Sara G.

This is a picture of me and an old friend of mine named Sara, taken at some point during the 1980’s. We lived next door to each other our whole lives but never said a whole lot to each other. I think this was because I was 2 years younger than her and was known as, for the most part, the annoying little brother in the group of kids that hung out on our block. Then one day, somehow, she suddenly turned into my best friend. I think it was around 4th or 5th grade for me. She was more like my evening best friend, though, since my after school best friend was John Sever.

Mostly in the evenings, we spent every minute together. When it got dark outside, we would embark on all kinds of evil missions. The missions included, but weren’t limited to, toilet papering trees, stealing porch light bulbs (or just loosening them to make them appear burnt out), peering in windows, setting things on fire, knocking and running (we called it nigger knocking, honestly not knowing that was a racist term) and avoiding police cars at all costs even if we hadn’t done anything wrong, which usually meant being chased by them because they thought we were up to no good.

We used to rearrange people’s lawn furniture, we’d hang strings across the roads to confuse motorists, once on trash night we stole everybody’s trash and put it in one person’s back yard. In the trash area, not the yard. But it was about 5 blocks worth of trash in one single yard (the Parker house). I bet the trash men were a little confused about that one. Another time we attempted to make a wall of trash bags along the backside of Whitney Page’s yard, but ran out of trash before it got very high. It was still amusing to see it there for the next day or so.

We started a club at some point, called the BASLC. The Brad and Sara Lab Club. Because my garage was the lab. We had monthly dues, but I don’t think we ever actually spent the money on anything. In fact, I never got my share of the money back after we went our separate ways. I was ripped off! I think we were hoping to save up for a set of intercoms to put in our rooms so we could talk to each other. Our windows faced each other, but were on different floors. So we had to contact each other by shining flashlights, throwing rocks, or doing half-rings on the telephone which annoyed our parents. I don’t think our “club” ever actually did anything besides collect dues.

She played guitar, and we recorded quite a few tapes of us singing and talking together. I think she ended up with most of those, because I only have one of them now. We wrote a few songs together, mostly weird parodies. I think I still have lyric sheets to them somewhere around here. I know we did a lot of hits of the time too, but the only one I can remember is Islands in the Stream. We were into the duets.

I spent weeks during the days drawing a colored, detailed, scale (more or less) map of our block to help us on our missions. This map was on a small piece of posterboard and included every rock, tree stump, garden, car, clothesline, etc. in everyone’s yard. I suppose the map didn’t really help, it was more just to make it all more fun for us. I even bought those pin flags, to mark important things on the maps.

My garage was command central, we carried walkie-talkies, we had code names, we had our own secret handwriting that we could read and write fluently. I still can, in fact. Anyway, we did these things for about 2 or 3 years straight. She finally grew up and became interested in a boyfriend so we stopped hanging out so much and I found new friends. We hung out a few times during jr. high and high school, but I guess we’d outgrown our nightly missions by that point.

Last I heard, she married, had a couple of kids and moved to Montana or something. But I’d say our nightly adventures had a pretty severe impact on my life. Someday, years from now, Sara will happen across my homepage and read my rant about her. HI SARA!

September 2003 Entries

Wednesday, 9-3-2003: Around 4pm or so I went to Riverview Park to meet Tricia and Jordyn there. We hung out and played for awhile. Morgan ended up there eventually (little girl we met there a month or so ago). We fed the ducks, played some more and left. When I got home I went on a bike ride. Rode to my parents house but they weren’t home so I went in, got some water and went back home.

Thursday, 9-4-2003: Picked up the kids from school, came home and they played with Casey for awhile while I worked some more. Then we went to the grocery store to get a few things. Came home and mowed part of the lawn and trimmed a lot in the front. Rode bikes with the kids.

Friday, 9-5-2003: My parents are taking the kids camping for the weekend. I went to their house around 2pm, walked to the schools and picked up the kids and we walked back to their house. Then I went back home and worked. I saw SWAT tonight with Tricia. Not a bad movie. Any movie with a cool helicopter crash in it is usually a good movie.

Saturday, 9-6-2003: Got up and worked on my deck all day. Finished a rail, boxed in the steps, covered the remaining hole in the corner and finished most of the lattice. In the evening, I went and picked up Tricia. We rented Punch Drunk Love, got some Wendy’s and watched it at my house.

Sunday, 9-7-2003: Worked on the deck again for most of the day. My parents came by and dropped the kids off for me. Mowed the lawn.

Monday, 9-8-2003: Took the kids to school, worked, picked them up. We went to Edwardsville to see the movie Dickie Roberts. Got a new old TV today – Richard got a new one and gave me his old one. It’s 42″ or something.

