Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Day of Good Will...

As the year closes out, this day was a rather unusual one for me. All I did was help people all day long. It started with an early morning call to the Lovely Jules, who answered her phone with her latest of 345 symptoms of her cold that has now lasted longer than most of her suitors. I, for some reason have persevered. This current cold or pneumonia, as she refers to it, has now been with her for about a month. It renders her snotty, congested and generally miserable, with an intermittent sore throat that compares to swallowing broken glass. I know because I caught the sore throat part today, after spending an afternoon with her yesterday. Our day was cut short by a phone call from a lady that was very persistent about seeing one of my cars, right then and there. So I rushed home, washed the car in question, wiped it off in this 50 degree weather and backed it out of the drive just as the young lady and her friend pulled up. As she pulled up in front of my house, she removed her cell phone from her purse, while still looking at me and called me on my cell phone to tell me she was here. Duh!!! She got out of the Explorer that she had driven up in and I immediately asked her how old she was and she replied 16, making her too young to buy a car from me. All for naught. She and her 16 year old boyfriend loved my car, but couldn't buy it because they didn't have either any money or the ability to sign a contract purchase order. To me this was just a practice sale. With a promise to come back with someone old enough to actually buy a car, she exited. Tired and dejected, I put my car back in the drive and went into the house to feed my dogs.

I don't recall LJ spitting any of her broken glass down my throat, but when I awakened today, it surely was there. Oh Gawd! So, I've got the runny nose and the sore throat, waiting for the congestion that goes along with it. I spent the day nursing my poor sick Bogie back to health, at least enough to get some food into him, but I was only partially successful. I'd guess that he kept about half of it down. I guess it's a testimonial to my cooking that he's rejecting. About 7 PM I called LJ to see if she was feeling any better and she wasn't. I asked her what her plan for survival was and it turned out that she indeed had one. Still refusing to go to a doctor, she informed me that the last time she had Pneumonia, she took Musilex and it worked on her to loosen up the congestion and gave her some immediate relief. I told her I'd go to the drug store and get her some and deliver it so she doesn't have to get out of bed. As I hung up she yelled into the phone to get her some chicken soup too. Where am I gonna find chicken soup in a drug store, I yelled? CVS she replied, she was right.

As I pulled out of my driveway and drove about a block away, I realized the neighbor across the street's son left his little bike in their driveway and I thought surely it wouldn't make it until morning, so I turned around and put the little 2 wheeler into my garage and continued on my quest. After realizing that Musilex cost about as much as a house payment, I found the chicken soup and tried to pay. My first question was, do you have a CVS card? No, I answered. Do you know what one is? No, I answered. Do you want one? No, I answered seeming at least anti-social. Frankly, this was my first time at CVS, I'm a Walgreens guy!

Arriving at LJ's house, I let myself in and found her hugging her pillow in her bedroom looking just awful. She was the picture of ill. Pawpaw was in her bed to keep her warm and she was watching some X-rated TV program. She was initially happy to see me, but that was over within minutes and she started her usual screaming at me to display her misery. I didn't seem to last long. She took her pill, was settling in and I could see it was time to leave. I told her about my experience of putting the little bike in my garage and she asked me why I didn't just put it on their front porch? I never thought of that. I drove myself home and when I arrived, I took the little bike out of my garage and put it on the neighbor's porch. Humph, why didn't I think of that? Maybe tomorrow will be better, It's NEW YEAR'S EVE!


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Leash Maniasis...

Christmas season has never been a big deal for this 62 year old wandering Jew, but last night's events took on a whole new meaning for the highly celebrated day. After 6 weeks of working painstakingly on the Lovely Jules' Christmas present, I decorated it and was planning on delivering it on Christmas Eve. LJ has been suffering form the world's longest cold of late and surprisingly had an appetite for ribs last night and was just dreaming of going to Dillon's on 59th Ave to quench that desire. Not to sound like a "know it all" but it's been my experience that almost every business is closed on Christmas Eve so owners and employees can spend it with their families. Dillon's was no exception, as I found when I called.

When I called LJ to advise her of my conclusion to the ribs idea, there was no answer. She had landed herself a job, lighting Christmas Luminaries in her neighborhood, which was good because frankly I was a little concerned about her lack of Christmas spirit. Maybe this would do the trick? After retiring from her lighting job, she called me to give me one long "whine".. "Ohhhh, I waaaaanted Riiiiibs"! Can you hear the whining? I told her I'd bring over 2 steaks and I'd baked a couple of potatoes in the microwave and the whining got worse. "I HATE microwaved defrosted steaks and microwaves potatoes, waaaaa......." Using my collective wisdom from the past 62 years, I partially cooked 2 large potatoes in the microwave and placed a couple of frozen steaks between them for the 30 minute ride to the home of the Lovely Jules and when I arrived our steaks were defrosted and naturally. I found LJ in her front yard taking picture with her camera, that by the way is almost as large as she. She was shooting her Luminaries.

I was greeted warmly and she was anxious to see her present. After spending outragous money on Christmas presents for one another last year, mostly Jules spending, we decided to not exchange gifts this year, so I made her a little something. Since I don't smoke or drink, I find myself addicted to eating Starbursts. I'm currently working my way through a 7 LB bag that I found at Costco. Each one is wrapped in a cellophane wrapper and has to be discarded. I took the wrappers from the 7 LB of Starbursts and put each one singlely into a retired water bottle, a plastic one and decorated the bottle with car pinstriping tape. How cool is that? She loved it!! (Yet reasonably priced) Jules gave me her old iPod loaded up with her music and some recorded books. I love it and yet economical for our current economy. We're thinking GREEN.

So we grilled our steaks and ate our potatoes and after dinner and 11 episodes of Californication stored on her Tivo, Julie suggested a walk. Being the victim of the dreaded "sour cream" that was loaded onto the partially microwaved and partially baked potato, I thought a walk was surely in order, if only for "exhaust" relief? We gathered up our coats and Pawpaw for this walk and headed out with me walking 10 feet behind the Lovely Jules, kind of doing my thing. LJ called back to me, "when you're finished, come walk beside me"! Gasp, I was busted! Isn't being 62 fun? We walked along enjoying the serenity of the night and Pawpaw marking every tree and bush along the way, when Jules let go of the leash and let Pawpaw run free. At age 16, Pawpaw doesn't do that much running anymore, mostly peeing and pooping. Without warning, Pawpaw with his leash dragging behind him squatted down in that all too familiar position. When he finished, he walked along almost in a trot, feeling much better. That's when Jules broke into a run to catch him and try to grab his leash. I thought certainly she'd just run up to him and put her foot on the handle portion of his leash but no, she was going for his collar and then almost out of nowhere she slid her hand down the leash towards the handle portion! I froze!!! I couldn't speak and it seemed like she was moving in slow motion. I tried to yell but nothing came out. Somewhere there is an unwritten law that says when your dog poops when dragging his leash behind him, never run your hand over the entire length of that leash for any reason. That's when I heard the SCREAM! It started low and collectively increased in depth, as if it were coming from the pit of her stomach. It was the same scream heard as when you're driving your car in a dream and you go off a cliff. It had depth, meaning, and a distinct message and that message was, "I've got dog shit on my hand". At first she held her hand high, trying to disassociate herself from it. Then denial set in. That's not my hand, I borrowed it from a friend. Still frozen in time, I stood there in shock, disbelieving what my own eyes witnessed. That's when the uncontrollable laughter started and only let up enough for the Lovely Jules to get this really serious look on her face and announce to me that, she peed her pants!

Not waiting for the others, I broke into a run and went back to the house, as Julie ran behind me acting like she was going to wipe her hand on me. I got to the house first, as the innocent Pawpaw still insisted on doing a little more marking. LJ and Pawpaw entered sans the leash that was tossed outside the door to dry or ferment or whatever dog poop does and Jules walked to her bedroom and bathroom with her head down, legs together and her hand outstretched. That's when I tried to snap the picture with my camera/phone, but was unsuccessful.

In the Lovely Jules' blog, she claims that she suffers from a mild case of Leash Maniasis. I finally know what it is!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Life in a Flop House...

I'm officially living in a flop house now. This evening's project was to move my bedroom, that has already been compromised, into my family room, enjoying a tiled floor for poor Bogie's need to regurgitate nightly. Although he had a 15 day run of feeling great, his bad digestive system hopped back into play last night, probably from me adding powdered mashed potatoes to his pretty stable diet. To accommodate this move, I transferred his 5' crate to the foyer, moved the 61 " TV over about 7 feet and eliminated most of my family room furniture. Upon second look, I decided it doesn't really resemble a flop house, but a porn studio sans a spotlight and a camera. See what you think and remember, I live here!



Saturday was to have been the launching day of our new business. My partner, the "Lovely Jules" and I have been experimenting with developing an Internet business. With things the way they are, a new and different way of marketing is required to make a living by selling things, so we decided to find an item that was either clever or necessary and sell it the old way and in an addition, use the Internet to market the item. The trick was to find an item that is clever, that will create the "I need that" attitude for the buying audience. We started by travelling the malls and seeing what was being sold. That quickly left us wondering how these merchants were going to weather the economic storm, let alone have room for a new vendor. Then we checked out the fairs in town, but there really aren't enough of them to support a business. Then it was the swap meet mentality and that was this weekend's motivation. We started out bright and early about 10 AM fighting the elements of runny noses and headaches, as we both were suffering from colds. We arrived at 40th Street and Washington about 11:30 and paid our $2 entrance fee, but chose not to use valet parking. The fact that they had a valet parking sign, in and or itself was amusing. As we got nearer and closer to the entrance we saw amazing things.

