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Three score and ten or more

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Lowes used to be one of my favorite stores. The prices are very competitive, and several times I have asked them to donate materials for use in charity or in school projects and found them very cooperative. Last Thursday, I got ticked off. I was driving past the rear of the store to pick up an order and noticed a man emptying great rack of plants (all kinds, vegetables, marigolds, trees, etc. into the massive dumpster behind the store. I knew he was tossing outdate merchandice, but I hate to see plants die, so I asked him if I could come back and pick up a bunch to plant at the senior citizen's center or to take to one of the pre-schools. He just answered "Against company policy." and I went away.

I went by the next day and they had a large dumpster (what we used to call a skip, almost look like a mini railroad car) and part of a second, loaded with literally thousands of plants. A young lady who worked at the store was tossing some lumber scraps away, so I asked her if there would be a big problem if I salvaged a bunch of those plants.. "If you come when the store is open, you will be chased away." she replied.

"What if I come by after the store closes?" I asked. "You will probably be arrested, they have a lot of security cameras to keep people from stealing the trash." said she."

As a theatre technician and a puppeteer, I have long been a dumpster diver (and a yard sale addict, and one of those who drives down the road on trash day looking for salvaegable stuff,) I have a really negative feeling about those who throw away good things, especially living things like plants. I know that Lowes doesn't want people to scrounge from the trash what they would ordinarily buy (and I buy a lot at Lowes), but somehow security cameras to keep people from stealing the trash seems over the line. For the time being at least, Lowes has dropped about fifty percent in my enthusiasm meter.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Away Games in Football

I have got to be careful lest posting almost every day become a habit and become expected, but I have been editing a long ago written memoir, and keep finding bits that (if my memory is worth a darn) that I haven't posted before, so I have been doing a bit of copy and paste.

My junior year in high school was both better and more memorable than my sophomore one. It started off well when, right at the beginning of the year I was moved up to varsity on the football team (though I did get a couple of JV games in as well). I just had to really admire our coach, Chase Anderson. He pushed us, trained us, used a remarkable quick T formation plan, and had every team scouted to a fair thee well. I wasn't first string, but I got into a lot of games and got to travel with the team for some. Opening game was with Butte High School in Butte, Montana. I have very limited memory of most of the trip. The trip to Butte seemed eternal. We started early in the morning and arrived late at night. When we got out on the field, the stands were big and it had lights for night games (ours didn't)but the field was awful. It was like playing on a sand and gravel parking lot with patches of grass. Fortunately or unfortunately my experience on the field was mostly limited to warm-ups, and a couple of plays when there was a minor injury, but, during the game we had a lot of superficial injuries and everyone complained about the field. I am pretty sure we won, but can't remember clearly. What I remember best about the trip was that I found a bunch of guys who were pinochle players, and, playing for a penny a point and a dime a set I (actually my partner and I, though I don't clearly remember who my partner was) won, what was at the time, a lot of money during the bus trip. My mother would have had a cow if she had known.

She would have been particularly shocked at the manner in which they were won. We were sitting in the back of the Greyhound bus. My partner was sitting next to the window row in the back seat, one opponent sat next to him. I was sitting on a bag of shoulder pads or something in the aisle. I can't remember exactly where the other opponent sat, somewhere on the next to last row of seats facing his partner. We had played two or three hands before I noticed that in the curved chromium molding around the back of the seats, I could see, reflected, my partner's hand, and one of my opponents. Now I don't know how many of my readers play pinochle and realize just how beneficial it is to see your partner's hand, let alone to see one of your opponents, but suffice it to say that, in a money game, this is money in the bank. On the trip to Butte, my partner and I (though I was careful to lose enough hands to avoid suspicion) won over forty dollars (which we split, and squandered during the overnight portion of the trip). We were pressured to continue the game on the way home, but I think I developed a stomach ailment or something to avoid the chance that the seating arrangements might be modified, creating an embarrassing or even dangerous situation. I will have to say that, considering that I got sent into the game for about two plays, a few bucks can ease the hurt pride for a second stringer.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Back to my childhood stories

I am sure that my Mom and Dad were normal people and argued and fought like other folks, but I was never aware of a disagreement except for those occasion when I pushed Dad further than he could go, and he would lose his temper, at which time Mom would step in and protect me from the worst of his anger. I don't mean that Dad was abusive. He wasn't, but I knew how to push his hot buttons, and I am not sure that sometimes I didn't do it on purpose, just to get Mom's attention.

