Seasons Change

by Howard Faxon

Caution: This Romantic Story contains strong sexual content, including Romantic, .

Desc: Romantic Story: a wee bit different than my normal fare. A fella gets shat on by lady luck and pulls his head out. Twice. More philosophical than I've ever done before.

No Time

No time left for you
On my way to better things
No time left for you
I'll find myself some wings
No time left for you
Distant roads are calling me
No time left for you.

No time for a summer friend
No time for the love you send
Seasons change and so did I
You need not wonder why
You need not wonder why
There's no time left for you
No time left for you.

No time left for you
On my way to better things
No time left for you
I'll find myself some wings
No time left for you
Distant roads are calling me
No time left for you.

No time for a gentle rain
No time for my watch and chain
No time for revolving doors
No time for the killing floor
No time for the killing floor
There's no time left for you
No time left for you.

No time for a summer friend
No time for the love you send
Seasons change and so did I
You need not wonder why
You need not wonder why
There's no time left for you
No time left for you.

No time
No time
No time
No time

I got got got got no time
I got got got got no time
I got got got got no time
No no no no no no no time
No no no no no no no time
I got got got got no time
No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No Time
I got no time
Got no time
Got no time
Got no time
Got no time

(No time left for you) On my way to better things
(No time left for you) I found myself some wings
(No time left for you) Distant roads are callin' me
(No time left for you) Da-un-da-un-da-un-da-un-da
No time for a summer friend
No time for the love you send
Seasons change and so did I
You need not wonder why
You need not wonder why
There's no time left for you
No time left for you
(No time left for you) On my way to better things
(No time left for you) I found myself some wings
(No time left for you) Distant roads are callin' me
(No time left for you) Day-un-day-un-day-un-day-un-day
No time for a gentle rain
No time for my watch and chain
No time for revolving doors
No time for the killin' floor
No time for the killin' floor
There's no time left for you
No time left for you
No time for a summer friend
No time for the love you send
Seasons change and so did I
You need not wonder why
You need not wonder why
There's no time left for you
No time left for you
No time, no time, no time, no time
No time, no time, no time, no time
I got, got, got, got no time
I got, got, got, got no time
I got, got, got, got no time
No-no-no, no-no-no, no time
No-no-no, no-no-no, no time
I got, got, got, got no time
No-no-no, no-no-no, no-no-no,
no-no-no, no-no-no, no-no-no, no time
I got no time, got no time, got no time, got no time, got no time
Got no time, got no time

The Guess Who wrote a song supposedly about being caught up in the music industry and lamenting the loss of their friends and parts of their lives that they treasured or remembered deeply.

We all change, some gradually as we age and change perspective.

Some of us, however, have dramatic changes made to our lives that we have no control over and never saw coming. Consider the soldiers returning with limbs missing. In a travesty of logic you can say that they 'signed up' for the risks involved.

Walk through the children's ward of a hospital. Try telling me that they signed up for accidents that left them maimed, disfigured or blinded. Go ahead. I swear to God that I'll beat you until you spatter. And don't take the sanctimonious high road either, spouting "God's will" or some such pious nonsense.

They should teach us the rules in grade school, but nobody does. We have to figure it out on our own, and some, the 'entitled', never do.

Rule number one. Life sucks and there's nothing you can do about it. Rule number two. Life is a fatal disease. You're gonna die. Accept it. Rule number three. Getting along with people is hard. People are contrary, miserable bastards. I should know--I'm one of 'em. Collorary to rule three. You can't change a stubborn person' s mind. Be it religion, politics, holistic medicine or fashion, it's not worth the effort because you're just going to lose. Second collorary. There's no sense in getting your shorts in a knot over someone else's behavior, beliefs or attitude.

There's several coping mechanisms for this. Turn the page. Change the channel. Don't turn your cheek--turn around and walk away. If you positively have to deal with someone you regard as a moron, try to remember that the I.Q. bell curve has a bottom half for a reason. Try to have charity and patience.

Turn it around and try to take their viewpoint for a bit. Many odd behaviors are trained responses--they were taught to think that way.

There's one final response short of dropping nukes from orbit--simply tell them "You drive me crazy. You stay on your side and I'll stay on mine to keep this civilized."

Where am I going with all this? Sometimes an event will hit a person with so devastating a change that it shakes their underpinnings or pulls a support out from under their beliefs, their reason for being.

I was wandering around a college science building with a laptop, pulling an inventory of printer assets while running a WiFi field strength analysis when some damned fool dumped beaker A into beaker B which promptly and enthusiastically blew the fuck up, taking out the room, the few people in it and several of the building's structural members--steel girders. I was unlucky enough to be under an I-beam when it came down. It crushed both of my femurs about three inches above the knee. If it weren't for the pressure of the girder clamping down on my legs I'm told that I would have bled out within minutes.

For a couple months there I thought that would have been the lesser of two evils. I lost about forty pounds the hard way--both legs were amputated.

