Monday, December 31, 2012

Shootin' the Shit...

I think the year was 1991. I had just carried my second wife out of the house over my shoulder, to her new home with her daughter, DONE! Brad, my 19 year old son had finally moved in with me a few months before and it was New year's Eve. As a tradition, we took my 25 caliber Beretta out to the yard and looked for a target to shoot at, to bring in the new year. As a conscientious citizen of Phoenix, we NEVER shot into the air, but rather a focal point somewhere into the twin Palm trees that grew in the corner of our yard. Primarily into the ground, with the Palm trees behind our target. 

Jenny, was our Wire Haired Terrier, who came to us from my step-daughter Boom Boom. Boom Boom was now the hostess to her mother, but refused to accept her dog when the split up took place. Jenny, the dog, was quite a character. Once she jumped through her bedroom window, while it was closed, to get to the postman who was violating her territory, by delivering the mail. Cha ching! On another occasion, as I pulled up to the house, there stood Jenny on my roof, just barking her head off. How in the world did she accomplish that? I researched the situation and realized that she had jumped up on a pile of firewood. From there, she hopped up onto the shed. From there, she did a tight rope walk across a 2X4 that lined the gate of our yard and then up onto the roof! All of this took place a good 15 years before YouTube! Back to my story about New Year's Eve;

Brad and I went outside to look for a safe place to shoot off our gun, an AZ tradition. I said, do you see that dog turd laying right in front of the palm trees? He nodded his recognition. It had a little squiggle right on the top of it, just like you get from the Dairy Queen... We aimed and fired and took turns shooting. Pretty anticlimactic, right? A few minutes later, we went back into the house to watch NYE and Dick Clark when my phone rang. It was my father calling from Florida to wish us a Happy New Year and he asked what we were doing? I looked at Brad and answered into the phone, "Brad and me? We just stood around shooting the shit"!

Happy New Year, 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Crap, I Did it Again!

Remember my story about a woman that lied to me about her name? Well, I thought I had found out her secret of withholding her name from me because she had a prison record according to my inquiry at the department of corrections. She very well might have been that person, but due to her name being such a common one, I felt it rash to come to that conclusion based solely on that Internet information. Somehow she wiggled her way back into my life and I met her today.

On Christmas day, while dog sitting, Macy went to sleep, indicating that I was indeed a boring partner for the day. Her nap was somewhat extended and when this woman texted me, I was more than happy to answer due to nothing on TV but Christmas movies and let's face it, by the time you reach 66, you've seen all the Christmas movies to last a lifetime, for a man of Jewish descent. At some point the woman stopped texting and called me. We chatted on the phone for quite some time and then after hanging up because she was going to a friend's house for Christmas dinner, she called me back to tell me she was driving. This alleged criminal and I were somewhat bonding.

She texted me again yesterday and asked if we were ever going to meet? I said, sure. How about lunch today at my favorite Chinese restaurant. Playing hard to get, she said, okay, but a late lunch! I was dangerously low on Karsha's Rye Bread, so that fit into my schedule anyway. We had agreed to meet at 1:30 and as I was leaving Karsha's, I looked at my watch and saw it was only 1:05, so I texted her that I was running early and expected to be at the restaurant in about 5 minutes and if possible, can she meet me a bit early. She called me and replied, she's always early!

During one of our conversations, I asked what kind of vehicle she drove and she told me it was an 05 Chevy Z-71. I asked if it had a bed and a tailgate? She asked, what's a tailgate? Does it have a bed, I asked again and she said no? Z-71 is just the suspension package, not the model. I asked if it were a Suburban or a Tahoe? She said, neither, it's a Z-71. I asked how many rows of seats did it have inside of it? She said 3. I concluded it was a Suburban. In addition, she said she had it parked next to a Tahoe once and the backs were perfectly even and in the front, hers was about a foot and a half longer than the Tahoe, confirming my belief that she had a Suburban.

I waited in the restaurant parking lot for about 5 minutes and sure enough, in she pulled in her Tahoe. She stepped out of her vehicle and I opened the back door to see just 2 rows of seating, confirming my decision, but said nothing. (note to self: She lied about how many rows of seats) She was wearing large sun glasses and the first thing I noticed was her compromised height. I said, you're shorter than 5' 2". She replied that she was 5' 2" with heels! Damn it, another midget!

We walked into the restaurant and I couldn't wait until she took off those stupid sun glasses, so I could see what I had gotten myself into this time. The eyes are the windows to the soul, right? I heard an imaginary drum roll as I watched her hand come up to her glasses and things started moving in slow motion for me. By this time we had been seated and I think my anticipation was visible. OH GAWD! They were off! She was 80 years old!!! Her little hand was wrinkled and age spotted. That was my first clue. Her sun glassless face now was the face of one of Arizona's senior citizens. She looked like she had had a face lift a long time ago and it was disintegrating, falling off. It looked artificial. There were deep set wrinkles next to her eyes that had been there for years and her face was liver spotted. She was supposed to be 60 and I had thought how nice it was that she didn't lie and claim to be 59, like so many. Now I know why she had lied about her name! Because a Google search might reveal her true age. She even ate old!

Well, today was my last day on the dating service. My membership has expired and not a minute too soon. I'll not be doing that again any time soon............. I hope!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

All I Got for Christmas was a Pimple!

With the exception of one, somehow I've spent the last 5 Christmas' with LJ. Beginning in 07, when we went to my son's home with a huge stuffed bird that talked, for my grandson Max, to this past holiday where LJ, Macy the dog and myself spent a quiet Christmas stuffing delicious lasagna into our starving faces and watching a pecan pie in the corners of our eyes, praying there would be room for it.. Our prayers came true!

Due to the economics of the year, we agreed not to exchange presents, I know I have enough ties to last me the rest of my life. To my surprise, LJ broke our agreement and in a stocking that said Mel on it, LJ had stuffed it with gifts. Jules took off for a while, driving to her daughter's house to present gifts to her grandchildren, while Macy slept and I played on the computer and telephone, but all the while eyeing my stocking stuffed with presents. You know that feeling when someone gets you a present and you didn't get anything for them? That "cheap" feeling? Oh well...

When she arrived home, she announced it was time to open presents. Macy went crazy as usual and LJ threw my stocking onto my lap for me to open my gifts. I made all the right noises. You shouldn't have, gee for me??? In the bottom of the stocking there was a cylindrical package that I had no idea what it was. LJ prompted me to open it first. I did. As I ripped off the paper, there stood a can of Aqua-Net Hair Spray. At first I was confused, but almost immediately my mind went reeling back to my high school days and it was the 3 minutes between classes when the halls lined with lockers were opened and every girl in our school was standing there, looking into her personal mirror and respraying he ratted hair in a circular motion, so her Bubble hair style would not go limp for another hour. The boys walked through coughing and waving their hands in front of their faces to try desperately to breathe through the fog of lacquer.

The truth be told, I use hair spray to hold the few hairs that I have left in place. Because LJ and I have lived together and there was a time, a long time ago, that she would attempt to run her fingers through my hair, she knows about it and used to shop for hair spray for me. Naturally, this private joke brought on quite a laugh when I realized the meaning of my gift

I used a little hair spray today. Thank God it was the unscented!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ego Assault

I spent Sunday, Christmas Eve, Eve with the Lovely Jules watching the Bears embarrass the Cardinals and eating pizza, a rare treat for me. (The pizza that is). Macy ( the pup) was her usual goofy self and tried her best to entertain me while LJ went shopping for an hour or so... When she returned, she loaded me up with Christmas cookies and I set out to drive home. While walking to her parking lot, I received a text message that Passport to Hike had emailed me from It not being anything urgent, I waited until returning home before I actually read the email. To my surprise, it was from a 40 year old lady asking me if I were unattached and if so, would I mind contacting her for a possible relationship. Forty is 26 years younger than me and the same age as my youngest son. Unfortunately, she was a short rather plump woman that I wouldn't consider even if she were attractive, due to her age. Frankly, I find a forty year old looking for a man 26 years her senior somewhat defective. For your reading pleasure, I'll attach her email and my reply here:


I am sitting here w my mother trying to convince her that this whole online dating thing isn't so bad. We both were rolling w your profile: if you're still single and interested in meeting a really cute fun woman who isn't into NASCAR and won't make you flamenco in the bathroom, let me know!