Dad was a slender man, quiet most of the time, and Mom was heavyset and boisterous with a loud laugh and a big voice. I am sure that most people thought that Dad was henpecked, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Dad was the acknowledged boss in our house, not because he pushed, but because mom thought that was the way it should be. Mom would not have thought of doing anything seriously out of the routine without consulting with Dad. On the other hand, most of what Dad did was in consultation with Mom. They had one of the best marriages I have ever known, and I got a really good foundation for my life.

My dad was a really good athlete, and I don't know how it worked out with my brother Doug but I know dad was frustrated, at times with my almost total lack of hand-eye coordination. He would take us boys out in the back yard and play catch with us. The only time in my life that he really hurt my feelings came from that, and it was unintentional. We had been out in the backyard for quite a long time playing catch, then Dad went in and I stayed out for awhile, throwing the ball up onto the roof and letting it roll back so I could catch it. I quickly tired of this and went in the house where I overheard my dad say to mom, not knowing I could hear, "I don't know what to do with Dickie (yes, I was called Dickie by everyone at that time), he throws like a girl." I was cut to the quick, and I think I probably hurt dad's feelings, because I never willingly played catch with him again. I did play softball at recess, and out in the street with other kids, but from that day on, I knew in my heart that I would never be any good at it-- and I wasn't. Dad still tried, and he always encouraged me at everything, but he finally gave up and quit trying to get me to play baseball with him.

On the other hand, one of my two or three most precious memories of my dad has to do with baseball. I don't remember how old I was, but I must have been ten or eleven when my dad took me, alone, without Doug or anyone else, to a baseball game. We had a St. Louis Cardinals class C. baseball team in Pocatello. It was a Pioneer league team, and Salt Lake City, Boise, Butte, Montana, and for some of the time Idaho Falls among other cities had teams in the league. Along with many of my friends, I spent as much time in the summer at the Ball Park as I could. One summer I used money from my paper route to buy a "Knot Hole Gang" ticket which got me a T-shirt and allowed me to sit in the bleachers near left field for ten or so games.

Most of the time, like many other kids, I was a member of the REAL knot hole gang, watching the games through cracks, knot holes, and the occasional pocket knife "created" knot hole in the fence, occasionally climbing up on the fence to watch (and being chased away periodically by "ball shaggers" who were high school kids paid by the team to collect foul balls and home runs hit over the fence, and to chase the younger kids off the fence.) I was a real fan. When I couldn't go to the game, I listened to as many of the games as I could on the radio. I got to see many men play ball who later became big leaguers and even Hall of Famers. I particularly remember Solly Hemus and Red Scheindinst, and I remember one occasion when I watched Jesse Owens who had won the 1939 Olympics and was billed as "The fastest man in the world" win a race against a race horse before the game. I was thrilled to watch, and since seeing the movie about Jesse Owens life, have gotten the impression that many thought that this was demeaning to Jesse Owens in some way. I only know it was one of the high points of my young life.

The best game of all was when my dad took me to the game. We walked to the game. It was about a mile, and we got there before complete dark (The games were always played at night "under the lights".) I showed dad my favorite spot to watch the game (right center field, just far enough from the scoreboard that you could see the score), then we went in and sat in reserved seats to see the game. My dad bought me real popcorn, peanuts and a crackerjack, as well as some soda pop and a hot dog. We yelled and screamed and had a marvelous time. I am not even sure who won the game, but I think Pocatello must have, because I was in a great mood when we left the game. We walked a long way home, wandering around, and I had a footrace with my dad, which I lost miserably, but which didn't make me feel bad, because I felt that my dad must have been the fastest man in Alameda (The little suburb of Pocatello, Idaho in which we lived.) It was an almost perfect experience. I am in tears now just thinking about it. I don't think I slept a wink that night, I was so happy. I don't know if it was that meaningful to my father, and I regret to this day that I never, to my memory, told him how important it was to me. I have done a lot of things with my children, (as I have also ignored them at times) but one of my greatest hopes is that somewhere, in each of their memories is at least one memory of me that is as precious as this memory of my father.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I don't know how many watched Sixty Minutes today. I used to watch it faithfully until I caught them in some intentional lies about subjects with which I was directly involved. After that, I just tuned in occasionally to watch Andy Rooney.

