Friday, November 30, 2007

Knockers on the Bathroom Stall...

As I sit here writing this, I am a happy man. Julie came over for breakfast and then got the news that she was going to be off work, starting now, for the entire weekend. It was a rainy day in Phoenix, something that we seldom experience. For us it is a rarity and a real thrill. We started with a trip to the mall to buy Julie a new purse and me a new uniform. When I refer to a uniform, I mean something to wear around the house when it's a little too chilly to wear just regular clothes and not wanting to turn on the heat, I choose to wear something like a zip up sweat shirt to keep comfortable. My last one bit the dust when it's zipper failed to keep it's from closing, creating the look that you can imagine. I cut down a palm tree that had died and used the old sweatshirt to hang upon it's dead foliage to disguise it for the neighbors until the trash man picked it up.

We headed to Paradise Valley Mall at about noon. After going through every cosmetic department of every department store for about an hour and discussing the Clinique counter's holiday gift, we headed to the food court for some nourishment. Jules excused herself and headed to the bathroom. When she reappeared, she was laughing. I asked what was so funny and she said there were knockers on the bathroom stall doors. If you can imagine sitting there doing what you first came the restroom for and suddenly having a visitor. There is a knock, knock at you stall door and you inquire as to who it is. "Who's there"? The whole concept makes me laugh.

After discussing the other patrons of the Food Court and their reasons for being there, we adjourned to do some serious shopping. We targeted department stores and any other place that might carry a sweatshirt with a zipper front that goes all of the way, avoiding the pullovers. I think it was Dillards that offered a $179 sweatshirt with the majority of them being about $50. Was I missing something? Was there an economical advancement that I missed. Should a sweatshirt cost $50? Abacrombee and Fitch had one for $98, but it had their name on it. We finally asked a salesperson for his help. At Dillard's a young man from India with an overeating problem did a great job and found me a sweatshirt for a mere $30 and it had matching sweat pants for another $20. I was now the proud owner of a light blue leisure suit as Julie screamed FAG at me. I ignored her and made the purchase, but only with the aid of her credit card, after all, I am a kept man!

From there she took me to the 99 cent store and we filled our basket with 99 cent reading glasses. I got 4 pair and Julie got 2, not to mention a pair of $1 umbrellas and a couple of boxes of Excedrin, all for the economical price of 99 cents. I wanted to stay there for dinner, but Julie offered to make me Shrimp Scampi if I drove over to her house! She did mention something about putting up Christmas lights though.

So here I sit in my new leisure suit, wearing me new 99 cent glasses to write this, eating the brownies that Julie made for Tim at work, but gave to me since there was no work for her, waiting to go to her house to eat Shrimp Scampi. It just "don't" get much better than this!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hanukkah and Christmas...

I watched a little TV tonight and was watching the commercials that are part of it. They were all talking about Christmas and playing their jingles and talking about Xmas sales all over town, trying to capture the holiday business. It occurred to me that we NEVER hear Hanukkah advertising, in spite of the fact that Jewish people own a fair number of the businesses that are advertising. Wanting to appeal to the masses, they appeal to the Christians. Being a 61 year old man of Jewish descent, I know that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I don't know what Hanukkah is celebrating. I concentrated and still nothing came to mind, interestingly. I Googled it and found by going to 2 different websites, that it is the festival of lights, period. No explanation about anything else other than how to celebrate it if you are Jewish. Searching farther, I was able to determine that it celebrates the fact that after the Greeks tore down and desecrated a famous Jewish temple where the Eternal Light burned, there was only enough olive oil to burn for one day. Miraculously that one day supply burned for 8 days, long enough for the Jews to process a new batch of olive oil from scratch. Now, what started this war was, the Greeks put a law in place that said all citizens of the city, were to worship a Greek statue and eat pork, which is clearly against Jewish law. As a result of the Jews not obeying the Greek laws, the Greeks tore down the Jewish Temple. Thank goodness, now everyone just gets along, right?

Why is it that it took 61 years for me to find out what my own holiday is even about? Why do I know that Christmas celebrates Christ's birthday? Why is it that I don't follow my religion? Lastly, why is it that my son doesn't even have a religion? The answer is not really clear, but as far as I can see, the Jewish religion isn't really convenient. My parents didn't instill it in me, they didn't teach me to worship at it and I didn't pass it on to my offspring. Judaism died with my parents, sadly. I feel no more compelled to follow the Jewish religion than I do to follow the Muslim way of life. Many of my Jewish born friends, feel the same. We are the baby boomers without religion. I feel a strong presence of God, but not the ritual of religion. Merry Christmas!

Then and Now...

25 year old teacher Debra Lafava, convicted of having sex with a student.
My grandson Max on his first day of pre-school...
I had lunch with a younger friend yesterday and while we were sharing a meal, he mentioned to me that he's a little upset with his ex-wife, as she has their 2 children, ages 8 and 11, walking a few blocks to school. I continued chomping as he spoke and didn't offer an opinion. He stopped and asked me what I thought about that. I swallowed, affording myself a quick opinion and answered this. What's wrong with that? When I was a small child, we walked over a mile to school everyday, through questionable neighborhoods, that I might compare to the African Rain Forest. There were busy streets, streetcars, buses, taxi cabs, few laws enforced, violent crimes going on, adverse weather in Chicago's Windy City and an occasional riot and somehow nothing ever happened to us except a few beatings by gangs of other kids.

He asked me what I thought about the sexual crimes against children, molestation and such. It made a painful point come to mind. I told him I didn't think there was any more of that sort of thing now, as compared to then. That it's just that censors now allow the media to talk about it, when in the past it was a taboo. Along with hearing them use the word "ASS" during prime time television, we are also privy to announcements that child molesters are lining the city streets. Sex offenders are compelled to register with the state and TV stations can boost their rating when they discuss teachers that fondle their students. Those things went on in the past and will probably go on in the future, it was just never thrown in our faces before. Rotten tomatoes have always smelled bad, we've just never had them under our noses before!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Lucy, You Got Some Splaining to Do......

A good rule of thumb, and I have no idea where that expression originated, is to know your limitations and never go beyond without an escape route. For example, I consider myself a good driver. I've avoided accidents by having a combination of quick reflexes and knowledge of my vehicle, but would never attempt to fly a jet plane without an experienced pilot sitting next to or on top of me. Do you see my point?

I arrived at Julie's house last night after a confused day of conflicting schedules and misunderstandings. She ran to me like a child with good report card. I could tell she had something newsworthy to tell me. She was so proud to tell me that she'd bought the TV that she'd been talking about for a couple of weeks and brought it home and bought a set of shelves to put it on and has it all assembled in her spare room and it's almost ready to go. I inquired if she had cable in that room as she'd need that too. She proudly told me yes, and she had installed it herself and threw the expression "stud finder" around a little bit. As you can imagine, she joked about that as she mentioned she was using it around her neighborhood looking for love. I gave her the obligatory phony laugh and we moved on.

We entered the room that was to accommodate the new TV and there it was sitting on the floor, next to her new black shelves that she built and installed. She even anchored the shelves to the wall, putting her new "stud finder" to work. Sticking out of an open closet door was the cable she had found up in the attic, looking like an umbilical cord that needed bobbing. Although I give her credit for getting that far, I offered to refine the look a little by running it though the ceiling and down the wall behind the shelves.

On the floor, in the middle of the newspaper was a large pile of hardware and when I asked what that was all about, she replied that they must be extra parts for the shelves. I was really impressed that she had gotten so far, as I doubt that I would have gotten half as far if I were knitting, something that Julie is accomplished at. I offered to finish the task for her and she accepted my gracious offer. Now, all I have to do is figure out how to do the job without her finding out, that I don't have a clue.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Has This Ever Happened to You?

