Monday, December 29, 2008

That's Just Wrong, Page 16

Take a good look at this picture. Go ahead; I'll wait.

Tonight, Ron and I went to Sam's Club after dinner. I shop Sam's Club the exact same way each time I'm there. I go up and down all of the aisles on the left, across the back and then up and down all of the aisles on the right. I pretty much stay out of the middle of the store.

The last aisle on the right comes through the candy aisle and then we go over to the cash registers. As I'm walking through, looking if anything catches my eye, here is what I see.

Middle shelf, left to right, is Double Bubble bubble gum and York Peppermint Patties. Top shelf, left to right is Fruity Snacks and on the right is Imodium. Yes, Imodium. You know, the anti-diarrhea medicine?

Now, I understand merchandising to a point. I know that in the grocery stores near the pork roasts I will find sauerkraut. By the cereal will be some bananas. I get it. But for what reason would someone stock the Imodium in the candy aisle? I mean, for real. If you were looking for Imodium at Sam's Club would you think to look in the candy aisle?

I think we can all agree . . . That's Just Wrong!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Stupidity Should Be Painful - And It Was

Yesterday I was stupid. Ok, that might not be unusual for me, but I was more stupid than usual! And, this time it was painful.

I was making pork chops for dinner last night. I was pan frying the pork chops just long enough to brown them and then they were going into the oven. I could only fry two chops at a time. As one pork chop came out of the pan, I went to put another one in the pan. I had the raw pork chop on a fork for the transfer to the hot pan and PLOP! The chop fell off the fork and into the pan and the hot grease flew everywhere. Considering the hot grease got me from head to toe, I ended up VERY lucky. I have a small burn on the top of one of my feet and that was my only injury.

As I was cleaning myself up and I realized just how much grease I got on me, I am amazed, and truly lucky, that one small burn was the only injury.

So, here I am, taking inventory of the damage and the worst part is that I have grease ALL over my favorite blue sweater. As soon as I finished with the chops, I ran upstairs with my bottle of Dawn dish washing liquid (it is a de-greaser after all) and my sweater and my one sock are now soaking in one of the bathroom sinks.

My concern is what if the grease doesn't come right out? How am I supposed to get grease out of my favorite sweater?? Any suggestions would be welcome.

The good news of this story though is the pork chops. This is one of my favorite meals and I don't cook them often because mine never come out that well; always too dry. This was the exception though. These were the best darn pork chops I ever made! I paid a price for them, but they were very good.

Next time I'm working with hot grease though, I'm wearing an old t-shirt and not my favorite sweater.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Major Reward

It is now Ron's turn!

His largest client was on a conference call with Ron and Ron's company, talking about how the service has been in the last quarter. Ron has not only met the client's goals, but exceeded them by leaps and bounds. To say the least, they are thrilled with Ron. Then again, what's not to be thrilled about with Ron?

After this conference call, the VP of Ron's company called to give him the company's attaboy for making a very large client very very happy. To show their appreciation, they told Ron that he should take me out for a very nice dinner and expense it! Dinner is on them! Hey, I'm just thrilled I am able to share in his reward!

So, Saturday night, I have a date with my boyfriend. We have reservations at one of Ron's favorite places, Pier W.

Thanks to Ron's company for footing the bill for dinner. But more importantly, way to go Ron on a job well done! As if you could do it any other way.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Phil Had An Idea

Yes, Phil had an idea. And, it was a good one, too!

Phil was nice enough to take me for a few groceries last week. One of the things on my list was a box of cake mix. I don't bake cakes very often, but I do like to have a mix on hand just in case I want one.

There we were in the boxed cake mix aisle and I was trying to make a few wise choices. A good yellow cake is never a bad choice; check. Hmm, lemon cake? Hey, one of my personal favorites; check. Then Phil pointed out a box: strawberry cake. Hmm, this would normally never make my top 10 list of cakes mixes to buy. However, Phil seemed interested in it so I thought what the heck. Phil should be allowed to choose dessert once in awhile too! We also chose the strawberry cake mix.

The more I started to think about this the more it was intriguing me. Strawberry cake with Mom's chocolate icing. Hmm, almost like chocolate covered strawberries? By last night after dinner, I couldn't take it any longer. As soon as dinner dishes were done, I started in on the cake.
Ron was nice enough to mix the frosting for me so we all had a nice late night snack! Don't knock it until you try it. And by the way . . . darned good idea, Phil!


Monday, December 01, 2008

I Am Thankful

Thanksgiving weekend. A time to give thanks. And, yes, I do have a lot to be thankful for.

Let's start with the big day itself; Thanksgiving Day. I am thankful that brother Jim made the drive out here to Ohio to join us for dinner! Since Jim was willing to do all the driving, the least I could do was make one of his favorite meals. Instead of turkey with all the trimmings, we had ham! Before you start to laugh, my ham was absolutely the best ham I ever made! I didn't do anything differently than I usually do when cooking a ham but this baby was the bomb. A good day of family and laughs and good food. Can it get any better?

Yes, it can, with another entire Thanksgiving dinner with more family!

Saturday we headed over to Michael and Mary Jane's to join in their family celebration. Hey, like I need another excuse to put on the feed bag, especially when I wasn't the one cooking it!

Ron provided his famous ranch beans, vegan style, and I went and spent all day over a hot oven baking a couple of pies. Ok, I lied. I had Phil drive me to Mama Jo's Pies and bought a couple of pies! But, if anyone asks . . . I slaved all day, ok?

The young ones of the family were in overdrive, and Papa and Grandma were in heaven in the midst of the chaos! Since Noah and Grady just woke up from a nap around the time we got there, it took them a little while to feel the warm fuzzies in a house full of adults, but they warmed up soon. Isaiah and Evan were everywhere and giving love to us all! I hope when they grow up, they carry with them the happy memories that we all have of having holiday meals with the family. Lots of people, lots of food and lots of love.

Yeah, it was a good weekend.

So, Thanksgiving. What am I thankful for?
  • Ron
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Large print books at the library
  • Vicodin (for which I am VERY thankful)
  • Pomegranates
  • Light traffic days
  • Yellow finches eating from our bird feeder
  • Foot rubs
  • Sitting on my front porch on a nice day
  • Halushki and Cabbage
  • www.fark.com - curses to you, Michael J for teaching me this one!
  • Laughter
  • Kitchen curtains
What? Kitchen curtains? Ok, this is only a partial list as I am thankful for so many things. And, after being in the house for five years now, we finally put up kitchen curtains! Ok, Ron put them up, but I supervised! I supervised him installing the rods and I supervised his hanging the curtains. If I do say so myself, he did a great job!

Cute, huh? And, as a cutesy detail, there are little grape clusters covering the loops that you put the rods through. Is this just too cute or what?


Ok, I happen to love these curtains. Good thing they are hanging in my kitchen!

Last but not least, today is my anniversary. December 1, 2001, I moved to Ohio. I only lasted six years in Houston and here I am seven years now in Ohio! What's next? Time to move yet?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Now That's An Allergy!

I've written before about recently finding out that I'm allergic to cats.

We figured it out when we were at our friends' house and upon coming home, my eyes were red and watery and puffy, plus there was an air pocket on my cornea. It was crazy!

Going to California last Christmas, my sister Cathie did her best to de-catify her house and keeping the cats far away from me. That worked until Christmas Eve when she and brother Phil exchanged gifts of stuffed cats. Not real stuffed cats, but like stuffed teddy bear kind of cats. No real fur or cat parts were used.

Playing with their Christmas presents, I had an allergy attack. I had to go shower, then stay in my room after a dose of Benedryl trying to get the swelling down.

Tonight was an all time high.

Ron and I went for Chinese food for dinner. Coming back from dinner, we drove by a pet hospital that had a sign in front "Kittens available for adoption". HEY! Who doesn't love a cute cuddly kitten? I half heartedly joked with Ron that we should go adopt a kitten. He promptly said no. So, I countered with how about adopting two kittens? Again, his reply was NO! He reminded me that we are both allergic to cats! Ok, fine. I was sort of just kidding anyway.

Now, we've come home and my left eye went crazy. It again feels like someone threw sand into my eye. I've flushed it out to no avail. It's red, watery, swollen, and it has an air pocket on the cornea.

Yeah. That's an allergy.

I think I'm gonna take my Benedryl and just go to bed. Next person who mentions the word "C-A-T" to me gets a kick in the shin.

Nothing To See Here - Just Move Along

I know, I've been quiet. But, when you're not getting out much, there is nothing to report on a blog, phone call, smoke signal, etc.

Let's see what my excitement has been lately. The library. One of the guys will run me about once a week to my local library. I have my favorite sections in the library, lately which is the large print book section! But, I digress. I also have my favorite authors. So, when I'm in the library, I usually look through the mystery section and fiction section, mostly looking for my favorite authors. There is also a section in the front called "New Releases". Here is where I find new favorite authors!

Recently, I picked up a new book called Executive Privilege by Phillip Margolin. I whipped through this book in two days because I literally could not put it down. I highly suggest this book for anyone that is in to reading a good mystery. Mr. Margolin is reminiscent of John Grisham. If you like Grisham, you'll definitely like Margolin.

