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Fair Warning
Publication date: 8-10-11

I don’t normally share personal things about myself. Mainly because I don’t want anyone to share their own with me. If I want to know something personal about you, I’ll ask you. If I don’t ask, then I don’t care and I’m not interested. Many people I deal with regularly don’t understand this, no matter how frequently I feign death when they begin to speak to me.

So, in the interest of fairness, since what I’m about to share is personal, and since you did not ask for me to share, if you therefore choose to ignore me I will not be upset. Although watching you feign death would amuse me.

So, my mother became a reporter. Two years later, so did I ... )

Day 9

Oct. 9th, 2010 05:15 am
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I got up at 5:30, showered and dressed, and we left the hotel by 6. On the road again, heading back to my home and my life, leaving one of life's milestones behind me.

When we arrived home, I said hello to my dog and headed off to work.
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Yeah, we were going to the strip club. When I knew Andy wanted to go and stay the night in Casper, I didn't resist too hard, because after getting off the plane, I realized that I really wasn't ready to go back home yet- I needed a transition to re-acclimate. I did insist, however, that we leave Casper no later than 6 so that I could be at work no later than 8 the night morning, which he grudgingly agreed to. I also told him that I wasn't planning on drinking at the club, because I was afraid that if I started, I wouldn't stop.

So, what does a gay man do in a strip club, anyway?

Well, it depends on the club. I don't like clubs where the girls are really aggressive, such as I experienced in Las Vegas, where they wouldn't take no for an answer and I had to be completely rude to them before they would leave me alone (No thanks, I'm gay. "But you can still play with my pussy!" *wha?*) I also don't like clubs where the girls sneak up on you and then are suddenly rubbing their hands all over your body from behind without warning.

But at Cowboys, the girls are friendly without turning it into a sales pitch. And they love us there- every time we go in, no matter how long it's been since our last visit, we're recognized and greeted warmly. Maybe it's because we're nice; maybe it's because we stand out as an unlikely duo- the gay man and his straight best friend.

After a bad experience in Vegas that led to andy doing the "walk of shame" to the ATM, he and I made an agreement- we go to strip club; I hold all the money. It keeps him out of trouble. Sometimes, I even insist on picking the girls for his private dances- I know him well enough that I can pick who he'll like, many times more accurately than he can. Plus, he's shy about it.

But where does that leave me?

I talk to the strippers. If I go up to the stage, my dollar bill buys me a question, rather than a boob in the face.

Did you know that the shoes don't hurt the girls feet, but their knees really get sore? And that one of the strippers ended up in Wyoming because of the quality of our schools and she wanted her daughter to get a good education?

Our favorite stripper is Georgia. Last year, we stopped in the club about a week after she had started working there. She shyly came to my table while I was sitting alone, Andy in a private dance, to ask if I wanted one too. I told her the circumstances of I'mTheGayBestFriendSoNoThankYou, and she looked so relieved, and then, started pouring out her entire life story to me. We talked for an hour, with her leaving occasionally for her stage time.

Now, when ever we go in, it's like her best friends have returned. After not seeing us for a year, she greeted us with hugs and squeals and I honestly thought she was going to wet her pants (which, depending on the clientele that night,  would have possibly earned her a lot of cash.) She stuck with us the entire night, and we all talked as friends and had a late breakfast together at the diner later that night.

Unfortunately, she wasn't working that night. I texted her, and she had just gotten in to town and was so sorry she was going to miss us, and gave me her condolences for the loss of my mother.

But we had other friends there too, like Erica, who used to pose for men's magazines and had moved to Wyoming for the educational possibilities I mentioned above. Erica likes to walk past me nonchalantly and then boob-smack me just to see my reaction.

I don't know why I'm popular with strippers. Maybe it's because I'm not out for anything from them, even though they're there to make money and I'm not going to be giving them any. Or maybe it's because I treat them like people instead of objects, and they can talk to me without feeling like I'll think they're leading me on. I don't know, but in this club at least, I enjoy it.

We stayed until midnight before I dragged Andy back to the hotel room. He wasn't happy to leave, but was happy we had went. We settled in for night and went to sleep.
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I woke up around 7 am, and used Doug's computer to check my email while watching local news. He had to go off to work for a little while, but returned around 9. We went and ate and then went to Beyond Comics, where we hung out for awhile and I browsed and picked out a few books to purchase, such as the reprints of Grant Morrison's Doctor Who comics. I also picked up the Doctor Who Special: In their Own Words vol. 6; which I've recently finished reading. This is probably what's led me to my current wikipedia reading of all the Doctor  Who episode entries, and I also enjoyed it so much I order volumes 2-5 as well (I can't find volume 1!)