The buying population of the Greyhound Park Swap Meet is 90% Hispanic. So the selling mentality has to cater to that buying arena. We saw stands that sold jeans that the mannequins had accented rear ends, to enhance the look of sexiness. They were selling CD's that were sung in Spanish and T-shirts that appealed to the ethnic groups and gangs. Another stand sold thousands of used (stolen) cell phones and TV remotes. Others had used tools, either pawned or stolen. I had been telling my partner of a guy that used to be in the car business that got into the sock business and made a living selling just socks at the swap meets and was interested in seeing a sock stand when low and behold, there it was. They had thousands of pairs of socks, packaged in 4 counts for $2. They said they were United States Brand and they were made in Pakistan, but they were an amazing $2. Me personally needing socks, I couldn't help myself and grabbed two bunches and handed the lady a 20 dollar bill. From her pocket she pulled out a stash of cash and made change. Laughing, my partner in crime looked over at me and said, you just bought 8 pairs of socks for $4. That's 50 cent socks! Bursting into uncontrollable laughter, she told me that she now knew my new rapper name! From this point on she's calling me "50 CENT SOCKS"!

Eventually that got tiresome and she shortened it to 5 CENT SOCKS, plus it rolls of the tongue better. We decided that selling an item at the swap meets was not the reason that we were put on Earth and that spending 24 hours a week with gang members might even prove bad for our health and trashed that idea. That leaves us unemployed and looking. The only convenience at my age is that I can hide behind the mask of "retired", but what's LJ going to do?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Grand Ave Time Shares...

Thursday, this week was rather memorable. The entire day was full of exciting new and different things. I started out headed to my old stomping grounds, my former used car lot. I needed to pick up some paper work there and more or less keep my shrinking grasp on the place where my business license hangs. With my absence the place is taking on a strong resemblance to a junk yard. Although Paul, the owner is trying to sell cars off of it, his cars resemble an "as is" headquarters for head on collisions. Along with these wrecked cars, he accumulates any and everything that is out of repair, such as washers and dryers that he finds along side the roads, old barbecues that don't work, a weight lifting bench missing a leg and bicycles that have been misused or run over by a large truck. No order or semblance of care taken, just tossed onto the pile. What Paul really needs is a good fire!

As I pulled onto the lot, following the only clear path to his shop door, there was Paul measuring something with a T-square on a saw horse. Along side of my cleared out path stood a pile of lumber, 2 X 8's, 12 feet long, that stood about 10 feet tall. That amount of cut lumber in this economy must be worth thousands of dollars and it was all first grade wood. I yelled to Paul, who was bent over measuring something, where'd all the wood come from? He pointed across the street to the yard next door where there is a pallet business. Paul proudly announced that he got it all for $500. Then he told me to look between the trailers. There are 2 trailers on the property, one was my office until Paul stole the compressor for the air conditioning, for his new trailer that sat directly behind it. The trailers aren't even there legally, as the property is zoned commercial and not for human occupancy.

I walked back to look between the trailers and to my surprise, Paul had built a sun deck out of the 2 X8's that reached from one trailer to the other and smack dab in the middle of the whole thing, theres a hot tub, complete with Jacuzzi jets and a heater. Involuntarily, my hand went up to my head as I thought, God only knows what he has in mind. Upon rejoining Paul and Bob, an old guy that just hangs out there, I asked if he was going into the time share business? This was a redneck paradise. I don't think I won anyones favor as I rolled on the ground, holding my stomach and laughing.. It was only on my way home that I called the Lovely Jules to tell her about my discovery. She asked me if I got a picture with my camera phone. Laughing, I told her I barely know how to use it as a phone, let alone a camera.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Another Day of Retirement...

In the absence of real work, the Lovely Jules has accepted a position as a Mystery Shopper, inspecting the quality or lack of it, in the Arby's chain. In my humble opinion, the entire chain should have gone away years ago. They don't offer a sandwich that is flavorful or even acceptable and they are extremely overpriced, employing below average employees and otherwise insulting the public with choices like Pepsi over Coke!

The requirements that we maintained today was to first order inside the restaurant, then wait 10 minutes and order from their drive thru and the kicker was that we had to order the same sandwich both times. We were to ingest their Chicken Cordon Bleu. Ugh! It was a deep friend chicken piece, covered with a Canadian Bacon or ham of some sort and a piece of supposedly Swiss cheese, but it tasted like some kind of Jack-Crap. The mandatory selection of potato was the curly fry. Double ugh! So I got to eat first, then we went to Mervyn's to be insulted by their alleged going out of business sale, where they clearly brought in low grade merchandise, marked it up waaay high and then gave us a whopping 50 % off. How is it that a store is going out of business and has full selections of shirt styles in every color and every size stacked neatly? Why is it that there was not a pair of Levis in stock, but every size of Jean's West imaginable, in every color and every style? Hmm....

Now it was time to go to Arby's again to get Julie's lunch. She enjoyed the chicken cordon bleu with curly fries and a diet Pepsi, surprised? The employee of the month was a 17 year old lad that apparently ate too many curly fries and wore his pants so low that his shirt was stuck in the crack of his ass. Not a good look for him. The floor show started when a gay couple decided that Arby's would be the perfect stage to accuse one another of cheating. The young man that seemed to be the victim here was insulted loudly and defended himself with tears of sorrow and misery. Next week we're coming back for West Side Story!

The highlight of the day was when we went for gas and Jules offered me her Safeway Discount card and they took an amazing 30 cents a gallon off my gas. I paid $1.49 and it came to $11 for a fill up, whippeeee!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Good Old Dog Story...

Contrary to common belief, I think everyone likes a good dog story and that's just what I have for you this morning.

Ever since I started watching everything that Bogie eats, like a scientist working on a delicate formula, he's been miraculously well. I keep my fingers crossed as I write that, which as you can imagine makes it very difficult to type, so bare with me. With the exception of some "whack job" guest giving Bogie banana nut bread on Thanksgiving night, under the pretense of feeding it to the birds and he just "got it", Bogie has been on a strict diet, that by the way is very unpopular with him, but he's lost at least 50 or 60 pounds..

When Bogie has to go out at night, he comes to me and wakes me up. He does this by nudging me with his big head and I jump into action, as I never know exactly how much time I have before the inevitable takes place. This morning I was awakened by Zoie laying her wet mouth on me and I thought it was Bogie because it was dark and the fact that Zoie never wakes me up until at least sunrise. Realizing it was Zoie, who I never give enough credit to, I once again jumped into action, both from habit and the fact that she must have an emergency to awaken me in the middle of the night. Running with her to the back door, turning on lights as I go, hoping I make it in time, Zoie turns left and hops up on her couch and that's when I saw Bogie standing at the backdoor, waiting for me to let him out!

Evidently he tried to awaken me unsuccessfully and didn't know what to do. Zoie said to him, I'll give it a try, you wait here and she was successful. How cool was this interaction between two soul mates, Bogie and Zoie?


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why I Hate Gas Dryers

A lifetime ago, I was 22 and about to become a father. We had only gotten married about 9 months prior and this young man was wasting no time making his presence known. My wife and I, newlyweds, lived in a one bedroom apartment on Chicago's North side. Realizing our little family was about to grow by one, we needed an extra bedroom in a big hurry. We rented another apartment in an apartment building in a third floor walk-up. Included in making that apartment baby-friendly was to buy a washer and dryer. Our old apartment had a laundry room equipped with coin operated machines. Using my head, I contacted a washing machine manufacturer that supplied washing machines to laundromats and bought one of their reconditioned machines for $50 for both washer and dryer. The dryer was a gas dryer and it would be placed in the basement of our apartment building that was own by an elderly lady, who was our landlord. After getting her permission to install the dryer, I realized the gas line needed to be moved to accommodate our needs.

Step one was buying the washer and dryer, step 2 was to find someone who could move the gas supply line. One day at a friend of mine's bar, I was discussing my problem of getting the gas line moved and another of the patrons overheard us talking and volunteered that he did that type of work and he could easily handle that small job. Let's call the volunteer Bruce. I didn't really know Bruce, but he frequented the saloon that I occasionally went to to watch a ball game or to just get out for a few beers. I did notice that Bruce always seemed to have a black eye or a split lip and I just assumed he was a brawler when he got too much to drink. We arranged for Bruce to come over the following day, a Sunday to do the installation. I asked how much he would charge me and he just replied that it would be reasonable. Remember, I was young and that answer seemed okay to me.

Bruce showed up right on time at about 2 PM that Sunday and got right to work, telling me that it wouldn't take more than an hour to complete. I asked him if he'd need help and he told me to go upstairs, it would probably go just as fast without me there. I went upstairs and waited for about 30 minutes and then went back downstairs and watched him complete the job, as we chatted and made small talk. He finished and did a nice clean successful job and I asked him how much I owed him. Remember, we were alone in a poorly lit basement. With a twisted looking smile on his face he took a step towards me and said, "How about a little kiss"? In shock and almost frozen in place, I stood still as he took another step towards me and made his move. Petrified, my only reaction was to draw back and punch him in the eye and run up that stairs yelling get out! He did. So that's why he almost always had a black eye!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Day at the Mall...