So, this is where my CDO kicks in. (CDO - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but in alphabetical order, the way it should be.) Since I loved this book, I wanted to read more by this author. I printed off a list of his books, in chronological order and have been working through the list through the library. He has written a total of 13 books, and I am on the sixth one. Like I said, I am now a big fan!

Aren't you glad you decided to read my blog today to read all about my new exciting adventures?!!

What else is happening in my world?

I am living vicariously through my siblings who are at opposite ends of the country as well as the weather spectrum. We go from my sister Cathie in California experiencing a heat wave that has her lilac bush so confused, it's blooming in November!

From Cathie we go to brother Jim in Pennsylvania, experiencing over a foot of snow last weekend. Ugh!

I know it's November, but I am going kicking and screaming into winter this year. I got up this morning, looked out the window (as I do every morning and evening) and saw a dusting of snow outside here in Ohio. I am NOT happy about it! I need to get over that quickly as I don't have any choice but to accept the fact that the snow is coming. I guess I don't have to like it, just deal with it!

What else? Since I am home, I have been doing a lot of cooking. I kind of like that part! I don't like the deciding what we're having every night, but once I've decided, I like the cooking part. Since we all know that cooking is not my forte, dinner has definitely been . . . shall we say . . . entertaining some nights! Take the spaghetti fiasco, I mean dinner, we had last week.

I am having a few issues with stretching any recipe that I used to use to feed two of us to now feed three of us. That sounds like it should be simple, but it's not. Phil and I are big left over eaters, but Ron has never been thrilled with left overs. I try to cook just what we're going to eat for dinner. That is trickier than it sounds. We ate that spaghetti for a week! I'm trying, Ron, I am!
Another thing that comes to mind when talking about all of this cooking is that I am my Mother's daughter. So many things I do are because that's what Mom did.

I made kielbasa and sauerkraut one night and Phil's comment was that the sauerkraut was not cooked the way he was used to eating it, but it was really good. Hmm. It's the only way I know how to cook sauerkraut and I happen to love it that way!

The other night I made a pot of Mom's chicken soup. For anyone in my family, one of the treats of having this soup was that Mom would put carrot chunks in the soup, she would take a little broth out of the soup into a smaller pan and cook potatoes in the broth. Then, at dinner, you'd take a few carrot chunks, a few potato chunks, a little salt, a little butter, and mush it all together. Then, add some noodles into your bowl and viola! Smash carrots, potatoes and noodles! Hey, quit laughing. It's a family favorite over here! After a bowl of this, THEN you'd have a regular bowl of soup. Ahh, happy memories.

As I was making the soup, I took out some of the broth and was cooking the potatoes in the broth. Then it hit me. Why in the hell did Mom do this? Why do we not just cook the potatoes in the soup? Why cook them separately? Does anyone know the answer to this question?

Regardless of the answer, whenever I cook potatoes for smashed carrots, potatoes and noodles, I'm doing them in a separate pan. Just like Mom.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I've Been Here Before

I finally got the results from my MRIs.

The lower back turned out to be ok and is healing on its own. The problem in my mid back however is not ok.

I have two herniated disks. One is very small and not believed to be causing any problems. The other one however, is another story. If anyone has any anatomy knowledge, the herniation is at T8-T9.

You know, I've been down this road before. I had a herniated disk before and I suffered with it for 10 years before I finally had the surgery to fix it. I have visions of the past running now through my head now and I don't want to go through that again.

The good and bad news is that the thoracic region of the back is a much riskier place to surgically correct since the spinal cord is not as pliable in this area than it is in the lower back area. So we will do everything we can to avoid surgery.

My next step will be a pain clinic. Possible solutions from the pain clinic will be spinal blocks again, however as with surgery, these are also more risky with the mid and upper back areas. There is also a chance of more physical therapy or a change in medications.

I went to a pain clinic in Westlake before and I know it is not the same as it was when I went there so I'm not thrilled about going back there for my treatment. I chose a pain clinic closer to the house but unfortunately, I can't get in until 12/3. So, I'm still researching other clinics to see if I can get in any sooner than that.

There we go. Back down the same road I've been down before. The doctor said the good news in all of this is that the back isn't broken. Yeah. That's some good news.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

One More Time

Yes, tonight was another one of those nights.

It started with a little beep outside. The kind of beep that an emergency vehicle emits just to let you know they are behind you. I heard that beep, looked out the window and was pleasantly surprised with the sight of an unmarked black SUV pulling over a black Lincoln right in front of our house! When I saw four men pop out of the SUV with bullet proof vest emblazoned with POLICE I knew we had won front row seats once again!

Ron and I ran downstairs (ok maybe not run, but a good brisk walk) and just stood in our front door watching the excitement. The police officers all had their hands on their guns while they got the driver out first and then pulled the passenger out a little more forcefully.

A thorough search was done on the car, including an officer flat on the back seat checking under the seats. The picture above was taken on Ron's phone and the picture below was from my camera. Both were taken from just inside of our front door.

Yeah, we need to move. Next excitement will be when they break down our front door because they have a wrong address! And, absolutely nothing has been in the papers about the last two incidents on our street, so I don't expect to find out just what this SUV full of officers was looking for. So much for the information age.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Nothing About Nothing

I try to be frugal. I buy in bulk to cut costs and I'm not afraid to buy generic or store brands. However, some things just have to be name brand.

Toilet paper is one of them. Another is macaroni and cheese. Specifically I only buy Kraft macaroni and cheese, white cheddar being my favorite. I'm bringing this up now because we had some of this as a side dish last night for dinner.

Now, I've eaten Kraft mac and cheese for as long as I can remember. If you can imagine the blue box in your mind, the instructions on the box state that you should push in the tab on the side and then pull the top off.

Years of eating Kraft mac and cheese. Not once have I ever been able to use my finger to push in that damn tab. I always have to use the stem part of the spoon to poke through that damn tab.

Is it just me? Can anyone else open that blue box with no problem?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Police Blotter

Yes, it's another Friday night at our house! And here is the picture proof of some of the police activity as seen from our front porch.

Ron and I were sitting in the computer room watching tv. I face the window and since tonight is such a beautiful night, we actually have the windows open. Outside of the window, I see a police car go by slowly with a search light scanning the fronts of the houses on our side.

The next thing I see is another car with no lights on pulling right in front of the next door neighbor's house and the officer getting out of the car. That's all I needed to see! Ron and I went downstairs to the porch to get a better look.

Before it was all over, there were five state police cars, at least 12 local police cars along with the paddy wagon. The neighborhood was suddenly full of the red and blue flashing lights.

Of course, I did the right thing and came back in the house to yell up at Phil that we were having a family meeting on the front porch. He was all about it as well. What in heaven's name would bring out the state police as well as local and unmarked cars?

We did see two or three young men handcuffed and taken from the house one or two down from our next door neighbors and put into the back of the paddy wagon. Next thing we know the helicopter comes in with the search light. This thing has been over our neighborhood with that darn search light for the last couple of hours. In case you couldn't tell, this below is a picture of the police helicopter!


We sat out there for quite awhile when one of the police officers was walking back to his car in our driveway to leave. Since he was right there and I was right there, I asked him what was going on. Talk about blowing smoke up my butt, he actually told me that it was a party that got out of hand. Hello? I've lived in this neighborhood for over five years. Especially with the windows open, if this was a party, it was the quietest damn party this neighborhood has ever seen. Yeah, we're not buying that one.

So, this activity we were able to watch from our own porch. The only bad thing about that was I had no tree to hide behind!
There are no more officers searching our backyards and it looks like they all packed up and went home. So, I don't think this was a party gone out of hand, but if I do find out anything about what happened, I'll pass it along. Don't count on it though, as the last activity that was complete with the SWAT van was never mentioned in the paper. Just another day in our neighborhood.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Look Closely

It's been a tough couple of weeks.

You'd think being out of work all this time would be a good thing. But I am so limited in what I can do, it's driving me nuts.

Speaking of driving, I can't. I tried to drive my car since it came home last week, but the manual transmission is giving me a hard time. So, I still depend on chauffeurs (thanks, Ron and Phil!). Not like we can go far, since I can't sit in a car for long. This is the perfect time of year to go for a ride to enjoy all of the fall colors but yeah, I can't do that.

Perhaps working in the garden, planting all the spring flowers I wanted to plant this fall? No, can't do that. I know! Playing POGO on the computer! No, can't do much of that either. I still have to pay someone to come clean my house since I can't do that either. Something is just wrong when someone tells you in your own house to move your feet, so they can vacuum. Yeah, that's kinda wrong.

I have developed a new respect for my local library. I'm there often. Reading is one thing I can do sitting up or laying down. My one joy in life right now? Large print books from the library!! Yeah, I'm old AND laid up! Hey, sometimes it's hard to read lying down when you have to look through a bifocal.

So, this has been my life lately. Therapy that doesn't seem to do crap and doing my best between a chair, a recliner and the bed.

However, I did have two MRIs yesterday. This truly was one of the worst things I've had to do physically in my life! I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I made the mistake of choosing an MRI facility without an open MRI. I didn't realize this was going to be as big of a deal as it was.

