The Curmudgeon and S. Donald Webb are one and the same (i.e., me). The name variation explains the reason for the Curmudgeon’s absence.
The Curmudgeon’s been busy these last couple of years. Almost as soon as my daughter graduated high school, we sold the house in one of our city’s “good’ school districts (a suburb of Birmingham) to move to a townhouse in the city limits proper. The townhouse is bigger and nicer than what I not so affectionately referred to as our “3/2 dump in Homewood” that we left. It was a seventy-year-old, modest wood frame house that was promptly demolished by the new owners, eager to move into the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood and build their “forever home” (their words, not my characterization). I utterly loathed the glint-eyed greed accompanying the neighborhood’s gentrification, so was quite happy to cash out and leave.
Once the refurbishing of the new townhouse (it was about thirty years old and hadn’t been updated in quite a while) and the move-in was complete, I set out to fulfill a promise to myself, and wrote a book. A Tale of Two Transplants, a memoir of my perspective on my son’s two bone marrow transplants, was published just a few days ago by Outskirts Press. The book includes my philosophical, theological and intellectual journey through the transplants, and quite a bit of leukemia and bone marrow transplant medicine. I doubt it will be a big seller, or really any sort of seller at all. I wrote it for me, much as I do with the blog. If others find my insights and travails make an interesting read, so much the better. If not, I still enjoyed setting them out, if for no other reason than the cathartic value that doing so afforded.
Along with the move and the writing, I’ve been trying to learn a bit of Spanish (see previous post) and have been slowly, haltingly building a house on some unimproved land (25 acres) I bought on Lookout Mountain in Northeast Alabama back when it looked like the world might be about to end.
Things have been otherwise going well. I teach English as a Second Language (ESL) one day a week at my church. My son, whose health challenges formed the plotline and much of the action of the book, recently graduated from college and is contemplating seminary. My daughter is in her second year at the University of Georgia in Athens, and seems now to finally be getting the hang of the college thing. The wife is still hoeing a row as a human resources professional at a too-big-to-fail bank. I’ve thought about going back to work now the kids are gone, but think I’ll not unless circumstances compel it.
I had a bit of a health scare last spring, when I developed some pretty severe stomach ulcers, probably from using ibuprofen too much and for too long for back pain that I intermittently experienced with the work I was doing on the house at the farm. I’m trying to build as much of the house as I can myself, another promise I’m trying to fulfill. There was a silver lining to the ulcer episode—I all but quit drinking beer, which had got to roughly a three-beer-a-day habit by the time the ulcers popped up. The beer drinking probably didn’t cause the ulcers, but it certainly didn’t help, so I quit, except for a couple on Friday night.
Though I am the Curmudgeon and S. Donald Webb, neither are my real name. S. Donald Webb is a pseudonym I created for writing the book. Except for my natal family, who I have had virtually no contact with since my mother died, I don’t care that others know I wrote the book, but like this blog, I don’t want the thing to be about me, which I admit sounds a bit ridiculous. Like this blog, the book is about me in the sense it’s my memoir, but it’s not about me in that the ideas in it are (hopefully) of universal application.
I plan to more faithfully get back to the blog now the book is finished, at least until I figure out another book to write (I’ve got a few ideas). I’ve found that I’m fairly limited in the amount of decent ideas that I can put to paper in any given stretch of time, so keeping a blog and writing a book at the same time is probably not doable for me.
I hope to see you here again. And, if you think the morbidity of a tale about cancer might tickle your fancy, Amazon awaits your order.