Saturday, September 30, 2006

It's Not a Tumor.

It was raining Friday night, I stood on a gray wooden landing over a flight of gray wooden stairs just off the dock. I flicked my smoked all the way to the filter but still burning cigarette into a puddle that lay just outside the overhang. I watched as the water overtook the ember, the last wisp of blue smoke curled up and back towards me. It seemed like, what felt like at that moment, my relationship with my wife.

We had argued the night before. Not so much argued, I listened to her voice opinions, her opinions about me. My behavior lately has been less than exemplary. I've been slacking off, my responsibilities around the house. As she's been working overnights, I've been leaving a lot undone. I had it coming to me, deserved every comment, and she can comment. I have a history of slacking off, spent many years as a bachelor and I am by nature a lazy person. I will bust my ass at work, give it all I got to get the job done, but at home? I like to kick back and watch the grass grow, much to the neighborhood's collective chagrin. I like to write and goof out with the kids and pets, but sometimes the dishes need washin', you know?

Arguments are healthy, yeah, still waters run deep. I don't like arguments, never been comfortable with them. Grew up in an alcoholic household, loud was always bad. For me, fights always end badly, that's why a little thing can seem like the end of the world. It's all good now, got lots of stuff done today, shortened that to-do list by a hair.

Last night when I was at work, thinking the world was ending, she was here at home. Earlier in the day we gave the Mutt a marshmallow, it was funny watching him run away with it, then keep it away from the Shepherd. So we forgot all about it. Later in the evening my wife is petting him, having some one on one with the baby boy. He's only nine months old, did I mention that? Anyway she feels this lump behind his ear, she thinks oh no it can't be. She thinks please don't let this be a tumor. She investigates further, it's a white lump covered in his thick white fur. Please don't let it be some horrible growth, it wasn't. Yeah, you guessed it, the marshmallow.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I sent the first five chapters and the detailed synopsis to the literary agent as requested. I sent them on or about 28AUG06. The web site states that two months are required for review and consideration. It's been about a month, I'm going crazy. Beetus said not to worry, no news is good news. My wife said the same thing, if they hated it I probably would have heard already. I guess it's like a jury, the longer they deliberate............Yeah. I'm still going crazy. Keep checking my e-mail, running to the mail box every afternoon before I go to work. Not sure if I will receive an e-mail or snail mail response. I submitted the query via e-mail, the response to the query was same. I'm going crazy. Please, somebody like my book. I display no emotion on the outside, just another day. I keep it all locked up inside, always been like that.

I have to run, have to renew vehicle registration that expires at the end of this week. Also have to feed the birds, the parrot is giving me that look. He don't care about manuscripts and submissions, just wants something to eat.

Hey Tommy, scary stuff man. Maybe you can pull some strings? You were always good at that. Catch you later bro.

Monday, September 25, 2006


So I check out a blog, friend suggested it. It's called, it's a haiku blog. Don't know much about haiku, know that I enjoy reading it. Another really good one is ESB is more than haiku, highly recommended, for whatever my recommendation is worth.

The first one, wakakusa, I post a comment the other day. Like I said a friend suggested it. I read this guy's post, it's a haiku about rejection slips. Guess he's trying to get published too. So I write this comment, it's really lame. I'm laughing about it after the fact. I suggest to this talented young writer, this haiku guy, that rejection is like pushups. Sometimes it hurts but it makes you stronger. Sounds to me like something a coach would say to one of his players who got dumped by the cheerleader right before the big game in a lame eighties movie. Anyway, sometimes I crack myself up. Like my wife and daughters sometimes say, I can be "such a guy" sometimes.

So much for my attempt at fitting in with the real literary types out there in cyber space. I don't care, I'm having a good time. My overly simplistic approach to often complicated problems usually works for me, don't mean it's working for everyone else. Anyway, if you get the chance check out the two links listed above. Have some fun, enjoy some good reading. You will probably see comments from me on both of those blogs, overly simplistic comments as described in this post. In case you wonder, it's okay to laugh at me, not just with me but directly at me. I'm laughing to myself right now. I crack myself up, it's a simple little thing.

