Entries 225 - 201

ENTRY # 225
DATE:  04/08/07 (Sunday) 11:30pm
SUBJECT:  Happy Easter!

I hope all my loyal "DDD" readers enjoyed their Easter weekend. I know I did!
     Early yesterday morning, I headed up to my Mom's house. And I mean E-A-R-L-Y! I was awake at four, on the road by five, and actually at her house by 7:00am. She was pretty surprised to see me that early, but that's OK. She didn't mind, LOL.
     Once I got the car unloaded (laundry and all), the dogs had their way with me for about an hour. They both went nuts when they saw my car pull into the driveway, so it took them a while to finally calm down. Once they wore themselves out, I was able to sit down and have some coffee.
     When my step-father went to work, my Mom - being an avid Dish Reader - asked, "So, did you bring that CD you like? The one by that girl you wrote all about?" I said, "Yup, it's out in the car. I listened to it all the way up here. I'll go get it!" And for the next two hours we listened to "Big As A Berry" while my Mom prepared the pork roast we were having for Easter dinner. It took two hours to listen to it 'cause when it finished playing the first time my Mom said, "That's pretty good, you can play that again!" I guess she liked it, LOL. I must have pretty good taste...   ;-)
     It was kind'a funny... half-way through it the first time my Mom asked, "What show is she on again?," so I told her "Will & Grace." She said, "Oh. I don't think I've ever seen that show." So, of course, once she said that, I started describing Karen Walker. I said, "Yeah, she's this pill-poppin', smart-mouthed, alcohol-soaked, rich chick... she's always complaining about her 900-pound husband, Stan. She's always making fun of Grace's clothes, shoes, hair... she calls Will Wilma, and she's always bitch-slapping Jack around." And the whole time I'm talking, my Mom is standing at the kitchen counter, her back facing me, while she's fiddling with the pork roast, shaking her head saying, "Nope, never seen it."
     Since I was obviously getting no where with a simple description, I broke into a Karen Walker impression spewing forth with, Hey, Poodle. Hey, Wilma. Good Lord, Grace. So that's what synthetic looks like. What's going on here? What's all this about? What's with that hair? and as soon as my Mom heard me, she whipped around and was like, "YES! I KNOW HER! I'VE SEEN HER BEFORE! YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!"
     All right, seriously... I don't know about you guys, but that left me feeling a little bit torn. At first I thought, "Damn. Apparently my impression was dead-on. Wow. Cool!" But at the same time I was thinkin', "I don't really know if that's a good thing." It was funny. It was my Mom's reaction that made it so funny... but, whatever... LOL, I guess you had to be there.
     Um... anyway... moving on! When the CD ended, I hit my Mom's laundry room... and I hit it HARD, LOL. Four hours later I was still folding clothes. Good grief. Do y'all realize what a pain in the ass it is to "match up" knee-highs? If it was only five or six pairs, it wouldn't have been so bad... but when you're dealing with about fifty pairs, WHAT A FRIGGIN' NIGHTMARE! Regardless, all my laundry did get finished, so [insert applause here], "Yay, for me!" At least I won't stink for a while. That's always a plus, right?  ;-) I mean, honestly, I wouldn't want the Septage Sucker to think I'm competing for attention.
     When my step-father arrived home from work we all "got down" on some spaghetti, meatballs and garlic bread. Mmm-mmm, good! After dinner I asked if I could open my Easter basket even though it wasn't quite Easter yet...
     Now, if you're a regular visitor here, you'll probably remember my Mom hand-delivering my Easter basket last year. She drove all the way from western Massachusetts just to bring it to me, stayed for about thirty minutes, then drove all the way home again. If I remember correctly, that basket was crammed with seven or eight pounds of chocolate.
     This year's basket was a little different, LOL. Since I'm still a bit [ahem] portly, I told my Mom, "No candy! No chocolate! I don't want to be eatin' that shit when I'm trying to lose weight!" So, this year's Easter basket kind'a had a "Christmas Stocking" feel to it, LOL. She gave me some Granola bars, some Special K Cereal bars, Progresso soup, some Mandarin oranges (which I love), a couple tins of Altoids, some knee-highs, Listerine Pocket Paks, and way down at the bottom, buried under everything else, I found a PEZ dispenser, LOL. I guess she couldn't resist the temptation. She just had to sneak in some candy. PEZ is cool though. It's definitely not as fattening as chocolate, so it's allowed.
     On the way home from Church this morning, my Mom picked up my step-grandmother and brought her over for Easter dinner. She ended up staying all day long. It was nice to see her again, but - damn - all day??? It was a little much. We were completely worn out by the time my Mom brought her back home. The pork roast was slammin' though! It made it all worth while.  ;-)
     After digesting in front of the TV for a couple hours, I decided to hit the road and head home myself. I left around 7:30 which put me back here at 10:00pm... and now, here I am, sitting in front of this computer again...
     It was a good weekend. Relaxing but productive too, thanks to my Mom's washer n' dryer. :-)
     And, from what I witnessed, my Mom seems to be feeling pretty good. When she went out Saturday morning to muck out Nuggett's stall, I went out with her. I didn't go out to help her though. I went out, intentionally, just to watch her do it so I could see for myself how she's handling physical activity after her stay in the hospital. Honestly, between taking care of the horse, all the Holiday cooking, the housework, and walking the dogs up and down the road, she seems to be getting around with no trouble. Don't get me wrong - she was tired - but who wouldn't be after all that???
     So, yeah, it was a cool weekend...
     Happy Easter!


ENTRY # 224
DATE:  04/06/07 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  "Fancy" Lyrics - by Bobbie Gentry; Sung by Megan Mullally...

     Yup, this is definitely one of the coolest songs ever written! I love this song! ...and Megan ROCKS it on her "Big As A Berry" album! Her version is a little different from Gentry's original lyrics, but it's close enough for me!

     Now I remember it all, very well, lookin' back... it was the summer I turned eighteen.
We lived in a one-room, run-down shack on the outskirts of New Orleans.
We didn't have money for food or rent, to say the least we were hard pressed.
Then Mama spent every last penny we had to buy me a dancin' dress.

     Mama washed and combed and curled my hair, and she painted my eyes n' lips.
Then I stepped into a satin dancin' dress, split on the side clean up to my hips.
It was red velvet trim, and it fit me good...
Then staring back from a looking-glass was a woman where a half-grown kid had stood.

     "Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down.
     Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down."

     Mama dabbed a little bit of perfume on my neck, and she kissed my cheek...
And I saw the tears well up in her troubled eyes when she started to speak.
She looked at our pitiful shack and then she looked at me and took a ragged breath.
"Your Pa's run off and I'm real sick and our baby's gonna starve to death."

