DelBloggolo

Saturday, June 30, 2012

SHARING THE WEALTH


Actually, TLW (The Little Woman) has it all. I just come along for the ride.

The other day there was a promo on the morning news for a Dr. Phil show. Dr. Phil asked a father why he hates his kids, and the father said: “Because they always take her side.” Meaning his wife, I asked TLW: “What did he say?” and she of course replied: “They always take her side. You know what that’s like.”

Funny, I can remember being that way with my parents. Mom was the law, she knew where everything was, when to do something, when not to, the final arbiter in terms of standing disagreements. Dad would poke his head in, and would hear the bullets ricocheted and think: maybe this is not for me. In other words: “Go ask your mother” was his call for reason, “Don’t get me involved.”

Even the non-living things in the house are subject to TLW’s scrutiny and will. We have a robot that cleans the pool, climbs the walls and steps and does a pretty good job of it. Once in a while it gets temperamental and stops for some reason. She goes and looks out the window and it starts to move again, me, I have to go out there and move it.

One morning she asked me to go to the deli to get a gallon of milk and two buttered rolls. “I’ll pay you back when I go to the bank today.” It was a long day as she forgot, so I reminded her, only to find out I was in arrears from the week before, deducting $2 from what I owed her!

So you know now why we share the wealth, I can’t afford to spend it alone!

Friday, June 29, 2012

POOLING MY PATIENCE


Every year the pool gets opened by a company that comes, takes away the cover, checks for the chemicals, adds what is needed attaches the water circulator and pump. We have a new one that needs very little attention as far as backwashing goes. The company sets it up and checks the filter, etc. and then a few days later comes and does a power vacuum.  

JUMP RIGHT IN IF YOU AGREE OR NOT
Monday: June 25ft and the worst rainstorms we have had hit, flash flooding was occurring everywhere and in my back yard my pool was about to be over-flowing. I decided I would backwash the pool to let out some of the water and went out to the pool pump to turn the valve. TLW (The Little Woman) had tried previously to no avail and called me. The rain was coming down in torrents and the thunder and lighting were going on continuously. I decided that since I couldn’t do anything with the valve under those conditions, I would take out my small pump that I use for the top of the cover when the pool is closed and use that. I attach it to the hose and toss it into the pool and start to set up the hose when TLW informs me that the pump connection is broken!

Now I have no way to lose the water, so TLW asks me to take apart the small pump and give her the parts she needs to replace and goes to the store to purchase them.

I call the Pool Company and ask for help. I am told there is no one available since the heavy rains has sent everyone home. I get a little angry because they set up the valve and now it doesn’t work! She finds some help and says that what I should do is loosen the ring in front of it and then open the valve then close the opened ring and backwash. I thank her and go out and try. The ring is as stuck as the valve.

I call the pool people again the next day, a Tuesday and explain the situation.

“Well sir, we can’t send anyone out until Thursday!”
“THIS IS TUESDAY, YOU ARE GOINGTO MAKE ME WAIT UNTIL THURSDAY! I paid for the service of opening up the pool, and I paid for the power vac, just as you asked, and now I WANT IT TO WORK, TODAY!” I had yelled but I was furious and wasn’t about to be put aside after I pay for something.

“Let me get in touch with the boss and he will call you.”

All too often we are at the mercy of companies when we need them. The set the rules take it or leave it, and I guess business is business. However, once we play by the rules I make sure: everyone follows the rules. The boss calls and I explain the situation.

“Well I’m on my way to Nassau County right now, I could come by maybe tomorrow.”

“If you can’t come by today, then don’t bother at all, I paid for a service I am not getting, I’ll get someone else who will be willing to service my pool.”

“I’ll be there by 5:30 today.”

I don’t think I was being unreasonable, if they don’t check their work, I am not responsible, and won’t tolerate poor service.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

HOW I MISS THOSE DAYS!


As I get older, I look back and can’t believe that the time is gone. I see my two oldest as little toddlers running around, and I can almost hear them. I remember the way I felt, what the world was like and how I treated it.

35 years is a long time ago, and I’m sure you can recall yourselves 35 years ago with clarity, that is if you are in your 60’s. Your children depended on you; you worked at a job and commuted in some form or fashion. I was still relatively newly married; I had my first starter house, and a nice job in Manhattan, a wonderful wife and my first daughter and son. Life was good!

For the most part I miss those days, but there are things I don’t miss. I don’t miss the prejudice against blacks and gays, I don’t miss the intolerance that existed, or the assumption that because I was white and male that I was cause of all the ills in this world.

But there were some precious moments that I truly miss. I had this little tyke running around the house, filled with enthusiasm, and he was trying to emulate me! That is a proud moment for a father. He would take my old attaché case and “Go to work on the train” as he said. He used to hide on me in plain sight and I pretended I didn’t see him. The hours I spent on the ball field and gymnasiums, and the games of catch with a mitt and a pig skin, all so wonderful.