As I lay in a hospital bed late one night after twinges in my stubs woke me I did some honest thinking. I got around to taking inventory. Granted, I was shorter on one end. It meant that I couldn't do my job any longer. Well, retirement at 48 wasn't such a bad thing, if you'd saved up for it. I hadn't. Since I was retired by a disability I had a few options. One, workman's comp was going to pay off my hospital fees and pay off my first wheelchair. I had a bad taste about it, but I knew that I needed more money than Social Security would hand out.

I hired Cindy, a lawyer, to help me sue the university for loss of earnings and all that went along with a new disability. I made certain to contract with her for a fixed sum, not forty percent as I'd heard some shysters practiced.

Since I knew that I was in the game for the long run I bore down on my physical therapy. I dropped a lot of weight while I pounded on my upper body strength. Doing pullups on a trapeze got easier and easier. I learned to drive my chair without needing a helmet. Falling over backwards in a wheelchair sucks buttermilk.

My apartment was not wheelchair friendly. When I rolled into the apartment complex's office they lawyer was there waiting, just salivating to serve me with an eviction notice. Then they saw my chair. I distinctly heard two voices say, "Oh, shit." I nodded. "Yup, that pretty well sums things up, doesn't it? Since this place isn't wheelchair-friendly, I need out. You gonna play nice and help out, or do I need to get my legal counsel involved?"

The lawyer turned to the manager and said, "Face it, the law's on his side. Be smart." Carol, the manager sighed and shrugged. "What can we do to help?" It floored me. They actually caved without threats!

"I can't even get up the stairs to my bedrooms like this, and packing? Packing would be a nightmare. Everything has to be packed up and stored somewhere, hopefully in a commercial warehouse facility like an environmentally controlled cage. Some stuff I'll never be able to use again, like my camping equipment, and the beds are a no-go, along with the chairs. All that can be given away. Then the place needs cleaning. By the way, the downstairs vanity sink needs rodding out."

The only way to put it was the circus came to town. All the food was given away except for the little cans of chicken. I figured that they'd last next to forever. It all got boxed up, wrapped in huge sheets of commercial Saran wrap and stored away on wood pallets. I moved out of the hospital and into a chain long-term motel. I think the place was called "Residence Inn". It was quite a bit cheaper than a hotel, even with weekly rates.

I had to sue my former employers for back pay and vacation time. They tried to "cut me off at the knees". (Bad joke, but appropriate.) Cindy got me all my back pay, my vacation pay and a hundred and twenty thousand bucks in penalties. Someone in HR had a shit sandwich for lunch for their little tricks.

The university ended up forking over almost two and a half million dollars for loss of income, retraining costs and compensation for my disability. As soon as I paid off Cindy I headed for a local Mercedes dealership. I'd seen an article about a disabled guy in Great Britain that had a small Sprinter van modified for wheelchair rear access and manual controls. I wanted one! I lucked into finding out that the dealership was in on a company-wide PR blitz. They were underwriting vehicles for the disabled nationally. I got my van with modifications for just over twenty thousand bucks--less than half of retail! I was ecstatic. I sold my old jeep for peanuts but the driving record I'd established with it got me a great insurance rate.

Now, what the hell was I going to do? I had a little under two and three quarter million bucks in the bank.

It was February. People tend not to clean sidewalks or parking lots too well in Michigan in the wintertime. Why bother, it's just going to snow again, right? After the first time I got stuck in the slush coming out of a grocery store I decided enough was enough--I was moving out of the goddamned snow belt. Now, where?

While sitting in a diner hoovering down a danish and coffee I saw a display stand of "50+" magazine at the cash register. I wheeled over and picked up a copy in the hopes that wherever people wanted to retire would be wheelchair friendly. Boyhowdy, did that thing cater to the high-end set! It seemed to be written for the people with "I'm spending my kid's inheritance" on the bumper sticker of their half-million dollar motor home. It did have some ideas for locations, though.

I'd used Google Earth to check out Florida. The people there lived so close together that it reminded me of cockroaches on a peanut butter sandwich. Nope, sorry. That was a last resort. California? Sorry, the cost of living was waaay too high. It came down to a toss-up between the New Orleans basin and the Houston basin. Why the coast?

A picture in the trade rag caught my imagination. It showed a gulf coast marina with all the sailboats tied up at the piers and a powerboat churning up a little foam. Damn! What I wouldn't give to go sailing again! However, without my pins it was a non-starter. It took agility that I simply didn't have any more. I shook my head in disappointment, paid my bill and tip then headed back to my temporary home.

I lay awake that night doing my "what if?"s. Living on the water instead of on land could be cheaper as far a start-up costs, but the maintenance was a killer. I dreamed that night about the legless European veterans that rode around on little four-wheeled carts while begging. Man, I had it bad. I woke up with that idea of living on a boat firmly lodged under my skin, just itching away like a chigger. By damn if I didn't go back to the library after breakfast to hit the Internet again. I wanted to check out houseboats for sale.