Hey Tommy, remember K.I.S.S.?...... I know you do......My favorite is still; "Do something, do anything even if it's wrong. Don't just stand there"!.........Yeah, I know. I've said it before.......Yeah I know, right here on this blog........Hey man, redundancy is everything.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Back to Basics.

So that Cool Old Man was not able to establish his wireless connection yet, he's going this Tuesday to secure same. Spoke to him earlier today, he sounds good, going out to see him as soon as he's hooked up. My wife got a new job, she starts next Monday. She will still be working overnights, but now she'll be off every weekend. Sunday night at midnight 'til Friday morning at eight. She'll start at a dollar an hour more than she gets now, after ninety days she's eligible for the 401k and other benefits. She's going to miss the residents at the care home but she's leaving on a good note, she'll be able to stop by and visit them. I'll still be able to go hang out with the Cool Old Man. Got my old Beemer back, runs good. Got a couple little things to iron out, she passed inspection.

Yesterday morning my wife was making breakfast. She was up 'cause she worked all night. She hears something on the radio, something about an insect festival at the State University. She wakes me up and we were off and running. Our younger daughter digs that kind of thing, the teen does not. The three of us went, packed a lunch and the camera. Took the scenic route, pretty drive.

They had college students dressed up like bugs, they had face painting and a talking car. The talking car was a '60 something VW Beetle (go figure) painted like a Ladybug. Little kids could ask it questions about insects and the car would answer. Our daughter noticed the tent behind the car, she figured it out. She got her face painted like a Monarch butterfly, the kid that did that was great. He's sitting there looking all like an art student is supposed to look, sandals and everything. He could not have been nicer, she was the last kid to get her face painted, he was almost out of supplies but it didn't matter. He made her feel good about herself, all the student volunteers did. It warms your heart when see these young adults interacting with kids in such a positive way. Our younger daughter is ten, almost eleven. Her big sister is just short of eighteen, it's hard on the little one sometimes. Same old sibling story, feels left out and all that stuff. Not saying that the older one is not a good big sister 'cause she is. She goes far above and beyond the call for her baby sister, they spend a lot of time together, they are very close. It's just that, well you know what I'm saying. Being the youngest is not always easy, so it was nice for my wife and I to fuss over just her for the day.

So these college kids and bug people, what a bunch. The college kids were great, like I was saying. The bug people however, well they were all great, but they are a little different. I was amazed at how much our little girl knew about insects, she's into that sort of thing. I had a very large South American roach running up and down my arm, it was really a handsome bug. They had edible insects at one station, I passed on that. I didn't want to ruin my appetite. We took part in cockroach races, we saw the biggest friggin' millipede on the planet too. That kind of freaked me out, it looked too much like a snake for my liking. I'm scared of snakes, scream like a little girl and run. Man, we really had a great day, had no idea that bugs could be so much fun.

Hey Tommy, you should see this grasshopper magnet we got there. It only cost two bucks, the thing looks real. It's hangin' out on the fridge right now, very cool indeed.


Previous post, Willie Nelson. It's political and I don't want this to become a political blog. I'm going to delete it. I'm still a fan, have been since I was seventeen and I first heard "Blue Eyes Cryin' In The Rain" and the rest of "The Red Headed Stranger" stuff. I love the way he does "Angel Flyin' To Close To The Ground". Willie opened my eyes to country music. Real country, not the pop- top forty crap. Yeah, I hope he's okay, hope he don't end up doing time. That would be a damn shame. I have to delete the post because I'm getting stuck there, if that makes any sense. This blog helps me loosen up, like stretching before a run. This blog helps me write my other stuff, the stuff I would like to see published some day. If I get stuck on politics, or as Tommy used to say, "stuck on stupid", then I'll just be stuck, period.

Politics is like poison, or cancer, or Weapons of Mass Destruction. It's not like it was, it's no longer about citizens who feel compelled to serve. Politics is big business, you can get a degree in it. It's all about money, got nothing to do with "us" anymore. Maybe I'll leave the Willie post up for a little while, but then it's got to go.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Cool Old Man.