Tonight I tuned in, almost accidentally and heard the most chilling discussions that I have ever heard on television.

To put the discussion into context, however, I need to mention an article in my Sunday paper about two young African American men, both businessmen, sons of an Army First Sergeant, who were both shot, one killed by police outside a club in Atlanta (one of the two police officers was injured as well, her partner sprayed her in the eyes with pepper spray while trying to spray one of the men killed.) Both of the men were unarmed.

Now to the subject at hand: The interviewer was talking to some famous rap star who bragged that he made millions and owned two Lamborghinis (sp). The rap star said, in answer to a question, that he would not report a serial killer who lived next door, even though he had seen the killer commit the crime because real men don't "snitch". This was somewhat shocking to hear coming through the mouth of this physically beautiful, somewhat androgynous looking rap singer. Rap performers have a long history of contempt for the law, and during the discussion he noted (or someone did) that he had often used his own experiences as a drug dealer as part of his act.

The shocking element was the next one. The interviewer talked to six or eight young African American young people, apparent ages from about 12 to about 18, who were interviewed in the context of being in a church group. They revealed that they (almost all of them) had seen murders, drive by shootings, that sort of thing, but that they had never told anyone at the time, and would have refused to tell policemen if they had been asked.

One young man volunteered that "Those are the rules, snitches are worse than gang bangers or liars or anything else." An older young lady agreed, not that it was out of fear of the results (which is certainly a possibility), but that "real" people don't talk to police.

It was clear that the "rules" were totally societal even with these young folks who were part of a religious organization. I find that terrifying.

What scares me more is the context. There is such lack of trust, even between the good kids and the cops, running in both directions, that explosions are imminent and understandable. The youngest boy in the group made the point that he had often been picked up by police while going to school and walking to a neighbor's house.

Can you imagine two inexperienced cops who trust nobody in an African Neighborhood and who are trusted by nobody in that neighborhood, and in a case where neither has more than two years experience being called to what one said was a "fight scene", meeting two large young men, brothers, rough housing outside a restaurant (been there a lot of times). Did the young men trust them? Probably not, maybe one shouted "I haven't done anything" at an said inexperienced cop. Who knows, but with the attitude of the young people who are growing up to be businessmen etc. it's hard not to imagine an escalating level of violence that is beyond this old white guy's imagination.

No, I am not going to propose a solution. Frankly, in this case, to quote the old Christmas Carole "My little brain isn't very bright"at least not tonite, but I see things going down hill rapidly.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Earth Day

I picked up a copy of the Georgia Southern University student newspaper today (the GeorgeAnne, if that's not a fun pun), and discovered that it was featuring the celebration of Earth Day. I thought back to the very first Earth Day. It was my first year at Georgia Southern, and I had originally come here as Scene Designer and Technical Director. To those of you with no clue, that meant that it was my job to design the scenery and lighting for the plays, and get both of these ready so that when opening day came, we wouldn't all be embarrassed. Our play at that time was one called Look Homeward Angel, which had a fairly complex setting with a variety of different scenes, both indoor and outdoor on the stage. We had, what could be called, a very small theatre staff (The director and myself) and a relatively small theatre program. As a result, the scene construction and installation involved every student who was taking a Stage Craft class, all the members of the cast and a couple of students who were paid minimum wage for ten hours a week.

At this time, there was no tradition of "Earth Day", it had never happened before, and wasn't part of the yearly schedule. It was instituted well after rehearsal had started for the play. When they announced that the University was going to join in the celebration of the day, all students were excused from classes and other activities, but the set for the play was far from complete, and we were supposed to start dress rehearsals that weekend. As a result, I found myself working all alone by myself on the stage beginning at about seven in the morning, and I carpentered and painted and cursed as I heard people running around out in the quad (here it is called the Sweetheart Circle) singing, and yelling and having a great time. My temper got shorter and shorter as I got more and more exhausted.

At this time, I need to insert some background. As an undergraduate I had attended Idaho State College (or ISC). Someone had created a mocking song about ISC sung to the tune of the Cornell University Alma Mater (Far Above Cayuga's Waters). The song went

Far above the Portneuf River
Standing here are we,
In an old abandoned outhouse
Known as ISC.

There was an equally disrespectful chorus that I won't bother to write because it was not only disrespectful but vulgar..