Wednesday, 9-10-2003: Got up at 6:30am to get ready for court at 8:30. Went, sat around, accomplished nothing, came home at 9:30 and worked for the rest of the day. Did a little work in my room – got my closet bar up and part of the door frame in place.

Thursday, 9-11-2003: Got up around 9ish and worked all morning. Had to pick up Payton from Colleen’s at 1:30. Went to my parents and hung out there until 2:30. Picked up Emily then, went to the grocery store and home.

Saturday, 9-13-2003: Bonnie brought Christian over for me to watch all day. We all went to Godfrey McDonalds (Ryan came too). Then came home again for awhile. Me, Payton and Christian went to my parents to visit for awhile. Colleen picked up the kids at 6:30, then Bonnie got Christian after that. I went and picked up Tricia and we came back here and watched Jerry Mcguire.

Sunday, 9-14-2003: Movie theater phone calls. Went to Riverview Park and met Tricia and Jordyn. Fed the ducks for awhile. Tricia came over later, went driving around, got some supper at Subway, came home and watched JP3.

Tuesday, 9-16-2003: Picked up the kids from school and later took them to the recreation center park for a few hours. Went to Wal-Mart to get Emily some nice clothes for picture day tomorrow.

Wednesday, 9-17-2003: Took the kids to school, went to a credit counseling place to have them take over my credit cards. Then went to get a haircut and had to wait over 2 hours for that since one of the barbers was on vacation. Worked, then picked up the kids. We went to the rec. center park again right after school. Colleen picked up the kids at 7:15 and I worked on web pages for the rest of the night.

Friday, 9-19-2003: Worked all day, then picked up the kids from school. Went to 6th Street park for awhile, then to Blockbuster to rent a few games.

Sunday, 9-21-2003: Woke up around 9am and got Tricia home at about 11:30am or so. Stopped by Casey’s for some Doritos and Sprite for breakfast. Then I went to my parents house to eat lunch with them and pick up the kids. Mowed the lawn while they played, then Tricia & Jordyn came over and played for the rest of the day. Had pizza on the deck for supper.

Someone tell me why this is cool:

That’s a neighbor of mine mowing his lawn. I’m sitting here at the computer, minding my own business and he decided to start mowing his lawn wearing that. So of course I grabbed my camera and snapped a picture. I guess I’m just too old to understand the new show your underwear and/or butt crack fad. What keeps his pants from falling all the way down once they reach that low?? Does he velcro them to bottom part of his underwear? Why don’t people just buy clothes that fit?? I can understand loose-fitting clothes, but it seems like somehting like that would just be an inconvenience. I guess this guy was just determined to look cool while he mowed his lawn.

Anyway, my weekend wasn’t too bad. I played with the kids a lot, went to a wedding with Tricia, roasted marshmellows, went to a park, mowed my lawn in jeans that fit me and bought a suit. I think it’s probably been about 17 or 18 years since I’ve owned a suit.

Monday, 9-22-2003: Boring day, just worked. Around noon Amy came over and we went to Subway for lunch.

Tuesday, 9-23-2003: Worked until 5:15pm, then picked up the kids from Colleen’s. We went to the rec. center park and stayed there until 7pm. Stopped by Piasa Pantry for some chips and drinks, then went home. Emily told me that Colleen forgot to pick her up from school again yesterday. She sat around and waited until the school called Colleen. Turns out that she was at home sleeping.

Thursday, 9-25-2003: Colleen picked up the kids around 5:30pm and we got into an argument over her wanting my air conditioner window unit. She doesn’t need it and I do but she wants it. Probably wants to sell it. Then she wanted the broken space heater so I gave it to her. After she left I decided that it’d be nice just to get all of her stuff out of the house to avoid future problems. I cleaned out a lot of her room in the basement and made about 3 or 4 trips to her house to drop it all off. Didn’t get it finished, but maybe I will next week.

Friday, 9-26-2003: Emily stayed home sick from school today but Colleen kept her all day. Tricia came over and we had lunch at Subway. Then she slept here while I worked for awhile. We both went to pick up Jordyn from her school, then went to Jamestown Mall to meet her sister and pick up her kids. Dropped them off at their dads, went back to Tricia’s parents to drop off Jordyn, stopped by Wendy’s for some food and then came to my house and watched The Pirate Movie.

Saturday, 9-27-2003: Got up at 8am to do the phone mobbing radio prank with others from PLA which actually didn’t go too bad! Then Colleen brought the kids over and we went to Eli’s birthday party. That lasted until about 5 or 6pm. Then we had some supper at McDonalds and came home.