Shopping is something that I don't really enjoy. Being a man, that's probably not unusual. Today I reaffirmed my position on shopping, although we did have a lot of fun while trying to understand the new attitude towards shoppers from the extremely desperate retail operations.

The Lovely Jules intruded into my morning by using her key to penetrate our fortress of solitude. The dogs and I were outside picking up poop when the Dynamic Duo alerted me to an intruder. I sent the dogs into the house to attack the intruder, while I used the side gate to go out in front to greet our guest with a baseball bat. To my surprise, Jules had already gone inside and locked me out!!! So, there I am ringing my own bell and being denied access. By the time she finally agreed to let me inside, she had showered the dogs with cookies and they could have cared less if I was locked outside or not.

My goal was to buy new underwear. It's not the sort of thing men ever talk about or remember to buy without coaxing. I've been single for about 7 years now and my underwear was telling the story. Underwear is one of the things that seem to appear in my drawer without me having to think about it, but lately whenever I see a pair with a hole or looking weathered, I toss them out. Honestly, it's one of the items that I never know where to throw. Are holy underwear recyclable? So we headed to the mall.

Our first stop was the fragrance department where Julie popped for a large bottle of cologne. I tried to talk her into just buying the small bottle, but she insisted on getting me the large economy size of Ralph Lauren's, Safari. I'm going to smell pretty good for well over a year. I was shocked as hell that she wanted to purchase it, as she has just joined the ranks of the unemployed. I don't think we owned the bottle of cologne for more than 5 minutes when we went into a discount place that had the same bottle for $5 less, oh well.

She shopped around looking at a lot of things we didn't buy, when I reminded us that we were there for underwear for me. First it was Dillards that was so proud of their men's underwear, at $20 a pair for underwear without a fly. I can't tell you how many questions that created, but Julie was kind enough to demonstrate how to perform sans a fly. Humph, who knew she knew? All of the underwear had legs too, something I'm going to have to get used to. Here's the deal. I didn't want tighty whiteys, but I wanted briefs in colors. I knew they had them. We finally found a few pair at J. C. Pennys, at about $7.50 a pair. I'm good for a week now. I decided that underwear might just be a Costco item.

At some point we wandered into a wig shop and I asked the proprietor if Julie could try on a wig to see how she might look with long hair. With her Guatemalan accent, she tried to explain that it would cost $5 to try on a wig, but if she decided we were serious, she would waive the $5 charge. Julie and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing and told her to just keep the wig and left. How will that store survive with an attitude like that towards their customers.

Another thing on my list was to get a battery for my Movado watch. I wandered into the same place I had gotten it the last time and told the gentleman behind the counter that my watch read 10:30 all of the time, can he fix it. They all seemed to like my way of telling them I needed a battery and laughed. I asked how much and how long a wait it would be, remembering last time it was about 30 minutes. He said it was $40 and he could do it right away. Whoa, I said. Then I asked if this is the same place I got it replaced last time for about 5 or 7 dollars and he said yes. Why is it so much now, I asked? He started telling me it was an expensive watch, blah, blah, blah... as I took the watch back and walked away telling him I'd get it replaced where I bought it. I headed to Zales, about 20 yards away. I told the lady there that I bought this watch here and could I please get a battery for it? She said, sure. It would take about 6 weeks and it would cost $75, that they would have to send it to the factory to make sure it hasn't been violated by a discount jeweler, ruining the warranty. I said it has been though. That didn't seem to bother her and she was ready to take my $75 anyway. By this time Jules was pissed at me for not just doing it. I told her I'd rather not wear a watch than give someone $75 for a battery for a 10 year old watch. These are tough times!

We headed home to my house and Julie left a short time after that. Poor thing, I think I wore her out. I can't wait to try on my new underwear!


Monday, November 17, 2008

The Rat Turned Out to be a Bunny...

The very first thing I did this morning was to check to see that the $3100 deposited in my account by the people that bought my 93 Buick was still in there.

Friday when I awakened, I checked my balance and sure enough the people that I thought we con artists had followed through and deposited money into my account. Then I called my bank and was eventually connected to April, the wire transfer expert from my bank. She assured me that once a wire has been deposited into my account it cannot be reversed without my written consent, unless a civil lawsuit indicated otherwise. In other words the money was mine, to do with whatever I pleased and could not be taken back after I refunded cash and gave a car and title to the customer, that frankly did not instill a lot of confidence in me. Once again the old adage, "Better safe than sorry" came to mind.

It must be my age that make me more cautious than usual or it could be the fractured economy that makes me so leery, but I don't recall ever feeling so weak about a customer. I'm happy to say that I was wrong about the whole thing.................so far!



Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Smell a RAT!!!

"I smell a rat" is an old expression used to indicate something is wrong with a transaction. Later it was referred to as a "scam". Well remember the sweet little old lady from my last post? The one that I was doing all of the mechanical work for to make sure the old Buick is safe and solid for her? Things are starting to fall apart, to a degree. In a perfect scenario, the out of state husband would wire money to his wife, or she would be privy to his assets and just draw the money from their joint account, like in real life. Our maiden is a bit eccentric though and is on ACCESS, state funding, welfare, if you will and will not accept a large amount of money to go into her meager account, thus creating questions for ACCESS. She has arranged for her poor blind husband that is allegedly in Arkansas to wire the funds directly to my account here in AZ, plus a little extra for me to give to his wife for spending money. I asked Nelwyn how much she was talking about and she said about a hundred dollars. I relaxed. She also is wanting a receipt for a lesser amount of money so she won't have to pay taxes in Arkansas when she arrives there with the Buick.

The first thing I did this morning, after pouring my first cup of coffee, was to check my bank balance online to see if the wire had arrived yet. There were 2 direct deposits made to my account from Bank of America, one for 45 cents and the second for 35 cents, leaving me a tad confused. I called Tony, the gentlemen in Arkansas and he returned my call with me being the third party on that call, as I heard Nelwyn's voice as I picked up the phone, but they didn't acknowledge her being on the line. For all I know, they're both here in AZ with Tony using an out of state number on his cell phone. He told me to ignore those deposits, it's B of A's way of checking my account for legitimacy. Huh??? Frankly, that's the same thing my bank told me when I called to inquire. He then told me that B of A is giving him a hard time about the money transfer, saying it would take a full 2 weeks. That tells me his funds are uncollected at their end. He tells me to watch for the money to show up from yet another back in Arkansas. He also told me that he's sending some extra money for me to give to Nelwyn, about $500. Hmm....... It seems the plot is thickening. If this deal flies, it's going to be a frickin' miracle. If any of my 3 readers have any suggestions on how to approach this, it would be appreciated. One thing I know for sure, she's not getting the car until the money is in hand. Sweet old lady or not!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Good Karma...

1993 Buick Le Sabre (sold)

Just in case anyone has been following my plight, I've been trying to sell my 93 Buick, Le Sabre. Although it's a 15 year old car, it looks and runs good and has only 89,000 miles on it and would make someone a pretty good transportation car. I was asking $2995 and getting offers of $2000 and $2200 and although that seems like a fair price for an average car, this one commands a little more respect. After 3 weeks, my ad with the Auto Trader ran out, so I called and renewed it and because they didn't get back to me in a timely way (according to them), they offered to renew my ad for 4 weeks for free. I accepted that price as fair and prudent.

The first call I received was from a girl that needed a car and her father was going to buy it for her. She argued about everything imaginable and finally I told her I couldn't sell the car to her, because life was just too short and hung up. The following day her father called and made an appointment to see the car and tried to trick me into thinking he was someone else, but accidentally divulged it was for his impatient daughter. A ha, busted! Although he was nice enough and apologized for his daughter's rude behavior, he still didn't buy my Buick Le Sabre.

About 2 hours later on Saturday, I received a call from the 870 area code. It was an older gentleman inquiring about my Buick. I asked if he were calling from out of state and he replied yes, but his wife lives in Scottsdale and her car was stolen. I didn't feel I was entitled to any more information than that, although I did have questions. He told me his wife's name was Nelwyn and she'd be calling me soon. About 15 minutes into my nap, my cell phone went off again. It was an elderly woman about my age, telling me that she spoke with her husband and wanted to see my car. She didn't have transportation, so she would be taking the bus to a mutually agreed location to meet me. Thinking of myself as a gentleman, and since I was going to be driving anyway, I offered to come to where she was and show her the car. It really wasn't that much farther. I sensed her apprehension and agreed to whatever was most convenient for her. Then she said, as long as she's taking the bus anyway, she'll take it to as close to my house as possible. I told her that I'd be as accommodating as possible and follow her wishes. That was at 3:15 PM. At 5 PM, I was thinking of calling her cell phone to see if she were really coming, but before I could dial her number, my phone rang and it was Nelwyn calling from my corner. Wow, she got pretty close! I said I'd be there in a minute to pick her up and headed out.

When I arrived at the Circle K, Nelwyn waved to me and I waved back. She hopped in and said it was beautiful and just like she had hoped. She was legitimately thrilled. We drove to my house where Nelwyn switched places with me and drove it for about a mile and said she's like to buy it, but only has $300 today and will be getting the balance wired from her husband in Arkansas.

