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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

POST 693; 10/30/12; MISSOULA, MONTANA

Yes, I do seem to get around.   Having purchased "back" my trailer for $2,500.00 from PW from whom I received $2,000.00 when he purchased it from me 3 weeks ago...all my belongings are loaded aboard and have arrived safely at this way-stop (Missoula, Montana), enroute to Brother Jim's (deceased) home on Whidby Island, 50 miles north of Seattle, where I have been invited by Jim's offspring to become their "caretaker" for the immediate future.

Leaving OBX on Friday at Noon, I have stopped off to visit Craig and Karen.  Karen has completed liver biopsy confirming suspected cancer having travelled.  Her fourth chemo begins tomorrow, Wednesday...the first of many lasting 6 months.  I keep in daily communication with Craig and Karen...two who know what real love is !

I say this (...two who know what real love is !) because of my disappointment at the unfathomable dismissal by Pastor Steve...the very same Pastor Steve who daily professed to one and all that:..."I (he) love you and there is nothing you can do about it".  Guess I expected better of Steve.  Even so, I feel only sorrow and regret for P. Steve, his family, his church, and Food Pantry.  I'm OK.  I hope for Steve that all is also OK.

My drive across America has been with some problem.  Both trailer tires have failed.  One blew out two days ago driving at 65 mph on I-90 35 miles west of Sioux Falls, North Dakota.  After waiting parked on I-90 for 3 hours - with trouble flashers blinking -, I dropped the trailer (I had no spare), drove back to Sioux Falls where I retrieved my telephone - I left it in my motel room - and purchased a new tire mounted on a new rim.  AAA Road Service, of which I am a member, drove from Sioux Falls to the trailer, where the service man changed my tire.  In the next town, Mitchell, North Dakota, I stopped at the Goodyear Tire Company, where I purchased a second new tire, which I had mounted on the rim - of the blowout -, which was then installed on the trailer.  Now I have two new trailer tires and one spare.

Stopped for the night at Sister Carol in DeKalb, Illinois, where the staff put me up for the night on the reading-room couch.  Carol has been receiving 100 % assisted living for 5 years, all the while battling Sugar Diabetes and Parkinsons.  Another - like Karen - high spirited lady facing a tough fight for life.

My MPV has been performing splendidly - knock on wood -, pulling a much over-loaded trailer...the reason the tire blew.  Tomorrow, I should reach Jim's...then begins unloading, moving in, and setting up.  Again, this will be done by myself...as it has been in the past.

In the morning, have 150 miles more of the Rocky Mountains to cross before reaching Spokane, Washington.  Then, only 350 more miles, including crossing the Cascade Mountains, to reach Jim's.

Snow has been lying along I-90 for the last 200 miles.  So far, temperatures are in the 50s with another such day predicted for tomorrow.  Look to another uneventful day...perhaps my last of over 50 driven crossings of the USA by car / truck.  This trip has taken me along / and crossing my recent walk from OBX to the Peace Arch near Vancouver, BC, Canada.  Cannot imagine anyone walking across America, for this is one BIG country.  Without any doubt, the most satisfying and pleasurable endeavor I have undertaken.

I look forward to Lisbon / Beijing in the not too distant future.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

POST 692; 10/25/12; COLUMBIA, NORTH CAROLINA

Major events in the past 48 hours have resulted in my MOVING from my Salvo, OBX home on Sunday/Monday.  At Pastor Steve's request, I have been relieved of all duties regarding the LIFEBOAT COMMUNITY CHURCH FOOD BANK.

I purchased back my large trailer used to move from Bellingham, Washington to Salvo, OBX some 3 months ago.  All personal items, including my motorcycle are once again on the road...this time to a destination on Whidby Island, Washington State, via sister Carol in DeKalb, Illinois.

Have enjoyed my recent 36 hours in the home of Karen and Craig, where I have been gifted Karen's Queen Size Bed - she has received her new adjustable "hospital" bed, which Craig and I assembled and set up today.  Karen, for those having not read my past year's blogs, has been a daily reader/commentator of this blog and has been directly responsible for my presence in the Outer Banks, North Carolina...Karen is also embarking on her fourth round of chemo fighting aggressive breast cancer.  A more powerful strong lady would be difficult to find.