     She handed me a heart-shaped locket that said To thine own self be true,
and I shivered as I watched a roach crawl across the toe of my high-heeled shoe.
It sounded like somebody else that was talking, asking, "Mama, what do I do?"
     "Well, just be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy, and they'll be nice to you.
Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down.
Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down. Lord, forgive me for what I do,
but if you want out, well, it's up to you. Now get on out, girl, you better start movin' uptown."

     Well, that was last time I saw my Ma, when I left that rickety shack.
'cause the Welfare people came and took the baby, Mama died, and I ain't been back.
But the wheels of fate had started to turn, and for me there was no way out...
And it wasn't very long 'til I knew exactly what my Mama'd been talkin' about.
I did what I had to do, but I made myself a solemn vow...
...that I was gonna be a lady someday, but I didn't know when or how.
I couldn't see spending the rest of my life with my head hung down in shame.
Well, I might'a been born just plain White Trash, but Fancy was my name!

     "Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down.
     Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down."

     It wasn't long after a benevolent man took me in off the street.
And one week later I was pourin' his tea in a five-room hotel suite.
I charmed a King, a Congressman, an occasional Aristocrat...
And I got me a Georgia mansion, and an elegant New York town-house flat,
and I ain't done bad!

     Now in this world there's a lot of self-righteous hypocrites that would call me bad,
and criticize my Mama for turning me out, no matter how little we had.
And though I ain't had to worry 'bout nothing for nigh on fifteen years,
I can still hear the desperation in my poor Mama's voice ringin' in my ears.

     "Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down.
     Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down. Lord, forgive me for what I do,
but if you want out, well, it's up to you. Now get on out, girl, you better start movin' uptown."

     And I guess she did...

     Oh my God, somehow, some day - before I die - I gotta see Megan perform this song live! I bet she puts on one helluva show! She performs occasionally with the Supreme Music Program, but all the shows are usually on the West coast. If she's EVER around this area, I am SOOOOO gonna be in the front row! Big time!


ENTRY # 223
DATE:  04/04/07 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  Megan Mullally!

     Confession:  I absolutely adore Megan Mullally! Always have, always will. I think she's terrific! She's a great actress; her comedic skills are flawless; she's got a fantastic personality; she's funny as hell; she's beautiful (her hair and make-up are always perfect!)... AND, I've recently discovered she can sing too! Her voice is incredible!
     A couple weeks before Christmas I was sitting in front of the TV trying to find something decent to watch. As I was channel surfing, I came across "Clay Aiken's Christmas Special" that, I think, originally aired about four years ago. I'm not much of a Clay Aiken fan, so under normal circumstances I would've kept surfing. However, I happened to tune in at the exact moment when he was introducing Ms. Mullally. Now, up until this point, I had never seen Megan in anything other than "Will & Grace." I had no idea the woman could sing... so when Clay introduced her, I was thinking, "Oh my, this ought'a be interesting," so I continued to watch...
     Honestly, I was expecting "Karen Walker" to come out and start belting some bizarre rendition of "Jingle Bells" or maybe even "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" in that squeaky, Gin-soaked, high pitched voice we're all familiar with from "Will & Grace." I mean, really, after hearing that voice for eight years it's kind'a hard to expect anything else, right? LOL.
     Well, I gotta tell ya, when she took the stage, and I saw how she was dressed, I knew - right away - something was up. I was, like, "Oh, this isn't a skit. This is serious." She was gonna sing as "herself," not as "Karen Walker."
     She sang "I'll Be Home For Christmas," and as soon as she hit the very first note, I almost fell off my couch in shock. For the next three-and-a-half minutes, I sat - motionless - glued to my TV, mouth agape, completely in awe. I couldn't believe the voice coming out of this woman's mouth! She totally blew me away!!! And, apparently, the audience felt the same way, 'cause the "Standing Ovation" she received went on and on and on until they were forced to cut to a commercial.
     After the commercial break, Clay started chatting with Megan all about her album "Big As A Berry." I immediately got online and looked it up. She actually has a band!!! They're called "Supreme Music Program," and they do covers of other people's songs. That's all they do. Just covers. But, after seeing the track listing, I knew it was an album I had to own!
     The very next day, on my lunch hour, I went to Barnes & Noble to see if they had it in stock. Luckily, they had one on the shelf so I grabbed it. And that's how I spent the rest of my lunch... sitting in B&N's parking lot, listening to the entire CD. It's fantastic!!! The tracks are:

Bathroom Window (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
Ode to Billie Joe (Bobbie Gentry)
Lonely At the Top (Randy Newman)
Real Emotional Girl (Randy Newman)
Fancy (Bobbie Gentry)
My Dear Companion (Jean Ritchie)
Barbara Song (Bertholdt Brecht/Kurt Weill)
Lament (Edna St. Vincent Millay/Jeff Blumenkrantz)
The Grand Tour (N. Wilson/C. Taylor/G. Richey)
Danny Boy (Fred E. Weatherley)
Take It With Me (Tom Waits/Kathleen Brennan)

