Sunday, April 27, 2008

Yet Another Day at the Zoo...

Saturday morning presented St. Jules arriving at my house 20 minutes early and short on patience. She was questioning why I wasn't ready. Although I sensed she was teasing, I also noted shortness to her, that she either wasn't feeling too well, or was just plain frazzled. It could be the dreaded PMS, but I've learned from experience NEVER to mention that. We went shopping for the party next weekend for both Julie and her granddaughter, Emma. They share the same birthday of 5/3, along with my son Brad. Emma will be 3 and Julie will be older, somewhere around 50 or 60!

After shopping and it was already 12:30, Julie dropped me off like a fat chick on a blind date. Frankly I didn't mind, as I wasn't feeling too hot either. I called her around 7:30 and she invited me over to watch SNL, one of my favorite shows. I laughed and Julie snored. If she ever stops long enough, she quickly falls asleep. I let myself out as Julie rambled about how beauty products don't have numbers. I agreed and left.

Come Sunday morning, I called around 9 AM and awakened St. Jules for the second time of the day. She got up early and watch church on TV and drifted back off. She decided that I should come up with something fun for us to do. I suggested the zoo again, I always do and she hammered that one down right away, saying it was too hot today. Then I suggested miniature golf and she told me about her headache and sinus problems and didn't want to be outside today. I told her the miniature golf place was indoors and she agreed to it for about 20 minutes when she called and said she wanted to go to the movies. I agreed and she was coming over to my house to pick me up. Then I realized how selfish it was to make her drive with a headache and told her I'd go to her house. That settled, I showered and took off for the Lovely Jules' home, a mere 20 minutes away.

I arrived and Julie took me on a tour of her garden, showing me all of the growth for this early in the season. Pawpaw crawled out of bed to say hello, then quickly returned to his closet. He lives in a closet in the master bedroom, explaining Julie's doggy odor! We took off for Arrowhead Mall to see the movie, but were sidetracked by a lunch break. We went to Miracle Mile, a cafeteria type place that serves New York style Jewish food, featuring corned beef sandwiches on the good rye bread, I was in heaven until I saw people of Hispanic background ordering corned beef on white toast with ketchup, yuck! We watched a young man eating outside all alone, wearing all black, sporting a beard and eating in marathon style. He was smiling and laughing and all alone eating with a passion. It made for good entertainment. That's when we realized we would have more fun people watching. We cancelled our plans of going to the movies and hit the department stores for entertainment only. We had a great time at everyone elses expense, completely laughing our asses off. My apologies to anyone that we offended. But really folks, if you're fat and 17, don't wear the low rise pants with a short top, okay?


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Guess Who I bumped in to Today!

Guess who I ran into today while making a dog food run to Costco! Well, first I thought I saw Edward Kennedy, but it turned out to be just some old drunk looking for the Costco Tire shop.. Bruce! Bruce Giardino from the body shop! I was so excited! I hadn't seen Bruce in years. He was shopping for his Italian Restaurant that he and his soon to be ex-wife own on Carefree. The Lovely Jules and I are trying to fit in a visit to the place this weekend. The story about how I came to know Bruce was kind of interesting and I thought I might share it with the 3 people that read my boring blog.. It goes something like this....

The year was 1980 and my friend Wayne and I were cruising Christown Shopping Center for no apparent reason when suddenly Wayne said, I know those girls in the Mustang, they work where I work! Wayne was the Head Butcher for a Fry's store on the other side of town. I never even knew they had head butchers, it seems that everything is so specialized.. I eventually started calling Wayne, Meathead, he seemed to like that. So there we were driving through the shopping center and see these two young girls that Wayne knows and suddenly we lose them. We cruise around some more, when I spot the two of them still driving around the parking lot in their Mustang. We, Wayne and I are driving Sharon's car. Sharon was Wayne's live-in girlfriend, now his wife. Sharon had a 1967 Mercury Cougar in mint condition that her father had restored for her, although in 1980, it was only 13 years old. It was primo and we were using it so Wayne could get new tires put on it. I yelled out, "There they are" and Wayne, not the brightest crayon in the box searches for them and tries to locate them from my exclamation. He's yelling where and I'm yelling, "over there on the left". He's yelling, "should I turn right here" and I'm yelling, "No, at the next right, not this one............ and we crashed into the Montgomery Wards building!!!