Karen's household is keenly watching the Weather Channel this evening, tracking Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the southern coastline of the USA.  The eye is presently projected to pass by OBX Cape Hatteras (Salvo, N.C.) from which I moved my belongings only 36 hours ago.  Local bulletins predict road flooding and closures - Highway 12, together with potential substantial coastal flooding.  My home was only 1/2 block from the Atlantic Ocean Beaches.  Columbia, N.C., Karen's home where I am staying another night, is only 2 feet above the waterline of the PAMLICO SOUND, protected by the sand spit of Hatteras Island.

I plan to drive West from Columbia, N.C. early tomorrow morning.  Hurricane Sandy is scheduled to arrive Saturday.  Leading winds of the quickly expanding hurricane are already beginning to reach Columbia. N.C.

THIS IS A BIG STORM, being met head on by a blocking NorthEaster much like the "Perfect Storm" of 1991 movie fame.  This Northeaster is turning Hurricane Sandy West onto the shore of eastern seaboard...perhaps as close as Norfolk, Virginia, only 50 miles to the North East of Columbia.

Perhaps events of the past few days between Pastor Steve and myself have been preordained...then again !

In any event, I am:  1)  glad I and my possessions are out of harms way; and, 2) remain very concerned about the safety and welfare of my friends in Salvo.  They are just now beginning to recover from last year's Hurricane Irene...virtually NONE have any flood insurance.

Checking the national weather forecast, snow is already falling in the Denver, Colorado area.  I plan to drive I-80 or I-90 (100 miles north of I-80).  If conditions deteriorate, I may be forced south into New Mexico / Arizona to find safe passage over the Rocky Mountains via I-40 or below to I-10.

I will dearly miss my many friends of OBX and Columbia, North Carolina.

I plan to continue this blog enroute to the Pacific Northwest and for the foreseeable future.  Lisbon/Beijing is still at the top of my ambitions...I need only recoup my emotions and stabilize my financial situation, which has been emptied by my failed trek to OBX to volunteer my services to Pastor Steve for the next year.

For any who may be confused by all the recent hallabaloo, I state without hesitation or reservation that Pastor Steve has been and remains a true friend...a friend whom I would give my last $$ and breath to help through his difficulties.  I am truly shredded by the dreadful events of the past few days.




Monday, October 22, 2012

POST 691; 10/22/12; OBX, N.C.

On this Monday, October 22, 2012, I have been in my home awaiting an appointment with Pastor Steve to find a resolution to the impasse' he and I arrived at yesterday regarding LIFEBOAT COMMUNITY CHURCH FOOD PANTRY...his instructions to me...my actions to fulfill those instructions...his decision that I have failed him.

Even though I visited Pastor Steve's home early this morning, no response / invitation has been received by this late hour of 6:55pm.  I am very concerned for this situation.  Firstly, I am totally devoted to Pastor Steve.  I have set aside one year of my life to do his bidding.  Secondly, I have, to the best of my ability, fulfilled Pastor Steve's instructions.

Arriving at Salvo some many weeks ago, I have leased my small home only 2 blocks from the Food Pantry and three homes away from Pastor Steve's...so to be close by and available at all times.

In addition to my specific actions for / at the Food Pantry, I have daily requested the opportunity to do tasks for Pastor Steve personally; i.e., maintain his property as well as chores to do with maintenance of church grounds.  Only last Wednesday, Pastor Steve said that because of my efforts, the Food Pantry - inside and out - has never made a better presentation.

I began my time for Pastor Steve by cleaning out the entire food pantry premises, including removing ALL food items.  I then scrubbed down all shelving, walls, freezers, and floors.  I next hand sanded the shelving and varnished the woodwork.  The floor, I etched with acid, rinsed it clean, and thoroughly painted the concrete surface.  I then installed a large floor carpet covering much of the newly painted concrete.

In the process of the above, upon removing all food items, more than a few "vermin" - creepy crawlies - scampered about.  I activated a "bug bomb" inside the pantry, effectively killing everything.  One or two critters have since snuck into the pantry, but have been immediately killed and removed.

