Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ignoring My Horoscope

Ignoring My Horoscope

I was sitting reading the newspaper and had just gotten to the page that gives horoscopes.  It said, “Don’t lift anything heavy, you will hurt your back”.

Now usually, the advice in a horoscope is rather vague.  This was very specific, and while I am not a believer, its directness struck me as being good advice to follow.  

I was contemplating this advice, when Barbara came into the room and announced her agenda for the day.

It seemed that we were “scheduled” to go to Home Depot and get several bags of mulch for our front yard.

After contemplating pretending to be deaf, I instead decided to be honest and show Barbara the critical advice I had just received.

“I cannot do this today,” I replied, “my horoscope says I shouldn’t lift anything”.

“That’s just your interpretation of what it says,” she said. “You’re always twisting what it says to favor what you want or don’t want to do.”

“No, no,” I pleaded my case, “just look at it”.

Barbara ignored me

“Really, it’s very specific this time, not open to interpretation. It must be a message from the Gods.  How can we ignore this message?”

She looked at the horoscope.

“This is just like the prescription from Dr. Marks that said “No Ragu”, or the prescription from the oncologist’s office that said “no painting for cancer patients because they are sensitive to paint fumes.”   I don’t care what your horoscope says, we’re getting the mulch!”, she said adamantly.

I kept protesting, arguing about the specificity of the prediction.  Barbara was not to be moved.

We had to go out that morning to do some errands and Barbara insisted on stopping for mulch.  We wound up with seven bags which we then spread around the front garden.

“See,” Barbara said, “you didn’t hurt your back, did you?”

I seriously considered groaning and faking a severe backache, but decided telling people about Barbara’s blatant disregard for my well being was funnier. I await your sympathy.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Whip Cream Incident

The Whip Cream Incident

As many of you know, I am a friendly guy who likes to talk with people.  I always consider this to be a positive attribute.  Barbara doesn't always agree with my assessment of my better qualities.

The other night we found ourselves at Publix Supermarket near our home. 

I had baked a new recipe for a Cannoli Cheese Cake, which I was going to bring to a BBQ swim party at the beach.  The recipe called for covering the top of the cake with whip cream and chocolate chip morsels as a finishing touch.  Since I couldn’t make my own whip cream at the beach, I thought it prudent to buy a can of Whip Cream to take with me.

We both entered the store and I proceeded to the back of the store to get the can of whip cream.  We then approached the cashier with it.

The cashier, a woman of about 45-50 asked. “anything else?”

“No,” I said, “that’s all she asked me to get.  She’s a little Kinky”, I replied innocently.

The cashier was taken aback for a second, seeming to process what I had said.  She started to smile, then giggle, then laugh.  The bag boy, a young man in his late teens, also grinned and giggled.  Barbara turned bright red.

“He baked a cake!” she almost shouted.

“I did bake a cake,” I said. “But that’s only one use for the whip cream”.

The cashier kept looking between Barbara and I, and giggling.  Barbara continued to turn even redder.

The young female manager came over to see what the laughing was all about.  The cashier related what had just been said, causing the manager to laugh along with the cashier and bag boy.  Barbara kept getting redder.

“I’ll bet this is the most fun you’ve had with a customer today, isn’t it?” Barbara asked the cashier.

“I have to say. its the most fun I’ve had in a long while with a customer.  You guys are such fun,” the cashier replied.

“It’s for a cake,” Barbara kept insisting while continuing to blush furiously.

The cashier turned to me and said, “she’s gong to kill you when you get home”.

I laughed and said,“ I have the car keys.

“Well then, she’s going to kill you in the parking lot” the cashier said grinning at me.

“Probably” I said laughing.  Barbara who was still red started to laugh also.

We continued laughing as we exited the store and laughed about it for the rest of the night.

It’s a good thing Barbara has a sense of humor, or I WOULD BE dead.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

When Is An Offer Not An Offer?

When Is An Offer Not An Offer?

When someone offers you something and you accept their offer, shouldn’t you receive what was offered?

I think so.  Barbara doesn’t, at least in my case.  Let me give you an example.

We often have people over to our house.  

Invariably Barbara will come into the room where we are congregating and say:  “Does anyone want anything, a drink, ice cream, anything?”  

Now if I want something, I answer yes or raise my hand in acknowledgement of her offer.  If no-one else has answered I am usually ignored.  

