Friday, October 31, 2008

You're Welcome and Fuck You Too!

I walk my daughter to the bus stop every morning. Its on the corner three houses away from mine. Today started like any other but as I passed my elderly neighbor's house I spied him out of the corner of my up on his garage roof. Its detached from his house. He's always tinkering around and to see him on his garage is not a surprise at all. Evidently, he has a wood stove in there for heat and it was smoking so he must have been farting around with the chimney or something. Suddenly, he slipped, lost his balance, bounced once and fell out of my view as I heard his body hit the ground from about 9 feet up. There was a heavy frost last night and he must have been on ice.

I sent the Little One on to the bus stop as I saw my other neighbor already their with his kid and I promptly jogged around the corner of the building to see the man on his side not making any sound. I thought he might be knocked out, or worse. He was conscious but dazed and I could clearly saw a huge welt on his forehead. God knows what other ailments the poor man suffered.

"Are you okay?" I anxiously asked him. "Sir, are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm okay. I just need to lie here for a bit" he replied.

"Well let me get your wife" I said.

"No! Don't you fucking go and upset her". I'm thinking, dude, I'm not the one who fell off the roof.

"We really need to get somebody. Can you get up?" I asked.

"Just let me be."

"Well, I'm not going to just leave you here."

"Who the fuck are you?" he yelled at me. It was more of an accusation than a question.

"I'm your neighbor from across the street. I saw you fall as I walked by and I really think you need some help"

"I said just leave me be!" he snapped.

"Fine!" I said as I walked out from the garage. Of course I had no intention of just leaving him so I went on his door and summon his wife.

I knocked and knocked but nobody answered, even though her car was there, so I dialed 911 on my cell phone. I couldn't just leave the man prone on a chilly morning. I've had limited contact with him in the past and he might be an asshole, which I suspect, or he might not be of right mind because of the knock to his noggin. In any regard, I couldn't, in good conscience just leave him as he requested.

After I got off the phone I went back behind the garage to find he had gotten himself up, put on his hat and glasses and he was all hunched over and supporting himself against the fence.

"You should really stay there until you get checked out. I can see the big bump you have there. Did you hurt anything else?" I said thinking the whole time this guy could have hurt his spine.

"I tweaked my back." he groaned. Well Duh!

"Well, just stay still" I told him "I called emergency services. At least get checked out. You can always refuse their service." Let them deal with it I though to myself.

"You mother fucker! I fucking told you not to call anybody! I'll be fine!" If he wasn't such a wreck, I thought he might punch me. Then he paused. Then said, "Listen I appreciate your concern. Just leave me be!" he said with a hint of more gentility.

"Well, deal with them when they come. I'm not about to leave you here."

After another pause he asked "Can you help me get into the garage?

"Now you want my assistance after how you spoke to me? After how you treated me?" I asked him incredulously. "You should just stay still until they arrive. Get yourself checked out."

That wasn't good enough for him, but I was in deep anyway so I helped support him as we walked about halfway around the garage at which point we saw the EMT walking down the long driveway. I have to say, in the brief time I was there, he treated her a lot more civilly than me as she started in with some questions.

He's an old-timer. Late 70's I'd guess. The rugged sort and no doubt old school. He probably doesn't go to the hospital for any reason and he was pissed. But even still, I did what I had to do.

I asked if the EMT if she needed anything from me and she didn't, so I left. I was still quite angry at the ingrate but know I did the right thing even if he did eventually get up on his own. I was, however, a bit worried about my daughter since I kind of abandoned her in my haste and the bus had come and gone in the meantime.

I went down to the neighbor who stood with her and his son as they boarded and knocked on his door to try to explain. He and his wife couldn't believe what had happened even though I left out what a dick the guy was. They were very nice about the whole thing and understood completely.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Bit O' Ranting

We've recently had two (1, 2) children accidentally kill themselves with guns in this state. One was two and one was eight. The eight year old shot himself with an Uzi of all things under the supervision of an instructor and his father. I can't imagine the pain the parents must feel with these situations, but who the FUCK thinks letting an eight year old shoot an Uzi is a good idea? Its insanity.

I wonder during that time, how many people, outside of law enforcement, have protected their own lives successfully with a gun. I bet its zero. I don't know about you, but it seems like a shitty trade-off to me. If golf clubs killed children every day in this country, I'd certainly give up the sport before I risked something tragic happening to my own child or someone else's. But so many idiots have to have a gun in their nightstand? And with kids in the house? Or, they see fit to take them to a gun club to show them how to shoot an Uzi? Am I way out of bounds here? What are we coming to? Its beyond insanity.

