Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Latest 55th Birthday...

I had a feeling this day was coming, it does every damned year. How depressing? Birthdays are for children. People my age don't want to hear about them, know about them or be asked what we want this year. By now, all of the good presents have been given. If you don't have a pocket fisherman by now, by the time you get to my age, you've done something wrong.
The week was filled with calls from the Lovely Jules of, "Have you decided what you want yet?" My answer remained the same, "I don't need anything"... All the while she knew she had already secured a great present, days before. Her attempt to taunt me was semi-successful.
Let me preface this with telling the reader that 2 days before my birthday, I had a relapse of the stomach flu. So, my thoughts on presents we circumvented by screams of Raaaaaalph and Booooob and resenting anything that I'd eaten within the past 24 hours. Death was the only way out, for quite some time.. St. Jules had made reservations at the Wigwam resort, that I have a feeling that we'll never see.
Around 3 PM Julie called and I suggested that she cancel the reservations, although I was feeling better, not good enough to go out on the town. My replacement birthday consisted of Julie bringing over precooked meals from Sprouts including pot roast with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed assorted vegetables. She made a delicious avocado and tomato salad that looked like it should be in a magazine. She bought me a birthday cake and even brought paper plates that said happy birthday, along with fresh strawberries sliced thinly.
For my gift and this was one of the best I've ever received, a 2 foot long wind chime that is located on the patio and tuned perfectly to the key of "C". When the wind gently blows, it sounds like a monk's retreat around here. I positioned it next to the neighbors on my A side, not near the creeps on my B side.
After gift giving time Julie, although extremely tired after a long day of work, starting at 5 AM passed out massages, Bogie going first. Bogie, my 300 LB Great Dane is clearly in love with the Lovely Jules. He doesn't let anyone climb on him the way Julie does. She lays down behind him and puts her leg over his side and started giving him a Yoga massage.. Even the look on his face tells that he's in 7th heaven. When she stops, he licks her face until she starts again. I warn her that if he growls, respect his growl and get off, but he never growls at her. I think it's just puppy love!
Second was Zoie's turn and she never got off the sofa as Julie massaged away. With great anticipation, I patiently waited for my birthday turn. Julie explained that my turn was to be a little later at her house. I quickly gathered things up to drive her home, me being the designated driver.
When we arrived at the West side domicile, it was shortly after 9 and Pawpaw was ready for his walk. So it was off onto the Golf we went, ever looking for red eyes watching us, for they are the eyes of the wild coyotes.
After a brief walk, we came back to the house and it was finally MY turn for my massage. Julie climbed into bed and I excused myself to the restroom. When I returned, there was St. Jules fast asleep mumbling her usual nondescript mutterings under her breath that inquiries don't ever get a response to.. I gently laid down for a few minutes and listened to a coyote off in the distance making a kill. They let out a high pitched scream alerting the other members of the pack of the kill. Almost like a gorilla pounding on his chest... I whispered to Julie, are the doors locked? No answer. I took my leave, safely securing the house. The last thing I heard was Pawpaw snoring in the bedroom. I THINK it was Pawpaw!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Just Another Escapee...

This day, March 26th, 1946, I was rushed to Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, in a time capsule. Inside this time capsule, it stunk, was slippery, confined, not much to eat, yet quite suitable the past 9 months. I recall looking for an exit sign and was more or less convinced to use the slide. Literally, God only knew what was in store for me. Later, much later, I found out. Jeez!

I was poked and prodded and later circumcised. I didn't care much for that, but no one seemed to care what I wanted back then. Instead of that changing, I just got used to it and eventually went with the flow, which is how I got out of that confined area for the first 9 months! I found out that I was a boy, living in a boy's body, whew! I played with other boys and baseballs and climbed trees and was confused by girls. Some things never change.

They sent me to a place called school where I remained for way too many years until one day I'd had enough. After all, who could be smarter than me? I quit and went to work, where I've remained for.......ever. I did learn that if I'd gone to more school, there'd be less work, a good lesson to remember.

Anyhow, today is 62 years from the day I escaped the time capsule. Happy Giving Birthday Mom...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Women and Tools, Fire and Ice....

