Prison Pete

Monday, February 05, 2007
  Lack of Letters Lately.
I guess if this letter is being read by you then you are still a resident of planet Earth. I have not received any letters from you since your post office-delayed Christmas Card. We had lots of staff problems getting our mail in through the barbed wire and I am hoping that a letter from you was not a casualty. I usually receive the Playboy for the following month by the tenth of the prior month. I received the January issue the first week of December and then.... Nope nothing further. I even sent in my renewal and got back confirmation that I would be receiving two special pictorials and they have not arrived. I guess I need to write a letter to Hef.

On the "mail I have received" front, I got a second letter from my newest pen pal down in Texas last Friday. This one was postmarked on Wednesday and in my hands on Friday. That one flew here. Hopefully by now she has received at least one of the two letters I have sent her way.

So what am I to think? I know the blog was working; I got the new pen pal, the third from Texas. Have you ended up in the hospital for surgery for your non-mending bones? Has your new job sucked all your mental energy? Do you still have a job? Has the home life been turned upside down? Or are you just very busy and writing to me is on the "to do" list but keeps getting buried by more pressing events?

Well my life here is really two distinct existences. On the one side, as long as I remain in my dorm and do not wander the compound unless absolutely necessary, I am not doing too badly. I am well respected in the dorm, and currently do not feel under any imminent use of physical force upon my body. This could change in a matter of one new inmate arriving, or a current one having a bad day. It is not a comfortable position to find myself in.

I have all but given up going to the chow hall so as to avoid running into the one or two inmates that are in the building next to us and end up going to chow either right before us, in which case they are already in the chow hall when I get there, or we meet on the road going to or from the chow hall.

I no longer go up to the chapel for the bible study. So basically the only time I leave the unit is for the worship services on Saturday and Sunday. I still play the organ for the Catholic services for the time being. So if I am not working or in church, I am in the dorm.

Speaking of musical instruments, I received an Easy Piano book from Hamilton yesterday, and almost found my self playing the right and left hand at the same time. Well not almost; I was playing a really simple version of some of Handel's music. It blew my mind. True I have always just tried to jump right in to playing the four part harmonies of the hymns but here where I am playing one note with each hand at a time with a few three note chords with the left, all of a sudden something I always said I would never do became a reality. How? Two things I am still not always open to, talking baby steps, and practicing!

What was even cooler, I was playing "See, The Conquering Hero Comes!" from Judas Maccabaeus and I could split the keyboard so that my left hand, the bass part, was playing strings while my right hand played the melody line with a trumpet sound. That sounded really awesome!

I ended up cooking some macaroni and cheese along with a dish of nachos for four people tonight.

With the departure of one of the longer term inmates down at work I am now the number two man in terms of time on the job. The other inmate has been here for five plus years, is kind of a nerd like me. He is nicknamed by some of the civilian staff as Dilbert. At this point he and I are the only two inmates that know how to fix any of the appliances. So on the cool side, I am training some of the younger inmates on what to do, and being respected for my skills. My carpentry skills continue to improve and I am becoming an expert on the use of the Dado blades on the table saw. I know I have said this before, but I am extra careful when using them, and can not help but think of your dad, each time I see those blades spinning, I make sure my hands are well away from them.

I have also figured out how to troubleshoot microwaves, and have found that two of the most frequent problems we have with them require replacing only a $3.00 motor for the turntables or one of three $2.00 door switches. Just last week I managed to diagnose and repair five out of six microwaves that were heading for the garbage. I am waiting for four new turntable motors and then we will be able to use these machines instead of buying new ones.

I am sorry for the lack of letters, but I am sort of waiting to see where you are at so I know what to write back. I have become less "needy" in terms of thinking that I must send out every little complaint and expect you (or Mom and Dad) to write back to Poor Pete. Besides when you are facing the possibility of getting your ass kicked on a daily basis and realize there is little the system will do to protect you, everything else is not all that troubling. I am being very appreciative of the positive experiences I do get each day, and fearing the time will come when I need to get out of here, and hopefully before I get my head handed to me. I also do not want to screw up the upcoming second half of my nose job.

Well it is almost lights out so let me get this in the envelope and out to you.
Just stopping by to say hello to you and the editor. I was hoping to read some good news about your getting out of that hell hole. I like what you're doing with your music. Keep going strong.
Hi there sweet Pete and our awesome editor.Popping in to say hi,and see if maybe you are getting any closer to home yet.
When I hear you talk about "walking the compound" it takes mwe back to the days when I had to walk the compound I was on.
People would try to talk to me in transit,and being the sisiy I am,I always said "Shhhh,I don't wanna catch a case...I'm trying to make parole"! ha ha As you know,in state prison,you will catch a case fotr talking anywhere outside your dorm,so nobody was worth getting a set-off just cuz I couldn't keep my pie-hole shut.LOL
Glad to hear your still hangin' in there.You too Mr.Editor.
big huggggggs
Greetings. I just discovered your blog while surfing. You sound like you've learned to make wise choices that enable you to copy with the stressful environment you're in. Your example will be a lifeline to the younger inmates.

I hope you persevere with the keyboard. Creating music is a great stress reliever in itself. Although I've not been "inside" myself, I have a lot of friends who have been. In one of our local prisons, we have prison Alpha. When the fellas "graduate" from prison, the ones who have been through Alpha are supported on the outside by our church. My role in that is to provide housing. I've met some real great people over the four years I've been doing this. And I've met a few that just weren't ready yet to deal with their "stuff" and live legally in community. It's been an adventure.

I'm going to bookmark your blog. Take care.

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