Lucky for me, I had the foresight to take a little help in the shape of a pain pill before I went. It wasn't much of a help but it was better than nothing. The MRI was a freaking tube about 6 feet long of which I had to fit INSIDE. Trust me when I tell you, there is more room in a coffin (appropriate analogy for the day) than there was in this freakin' tube for me. Perhaps if you are a skinny minny, this wouldn't bother you. But, if you have some meat on your bones like I do, this was as close to hell on earth as I ever want to see.

With back pain, the first challenge was getting me comfortable on the table. Once as comfy as I could be, they put the headphones on me. The machine is extremely noisy (especially when you are IN it) plus I was able to bring a CD from home to have some comfort while I'm in there. Then I was given my panic ball. It's sort of like a call bell for the nurse when you're in the hospital, but instead of having to find the button on top of the switch, any part of the ball would sound the alarm. If sounded, the techs would rush into the room with me to get me out of the machine. I tested my panic ball a few times, just to make sure it worked . . . it did. Then I tested it a few more times, again, just to make sure.

We started the MRIs with the upper back, so I had to go into the tube head first. I walked all around this thing before we started, trying to assure myself that I would be ok IN it. While laying on the table, I still thought I might be ok. Then the table started to move. I'm guessing I'm in the machine to just before the shoulders. The technician told me to close my eyes while she centered me in the machine. Ok, I'm calm, collected, all is ok in my world. Then she told me it was ok to open my eyes. HELLO?!?!?! The freaking top of the tube was only INCHES from my face! INCHES! As soon as I saw that, I started to panic. This was not going to be as easy as I thought.

Immediately, the two technicians with me started to talk to me, and put a hand somewhere on me to comfort me. They didn't want to bring me all the way out of the machine, but they wouldn't put me in farther until I was ok with it. So, they calmed me a little and let me catch my breath and then we'd try again to get me in this tube. To be honest, I didn't think I was going to fit.

My shoulders touched the sides of the tube. By the time we got lower, my arms were absolutely compressed to my body and I thought for sure I was going to be crushed in there. To absolutely be held in place was a frightening experience. With modern technology what it is, I can't believe we have to live with this inhumane machine. I knew the machine would be loud and I expected that. I heard what sounded like a dentist's drill followed by what sounded like a jackhammer. After that, it sounded like a fire alarm. Ok, that started a mild panic again. I waited to hear if they were running into the room after me, but no one was coming in. Then I thought maybe it was because it was the machine that was melting down and there could be a radiation leak so no one WOULD come in and I would just burn up in that damn machine. Trust me, it got hot in there when the scan was running. Finally, it ended and the techs came through the headphones telling me I was doing great and they asked me how I was feeling. I asked about the fire alarm and they told me that it was part of the scanning and to be expected. That allayed some fears but I wish they'd have warned me about that one. I was terrified in there for the thirty minutes of the first scan. It was the longest thirty minutes I can remember living through. Especially the last couple of minutes; there is a fan blowing air in to you (of course, I had that fan on full blast) and it is blowing up by where my head was. I had my hair balled up and under my head so it wouldn't get caught in the moving table, but one hair came loose and was blowing in the wind and of course, tickling my chin. You want to talk torture? I couldn't move my hand up if my life depended on it! Finally, a hand on my leg told me the first scan was over and they were bringing me out of the machine. AMEN!

They got me out and I'm telling you, I was about ready to kiss the ground. The tech told me I could have a break between scans while they reset the machine and I definitely took advantage of it. I headed out to the lobby where my chauffeur of the day, brother Phil, was waiting for me. I got a hug, a glass of water and a little sympathy. It was then time to go back in for more torture.

This time, they minimized the torture; they put me in the machine feet first. Going in feet first for my lower back scan, I didn't have to go in as far (I'm guessing) and instead of having my arms at my sides, I could put my arms up and over my head. That helped negate the helplessness feeling. I was in the machine until my head was just inside of the machine. Helped with the breathing that way too. Then again, after the first half hour, just about anything was better.

This scan did go a little easier. After my half hour this way, they pulled me out to shoot me up with some dye. Since I've had previous back surgery, they needed some contrast in case scar tissue was hiding anything. She put one needle in and blew my vein. Since she didn't get enough dye in before the vein blew, she had to stick me again. Not pleasant for sure. However, once the dye was in, the last of the scans took about six minutes and I was DONE. I never thought I would make it through all of that! But it was finally over and I was totally spent, emotionally and physically.

Now, today is my last day scheduled of physical therapy and Monday I go to the doctor to get the results of my MRIs. I do have a set of films here, but I can't make any sense out of them. I'll update when I know more.

So, there is my horror story for Halloween. Actually, I have another blog I need to write since our house has been a little more active than usual this week! But, that's for next time.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's New?

There hasn't been a lot to report on lately, so I haven't reported. I'm still hurting, I'm still not at work, physical therapy is kicking my ass, I'm not getting better as fast as I'd hoped. That aside, here's what else is going on around here.

My car is finally ready! I'm not sure I can drive my car yet, being a manual transmission, so Phil was nice enough to be volunteered to go with Ron and I to pick up my car and drive it back home for me. The car came home on Friday. It looked ok; but the back bumper does look a little different. It's hard to explain, but the bottom of the bumper is different. I am not saying it's bad; just different. The good news is that for the $4,000 it cost to fix my car, I got my car back after it had a good cleaning. Windshield is spic and span and it once again has that new car smell. Cheap at half the price, huh?

The three of us then came home Friday afternoon for some rest and relaxation. Ron and I were downstairs playing a little Wii pinball (the only Wii game I can do since the accident!) when eventually Ron needed a smoke break. He headed out to the front porch for a smoke when he immediately stuck his head back in the door to inform me of the "police activity" in the neighborhood.

Anyone who has read this blog knows that police activity isn't that unusual in this neighborhood, and when it happens, we are outside, front and center to view it. However, when I went outside to look for myself and saw the SWAT van, I felt we hit the jackpot and HAD to get a closer look!

I grabbed my jacket, and eventually all three of us ended up walking a little ways down the street to check it out. There were numerous police vehicles, including one specifically marked "Sergeant" and one marked "Lieutenant". Regular police vehicles had one block of our street blocked off from traffic. There were also a few unmarked cars parked inside and outside of the barricade. And, the best part of it all: the SWAT van right in the middle of the block!

As we were walking closer, we see that there are numerous police officers standing around, one of them is putting away a battering ram. So many things to see! Then the coup de grace was the officer stationed on top of the SWAT vehicle. Ok, I at first thought he was getting a good view of the target house. Then I noticed that this SWAT officer on top of the van, complete with rifle, actually had his back to the target house and was pointed out at US! Ok, maybe not US in particular, but US as in the crowd that had gathered to watch. What the heck was that about?

Ok, Ron explained that the sniper on the van was probably there to watch the backs of the other officers to make sure that none of us crazies were going to rush the officers. But c'mon! When's the last time you had a sniper looking your way with a loaded weapon in his hand? This is like four in the afternoon for crying out loud! However I was not taking any chances. I was keeping a big old tree between me and the sniper. I wasn't stupid! I was all about hiding behind a tree, no matter how guilty it was making me look.

The worst part of this all is I've been checking on line daily with the local newspapers and can't find out anything about what all this was about. You'd think with 10 or so police cars plus a SWAT van that this would make the local news. Oh well, I guess in our neighborhood, since there wasn't a bloody shootout, no harm, no foul.

Anyone wanna come over? Bring your own flak jacket.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Day One - Success or Failure

Monday was day one of therapy. I just can't tell you right now if it was a success or a failure.

My therapist, Kara, was very nice. We had a long talk about how I was injured, how my life is affected (the fact that I cannot play Wii at the moment was prominently mentioned and is now in my care plan as a goal!) and what my goals are for therapy.

All of this in mind, we were going to start the evaluation. I was started on a recumbent bike to get me loosened up a bit before the testing. The recumbent bike is just a bike with a seat with a back on it instead of just a little triangle to sit on to peddle the bike and you are in a bit of a reclined position instead of sitting up straight. Ok, it made me cry. But, not because of the motion but because of the pressure on my back. I am still sore to the touch. But, as I told Kara, I am committed to making this better and not suffering with back pain for 10 years like I did before. I will NOT go through that again.

I think she knew I was in distress on the bike so she stopped me after only a couple of minutes. From the bike, we went to the table to test range of motion. Laying on my back, she moved my legs to test range of motion. I was to tell her to stop when I was feeling pain. To be honest, I was surprised myself at what I thought was a good range of motion. My legs were feeling the pain of the stretch way before my back was feeling any distress.

From the range of motion, we talked about treatment. I was going to spend the rest of the appointment on what Kara called "something similar to a TENS unit". Well, I've been on a TENS unit previously (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) and this felt exactly like a TENS. And, the TENS never worked for me before but hey, this was a new problem so perhaps this would work now.

The purpose of a TENS unit is to send electrical impulses to parts of your body to block pain signals. It is not painful nor is it uncomfortable. You feel the electrical impulses and after a few minutes, the therapist adjusts the intensity because you stop feeling the impulses. She thought I'd go home and have a few pain free hours. Yeah, that didn't exactly happen that way, but I digress.