RE: You

Thanks for the nice email, always nice to provide family fun! However you're the same age as my youngest son and his older brother is too old for you according to your preferred criteria. Based on that, I'll have to thank you and no thanks.

Her reply to me sent me wheeling into reality and realizing how full of myself I can get if not monitored. I sent the next few hours reading and watching a little TV when suddenly I received notice of yet another email from Passport to Hike. It said:
It wasn't for me: I was talking about my mother! Who is not yet a member!
Did you ever blow up a balloon and let it go and watch it deflate and blow around backwards? That's how I felt!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Drama in North Scottsdale

Yesterday was sort of a crazy day. It started with a horrible traffic accident that I witnessed. Actually, it occurred right in front of me, while standing in line at Fry's Pharmacy, waiting for my prescriptions. An elderly woman, driving a scooter, tried to back up out of the area that the pharmacist gives private counseling. She backed up right into a display of Ex lax sending boxes of of potential shit everywhere. Then she over corrected when trying to turn around and hit a stand of reading glasses and sending it over on it's side. The pharmacist jumped over the counter to the mad driver's rescue and fell pathetically on his ass. It truly looked like a war zone in Fry's! The little old lady thanked and apologized publicly to everyone and as she passed me and I was laughing hysterically, she said as she winked. "Yes, I'll be driving my car in a moment, stay clear"!

Leaving Fry's, I climbed into my car and drove to Costco, but knowing that Scottsdale Costco would be far too crowded to shop, I drove into Phoenix to use that location. Entering the parking lot, it was a zoo! Every spot was taken and as far as I could see. I pulled into the handicapped area, where I could use my placard and possibly save a long walk, when 2 or 3 parking spots simultaneously opened up. Right in front of me, as I stood still with with my turn signal on waiting for the car pulling out to exit, a Mercedes pulled right into the spot. I couldn't believe my eyes, but I was still in good shape, because another spot opened up across from it. Then I noticed a van waiting for that spot too. I motioned with my hand and asked if she wanted that spot or could I have it? The van misunderstood my gesture and thanked me for being so gallant and pulled into the open spot! I felt like a penny waiting for change! That's when I realized, that if the parking lot was like this, did I really want to go into the store? I drove home, empty handed!

A few months ago, I was corresponding with a woman and eventually she gave me her phone number. While writing, she would sign off as "Caro". (Just now, spell-check notified me it was not a word or a name and suggested Carol) In my next email, I reminded her that Caro is not a name, but a syrup! She gave me an LOL! I then asked if her name was Carol and she again verified that her name was Caro. Moving forward, she gave me her private email address and we spoke on the phone for 2 days in a row for 2 hours each time and I heard her life story. Caro sold Real Estate and her office was at 32nd St and Camelback. We had made arrangements to have lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, very near there one day. The day of our lunch, she cancelled and asked if we could just have tea at 5 PM? With no explanation as to why she couldn't make lunch, I thought it kind of odd, because she was the one that had pushed it. I Googled her email address and found that she was indeed a Realtor, but it said her real name was Carol A.Jones (not her real last name) not Caro. I texted her to confirm the tea date (I'm really not a tea guy, unknown to her I was going to order Coke) and couldn't resist telling her that I knew her name was Carol A. Jones. She replied that her middle initial is an "E", not "A", and I never heard back from her again. 

Yesterday, I was thinking about it and a light bulb lit over my head! I decided to check her name with the department of corrections (jail, the joint, the slammer). Sure as hell, there was a record for Carol A. Jones at her address! I wasn't about to pay $8.95 to find out what she had done, but there is always a reason when someone doesn't want you to know their real name! She did mention that both of her former husbands were deceased, hmm....... I wonder! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Oh Crap!

I don't smoke, I don't drink and I find myself dealing with reality on a daily basis. This has not always been the case. I started smoking when I was too young, about 10 and drinking came right along, when I one day went down to our family basement, the day after my parents had a party and drank from the half filled glasses of cocktails. I liked the feeling that it caused, kind of a euphoria. I was about 13 or 14 at that time. I gave up smoking when I was about 42 in 1988. In 2005, I decided to eliminate alcohol from my life on an operating table, in a hospital, when I learned that it had had an effect on my heart. Next month, it will be 8 years since I've even tasted alcohol. I found alcohol to be an asset when I couldn't sleep and since, when that occurs, doctors have given me a variety of drugs to interact. First it was something like Seconal, that caused an immediate addiction, so I took myself off of it as quickly as I started. This was prescribed by a nurse practitioner that worked in one of my doctor's offices. More recently I was prescribed Ambien that is not addictive, so I take it once in a while when needed. I pay particular attention to how often I use it and it turns out to be about once every 8 or 9 days and only 5 MG.

It is that Ambien that is the topic of this evenings writing.I usually fall asleep shortly after laying my head down and that is usually after reading for an hour to 90 minutes. Then, I awaken about 3 hours later and feel like it should be morning, but it's still quite dark. That's when I pop the pill. Rather than lay in bed awaiting the miracle of sleep, I get up and look at the computer for a time. The Ambien takes about 15 minutes to kick in. That's when the euphoric feeling takes over me, that would be sleep if I were in bed, but instead it's a feeling of peace and tranquility and that everything is just fine. People look better and I feel no apprehension about others and one fine morning awakened to 15 new friends on Facebook. Some I didn't even know! I recognized one fellow as a friend of a friend whose name appeared on emails and suddenly I felt love for this person and wanted to know them better. (This is not like me) 

I find that belonging to a dating service in NOT a good idea at times like this, as I write wonderful warm emails to total strangers that just go rambling on and on. Most are wise enough to ignore me, but on occasion some reply just as warmly and that's where this story is going.

I think it was Sunday or Monday this past week that I popped an Ambien and got wordy on my laptop. Surprisingly, the following morning I had several replies, so I inquired as to what in the world I had written. It appeared that women in their late 60's were not a problem for me and the replies were shocking. One rather attractive lady that was a mere 60, replied that she is from my hometown, my same religion and suggested we speak on the phone, but neglected to offer me her phone number. Feeling happy and gallant, I offered he mine, but she never replied or called. Oh well, another casualty of online dating.

Today, the cincher occurred. This morning I was standing in the kitchen, flipping eggs when my phone alerted me of a text message. It told me I had an email from someone on This is the message:

Hi Me, 
Sounds like a good idea. Lets meet and see what happens. 
When is good for you? 

As I sat there splashing eggs into my mouth, I could hardly wait to see what gem I had written, that was agreeable to this kind 63 year old lady, all the while praying there was no walker involved in her picture. Instead, there was an elderly lady standing behind the counter at a Circle K or Seven-eleven. Here is my email that I initiated.

Hi There:

You seem like a nice lady and I love that you're retired. Me too! If we decided to get together we'd have a lot of time to do whatever we want. I'm a fun guy with good morals and values. If you're interested, let me know. My time on this site is over soon, thank God! lol...


What am I supposed to do now? You see what I did there? I had a thought, however illogical, and decided to was worthy of print. Normal minds edit those thoughts, mine does, but not when I take Ambien! I wonder if there's a 12 step program for people that want to get off of Ambien. I'll bet they're really sleepy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


After 3 rather boring years of high school, I decided that things were awaiting me, that were far more exciting than the abuse of a man named James O. Miller, the principal at our local high school. I must have had a tattoo on my forehead that said VICTIM, because every time this abusive fat man saw me in the halls, even just walking, he would stop me and harass me. I don't remember sassing him or talking back in any way, but I never escaped his presence without some sort of punishment. At some point, when it was time to return to school in September of 1963, I recall spending about two hours sitting in the parked car of my father, a 1959 Ford Custom, contemplating my future and deciding humanity would be best served if I remained in the work force. So I just never returned to school, but instead went to work at my job as manager of the University Shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, in Skokie, Illinois. Although I didn't have any employees working for me and there was no pay raise included in my promotion to manager of the newly created University Shop, I was proud to have achieved this promotion after only 3 months of employment. I was still earning $65 a week, CA$H! (Take home $55.20)

After working there a full year, (I thought), I made a reservation for a buddy and myself to go to Miami Beach, Florida on my first time ever, vacation. It was to be my first experience flying, as well. I was more than excited, I was ecstatic! A couple of days before my vacation was scheduled, I was informed by my employer, that I was intending on leaving on my vacation just 364 days after my day of employment and that my vacation was being revoked, meaning it was canceled and I was expected to be at work, regardless of my plans and if I did not show up, I would be terminated. So, I QUIT! (screw 'em) Bigger and better things awaited me!

