Thursday, December 28, 2006

Going Around.

Christmas is over. I thought about a Christmas post on this blog of mine, I decided against it. Please know that when I said my Christmas prayers, I included all of you. Christmas is very personal to me, for a number of reasons. Christmas was not always good, sometimes it was, by accident. My wife and I have started our own Christmas traditions, our girls love Christmas. We cook and eat, we never go overboard with the presents. The dogs get new rawhide chews, the birds get sweet potatoes and apples. Right now it's late, almost 0300 on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I need to get some sleep. I got home from work an hour ago. I go back to work eleven hours from now. My wife is still working ten hour shifts, we both had the three day weekend, it's all good. I'll pick this up tomorrow.

Thursday, 1224hrs.
Yeah so I just made about seventy-five smokes with the Premier Excel cigarette rolling machine. Stoker's #2 Ultra-Light tobacco and a combination of full flavor and light tubes, the tubes all come with filters, it's pretty easy actually. My wife figured it out, where we would spend seventy-two dollars every two weeks buying cigarettes, we now spend eighteen dollars. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the anti-smoking lunatics figure this out and come after the roll your own smokers. I'm sick and tired of people who try to tell everyone else how to live. It really does bother me. I know that smoking is bad for me, so is beer and steak and whole milk. Tanning beds are really bad for you. We don't do tanning beds, but I'll never tell anyone else that they shouldn't, it's your call.

Yeah, so Christmas. My Christmas prayer is for peace. My Christmas prayer is for everyone on this little planet of ours. My Christmas prayer is for all those who have not. Not enough food or warm clothing, not enough clean water to drink or bathe their children. My Christmas prayer is for everyone. I will say my Christmas prayer, quietly and to myself, every day. I will never ask for myself, I will only ask for others. That's the way it should always be.

My father has a first cousin, well he has more than one, but one in particular. This particular cousin wrote the Little Bear books, a guy named Maurice was the illustrator. I never met her, I don't think my father has seen or spoken to her in decades. My father's older sister has, they are about the same age and they played together when they were kids in Denmark. I only know this because my father's older sister wrote a book, a memoir of sorts. It's not anything for publication, it's just for the family. Anyway, she wrote about the time they spent in Denmark with the family. My father and his brother and sister were all born in Massachusetts, their parents were both born in Denmark. The family was quite well off, before the war that is. They ran a coal import business and a farm. My grandfather killed himself when the kids were young, grandma took them back to Denmark for awhile. I never knew my grandparents, hardly know any of my father's family at all. My father's brother passed away about a year ago, he lived in Australia. I always got along real well with him. He would call me from Australia, try to convince me to come down there. He once promised to pay my fare back home if I came to visit. I told him he would have to pay my fare up front, I wanted to make sure I could get back home. He laughed, he was drunk, he liked to have a good time.

Yeah, so Christmas. Not many fond memories of Christmas from my own childhood, busy making sure our kids have plenty. There is something dark about my father and his family. It's always been there, I just don't know what it is. I'm tired of trying to figure it all out. I'm just done with them for now. Like I was saying, I really don't know much them anyway. Too many skeletons would be my best guess. I don't like skeletons.

My Christmas prayer will never change. I will always want the best for my fellow human beings. I will always want the best for my wife and children. I will always try to do my best to see that through to the end.

Hey Tommy, been awhile bro. How you doin'?..........Tommy?.........I guess I just can't hear you right now, or maybe you can't hear me.......Well my prayer is for you too, for whatever it's worth.........I miss you buddy, I wish you were still here.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Yeah so it's been over a week since I've had a chance to write. Well that's not exactly true, since I've had a chance to blog. I've written a few more pages on my second book, catch as catch can. We just returned from what I hope is our last trip to the store, any store. Christmas, you know the deal. My wife ran into the store while our younger daughter and me waited in the Jeep. She had her Game Boy and some CD's with her. She hands me a CD and says track five. She really digs The B-52's. "Love Shack" comes crankin' through the three good speakers in our old Jeep, the opening lines get me thinking. They sing about the car, the one that is "as big as a whale". They say it's a Chrysler.

When I was seventeen and I first got my driver's license my father had a 1971 Chrysler New Yorker. That car had a big motor, a 440 four barrel with a posi rear. That car was in fact "as big as a whale". One of my sisters took out a fire hydrant with that car, dented the driver side fender only slightly. The trunk in that thing could fit several people rather comfortably, we found that out going to the drive-in movies on Route 10. There is no longer a drive-in movie theatre on Route 10, but there was one in 1979. It was a rare occasion when I was allowed to drive that car, understandably so. That car had climate control and an eight track built in from the factory, cool.