Both of us hit the windshield and there were little birds flying in circles around our heads! Two large eggs formed on both of our foreheads and we were laughing so hard it was hard to tell if either of us were hurt. This is all before they invented using the seat belts, which would have saved our swollen heads, but wouldn't have done much for her car that looked okay, but insisted on making only left turns.. It seems that we hit a planter in front of Montgomery Wards and we hit it low and although it bent the frame, it didn't do any noticeable damage to the car, but when you tried to drive it down the street, the tires squealed since they were cocked to the left due to the frame being a little shorter on one side..

Still laughing hysterically, Wayne looked at my swollen head and said, "What will we do"? Man, stuff flew out of the front seats that had been lost for years.. Old lipsticks and pens and pencils and nail clippers and change. That's one way to clean out your seats, but don't try it without the seat belts.. I told him I knew of a body shop near my house and we were pretty close. We spotted the sign that read Creative Auto Body and pulled in. Immediately the owner came out to see what all of the screeching was. He was a young guy around our age and we told him of Wayne's problem. With his mouth still agape, there was a long silence before Bruce spoke. He started with, "See that frame machine? I just bought it. It cost me $25,000 and I make payments every month on it and I don't put anything on it for less than $500". I watched Wayne's face drop. Bruce spoke again. This time with a big grin on his face and this is what he said. I've heard some stupid stories before and they're usually bullshit! But when 2 guys pull in with a cockamamie hard luck story like yours, I've GOT to listen. Then I usually just turn them down, but to be honest with you, those two lumps on your foreheads don't lie! I'll do it for free! Bruce and I became fast friends!

He put the car on the machine and stretched it back out to almost it's original size. At least it stopped squealing when you drove it. The following day, I got a call from Sharon and I was scared to death not knowing what Wayne had told her. She said, Mel. You know a little about cars, don't you? I said, sure Sharon, what is it? She said, Wayne took my car to get new tires on it yesterday and now it pulls real hard to the left. Still listening, she confessed that she questioned Wayne and his explanation was that when a car gets new tires, it's much like when a person gets new shoes. You have to get used to them. She said Mel, is that true? Now, from the nature of the question, you can see that Sharon and Wayne were meant for each other. I said, that's true of some brands of tires, what brand did he get you? She said, Firestones. I agreed that Firestones were known for that. Everyone seemed happy...


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The New Microwave Cometh...

