Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘auto-biography’ Category

Doing the job right, even in Real Estates business

have I been doing what Realtors don’t do?

I dabbed for 5 years in the real estates business from 1995-2000). Although I had a PhD in Industrial/Ergonomics in engineering, I was Not able to find a job in any university or company due to my lack of resident status.

I had posted about 6 poems/songs related to Realtors and clients in my category “Poems Mine“.

While gathering the letters that I had sent to my parents I discovered a double pages on how I do business in that field. The letter is Not dated or sent to anyone specifically. I decided to post it anyway because the way I functioned  in this job meant a lot to me.

“I am doing what Realtors don’t do.

Once I get a Listing, which means a seller of his property asks me to market it in order to find a buyer for his property, I try to host open houses as frequently as I can.

An open house means that anyone passing by can enters and check the property. Everyone is welcomed to see the property during a specified span of time, on weekdays or weekends.

Realtors in general refrain from scheduling open houses because they consider this task a total waste of their time,  unless asked by the owner.

Realtors give all kinds of excuses and reasons why it is Not worth holding open houses.

I think Realtors are short-sighted on that account because they refuse to consider the many advantages to having an open house.

Here are a few advantages and benefits from frequent open houses:

  1. Sellers see that are doing your due diligence. If the house does Not sell within a specific period, they drop the price without me asking them. Usually, the sellers reduce the price below what I would have suggested. The lower the price, the quicker a property is sold. Frequent turnover is what generate profit.
  2. The quicker you sell, the more listing you obtain from a neighboring owner. Sellers hire Realtors who “perform”
  3. When I open houses, I canvass the neighborhood: I invite the neighbors to come and evaluate and compare what is being sold with their own properties.
  4. Eventually, a few owners had in mind to sell their properties and they call on me for an interview because they got to see and know me.
  5. During open houses, I use the property as my temporary office: I do my calls, mail letters to expired properties and answer my voice mails (That was before iPhone and sophisticated internet facilities). It is a very productive time from the crowded office.
  6. I do real estates in its most basic and essential forms: prospecting for listings and meeting buyers face to face.
  7. During open houses, many buyers who don’t like the property, I manage to to show them other choices on the market. I can show them any house listed for sale.
  8. Bottom line, open houses are my best tool to personally meet sellers and buyers

Once I have a listing, I make sure that all owners, within half a mile radius, know that I am a dedicated Realtors, who work hard and Not just Plant the Sign “For sale”

It is really Not a hard work because I do what I like to do: walk the streets, mail personalized letters, and meet people.

Many times, when I do not feel like walking, I can always read a book, write letters and poems during my open houses. I am the boss in a beautiful house.

It took me many years to rediscover the wheel of every techniques, but that is the only way to find the system that works best for me, and a system that I love applying consistently and without useless stress.

Realtors drop from the business in drove because it takes time, money and patience to make it in a competitive sphere where relatives and acquaintances play a good part in suggesting a Realtor.

I didn’t have any relative, family or support system to back me up during the harshest and hardest of years, but I knew this is a good business to become your own boss with steady income once you break in.

My clients are from everywhere, every race and every language. Being able to converse and write in 3 languages is a big advantage. Lebanese were Not my best clients for references and I soon desisted asking for their business.

Note 1: With the advent of internet technology, a sellers who is willing to show his property personally, does Not require a third party intermediary. All he does is to pst his property with all the details, pictures and videos of his property and wait to respond to calls.

Note 2: May read one of those songs https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2020/05/31/i-made-dreams-real-for-others-mine-has-to-wait/

 

A trove of letters and wish cards accumulated for 50 years: Great documents for re-editing my autobiography

As mother passed away in January 2020, before the advent of Covid-19, though many elder parents died from acute pneumonia, in coma and in IUC, I started sorting out accumulated objects, clothes, papers, documents, letters that I sent and received, wishing cards…

I have been retrieving and sorting out hundreds upon hundreds of letters that my parents saved in the last 50 years.

It felt a chores and I thought of dumping everything into the waste bin.

In many cultures, people just gather everything and set up a bonfire.

After the initial feeling of a chore from perusing letters before dropping them in the waste been, I discovered that there are many interesting information and news that I totally forgot that I wrote about for my parents, sister and relatives… and what they wrote to me.

And then it dawn on me that these are actual documents, excellent to re-edit my autobiography that I posted 10 years ago “Not glamorous person”

Surprises, surprises.

Names that I totally forgot, names that I am unable to put a face on them, sort of these people will have to show me pictures of younger periods and recount to me details of events and locations we met and shared for me to recollect…

Surprises, surprises

Locations, so many places that I had visited and had no recollection of being there or with whom I visited.

Surprises, surprises

So many suggestions I told them and that they never acted upon

Surprises, surprises

Frequent transfer of money, mostly with people visiting my home country Lebanon, and checks… though I was mostly broke most of the periods and barely surviving. I remembered two transfers of money, but never in such a frequency. If I knew my parents were totally broke…I would have sent far more transfers and in higher amounts

I learned later on that mother had to sell all her jewelry in order for father to pay the “taxes” for the many militias parties during our 15 years of civil war., in order for their home Not to be occupied or rented…

Surprises, surprises

So many fictitious plans and projects that I had to create just to fill a letter and give the illusion that I am able to sustain myself and high on hope for my future.