When my parents were out of town one weekend, visiting relatives in Connecticut, I took that car without permission. A bunch of us went camping up in Vermont, it was something we did from time to time. My old Ford van was down, the gas tank had a hole in it and I hadn't yet gotten a new one. We fit two large tents and most of our gear in the trunk of that car, four of us along with the rest of our gear rode up to Vermont where we met up with the rest of the crew at the camp site. It was my understanding that my parents were not to return to New Jersey until that Monday, I was mistaken. I forget how it all happened, I just know that I had to get that car back in the driveway before six o'clock Sunday night. That big 440 four barrel sure came in handy that day. We made it back with about two hours to spare. My parents thought it was nice that me and my buddy decided to wash the car for them, since we were bored and had nothing else to do that weekend.

Several months later my father asked me to take the car to work with me one Saturday, he wanted me to put the snow tires on. I had done the same for my mother earlier in that same week, it seemed like a reasonable request since I worked at a full service garage. I pulled the snows out of the rack and threw them in the trunk of the Chrysler. At the end of the work day when the boss allowed us to use the lift and the bays to work on our own vehicles, I pulled the big New Yorker into the last of three bays and opened the trunk to remove the snows. When I had the trunk open I decided to check the condition of the spare tire, make sure it held enough air. I remember removing the valve stem cover and reaching into my pocket for my tire gauge, that's when I saw it. One of my friends had apparently stashed his bong underneath the spare tire. I remember that bong being passed around the fire in Vermont the previous summer. My father had been driving around with a hand turned (in metal shop of course) solid brass bong in the trunk of his car for like three or four months. I remember when I saw it there under the spare tire, my heart stopped for a second and all the blood ran out of my fingers and toes, then I started laughing.

Ten years later, when I was a cop, me and my partner stopped a van for running a red light. An odor of alcoholic beverage emanated from the interior of the van, the operator was asked to exit the vehicle and he complied. We determined that the aforementioned odor of alcoholic beverage was in fact emanating from the breath and person of the operator of said subject vehicle. A field sobriety test was performed, it was a toss up. Keep in mind that the legal limit in New Jersey in 1989 was .10, it's lower now. Also keep in mind that we were not a traffic unit and neither me or my partner were all that interested in locking a guy up just two days before Christmas. The guy was a nice guy, a decent hard working welder who had stopped at a go-go bar with co-workers for a little Christmas cheer on his way home from work that day. He was only two blocks from his house. Anyway, we had him if we wanted him, probably. So a search of the van was justified as a search incidental to arrest, if we decided to arrest him that is. The decision to arrest him would be made depending on the outcome of the search. I know it's not text book but it's reality. We were allowed to search the area that was in the driver's control, well it's a van. The guy said we could have a look when we asked him, said he had nothing to hide.

So I toss the van. Underneath the passenger seat I find a black in color small cylindrical plastic container with a grey in color snap on lid that appeared to be a 35mm film container. My training and experience led me to believe that the container may contain narcotics. I held the container up to my nose and detected the odor of marijuana. I know what marijuana smells like because I attended a controlled burn while a recruit at the police academy, at least that's how I'll testify in court. I ask the guy, what's in the container? He looked puzzled, his initial reaction was just that, puzzled. I opened the container and observed a small user quantity of suspected marijuana, that's when the guy got angry. He said he had allowed his son to borrow the van a couple of weeks earlier. He said his son wanted to help a friend who was moving. He said that his son or his son's friend must have left that in the van. I looked at my partner, he just shrugged. It was my call and I believed every word that guy said. Needless to say we didn't lock the guy up, we didn't even write him a ticket for the red light. We had him call his wife from a pay phone and she walked the couple of blocks down from their house and drove the van home. She was not happy about it, at all.

We cleared from the stop and went to get coffee, what else? We were talking about the stop and I told my partner about the bong in the trunk of my father's Chrysler. He almost choked on his coffee he laughed so hard.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Eight Meatballs.

Hell of a week. Lots O' OT. Crazy, she's been working ten hour shifts six days a week. My OT is always hit and miss. The Dock is jumping. Her shop is jumping too. She's been running three machines. Our younger daughter had a birthday last Monday, she brought cup cakes to school. We will be celebrating here on Saturday, well it is Saturday, 0149 hours. Pizza from Luigi's, that's her favorite and it's right down the block from our house. We got her an ice cream cake, it's a root beer float cake. We got balloons and one of those helium tanks too. She's getting some cool presents, all the overtime my wife has been working, got that covered. I'm so friggin' tired I can barely keep my eyes open. Have not written a word all week. I have to get some sleep, clear my head, enjoy the little baby girl's eleventh birthday celebration. I like pizza.

