Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Memorable Experience...

Something very strange just happened to me. I went to A to Z Rents to refill my propane tanks and I was the second customer in line to get gas. The gentleman that was carrying his filled tank to his car spoke to me in a very friendly way for a stranger and naturally I returned the kind thoughts he offered. I was about to put my empty tanks on the little stool for filling, when the attendant took them from me and did it for me. He was extremely friendly and asked me when I thought it might warm up just a tad. I replied, July for sure! He gave me a legitimate laugh and then another employee tapped him on the shoulder and suggested he go and take a break, that he'd been out here with customers for a long time and the intruding employee would take over for a while. They exchanged smiles and did exactly what the replacement guy suggested. The first employee wished me a happy new year and disappeared into the back. Now, with a big smile, the new guy says, gonna grill something special tonight? I tell him no, it's just that time to refill. He filled my two tanks and sent me inside to pay. A friendly woman saw me and told me she could take my money over here. I replied, god, I haven't been able to find a woman to take my money since the divorce. That got a hearty laugh from the lady and the guy next to her. Everyone was so fucking nice, that I decided I wanted to work at A to Z rents too! Could this be the result of the Christmas spirit or did they have a meeting this morning and the boss yelled at them for not being nice to the customers. Whatever the reason, it sure was nice to be the victim of the new approach to retail operations. And these people were working on a Sunday too! Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I LOVE Little Kids, particularly After I Get Untied!

I just hung up the phone with the "Lovely Jules". She is in Wittmann AZ, babysitting for her 2 grandchildren so her daughter and son-in-law can have a well deserved weekend off. The kids are 2 1/2 and 3 months, Julie is 48 and that's just not fair! Julie sounded exhausted and could hardly carry on a conversation. When 2 1/2 year old Emma wasn't dragging Grandma around the house to play, new born Jack was either cooing or screaming his head off for whatever his need of the moment was. Grandparents are not built for that kind of abuse. I recall spending about 4 hours babysitting for my grandson Max a few months back and my reply when his parents got home and asked how everything went was, NEVER AGAIN! Max ran me ragged and took advantage of me at every juncture. I was a drained and beaten man. He's a little older now and I think I'm just about ready to try it again.

Tomorrow I'm planning a short excursion to Wittmann to meet the kids and also give Julie a well deserved break. I'm usually pretty good with the little ones, especially after I get untied! I'm also bringing Julie a change of clothes, she's already soiled everything she brought for the two day getaway with food and spit up from little Jack. She also mentioned that she hasn't had enough time away from her kiddies to even take a shower. Gosh that brings back memories.... I hope she gets a good night's sleep, she really needs it!

Monday is our first New Years Eve together and it's an important one for Julie, as it's her first New Years single in 15 years. I wish I'd have made plans somewhere, it's kind of late now.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Quiet Dinner for One....

Pre-cooked Dinner
After my dinner plans had changed, I decided I needed a wholesome meal. Last night I had a bowl of oatmeal soaked in the last of the maple syrup that has been sitting on my counter for months and I think I ate that merely because I was tired of looking at that syrup. Whatever is in maple syrup, oatmeal or milk that can cause a heartburn, went immediately to work burning it's way to my esophagus.. An 11PM Prilosec saved my life that was hanging by a thread. Did anyone ever die of heartburn? My friend Randi used to supply me with Prilosec and in her absence I'm dangerously close to looking for a new pusher.
I inventoried my food stash and it looked pretty bleak. Today I bought Jew bread. I have to make a run to my Jewish bakery every month or so for fresh rye bread. Nothing else makes a sandwich happen like rye. It's all I have left of my Jewish heritage. That and I'm just a little cheap sometimes... but I think that's from watching my father pinch dollar bills so hard that he was finally sure there weren't 2 stuck together and it was safe to hand it over to whomever he was reluctantly paying. My father NEVER liked paying for anything.
In my freezer I found a freezer bag of New York Strips from Costco. I proudly carry a Costco card and actually read their flyers. One time I found pool chlorine on sale for less than half the regular price and bought about a 2 year supply. Maybe I AM pretty cheap?
So, I had steak and potatoes that I'd recently purchased, sounds like a meal to me! I knew I was pretty low on gas for the grill, but crossing my fingers I somehow made it through the steak and I have to make a mental note to buy some gas tomorrow. I carefully cleaned my large potato and put it in the microwave for about 6 or 7 minutes while I preheated the toaster oven. I guess I've been single long enough to learn my way around the kitchen, just a little. So I cooked and defrosted and planned my meal. As most of you know, cooking a steak rare is an art. An art I've never really learned. When my steaks come out good, it's usually just luck, not expertise. I tried my best to coordinate the times so the 2 foods in question would be ready at about the same time. I took my steak off the grill, that through the will of God didn't run out of gas before the meal was ready and as I approached the toaster oven the dinger dinged just as I reached out my hand. Ah, perfection! I stopped at the fridge to get the butter and grabbed a steak knife and fork. I was ready for a meal fit for a king. Bogie sneaked his way over and was laying at my feet when I finally cut into my well done piece of meat........hmmm. A little A-1 steak sauce is definitely in order... If I overcook a steak, the only thing that saves it is A-1. Now I cut into my large baked potato and got resistance while cutting it in half... That's what happens when the entire inside is rotten! How long do you have to let a baked potato cool before you can successfully toss it into the trash???
As I sat there gnawing my way through this overcooked piece of saddle leather, I thought about savagely attacking my wallet, as it might have more appeal than this overdone, sauce-soaked, slaughter house offering.. Tomorrow night I'm ordering a pizza!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What I HATED Leaving Behind....

One of the most important things that I'd left behind, was the innocents and youth of my children. Let me elaborate. When I was 33 I divorced after 11 years of marriage, my wife Barbara. I felt good that I was rid of her, comparing her to eliminating a problematic retarded neighbor from ones personal responsibility. I knew she and my children would be well taken care of, as they were going to live with her mother and father in Chicago. They were responsible people of means in their 50's and always showed a responsibility towards their and my children, although my father-in-law's line of work was questionable.

Although I knew I needed to eliminate this woman, my wife from my life, I felt horribly guilty about losing my 2 sons in the same process, but at that time it was virtually impossible for a father to get custody of youthful children. They simply belonged with their mother, a court standard.

At first I was terribly lonely, having given up the only family and way of life that I knew, but eventually started a single lifestyle. I sold and divided the family home and assets and faithfully paid my child support.

My former wife was going through a period of her life were she was finally needing to stand up for herself and finally moved out from her parent's home and started a career. What I never knew was that she was the worst mother on the planet. She developed tunnel vision of her wants and desires and no one else counted. My poor son shared with me today, when I encouraged him to develop a relationship with his estranged mother as she appeared here in town a few months ago, divorcing and destitute. I told him that whatever she had done, she was still his mother and he owed his allegiance to her. That perhaps he should be a little more forgiving to her? Without complaining, this 34 year old man shared with me that he never had a coat to wear in the winter, as his mother never bought him one. That he never ate lunch at age 7, as she was fast asleep in the mornings when he was readying for school and there was no one to ask for money. That he tried to get money from the neighbor for lunch money, but was too shy to ask. When he came home from school, this same 7 year old was required to learn how to use a can opener to make himself soup, the only thing he could find to eat, while his mother slept in her locked bedroom.

He told me that he went to live with an aunt, his mother's sister, because she had met a man and it wasn't convenient to have Brad around. Brad lived with his aunt for 2 years. His mother eventually married this man that was violent and raised my son with intimidation and corporal punishment. He, today is the only man on Earth that Brad won't have anything to do with. He never told me that he went 3 years without hearing from his mother or being invited to her home because her husband wouldn't be comfortable with it. He never told me that he went a full year without even hearing from his mother because he had come to live with me. I did know that she stole several thousand dollars from his savings account that I had put away for him, after giving it to him when he turned 18. He never asked her back for it either.