Middle of Feb 2005, home a few days.
When I first awakened in a brightly lit hustling room, my eyes wouldn't focus. There were people there and everyone was doing something and seemingly very busy. My son Brad was there and said to me, "Do you know how long you've been sleeping"? I did not! I didn't even know WHERE I'd been sleeping. My son lived in California, what was he doing here? I tried to speak, but nothing would come out. Was this why I was in this strange place? I was in a hospital and couldn't speak and I'm not sure anyone knows. Was I in an accident? The most predominant thing that I remember now is the vast confusion of everything. I motioned that I wanted a pen and paper to write a few questions upon and was given them. I couldn't coordinate enough to write out a message. My depth perception wouldn't allow me to get the pen to touch the paper. The first thing I needed to convey was that I had to pee and I mean it was serious. After trying to form an upper case P for about 5 minutes, Brad finally said, "You have to pee"? I shook my head up and down. The nurse advised me that I had a catheter in and I should just relax and let it out. OHHHHHH..... what a relief... The next bit of business was to find out why I couldn't speak. Over the years I'd become rather used to it and it seemed a shame to lose that ability. I was told that I was on a respirator and that I'd had heart surgery and suddenly everything started coming back. The things that I had hoped were just a bad dream. I found out that I was in a medically induced coma and had been asleep for about 10 or 12 days. I looked down and there was a large gaping scar on my chest that had already begun to heal and the staples had already been removed. Where were my dogs??? Were they okay, I remember asking as soon as they removed the long tube from my throat. It reminded me of a serpent coming out. It must have been 3 feet long too. I was immediately given a vacuum to spit into. I gave the nurse my confused look because speaking was difficult. She explained that I haven't been able to cough or clear my throat for 2 weeks and I'd need to get rid of the phlegm. HUH??? A mass the size of a football came up and was sucked into the vacuum tube as soon as I coughed, ugh!!! I was now good to go. I started talking and haven't stopped yet. Eventually they removed my catheter and I'll never understand where they found the room to hide that thing.

Now it was time to try to recreate the past 2 weeks...

If I recall correctly, I had been suffering from a congestion problem. A month before that, my right leg had swelled up and I never did find out why. I went to a vascular specialist and he said it wasn't a vein problem. My doctor, a friend of mine, put me on a diuretic for the swelling and it seemed to go down. He also gave me thyroid pills after a blood test. So, it's 1/23/05 and I'm pretty congested and I'm thinking that if this congestion gets any worse, I might not be able to breathe at all. I got kind of scared and called my friend, the doctor in the middle of the night, about 3:30 AM. He didn't answer, but called me right back. He asked me if I could drive, but I didn't have anywhere to go. He came right over and literally threw me into his car. We went to Paradise Valley Hospital, a BIG mistake! He dropped me off and went to park the car. They totally ignored me. When Sam got there he asked if anyone had talked to me and I said no. He disappeared into the break room and came out with about 5 people in uniforms and scrubs. I think he told them I was a rock star!

Within seconds they had me on a gurney and had wires hooked up to me and they were telling me I was in cardiac arrest. I told them they were mistaken, I felt fine, just a little congestion. They shot me full of nitro-glycerin, hey what do I know? For the next hour they prodded and poked and finally they were sending me to a place called the Cath Lab.

The Cath Lab was a hospital operating room setting with everyone wearing masks. Pretty soon a maniac came prancing in screaming at everyone, myself included. I remember him telling me that from now on he's my doctor and I'm not to listen to anyone else but him. Do I understand? What would you say? I said, yes! I was asked if I were allergic to iodine and I asked for a better definition of what he wanted to know. He said, are you allergic to shrimp? I thought he was ordering out! I told him no, I love shrimp. He told me to sign there, then! I signed what turned out to be a permission slip for him to kill me.

The next thing I knew they were stripping my clothes off and shaving me. Then it was a needle that went into my groin and that was not the worst of my problems. The needle was to go tracing through my body and it had a camera on it. Geez! I was watching the whole thing on a monitor and it was better than the Discovery Channel. Suddenly everything clouded up and we lost our picture. At home I would have called the cable company, but here I just asked what happened. He said he tore my heart! What? He tore my heart, just matter of factly. I tried to compute the ramifications of that. I asked if I were going to die and he calmly said, "I don't know" with his Indian accent! I was getting pretty concerned about now as the blood that was supposed to be going to one place was now not getting there, but instead was flooding into my chest cavity as I had a hole in my descending artery of my heart. I started to get some pretty serious pain in my chest and now I know what a heart attack feels like in case anyone wants to know ahead of time, just ask. Why wait? Now I asked this asshole doctor what his next plan was. He said they were going to air-o-vac me to another hospital, as they do not have a cardiac department there. WHAT? No cardiac department and they do this sort of procedure here?

The next thing I know they're boarding me onto my very first helicopter ride and the sun is now coming up over Phoenix and it's beautiful and I'm on my way to open heart surgery and I've never had anything worse than a root canal. I still enjoyed the sunrise and was truly hoping it was not my last..

Evidently the staff on board the helicopter were related to the doctor that poked a hole in my heart, as they proceeded to close the door on my foot at least 3 times before they would listen to me as I was screaming, it's hitting my foot! I had so much morphine in me that I couldn't even feel the pain any longer. My $17,000 ride to the next hospital was slow as we hovered over John C. Lincoln Hospital awaiting permission to land.

The staff at J. C. Lincoln was polite, attentive and good listeners. As soon as I spotted someone with an authoritative look, I asked if I could have whatever it is that will put me out of my misery. The next thing I knew, a nurse was shooting something into my IV and 10 or 12 days had gone by! That was some shot!

It wasn't until I was already discharged from the third hospital and was already researching things for my first lawyer that I found out some of the things that happened to me from the hospital reports. I went to John C. Lincoln Hospital and secured them. I learned that my kidneys had failed and I had been on dialysis for 3 weeks. I also learned that my son was told that I was going to die and to be prepared for that, as my blood pressure could not be stabilized. I learned that I had several surgical procedures after the heart surgery to remedy some of the after effects of the botched initial surgery. I learned that my heart surgeon was about 30 years old and had not even made it onto his Medical firms stationary at that point.

According to the hospital reports, they botched the attempt to put the balloon pump that supplied much needed oxygen to the vital organs after heart surgery. It states in the report that the unruly patient pulled it out and it had to be reinstalled at a later time. That time was about 3 hours later when they realized my kidneys had failed. Subsequently they sewed the pump to my leg. Yes, you read that right. I have a scar on the inside of my right knee to prove it. I then formed a blood clot in my right lung that had to excised to enable me to breathe and of course the 2 surgical procedures to drain the accumulated fluid from my lung cavities. All of this was done while I slept. I'm glad I missed it. I'm really quite glad to have survived all of this, but I am amazed that all of this went on and I was never ever told.

Let's discuss the reason that all of this happened. If you recall back at the beginning of this story, I was told I was in cardiac arrest and I doubted that it was the correct diagnosis. It seemed that my heart was only infected. It was enlarged from infection. No one caught it until they opened me up and drained a liter and one half of fluid from my peradiem, the sack around my heart. I was then administered an anti-biotic directly into my heart and all was soon to be well. They repaired the hole in my heart with a tire patch kit from Wal-Mart, did a triple bypass while they were in there and closed me up, leaving a 10 inch scar down the front of my chest that isn't even straight. (It wanders to the right.)

I'm missing an important body part!

I thought that might get your attention. You know that bump that is on the inside tip of your clavicle? You have 2 of them directly down from your neck. My left one is missing, just gone! What did they do with that thing. It doesn't even have a name and it's missing just the same. Did it break off while they were drilling or sawing? Did some big goon snap it off with his thumb? And what did they do with it? Was there some guy waiting in the wings for a clavicle tip transplant? If you see it, please send it home. I miss it.

You're probably thinking that this guy really made out with the law suit, right? Well, there wasn't one. It turns out in Arizona, the courts LOVE their doctors, even the bad ones. 7 out of 8 malpractice law suits go in the way of the doctors here. In order for me to sue anyone, they wanted me to cough up with about $150,000 in expert witness fees to bring in a doctor from out of state to testify that I did not get a minimum of care, and it was more likely than not that I was going to lose, too. Seven separate lawyers all told me the same thing. There is a 2 year statue of limitation that was up almost a year ago. Not only did I not benefit 10 cents from this, but it chewed up a large portion of my savings, as well. Getting sick ain't cheap!