Yeah so this time of year sometimes gets weird for me. Lately I've been going on like five or six hours of sleep, makes things weirder. All the news about Iraq, memories that I don't want. I put that stuff away a long time ago, don't want it leaking out.

Yeah so I was a cop too, in Jersey 'til I got hurt and pensioned out. This is domestic violence season. I remember this one lady, she was from Brazil. She spoke some English and a lot of Portuguese. Her husband beat her with the turkey right out of the oven, in front of her kids. My partner, she spoke a lot of Spanish and a little Portuguese, she was able to communicate with this woman. The low life husband fled the scene prior to our arrival, the people in the apartment next door called 911 when they heard the screams. So we take the kids back to the station house and one of the guys went out and got them ice cream. We had them in the squad room watching TV while my partner stayed with the woman at the ER. They released her and my partner brought her back to the station. She was able to provide us with some possible locations where we might be able to find the low life husband. My partner stayed with the woman and her kids, me and another guy went and found the low life husband. I love these guys, all big and bad with the little woman, turn into a blubbering pile of mush when they get toe to toe with another guy. So this clown actually tried to resist arrest, I grabbed his arm and he hit me in the head with his free hand. It wasn't much of a punch, more like a slap, it was all I needed.

Some guys think that it's best to go for the knock out punch to the face or jaw. I always found that a well placed short punch driven upwards with your legs behind it, directly under the ribs works best in those types of situations. It usually knocks the wind out of them, a hasty finish is what you want. So this guy folded around my fist like a wet paper bag, we cuffed him up quick.
Back at the station we check our weapons and take him back to the cages. The cages are small holding cells. We have to remove his shoes and belt and any jewelry, along with his wallet and anything else he might have in his pockets. A very thorough search is required prior to placing any subject in a holding cell. They may be there for several hours, depends on how busy it is. So this guy decides to get stubborn again. This guy decides he's not giving up his gold in color neck chain with the St. Christopher medal on it. We try to explain it to him, we tell him he has to remove the chain. We tell him it will be bagged and returned to him upon his release. We don't tell him that he ain't being released any time soon. We don't tell him that his next stop is the main jail, the county jail on Market Street after he's processed. We try to be diplomatic, he ain't having any of it. The chain had to be removed from around his neck. It was removed at combat speed. I'm sure a good jeweler could easily repair the clasp.

Yeah, 'tis the season for Domestic Violence. I'm so glad I'm not a cop anymore. I really hate guys who hit women and children. Well I have to go get some sleep now. All the lights are up, it's real pretty. I love Christmas because the girls love it all so much. The Parrot has his own stocking, as do the dogs and the Love Bird. Now I'm rambling, I'm going outside for a smoke, then to bed.

Hey Tommy, what it is? Oh yeah, the meatballs. Well she made a whole bunch of meatballs a couple weeks ago, froze some too. Yeah, so I figure I'll heat up some of the sauce she made and throw some meatballs into the mix as well. I figure I'll throw the whole thing into the crock pot and let it slow cook, so the girls can have it for dinner........Yeah, this was just the other day......Yeah, they could just boil up some pasta and have a nice dinner while I'm at work and the wife is sleeping 'cause she's been working ten PM 'til eight in the morning all week.......Right......yeah so I got the sauce defrosted and I'm ready to throw the meatballs in and I open the container.......That's right, hey you are sharp Tommy.......That's right bro, eight friggin' meatballs left in the container. It's obvious that the girls have been consuming those meatballs and that's okay, they just should have said something is all I'm sayin'........No I did not yell at them. I went over to the market and picked up a bag of pre-made store bought frozen meatballs.......No they ain't as good as my wife's but what are you goin' to do?.........Yeah bro, eight friggin' meatballs. Like I was sayin' Tommy. It's been a hell of a week.......Yeah, I'll catch you later man.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Hey Bro.