I've always been of the belief that everyone, even family members need to earn you in their lives. They don't just get to have you. Unconditional love is for fools and dreamers. Everything worth having, needs to be earned. I'll NEVER tell my son to stay in touch with his mother, just because she's his mother, again!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Eve of Christmas Eve or Christmas Eve, Eve...

The part of the Christmas holiday where you exchange presents came a little early at both the Fisher and Harris households this year, basically because neither of us could wait to see the other's face when we opened our presents. I thought that I had overdone it with Julie's present but when I saw what she got me, I faded into the background.

Remember a few posts ago I mentioned a shopping trip where I couldn't mention what I had gotten the "Lovely Jules", well now that time has passed and I can disclose the gift. I bought her a Coach bag. Truly, I have no idea why these ladies get so excited over them, it's honestly a phenomenon to me, but they sure love them. Julie kissed me 7 separate times and the look on her face of appreciation was genuine and real! Go figure....

Here's how it played out. I went shopping to the mall a few days ago and entered the mall through Dillard's and saw their display of Coach bags. To my amazement they were all on sale. That, in and of itself confused me. Then, I thought they were supposed to be in the $1000 to $1500 range and I was pleasantly surprised to see prices around $200. Then a little internal warning sign popped up in my head reminding me of Dillard's poor return policy and I quickly moved on looking for Macy's. I found the Coach counter without a problem and a nice Hispanic lady asked if she could help me and I respond that someone ought to, I needed it. I told her I was looking for a Coach bag for a gift and watched her eyes light up. She must have been on commission. The bags at Macy's weren't on sale, but they looked different. Dillard's must have had last years inventory or something. The bags here were more in the $300 range, but that was okay since I had been planning on spending a lot more to even get one.

Having a background in sales, it's always easy for me to read a persons inner meaning. I try not to listen to what they are saying, compared to what the point is that is being portrayed by body language and falsehoods. I watched as this lady tried a little too hard to sell me a black Coach bag that was about $200 less than the one that was current merchandise. To confirm my suspicions, I grabbed a 30 something housewife looking customer that poked her nose in at my counter to ask a question. I asked if she were receiving a Coach bag, would she like the black sale bag or the patchwork brown one? She really thought long and hard and for a second I thought I was going to have to call in a judge to break the tie she was creating. Then she asked me who it was for. I told her it was for my girlfriend. Then she asked how old she was and I replied a young 48. She pointed to the brown patchwork one and I told the saleslady that I'd take it, right then and there. No procrastination. It was a lot more money, but this was not a time to be frugal. There is plenty of time for frugality when I'm shopping for gas or groceries, NOT for my Lovely Jules!

I hid my patchwork Coach bag in my trunk and went to meet Julie at Papadeaux for lunch and wondered if I should buy a separate insurance policy for it. I spent more on that bag than I did on my second wife's engagement ring... I took it home and waited for last night when Julie said to come over and get my white down comforter that she had bought me. I think it was just a ploy to get me over there so we could exchange gifts a little early. It worked!

When I arrived the Lovely Jules house she was hidden in her secret room with candles lit, iPod attached to her ears and busily writing in her journal. I stood in front of her for a full minute and she didn't look up until I crossed her field of vision and she jumped up in shock and freight. She always does that, I'm getting to like it.

I brought the Coach bag with me and had it in my hand, but wrapped.. We agreed to open presents and Julie was acting like a child, all excited... She had already given me a shirt that she'd bought and had my house key in the pocket and in addition to that, she had the white down comforter, massage chair, a journal for me to write in, a dictionary and a thesauruses and another book to expand my vocabulary. In the journal she had written a beautiful message and I couldn't have asked for more. That's when she opened her computer ands showed me an invoice for a Dell notebook computer that she had built and ordered for me, that will arrive in a few days. Holy Moley, she spent more on me than I put down on my first house!

By this time, it was after 11 PM and we put Pawpaw to bed and headed over to my house to install and try out the new comforter. It worked great and the Dynamic Duo really enjoyed the old raunchy one too. They fought over who was going to sleep on it. Bogie won!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Message from Santa...

The Dynamic Duo's new digs...
Today is the 23rd of December and I had a really busy day of napping and occasional phone calls. Not much of anything else got done. Last night I visited the "Lovely Jules" and we had pizza brought in, Julie's treat and she was gracious enough to let me take home the leftovers. It made for an ample dinner for the three of us, the Dynamic Duo and myself. I'd be willing to bet that 2 Great Danes could go through a large sausage pizza in less than 30 seconds.
I noticed that Julie has a wonderful white down comforter in her room and I commented that it looked warm for this unseasonally cold weather that we're privileged to, this Christmas season. I don't think that 15 hours went by and I got a call from Santa stating he'd already heard through the AZ. grapevine that I like white down comforters and he told me that he was getting me one for Christmas. Then I heard a horn honk and Santa commented that some asshole cut him off in traffic and he was at AJ's and needed to hang up. Santa shops at AJ's???
I called Santa back at AJ's and asked what size he had gotten me and he said, King. I had been sleeping in my guest room for the past 5 months so my larger boy, Bogie wouldn't have to be troubled by the stairs, but it's really not big enough for the three of us and poor Zoie winds up sleeping on the family room sofa alone, which is uncharacteristic for pack animals, such as myself.
As if a light bulb actually lit over my head, I pictured us all asleep under our new white down comforter in my king sized bed. As if I were motivated by God above, I dragged the little twin mattress up the stairs, putting my poor weakened heart at risk, but nobody would come over to help me. Gasping for air, step by step I carried the 300 LB mattress up the 49 steps, to the second floor. As I lay in a puddle on the floor, clutching my chest, thinking of my "Lovely Jules" and how she was probably too busy to help me and that the Lord forgive her as she knows not what she does, I passed out. Fortunately I awakened in time to finish the job and I'm fine now, just a wee bit tired. The job is complete, the room is clean, I even remembered to bring up my shampoo and razor and plugged in the fridge. Now, all I'm waiting for is Santa to bring me my new white down comforter. I'm giving the old one to the Dynamic Duo to play tug-o-war with. It's raunchy!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Benihana's Mexican Cousine...

In our travels this week, the Lovely Jules let it be known that she had never been to Benihana's of Tokyo, as we passed the latest addition to the chain in North Scottsdale. I made a mental note to take her there in the near future. Last night was that time. We were able to park close to their front door and that was good because the cutting cold wind reminded me of being in Chicago and experiencing the "Hawk"! The Hawk is what they call the wind of off Lake Michigan, as it is merciless. I pulled the large ornate door open exposing a large group of people in party mode. I approached the receptionist and told him my last name and he looked up confused. With his Japanese accent he told me that there was no notation of my reservation. (strike one). We were told to wait in their bar since we did not have reservations and to wait. We found 2 seats at the end of the bar and were seated and immediately served. Julie ordered a Pinot Grigio and was told they were all out! (strike 2) She ordered a Chivas Regal, neat and surprised the hell out of me. As she sipped her 2 fingers of scotch whiskey, I watched her relax and get more comfortable. She was getting pretty nervous about how they would know we were in the bar at some point. A few minutes later a little man came to get us and seat us.
Benihanas is notorious for family style seating and we were ushered to a table with 6 people that had already ordered. Management was anxious to get our order in to begin the cooking extravaganza. Julie ordered the Chateaubriand and I had the Marina which consisted of shrimp, calamari and scallops. The shrimp were good!
I remember in years past, that Benihanas was a place that entertained you at the table with Japanese chefs that screamed in their native tongue and rally got your Adrenalin pumping while they beat salt and pepper shakers and threw things in the air. Our chef was a little guy of Hispanic origin that wore a name tag that read Jr. Although he was very good at his job, it really didn't impact me the same as having a Kamikaze Pilot crashing his plane into out table. Instead it was more like an illegal running for the border with sheriff Joe, hot on his tail! Although the other diners were nice enough, they wouldn't make eye contact with us making Julie and I the strangers at the table. I was wondering why they wouldn't share the appetizers with us, then I realized that they ordered them.
As we attempted to eat with chop sticks, my area looked like the entire kindergarten at Robert Frost Elementary School ate at my spot. Each time Julie would drop food onto the table, she would look at me to see if I had noticed. I acted like I didn't, but both of our areas looked like they could use a good vacuuming!
Julie took her steak home with us and we stopped at my house to let the Dynamic Duo out for their evening romp. My credit card rolled over in my pocket and spat up a little blood as I watched Julie feed her $30 steak to the dogs, woe is me...
I changed into something a little more comfortable, jeans and we headed over to Julie's house for a goodnight kiss.
I drove the 17.6 miles home at about 1:30 AM, thinking about what a wonderful time I have when I'm with Jules. I tried to remember what we fought about last week and nothing really came to mind.....