Here is Nel's story. Her husband is blind and they have been married for 28 years. They have adopted 5 handicapped children and she is in Phoenix, hopefully saving the life of her 22 year old daughter that is at Barrows Institute and has been for 5 years. The daughter is Epileptic and has multiple seizures everyday and has had several brain surgeries. At this point they are just trying to keep her alive. Nel and I went to the ATM and she gave me $300 and mentioned that this is probably the easiest sale I've ever made. We both laughed. Then I told her that I would replace the cracked windshield for her and take it to my mechanic and have him check it out thoroughly. She thanked me and I drove her home. Yesterday I spent the day doing just what I said I would and the bill came to much more than she gave me for a deposit, but I feel good about her taking the car, even as far as Arkansas. Good things happen to good people...


Friday, November 7, 2008

A Member of the Klan...

My Third Wife's Family

I've got a story to tell that probably needs telling.

In 1996 I married a woman that was a Klan member. Not the KKK that we all know and despise, but a Klan of her own. The other members of the Klan were her 2 sisters and her mother who was the matriarch of the Klan. The KKK pretty much only hates Blacks and Jews, but the Family Klan hated Blacks, Jews, all men, but particularly men that were not blue collar workers, anyone that was not a practicing Catholic and the descendants of all of those groups. Unfortunately, I was all of those things except Black! I didn't have an ice cube's chance in hell of surviving this group.

Marrying this woman was a clear case of not being able to see the forest through the trees. I looked for a common denominator that kept these 3 sisters together and unmarried, but never thought it was the hatred of men that caused it. Let me describe this trio. My wife Lulu (not her real name) , for 5 years anyway, was a rather attractive 42 year old that had never been married before and for argument's sake, had never even had a real relationship. I thought that odd, but understandable as she was career oriented, or so she said. Next in line was sister Kathryn, a 40 year old, cute, petite lesbian that had yet to come out of the closet, but insisted that her live-in girlfriends were merely roommates. She was a little on the "butch" side and the family protector. She and I got into it more than once. Last but not least, was Doris the baby of the family, age 39. Doris was a tad on the hefty side and a true slob. You never saw her without a cigarette in her hand and it was always pointed towards an open door, as she knew she was not allowed to smoke in the house, due to everyones asthma. She was a classless creation that later married Marc, a redneck with a tattoo of a panther on his chest and a Mullet. Marc fit in beautifully as he was a security guard wearing an actual "blue collar" and of course they shared their love for cigarettes and Marc specialized in drinking at least 24 Silver bullets a day, before taking the kids on motorcycle rides. Quite a crew.

Last and of course least likable was the mother, Mary. Mary was about 78 years old when I knew her and has recently passed away, or so I hear. She was of German descent. Mary was the one that created these 3 personalities and took responsibility for them. Mary HATED men! It was only after I married into the family that I realized it, by the way her former poor deceased husband was always ignored. At some point I asked what happened to her dad and I was told he died of a brain tumor 20 years ago. I asked if they ever went to his grave and the answer was, yes Mom does on Easter.

Well, it turned out that Louis, her father was a VW repairman and owned his own repair shop here in town, but Mary was the bread winner with her job at Motorola and the pension she received. In the 5 years I was married to Lulu, she never spoke of her Dad. One day, I asked where her father was buried and to my surprise, the cemetery was about 5 miles from where we lived. I suggested we go for a visit and say hello. Lulu kept looking at me as if to say, why? I insisted on going to at least give him the respect I'm sure he deserved, for even putting up with this hateful family. It was a Sunday and we didn't have any plans, so why not?

We got dressed and headed over to the cemetery. Lulu had no idea where to find the grave of her poor deceased father. It was pretty interesting though, as this was where they buried the soldiers. Some of the graves were over a hundred years old. Finally we happened upon the grave of her father, purely by chance. Lulu said hello and started telling her father things that she had been doing for the past 20 years and she was really letting him know all the details. That's when I nudged her with my arm a few times and when she stopped and looked up at me to see what I wanted, I whispered to her, "introduce me". With a puzzled look on her face, she said Dad, there's something I haven't told you, I got married and this is my husband Mel. I said, how do you do? He didn't answer.

I never found out what this man had done to these 4 unhappy women to make them hate men the way they did, but our marriage didn't last too much longer after that. One day, out of the blue, Lulu announced that she wasn't happy and was moving out. Within 10 days she was gone and I never heard from her again, other than the delivery of divorce papers that I signed and sent back. My guess is that Mary handed down the decision and after that, all we needed was the paperwork!


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Reversal of Fortune...

It was a warm and dark Halloween night, as I drove West on the all too familiar 101 West. Tonight's plan was avoid the trick or treaters by spending the night out enjoying good company and perhaps some entertainment and a good meal. I had already gotten the call from the Lovely Jules saying to get my ass in the car, I'm late! She's always so much the lady.

I arrived shortly after 7 and used my key to enter, only to be surprised my LJ opening the door yelling, it's Halloween, you're supposed to ring the bell and say trick or treat! I said trick or treat and she whipped out a surprise from behind her back. It was a Halloween box of Godiva Chocolate and here I was empty handed. I told her I was thinking about renting a mailman costume, but gave up on that idea. She punched me in the shoulder..............hard!

Jules was hungry and dressed up. I got the idea she wanted to leave for dinner and accommodated. We headed to AJ's, the upscale grocery store as they were supposed to have a jazz concert. When we got there, there was a fat woman singing show tunes to a crowd of old people. LJ told me I fit right in. I was proud to be the youngest guy there. We left and I was able to talk the Lovely Jules into going to Tutti Santi's, we hadn't been there in months. The place on the West side, their newest and nicest restaurant was empty, indicating the summer exodus from our hot city, in spite of the fact that it's almost November. Matao, the owner's son greeted us and made us feel right at home. Then he sent Debbie, his half sister over to say hi. That's the part that's left over from the old country, how the kids respect the friends of the father.

A new young waiter came over and was very friendly, very efficient and businesslike. I could tell he had been coached by Matao, that we were valued customers, as he inquired how we knew the owner. Time to order. After LJ mentioning to everyone within earshot that I didn't have my glasses, she read the menu to me, not realizing that I'd had it memorized many years before I'd met her. We decided on buttered dead snails for LJ and one of their world famous pizza's for me. It was their special, including anchovy, Italian olives and capers. Very delicious. LJ LOVES oysters, but I reminded her of how sick she got the last time she had oysters and she agreed it wasn't a good idea to eat oysters in the desert. We enjoyed our meals and partook of a strawberry cheesecake for dessert, sharing it nicely.

When the check came, Julie grabbed it and wouldn't give it up to me. She opened her little purse and had actually brought cash indicating she had planned to buy dinner all along. There was a time in my life when I'd have fought tooth and nail to pay that check, needing to prove my masculinity. Thank heaven those days are gone! She threw down her usual obnoxious tip of over $20 and we left.

Summing up. The service was great, the food was even better and the company was ideal. In the future, every time I eat or even smell anchovies, I'm going to think of the Lovely Jules!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fifteen Minutes of Fame...

So Friday morning when I awoke, I opened up the computer and gently said, good morning. It informed me that I had 6 emails and I thought that was pretty good for a Friday. Two of them however were from a foreign country, probably China from the looks of it. The senders name was "sysob" spelled out in English, so I thought it might be someone from a dating service. I really know better than to open unknown emails, but my curiosity got the best of me and I did. In that email that was written in Chinese, there was one line that was in English, so I clicked on it and it took me to another Chinese page, so I deleted it and went on to the next one from China. I couldn't make heads or tails out of that one either so it got deleted and I didn't think about it until Saturday morning when I got a Mailer Daemon from somewhere that I didn't send an email to and it was in Russian. Next, there was an auto response from a woman in New York that is out of the office that I didn't write to either and all of the while, I've got an unusual amount of spam accumulating.

I'm starting to think it was a mistake to open those Chinese emails, ya think? I got busy doing something and didn't really check anything until Saturday night and by then I had literally hundreds of spam mail piling up, so I looked at it and found that they were all mailer daemons from all over the world in many different languages. I ran a security scan and discovered there was nothing wrong. Somehow someone stole my ISP number and is abusing it across the world. After speaking with a friend and telling him what had happened, he asked if they got to my online banking? A cold chill ran down my spine as I checked and everything was safe. My question is, why don't they spell "mailer daemon" correctly?


Saturday, October 25, 2008

She was GREASY.....

I had a lunch date on Thursday that didn't go too well. What a surprise? Here's how it unfolded and why it wound up like it did. For a long time I had seen this woman's picture online, but in it she was wearing sunglasses and frankly that's the same as not having a picture posted. One evening last week, I was cruising the website looking for someone of interest, when I spotted a pretty face. When I stopped and examined her photos, I discovered that this is the lady with the sunglasses and she finally took them off. The photo with the glasses was there as well. It said in her profile that she was 5' 2" and of the Jewish faith. Why I'm attracted to the Jewish faith is beyond me as time after time, I just disappointed, in spite of the fact that I was raised Jewish?

