Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bear. Bare. Grin?

I started this post back on 27 August. It's now 14 September and I'm going to try to finish it up today. I've been busy of late.

This guy I work with. He's a big bear of a man. He has a loud hardy laugh. He always greets you with a smile. From what I'm told, at one time he was a mean drunk. He had a temper and the fists to back it up.

They say his wife changed him. He stopped drinking and went to church. Without the booze his temper was tempered. He did so love his wife. She died about six years ago.

He raised the kids, the youngest was twelve or thirteen when their mom passed away. That youngest boy is now done with high school. His oldest is a daughter who just had her first baby. The Bear is now a Granpa.

My wife is very sick these days. She really looks a cancer patient now. She has to take antibiotics because she has a runny nose. Her immune system is compromised. The chemo does that.

On Friday, 12 September, she had an Echocardiogram instead of chemo. She goes back for more chemo next Friday. She thought she would feel a little better, missing a week of chemo. She actually feels worse than ever.

I'm still working on this front hall. I'm trimming now. The ceiling is done, tongue and groove. It looks good. She's crashed out on the couch this morning. We watched SNL last night. I feel asleep in the chair, she on the couch.

Last night we partied. I went to the store and got a shrimp ring, mozz sticks, wings, bagel bite little pizzas and mini corn dogs. Onion rings and two big bottles of Dr. Pepper.

My wife and the younger baby girl and me, we had what my wife calls "Greasy Grill" night. It was fun. Paying for it today. A junk food hangover. The younger baby girl is not affected by this.

She cries more these days. She is tired of being sick. She's upset about not being able to work. She's upset about the older baby girl going off to college. She's upset about having to endure three more months of chemo.

Hey Tommy. Yeah man, it's all like that. It's like that every day now. What about you Tommy? What's it all about for you?.....................Hey, she was at the mall on Friday night with the older baby girl. They were both saying how people were staring at her. In the past, with just the hair missing she didn't draw so much attention. Now she really looks sick. No amount of makeup will hide it. People just kept staring. That sucks.

Yeah, she heard this thing on the radio so she looked it up and read an article about it. It was about the governor of Alaska and how she was laughing with these radio show idiots who were making fun of some political type up there. They said that this person was "a cancer". They laughed and the governor laughed with them. This person is a cancer survivor. My wife heard that and she got very angry. She said she hopes that they get cancer. I have never heard her say anything like that before.

Hey Tommy, what about it? Why are some people just so fuckin' stupid.....

Monday, August 25, 2008


I was thinking about something. I try to avoid thinking when I can. It usually turns out not so good. When I think that is.

I'm working second shift this week. Four to midnight. It started yesterday at 0500. I'm covering for a guy on vacation. He works Sunday through Thursday. Starts at 0500 on Sunday then 4 to 12 the rest of the week. Right now I'm going to go outside and have coffee and a cigarette.

I had two cigarettes. It was a big cup of coffee.

This is not a political blog. I'm really bothered by the Olympics in China. I'm glad it's over. When I was eighteen President Carter declared that boycott of the Olympics in Moscow because the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. I thought that was a good idea. I don't understand why we now have to support China while they continue to abuse their own people, pollute the planet, poison our dogs and children with their tainted products, and take all of our jobs away from us. It just bothers me. I think it has more to do with money than anything else. I'm brilliant. I figured that all on my own. American business puts greed before what's right for this country.

A few months back Senator Obama said he would send troops into Pakistan to get Bin Laden if he knew for a fact that he was there. He was criticized for saying that. I want to know why. Why shouldn't we do what we have to do? Why do we worry so very much about annoying Pakistan? What do we care what Pakistan thinks? If Pakistan won't do the right thing then we need to do it for ourselves.

I am so sure that our country has within the ranks of our military more than a few really tough people who could get that job done.

I've been thinking about Senator McCain. He's a guy I've always respected. I don't respect him as much these days. I don't mean to sound disrespectful. I still respect his service to this country. I still think he's a good guy on so many levels. I don't know him personally, I'm talking about publicly. You know what I mean. I will say this. I would not want to tangle with John McCain, like in a bar fight or something. I don't care if he's seventy-two. I think he's probably a very tough man. I also think that if he does not win the election he will stand up and support the President. I don't think he will be petty and selfish about it. I don't think he'll act like the Clintons have acted towards Obama.