Yeah Tommy I know. It wasn't your sister who worked in that mill, it was your old girlfriends sister.........Yeah I remember the story now. This girl you went out with in high school, her older sister had a couple kids and worked in the mill when her husband got killed.............Yeah, you said he was a tree climber, worked for a big commercial tree service........Your right man, that's a hard way to earn your pay. Dangling forty feet up with spikes strapped on your boots and a chainsaw hangin' off your toolbelt. That is a tough job. I guess the odds caught up with him.........Yeah so I wanted you should know that I remembered the story...........No, I was lookin' at some old pictures the other night after my daughter asked me why I can't hear so well in my left ear.........Yeah that's right man............No, I didn't tell her the whole story, just that sometimes things are loud...... Yeah so check this out, she's ten right? So I told her that things are sometimes loud, and she says this, she says "like things go boom kind of loud"? Can you believe it man?.......I know, she's a funny kid bro.........Yeah I know I did.......I don't know man, I just know it's gotten worse over the years since. I still have that slight ringin' in my ear too..........Yeah, I'm sure the VA is goin' to help me out. Sometimes you crack me up man.......Yeah, I have to get goin' buddy. She's at her company Christmas party right now......No, her sister went with her, the one who lives in Philly........Yeah, the artist.......Yeah I'm goin' back later, after the older one gets home from the Winter Dance at the school........No, we all went together and ate, the little one got a present from Santa 'cause he showed up at the V.F.W. hall where the party is at. At eight o'clock all the kids go home and they open the bar up for the rest of night......Yeah, the thing started at four and we ate good before we left........The older daughter? She'll be home at ten, that's when I walk on down to V.F.W. 'cause it's only a couple blocks away........That's right bro, safety first.........No, I ain't gettin' drunk, just cop a nice buzz and maybe shoot a little pool.......Same here man, out.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Big Heart.

So the cardiologist says there's nothing wrong with me. He says my heart "might" be slightly enlarged. I said based on what, the last time you shot me full of dye and took pictures of it? Keep in mind that this is the first time I've ever had this done. He says nothing is blocked, no valve damage either. Guess it's a good thing that I change my oil every few months. Get it? No damaged vales? He didn't get it either. Cardiologist says come back in six months. They want to do one more Echocardiogram, to see if my heart is shrinking. This makes no sense to me on any level. I said to him, what if I just have a big strong heart? He says that could be the case. Needless to say, I'm pissed. Needless to say but I said it anyway.

So I'm out at the counter waiting to schedule my six month follow up. I'm looking at my file. The charges for just him, the cardiologist and the stuff they did at his office are $1,476.00, yeah. That does not include the stress test and all the stuff they did at the hospital. I'm fortunate to have good insurance, they pay for the whole thing. I can't help but think that all this testing is based more on the type of coverage I have than anything else. Somebody out there really needs all these tests and can't get them done because they have no insurance. This country is spending eight billion dollars per month in Iraq. Millions of Americans have no, or very little health coverage. What the hell is wrong with this picture?

Hey Tommy, you believe this shit?...........Yeah right, and pigs are gonna fly........Oh man, I can't right now.........Yeah, trying to get ready for Christmas. Hey we got our tree, it's a nice one too.....Yeah, she steam cleaned the carpets. Rented the machine yesterday, took it back this morning......No dude, she's working ten hour shifts all this week, mandatory OT........Yeah she is tired........Hey your sister worked crazy hours like that didn't she?........Yeah, she worked at that textile mill right?.......Yeah I remember you tellin' me 'bout it........No man, we ain't middle class any more. Ain't no more middle class bro........Yeah that's right. Hey that's pretty funny, can I use that?.........Cool, catch you later buddy.......Yeah, same here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Just Sunday.

So here I am at 0130. Been too busy to blog, too busy to visit my favorite blogs much either. Any spare time I've been able to grab has been spent writing my second book. Still have not heard anything from the literary agency about the first book. The longer they have it, the better for me I guess. So a few months ago I was watching a CMT special about Southern Rock, a nasty storm knocked out the signal. I never did see the whole thing. Well it's on right now. I'm going to go watch it.

Not much else to say, got the cardiologist at noon on Monday. I'll find out what all those tests were about. Bought a rolling machine, roll my own smokes now. Save a lot of money that way. It works out to about a dollar a pack. I like that. The book is smoking along. The words just fly off my finger tips. It's just about some regular guys, a regular tavern and the women they love and lose. Some of them have some skeletons in the closet, all that good stuff. At least one of them is running away from something. One of them has no idea about what's coming his way. It's the kind of book I'd like to read, that's good enough for me.

Tommy..... Yeah bro listen up, I know it's been a few days but Skynyrd is coming on that CMT show......No, the old Skynyrd man......Cool, I'll catch you later man.