In her profile she mentions that she works for a published author and is also a substitute teacher. She seemed pretty clever in her profile, so all things being equal, I decided to shoot her off an email. Eventually she responded and we were off and running, only she wasn't running. It was more of a quick walk. I'd respond to her email and she'd wait a day or so to answer me back. When we finally spoke on the phone, I found her less than interesting and I bordered on not calling her back a second time.
Here was the low down on Sybil, that was her name. No wonder Julie thought she might be crazy! Sybil went to the library to respond to my emails. Not only did she lose the job working for the author, but she seldom worked at subbing either. Basically she was unemployed and needing. She was supposed to be 50, but I did some research on her and found her on other dating sites and she was also 51 and 52. Is that possible??? So I knew her age wasn't accurate, like so many people on the sites, myself included. On 3 different occasions I deleted her number from my cell phone and 3 times I saved it back. Finally, on Wednesday night I returned her call from 2 days prior and decided to give her one more chance. When we were summing up, she told me she was free all day usually and it would be nice if we had lunch some time. I said, great that's a plan. I'll call you in the late morning after some of my wrinkles have a chance to hang out and we'll arrange a place to meet.

Here was another turn off. Sybil has a 12 year old son and she was never married and her ex-boyfriend doesn't pay child support. This whole thing is sounding more and more desperate. She's only been in AZ for 4 years and the reason that she moved here is because her elderly mother (meal ticket) moved here when her father passed away. Thank God she had someone, huh?

The eventful morning arrived, I knew it would and I had anything in my mind BUT meeting her for lunch. Three different times I picked up the phone to cancel and 3 times I didn't thinking, I'll give her a chance. I dressed for my lunch date. I wore tan colored slacks with a floral Hawaiian shirt and dress shoes. By the way, before leaving the house, I went to a website that lists peoples names, addresses and phone numbers and it often gives their ages too and Sybil was 56.

I arrived about 5 minutes early, my typical MO and waited out in front enjoying the 80 degree temperature in the sun. After about 10 minutes, a rather short, unkempt woman approached me and greeted me. I was pretty disappointed with this 4' 10" little person wearing week old jeans and a raggedy T-shirt, toting a hooded sweatshirt. I couldn't help but notice that when she stepped off the curb, she bumped her ass!

We entered the restaurant and were seated. She took off her sun glasses and revealed wrinkles around her eyes that accommodate make up left over from the late 1950's. To say that Sybil didn't dress for success was an understatement. She looked greasy, like someone that hadn't had a shower that day and her hair was in a ponytail, but it was falling apart. Her hair was also greasy and had about 3 inches of gray coming out around the roots. She looked homeless! I'm not picking on the homeless either. If it weren't for her "better than she is" attitude, I wouldn't even have mentioned it. You know, I'll be a son of a gun, but I forgot to tell you about her big pot belly. I'm sure it was just baby fat, her boy is only 12.

When the check came, she made no mention of it as I quickly picked it up and paid it. I walked her to her vehicle and again I was shocked. Mom sprung for a new Nissan van!
You know, I really didn't need to be thanked for lunch......... so she didn't!

The Dating Guy (still looking)

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Story of Barbara Boobie and How She Got Her Name

(Barbara Boobie)
The year was 2002 and I had just split up with my wife and thought, why not join an online dating service to fill in some of the lonely hours. I posted a picture and fill out a profile and waited. Although I was still pretty much in shock over the sudden disappearance of my wife without a warning, I thought it might be a good idea to get out a little. I literally hated the idea of starting out all over again. One day I received a not from a woman named Barb and I'll be a son of a gun if she didn't live about 2 blocks from me. We chatted on the phone for a while and made a date to meet on Saturday night for a drink, someplace close to the house. I'd not gone on a date in years and was kind of looking forward to Saturday. It turned out that Barb was also from Chicago and we seemed to have a few things in common. Saturday afternoon I received a phone call from Barb and she said, is this Mike? I said, no you have the wrong number and was about to hang up when she asked what my name was. Confused, I volunteered the information that my name was Mel. She said good, that's who I was calling. She said, this is Barbara and I need to cancel our date for tonight, as my date from last night is still here... Gagging, only one short word came to mind and it was ewww..........! I didn't say it though, all I said was okay and hung up. Maybe dating wasn't such a good idea after all.

Eventually, Barb called me again and wanted to get together. It seemed a shame since she lived so close that she was so sleazy. I agreed to meet her at the park between our houses for a glass of wine. The dog park is only 4 houses down from me and so convenient after hours. As I sat there on a picnic bench, I saw a silhouette approaching wearing tight white slacks and a looooow cut top. When a woman dresses that provocatively in the 'hood, it usually because of a recent boob job and such was the case with Barbara Boobie. We sipped wine and chatted and laughed about how her recent date thought he was going to move in. While she was laughing I was making some important decisions on BB and what I decided was, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, if you catch my drift? At some point during our brief evening, I pointed to her overly available bosom and asked, "are those new?" With a smile and an enthusiasm she exclaimed yes, do you want to see them? Again, without warning, she lifted her top and exposed her more than ample bosom saying, "Go ahead and feel them, they feel real"!

I think we went back to my house, I was only 4 door away from home and she met the Dynamic Duo and we made plans for getting together again some time soon. I think the next time I saw her was to go to a dog show and it was pretty uneventful and then she just faded away.. Bye bye, Barbie.

About a year later I got an email from her saying that she and her girlfriend were walking past my house and saw me out there working in my yard, but was too shy to stop and say hello. Thinking about it for awhile, I decided to have some fun with BB and replied that my name is Melinda and I'm a 27 year old housewife in Oklahoma where I live with my husband Bret and my 4 year old boy, Scottie and I've only just gotten this email address a month ago. Well BB gets sucked in really deep and explains all of our business to this OK housewife, telling her how we met and she kind of liked me but I didn't follow up with her. I just couldn't do it anymore and told her the truth and we once again started to communicate with her. We're emailing back and forth and speaking on the phone when suddenly she mentions that she's been seeing the same guy for about 3 years. So when she's with me, she's cheating on him! I cool off like a burning piece of charcoal tossed into a bucket of water. Barbara Boobie disappears again, which is a good thing. The following year, she contacts me again, this time to tell me that she's lost a bunch of weight on the Atkins Diet. I meet her for a drink and sure enough she looked pretty good, but she was still seeing that guy.

By now it was probably late in 2005 and she contacts be again. I had just recovered from heart surgery and had lost about 30 LB and I mean quickly. I knew I didn't look too good and Barbara Boobie made it pretty apparent that she was not only turned off , but as dumb as she is, she acted like she could catch it! On this visit she asked if she could move in with me and bring her cat. Well the Dynamic Duo have never really seen a cat, close up anyway and I don't think introducing a new friend to them would be such a good idea at this point. What I neglected to tell you was that BB had married that guy that she dated for so long and it lasted a whopping 6 weeks before he threw her recently slimmed down ass out, but not before getting her money from the sale of her old house. Also, could I refer her to anyone that could use her for an employee, as she's also lost her job.

Frankly, I felt really sorry for her and told her she could move in, but sans the cat and I was trying to call friends that might employ her, but she flaked out on me and didn't follow up with phone calls and generally caused me to apologize to a lot of people. BB disappeared off the face of the Earth once again. I heard from her about 6 months late and she wanted something and this was my reply.

Dear BB:

You seem to contact me every year or so, whenever you need something. Like the friend that I thought I was, I always tried to help you, in one way or another and you constantly let me down. If it's okay with you, I'd prefer to switch to a different schedule, where you contact me every 20 years. I hope you understand.



Barbara Boobie contacted me again today and either never received my email or doesn't want to remember it, because she wants me to help her get her son a car. I replied that I'd be happy to help her in about 18 1/2 years!


Zoie is Mrs. Bogie Fisher...

It was an overcast October day in 1999 and Debra had the morning off from work. We found an ad in the paper for a female Mantle Dane and called the Cave Creek, AZ. number. A pleasant woman answered and I asked questions about what dogs she had for sale. She was a breeder from Mexico, here for a dog show in Tempe. She bred Great Danes and standard Poodles and she had 5 Danes with her on this trip that didn't quite meet her qualifications as show quality. Well, we had no interest in show quality, we were looking for a girl for our boy.

We took the trek to Cave Creek and arrived at a ranch setting. Around back was a horse set up that was temporarily occupied by a plethora of show dogs and a handful of pups for sale, although they were nearly full grown. Zoie was a full 7 months old when we acquired her. They kept referring to Zoie and her sister as twins. To this day I don't know if they were really twins or just litter mates. Zoie, although she'd had her ears cropped in some sort of new style, was almost a head shorter than her twin sister and they were both for sale. I liked Zoie because she'd had her ear done already and her sister because of her size. Then we noticed that Zoie had a mange problem and I had no idea what that involved. I used my cell phone to call the vet and inquire, but once again she wasn't available and never returned my call. We went home as it was quickly becoming time for Debra to leave for work.

I don't recall what I did that day, but worrying about getting a dog wasn't on my list. About 4 PM Debra called and we chatted for awhile, when she asked if I'd gotten her. Who, I replied? That Great Dane pup with the cropped ears, said Debra. Is that the one that you want? She said she thought I knew that. I guess she thought I could read minds. I called the lady out in Cave creek and asked her to consider an offer on the pup with the cropped ears. She accepted my offer saying that she knew that Zoie was going to require some medical attention and that she felt we would give it to her. Boy, was she ever right! I had no idea was was entailed with Mange. The first month we had her, we paid about $1200 in vet bills for dippings 3 times a week. That went on for months, but I'm wandering again.

I loaded little Peewee's crate into the Expedition and drove back out to Cave Creek, AZ. We gathered Zoie and somehow got her to get into that little crate. After paying the lady, we were headed home to introduce Bogie and Zoie to one another and I must tell you, I was worried that he might not like her. Bogie, being the Alpha type had developed a "dog aggression" and once he decides another dog is his enemy, well....

