest under my desk. “If you two don’t stop now, I’ll give you two something to hiss and growl about!” I yelled.

My wife laughed. “That’s something that I bet your Dad never said to you.”

The Amazonitis had attacked my sense of humor. I wasn’t in the mood. I’d followed a link to another app they recommended, downloaded and installed it. Then I clicked to read the book.

Unfortunately, the book was completely blank. Hundreds of blank pages. In fact, there were no pages with any words, letters, or numbers.

The Amazonitis crept deeper into my muscles. “What the actual fuck?” I snapped. On the Kinder app, my newly purchased book didn’t even show up. As Amazonitis wrapped its tentacles around me and my anger surged, I went back to my orders. Under the book on my order page was a little ‘Read Now’ button. I clicked it to see what would happen.

The book opened.

That was it? Why, oh ‘great Amazon’, I snarled in my angriest internal voice, did you have me go through all that shit about downloading apps and chasing links if I could just order it and click and read it right there on the page? Huh? Why? Why, why, why?

The crises had been averted, more or less. My wife couldn’t read the book on the iPad but she could read it on her Mac. (None of the apps had been downloaded and installed on her Mac, BTW. It was all done on the iPad or my Dell. So, she could read it on her Mac without any app.) No, she couldn’t take it to read in the bath, but, oh, well. The Amazonitis began to creep out of our systems.

Today, she checked on the tracking notification for the other book. You know, the hard copy that was supposed to be delivered by 8 PM on the 7th. The one which had suddenly been changed to a delivery date of between Jan 12 and 14.

“They say it’s been delivered,” she said.

“Where?” I asked. It was about two PM. I went to the front porch.

There it was, sitting on the mat.

I felt a new bout of Amazonitis coming on.

For Free

I broke my arm in July and have been rehabilitating it. I’ve recently achieved doing pushups again. Proud of it, I went in and announced to my wife, “I can do pushups.”

She looked up. “For money?”

I thought about it. “Are you going to pay me?”

“No. I don’t think anyone will pay you to do pushups for money.”

“Neither do I.”

“Then why are you telling me?”

I explained my purposes, but now I was a little down. I can do pushups, but nobody is paying me.

It’s like I’m working for free.

Sunday Stewing

  1. Argued with my muse earlier this week. She told me, “Write this.” I replied, “But why? This is going in an unexpected direction.” Her response: “Just write it.” It was the disdainful tone she employed that precipitated the argument. I was all, “I’m the writer here. I’m in charge.” She loosed mocking laughter in answer. Eventually, she told me that I was obsessing over the novel’s concept to the detriment of the plot, story, and characters. Ouch. Harsh words.
  2. This kind of novel-writing confusion often happens to me. Wait, what am I doing? Where am I going? What’s supposed to happen? I’m a pantser, not an outliner. I generally want to know where the story goes and leave the details to my muse (or muses) to fill in for me. I’m a person prone to overanalyzing matters, though, why often helps me confuse myself. Sitting down and doing a session to address where I’ve gone awry generally puts me right. I often indulge in several of these sessions while writing a novel’s first draft.
  3. We were doing the laundry the other day. The dark load finished washing. I transferred it to the dryer. My wife loaded the washer with a load of whites. The dryer finished with the darks. I pulled them out, then put the whites in and went off and folded the darks. My wife was busy reading, so when the whites finished, I pulled them out and started folding them. As I did, I thought, what does she do to these socks? They’re not very clean. My wife, looking up from her reading, said, “Did you do the whites?” Her question confused me. “No, you did. I just put them in the dryer.” “Um, were they wet?” I thought back: actually, no. Sheepishly, chased by her laughter, I put the whites back into the washer. This happened two days ago; she’s still teasing me about it and laughing.
  4. Cancer strikes again. Another friend in the hospital with some cancer variation. One of those things that elicit a long sigh even as I intellectualize, well, it’s life and death, isn’t it? Where we all end. Yeah.
  5. My formerly broken arm (the left one) continues improving. Did pushups this week. First was just a half one. Lot of quivering arm with it, some mild pain, greater worry. I think worry was holding me back all along. The arm just remains so thin looking, and the wrist still doesn’t move right. Hence, my worry. But I’ve done more pushups since. This morning, I managed two sets of four. Yeah, baby, progress.
  6. Wrote this post during the AM hours. Then sat on it while I drank coffee and wrote like crazy. Now time to run to the library. They do a door service. Books are put on hold; we go to the door where a table is set up. They come out, we identify ourselves, and then the librarian goes in to find the books for us, check them out, and return. After the library, drop off some muffins to friends, then back home to eat a late lunch and rake leaves. Stay positive, test negative, and wear a mask.

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