I was 18 or so and the world was my stepping stone! I replaced the job at Saks with a job at Lyttons in another local shopping center and things moved along nicely. At some point I met a guy, like myself and the two of us decided to go to work as partners, creating Luckman-Fisher Associates. We were to be manufacturers representatives in the booming men's wear business. All we needed was a manufacturer to believe that we 2, twenty years-olds were worthy of employment. That didn't seem to happen. I, however got a job after applying by telephone for a job as a rep for Gaslight Slacks and was flown to New York for my interview. By lying and saying I was 26, I was hired and trained in NY for about 6 weeks. (Thank goodness, computers were waaay off in the future!) Returning home, I was very successful at my new territory and happily worked for a couple of years when I learned that my company had gone bankrupt and once again I was unemployed. Kicking and fighting and struggling was the name of the game and somehow I survived the shock of climbing my way up again and found myself working very hard, and representing 5 different companies in men's wear. Myself and another gentleman opened a store called Up Your Legs, a pants store, specializing in $5.99 pants for the unisex culture and soon I bought out my partner. One day, my wife and I along with our older son and a Poodle dog went on vacation camping across the country and discovering a place called Arizona and immediately fell in love! It was amazing! Sunny and clear and friendly. I had to have it! My wife, completely confused, agreed to go along with me on my plan to sell everything and relocate to this paradise. (only she and "us" didn't last very long). I cannot for the life of me remember what happened to that Poodle dog!

Once again I struggled and tried my hardest to support my family of 4. We had 2 sons and a different dog. I tried the woman's wear business and hated it! My father in law, at the time, was involved in the automobile business and convinced me that there was money to be be made buying and selling cars. I tried it and I loved it! It never felt like working. I'd awaken early and go to hang out with my new friends that happened to be in the car business. Trade ins would be arriving and I would buy them from my friends and sell them to other friends what were managers of other dealerships. They called it "wholesaling". When I got divorced, I'd do it 7 days a week. Where else was I going to go? One of the managers and myself opened a used car lot and now we had our own place to hang. We sold cars retail, which was just the frosting on the cake, because wholesaling was my main bread and butter. 

In 1980, I got divorced and a friend of mine from Chicago had moved to Tucson and bought a restaurant and bar in Sedona. He was going broke there and asked for my help both physically and financially. Suddenly I was a partner in a bar and restaurant in Sedona and commuting every week to be there and manage the bar. I was 34 then. The focus was to sell the bar after building it back up a little and we did. By 1982, we had sold it twice and the second time it stayed sold! I resumed my efforts in the automobile business and in 2001, after the invasion on 9/11, things in that business kind of fell apart, but I owned inventory and continued on. 

Once again struggling and having lost almost everything, I still had my house that was now worth about $850,000 and I was counting on it to keep me afloat. BAM! The market fell and my house was now worth less than I owed on it. I lost my savings, my house and almost my life. In 2005, I was stabbed through the heart by an insane doctor while performing an angio-gram and went into a coma for 2 weeks. when I awakened, I had lost 30 LBS and almost my life. Now I was broke and weak and living on my savings. At 63 I realized I wasn't going back to work and applied for social security and received a meager amount and just yesterday I received a letter in the mail from the department of social security that they are increasing my monthly check by $12, that prompted this entry into this blog. I just don't know what to spent the extra money on, the new Maserati or that house on the French Riviera that I've had my eye on?

It's not that I don't appreciate it, it's just that in my dreams, it just won't help!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Cat in the Hat has Gone and Shat!

It's not even noon yet and this day is officially a disaster! It started last night, when before I went to sleep after getting disgusted with a Dean Koontz book, Phantoms. The book doesn't go anywhere, I'm on page 125 and nothings happened yet. I hate slow starts. It was about 1:30 AM and I thought I'd check my mail one last time for the day and was surprised to see that my bill from Verizon was there already. I had just signed up on this past Saturday. I entered my phone number, then my code (secret agent stuff) and there was my first bill for $161.09 WHAT!!! After all the chaos I went through with AT&T, I was counting on Verizon to be honest and forthright and I was PROMISED that my monthly bill would be $100 plus sales tax of 9.3%...........Period. No other charges. I analyzed the bill and there was a base of $110, then additional charges of $51 for sur charges and a lot of hidden costs that the biller does not want you to know about. I could hardly wait until morning to call. Verizon gives you 14 days to cancel your contract and I was prepared to do just that.

After reading this dumb book for an hour or so, I was pretty tired from my day at the mall. I went to sleep for about an hour and was suddenly wide awake, thinking about my Verizon bill. craving sleep, I popped an Ambien and got up to play on the computer for awhile. I had just about decided to sign up for the United States Navy, when suddenly I decided to wait until morning to check the age requirements, (Whew!) As I finally dozed off about 4 AM. I remember my stomach making some rather unusual noises, but poof, sleep came and was well received.

I think it was about 7 AM when I woke abruptly, due to stomach requests. Now, I sleep in a bedroom without a bathroom. I don't wear pajamas, so anytime I need to use the bathroom after going to sleep, it requires getting somewhat dressed to enter the public portion of the rather large house. Urgently hopping on one foot and praying for the time it takes to pull up my pants, I assess the situation and decide at the last minute to put on flip-flops... The floors are hardwood and cold and somewhat soiled at times. Without realizing it, the cat had shat, (hmm that rhymes) right in the middle of my bedroom floor and I stepped smack dab in the middle of her little deposit and tracked it across the bedroom floor and all the way to the bathroom. Halfway there, I realized it and began hopping, to decrease the necessary cleanup after making my own mess. I make it to the bathroom and relief is just seconds away. Thank God for our sphincter muscles, right? Did you ever wonder what happens inside of you when your body behaves in such a fashion? I'm not a doctor, but I think it kind of goes like this. Your colon makes an announcement over a PA system and it is screaming "EVACUATE, EVACUATE, THIS IS NOT A DRILL! Sirens are going off and you are just sitting there on the throne, kind of bent over and waiting for the evacuation to take place, knowing full well, that as soon as you get up and clean the necessary area, another invasion of the enemy is almost certain!
Finally, I get up and with my flip-flop in my hand, you know, the soiled one. I walk into the common area and see Karen sitting there at her computer, playing cat and mouse with some guy on a dating service. I announce, Good morning, we are going to have to do something about that cat! I show her the bottom of my defaced shoe and explained that the cat shat in my room. Karen looked up and asked, why? With a confused look on my face, I replied, because no one ever trained her to use a kitty litter? Or no one cleans out the kitty litter. She gets up from the computer wearing just a flimsy nightgown and I try to look away. Some things you just don't want to see! She returns with a can of carpet cleaner and a rag, I intentionally do not let her see my hands, because I'm sure she intends on handing them to me. Instead I return to the bathroom for round 2. OHHHHH!!!!!!

I always wonder what brought on this unsavory situation and I concluded it was my impromptu lunch and one "Jack in the Box" restaurant. Moral of the story:

Never let a Jack in the Box employee, with a frayed, torn cap, a missing front tooth, suggest he prepare you a Chipolte' sandwich, when you know full well that the Chipolte' sandwich has been off the menu for at least 5 months.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Paradise Valley Mall...

Due to a severe case of stage 4 boredom, I found it necessary to go to the mall. I looked at my shoes, you know, the comfortable ones that people say to be sure and wear, when you go certain places, like the mall? I bought them about 5 years ago and they really got their due wear. The toes were curled up, like the time many years ago when my loving first wife put my wet shoes in our oven to dry them quickly. They resembled footwear suitable for an elf. I recall there being a store called Payless Shoe Source, at Paradise Valley Mall, where all of the shoes were on display in front of your very eyes. Instead, the very first store I saw concerning shoes was about the size of a football field and also had all their shoes on display. I found myself walking behind a man and his wife, about my age and he was saying to her, that he didn't see anything he liked. I had just gotten there and after they left, I continued to browse and realized he was right. I left and started my new exercise program of mall walking. 

