Saturday, July 23, 2011

God's Big Plan

God’s Big Plan

It was around 1985; my wife announced she didn’t want to take birth control pills anymore.

“So what do you want to do?” I asked innocently.

“What do I what to do?  It’s time you did something.  I’m not having any more operations (she had had an operation on her ovaries and 2 C sections)”!

“Oh, I guess we could use something,” I said.

“No, I have something else in mind” she said. “You know Bob (my brother-in-law) had had a vasectomy and he said it wasn’t too bad.  What about you getting one?”

I probably turned pale, and cringed, but she pressed on.

“We should go and see a urologist, this would be great, and I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt,” she said.

“Yeah, it wouldn’t hurt you,” I replied continuing to cringe.

Not to be dissuaded, she made an appointment for a consult.

We arrived at the doctor’s office and eventually made it in to see the doctor.

“What do you want to do?” the doctor asked me.

“I would like to leave,” I replied.

“No we don’t,” said my wife, “we want to consider a vasectomy”.

“WE???” I said.

“Stop being a baby,’ she retorted, “I’m sure it won’t hurt, right doctor?”

“Well…” he said “you’ll feel a pinch when we inject the Novocain”.

At that point I was picturing this giant needle approaching my private parts.  The doctor must have seen this reaction before and sought to reassure me, but the image of the giant needle remained.

Seeking any excuse, I asked “Is this reversible, what if I want more kids?”

“With who?” my wife asked.  “You're sure not having them with me”.

“Maybe my next wife would want some kids,” I calmly replied.

“So you’ll adopt,” she countered.

The decision was a foregone conclusion.  An appointment was made.

The afternoon before the procedure, we went to the doctor’s office for a final check up.  They took blood and urine tests, everything was fine, I was scheduled for the next afternoon.

The next morning I woke up with a severe urinary infection: pain, blood, the works.

“How did this happen, you were fine last night”, my wife said.

“I don’t know, we’ll have to go to the doctor”.

We arrived at the doctor’s office and I told them what was going on.  They took blood and urine and announced I had developed an infection overnight and we would have to postpone the operation.

“I’ve never seen something develop so fast” the doctor said.

“When should we reschedule?” my wife asked.

“I’ll call them,” I said and we left.

My prayers had been answered, a genuine miracle had occurred.

“This is God’s Will”, I stated to my wife.  “God has decided against this and has other plans for me. I’m not doing this”.

My wife gave me a very skeptical look.  She started to give me all the arguments why we should reschedule; but I kept countering with “God’s Will” How could she argue with “God’s Will”? We never rescheduled.

Perhaps God does have a plan for me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Captain Hook Comes to the Birthday Pary

Captain Hook Comes to the Birthday Party

My youngest granddaughter was turning three.  Her mother decided to have a themed party of Tinker Bell and Peter Pan characters.  She asked that the kids come as characters and if the parents wanted to come in costume that would be fine too.

My granddaughter loves to play “Peter Pan”.  She is either Peter or Tinkerbell, my wife is Peter or Tinkerbell (depending on which my granddaughter chooses to be) her brother is a lost boy or pirate, and inevitably I am Captain Hook.

Captain Hook is always defeated and thrown into the water to be eaten by the crocodile.  Try as I might, I am never allowed to be anything but Captain Hook.
When the invitation came, it was a forgone conclusion that I would get a costume (remember who you are dealing with here).

My wife and I went to the costume shop.

There was a Peter Pan costume there I wanted my wife to get as our granddaughter was going as Tinkerbell.  My wife refused to spend the money (I think it was her desire not to wear green tights), and we proceeded to focus on me.

The first hat we were shown was a perfect “Hook” hat but way too expensive.  I finally picked out a hat, hook and sword.  I wanted to get more, but the "Secretary of the Treasury" said it was too expensive. We paid and left the shop.

The next day, I played golf with my son and we “coincidentally” ate lunch at a diner next to the costume shop. 

I dragged him into the shop and we looked for more items.  

I insisted he get a hat and sword, and since I was already there, I took it as God’s way of saying it’s ok to buy something. 