Sunday, 9-28-2003: Stayed home all day with the kids. Ryan was over a lot today and the kids just played around the house. I worked on the apartment next door since Tricia is thinking about moving into it. Got it cleaned up a little and put up a door.

Monday, 9-29-2003: I was looking at my guestbook this morning and noticed an unusual entry. Here’s what it says:

I get the idea that you enjoy computers. Don’t you relaize that
with all the information you have provided you are giving someone out
there family names, photos, addresses and the like. C’mon I see you
don’t like your father-in-law too but you should be putting your family’s
safety first. Think about it…..whatever your name is.

I keep re-reading it, trying to figure out what he’s talking about. I think it was just designed to confuse me or something. At first I thought he was trying to say that I’m not really me, I’m just someone making a pretend web site which is designed to give out a bunch of information on some guy that I’m pretending to be but I don’t really like. But then there’s the confusing father-in-law statement which I’m not getting at all. Or maybe he’s just saying that I shouldn’t make a website for myself because stalkers might use the information on the site to stalk me and my kids. But again, there’s the father-in-law statement. I don’t hate my father-in-law. Or EX father-in-law I guess I should say. And even if I did I don’t think I’ve said anything negative about him on my site. Unless I did it in a drunken stupor. But I haven’t been drunk in 12 years or so, so that doesn’t work. And whose address am I giving out? Where is this?? This has really started my Monday out on a confusing note. I need to email this guy and ask him to clarify things so I don’t lose sleep over this.

August 2003 Entries

Friday, 8-1-2003: Took the kids to school and worked during the day. Went on a date with Tricia around 5pm. We went to Union Station and looked around all the stores, went outside and hung around the fountain for awhile, took the train to the Landing and did some shopping.

Saturday, 8-2-2003: Got up around 8:30am and worked for a few hours. Then me and the kids went to Jamestown to see Spy Kids 3D, ate McDonalds there and they played on the slides. Came home for awhile and I mowed the lawn. Then we went to Wal-Mart to buy Emily’s school supplies.

Saturday, 8-09-2003: Worked on my room a bunch. Me and Tom went to Lowes in his truck and got me some more drywall. Finished ripping out my closet and did some drywalling.

Sunday, 8-10-2003: Took the kids to Colleen’s first thing in the morning. Came home and worked on my room remodeling for most of the day. Got drywall put up and lots of patching done. Here’s some pictures of the progress:

Keep in mind, the closet door you see was actually outside of my room when I started this on Tuesday. There was a whole other wall to my room there which I removed without taking pictures first. So the size of my room is considerably bigger now. Now when I get out of bed in the morning, I’m “coming out of the closet.” HAHAHA, I KILL ME!

Thursday, 8-14-2003: Kept the kids home today. We went and got donuts for breakfast, then Alex and Allison came over to play with them and I worked until about 4:30pm. Angie stopped by to drop off her laptop for me to look at and Colleen picked up the kids at 5:30pm. Spent the rest of my evening, working on some wiring in my room. Got a new ceiling light and light switch put in. Then did a little more drywalling.

Friday, 8-22-2003: Me RijilV and Tom went to the Waffle House for breakfast/lunch. This is the very same waffle house that was featured in PLA099. The employees there don’t realize it but they work at an historic PLA landmark.

Saturday, 8-23-2003: Me, RijilV, Tom and both kids went to the City Museum for the day. Got there around 11am and stayed until maybe 4pm.

Monday, 8-25-2003: Came home and worked all day. Me and Tricia went to Jamestown Mall at 5pm. Walked all over the mall, then saw the movie SWAT. Bought a new laser pointer at Sam Goody to torment the cats with.

Wednesday, 8-27-2003: Me and Tricia were both kidless so we decide to drive to Indiana and stay a night. We were going to go to Indianapolis but decided to stop an hour earlier in Terre Haute instead.

Thursday, 8-28-2003: Left Indiana around 10am after we browsed at a book store for awhile. Got back home around 1pm.

July 2003 Entries

Wednesday, 7-2-2003: What did I do on Wednesday? I can’t remember. I think I worked all day, then went to Lowes and bought some air conditioning vent stuff and then sat on the couch watching TV and talking to Tricia all night while we both watched T2 and The Crow on TV. I think that was Wednesday. But maybe not. I’m behind on this whole journal thing.

Thursday, 7-3-2003: Worked all day. Around 5pm I went across the river and bought some fireworks for tomorrow. Then came home and worked on putting a new air duct in my room for the rest of the evening. Got most of it done, still a little left to do.