I couldn't help but notice that I was tiring rather quickly and started getting a burning sensation in my calves, as women far older than me passed me like I was standing still. I checked 3 different times to see if I'd stopped! No, I was still moving, kind of like a snail. It appears that I've lost my athletic abilities, but at least I still have my looks, right? Right? Moving along, I finally found the store I was looking for, Payless. All I could assume, is that it had moved to a smaller location, or perhaps it just looked smaller due to the size of the first store I'd tried to shop at. Payless had about 20 pairs of shoes, total, in my size. I realized that at home in a place called the garage, I had a laundry basket full of shoes that I'd moved here and never unpacked along with a gazillion other things.

I decided that my trip to the mall would be for recreation purposes solely and I went to the food court to decide if I was hungry and I was not. Just for practice, I stood in line at McDonald's and when it was my turn I turned and walked away. No one cared! When walking past a Japanese fast food joint, some guy reached out to offer me something and all I could think of was Pearl Harbor! I shook my head no and refused his kindly offer of something he had in his hand that he wanted me to try. Let's face it, if I didn't want a quarter pounder with cheese, I certainly didn't want the unborn fetus that was deep fried or pan seared! I moved on and couldn't help but remember the similar walks down Maxwell Street in Chicago where salesman offered their goods out on the street, trying to hook you into coming into their stores.

I continued my exercise routine with a walk past the Kiosks. As I was walking by, a young girl, about 19 or 20 approached me with something in her hand. She immediately made me think of someone that convinced her parents that college was not in her future and the work field was better suited for her. In her hand was something that looked like a package of Mayonnaise from the McDonald's. Approaching me, she looked right into my eyes and said, "Do you want to see something very interesting"? Before she could finish, I countered with, "This is your lucky day! I'm going to do you a favor!" Confused, she looked into my eyes and asked, what are you going to do? I said, "I was hired by your employer, as a secret shopper. I'm here to ask you questions and see how your performance is and then rate you to him, for business purposes. Are you ready? She nodded her head up and down, to signify yes. Not having anything to use, such as a clip board, I took out my iPhone and began asking questions... WERE YOU GREETED WARMLY and I looked at her, giving her her cue? Yes, she replied WAS THE SALESPERSON ATTENTIVE AND POLITE? Yes, she nodded again! With each answer, I punched my iPhone and watched her smile and make ready for the next question. DID THE SALES PERSON OFFER YOU A FREE SAMPLE OF THE PRODUCT? With that, my little friend wheeled around and grabbed another Mayonnaise. I took it, thanked her and walked away, assuring her that she did just fine! At the next Kiosk, I tried to give the kid my Mayonnaise packet, but he wouldn't take it, How rude!

I left the mall and decided I was a little hungry by then. I stopped at Jack in the Box and ordered a Chipolte chicken sandwich, full knowing that it is no longer on the menu. The kid that worked there told me he could make me one by ordering a number 10, but hold the Mayo (I'd had my fill of Mayo for one day) and use Chpolte' sauce instead! Turns out he was a cook too! I let him order it that way and I waited about 3 minutes for my custom sandwich. When I picked it up, he had given me a large french fry, because I told him, he'd obviously had cooking lessons. That's probably where he'd lost that front tooth. As I ate my spicy special order, I noticed that every business has a little world of people that frequent it. I watched a man walk into the place, but go right to the rest room. Entering, he was wearing a black suit and black tie, making me think he was either an undertaker or drove a limo. When he exited, he wore Levi's and a sport shirt, carrying his suit in his hands. Must have been going to his second job..

Monday, December 3, 2012

My LAST AT&T Story, I promise!

I thought my trouble was over when I switched to Verizon, last Tuesday. Jordan, my representative, turned out to be less than efficient with my crossover. He never called me when my new iPhone 5 came in and I had to trace it to their store and call to pick it up. Things were different when I was in sales. He claimed he was off when it came in and had no way of knowing, an unacceptable excuse, particularly when I went in there on Saturday and was informed that Saturday is his day off, not Thursday. Hmm.... The reason that I was there was, I had called and texted several people to inform them that I had switched to Verizon and no one called or texted me back. It wasn't until I turned on my old AT&T phone that I realized something was wrong, because there were 5 text messages and 3 voicemails waiting for me there. Uh oh! Calling Verizon, I was told to bring them both in. 

I arrived with both of my hands busy, holding one phone in each hand. After some waiting and explaining, I was told that Jordan, my previous hero had not handled the crossover correctly and my phones were intermingled, GASP! A little guy, about 5' 2", their MANager, hardly more than a TEENager, made some calls to the "port center", whatever that was and I was then told to keep both phones in the ready position until I receive a text message from Verizon that the switch was complete. To ad insult to injury, I was expecting a gentleman that contacted me through Craig's List to come by and buy my old AT&T phone, but how could I sell it with both my personal information on it as well as my incoming emails, texts, and calls? Not to mention those very personal pictures that an old girlfriend sent me of her new boobs! The MANager told me it would only be about an hour and certainly I could put everything off until then, right?

Five hours later and still no text from Verizon, I called Kristy and she told me it could take as long as the whole weekend to get that text, she had Verizon and knew. I called the port center on my old AT&T phone and explained my mini-dilemma. The lady understood my problem and put me on hold as she worked her magic. Suddenly, my called dropped and I was afraid I'd have to start all over again, so I tried calling out again and nothing. This was typical of my old AT&T phone and the reason I was changing to Verizon. I kept trying and nothing. Suddenly a light bulb lit over my head and I wondered if the switch over was complete and perhaps my old AT&T phone was rendered permanently inoperative! ( a position it was accustomed to) All of a sudden, my new Verizon phone rang for the first time ever and it was the lady from Verizon explaining that she disconnected my old phone and everything was now complete on my new phone. She couldn't see me but I was jumping up and down! I thanked her repeatedly and texted my buyer that it was too late to try to consummate the deal tonight, that I had plans to go to Chandler. He agreed to call me tomorrow, but that never happened.

The following day, Sunday, I placed yet another ad on Craig's List and received about 10 calls, texts and emails in the first 10 minutes and sold my old inoperative AT&T phone for cash, 20 minutes later. It took me 20 minutes to get to the location because I still had to remove all of my pictures and the entire email account from that phone, because Verizon forgot to do it AGAIN! Well that was easy, wasn't it?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm Jumping Ship... Leaving that Bitch!

Tuesday evening, after speaking with a new friend for about 3 hours, I realized it had taken 12 call backs to complete that call and while the calls were not dropping, I was cutting in and out with static and her saying, "Sorry, I didn't hear any of that"! It was now time to take things into my own hands. Having already inspecting what Walmart could do for me, they were immediately ruled out. Their staff were untrained and kind of reminded me of the fools at AT&T. The Internet located a Verizon store at 90th Street and Shea, just minutes away from me. 

Entering the store, I was immediately approached by Jordan, a tall goofy looking kid about 6' 2" tall with a smile on his face that was contagious. He actually made me smile. He introduced himself and we shook hands. My first question to him was, "How old are you Jordan", as I always feel that I have to gear my conversation to their age. He answered, 20. I told him I had a feeling that I was older than him and he busted out laughing. I liked Jordan!

I said Jordan, do you know what a lay down is? He shook his head, no. Well, I'm a lay down. A lay down is a customer that knows what he wants and you don't have to try to sell them anything. You literally have to throw them out of the store, to get a lay down not to buy! Jordan, still smiling, said what can I do for you? I said, sell me an iPhone 5 and sign me up for a 2 year contract. Right this way, said Jordan!

We walked over to the counter and Jordan started punching info into their computer and looking up, he asked if I knew my AT&T account number. I did not. He punched in a phone number, punched in a selection on the AT&T menu and handed me the phone. Jordan seemed like he'd done this before. A polite AT&T representative ask what he could do for me and I asked for my account number. He asked me why I wanted it (of all things) I told him it's none of his business and Jordan laughed. He knew what the rep had asked me. I read off the number as I wrote it down and Jordan entered it into his computer. This kid was good! Jordan explained that the rep wanted to know why I wanted the number so he could talk me out of changing service. I asked Jordan if this was going to take a long time and if so, perhaps I should sit in one of their chairs. You see, I was equipped with information from Walmart that this process was going to take 2 1/2 hours, minimum. Jordan said no, we're almost done. I had been there about 10 minutes.

While Jordan, my new best friend, was finishing up the final paperwork, I made a suggestion to him for a new app. Why not create an app for older people that miss slamming the phone down on an enemy or a bill collector, that will simulate that same sound the recipient hears when that happens. Gosh, I miss hanging up on people! Jordan liked the idea and promised to bring it up at their next meeting. He handed me a contract to sign, I signed and left. Total time evolved, 18 minutes, start to finish (including jokes and stories). My new phone will arrive tomorrow, Thursday at 3 PM. Jordan told me that this was the most fun he'd had all day, I smiled and said, me too!