I remember my daughter, how I would pick her up and sing to her, sometimes dance with her in my arms, and always trying to make her laugh. I would do silly things I will never admit to today, but she witnessed them all, and she and I would spend hours on a Saturday ad Sunday with Mommy on the floor, all for her. And the little guy would pop into the picture and before you knew it be gone.

One day he was about 5 or 6, decided with his buddy Damon, decided to sell rocks door to door in our neighborhood. My neighbors loved it! They would get into conversations with these little guys and report stories that had me on the floor. #1 Son was a perfectionist, and when he introduced himself to someone, he told them everything, his age, his name and where he lived, all rehearsed and exactly as his Mom taught him.

I guess I miss being a father to some wonderful children I had, and there is no more yesterdays, except in my heart and soul. But being older has something being young doesn’t-memories.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

SHARING MY RANT


My good blog buddy Jim Pantaleno from the hood in Brooklyn recently wrote a blog that is a pet peeve of mine also. http://jpantaleno.blogspot.com/

 

On Monday, January 31, 2011, Thursday, April 07, 2011 and Monday, September 05, 2011, I wrote about the same issue. What Jim has to say is true, and maybe it’s a common malady for guys from Brooklyn in the Bushwick section, but it is true. Usually I like to complain in general, not be too specific, but this one weather guy is really annoying me to the point of distraction. I know I shouldn’t get worked up over it, and just watch another show, but the rest of the newscast and newscasters are good.

 

The yard bird I am complaining about is John Elliot, who when he appears somehow thinks he is the star of the show. His job is simple, do the weather and get out. No background music, no stupid jokes, and no appearance longer than is necessary.

 

What does he do, he apes in front of the camera, does these body gyrations and mugs and just annoys me. They have this cooking segment where a chef cooks up a dish and the crew comes out to taste it. He comes out and my skin crawls, why? I DON’T KNOW! Maybe I think that I should be getting just what I want: the weather.

 

Look, everyone is entitled to wake up in a bad mood once in a while. When you go to get gas, the attendant  should open the tank, put in the gas and ask for the money and say: “dank kew” and you drive away, not “Good morning, birthday wishes are in order for Tina Marie Jablonski on Union Avenue and Aldo Shabrudder from Rowe Avenue is 84 years young today!” Shaking his head from side to side he then asks ”Will you be gassing up with us today?”


Then there are the alarmists. You know the guys reporting the rain isn’t enough: it comes with dire predictions of death, famine and drought, not to mention bad times and pestilence.  The crawl across the screen comes in bold white letters on a red background warning of severe thunderstorms.

Jim is right, the old days you got the weather, no less accurate, less dramatically, and you took your chances.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I WAS THINKING


Now that #1 Son is married and has his own home, it got me thinking about those days gone by when I got my first house and faced the future.

It was quite an exhilarating feeling in taking ownership, the keys turned over to TLW (The Little Woman) and me, and the need to go immediately to it to set up housekeeping.

Once I got in the house, I looked around and being it was an old Tudor style cape, I faced the reality of the amount of work this ‘starter’ house had in store for me. Sobbing was doing no good, wringing my hands only hurt after a while, and whining left NO satisfaction. To make matters worse, Dad came over to inspect the premises and point out all that needed to be done.

Now Dad and I went back a long time. He could do a lot of handy-man work, and I had to be at his side constantly. I got to the point where family members would ask for me to come and do electrical work or carpentry, or plumbing and finishing for their homes. Dad liked to help people with problems who could not afford to hire people, and I came along for the rode. Needless to say, all that history helped me a lot to face my own issues with my new/old house.

Now Dad was inspecting and talking like it was his work that needed to be done, with my body. (God I loved him.)

He would take me to these jobs he got to make a little extra money and I came along all right. Usually these jobs were painting signs, like a billboard this new home builder wanted lettered and painted on the corner of Montauk Highway and Station Road, well that was done by Tony & Son, after hours in a few nights.

Then I got my own jobs doing signs, and soon I had this long sign that was about 4 feet high and about 40 feet long, with a green background and white lettering, with the menu painted on it. The luncheonette was located in Patchogue across from the old Safeway supermarket. Dad would go there for his coffee breaks and tell me what I should do next time. Dear old Dad!

But he could rally if TLW ever expressed a need for something, and he’d come running and roll up his sleeves while I was at work, because she asked. He loved TLW and was grateful she sacrificed her life to marry his only son, to give him some respectability. TLW gave him his coffee and great sandwiches and HE was happy as a clam, especially when it came to a paintbrush.

Then one day I moved to a newer house and decided I wanted to put up vinyl siding. The contractor came and started the job on a Friday, broke for the weekend and Dad didn’t know I was doing it. So I decided to have some fun with him. I got a carpenter’s apron filled with nails and a hammer decided to call my folks over for dinner.