So, I was on the table with the TENS like unit attached to my back with an ice pack on top of that. (Ice is one of the few things that does help the pain.) I'm guessing I was hooked up 15 or 20 minutes. Once all of that was off of me, Kara went over some exercises I was to do at home before my next appointment on Thursday afternoon.

As soon as I got off of the table, I told Ron I felt very stiff. Maybe just the way I was laying on the table.

Later in the evening, I did all four exercises that were suggested. I was to do the exercises in a pain free range. However, none were too difficult. While laying on the bed, legs bent, feet flat on the bed, I was to take my knees side to side; no problem. Then, with legs straight, one leg at a time, I grabbed behind my knee and pulled my knee to my chest; again no problem. The next exercise was similar to the last, pulling the knee up towards my chest, but then raising my leg straight up while holding the back of my knee; yep no problem. Lastly, laying flat on the bed, arms across my chest, I was to tighten my stomach muscles and then push my lower back against the bed. I took it slow, never was in back pain while I'm doing them and thought I was successful.

Then this morning came and I can barely move. I immediately went downstairs and laid on the ice packs. I hurt more today than I've hurt in a week. Is it the exercises? The TENS unit?

One thing I feel is that this is not muscular. I still think my range of motion was good and the exercises went fine with no back pain. For some reason though, my back hurts worse; it hurts where it originally did and the pain has also moved upwards from there.

Does this mean I'm really f-ed up? Or is this just the dark before the dawn and it has to get worse before it gets better?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Where Did It Go?

I am an idiot some days. Ok, most days.

As I said in the previous post, I was put on a steroidal anti-inflammatory. The pharmacist that filled this prescription was thorough with me on the instructions for taking this medication. I guess this is an old medication, but the doctor felt that the old remedy may be just what I need. The best part of this anti-inflammatory is the dosing. It comes on a little card where you push the pills through the bottom.

I am to take the top line of six pills on day one. Check. I did that yesterday. Today I take the second line of pills, a total of five pills, taken in two installments. (is that the right word?) Then Friday I was to take line three, four pills, three on Saturday etc until I am down to the last pill.

My last installment for today's line was three pills to be taken after supper. I popped one pill out. Then the second. The third bugger is the one that gave me issues! I looked in my hand and it wasn't there. It wasn't still in the card with the rest of the pills. I started looking all around the sink area, on the floor, under and over the rugs, I can't find it. By the way, it's a little white pill. It's a good thing there are no pets here. They would probably find it immediately.

Brother Phil was upstairs in his room so I asked him for help. He came to the bathroom, flashlight in hand, and together we combed the room thoroughly looking for this little white pill. Nowhere to be found.

I'm not that up on many medications. But since this one had such a strict dosing schedule, I thought maybe one pill might be important. So, I called my Walgreen's pharmacist! I was lucky enough to get the same pharmacist that talked to me at length yesterday on this very pill. I explained to him what an idiot I am, what I did and now I can't find the pill.

I then asked him how important that one pill was. Should I just take four out of five today and then the four tomorrow and three the next day and on and on? Or, should I take one from tomorrow to make five today, and just keep stealing one from ahead to make the current day correct until I got to the day of one pill and just not take any? Did it really matter?

I guess it did.

There is one pill waiting at the pharmacy for me to pick up any time. At no charge. One pill. I can't wait to walk in the pharmacy tomorrow and admit I'm the idiot that lost one pill. One. At least this wasn't the worst blunder I've done!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I Think I Broke It

Well, the saga from the car accident is still not over.

My mid back has been hurting since the accident. It's an aching sort of pain, but it is continuous. I can sit up only for so long before it gets the best of me and I have to lay down. After I lay down for so long, I can't take that position any longer and I have to sit up again. It's been a viscious cycle.

Due to pressure from the Corporate office, I finally tried to go back to work on Tuesday with disastrous results. By the time I drove over an hour to the audit site, I was hurting a lot more than usual. I tried to work for a few hours and actually lasted about 4-1/2 hours before finally calling it a day and crawling home. As soon as I got home, I was on my ice packs. More about my ice packs later!

Wednesday was my appointment with an orthopedic specialist. I have had previous back surgery in 2002 so I was really worried that I reinjured something. However, the pain was not in the same place as before. My mid back hurts the most, but I do get occasional stabbing pains down really low on my back, just up from my tail bone.

Since I couldn't get in with my original surgeon until the end of October, I decided to take an appointment with one of his associates in the same practice. I think I made a great choice!

The new orthopedic specialist gave me a thorough exam and really listened to everything I had to say about how my pain is. He asked me what remedies I had tried and I told him the best was the ice packs. I had quit taking the muscle relaxants and the narcotic pain killers, and am sticking to ice, hot showers and Aleve. He was happy to hear that.

Previous to my appointment, I had contacted the hospital I was taken to after the accident and requested them to forward my x-rays and results to this new doctor. He received only the results, no x-rays. My lower stabbing pain he accepted what the report stated and called it muscle strain. Not too much to fret over since the pain comes and goes.

The mid back ache was another story. It wasn't addressed too well in the report so I had new x-rays done at his office today. The doctor is leaning towards the mid back problem being a compression fracture. It did not show up on the x-ray but the doctor doesn't think this is too uncommon. The vertebrae is shaped differently and not every fracture will show up on an x-ray.

Regardless, the doctor said the treatment would be the same with or without the fracture.

I was put on a five day dose of steroidal anti-inflammatories. As an added boost, I will start physical therapy on Monday. I am thrilled that he is not overly concerned with the injury and believes that we can make this better with the drugs and the physical therapy. I'm all for his plan of action.

The down side to all of this is, I am off work until at least 10/13. While I will never complain about time off, I will worry about paying the bills later. Work isn't happy with me, but after this appointment, they are finally more understanding that hey - I might actually be injured. Based on the crap I've been taking from them, I don't think they believed me.

So, there is my scoop on my injury. I am to rest and heal. Yeah, I was working on that already! I will anxiously await the therapy.

Now I have to give a shout out to my good friend, Ruth in Ripley New York!! Hi, Ruth!!

When I was first injured, I was talking to Ruth about the accident. I was telling her that the ER doc told me to apply ice packs to my back. Now, let me tell you about the old way I used to apply ice packs!

I own a couple of bags of frozen peas. Everyone knows how much I hate peas, but two bags of frozen peas makes GREAT ice packs! Whenever I get my migrains, one of those bags goes to the top of my head and one goes to the back of my head and viola! Relief! Well, that didn't work on my back. My back is sensitive to the touch so the peas were killing me. Then my good friend Ruth, came to my rescue.

Frozen kitchen towels.

Yes, frozen kitchen towels. You wet down a kitchen towel, fold it neatly to fit into a gallon zip loc bag and put in the freezer. When frozen, take out of the freezer, and put between back and recliner! Heaven, I'm telling you!

At today's appointment, when the doctor asked me what I was doing for self treatment, I said "frozen kitchen towels"! That was a head scratcher for him. Once I told him how well they worked, and why they worked (because they are flat towels and light weight and bendable and pliable even when frozen!) he was really intrigued. He asked for step by step details and how I froze the towels and how I applied them and he said he is going to recommend this to his other patients. He thought it was a great idea!

Speaking from experience, it IS a great idea! I feel the best when I'm lounged out in the recliner with two frozen kitchen towels between me and the recliner. Thanks, Ruth! My doctor thinks you're awesome!! My back thanks you too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Car Accident Update

Well, I'm still not at work yet. My back still hurts with parts of it still being sore to the touch. I don't think I can sit up in a chair all day yet.

We did run to see the car today and to get my stuff out of it. I was most concerned about my GPS. The GPS looks like it came through a lot better than I did!

All in all, about $3000 in damages to my car and it will be ready in about 10 days.

For how I feel, I was really expecting to see a lot more damage than this! You can't see clearly in this picture, but there are a few dents in the actual trunk hood, on the left just under the lights. That will be fixed, not replaced, and then I am getting another bumper. Really, it doesn't look like $3000 in damage to me! Or else that's a real testament to the Honda line.



We also stopped to get a look at the police report. Yes, she was cited for this accident. But, the surprising part of it all is that she wasn't driving a Ford! It was actually a Hyundai.

Well, perhaps in her heart she's a Ford driver. The car isn't in her name, but what I assume is her Dad's name. It is a college town after all.

Now I'm contending with phone calls. Brother Michael warned me just yesterday that ambulance chasers would be calling me. Sure enough, I had my first one today. A man named Woody called me (how can you trust a guy who's name is Woody?) and said he represented a Dr. named so-and-so. Dr. so-and-so wanted to offer me a free of charge 10-point chiropractic examination. After all, it could be a horrible case of whiplash, and if that goes untreated for too long, then permanent damage is sure to set in! My mind may be a little foggy from the pain pills, but I asked him to repeat just who it was he represented, and he hemmed and hawed and acknowledged that he worked for the chiropractor. I told him I would take his offer under advisement and call him back if I felt I needed his services. Suddenly he got very rude, said something like "fine!" and hung up on me! See? I told you that you can't trust a Woody!

Between Workman's Comp calling, my HR department calling and one more that said she represented the "doctors" involved in my care, no one seems to know what I'm supposed to do next. The crap hospital I went to gave me no orders other than to take it easy and to drug myself up. Well, that's what I've been doing. I figure if I can't sit up all day, I sure as hell can't go to work. Now one hand is checking with the other hand and we'll see what they come up with.