When I got home, I put Bogie outside and let Zoie loose in the house and that's how I found out she had never been indoors before. She had never seen a glass table before and walked right into it, then hopped up on top of it. Holy shit, I had to start from step one. I put Zoie inside of Bogie's big crate and let Bogie inside to sniff around. So far, so good. She smelled good to him and he was so excited to have a playmate that he stayed right by her side. When Debra got home, we put collars and leashes on each of them and at armed length, let them get to know each other in the backyard. Bogie was enamoured. He fell immediately in love with her and has stayed that way ever since. At this point, Zoie and Bogie have been together almost twice as long as Debra and I. I know she loves him because even though they have their own beds, sometimes late at night Bogie comes over and snuggles in with Zoie in her bed and she gets up and sleeps on the couch!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Gift from Above...

In 1996 I married a woman that had never been married before. She was quite a bit younger than me and had no children and really hadn't even been in a long term relationship prior to meeting me. This woman was as close to a virgin that I was going to find. Her first request of me was to get my vasectomy reversed, so we could have a child. Her biological time clock was working overtime. I believe she was 40 years old when our nuptials were performed and I had had my surgery about 10 years prior. Dutifully I made an appointment with Dr. Cedric to discuss my reversal. Dr. Cedric was a short man, about 5'4" and not a hair on his head and at the time he was about 50 years old, about my age. With his Tennessee accent, he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Mel, you've got your family and they're grown now. Your vasectomy is over 10 years old and the possibility of the reversal being successful is rather remote. It'll be painful and expensive and insurance won't cover it. Tell that to your new wife and ask her if a puppy will do the job." We both laughed, shook hands and I left considerably relieved.

When I got home, I gave the bad (good) news to Debra and told her about the puppy that Dr. Cedric suggested. Her reaction was, "Can we"? We spent the next 3 weeks combing through rescues at our local pounds. Every pup that needed obvious medical attention caught Debra's eye. At some point I agreed to anything, just to end the selection process. That's when an employee came off break and suggested a pup that was rather shy, that was sitting way back in the back of her cage and we didn't even know the cage was occupied. It was a little Yorkie/Schnauzer combination was was puking up yellow bile. Debra looked up at me and asked if she could be the one. I immediately agreed to this 8 LB, 2 year old dog that was going to require a lot of care to socialize. She was cute though. We took Peewee home with us and she threw up everywhere a little 8 LB dog could, but mostly on Debra's lap.

Little Peewee seemed to fit in nicely and I think about a year and a half went by before Peewee was even housebroken, but was quite the socialite at our local dog park. One spring day, I was riding around on my golf cart. A friend of mine's grandmother passed away and he inherited a golf cart that he sold to me for $500. It was before George W. Bush was president and money flowed more easily. The good old days, but I digress. So one spring day, Peewee and I were cruising the neighborhood on our golf cart when I spotted a yard that had 2 beautiful Great Danes in the front yard, along with the owner of the home, a rather little woman named Merriam. I stopped and made a u-turn and spoke with the woman telling her how much I admired her dogs and how I used to have 2 Great Danes when my kids were young, a long time ago. We chatted for awhile and I asked her if I could go home and get my wife, to show her dogs to her. She said yes, her dogs were her favorite topic and I was more than welcome to do that.

When I got home, I was as excited as a school boy. I exchanged Peewee for Debra and found out rather quickly that Peewee had relieved herself on the golf cart seat. I guess the Danes scared her. When we got back to Merriam's house, she invited us in and we enjoyed a glass of iced tea while Debra got used to having dogs the size of calves on a sofa next to her. At first I could see she was a little intimidated, but slowly got more comfortable with these gentle giants. I think we stayed about an hour and when we drove home in our little gold cart surrey, we discussed the possibility of getting a Great Dane of our own. Debra was all for it!

The following day was a Sunday and we had already hit the papers looking for Great Dane pups. I knew just what I wanted. I wanted a harlequin male and I wanted it to be a puppy. The only number that I saw was that of a Dane rescue. We were sitting in a pizza place in Paradise Valley Mall, calling with my cell phone. I spoke with a woman named Kate. She had been in rescue for about 2 years and lived far on the West side of town. We spoke for a time and I told her what I had been looking for. She stopped me dead in my tracks and said, "look, this is a rescue. We get the old and the sick and the unwanted. We NEVER get puppies. In all of the time I've been doing this, we've gotten 2 puppies and they were gone immediately. If you're looking for a harle pup, try looking in the Tucson papers, for some reason there are a lot of harles in Tucson. She took down my phone number, saying that if she heard of anything she'd call, but I never expected to hear from her again. I explained our conversation to Debra and then our pizza came. I'd say we were about half way through the pizza when my cell phone rang and it was Kate. She asked if we were sitting down and I said yes. She then said, you're not going to believe this, but I just got a call from a woman that has a little of GD pups and she doesn't know what to do with them and one of them is a male Harlequin about 12 weeks old!

Taking down her address, she made me promise to give her an hour to go and pick them up. I looked up to the sky as I said I'd be happy to give her an hour, and thanked God for my boy. Debra saw the tear forming in my eye and asked what Kate wanted. I told her, no longer interested in my pizza, we paid the check and left.

We arrived at 87th Ave and Thomas about an hour later and rang the bell. We were greeting by an entourage of wagging tails and barking. There must have been 6 big Danes in that house running loose. We were both apprehensive about going in when Kate yelled, it's okay, just come on in. There in the corner were 3 pups all huddled together and scared to death just shaking. One was about 1/3 larger than his brother and sister. He almost looked like he came from a different litter. He was well fed, healthy and huge! That would be Bogie! Bogie was a gift from God and I knew it immediately. Debra asked if we should go home and think about it and I said sure, but Bogie's coming with us. There was nothing to discuss. We brought Bogie home and he immediately bonded with Peewee and she accepted him as a mother would a pup. Peewee never quite understood the growing thing though.

When we'd go to the park, Peewee would protect her baby from all of the other big dogs that wanted to check out the new kid, chasing these big boys away snapping at their heels. At some point Bogie needed a wife and that's how we got Zoie, but I'll leave that for another time..


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I've Got a Story for Ya!

Born into a family of 5, the middle son of 3 brothers, we somehow managed to hate each other from the beginning and it lasted a lifetime. Laurance, my older brother arrived first in June of 1943, me showing up in March of 1946 and the youngest brother popping out in August of 1950. Laurance, aka Larry, was 2 years and 9 months my senior and the only significance that held for me was his identification. I learned by working our family mailbox just right, I could become almost 3 years older by just being there to receive the ID's. Suddenly I was Laurance J. Fisher, age 21, able to drink and enjoy all of the privileges of a person of majority. I didn't want to vote necessarily, but I did walk into the bars of Chicago quite freely and enjoyed their hospitality at the immature age of 18. I went directly from high school to adult in about 10 seconds. I didn't have his driver's license, but did manage to cop his draft cards and voter's registration cards. To this day he never knew why he was declared a Democrat without entering a voting booth. He and I helped vote in JFK and I don't know of another person that was my age that can claim that.

I moved out of my parent's home at a young age and moved into an apartment with a Chicago cop for a roommate. He got me a fake police star and between my fake IDs and my badge to flash, the city was mine to experiment with and I assure you I took advantage of it to the fullest. We'd walk straight into busy bars without waiting in lines and owners of these establishments couldn't give us enough free things, just to have police presence in their restaurants and bars. Everyday was Christmas until one day at a whore house in Indianapolis, a pimp broke into our car and stole our guns and wallets. That was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. It probably saved my life. I was no longer a cop and had to live out my boring life without the perks that came along with being "on the job". My roommate was soon killed in a shootout and I went ahead and got married and settled down making a family. Writing this portion of my life has made me recall several yarns from my wild past that I'll spin at another time.


Monday, October 20, 2008

They Walk Amongst us!

I spent a little time today with a headache laden Jules. On her to do list was to get her oil changed and I recently discovered that the last time she went to do this tedious task, the rip off artist that worked at Midas Muffler sold her no less than $400 worth of ridiculous things to keep her on the road for the next 3000 miles. Not knowing better and foolishly trusting the salesman, she bit and wrote the check for what should have cost about 20 to 30 bucks. I used to change her oil for free, but that was another time in our lives, when crawling under a truck was easier.