I called and got Mom on the phone.

“Hi Mom, it’s me.”
“Who?”
“Your son, Joe? The moving target for a wooden spoon? Used to throw out the garbage a lot?”
“And?”
“Why don’t you come over for a Bar-b-q?”
The words may not have been out totally when they pulled up.”

There I was waiting for them in front of my house with my ‘props’ the apron on, holding the hammer when Dad approaches me and says: “WHAT are you doing?”
“Putting up siding?” He looks at me and presses the siding and says: “Too loose.” If dad was anything, he was going to make me a perfectionist, no matter how hard it was going to be, no matter how many mistakes he made trying.

Then one day Dad got old. It happened on a Tuesday I think, he was sitting there after retirement and Mom said the bathroom needed to be wallpapered. He called me. I arrived and he and I went into the bathroom. We decided that I would do all the technical work and he would assist. He stood there barking and I did all the hustling. But now I was winning the arguments and he was listening.  I had come a long way.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A CONFIDENCE BUILDER


Went to the cardiologist to get a scan done.

Sitting in the waiting room the TV is on with a movie, and I don’t know which, but the foul language that was emanating from the it was enough to make a man get up and go over to the receptionist window to complain to the point that she shut the TV off!

My name is mispronounced, mangled and screwed up, not to mention said wrong. A woman technician escorts me to her den. The technician asked me to take off my shirt and lie down. The room was dark and it was just the two of us, so I figured, what the heck, let’s give it a ride. She sits next to a computer monitor and has in her hand a probe that she stuck in my sides. After applying some kind of gel, pushing hard she slowly runs the probe along the ribs, trying to dig deep enough to rearrange my kidney with my intestines, a job she is apparently adept at.

Suddenly she stops in mid dig, alarm comes over her face and calls in another techie, as she says: “What does this MEAN?” pointing to the screen. He, an astute young man, puts his Sesame Street lunch pail down and says: “Maybe it is left over from another patient?” This is the part where I generally start to cry for my mommy. She says: “I NEVER saw THAT before!” (No matter how loud you scream for your mommy, if she is not in the vicinity, she will not respond.)

“Uh, is this anything for me to get excited about, or do I pretend I didn’t hear it?” say I.

“Oh! Just relax Mr. DelBloggolo, just relax!”

The young man shrugs his shoulders as he looks at the screen and picks up his lunch pail and goes back into the other room from where he came. She looks at me and shrugs HER shoulders and continues. (Bedside manner is so important)

Having had to starve up to three hours before the test and only one lousy cup of coffee: I am famished. Shaken but hungry I leave and get into the car, which was parked in the parking lot on the hottest day of the year so far, it was so hot a dog was chasing a cat and they were walking! I drive to McDonald’s (Yes, from the Cardiologist’s office) and have a steak and egg on a bagel to reward myself for starving and to up my chances of a heart attack, in the heat of the day. If you don’t put a little adventure and risk into life, you wind up eating corn flakes!

As I am done eating I go to empty my tray, and a little old lady, holding a tray herself is teetering on the brink of disaster, struggling to hold on with one hand, so I put my tray in front of her and ask her to place hers on top of mine. She thanks me and says as I empty both: “It cost you extra work for your kindness!” 

“I need to work off the extra calories, and yours looked like a calorie burner!”

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I’M RETIRED AND SO IS EVERYONE ELSE!


I’m afraid that we are dumbing down America. Recently a number of states have no longer required handwriting be taught. The one personal thing about each individual is his or her handwriting. You are unique, and you handwriting is an expression of your personality and even in some cases how you feel. To do away with teaching such an important art is a shame When I think about how Mrs. Walsh my third grade teacher stressed it, then Mrs. Bowman, my fourth grade teacher, I cringe. They stressed good penmanship, and the need to communicate.

Then there is mathematics. I recall going into a classroom for math all through my education, and not once was I allowed to carry let alone use a calculator. If I produced a calculator, one of two things would happen: 1) It would be taken away from me, and 2) I would have been accused of being lazy and a cheat. Today, kids are free to take a test with a calculator! How the hell are they teaching these kids today? If anything, using your brain could help fight Alzheimer’s disease.

Then there is ‘spell-check’ that handy program that is supposed to correct your spelling AND your grammar, if you let it. (I do) What good does it do? It takes you away from thinking about how you write something, you can then ignore the rules of grammar and soon, yes soon, we will eliminate English as a subject matter. It will probably be replaced by downloading apps, 101.

Remember worrying about parallel parking for your drivers test? Remember how you would practice it for hours so you could do what was considered the most important and hardest part of the driver’s test? Now cars can do it automatically for you. It makes me angry because it came too late. I already spent countless hours behind the wheel learning it and countless more teaching it to my two sons!

