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    April 29, 2018

    April Was Hell! Thank God I’m So Macho!

    So much has changed in my life, and so quickly.

    In my last post, my father had died, and I was left in charge of his vast empire of stuff.

    Since then, I have started a new job, inherited a Ford, sold my truck to the best Harley shop on the West Coast and have slowly started to liquidate my father’s collection of 40 year old paint, models, items that he bought over the years that are still new in the box, and his car collection.

    I had a job interview for a place that does support for billing systems between smart meters and the repository for the billing interface.

    I explained my vast experience in IT, like how I managed to keep the same blog up for over a decade, without modernizing the design, and my undercover spy work, like the time I infiltrated North Korea to verify that, yes, they do have guided tours, pictures of the Dear Leaders are all over the place, and all the missiles that they have ever made can reach Guam Island.

    My interview ended at 9:30 AM.

    PSD in a suit
    I was offered the job a little after noon.

    I had not been offered a job that quickly after my first interview since I was in High School.

    Now it was onto the task of going through my Dad’s vast empire of stuff, which included a garage packed high with boxes, two bedrooms packed high with boxes, two storage lockers packed high with boxes, a living room packed high with boxes and boxes under tarps in the backyard, when he had run out of space to put stuff.

    The opening of a bedroom.
    Cracking one of the bedrooms open – I know how Howard Carter felt cracking open King Tut’s tomb.

    My Dad personally put me in charge of his stuff.

    I made the decision that I would go through everything myself, sorting everything into piles – keep, trash, shred, sell and put directly into my trunk.

    The problem was, with the sheer volume of stuff, the piles soon blended into one another.

    I now have a vast pile of old 8 mm home movies that I have been digitizing.

    Old 8 mm home movie.
    I think that’s long lost Uncle Melvin with his girlfriends in the 1960′s.

    My Dad liked deals, and when he would come across one, he would buy two or three.

    A lot of his stuff was still brand new in the box.

    I hired a professional estate sales company to take care of liquidating his empire.

    The estate sales lady said that she had never seen such an enormous collection of stuff that is brand new in the box.

    Of course, Professional Debriefer Paul had a problem with all this.

    His plan was to sell all this stuff himself, on Ebay.

    I told him, “You must be on crack.

    “You’ve never bought or sold anything on Ebay, and it is going to take you 30 years or more to sell this stuff.

    “Mom wants this stuff out this year.”

    My cousin Joe, who had to deal with a similar situation when his father died, said it the best.

    Joe said, “So if you have ten things that you know are worth $400 each, but someone comes along and offers you $250 each for all of them, how much extra effort will it take you to get $400 for each?

    “Time is one thing you can’t get back in life.”

    We made a compromise with PDP and let him sell DVDs and other stuff that is light weight and not popular in estate sales.

    Even though it took him two weeks to think up a “good Ebay name,” he has done a great job.

    He says it is time consuming and people ask the dumbest questions.

    You can find his store here: MrEstateSale

    I hope this is not his retirement plan.

    Backyard junk.
    The backyard looked more like skid row during the cleaning.

    Backyard junk.

    It took two solid months to go through the house, and I haven’t even really gotten to the storage lockers; that will be saved for sale number two.

    The estate sales company provided staff and security during the four day sale, but between sales, I guarded the house.

    I borrowed a Universal Protection security shirt, complete with a Wells Fargo badge, from a Dry Cleaner friend of mine.

    Badge and Gun.
    I also had a toy .45 caliber Army pistol to complete the image.

    I was depending on my cage fighting skills if some shit actually went down.

    On the first day of the sale, people were actually sleeping in their cars overnight to get first grabs at 10 AM.

    I woke up every two hours and did a perimeter check wearing my security shirt during the night, or whenever a skunk or cat would set off one of the motion alarms.

    Front of Estate Sale.
    Every vulture, cheapskate and wanna-be Storage Wars character in the South Bay showed up for the looting.

    Backyard of Estate Sale
    People were looking for that $5 gem that would be worth a million dollars on Ebay.