Saturday, 7-5-2003: Got up at 7am. Well 6:30 really, but I didn’t actually get out of bed until 7am. Me and the kids mostly just hung out at the house all day. Around 4:30pm we decided to see the Sinbad movie at Jamestown Mall. So we did that, then played on the slides for a little while, and then went for a drive on river road. We ended up stopping at Clifton Terrace Park and playing there for awhile, then went home.

Monday, 7-09-2003: Worked all day. After work, picked up Tricia and we went to see Terminator 3 at Jamestown Mall. It didn’t suck as much as Matrix 2. I can at least say that for it.

Friday, 7-11-2003: Worked all morning but quit around 2pm, packed up a few things and drove to Indianapolis because of a sudden urge to just get out of town. Took about 4 hours to drive there and I ran into a really bad storm just as I got there. Went to the mall for awhile, walked around the mall & talked to Tricia on my cell. Then went to the IUPUI campus and walked around there for awhile, down the canal walk, etc. Slept in a nearby reststop.

I wardrived for the whole trip, just so I could feel cool
As I get into a town, a terrible storm is ahead
I got to see a massive fireworks show after a baseball game

Saturday, 7-12-2003: I was going to go back to downtown Indianapolis this morning but after I woke up I decided to just go back home. Got home around 9am and went to sleep until noon. At 8:30pm I picked up Tricia and we went to downtown St. Louis to meet her sister and her boyfriend. We went to some club on the Landing for awhile, then out to Centerville to some strip club. Got some Taco Bell and McDonalds after it all, then they took me back to my car and I took Tricia home. I got her home around 5am, then I got home around 5:30.

Sunday, 7-13-2003: Slept in until about 12:30pm. Hung around the house all day doing nothing. Went to Target to buy Payton a birthday present. Went for a bike ride around Wood River and back home. Then hung around the house doing nothing some more.

Wednesday, 7-23-2003: I’m divorced! Had court at 1pm and was done before 1:30pm. We just signed a paper and that was it. Now we just have to work out the custody issues. Picked up the kids from school, then we got some groceries and came home. Mowed the lawn, pulled some weeds and got the kids to bed. What I really need to do is get some shoe polish and write “JUST DIVORCED” on my car window. Maybe put my phone number under it for prospective dates to call me at. But they’d probably drive up next to me when they called and be like “Ewwww” and hang up on me. So I won’t bother.

Sunday, 7-27-2003: Was sick all day. I had the kids and they entertained themselves while I laid on the couch all day. I could hardly sit up or stand up. Making the kids breakfast and lunch was about all I did. Around 8pm is when I started feeling better. Next year I get a flu shot.

Monday, 7-28-2003: Me & Tricia went to the Speghetti Facory for supper and walked around The Landing for awhile.

Tuesay, 7-29-2003: Worked just for a few hours but it was slow so I quit early. Took Tom’s truck to Lowes and got some 2×4’s and drywall. Moved the walls in my room out so I have more room now. This was an impulsive renovation, I was suddenly tired of having a small room.

Thursday, 7-31-2003: Did some more work on the walls in my room – removed more of the original walls and the shelf by the door. Got everything cleaned up pretty good. Still a lot to do though.

June 2003 Entries

Sunday, 6-8-2003: Worked a little during the day. Did a lot of driving around all day, trying to film stuff for the next Elephant and Bird. Ended up driving to Highland out of boredom and discovered it was Schweizerfest day. So I went to their downtown parade. Came home, fixed my bike and went for about a 3 hour bike ride. Came home and played on the internet until 2am or so.

Monday, 6-9-2003: Worked all day until about 7pm. Had to take my car in to be fixed in the morning but got it back in the afternoon. Went for a small bike ride to get a Pepsi out on College.

Friday, 6-20-2003: Worked all day until about 4pm. Amy and Greg came over and had me drive them to the airport so I get Amy’s jeep for the weekend.

Saturday, 6-21-2003: Slept in until about 10am, cleaned the house a little, did some work on my bookshelf door, picked up the kids from Colleens. Took them both to a neighbors wedding in Dow. After that, went to eat and play at Bethalto McDonalds. Came home, caught fireflies and went to bed.

Sunday, 6-22-2003: Me and the kids rode our bikes to Emily’s school and played on the playground for awhile. Then later we drove to 6th Street park and played there for awhile. Got them some baths and then Colleen picked them up at 5:30. After that, me and my brother went on about a 30 mile bike ride. We ended up by Granite City, then across some bridge, then on Chain of Rocks Bridge, then around I-270 in Missouri, 367 and back to Alton. My legs are killing me right now.