I think that it's time to take it away from the whole sixties generation. I'm tired of all of it. I also think that if Senator Obama wins it will really annoy the crap out of so many people. I really like that idea. I should say that I also really like the thought of Obama losing, and how that would annoy the crap out of so many other people. Blogger spell check keeps telling me that I'm spelling Obama wrong. His name keeps coming up in bright yellow highlights. I think that's a sign.

So I've been thinking. I've made up my mind and I'm going to vote for Senator Obama for President..........Wow. Better alert the press. Some idiot with a blog just endorsed Senator Obama for President.......See what I mean about thinking?

Hey Tommy. I know, it's stupid. But I didn't say cancer or chemo even one time.........

Yeah. It's time for more coffee.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Like It Is.

It's like this. I've been out in the shade once or twice. Bent the rules. Snapped the rules in half. I do not judge people. At least I try real hard not to judge other people. When a guy like John Edwards holds himself out to the rest of us as some kind blue collar hero who swept the floors at the mill and went on to college so that he could reach back and lift us all up where we belong. When a guy like John Edwards turns out to be just another slick player who should at least give us a reach around if he can't reach back. Well, that just pisses me off.

The nurses who work in "The Chemo Room" call it Kool-Aid. They call the chemo Kool-Aid. My wife can't drink any red juice. She can't eat red yogurt. Strawberry was her favorite, the kind with the fruit on the bottom. Red is the color of the chemo that is injected into the port on the front of her right shoulder. The syringe looks like a turkey baster with a six-penny nail on the end. They shoot the Kool-Aid into her with that.

I knew this guy once. He was one of the cops I worked with. He cheated on his wife a lot. He was pathological about it. He was a serial cheater. His wife was so nice. She was pretty and sweet. She was the mother of this guy's children. What a surprise, a cop who cheats on his wife. I never really liked that guy. It had less to do with him cheating on his wife, it was more like, you just knew you couldn't trust him. He was the guy who would give you up in a second to save his own ass.

My wife is crashing right now. You really can't call it sleeping. It's a crash. Her hair fell out weeks ago. Her eyelashes started falling out shortly after that. Her eyebrows are going now. Our younger daughter called them "eyebrellas" when she was little.

I knew this other guy. He was a cop too. He cheated on his wife once. She found out about it and swung a golf club up and into his groin. I bet that hurt. He was so worried that she'd do it again that he had his two brothers go with him to move his stuff out of the house. His grandmother was going to rent him an apartment in the three-family house that she owned. When his grandmother found out why his wife had cracked him in the nards with a golf club and thrown him out of the house, she said he couldn't live in her building. When he told me about the whole situation I laughed. He had it coming to him and he knew it. I still trusted him.

On TV and in the movies they always show the chemo patient hooked to an IV. In my wife's case the IV comes before the chemo. It's the IV that takes the longest, up to an hour or more. There is no chemo in that IV. That IV has four different types of anti-chemo-symptom type drugs on board. The chemo, or Kool-Aid in a turkey baster comes last. At least that's how it is in my wife's case. Everybody is different. Everybody receives different treatment and it all depends on any number of variables.

It's like this. I am not some kind flawless character. I've got flaws as big as the friggin' Grand Canyon in some places. I can say that I have never harmed anyone who didn't really have it coming to them, like self defense. I can also say that I've never played those kind of games, like those guys I was telling you about. Or like John Edwards.

Fewer than five-percent of the more than one hundred thousand woman who are diganosed with breast cancer each year are under forty years old. My wife is thirty-nine. She's a Stage Two at least. It's already been found in her Lymph Nodes and that's not good.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Do Overs.

I would take that back if I could. That last post, I would take it back. I was feeling sorry for myself and it shows. I won't be riding off any bridges. I wouldn't do that to my girls.

She had chemo again yesterday. The last of this type of chemo. In three weeks she goes in for an Electrocardiogram. Not sure I spelled that right. A week after that she goes back to begin the next round of chemo. It will be a different type of chemo. She will have four chemo sessions, one every three weeks just like this last time.

Monday she has to report for an injection. Friday she has to report for weekly lab work. It's not like she ever gets a break from all this stuff.

I love her more than ever. I respect her strength and drive. She doesn't think she's strong. She is very strong.