I had arranged to meet an old roommate and friend from college for lunch; we hadn't seen each other in years. He looked pretty much the same, albeit sporting a balding spot now, and we spent a few hours catching up before he had to leave for work. Doug and I then made our way back to his house, then spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around Market Street. We found a cute little candy store where I bought some treats for my flight back (it was hard to stop buying!) and dropped in at the local Civil War Hospital museum. The tour, unfortunately, would have taken longer than we had time to spend, so I added it to my list of things to do properly my next trip when I had more time. We also stopped in a nice little thrift store, where Doug found some albums and board games to add to his collection, and I found a hard cover Nancy Drew novel to add to mine. It was getting late and Doug had to go to rehearsal. I elected to stay behind and go to sleep early, as I was planning on leaving around 2 am to head to the airport for my flight out.

2 a.m. arrived more quickly than I was really ready for. I got dressed, said my goodbyes to the cats, gathered my luggage and slipped out as quietly as the old sticking front door would allow, which wasn't very. As I loaded up my rental car, I caught movement in the second floor window and looked up to see Dave looking down from the kitchen. I waved goodbye and he did as well, a little sadly it seemed. I was sad too, but also glad to be heading home. I was ready for this trip to be over.

I ate a quick breakfast at Denny's before hitting the road. My mapquest directions to the airport had me taking back roads through Virginia; I got lost once when the directions weren't clear enough on what direction I should turn, but ended up at the airport at around 4:30. The car rental area wasn't opened yet, so I amused myself by listening to the radio, trying to get Yahoo Messenger to work on my cell phone, and doing everything I could to not be impatient. Finally shortly after 5 the area opened and I was able to return my car and take the shuttle to the airport.

My trip through security went smoothly; I had been dreading that they would search my luggage as my carryon was packed so tightly that I did not know how I would ever return its contents to their proper place if it was opened prematurely. I found a smoking lounge, had a few smokes, bought a coffee, scoped out the other airport residents, and finally boarded my plane for the flight back to Wyoming. In the air, I amused myself by reading the Nancy Drew novel, realizing as an adult now that most of her mysteries were solved more by dumb luck than any real detective work, and that Nancy did an awful lot of breaking and entering. I played with the in-flight video trivia game, neatly beating all other participants. I also purchased a snack container in a clever box that opened in a spiral to give to Andy when I returned.

The plane arrived in Salt Lake City about 10 minutes late; I was nervous because my next flight left in less than an hour. We then proceeded to sit on the tarmac for another 20 minutes before reaching our gate. My nervousness wasn't helped by an extremely full bladder. I knew I would have to go to the other end of the airport to make my next flight, which was on a smaller commuter airline. I ran the entire way, dragging my carryon luggage, and dashed into the last restroom before my next gate. Just as I was walking in, they announced final boarding for my flight. I sighed, pushed all thoughts of urination out of my head, and sprinted for my gate, making it just in time.

While I don't remember much about my flights (I'm fairly certain I slept from Salt Lake City to Casper) one nice thing about both flights was that the seat next to me was empty. Always a great way to fly!

We touched down in Casper, and I hurriedly left the airplane, eager to see Andy again. He was nonchalantly waiting for me outside the gate area, and casually said hello, although I could tell he was glad to see me as well.

We went to Hardees for lunch, and he asked me if I was in a hurry to get back to Lander. I immediately knew what he was up to. I told him i was really worn out from the trip, and was kind of looking forward to getting home again, especially since I needed to work the next day, a Friday. I hadn't intended to, but before I left, my boss had dragged out of me my actual return day and made me promise to come in. Andy said that it would be a shame to be in Casper and not go to our favorite strip club, confirming my suspicions.

I knew there would really be no way to dissuade him, so I made a few calls to arrange for [livejournal.com profile] asia_sky  to look after Ike for me that night; Andy made arrangements with the local Best Western for a room for the night, we checked in and he started watching a movie and eating his snack pack while I took a nap.

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Day 7, Part 2

My first stop after the nursing home was at my alma mater, Frostburg State University in Frostburg, MD.
Catching up )

Exhausted from the long day, exhausted from the trip, I finally fell asleep around midnight, curled up on the couch with Bomber snuggling behind my knees.
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Morning arrived, and I loaded my luggage into my rental car. On the trip to my father's house, I had been smoking in the car, failing to see the small "No Smoking" sticker on the driver's door window. I stopped when I got to my father's house, and had purchased a bottle of Fabreeze Car Interior deodorant spray, which I had been using liberally since then.

Read more... )

My heart felt heavy, yet I also felt some odd sense of accomplishment, as though I had just survived one of life's milestones. And I had, really- I just always thought I'd be better prepared when it came. But I also realized that the death of my mother was not something I ever could have prepared for, no matter when it had come.

Regardless, it came too soon.

So sorry

Sep. 19th, 2010 12:17 am
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This weekend, I really intended to finish up my tale of my travels to Maryland, but work has been surprisingly busy here at the hotel over night on my two weekly shifts, and I'm just not going to have the time. But I do intend on finishing it; if for nothing else, I really want it documented for myself.

I also got my hands on a copy of Torchwood Magazine #22; I've actually had it for a month but haven't had a chance to read more tha the first page of Kate's story. As soon as I do, I'll post a review here.