So my wife works at a personal care home, she loves the residents there. This one old guy in particular, he's from Boston originally, got that great accent. He's ninety, don't look a day over eighty. I've met him before, he's got a "Hoveround". So he buys himself a laptop, wants to go on line. He's got a cell phone and his cell phone carrier will provide him with the wireless plan. He knows nothing about computers, I don't know a lot either but my wife thought I might be able to help him out. Spoke to him last night on the phone, went over there today. Got his Windows up and running, you know all that password stuff and registration you got to do. This guy was career military, 101st in WWII, then a lifetime of civilian/military government service after that. When we got to the password part I stepped away and averted my eyes, need to know and all like that. He's got to go to the cell phone store on Tuesday, set up his account. I really enjoyed the hour or so that we spent together. He told me about his wife of sixty-eight years, said she was the first girl he ever dated. She's gone now, he loves her more than ever. I'm going back next Saturday, he asked me if I'd stop by in case he needs any more help. This guy is old but he's sharp, he's probably not going to need any more help from me. It will be nice to sit and visit with him however, he's like a living history book, he's got a good heart too.

Hey Tommy, how about it bro. This old trooper was at D-Day man, same battalion as that "Band of Brothers", different company. Man, those guys were the real deal. He served in Korea too, then later on in Vietnam on the civilian side of things, didn't say what he did, just that he was there in the early sixties. I wonder what he thinks about all this stuff that's goin' on today, won't ask him though, got too much respect for him to ask about that............Yeah, I know what you mean. He does have that look, wouldn't mess with him now, even in his electric wheelchair..................Wouldn't be surprised man, an old .45 under his sweater, uh-huh.

The parrot is giving me that look, I know he wants something. I'll step him up, set him on his perch and we can hang out together. Now he's hanging on the cage door, yeah he wants out and he wants food. He's got food in his cage, but he wants fresh stuff, cut up nice and served to him on his perch. Maybe some fresh jalapeno', he really likes those.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

All Good.

My wife was scheduled off this Tuesday and Thursday, she called her boss yesterday and asked for tonight off as well. She really needs a break, those overnight shifts are tough. I get home from work at 0045, we hang out and talk. I tell her about our foreman, this is his last week on our shift. He's going back to day shift, taking a cut in pay. He's got five grandkids from eight to seventeen, all play ball. He wants to go to their games, he wants to be with his wife, doesn't care about making fifty bucks less per week, doesn't care that he won't be foreman anymore. He's a lot of things, he can be a pain like all bosses, but he loves his family. He's good to them, he spoils them. When his oldest grandkid ran way over on her cell phone minutes her parents said they were not going to pay for it, teach her a lesson, you know how that goes. She shows up at the dock one night, driving the car that her grandfather helped pay for. She tells him her phone is going to get shut off. He grumbles some, reaches in his pocket and pulls out some money. He gives her the money and asks her if that's enough. She says it's way more than enough, he tells her to keep it all anyway. She lights up, she stands on her toes 'cause he's a pretty big guy, she kisses him on the cheek and says thank you. He just gushes, blushes a little bit 'cause we were all kind of there. Later on he asks me for a dollar so he can get a soda, he don't care that he's got empty pockets. I don't say anything, just give him the dollar. No matter what anyone may think of him at work, everyone knows that he's a good guy when it comes to his family. That is all that matters.

So at 0230 my wife asked if I would go to the store and get a pound of bacon for the girls for breakfast. She makes them hot breakfast every school day, likes to make sure they start their days with a full tummy and a full heart. Doesn't take me long, the grocery store is so close you can see it from our house, it's open twenty-four hours. I shower and go to sleep, wake up at noon when the alarm goes off. I'm a little bit agitated 'cause I wanted to be up earlier, go get my old car. We finished the repairs, just need to get it through inspection. No time for that now, and she left me a note before she went to bed. She's sleeping now' cause she works overnights, it's just better for her to stay on sort of the same schedule even when she's off. The note said pick up some coffee when I pick up the girls from school today. I was just at the store. So I look in the fridge to find some bacon, got bacon on my mind. No bacon left, they ate it all. Now I'm ready to start cryin' and bitchin' like a pansy. Then I see the cast iron skillet still sitting on the stove, odd 'cause she never leaves a mess in the kitchen. I see that the bottom of the skillet is coated with like a quarter inch thick layer of bacon fat, it's cooled and set. You know how that looks, it's kind of off white, got some little tiny bacon fragments stuck here and there. I realize that someone has left a message carved into the cool and set bacon grease.....It's my wife's initials over mine with an "&" in between.