Now all I have to do is explain to AT&T that I want a divorce, that I've found someone new and I'm NOT paying alimony!

Monday, November 26, 2012

I was Warned not to Write about this Anymore, but....

On or about 5/15/12, I took the plunge and gave up my trusty Blackberry cell phone for the highly acclaimed iPhone. I went for the 4G model and took home the 4G-4S, whatever the hell that means? At that point, I may as well have just disconnected my service all together for the lack of this phone company to accommodate me in any way whatsoever. Yes, I'm bitching about AT&T. In fact I'm contemplating taking away at least one of their T's! From this point on, lets refer to them as A&T. eliminating the T for telephone.

No longer willing to accept their inadequate service and refusing to being held hostage by this group of uncaring capitalists, I've decided to blow any credit rating that I may still have and just break my contract and NO, I'm not willing to pay them 10 cents for my freedom that they have stolen from me. 

I searched the Internet looking for a Walmart location close by and finally found one about 5 miles away. Finding this shopping center, about the size of Rhode Island, was no easy task. Once in the shopping center, you almost needed a seeing eye dog to find the Walmart within it. Suddenly I saw a Sam's Club sigh and noticed that it was right next to a Walmart, hooray! Due to the time of the year, I had to park pretty far from their front door, but exercise was on my "to do" list (some day).

Approaching a little woman, I saw a name tag and asked her where the electronics department was. Due to her heavy accent, I couldn't understand her, but I smiled and pointed off to nowhere. She smiled and shook her head up and down. Ah, there it was! As I walked about a city block, I noticed the empty counter, chock full of phones and just 2 employees. First there was a tall black man that sort of looked like he came from Ethiopia. He was about 6' 6" and extremely dark in color. He was also helping a lady already. Next was a man that looked like he was intentionally ignoring the public, with his back to everyone and digging inside of a drawer. Sizing him up further, he was about my height, 6', wearing a Walmart vest and his pants were too short with non matching socks. I did a silent, lol (an oxymoron). Yep, this was my man! After a discreet ahem....  He looked around and I smiled and asked if he were available to assist me. He looked to see if anyone else was around  and finally said, "Sure, what can I do for you"? I started with, I am a an A&T customer and I am totally displeased with my service, so I was wondering if any of the other carriers can use my existing phone on their network and I do not want T-Mobile, because I understand they use the same network as A&T. He agreed and added that T-Mobile was not even as good as A&T! So then I told him that I just want to sign up for Verizon and buy an iPhone 5. He started offering me options. Like I can go to 32nd and Bell Rd and there is a place called Sun Telephone that will unlock my current phone for a charge. I asked if Verizon will give me a discount if I have my own device already and he said NO! So, other than the extra $200 cash out of pocket, there was no advantage to unlocking my phone for $60. Then he told me that A&T would charge me a fortune to break my contract. When I still didn't flinch, he said, like $500! I just wasn't scared!

I then said, I'll just go ahead and buy an iPhone 5 and sign a new contract with Verizon. He said, "Sorry, we don't carry those". WTF? Then he added, "The process of signing you up takes about 2 1/2 hours and I am off in an hour and a half and we don't have chairs! Chairs, why do you need chairs? He said, "Well you'll want to sit down after I start the paperwork and there's no place for you to sit" and he motioned to his counter. That's when he sent me to a Verizon store about 7 miles down the 101 towards town, where they can help me and they have chairs! I sensed a referral set up where he sends customers to his buddy and he gets a kickback. I smiled, shook his hand and thanked him for his useful help and then bit my lip when I thought of his mismatched socks and left. It wouldn't have done him any good to mention them and I knew he probably had another pair just like them at home!

Just as I was walking out of the joint, thinking what a waste of time the whole trip was, I looked up and saw a vision! It almost glowed. It was a sign about 40 yards away and it said, "McDonald's" Walmart had it's own McDonald's and I was starving! Almost in a trance, time stood still as I mindlessly walked in and ordered a Number 1. Big Mac, large friend and small diet drink... Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Another AT&T Wild Goose Chase

Since June when I first got my first iPhone, I've only had trouble with it. It seems to me that my old Blackberry was great and other people rave about their iPhones, so why was mine so problematic? Well, everyone says AT&T is the reason and they are. 

Thursday, Kim called to talk to me about something and the call repeatedly dropped about 4 times in 10 minutes. Now Kim HATES AT&T and she doesn't even have it! Out of frustration, I dialed 611 that brought me to AT&T's menu. The menu that I've sat through a gazillion times. I have it memorized, so I punched in 0, that automatically brought me to a customer service representative. I'm on a first name basis with most of them. Sharon answered and we exchanged niceties. Then, as is our routine, she referred me to a tech specialist. This one was Michele. Michele was GREAT. So far she's done everything that she claimed she would do and left me on hold sans the recording that I swore that I'd jump out of a window if I was subjected to it again (lucky I live on the ground floor). Sweet silence filled my ears while she did her stuff. After about 10 full minutes, she came back so I muted Judge Judy and listened. She asked me if I had upgraded my software yet. I replied, no. It required a wi-fi connection, something I didn't have access to. So she sent me to the AT&T store where I was first sold my iPhone and I promised to go on Saturday, yesterday. When I arrived, there was only one salesperson waiting on a couple and after about 5 minutes of ignoring me, he looked up and said he'd be right with me, although I heard several voices in the back room. It must have been break time. About 3 more minutes later, he excused himself from his customers and went to get someone to help me. 

Here came Milty! I decided to introduce myself to this 15 year old child with a handshake, but it confused him. I may have been the first customer to offer a handshake upon contact. Let me describe Milty. As I said, Milty was about 15. He must have gotten a worker's permit from his school's principal, as we had to, when we wanted to work below the age of 16. Milty must have been having lunch, because he had a milk mustache and smelled of either tuna or sardines, I'm not sure which. He was short and still had that baby fat some kids hold onto. Under his milk mustache was the beginning of a real mustache trying to break through. I was smiling and he thought I was just nice. He asked how he could help me and I replied that the tech at AT&T referred me to him at this store, to have him do the upgrade on my iPhone. He started shaking his head, no and replied, we ain't got no wi-fi here! But you can go across the street to the hotel parking lot and steal it over there. That's what we do here. (Wild Goose Chase, phase one) The hotel parking lot was across the busy freeway and I decided there would be an easier way to access wi-fi than sitting in a parked car stealing it from a hotel, so I went home and texted LJ to ask if she had wi-fi? She replied that she did or I could also go home to where I live and ask my present roommate the password to her wi-fi. When I moved in there, I asked for it and instead of telling it to me, she had her 30 year old son secretly type it into my laptop. Evidently, it has great value to them. I didn't want to ask again!

Totally frustrated, I went home and waited until someone came home. A few hours later, my roommate entered and I asked her for the password and she replied, I donno! You have to ask Robbie. Robbie was nowhere to be seen. I asked her to ask Robbie and she replied that she can't he's not home and do I know where he went? I asked if she could call him and she did. What she gave me didn't work, why did that not surprise me? This is the same woman that I asked 2 days before the election who she was voting for and she replied, "Whoever is running against Obama"? The entire world has been bludgeoned to death with this campaign for the past 2 years and she didn't know who was running for president! Why in the world would she know the password for her wi-fi?

Robbie never did come home that night and about 5 AM, I heard him slam the front door indicating to me that he'd be sleeping all day today and he did. I was supposed to go to a friend's house to watch the Cardinal's game today, but since I was up and couldn't sleep last night, I missed have the game this morning anyway. At about 2:30, after the game, I showered and got dressed to go to the parking lot outside the hotel. Sneaking into a parking place, I turned off my car and opened my phone and went to "settings". I clicked on wifi and it showed the name of the hotel and no lock next to it, making it easy pickings for an experienced wifi thief. I clicked on download for the upgrade and waited as the download began. I thought of wearing a disguise, but then reconsidered. I tried to just be nonchalant about it all and watched other people exiting the hotel to smoke. That's when I looked down and saw that my download said, "3 hours until complete" WTF??? I can't sit here for 3 fricking hours stealing wifi! Should I rent a room? Hmm.... That would make the download almost as much as the iPhone! (Wild Goose Chase, phase 2) I closed out the upgrade and started my engine and pulled out to go home, disgusted.