After slamming the phone down on me for having asked the question, "What are you doing", I thought it wise to keep my end of the bargain with St. Jules, the meanest woman in AZ. It seems that she was cleaning her pool filter and had already called in the back up troops, her ex-husband, as he is the only man on Earth that can fix things, or so it seems. Phil can do this and Phil can do that. Well, Phil couldn't clean her filter, not anymore anyway. For such an exciting thing, she's just going to have to rely on a man that's never really seen a cartridge filter , but does possess common sense.

When I arrived Jules was hard at work and had "NOTHING" under control, that was evident by the fact that there was a plethora of tools strewn about with no semblance of order. Sockets really shouldn't be left haphazardly in the grass as the only real way to find them is with the lawnmower, she'll learn. The "tool shocked Jules" was trying to turn a threaded screw with a socket and ratchet, Phil's misunderstood instructions. As anyone that's ever picked up a hammer knows, that's a no no. With the advantage of a call to Shasta and a handy fellow, (me), the job got done in a timely and neat fashion. I was also able to fix the faucet and replace her dead bulb in her truck, leaving plenty of time to assemble her new barbecue.

Jules took an air of comfort seeing the things get done, that have been bothering her all week. All that's left is to drive back there and eat the dinner that the Lovely Jules has prepared for me of grilled trout on her new Weber. Oh, and I have to figure out a way to not have her find out that I wrote all off this too. It seems that the meanest woman in AZ. is crafty as well!



Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Breaking Up is Hard to Do...

After a major fight with the Lovely Jules, I decided not to see her anymore. Here is how I went about it.

I started the day with a ride to Julie's house to meet the partial crew at Overflow, her company. That included Nichole, Julie's 28 year old daughter and comptroller. Nikki is a charming, sweet, attractive girl that wore a smile almost the entire time I was there and Zach a young strapping fellow that I'm told not only brightens up their days, but is completely capable on the job. We headed out.

First we went to the auction, where Julie bought a 2007 Suburban and a late model Corvette before she learned not to make eye contact with the auctioneer. She loved it and wants to go again. After, we went the Knock Kneed Lobster for lunch and Julie ordered fried Okra like she knew what she was doing. She's originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana from a farm, although she personally was raised in a barn on the property, which explains her attraction to animals. From there it was a jaunt over to the Biltmore Shopping Center. I parked my Toyota between a Bentley and a Mercedes and we knocked our doors into both. It was almost like the Clampetts came to town! Julie complained that there were too many shiny "B"s on the Bentley. They don't put "T"s all over the Toyota!

After trying our best to look like we belonged there, we left without spending a penny, although there was a shirt at Saks that Julie was pretty fond of. It was $360 and looked like a room where a kid got in and went insane with water colors and a cat.

For a reality check, Julie dropped me off at the car lot and I took the old Expedition home and she took off with the Toyota, affording her a runabout car at her house for a few days.

I guess I'll have to see Julie again, at least to get my car back.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Costco LOVES the Single Guy...

As recently as a few weeks ago, I purchased chicken parts at Costco. Their packaging allowed for about 20 single chicken thighs to be grouped together in one large impossible package. When I got home, or in my case within a few days, I had to repackage their offering into single baggies with about 2 or 3 thighs in each one for freezing. That way, each baggie could be defrosted easily and quickly by tossing it into the sink full of warm water. This process was successful but tiresome.

As if Costco secretly had an agent sneaking into my home, they realized my problem and solved it. Announcing Costco's new chicken packaging!!! I'm hoping this is a new system and not just a trial packaging attempt. Costco now mimics my old system themselves offering chicken part grouped together in offerings of 2 or 3 chicken thighs in a separate perforated plastic bag ready for freezing. You can still get a total of 20 pieces of chicken, but it's all packaged for you already. I haven't been this excited since I found out my girlfriend didn't wear underwear! It's like Costco and Foster Farms read my mind!

Beware of the Ides of March...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Day of Good Intentions...