Hey Tommy, can you believe it? She's the best man, I know I've said it before, gonna say it again bro. She's the best.

The parrot is looking at me, we only have him 'cause my wife thought it would be cool. She was right, we got him cheap too. I love that bird.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


So our older daughter helps me with the lawn. She mows all the flat stuff, it's a big help. I mow the slopes and do the weed eatin', don't want her pushing the mower on the steep parts. We don't have a huge yard, it's regular. We are on a hill, and on a hill. Our house sits about twenty feet above street level with old concrete steps going all the way down. We park in the alley out back, don't really use the front door except to get mail, sit on the porch sometimes. Neighbors on either side of us and all the way up the block are in the same situation. That's how things are here on the east end of town.

My daughter is done with her part, my weed eater dies. First I pull and clean the air filter, the two cycle motor sounds a little starved. I can get it to run, prolonged acceleration however, that's not so good. I'm thinking spark plug or fuel filter, maybe both. Don't really feel like running to the store, got most of what I had to do done anyway. I finish with the push mower. That's a job 'cause like I said, we got slopes.

Our younger daughter just made sandwiches, I'm going to eat now. Pick this up when I'm done.

Oh yeah, that was good, salami and Swiss on a whole wheat roll. She dropped some salami, the dogs cleaned it up, they're good that way.

Coffee time, hang a smoke, life is good. Gotta put some music on for the The Bird, so's he don't scream and wake up my wife. She's gotta work overnight again tonight, she's gotta train a new girl too. She'll be needin' her sleep to be sure. "BRB", isn't that what the kids say? Man that sounds so old.

Okay, The Bird is happy, on his perch in the living room. Our older daughter is in there reading, got the jazz station on, he's got lots of good food. He's pretty easy going when he gets what he wants, never wants much. Good food, good music, good company. Now I can write, forgot what I wanted to say.

Hey Tommy, almost got that old BMW back on the road. Needed a new master cylinder, damn thing cost sixty-five bucks. Lady at the auto parts store had to order it from some place in Chicago 'cause the car is twenty-five years old. Friggin' Germans, they build great cars but they sure get you when it comes to parts. I'll still have way less than two grand into it when I'm done, including what I payed for it. Hell, I've already got my moneys worth out of her, been drivin' her for three years already. Did I tell you that my daughter named her Myrtle? Yeah bro, seems the original owner bought her in Myrtle Beach back in 1981. We got the original paper work from the guy I got her from. Hey, whatever happened to that old Scout you got? Wasn't it like a '72 or '73? Yeah, the IH Scout, had a 360 and a three speed manual right? I remember that huge push bumper on the front. That thing was a tank, all bottom end, could pull a house down the street if you wanted. Hey bro, you wouldn't friggin' believe what four wheel drives go for these days. It's outa control man. Every yuppies gotta have one, working man just can't compete with that. No shit Tommy, I'm serious. What did you used to say? "Serious as a heart attack". Bro, you would not believe how many brand new four by trucks go rollin' down the street, never even see a job site, or a dirt road. Got shiny new beds, no dents. Leather seats and power everything. It's crazy buddy, I'm tellin' you straight man, they cost more than you can earn in two years. You buy a truck like that, payments gonna be more than your mortgage. I'll stick with old used junk, beg borrow and steal to get through inspection. Things have really changed man. But hey buddy, The Stones are still touring, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan both got new albums out. Yeah, the good shit lasts forever. Maybe I'll get me a new truck some day, it could happen. Even guys like us, we do happen to "get lucky sometimes".

Yeah Tommy, I'm done cryin'. You're right, I need to take a lesson from The Bird.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Stupid Cheese.

So I take a break from TV news, feeling better, seeing clearly again. Last night after work I decide to give it a try. I see them falling all over themselves, telling us how upset we all are. Where were these morons a few years back? Do they really think they are telling us something we don't know? They say that the opium crop in Afghanistan is record breaking, a harvest that actually leaves them with a surplus. So much for the "War On Drugs", takes a back seat to the "War On Terror" I guess.