Good gosh, you don’t even need to look before you back out of your driveway any more, the cars of today tell you a car is approaching!

I like the idea of being safe and being able to handle a dangerous thing like an automobile, but some of these ‘improvements’ are not to my liking.

Bring back handwriting and throw out the calculator, stop dumbing down our kids!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

SOMETIMES WE ARE JUST TOO SMART


On the news recently there was a report about a ‘Smart bed’, that’s right a smart bed! You might inquire: What’s a smart bed? I will tell you: a smart bed is a bed that makes itself! That’s right, you just got up late from a bad night’s sleep, you slept through the alarm, and you are now running late for work. You shower and shave, and so does your husband, but you realize, the bed needs to be made, your mother-in-law is coming over and let’s herself in with her own key! Good Lord almighty!

Well hold on there, Suzie, the bed will make itself! Your mother-in-law will have to settle for a messy kitchen or dust on the furniture. Praise Jesus!

But it doesn’t end there. Nooooo! There is now something new.

Are you ready for this?

This is from TLW (The Little Woman), who doesn’t lie.

A toilet seat that is electric!

You might wonder, electric what? You sit: you do your thing or things, what the hell do I need electricity running through my ghoolie at 110 amps?

Okay, the reason the seat is electric is: YOU DON’T NEED TOILET PAPER!

What!? Yes, no toilet paper.

Now, if you want to know how THAT works?

Don’t ask me.

Friday, June 22, 2012

GETTING BOARD



It’s time for me to renew my term on the board of directors for the AHRC Suffolk Chapter. It requires my showing up at a General Membership meeting, holding a lit candle that symbolizes punching a hole in the darkness. They serve dessert and coffee: you mill about and then the festivities begin.

Each board member as they go up to get a candle, have it lit and stand there in a line, and a moderator then yells at them for what a mess of things they really make.

BEING BOARD
“Your candle DelBloggolo, symbolizes how you screw things up on the Guardianship committee, the membership/volunteerism committee, the program evaluation committee, the personnel and by-laws policy committee, and frankly if you set yourself on fire tonight, we’d not be surprised, but gratified. P.S. you were only suppose to have ONE piece of cake tonight, but who’s counting?”

This ceremony is preceded by a fashion show, where the consumers of our residential and day programs wear the latest fashions, and get to star for the evening, to resounding applause. The guys are dressed to the nines and escort the ladies in their new fashions down to the runway, where the girls will wiggle, shake it and show off, to thunderous laughter and the beaming smiles of these ladies is gratifying. Some can barely walk, some can’t speak well, some are so sick it breaks my heart, but all of them do a magnificent job.
AREN'T THEY BEAUTIFUL?

Every day I get a piece of mail from the agency, thinking it is a letter of resignation for me to sign, but they keep forgetting to send it! I go to the board meetings once a month, but they leave the doors unlocked! What’s a body to do?

Actually I love serving on the board, after over 20 years of service, and I hope to continue at least until next Tuesday, and I am proud and happy that the agency has grown no thanks to me. It is my second home, and those I serve are my people, forever. They don’t ask anything of me, greet me with a lot of love in their hearts and their faces are filled with smiles and joy. They take pride in their jobs and homes and are eager to share with me their lives.

One of the reasons I love to be a part of it all is the staff there are remarkable. Sure, every once in a while a bad apple shows up, but fortunately it is quickly disposed of. Some of the most loving, caring and sincere people I know work within the walls of the agency, and frankly: God bless everyone of them.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

MY FAIR LADIES


Friday night I got the call to join TLW (The Little Woman), Pat, the Princess of Foxwoods Points and Toots II for dinner and an excellent production of My Fair Lady. Normally I wouldn’t go out with three ladies, but I love Broadway and musicals. OK so I whistle show tunes on the way out of the theater, so what?

The theater was off Broadway and in Bellport at the Bellport Gateway Theater, and the seats were in the center section, five rows back behind the orchestra, probably the best seats in the house!

The show was fantastic, and I just had the greatest feeling listening to the old favorites once again. You know, in the world of art, the old masters are forever alive, they live on in their works long after they are physically gone, and the same is true on Broadway, when there are professionals doing the trick.


When the tickets are FREE I go, and they were a gift from the lovely Pat, the Princess of Foxwoods Points. Since these seats were so terrific I had to promise her I would write something nice about her in this blogue. So what I am doing is, if you have anything, and I mean ANYTHING nice to say, please comment and I will post them up in a special Blogue, right here.

Now, where was I?


Oh, yes, we went to dinner before the show, and as we sat it seemed like the three women were bringing themselves up to date about events in their lives. One at a time, it looked like a therapy session for each had a story to update. Suddenly, our waitress, Coach Sylvester came to take our drink order. The three Ladies ordered: “water” and I decided to man up and order a club soda! Now if you sit in a semi-lit restaurant, it is hard to see. Coach Sylvester returns with the drink order and places four glasses on the table, and I look at them and they all look the same. Colorless glasses with straws sit there and I wonder which is the soda.