After awaking and feeling like the flu bug had run smack dab into me, I lifted my weary head off the sofa around noon to take a shower. I should have done that hours before, as it turned out. It made me feel 100% better. I dressed and decided to go to Cubs Park for a famous Italian Beef sandwich. As I was answering a quick email, my phone rang and it was my son Brad. He asked me what the doctor said about my pacemaker. I told him I never made it to see the doctor, as I got a call to sell my truck and pretty much blew that off. We discussed having lunch and he told me he was headed in my direction and to pick out a restaurant. I suggested Cubs Park, naturally. Brad's been working out at the gym lately and remarked that it wasn't a very healthy choice and then suggested some Bistro in the high rent district of Keirland Commons. The last time I let Brad choose the restaurant, it wound up costing me $75 for lunch and all I had was a sandwich. We agreed to think about it and we'll reconvene at 2:30. No sooner did I hang up with Brad and Donna from the doctor's office called and asked when I was planning on coming in to fulfill my exam request. Hmm... was my answer. She asked if I could come in right now, they were free. I said I would just do that. I'm come right now, even though I was starving. I called Brad and left him a voicemail explaining the situation.

I arrived at the doctor's office and was pleased to see that they took me right away. A woman named Robin was the pacemaker person and she told me to sit down and unbutton my shirt. I was about to tell her to do the same, but better sense told me to wait until I knew her better. It's a good thing I waited because it turned out that Robin had nothing that resembled a sense of humor. She hooked up the usual electrodes and put what looked like the mouth piece of an old time phone over my new pacemaker. With this device she can regulate what my heart does, as well as monitor everything about it.

I learned it was set to keep my heart at a minimum of 60 beats a minute and it's been used 46% of the time in my upper heart and 11% of the time in my lower heart. My battery will last for right at 8 1/2 years at this rate. A new operative was activated with this newer model that I have, it's a 2006 with low miles. It will sense when I'm walking and adjust my heart accordingly and it will even sense exercise and adjust for that too, as if that's EVER gonna happen. I asked if I will ever be able to operate the power windows in my car with it, after training. No reaction! My best one was when I asked her if the lump on my chest would ever grow a nipple. I don't think Robin understood me :( She said to come back in a few months and either see her or Dan, her supervisor. I'm going with Dan!

I realized I was only a few miles from the Knocked Kneed Lobster and deep fried cod sounded great. I headed over there and gorged myself in dead fish. I left there about 3:45 and hit traffic gridlock, but kind of enjoyed it, having a full stomach and no rush to be anywhere. I came home, fed the Dynamic Duo and settled onto the sofa for an after lunch nap. This nap keyed the Lovely Jules to phone me and awaken me, to my delight :(

Julie was in a good mood today. She took most of the day off and shopped and bought the things she'd been talking about for a few days, mostly a barbecue grill that burns real charcoal instead of gas and she replaced the lights that she keeps running over in her front yard. We chatted to quite some time, her mentioning often that some lucky neighbor was grilling pork with a dirty grill. She can smell the pork and the dirty grill. After about 45 minutes of light conversation, suddenly I heard a scream! Julie yelled and I could tell she was running at the same time. I yelled what's wrong? Julie yelled back into the phone that "I'm the neighbor that's cooking"!!! St. Jules, not the the most coherent cook of all times, was cooking up some ground pork for her dog and forgot about it.. We laughed for about 10 more minutes over her "Lucy Move"... Paws ate it all anyway!

Brad finally called me back and he went to Cubs Park and ate Chicago Vienna Hot Dogs. They're not very healthy, but once he heard me mention them, he couldn't get them out of his mind....


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Car Salesman...

Today was the day I've been waiting for, for 6 months. I was driving to the doctor's office to find out why my neighbors garage door goes up and down repeatedly whenever I'm outside. They said something about adjusting my pacemaker, when my phone rang. It was a perspective customer calling from my car lot. He said he had a check in his pocket for $20,570 and if I'd take that much for my 07 Chevy Silverado, he'd be pleased to buy it. The loudest thing was the screech of my brakes, trying to stop and turn around as I calmly said I'd consider his offer. We agreed to meet at the lot at about 2 PM. It was 1 PM when we spoke and I had to go to the house on the other side of town and get the title and some things to make the sale effective.

I skidded into my driveway and the Dynamic Duo were happy to see me, as I tore past them, grabbed my briefcase and stopped for a quick pee. I don't think I broke stride as I shot past them on the way out to the car the second time. I'm not sure but, I think I saw Bogie flip me a "doggie bird" on my way out. Cutting off a neighbor that's always either coming or going, I laid a patch of rubber from my over sized tires and was on my way to the office of Airport Enterprises in West Phoenix. I arrived about 15 minutes early, in time to jump start the dead battery on this brand new Chevy truck and let it run for awhile, charging it up. I got a call from Eddie, saying he was running late, but would be there in a few minutes. His few minutes turned out to be about an hour. I wrote up the transaction and he told me he had to go to get a fresh check with my name on it and it would probably take him 15 minutes. That particular 15 minutes lasted about an hour and a half. We need to get Eddie a new watch!

