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Since 1979 when Gino and I met and survived Hurricane David at Michael's house we had become very close friends. After Michael died we even became closer. We were always there for each for close to 30 years going out to eat, going to shows, he joining in Wednesday's 'T' parties and we took special trips here and there. One never knows when and/or where life changes but it is a given that it does.

On October 2, 1998, I won $2,900 on Play4--it would be a very long time before I would win again and by then I had changed what I was betting and would win $400. What do I do when I have money? Yes, I spend it but for a change I did something right and registered for a computer class. I took Steven Carter and Gino out for their birthday, going to O'Henry's Chinese restaurant (closed) and I bought tickets for the touring companies of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Forever Tango". As my notes say: "October was a good money month with working plus winning Play4 and I lost 16 pounds." The picture on top in the gray shirt was just before I lost the weight. I had been fighting 20-25 pounds for awhile and it wouldn't be until 1999 I would finally get down to MY goal!

In November The Crabhouse (closed) ran a 20% off Shrimp dinner special and the place was jammed every evening. I was working Fridays and Saturdays, most of the time getting the booths right off the bar which was a good section. I got called a few times on Sunday to come in to work but I said "No" which was held against me later on when I had a "problem" with 3 young customers who ran me ragged, but more about that later!

After I finished that first basic computer course I started a Microsoft Word class. I was going to the movies every Wednesday and still going to shows. Bob, Jim Gino, Bob Mitchell and I went to the Caldwell Playhouse to see "The World Goes Round". a revue revolving around Kander & Ebb's ("Cabaret") music having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (open) and Mitchell picked up the check---I didn't! On Sunday November 15 while driving home from work I heard a CRACK in the car and it went dead. I had the car towed and I rented a convertible the next day. Long story short the car(s) cost me $640. I went to see "American History" and my notes say, "Excellent movie--didn't expect the ending--Ed Norton great--the rape scene and the shower scene really grabbed the audience"--I haven't seen it since and whatever happened to Ed Norton?? By the end of the month I had lost 21 pounds. I, also, found out that with the Social Security and working I was doing okay money wise though until I was 65 the money I was making waiting tables was being deducted--a certain percentage--from the SS then I would get my full amount--that would bring up another problem but that was in the future.

Perry Lee had died at the beginning of the year and on March 9, 1998, I had put in an application to move into Gateway and on December 24 I got a printer that Chuck sent me and later in the day his computer was to arrive. I had bought the book "Computers For Dummies". In the evening Bob, Jim and I went to Chuck's Steakhouse (open) where I broke a cap off of one of my teeth. Afterwards we went to see "Shakespeare In Love" and my only comment about it was "Joseph Fiennes is gorgeous!!!" The next night Gino and I went to see Betty Buckly in concert who was disappointing because she didn't sing any of her show tunes.

I was ending the year 24 and 3/4 pounds lighter, I had a few dollars, saw shows and movies and ate out and I now had a computer to 'play' with (I bet Chcuk has asked himself many, "Why? Why? Why did I send that to him?")--I had gone out and bought a new printer, mouse and keyboard--well not bought, which means spent cash, but I charged them--all in all 1998 ended good and 1999 would bring a load of changes to my life.

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