     Granted, it is a strange collection of music, but the versatility of Megan's voice makes it work. The band is great! The music itself is really good... but Megan's voice is the driving force behind this album, hands down. Seriously! She totally "owns" every song on this CD. They're "her's" now, and that's all there is to it. Nobody will ever be able to top what she's done with these selections. She doesn't just sing them. She performs them. She brings them to life. She gives them character. She's not just singing a song, she's telling a story with each one.
     OMG, her voice is phenomenal. She sings her ass off!!! I love this album. I can't stop listening to it. The day I bought it, I brought it home, and burnt a copy of it so I could have it in my apartment AND in the car. The copy I made has been in the CD player in my car since the day after I bought it. It's the only CD I've listened to since the middle of December. It's April now! For three and a half months, that's all I've listened to! I don't know why, but I can not get enough of this CD.
     "Bathroom Window" is probably the oddest track on the album. She does a good job with it, but it just doesn't seem to "mix" well with the rest of the songs for some reason. I don't know if it's because of the different genre, or if it's because her voice sounds "filtered." It sounds like she's singing in a tin can. I'm not crazy about special effects like that. I prefer to hear the artist's true voice. I don't know... whatever the reason, it's my least-favorite track.
     "Ode to Billie Joe" is fabulous! She's got a very "whispery-sultry-southern drawl-rhythm n' blues" thing going on in this one which is perfect for Gentry's material!
     "Lonely At the Top" is kind'a comical. She reminds me of Ethel Merman during this one.... which, for some people, that might not be a good thing, but - for this song in particular - it works really well!
     "Real Emotional Girl" (another Randy Newman song) is absolutely beautiful. She delivers this one with so much emotion in her voice it raises the hair on the back of my neck every time I hear it. Her voice is flawless throughout the entire song! It's pure, it's crisp, it's clear... it's what "singing" is all about.
     "Fancy" is, by far, one of the coolest songs ever written! And Megan ROCKS this song from beginning to end!!!! It's impossible for me to listen to this song just once. I HAVE to hit "repeat" at least five or six times before I'm ready to let the CD continue on to track six. She ROCKS it!!!! It's awesome!!! She blows Reba's version completely out'a the water!!!
     "My Dear Companion" is... well, it's a very "sweet" song. It's "country" and she sings it as such, with the twang and all!
     "Barbara Song" is the longest track on the album and it's very "theatrical". She presents the story with such charisma she transforms my car into the Winter Garden Theater in New York City, LOL...
     "Lament" is very short, and - obviously - very sad... but it's a fabulous display of her vocal skills. Her voice is superb throughout this one!
     "The Grand Tour" is outstanding!!! It's another "favorite." I love this song!!! Again, it's country, and her Oklahoma upbringing gives it a very "authentic" sound.
     "Danny Boy" is overwhelming. Half way through it, when she really starts to belt it out, it's chilling! It's an extraordinary demonstration of her vocal strength and talent once she's wound up and singin' full throttle!
     "Take It With Me," the very last track, is almost beyond description. This is the song that sold me on the album. This is the song that made me say to myself, "Damn, this woman can sing!!!" The only word that comes to mind right now is "angelic." Nothing else comes close.
     And now, because of the album, I'm totally fascinated with this woman. My life, for the last three months, has been all about Megan Mullally. I'm watching "Will & Grace" all the time now... I'm constantly searching for magazine articles and interviews online.... I've spent hours upon hours downloading videos of her on various talk shows. And, oh my God, I am so upset... I didn't even know she had her own talk show until after it was canceled. If I had known about it, I would've been taping that shit every single day! Damn!!!
     And, during all my online surfing, I also found out that "Big As A Berry" is her SECOND album. The first one, "The Sweetheart Break-In," was released back in 1998 and is currently out of print. This is really pissing me off. "Out of print" is one thing. If it was just "out of print" I could deal with that, because chances are good a copy of it would show up eventually on eBay. However, this "out of print" album was also a "limited edition." They only made 2,500 of them. So, I'm - pretty much - screwed here. I have a feeling I'll never be able to find it and I'm not happy about this... at all! Now that I know what a great voice she has, I GOTTA own "Sweetheart" too. I just gotta!!!
     I've been checking eBay every couple of days for months and it hasn't turned up yet. So, as a last resort, I've been searching for individual MP3s to download. So far, I've only been able to find a couple. I don't know what I'm gonna do. I'm so desperate right now, I'm actually considering writing her a letter! I dunno. This sucks! I read on some website somewhere that it might be re-released due to "popular demand," but who knows how long that will take. And, of course, that could always be just a rumor. I'll have to wait and see... there's nothing else I can do.
     Oh well... for now, I'll just keep blasting "Big As A Berry" until I either find "Sweetheart" or until her next album comes out. I HOPE there's gonna be a next album. With a voice like that, there better be! Hell, I don't care if she ever acts again. This woman needs to sing for a living! She needs to get in the damn studio again and lay down some tracks! Soon. Like RIGHT NOW, dammit!!!!


ENTRY # 222
DATE:  03/28/07 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  The Skywalk: A Disaster Waiting to Happen!

     OK... so they built this thing sticking out over the edge of the Grand Canyon. Now, seriously folks, am I the only one on the planet who thinks this is a really, really bad idea??? This has got tragedy written all over it! I mean, just think about it for a moment...
     I'm sure there are Bungee Jumpers, Free-Fall Flyers, Sky Divers and Dare Devils all over the world practically foaming at the mouth anticipating their first nose-dive off this thing. That, alone, spells disaster as far as I'm concerned. I will NOT be surprised when I see headlines running across the top of my Connecticut Post announcing their funeral dates.
     Or worse yet, what about all the amateur pilots out there that fly those little two-seater Cessna planes? I can picture [quite clearly] one of those guys deciding to "buzz" through the Canyon, probably showing off to one of his/her friends, and all of a sudden - CRASH!!! - thanks to a wing-tip clipping the side of the Skywalk. If they're lucky, they'll die on impact. If they're not, then they get to watch themselves plummet 4,000 feet to their deaths. Nice, huh?
     And I'm also a little worried about the lack of support beams underneath the part that "juts out" over the canyon wall. I've studied numerous photos and there doesn't appear to be anything holding it up. Have the designers forgotten about a little thing called gravity??? Could it be they were too concerned about the support beams ruining the photo opportunities through the glass-bottom versus the priority of human safety?
     I admit that I haven't read any of the construction details so I have no idea what it's made out of, but - honestly - does it matter? Hell, even if it's made out of iron, shit can still happen. Look at the Titanic. She was iron and an iceberg destroyed her. Granted, I know there are no icebergs in the Grand Canyon, LOL, but that's not the point. The point I'm trying to make is: exactly how stable is this thing going to be with the weight of a couple hundred people mulling around on top of it?
     I dunno... maybe I'm being a little pessimistic here, but - to me - this whole Skywalk thing is a lousy idea. I'm sure there are tons of people out there who will disagree with me on this, claiming it's the "safest thing," and that nothing like what I just described would/could ever happen, and that's fine. Everyone's entitled to his or her own opinion. But, the fact is, we live in a world where anything is possible. In the last six years we've already witnessed the Twin Towers reduced to ash, Boston's "Big Dig" I-90 tunnel collapse, the Southeast Asia Tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina, all of which were beyond our wildest nightmares. After reeling from those realities, can the idea of tragedy striking the Grand Canyon actually be considered outlandish? I think not.
     It might not be tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year, but I guarantee it... something bad is gonna happen. And for what? Twenty-five bucks a ticket??? I don't think so! You'll never catch me on that thing. If I ever visit the Grand Canyon, I'm stickin' with the Brady Bunch. I'll view it from the back of a sure-footed donkey!


ENTRY # 221
DATE:  03/27/07 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  Why Books Are Important...

    Has it ever occurred to anyone how different life would be if our noses were upside-down???

     We'd have to learn to swim backwards.
       There'd be no more strolls in the rain.
         We'd all drown while taking a shower.
     And I imagine sneezing would be a nasty affair as well...

     Y'see, this is why I read. If my mind isn't kept occupied, this is the kind of shit I think about.


ENTRY # 220
DATE:  03/22/07 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Graphic Designer Needed - ASAP!!!

     The Septage Sucker is STILL working for us........

     And this is me:

     Once he gave his "two weeks notice," his last day was supposed to be February 27th. However, on February 26th, David (the boss) asked him to stay "a little longer" since we still hadn't found a replacement. And now here we are - almost a month later - and David hasn't even interviewed anyone yet. He placed an ad on Monster.com weeks ago, and we did get a few applicants that looked promising, but - for some reason - he hasn't called any of them... and it's driving me crazy!!! I don't know what the hell he's waiting for.
     On the positive side, though, the Septage Sucker is using the Listerine now... thank God! It's not a permanent fix, but at least it keeps his dragon-breath at bay for a couple of hours.
     So anyway... if you're reading this, and you happen to be an experienced Graphic Designer living in the vicinity of Milford, Connecticut, feel free to email me directly and I will put you in contact with my boss. Please! I BEG YOU!!!!