Monday I got a call from Sears that the new microwave replacement was ready, that I had ordered last week from a gentleman name Aschmed that has been in this country long enough to learn that if you keep saying the same thing, over and over again and louder and louder, you are indeed selling. When I left there, I had paid in full for an item that I thought would be at their "will call" section as I've done this before with my water heater. But no, I was told they would call me when it came in, just to wait. I left having that empty feeling, similar to when you bet on the number 3 horse and the number 5 horse comes in.
Yesterday, the phone rang and the caller ID read 1-800 Service, so I didn't bother answering it. There was a long and involved message from a recording of a woman in Shaumburg, Illinois telling me that my item is ready at "will call" and I'd better get it, after all, we've got your money! I quickly called Julie, trying to catch her, as I knew she was in my area with her truck and was making a delivery. She was in a bad mood because of some political effort at the plant that she works out of, and said no in 5 or 6 different languages, all loud. I suspected today wasn't the day to ask her for any help.
I drove over to Sears with my little VW convertible, thinking somewhere in that car there's enough room for a microwave. I was wrong. Eventually, I laid down the front seat and stuffed the enormous box in there on it's side. With $2 and the help of a young man that was stronger than smart, I was on my way home. Did you ever drive with something blocking your vision on your entire right side? So you're only able to use the right hand lanes, I inched forward hoping a motorcycle wasn't trying to pass in the bicycle lane. When I got home, I lifted this thing out of the car and realized how heavy it was. I managed to get it to the scale and discovered it was 62 LB. How in the world was I going to hold it up with one hand and screw it in with the other. On the box, it said in bold print, " Do not try to install this item alone". Hmm.... Alone is all I have?
I thought for a few minutes and examined my options. Most people would have just waited until someone would be willing to help. In my case, that could be a long time. I decided to tackle it by myself. After all, I'm creative! I was the guy that figured out a way to even weigh the box! I tore open the box and was truly impressed with the contents, that by the way, Aschmed never showed me and I never thought to look at. It had a turntable and a shelf. I took out a bunch of things, anxious to get to the microwave itself. I was smart enough to turn over the box and lift it off of the unit and with all of the apparatus off, it was a lot lighter.
I had left the old bracket on the wall and it was a GE and I replaced it on purpose with a GE, so I figured there would be no reason to change their design, right? Wrong, it wasn't even similar. I literally was starting from scratch. I won't bore you with the minute by minute report, but let it suffice to tell you that it took me four hours of non-stop hammering, drilling, screwing and lifting. At one point I was actually thinking about calling the boy-toy from down the street. The 33 year old guy that lives with the 60 year old wealthy lady, 2 doors down. The problem with that was, he would want to start hanging around here talking about the time he installed a water heater for his aunt, which is his favorite topic, home repairs.
After drilling the appropriate holes and hoping for the best, I tried using Zoie's eating platform for a base in holding up this monster. It was useful when I removed the old one. This new microwave must have been a little taller because the platform was no longer usable. Then it was a case of paper towels that I had just bought at Costco, but they were too short. I went out to the garage for incentive and all I could find was 2 old Volvo car jacks that I thought might do the job, but they were not stable enough and designed for use on the street, not the stove. Finally, I used the paper towel case with the box the electric drill comes in for a proper fit and began drilling the top holes, in the wrong places naturally. After getting it pretty close to right, I screwed my microwave in place and looked at the mess I had created. It took an hour to clean that up...
Now, I told you all of that, so I could tell you this.. That night I went to bed about 11 PM. I was bushed, doing all of that physical work. Just not used to it anymore.. At about 12:30, I heard this God awful crash and only one thing went through my mind. From a dead sleep, I tore through the house to the kitchen, with my feet never touching the ground. In my mind the mental image had already formed. I pictured the cabinets having fallen, along with the new microwave, into the perfect, practically unused stove beneath it and now everything needed to be replace! But nothing, everything was intact. No fallen microwave and I never did figure out what the crash was, unless Zoie ran into the wall, because I found her in the living room with little birds flying around her head!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Sunday Ride...

Our weekend didn't turn out anything like we expected this week. The factory that Julie works for laid a sudden surprise on her on Friday. They needed 200 power supplies for a Monday delivery, as well as some 50 plastics and she couldn't find anyone to work. So, our Saturday at the zoo was cancelled and I was actually asked to help. Guess what? I liked it! It was line work and boring if I was to do it everyday, but I got to use power tools and do mundane work while we talked about a plethora of things. Everything from politics to sex to Big Brother to sex and so forth. Did I mention sex? The day went by quickly and although we didn't finish, we did knock a big chunk out of it by night time.

Bogie isn't doing so hot today. He was sick all night and I spent the majority of the morning cleaning up after him. I got up in the middle of the night, to find Bogie laying alone in the family room, somewhere he NEVER is at night. For ten plus years he's always slept where I sleep, I knew something was amiss. Around noon, I took the little convertible over to Julie's to help her finish up, but she said, "Screw it" and threw in the towel and decided she's worked enough. She threw on her Arnold Swartzenager sun glasses and hopped into the passenger's side and immediately started complaining about her ass getting burned.

We headed towards Wickenburg, a town about 45 miles from me, but quite a bit closer to Julie. Julie grabbed my arm repeatedly screaming I was too close to the car in front of me. I'd just look at her. The Lovely Jules is the worst passenger you could possibly find with her constant back seat driving. Today I figured out that I've been driving for a very long time and knew not to drive into the car in front of me. They taught me this right off. I guess Julie thought I was on my Maiden Voyage, It wasn't..

