Friday, October 8, 2010

Snakes Shed Their Skin Don't They?

This moving out of the old Hatfield place is massively demanding--emotionally, psychically, spiritually, socially,  economically and in a few other weird ways---plus,  I will never again be able to pee off my second story deck toward the big redwood tree twenty feet away.  When I moved here in 1988 I could reach it with ease,  but my prostate has given me the old "",  and now I have to really push--life's a bitch!

Janey and I are already fighting  about what to keep and where it should go.  We are going from 4000 sq/ft to 900 sq/ft.  If she has her way,  and she will,  the tiny upstairs bedroom in our "darling" little cottage next to the French Laundry in beautiful downtown Yountville will have the character of a walk in closet--not the spacious bedroom we now occupy.  She will not give up one stitch of her precious clothing.  It will be like Narnia where those kids slide around the fur coats and stuff as they move to the new world.  My new world is going to include a TemperPedic California King with the electric gizmo to raise one end and a 30 inch HD TV suspended from the ceiling so I can fulfill my commitment to NFL Ticket and Dr. Phil.  This is all I get--but it is enough.  O yes, and new batteries for the damn channel changer.

Our Lord and God--the lending company--is giving us $8000.00 to get our asses out of here by Nov.1.  I could have done the "loan modification"--but I would have had to harvest our  200 redwood trees for $25,000.00 and make a $7500.00 monthly nut to boot.  After PGE, propane, upkeep, taxes, insurance, mouse traps,  and dog food (Janey over feeds the dogs)--the monthly nut is up to $10,000.00.  I am nearly 65 and have had enough of this shit.  I am a walking dead man now and am asking God what He wants to do with what is left.  So far He has said clearly, " son, continue to hit fairways, greens, and putts..and never stop watching 7 hours of TV daily,  and don't stop using my wonderful new gift to you--Scoal Winteregreen chew!" This new Long Gut Wintergreen is so much better than Copenhagen which used to make my feet and hands numb.  Wintergreen just shuts down your brain, gives you gum cancer, creates addiction, and makes you stink--but nothing else of harm.  It is the perfect antidote for over-excitement about painting.

I thought I was over  all of this moving stuff until yesterday when I broke down and cried like a baby.  The thought of leaving our pet cemetary under the 300 year oak made me weep.  The population there is five--three cats and two dogs--and I had planned to be sprinkled there among my only true friends--maybe somebody can sneak up here and get the job done when the time comes--any volunteers?

I have rented a storage space in a Vallejo ghetto.  The homies--Crips, Bloods, Nortenos, Surdenos, and Al Queda will watch over all of my crap with great love I am sure.  I will have to hire the Navy Seals and Swat Team to escort me to my new toy bin if I want to use my chain saw or recover an art book.  Let's see--what will I be doing with a chain saw at the new digs?  I know--I can trim the wisteria!

We are taking Sarah,  our 19 year old cat,  to the new place.  Molly,  our big fat golden female lab,  is being returned to her original owner from whom Janey stole her.  Molly thought prime rib scraps were better than Kibbles and Bits and migrated from our south forty neighbor to our place 5 years ago--blame Janey!  Janey is currently angry at Sarah who squirted all over the bedding the other day as a statement for Janey's terminating the tuna diet.  Wow!  I just saw Sarah take off after a mouse outside on the deck!  Something I thought she quit doing  years ago.  Is this a sign?

Where were we?  O yes--moving is massive.  My old friend and art student, Bill Dyer,  graciously showed up yesterday to help me move--a complete surprise.  Bill has become a wonderful artist--visit This is his thank you to me for giving him an art life.  Actually, Bill and I go way back.  He was my first collector.  In 1980 he bought some Remington knock offs I had done during my cowboy phase.  He then owned a thriving frame shop in Long Beach, CA and was a source of constant encouragement to me.  He now lives nearby so....

I thought I had a studio rented yesterday,  but the rent was a little stiff.  I don't want to feel any economic pressure again for as long as I live.  I am thinking about terminating my gym membership and cell phone contract to save a few pennies.  I have fantasized about quitting painting altogether to save money.  After this last commission I have no one to please with paint.  I can then live off Social Security and Janey's paycheck.  She is a big shot at a 5 star resort in Yountville--walking distance from the new house,  and has a 25 year following of clients that she has guided through wine country, and their needs literally fill her life with love--why does she need me anyway?  I guess it's my good looks and great sex!  If you believe  that--God help ya.