“Anyone else, anyone?” she will continue to ask in the hope that I am not the only one answering.  If I am the only one answering, the offer is withdrawn.

By her asking, isn’t there an implied contract between asker and askee?  I think so.

Barbara’s explanation of why I get ignored is:  But you’ll say yes to everything.  It’s not worth it to just get you.

Our friends have noticed her tendency to ignore me under those circumstances and our children and now our grandchildren have taken notice.  It is a family joke that I will get ignored, and they just laugh and roll their eyes at the “folie a deux” that takes place.  It is an almost automatic reaction between us.

My hope is that people will come to the realization that I deserve the “medal” they are always awarding to Barbara for “putting up” with me.  I am the one with the “reputation” of always being “difficult” to live with.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I am an angel.

I am easy going, friendly (Barbara says too friendly) and just a wonderful person to live with.  Why people see me as the “difficult to live with one” I’ll never know.

Recently, Barbara and I were sitting watching TV.  She was drinking lemonade.  She turned to me and said, “Would you like some lemonade ( an offer)?”

To which I replied, “Why thank you (acceptance of the offer).

Barbara offered me her cup, which happens to be plastic and you cannot see what it contains without looking directly into it.  I took the cup appreciating her generosity in sharing her lemonade with me.  Unfortunately, it was empty. “Guess you’ll just have to get us some” she said, smiling sweetly.

I started to laugh, and so did she.

She eventually got me some lemonade, probably because she realized how funny it all sounded.

It became a source of some amusement between us for the rest of the day.

Now of course, Barbara says she was just kidding and was going to get me lemonade all along. 

You and I know the truth.

Friday, February 19, 2016

When Good News Is Not Well Received

Let me start by saying this will probably be my fault.  I’m not sure why I’m at fault, but it is safer to take that responsibility than not.

Second, for those not aware (there may be one or two people on the planet), I am a dessert person.  I would gladly forego a main course for dessert any time.  

This all started with our upcoming blood test.  

Both Barbara and I were scheduled to get fasting blood tests to check on our cholesterol and triglycerides.  

There have been times when my numbers have been high, but that was due to special circumstances, such as my doing investigative pie eating when I was going to be a pie judge, and when Barbara moved the three bags of hershey bars into the kitchen refrigerator from the one in the garage.

This time, we hadn’t done anything special.  

I still cooked, following the ancient adage passed down to me by the food network: that everything goes better with lots of butter, and keep cookies, cakes, ice cream and gelato in the house.

As the time for our blood tests got closer, Barbara was convinced I was going to get a bad report based on my diet.  She was expecting me to get a tongue lashing from the doctor.  She was looking forward to it, and saw it as a vindication of her saying: we should cut down on desserts.  Although this never stops her from eating the desserts, as those who have had dinner with us will attest to.

We took the blood tests and awaited the results.

Meanwhile friends of ours from New York were staying with us.

Two days later, my phone rang.  It was the doctor’s office.  They had my results.

“Your numbers are good”, the lady from the doctor’s office said.

“I expect nothing less”, I answered.  “What were the numbers?”

She gave me the numbers.

“Great,” I said, “my wife is going to be really mad they are good”.

“Probably,” the lady said. “She’d be right to feel that way.”

I asked for my wife’s results, but the doctor hadn’t reviewed them yet, so they couldn’t be released.

I hung up the phone, and told my friends, who were eating breakfast, what the results were.  Barbara was still in the shower.

“Barbara is going to be pissed,” I stated.

“No she’s not,” our friend said, looking dubiously at me.

“Just wait,” I answered.

We continued eating breakfast waiting for Barbara to come in.

Barbara finally came into the kitchen.

“Who was on the phone?” Barbara asked.

“The doctor, I got my test results, yours weren’t ready,” I replied.

“So what were your numbers?” Barbara asked with a smile on her face.

I told her.

“Son of a …, how could that be?” she said with a frown.  “That can’t be right, are you lying?”

I assured her I was being truthful and turned to our friends for confirmation of what I said.

Our friends were looking askance at Barbara.  

Barbara has the reputation of being the better one of us.  Her disappointment in my good news was in direct conflict with her image.  I was glad they were witnesses.

“This isn’t right. You eat so much dessert, how could your numbers be good?  You just wait, my numbers will be high, and we eat the same things.  Its just not fair!”

I saw where this was going, I would be to blame if her numbers were high.  I would have to shoulder the blame, a burden I was prepared to accept.