The marine resale industry is a big one. There's several huge Internet sites devoted to showing off their thousands of hulls of various types, vintages and prices.

The prices ranged from fifty grand to a two million plus, thirty-five feet long to a hundred plus. Most of 'em had some sort of stairs, though. Still, converting a few stairs to a ramp couldn't be that hard ... A full ladder's worth was out of the question. I'd just have to ask my questions from the pros.

I became convinced that this thing I saw called a "Metroship" was the cat's pajamas. There was no wasted space, no catwalks, just an efficiency apartment on the water. Wait a minute. Glass. Damned near to the waterline. Glass. Cleaner. The thing would be a maintenance nightmare, and without catwalks, how the hell were you supposed to get around it to clean the windows? Fly? On top of that, the first wave action or spray would haze the windows, and if there was algae floating around the thing would look like a prop from a zombie movie.

After a sober reflection on the space needed for a wheelchair to move around, and the difficulty involved in reaching the cabinets if you didn't have pins to stand on, a lot of designs hit the wastebasket. Eventually I hit on a houseboat that I liked--a 41 foot Gibson Sport. It was made in '06, just a couple years before. It had a ninety thousand dollar price tag just like the Metroship, but looked almost cherry. I decided to take a trip to Oklahoma to check it out. After all, I wasn't on a schedule or anything. I packed everything, bought a pay-as-you-go cell phone and added some minutes as a roadside fall-back, gassed up the van and headed south to Des Moines Iowa where I could pick up 80 west.

I met the boat's owner, and goddamned if we didn't click. He was moving to Taiwan because of his business and had to get rid of his larger assets pronto. He had a notarized, current assessment done of the boat which made our negotiations a lot less prickly. We cut a deal where he would get the dinette pulled and a desk installed, The fly deck stripped down, the few stairs replaced with ramps and a tallboy toilet installed for me, along with a hell of a lot of trapeze grips and hand-holds for me. The upper cabinets in the galley were pulled right out as I'd never be able to use 'em. However, there were an unexpectedly large number of lower cabinets already installed. I hit a Lowe's home center for a cart full of industrial strength glide systems designed to bring out blenders, mixers, slow cookers, pots and pans from deeply recessed cabinets. Using large plastic food-quality crates I had easy access to my larder, dishes, pots & pans and my slow cooker. It took a month, but he was working on selling his condo at the time so he wasn't nervous.

I refined my search for a place to live while all that was going on. I'd gotten good reviews about a marina in Pasadena, Texas--Seabrook Marine. I called 'em up and reserved a year's berth for a live-aboard 41-foot houseboat. That took a belt out of my checkbook...

I arranged for the boat to be trailered to the gulf coast of Texas, paid my bud for his houseboat, made SURE to get it insured including transportation and drove down to meet it.

April on the Texas coast is nice, as long as the tornados/hurricanes/cyclones piss off. I checked out the long-term weather patters of the entire basin. Since I planned to be north of both Galveston and Texas City the chance of getting hit by a hurricane off the gulf or a tornado from a supercell storm dropped rapidly. Still, the chance was there. There wasn't too much I could do about it except to suck it up and keep up my insurance.

Since she was already out of the water I paid for a fresh application of anti-fouling paint on the hull and a fresh set of zincs. When she was put in I christened her "Second Chance".

The marina had laundry and shower facilities, neither of which I could use. They also had fresh water, Free Wi-Fi, 50-amp power and floating concrete piers which I did use. It took some help to get her properly tied up but there she was. My new home. I didn't plan to take her out any time soon so I had the diesel tanks dosed with stabilizer. Fuel was awfully expensive and I didn't want to either have to pay to dispose of a screwed-up tankfull or to refill the tanks if and when I had to move the boat.

I bought a matched pair of half-sized washer/dryers and paid to have them wired in and the dryer exhaust line run outside. I let the feds know about my new address so my disability checks would keep rolling in. I called around to all the local grocery stores until I found one that would deliver. For eight bucks a delivery I was in catnip heaven. Oh, sure, I'd pay the driver five or ten bucks under the table, especially if the weather was bad, but the really onerous task of shopping from a wheel-chair was basically covered for me.

I had a hard time getting used to the shower entrance and egress. I had to use both hands to lift myself up on a trapeze then swing over to the shower seat, close the door and do my business, then reverse the operation.

I'd worked with the hardware side of computers for bloody ages. I needed something to keep me occupied or I'd drink myself under the table and slide over the side, never to be seen again. I bought the pieces for a nice quad-core desktop unit along with a wide-screen monitor. I planted it on my new desk and wired everything up. The house Wi-Fil got me outside and a copy of Sophos anti-virus got me protection from being steam rollered by the outside trying to come inside. With electronic bill pay and my groceries delivered I didn't see a reason to leave the boat except for getting the mail.

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