When I walked in, at about 4 PM, there sat the elusive Robbie playing his games on the computer. I swear, if ever there is an invasion from outer space, this is the guy to know? I said to him, "Finally you're home"! He replied that he's been home all day. But he was passed out! I asked him for the password to the wifi and I could see he was reluctant to give it out. I told him that his mother tried to get it from him the night before but wasn't able to pass it along correctly. Neither of us were surprised. He gave it to me and minutes later, I was about to access wifi for the first time ever on my phone. Frankly, a big advantage so far. I still haven't spoken with anyone on it, everyone I call sends me to voicemail. I'm starting to get a complex.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Suddenly I Remembered Patty (part 2)

It was moving day and I had hired "Two Men and a Truck", the franchise, to do the move for us, mostly because they advertised to be cheap. They weren't. After they have your "stuff" on their truck, you're pretty much at their mercy, regardless of the estimate, which turned out to be just an imaginary number, that I WISHED they had charged me. I was moving the contents of a 4 bedroom house, that was 1760 sq. ft., into a 3500 sq. ft. house with 5 bedrooms. Somehow my meager household goods got lost in the new house and I was anxious for Patty to fill the void. A couple of days later, a U-Haul arrived and backed into the driveway. It was moving day for Patty. We all helped her carry her furnishings into the house, Patty didn't bring any helpers, just Brad and I. 

Patty had a three year old daughter named Stephanie, that was the cutest little girl I'd ever seen, but what an attitude? She was so spoiled, that there was hardly a chance of bringing her back to reality. It probably seems odd to hear a grown man speak that way about a mere baby, but this little girl was just horrible! She had been tossed into daycare from birth on and had little human interaction. Stephanie and Alex each got their own rooms and Patty bunked with me. One morning, Patty asked me to sit with Stephanie while she had her cereal at the breakfast table and I complied. Stephanie was playing with her bowl of Coco Puffs and I told her to be careful or the cereal would spill. That's when this wonderful child just looked me straight in the eye and without looking at what she was doing, just dumped the bowl up-side-down, pouring it's contents onto the white carpeting. Charming, right?

Brad and I had a tradition of going into Phoenix for Chinese food every Sunday afternoon. When Patty joined us, we included her and her children, naturally. Patty suggested we invite her Mom and Dad along as well. I wasn't going to say no, so when we got to their house to pick them up, there sat Mom, Dad, her sister Cindy who had just been released from prison for embezzlement and her younger brother Joey, who was about Brad's age, but had dropped out of high school and was attending night classes. I recall Brad asking him how many nights a week he went to classes and he recited touching his thumb to his fingers, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday........Four! Brad and I simultaneously bit our lips!

So we all went out for Chinese food and that was nice to have family around for once. Then the check came and no one reached for it. Doug, Patty's dad went immediately to the bathroom and stayed there for quite some time. I looked at Mom, who immediately needed to freshen up and that left Patty, who I knew was always broke. This became a game for Brad who kept looking at me and laughing. At the time I was driving one of those really big Mercedes and I watched as the 9 of us climbed into it, making it look like a low rider. We drove home.

It was quickly becoming Christmas time and Patty's 2 older children had come for the holidays, along with other nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters, Mom and Dad were Catholics. Mom was of Dutch descent and loved the old Dutch traditions and loved to cook their old favorites, like homemade mushroom soup. Mom took a screen right out of the window and put cut up mushrooms on it and placed the whole thing out in the backyard in the sun to dry them. (along with the flies that landed on them and the dog running around kicking up dirt) She also made other favorites, that I knew I wouldn't be trying. One tradition that came to mind was passing a large raw onion around the table and everyone taking a bite out of it and cheering the others as they did so too. They all teased me when I didn't partake.

By this time Patty and I were not getting along so well and I suggested that she stay with her folks while her older 2 kids were in town. One evening I got a call from her older daughter, she was about 12 and a charming little girl. She was crying because she said she got a call from the police saying that her Mom had been arrested and was in jail. There were no adults around at Mom and Dad's house. I assured her it was just a prank call and the police would not give that information to a 12 year old child. I started making calls and found out it was all true! Patty had been pulled over for expired tags and was arrested for outstanding warrants. One for a speeding ticket she had never paid and the second writing a bad check and never making it good. 

Patty called me and begged me to come down and bail her out, it took $2000 in cash. No one she knew could come up with that much money. I had just sold a car and had that much in the house that day. I rushed downtown and bailed her out of jail. Not knowing the protocol of bailing someone out of jail, I let Patty handle the finances. She had been arrested prior it turns out. One of the questions that you have to answer when posting bond is, who should the money be returned to when the bond was satisfied. Patty, being a shrew, put HER name in that spot and I never saw the 2 grand again. Expensive lesson.

Here's one last thing I just remembered about Patty'and her family. One morning I got a call from Patty's Mom. She was at work after getting a ride from a co-worker. Her battery was dead in her car and her husband, Doug was useless. She asked me if I could help her get a new battery. She had left the keys under her seat and the car was unlocked. I woke up Brad and the two of us went to their house on our first service call. We jump started her car and drove it to an auto parts place to get a new battery installed, then drove it back to her house and parked it in front, leaving the bill for the battery on the front seat. It took all morning. Several weeks had gone by and I realized that Mom never thanked me and never paid me for the battery. I casually mentioned it to Patty and she replied, "Oh, she won't pay you, that's just how Mom is"! Then to appease me, she told me it would be okay to put it on her bill! The one that she had no intentions of paying either. Including the bail money, Patty owed me about $4000. I didn't have any expectations of ever getting that money back, so I didn't feel taken advantage of. Shortly after that I asked Patty to move out and she did. I never found out if she ever finished paying for those boobs or were they repossessed?

Suddenly I Remembered Patty!

The year was 1991 and I had just carried my second wife out of the house over my shoulder. After a drunken display that alerted the police to our residence, I'd finally had enough and realized I couldn't help her. I delivered her to her daughter's home over my shoulder and when she sobered up we were separated and only 65 days away from a divorce, according to Arizona law.

About a month before that, I took a long walk one spring evening, about 5 miles. During that walk, I talked to God about my problem with her and asked for His help. Thirty days later the situation occurred that took place and it was crystal clear to me what I had to do. In appreciation for His help, I promised not to attempt to bother another woman for a long, long time and I didn't.

The neighborhood where I lived around 36th Street and Bell Rd. was changing and not for the better. There had been a drive by shooting just 5 doors down from me and that was enough to signal me that it was time to go. Sadly I loved that house and was reluctant to move, but knowing that my son Brad was moving to AZ. to live with me, it was for the best. After listing it with a Realtor and being disappointed with the outcome, I decided to try to sell it myself. I'd spent my entire life in sales, why couldn't I sell my own house? I had a sign made up and planted it in the front yard and scheduled a few open houses on a few consecutive Sundays. I met lots of people and a lot of Realtors along with them. 

One Sunday, there was a knock at the door and there stood a tall, thin gorgeous blond haired lady, all dressed up in her church going clothes. She asked if she could view the house and I immediately asked if she were a Realtor. She said no, she was looking for something for herself and her children. I warmly invited her in. I asked a few questions, mostly trying to qualify her and it surfaced that her brother in San Diego wanted to buy a house in the Scottsdale area for an investment and she was going to live in it. Seemed likely enough.

Being a single man that had been alone for some time now, I couldn't help but notice that her stature was rather attractive. She was about 5' 10" and very thin, except for her chest that seemed too large for her. Frankly, I had a hard time looking her in the eye! After our tour, she started making going away noises and handed me her business car and told me if I had any questions, to call her. I explained that I didn't need her card, that if she was interested in the house to just call me. She reiterated and insisted I keep her number, just in case there was anything I thought of that needed an answer. Still not getting her meaning, I watched her sexy body walk out my door. Keep in mind, I'm only human.

A day or 2 went by and I got a call from Patty, asking if it was okay if she brought her father by to look at the house. They all lived just blocks away as it turned out. Twenty minutes later they were at the door. During that 20 minutes, I was thinking, this might actually go somewhere, as far as selling my house. I had already left a deposit on a brand new house in North Scottsdale, that I was anxious to move in to.