Back to the move.  The bank wants this place "broom clean" before they issue the $8000.00.  I initially thought that clean up around here was a piece of cake--wrong!  I have two out buildings filled with a 25 year accumulation of tools, toys, gadgets, supplies, and God knows what.  I now see where the 1.5 mil I sucked out of this place went.  I have 7 sets of golf clubs, 5 road bikes, a $10,000.00 ride along mower (any takers?), electrical gear, plumbing gear, 1500 classic magazines from the 40's, garden and farm supplies, and stuff I don't remember buying.  Bill and I are organizing this junk for a mega Craig's List sale this weekend.  There is also a classic Willies Jeep, A Jeep Wrangler, and a boat for sale if anybody is interested.

We will make about 15 dump runs.  Janey wants to donate all of my old cloths to the Salvation Army.  I have lost 30 lbs. and could fit back into the old rags, but since I now wear sweats and a tee shirt only--this will never happen.  Yes--tee shirts and sweats only--neutral colors and functional draw strings.  I sleep, work, exercise, and take communion in this attire and change once a a life!  I would go bare footed, but those California goat head stickers create horrible puncture wounds.  I am indeed a cloths horse now--a six piece wardrobe--two sweat pants, three tee shirts, and two shoes--that makes 7 pieces I guess.  And don't tell Janey, but all of those old cloths are going to the dump in trash bags--if I don't get caught!

Anyway that's about it for now.  On a final little note.  I see this move as a paradigm for my final big move--my personal passage out of my body to Jesus when I die--the Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and the Virgin Mary notwithstanding--is that selfish enough for ya?  I see all change as an education in what is really going on at the Spiritual level--on second thought--I don't really think there is a "spiritual level"--I believe that our whole life swims in the love of God and that there is only one level--a kingdom, an economy, and existence, that provides the possibility of constant communion with our Creator who sent His only Little Boy to die the death of a criminal so we would get the point.  The move of the ages is not from one kennel to another, it is not getting married, having grand kids, giving away 60 billion for the greater good of humanity,  or becoming an artist or following your bliss, or least of all achieving "higher consciousness"--it is moving from a death to life in Christ at the point of faith.  Everything else is paradigmatic, symbolic, or indicative, or instructional of this great move.  So....."have a nice day" as my foreclosure officer said.

Snakes shed their skin don't they?

Who loves ya?--see ya down the road--Don


  1. Don, I hear what you're saying! Our heartache and major catastrophe in this life are different but we're both coming to the same conclusion. I'm better today and hope you are too. Blessings, my friend . . . . Nora

  2. Don, that last paragraph is worthy of being etched in stone.
    Or maybe a really long tattoo. Thanks for reminding us, even in the midst of sorting out the remnants of a lifetime here, that THIS IS NOT ALL THERE IS.. AND THE LAST CHAPTER HAS BEEN WRITTEN AND WE ALREADY KNOW THE ENDING!
    Thanks, I needed to hear it today.

    PS. That is going to be one heck of a Craigslist ad.....
    PSS..have you ever thought of writing a book??? maybe?

  3. Don,
    Il serait bon de vous rencontrer un jour en France. Je sais que cela n'empêchera pas les vieux démons de venir vous tourmenter, mais je serais heureuse de vous recevoir avec Janey...
    Vous pourriez demeurer ici aussi longtemps que vous le voudriez... loin des tumultes qui vous rongent. Réfléchissez-y...
    Recevez toute ma profonde amitié.
    Martine Alison

  4. My good man, you are walking gift...

  5. Don, I can't begin to imagine sifting through a lifetime's worth of belongings. Only that when its done, the weight of many things will be lifted from your shoulders. You must be digging up memories by the closetful. I wish you and Janey strength through this emotional time. At the end of it all (the moving I mean...), life will calm and sort itself out. Be well and God bless.

    You never wanted that old snake skin anyway, did you?

  6. Don, I have no fancy comments, just hugs and prayers.
    You sound pissed, (but I think you're happy)oops..was that a fancy comment?
    Love ya Don.

  7. Oh man, I really feel sad for all you guys are going through. May God see you through it all and that the move will end up a BIG blessing. (You lost 30 pounds? WOW!) Please get back to painting asap.

  8. I was taught, "the Lord helps those who help themselves". Don, my only words of wisdom here is be organized when you move. Mark all your boxes and keep all your ducks in a row (so to speak). Only unpack the necessities when you get where you are going and let the rest fall into place slowly. Wishing you peace.........