Here's another trick that the Lovely Jules has. She waits until we are going about 70 MPH with the top down and speaks out the passenger's window. When I ask her to repeat what she had said, she moves her fingers as if I'm deaf and indicating sign language. How endearing?

We arrived in Wickenburg and if you don't slow down, you'll miss it. Once you get there, you'll see the McDonald's and if you're still going 40 MPH, it's over! We were now on our way to Kingman which is just outside of Vegas. I suggested we turn around, Julie actually took her hands off of her eyes and asked where we were. We turned around and found a quaint Western Restaurant owned by Europeans, possibly the French. The food was good and priced fairly, neither of us were able to finish.

It seemed like I was driving all day and we headed back to town, stopping at a Chevrolet dealer that is an old friend of mine. I guess we missed him by 30 minutes, he had gone home.

On what could have been a pleasant ride home, Jules showed me one of her old highway tricks. We were travelling behind a large 18 wheeler, a tractor trailer, if you will? I know that tractor/trailers always brake before curves, to avoid jack-knifing. I doesn't mean they're going to stop. So here we are driving along behind this truck and we are a good 15 car lengths behind it. A curve in the road is approaching and the trucker turns on the brakes, just to slow down his trailer, so it doesn't try to pass him. Each and every time he would do this, Julie would squeeze my leg, as hard as she could and scream! Evidently, she didn't trust my sense of sight, she insisted on incorporating my other 2 senses, hearing and feel! For the rest of the ride home, I suggested she just cover her eyes, she did. She also shared with me that her ex husband pulled over more than once and ordered her out of the car... Today's events reminded me of the time I decided to go "off road" and Julie jumped out of my moving car. She takes this stuff seriously!

When we got back to Julie's, I was anxious to get home and see how Bogie was doing. I was pretty parched and asked to come in for a quick cold drink of water. I went into the house and my second home dog, Pawpaw was happy to see us. I sat down drinking my water and when I was between drinks, I put it down on the couch next to me. Then I kind of forgot about it and it spilled onto me and the sofa. My pants, underwear and shirt were literally soaked, as the Lovely Jules laughed on. She agreed to put them into the dryer for a brief drying of my briefs. So, as I stood there wearing nothing but a towel, I asked what I'm supposed to do while we were waiting, Julie screamed the reply, PLASTICS! So, I sat there doing plastics, wearing just a towel and only flashed her twice. The first time was my idea, the second time was hers!!! That crazy lady!


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Little Things in Life...

It's the little things in life that make me happy. This weekend, Lady Jules has invited her almost 3 year old granddaughter to come for the weekend, something I've been looking forward to. Listening to St. Jules for the past year has convinced me that this little girl is exceptionally bright and a bright spot on any day. I'm looking forward to getting to know her and enjoy her youth and spirit.
Here's another little thing that I found pleasing today. Unknown to a lot of people, I've been suffering from a dead battery on the car that I've been driving. The car is a 1997 Buick Regal GS, with a supercharger on the engine. Few people know what it means to have a supercharged engine, but this old man's car is probably faster than most of the Corvettes. I know, I have a Corvette too. I love nothing more that to approach a red light with a Honda with a kid driving, that has one of those wide, loud exhaust pipes as he revs up his little motor and takes off, as I past him in the dust that his little car has created. I guess I'm just a frustrated old guy living with a young mind.. Anyway, getting back to my little pleasure, the battery in my Buick has been rather on the weak side for some time now. I've been meaning to replace it, but I've seen them last 6 months after the first sign of going dead with daily use. I also have a battery guy, so going to the local part store and buying one would be an insult to the battery guy. Last night, I went to Julie's house to watch Big Brother with her, a show I get bored with, but Julie insists on keeping up with it. Instead of jumping the battery on the old Buick, I drove home in the Toyota that somehow became hers recently. I went back to her house this morning to get my Buick and drive to the lot to get my new battery that the battery guy dropped off and had a brainstorm. I suggested she drive me to the lot to get a convertible that I have down there and we'll have it to use while the weather is so great. St. Jules had a meltdown, telling me how she needs to work and doesn't have time to be driving me all over kingdom come and where will she park an extra car, this is not my car lot, it's her home! Well, I certainly felt like she told me, so I jump started the old Buick and took off for the lot and to get my new battery. This is the good part!
After Paul installed my new battery, the odometer on my old Buick, that has low miles, that wouldn't light up, lit up! I was told that to get it lit up again would cost in the neighborhood of $200 up. It's working for free! See my joy???