After taking her to a horrible lunch at What-a-Burger, I grabbed my $2 Diet Coke and took it with us. Why is What-a-Burger so proud of Mustard? As we were driving her truck down the road, Julie pointed out the Midas Muffler that surgically removed her wealth and told me to turn in. Ignoring her, as I knew I certainly would have a melt-down if I was to get close to that whore house and the tramps that worked there. Can you believe they tried to sell her a water pump, since she didn't know how old hers was? Just across the street from Midas was Jiffy Lube and although they can remove your savings account quite methodically, I was there to police them. We pulled in and were immediately approached by one of the 6 employees that were standing around doing nothing. Julie even commented on the fact that their break was over because of us. A young man that was unkempt to be polite spoke to us without making any sort of eye contact and was evidently reciting from a script. "Hello and welcome to Jiffy Lube, blah, blah, blah..." I stopped him and told him we were there for an oil change, nothing else. Frustrated, he looked down and said to initial the waiving of the air filter box. We did. We went inside to wait and after about 2 minutes, our crew-cutted technician called us back out to the oil rack. Let the selling begin! Her truck has 103K miles on it and it should have had it's fuel filter changed every 30,000 miles, how many times have we changed it? I told him 4, the last time we were here we changed it twice just to be on the safe side. Again I repeated, we are here for an oil change only. That's when he took out his chart and priced out the oil with the best oil being synthetic and costing around $70. I laughed and pointed to the cheap old oil for a mind altering $43. Yikes, Jiffy Lube has come a long, long way! We went back to wait for about 5 minutes and laughed our asses off at the sales approach. They called us and our new cashier was a guy that was about 20 minutes past puberty that resembled the Incredible Hulk. This greasy faced kid was enormous wearing shorts below his knees that were hanging way to low on his hips. With each step I worried about a falling of the pants. He took Julie's credit card and rang up the profitable purchase when suddenly I recognized one of the tattoos that was engraved on his upper inner arm, because it was in Hebrew. I stopped him and asked him what the Hebrew symbols meant and if he even knew. This kid was the image of "redneck" and there was no way I figured him for a Jewish boy. He lifted his other arm and flexed them and recited, "The Lord is my Rock". A chill ran down my spine. Although tattoos are against the Jewish religion, this new generation of Jew not only wears tattoos, but flaunts it! I don't think that either the kid or the Lovely Jules noticed the tear in my eye..


Friday, October 17, 2008

A Realization...

An experience that took place yesterday morning made me realize that we give our animals too much credit for being intelligent. What we consider to be inherently understood is only for humans and dogs and other animals might not be privy to these exact things. Here is how it played out and I'll describe my observation.

Zoie is a 120 LB Great Dane and not the smartest dog I've ever known. Although she is endearing, she has probably caused me more physical damage of any dog I've ever had. Yesterday morning I was trying to get a little extra sleep after being up pretty late with Bogie, my male Great Dane that has been pretty ill of late. Zoie wanted me to get up and out of bed and to convince me she whines and lays her wet mouth on my hand. I intentionally keep my eyes closed to simulate sleep and out of no where, she jumped up on top of me scratching the hell out of my arm, both upper and lower and causing me to bleed pretty heavily. She jumped up on my body that was hidden under the covers and that's when it occurred to me, that as far as Zoie's concerned, sometimes I have a head and full body and sometimes I have just a head, when my body is covered by the blanket. We take it for granted that my body would be under the covers, but does a dog think the same way? How much credit should we give these furry four legged friends? Food for thought.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Practicing What I Preach...

Over the past few weeks, I've visited what used to be my car lot a few times a week for various reasons. On one occasion Paul, my former landlord and mechanic was cleaning up a car that he bragged that he had sold to a young woman. He told me she wanted to buy it 2 nights ago, but he had a softball game and couldn't find the time to do the transaction. He told her to come back and in the meanwhile, he'd also check it out for her. I asked how much of a deposit he had gotten and he told me that he never thought to ask for one, but she'll be back for sure, she's already called several times to make sure he was getting it ready for her. Without sounding like a know-it-all, I tried to explain the difference between a real buyer and someone that is entertaining themselves at your expense. Paul seemed bored with my lecture and I soon left. I wound up at the lot again today, to pay Paul for some work he had done for me and there on what used to be my front line, was the car that Paul was certain was sold to the young lady.

Without showing the smug look that was trying to escape from my face, I asked what that car was still doing here. He told me that when he called her to tell her it was ready, she said it was a lot of money for that car and she's going to have to think about it. "STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT" came to mind and once again I reminded him of my lecture with a stiff, "I told you so"! Paul assured me that he would sell it for more to the next person.

Fast forward about 3 hours and my phone rings and it's the Lovely Jules asking me if I can help her tomorrow with a little line work in plastics. I tell her absolutely, as I haven't even seen her since our restaurant review. She told me to get up early, she would be expecting me about 9 AM and we hung up. About an hour later, my cell phone rings, a rarity, and it's a gentleman that is calling for a car for his father who by chance, just moved here from Michigan. He asked me if I would be available tomorrow morning at about 9 or 10 and I told him I did have plans then, but I'd be home all evening today and tomorrow. He said, that sounds like it will still work and hung up to reiterate with his father. Suddenly, without warning, I was given the image of that car sitting unsold on the front line of my car lot and the buyer, the young girl, running around with a different car, because Paul was busy with a ball game and couldn't sell it to her. I immediately called the gentleman back and said, I would be available whatever time would be convenient for him and I would make it my business to be accommodating. He truly appreciated that and I felt good knowing that he wouldn't be running around all day with my $3000 in his pocket, just burning a hole.

I called the Lovely Jules and told her I'd be late and she said, no problem.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Life of a Retired Car Salesman...

(For Sale 1993 Buick Le Sabre $2995, 602 643-6200)
I advertised a car online today and as soon as I finished writing the ad and cleaning up the car, I got a call from a gentleman that was interested in purchasing it. Keep in mind I've done this a lot of times over the past 35 years and this is not my first time to the rodeo. First let me describe the car. It's a 1993 Le Sabre Custom with only 89,000 miles on it and it was a one owner from our Sun City area that is known for pristine flawlessly cared for cars. It's the original paint and the interior is virtually unscathed and never smoked in. It is as nice a car as I've seen in many years, with a carpeted dash and a little fuzzy steering wheel cover. The tires are new and it does have a crack in the lens that covers the right front headlight and a crack in the windshield. For this fully loaded masterpiece I'm asking a mere $2995 and remember, I haven't misdescribed this car in the slightest. No leaks, it runs cool and has ice cold air conditioning. When I started it, it fired up like a race horse coming out of the chute. I was even impressed. In addition, I just spent $800 on this car for a new fuel pump and an air mass control meter, to insure that it would be trouble free.

The guy shows up and he's hauling his fish wife with him that has nothing nice to say about the Dynamic Duo that are there to welcome them in front of the house and unleashed and loose. (The dogs, not the fish wife) After making some niceties, I decided I didn't like this pair of losers. He, was all knowing and kicked my tires, while making faces of disapproval. He asked if they could take it for a ride and I said, of course. I should have gone with, if only to make sure they didn't siphon out the gas, but chose to stay home with the dogs. They were gone for about 15 minutes, indicating a pretty good test drive. When she got out of the car, I asked if it was wonderful, something I've been asking for many years. It's hard to come out with a bunch of negatives when someone asks if it's wonderful. The fish wife responds with, "It runs like a 93". Now what the hell does that mean? Fish wife immediately vacates the scene and goes to sit in their lower middle class Tauras, while macho man does his magic on me. I can see this has been rehearsed. Here's the story. His son just totalled his car and the insurance company has given him $2000 for his wreck. In view of the fact that my car is literally falling apart and it will take thousands to put it back into the shape it rightfully belongs in, how close to $2000 can I get in the price? Here are the things he listed that it needed. Shocks. (They haven't used shocks on cars on many years, they use struts now) The tires, although new are going to dry rot here as a result of not being driven regularly. He priced a new windshield at $300 and I buy them new and installed for $100. Then the cracked head lite cover suddenly became a head light assembly and went into the hundreds too. I responded that cars now cost somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000 now and this one that is really pretty nice is only $3000. I CAN sell it for any price I want, but $3000 seems pretty fair to me. That pissed off Macho fish boy and he joined his fish wife in their fish car and drove to their fish home to discuss what an asshole I was, I'm sure.

Here's the secret. If he had told me that it was for his kid and he's a pretty good kid and can use a break occasionally, I would have made sure that one way or another he would have bought that car. He just used the wrong tactics. Retirement has it's rewards and telling Macho fish boy no, was certainly one of them.


I Think LJ is Practicing Bush-onomics...

I just got a little bad news from the sweat shop boss, formerly known as the Lovely Jules. I meekly asked for my paycheck for the endless hours I work putting together mindless plastics and she replied, what paycheck? I reiterated that I was referring to the money she owed me for the work I had done for her this past week. With a smirk on her face, she answered, you ate pretty good yesterday, didn't you? I said, yeah, but that was for free remember? She said it was free to her, but she was charging me the precise amount of money that she owed me for doing the labor at the sweat shop, for my portion of the delicious lunch. It turns out that LJ got $125 for writing the review in addition to the free food and charged me about $100 for what I ate. I wonder if that is worthy of reporting to the labor board? I better not. I don't want to lose my job on the "line"!


Friday, October 10, 2008

Bloom's of Scottsdale...

After spending a pretty sleepless night with my poor retching dog, I awakened about 8 AM with about 3 hours of sleep. Today was to be the day that my partner in crime and myself were to visit Bloom's in Scottsdale to do a restaurant review. The Lovely Jules, with her writing talent has been commissioned by a travel magazine to do a "secret shopper" routine in specific restaurants around our valley and she gets paid good money to do so. since her reservations are for 2, I have graciously accepted the job to help her with the free eating portion of the review. Not only am I qualified, but experienced in such things with my many years of consuming restaurant foods.

LJ arrived about 45 minutes early sporting a couple of loaves of white bread for Bogie's new bland diet. My baby boy that was so sick last night brightened his attitude when his favorite lady came bouncing through the garage door, unannounced. If Bogie had worn pants, he would have wet them. We goofed around for awhile and I finally threw on my eating out clothes. If I get dressed too early I get covered in slobber, which is not that good a look on me. We headed out about 12:15 for our 12:30 reservations that were not really necessary, as the place was busy, but not crowded. My first observation was that the young overweight hostess was wearing a dress that had come straight from the dryer and could have used a quick ironing. We were seated in a booth, as I had to explain to the hostess that I like to nap between courses while eating. She smiled and wondered if I were serious.