No surprise:

3 dozens of letters sent by a new couple who got a daughter, first child, just described how she was growing, especially her teeth, her illnesses, her charm and cleverness…and the valises of gifts sent to the little kid for every event, religious or Not, and minute details of the gifts…

Before I started publishing in wordpress.com I kept a diary of everyday events, trips, even the recurring routine activities…and filled many dozen of booknotes.

I blackened thousands of pages of articles and notes before I typed them on my computer. Restructuring the thoughts and re-editing, especially while walk returning home from the private library. Mother convinced herself that I had a part-time job at the library and didn’t resume her complaints.

Actually my first hard computer was assembled by my nephew William from scratch, every element of it. This computer served me well for 4 years.

And then I purchased a laptop that I could carry with me in my backpack and started typing directly and saving dozens of draft articles.

I had decided Not to overwhelm my readers with more than 2 articles a day, and I ended up with a hundred draft article, most of them ready to be published.

Yes, gold suggestions they failed to act upon.

I told my father to exchange his Lebanese pounds to British Sterling in 1980. He didn’t listen to me. a few years later, Lebanon pound (Lira) was devalued to almost nothing and my parents found themselves totally broke.

I told my parents to get out of Lebanon and re-start their life in Africa where they made their fortune and spent the best of their happy years. Mother would have jumped on this new adventure, but my sister was expecting her first child and mother had to remain. I guess father was no longer ready for any adventure without mother to support him and guide him. They missed 40 years for a new life and died totally broke.

I was touring Africa and Lebanese were still making “easy money”. A bakery for producing just bread generated a fortune for almost Not working personally.

A fact that is recurring in Lebanon: Any one who decides to settle back home inevitably goes into a coma of lethargy and imagination and end up wasting all his wealth.

Only the militia/mafia “leaders” and their assistants made fortunes by highway robbing the State budget and running and controlling the public institutions

Note: I say: Any childhood changes (locations, schools…) is a path life changing. Too many of these child a-changing leave you stuck in a maze.

Why did you come back, dear Birthday?

Note: I guess I wrote this poem in 1999 during my birthday in the US (Maryland) 

1.   Why did you come, dear Birthday?

I am no longer sixteen and do have my driving license;

No longer eighteen to run away from home,

I am way passed my twenty-first,

To mind ordering a drink if I cared.

2.   I don’t need you anymore:  you are a liability,

A debilitating memory, a shame to the living youth.

They still show reruns of your comings on the screen:

People hiding in the dark, waiting to catch a stunned face;

Sneaking through the door;

Surprise!

It is not funny for me:

No one ever surprised me at your coming. Not once.

3.   Each year you tap on my door.

The month of May trails fragrance, pageantry, and life.

Why May parade is cut short?

Why May never ends in pomp?

I don’t remember any of my birthdays before twelve.

I was in a Christian private boarding school,

remnant of the discarded

Of parents visiting summer time, once every two years.

On birthdays parties in my honor, it never felt mine,

But you made sure my Friend, to remind me of my loneliness.

Friend, you’ve been consistent through the years,

The best and the worst of years.

Sure, you are welcomed

Every year, any year, my Friend

Among the living.

Note: It turned out that my birthday on May 24 coincides with the eve of Lebanon liberation (Yawm al Ta7rir) from Israel occupation of the southern region in 2000, and without any pre-conditions, after 23 years of occupation. Thus, there is no way I may forgot my birthday anymore.

Redundant. Redundant at all stages of life. Still hoping for breakthrough?

You join people at an event and you are not noticed, invisible, no one even that mean to ask you a question.

Those who “knows” you, know that you never talk, participate in the conversation or even ask a question.

When young, my parents never sat with me or my sibling in a one on one conversation. I was Not to join the invited people and listen to their conversation.

Actually, my parents were “stranger” to me when I was dispatched to a boarding school at age 5. My brother and sister were even much younger when they were sent home to save them from Africa diseases.

They paid me visit, one summer out of two, since they were working hard in Africa to eek out a living, in towns lacking of everything, even electricity.

The most memorable moment I heard this word Redundant was from an elder British person working at headquarter as the official letter writer to the company. Sort of only educated elder British colonial figures can deliver obtuse and confusing letters to suppliers…

I was hovering around in the maintenance shop at the headquarter in Warri, Nigeria, and waiting for my airplane ticket to be ready and receive the order to leave. That was in 1980.

This British “official” saw me, smiled and threw at me: “Are you redundant?”. He was expecting of me to be totally flabbergasted at this unusually “difficult” expression and he resumed: “Do you understand what redundant means”? I felt this urgent retort back at him: “What about you? Do you feel pretty redundant these days”?

This British person behaving as a remnant of the colonial era was Not that bad. He had a library in his home and I borrowed a few English books from him to fill my time, 6 months prior to this date. You don’t find people enjoying reading after a day work. Do you?

Yes, I was mostly a very quiet person and didn’t participate in any discussion for over 50 years.