I understand that opium crop eradication is not a priority for U.S. boots on the ground, looking for the bad guys and trying to stay alive is what they are concentrating on. If no one cares about the opium crop, why didn't they just make a deal with the Sicilians? Could have told those guys to go take care of things in Afghanistan, in return they get to control the opium/heroin right there at the source, cut out the middle man. The Taliban and all the rest would have just quietly gone away.

"Osama? Won't see him no more".

Probably not the best idea anyone ever had, but it would have been effective. Good thing I'm not in charge I guess. No one ever accused me of being a deep thinker. Think I'm gonna take a break from the TV news again, that would be best.

When my nephew was like four, he tried a piece of sharp cheddar cheese while at a family gathering. He did not like the sharp cheddar cheese, as evidenced by the look on his face and his verbal response.

"Stupid cheese, I'm never eatin' cheese here again".

You tell 'em kid. Just keep callin' 'em like you see 'em.

Our parrot likes sharp cheddar cheese. Can't let him have a lot, it might bind him up, block his vent. That would be bad, a parrot with a blocked vent is an angry parrot.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Birds, or, The Bird.

So today was kind of crazy, back to school. When you're a parent, at least these parents here, it's the worst. All those school people up in your face. "So what do you do"? I hate that, none of your business is what I do. I like to tell them things like Pretzel Bender, or just relocated, Witness Protection. Our kids are "A" students all the way, leave me alone. I'm not a social butterfly, have no interest in re-living my own childhood vicariously through my children. I do not want to join the P.T.A. or the P.T.O., hats off to anyone who does, it ain't me.

Took our younger daughter out for a back pack and a few last minute odds and ends. Got a really cool one, she happily pointed out that it was on sale. Before we left the parrot was screaming. They do that sometimes, usually he just wants to know where you are. In the rain forest that's how they keep track of each other. If you're a parrot in the rain forest and you lose your flock, your dead. So I pull up some music on the computer here, my daughter tells me that he has some new favorite songs in the hard drive. I create a quick playlist of like five ballad types, and one Nellie song. My girls like Nellie. I set the thing to repeat so the bird will chill and not wake up my wife, she worked overnight last night. The bird is cool, he's chillin' with Nellie and some fresh snacks, we sneak out and go to the store.

We had a nice time, saw a great sunset, sat in the parking lot and watched it for all it was worth. Got home and found the note we left for my wife, in case she woke and wondered where we were. That note had been moved. A fresh pot of coffee was brewed and I heard the shower running upstairs. Utilizing my razor sharp powers of observation I deduced that she had in fact awakened. She comes downstairs to tell us how she was awakened, first by the phone, our older girl called from her boyfriends house to say his mother was bringing her home later. She fell back to sleep, a short time later she woke to the sound of barking dogs, our dogs. She came downstairs to see what they were barking at. She looked out back, she saw what they were barking at. Birds, they were barking at birds.

Hey Tommy, should have seen the look on her face. If I was those dogs I'd be makin' plans for emergency egress, know what I mean?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

To Myself.

Soon will have the house to myself. She's taking the girls out to get some back to school stuff. Fortunately they are both old enough that an entire wardrobe is not needed. Notebooks, pens, pencils. Maybe one or two clothing items, probably. Soon the house will be quiet, finish this post then. Got to strip paint and old varnish from cabinet doors, can write some while the stripper is doing it's work. This blog entry, then some research for my next book. Sounds weird, "my next book". It would be nice if the first one were published, then "my next book", would carry a little more weight. Have to keep writing though, as time allows. Read this thing that Robert DeNiro said. "If you don't go, you won't know". Simple, to the point. Time for coffee, got a cigarette waiting to meet it's match.