John Edwards is an asshole. I'm not judging the guy. I'm just saying how it is.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


My wife said her time here will be shortened. She said even if she comes out of this chemo and beats this cancer, the chemo alone will shorten her time here with us. I did not want to hear that. I told her that if she leaves me alone with the kids and the dogs then I'll make sure the girls get through college and the dogs live as long as they are meant to live. Then I'm going to follow her.

I figure I'll get my hands on an old Shovelhead, maybe some rigid frame bar hopper. I'll ride around the country for a few months. I'll find myself an open ended bridge with a real long drop. I will have to hit some biker bars and scare up a big fat joint because I promised myself years ago that I will get stoned at least one more time before I die.

So I'll smoke that joint and wash it down with an icy cold six-pack of Coor's before I hit that open ended bridge with the throttle buried and those straight pipes screaming.

Now if she leaves us when the girls are older and there are grandchildren involved, well I'll have to stick around for the grandchildren. I'll have to make sure they know all about their grandmother.

Not Coor's Light. Regular Coor's in the yellow cans. Light beer, that would be a sin.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


If you drive north on Route 220/I99 from Bedford Pennsylvania towards Altoona, you will find yourself on a long downhill stretch around the Inman exit. If you look out your driver side, look out and off to the left you will see a picture as pretty as any painting.

The valley rolls north and south. The hills off to the west. It's something you just have to see. I don't know why that one particular spot seems to have captured me so. I drive through there pulling my fifty-three at least twice a month.

This guy I know at one of the big stores I deliver to in Pittsburgh, his son just enlisted. This guy I know is pretty shaken up about it and I don't blame him. It's times like these, I'm glad I have daughters who show no interest in enlisting.

This guy I know, his kid is going Airborne.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Flat Track. Dirt.

Went to the races last night. My buddy called and asked me if I wanted to go. The local track is not too far from here. I am not a big NASCAR fan but I do like the flat dirt track racing. It's all local guys, a couple of girls too. They run several different classes at the track. The Late Model Modified class is always the best.

We got there in time to get good seats. We each had a blanket to roll up and sit on. The old school hardwood stadium style benches are not very comfortable. We got some chili dogs, burgers and fries before we settled in to wait for the first heat. We both like to eat before the races start. The good greasy food is better without the gritty taste of flying dirt in the air. If you have ever gone to see dirt track racing you know what I mean.

The sun was setting off to our left in the crystal clear Western Pennsylvania sky. It was a perfect evening for the races. Not too hot and not too humid. We like to sit dead center in the front stretch. The American flag at the top of the racing official's stand where they wave the green and yellow and white and checkered racing flags sits just slightly to our left and about twenty-five yards in front of us.

I looked around at the crowd. I looked at the families who were all together to enjoy this experience. This so very American experience. A moment of silence was called for as we all stood up at the track announcer's request. The moment of silence was for the local volunteer fire department chief who had recently passed away. On the edge of the track stood about twelve members of the fire department, all visibly shaken by this loss. The National Anthem followed.

The announcer asked that hats be removed. I noticed a big biker guy who removed his bandanna from his head with his left hand, slapping his right hand smartly against his chest while he assumed the position of attention. A veteran for sure......America.

After the National Anthem played over the speakers that line the bleachers the announcer made some public service announcements. A Poker Run is to be held in a couple of weeks. The proceeds to benefit a local active duty Green Beret who suffered extensive burns. The poker run is sponsored by a local Nam Vet motorcycle club. The same club is also raising money for the family of a little girl who is suffering from some rare bone disease. The money is to help defray the costs of travel for the family who can't afford the gas to take her to and from her many appointments.....The Beautiful.

The sun began to set, turning the few white clouds a golden orange while the flag continued to wave in the steady breeze that came from the west. The breeze that would help coat all present with dirt and dust from the track once the races began.

The races were good. Lots of action and no one got hurt. For a few hours I was able to think about something other than the cancer that lives inside my wife. The cancer that the Chemo is attacking while it attacks every other living cell in her body. I feel quite fortunate that we do not have to be the recipients of good will, like the Green Beret and the Little Girl. We have good insurance and the money I earn driving the semi combined with my cop pension is seeing us through.

Hey Tommy. That goldfish, Al. He's doing great man. My wife and our younger daughter bought two more little guys to keep him company. We named one of them Mezzo. It's a name from one of the Japanese cartoons our Younger Baby Girl is so fond of. The other new fish I named. I named him Spot.