ENTRY # 219
DATE:  03/17/07 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  This n' That...

     OH. MY. GOD. The storm that hit yesterday was awful! We got hammered with six inches of ICE. No snow, just ice! It started coming down early yesterday morning, and never stopped 'til very late last night. I had to work all day yesterday, so my commute home sucked. It took me over an hour to drive the eight miles home. Interstate 95 was in terrible condition so I took Route 1 instead... and it wasn't much better.
     I 'spose I can't complain too much though. I talked to my Mom earlier this afternoon, and they got hit with 26 inches of snow! I guess my six inches of ice doesn't really measure up to that, LOL. And, I was right... my Mom was outside early this morning shoveling and plowing! Good grief...
     Today, on the other hand, has turned out to be a beautiful day weather-wise. I finally ventured out around 2:00pm to scrape the ice off my car. I was wearing only a light-weight Spring jacket and was actually forced to take it off 'cause it was so warm out. Once the car was clean, I figured I'd take a ride. I went to the bank to deposit my pay check, then headed over to Stop n' Shop to do some grocery shopping. Although, once I saw how crammed the parking lot was I drove off. Hell with it! I hate standing in lines! The groceries can wait 'til there's less of a crowd.
     Instead, I drove down to Westport to poke around Barnes & Noble for a while. I'm trying to break out of the Stephen King-John Grisham-Nicholas Sparks-Anne Rice-Dean Koontz-Larry McMurtry-Elmer Kelton-Louis L'Amour box I've been stuck in for the last year or two. So, lately, I've been on the hunt for variety, trying to find interesting books by authors I've never attempted or heard of before. It's been fun. And, today, I struck gold! When I left B&N I was a hundred bucks lighter, but seven books heavier!
     I finished Being Dead by Jim Crace the other night, and immediately began reading Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee (a Nobel Prize winner). I'm half-way through it already, and I've decided that I need to read more of this guy's work. When I was browsing the B&N shelves today, I made sure to check out his other books. I picked Life & Times of Michael K. I'll probably start that one tomorrow.
     My other picks today included Our Kind by Kate Walbert, Our Lady of the Forest by David Guterson, The Little Friend by Donna Tartt, The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard, Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (Stephen King's oldest son), and - the oddest choice of all - The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne, LOL. Yes, it's a Winnie-the-Pooh book! So?!?! You have a problem with that?!?! Good. I didn't think so!  ;-)  I never read any of the Pooh books when I was a kid, so when this one caught my eye, I decided to bring it home. And who knows? If I enjoy it, I might even read the other ones! We'll see.
     When I got home, I called Adrienne to see if she still wanted company tonight. We had talked about getting together at her house so I could show her my New & Improved résumé that I've recently designed; and she was supposed to show me a pair of shoes she's very excited about. They've been referred to as "Stripper Shoes," and "Hooker Heels" so I'm more than a little curious to see them. However, she's not feeling well today, so our evening of Show n' Tell has been postponed. Oh well....
     With seven new books to read, I have plenty to keep me occupied for a couple of days. So, just in case you don't hear from me for a while, that's the reason. Silence will mean that I'm curled up on the couch with my nose stuck in a book.
     Life is good... even with six inches of hazardous ice!


ENTRY # 218
DATE:  03/15/07 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Update on Mom...

     Well, let's see... where to start?
     Shortly after my Mom arrived home from the hospital, she came down with what we thought was the Flu. We have since learned that it's not the Flu, but a completely different virus (with Flu-like symptoms - coughing, wheezing, sore throat, stuffy/running nose, and all the aches and pains). The worst part of it seems to be the cough. When I spoke to her earlier in the week, I hardly recognized her voice. My step-father has it now too, so that's not helping matters any...
     On Saturday (the 10th) she went to see her Primary Care Physician to go over all the results from the hospital. He said that once this virus is gone, he wants to do some Pulmonary/Breathing tests to make sure her lungs are OK and working the way they're supposed to.
     And on Wednesday (the 14th) she went back to the Cardiologist's office to see what he had to say. He ended up sending her home with a portable heart-monitor hooked up to her person. This she had to wear all day and all night last night while it recorded everything her heart was doing. She returned it to his office today. Although, we probably won't get those results for another week or two.
     So, basically, we still don't know anything. She says she feels better (even with the virus), but she's very tired. Whether the fatigue is caused by this virus or the initial problem that put her in the hospital, I have no idea.
     She's back to her usual activities... mucking out the horse's stall, housework, cooking, and taking care of the dogs, but she's doing everything at a much slower pace. There's also a huge storm coming (it's supposed to hit tomorrow) and I'm sure that means she'll be outside shoveling and plowing snow. Hopefully she won't over-do it...      That's pretty much all I know right now. Whenever I hear anything else, I'll post another update for y'all...


ENTRY # 217
DATE:  03/13/07 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  Typos & Dead Links...

     Ocne agian, I am aksnig awl my lyoal "Dish Fans" to rperot any tpyos iff yew hppean to fnid smoe wlhie vsitnig tihs sight. If ewe fnid a missteak any wheer, pelase sned me an emial two let me no sew eye kan ficks it az soon as pssobile. Tahkns!!!
     Also, if you come across any dead links let me know about those as well so I can either repair or replace them.
     Gotta run for now. I'm in the middle of a great book (Being Dead by Jim Crace) and I have to find out what happens next!!! So... ciao for now!


ENTRY # 216
DATE:  03/11/07 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  "The Dish" Word Count...

     Out of pure curiosity (and a little boredom), I dragged all "The Dish" blog entries into my word processor to see what the total word count is. Considering this has been a "work in progress" since September of 2005, I thought - for sure - it was 100,000 by now. Close, but not quite. Here's the numbers:

Entries 1 thru 25 = 11,066
Entries 26 thru 50 = 9,400
Entries 51 thru 75 = 11,683
Entries 76 thru 100 = 12,754
Entries 101 thru 125 = 10,734
Entries 126 thru 150 = 8,210
Entries 151 thru 175 = 9,061
Entries 176 thru 200 = 11,575
Entries 201 thru 215 = 12,840

     Not including this entry, the grand total is... 97,323 words.
     Not bad for a little ol' blog, huh?


ENTRY # 215
DATE:  03/08/07 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Pets Remembered: Passed & Present...

For all the pets passed...