Back at Georgia Southern (then) College on earth day I was carrying a gallon paint bucket and a brush up a fourteen foot A frame ladder when suddenly, out of nowhere, I began to sing.

Far above Ogeechee's waters (we have our own river, as did Idaho State)
Slaving here are we (I couldn't think of a way to create a rhyme with "I", even though I was alone.)
In an old abandoned outhouse.
Known as GSC.

I had just begun the even more disrespectful chorus when I heard a roar out in the audience space (I was on the auditorium/theatre stage).


I looked out and saw an elderly gentleman coming down the aisle. I discovered later that he was a tenured history professor and the unofficial historian and all time most fanatic backer of the College.

He then proceeded to ask my name, my position, my parents names, the name and address of the rented hovel holding my wife and children, and who I worked for.

I looked him right in the eye and told him I was an Earth Day volunteer from the community, and that I had been stuck in here by those in charge of the holiday, and I was resentful that I didn’t have any help. I then offered to lend him a paintbrush if he wished to join me.

Knowing damn well that I was lying, but really unable to reach the authorities of the College because they were all out in the Sweetheart circle listening to the band play or giving speeches, he walked away muttering to himself.

In the ensuing days, I had occasion to explain my actions to the Department Head, the Division Head and the Dean of Arts and Sciences. To a man, they were mildly sympathetic, but at the same time warned me that I had offended one of the more influential men in the community.

We actually became pretty good friends over the next twenty years, and he often commented on the occasion of our first meeting. When he passed away, only a few weeks ago, there were several large articles about him in the paper, (along with an obituary), something I don't anticipate on my own passing (which I plan to stall as long as possible.)

Let's see,

Far above the river styxx -- That doesn't scan,,,,,Oh well, its late.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech

The blogosphere has been full of comments about the Virginia Tech Massacre, as one would expect. That is the kind of event, like 9/11 or the murder of John Kennedy, which leaves a mark. I remember the moment I heard about Kennedy's death, where I was, what I was doing, and everything else about that moment. I also remember being rousted out of a nap by a phone call from one of my sons, who said only "Turn on your TV, the world is being changed". When I first heard of the happenings at Virginia Tech, I was sitting in the dentist's office waiting to have a root canal done. I glanced up at the plasma TV on the wall to see a printed crawl under whatever was playing that said "At least twenty eight people are dead in what has been called the greatest school massacre in U.S. history". Shocked, I requested a change to a news channel, and they had to almost drag me into the office for treatment.

I went home, turned on the TV and watched for as much time as I could stand it. Every channel had a talking head or two, blithering on, obviously without a clue as to what exactly happened, or who was involved. The only newscaster whose report at that time I respected was Sheppard Smith, of Fox News, who, though he was bracketed by Know nothing chatterers said something to the effect that "We have a report that someone has killed up to thirty students at Virginia Tech, and we have no other real facts to report, but we have reporters near the scene and he hope to be able to give you some real information very soon." Already the politics panderers were beginning to talk about gun restrictions, campus police failures (Including one who ventured the opinion that no one on a college campus was safe with the collection of rent-a-cops that were typical campus police).

I am now really tired to the pundits who are going on about how nobody saw the warning signs and did anything about it. If the police could do anything about everybody who is a little weird, writes scary plays, etc. etc. All the horror authors would be in jail or locked up somewhere, as would the movie makers who made all the chain saw, hockey mask, we know what you did stuff and made millions. There just isn't much, in a free society, that you can do about someone till he does something. If the fact that he was "upskirting" girls with his cell phone were easily prosecutable, the internet would be short by hundreds of web pages.

I then take up those who are screaming "what about the two hours?" Why wasn't the campus locked down after the first shooting. This is a campus with well over twenty thousand students. It is a community with a police force that was doing what police forces do, trying to find out who committed the first crime. Locking the campus down would be as effective as trying to lock down any other community of twenty plus thousand. I was once offered a job teaching in a New York City high school (of the arts, mainly) in which, when the bell rang, the doors of the classrooms shut and locked, and the teacher was "locked in" till the next bell (tardies were also locked out). I considered the offer (which was financially much more exciting than the college teaching jobs I was considering at the time) and ran like a bunny. I had taught high school in a place where I could throw students out (send to the principal) and I wasn't about to get into an environment where the unruly might rule. I am a teacher and an artist, not a jailor. Frankly I doubt that this high school procedure might be more effective than trying to lock down a university, but I doubt it. As far as the rent-a-cop thing is concerned, I spent over forty years teaching in universities, and I will have to admit that when I began, the rent-a-cop appellation was appropriate. In that forty years I have seen college police forces evolve to the stage where officers attend police academies, the forces have detective bureaus, and in some cases pay more than regular local law enforcement. In other words, they are, for the most part, very professional.