“Coach, which is the soda?” She looks at me quizzically and says:
“The one with the bubbles?”

Now living with one of them is hard enough, three becomes a challenge! They all start to laugh at me as the witchy waitress leaves!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

FIRST I SAY WE HAVE IT, AND THEN I DON’T


Then I say I’ll look and then I don’t. What are you gonna do? 
You remember that song by Ella Fitzgerald: Undecided? Well let’s hum a few bars as we go.

First you say you do
And then you don't
And then you say you will
And then you won't

You're undecided now
So what are you gonna do?

The pool guys came to open my pool last week and gave me a reading on the chemical composition of the water and what needs to be raised. Since it sits there all winter the chemical balance is out of whack, so the Houseboy (Me) brings things back to par.

Now you want to play
And then it's no
And when you say you'll stay
That's when you go

You're undecided now
So what are you gonna do?



Oh course, somewhere in this equation stands TLW (The Little Woman), who likes to conduct inquisitions on occasion. One went just like this.

I've been sitting on a fence
And it doesn't make much sense
'Cause you keep me in suspense
And you know it


“Do we have all the chemicals we need?”
“No”
“Did you check the shed?”
“Yes”
“Did you check the garage??”
“Yes”
“You sure you checked the shed and the garage.”
“Well I didn’t see any anywhere!”

Then you promise to return
When you don't, I really burn
Well, I guess I'll never learn
And I show it

TLW has a master plan, to take over my mind. She has been attempting this for 41 years legally and for a year prior to marriage. Sometimes she succeeds almost.

If you've got a heart
And if you're kind
Then don't keep us apart
Make up your mind

Her plan is very simple: I tell her the pool guy is coming say on Thursday, and a few days before she hides all the pool chemicals somewhere in the house, where I don’t know, but they ARE hidden. Then I commit to not seeing them anywhere and she has set the stage.

You're undecided now
So what are you gonna do?


I've been sitting on a fence
And it doesn't make much sense
'Cause you keep me in suspense
And you know it

So one morning she appears with what else but ph balance and places it on the kitchen table. A look of triumph is written across her face, she has succeeded!

Then you promise to return
When you don't, I really burn
Well, I guess I'll never learn
And I show it

“HERE is the ph balance you swore we didn’t have!”
“Oh!”
“Yes, you know the ph balance we didn’t have.”

If you've got a heart
And if you're kind
Then don't keep us apart
Make up your mind


You're undecided now
So what are you gonna do?


Someday, I will learn. I will learn to invoke the 5th amendment and then plead “No lo contender” and throw myself at the mercy of the court.  Or, I could retain a lawyer to handle all domestic issues on a daily basis, making my attempts at survival with TLW a little more even.

WHO looks for chemicals while talking to your pool guy? Why would she bother to ask those questions then instead of asking days before, at least when she is hiding the chemicals so the playing field is a little more even?

Now if you don't love me
I wish you'd say so
Our love is so much honey
I'd just got to know

I am just a fool for you
What are you gonna do?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

OH HOW WE DANCED


WAS SHE GORGEOUS OR WHAT?
O how we danced
On the night we were wed
We vowed our true love
Though a word wasn't said


Forty-one years is a long time. It is like a dance marriage is. How consistent was I? Did I always do the right steps, did I sing it the right way, did I remember those special dances and did I say: ‘I love you’ enough? Could I really dance?

The world was in bloom
There were stars in the sky
Except for the two
That were there in your eyes


As we glided on the dance floor that first dance, if knowing what the future held in store, would we have finished the dance? Would she have dropped everything and ran? Would I have gone out to dance to begin with?

Darling as I held you close in my arms
Angels were singing a hymn to your charms
Always remember here in my heart
Darling I love you so

In all these years we grew accustomed to ourselves, and we never said: “What if?” No not about ourselves, but we did say it about the circumstances that ensued from our everyday lives. Together we have lived through the best of times and the worst of times. We have suffered when our children suffered, and when they prospered we prospered emotionally. But we did it together, everyday holding each other up, guiding one another through the darkness and the storms, always resting to bask in the sunlight until they play that final number and we can dance no more.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY SWEETHEART, we will always be together if you’ll still dance with me. I love you.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

FATHER’S DAY


Growing up in my household of sisters, who seemed to appear every so many years, there was always the constant, Dad. Dad was the final say, although he did it quietly, not pounding the table, always relying on Mom to make decisions. He probably would have made a great CEO, always delegating authority and decision-making.

Mom ruled with an iron hand, which was holding a wooden spoon, and Dad was the court of appeals and the execution squad, it seemed to work. Process was simple in dad’s eyes: do what your mother tells you, or else. Two big words: ‘Or’ and of course: ‘Else’. “You better” were close behind.