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Meet Vick, my new barber...
Today started out like any other day. After a really good night's sleep, I was determined to go out shopping alone and actually get something accomplished. I headed to PV Mall in hopes of finding a gift for the "Lovely Jules" and I did, in fact do that, but I cannot divulge the events of that experience until after the blessed holiday, just 4 days away.
I already knew that Julie was at another shopping center, having come to the realization that we play so much while shopping together, that we don't accomplish any real purchasing. From the men's room at Sears, my new office, I called Julie who I found at her beloved Arrowhead Mall sitting in a vibrating chair, one of her new favorite pastimes. We agreed to meet at Papadeaux for lunch in 30 minutes. Papadeaux is where we met for out very first date back in August. Somehow that seems like 20 years ago and I mean that in a good way. I thought certainly that Julie would be waiting for me by the lobster tank where she was supposed to meet me 5 months ago, but I found her waving to me in the parking lot like a cheerleader. We dined on deep fried foods and even were able to take home a "mistake" that they made for Julie, fried Calamari. I ate it for dinner....
After lunch, in 2 separate cars we headed to Metro-Center, yet a third shopping center. As soon as we hit the mall, Julie ditched me like a bad habit, yelling that she has GOT to get some shopping done and I seem to prevent that. I wandered about Sears, my old faithful, coming to the realization that my old friend has gone out of the toy business. I bummed around counting mullets on the locals and decided to go back to more familiar territory. I called Julie and she agreed it has gotten awfully ghetto around there. She was heading home and I decided to try for a haircut that I was about 2 weeks late for.
As I pulled into the parking lot at the barber shop, there wasn't a soul around and I was going to take a drink from my water bottle, when a car pulled up on either side of me. I quickly threw down my water bottle, not even stopping to lock up the car and ran into the barber shop. Do you realize how long I would have to wait if those other 2 cars were there for haircuts? As luck and fast moves would have it, the 2 cars went to another shop and I was first into the barber shop.
As I entered, my little Italian barber got up from his chair, put down his newspaper and shook my hand, saying something in Italian. I figured what he had said was, " go to the other barber this time, I gots a sore toe", because he sat his ass back down into his chair and picked up his paper. The second barber greeted me and offered me a seat. That was fine, the little Italian guy bored me with his negative personality and I wasn't really thrilled with his work either.. My new guy and we'll call him Vick, looked about 60, had a shaved head and also spoke in broken English. Although I'm always cautious with a new barber, I kind of liked this guy as he seemed to be taking his time and asking me a lot of questions about my hair. He almost seemed timid. After discussing and analysing and inquiring, he took the clippers and began to give me a crew cut! Vick, I yelled WHOA!!! What are you doing? Too short!!! I excitedly said, I know you can't put any hair back on and start over, but I WISH you could. If you can, can you keep to the longer side of what you've already done and try to leave me a little hair, afterall I not going to the prom! When a man my age goes to a barber shop, after spending half of my fortune on hair transplantation, after spending 15 minutes every morning re-arranging my hair to TRY to cover most of my scalp, along comes a Vick and ruins my plan. Geesh!
I calmed WAY down and let Vick continue to do his magic, afterall it's just hair. Vick started making a little small talk with me and that he's only been in this country for 13 years from Russia. Then he asked me where my people were from and I told him that we are of Russian descent, as well. Vick, short for Bolshevik, got this big smile on his face and asked where??? I told him I thought it was Latvia. He got very serious and asked, WHEN.. Oh, I'm not quite sure, I'm third generation American, but probably around the turn of the century. Again a very stern look and he said, if it was before 1900, you were Polish, not Russian! Latvia was part of Poland until 1900. Just to keep the peace and remember he was cutting my hair, I told him I thought it might be around 1905! Vick was good with that and continued to cut.
Suddenly Vick STOPPED cutting. He stood back and said, what's this, not your hair? I confessed that it was transplanted hair, hair form the back of my head, moved to the front in surgery. What's this transplanted hair? It's YOUR hair? Yes, as I explained the theory again. ....and it grows too?. (Now get this, I'm explaining my whole life to this guy that I named Vick, that I'm entrusting my hair to and he's a barber and has never heard of a hair transplant) Frankly, I'm thinking I really shouldn't be here. Then Vick asks if there are special barbers for people with this kind of hair. I tell him no, I've been using regular barbers for the 15 years that I've had it. Finally Vick is quiet for awhile when he suddenly wants to know my age. Sixty-one, I tell him. With his Russian accent he is in shock, no way, he says. I thought you were MY age, 48. Holy crap, I thought Vick was 60 at least. Those Russians must be hard on you when you tell them you want to leave!
Every barber shop I've been to, has a mirror facing the victims, so you know at all times what the barber is doing to you. That's not the case here. I only got the news that I would be waiting for about 30 days for my hair to grow back, when I got to the end. He wheeled me around and I looked into the mirror and saw the damage. I accessed and decided to call Julie and invite her to a prom and decided to pay for the haircut instead of just calling the police and reporting them for scalping me.
Then Vick held a hand mirror behind my head and showed me the completely bald spot that I knew I had. He told me that if I decided to comb my hair straight back, I could cover that bald spot up, which is exactly how my hair was combed when I walked into this place.. I just might have to go back to Ernie..................on my knees! Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

When Time Stood Still...

Julie, missing in action...
Do you think anyone has ever died from shopping? After a restless night travelling between my house and Julie's, all the while dodging phone calls from Fritz, I finally settled in for a 4 hour period of sleep. Promptly at 7:40 AM after a Benedryl and 2 Tylenol PM's, I awakened to the ringing of the phone by none other than the lovely Jules. She announced that if she was going to be up, then I might as well be up too. We hung up, she was off to the showers and I was back to try to sleep, the key word being TRY! I contemplated trying to ignore the after shower call, but felt guilty and answered to find Julie out walking her dog in the early morning frost that 50 degrees allows. I think it was the screaming of the words, "GET UP" that finally did it. I found myself walking to the kitchen to turn on the coffee, thanking God that I had given up drinking. Going through the day with only 4 hours of sleep is bad enough, but doing it was a hangover is just awful.

Guess what? We were going shopping again! Joy to the world!!! Julie called a third time announcing that they were wrapping things up over there and she'd be over to pick me up in an hour or so. The Dynamic Duo trumpeted Julie's arrival as I greeted her by opening the garage door. The first piece of business was to re-exchange house keys, as that was the first thing we returned to each other when the big "fight" took place. I must admit that Julie returned my key with a lot more class than me. She enclosed hers in the pocket of a shirt I had admired at Banana Republic and sent it to me through the mail.