All cleaning materials, acids, paints and tools, I purchased from my own pocket.

Since that initial cleaning, I have, every two or three days, disinfected all shelving with liquid spray - moving displayed cans / bags of food item - and hand washed down the entire display / storage surfaces.

Oohs and Aahs have been received nearly every time clients enter the pantry...first impressions !!

I did not stop there.

Upon my arrival, food donations typically arrived at the pantry AFTER the advertised opening time of 9:00am.  As the result, product was not segregated, sorted, or displayed.  A mad rush always prevailed by waiting customers to rummage through arriving donations; i.e., there was NO organization allowing customers to view available product and certainly NO time / effort to display it.

I instituted DEMANDS that the hours of operation be changed to allow proper receipt, sorting, and display of donated products.  My demands were denied.  Recently, I have been requested by Pastor Steve to drive to the donation point(s) to pick up the food.  I have seen to it that I picked up donations and returned to the pantry much earlier than the 9:00 am opening to allow unloading/sorting/display.  Customers can now leisurely "shop" in a clean orderly pantry.

Problems between Pastor Steve and I began to develop early on, but being a newbie and trying my best to please Pastor Steve, I held my peace until two days ago, when I asked to be brought into the loop of information when food pantry decisions were made.  After all, I was asked to be manager of the food pantry, and as I told Pastor Steve, I could not properly do my job unless I was informed.  I emphasized that I had - and have - no interest in making decisions...only that I be informed of HIS decisions.  Pastor Steve, after mulling over my request of Saturday, informed me yesterday morning - before church services - that he could / would not do that.

Pastor Steve then continued...that by my "organization" of sorting / displaying food within the pantry, I have been encroaching on the "accustomed" practices of his large number of volunteers - of the past 5 years or so - and that his solution to his other volunteers was that I was to leave ALL arriving donations at the doorway entrance...effectively, baring my entry to do my job.

Since that moment yesterday, I have been totally ignored by Pastor Steve and his immediate family...now I read on Facebook pleas for "prayer" to resolve their terrible crisis.

Having no problem with prayer or asking others for their prayers, I really do believe there is a rational acceptable solution to this - to me - minor problem...to wit:

In response to repeated requests that I return...(..."when are you coming home"...), I have moved 3,000 miles at great cost to dedicate my voluntary services to Pastor Steve.  Pastor Steve, in my experience, is one very special man to whom I have and stand ready to continue to do his bidding...for which I refuse to accept any remuneration ($$)....give me his wishes, point me in the proper direction, and give a gently nudge.

Since Pastor Steve will not allow me to come to him, perhaps this blog appeal will reach him so that this unfortunate circumstance can be brought to a comfy conclusion and I can get on with my promise to serve Pastor Steve.

In the interim, except for 1.5 hours to complete my early morning extreme walking regimen, I await in my home.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

POST 690; 10/21/12; OBX, N.C.

Yesterday brought on one of the most beautiful weather-days of the year to the Outer Banks.

Yesterday also brought on a most difficult day for Pastor Steve and I.  Together with five members of the local DARE CHALLENGE...a halfway house for abuse treatment...a van load of food and approximately $300.00 in donations were received at the local Food Lion Supermarket...donations for Pastor Steve's LIFEBOAT COMMUNITY CHURCH FOOD PANTRY.

During the day, Pastor Steve and I discussed many problems I was encountering in my capacity of looking after the Food Pantry.  Primary among my problems was that activities were being carried out by a number of "volunteers" without my involvement or notification.  I advised Pastor Steve that I could not fulfill the obligations given to me unless I am kept informed.

This morning, after "much consideration" by Pastor Steve, I was informed that I was no longer welcome to work within the Food Pantry; i.e., I must leave all "donations" at the entry door for further handling by the many "volunteers" of the past 5 or so years.

It seems that my efforts to bring cleanliness and organization to the Food Pantry resulted in my stepping on toes of those volunteers.  Pastor Steve determined that my participation was not meeting his needs, so I have been dismissed.