Chain of Rocks bridge picture #1Chain of Rocks bridge picture #2

Monday, 6-23-2003: Woke up around 10ish and started working. Around 5pm I took Amy’s car to the airport to pick up her and Greg. I took my car into the shop again this morning to fix the air conditioner and it’s still not back.

Wednesday, 6-24-2003: Took the kids to school in the morning and then worked. Was really tired all day, ended up quitting around 5pm to mow the lawn. A neighbor brought over some freshly baked sugar cookies for me which was nice since I was starving and didn’t have anything to eat.

Sunday, 6-29-2003: Took the kids to Wood River pool from about 12:30 until 5:00. I’m sunburned. It sucks.

Monday, 6-30-2003: Took the kids to school, worked all day, went on a date with Tricia. We went to Jamestown mall and walked around for a little while, saw the movie 28 Days Later.

Sick, caves, block party

Wednesday, 5-28-2003: Sick all day. Feeling weak and tired. Didn’t get much work done cause I kept having to lay down. Took my car into the dealership to get the catalatic convertor fixed. They gave me a rental car for free.

Friday, 5-30-2003: Around 5pm today I met Beth, a girl that I chat with everyday online. We went cave exploring at the Piasa cave. Then drove around the rich neighborhoods for awhile to look at the houses. Couldn’t stay in the caves too long since we didn’t happen to have flashlights.

Saturday, 5-31-2003: Took the kids to the Alton Block Party. We stayed there all afternoon until about 8pm. Amy, TJ and Elizabeth showed up and hung out with us for awhile. After we left we went to Godfrey McDonalds to play for awhile.

Payton eating Nachos

Leaving South Dakota

Monday, 5-26-2003: Me and Emily left fairly early – around 10am. Drove all day. Emily was really good on the trip. She was bored but she didn’t complain too much. We stopped at a lot of rest stops and gas stations so she could get out of the car. She went to sleep around 10pm and we finally got home right at 2am. She woke up for a little while to play with the kittens and then went back to sleep.

More South Dakota

Sunday, 5-25-2003: I was the first to wake up. Checked on hotels and donuts. Me and Mr. Spessa went to a downtown donut shop to buy donuts for all the kids. Our first trip was to some underground waterfall thing which wasn’t TOO interesting. Then we went to see Mount Rushmore and spent quite a bit of time there. The security guys were actually carrying machine guns with them because of some heightened terrrorist alert which I didn’t manage to get a picture of. Security was tighter than any airport I’ve ever been to. We went to Flinstone town for awhile and to an underground cavern. I think that was it for the day. We went back to the hotel, let the kids swim for awhile and then all went to bed.

In the first picture below, you see me doing something shady by the Bedrock Telephone building. The second picture is a paper that Spessa noticed in our hotel’s elevator which had quite a few spelling & other mistakes in it. So she took it to her room, graded it, placed it back in the elevator and took a picture of it. I thought a C+ was a little harsh but who am I to argue? You can click on that one for a full sized view.

click for a full-sized picture

Arriving in South Dakota

Saturday, 5-24-2003: Got up around 8am and started driving again. Emily didn’t even want to shower or have breakfast anywhere so we ate cookies in the car for breakfast as we drove. Drove all day with very few stops and Emily was surprisingly good for the drive. We stopped at a gas station and redid our window signs to say MADE YOU LOOK and a few other slogans on the sides. We arrived in Rapid City, South Dakota around 4pm or so. Got on a pay phone to call the Spessas, then met them at their hotel.

We went to Target to pick up swimming gear for their kids. Then to some underground waterfall in a cave. We tried to go to some caverns but they were all closed. Came back to the hotel and let the kids swim for a few hours, then went to eat at a restaurant across the street. Came back and all went to sleep eventually. The kids had their own room and we had ours down the hall from them.

Going to South Dakota

Friday, 5-23-2003: Worked a little and packed bags for vacation to South Dakota. Me and Emily are driving out there to hang out with Spessa & Company for the weekend. We left around 5:15pm or so which is a sucky time to take off driving for the day. After we got out of St. Louis we stopped by a McDonalds for Emily to play and have some supper. We used window paint to write I LIKE CAKE on the back car window and other various things on all the other windows which caused everyone to stare at us as they drove past. Emily found this hysterical. We had people pointing, laughing, making faces at us, etc. It made the drive very enjoyable. I was hoping to drive until 3 or 4 in the morning but I only made it until 1am. I stopped at a Super 8 in Nebraska and we slept until 8am.

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