Eddie showed up with a driver and a check, 2 of my favorite things in selling a vehicle. We exchanged assets. He took the truck and I took the check. We shook hands, promised to do this again, soon and Eddie took off with his driver. My favorite part of a sold vehicle are the tail lights. When I see them, I know my work is done!



Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Zoie...

Today is Zoie's birthday. She's 9 years old. What do you do for a dog that's only pleasure is ice water? Last year I took her to Petsmart and she cried until we left. She whined all of the way there and all of the way home. I'm glad her birthday is almost over. It creates a lot of pressure on me, trying to figure out a way to gift wrap ice water!

Today, the Catholic religion released the 7 new sins. I called Julie and asked if she were Catholic, I thought she was. When I told her about the 7 new sins, she was certain my name was going to be listed somewhere! Jules thought they were going to be high tech sins, like porn on the computer, but they were the usual that one would anticipate.

I heard on the news that the Governor of New York is involved with a prostitution ring. The truth was simply that he got laid! Isn't that a long way from being in a prostitution ring?

Julie spent Saturday with her grandchildren. When she got there, she was informed that she was not allowed to have boys over. There went my plans for Saturday. It almost seems like I've spent my entire life trying to sneak into my girlfriends babysitting jobs. When will it stop?

One of my favorite programs is October Road. I killed time all evening waiting for 9 PM to come, so I could turn to ABC and watch it. When I did that, I found that tonight was a 2 hour special October Road, probably the finale' of the season and it started at 8.. Don't you just hate that?

Very few of the blogs that I read regularly are active for some reason, with the exception of 4th Ave Blues and his borders on insanity. Wait, cancel that comment, he's actually crossed that border!

I'll not complain about my own life as I received an email from my friend Dez. Not only is she going through a divorce from a man that only just married, but her grandson has Leukemia and is suffering through chemo therapy at age 4, her son was arrested for some darned thing involving an auto accident and needs to be represented by an attorney, the house deal that she just bought, literally fell through and she's reduced to renting an apartment just to get out from the home of the soon to be ex. Then, to add insult to injury, she got rear ended by some men that took off running afterwards, probably because they were illegals without insurance.. See, my life is just peachy!

Happy Birthday Zoie

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Crowned Again!

Several months ago, I was visiting one of my girlfriends at her home when something unfortunate happened. Upon leaving her home, I stopped at her foyer where she keeps a supply of candy in a basket for visiting guests. So as not to disclose any names, we'll refer to this woman as the Dragon Lady, since she has long frayed, over-processed blond hair and ridiculously long fingernails. Dragon lady had too much to drink and had smoked one of those chocolate cigars in front of her crystal ball earlier and I needed something to clear my taste buds, so I dipped into the the selection of candy and came up with a piece of Carmel. I don't think it took more than one bit into the sweet luscious morsel, when my precious crown came off with it. To my dismay, I spit the candy into my hand and low and behold there it was. That was a thousand dollar piece of candy, as it turned out.

A few days ago, I made the mistake of biting into a frozen Snicker's bar and once again a piece of that same tooth went into the history books, leaving a sharp edge destroying both my tongue and my cheek. Today, I was dropping off my shirts at the cleaners and I couldn't get a parking place close to the Cleaner's store front. I parked a few doors down and gathered my shirts to carry in to the store and when I looked up, it was like a sign from God. The store front said Dr.Alan Philippe Katz DDS. Almost as though I were in a trance, I walked in and made an appointment for tomorrow... The part that amazes me, is that I didn't have to be dragged there, I did it all on my own. Frankly, I'm feeling quite grown up!

I never saw the Dragon Lady again!


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

She Moves in the Shadows, then......................BAM!