Mom was fiscally tight, as so was Dad, but you could worm small change off of him, and usually was very good at giving us what we wanted within reason.

When it came to Father’s Day, we all made sure to be there for the day, Dad was important. He was important because he was very simple, not complicated in his life. Basic rules made for a basic understanding, and no one could say they didn’t understand. He didn’t like vulgarity, was friendly but shy, and always respected the people that were down the most, because he felt they had the toughest job: making their life and their families, better.

His work ethic was to drive himself to doing the job in a dedicated fashion, do it on time, doing it right. He gave all and that he expected from all us, nothing less.

Family was very important to him: he needed to have all his children and grandchildren around him. He was happiest on Christmas Eve, sitting around a huge table, filled with good food and his family.

It is all these traditions he gave us, that define who we really are! I never realized how important his role was, how he welded a family of siblings that still love each other, still care about one another and will go to great lengths to do and support one another, both in good times and bad. If someone had a problem then we all had a problem, it was a family problem.

I celebrate Father’s day because he was an important part of my life, he didn’t really give me anything of monetary worth, but he gave me a sense of values, of which money was the least, but love of family was the most.

Thanks Dad, because of you I have a wonderful family of sisters and wife and kids, some wonderful friends and acquaintances.

And there are other fathers out there. Some dads are struggling without jobs, taking a psychological as well as financial beating, some have lost a child or their child is sick, some are raising their families without a wife. To you all I salute you, I hope from this day forward you have nothing but peace and happiness, and I wish you one more thing. I wish you what I have, an experience of great joy and pride in all my children. I know when one of them calls Dad, it feels so good, even if they are in need, the joy transcends the tribulations of being a good father. I know I have tried very hard to be a good father: sometimes I wonder at how well they turned out and realize they are a 2-part job, mine and TLW’s (The Little Woman’s).

My daughter loves me: that I know, because she knows I love her. My sons should never question that. I will always be there for them. I hope they never ever need me, but when they do they not hesitate to call me.

So Happy Father’s day to Dad, my father-in-law Jim, my brothers-in-law and all my nephews who are fathers and to my friends that are called Dad.



Saturday, June 16, 2012

HER FATHER’S DAUGHTER


For over 40 years I’ve noticed it, the resemblance.

When we were younger it was a brief, glancing reminder, and I thought: why not? Then as we got older it became more pronounced. It has gotten to the point that I now call her Jim. That was her father’s name, and so she reminds me of him.

Now TLW (The Little Woman) retains all her woman like qualities, but boy she is her father. She walks like him, has all his inflexions and a lot of his habits/mannerisms!

If you had known Jim you would remember his humor. One would think he had none. His humor was on a higher plain, and it was a reach to find it in that he said it and it would be unexpectedly funny and usually very true.

But now she is starting to walk like him, and dare I say: complaining like him. The other morning something got her attention that occurred in the neighborhood, and she commented, with a critical eye. I offered my opinion that was not in agreement, as she got off her chair, and shuffled off, Just like her dad did!

Jim was a great example of what a dad should be. He was not a demonstrative person by nature but he was a loving man, showed great compassion and guarded his emotions for the most part. But if passion was needed, he stepped up and had his say. But the most important thing he did in his life was teach that morals and high standards were most important, that honesty was like life itself, always on.

Well the apples didn’t fall far from the tree, and it is nice to know my in-laws are part of my family, because Jim raised the ideal girl, someone just like himself!

Somewhere in heaven right now, he is reading the ‘Heaven Times’, probably with a pencil in hand, marking the typos and reading out loud to Helen, while watching ‘Face the Heaven’ in his easy chair.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY JIM!

Friday, June 15, 2012

HARVEY, HERE WE COME!


Harvey is a play about a six-foot-tall rabbit invisible to everyone except Elwood, the brother of Veta. The family’s reputation is on the line so Veta takes Elwood to the local sanatorium. The doctors mistakenly commit his sister, while Elwood—and Harvey escape the hospital setting off a hilarious chain of events, as everyone in town tries nab Elwood and his invisible rabbit.

Originally, the film premiered in 1950, starring Jimmy Stewart, and now the screenplay has been recreated for the stage, starring none other than the very talented and funny Jim Parsons, who I think is perfect for the part.

Of course, Jim Parsons is the star, or one of the many stars on the Big Bang Theory, which my son #1 helps to write on CBS TV.  So the show is a little personal I guess to me, since I have been watching the Big Bang Theory and becoming a huge fan of both the show and Mr. Parsons, who plays the part of Sheldon Cooper.