In my youth, I was the forgotten person that they recalled existed and they needed to fill the bus for a trip. We had many trips in summertime. People sang, laughed, danced, cracked jokes… and I kind of felt aloof, having no talent in any of these “entertaining” skills.

Ten years ago, I decided to be funny and entertain the gathering by describing my “redundant situations” in life.

People found me hilarious, on the basis that deep down I am explaining their emotional condition, mainly that everyone knows that he is redundant.

Cracking jokes at my expense. And that is the initial stage before you earn your badge of honor of speaking frankly on the other people redundant life.

Let me be clear: almost all of my life I felt disoriented and trying hard to get me a “talent” in anything to be “hirable”. Vast general knowledge in almost every subject matter was Not a negotiable subject in any productive job.

No surprises that jobs are mostly boring and your work acquaintances are Not used to share but their boredom and redundancy expressions.

You realize that you do have a quick mind, if you decide to talk about your limitations, limitations shared by most and wanting to be reminded of them and laughing at them.

Note: I say: If a quote with the proper context matches your state of mind at a period run with it. Feeling obligated to refer to “who said what he said” is Not only redundant but dangerous in spreading “religious concepts” that are hidden within the quote.

If there is a Creator (or a bunch of them) for this entire Universe and all the species, your personal existence should Not mean much to Him. If there is No creator, you have wasted your life on an abstract concept that brought death and destruction for the living.

 

How am I spending my confinement?

In our building of 3 floors, of sister with daughters and married nephews with kids…we started the strict confinement out of peer pressures from social media, 2 weeks before the government decided for a lockdown. That would be since last week of February.

On January 31st, my mother passed away after one week in intensive care and my aunt also passed away 2 weeks later in coma and in the ICU. Sort of most elderly over 90 have no longer any chance to survive any ICU, and that was before the Covid-19 pandemics was revealed.

We order online products from the nearest supermarket. The delivered bags are left outside the main building door until each one get out and alcohol spray the external bags and then the inner bags and eventually the inner-inner bags…

We ran out of potable water that we fill 10 L gallons from a running source in the town of Beit Chabab. My brother-in-law insisted that I join him to help him fill 20 of these gallons.

He is a retired officer from the army, and I guess he receives detailed procedure on how to disinfect everything. Consequently, Victor spays alcohol around the floor of water source and I have to carry the filled gallon straight to the car trunk without touching the ground…

A couple of youth came by and washed their faces after jogging, and the disinfection had to restart from scratch.

Before entering the car, I had to stretch my feet outside so that alcohol is sprayed on my shoes.

The funny part is that I had to spray the 4 tires, on the ground that kids play in the parking lot. Go figure.

My sister came from London on the last airplane before closing the airport and she stayed 2 weeks in total confinement on the rooftop.

After her confinement was over, my sister cleaned up her apartment for an entire week for hours each day until she got backache, and then moved down to my apartment to totally clear up all the accumulated junk that my parents, her daughters and herself stored for over 50 years.

Actually, I had cleared up for an entire month loads of junks after mother had a hip surgery 2 years ago. Although I had hired a helper to clear pathways on all balconies, I ended up with a hernia and had to submit to a surgery a few months later.

Yes, I cleared junks just to make pathways in order to move around in the house and the balconies. I could do that because my brother-in-law was oversea visiting one of his daughters. The worst part is that he goes ramage in the bags on the curve and we end up with many bags on the rooftop and the stairs leading to the rooftop.

The funny part that highly exacerbate me is when he asks me about a junk part that he “needs” and I have to repeat: “Man, you denied me the joy of stepping out into my garden. Go dig deeper into your trash of junks”. An open air warehouse of junks.

You have no idea what people accumulate in their lifetime, objects that they never used and still believe they might get around to using them.

In the USA, they throw Yard Sales in summer time. We didn’t even got this idea to start even once in a lifetime.

Right now, we have 35 extra large bags of fine clothes that have barely been used once. These bags are deposited on one of the beds and waiting for us to figure out how to dispose of them. Nobody care to pick up clothes, retrieve them and distribute them.

Actually, my brother-in-law has rented a large warehouse to “sell clothes” after he retired and is still spending more money on this failing “business” than on his family, cars and raising chicken…He turned out to be just one of those sick persons who hoard stuff and never let go off, Not even selling them. Actually, when a buyer shows up, he raises the price so high so that he doesn’t has to relinquish the object.

Yes, there is this old honda car of 1980 that has been parked for years and nobody is willing to drive it anymore. And yet, this person refuses to sell it and is still occasionally spending money on repairing it.

Our garden has turned into an open “warehouse” of total junks and debris and this person wouldn’t let us clear the garden to make any good use of it.

Besides the 35 extra large bags of great clothes, we gathered 70 extra large bags of good clothes to be left on the curb for the municipality to take as waste. My sister considers to be shameful to give away these 70 bags.

Since the municipality will Not load in its Friday truck that quantity of bags, we have to deposit on the curve about 6 bags a week. Do the math for how long we need to dispose of these bags.

I spread this joke that my nephews need to take videos of the newly cleared and re-designed house since a week later, my comfort style will return the house to its original status.

My got furious and declared that she will not set foot again. The next day, my sister was back to “finish her job

What of people who refuse to wear great fashionable clothes on the ground they look Not “A la Mode” and prefer to buy expensive new clothes that are way beneath the quality and beauty of the older-kinds of clothes?