For now, it's been an exhausting morning and I need a nap.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ouch. That Hurt.

In case anyone missed my big story of the week, I was in a car accident on Friday afternoon.

I was working diligently at the audit site on Friday. About one in the afternoon, I decided to run out to the closest fast food restaurant my GPS could find me, grab a fast sandwich and get back at it. Yes, I used the GPS since I am not familiar at all with the town in which I was working. Wendy's was 1.4 miles away and so that was the winner.

I went into Wendy's, ate my lunch and then headed back to the audit site. The street that the audit site is on is a four lane very busy street. I was in the left lane at a dead stop, with my turn signal on, indicating that I was trying to turn left. Again, it's a busy street and I was sitting there for awhile, waiting for traffic to break so I could make that turn. The next thing I knew was BAM. I was smashed into from behind. The speed limit on this street is 45 mph and I never heard her hit her brakes before impact. Based on the fact that I was sitting there for awhile waiting for traffic to clear, I am assuming she was doing at least 45 mph and just smacked me. I don't know if she was talking on the phone, or if she was texting or even if she was driving a Ford. I do know though, that she was cited for this accident.

My car was pushed quite a ways forward as I could no longer see the driveway I was trying to turn into. My seat was now reclined at about 45 degrees and I was in so much pain I could barely breathe. I have had back surgery in 2002 and now that was all I could think about since my back was absolutely killing me. I had the presense of mind to take the car out of first gear and put it into neutral and pull the emergency brake. The only thing I didn't do that I should have done was shut the car off.

I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and dialed 911. I know I was near hysterical so they tried to triangulate my position. The dispatcher mentioned an intersection of two route numbers that I did not recognize. Luckily, I knew the address of my audit site, and since I was right in front of their property, I gave her the correct address. I was assured help was on the way. I guess "on the way" is a relative term when you're in pain. It felt like hours, but I'm sure it was just minutes.

The paramedics and the police showed up together. I was taken out of my car in a neck brace strapped down to a backboard and taken to the nearest hospital. As a public service announcement, if anyone wants to take you to Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna Ohio, don't go. That's all I'm saying about that.

They finally after over four hours gave me a pain pill and told me I was free to go. Nothing was broken, just bumps and bruises. Ron was there with me, so he helped me get dressed and we were on our way home.

I still am not sure where my car is or what the damage is. I guess tomorrow when the insurance adjuster is on duty I'll find out more.

I hurt in places I didn't know I had. When I was in the hospital, my back was my major and only concern. Between yesterday and today the rest of the owies came out. My collar bone hurts, my neck hurts, the base of my neck hurts, my shoulder and my elbow, my back is killing me; yeah pretty much everything but my baby toe on my right foot. It hurts.

The weird thing is I feel guilty for hurting. You see people after accidents and there are bumps, bruises, stitches, casts, something. I have nothing. There are no casts, no stitches, not even a lousy bruise. But that doesn't negate the fact that I can't sit, I can't stand, I can't lay down. All that without a mark on me.

The audit site was over 60 miles away. I was terrified every single day of the drive over there and back home. People out there are idiots and I see evidence of this every day. People pulling in front of you, cutting you off, driving like maniacs. It took everything in me to keep going back day after day. And, what happens? I'm at a stand still in front of where I need to be. All I need to do is turn into the driveway and drive up past the pond and to the visitor's parking lot. Any idiot should be able to do that. I guess not me. She came out of nowhere and could NOT have been watching the road at all, and just HITS me.

So what do we learn from this? DO we learn that defensive driving pays off? No. Do we learn caution is always appropriate? Obviously not. We learn it doesn't pay to leave the house. Period.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Surreal

The current audit I am working on is a pretty far drive from home every day. I am out of the house before the crack of dawn, leaving between 6:15 and 6:30 am.

The only good side to leaving at this time of morning is the traffic is marginally less that I usually deal with and I get to witness a beautiful sunrise every morning. Or, at least until the sun gets high enough that it blinds me for part of the drive.

On the Ohio Turnpike, in between the I-77 exit and the Route 8 exit is a huge bridge. When I say huge, I really mean huge. It feels like it is a million miles in the air. I’m sure it’s not that high, but it is high! And, the road in this area is a few long meandering “S” curves. If it wasn’t for the ungodly hour of the morning, this would be a beautiful sight. But, I digress.

In the morning at this time of year, it is not uncommon for there to be low fog or clouds, at least until the sun comes up to burn them off. Driving east, you come out of a curve and see the beginning of the bridge and the part of the valley it spans. The valley looked like when you are in a plane over the clouds and all you see is the white puffy clouds below you but no land. That is exactly what this looked like! It was kind of awesome seeing the clouds coming up and around the bridge.

At least until I got on the bridge itself. That’s when I realized that the low cloud cover actually covered the road! Here I was breezing through one day last week at about 68 mph when suddenly it was all around me. I couldn’t see 20 feet in front of me. I slowed down immediately, hoping someone was going to pass me so I could just follow them! Unfortunately, everyone thought I knew what I was doing and they slowed down to match my speed and just stayed behind me. I definitely found out then just how easy it would be to drive off of a bridge.

Finally, reaching the other side of the bridge, the weather cleared and we were back up to speed. For a few minutes there, it was a surreal experience; or an episode of The Twilight Zone.

At least the drives to and from work are never ending sources of stories.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Year Later . . .

Saturday was a family day.

First of all, Saturday was the one year anniversary of my Dad's passing. I can't believe it's been a year already. It feels like it was just yesterday. We wanted to commemorate this day and make it a day dedicated to Dad.

Brother Phil and I met up with brother Jim in Meadville PA, home of my favorite nephew! Thanks to Mike and Jenny who let us invite ourselves over and then put up with us as we used their house as a meeting spot to leave one vehicle and have a good potty break in the middle of our trip!

We left Jim's vehicle at Mike and Jenny's and headed on to Sheffield. Since we were concentrating on Dad today, we started with lunch at one of his favorite restaurants, Dutch Treat in Spartansburg PA. It's a quaint little place in the middle of Amish country, so you're sure to get some good old fashioned real food. No fru fru stuff on this menu. While you won't find quiche or lattes, you can be sure that meatloaf and coffee is on the menu. So, we had lunch and talked about Dad.

From Spartansburg, our next stop was Warren. Our Aunt Mary, one of Dad's older sisters, is in the Warren Manor in Warren. Since it was also her 95th birthday on Sunday, we stopped in with some flowers to do a little visiting and a little bad singing. Aunt Mary was trying to take a nap when we got there, but we quickly changed her mind on that idea! The aides came quickly to help her back out of bed from her afternoon nap and we sat and did enjoy a nice visit. Here is a picture of 95 years young with two of her favorite nephews!



That's Jim on the left, Aunt Mary and Phil is on the right. She thought Jim and I looked the same as the last time she saw us, but she was taken aback by Phil. She couldn't remember him having that much of a beard last time she saw him! I think that took a little for her to get used to!

We also got to meet Aunt Mary's room mate who is a lovely lady. It was just such a nice visit, and Aunt Mary was happy to see our motley crew. We left as they were started to get everyone together for dinner.

From visiting, we headed on to Sheffield to the local funeral home. In true family form, we were procrastinating with the ordering of the headstone. It only took us one year to the day, but we were finally there to finish off that business. Between the three of us, we chose a simple headstone that is similar to the rest of his family's markers that are at that cemetary. In this computer age, we were immediately given a computer drawn rendition to which we all made sure his name was spelled correctly and then Jim gave the official John Hancock on the form to have them go ahead with the stone! The stone should be in and installed in about six weeks.

From the funeral home, it was time to head to the cemetary. It was raining like the dickens but we stood there under umbrellas and again, just talked about and thought about Dad. Going back to the day a year before when we stood in those same spots. I still can't believe it's a year later already.

Shortly thereafter, it was time to head back to Meadville again. After a round of hugs playing catch with the kids and bathroom breaks, we were all back on our way. Jim headed back to Erie while Phil and I headed back to Ohio. It was a long day, but I'm glad I went.

Now, if I may be so bold as to speak for all of us, we miss you, Dad. There will forever be a hole in our hearts.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

He's Heeeeeere!



Yes, he's really heeeeeere!

As of Saturday at approximately 12:30 in the afternoon, this was brother Philip, with brother Jim as copilot, driving to our house. After the countdown that started at over 800 days, the final day had arrived.

After a quick leg stretching break, the four of us headed to a storange unit to unload the trailer.

With four of us humping it, we had that trailer unloaded in an hour. A few things were put back into our vehicles that were heading back to the house.

I had picked up a ham and we all just sat and had a nice lunch and chit chatted. We just had a nice family kind of day. A lot of chatting, a lot of laughing and very little arguing. Hey, c'mon now! We are family. There has to be SOME arguing!

We introduced Phil to the wonderful world of Wii! I'm glad I made that Mr. Phil Mii before he got here. We all bowled a bit, did a lot of laughing. I have a feeling that the Wii is going to get a lot of use from all of us.