In the meantime, put some rum raisin ice cream on that slice of tiramisu.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Kidney Stone Incident

The Kidney Stone Incident

For weeks I had been having intermittent pain starting on my left back and extending into my front.  I eventually figured it was a kidney stone and went to my doctor to confirm.

They told me it probably was and I should go see my urologist and get a Cat Scan to confirm.  I made those appointments for the following week.

A few days later, the pain grew so intense I couldn’t stand it and asked Barbara to take me to emergency.  She called my son and he drove us to the hospital.  On the way we found out my son had to be somewhere else and over his objections, called my sister to come down and stay with Barbara at the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital and without too much delay, although it seemed interminable to me, took me into a triage suite.  

The first problem was setting up an IV and taking blood from me.  At the best of times, it is difficult to find my veins, but this time was almost impossible.  It took two of the specialists and numerous “sticks” to finally get an IV and to draw blood.  Once the IV was established, they gave me a pain medication that worked quickly.  I returned to my somewhat jovial self and was able to see some humor in what was going on around me.

There was a very friendly man next door who was singing, talking excitedly, and being very friendly to everyone.  He was being Baker Acted.  Barbara insisted I not go over and talk to him, as the staff might mix up which one of us was Baker Acted and which was for Kidney Stones.  I was sure they could tell us apart, but agreed to stay put.

The doctor ordered a Cat Scan and told me I had a Kidney Stone and was to be admitted because of an infection accompanying it.  Fortunately they kept giving me pain medication, so I didn’t care what they did.  

I sent everyone home and waited for a room to open up.  

Eventually I was wheeled up to a room around 12:30 AM. 

It was incredibly noisy.

Not only was I across from the nurses station, but everyone on the floor seemed to have their TV’s on at full volume, including my roommate.  I wasn’t getting any sleep anyway, as the IV had me peeing every 20 minutes.  In the early hours of the morning, people were watching game shows, political commentary and Jerry Springer type shows.  Where are the Baker Act people when you need them.

Around 4 AM people started coming in to take vital signs, take blood and to see if I needed anything.

Breakfast was at 8 and shortly after a Doctor showed up. He was a Urologist and told me I had two choices.  Try to pass it on my own, or they could go in (you don’t want to know how) and remove it.  I opted for the former, which he seemed to agree to.  I had to wait til his colleague showed up to get discharged.

Meanwhile, Barbara and my sister, Regina showed up.  The day progressed with my peeing every 20 minutes, and not being able to hold down any food.  The pain medicine had a nausea affect on me.  

I took the opportunity to try to guilt my daughter into flying down to visit her “sick” father (didn’t work) and to post a picture of me in my new Halloween Costume: Kidney Stone Patient.

I was amazed at the response I got.  It seems everyone but me has had a kidney stone in the past.  Who knew?  I got lots of sympathy and I appreciated it.

Around 5 PM the other doctor showed up and tried to talk me out of going home.  He said I would most likely need the procedure and not be able to pass the stone on my own.  I agreed to spend one more night in the hospital and he changed my pain meds to eliminate the nausea.

It was just as noisy the second night, even with my getting my roommate to lower his volume.  No sleep for two nights.

The Urologist came in and instead of insisting on my getting the procedure, said I should go home.  I readily agreed but still had to wait for his colleague to officially do it.  I was fed up with having to drag around the IV every time I went to the bathroom.

The doctor came in around 1 PM and discharged me with a prescription for pain medication and an antibiotic.

Barbara and Regina drove me home. 

I spend the the rest of the day drinking water and tea, and peeing every 20 minutes.  The night was the same but when I woke up, I wasn’t in any pain.  I think the stone moved to where it wasn’t pressing on anything.

Barbara who had been extremely nice to me told me my time for niceness had passed, as I was feeling better and could do things on my own.  She had even let me snore for the 20 minutes I was able to sleep between peeing during the night.  Obviously that dispensation was over.

I posted the end of the niceness window of opportunity, and everyone seemed to side with Barbara.  Go figure.

As an aside, when Barbara tries to get me to stop snoring, she whispers my name until I wake up.  I asked her why she is whispering since her goal is to wake me up and using a normal voice would accomplish her goal quicker.  She had no answer for that but said she was afraid I would become startled and fall out of bed if she was too loud.  Really?  That’s the reason for whispering.