"Midget":  a Miniature Toy Fox Terrier...
"Daphney":  a Basset Hound ...
"Tanya":  a Mastiff...
"Butterball":  a Calico Persian...
"Ludo":  a German Shepherd...
"Popcorn":  a Hamster...
"Laurel & Hardy":  a Hamster pair...
"Ruby":  a [blond] Hooded Rat...
"Moakie:"  a Ferret...
"Thor":  a Rottweiler...
"Noel":  a Siamese...
"Maytag":  a Maine Coon Cat...
"Crunch n' Munch":  a Domestic Short-hair...
"Julie":  a [black] Hooded rat...
"U-Turn":  a Domestic Short-hair...
"Sebastian":  a Royal (Ball) Python...
"Saraabi":  a Royal (Ball) Python...

"I'm Still Here"
I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, you found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."
I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea...
You were thinking of the many times
your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today...
Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.
I was with you at my grave today, you tend it with such care.
I want to reassure you, that I'm not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house --
As you fumbled for your key,
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said "it's me."
You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It's possible for me to be so near you everyday,
To say to you with certainty, "I never went away."
You sat there very quietly,
then smiled, I think you knew
in the stillness of that evening,
I was very close to you.
The day is over... I smile and watch you yawning
and say "goodnight, God bless, I'll see you in the morning."
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you,
there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out ...
then come home to be with me.
(unknown author)


And for all the pets present...

"Sweety Face":  a Tortoise-Shell Persian...
"Gringo":  a [wild] Field-Mouse...
"Max":  a German Shepherd...
"Zoey":  a Pit-Bull (mix)...
"Tinker":  a Domestic Long-hair...
"Belle":  a Domestic Short-hair...
"Northern Nuggett":  an American Quarter Horse...

A Prayer For My Pet...
In Your infinite wisdom, Lord God,
when You created the universe You blessed
us with all living creatures. We especially
thank You for giving us our pets
who are our friends and who bring us
so much joy in life.
Their presence very often helps us get
through trying times.
Kindly bless my pet. May my pet continue
giving me joy and remind me of Your power.
May we realize that as our pets
trust us to take care of them, so we should
trust You to take care of us, and in taking
care of them we share in Your love for all
Your creatures. Enlighten our minds
to preserve all endangered species
so that we may continue to appreciate
all of Your creations.
Grant this through Christ our Lord,
Amen.


ENTRY # 214
DATE:  03/06/07 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  Animal Diaries...

An Excerpt From a Dog's Diary...
Day number 180:

     8:00am - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!

     9:30am - OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!

     10:00am - OH BOY! A WALK! MY FAVORITE!

     10:30am - OH BOY! A COOKIE! MY FAVORITE!

     1:00pm - OH BOY! THE YARD! MY FAVORITE!

     2:00pm - OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!

     4:00pm - OH BOY! A BONE! MY FAVORITE!

     5:00pm - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!

     5:30pm - OH BOY! A WALK! MY FAVORITE!

     6:00pm - OH BOY! MOM! MY FAVORITE!

An Excerpt From a Cat's Diary...
Day number 752:

     My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the satisfaction of ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

Day number 761:

     Today I attempted to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking and almost succeeded. Must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust these vile oppressors, I made myself vomit on their favorite chair... must try this on their bed.

Day number 766:

     Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to strike fear in their hearts. They only cooed about what a good cat I was. Not working according to plan.

Day number 768:

     I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time it included a burning chemical called "shampoo." What sick minds could invent such a liquid? My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth.

Day number 771:

     There was a gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could smell the foul odor that they call "beer." More importantly, I overheard that my confinement was due to my power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

Day number 774:

     I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird has got to be an informant, and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his confinement in the metal room, his safety is assured. But I can wait, it is only a matter of time....


ENTRY # 213
DATE:  03/04/07 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  Mom's Heart...