In the meanwhile, my project is to re-edit and update my old articles, verging on the 9,000 posts, on my blog, and recollecting the wonderful trekking and adventures that I joined my nephews and nieces around Lebanon. Yes, I created a sub-category “Travel/Adventure” for that task.

Note: The first generation relatives opened a net group to share their confinement conditions. A couple days later 3 people “left” and now barely 4 people continue to post “Bonjour”. I prefer to post “Marhaba” when I wake up in the morning.

Documentary movies on civil wars; (Written in 2005 and posted on August 17, 2009)

I am mining my diary.

From September 21 to 25, 2005, The City Theater (Masrah El Madina), in Hamra (Lebanon) and located at the former movie theater called Saroula, exhibited documentaries from different regions of the world dealing with civil wars.

These documentaries of about 90 minutes each and free of charge covered the start of the civil war in Lebanon between 1975-76 by Volker Schlondorff and called “Circle of Deceit”, and from Bosnia by Laurent Becue-Renard entitled “War-Wearied”, then about Rwanda by Anne Aghion, and about Chechnya by Johann Freidt, then about Kurdish Iraq close to the border with Turkey by Bahman Ghobadi called “Turtles can Fly”, and culminating with the atrocities of Sabra and Chatilla, initiated by Israel while occupying Beirut in 1982, by Borgmann, Slim and Theissen.

I attended the first two and the last two documentaries and missed the ones on Rwanda and Chechnya because my back pain exacerbated and prevented me from driving my shift car; I could not convince anyone to drive me there, a 30 minutes drive, and to join me to watch these rare showings.

I liked “Turtles can Fly” best among the ones that I was fortunate to see.  This documentary show how the Kurdish children, mostly crippled, in a refugee camp manage to follow a leader their age in order to survive by organizing themselves in groups removing land mines and selling them.

The 14 years old leader falls in love with a 13 years old refugee girl from Halabja (the town that they say Saddam pounded with poisonous gas). You must know the town in Iraq bordering Iran which was exterminated chemically by Saddam Hussein during his war with Iran.

The girl has been raped in her destroyed home town by a few Iraqi soldiers then gave birth to a blind boy whom she hates and tried at least 4 times to murder her child only to be saved by the children.

She succeeded by drowning her bastard child and then jumped from a cliff. The whole camp and surrounding towns were relying on the kid leader to provide them with a satellite dish in order to follow the impending war by the USA against Saddam Hussein only to be faced by news in English.

I guess the cable Al Jazeera must have been a mane for them, later on, because it provided coverage in Arabic. The movie ends by the proclamation of the fall of Saddam and the return of refugees to their hometowns.

The documentary about the massacre of Sabra and Chatila tries to extract eye witness testimonies from 7 Christian militias who participated in the massacre.  The perpetrators claimed that, in the beginning, they were ignorant wretched kids of 15 when they were driven to take part in the war and they are still wretched adults and still addicted to drugs and as poor as can be.

They were addicted to Neoprene, LSD, and half a dozen drugs which were abundant during the civil war and were actually distributed freely.

These murderers affirm that Israel planned this massacre to the minutes details, providing transportation, logistics, driving the bulldozers, digging the huge pit near the Camille Chamoun stadium to bury the more than 2000 dead bodies, providing the plastic bags for the last three layers of bodies dumped in the pit and the chemicals to squelch the putrefied odors and lighting the areas during the night for the militias to resume their rampage.

At 6:30 a.m. the next morning these killers witnesses a few of their colleagues executing Palestinians over the pit, ordering the living Palestinians to throw the dead into the pit, knowing very well that they are next to be shot.

One of the killers was a butcher by profession and he opted to slaughter his victims.

One of the murderers kept a vivid picture of slain beautiful horses and wondering why innocent animals had to be killed.

The orders came directly from Israeli officers and the high command of the Lebanese Forces, among them Elie Hobeika, Maroun Machaalani, and George Malek.

Maroun ordered them that every one in the camp is to die, man, women and newly born babies so that Elie Hobeika could construct a fine garden in these razed places.

Most of the killers were trained in Israel for at least 6 months before Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982.

One of them said that, at one point, in their military training in Israel they were driven to Eilat to a nude beach.

One morning, a female Israeli officer showed up stark naked and ordered them to undress completely for the morning training.  These fighters have never seen a naked girl before and were utterly embarrassed to obey such an order, but they ended up jogging totally naked along the length of the nude beach.

They claimed that they feared their fathers and would have respected their dads’ orders but unfortunately, it was their fathers who encouraged them to pursue war trainings and get involved in the fighting.

We have to pity these mothers who married the worst kind of husbands; more on that first showing of the film later on.

The film on Bosnia review the psychological rehabilitation of 4 mothers, for a whole year, in a special surrounding after their husbands and families were massacred.

After the rehabilitation they were supposed to go back to their home towns to restart their lives.  Now, consider the wonder of the Lebanese experience of sending back people to their home towns just because money has been disbursed for reconstructing their destroyed homes.  Why do you think only 13% returned?