Since we were hungry, our next stop was to be a restaurant. We went to the Pavilions in Scottsdale and ate at Sweet Tomatoes, a chick joint. I watched a man get physically thrown out for ordering a burger. I had the "salad shooter" special and when it was time to pay, Julie asked for the seniors discount, never missing a chance to give me a dig about my advanced age. Hell, saved me a buck!

When we were leaving, with my little chocolate ice cream cone in tow, I excused myself to the restroom. Jules said she'd meet me outside by the door. If you've never tried to take care of business with a chocolate ice cream cone in one hand, you've really got to try it. Now that's a balancing act. After exiting the men's room, I headed out the same door we had come in and looked for Julie, but to no avail. She was gone. I figured she had wandered over to the cosmetics store that was about 2 doors down and I searched every isle. No Julie. I headed back to the car, hoping she was waiting for me there, but no luck again. Did she get sick and go to the ladies room? I was driving and she couldn't leave without me. She just disappeared into thin air. Was it possible that she was kidnapped? Jules has a tendency to get into trouble, all on her own. If you recall the dealybob experience of yesterday, that's a good example. A good 20 to 30 minutes had by and I really didn't know what else to do. I was about to drive around the corner and see if there was something there that could have attracted her, when she came walking out of the exit of the restaurant, asking me where I'd been. I told her I'd been right here waiting for her. Evidently, I came out the entrance and Julie was waiting inside the exit, a completely different door. Only the two of us could have screwed that up that badly!

Today productivity, after shopping my poor feet off, was a big bag of candy for me and a bottle of wannabe Benedryl. Julie bought wine!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gotta Feed the Dogs...

Dinner time for the Dynamic Duo
Today was an interesting day, to say the least. I awakened bright and early before 8 and faked it for about 15 minutes to enjoy a few extra minutes in bed as the bladders were about to burst on the Dynamic Duo, Bogie and Zoie. They finally talked me into getting up around 7:50 AM. I enjoyed a leisurely morning and decided I needed to get out of this house and readied for the auction today. Rumor has it that late December auctions render some great buys at the wholesale level, but you couldn't prove it by me.

After the auction, I was getting pretty hungry and in spite of the fact that I was alone, I decided to stop at my favorite Chinese Restaurant for lunch. Low and behold, it was old home week at the restaurant. I got to see Lim, my retired old waitress and she introduced me to her new granddaughter. The granddaughter was American and I remarked that it looks like a local boy got into the woodshed. Laughter roared from about 4 tables around me. Lim is about 60 years old and has a good sense of humor, thank goodness.... I've been frequenting this restaurant for about 30 years and know the family pretty well. After lunch, I had this job to do that I for Max. What do you buy for a 3 1/2 year old? I was driving towards the 51 on Indian School Rd. When I decided to call Julie to see if she wanted to go shopping. When she answered, she was already at Arizona Mills shopping, having taken the day off. She invited me to meet her there. When I got to the freeway, all I had to do was change directions and head South instead of North. I told her I thought I'd be there in 15 minutes and we were to meet in the food court. She said to park in 4, no 5, no 4, got all that? Me neither. Look for Virgin Records, she'll be in the food court by the game area. I listened, nodding my head, knowing that Julie's sense of direction is as bad as mine.

As I drove down the 51 and then the 10, I thought to myself as I noticed my speed was at about 85, that my exit was 1/4 mile ahead. I crossed 4 lanes, but didn't have the nerve to terrorize the little old lady in the Honda that was driving at about 50 MPH in the right lane. I missed my exit and was forced to drive about 4 miles extra.

All and all I made pretty good time and called Julie when I was at the shopping center to announce my arrival. I found the food court without a lot of trouble and called Jules again. This time I could see her waving at me with a mouthful of french fries, mumbling something indistinguishable. Julie is a health nut. She only eats the finest of the fried foods when drown in trans fat of the highest quality. She is the one that got me hooked on fried chicken, but only when it's fried to perfection and oozing the highest of quality grease!

She tossed her lunch before she tossed her cookies and we headed out to do some serious shopping. First stop, the toy store whose name escapes me. As we entered, a young heavy set lad was dressed in shorts and a belly. You can always tell newcomers to AZ, they dress inappropriately for the weather. It was 40 degrees this morning and this goof was wearing shorts. I was wearing a suede jacket and he had shorts on. He asked if he could help us and I replied that I was looking for a main Christmas toy for a boy, 3 1/2 years old. He rubbed his chin and announced, that's a tough one! Julie told him we'd just look around.
He was of no help whatsoever. We took the 50 cent tour and split. I asked where there was a Sears? They always have a toy department. Well, there wasn't a Sears there. We decided that if we were going to get Max a Christmas toy, we'd better go to Toys R Us in Paradise Valley, right by my house. We went to out vehicles and took off separately.

The next part is very personal and can only be disclosed with the utmost of caution as it is a very delicate subject, shh.... Julie is experiencing her "time of the month", wink, and shared with me that she needed to change her "dealybob", wink. She told me that she would be a few minutes late, as she was going to stop at a drug store and buy "dealybobs"... I was good with that and even called her from my car to remind her that she had left "dealybobs" at my house from last month. She yelled into the phone that she wanted to stop at a drug store............okay! I continued driving. Well evidently Julie was trying out some new ways to get to Tempe, South Phoenix and the Belgium Congo, because the next time I called she was completely lost and explained that she was pretty far away, still. I had reached Toys R Us. I browsed around looking for experienced grandparents to follow as that is no place to get caught alone! So many toys and so little information. I had pretty much settled on a Karaoke Machine for Max, but when Julie got there she explained it was only a port for an iPod with a microphone. I quickly put it back, glad she was there, as I am NOT toy friendly..

After cruising the store for about 10 minutes, Julie indicated to me that she REALLY needed to change her dealybob! Oh, I thought you had taken care of that already, but she had not. Now the question was, where do you buy those at Toys R Us? I started to approach a introverted looking woman at the cashier's counter that was alone, but Julie took off in embarrassment. I asked where she could buy Tampons around there? She was taking waaay too much time thinking about it as I watched Julie leave the store and head towards the dollar store. That's when the little introvert said, hmmm..... The Dollar Store is next door, they might carry them. I thanked her and was leaving as she was reciting the names of every drug store chain in the United States...

I caught up to Jules when she was walking in the door at the Dollar Store. She had already zeroed in on their dealybob selection and I was amazed that they actually sold those at the dollar store. With knowing hands, she ripped open the box withdrawing one and asked me to get in line and pay for them as she used the ladies room... Here was the problem. I headed to the front of the store and got in line behind a woman that had 343 items in her basket and we were 10th in line and there was only one cashier. I stood there for about 10 minutes when Julie tapped me on the shoulder and said we can't wait that long for a box of dealybobs that already been opened. She grabbed the ripped box from my hand, put in down on the very first shelf she saw and we exited the store, laughing like a couple of hyenas at feeding time, as we ran back to Toys R Us!!!!

By the time we left the toy store with a handful of junk, mostly for Julie's grand kids, it was time to go home and feed the Dynamic Duo, Bogie and Zoie... To say they were glad to see Julie was an understatement, they thought we broke up, so did I! I fed the dogs and we headed to Costco for round number 3...

We got to Costco at about 5 PM and the height of rush hour. We parked and went in. The first thing that caught our eyes were these 5 vibrating chairs that promised to do things to the human body that even contortionists can't do. We had to muscle 2 old ladies out of the chairs to even get a turn. I used one of my old tricks to get them to get up. I told them we were from the power company that these chairs have been reported for electrocuting customers, worked like a charm.... One lady maneuvered her way out of the chair and back into her wheelchair before rolling away screaming! Humph! We twisted and contorted for about 10 minutes when management, an old woman with a pot belly, came over and said there were free ice cream bar samples in isle 3, so we left. Our total purchase at Costco was 4 Lb of pistachio nuts, which is how I met Julie, 16 cupcakes for the loading dock crew, and a gross of Altoids for Julie's bad breath. We must have walked 10 miles in total and I don't remember having that much fun since we went hiking!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Continuing Saga of the Fallen Computer, Emily...