Patty and her dad Doug rang the bell and I greeted them. I gave them the grand tour and I got the feeling that Dad was just a prop. He didn't have anything to say and they left without saying much at all. A little while later I called Patty and asked what her dad thought about the house and she said he said it was too high in price. I remember her asking me if I'd like to go out with her for coffee to discuss it and I did!

In 1991, I had been a non-smoker for about 4 years and Patty smoked. I found that very annoying and was always just a hand movement away from putting one of her cigarettes into my mouth and that was dangerous. Patty and I dated for a while and she always smelled like an ash tray. Lets talk a little now about Patty. I was 46 at the time and Patty was 32 and had 4 children. Two from her first husband, that he had custody of, a third from a guitar player she'd met and the 4th was a 10 month old baby boy named Alex from a Mexican gang member, although Alex had blond hair and blue eyes, just like Patty. Alex also had a hole in his heart and was awaiting open heart surgery. A cuter little boy you'd have a hard time finding, but if he got too excited he'd start to turn blue. 

Patty's boobs were new and she made monthly payments on them, but they were magnificent! I asked her why she got such big ones and she laughed and said, "I have to make the payment every month, I may as well get my money's worth". Patty started hanging around my house a lot after that. She almost lived there, If she hadn't had had 2 kids living with her, she probably would have. Now Brad was in route to Arizona at the time and he and his buddy Eric that took the ride out with him rang the bell. Patty ran to answer it wearing her bikini. When she opened the door, Brad was dumbfounded and thought he had the wrong house. I remember he kept stuttering and both boys just kept looking straight at her chest.

One night we were having dinner. Patty didn't cook. I did all the cooking which can be dangerous. After dinner I kind of expected Patty to clean up, since she was around so much. She got up and said, I'll take care of the dishes, at which time she took the 2 plates off the table and put them into the sink and went outside for a smoke. After I washed the dishes, I joined her. It was a beautiful night and we were sitting on the patio enjoying the evening breeze. I was looking up at the stars thinking, if she were around any more than she was already, I'd probably have to kill her! That's when she said, "A penny for your thoughts". I looked at her for a second and contemplated telling her the truth. I just said, "I was just thinking about how it would be if you were around all the time" and before I could finish, she planted this smile on her face and and said, "Can I let you know tomorrow"?

My confused mind went reeling around and at first I thought, what in the hell is she talking about, when suddenly I realized she thought I had asked her to move in with me? I said nothing, just stared at her blankly. I was moving into the new house in a week and had a lot of things on my mind. The following day she called and said, it's kind of silly to move into the old house with me, why doesn't she wait until next week and we move into the big house together? I had thought about it the day before and decided it was an awfully big house for just Brad and I, maybe having a little baby around would be fun, and it was. TO BE CONTINUED...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Digging in the Dirt with a PopsicleStick...

My life really began when my family moved to Skokie when I was 9. Skokie was  a suburb of Chicago. Prior to that we lived in a small, one bedroom apartment in a ghetto neighborhood on Chicago's West side. Mom, Dad and 3 sons, all jammed into a one bedroom set up. Mom and Dad slept on a Murphy bed that amazingly came out of a closet door in our living room and the 3 brothers were situated in the single small bedroom. We were one kid away from sleeping 2 in a bed. There were not many toys and recreation came from what we could devise. Like the time that we found a pair of scissors and my older brother Laurie suggested a fun game would to be to cut up Mom's clothes. He showed me how and when it was my turn, he slipped away and got Mom to show her what I had done. That's when I was 5 and he was 8. That's the kind of kid Laurie was. Laurie was short for Laurance. Mom and Dad were pretty bad at choosing names too!

Back then, going outside was just that. There were no recreations to partake in, just an alley to play in. The neighborhood kids were a group of ruffians, that robbed the corner store and stole cigarettes and matches. A favorite game of ours in the alley was starting a fire. The big kids would start a bond fire and send the little kids off to find things to burn. I was probably 5 years old at this time and very impressionable. We'd look around for debris and rolled up pieces of paper to throw on the fire and the big kids would regulate what got tossed on. I remember a fat kid that brought back a rock to burn. I found a cast out newspaper and was considered a hero. Our fires never got too big and were put out by stamping on them. 

I became fascinated by matches. I thought that at the age of 5, lighting a match was the greatest thing in the world and began collecting matchbooks wherever I could find them. I had quite a collection stashed behind a desk in our entrance way. One Sunday morning I awakened early and was bored. I went to my stash and then back to my bedroom, ever so carefully tiptoeing past my sleeping parents in the living room. When I got to our bedroom, I looked around to see what I could light on fire. I decided on the drapes of our window. They were full length and at the bottom had tassels. The were perfect for my fire. I had done this before and when it caught on fire, I'd put it out with my shoe. This time I lit the tassels and forgot to bring my shoe, so I ran around the bed to get it and when I got back to my little fire, it had grown to a fire the entire size of the window. I hit the fire with my hand inside the shoe and it went right through to the glass. I realized then that I had a lot of explaining to do. Next I ran into the living room and woke up my Mom and announced the bedroom's on fire. I recall hearing her say, "WHAT" and leaped out of bed dragging my Dad along with her, all the while him asking, "What's going on"? By this time Laurie was out of the room wiping the sleep out of his eyes and my mother grabbed the baby out of his crib and someone called the fire department.The Fire department arrived in what seemed like no time and proceeded to knock out the entire wall. 

The first rule of being a pyromaniac is Deny, Deny, Deny. I armed my face with an innocent look and when asked if I knew anything about the mishap, I switched to a scared look and just said no. When the firemen left, I heard one of them say to another, "That Laurie needs a good spanking"! I totally agreed.

It wasn't until 6 months later that my mom found my stash of matches behind the desk and I was busted. I should never have used my "Mel Cup" to hide them in. I never hung out with the wild kids in the alley again. After that, my favorite recreation was to sit on the curb and dig in the dirt with a Popsicle stick.

Our family did not have a lot of money, any actually, however my grandmother had a lot. My father's mother was a widow and her husband died at 61 of a heart attack and evidently he had a lot of savings or life insurance, because my Granny lived a great life for about 40 years after his death. She wintered every year in LA and never worried about cash. When she died at 100, she still had hundreds of thousands of dollars she left to my father. It seemed to me, I could remember my mother mentioning a thing or two about what a greedy bitch my Granny was on a daily basis. (Mom was not shy) When I was about 9, I think was the first time my Dad stood up to Granny and asked for enough money for a down payment on a house in the suburbs. She reluctantly gave us $10,000 to put down on a house in Skokie, full price was $24,500, a real fortune at the time. That's when my REAL life began.

As I mentioned I was 9 years old, but had never touched a baseball or a football or a basketball. (but I could start a fire!) Somehow I met a neighbor kid. His name was Ricky Kaye and he played baseball at Thillens Stadium. He was all about baseball. He, unknowingly showed me baseball for the first time, then football and basketball. suddenly a group of kids were coming to my house to ask my mother if Mel can come out to play baseball. I had friends, normal, healthy friends. We built a fort in an empty lot and had a club and created a make-shift baseball diamond in another empty lot. We teased girls when they walked by. Life was good.

I have to admit, I still enjoy the fourth of July, probably because of the fireworks.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What a Shitty Day...

The call came at 9:07 this morning, that my childhood friend had passed on to the next world, if there is such a place? Probably because the lines were so busy because of the election, it went straight to voicemail. Either that or it was another malfunction of AT&T, that I've become used to since contracting with them. It was Barry's wife calling and from the tone of her voice, I could tell it was the news we were all waiting for. Barry was a big Obama supporter and he waited until after the election to finally let go. When his wife announced to him that Obama had won, she claims he raised his brow in approval then never moved again. For me it was the end of an era, of having someone for 55 years that I could always count on to cover my back in any situation I was involved in, whether I was right or wrong. He was always there. I'll miss him.

Next I called my doctor's office to make sure the lab had my orders for me to get my blood tested at the Pima Rd. location, as that is way closer for me now. They assured they would be faxed immediately, but when I got there, of course they were all in the dark and had no idea what I was talking about. Thirty minutes later, after calling the original location again, they STILL didn't fax it and I got pissed off and left. 

Next, after placing my car on the 101, I was heading towards LJ's home, as she had invited me over to hang out with her and Macy, the pup. After calling to let her know I was on my way and her not answering, I decided to abort and head home, after all, it's a 10 miles drive. 