At some point in my stay at John C. Lincoln Hospital, they determined that I was no longer a candidate for the IC Unit and they were going to transfer me to a regular room, however the computer would not allow it. It turned out that my insurance wasn't good there for anything but Intensive Care, so at about 2 or 3 AM they called an ambulance and offered me a ride to Good Samaritan Hospital where my Cigna Insurance is accepted. I begged to wait until morning so that my son wouldn't come in to see an empty bed and think it was okay to drive my red Corvette! Not only that, but the attending nurse told the guys that were driving the ambulance that I was a bed wetter. That really pissed me off.

So I arrive at Good Sam's with all new faces and little tiny TVs, no wonder it's cheaper. At this point, I was no longer on Morphine and I was no longer hallucinating. Suddenly the drugs washed out of my system and I was included in a room full of people that apparently had been there the day before, but I was seeing them for the first time. My ex-sister-n-law Patty was there and I hadn't seen her for years. Business acquaintances showed up and they had been there the day before too. As my head cleared, I looked in the mirror and saw an old man that looked frail with almost 3 weeks of beard and almost a half inch of hair growing out of his ears! I asked for a razor, shaving cream and a brush...

I think I was discharged on about Valentine's Day, Feb. 14th, 2005. Aunt Pat was gracious enough to come home with me and care for me. I couldn't have done it on my own and I will forever be grateful to her. I had to go to doctor's appointments, get blood drawn on a regular basis, get that damned catheter removed from my jugular vein as I no longer needed dialysis, thank God. I had to go to the lung guy 3 times a week to get my lungs drained, it was no picnic. They put in a permanent drain into my side and all they had to do when I came in was hook me up to the pump. I was good until one day they wanted to remove the plastic line. Did that ever hurt?

I recall one day that I decided to take a bath, shortly after I got home from the hospital. I ran the water and got into the tub, but when I was finished, I wasn't strong enough to lift myself out of the tub and I didn't feel I knew Aunt Pat well enough to call for help! After sitting there for who knows how long, the water was getting cold. I finally figured out a way to slither like a snake out of the tub and onto the bathroom floor. That may have been my most humiliating moment.

After about a week, Aunt Pat went home and my son Brad came to care for me for a week. It was a long week for him, I'll bet. Then Patty returned from Chicago and took back over the task. I think when she finally left a week later she had had enough of me. My friend Randi then came and took care of me for a while and then I was recovered enough to handle myself. To these people I will always be grateful, particularly Patty that let me drive her crazy...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Just Two Kinds of People

As far as I'm concerned and I know I suffer from tunnel vision, there are only 2 types of people in the world. Forget about Black and white and brown and yellow or red. Forget about sloppy versus neat and left handed against right. There are only people that can do things with their toes and people that cannot! Many a time I have been walking across my bedroom and notice a sock on the floor and reach over with my toes and pick it up and toss it to my hand, who is anxiously awaiting the toss. I always thought I was blessed with this advantage until I met another person that puts me to shame with toes tossing. For now she shall remain anonymous, but her initials are Julie.

Julie can put the average person to shame with her 10 pedicular additional digits. She has what has been affectionately started to be called, talented toes or TT. I'd be willing to bet that TT is hereditary and it is passed on from mother to granddaughter often times skipping a generation. It is mostly predominant in the female of the species that is left handed or in this case left toed. Here is an example. Although Julie's toes have never been called pretty, they can really move along. The other night I was sitting on the sofa when Julie accosted my covered feet with the offer to get comfortable. As would anyone else, I looked at her. She reached over with her feet and began to remove my shoes, MY SHOES! She pushed her four sisters to the heel of my shoes and I'll be damned, but she pushed them right off, both of them! Then, while I was still amazed at her ability to maneuver her toes in such an unnatural fashion, she tucked her big toe under the back of my sock and began to remove that as well! With my mouth agape, she kept looking at me and saying, "What"? I discovered her trick. Her second toes is at least a half inch longer than her biggest toes, the one that I refer to as the older sister. It is not only agile, but ambidextrous, educated and a great dancer. That big toe of hers RULES! I checked the archives at ASU and found that her toes graduated in the summer of 1978 with a bachelors degree. Her toes are nothing to sneeze at! My toes are just plain jealous!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Mad "Hacker" Strikes Again... (rebuttal)

If you read the entry AFTER this one, you'll see that Julie, once again, "hacked" into my blog and took charge of things. I feel it's only fair to offer MY side of the situation. Read on...

We have been planning this day almost since I met Julie. We talked about our Thanksgiving plans from the very beginning. Since Jules was going through her "thing", she decided this is such a fractured holiday for her that she would cook for me and we would spend Thanksgiving together. I was all for it, since I had no permanent plans in place. However, in addition, since these plans were set in place they have changed about 700 times. Julie was going to feed the woman's shelter, go to her daughter's families event and then it went full circle and I was brought back into the Thanksgiving plan.

Julie brought everything, from the stuffing to the 2 different types of corn niblets, to the 3 pies for dessert. I supplied the turkey as outlined in, "Food Shopping, it's Easy". Jules even brought firewood in case it was cool enough for a fire.

She was going to come over early and get everything started, she arrived at noon. She had wanted ME to strip the bird of it's natural plastic cover and put it in the oven. I told her I'd wait for her.

When she did arrive, toting camera and a smile, she worked diligently until everything was in place. I could see Julie was getting antsy as she read the paper and took pride in throwing each section across the floor as she finished it. She also displayed a certain amount of anxiety by insisting that the little "pop up" that every turkey is evidently born with, wouldn't pop up! She asked if I had a meat thermometer and I did. She told me it doesn't work, as the reading was not satisfactory for her. We pulled the turkey out anyway, a little under done, but it was fine. We filled our plates and sat down to eat. Julie wolfed her food down and waited for me to finish. I don't think 10 minutes went by when Julie announced she was leaving, it was about 4:45. Confused, I asked why. She said her dog was alone and she had to get home. I looked at the pile of dirty pots and pans, that only a real cook can create, and asked what about the mess? She said, you can clean it up (but I couldn't). She didn't understand. When a man makes a meal, he dirties one plate and one fork, maybe a knife too, that's it! This was a mess that only a woman could address. I was NOT prepared! She even left me with the entire turkey, still sitting on the cooking rack! I cut it in half with my 7 1/4" circular saw and stuffed it into 2 quart sized baggies. Dear Lord, she knows not what she does!

Pawpaw had been alone for whopping 5 hours, he was outside on the most beautiful day of the year, in a place that he would rather be than anywhere in the world. I thought he'd be just fine for the last hour that it would have taken the two of us to clean up, instead of the 3 hours that it took me. Am I wrong here?

It turned out that it was NOT Trytptophan poisoning, it was just plain old irritability! When I called Jules, SHE had a Mel't down and insisted on being alone the rest of the night. I had planned on driving over..

Now that you've heard both sides of the story, your comments are welcome.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

You're Getting Sleepy...

I cooked for these three today. I think Bogie was the most appreciative of the bunch. See how he's still licking his lips?
After a big traditional Thanksgiving dinner that was to much food for two people and a couple of dogs, Mel had a Mel't down in attitude. But I have an explaination.....
Tryptophan, found in turkey, in its purest form, works to make the neurotransmitter serotonin, which has a calming effect on the brain.
I know, I googled it. Mel just lost it after dinner apparently pissed because he had to do dishes and just wanted a nap.
How did you deal with post-Thanksgiving dinner lethargy?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

That's How this Whole Thing Got Started!

Julie, trying to get me jealous with Bogie...

Julie came over about 2:30 today. She brought some raw ingredients for tomorrows dinner and we went to
lunch at Chile's. Julie LOVES their chicken sandwich, it's the only thing she orders when we're there. It's a marinated chicken breast with Swiss cheese and bacon, quite tasty. I had the same thing, she insisted. After lunch we came back to the house and took the Dynamic Duo for a walk to the park, Julie's first time walking well behaved dogs.