I looked around for items to improve my costume.  I chose a curled mustache and bright red sash to compliment the already purchased hat, hook and sword.

The big day came.

I attached the moustache with spirit gum purchased at the costume store, put on a long sleeve white shirt, black pants, black shoes, a vest, my sash, sword, hook and hat.  I was a great looking Captain Hook.  I was ready to go.

There was a slight problem.

A couple of the guests coming to the party required special dietary foods.  I was the one to pick up the food.  I figured I would get it on the way.

My wife and I drove to the shopping center and I parked the car.  I got out of the car.  My wife refused to join me.  I couldn’t imagine why she wouldn’t come with me.  I had taken off the vest, sash, hat and sword, what could be embarrassing?

As I entered the store, people were pointing and the owner was laughing.  Could it be me?

Of course it was me!  The large curling black mustache was an eye catcher.  With my white shirt I looked like part of an old fashioned Barber Shop Quartet.

I quickly explained why I had on the mustache.  Since most of the people there were grandparents they immediately understood.

I purchased the food and returned to the car where my wife was trying to look as if she didn’t know me. 

People stared as we drove past them. It really was quite a spectacular moustache.

We went to my son’s house.

I called my son and told him to open the garage door and meet us outside so my grandkids wouldn’t see me.  We unloaded the car and I got into costume.  I went to the front door.

My son opened the door with my two grandkids in tow.

“Har Har Har” I exclaimed, “It’s me Captain Hook”.

My granddaughter’s eyes grew huge and she backed away.  Not the response I was looking for.  Her little brother didn’t seem afraid and I came in.  She wouldn’t come near me for the rest of the day and kept a wary eye out to see where I was.

As other children came in, some were frightened, some took it in stride (most were under 4).  All the little girls came as Tinkerbell.  The boys didn’t come in costumes but were provided with a hat and blow up sword.  Some of them engaged me in sword fights.

The adults smiled and seemed to appreciate the effort I had put into the costume.  It was disappointing they weren’t in costume.  I had expected a few of them to be in costume.  The saving grace was I did present a dashing figure.

It was hot, and the long sleeves, vest and long pants made it hotter. The mustache was itchy and annoying and had to be reglued twice.  I stuck it out until the cake was cut and pictures taken.

I took off the mustache and vest; gave the hat and sash to a boy; and ate some cake.

Right before we went home, the boy gave me back the hat and sash.  I gave the hat, sash and sword to my daughter-in-law’s sister who had just gotten married.  She had brought a pirate outfit with her but didn’t put it on. I figured she and her new husband could play pirates one night. She said she would save it for Halloween.  Who do you believe?

My wife thought my getting the costume was a waste of time and money since my granddaughter was frightened of me and didn’t seem to care.  

I thought the looks on the people’s faces in the food store was to quote a credit card commercial, “Priceless”.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Uncertainty at the Diplomat

Uncertainty at the Diplomat

We have a friend and former business partner named Bill (last named withheld to protect all concerned), whose last name ends in a vowel.

Bill is an interesting guy.  He is about 10 years older than us, comes from New Jersey and talks like Joe Pesci.  In fact, he and Joe grew up together in Newark.  When I first saw “Goodfellas” I called up Bill and said “Hey Bill, this guy Joe Pesci is imitating how you talk.”  Bill laughed and told me how they used to pal around together.

Bill knows a lot of people with “Bent Noses” and he used to own a hotel in Atlantic City.  Bill always wears a lot of gold jewelry and is nattily dressed. Various “guys” would often visit Bill at his place of business, a travel agency in South Florida.

I once was stopping off at the travel agency to see Bill.  I parked in front and as I got out of the car, a man in a suit was kneeling behind my car taking down my license plate number.  He quickly moved away before I could ask him what was going on.

I went inside and asked Bill if he knew what the guy was doing.

“Oh yeah, he’s an FBI guy,” said Bill.

“FBI!” I said, “What is he doing here?”

“Oh he’s checking on me.  Every once in a while they review an old case I was involved in,” Bill answered.