     There's something [medically] wrong with my Mom but we have no idea what it is. Here's the story....
     For the last couple of months she hasn't been feeling well. She's been really tired, constantly out of breath, and her blood pressure has been creeping steadily higher and higher. Back in January (towards the beginning of the month), she went to see her Primary Physician and he recommended seeing a Cardiologist.
     Around the middle of January she was finally able to get into the Cardiologist's office for a consultation/exam. After checking her blood pressure, he scheduled her to have a Stress Test (on a tread mill) two weeks later, so he could get a good look at how her heart is performing.
     So... two weeks later, she goes back to the Cardiologist to get on the tread mill. During the stress test, her blood pressure sky-rocketed to over 230 so the doctor stopped it immediately. He said with blood pressure that high, she had entered "stroke" and/or "heart-attack" territory. He also informed her that there was a "blockage in the right side of her heart." He said he would call her as soon as he studied the rest of the results from the stress test. At that time, he would tell her what the next procedure would be. Then he sent her home.
     Around the middle of February she finally heard from him, but all he told her was the same information she already knew: there was a blockage in the right side of her heart. He then scheduled her for a cardiac-catheterization so they could identify the size of the blockage, and it's exact location. Once they had that information, they would decide what steps to take to get rid of it.... it could be something as simple as medication, or perhaps angioplasty (where they open the blood vessels/arteries using a balloon), and the worst-case scenario would be open-heart bypass surgery. Fine. Whatever! JUST FIX IT ALREADY!!!!
     On Tuesday, February 27th, she went to Baystate Medical Hospital in Springfield Massachusetts to have the catheterization performed. She got there at 7:30 in the morning, hoping to have the procedure done by 9:00am. I called the hospital at 10:00am and they hadn't touched her yet. I called again at noon and she was still waiting. At 1:00pm my step-father called me at work and said they were finally taking her downstairs to be prepped. FINALLY!!! He called back at 3:30pm to inform me my mother was fine. They found nothing. No blockage at all!
     No blockage is definitely a good thing..... but after 14 frustrating hours at the hospital, we still don't know what the hell's wrong. I talked to my friend Steve that same day and he told me to ask the doctors about something called "COPD." He told me what that acronym stands for, but I can't remember exactly what he said. At that point my mind was "all over the place," and his words didn't sink in all the way. I think it stands for "Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease," but I'm not sure. Anyway, I wrote "COPD" in my notebook and, YES, I made a note to ask the doctors about it.
     Wednesday, February 28th, I called my Mom to see how she was feeling. She said she was tired... and a little sore from the catheterization. She was taking it easy, and getting plenty of rest. We also talked about how important it was for her to "keep after" the Cardiologist. He has GOT to find out what's wrong. I told her to call him and DEMAND another appointment ASAP to figure out what the next step should be. I also told her to tell the Cardiologist she wants chest X-Rays taken. I think that's the very first thing the Cardiologist should've done, even before putting her on that damn tread-mill for the Stress Test. I can't imagine not having chest X-Rays if they suspect there's a problem with the heart somewhere. I told her to DEMAND to have them done. She agreed.
     Early Thursday morning, March 1st, my Mom called me at work to tell me she had just spoken to the Cardiologist and managed to get another appointment with him at 2:30pm that same day! COOL!!! I told her to call me back after she got home from that appointment to let me know what's going on. She never got the opportunity to call me.....
     Instead, my Mom's neighbor (Irv) called me at 1:30 that afternoon. He said there were two ambulances at the house, and that they were taking my Mom to Cooley-Dickinson Hospital in Northampton. He said she was "disoriented," and kept asking the same thing over and over. She couldn't retain anything new... and she also couldn't remember anything from the last couple of days. He said she didn't even remember being at Baystate Medical two days ago for the catheterization. She was having trouble breathing, and she kept grabbing at her own throat. Obviously, hearing all this totally freaked me out. I hung up with Irv, grabbed my coat, and I yelled to my boss, "I GOTTA GO. MY MOM'S BEING RUSHED TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM. I GOTTA GO, I'LL CALL YOU LATER TO LET YOU KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON," and I was out the door. I made a quick stop at the gas station to fill my tank, and off I went. And I gotta tell ya, I was flying!!! My little Kia Spectra turned into the Concorde. All I kept thinking was, "I gotta get there, I gotta get there. GO, GO, GO!!!"
     You see... the thing is.... my grandmother died when I was 17 years old. This was back in 1987. My mother didn't make it in time to say goodbye to her... and for the last 20 years I've watched my mother struggle with that every day. Granted, it has gotten easier over time, but she's never really forgiven herself for that, for not being there. And now here I am, flying up the highway, rushing to the hospital to get to my mother, so all I could think was, "That can't be me. I can't live like that. I can't live the rest of my life hating myself. I gotta get there. Hurry, Go, Faster, Faster, I gotta get there!" And then, to make matters even worse, I realized what the date was. It was March 1st. March 1st is the anniversary of when her father died. Once that hit me, all I kept thinking was, "Oh my God, if something's gonna happen, today's the day!" So I floored it. Every time I looked down at my speedometer the needle was in between 85 and 90mph. I made it from Milford, CT to Springfield, MA in forty-five minutes. (NOTE: It usually takes 45 minutes just to get to Hartford, never mind Springfield.) When I pulled into the hospital's parking lot in Northampton, MA it was 2:50pm. By the time I got there, my Mom had only been there for a half-hour. I made pretty good time, thank God.
     I found Jan (Irv's wife) in the Emergency Waiting Room and she filled me in a little more about what had happened at the house and during the trip to the hospital. Jan and my step-father followed the ambulances. As it turned out, the ambulance that was carrying my mother could only go as far as Huntington, MA. At that point, they pulled over and transferred her to the second ambulance that brought her the rest of the way to Northampton. Weird, but... whatever. I didn't really care about that stuff. All I cared about was "WHAT'S WRONG WITH HER? WHERE IS SHE? I WANT TO SEE HER! NOW!!!" Jan also told me about the sudden "memory loss," and how disturbing it was to see my Mom in that condition.
     When I got into the Emergency Department I found her and my step-dad. By now, she had already had one EKG, and they were preparing to take her in for a CT-Scan. She recognized everyone, and she knew her name and her birthday, but her short-term memory was completely gone. She couldn't remember a thing from the last couple of days. She couldn't even remember the trip to the hospital, and that was only an hour ago!
     After the CT-Scan we were sent back to the Emergency Room. A nurse came in and handed my step-father a stack of paperwork to fill out so that kept him busy. I, on the other hand, had nothing to keep my mind occupied, so I'm sitting there thinking, "Stroke! She's had a stroke. That's why she can't remember anything. Oh, my God, it's a stroke." About twenty minutes later they wheeled her away for some chest X-Rays. FINALLY!!!! When they brought her back from X-Ray another nurse came in and started the "admission" paperwork.
     Once all that stuff was filled out, we all went up to the third floor to room 328. When they got her situated and comfortable in a bed, I started watching for signs of a stroke. Her speech was perfectly clear, and she wasn't having problems moving around at all so I relaxed a little. I figured, "Well, if it was a stroke, it was a mild one." I was about to hand her a pen and have her write her name a few times so I could see if her handwriting was either shaky or normal, but I realized that Jan was still sitting down in the ER Waiting Room without a clue as to what was going on, so I ran off to find her instead...
     Perfect timing!!! When I found Jan she was watching the Weather Channel and there was a nasty ice-storm coming our way. Since I had headed to the hospital directly from work, I had nothing on me. I had the clothes on my back and that was all. No money either. I also never went home to leave any extra food n' water out for my cat. So, between my Mom being in the hospital and the storm coming, it was obvious I'd be in Massachusetts for a few days. I needed stuff. The forecast said the storm was due to hit around midnight. I looked at my watch and it was 5:00pm. I brought Jan up to my Mom's room and we all started making plans. My step-father was going to take Jan home and then head home himself (for the night), and I was heading back to CT to pack, to feed the cat, and to - hopefully - get some cash for on the road.
     I left the hospital at 5:30pm.... on the way home, I called my boss and told him the whole story. I also explained that I wasn't going to be at work on Friday, and since our payday is Friday, I needed money. I asked if he could leave my pay check out for me, and I'd pick it up on my way home. He said that wasn't a problem. I made it to work by 7:00pm and I found my check. The next stop was the bank. I deposited it at the ATM, and took out some cash too. When I got home, I ran around my apartment like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to get everything done. I fed and watered the cat, I packed, I talked to my father, I cleaned out the kitty-litter box, I took out the garbage, I checked my email, and I loaded up my car and off I went again, back to Northampton, MA. I was back at the hospital at 11:00pm. I ended up beating the storm, but only by a few seconds. As I was walking through the parking lot towards the ER entrance, I felt the very first droplets of sleet in my hair. Phew!!!
     When I got up to the third floor I "checked in" at the Nurses' Station. My Mom was already asleep and I didn't want to disturb her. I spent the night in a little "Family Room" down the hall from her room. I read a little bit, I paced a little bit. I read a little bit, I paced a little bit. I also made multiple trips out to the Nurses' Station to inquire about all the test results from earlier in the day. They weren't able to tell me anything. They kept saying they didn't have the results yet. By 2:00am I was on edge... and more than a little irritable. I hadn't eaten anything since my salad at work... I was tired from driving 300 miles.... I was stressed out... my Mom's in the hospital, and I have no idea why. The tests were 12 HOURS ago, and they know nothing?!?!? Bullshit!!!! At 2:30am a very unfortunate nurse found me in the "Family Room" and asked if I needed anything. Oh, gee. Ya think??? And this is when I snapped. I let her have it. FULL BLAST!!! By the time I was done chewing her out, she ran down the hall in tears trying to locate a doctor for me so I could FINALLY get some information....
     A few minutes went by and another nurse stuck her head in to tell me my Mom was awake and I could see her. I was in her room no longer than 5 minutes when Dr. Bach came in looking for me. He said, "I understand you're a little upset. What's the matter? What can I do to help you?" So I told him the whole story, all about driving up to Northampton from Connecticut TWICE, and about how I've been sitting in the Family Room for four hours not knowing anything, and that it's been 12 hours since the tests were done and there's [supposedly] no results yet. He was horrified by my story and very apologetic. He said, "Give me 15 minutes," and off he went.
     When he came back he had the CT-Scan results, the chest X-Ray results, and the results from both EKGs. All the results were perfectly normal. They found nothing wrong at all. That was definitely a relief to hear, but - at the same time - it was a little nerve-wracking. There's a problem somewhere, but they didn't find it. That's not cool!
     At 3:30am a nurse came into her room to check her blood-pressure. It was 138 over 80. That was better than it had been, but still kind'a high considering she was just laying there doing nothing.
     For the rest of the night, I stayed in her room keeping her company. We'd chat for a while, then she'd nap for a while. It continued like that all night long 'til about 9:00am (Friday morning). At that point, my step-father showed up again. Once he was in the room with her, I went outside to inspect the damage from the ice-storm. I had two inches of ice to scrape off my car so that kept me occupied for about an hour. By the time I made it back up to her room I was soaked to the bone 'cause it was still sleeting/raining. And from what I could see, the roads were in pretty bad shape. There was no way my car was going to make it to their house (up in Worthington) in all that ice, slush n' snow. Thankfully, my step-father drives a three-quarter ton, four-wheel-drive pick-up truck so I traveled back n' forth to the hospital with him, leaving my car in the hospital's parking lot the entire time.
     Since I hadn't eaten or slept yet, my mother talked me into going back to the house with my step-father to get some rest. She was also concerned about the dogs, so I told her I'd take care of them. They've got two dogs, and they usually refuse to eat if she's not around. We got "home" at 11:00am. Max ate his breakfast so I didn't have to worry about him. Zoey hadn't touched her food yet though... so for the next 15 minutes I was on the floor spoon-feeding her. Next on the "Doggie Check List" was to get Max's ears cleaned out. That was interesting.... although, it was MUCH easier than cleaning out my cat's ears, LOL!
     I had a quick ham sandwich then tried to take a nap. I laid down for two hours, but with the phone constantly ringing, the dogs sniffing and licking my face, and a neighbor stopping by to drop off a loaf of fresh-baked bread, I got no sleep at all. There was just way too much going on to sleep. Oh well...
     At 2:30pm we headed back down to the hospital to see what was going on. They took her blood pressure again at 3:30. It was 145 over 91. She said she felt "OK" but was really tired. She also told us that a Neurosurgeon had come in earlier to see her. He said that the next step was going to be an MRI later that evening. Once they got those results back, he said she'd probably be able to go home Saturday afternoon.
     While we were there, Dr. Bringardner came in to "check up" on her. I took full advantage of having a doctor in the room and began grilling her, LOL. I asked about the "short term" memory loss. She called it "Transient Global Amnesia," and explained that it's very common. When the body experiences "trauma" the brain sometimes shuts itself off to help protect you from further stress/anxiety. She said the "missing time period" might come back or it might not. Either way, we shouldn't worry about it.
     I also asked about "COPD," "Variant Angina," and "Pulmonary Hypertension." My Mom's symptoms are similar to all three, but the doctor said they had already taken them into consideration. The combined tests that were already performed, primarily the EKGs and the chest X-Rays, had ruled out all three possibilities. So, check... check... and check. I had nothing else to ask, so the doctor was free to go, LOL. On her way out the door she told me my questions were all "excellent!" That made me feel pretty good.
     Once the doctor left, I was all set to spend the night at the hospital again, but about an hour later my Mom chased us out. She said there was really no reason for us to stick around; they were taking good care of her. So, reluctantly, I headed back to the house with my step-father. The dogs were happy to see me. And, this time, they both ate their dinner with no trouble at all. And I guess being at the house made it easier on my step-father too. I'm sure if he was there alone "the waiting" would've been a lot worse. We watched the season finale of "Monk" at 9:00... then we watched "NUMB3RS"... then we hit the sack.
     I spent Saturday morning mucking out the horse's stall. Since the weather was so bad, Nuggett wasn't let out for almost three days. His stall was disgusting! After lugging the wheel-barrel out to the woods NINE times, it was finally emptied out and ready for the clean bedding. It smelled MUCH better after that, that's for sure! And the horse was thrilled to be outside! He went nuts for about fifteen minutes, bucking, raring, and rolling around in the fresh air.
     My Mom called at noon to tell us the results of the MRI were normal. The only thing the MRI proved was that the arteries in the back of her neck were different sizes... one is larger than the other, but they said it appeared to be "congenital," which means they've been like that since birth. Other than that, the MRI was perfect.
     She called us again at 2:00pm and said, "Come get me," so down over the mountain we went again. By the time we got there she was dressed and ready to go. We just had to wait for a wheel-chair. At 3:00pm we all left the hospital. My step-father brought my Mom home, and I headed back to Connecticut....
     So.... after having the catheterization, spending three days in the hospital hooked up to a heart monitor, two EKGs, a CT-Scan, chest X-Rays, and an MRI we still have no idea what's causing the high blood pressure. I don't know what to think at this point. According to the test results she's in perfect health. I don't know what else they can possibly do to her to find the problem. I'm guessing the only thing left is experimentation with different medications. I don't know...
     Anyway, that's the story. If anything else comes up, I'll be sure to post an update. As for me, I'm going back to bed. I'm pooped....


