Prison Pete

Saturday, February 27, 2010
  Downward Spiral.
My life of late has been little more than a downward spiral. As I was taught way back when, "Cheer up I says things could be worse." Sure enough I cheered up and they got worse!

You last letter started off with a complaint of lack of letters on my side. I sent two letters in a few days time, and then silence. Okay I know from your Christmas card, you were fighting some bronchitis (why did you wait to go to doctor!) and it was the busy Christmas season so I thought I might hear from you by now. Alas, the old wait for tomorrow trick has now seen twelve days pass. So I am writing now.

I am wondering if I put too many requests in my last letters and you are pissed off? I thought I had told you if you ever feel the requests are too much, skip them. There was the question posed by the person about having me write more about the inside perspective of prison.

I think I have also sent you a copy of the letter I finally sent back to my brother. So I thought there should have been something there to write back to me about. If not, then hopefully something in this missal will tickle your fancy. I hope so; certainly my life has not had many tickles in it.

About the only ray of sunshine in my life has been Abby, and she surprised me with a bunch of books that arrived here at the end of last month! Boy do I remember the frequent, numerous and much awaited book drops you used to make. I no sooner get back from the package room and three or four inmates are already at my bunk wanting to see what titles I got in.

One reason I am writing now, 8.15 PM on Tuesday, is I received my bi-weekly commissary sheet today upon my return from the chapel. For the first time in many years I only have $55.20 in my account. My pay for my no-show job has been adjusted downward to $13.30 per week. My last three commissary buys were for $76.57, $73.85 and $64.37. So with only $13.30 coming in, things are looking really depressing.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
  Oops has it been ten days since my last letter.
I am looking at my handwritten letter. Either there is another letter or perhaps I misdated that one. No, in all likelihood my funk has led to delusional thinking that I am writing more often to you than I am. Boy that is a surprise.

I just received a letter from Abby, and she ended up spending a few days in two different hospitals to be diagnosed as having severe stomach problems apparently related to the loss of proper nerve functioning related to lifelong battle with diabetes. The medicine they are giving her is only a stopgap measure, as you are not supposed to take it for more than three months.

She went to a local hospital over the weekend only to end up being transferred to a major medical center within the area. I do not know if you care but she lives in a town apparently in the middle of nowhere, and the nearest hospital can only handle more mundane ills so she was transferred by ambulance to the larger facility.

I still have not heard from my brother, or even my brother acting as the letter writer for my mother. It appears at this point that I am never again going to be able to have a two way communication with Mom.

From the "cheer up things could be worse" department, well sure enough I cheered up and they got worse. I received my monthly statement today and it turns out for some unknown reason my weekly $15.20 pay from my mess hall job had now been reduced to $13.30 a week. On the one hand I should be grateful I have been kept on the payroll without doing any work, but on the other hand, if I am supposed to be paid x amount, then pay me that.

I have to get my ass in gear and answer with more detail the issues I raised on my earlier letter.

Ray and I had a pound or so of venison sausage today in a tomato sauce with a pound of pasta, 1/2 each. There was some extra sauce which is about to have two cans of beans added to it and with a sleeve of saltines become a late supper. It is my second known encounter with deer meat and I have to admit it is pretty good. Of course since it has been years since I have had anything that resembles red meat, this is certainly a treat.

Our regular officer has been off the past two days, (Wednesday-Thursday) and will be back tomorrow so I will probably be doing a whole bunch of floor scrubbing and waxing. Also the 11 PM to 7 AM regular guy is back in a few hours after his two days off so I will probably be up till 3 or 4 am doing stuff in the day area too.

I did get a letter off tonight to Jerry in California, so I will see if that pans out to another person to reach out to.

Oh wait a MINUTE there was another letter which included my response to my brother!

My typing without proofing leaves something to be desired I know. But I figured a few typos are better than no letter at all. I just do not have the patience at this point to proof and retype a letter I am struggling a bit. It seems I am a positive supportive presence in Ray’s life and Abby makes a comment about how I write to her more than her son John and she wants me to write more, that once in a while I need a place to go to recharge my batteries. That place/person just does not exist right now.

On the one hand I want to yell at the powers to be that hey you let me do all that great programming for you for six plus months, you are still using it, I got little benefit for the value you received, and yet you now treat me like a black sheep of the family. Please let me do what I am good at. Let me build up my own self esteem since everything else around here is based on the premise that we can tear it all apart.

So I hope you had a good holiday, I guess you had a few off, and now it is time to think about back to work.

So now that you have gotten two letters this week, I am going to see if I can get some more out to you on Sunday evening.
Monday, February 22, 2010
  Letter to my brother.
Boy do you realize how fast a one ounce bag of Dipsey Doodles can disappear? Plus a can of Ginger Ale that is really part of the next two weeks of treats? I can not just sit here and type without something to munch on.

I know it is not Thursday or Friday! And if being in a funk is still an excuse for not writing then this letter would not be in the typewriter now. I am going to start out with a retype of my letter to my brother.

Dear Bill,

First off let me wish you a delayed Happy Birthday. I apologize for not writing sooner, but have been wondering what to write, I am glad that mom has you to help her out and look after her. I know it is not easy to do and I certainly do not want to add to your burden. I did receive the supplies, thank you for putting the order through.