Joanna has started her European tour on the first of the month and will last for the duration of the month. She purchased her Schingen train ticket in Lebanon for about $600.

Janna will be visiting Germany where she will drop her girl friend at the university then on to Belgium, then France, then Italy, then Spain, then Holland for an interview to a graduate graphic design program next year, and back to Paris and lastly returning from Germany.

She has been forwarding email news from time to time but I got the news from her mother (sister) Raymonde when she is in a talkative mood.

It appears that Joanna wrapped her arms with toilet paper so that they let her in the Vatican, and after another failure to enter she crossed over to the nearby merchant, cursed him for his high priced shawls that are not worth a dime, then paid him 3 euros for a shawl instead of 15, then snatched it and fled inside the Vatican.

She was invited by a taxi driver at Venice to stay overnight at his house and he gave her a tour of Venice the next morning for free.

By the way, taxi drivers take home 600 euro a day.  No doubt that this exclusive trip on the canals will be the most memorable adventure in her life.

Cedric has been working his ass off as a trainee in the management program at the Sheraton Hotel in Verdun. He finally got a sort of a girl friend. He spent a whole day at her bungalow in Delb Country Club and took her to Kfarselwan, a summer retreat of his uncle Nicolas.

Kfarselwan is 1600 meters above sea level and Cedric slept over night under a genuine nomad “bedouin” huge tent made of goat skins. I did not ask him if she slept over too.

William spent at least a whole week, days and nights, backing up his hard disks and those of Joanna’s.  He used up 43 DVDs’ for that purpose, each with a capacity of 4.7 gigabytes.

Most of the files are audio-visual, digital photos, animations and graphic and architectural design projects.  My more than a thousand pages of word processing files would occupy a meager space on a lousy CD.

The LAU engineering departments at Byblos is hard pressed this year.  There are no enrolments, even for major courses and thus might cancel many required course this fall.

The industrial engineering department hired a visiting professor to teach operations research courses; these courses were taken away from full time faculty members.

I told the chairman that I can generate 50 students to enroll in my elective course of “Risk assessment and occupational safety” if they offer it this fall, but it was clear that they didn’t considered this course to fit strictly in an engineering program. They will create a new course called “Reliability” to fill the quota for a faculty member.

I called up the chairman of engineering at AUST and told him that I could teach 5 of his courses in the BS curriculum.  He told me that these courses are slated to be graduate courses and not about to be offered any time soon.

Mining my diary: A Christmas Eve in Lebanon

Note: Re-edit of “Christmas Eve in a Christian family: Lebanon; ( Written in 2006 and posted on August 17, 2009)”

It is Sunday 10:20 a.m. of Christmas Eve 2006.  The sky is clear, sunny, and somehow cold in the 15 degrees C . I woke up around 7:30 a.m. and my mom was already working in the kitchen.

My little niece Chelsea (6 already) was helping her out through countless suggestions; mom’s fingers were so cold that they felt crippled and then she decided to heat some water.

Nephew William was already gone. (Forgot to where)

I worked for an hour in the garden and gathered greens.  Victor and family are off to Orthodox church (in M7idssi).  Victor had to pick Cedric up from work late last night because Cedric had misplaced the car keys.

There was an explosion across from the American University in Beirut; we learned that it was a gas container of a small eatery.

I read and wrote till 11 a.m. and drove to Beit-Chabab. I did not find aunt Montaha. I dropped off three books at the local library and walked to visit my cousin Joseph Ghoussoub. I visited my aunt Theresa on my back home.

Victor dropped off Adrea home and resumed driving toward the supermarket Spinneys and returned around 4 o’clock.

I helped niece Adrea carry a few groceries. Joanna showed me the area where the gifts are stacked in a corner of the dining room in her grand-mom apartment.

I counted about 36 wrapped gifts and it seems that Yuhanna (Joanna’s beau) contributed about 5 gifts and helped Joanna last evening in wrapping gifts before they went out together.

I had lunch with mom because dad had already eaten, and Cedric and Adrea were eating in front of the TV screen.

I had a siesta from 2 to 4 p.m. Mom was exhausted and had a sponge bath.  I picked up the dried clothes off the lines and went to my study room in the lower floor.

Adrea asked me whether I saw Joanna and she checked William’s bed because Joanna sometimes slept there for total privacy.

Mom is at my sister Raymonde’s on the third floor, helping her put the last touch for this evening dinner.

Ethiopia, backed by the USA, started the war against the Somali Islamists who are supported by Sudan and Eritrea.  They found another 46 unidentified bodies in Iraq and half a dozen US soldiers were dead and injured yesterday.

Italy’s Brodi PM is in Lebanon and had visited his troops (the UNIFIL) in the south within the multinational forces.

I would like to spend my night at the Downtown where the opposition has erected 1,500 tents and four huge tents complete with all the amenities; each one of the large tents can accommodate 2,000 persons; a midnight mass will be held at St George’s cathedral there.

Joanna and Yuhanna had left around noon and spent 7 hours walking City Mall for a last spree of buying.

Ashley did her hair and dyed it and left about 2 p.m. with Cedric carrying a box of cake.

Cedric went jogging about 4 p.m. in the cold and froze his ass off.