When we left off yesterday, I explained how I was chastised by the Lovely Jules, for not backing up my "stuff", and I believe there were several blahs involved.
Last night Jaime called me. Jaime is the sum total of my accounts receivable at the faltering Airport Enterprises, where I am owner and CEO. Not only is Jaime the sum total of my accounts receivable, but she is down to her last payment that I'm anxious to collect to close the books on credit customers. In her high pitched voice that always sounds like she is asking a question, she asked, "are we allowed to make half payments"? When you're hungry, a half a sandwich is not as good as a whole sandwich, but it satisfies you half as much. I quickly checked the rule book on half payments and told her that would be fine. She arranged to meet me at the lot about noon. I called Paul and spread some of my Christmas cheer to him and asked if he was going to be around. I wanted to introduce Emily to him to see if he could help her laboring condition. As I was finishing carrying out her tower, monitor, keyboard, and speakers, my phone rang and it was none other than my ex-wife Barbara. When Barbara calls, it's NEVER good news. It's more than likely a new problem that I have no business dealing with, that I jump into with both feet, but not this time, I've learned over the years... We have been divorced for 27 years, praise the Lord!
She started spouting off about our son and his awful wife and the atrocities that they're put her through, although she only means well and is truly the salt of the Earth. I've learned over the years that if I just listen to her and agree with her that things go better in the long run, so I did. I gave her 5 "poor you's" and about 9 "oh, for goodness sakes"and we were ready to hang up. We did. I picked up whatever I had dropped and left for my meeting with Jaime.
Jaime was a good hour late which is typical for her and in the meanwhile Paul got pretty interested in Emily. The first thing he said was that he had the same machine, what a coincidence. I told we cheapskates buy eMachines! He had Emily apart and took an airgun and gave her a good blowing out. (you know I was tempted to call it something else, don't you?) Dog dander and dust blew everywhere, we were amazed. It looked like the space shuttle landed! All he did was put her together and remark that dust is an electricity conductor and I'm lucky it didn't short Emily out. He put her back together, plugged her in and she purred like a kitten. From the depths of my pocket, I withdrew my 2 Gig, Cruzer, Sandisk, the one that was given to me by an old formerly intimate friend of the opposite sex, about 5'6" and 120 LB with a great rack. I politely asked Paul if he could transfer my "Documents" from Emily onto the Cruzer so I could have them to have and to hold. With a knowing eye raised just a little higher than the unknowing one, he answered SURE! With a mighty click of the mouse and then another and a third, Paul pressed all of the right buttons and sure enough Emily was spilling her guts! In a matter of seconds the entire contents of my "Documents" was transferred to the Cruzer, even my porn. No sooner had she finished relieving herself of my important, life saving "Document", we heard a glug and a cramf and a gurgle and Emily died right there on the spot. Paul said he'd have a look at her later and it might have been her "power supply", something my formerly intimate friend knows something about... I left...
If you ever read my blog again and see an innocent child or a sweet old woman petting a kitten, you can thank Paul for it all!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

You Shoulda Backed Everything Up, blah, blah, blah!

With the recent demise of my old computer, and let's face it she should have a name. She was an eMachine, let's call her Emily. I was told by a formerly intimate friend that, "I should have backed up everything". Man, formerly intimate friends can be overbearing, don't you think? Well, Julie was right, I should have, but who thinks of it everyday while things are going great? Then, when the puff occurs, all you have are your memories and an old laptop that is missing the N's and P's!
It became pretty evident that I was in trouble when someone wanted a picture of me and all I had were a couple of pics of myself the day I was discharged from heart surgery 3 years ago. I lost all of my valuable pictures of old friends and family. How sad...
I wasn't going to talk about it, but I had a pretty scary night. Sometime in the middle of the night I had a pretty scary experience. Not knowing what time it was, I looked over at my clock that I keep next to my bed to see what the time was and that's when it hit me, I HAD GONE BLIND! I can usually see through the shutters a little and there's a street light outside, right next to my driveway that is always lit, but for some reason it wasn't lit last night. Then, when I looked over at the clock, it was dark too and there wasn't a shred of light in the room anywhere. Had I gone blind? Was it morning and how would I know if I'd lost my eyesight? You have to admit, if you've read my blog that some pretty scary things have happened to me when I awaken. I awakened in a hospital setting once and it turned out NOT to be a dream, like I'd thought. Was I blind and how do I find out for sure? I was too tired and scared to get out of bed and start bumping into things. I'm alone and there was no one to ask. I dozed back off to sleep for awhile and was pleasantly awakened by my clock flashing 12:00 in my face, over and over again. The power had gone out and I knew it had to be one or the other. I'll take a power outage every time compared to blindness!
I spent the afternoon much like yesterday, after I found about 72 old lost emails I had written in 2003 and 2004 on my old laptop. I spent 3 hours cutting and pasting each of them onto a fresh piece of paper and sending them from my old AOL account to my Gmail account where they can be saved indefinitely.. Maybe someday I'll even back them up too! It seems that back then, I was quite the "playa".... HA!
If you don't see too many pictures on my blog in the future, at least you'll know why...
Mel, the "PLAYA"!!!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Puff and it was Gone!!!

On her way to the junk yard...
Today started out like any other day, with the exception of getting a call from the lovely Jules. I'm still not sure if that was good or bad. We talked for about 20 minutes trying to iron out some things that need to stray wrinkled, I guess. Because I never had dinner last night, I rummaged through the refrigerator to rustle up something to eat. Because of my trip to Costco, I stocked up on breakfast foods, like sausage and 25 LB of potatoes, and eggs. After a hearty breakfast, I was ready for the world. I approached the computer and it had been giving me trouble lately with freezing and just going to a white screen with an hour glass. I rebooted and nothing. It wouldn't even light up. I learned from my father many years ago, when a machine like a television or a toaster gave you trouble, you hit it. Hit it good. A good smack usually near the area that has given you grief and that should do the trick. Well, I smacked the computer and it didn't do anything, same problem. So I smacked it again and it started making a repetitious noise and then there was a cloud of smoke and that burning plastic smell. That never happened to my father! I unplugged it and accepted my fate. She was gone. I think I got my money's worth out of it. It was one of the hard to get E-Machines that are so popular with cheap people. I bought it for my office about 5 years ago and when I closed it about 4 years ago, I brought it home and used it daily. The old girl had I had been through a lot of stories together and I'm going to miss her. I'm going to bring her down to the lot for Paul to play with. His father was and is a computer repair person and Paul can fix about anything. The problem is, Paul usually fixes things at his own pace, that's usually after I get fed up and give the item to him. Then he shows me how great it turned out. If any of my readers want to put me back on their Christmas gift list (Julie) I sure can use a new computer!

I'm currently reduced to using this old laptop that Randi gave me years ago and all of the keys don't work. For example, I have to draw in all of the N's and P's by hand as those keys are frozen. I really takes me a long time to write anything and sometimes I spell words like Temmessee differently. No, that's not a lisp!

Friday, December 14, 2007

In the Wee Wee Hours of the Morning...