Eventually, we ended up doing a grocery store run. Someone (perhaps most of us) came up with a great idea for the evening. Does anyone out there remember Phil's punch? Holy crap! We have a huge cooler full of punch. And, the four of us sure did get punched last night! To tell the truth, if you just raise the lid off of the cooler right now you can cop a buzz just from the fumes!

Now the bottom of the cooler is full of maraschino cherries. If they marinate just one more day in that punch, those cherries will be dangerous.

So, it was a quiet night at home last night. Now we just need time to get reacquainted, and get Philip moved in.

So, when anyone is in the neighborhood, please stop in and say hi! Philip is in the house!

Friday, September 05, 2008

That’s One Way To Shop

Wednesday really did turn into one of them days.

After work, I made a quick stop at Kohl’s that is close by the audit site before the long drive home. If anyone has shopped at Kohl’s, you know their aisles have to be the narrowest of any store’s aisles. At least their shopping carts aren’t as long as most. The carts are only about two feet long but four feet deep!

I was in a tight aisle looking at bedding when a lady pushing a shopping cart was trying to get through. Before I could move up an aisle to let her get by, she tells me never mind, she’ll go around. This lady was in her 60s and very nicely dressed. I smiled, said thank you, and went back to looking.

I finally found what I wanted and then moved on to the little rubber backed mats that were on sale. I just recently bought a new recliner and it just slides across the hard wood floor every time someone sits down or gets up. I thought maybe a rubber backed mat would help. I was looking at the different mats when who tries to get by me again? Nice dressed lady. We laugh that we’re both shopping for the same things today and we start to talk about the mats.

I tell her my purpose for the mat, and she gives me a look. You know the kind. When someone totally disagrees with you but won’t say so in so many words. She said it MIGHT work. Hmm. I’m not feeling great about my choice right now.

Anyway, I figured how wrong could I go with a $12 mat? If it doesn’t work, I’ll take it back. We were looking at some other little area rug things, some of which ran $60 and up for a little 2’ x 4’ or so. While they were gorgeous, it was much too big for what I needed, nor did I want to spend that kind of money. Nice dressed lady chose one though, and put her choice in her shopping cart.
Once I chose my cheap one, we both ended up walking towards the front of the store to the check outs. We chatted a little but once we neared the check out counters, she veered off, took her rug out of the cart and was pushing her cart in with the rest of the empty carts by the door. I thought that was strange, to take your cart back before you checked out, but what do I know.

Then I saw it. She pushed her cart in line with the rest of the empty carts, and with her $60 rug under her arm; she walked right out of the door! Who’d have thought?

I guess the saying is true; you can’t judge a book by its cover. Who’d have imagined this nicely dressed 60 something lady would be a run of the mill every day low life shoplifter.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Where Did All The Poop Go?

I know, sometimes I think about the strangest things. Right now I’m thinking about goose poop.


First, in case no one has had the opportunity to see goose poop, let me tell you, geese can poop! It’s not the normal bird white splatter on your shoulder or on your windshield. I don’t know what geese eat, but wow, they can have some monster turds.


The building where I am conducting the current audit has some gorgeous landscaping. It’s a long winding drive up to the administration building. On the way up this road is a huge pond with a fountain. It really is beautiful and very peaceful. Well, at least 50 geese have made this pond their home and I’m probably being very conservative with that number. When I’m driving up the road in the morning, the geese are in the pond or lazing on the banks of the pond. They are pretty much in the same place when I’m leaving here. Well, during the night, they must be walking all over the property up by the administration building. In the morning, all over the parking lot and all over the walkway up to the building, are covered with goose turds! You really have to watch where you’re walking or you’ll get a mess all over your shoes.


Yesterday morning, about 9:30 or so, I walked back to my car to get my printer out of there. In the two plus hours that I’ve been at work, someone had gone through and cleaned up all of the goose poop! Sort of like a Poop Patrol!


Part of me was thinking just how cool that was, that someone actually stayed on top of all of the poop. Then I thought again about it. I may think my job sucks, but at least I’m not picking up goose poop every morning. Eww.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Pull Over And Get Out Of The Car

Yes, those are the words I heard from our local police yesterday.

Ok, it was a driver’s license checkpoint, but still! I heard those words!

For real – have you ever heard of any city that does driver’s license checkpoints? In the afternoon? This is the second one I’ve been stopped for in Lorain.

They block off a couple of side streets to impede your running away, they post officers on a couple of other side streets to stop traffic and they block about two blocks in total on the main street which just happened to be the same street I live on, not two blocks up. They had most of the length of the park marked as the check point with at least 30 cruisers sitting there waiting to chase down someone who saw the checkpoint and then tried to avoid it.

When it was my turn for the officer to walk up to my car, I was polite, with my hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel, window rolled all the way down. When asked for my license, I explained it was in my laptop bag which was behind the driver’s seat. I asked him if I could get out of the car to get it. That’s when he told me to "pull over and get out of the car"!! See? I didn’t lie!

So, I was directed to pull over onto the grass in the park where I had four officers close by watching me take my laptop bag off of the floor of the car. Duh, do I really look like a gun toting crazy person? On second thought, don’t answer that!

One of the officers came closer, took a good look at my license, the one with the horrible picture, and said I was free to go.

I guess I got off easier than the guy that was parked next to me on the grass. The driver was nowhere to be seen and the tow truck was there hooking up to his car. Sucked to be him.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mom Would Be Proud

Ok, other than my siblings, I don't know if anyone will appreciate this, but:

Yesterday, neither Ron or I wanted to cook dinner so we decided to go out. We went to a fast food BBQ place. Hey, it's not much but they have great pulled pork and Ron loves their ribs.

Anyway, we're at the counter placing our order when Ron tells me oops, he left his cash at home. His pockets are empty.

Being the ever helpful girlfriend that I am, I tell him it's ok, they take bank cards.

Then we get to the register and he tells me oops! He forgot his wallet!

Yeah, my Mom would have been so proud. And, yes, I bought dinner!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

And Poof It Was Gone

There are favors you can ask almost anyone.

Then there are special favors that you can only ask of certain people. You know, like hiding bodies. Or moving furniture. This was one of those special favors.

As most of you know, my brother Philip is very soon moving in with us. My goal is to be ready. The mind is there but the body isn't so willing. I have a list of things I want done before the momentous day but the list isn't getting whittled down too quickly.

For instance, I recently bought new living room furniture. Two weeks after delivery the old futon was still taking up room in the dining room. This was getting pretty irritating. (Although, as a side note, I did take a nap one morning on the futon in the dining room! Because after all, how many of you can say you've napped in your dining room?!! But, I digress.)

Thursday night is our garbage night and the futon was the last piece left to go. No one seemed to want to take it, perhaps because of the size and weight. Also, I needed to clear out the spare room, hence to be known as Philip's room, because Friday was cleaning day and I wanted that room gone over top to bottom. So, Thursday night, I had a huge list of stuff that needed doing.

I called brother Michael. He is one of those kinds of people that you call for the special favors. Michael and Mary Jane were gracious enough to agree to this physical undertaking. The futon was first. It went out to the curb. I hated to do this as it had so many good memories associated with it. JoBeth and I plopped our asses on a lot of couchs all over Houston looking for the right affordable piece of furniture before we found this futon! It was hard to let go of it. But, my attachment to this inanimate object had to be overcome and out to the curb it went.

That was the big undertaking of the evening. Just ask Michael and Ron - that damn thing was heavy. I put a sign on it that said "FREE" hoping someone would take it and get some use out of it before the garbage men came and took it.

Once that was finished, we decided to get dinner. By the time we got home from dinner, the futon was gone! That took some doing because I don't think any of the neighbors just came and carted it away. Someone with a big enough truck and muscles was involved in that one. Hopefully, someone will get some good ass plopping use out of the futon.

After that, everyone did a great job in emptying Philip's room. The bed was dismantled and moved out as was Ron's dresser. The dresser moved across the hall to our room. The room got a great cleaning on Friday so now I'm that much closer to being ready.

Thanks family, for again coming through for me. Next time I need to hide a body or move furniture again, you know you'll be hearing from me.

Monday, August 25, 2008

At Least He Wasn't Shot

I know I live in a tough town. Businesses are closing left and right and there are no jobs in town. The high crime rate reflects the jobless rate.

I was reading the online version of our local newspaper today, the Lorain Chronicle-Telegram, and here the first paragraph sure sums up living in Lorain. He may have had the crap beat out of him, but at least he wasn't shot.

LORAIN — A man received four stitches to his upper lip Thursday after a street brawl on Lorain Drive, but at least he wasn’t shot.


Yeah. Thank goodness for little favors.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Meet Me At The Fair

Wednesday night we met up with Michael and Mary Jane and headed to the Lorain County Fair.

I may not be a big one for fairs, but I was promised funnel cakes, and hey, who can resist a good funnel cake? So off to the fair we went.

The Lorain County Fair is one of the larger county fairs around here. Of course, the fairgrounds are huge and we ended up parking like a gazillion miles away from the gate. The coolest thing about this was they had rides to and from pick up points in the parking lot. All we had to do was remember that we parked near pick up spot #2. What I wasn't prepared for was our mode of transportation.