And how come so many of those that are most adamant about prohibiting a women's right to free choice - yet oppose the programs designed to help people who have children in hardship - are so vocally pro gun and have no problem with the death penalty. I guess women's choice is bad, but state sanctioned murder to teach people that murder is wrong is okay. Makes no sense to me. You can't buy Lawn Jarts at Wal*Mart because they're dangerous. But you can buy a gun. Why? To protect some archaic Constitutional "Right" at the expense of lives of children and other innocents?

And now, like it or not, you probably know who I'll be voting for. And I'm of no mind to apologize for it either. Despite all of which I've ranted about won't change its definitely time for some change. A fresh face. Fresh ideas. A new path. Aren't we tired of this shitty one? More war, more arrogance, more torture, more unemployment, more housing depreciation, more pissed off enemies and allies and continued crappy economy seems not the answer to me. If I have to pay a few more dollars in taxes to make this country better, I'll do my part. Because those that promise to lower taxes as they escalate national debt, aren't do us, or our kids, any favors.

I keep hearing we'll become Socialists. Give me a break! That's simply scare tactics and nothing more. The richest nation in the world ought to be able to come up with a few bucks to help some sick children, or give its own needy citizens a "hand up"as long as we can come up with $1 billion a month to blow up and rebuild Iraq and nearly $1 trillion to bail out banks and finance companies that give millions of millions to their top executives.

I know I'm kind of all over the place on this post. In any event, make sure to vote - even if you don't vote for my guy. Even if you think your guy might win in a landslide, or lose by a mile, or it won't make a difference - get out and vote. Apathy is dangerous and millions of people in this world would give their life (and have) for the right to elect their leaders. Sixty-four percent voted in our last presidential election. That's inexcusable to me.

We, as a nation, are better than that.

I will now leave my lecturn.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I got a flu shot the other day and the lady either broke the needle off in my arm or used a letter opener. It friggin' kills and its all black and blue!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

My First Car

My first car - a 1973 Chevy Vega - except it was red and a hatch-back (pix of non-souped up ones are hard to find on the internet). I completed it with a Vice-Grip-replaced window crank, pin-stripes, Pioneer Super-Tuner III Stereo system (digital display which was sooooo cool in 1982 - worth more than the car, no doubt), wire clothes hanger muffler support and simulated sheep-skin seat covers.

What was your first car?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What the.....?????

So I'm sitting in my house the other day, reading the paper and generally minding my own business and I hear a sound that was something like a large-ish animal running through my attic.

My first thought was "shit!". I didn't want to deal with a pest of any sort.

Then I realized the sound was moving down the roofline not across it (my living room has cathedral ceilings).

My next thought was.....what the hell was that?

The sound stopped at the edge of the roof but it seemed like whatever ran down jumped off. Its probably over 9 feet up, so it would be bit high for something to jump off and as I quickly glanced out the picture window I noticed the Rhododendron was shaking, as if something reasonably heavy landed in it.

However, my dog, who sits on the back of the couch and stares out that window constantly had virtually no reaction. And he would if it was an animal since he usually barks at leaves blowing across the lawn half the time.

I sprang outside to investigate and heard crows caw-cawing as they flew around over my house.

So, my next thought was.....did one hit the roof and roll down? Were they fighting? Its really not steep enough an injured or dead one to tumble (5/12 pitch).

Staying in the mode of Sherlock, I looked in the bushes and found it: A stale hunk of Italian bread, about six inches long that apparently the crows were fighting over. It must have sprung free and tumbled down the roof and into the bushes.

I laughed and chucked it into the middle of the lawn. Five minutes later it was gone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Are You Priviledged?

I stole this from someone else's blog and I don't remember where I got it. If I'm violating some blogging ethics thing, then I'll apologize and take this one down. I found this interesting. Its a scale of privilege, I guess in relation to others. So I would love to see my readers (both of you - you know who you are) give it a shot someday when they want to blog but have no ideas (like me, nearly daily).

My "yesses" are in bold.

1. Father went to college.
2. Father finished college.
3. Mother went to college.
4. Mother finished college.
5. Have any relative who is or was an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children’s books by a parent.
10. Had [extracurricular] lessons of any kind before you turned 18.