Once at the park and it's only 4 doors away from the house, I always allow Zoie to run loose. Both dogs behave extremely well, but Bogie is "dog aggressive" and I can't take the chance that another dog enters the park while he's off leash. Today, it was rather unpopulated and I let him go free. Both dogs ran to the gate of an old friend of mine, Marian. Marian is a very short Filipino lady that used to have Great Danes too, but it's been so long since I'd seen her that I was sure their old pups had long since passed on. Over the top of their wall and it's easily 6 feet tall, 3 separate heads popped up well over the top. Three Great Dane heads! Then Marian's head popped up too. She introduced Julie and I to her 3 new Danes and told me that Penny, one of her original Danes is still with her at 14. I was just thrilled to see that she was still involved with the breed, they're habit forming for sure. I acquired my first Dane about 33 years ago and seemingly have always had them in my life. They're so human!

About 10 years ago I had a golf cart and a little Schnorky, a combination of Yorkie and Schnauzer, that weighed about 8 LB. I used to drive around the streets in my electric golf cart and enjoy the breezes in the spring and fall. This particular day, Peewee and I were riding along when we spotted a fenced in front yard with 2 beautiful Danes in it. I slammed on the brakes and made a U-turn and went back to see if I could get a closer look. Marian the owner was out front and invited Peewee and myself into her yard to say hello to her two pups. I asked if I could go home and get my (then) wife to visit too. Marian agreed. I got my wife and Marian invited us in for lemonade and we spent about 2 hours with her visiting. The next day I was on a mission and started my search for Bogie. That's how this whole thing got started!

Don't Ya Just Love the Holidays?

Are you alone on Thanksgiving? I've spent many a year alone on the holidays and it's no big deal anymore, but this year I've got Julie to cook for me and try to create a family atmosphere for us. This is indeed an unusual year. I find myself single and after 3 tries that's not such a bad idea, actually, but we get to simulate an actual family day together and I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that it will be more fun this way.
For such a happy occasion, I know of an awful lot of people that hate the holidays. Paul, my mechanic for example, is having Thanksgiving with his mother and family and probably dragging his young children along to make it feel normal, but normal would be for him to be with his recently divorced wife. My son Brad is at the airport, where he just called me from. He's flying to California to be with his wife and kids, as they decided it was better to be there than here. He didn't sound thrilled.
Then there's Julie. She fared better than me this year, she was at least invited by her daughter and son-in-law to go to his families Thanksgiving festivities, but opted to spend it with me. For that I am ever thankful, but when you go to someone elses family for holidays, you always feel like the odd man out!
One year, when I was many years younger, I was invited to a friend's house for the holiday and she also invited a few other people that it turned out had no place to go, either. I think it was a distant uncle that asked everyone single, singly, why they were alone on the holiday. He was eventually just pushed out of an open window... That was the last time I accepted an invitation like that.
Then there was Tom white. Tom got married to a fellow Born Again Christian. They loved everyone. He would invite me to his holiday functions, but warn me that I wouldn't enjoy myself, as "her" family rules the event and they're just horrible people. Tom and I are not friends anymore.
This year, my first wife is in town and I know that she will be alone for the holidays. I thought about inviting her for Thanksgiving, but that would just be too weird. She hates EVERYBODY!
So, this is my way of wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season and try not to eat too much......

Monday, November 19, 2007

You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Several months ago, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was forced to move to the lower level of my home, abandoning the upstairs section. Bogie, my best friend in the world, could no longer be depended on to climb the stairs, due to his age and weight. Too many times he'd awaken me in the night, to go out to either relieve himself or needing a drink or just a change of surroundings and was unable to make it back up the stairs. On several occasions he fell and I couldn't get him back up on his feet, forced to drag him down the stairs one by one. The simplest way to resolve the problem was to just eliminate the problem, thus the move downstairs. That was almost 4 months ago.

This morning, I announced it was shower time and Zoie went bounding up the stairs like she used to do months ago. Bogie stood there looking at me, wondering what to do. I asked him if he wanted to try it and he took my lead and made it up the 19 steps without incident. When he got there, he acted like a pup that found an old friend. He ran in circles and played tag with Zoie. It was clear that he too missed the more spacious accommodations. He scratched at the carpeting where he used to sleep and made himself a soft spot to lie. Zoie plopped herself down too.

For me it was a delight. I realized I hadn't been up there is a very long time. I was seeing it for the first time. It was big and clean and spacious. I looked around and kind of felt like I was visiting a spa. I wandered into the bathroom area and looked around at all the bugs that had died in the bottom of the shower stall and saw the layer of dust that had settled down. When I turned on the shower, it made a different sound than usual, due to the pipes being empty. The sink was leaking around the hot water knob from non-use. There was soap in the shower and a towel, so I figure why not? I stripped down and showered. It was exciting standing under my water fall fixture that I ordered special, so many years ago. After my shower, there was a hair dryer and a brush, so I dried my hair and wore my towel downstairs to look for clothes. As I descended the stairs, it felt like I was leaving an old friend behind, as I approached my smaller, more convenient accommodations on the lower level. The 2 dogs followed, as I wondered if I should just use the upstairs for showering. It sure felt good!

Food Shopping, It's Easy!

I had many chores assigned to me today and just one of then included the purchase of a turkey for Thursday's upcoming celebration. My assigner was very adamant about what turkey to purchase and where this purchase was to take place. I was told in no uncertain terms to purchase the first turkey that I lay my hands on, as it makes no difference whatsoever and to purchase said turkey from Fry's at a cost of 47 cent a pound.

Not wanting to upset the assigner, I did precisely as I was told. I drove to Fry's Supermarket and parked and that in and of itself was no easy feat. Every appetite in town was out to purchase a turkey in time for it to thaw by Thursday, rendering today T-Day! I entered the store and had to scramble for a cart, as the only one left looked like it had been in a recent accident offering sticky candy wrappers in it's basket. I found one unattended and grabbed it and ran!

Thrift minded shoppers were 3 deep at the counter that offered turkeys, with a large sign over the counter that explained the pricing. Jenneo Turkeys we 47 cent a pound and Butterballs were 79 cents a pound and it went up from there. Nowhere, visible to me, did it say anything about weight limits or quantities. With enough room for only one arm, I dug in and grabbed one that looked like about the size my mother used to buy. It was in pretty deep and I think I broke the trim around the counter pulling it out, as it made a rather loud snapping noise as I broke it loose. As I pulled it out, the crowd made a noise of admiration, AHHHH and I pushed it into my cart, as if to say in unison, "nice choice"! I proudly grabbed an 18 pack of Farm Fresh eggs and made my way to the cashier, that was about mobbed by anxious shoppers. I waited my turn and observed a man being chastised by the cashier. She had even brought in a manager to talk to the gentleman that was arguing about being charged over 3 times what the advertised price said. The manager pulled out an ad and was showing the gentleman that the price of turkeys OVER 20 LB is $1.49 a pound.

I tapped the cashier on the shoulder and asked if mine was over 20 LB and she said yes it was 25 LB. and $1.49 per pound. I grabbed it and ran back to the turkey counter where they never thought they'd see me again and rummaged through the dead birds again. I realized I didn't have a snowballs chance in hell of seeing the price or the weight of these dead birds when suddenly, as if she had dropped out of heaven, standing in front of me was the wife of the Rabbi that lives across from me! In a true panic, I said Michele can you read the weight of this bird? She said she had no idea I shopped there and it was 15 LB. She was just glad I was letting go of her arm, I hope I didn't leave a mark! I ran to the cashier as if to say, did I still have my place in line? It was clear that I didn't. I spotted a break in the isle next to mine and walked over to it with my dead frozen bird and her eggs and as I was about to enter that lane, a little lady carrying to 2 quarts of Budweiser smiled and walked in front of me. I thought about knocking her to the ground and going ahead of her, but the Christmas spirit was too strong for me as I smiled, longing to be in her place. At that point I was thinking of killing her for her beer!