Days 5 & 6

Sep. 12th, 2010 05:48 am
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Day 5
Read more... )
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I walked down the rest of the hill, snuffed out my cigarette and buried it in a pile of dirt, since on a previous trip my brother had scolded me for throwing the butts on the ground; he didn't want his son picking them and chewing on them (I did point out to him that while I would do so, he should probably also teach Cole not to eat things off the ground.) I joined the group of family members who were wandering around the outside of the old farmhouse, looking at the renovations my brother was making.
Read more... )
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Day 4 part 3 )

"Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children"
William Makepeace Thackeray
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During the Friday evening viewing at the Funeral home, I was sitting alone with my grandmother and spending a little quiet time with her. Out of no where, she told me how her breasts have gotten so saggy and floppy that she can't wear a bra.

And then she said, "Here, feel this."

Oh, grandma, no.

I said, "No, that's ok," but she grabbed my hand and began pulling it to her chest.

I turned my head away, preparing to be traumatized for the rest of my life. She placed my hand under her shirt, and I felt paper-thin skin covering a hard rectangular object. Puzzled, I looked over. She had placed my hand just below her collar bone on the left side. I was feeling her pacemaker.

"I can't wear a bra anyway, because the strap rubs against this."

I nodded knowingly, and gently pulled away my hand.

Later that night at my sister's house, I told the story to Rick, my sister's husband.

"Thank you," he said. "Now I'm scarred for life."
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When I was told of the plans for lunch after the funeral services, I was also told that my father had arranged transportation for everyone. Sure enough, when we went outside, this was waiting for us:Oh the fun and games )

Day 3

Aug. 29th, 2010 02:02 am
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Day 3 )
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The trip back to Maryland went fine. To be honest, a lot of it is a blur and I can't remember a lot of details, but I'm going to do my best.

Days 1 and 2

Days One and Two )

Day 3 would be the start of the difficult time.
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On my way to Maryland. Thanks for the support, everyone, it's really helped/

Goodbye Mom

Aug. 8th, 2010 07:15 pm
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Bernice Ann (Walters) Kepple was born January 27, 1947 in Latrobe, PA.

She grew up in New Alexandria on the family dairy farm. She graduated from Greensburg Salem High School in 1964.

On July 24,1965, she married Howard Richard Kepple, whom she had known since she was four.

In 1976, she and her family moved to a farm outside of Oakland, Maryland, where a menagerie of animals was raised, including goats, sheep, horses and cows.

In 1977, she and her husband founded the Country Kids 4-H Club, which is still active today.

In 1984, she went to work for The Republican newspaper, where she worked as a news reporter, writer, salesman and Farm Editor until leaving in 2001. She published her first book, Treasured Memories of My Grandma, in 1995, and recently finished a comprehensive history of the Amish Mennonite Children's Home, now Goodwill Nursing Home, and its former wards.

She is survived by her husband Howard Kepple; daughter Cristine Kepple & husband Rick Hall of Oakland; son Timothy Kepple of Lander, Wyoming; son Michael Kepple, wife Janet & grandsons Cole and Kyle; brother Kenneth & Nancy Walters of New Alexandria, Pa., sister Barb & Dennis Yates of Woodberry, Ct., sister Beverly & Jeffrey Frye of Greensburg, PA., and brother Keith of New Alexandria, Pa.; mother-in-law Ada Kepple, Grantsville, Md.; and her two dogs, Rascal and Princess, Oakland.

She was preceeded in death by her father, Kenneth Walters; her mother, Anna Mae Walters, and her father-in-law, Howard Kepple, Sr.
She was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother, as well as a valued and popular resident at GoodWill Nursing Home. She was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.

Bernice died August 8, 2010 at Goodwill Nursing Home.
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The family was just called to my mother's bedside; they think this may be it.
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Mom drank about 8 ounces of water on Thursday, and maybe 1/4 pint of chocolate milk. So, she's still hanging in there. As long as she's in no pain, she can fight as long as she can as far as I am concerned.
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Mom hasn't eaten or drank anything in two days. From what I've (quickly) read, death usually occurs 3-5 days after the last intake of liquid.

I'm told she is not suffering, that she is sleeping comfortably. She's been prescribed a morphine patch, so I'm sure that is helping.

I've been getting irritable, especially at work, where only my boss knows what's going on (I work with a group of chatty Cathy drama queens, and that's being nice.) I'm trying not to be irritable, but I feel like I'm at a breaking point. I'm so tense just waiting for that final phone call to come.

I haven't discussed the situation on FaceBook, or any where else, really. Besides a few close friends, this is the only place I've opened up so far. I'm just not ready to be overwhelmed with sympathies and well-wishes.

But the support I've gotten from friends here on LiveJournal has been invaluable and appreciated more than I can express.

Ah helll

Aug. 3rd, 2010 06:49 pm
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Mom is doing badly. She on't wake up, and her kidneys are bleeding.

I'm currently on my 7th tequila sunrise in 1.5 hours.


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