Speaking of fans, one of my classmates from high school, Michele and her husband Nick will be joining us, if we can drag Michele away from her Mets! Michele loves The Big Bang Theory and is a member of the Community Playcrafters in Bellport, and has more knowledge of The Big Bang Theory than I do, so I hope she enjoys it. The show is on July 22nd, and TLW (The Little Woman) and I thought that Michele would enjoy seeing the show, so we invited her and Nick along, and they graciously said: Yes.

We’ll see a matinee and then enjoy a peaceful Sunday night dinner in the Big Apple, and maybe get the rabbit to come along too. So a great show, with a great actor, and three really nice people to come along, makes for a really great day for me!

If you haven’t seen the show: The Big Bang Theory, on Thursday nights at 8:00 pm, do yourself a favor and watch it. And look for the character Howard’s mother, so darn funny, but you never see her. Some great concepts, great funny writing, and an excellent cast, and I have a hunch you will soon be seeing Harvey on Broadway when you watch Jim Parsons on The Big Bang Theory show.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

SURGING BACKWARD


As you raise your flag today, I have something for you to think about. If I told you that at least one American service personnel died everyday this year, I would hope you would be as appalled as I am.

Now let’s add that up, that is 365 men and women a year dead from the results of a war in Iraq or Afghanistan! That is pretty sickening in itself: but what if the death is NOT due to enemy fire, but suicide? How do we stand on that? Do you realize that the death rate to suicide among service people is higher than that due to combat?

It seems to me that we need an explanation for these deaths. Why are we losing good men and women to self-inflicted death? This horrific news is shocking and it is getting worse. The causes seem to be re-deployment, combat fatigue, studies indicating that combat exposure, post-traumatic stress, misuse of prescription medications and personal financial problems are also culprits, and they are the direct results of military duty.  And yet, non-deployed service personnel are also committing suicide! I think the military has a duty to perform for their warriors, or am I incorrect?

How are we sending these people into combat? How are we preparing them to deal with the stress that comes with war? Or are we dealing with it? Further still, what is our obligation to these people when they leave the service? Do we just leave them to their own devices? Did you know that many suicides occur because the victim’s are afraid to get help? That they fear the end of their careers, that people will think them weak? And yet, there is no barometer to read that!  

If this government deems it necessary to fight in a foreign land, and order these kids, brave men and women into harm’s way, train them for the fight, then we should also train them, and arm them to conduct the fight of their lives, that of self preservation. There should be a psychological evaluation and assistance to those who need it, especially when they muster out.

Just think of all the families that are affected by not only the suicides, but also the trauma that causes divorce and physical harm. We seem to be doing more harm to our military personnel, ourselves as a nation then to the enemy!

Let’s look at the disarray the service is in when we hear and read about misconduct, scandal and attacks on women in the military. It seems to me we need to screen better the people who are enlisting, then leaving the service and we need to do this in a hurry.

But maybe, just maybe, what we need to do is look closer at the idea of sending our troops out to fight in foreign interests, when they are not even valued by those they are sent to help.

Finally, let me say, that if we leave people in charge of young lives, and those in charge can order their charges into harm’s way, and have that kind of control over young lives, then they better have better control over what they are doing and how they are doing it. We as a people should demand it.



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

THE DAY I’LL NEVER FORGET


It was 21 years ago yesterday: I was fast asleep when TLW (The Little Woman) woke me to tell me someone was at the front door. Going down stairs I see my brother-in-law John at the front door. Just then the phone rang and it was my sister Tessie saying: “Come quick, Daddy is gone!”

When I got to my parent’s house, I found Dad lying in the hallway where he fell dead, from a heart attack. He was suffering from lung cancer, after years of smoking. He wasn’t expected to live beyond the week and this was a Wednesday morning. I went in and embraced everyone and said goodbye to Dad and then they took his body away, the coroner, and that would be the last time I saw him in his home. I kissed his forehead and tears welled up in my eyes.

It is strange when someone passes in a private setting, there is a sense of relief that the body is taken away from view, yet you hold on to everything else. I was told they held the body for me to arrive before moving Dad to the funeral parlor in the Hurst that was suddenly parked in the front of the house.

Dealing with the shock, even though you expected it to happen, leaves you comparing what you thought it would be like and the unexpected event that did occur. The time and place does not fit your scenario. You go back to what you thought it would be like because you can better relate to yourself than you can with the reality. And after 21 years, you start to mix up the way it happened with what you figured would happen.

I remember that next day after the burial was Father’s Day, the most hollow and empty day of my life. It seemed to mock the whole family, Dad was not here, where is he, and doesn’t he realize it is Father’s Day! It seemed to me like someone had taken a chunk of the day, and carved it out, leaving: me nothingness between where my Mom sat and the family member who sat next to her.

So 21 years later, it still is a bad day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

SOME TURN TO JESUS, I TURNED TO EXERCISE!


If there is one thing I hate, it is exercise. To me, putting my body through the paces is not pleasant. I mean, come on folks, repetitious movements until you can’t do it anymore, constant upping of the pain threshold, who needs it?