As the cashier asked for my VIP card, I thought to myself, I feel like anything but a VIP right this minute, but when she told me that I had purchased a dead turkey and 18 eggs for a whopping $9.53, I rejoiced! Skipping, I made it out to the parking lot where I found my trusty steed, mounting her, I galloped home, a VICTOR!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Who the Hell is Bogie?

In 1996 I married a woman and it was probably a mistake, but from every union something good comes. In this case I learned a lot and acquired Bogie, my best friend, confidant and companion. Bogie is a 275 LB Great Dane that possesses a great deal of human qualities. He's sympathetic, understanding, reliable, and a great eater. His nickname, although he gets pissed off when I use it, is Cookie-Boy. Bogie LOVES his cookies. If you've never seen a dog that is almost 300 LB leap in the air at the mention of Cookies, you're really missing something.

When Bogie was young and frankly the years have passed since his days of puppy hood, I feared he would be lonely, so I bought him a dog of his own. An arranged marriage, if you will? Her name is Zoie and he is hopelessly in love with her and has never wandered without her, in the 8 years that they have been together. Zoie is Bogie's girl and that's just how it is. In their 8 and 1/2 year marriage, they have never fought once. They do give each other an occasional growl, but what couple that's been together that long hasn't?

Zoie is a medium height thin girl and she used to do some modeling. Although both Bogie and Zoie have been neutered, Bogie still gets that look in his eye when he watches her trot across a field. With her tail always wagging, she is very light on her feet. Zoie is a black girl with some Boston markings. The Great Dane people call her a Mantle. Bogie is a spotted harlequin and quite a bit larger than his comrades. I used to use a 26" collar on Bogie, but unfortunately it no longer fits. He resembles a small Holstein bull. As the Dynamic Duo get up in years, I often wonder what I'll do without them.

With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up this week, rest assured they'll be close to the kitchen..

Dinner and ahhhh.... Dancing?

I was treated to dinner tonight by the love of my life, Jules. I'm from the old school and was never even capable of letting a woman buy my meal until Julie..

Julie brought me into the 21st century with things like HD TV and iPods and some radio station that plays hip hop, whatever that is? I'm progressing nicely and will soon stop opening the car door for Jules, maybe tomorrow, we're suppose to go shopping.

(Shopping didn't happen. I called Mel at 1 PM ready to take on Costco, but he whined about the freeway being closed or some such thing. So when he laments later on about plans falling through, we all know who is to blame.)
Evidently Julie has edited my story, is nothing sacred? This should be a lesson to you people, NEVER SHARE A PASSWORD!

So I take off for the West side of town about 45 minutes early in hopes of getting there in time to harass Julie while she's getting dressed, but to my surprise, my old friend the 101 is CLOSED for repairs! After 40 minutes of driving, I found myself at 56th Street and Bell where I live and calling Julie to pull my remaining hair out. She's VERY sympathetic and yells into the phone, "Good, I'm not ready" and then something about her hair and hangs up on me. That's my girl!. I take surface streets the whole way there and drive the 17.6 miles in utter disgust, being slowed down and cut off by every asshole from Rhode Island that ever vacationed in AZ!

I pull up into Julie's 3 car driveway diagonally with my Expedition, because I know that pisses her off. I opened the front door with my key, so as not to disturb her as she was pretty upset with that hair thing, but she finished by opening it from inside yelling to me, "Don't you ring the bell anymore"? She looked HOT, sizzling HOT. She was wearing her new $98 black jeans from the Black and White Store, a boutique and a low cut white cotton top and 3 inch heels, bringing her up to a tantalizing 5' 9 or 10".

While I used the restroom after complaining about the traffic, Julie called The Firebird Rocky Mountain Grill and made a reservation, particularly after last weeks fiasco with no reservations. We headed out after telling them we'd be there in 15 minutes and we were. We walked right to the front desk and were told there was about a 15 minute waiting period. We explained that we had reservations and were told the people without reservations were waiting 20 to 30 minutes! We went to the bar where we were served by a young man that opened his mouth but nothing came out. He was either mute or the background noise was so loud we couldn't hear him, I think it was the latter. After 3 attempts to get the bartender to hear us, Julie ordered a Pinot Grigio and I had club soda. Immediately, our little beeper started flashing and we went to the hostess to be seated. I abhor those things, don't you? Beepers, not hostesses.

We went to a rather large room that reminded me of a Sizzler and were seated. We then were immediately accosted my a rather youthful man looking about 15 named Adam. We HATED Adam. Don't ask why, but Adam was just one of those personalities that you want to hate. He stares a little too long, then he asks a question and laughs at the wrong time in a sentence, just a hateful little guy. Before we looked at our menus and we had been seated all of 15 seconds, Adam wanted to know if we'd decided yet? We sent him away, never really seeing him again, or so it seemed. I tackled the bus boy to get some bread and we were served a rather large hamburger bun with crack down the center resembling an ass. Although it was awful, just mushy white bread, it served as a good laugh. I offered to offer it to the people behind us they were without service too. Where the hell was Adam? Julie gave me my first shoulder punch of the evening.

We decided on the prime rib for Jules and I was going to have a rib eye, rare. It was steak night at the Sizzler! Although the menu offered fine dining pricing, the food was poor at best. When Adam finally showed up, he mentioned something about a major spill (it might have been the Valdez) and he apologized for his invisibility. WHATEVER, let's order. Naturally they were already out of Prime rib, so Julie ordered a rib eye too. When the food came and they were quick, the steaks were (raw) rare, but that was a good thing. Mine was loaded with grizzle and fat and pretty tough. Julie, who seldom complains said the same and started to share my steak fries, as her loaded baked potato resembled a rubber ball on a 90 degree day. When Jules asked how my steak was, I told her one word that got my message across, Safeway. It was like any steak you might buy on sale at Safeway. Tough, grizzled and poorly seasoned. I ask for A-1 sauce, a real no, no with me and steak. After both of us fighting our way through the 2 steaks, we surrendered to a higher power, Pawpaw. Julie's dog was going to reap the benefits of our dinner for sure. The only good laugh we had, other than Adam, was while we were at the height of complaining to one another about how bad everything was, a hostess came up to us and asked if everything were okay? Simultaneously we both parroted, GREAT!

I've complained about Julie's over tipping before. This time, Julie handed me the check to sign and put one of cheapass tips on. The check was $56 and I put down an $8 tip. That was plenty for Adam. For the signature, I wrote Cheapass Fisher!

We've agreed to go to Scottsdale next week and enjoy the atmosphere and higher pricing. Believe me, it's worth it. I hope Adam doesn't have a brother in Scottsdale!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Power Struggling through Life...