In my numerous years on this planet, I've encountered many unpleasant things. I've had both knees operated on, at different times of course, I've had 2 hair transplant episodes and I cannot begin to tell you of the pain involved in that. I had a maniacal emergency room doctor poke a hole through the descending artery of my heart. As a result I experienced open heart surgery to patch up the hole. I've endured several root canals and just this week had a pacemaker placed into the heart of my chest and I've still never encountered anything as painful as running head on into a woman suffering from PMS! In fact, why do they say the woman is suffering from it? The woman is merely the carrier! Men do all of the suffering....

Just today, I made the mistake of answering my telephone and a PMS carrier not only jumped down my throat, but grabbed my tonsil and anything else she could on the way down, before she hung up on me. Shaken, but not badly wounded, I dragged myself to the sofa where I spent the balance of the day recovering and licking my wounds. I don't plan on subjecting myself to that type of an attack again.. Not for another 28 days, anyway!


Monday, March 3, 2008

What Was all the Fuss about???

I found out why the Lovely Jules was so excited about me getting a pacemaker. She thought I said Pace Car.

There whole thing went pretty uneventfully. The hardest part was for Julie to be in two places at once, but she miraculously pulled it off. Everyone worked together to make this as comfortable for me as possible and for that I am forever grateful.

Here are some of the high points of the event for me. After bumming a ride to the hospital from St. Jules, we met up with my son Brad in the parking structure and were able to check in together. It was mentioned more than once that I looked somewhat scared, but every single time someone cuts into my chest with my heart as the general target, I get that way. Call me fussy! When I get nervous, I get funny, as displayed in the waiting room when my beeper went off indicating it was time to start the cutting. Like a man on his way to the gallows, head down, I walked the walk to the otherwise pleasant receptionist and turned myself in. She surgically removed my savings in the form of a credit card and sent me on my way to check-in.

Check-in told me to strip and put on one of those hospital gowns and not to forget to remove my underwear. Let me say one thing, suddenly my underwear became very dear to me and I wasn't handing them over to the first overweight little girl that asks for them. No sir! It turned out they came in handy as my next request was to lay in the bed and give my history. More than once I forgot I was wearing a hospital gown and lifted my legs to get more comfortable. Each time, both Julie and Brad would groan and look the other way. See, the underwear came in handy! It's not like I was there to give birth or anything, my work was above the border.

That's right around the time that Lurch came in to push my cart to the surgery area. Lurch was built like any of the 3 stooges and dumber. He was to transport me to the operating room, but rammed me into the wall 3 different times. I insisted that he pull over for a DUI test. Julie even offered to put her 120 LB to work and drive. Lurch kept apologizing saying it was his first crash and to excuse it.

We arrive at the OR and get parked for 30 minutes or so. That's when a nice nurse came for me and Brad and Julie were able to get a break from my pathetic existence. I went to surgery and they went to lunch. I'd been given Valium and didn't care if they cut off my head around that time. The next thing I knew, a guy wearing a mask was cleaning my chest and shaving the last bit of hair off of it and I knew I wasn't long for the conscious world.

In addition to the Valium, they give you a drug that gives you amnesia. I don't remember the pain, if there was any and I'm sure there was, but if I don't remember it, it's just like it never happened, see? I don't remember seeing my doctor, although I'm told he was not only there, but was my catalyst for humor.

The next thing I knew, I was back in my room and everything was cool. Brad said goodbye and Julie and I talked for a bit, but I don't remember one word of it. She left around 8 PM and we talked on the phone about 5 times. After being given a cup of drugs and one was Ambien and another was Percoset, I fell asleep for about 4 hours, waking at 4 AM. At 5 AM I called Julie and she was there around 8:30 to pick me up, after going to her house to walk her dog and take care of business there. Between a network of friends and family, the event went without a hitch.

I checked out and was swiftly whisked away to yet another visit to Whole Foods, Julie's new hang-out. There are only 2 things that put a smile on the Lovely Jules' face and Whole Foods is one off them! (Her grandchildren are the other). After that it was a Saturday visit to Costco, something no one should ever do, particularly after surgery, but I needed prescriptions filled. We went home and the Lovely Jules cooked all day. I tried to help by cutting up an onion, but cut my finger so badly that I got blood all over the diced veggies and was told to sit down. I accommodated.

The only restriction that I have, is that I cannot put my left arm over my head as that can pull the probes out of my heart. They gave me an apparatus to wear that restrains my left arm to my side when I sleep, but I've figured out a way to free it, even when asleep.