ENTRY # 212
DATE:  02/26/07 (Monday) 1:00am
SUBJECT:  The 79th Annual Academy Awards - Winners...

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:   Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine)

VISUAL EFFECTS:   Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

ANIMATED FEATURE:   Happy Feet

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION):   West Bank Story

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED):   The Danish Poet

COSTUME DESIGN:   Marie Antoinette

MAKE UP:   Pan's Labyrinth

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:   Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT:   The Blood of Yingzhou District

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:   An Inconvenient Truth

ART DIRECTION:   Pan's Labyrinth

MUSIC (SCORE):   Babel

SOUND MIXING:   Dreamgirls

MUSIC (SONG):   An Inconvenient Truth

SOUND EDITING:   Letters from Iwo Jima

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:   The Lives of Others

FILM EDITING:   The Departed

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:   Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)

CINEMATOGRAPHY:   Pan's Labyrinth

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:   Helen Mirren (The Queen)

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY):   The Departed

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY):   Little Miss Sunshine

DIRECTOR:   Martin Scorsese (The Departed)

BEST PICTURE:   The Departed


ENTRY # 211
DATE:  02/24/07 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  A Collection of Collections...

     I was just rootin' around in the closet trying to find my whale watching photo albums, and I happened to come across my coin collection. I've had this coin collection since I was ten years old. I haven't added anything to it in years, and I'm really not even into coin collecting any more, but it's just one of those things I can't bring myself to part with.
     I sat there - in the closet - for about an hour, fingering through all the old "wheat" pennies, the "Mercury" dimes, the "Susan B. Anthony" dollars, the "buffalo" nickels, and all the "foreign" currency, checking dates and mint locations. While doing all that, I started making a mental list of all my other collections. And I realized something about myself:  I collect a LOT of stuff...