The former boyfriend of Joanna, Hikmat, paid us a visit; he is on vacation from Toulouse (France) and working on lab research for the electromagnetic switches of micro robots (nano-technology) that are injected in the human body to perform non-invasive controlled surgery.  In addition of grant money for his graduate studies, Hikmat teaches courses and loves Toulouse. As long as Hekmat is excited in his research project there are no chances that he might return to settle in Lebanon.

I joined the entire family after 8:30 p.m. and had a light dinner of salad, asparagus soup, an assortment of cheese and cold cuts, some pizza, and wine and Coca-Cola.

My dad went to sleep around 9:15; he usually sleeps by 8 p.m.

As usual, by 9:45 , little Chelsea started whining that she wanted to open the gifts so we moved to the sitting room and the unwrapping of gifts began.

William, Victor, Ashley, and Adrea took turn taking digital pictures.  It took the better of two hours for this exercise and everybody was satisfied with his gifts; after much hugging and trying out of the gifts the midnight mass project was shot.

Adrea did not have to complain and cry this year because she got more than she expected and spent an awful lot of time trying everything she received.

Chelsea was ecstatic with the skirts and the red bunny pair of slippers.

My mom said that by tomorrow Raymonde will have to make room for the new clothes and send the older ones to the “Bon Pasteur“, a close-by Christian institution of nuns, where the offered bundles are supposedly redistributed to the needy.

Joanna prepared four copies of a 1.2-meter laminated board spread of her photos with her friends and family.

Yuhanna complained that the dog Misha had twice more photos than he had; worst, his two photos were not satisfactory because they showed him wearing the baggy white suit that he and Joanna were asked to wear while cleaning up a stretch of a beach for cleaning it up of oil spill during Israel pre-emptive July War.

Cedric was sprawled on the carpet amid his gifts of Jeans, the deodorants, and the underwear heaped upon him.

William received a “tak wan doo” white suit and a very long woolen shawl that he wrapped over his head as the Sikhs.

By midnight William went to sleep because he had to wake up at 4 am in order to join the yoga ashram in Gemmayzeh; Cedric hit the sac also.

Yuhanna brought with him the saxophone, expecting that we might enjoy a family concert with Joanna at her Jazz flute, and Adrea at my classical guitar (that I never touched), and William at my accordion (that I never played). This concert did not happen.

Around 12:30 we had cakes and most everybody was feeling drowsy; Yuhanna was to sleep overnight and William prepared him the folding sofa downstairs in the basement floor where he had set up his study, by my room study.

By 1:30 a.m. my mom and I carried our gifts down to our first level flat.

(Funny why I failed to mention what where the gifts I received or the one I gave?…I usually offer books that go unread, or cash in envelop, and so does mother…)

The slowest and cruelest of deaths: Invented by health care systems for elderly

Elderly people to die in indignity: the slowest of death invented by health care systems

A friend confided in me. He talked for an hour and his story almost matched mine.

The story of parents dying the slow death, in daily and constant pains, bedridden and no outside aid coming to the rescue of hapless family members

“My father is 89 and my mother is 86.

My father health has been deteriorating fast in the last couple of years. What started as a pneumonia, Not taken care of immediately, degenerated in a bed-ridden body living on external oxygen machine 24/24, in a country with no steady electricity. Actually, it was my dad refusing to go to the hospital until he felt totally helpless.

In this winter season, he barely uses the walker for his morning shit and he prefers to use the padding, for me to remove and clean him up. Actually, when mother had a hip surgery, she did her best to go to the WC because she could Not stand any padding: It was out of the question for pride and dignity.

By noon, father felt rather not getting up from bed, on the ground that he feels too weak and too cold to step out of his cozy bed. (We lacked central heat because we couldn’t afford the cost of mazout)

Mother is in a worse case in matter of aches and pains, but she is functional and make sure that she washes father in the morning and bring him food to bed. Not to mention changing the bed sheets every morning and all dad’s wet cloths.

The problem for mother is that father insists on Not leaving his bed after lunch on account that he feels too cold and out of power to walk to the close-by toilet for his frequent pissing sessions. And we have to wrap him with pampers till morning.

Mother has this daunting task of changing father every morning and doing at least 2 washes for the wet bed and father’s cloths, every morning, and she suffers from back pain, arthritis, and you name it. And dad plays the child game for constant attention and waking up mother at night for no valid reasons.

Mother considers that putting in 8 straight hours of work in the morning, without any break to rest, her daily job.

And everyone in the household must share with her non-stop chores. Even when she feels sick and unable to work, until she faints and drops.

Occasionally, mother sleeps in the sitting room because father makes it a point to wake her up frequently, just out of boredom and restlessness.  Eventually, she returns to sleep in the bedroom, out of compassion and duty.

Father has had no jobs for the last 40 years.

What he did when he could drive was give ride to his 6 grandchildren to school and bring them back home, and leisurely doing a few gardening…

And he was a heavy smoker since he was 14 of age, mainly smoking in the sitting room, and polluting this room, while enjoying a few glasses of whisky.

Until he started to fall down after finishing drinking. He had to quit drinking, but resumed smoking, out of total boredom and dense worries from the fast dwindling of pecuniary resources.