There comes a time in life, that when you know someone is taking advantage of you that you MUST put a stop to it. It's really the reason they invented divorce. In my humble life there exists someone that takes advantage of me and never looks back, just does it. I refer to my insurance broker, who for the purposes of identification I will refer to as Fast Eddie, not his real name.
I was an automobile dealer here in the great state of Arizona and for years. I happily was insured by Farmer's Insurance and everything was fine. One day I received a registered letter stating that Farmers was no longer insuring car dealers and to look elsewhere for coverage, enter Fast Eddie. Fast Eddie was a smooth talker and I was happy to give him my business, just to eliminate the problem of replacing Farmers. Although I never really trusted Fast Eddie, I went with him and also when other car dealer friends of mine asked, I would refer them to Fast Eddie, as well. Because Fast Eddie benefited from my referrals, he came to me and thanked me for the business, and reminded me that it is against the law for him to thank me buy offering me money. I totally agreed with him and never had that in mind, however I certainly wasn't going to turn him in to the authorities if he bought me lunch, but that never happened. As the years went by, I never heard from Fast Eddie all year, until it was premium time. Then he would use his insurance charm and insist on getting an appointment whenever was convenient for HIM, in spite of how inconvenient it was for me. He would use things like telling me it's deadline time and if he doesn't get my check in, they'll cancel me. I remember one year he came to my house right after I had the heart surgery and literally pushed the pen around my check for me, in order to get paid. He left without a thank you or a get well card or a smile.
I think it was last year that I noticed that the bill had an unusual charge on it for $205 that said "Policy Service Fee". Did my policy need servicing? It was good that my "policy" got service because God knows I didn't get any! This insurance would cost me about $5000 a year and frankly, I don't think I sent 5 customers out on test drives this last year. It scared me when I realized how much each test drive was costing me! I called Fast Eddie and complained about him charging additional revenue for nothing. He casually explained that he MUST charge that fee, it cannot be waive, as it is for the company to hire an outside entity to come to my lot and inspect it. Then he laughingly said, and for "Green Fees". I reluctantly allowed him to get away with it.
This year I never even heard from Fast Eddie, so I called him and was told he was in a meeting. That meeting must have lasted 10 days because at that point he still hadn't returned my call. Then I got a message from a lady named Holly saying it was time to renew my policy. I returned her call and left her a message that there is no need to speak with me, to just send me the policy and I'll send her a check. The following day, the Fed Ex truck pulled up in front of the house and the driver approached with an envelope. I never even got to the door when I heard him pull away. In that thick Fed Ex envelope was the policy application and there it was bigger than life, $205 "Policy Service Fee". I internally combusted!
As our illustrious President Bush once said, "Fool me once, shame on ....... oh never mind!" I'm NOT letting him get away with it again. I called and spoke with Holly and complained about the charge and she said, "Oh everyone pays that". As if that made it okay. I told her to either waive it or I was going to rethink doing business with them and hung up. I didn't hear back from them, so I called the little lizard today.
I called Geico Insurance today and actually spoke with the little lizard, at least he sounded like him. I insured the 2 cars that I drive on a regular basis for 6 months for less than $300. Today I am a happy camper...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Everyday Trials

Not too long ago, I asked my doctor for some sleeping pills, as I was having a difficult time falling asleep on occasion. He was reluctant to prescribe them as they are occasionally addictive and also there has been some press about Ambiance causing sleep walking. After my surgery some doctor gave me sleeping pills and I was hooked on them immediately and had a difficult time sleeping at all without them. Eventually I took the monkey off my back by going several nights without sleeping and eventually got back into some kind of pace.

What my doctor did suggest was Benadryl. It's non-addictive and does about the same as sleeping pills. Here is my experience with the delightful antihistamine. I found that the makers of Benadryl put their product into packaging that is not only child-proof, but it takes an engineer about 20 minutes to figure out a way to penetrate the outer packaging. This is why they are so effective for sleeping. It takes the average person about 3 and 1/2 hours to get through the plastic seal surrounding the little pill and by the time you've accomplished it, you're exhausted! First you have to have either finger nail or a razor blade to peel off the plastic backing, then penetrate the hard plastic outer seal and eventually tear the tin foil inner protection. This is the same protection that the FAA uses to protect the black box that reports the reasons for airplane crashes.
I have a suggestion for the makers of Benadryl. Why not just put their pills inside of Pistachio shells that don't have an opening, they'd be easier to access!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Road Rage at the Local Grocery Store...

There's been a change of plans for Thanksgiving this year. Julie is no longer going to help the woman's shelter as they have plenty of help already. Instead she's coming here for the festivities and has advised me that she would be cooking everything from scratch, including a fresh turkey. None of that frozen stuff for her. I don't think I've ever tasted a fresh turkey, with the frozen ones being 47 cents a pound, it just seems a waste to pay $3 a pound for the same thing, but Julie says that's the Jewish coming out in me. She also told me that with our schedules being what they are, she'd be calling me on a regular basis to go to the store to pick up things that she needs, as she needs them. Not knowing what that all entails, I agreed. I thought it was a good idea to go to the store and somewhat get acquainted with it, as the grocery store has never been my favorite place to be.
As I sheepishly wandered in, I saw a sign that read "Flu Shot Today" and thought good, I should get one. I walked up to a long table that accommodated a man from the gay side of town, I could just tell. He asked which insurance I had and I produced my card which attracted an elderly woman that yelled to him, "That's a state funded business owners insurance company, we don't take that".. Of course they don't take it, I only pay $500 a month for it, for no one to accept. I asked how much a flu shot was without insurance and he replied in his feminine way, $30, but it has to be CASH! I briefly looked down to see what I was wearing that caused him to question my ability to pay and quickly agreed with his decision to challenge me.
I told him I could pay and was asked to sit down and fill out some paper work. Yet another problem. I explained that I wasn't used to being old yet and seldom remember to bring my glasses and didn't have an ice cube's chance in hell of reading that paper work. That's when the old lady asked if I knew my name and address, because she could do the rest. I hired her!
She asked me a bunch of questions about what I was allergic to and I stopped her and told her that the only thing that I'm seemingly allergic to is Viagra, it causes swelling... I think it took her a full 5 seconds of staring at me before she started that deep husky laugh that started in the pit of her stomach and eventually rose to her mouth. That's when it happened.....
I left my shopping cart in the isle, but off to the side allowing anyone to pass. Along came this elderly couple and evidently it was his pet peeve about people that leave their carts unattended. That man was about 75 to 80 years old and I knew I could take him! He was scrawny and mean and about 5' 8". He hit my shopping cart and sent it flying about 20 feet away! Not only did I scream, HEY but the gay guy did too. I yelled after him that I was coming to get him and teach him a lesson, but he wouldn't even look back. Instead, his wife came back and politely asked if that were my shopping cart. I nodded yes and she turned and left.. My gay friend and I yelled things after him, but he was well gone by then...
Eventually, I got my shot, said goodbye to my gay little friend and started my shopping which always leaves me cold. I bought the usual. Eight steaks on sale, one gallon of chocolate ice cream and milk for coffee.. As I cruised around the store people watching trying to learn the layout for next week, I saw the mean old guy standing with his wife. As our eyes made contact, he immediately looked down and I looked away.. He's just lucky I didn't......... well, he's just lucky, that's all!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lost Weekend

After almost an entire weekend of broken communications, a series of unanswered messages and a complete breakdown of understandings, Julie and I finally hooked up last night to watch her favorite show's finale', "Tell Me You Love Me".
She spent the day in Wickenburg at her daughter's house celebrating her daughter's birthday with her daughter and grandchildren doing motherly things like cooking and baking. All of the residents of the house for the weekend are females, except Jack, who is only 2 months old and too young to realize how bored he would be with all that.
It was a beautiful Sunday and I had taken the pups to the park for the first time in over a year. Great Danes don't do well in the extreme heat and park visits are regulated by the cool weather and their owner's willingness to provide exercise to them. Both of my friends were in puppy heaven, sniffing all of the outdoor smells and peeing freely on everything that stood out. I had to laugh as Zoie, my rather quiet and ladylike female marked her territory boastfully broadcasting her presence. This is her first year for marking and I wonder if it's Bogie's advanced age that tells her it's time for her to represent the pack. I'm sure as hell not going to do it!
So Julie called about 3:30 while I was out with the dogs and I didn't return her call until about 7 when I was good and hungry, but ate an English muffin so as not to impose on her. We talked for a while and she asked me eventually if I wanted to come over to watch her show, she had taped it. I arrived and was warmly greeted as usual and she offered me something to eat, but I declined anxious to see the TV show. We watched for about 40 minutes while Jules fast-forwarded through the parts that she said were boring and I tried to keep up with the happenings. As she handed me the remote, my finger hit something that made everything come to a screeching halt and neither of us could figure out how to make anything work. We were going crazy trying to get the damned thing operational, when all of a sudden I looked at her and said, "Don't you dare"! We both know that Julie calls her ex-husband whenever things don't work. We both broke down laughing, as she knew exactly what I was thinking, when I said, "Don't you dare"!
What you need when electronics fail are people under the age of 30. There is an unwritten law that when electronics don't work, call a kid! Her son was due there the following day and sure enough we had disconnected the cable by accident. Everything is back to normal, including Julie and I!
Jules informed me that she and her girlfriend are helping at the woman's shelter in Phoenix on Thanksgiving Day and she will be over at my house later in that day for our dinner. In the meantime, she will prepare the dead bird and the other things that go with it and start things cooking, having me be in charge of basting and otherwise burning things up. She will then return from her day of volunteering and finish things off here. Now, as I understand it, men are generally not welcome at the woman's shelter, so I suggested I dress in drag and infiltrate the enemy and help with the volunteer work. As creative as I get, there's always someone that shoots down an interesting idea like that. This time it was Julie, go figure!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Dating Guy and the Cheesecake Factory..