11. Had more than two kinds of [extracurricular] lessons before you turned 18.
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs (I wish!).
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs (my dad gave me a gas credit card - that's something, right?).
16. Went to a private high school.
17. Went to summer camp.
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18. 19. Your family stayed in hotels on vacation (motels count? HoJo's anyone?)
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them.
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child (sort of -- cost my mom $150 in the early 60's, but I had seen his art elsewhere and she still has the painting to this day).
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.
24. Your parents owned their house before you left home (not outright - it was mortgaged).
25. You had your own room as a child (at times).
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college (HELL no!).
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.
31. Went on a cruise with your family.
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
34. You were unaware of how much heating/electricity bills were for your family (but requently heard "I'm not heating the neighborhood you know. Close the damn door!)

Ten? Is that good? I can't complain. We didn't have everything and anything. But we had food and clothes (even if they weren't always the clothes I wanted)

Monday, October 20, 2008


Yesterday morning I was doing a crossword puzzle and having some coffee before embarking on the ridiculously fun chore of leaf mitigaton (sarcasm people) and Mrs. N. walked in talking about something she had read about "you so might".

I didn't really catch the jist of the conversation because my mind was busy processing "you so might" and trying to figure out what the hell she was talking about. Then it dawned on me, she was talking about "Yosemite" Park.

I laughed and corrected her and she laughed at herself about what a dork she was. She also said not to tell anyone, but I am; at least here. Simply couldn't resist.

Naturally, my next inclination was to ask about "Yousomight Sam". Remember him? The short red-mustachiod cowboy who went up against Bugs Bunny periodically?

Anyway, don't tell anybody I told you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lessons Learned

Speaking of 15.......

When I was 15 I made a new friend. Jim. He was a terrifically funny and gregarious guy whom I met during Freshman high school soccer practice. I'm always a bit shy at first around new people yet he had a very easy way with them, and me. We became fast friends and quickly became inseparable. Together we thought we were the two funniest people ever and I still laugh about some of the things we did. (He was my partner in crime for this episode).

He was however, extremely moody and some days he could be downright mean to me. Plus, he would blow off plans and not return calls and it all started to get real old after a few years, so I began distancing myself from him before we went off to separate colleges. We still have mutual friends and we talked a few times in the '90s but we've grown apart. Other friends of his and mine have expressed the same frustration with him that I experienced so I was assured it wasn't "just me". He was just tough to be friends with even though he could be an absolute blast at times!

I learned something valuable from him shortly after meeting him, though. I learned generosity. At 15, 16 or 17 I remember going out with him to do something and he would treat. Or, he'd show up at my house bearing something to give me. Perhaps it was a sweatshirt he had that was cool, or he might buy me a music cassette. This was new ground to me. I never treated a friend to anything or showed up with a gift for no reason. Frankly, it hadn't occurred to me.

I feel I'm a generous person to this day as a result of knowing him. I'm apt to put money in the box at the register give a few bucks to someone down and out on the street. I'll treat friends to drinks or pay more than my share for a meal. Over the weekend when I went to the Jets game, I volunteered to drive and refused my buddy's help to pay for gas or tolls. Its just kind of how I've become, maybe to a fault.

I don't think that was in my nature, though. I think it was a learned thing and I appreciated being on the receiving end so I sort of adopted it as my own. It suits me fine, in any event.

In college I made another set of new friends that I have to this day. I learned a lot from my new friend John at that time . I think of him as a brother and know with every ounce of my being that there is nothing he wouldn't do for me if I asked. As a result, I would do anything for him if he asked. And he's asked. I've lent him significant money for a down payment on a truck when he hurting for a vehicle and needed one for a new job. I knew with him, friends and family always come first, and he'd do everything in his power to pay me back. Not for a second did I ever worry about not being paid back and he asked I would have forgiven the debt. But I also knew he would never ask.

John was the first friend (only one, I guess) to say "I love you" to me. It wasn't wasn't some drunken joke about being my butt-buddy or anything along those lines (although we've joked plenty about such things). It was direct and it was sincere and it opened my eyes as a 21-year-old-know-it-all such as myself. I had no problem saying it back to him in the sincerity with which he said it.

I noticed he never had a conversation with a member of his family without saying he loved them. Shortly before I met him, his father used John's social security number for some business and John ended up with a $6000 tax bill when his dad got sick. John paid it and never held a grudge against his dad even though his dad was obviously taking advantage of him for whatever reason.
"He's my father" was his response when I said mentioned how screwed he got. I think that's way out of bounds and I could never go that far, but that was John.