Here is a tractor, pulling a wagon of sorts. You climb up four steps into the inside of the wagon and there are two bench seats, one on each side running the length of the wagon. Ok, those were the safe seats. Then, on the outside on each side was another bench seat. On the way into the fair, we actually sat on the outside bench seat portion. Holy crap! I am such a pansy! This "ride" scared the crap out of me! Yeah, I know, I'm afraid of everything. But, geez. A wagon ride?

So, we made it into the fair and then the fun began!

Cows, pigs, horses, sheep, turkeys, chickens and of course, my favorite, the goats! I don't have the discerning eye of the judges. I couldn't tell an award winner from his lesser cousin. But it was fun watching all the kids care for their animals, and keeping the pens cleaner than I would have believed possible.

There was just one glaring error here. Right outside of the barn housing all of the pigs was the pulled pork food wagon. Hello? Pulled pork? Do you think the pig closest to the wagon was sitting there thinking he was next? Man, that was just wrong.

That aside, we finished up checking out the livestock it was time to hit the midway. I did well curbing the spending, but I did walk away with one thing I can't do without. The roasted nuts. Two bags of pecans and one bag of cashews later, I came across a wagon of Indian jewelry. I'm not a big fan of jewelry. Most days I don't even wear a watch let alone anything else. But they had some bracelets that were really beautiful. The one I chose has a teardrop piece of turquoise in the middle and some very delicate filigree for the bracelet part along with a few beads. It's hard to explain, but I couldn't resist!

After that, Ron bought me my funnel cake, and my evening was complete.

It really was a great evening, and we had the most perfect weather night of the week.

Now for the down side. It was about 11:30 by the time we got home that night. I know that's not late for most people, but for me on a work night, holy cow! I can't tell you the last time Ron and I got HOME at that time of night! Unfortunately I felt like I smelled like a barn, so I had to hit the shower before getting to bed. That made it after midnight by the time we got to bed. Again, way too late for someone my age to be up on a work night.

To prove my point, I must have been half asleep when I went to leave the house in the morning. I got all the way to work before I realized I left both of my cell phones at home! It's a truly naked feeling to be without both of my cell phones! To tell the truth though, I kind of liked the freedom of it all; the freedom of not being tied to my phones. I guess I should be happy that I was awake enough to dress properly before leaving the house. All important articles of clothes on the right body parts and everything.

So there you have it. A late night, but a great night. And, as icing on the evening, I did have a funnel cake!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Another Good Saturday

We had another good Saturday over here.

Ok, we pretty much goofed off all day, but isn't that what makes it a good Saturday?

Since we were both up early we started our day with the breakfast buffet at Eat 'n Park. That's the best thing about this restaurant is their breakfast buffet. We ended up running a few errands after this, I guess the only necessary evil in our day. A quick stop at the bank, the Verizon store and the grocery store then we were back to goofing off.

Did I mention I even had time for a nap? C'mon now, if that doesn't make for a good Saturday, I don't know what does!

We finished our day with a motorcycle ride. We really had no plan on where we were going or what we were going to see, he just drove. Some times we'd come to an intersection and he'd ask me which way to go. As we all know I'm great at getting us lost, I did my best. Luckily Ron is great at getting us found so all went well.

We went exploring a road I've always wanted to explore. Nice road, sort of country-ish but in town. No for sale signs though. Somehow in our meanderings we ended up on the road that parallels the lake. That's always a beautiful ride. When our butts needed resting, we stopped at a park that is on the lake with a pier going out into the lake. On our way to walk out on to the pier, we were exploring the park itself. They have added a few features since the last time we were there. Like a few gazebos. We were checking out the plants around the gazebos as well, which all showed signs of some serious bug infestation. But hey, we were on an adventure, so who cared.

After exploring that area all we wanted, we started to head down to the pier. And then THERE it was! On the side of a garbage can was the HUGEST caterpillar I've ever seen! I was brave enough to put my finger close to the caterpillar just so that you could see just how huge this thing was.



Just when I thought we saw all of it, I moved to the side and saw the caterpillar kept going and going! It was a good five inches long. I'm not sure where it ended since it started under the lid and I wasn't getting that close to take a better look!



After we got home, we did a little research. I believe this is a cecropia caterpillar which, if successful, will turn into a cecropia moth, the largest moth in North America! Yeah, no kidding!

So there was our adventures for the day. Complete with cool bugs! There went the motorcycle tough girl image when you see me "ewwing" and "ahhing" over bugs. So much for my image. It was a very cool bug.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Only 20 Years Behind

Last Friday as I was on the road coming home from the audit, I was talking to Ron on the phone. Hey, I wasn't driving so I'm allowed to talk on the phone all I want!

Anyway, he informed me that there was a little problem at home, and the whozewhatzit was broken so we had no Internet at home. Until Ron could get to the store to buy another whozewhatzit, we wouldn't have any Internet either. He thought maybe he could work on it during the upcoming week.

Hello? No Internet? No Pogo? No email? I don't think so.

I begged that right after dinner we head to Best Buy for that whozewhatzit and get us back up and running. That was a good plan as far as I was concerned.

Best Buy is overpriced but they do have quite a selection of stuff I might need.

While Ron was off comparing whozewhatzits, I left and told him I'd either be in the CD section or the Wii game section. By the time he came over to find me, I already had a few selections picked out. Of course, he asked me what I bought!

I found two CDs in the "on sale" rack that I felt I had to have. One was by Guns 'n Roses and one was by Nirvana. Ron looked at my choices and said "gee, now you're only 20 years behind the times"! Ouch!! Hey, I can't help it, I like what I like.

Hopefully, though, I redeemed myself this week.

While out of town, I finished the book I was reading way earlier than I expected. I didn't pack a second book and I couldn't go two days without reading material. Right down the street was a Super Walmart. While I'm not a fan of Walmart, it was right there and it beat trying to find a mall or a Kmart. I headed in.

I chose the Dean Koontz book Odd Hours, the fourth installment of the character Odd Thomas. A mighty good choice if I do say so myself! After choosing the book, I decided to walk around the store for awhile. I found myself to be in the CD section again. I know, I just bought two new CDs, so why did I think I needed another? But, I caved into impulse buying and bought the newest Kid Rock CD. Say what you will, I love that guy!

Eclectic mix of tastes. I should be good on CDs at least for the next 20 years.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

P.U.

Considering I am in a small town, the Hampton Inn I am staying at is always full.

I was in denial about having to spend another week here, so I never made my reservations for this week until last Thursday evening. By then, the number of available rooms was slim. The only rooms left were the smoking rooms.

First, I thought Ohio had gone no smoking. Why are there still smoking rooms? I was told the hotel is allowed to keep 10 smoking rooms available. Sucks to be me, I’m telling you. And, that’s a rotten loop hole.

The hotel will do what they call ionization on the room. It’s supposed to help with the smell. Let me tell you, it doesn’t. In my humble opinion, I think someone just goes through the room with a no name brand cheap Lysol type spray and does a little spritzing. It’s close to useless.

When I checked in last night, I walked into the room and was about knocked over backwards. The smell was horrendous. The front desk stated the ionization had taken place during the day but if I needed another one, she’d do it if I was leaving for dinner or she would put in a request for one to be done today while I was gone. I decided to forgo her suggestion and take matters in my own hand.

First things first. I went through my ritual of wiping down the room with my disinfectant wipes. I unpacked my bag, washed my hands and I was ready for dinner. I headed to the other side of town (a whole five miles away!) and had a pleasant dinner at Applebee’s. From there, it was across the street to the Super Walmart.

I bought some Oust spray (supposed to take out odors) and I was looking for some candles.

I was hoping for some pleasant smelling candles, but it seems that Walmart forgot to order those. The good news here is that they at least had a plethora of cheap candles. Instead of grabbing a couple of single candles, they had a gift set of five candles. There were three small ones, maybe two inches high in a glass holder and then two of the bigger ones in glass canisters with the glass tops.

I made my way back to the hotel. I had left the bathroom fan on hoping that might clear some of the smell. It didn’t smell like it did. I went to the window and figured it wasn’t very secure. Somehow, the little thingie on the top of the window that was supposed to prevent the window from opening just happened to pop off. Go figure! With that gone, I was able to open the window wide and at least let some semi fresh air into the room. I wish I’d have thought of that before I went to dinner!

So, keeping the window open for an hour or so did help. After that, I went through the room spraying my Oust all over. I gave the curtains a good dose as well as the bed and parts of the carpet. Yes, I was a crazy woman. Once the window was shut, I lit the candles. (Thanks, Ron! I’m glad you left your lighter in my car!) Ok, I only lit the three little ones; for now. I had one on each bed side table and one on the table next to the dresser with the television.

With all of that, the room was a little more livable. Before I went to bed, I blew the candles out and gave the room another good spraying of the Oust. I know, I’m probably killing myself with the fluorocarbons or something but geez, it was hard to breathe in there. This morning, I gave another good spray with the Oust and here’s hoping the room will be more pleasant when I get there tonight. Maybe I won’t need the passion fruit scented candles tonight!

Um, if someone gets a slightly used gift box of five passion fruit scented candles for Christmas, at least you’ll know they were pre-used for a good cause!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Harry Potter Puppets

Go ahead. I dare you to get this song out of your head once you've heard it!!