Here it is Sunday Morning and the taste of the food at the Cheesecake Factory is just now a "fleeting" memory. My choice of the word "Fleeting" is not a coincidence.
Friday night we declared date night and decided to go to dinner. I called Julie at about 6:10 to see how she was doing and she was clearly in a panic mode. Something about her hair doing strange things and nothing to wear was my hint to leave her to her confusion and just continue watching the evening news. She was going to make reservations at PF Chang's, but claimed they didn't answer their phone so she decided we would just go there and wait. After speaking with Barry in Florida and him telling me that it's ALWAYS crowded there, I had a feeling that making a reservation was definitely the way to go, but.....
I had told Julie that I would be there at about 7 and it wasn't until I'd tried about 3 different shirts on that I finally made my way out the door at about 6:40, bringing a change of pants just in case my shirt choice clashed with my slacks. I've been color blind for the past 61 years and it's never easy getting dressed when there is a new item in the wardrobe.
I arrived at Julie's about 7 and she looked great! A navy blue sweater emphasizing her already endowed bust line and tight, low cut jeans and here's the! Maybe we should just skip dinner and stay home?
We headed out and when we got to PF Chang's there was a herd of people spewing out their front door indicating a long wait, hmm..... Down the road was Skye and it offered a slightly higher priced menu, but heck, why not? I felt a little uncomfortable when there were gentlemen standing out in front wearing sport jackets and when we couldn't even find a parking place in their lot, I was pleased to say, let's look elsewhere. Next in line was the Cheesecake factory and in spite of the fact that we had eaten there just last week, it did offer parking and fast turnover.
I was able to score a handicapped parking spot right by the front door and didn't have to listen to Julie complain, but for a moment... We headed in as I gave my official fake limp. As we stood about 4 back in line at the hostess station just to give our names, a young kid came walking out of the bar announcing a high top available in the bar, no waiting. We grabbed it and were able to not only eat dinner, but watch the Sun's game, all at once.
I ordered the Shrimp Scampi and Jules had the barbecued ribs. Her entree was enormous as the restaurant is famous for and my entree was just ridiculous. It offered about six or seven shrimp in a lemon butter spicy sauce and a clump of angel hair pasta, under cooked and forming what appeared to be a snowball. Julie is a confident eater. I would never order anything as messy as ribs is a public place, but she maneuvered nicely and never once used her hands, which would have frustrated me. She did complain that the ribs were making her sick, however. I ate my 7 shrimp and tossed my snowball around the plate a few times prompting the waitress to ask if everything were okay. I assured her it was and tossed my napkin onto my plate. It appears that the Suns did better than us, winning 98 to 91 over the Miami Heat!
The check came and we volleyed for position with me winning 2 to 1. I paid cash and Julie helped me by cheering me on to leaving an obnoxious tip of $15 on a $60 bill, but it makes her happy, so.....
I've never mentioned it, but Julie gives directions like a drunken sailor in a strange port. Right-left lane, turn here, no not here, are some of her directions, but I always start out with plenty of gas so it's fine. Eventually we find out what she means and get home.
When we entered, Pawpaw was plenty glad to see us particularly with his barbecued rib offering. I changed into the jeans that I had brought and we went outside to make a fire in her backyard pit and she smoked a really stinky cigar, still a deal breaker!
We went into the house and an extended exercise session, one that broke the record for calories burnt, necessary after a big meal. I drove home around midnight noticing that my stomach was making some unusual shrimp noises that certainly would have to be addressed soon...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Dating Guy Breaks Down...

I just had a "dating guy" break down. I don't really know what caused it. It was short, but to the point and accomplished what I had to say, and "say" I did. I would say that over the past 2 months or so, I've received about 45 or 50 unwanted emails and winks from unwanted suitors. Some were rude and others were just sad. One in particular was from some woman 10 years my senior just boasting about how lucky she is to be Italian and how lucky now "I" am that she is interested in "ME"! She went on and on about her good genes and her family and the great food they enjoy and everything a fat man might want to hear. Me, I was just amazed at her ability to be so thrilled over so little! Not knowing what else to write to her in particular, I merely told her, knowing full well that she did NOT smoke, that I'd prefer to be with a non-smoker. It didn't take her any more than 2 minutes to shoot an email off to me saying I must have her confused with someone else. I don't think I've heard the last of her!
Others were from extremely overweight women that wanted to lose weight while in my company. I suddenly became a catalyst for the weight watcher's program. Most of the women lived in other states and had no possible way of ever meeting me, but seemed to be practicing on me. I do list in my profile that I prefer slight of build women that are within a certain age demographic including light colored hair. They must be bright, clever and quick-witted. To some that must mean slow, dark haired and couldn't find their way out of a brown paper bag.
One lady from Virginia listed all of the things we did not have in common including our locations and that she STILL wanted to meet me. To her I merely replied a resounding, NO!
I think that some of my frustration comes from the lovely Jules. While I am supposed to be finishing up a nicely laid out meal, at a undisclosed location, with a perfectly lovely lady (Julie), and heading back to her house whispering sweet nothings into her ear, she is off screwing something entirely different than ME! PLASTICS! That's right, she's got an electric screwdriver in her hand and she's screwing 4 silver screws into the four corners of plastic lids that go over 4 plastic bases, but I digress! The factory screwed up again and couldn't deliver the necessary parts until late this evening, cancelling our dinner and after dinner plans, so I took it out on the poor single ladies across the country. As I write this blurb, my mailbox is lighting up with disgruntled complaints to my accurate, articulate replies.. I'm so, so sorry and I hope they get over it, but really, it's Julie and the factory's fault.................not mine!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Another Day in Paradise...

The other night I was with Julie and she at some point referred to her age and then said she was 51. That immediately caught my attention as she had told me for the past 6 months that she was 48. When I questioned her, she insisted she was 51 and had been lying to me for the past period of time. It didn't seem to bother me that she was 51, but I was rather pleased making us a little closer in age, that at times seems an issue. She insisted that I was disappointed as soon as I found out the truth and I need to have a young woman as a girlfriend and I insisted that it was NOT indeed true, but I was amazed that she could maintain a 6 month lie to me. I was not only shocked, but truly disappointed that she could so easily lie to me, in fact knowing how important the truth is to me within a relationship.

Then she asked how old I really was and of course I told her 65. Her mouth fell open and I could see she was truly thinking about 95 miles per hour. I told her that I said I was younger because of her tender age of 48, but now that she's 51, I might just as well tell the truth. I feel restored to know that I no longer have to lie to her and I was afraid that she was just interested in me for my social security check every month. Now Julie insisted on knowing the truth and of course, so did I.

The next thing we know, we are both producing our driver's licenses and it seems that Julie is as bad at math as she is about lying. When she saw I was born in 1946, she still couldn't figure out how old I was and started to take off her shoes to use her toes to count. I stopped her and soothed her, confessing that we were both really the ages that we originally told each other we were and everything is restored. Whew!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight!

Now that I've learned that I can hold my own on an assembly line, I've developed a new self confidence. Whether it's power supplies or plastics, the world is now at my feet and I no longer have to retain the tunnel vision of just being able to sell used cars. Today was an eventful day and I'm kind of glad it's over. It started late last night when I tried to prove to my girlfriend that I can do anything that a man 60 can do, but perhaps not as long. My evening started out at the lovely Julie's house where she painstakingly prepared me a meal fit for the Gods. It consisted of a salad including things that only grew in Eve's garden and a generous portion of one of my favorites, lasagna. Oddly, all of the things that Julie prepared came in plastic packaging that said AJ's on it. Everything was delicious, as usual. After an evening of bliss, I headed down my friend the 101 to my pups and a good night's sleep. When I arrived, the Dynamic Duo were fine, but a good night's sleep was not available. I guess I was just too excited about our dinner, (wink)!