In many States, there are No government facilities to rescue the elderly people, not even in health insurance, or a small remittance every month...

The elderly people are in the care of the children, relatives… supposedly in the care of the community that no longer exists.

Dad has plenty of time now to dream of the time he was still able, but I guess he can focus on how to stay alive: He keeps touching the Saint icons.  For a soft departure or for exhausting mother to death?

Do you think his deep wish is to see mother passing away before he does? A senile revenge of people who revert to childhood?

Funny, every now and then father creates a tantrum to remind mother that he is the head of the family and that what he wishes must be obeyed, and bangs his walker to confirm his statement: “I want you to wrap me up now (7afdineh) and this tragic bout of energy surges at the time mother is taking a short nap from a back ache.

And when mother tells him: “I am tired. wait till I rest…” father responds: “You do it now or I’ll piss in bed...”  These kinds of reactions…

He goes: “Ya wallao? Are you kidding me? Are you sleeping? Get up now…”

He refrains Not exhibit all his pent up anger and desperation when I am around: He knows that my reactions can be worse than his, and we do have the same bad genes

I aided mother in cleaning and wrapping up dad when I was around, and dad abstained from harassing mother when he knew I was there.

It was a 24/24 job for me and mother to keep dad contended, and he wanted to eat at his routine schedule, Not a minute later, and he ate well and voraciously.

Most of the time  I had to wake up several times at night in order to go down and switch the electrical interrupter from public to private provider (and vice versa) because we could not afford an automatic interrupter that required a higher amperage. And the oxygen machine was run on electricity and dad would shout when he sensed that the machine had stopped.

A year before he passed away, he opted to be totally bedridden, kind of despairing for any recovery.

At least father managed to construct a building of 3 floors, one for each one of his children who all graduated from universities and are married with children. Except one child: I never married and have no children that I know of. And I have been now living with my elderly parents for the last 14 years.

I don’t recall ever having a chat with dad, and now he is almost deaf and he refuses to babble.

And mother’s chatting are of the most boring type with me, but very funny with others.

She regurgitates the same worries that I cannot help with, and suggestions that are too late to reverse and act upon.

Mother never cared to handle money in her life and never wrote a check.

Currently, she has to handle the few cash that she receives every now and then from her children and relative and make sure that she can buy her medicine, father’s couches, the gas canisters for cooking, bread and biscuits for dad… Nothing fancy at all.

And she declines invitations because she will have to bring a gift as custom demands, and she has to cook a few sweet dishes for the occasions… and keeps cleaning the house in the event anyone remembers suddenly to pay her visit…

I wish the visits are not set in advance by “appointment”: Mother will start cleaning and cooking a week in advance of the visit, and ends up working overtime. And I was the only one to help her with all the cleaning tasks.

I help mother in most of her chores: assistant cook, washing dishes, vacuuming, lifting “heavy” stuff that she can no longer perform, changing bed sheets, gardening, gathering vegetables and fruits, tending to the few chickens that I don’t want in the house, going on errands…

I find time to read, write, post articles on my blog, watch documentaries and non-violent good movies on cables after every one in the household is supposed to be sleeping…

Tell me. Am I talking abstract so far?

My dad suffered a mild stroke at night: he must have knew it but we didn’t. We forced him to go to the hospital, but he kept saying: I want to die at home.

In the hospital, 2 days before Christmas, dad did such a tantrum for 2 days and a night and harassed all the nurses and mother that they had to send him home.

After lunch on Christmas Eve he passed away while mother was taking her nap in the bed next to him.

My nephew checked on him and he told me that dad must have died. I approached a looking glass to check on his breathing because he was in a serene state with eyes opened.

Apparently, he wanted to ruin our celebration, or maybe send the message that he is no longer willing to ruin our lives.

Mother is Not in any good shape because of all kinds of pains and aches to the stomach, back, neck, hands, and you name it.

I took her to the hospital for a check up on a pain to her side that lingered for 2 days and kept her awake.

Two days later, mother was home with no major relief: a small cyst in her abdomen and maybe a mild thyroid deficiency.

There was nothing that can be done to elderly people, much less performing any kinds of surgeries that are Not urgent.

Two years now and mother is still suffering, especially during the cold season and lack of hot water.

She insists on waking up and working in the kitchen for a couple of hours until she barely reach the sofa and don’t move for the day and watch TV.

Frequently she keeps working and tries to keep boredom at bay until all kinds of acute pains force her to the sofa.

She barely can hear, and all she wants is someone to visit her to listen to her.

But practically nobody visits her or has the patience to talk to her or listen to her.

Mother is a rock and still functional. Her worst nightmare is to feel dependent on anyone in her daily chores.

Such a big difference between mother’s resilience and dad’s attitude to pain.

My worst nightmare is, if I have to survive as long as my parents, “How am I to spend the next 24 years, if no haphazard calamity suddenly ends my life?”

Note: Mother Julie passed away 6 years after father. She was an undaunted force to stay functional, regardless of the many kinds of pains and difficulty to express her pains…

 

 

Am I a “professional“? How long can we cling to denial?

Note: Re-edit of “Am I a professional? Am I a generalist scholar? Who am I?”