The day progressed with Barbara and my sister coming up with disgusting suggestions off the internet on how to get rid of kidney stones.  For instance, one site said I should drink Olive Oil, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.  I declined.  

I continued trying to guilt my daughter, but she seemed to take on her mother’s attitude that the crisis was over and I should drink the olive oil while filming my reaction to the taste.  I again declined.

That night, I again peed in twenty minute intervals and I think something came out, but I am not sure.

Anyway, I am feeling better and I am trapping what appears to be remnants in the strainer.  

Hope to never have to repeat this again, It wasn’t fun and I didn’t enjoy it, even with the pain meds.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Candy For My Dentist

Candy For My Dentist

When I was growing up, I went to a dentist who gave out candy and charms when you finished your visit.  In fact, his office was situated over a candy store.  I found this very convenient since my mother would always take me downstairs to the candy store and buy me something sweet to eat and a comic book.  I didn’t like going to the dentist, but I did look forward to what came afterward.  

This created the association for me of dentist equals candy, or at least lollipops. As a result of this, I always ask my dentists for lollipops, usually to no avail.

About 3 years ago, I changed dentists and on my first visit, asked for a lollipop.  I was somewhat insistent and said I wasn’t leaving without one.  The office people up front scrounged around and found one in a desk.  I left content.

A pattern was formed.  I would tell them to have a lollipop ready for me when I made my appointment, and they would say it wasn’t seemly to offer their patients candy.  

In spite of their protests, I usually got something. The second appointment I got chocolate, the third, gum, and so on.  In reciprocation, I made them Black and White cookies.

On a recent appointment, they had nothing for me.  I was disappointed, and when the survey came to rate the dentist and practice, I put down that I was very disappointed I didn’t get a lollipop.

As it turns out they were not amused.

I went there to make an appointment for peridontal work and mentioned I expected a lollipop.

“So, you’re the one,” a person at the front desk said.  “You’ve caused us a problem.  Whenever anyone googles the dentist, something about lollipops comes up.  It’s not funny,” she said smiling ( Idid think it was kind of funny).  

“I didn’t know my comment would show up on your site.  I thought it was internal,” I answered, “but in my defense, I did ask for a lollipop in my appointment confirmation.”

“Please don’t put that in the survey again,” she asked.

“Ok,” I answered as Barbara, who happened to be with me, gave me the “look”.  

A week later, I had the peridontal work, and was given a follow up appointment for two weeks to take out the stitches.  I didn’t get a lollipop, but the post surgery instructions specified only eating soft foods like ice cream, pudding, cheese cake, and drinking thick shakes and malteds.  Who was I to argue?

The office called me the next day to see how I was, and I asked if I could have the stitches taken out sooner.  I told them they owed me because I didn’t get my lollipop.

“Well, I could possibly do it if YOU agree to bring us candy,” she replied.

“Hmmm, I do have about 2 1/2 pounds of Jelly Bellies left, I could bring those,” I said, “but only if you agree to display them prominently in the office so all can see.”  I felt it was only fitting to share with the other patients.

“Done,” she said.

I think they are coming around to my point of view.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Visit To Connecticut

Visit to Connecticut 

My wife and I recently visited our daughter’s family in Connecticut.  We usually do this twice a year and try to time it when the grandkids are off and it is not too cold.  This time our timing was off and it was cold.  It didn’t really warm-up until right before we left.

In spite of the cold we had a great time and got to see our granddaughter jump and ride horses: and our grandson play on 3 baseball teams. Of course things did happen to me.

One day, I persuaded (they say took them without their permission) to visit my great grandfather’s farm in Moodus Connecticut, about an hour and 30 minute ride from my daughter.  

Until I was 5, I, my mother, grandmother, aunt and cousin (Rocky) would spend the summers there.  My father and grandfather would come up on the weekends along with my Uncle, Rocky’s father.  My great grandfather, his son Benny and Benny’s wife Esther lived there all year round. Other relatives would also join us there.

I found the farm and knocked on the door to see if anyone was home.  No one was and I walked around the house to see if anyone was around back.  Meanwhile, Barbara and the grandkids left me and went back to the car.  What were they thinking??

Ronni, our daughter, stayed with me and she looked up the public records on the house and found it was built in 1820.  We walked down the hill to what used to be a gas station.  There was still an automotive repair shop and I spoke to someone who was approximately my age.  He invited me in and showed me photos from the 1940’s and we talked about what the town was like back then.  He told me the town had been wiped out by a road widening project.  I thought it was unfortunate since the town was kind of picturesque with wooden sidewalks.