Our waitress was pleasant and sported a warm, friendly personality, although her profile made it obvious that a chin implant wouldn't have hurt. I don't think I'm supposed to mention that sort of thing in my review however. We ordered our appetizers. LJ had the calamari salad and I enjoyed my shrimp cocktail salad, as well. The salads were plentiful and delicious. For our main entrees, LJ had the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans and I had the prime rib sandwich, that although it was good, not what I expected. I expected a meat sandwich, but the entree was shaved beef with a brie cheese melted into it and a mayonnaise dressing. It was served with french fries and I had an iced tea to go along with it. I will say that there was about a 45 minute wait between courses and we were mentioning the time element. Once again, our waitress offered her humor when she was taking LJ's appetizer. She gave her a stern look and said, come on, 2 more bites. We all laughed and LJ accommodated.

It was mandatory that we order dessert, to bad huh? I had a chocolate banana creation that was simply excellent and Julie said she's pick off of mine. I took the waitress aside and told her not to bring Julie silverware, but she did anyway. I enjoyed my dessert with a delicious cup of hot coffee that cut the sweet taste nicely.

The check was presented and LJ swiftly scooped it up and paid it with her company credit card. That may have been my favorite part of the meal! Not only did I get to enjoy a free delicious meal at an upscale Scottsdale restaurant, but Julie gave me her leftover meatloaf for my dinner. She called me tonight to tell me that her body parts were rejecting something that she ate today. I'm feeling pretty good, it may have been the calamari...

Part of the review was to find something wrong and tell the waitress about it and record her reaction to a complaint. Frankly, there was nothing to complain about, other than her weak chin and Julie wouldn't let me mention it...


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Is There a Full Moon???

Big day today. Sixteen years ago today, I moved into this house. It was and still is my dream house. It's far more than I ever needed, both in square footage and elaboration, but now it's home to me and my two best friends, the Dynamic Duo. I remember this day 16 years ago. I had a lady named Patti move in with me and Patti had 2 little children, 1 and 3. I remember watching little Stefanie walking with a glass of orange juice across the white carpeting and me walking behind her trying to convince her that it would be a good idea if I carried the orange juice for her. That relationship didn't last too long. I was constantly a nervous wreck and since I had only started dating Patti at that time, I had no problem suggesting other living quarters for her. I financed her move and rented her an apartment.

Not too soon after she moved out, her older daughter called me one night to tell me that her mom was in jail and I needed to bail her out or CPS was coming to pick up all of the kids. Patti also had 2 older children that had lived with their respective fathers, but had recently moved back in with Patti. I asked what she was in jail for and it turned out she had 2 warrants for her arrest. One for writing a bad check and another for a DUI. I had to go to the bank and get a few thousand dollars out before they closed and post it for Patti's bail. I'd never gone through that process before and didn't know that they refund the money to the person that lists their name with the police and Patti handled that. When she made good on her court date, I asked her for the money back and she told me she didn't know what had happened to it. It must have disappeared. She got me for $3000 that time. It turned out that Patti was a credit criminal. She never paid anyone. Her brother financed her new boobs and she wouldn't even pay him. He would jokingly call me and ask me to repossess them for him. Patti thinking that she will never get another chance to get bigger ones chose the largest boobs her slight torso would carry. Patti was about 5' 10" and about 110 LB with humongous boobs, like double D's. I'll never forget the look on my son Brad's face when he arrived from Illinois to move in with me, when Patti answered the door wearing a bikini. He was literally speechless, along with his 18 year old buddy, Eric.

I haven't checked, but I'd be willing to bet that there's a full moon tonight. Minding my own business, with the exception of writing one email to an old friend of mine, I took it easy and didn't harass anyone. I must have gotten 5 or 6 email from perspective women online. Sometimes you just wonder what you did wrong! Without knowing why, I felt compelled to write to MJ tonight. It's been a couple of months since we've spoken and I was kind of missing her. I hope she wasn't offended by my impromptu email.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

That wasn't Yogurt, that was Sour Cream!

Doctor Harvey called yesterday and told me to use Magnesium to eliminate the horrible cramping that I'm getting in my legs lately. Also, he suggested fish oil for blood pressure reduction. Not as a cure, but it certainly won't hurt. Even I knew that Omega 3 was good for you. When the Lovely Jules got wind of his latest addition to my drug regiment, she immediately took charge of getting these items, as her former husband was a vitamin enthusiast. I got a phone call this morning, but as opposed to getting up and enduring the leg cramps that would come with it, I decided to call LJ back from my cell phone that was at my side.

LJ has been suffering from a rather uncommon disease of late, rendering her almost useless to the average onlooker. It started with a failing kidney and just my luck, it was the one that she was going to give to me! The continuation of her disease has later effected other organs causing them to completely fail or just temporarily cease. Some of the organs involved are her kidneys, left and then right, liver has stopped completely leaving her with bruising and yellow eyes, heart, spleen and pancreas have stopped and her brain is only operating at 22% of capacity. In some third world countries, she would be considered brain dead, but that's how I like her.

The Lovely Jules was driving North on the 51 and wanted to know if I needed anything other than the Magnesium and fish oil, as she was going to Whole Foods, her adult playground. I muttered nothing, thank you and she advised me that she was in a rush and would shop for the items I needed and then drive them by, but didn't have time to come in. I was happy with that as I hadn't even showered yet. About 45 minutes later, she called on my cell phone and told me she was here. I went outside with the Dynamic Duo at my feet, but I was able to slip outside alone. With some pretty disappointed barking being left behind me, I went to my driveway, where I expected to see LJ, but no one was there. I looked down 57th St. that empties into my driveway and there was LJ just pulling up figuring her schedule perfectly. She handed me a green bag that said Albertson's on it and told me to keep green. She opened her dialogue with me by telling me I look like shit! I asked if it were my hair that I had wetted and just slicked back and she said no, it was my face. Not much I could do about that besides stay home and hide it! I asked what the other stuff was in my green bag and she said it was yogurt to line my stomach with, as I don't want to take those pills on an empty stomach. I thanked her and wondered what I could do to look better, but couldn't come up with anything short of a mask, so I went into my house....depressed.

In addition to my yogurt surprise, there were other things in the bag, such as some chicken thing, maybe a quiche and something with cheese grated all over it. Basically chick food. I started to investigate my surprises from LJ and when I opened what was supposed to be yogurt, I saw sliced strawberries and granola and raisins floating on top of white yogurt. I went for a big spoon and dug right in and came up with a sour, awful look on my face as the yogurt wasn't yogurt, but it was sour cream! I don't think Jules made the mistake, but rather an employee that was either having a little fun or just creating mischief. Whatever the case, I enjoyed the strawberries, granola and raisins and just a little sour cream!


Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Day with Zoo Animals...

Mean Mona stuck her head up and called me this morning.. She had been in an abusive relationship with a tuna fisherman, just back from the Alaskan coast where Sara Palin is a household name these days. This guy hooked her pretty good, then tossed her into his boat, so to speak and hauled her ass around to the Arizona border for canning. She escaped my disguising herself as a smelt and was literally thrown back.. She called me, remembering that I was the only guy that dated her that didn't whip her, although I must say, she really deserved it.

For whatever reason, she wanted to go to the Zoo, probably to visit her ex-in laws that she claimed were baboons.

So Mean Mona pulled up into my driveway and parked on top of my very delicate Oleander bushes that were just started to have their fall growing season. It will probably take years for them to grow back after the beating she gave them with her truck. She laughed, beeped twice and came rushing in to be mauled by the Dynamic Duo. By the time this reunion was complete, Mean Mona looked like a glazed donut after a good reglazing and the dogs were content to lick and Bogie tried to give her a little bite. Mean Mona didn't believe me when I warned her not to touch Bogie with her feet.

So, we were off to the Zoo to visit her relatives and of course I received driving lessons all of the way there. I forgot that I drive too "everything" when Mean Mona is around. Too close, too fast, too jerky, too slow, too erratic and too unpredictable, mostly. Mean Mona did surprise me when she insisted on paying, which is always a shock when I go to the Zoo. The Zoo is no cheap entertainment. It cost $16 for an adult and she got me in as a senior, over 60 for a cool $11. Mean Mona was hungry and our first stop was for a hot dog and lemonade for $10. I brought water from home, as I'm a cheap date.

We walked our feet off and were constantly in search of the elusive Bear display. While searching out the bear, we saw the elephants, monkeys, a horny old lizard and finally the baboons that Mean Mona held a dialogue with, that finally ended in name calling and the middle finger. I'll have to assume they were the ex-in laws. Until you're heard baboons screaming with French accents, you've not lived. Mean Mona was noticeably shaken after that encounter and she looked pretty tired from walking too. I thought she needed a good Pizza to round out her afternoon so we headed to the high rent district to be abused, insulted and shocked to see that the waitress that was clearly in her early 60s wearing low rise jeans and a granny panties under her crotch snapping top. There went our appetites, but after watching zoo animals all afternoon, our waitress just flat fit in..

All and all it was a delightful day and Mean Mona dropped me off, relieving my poor Oleanders from their atrocity. Frankly, Mean Mona did smell a little like tuna!

Tomorrow, I go back to the sweat shop.