Me.

How I hate to admit it, but it does make a difference. The other day, the Fuehrer in the guise of TLW (The Little Woman) and I went out to conquer the moss that was growing on our patio floor. It was either that or a picnic. There is a spot that does not get sun, and so the dampness stays there and moss grows. So we went out together and cleaned it off. She was hurting from the work and quit early, while I managed to stay on a little longer. If I weren’t walking and exercising, I would have quit before her.

It is surprising how a lack of energy can conquer you, and how a lack of ambition can also conquer you. I like the lack of energy because it means I haven’t been exerting myself, while having too much energy means I am doing a lot, missing my chair and Dunkin Donuts!

The sick thing about exercise is that once you are done, you feel good about yourself. That gives you energy and you do more things, that once you finish, you feel good about yourself-a vicious cycle!

To paraphrase jerry Seinfeld: “Exercise, who needs it?”

Monday, June 11, 2012

IT ISN’T SPECIFIED IN THE MARRIAGE LICENSE


She looked me in the eyes and said: “You want to?”

I knew what she was leading up to but pretended I didn’t. “What?”

“You know.” Motioning her head sideways.

“What man wouldn’t?” I said.

“You’ll need some protection” she insisted, and I understood.

We were going to do it once again. Come hell or high water, we would get together and get it on so to speak. There was no stopping passion like this!

Slowly I peeled away my shirt, and we went at it, grinding and scrapping, until neither one of us could go on anymore, exhausted from the stellar performance. Spent: we retreated from our private little venue to cool down.

Scrapping mold and mildew from the cracks of the patio blocks IS exhausting on a hot day, and at our age we should really try to pace ourselves, but once we decide to get it on and go to work, there is no stopping the passion!

If we still smoked, we would have both lit up.

I don't remember seeing it in the marriage license though.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

WORKING IT TOGETHER


As I get older, TLW (The Little Woman) puts restrictions on me. I am not allowed on the roof anymore, so she recruits #2 Son to do the climbing on the ladder and whatever needs to be done up there. This leaves me a little leery since I can’t see if he is doing it right or not.

Working with #2 is usually a double edge sword in that we do it once his way, then my way.

We set the ladder against the wall and he is about to climb.

“Take a garbage bag up there with you.” Say I.

He takes the bag and starts to stuff it in his back pocket.

“Maybe you should open it up first.” Say I.

“Nah” Say he.

Up he goes to the top and starts to fuss with the bag. After a few desperate moments, comes back down. He slowly undoes the plastic bag to open it, not looking at me and back up he goes.

“Make sure you are holding the ladder!” Says he.

The joys of working with your son: He won’t listen to experience, but can comment on a hunch, and no less give me orders about it!

I remember Dad, he gave orders and you listened, if you didn’t he rode you off into the sunset, and you heard about it for days and maybe even weeks. Make a mistake and he was all over you.

When I was in college, and working with him, he decided to take a week off. He left me in charge, and went away on his vacation. Here I was, a college kid, bossing around a crew of shipping room clerks and truck drivers! All I thought was, what would Dad do? When he came back, he got me aside and said: “What did you do, try to take my job away?” I looked shocked and then he said: I just spoke to the old man, he said it was like I never left!”

Not good job, he never said that ever. It was expected, and besides, who wants to get ridden out of town by their own father.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

SNIFF!


? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

We were married about a year and our first-born was taking a lot of our attention away from the humdrum of life in a small apartment. TLW (The Little Woman) had her hands full with the newborn caring, cleaning and cooking, and while I tried to help I still had to mount a train every morning and go off to work in Manhattan, so was gone most of the day.

One day we were sitting in our cramped dining area, and I smelled something.

At first I didn’t think much of it, the odor seemed feint and almost distant. I mentioned it to TLW and she said she was starting to notice it too. Sunday turned to Monday and Tuesday was soon in play, and as the days progressed so did the odor. TLW did everything she could to first identify the smell, and find where it was coming from.

Having a problem with mice as it was, we figured there was a dead one somewhere who was rotting away, but no, nothing was found. Into the basement I went to check out maybe if it was coming form down there, but no, it smelled clear and I couldn’t detect the odor. Where was this odor coming from? Maybe the house was haunted? Having read about haunting and foul odors that accompany it if you believe that sort of stuff, maybe a ghost was living with us?

In every abode we lived in, TLW had a junk drawer, a place where she put little odds and ends that she didn’t want to toss out, like a pair of shoelaces, or screws or a flashlight. One of us decided to go into the drawer, which was in one of the kitchen cabinets and get something or put something away, and there in the drawer was our source of mystery.

While cleaning up from dinner on the previous Sunday, being distracted by my daughter, she inadvertently put a chunk of mozzarella cheese in the drawer, instead of the refrigerator.

The moral of this story is: Don’t do that!