I am currently living with a woman and her 30 year old son. The son has a cat! I know, strange, right? Plus the cat is a little insane. I was a little hungry by this time, so I was standing in my room, smearing cream cheese onto a bagel and not aware of the fact that the cat had wandered into my bedroom. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the wacko cat, jumps up from the floor and attaches itself onto my back with it's claws. I mean out of nowhere. I didn't even know what the sudden surge of pain was from. It was hanging from the flesh on my back, right between my shoulder blades, just below my head and I couldn't get her off. Finally I fell against the wall and she leaped off evidently and she clawed me all he way down to the ground. What a great short movie that would have made, but no one was around besides me and that whacked out cat. I think I devised a new dance step. It kind of reminded me of being sucker punched. I sat quietly in my chair, bleeding and eating my bagel.

Not much happened for the rest of the afternoon, except that cat continued to try to kill me, so every time she showed her head in my doorway, I threw a shoe in her direction until she figured out she was NOT welcome anymore.

About a week ago, I was contacted by a lady on one of my dating services and to my surprise, I kind of liked her. She's 5' 3", with a nice figure, blond hair and blue eyes. When we spoke, she had one of those cute personalities and there was a great deal that I liked about her. Sense of humor was great and had been married more times than me. I was really looking forward to meeting her, in spite of the fact that she was geographically undesirable. She lived in Awataukee, about 20 miles away. After reading a few emails, I decided to look at her profile on the service again, because I couldn't remember how tall she was and out of the blue I saw it. SHE SMOKES! Why didn't I ever see that before I started liking her? So I wrote her an email explaining what I had discovered and that it was a deal breaker, adios amigo! I hope tomorrow will be better. I'm supposed to have lunch with my son, then a haircut. I could lose an ear!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Blood Pressure Miracle

About 6 weeks ago, I was at a routine doctor's appointment and the medical assistant took my blood pressure and it was 107/55. I smiled and said she must have made a mistake. Ignoring my comment, she smiled and left me alone in the inner office awaiting my doctor. It wasn't significant enough to even mention to Dr. Harvey and we continued with my examination. He ordered an IV Iron supplement for me and I began a 5 visit regiment. Each time I went for iron, my blood pressure was surprisingly low for me. My usual reading was somewhere around 150-160/80 and that was with medications. It had been that way since my heart surgery in 2005 and actually a contributing factor for the surgery. 

Next I decided it was just a lark or trend and soon it would go back up. Here it is 2 months later and I just took my BP and it was 107/52. With a smile on my face, I walked over to the computer to share my findings with the world, or at least the 10 people that read this. (mostly family and friends)

Right around the time that my blood pressure dropped down to almost normal levels, I did make a significant change in my lifestyle. I gave up coffee. Not because anyone told me to or because I was experiencing any negative effects from it, but because I was tired of being dependent upon it. It became more trouble than it was worth to me. I drank it for many years with milk and sugar and frankly, the only reason I ever bought milk was for the coffee. The milk would go sour before I ever got to the end of the carton and I was forced to go to the grocery store, a fate worse than death, just for milk for my coffee. Finally, I'd had enough of this dependency and quit cold turkey! Honestly, I never missed the coffee OR the high blood pressure. 

My first reaction was to research the effect of caffeine on blood pressure and there were no findings that indicated it should do anything to BP, other than a short increase with excessive use, but only for about an hour after consuming it. In other words, my reaction to the elimination of caffeine was a friggin' miracle! I called Dr. Harvey and he was seemingly elated too. He explained that coffee normally would not have that effect on BP, but everyone is different. With a smile on my face, I said, "I'll take it"!

Full Moon on Halloween

On the Saturday before the Wednesday that was Halloween, late in the afternoon, I noticed a full moon in the desert sky. For those of you that don't live in AZ, the moon always comes out during full daylight. When I first moved here in 1974, I was shocked to see it, having come from Chicago. In addition, we have the most spectacular sunsets I've ever seen anywhere.

Beginning on that Saturday night around midnight it all started. I can only attribute it to the full moon, there is no other explanation for it, but between midnight on Saturday, until Tuesday afternoon, I was contacted by at least 23 different women, from misc. dating services. I'm never that popular, ever! Now don't misunderstand, they were not the type that I reply to and the average age was probably around 66 or 67, but a few were youthful, like 48 and 52. To my 66 years, that's YOUNG! The 48 year old was a bit too plump and the 52 year old was in a wheelchair. Now that's a situation that I've not encountered before. The chubby girl I just ignored, but I felt compelled to answer the lady in the wheelchair. Her 2 emails to me and there were 2 right in a row, she said she loved my sense of humor and in her second she just asked if I looked like my pictures. I gave her reply a lot of thought. Here's what I decided on. If I were involved with a woman and she fell victim to something that put her into a wheelchair, I certainly would not abandon her, but I just couldn't see myself buying into a relationship with someone that could not walk. It may be selfish, but it's the way I felt. Ask yourself that question and see what you get.

Here's another thing. When I looked at her picture on my iPhone, she looked okay. However when I looked at her on my full sized computer, I realized she was made up so severely with makeup, that she looked like Maaco had done the job! I checked to see if she were Hispanic, as her hair was too black and her lips were a bright red that kind of scared me. If she weren't in a wheelchair, I don't think I'd be interested anyway. Her emails to me were just one liners, so I replied to her and I was just trying to be funny, "Does this mean I'll have to do all the grocery shopping?" I wanted to let her know that I did see she was in a chair, but that's not necessarily a deal breaker, although it was. Her reply shocked me. "I can do my own shopping, thank you very much"! I guess she didn't have much of a sense of humor after all.

Next was the Viola player, my very first. I think her name was Patty and she played for the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and traveled all over the country and even Canada. She retired from that and was a full time Yoga instructor and massage therapist. She was supposed to be 56, but had no picture posted. I've been doing this long enough to not fall for that one. She did however refer me to a website for the company she was employed by and explained I should click on "staff" and she was the one on the bottom right. I finally found her picture and it was really too small to see what her face looked like, but she was not chubby and seemed to have long blond hair. I tried everything to see her, like blowing up the picture, but it lost so much resolution that I could hardly make out her mustache! She listed blond hair and was quite insistent on just meeting me and not emailing or speaking on the phone. I have a personal rule that I insist normally on doing some socializing prior to meeting, just because it's so awkward when there is nothing to talk about. I'm too set in my ways anyhow, so throwing caution to the wind, I agree to meet her for lunch. Guess where? That's right. My favorite Chinese restaurant on Indian School Rd. She lived in Arcadia, so perfect.

I pressed my only clean shirt and put on my tan Costco jeans and was dressed to kill. I even put on my cologne that LJ bought me 5 years ago. On the way down there, my son Brad called and wanted to meet me for lunch. I told him I was having lunch with a lady and he said, "So it will just be the three of us?" Where does he get that twisted sense of humor? I hung up and pulled in right on time, as she was getting out of her car. The minute I laid eyes on her, 2 things immediately hit me. She did not have blond hair, but it was light grey and mostly white and she was older than 56. We introduced ourselves to each other. She had been married for 31 years to a gentleman that was an alcoholic and was freshly divorced (probably just separated). He was the trumpet player with the symphony and cheated on her. She didn't say he did, I could sense it in her attitude. I asked myself, he's been an alcoholic for all those years and she just now found it necessary to divorce him? That's odd. She has 3 children and they all lived in New York. At some point I mention to her that I could not recall her age and looked at her waiting for an answer. She just looked at her food and didn't answer anything. 

Without breaking stride, she volunteered that one of her daughters is a lesbian and is happily married to a woman. I choked a little bit on my cashew chicken, but I think it was just bad timing. The fact is, that I actually liked her, but she wasn't for me. When I decide that my date is not to my liking, I usually blurt out my story about how I was stabbed through the heart by the insane doctor, minimizing my chances of her contacting me. It's usually a deal breaker. Yes, I told that story intentionally.

Here's something that I really didn't care for. There was hurricane Sandy hitting the East coast like a bomb invasion, so when her daughter called from NY, I have absolutely no problem with her taking the call. I sat there politely and when the call dropped and the daughter called back, I still had no problem with it. I excused myself and went to the rest room. Her calls kept dropping and on the eighth call, she continued to chat about non essential things for about 15 minutes and that was just rude.

Things are back to normal now, an occasional woman contacts me, maybe 2 or 3 a day, usually in their late 60's or early 70's, just looking for young stuff! That's me...