He proceeded to tell me the story of an infamous case in New Jersey a number of years before.

Bill had had a partner who was trying to scam everyone who he was associated with.  The guy was found cut up into pieces in a 50 gallon drum.  The drum was discovered in a warehouse Bill was an owner of.

The FBI could never prove anything, and Bill claimed he didn’t know who did it.  Besides he was out of town when it occurred.

The FBI Agent in Charge retired and wrote a book about it.

Bill was questioned by a new FBI agent later on and Bill tried to be helpful and give him some answers.  The Agent demanded to know how Bill knew so much if he wasn’t involved.

Bill’s answer was “I read it in your guy’s book”.  They had no answer for that, but still followed Bill around every so often.

One time I was down in Hallandale when I got a phone call from Bill.  He asked if I could stop off at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood and pick something up for him.  Since I was only 5 minutes away and it was on my way home, I agreed.

Bill told me to meet a friend of his (John something with a vowel at the end) at the Diplomat.  He said I should use the house phone and go up to the guy’s room and he would give me a package for Bill.  The guy had just flown in from New Jersey.

I arrived at the Diplomat (a very nice Hotel on the Hollywood beach, known for some unsavory connections) and went to valet.  I told the valet who I was there to meet.

His attitude went from somewhat surly to ingratiating.  He assured me there would be no charge and he would leave the car right where I could get it immediately and would personally watch over it.  I thanked him and went inside.

Now, I’m beginning to get a bad feeling about this.  What could be in the package?  Why didn’t Bill get it himself?  How much trouble could I be in?  Was this guy under surveillance?

I used the house phone and spoke to the guy (he talked like Bill) and went up to his room.  A very nice room by the way.  

“Come in, take a load off,” he said, “I’ve got the package here for Bill.  Give me a minute to get it out”.

I was becoming somewhat uneasy and I guess it showed.

He picked up a large paper bag and said “So what do you think is in here?”

“I don’t know, Bill didn’t tell me” I answered.

“It’s bread you mope!  What did you think it was drugs?” he said laughing.

Bill had asked him to get a couple loaves of bread from a particular bakery in Newark.

Feeling both relieved and stupid, I took the “package” and left.

Sure enough, the car was waiting for me and I drove away with a wary eye for an FBI tail.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Bride Arrests the Groom

The Bride Arrests the Groom

My cousin was getting married. 

She had met a very nice guy and in a short period of time decided to get married.  It was not the first marriage for either of them and they wanted to have a small wedding with family and friends.

They chose a small wedding chapel/catering hall and set a date.

Barbara and I arrived at the hall.   

We saw three cousins we knew, but no one else that looked familiar.   

In fact, the majority of the men there looked kind of frightening.  They looked like drug dealers, gang members and not people I would want to hang around with.

I had never met the groom and was amazed he would have friends like this.  The groom worked as a postal inspector and these people did not look like they worked in the post office.

My other cousins were also giving the other guests a look over.  It was starting to get uncomfortable.

We survived the Cocktail Hour without any fights, gunshots or threats and proceeded to the ceremony.

The ceremony started.

The groom was handsome, the bride was beautiful. The groom stood at the altar with his best man, the bride walked sedately down the aisle to join them. The Justice of the Peace was waiting to begin.

Just as the ceremony was coming to an end, the bride whipped out a pair of handcuffs, clamped them on the groom (yes this actually happened), raised his handcuffed arm in the air and declared: “This is for the guys in the 22nd Precinct.”

My mouth dropped open as did that of my cousins, and Barbara.  The rest of the guests erupted into applause and laughter.

Turns out all the “frightening looking” guys were police and undercover officers whom the groom worked with.

My cousin knew her impromptu action would be greatly appreciated by them.

We on the other hand, thought at first she had lost her mind.  But as we got the joke, we appreciated her sense of humor on an otherwise solemn occasion.

The rest of the wedding went off uneventfully, and she is happily married as I write this.

I don’t know if she ever used the handcuffs again, that would be too much information.