Meanwhile, my wife and grandkids were getting impatient.  My wife told my granddaughter to text me to hurry up.  She texted me a tornado was coming and to hurry up and stop talking to people, a common complaint by my wife.

Ronni and I ignored the text.

On the way home, we stopped at New Haven to take a tour of Yale.  We walked around the campus and visited two of the libraries.  

Afterward, we went to what is supposed to be the 3rd best pizza place in the U.S. (It wasn’t) and we were quietly eating pizza there when the waiter approached us.

“Are you the Mayor?”, he asked me, meaning Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City.

I turned to him and said, “Of course I am”.

With that I heard a voice in the back of the restaurant cry out “I knew it”.

The waiter explained that there were two tables in the back who had seen me come in and had bets going on whether I was the Mayor.  

The waiter returned to our table with a picture of the real Michael Bloomberg on someone’s phone and showed it to me.  I don’t think I really look like Bloomberg except for a general similarity.  

However, not wanting to disappoint, I told him that was a younger picture of me and that’s why there was a difference in our appearances.

A couple at a nearby table started a conversation with me and we talked about my being  mistaken for the mayor on several occasions.

A few people leaving the restaurant said “Good bye Mr. Mayor”, which I graciously acknowledged.  They were the guys making bets.

Of course Barbara rolled her eyes at me and my grandchildren thought it was hilarious.  I had done nothing to initiate the situation, but rose to the occasion when it presented itself.

The next day, Barbara and I took the train into the city to meet a friend of ours.

We arrived at Grand Central, met our friend and went out to stand on the taxi line.  

It was cold and I was in a leather jacket.  The transit cop keeping order on the taxi line, approached me and asked if I would consider trading his transit jacket/vest for my leather jacket.  

“Yes,” I answered, “If you will leave on the badge and insignia”.  He declined.

We had a nice day with our friend and wound up in Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway and 51st street.  The wait staff are all aspiring Broadway Musical Actors and Actresses.  they all sing a song or two to the customers throughout the day.

I excused myself to go to the restroom and upon returning found my wife belting out a Motown hit with one of the wait staff.  I had never seen a patron taking part in the show before.  I mention this because everyone thinks it’s me who always gets in these situations.

On the following Saturday, Barbara, I, our daughter, her husband and children went into the city.  We decided to go to SOHO and walk around.  We slowly made our way to Greenwich Village and then Little Italy. 

It was around dinner time so we were walking towards a nice restaurant in Little Italy.  

I happened to see a camera man and reporter talking with people on the street.  I approached them and asked what they were doing.

They worked for the UN and were doing a documentary for a TV station on “How Ethnic Groups Got Along In NYC.  They asked (or maybe I volunteered, the memory is murky) if I wanted to be interviewed.

I graciously agreed. How could I say no?.

They seemed to like my answers to their question and indicated that would like to use my answers.  The camera man told me I kind of resembled the “Mayor”.   While they were interviewing me, a small crowd gathered and some people were filming me getting interviewed.  I think they thought I was the Mayor.

I asked them when I could see The documentary and what channel it would be on.  Turns out it was for a TV station in Dubai!  I don’t get that channel.

Our vacation progressed and Barbara, Ronni and I went to a mall in Trumble Connecticut.  While there I passed a kiosk that made T-Shirts.  

I could not resist.  I had two T-Shirts made.  One was a picture of me shrugging and the shirt said: “I was just sitting there”.  I wanted another shirt with Barbara’s picture and the shirt to say “And I should have left him there”.  Even though she came up with that saying she refused to have her picture taken.  I chased her around for a while with my cellphone cameral but she managed to elude getting her picture taken.  I eventually settled for putting the saying on the back of the shirt, signed by “His Wife”

The second T-Shirt has the Seal of the City of New York along with the saying “the Mayor is In”.  On the back it says “Three terms were not enough”.

Now I need Bloomberg to become mayor again so I can continue to be the “Mayor”.  

Eventually our trip came to an end and we were on the plane back to Florida.

I was just sitting there watching TV when suddenly the channel kept changing.

Barbara poked me and stated her TV was broken because it would not change channels.  She was changing my channels by mistake.  I showed her the error of her ways and went back to watching my TV.

The channel changed again!

Barbara was bored with her program and wanted something to do on the plane, so she found something.  

Annoying me!