I awakened about 8 AM and quickly got ready for the auto auction. I spent about 3 hours there walking a total of about 3 miles, averaging just 1 mile an hour. I did bid on one car but didn't get it, as the owner evidently thought it was worth more than anyone else. At about 12:30 I headed over to the lot to see if Paul had done anything besides cash my check, to welcome me back after a 3 month sabbatical. As I moseyed into the lot and I couldn't find a parking place for even my own car, there was Paul, covered in grease, complaining about an engine from the wrecking yard that wasn't clean enough for his strict standards. I told him if it were mine, I'd just send it back. I think that's what he wanted me to say. He rejected it and it was on it's way back to the seller, ABC Junk.

I've learned over the years that I can't just tell Paul anything, but rather have to back into topics and let him bring them up. This held true today. I told him that I thought maybe his brother would have moved his car off of my lot by now, blaming everyone but Paul, in spite of the fact that I know Paul owns that car now. Paul said he was just about to do that when I arrived. Today is the 6th of the month and my rent got paid on the 1st! That's when Paul said, "What are we going to do about the rent"? Shocked I told him I paid it, didn't he receive it? He said yes, but that he wants more money... After giving him a long stare I said, when I rented out a house to some people, I made sure that my renters were happy. Anything that they wanted, I supplied and the reason for that was, they were paying me rent! You, on the other hand, take my money and offer complaints about not getting enough, you give me nothing for my money. (The fight was on). I explained that he not only continues to occupy the property that he's rented to me, but he cannibalized the property taking out the air conditioning system in the middle of July! His excuse was that his kids needed it more than me. WHAT? He repeated that I was only there a matter of 6 or 8 hours a week and his kids were there all day everyday and they needed a/c more than me. I explained that he should have bought a new unit instead of stealing mine. Paul will never understand that I'm right on this issue, so I decided to move along.

That's when he told me he wants an additional $250 per month. I looked at him and said, NO! What about an extra $100 a month, he countered. I told him I'd just go ahead and move out and to rent it to someone else. Then he asked for a second month's rent for security and I told him no again. I also told him that if doesn't vacate the property I'm moving out and left him standing there to argue with himself. I was adamant about not budging. As I drove out the driveway, he called my cell phone and asked if he could just keep one of his junk cars there until he figures out what to do with it. Again I told him no, get it cleared out and hung up. I was determined to get what was coming to me or move out. Paul brought a knife to my gun fight!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Workin' the Night Shift...

Today was the day that I disguised my truck as a landscaper's truck and carried illegal fronds across town to Glendale where they enjoy a more liberal approach to garbage and dumping. My truck is new and until today enjoyed an odometer that read 120 miles. I really had not intended to use refuge for it's "maiden voyage", but a man's got to do what a man's got to do! I loaded up the load of fronds, popped a dew rag on my head and headed to Glendale.

When I arrived, there stood the lovely Julie distraught and just overwhelmed with work. The factory added a new quota to her already overloaded assembly line and none of her employees showed up for work. She was literally beside herself. This woman is a bit on the independent side and wouldn't accept any of my help, but rather told me to unload my cargo and get the hell out of her house. I could see she was in no mood to play with. Since it was so close to dark and her neighbors might object to her offering her address as a city dump, I suggested I wait an hour before unloading my palm fronds into her driveway. She let me inside the house to wait, but I was told in no uncertain terms to keep my mouth shut if I know what's good for me. Julie settled down into her work station and I was fascinated. She had power sources and power tools and screw drivers and lots of way cool things that she gets to play with everyday! Inside I was dying to help. What she doesn't know, is that this is a guys dreamland. Power tools and things to screw and getting paid for it too!

Julie told me that if I was just going to stand around, I might as well help. I was thrilled! I was gonna get to play with all of her toys. She showed me what to do and I immediately took over. This stuff was easy. It was easy for about the first half hour, then it got harder and harder and tougher. As my 61 year old back started giving out, I refused to complain, I was afraid she might make me stop. I had a ball for 5 hours..

Here's what I learned, I learned that my girlfriend is a slave driver and a meaner polecat never walked the Earth calling herself a boss. She repeatedly told me there was going to be no hanky panky tonight, this is WORK, not play. Hell, I like the hanky panky better than power tools!!!

I crawled out of there about 10 PM, unloaded my palm fronds from my truck and drove home. When I got home my slave driver had sent me an email thanking me for my work and asking how I wanted to get paid.. That's when I started thinking about the hanky panky again, hmmm......

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Smuggling Palm Fronds Across the Border...

It's a pretty tricky business living here in Arizona. Things are not always as they seem. For example, in my neighborhood we have uncontained trash pick up four times a year and if you miss it, you wait 3 months to eliminate the debris that you have accumulated. We had a horrific winter this last one, and many of the Gay Palms didn't survive it. I refer to the Queen Palms. These Queens tricked us and looked like they were going to make it, but as summer wore on and on and on, they took on a burned look and now the new foliage that grows from their centers, are coming out dead, deceased, history. I originally had about 28 of the lovely Queens and as the summer lead into fall, I've already lost 2 or 3. As the dead fronds wilt and eventually dry up, they sag like am 80 year old woman's breasts and similarly almost touch the ground. They need to be eliminated, but only the fronds! Here lies the tricky part. We just had uncontained trash pick up last month and these babies can't wait another 60 days or longer to be tossed away. I own a pick up truck and I have a close friend that lives on the West side of town in Glendale and Glendale has uncontained trash pick up EVERY month! I was amazed and impressed when I learned this and THAT is one of the main reasons that I continue to see Julie. Her neighborhood's trash habits are WILD!

In our town, we separate the West side from the East side with a street named Central Avenue. It's our border. My job, and it won't be easy, is to smuggle the illegal fronds from the Scottsdale area to Glendale without the law infiltrating my operation. I'll wait until after dark and try to disguise the load of illegal fronds to look like illegal Mexican aliens coming into our country, so nothing looks unusual and that way I'm assured not to be stopped by the authorities either. Hell, that's an everyday occurrence here! Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Penis Monologues

Lately, with all of the attention going to the vagina, way too little attention is being paid to the penis, thus my idea of writing the "Penis Monologues".

It all started with my doctor's visit several years ago to my personal physician, Dr. Cedric. To begin with you have to picture Dr. Cedric. He stood about 5' 2" tall and didn't have a hair on his head, sporting a Tennessee accent where he was born and raised. If you can simulate his accent, picture him taking me aside and looking up at me and saying. "Mel, this stuff is Viagra, it's a new social recreational drug for guys our age"! Dr. Cedric was about 5 years younger than me and a true horn dog, constantly boasting about his prowess with young women. He gave me a free 6 pack of the pill and it still exists in my medicine cabinet.

Although, "I never needed it", I tried it and it was the greatest! Now that I'm in my 60's my attention is more drawn to the tiny blue pill. With this pill, I can do things that I couldn't do when I was 16! I'll not bore the reader with examples, but trust in the pill is a good thing. I started asking guys my age if they'd tried it and got exactly the same answer from everyone without exception. "I don't need it". I asked one friend who gave me that answer and I replied with, if you wanted to fly to Florida from AZ, would you use your single engine Cessna or would you prefer the Leer Jet parked in the hanger? With the Leer, you can fly higher and stay in the air longer. With his mouth agape, he asked REALLY?

The pill is a pricey little luxury, it turns out. I approached Dr. Z, my new buddy and asked him for a prescription of Viagra. He said, first he would have to examine me and look at my regiment of drugs and adjust a few things. He did that and finally agreed to letting me have a prescription of 10 pills. I felt like deputy Barnie Fife with one bullet. In spite of the fact that I've health insurance, they wouldn't even touch it and the bill for 10 pills was $124 @ 12 bucks a piece and that was at Wal-Mart. I told Wal-Mart to keep them and ordered them online for waaaay less, about a dollar a pill and they work just as well. I'll be taking my Leer out of the hanger any day now and I WON'T be flying solo!