The final canard that I just can't abide is blaming the victims. "Why didn't they fight back?" "I would rather die fighting than just standing there." And on and on and on. I will state unequivocally that ninety percent of those who say that don't know what they are talking about. You don't know what you would do in a particular situation unless you have either been there before or been trained for it. I admire the holocaust survivor who literally threw his body into the saving of the students, and I recognize the experience that prepared him for it.

I "once had a very close friend" who read an ad in some magazine that the forest service was accepting applications for being smoke jumpers. Applicants who were accepted would go to Missoula, Montana to train, and then would spend the summer jumping out of airplanes to put out forest fires. Jumping out of airplanes sounded romantic and fun. "I can do that" he exclaimed and applied for the position (he actually talked several friends into applying as well). If one were under twenty one, the application had to be signed by a parent, and he talked his dad into signing, was accepted and away he went.

Training to jump out of airplanes entailed (then, I don’t know about now) vigorous exercise that would compare to basis training, doing sit-ups forever with one's legs hung over a fence three feet from the ground, practicing landing by jumping out of a moving pick-up going thirty miles an hour (maybe less) down a dirt road while wearing a full pack, dropping from a jump tower a number of times.

Even with that training, you don't know what you will do. Looking out of the door of an old Ford Tri Motor plane at the ground (usually closer than you see for sport parachuting) slipping rapidly along below you and knowing that the parachute is only ten or twelve (I forget) feet in diameter and that you are going to come down like a rock. You don't know what you will do.

Some learn to love it, some grit their teeth and do it because they don't want folks to laugh, but none of them know what they will really do on the first jump, or even the second or third.

My "friend" received a letter from his father sometime after his third jump that said essentially "I wish you would quit and come home, because your mother is never going to forgive me for signing that thing without consultation. I have found you a job that pays just as much, and life would be so much better if you would come home." Some folks would have stubbornly stayed whether their stomachs turned every time that damn plane slowed to jump speed, but my friend said "Thank God, I have an excuse." He showed the letter to his superior, was released (at some minor financial sacrifice) and went home vowing that he would never jump out of an airplane again unless it was crashing, and maybe not then. His worst fear was that he would freeze on a jump. Even after all that training he didn’t really know what he would do.

This is comparable. Those students, like those who criticize them didn't know what they would do, and they all did what seemed possible at the time. Anyone who would like to trade places and try to do better has my permission.

We don't know yet all the details, but no matter. We will never really know why he did what he did, why the students reacted as they did, and any conclusions we draw are really just, to quote an old railroad man with whom I used to work, "pissing up wind". What can we do about it? Nothing. I am sure that we will hear proposals coming close to automatic locks on classroom doors, preventing anyone from ever owning a gun (as if a gun couldn't be found somewhere, someway, by anyone who wants one badly enough, especially if that anyone plans to do something evil.), locking up the mentally disturbed (who decides who is mentally disturbed? Ask Solzhenitsyn!!). As for me, I just wish I could hug the survivors and their families. They will be in my prayers for a long time, and everything else we hear is mostly supposition. I resolve that for the next ten days I will hate all talking heads on TV. Perhaps one, like Sheppard Smith at that one moment, will surprise me, and prevent me from ruining my digestion, sitting on all that hate.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Partly Political Thinking, Partly Just Thinking.

Yesterday, I came home from a therapy session and while I was getting dressed, flipped on C Span to see what was going on. Dennis Kusinich (I hope that's spelled right) was in New Hampshire, holding a meeting and campaigning for President.

Medical care has been high in my mind for the last few months, and I have admitted that there is at least a neuron or two in this decrepit old brain that has some sympathy for some sort of socialized medicine. Kusinich was in the process of detailing what would be his proposal for a single pay socialized medicine program if he were elected president. I will have to say, as an old high school debate coach that he outlined a very workable, economical (could there really be such a thing) program, detailing it step by step, including sources of funding, which other types of funding would be replaced, the degree to which it could also be correlated with some private practice of medicine as well, and so forth. I am so used to hearing presidential candidates talk in broad generalities and principles, in "sound bites" as it were that it was shocking to hear a candidate carefully explaining his ideas, and producing evidence to support them that I was quite caught up.