Is it only me that realizes how slowly times passes in the middle of the night when you can't sleep and you're watching the clock tick away? Just for the record, clocks haven't ticked in a very long time either, yet there I am using an old description, once again showing my age. I hit the sack around 12 and laid there for exactly 2 hours, one hour on each side. I think I'm done! Now the question presents itself, do I continue to try to sleep or just go ahead with Friday, admitting that I got up rather early. Either way, I think I'm gonna hate Friday!
Well, that Benadryl must have worked because I did go back to bed and the first thing I knew it was 8 AM and 4 hours of sleep is better than none. I did get kind of weak around 3:30 Am and sent a note off to Julie, but don't worry, she didn't respond. I never did tell anyone what happened between she and I, but since she seems to be out of my life permanently, let the truth be known. It was her toes! I believe I mentioned that she had talented toes, (TT) and it seems that I had a dream that her toes were chasing me down the street with a 38 police special dangling from the pinkie, threatening to go off at any moment. I awakened in a cold sweat and had to break it off after she just flat out told me that she would NOT go to a podiatrist. Well, I had no choice and it was over!
I just came back from Costco. Just in case any of my readers are single and might be interested, I am a card carrying member of Costco and I have the GOLD membership. As I was saying, I just returned from Costco where the vast majority of the people were checking out with their Poinsettias. I'm guessing I'll be alone for Christmas, but that doesn't seem to bother me much. I'm used to it. Ever since moving to AZ, Christmas' have been pretty lonely and there's nothing worse than going to a charity invitation. You know the kind. It's when people find out that you'll be alone and you get invited to their families home.. As soon as you're out of ear shot, some distant uncle wants to know who you are and why you're there. Alone is better than that.
I joined a new dating service, it seems. It's free and I never did really join. Someone who responded to my ad on Craig's List referred me to their ad on this dating service and in order to access it, I had to give them my email address and choose a password. Well, as soon as I did, I started getting emails immediately, like 6 in 5 minutes and about 20 more after that. It was almost like it was feeding time at a stocked fishing pond. Those poor fish were starving! Okay, the funniest part is, no one is a paying member there and no one can respond to anyone else without paying and no one's paying! You can tell who's a paying member there and it's only the fat chicks that have to pay in order to get emails. All of these non-paying members are writing to each other and never getting responses because they're all too cheap, myself included! Now, to keep you online a lot, the website notifies you every time someone even clicks on your profile. That's why I'm getting so much mail it turns out.
Remember in my last post I mentioned a woman that responded to my ad and wanted to meet right away? Well, I suggested that we speak on the phone first to see if we had anything in common. Today she emailed me that she would do that, but not without me sending her my picture first. I reminded her that she responded to my ad and it had a picture. She wrote me back...."OH YEAH"! I can see that's going to go far...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Dating Guy Surfaces...

The Dating Guy
After a long rest, the dating guy reappears. After terminating what I certainly thought was going to be a long term relationship with the lovely Jules, I find myself alone and searching once again for the perfect mate. I have a couple of phone numbers that I accumulated, but every time I think of calling one of them, a dismal frown overcomes my face and I get a sour taste in my mouth. I can attribute the sour taste to my cooking, but what about this frown? Suddenly the answer came to mind. When I had a car that I wanted to get rid of, I advertised it and it went away. Why not advertise myself? I placed an ad on Craigs List advertising for a woman that might be interested in a second hand, old man without any particular talents. I popped a picture on there to go with it and you'd be surprised about how many responses I got the first 10 minutes...............two, just two. One lady didn't have a picture to show me and when I asked if she smoked, she disappeared like a cloud on a windy day. The second one boasted of being 5' 3" and 167 LB and what was supposed to be a picture was just a black rectangle with 2 eyes in it. I asked her a picture that was a little more revealing and who knows what she thought because she went with the smoker to greener pastures..

This morning I got an email along with a picture of a lady that was standing in a field, she was about the size of a dot. Again, I asked for a picture that would tell me more. She sent me one that showed her face a little bit, but still way too small to see anything. With each picture she was getting older too. With my 3rd request I asked for her age and another picture that would show her pretty face. She sent me a close up and she mentioned that that particular picture makes her look wrinkled and does her age really matter? She looked about 60+. My fourth email just said yes, it matters! I can see this is not going to be easy.

Tonight about 5 PM I got another email with a picture of an attractive lady that just said she'd like to meet. I'll keep you posted on that. God, I hate this.

Today I Learned the Truth....

It was late morning and my phone that I've been thinking about disconnecting began ringing as if I had a lot of friends, I don't. The thought of just having a cell phone crossed my mind since I'll no longer be using the home phone that much. I had just come out of the shower and I took the first call and it was Barry in FL, so I spoke with him for a few minutes and decided his time was up. As I was answering Barry's call, my phone beeped indicating another call. I looked at the caller ID and decided it was too early in the first call to dump it and waited to return the second call. Got all that?
I called back my second friend that I hadn't talked to in a long while. His idea was to have lunch and we agreed on PF Changs. It's good that we designated which one, because I was all set to go to the Keirlands Changs and he was going to Fashion Square Changs. Open communication is SO important! I finished dressing, made some flimsy excuse to the Dynamic Duo as where I was going and headed out. I arrived at the Fashion Square about 5 minutes early and recognized my friend's car in the parking lot and was able to get the parking place right next to his. As I approached PF Changs, things were looking a bit different. So different that the sign read Z.Tejas??? I walked up to the both that said information and there two ladies sitting there. One was well into her 70's and the other about 25 and cute. Who do you suppose I spoke with? What did you do with PF Changs, I asked. She said, me??? Yes, where did you put it? She said it was at the corner of Scottsdale Rd. and Camelback on the SW corner, just like always. And when did it appear there, I asked? About 7 years ago she said. Humph, I replied and started my trek. I guess it's been about 8 years since I was last there, who figured they move it?
I called my friend and said to wait for me, I was just a few minutes behind him. He casually asked if I went to the old location by accident. No, just running a few minutes late is all.. (Who told him?) I made the walk to the new location in about 5 minutes and he was waiting for me in their waiting area. Our host, a boy that was obviously dressed for his Bar Mitzvah walked us towards a 2 top and I casually sat down in a comfortable booth and waited for them to realize, this was my choice. My friend and the Bar Mitzvah boy met me there and plopped down 2 menus.. I thought I heard the word "asshole" being pronounced by someone, oh well.
After several friendly exchanges, the topic of "Truth" came up. I was telling my friend that I had experienced an argument with someone recently over what was the truth on a topic. My friend explained what he knew about truths. Given the example of religion, Muslims, Jews, Christians and even Atheists believe that their way is the right way, therefore their way is the truth and they are all correct. The difference is the interpretation of the truth. If they believe that their way is the truth, then it is and there are now more than one truth, as ridiculous as that seems. Two people having opposite beliefs on a topic can both be 100% right. And that's the TRUTH! I had the Shrimp in Lobster sauce, it was too salty!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shedding Dead Weight...

In 1996 I married a woman that was of very slight stature. She was about 5' 5" and 103 LB. Although she wore her thinness well, she eventually gained a few pounds and that was fine. I think she got to a whopping 118 at some point.

One day, we were going somewhere that required dressing up a little and we were about to leave the house when we passed a full length mirror. As do most women, she stopped with me at her side and struck a pose. She looked fine, but Holy Cow, I looked like a whale next to a minnow! How did this happen? I was always tall and thin, I never had a weight problem whatsoever. Now I was all stomach and what you might call paunchy. She asked what was wrong, but rather than start explaining, I just said, "Let's go" and we headed out the door. I made a mental note to do something about my increased weight.

I tried getting on a scale and found out that my 190 LB with the comfort of marriage had increased to 220. When did that happen and why didn't someone tell me? Never having had a weight problem before, I didn't have a clue as to how to approach it, but I knew something was going to need to be done.

Subway Sandwich Shops were advertising the 6 grams of fat sandwich with their young fat guy as their example. I figured, why not, I'll try that? If their fat actor could lose all that weight, I could surely lose a lousy 20 or 30 LB, right? What was his name, Darren?

Usually, when I do something, I do it all of the way. That I can say about myself. When I quit smoking, I JUST quit. I didn't talk about it or take pills or patches, I just stopped lighting cigarettes and putting them in my mouth, that worked great. It's been 20 years next month and the only thing I have to do is remember is, NEVER to smoke. It's easy.