You mention that Mom is having memory problems and I wonder what the scope of the problem is. I wonder how many of my recent letters to Mom you have seen, and if you have you know there are several questions that I was looking for answers on. I do not know how you feel about writing to me. I am certainly not the same person I was thirteen years ago. However, I will leave it to you as to what if anything you would care to share with me.

As far as the monthly money that Dad and Mom have been sending me, I understand your need to preserve mom's money. I would only ask that if you feel it would match Mom's wishes that you could reduce the amount Mom was sending to me to $200 every three months. In the past Mom has been sending me $100 a month. I will refrain from bothering Mom with any further request for funds as I can only assume that it makes your job harder to explain to Mom where her money is going. I will leave it up to you to decide what should be done. If you would like to further discuss this, great; if not that is great too.

I am enclosing a letter to Mom which I would appreciate you sharing with her. I would also appreciate you sending me the address where Mom is so I can have it for my records. I will certainly mail all my letters to your house.

Bill, thank you for being there for Mom in her time of need. I know you will take good care of her, and make sure she is getting all the things she need it is a great comfort to me to know that Mom has Pamela and you so nearby and I know the appreciates all you both do for her.

Peace and Love,

There you have it; I did indeed enclose a letter to Mom, and have not heard anything back at this point.

It seems pretty clear to me that my brother will not communicate with me at all at this point and is not even going to bother telling me where Mom is! I am not dealing well at all with this whole thing. I am not as tough as I would like to be.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
  Letter from my brother.
I know that I have dropped the ball yet again, but the last couple of weeks have been more rocky and rollercoastery emotionally than usual. One key ingredient to this emotional mayhem is this letter from my brother, which I am sending you a copy of. It is the only correspondence I have received from him since my arrest way back in 1996!


Enclosed is a $200 check that Mom requested I send you. We also ordered the last batch of stuff you asked for, which I think you should have received by now.

Mom requested I send you this letter and an update on what’s going on here. Last weekend we moved Mom into an assisted living facility nearby (the next town over). She was very comfortable here, but as her memory has continued to diminish, we felt it best that she go to a place which can ensure she eats 3 meals a day and can keep an eye on her 7 days a week. We are also hopeful that she can meet a few people her age that she can start to socialize with. Overall she's healthy, except for having bad eyesight, terrible hearing and memory issues.

The monthly cost for her new home are rather high, but fortunately, Dad's pension and her pension and Social Security cover most of it, but not all. There is a need to dip into her savings for the balance. Also, we received a letter last week from Dad's pension fund saying that the pension will be reduced 10% in 2010, then another 10% in 2011 to help make up some of the deficit which has occurred over the past year due to the volatile financial markets (Dad's pension is the largest chunk of income she receives each month). Also, the facility told us to expect a 3-7% annual increase. So her savings will dissipate faster come January.

As Mom & Dad appointed me the successor Trustee of their Estate, I am responsible for ensuring that the remaining funds are spent appropriately for the surviving spouse and according to their will. I have already told Mom that she needs to save her money for herself and can no longer send contributions to all the charities who send mail here. As there have been no disbursements from the Estate to Pam or myself, you need to understand that there may not be regular monthly payments to you going forward.

We are continuing to have Mom's mail come to our house, so I can pay the bills and then bring all non-junk mail to her and help her read it. Of course, we will do this for your letters. In the end, it's up to Mom if she wishes to send you any money in cases like this, I will so as she instructs. In my role as successor Trustee, I will make note of any of these disbursements, so that if in the end there are any funds remaining in the estate upon Mom's passing, this amount will be subtracted from any settlement of the estate.

Best regards,
Saturday, February 20, 2010
  Mail room workers.
I am not sure if I mentioned this before but one or two of our distinguished mail room workers love to take a black permanent marker to the postage stamps. Her (or his) way of preventing the "washing" of the cancellation marks. So why the hell did they have to do it to a Canadian stamp? Now I can not even use it for my collection. Bummer.

Well it got me mad enough that I am going to use your postcard as an example to our staff grievance person to prove what is being done and should not be.

It appears you had a great vacation, and somehow I ended up getting not one, but two postcards. I am the lucky one. Yeah, I did get the "Coastcard" from the brewery, and also appreciate the gallows humor, of the "wish you were here" cards. Ha Ha, actually I wish I was somewhere. Prison is just nowhere most of the time.

I have been wallowing in a whole bunch of self pity over the last five weeks or so, and have plenty more to write. You should have a couple letters that I have sent.

There was a long expose in the NY Times about the secondary market for all things show and sports tickets. Instead of whining about it not being fair, what would happen is all of a sudden, everyone decided to refuse to pay more than face value for a ticket. Oops all those "brokers" are stuck with a whole lot of worthless paper,

If an artist or sports team still was able to support a fan base of only those flush with disposable cash, then so what, Eventually, the market would have to adjust, Look what happened to both the Mets and Yankees with their new stadiums. Of course it would take some "team spirit" and an ability to work together for a joint goal. Yeah but this in America, as long as I get mine, who cares about anyone else. That is certainly a very prevalent attitude here in the prison system.

Damn, I have got to get back into the habit of typing drafts. So while the only times of late that my life seems bearable is when I am working on the Chaplain's computer, or getting mail from Abby and you.

I think I mentioned that not hearing from my Mom for the whole month, 1 received a letter the first week of last month. I have not heard from her since. That does not help with my sense of self either.

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