So they are on their way, had to help my younger daughter find her GameBoy. Can't travel without that. I already had the first cabinet door set up on the horses out back, on the patio under the overhang in case it rains. I start laying on the first coat of stripper, forgot to pull the heavy rubber gloves on first. Stuff burns, couldn't stop and pull the gloves on then, would of had a glove full of corrosive chemical gel. Sucked it up, finished laying it on then pulled my boots off and ran into the bathroom to rinse. Good thing I pulled my boots off, noticed a drop of that stuff on the heel. Yeah, that would have gone over real well. Rinsed that off with the hose after I got my hands clean. Got about forty-five minutes for the first coat to do it's thing, then scrape and rub with spirits before the second coat goes on. After that, clean with spirits again, rub down with steel wool. Step the wool down from like three to quad- zero for a nice finish.

So dinner was real good last night. The place was great, we sat at a table by the bar, smoking section. It's more fun in there anyway, they got a jazz guy who plays keyboard and sax. Guess he pre-programs some stuff into the keyboard, then accompanies himself on the sax. Doors, Steely Dan, old Rod Stewart all played like, jazz. Waitress was cool, funny too. We had a great time. It's nice to look at my wife with a different background, she looked great, like always. We laughed a lot, talked a lot. After dessert we just sat with our coffee and chilled. Each of us soaking up the atmosphere, the hustle and bustle of a busy restaurant. At one point, I'm looking out the front of the place, through the big old windows hanging under the original tin ceiling, past the jazz guy. Outside the rain was falling gently, streets were wet. Across the street in an alley type parking situation red tail lights glowed, mixing with the green glow of the traffic signal right there on the corner. Jazz guy was playing this slow bluesy version of "Riders On The Storm". She was looking off in the other direction, past my shoulder, towards the bar, lost in thoughts all her own I guess. It was moment in time. Suspended solitude, shared.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Rescue; Thank you.

The woman who runs the animal rescue facility who took the newborn kitten we found in the alley, she sent a thank you note to my wife and the girls. She also sent a receipt for the twenty dollars my wife gave her, donation to help care for the cat. Would have liked to give a little more, give what you can, better than nothing. Does not really seem like a rescue, just doing the right thing. Could not, in all good consience, drive off to work, leave the baby kitty to die in the alley. It was just born, eyes closed, cord still attached. Who could leave?

Looking forward to dinner with my wife tonight, she's actually off from work. First weekend night she's had off in two months. She's had a couple Sunday nights off, exactly two. One of those she ended up going in anyway. No buffet this night, going to a nice sit down Italian place, cloth napkins and everything.

When we got married, a friend gave us a complimentary stay in a suite at a five star famous hotel. We walked in the lobby to see guys wearing tux's and white gloves running to carry our bags for us. We were trying to joke around with them, they either didn't get it or were not allowed to laugh. At the check in desk, my wife said, in her best attempt at a southern accent.

"Gee baby, sher is better'n the Motel Six down at Fort Bragg".

I agreed that it was, the humorless clerk behind the counter said nothing, didn't even crack half a grin. We just got worse from there. Once in our room, or rooms 'cause it was a suite, we called down to the desk just to see how everyone was doing. We checked out early the next morning, foregoing the complimentary Continental Breakfast. Went and had chili dogs at our favorite hot dog joint, my wife worked there when she was a kid. If we ever hit the lottery, or achieve some financial success, we are going back to that five star hotel. Stay for a week, drive 'em all nuts and tip 'em all real well. Convince them that it's okay to smile, laugh at our stupid jokes, act like real people. That would be cool. Maybe we'll find a stray dog in the parking lot there, rescue him too.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Toasted Head.

Hey Tommy, me and the wife just split a bottle of wine, it's called Toasted Head. No shit bro, that's the name of the wine. Label said it has something to do with toasting the barrel staves, makes the wine taste better.....Now how the hell am I supposed to know that?......No it did not have a screw off cap, had a cork with wax on the top and everything.....Yes I have a corkscrew. I know, it's amazing. Hey Tommy, this wine comes from California, remember California? Yeah, that was a good time. We thought we were gonna be hangin' out with movie stars and shit, we end up running OP-FOR's for some battalion R-TEP. Where the hell is Fort Ord anyway? Hear they grow some good weed up in those hills, shame we never found out. Gotta go bro, gotta be at work at three this afternoon. Yeah I know, 1500. Well it's 05 something now, I'm buzzed. I'm a real lightweight these days, gettin' old. I'm sorry you're not. I miss you buddy.