Back to my diet, here's what I did. For breakfast, I gave up the eggs and sausage and toast with butter. I really missed it, but it had as many fat grams as I was allowed in 2 days. Instead, I had dry rye toast dipped in coffee, in order to make it palatable. I still had milk and sugar in my coffee. For lunch I had a 6" Subway sandwich that I stretched out until 2 PM, that way it wasn't such a long haul till dinner. That sandwich had ham or turkey, with all the vegetables I wanted, with mustard on white (no cheese or Mayo), along with a diet coke, something I was never able to swallow. Now, that's all I'll drink. For dinner and dinner was late too, I had a chicken breast with a cooked vegetable and believe it or not, the first few days I was hungry, but after that I got used to it and around 10 PM I had an apple. That was it. The first month I lost 18 LB. The second month I lost only about 10 LB, because I got lazy or bored and ate steak for dinner on occasion. The third month I lost about 8 LB and reached 185. I was feeling invincible and great when I went to a doctor's visit. Old Dr. Cedric looked at me over his glasses and said with his Tennessee accent, "Mel, did ya know you lost 35 LB since you were here last year"? I said, yes I lost it in 90 days. He said, STOP, that's enough! I said okay and went for a Whopper, the first one I'd had in months. It was good, but I've kept that weight off still. Here is what I'm saying. The Subway Diet worked! I felt great, wore size 32 Levis for the first time since high school and I could run up the stairs without huffing and puffing. You should try it too! Here lies the problem...... I NEVER want to see another Subway sandwich.............ever!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Faking Sleep

Throughout my life, I've been known to fake sleep. At different ages I did it for different reasons. When I was a small child and I'd oversleep and I'd only be "late" for school, I'd fake sleep so it wouldn't be prudent to even try to make it. When successful, I was awarded a day off. This was my reward for staying absolutely still and not waking up another family member that might blow the whistle on my plan.

In the 1980's, I was married to a woman that suffered from Nymphomania and I don't have to tell you why I had to fake sleep, but on occasion I just did.

My most recent reason for faking sleep is almost embarrassing. I am the proud roommate of a sweet but klutzy Great Dane name Zoie. Although very graceful when galloping across a field or jumping up on a picnic table, she cannot jump up into a human's bed or sofa without doing some very serious damage to life and limb. I mean, when Zoie goes airborne, there's no telling where she's going to land. She's one of those darlings that will not let anyone touch her nails, so the things are almost lethal when she's flying through the air towards you. Although she used to be a late sleeper, since I moved to smaller quarters, her morning routine has changed to force me to revisit old habits.

Usually before the sun comes up, in my sleep, I sense the presence of another entity a little too close for comfort. I slowly open my eyes and see this monster's face right in my face and can smell her 9 year old morning breathe as she rejoices in my consciousness. That's when she just scares the shit out of me and I lose it, screaming horrible things at her usually followed by getting back in her bed! I'll calm down and doze back to sleep and hear her come at me again, who knows how much later, but usually 5 minutes or so. This time she sniff me on the nose and mouth leaving a considerable amount of Dane drool. Self control is defined by not letting a 125 Great Dane that has to go out, not know that you are awake as the drool drips down the side of your face. That's when I hear a horrible animal scream and am terribly surprised to find out it is coming from ME!!!

This morning that exact situation occurred and when I arose, Bogie, my big boy Dane was nowhere to be found. I called him and there was no response and at his advanced age, that makes me worry. I quickly got up and searched for him and where do you suppose I found him? He was sprawled out in the living room on the white carpeting, where he is NOT allowed to be, just enjoying himself. Guess what I did? Nothing.. Wanna know why? Bogie is going to be 10 years old next month, a senior citizen for a Great Dane, has never caused a problem ever, is the sweetest dog I've ever encountered and has earned the right to do whatever he wants, period, amen! I grabbed my socks off the floor from yesterday and wiped the drool off my mouth... and started my day. Disgusting, I know....

Saturday, December 8, 2007

1051 Days without a Drink!

When I awoke this morning, I had a headache and it reminded me of the hundreds of literally thousands of days that I awoke with a headache, but they were of self inflicted origin. Hi, my name is Mel and I'm an alcoholic. I never joined AA, but that was because I was a silent drunk. The kind that has a few drinks in public and goes home to do the rest of the damage. I only needed it to sleep, I would tell myself. It's the same as taking a sleeping pill. What's the damage? It relaxes me. It gives me a little time off from the real world. I'll stop next month when things are easier. These are all things that I lied to myself about, when the real truth was I was and am suffering from the disease of Alcoholism. I heard it was a disease, but how could it be if I could stop any time I want? I'm just not ready. Well guess what? I was never going to be ready. One time I went to the doctor for a blood test and he took me aside and told me that my liver was showing some abuse and it's the type of abuse that they associate with alcoholism. I broke out into a cold sweat and immediately changed doctors. It's true. I didn't want the medical field to know of my problem, because as soon as they found out, my insurance company would not cover any alcohol related problems, as they would be "pre-existing conditions", a real no no in life.

I made alcoholic rules for myself. I never missed work as a result of drinking too much and I never started drinking until 5 PM, a legitimate hour to start. I always made sure that I would be at a drinking kind of place at 5 PM, which excluded children's school events, sporting events that didn't serve alcohol and most dinner invitations. I had it down pat. By the way, alcoholics don't go to the movies either! It got to where I'd arrange to have any or all medical examinations in the beginning of the year and I'd have to abstain from drinking for at least a 30 day period for my liver to heal. Believe it or not, that worked. I'd suffer through a period without my best friend alcohol and I'd have a healthy liver 30 to 60 days later. Being a drunk was NOT easy!

After countless failed relationships due to alcohol, and the other party never even knew that was the reason. My mood swings were the real reason, but I never said I was having them because I was a drunk. I was just moody, male PMS if you will? Thank God I never got arrested for drinking and driving, because I did my share of that too. That might be a bad thing that I never got caught, as that would have been my "bottom"!

The Lord works in mysterious ways, because one day I awoke in a hospital setting, as described in "Has This Ever Happened to You" and I was shocked, pleased to be alive to say the least and decided that if God let me continue to live, I wanted to do it without that haze of confusion that forms a cloud around you when you are a drunk.

Here is the best part about going through sobriety. I always thought it was going to be a daily struggle to stay sober, but once you accept that you're not just on the wagon, you simply DON'T DRINK, it's easy. I never suffered a day wanting to drink. I NEVER missed it! What a relief.. I thank God every day for taking that monkey off my back..

Thursday, December 6, 2007

In a Simpler Time.. before Recycling...

I wonder if the people that surf the Internet looking for blogs to read remember a time before recycling? Then, if we didn't want it, it went into the garbage, never to be seen again, period. The newspapers spoke of recycling but it confused us and we thought somehow it would effect other people, not us. Then one day without warning and truck came around dropping off light blue garbage dumpsters, similar to the ugly green ones that we had for our garbage. The neighbors gathered and discussed this. It was a time before they had HOA's. Along with our new light blue dumpster came waste paper basket sized receptacles along with instructions on what went into recycling. It was paper products and glass containers and cans, but no lids. Whoa, this is going to be HARD! Pressing on, the glass containers need to be cleaned out and thrown away clean. No light bulbs or wooden products (I think). Now let me understand this, when my Mayonnaise jar is down to where it's no longer practical to keep trying to scoop out a spoonful, I need to wash it, discard it's lid and recycle it. Right? Where do I throw my old jeans with that hole?

As soon as we had this down pat, we'd drag our new dumpster to the street and the next day there was a note on it that the items in my garbage were in violation and would not be picked up! They now had inspectors! Inquiring further, I discovered that the city has hired private companies to collect and separate and sell our recyclables to a third party for cash. Guess what? We're now working for the City of Phoenix washing our garbage so they can sell it AND they charge us for trash collection! We still have our dirty garbage and there's never enough room in it. I've taken to disguising my dirty garbage in cardboard boxes and throwing it into the light blue dumpster, but I always get caught!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

That Julie is a Trouble Maker...