I am, of course, stunned and sorrowful to receive Pastor Steve's decision.  I have, after all, returned to OBX at the repeated invitation and insistence of the Pastor, his family and friends during my walk back to Bellingham from last March through June.  My move to OBX caused expenses of thousands of $$ and my dedication of one year of my life to help fulfill the needs and directions of Pastor Steve.  At least $$ do not enter into the equation as all my efforts and services to / for Pastor Steve and been VOLUNTARY, for which I have accepted not a single penny...I did accept gasoline for my MPV when used to pick up food donations for the Food Pantry.

Perhaps I did not read between the lines as I should have. 

So, I now have a one-year lease of my home; all my personal belongings are resident in my new home; my reserve $$ are expended, as Social Security is my only income since 1995.

I continue to press my walking each morning...now walking at 4.25 mph daily.  Earlier this week, I checked myself into the local OBX Hospital ER, as I was in extreme pain.  After 7 hours of intense tests, including blood, x-ray and CT (cat scan), my pain subsided somewhat and I was released with the advice that there is absolutely NO problem with any part of my body - neck to crotch - and that I was free to continue with my extreme daily walking / working.

I will now pursue employment...local sympathy allowing...and, perhaps begin writing a book or two.  I was wondering if it might be appropriate to write / publish sequential chapters here on this blog ???   A comment or two would be welcome.

Disappointed and somewhat sad, I again bring to mind that "tomorrow is another day" (gone with the wind).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

POST 689: OBX, N.C.

Yes, I know has been nearly one month since last update.  Have wanted to post every day...simply have not done it.

My primary goal - to help Pastor Steve - has taken increasing time; more responsibilities have been given by Steve, which I am pleased to perform for him.  The Food Pantry is in good shape - disinfect it every day or so.  Have set up a "gift" shop featuring toys and clothing.  Clothes are all in excellent condition, displayed on professional clothes racks.

All Pastor Steve's Food Pantry items are available to ALL, including visitors to OBX, free of any $$ contributions.  I, of course, accept NO $$ for my efforts...a one-year commitment for Steve to command.

Tourist season is coming to a close.  Businesses are closing down.  Locals are being let go...with no opportunities for employment.  Result is less / no $$ for many locals.  Food Pantry donations are also down, limiting options available in selection and quantity.  The local Food Lion Supermarkets are being wonderful in donating...just that quantities are reducing in the apparent seasonal adjustment.

Unreasonable number of locals (my friends) have become ill, bringing new $$ costs and emotional load(s).  Many have NO insurance - to cover previous losses from last year's Hurricane Irene - or current treatments.

My dearest friend, Karen Estey, (Karen is the reason I initially came to the Outer Banks one year ago, having invited me while I was walking across Texas) dropped in with hubby Craig from their home in Columbia, N.C., a couple days ago, with the sad news that cancer has spread into Karen's liver, resulting in another bout of oncology - Karen's fourth go at it. 

Needless to say, I am reliving Cri's torments of battling for her life.  I am NOT a happy camper just now...tears refuse to stop.

Karen has asked me to come visit this weekend.

Have been walking nearly every day my 5.4 mile route at 4.5 mph.  Last Saturday, was invited by Pastor Steve's daughter, Malinda, to participate with her in the Breast Cancer race in the neighboring town of Avon.  Completed the 3.2 mile course - walking - in 38 minutes...fastest walk I have ever experienced.  My body is being fantastic to me - in spite of the increasing Arthritis in fingers of both hands.  Message - Reflexology - and keeping them warm seems to help keep the pain and swelling under control.

Emotionally, I am a wreck. 

Still no software for my camera / computer interface.  Panasonic refuses to provide the needed software - no longer offered - and I cannot find my own disk which came with the camera.  Camera is Panasonic DMC-ZS5.  i.e., no photographs for our blog.

Dr. Blakemore of Nags Head, NC - Optometrist / Surgeon - gifted me ($2,300 value) Eye PRK Laser treatment for my right eye.  The laser cutting was done two weeks ago, instantly changing my eyesight from severe nearsightedness to nearly perfect (20/25) vision.  The laser treatment is, for me, a one-time event, with no degradation in future vision for the rest of my life.

How does one say "thank you" for such kindness !