He went on into his concept that war should never be an implement of policy, and implying that military should be limited to defensive war and that ,quote, "I was a third string quarterback on a not very good football team, and even with that background, I know offense from defense." , and he went on chatting about a number of other things that give an old conservative like me the "willies".

As I reflected though, I rather doubt that the congressman has a chance at the nomination, but having listened to him for about an hour, I think that if I were a Republican campaign strategist or party officer I would solemnly pray that he would not get the nomination, because he communicates in such a straightforward, literate but folksy manner that if he had the backing of a party nomination he would be a frighteningly elect able candidate.

Obama is showy and impressive in his own way, and Hilary is --well--- Hillary, and though I would not be securely confident that any of the Republican folks will beat either of them, I am sure that most of the promising Republicans "could" beat either of them. I really think Kusinich would be more dangerous to the right, and this type of communication could easily be why a lot of right wing folks are getting enthusiastic about Fred Thompson. Just thinking.

Another thought. I was consulting tracksy and discovered an inordinate number of google hits yesterday and today. It appears that my long ago friend, about which I wrote a little bit, Ed Martz, or Edward Mallory as he became known in show business passed away this weekend. (I hate reading obits about people my age). I couldn't help but thing about the way people pass through each other's lives, interacting, sometime importantly but when the interaction is over at the moment, they go on not thinking much about each other. Ed did some really nice things for me personally when we were working together at the San Diego Shakespeare Festival (could it be 1955 or six). He played several important roles, and probably was as good a Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing, as I have ever seen (and I have seen a bunch). The fact is, that though he was a very good actor, he was far from the best actor at the festival, and the best actor (in my opinion) I never have seen again, not even in B movies or anything. Ed went on to be a well known soap opera actor, and as I looked up his record he directed two or three movies, that I have seen, that were excellent, and with which I hadn't associated him at all. A fellow asked me the other day if any of my students has been "famous". The fact is, that only two or three of my students ever became household names, and none of them became famous as actors. Some became famous in other areas of performance, some under their original names and others under theatre pseudonyms, and it humbles me a bit to think that they probably would have done what they did if they had never met me, but like Ed they went through my life, and then went on into their own. There were just a lot of things to think about this week. Now back to my taxes. I am going up to use a time share at Hilton Head Island all next week, and while everyone else there will be worried about the Heritage Golf Tournament, I'll be puttering at my laptop trying to finish my taxes. Does posting on consecutive days mean that this is going to get habitual? Of course not, next week I probably won't have web access unless my time share has added a feature that they haven't told me about.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Happy April???

Patrick Joubert Conlon has days when he drops off the blogger entity because he has to do his taxes. I have done that myself, though I confess to filing automatic extensions and procrastinating everything.

This year is different. I pump numbers into Turbo Tax and they don't seem to have any relationship to how things are going. Most of the problem is that they don't have questions for me to answer that deal with the expenses of surviving in a foreign country while a member of the family is hospitalized, and WHICH OF THESE is deductible and WHICH OF THESE are just extended vacation expenses. I had to rent a car to get from my adopted residence to the hospital. How much of the cost of the car rental is deductible? How many trips are deductible and what if I went from the hospital down town to buy flowers, or drove back to Porvoo to talk to the doctors who saw Janet first? The hospital bills are easy. None of them got paid till after the first of the year, so they won't have application to 2006 anyway. Should I have kept a notebook about the meals in the hospital and those eaten at roadside diners.

Janet asked me the other day how our taxes were going. I told her truthfully that I had loaded the program into the computer. The problem is all these credit card bills, and all the other little pieces of paper I accumulated, and how these fit into which files.

I have always had a really good system for doing taxes. I buy my little Turbo Tax Deluxe, and sit down with the expanded files that have an opening for each month along with separate openings for charitable giving, medical expenses (driving to the Medical

College of Georgia and back over and over) business expenses etc. Today, the system is not helping me.

Excuse me. I have to stop writing right now and sit in the corner and gibber a little. I am becoming more and more convinced that I need a caretaker.