Monday, April 7, 2008

Unusual Discovery

I'm not a big fan of current magazines, but I was killing some time today at a local grocery store and literally came across this magazine cover and had to notice the similarity in resemblance. I thought I'd share it with you.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Day at the Zoo....

Lil Squirt
I drove home and stayed up late watching old movies after cleaning up a record breaking Great Dane explosion and finally went to bed around 3 AM. The mess that Bogie had accidentally done was a good 90 minutes alone. As he lives out his later life, he tends to lose control and last night he managed to hit the floor in two places, the scale on the floor that Randi left here, the wall, the throw rug by the back door and the back of the sofa. That's a lot of work for one dog.

Jules called around 11 AM after doing some personal things around the house to perfect her identity. We have been threatening to go to the Zoo for about 6 months and we never have the time or the weather or the kids to do that with. I've offered to rent us some kids, just for the event but she always says no. Today, we finally made it to the zoo. It was the Fort McDowell Casino and Zoo.

Neither of us had been to the casinos since the 90's and were looking forward to a smoke free environment. That was NOT the case. I guess because it's the Indian Reservation, they don't have to abide by state rules and as usual, it was a smoke filled asylum. The smoke hits you the moment you open the door, like walking into a smoke filled sauna. I think we started at the monkey house because as we walked in there were monkeys siting in chairs with markers in their hands and there was someone calling out letters and numbers, B-7 and someone yelled BINGO!

Holding our breaths and walking as fast as we could, we left the monkey house and saw a refreshment place. We were both kind of hungry and decided it would be a good place to regroup. We walked into the place and the nice lady asked how many. I said, just 2 and she replied $42.50.................huh??? We were looking for a taco, not a complete dinner. I guess we were at the "all you can eat" restaurant and that was NOT what we wanted. She directed us to the sit down place a few hundred yards away that featured Italian Cuisine, not what we wanted again, but were able to find a soup and sandwich selection that did the trick. I excused myself to the restroom and encountered one of those sinks that you cannot turn on, but you're supposed to move your hands under the faucet to get it to run. I stood there rubbing my hands together for quite some time before the gentleman next to me mentioned that the one at the end works. Embarrassed and still rubbing my hands together, I moved to the last sink.

After dining, we went to the pachyderm section, from the looks of some of the people and Julie tried her luck at the ATM machine, but couldn't seem to win! It wanted to charge her $15 to get any dough out at all! We got in line at a cashier that was able to explain through her more than heavy accent that something was wrong, HELLOOOOOOO! I had some cash, but Julie was the LAST person in the world that I wanted to give it to, that woman is CRAZY! She talked me out of $100 and the gambling began. Although Julie lasted longer than me, we both left there with our pockets inside out, with our heads down and feeling dejected. Having had enough of the zoo, we headed to beautiful Fountain Hills to suck up some of the wonderful landscape and photograph the fountain. It turned out to be a longer ride than I had figured and when we finally got there it was just before 4 PM and they were having some sort of a benefit for homeless puppies, although we never saw a dog. They did have 2 horses left, but we couldn't fit them into the Toyota, so we waited for fountain to do it's thing. We walked along the park area for a time and asked a lady that was sitting alone on a park bench if we could sit there, not wanting to invade her space. She said yes, burst into tears and walked away. I guess it was just that kind of a day!
A kind passerby told us that the fountain went off on the hour and it was 11 minutes until then. Julie got ready with her camera and was sitting at the water's edge in anticipation of the burst of water. Right on the hour it went off, but it only lasted about 5 seconds and I could pee more than it squirted! We drove all that way and waited and intruded and poof, nothing! We headed home. It was one thing to lose at gambling, but how could we lose at the fountain too???...........and what was with that woman crying???