"You shouldn't have buried me...I'm not dead yet!" — Freddy Krueger, from *A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master"

Sorry for the delay, folks--just got my router, so I can use the Internet while I'm here in my new digs on Board-and-Care Row.

You learn a lot living in a place like this. You learn just what your limitations are, and deal with them accordingly. For example, I cannot step out without my oxygen tank strapped to my walker, nor can I leave home without my walker. I can go short distances indoors without it, but that's about it. Also, I have to replace the tennis balls that cushion my real walker legs about once a week. To change them, I take two Penn tennis balls; pull out my multitool and open the knife blade, punch a hole in each ball, then switch out the knife for the saw blade and cut a slit in then. The saw blade makes short work of that. Then I pop each ball upon each rear leg--and away I go.

Inside my room, I use a oxygen rebreather to keep myself breathing when I need it (at least 2xday). Otherwise, I use a portable oxygen bottle and regulator. It's easy to change out the bottle. Just remove the regulator from the empty tank, pop off the band from a fresh bottle with a blade, replace the regulator, then use a small wrench to open the valve. Then switch on the regulator to 2.5 lpm--and you are good to go.

Sometimes, you have to skip a meal here (best food of any room-and-board I've lived in so far). It's best to keep a set of personal cups, bowls, and platters, "eating irons;" canned foods; Ramen noodles; condiments (I have bottles of BBQ sauce in my food drawer, plus mustard); and drink mixes (Crystal Light or Zuko Apple/Hibiscus powders). If you like tea--buy your own (peppermint and spearmint), and keep a teapot handy, plus whatever sweetener you like (Sweet-N-Low for me...most economical to use).*

My landlord is nice enough to provide Wi-Fi as part of the package. A good USB-powered router is a must to get the signal properly. My dad bought me a HP 2000 laptop for my last birthday, so I can e-mail him as needed. Best to keep your computer in your room when you are out--there are folks with stick fingers who will grab-and-pawn your machine to feed their street drug/nicotine/booze habit.

Another trick I have is to use passwords--using languages not native to the area we live in. Afrikaans (verkramptes=reactionaries), German (Teufelhunden=Devil Dogs, Marines), Russian (Nasha lucha=Our's Is Better), Japanese (hakuheisen=Fight With Drawn Sword), Polish (kolduny=meat turnover), Arabic (salat=daily prayers), and Swahili (Heia Safari=Let's Go Get Them!) are good ones to employ (the O/S' password is in Japanese (changes every month), while the CPU's is in Afrikaans (South African Dutch).). Avoid Italian and Portuguese--too similar to Spanish.

Imperial Latin (nuc more=Now Die!) is really good for thief frustration. Same with Yiddish (totches=backside), Mandarin Chinese (Goyu=Mandarin Chinese), and Korean (Chyung-Gee=basic Tae-Kwon-Do form named for a Korean general, learned as a white belt).

You learn that to get along with the other residents, you need to learn manner and respect. No mooching money, smokes, extra food, or coffee--you repay what you borrow. No drinking or drugging on-site. No fighting. Respect the staff and your peers. Keep yourself and your room clean.

Follow the rules (easy enough to do), and you will have things easy. Flunk lunch and break the rules--you'll be looking for another place to live after you are evicted. It's easy to get along here and make yourself at home--just show a bit of deference and learn from example.

I'll be passing on more about Vista House South (the house I live in) in future blogs. But for now, just know it's good to be back. Keep it real, peaceful, and frosty! --RKJ


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