    After the first day, I had dinner with my mother at The Admiral Risty – a pretty classy place, that served a bottle of Budweiser with a glass.

    My mother said, “Maybe you can start diving again when I’m gone.”

    I said, “Well, I hope you’ll be around for another twenty or thirty years…”

    “No, I mean when I go on vacation,” she responded.

    I’m hoping maybe I can dive in a week.

    Hell, I’ll dive Vets Park now, just to get in the water.

    Now, I’m going to head back to the Long Beach ghetto and finally get some REM sleep with my shoes off.

    Stay tuned.

    March 31, 2018

    Certain Things In My Life Are Now Declassified…

    Sorry for the long delay in writing…

    My life has entered a new chapter; my father died on February 20th.

    My Dad with Me.

    Things are certainly different, and for the next six months at least, I will be handling his vast empire; which means my diving weekends are shot.

    Tony Soprano?
    People often mistook my Dad for Tony Soprano.

    About five years ago, he was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) – the same disease that killed Lou Gehrig, Mao Zedong, David Niven and more recently Stephen Hawking.

    The cause is not known, but I personally think it was from him falling off a ladder several years ago or some asshole who sneezed in his face at an airport.

    It is my educated guess, and the reasoning is out of the scope of this post.

    With ALS, the person’s body slowly shuts down, eventually losing all mobility of the body.

    The victim is nothing but a fully functioning mind and a set of blinking eyes.

    There is also some very tragic psychological issues that go along with suffering the loss of all bodily movement.

    The doctors told him that he could get a feeding tube and breathing respirator and stay alive practically indefinitely, like Stephen Hawking did.

    But who the fuck wants to live like that?

    They gave him three years to live.

    His one dying wish, that I could accomplish, was to go to the grand opening of the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum, in Winterset, Iowa in May of 2015.

    Yes, he was a life-long John Wayne fan – except for the Duke’s stance on the Vietnam war.

    He often complained to me that I didn’t give him any grandchildren.

    I told him, “It’s hard for me to even get a date, but John Wayne had kids into his 50′s, so I still have hope.”

    “Yeah, but the problem is, you’re not John Wayne,” he said.

    Group Photo
    My sister Kate (Secret Agent K), my father and me at the John Wayne Museum – 2015.

    Here’s the posts of our trip, if you missed it:

    Classified Mission To Monument Valley

    Classified Mission To Iowa – Part 1

    Classified Mission To Iowa – Part 2

    Winterset Rodeo And The Opening Of The John Wayne Museum

    The End Of My Trip And Other Odds And Ends

    Since the trip, he continued to slowly decline.

    He got harder and harder to understand when he would speak, but he never bothered to learn to use his Tobii, which would have given him a computerized voice.

    He stopped driving two years ago.

    About eight months ago, he started to need help getting up out of bed and up out of his chair.

    Late last year, he could barely eat and needed assistance in other daily functions.

    In January, we hired a part-time care giver.

    He did have a CPAP, that helped him breathe when he slept.

    He told me, “The only time I’m happy is when I’m sleeping.”

    I was lucky enough to have said a lot of things to him that I would not normally have said to him if he would have died unexpectedly.

    His mind was all there, and was still able to text me as coherent as he ever could communicate with me, or anyone else.

    Five days after his 50th wedding anniversary, we were texting about job prospects in other cities for people who can’t find work in the Los Angeles job market.

    I suggested Reno.

    This is our last correspondence with each other…

    Our last correspondence.

    He slept for 21 hours after he sent that text, which was very unusual.

    He rang his siren to get help to get up and collapsed within the hour.

    The paramedics were called, but he had registered as “Do Not Resuscitate.”

    His last wish was granted.

    Immediately before he died, he was still able to slightly walk and could still talk; or as my Dad put it, “Talk like Frankenstein.”

    He died at home, around his vast empire of stuff that he had acquired over the last 70 years, but without experiencing a lot of the things that I wish he could have.

    And so another chapter of my life ends and a new chapter begins.

    Stay tuned.

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