Julie, trying to choke poor Bogie.
Ever since I started hanging out with that Julie, I've been getting into nothing but trouble! It seems that trouble just follows her around. For example, today was to be the first day of the rest of my life and it started out pretty slow. I eagerly awakened the "Lovely Jules" promptly at 6 AM and we chatted making small talk and talking of dreams and ambitions until 7. I hung up, headed out of the bedroom and made coffee. Then while I was waiting for it to brew, I fell asleep until 10, got up, played on the computer until 11 When Julie called from none other than, Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale. Do I want to go shopping, she asks? Of course I do, that's more fun than starting a new career today, so it was off the computer and into the shower and I made it all by 12 noon. We rendezvoused at Macy's and "a shopping" we went. Although we didn't spend 10 cents on anything other than lunch, we had a great time critiquing all of the other shoppers. We even crossed the picket lines of local 134 carpenters union when we went into AZ Outfitters searching out the elusive winter scarf for Saint Jules. Then it was Border's Book Store for fresh porn for Julie. How embarrassing!

We said goodbye at the Macy's parking lot and got into our individual cars and then to our separate houses. Julie called me when she got home to tell me that she's bought all of the ingredients for the meatloaf that she's been threatening to make for about a week and she'd make it tomorrow night. I told her that I was much too hungry to wait, that I'm making a sandwich. I wandered over to the computer and looked to see if anyone had sent me a joke or an email or even spam and low and behold, there was an email from telling me that I've been terminated. GASP! I was terminated, how could that be? I was careful never to use profanity and always be courteous to the nasty old ladies that wrote to me, even though they were 10 years and more older than I had requested and anywhere from too skinny to 100 LB overweight. In other words, if I looked good to them they wrote, it didn't matter if they were not what I had requested.

There was that one time that I experienced a melt down and kind of got fed up with it. It was sparked by a nasty old woman from Texas writing to me that she lies about her age and everything else when she writes to a man, what's wrong with that? In her bio she brags that she drinks heavily and I could almost see the beer spills on the written page. She was slurring her words even through writing and misspelled about one out of four that she wrote. I relied to her that she need not write to me again when she's under the influence of alcohol or any other drug and when she sobers up to throw away my address. Then she insisted on writing me again to tell me that someone else used her address to write all of that drunken gibberish and I replied by telling her that she looked like she had make-up in her wrinkles, left over from 1958. That must have done it!!! She must have reported me and I got terminated.. It was worth it.

Julie tells me that she can get me into E-Harmony.. That girl loves me I tell ya!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Murder on the Serenghetti...

Pictures compliments of Julie, wagging tongue,
After a semi-fractured weekend with the "Lovely Jules", she called me about 9 PM. finally feeling a little better after a weekend of entertaining stomach flu. We've all been there, thank you very much! She was writing and wanted some company after spending the vast majority of the weekend praying to the flu God, "Raaaalph"! I drove over and we chatted for a time, rehashing our weekends. Suddenly, without warning, a high screeching noise came from outside and it sounded like it was coming from her backyard. Julie lives on a golf course. Pawpaw was safely inside and I looked at her, as if to say, what in the hell was that? Then, several other screeches took place and I was confused as to what it was. Julie jumped up and ran to the yard to see if she could see outside and announced it was coyotes and they'd made a kill! Those were the sounds they make when they've made a kill, announcing it to the other coyotes in the pack, as if to brag to the others. It was chilling, resembling an old woman's scream if she'd been hurt. It continued for about 3 minutes and just quieted down as the coyotes probably dragged their kill of to a safe place to devour it. Julie assured me that there would never be any remnants to clean up, as the coyotes are very thorough eaters. I asked what they pray upon and she told me it was probably a rabbit or a puppy or some kind of small dog. Her HOA sent out a flyer saying to keep your small pets inside at night as coyotes are jumping over the 6 foot walls and entering yards as easy as pie. A chill ran down my spine.

Above you'll see some pictures that Julie took of the "Murderers on the Hunt". When I left Julie's house rather late, don't think I didn't watch for the little red eyes of the murderers watching me take my leave! Ah nature...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Soup and Crackers....

After a great start to the weekend, I drove Julie home on Saturday morning, never to see her again all weekend. She was accosted in her home on Saturday. No knock at the door as one would expect, but a more subtle entrance. The Flu bug knows many ways to infiltrate our bodies. Julie was the victim of the screaming thundering stomach flu, a variety that only attacks the innocent and unsuspecting, taking away their independence, control and dignity. It isn't as though she has any room to go without eating, but that's what she did all weekend, possibly shedding away needed pounds and tone. Being the caring type, I offered to bring over the ingredients for meatloaf, one of her favorites. All she had to do was cook it, serve it and clean up afterwards. She declined mentioning that soup and crackers is all she wants. Poor, poor Julie!

So I am left to my own devices again, hmm... Soup and crackers sounds pretty good!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Brad's First Fishing Trip...

Brad at 16 sporting a "Mullet" and a Northern PikeA friend of mine that has been blogging for a couple of years told me that the best blog stories come from real life experiences that have happened, that you may have left behind.... Here is a story that took place around 1975 to me and my wife and my two sons.

It was summer time and a vacation was what everyone had in mind. We lived in Scottsdale and had been here about a year or so from the Chicago area. Brad was about 2 1/2 and his older brother Stu was about 6. We decided to go camping in the mountains to Woods Canyon Lake. I was a part owner of a used car lot at that point in my career, so to take a camper for the excursion was just anticipated. The only one we had at the time was an old Datsun 4 cylinder pick up with a big cab-over camper attached to it. The four of us, along with our original "Bogie", a 150 LB Fawn male Great Dane climbed anxiously into our home for the next week, along with all of our camping gear, leaving Dutchess our female Dane at home, as she had just lost a pretty serious fight to a German Shepard.

The trip to the mountains took forever as we never took into account the weight we were pulling up those mountains. When we would finally get to a place where traffic could pass us, we'd pull over to the right and let them all pass. One by one they passed and put up their middle fingers to us, to let us know we were number 1 in their books! It seemed that no matter what gear I chose, I couldn't get that thing to go over 18 miles per hour up those damned mountains. We sure met a lot of people!

When we finally got there, we set up camp and started to relax a little after cracking open a few beers. Since the little camper wasn't big enough for all of us to sleep in, my wife along with the baby slept in the camper and Bogie, my older son and I slept in the tent I'd set up. Bogie not only has gas, but barked at every noise he heard keeping us up most of the night, even with the beers.

The following day, we got up early and enjoyed a camping breakfast. Nothing is better than a breakfast cooked over an open fire, truly. I made friends with the guy that was camping next to us and his family, a wife and a little girl. The guy, who claimed to own Danny's Car Wash, seemed nice enough and we decided to go fishing together. So I, along with Stuart, my older boy and Danny and his daughter went to the lake. I think we might have caught a fish or two, but after listening to Danny for a while, I seemed to think he might have worked at the car wash, but doubted that he owned it. Around noon we headed back to camp and to the women and Brad that were anxious to see what we'd caught. Brad was mesmerized by the fish that dangled from the line and started to tug at my pants leg. I looked down at Brad and asked what he wanted. He pointed to the fishing pole that leaned up against the camper and asked if this is what I killed the fish with? Suddenly it occurred to me, that if you don't know, you have to ask things! Bending down to Brad's height, I stopped whatever it was that I was doing and explained to him how fishing works. Whatever I told him, must have sunk in because he eventually became an avid fisherman.

Brad has his own boy now, just about the age that Brad was when we went fishing for the first time. I hope he teaches little Max to fish too!