Having said that, to a lesser degree than the last example, I learned an openness with my own brothers and family and friends for that matter. Maybe its just the way it is in other people's lives but it was something I had to learn. Its a lesson and a gift that he gave me that I'm not sure I would have learned if I never knew him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Al Bundy

I wasn't sleeping great last night so I got up and channel surfed for a bit before settling on Married With Children on TBS. I always found the show funny and remember that when it was originally run it had a disclaimer about adult material even though now one can find it in the late afternoons during prime kiddie viewing hours.

But I digress.

Anyone marginally familiar with the show remembers the father's, Al Bundy, life hasn't turned out like he had hoped so he is constantly living in the past by reminiscing about his "four touchdown game" from high school. Sadly, and comically, he looks back at that moment as the pinnacle of his life. Its a recurring theme in the show.

The pinnacle of my life, thankfully, wouldn't have anything to do with athletics (marriage, family, child would win that category) but I was pondering that perhaps the pinnacle of my athletic life was at 15. Since then I've been a part of two championship softball teams and I've been in the local newspapers for some moderate softball success - all rewarding in itself --- but I think back fondly to being 15 year old athlete.

In the fall right after my birthday, I was selected to be on a traveling all-star soccer team. Soccer was never my love but I played because I liked it, was good at it, and it was my dad's game. He of the 1950 High School State Championship team. Anyway, around Thanksgiving that year we had a big game a few towns over that was actually in a mini stadium. The place held maybe 5,000 people and our little travel team put perhaps 700 in it. I remember the nice grass and perfectly flat, smooth playing surface with its dead-straight lines and beautiful white net goals.

Selfishly, I guess, I don't actually remember the result. I think we won, but I definitely know I scored! Keep in mind I was a fullback and my goal that day was struck from just inside the midfield line. I only had a few goals in my life since my job was defense, but on this big stage, with a large part of my family there (grandmother even), I scored. A big swooping blast found its way over an out-of-position goalie to the back corner of the net.

The accolades afterwards had me beaming wide and my father was so psyched up that there was something I never had the heart to tell him: I was merely trying to hit a streaking forward with a crossing pass! I missed it a bit to the right and luck was with me and it found the net. Mostly accidentally.

A great day, personally and combined with being selected to the All Star team therein completes part one of my glory days.

Come Spring, it was expected, of course, that I would play Spring soccer. I was all signed up and drafted to a team. I noticed a try-out sheet for Alumni baseball though. I wanted a last shot at baseball. I played when I was 8 and 9 but didn't deal well with the frequent failure of the sport so I left it. However, over the years it became more and more my true love. So I went and tried out for Alumni baseball and got drafted (I think everybody made a team, although I'm not positive). Anyway, that involved telling my dad I wouldn't play Spring soccer, which he had already signed me up and paid for. It was tough, but he was cool about it.

The game scared me. I was scared to fail and nervous as hell. I was scared about how much more talent I perceived the other kids to have since they had been playing 6 or so more years than me, but I LOVED it.

While I wasn't a polished player in any respect and despite not being the biggest kid by a longshot, I had raw power and hit a lot of home runs and extra base hits (I also struck out a lot). Plus I had a strong arm (this before my partially torn labrum of course) so I pitched as well. The season went by quickly and I had a blast! In the end, we won the championship. I still have the trophy!

So, while I've had a great deal of fun in my athletic endeavors, the age of 15 remains my Al Bundy moment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How I spent my Sunday

I spent my Sunday with my buddy at the Jets game. Clear skies and 70-something degree temperatures hardly scream "football" but it was awesome! Jets won 26-14 and we had great seats.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Anniversary Trip

I believe she was truly surprised when we got to the airport and found out we were going to Las Vegas.

We stayed in the pyramid spa suite at the Luxor complete with hot tub by the windows overlooking Las Vegas.

We had a nice (albeit pricey) dinner, gambled, toured the city and took a tour to the west rim of the Grand Canyon.

It was romantic. It was adult. And it was fun! But too quick. Now we're back to the real world.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Double Secret Vacation

I'm off on my ultra secret anniversary trip with the wife this weekend. I'm sure I'll post details when I return, but as of now, it needs to stay classified.

Can I trust you?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hockey III

She was WAY better last night. I was so proud of her for continuing to try I practically had tears in my eyes. She shuffled around but didn't fall 1/10 as much as the first time and it began to look something like skating. It was only her second time! In my opinion, and perhaps I'm just a jaded father, she has exceptional balance, and one has to think that will pay off eventually.