(psst, Michael J! I had to have additional Ron help since I needed a more hands on instruction to make it work!! Thanks for trying! I am close to hopeless!)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Day Of Fun

Ron and I had a total goof off day.

We headed south to his hometown of Barberton. From our house, Barberton is just over an hour away.

The first thing we did was hit one of the town's famous chicken joints for some Barberton Chicken. I don't know why this town has the market cornered on fried chicken, but they are famous for it. But I do know why it is so tasty. If you read the link to Wikipedia, there ain't nothing healthy about this meal! They keep out the health, keep in the taste. Anyway, we had a great lunch.

From there we headed to buy flowers. We had a few flower giving opportunities coming up so we were stocking up. But, lo and behold, what was next to the flower store? A Best Cuts! Ok, it's not a top of the line salon, but for real. All I needed was a trim. How can they screw that up?

So, five minutes and three inches later, we were out of there and next door to the flower store. We made our choices and were on our way to Barberton Citizens Hospital to see Ron's Uncle Paul and drop off our first bouquet of flowers. We sure did surprise him! For a sick guy, he did his best to pass back every zinger we threw at him. I thought he looked very good and was on top of his game with the jokes and jabs. Talking with Uncle Paul is always an event as he's a man with a dry wit and a quick verbal jab. We sat with him and his wife and daughter for quite awhile, just catching up and telling stories and jokes. Finally, Uncle Paul was looking pretty tired so we hugged and said our good byes and let him get some rest.

From the hospital we were over to Ron's brother Wes's house. After all, tomorrow is Wes's birthday so we couldn't let this occasion go by without a howdy from his favorite brother! Ok, Ron is Wes's only brother, but I digress! Again, we sat and visited for awhile before he was whisked off by his family for some birthday love. Happy Birthday, Wes!! I won't even tell how many candles are on the cake this year!

After that it was to the cemetary. Today is 12 years since Ron's Mom passed away and we went and paid our respects. After a nice talk with Mom, a little headstone cleaning and some flower arranging, we were heading home.

We had a beautiful day for a drive. The drive home was mostly uneventful. We made it home safe and sound, unpacked the car and raced to be first in the bathroom. Once business was taken care of we went outside to sit and relax a bit on our own front porch.

It was strange weather out there. The sun was shining, but the rain was coming but only in a mist. It wasn't bad until that wind started blowing with it blew with a vengence. We just sat out there and marveled at the strange weather. Then, Ron saw it. If you look closely, you can actually see a double rainbow as the second one is to the right of the first one and a lot lighter, but it is there.

So there you go. A great day followed by a rainbow. You can't beat that.

That Had To Hurt

My contact at my current audit is a hoot!

At least once a week, she and I like to head across the street to the Mexican restaurant for a few margaritas to "discuss" the progress of the audit. Hey, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

This week, my boss had joined us at the audit. The only down side to that is when he goes, he picks me up as I'm sort of on his way. It's still a couple of hours from my house, so it's better to take one car than two. Unfortunately, then I am without a car.

Anyway, Thursday my contact stated that we should do margaritas at 4:30 when she gets off of work. While I thought that was a great idea, I knew my boss had made reservations for us for dinner that same night. There is only one fine dining restaurant in this town, and by golly we felt that we needed to eat there.

The boss's view on Thursday evening was that since the restaurant was close to the job site, we just work late and then head over to dinner instead of heading over to the hotel and then come back for dinner. I informed him at lunch while his idea was good, I had a better idea.

I told him about the margarita plan. I said instead of working late, we actually leave 1/2 hour early, head across the street, have a few cocktails and then head for dinner. He said he'd think about it.

At about 4:00, I went upstairs where the boss was working and told him if he wanted to work late, he was welcome to it. I, on the other hand, was going to join the contact for drinks. He could either call me when he was ready or we can just agree on a time and I'll meet him at the car at the appointed time. He thought a second and said that no, margaritas sounded like a much better idea than working tonight! Bonus!

I told him we were leaving at 4:30 so be downstairs and ready!

Then I headed back downstairs to tell my contact we were all in for a walk across the street. However, when I got downstairs, the entire department was in an uproar and my contact was not doing well. Come to find out, she went to walk out of her office when her phone rang. While running back into her office, she kicked the chair that was on the side of her desk.

Now, like most women, she had kicked her shoes off under her desk so she was actually running back in barefoot. Her little toe went on one side of the chair leg while the rest of her toes went on the other side of the chair leg. In the couple of minutes since it happened, her toe was already turning colors.

One of the ladies in the department offered to run her to the ER as the consensus was that everyone heard a "crack" when it happened. So much for our margaritas! She went to the ER and I ended up working late anyway!

Come to find out the next day, she not only broke her little toe, she nearly broke it off. A picture of the x-ray showed that the bone of the little toe down by where it connects to the foot was cracked almost all the way through. Plus, the hit literally ripped the toe. They didn't stitch it back up since the doctor felt that would be a very irritating place to have stitches, under and between your two toes. They cleaned and bandaged the laceration, taped the two toes together and sent her off with antibiotics and pain pills.

So, for once, I talk the boss into leaving work early and actually goofing off for an hour. Then, the contact had to cancel. Dang, that hurt.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Charlie Bit Me!

Charlie Bit Me!

This is just too funny! Being the baby of the family, I can appreciate that devilish grin on the baby!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Know I’m Gonna Get Blamed For This

I’ve spent enough nights in hotels (and not in a good way!) to pretty much know exactly what to expect when I walk into a room. That way, if anything is out of place, I know it immediately.

I have a ritual of sorts whenever I walk into a hotel room. First I check for unwanted visitors. I heard a story about a friend of a friend of a friend that walked into his hotel room at the end of a work day and someone was hiding in the room. Supposedly this intruder beat the crap out of him and robbed him. Well, tell me a story like this and it sticks with me. Every time now that I walk into a hotel room alone, I have to do the sweep first. That’s looking in the closet, on the other side of the bed and even in the shower to make sure I’m alone in there. Last night, I did that.

Then, I unpack. The first thing out of my bag will be my disinfectant wipes. I wipe down the room from the remote control (huge eww!), the telephone, the buttons on the TV and the a/c, the door handle and lock, the bathroom fixtures, toilet handle, light switches, desk top and the top of the night table. Yes, anal retentive. Then, I unpack my clothes and put them in the drawers or hang them in the closet.

Then I’m ready to go get dinner!

Last night, I went through my routines. However, before I even started, something was terribly wrong with my room!

Every hotel room, be it a Motel 6 or the Hilton, will have some kind of cookie cutter pictures hanging on the walls. That’s what was missing in my room; the pictures. These are usually bolted to the walls (yes, even at the Hilton) to ensure no one packs them as extra items in their suitcases. So, now I have no pictures and some really bad patch jobs on the bolt holes where pictures used to hang.

When I left for dinner last night, I stopped by the front desk. I told them about the missing pictures and that I was afraid I was going to be blamed for stealing the bad art! I was assured that maintenance had removed the pictures as some of the rooms are going through an upgrade which will include a paint job and new pictures on the wall. Whew!

I’m still checking my bill carefully on Friday. I have a feeling that somehow, this will still be my fault!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Met New Friends!

Friday night, July 25th, Ron and I went to dinner with friends of ours, David and Edna. We had reservations at our favorite place, Jackalope's. Jackalope's has some great tables outside, overlooking the marina. However, the outside was all filled up so we were seated inside. We had one of the two tables in the back corner, that had full windows on two sides so we still had a great view of the lake and marina with none of the flies outside.

I was sitting with my back to the other table in this back corner. They were much further into their meal than we were, and after we ordered, they had the dessert tray at their table picking out their dessert. Who can resist a tray full of scrumptious desserts? And, we all know how I love to talk to strangers, so I did what I do naturally. I turned around and butted into their business!

There were three people at the table behind us. There was Tammy, who is about our age, and her parents, Jim and Judy who I am guessing are in their mid 80s. The four of us tossed around the pros and cons of all the desserts on the tray, (I always vote for the cheesecake, just in case you wanted to know!).

We started talking table to table and found out the three of them were there celebrating Tammy's birthday! Ok, anyone that knows me knows how much I love birthdays! How could I stop myself from breaking out into song? I started a loud (and probably not good) rendition of "happy birthday". I guess I was infectious since the two other tables closest to us joined in with the singing! C'mon Tammy girl! This day only comes once a year! Enjoy the adulation of perfect strangers!

So that started it. I am a nosey person and I like strangers. We kibitzed over their dessert and then they gave their commentary on our dinner choices. (which were one rack of lamb, two lobster pastas and one pork loin with apple chutney) We just had a nice time interjecting opinions and comments throughout the evening with these people.

It really was a fun evening not only with David and Edna but with our neighboring table as well. After our dessert was served (yes I got the cherry cheesecake!) Tammy and company were getting ready to leave. We were all talking and decided that we should do this again! Introductions finally went around and we decided that we are going to meet up again on the 25th of next month! So, on August 25th, we have a reservation for all of us to sit at one table and enjoy a meal together!

See what I get for talking to strangers? We get dinner reservations at my favorite restaurant and hopefully a great new tradition of dinner with new and old friends. It doesn't get much better than that!