GIBBER gibber blub bub doodle scritch scratch. I am hoping that when all my pieces of paper are in the proper??? segments of my expanded file labeled 2006, that my sanity will return. Duhh! (here paper, here paper, come to daddy. Nice paper!)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Coot and Geezer R and R.

I am back into tales of coot and geezer remove, repair, or replace stuff. Yesterday I took Janet to the hospital for another analysis of the zillions of tests they have given her since we came home. This time we went to the Retina specialist in the eye department, and he informed her that enough time has elapsed that he doubted that Janet's peripheral vision on the right side would return. She has scar tissue (this preceded the aneurism and the strokes) on the back of one eye which acts a little like macular degeneration. The resident suggested that we ought to go in and remove the scar tissue with a laser and patch up any holes that might be there, then he smiled and said that the boss (department head and chief retinal surgeon) would make the decision. The boss just rolled his eyes. Like almost everyone else he is impressed with how well Janet has done, considering the strokes, the aneurism etc., and like almost everyone else he hinted that he didn't expect a heck of a lot more. That's both an upper and a downer.

On a good note, I found a restroom in the hospital that has real, pull down outa the box, paper towels. The world has not totally jumped in the hand basket for the road to == well you know where.

Today it was my turn. One the day we left for Finland (last September) I lost a crown from a tooth (and swallowed it). There was no opportunity to get it replaced and make it to the airport on time, but I wasn't worried. What can happen to it in only a week. Of course the fact that we stayed a lot longer should have worried me, but I seemed to have something else to do with my mind. Then about two weeks ago, I began to have some pain in another tooth, which rapidly abscessed, so I called the dentist on Friday and the office was closed for something, so I went to my GP, got some antibiotics and lortabs, and fought the abscess to a draw. Today was the day.

First, I had to premedicate. When you have had bypasses and hardware installations in your body they want you to premedicate (take four amoxicillin about an hour before your appointment. Yesterday I picked up the appropriate drugs, today, one hour before my appointment I went to my drug box (home of prescription medications) and the pills were missing. Everybody in the family spent a while trying in futility to find them, so I called the pharmacist to see if he could legally get me some more antibiotics. He said he could so I went to the pharmacy and got the pills. The pharmacist smiled and said "I presume you didn't find the others.". "No" I replied, "but I will, as soon as I don't need them anymore." I paid the bill, ran out to the car, and realized that I had left the pills on the counter. I sadly fear that if I had another brain, It would be lonesome. I went back into the pharmacy, endured the giggles all round, asked for a glass of water and took them on the spot.

Now, off to the dentist. My dentist is a good guy and a good dentist, though he is also a coot--- well, maybe just a geezer, but he is about my age, has sold his practice, and keeps on working three days a week. I went in, sat down, and he immediately had xrays taken of both teeth and informed me that we weren't going to mess with the abscess, he would ship me off to the endo dontist for that. (Which took care of the premedication, I probably could have skipped that.) but they would replace the crown. The dentist chastised me a little because the crown I lost was a temporary, and I should get a permanent one (and he quoted the price.) Knowing that I still had to deal with a root canal at the endodontist, I pointed out that I was still trying to figure out what to do with the 49,000 dollar bill from the hospital in Finland. (I then had to tell them about all our adventures over there.) and that if I couldn't finish payment arrangements with Finland I might have to declare bankruptcy. "Now," quoth I, "Do we really want to spend a thousand dollars on this new crown, another thousand dollars at the Endodontist (to which you referred me) and have me show up in a week or two to inform you that I have just gone bankrupt.

He then became pretty enthusiastic about the temporary crown and let me know that he would use the extra strong cement, since I might have this for quite awhile.

Here I am now, with my securely cemented temporary crown, a uselessly premedicated mouth, and I am off to the endodontist in the morning to make an appointment (and probably get some more antibiotics). All that, and this weeks coot repair has been limited to the mouth.

(I like to go to tracksy once in awhile to see who has been coming that hasn't commented, and to check out the google traces that led folks to me. One of these led me to a blogevaluation site, in which I was informed that I had less than five subscribers (served me right as erratic as I have timed recent posts and since I gave up on politics) and listed a lot of other sites that folks who like my site would enjoy. Most of the sites listed were for sites like "Aunt Maude counts the birdies in the back yard" and sites like that. I may have to go political after all.)