Aside from obtaining a Nobel Prize or a “recognized” organization... can you feel a professional in any field?

Do you think if you feel fully cognizant of the array of your emotions or your lack of talents (passions) in many aspects of the living that you are set for a boring death?

This post is based on facts that you can gleam in my transcripts, documents and autobiography…

With 14 years of university study, a PhD in Industrial/Human Factors, a couple of Masters in Operations research, physics and chemistry.

With taking many graduate courses in psychology, marketing, accounting,economy, higher education…

Can I consider myself a professional?

I still cannot claim this title: I didn’t work for a company for any substantial duration and just taught a few courses at universities.

Reading 3 hours per day at libraries, taking notes, reviewing books, writing posts and articles (about 9000 articles by now on my blog in 45 categories), and keeping track of the political systems in countless countries, human rights performance, ecology…

Can I consider myself a professional?

At least, I should come to term that I am a generalist scholar

By mastering 3 languages, English French and Arabic (reading, speaking and writing), and being able to understand the written Spanish, I’ll be a fool to deny myself knowledge of 3 cultures and civilizations

Most of all, I have an experimental mind and read and comprehend scientific papers in many fields and can evaluate the extent of their research or scientific validity.

I had to learn and get trained on various types of designing and conducting experiments with objects and subjects in many fields (engineering, psychology, marketing) and I am familiar with the particular statistical analysis packages that each of these fields feel comfortable applying and interpreting results. (That was some time ago)

Can I consider myself a professional?

And yet, I cannot claim to be a professional in the restrictive sense that hiring companies evaluate that term.

At least, I should come to term that I am a generalist scholar

I discovered that “professionalism” makes me physically sick, with sustained stomach aches and recurring periods of catching cold… I would have died early on.

I am enjoying this freedom of expressing my opinions and feelings, and taking positions as a free man: Frequent confrontation with bullying people and the powers flaunting my rights and human rights

I don’t miss “professionalism”, excepting the lavish retirement money

Trip to Paris and Oklahoma?

Note: Re-edit of “Numb at the Magnitude of the Unknown (Part 1, June, 2004)”

It was May of 1975.  I had just graduated in Physics from the Lebanese university.

I secured a student visa to the United States of America. I was to study English for the summer at a university in Oklahoma.

I did not know then that there was more than one university in Oklahoma. It turned out there were several and the university I applied for graduate study was Not the one I landed for English summer schooling.

The trip was not that urgent, but the civil war in Lebanon started to look serious and I dreaded Not be doing anything for the duration..

My inborn stubbornness clenched the deal and off I left.

Logically, my destination should have been France for graduate studies, but I was tired of theoretical education.

I figured that the US educational system was more hands on, practical… with upgraded labs and “stage” at factories…

I was wrong. It was mostly of the theoretical stuff.

It was my first trip away from family and home. I learned later that my mother played the fundamental role of convincing my father that it is time that I learn to be on my own and fly with my own wings.

My mother told me that the night I flew away my father cried his eyes out in his bed.

My father offered me $5,000. Two Lebanese pounds at the time was worth one dollar (Now, a single dollar is worth 1,500 LP)

I stayed in Paris for a couple of weeks, supposedly to visiting a student cousin of mine. My cousin Nassif happened to be vacationing in England with a girlfriend.

At the airport, no one searched me or welcomed me.

Before I exited the airport, an agent asked to search my luggage. Why me? No, it was Not a random search. I had to rearrange everything in my beaten suitcase.

Even then, France pinpointed specific passengers to be searched.

I met my friends Ghassan and Moussa who helped me rent a room where they stayed at a university complex for foreign students.

I toured Paris alone in metro and mostly on foot. Paris was gorgeous.

Strong with maps of trains and buses routes, I crisscrossed Paris from Mont St. Michel to the Louvre, and almost everything in between. Alone, all alone.

I walked Champ Elysee, Quartier Latin, Pigale…When I get tired walking I would join the closest train station and hop to another destination.

Breakfasts were delicious at the university low-ceiling breakfast restaurant .

Breakfast was the time to see all the various international students. The smell of fresh coffee, milk, bacon, eggs and fresh bread was appetizing.

The buffet was scattered with many varieties of fruits and drinks.

( I still dream of waking up to such a breakfast environment)

There was another restaurant for lunch and dinner, but the menu was dismal and Not tasty.

I landed first at New York at Laguardia airport. We were flying over the Oklahoma Territory, 22 hours after leaving Paris. We still had one hour to land.

It was pitched dark outside and I might have been feeling cold in the plane. One stewardess might have realized my haggard quietness.

An angel, no more than twenty years old, blonde, blue eyed, beautiful with a refreshing smile, and compassion transparent in her welcoming face.

She brought me a blanket without any request on my part and suggested to bring me some orange juice.

I felt then that it is okay to live in America and to know Americans. I wished I told her that I was scared, terrified, and numb at the magnitude of the unknown waiting for me.

I wished I told her that I needed to throw myself at her mercy and be helped.

I was lacking conversational skills and lacking practice in English.

I was not basically a social guy, though I enjoyed being among crowds.

Friends suffered me on account of my quietness: I painfully resigned myself for their impression of my “aura of bookish knowledge“.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2020
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