Coins:  Which I, basically, already covered with the above paragraphs, LOL.

Stephen King stuff:  I've got all his books in hardcover and in paperback; I've got magazines; I've got all the movies on either VHS or DVD; I've got Beanie Babies; I've got bookmarks; I've got books written about King; I've got refrigerator magnets; I've got T-Shirts; I've got audio books.... I've got just about everything that has something to do with Stephen King, LOL.

Barbra Streisand CDs & Movies:  I've got all her movies; I've got almost all of her CDs; I've got books about her, and I've got hundreds of sound wavs and pictures of her saved on a bunch of ZIP discs...

Stephen Spignesi books:  I've got a STACK of books he's written, both non-fiction AND fiction! Hopefully, I'll be adding more fiction to the collection one of these days!

Tommy Lee Jones stuff:  I've got approximately 50 of his movies on DVD; And I've got hundreds of sound wavs and pictures of him saved on a bunch of ZIP discs. I also made a collage poster of him that hangs proudly over my computer. It's 8 square feet, LOL!

9-11 Stuff:  Shortly after September 11th, 2001 I started collecting a whole bunch of stuff that had to do with the Twin Towers. I've got an entire paper carton filled with magazines, calendars, books, and postcards. Although, I haven't been able to look through any of this stuff in ages. I just can't bring myself to do it.... even after all this time, I still get choked up thinking about what happened that day.

Whale & Dolphin statues:  I've got whale and dolphin statues all over my bedroom. Some are candles and some are music boxes. The whales are all humpbacks, and the dolphins are all White-Sided Atlantics...

I Love Lucy dolls:  Thanks to Adrienne, and her family, I now have ALL the "I Love Lucy" dolls made by Mattel (so far). The newest addition to this collection - Episode 116, "Lucy Gets in Pictures" - I just received for Christmas (of 2006)...

Oriental Cork Art:  If you don't know what this stuff is, click here to take a peek. I've got 13 pieces in my collection... although, a lot of them are starting to break due to age, so I think this collection might get lugged down to the dumpster soon. I can't decide yet...

Spoons:  I've got two spoon racks on the wall in my living room. One of them holds 24, the other one holds 36... and they're both full! Most of the spoons are from somewhere in the United States... but I have a few from around Europe too!

Red Rose Tea "Whimsies" figurines by Wade:  Oddly enough, this is the collection I have the most fun with. If you buy a box of Red Rose Tea, you always find a little ceramic "creature" tucked in between the tea bags. I don't know why, but I LOVE these things, LOL. I've got 56 of them placed all around my kitchen! If you have no idea what I'm talking about click here to see what they look like.

     See what I mean? I collect a LOT of stuff! Plus, I can't forget the pajamas, lip gloss, candles, and note pad collections I mentioned in entry # 198, LOL! No wonder I'm broke all the time.  ;-)
     Hmmm... I never did find the photo albums I was looking for. I better get back to searching before I forget.


ENTRY # 210
DATE:  02/23/07 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  The "Septage Sucker" Saga Continues...

     OH. MY. GOD.
     The Septage Sucker gave David and I the "Silent Treatment" today. He didn't speak to either one of us all day long.
     Now, seriously, folks... if that doesn't prove or "back up" my twelve-year-old theory from yesterday, nothing ever will. The Silent Treatment?!?! Come on!!! There is now no doubt left in my mind whatsoever. His mental development DID stop at the age of twelve!!!
     Somewhere, deep in the recesses of his little brain, he thought he was punishing us by not talking. He actually thought he was "teaching us a lesson" by giving us the Silent Treatment. Give me a break! Is that the best he can do? The Silent Treatment? Are you kidding me with this shit? ROFL!!!! He's fifty-eight years old. You can NOT tell me this is normal behavior for a middle-aged man! I'm sorry, but he's definitely got some major psychological problems.
     He thinks that's a punishment? He thinks he's "getting back at us?" He's teaching us a lesson??? LOL!!! If you ask me, it was a blessing! The less time he spent with his mouth open, the less time we were forced to smell his breath!
     AMEN!!!
     If we're lucky, Monday and Tuesday will go down the exact same way.


ENTRY # 209
DATE:  02/22/07 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  "Septage Sucker" Stupidity Strikes Again!!!

     Well... he couldn't just leave peacefully. His last day is on Tuesday (02/27/07), and he had to make himself look like an ass AGAIN. He just couldn't leave quietly. God, this guy makes me sick!!! We had another HUGE fight today, which led to the three of us screaming at the top of our lungs. It all started with his time-sheet...
     First of all, our time-sheets are based on the "honor system." We don't use an actual "time clock" to punch-in and/or punch-out... we hand write all the times in manually ourselves. Now, our hours are from 8:30 to 5:30 with an hour lunch. Ever since he handed in his "letter of resignation" last Tuesday (the 13th), he's been coming in late every day... and taking longer lunches. He's been strolling in at 8:35, 8:40, and 8:50, but he's been writing "8:30" on his time-sheet every morning.
     Initially, I wasn't going to complain about this. I really didn't care, I just wanted him GONE. But today was the icing on the cake. He never came in until 9:10. And, to make matters even worse, for the next three hours he did no work at all. He spent the entire morning online. He was on Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, HotJobs, YahooJobs, and FairfieldCountyJobs.com uploading his resume. That's all he did all morning, from the time he came in, 'til the time the owner finally showed up. Then, when he left for lunch at 12:10, he wrote "12:30" on his time-sheet instead. All this pissed me off, so I went running up front to the boss (David), and said, "Look at your watch right now! It's 12:10 and he just left for his lunch. I just checked his time-sheet and he signed-out at 12:30! I know it's none of my business, I know I'm not responsible for payroll, but this is really starting to piss me off." David says to me, "What do you mean by starting to piss you off? How long has this been going on?" So, obviously, I told him the whole story....
     David runs into the back office where the time-sheets are kept, and he circled all the "8:30s" and the "12:30" that the Septage Sucker wrote down, and he also wrote a "see me" notation on it. When the Septage Sucker came back from lunch it was 1:40, so - again - I told David to check his watch. After he did, he went back to the office to see what was written down. The "TIME IN" square was left blank so David approached "SS" and said, "Did you sign back in?" "SS" then says, "No, I forgot," so he proceeded to sign-in by writing 1:30 on his time-sheet with David standing right over his shoulder watching. Once "SS" saw all the times circled and the "see me" note, he says to David, "What's the problem?" ...and this is where all hell broke loose.
     The two of them got into a major screaming match over this, with me standing on the side-lines observing the whole thing. The more they yelled, the more upset I was getting. I kept thinking, "Wonderful, I started this mess." But then I thought, "Well, if we had a regular time-clock this wouldn't be happening in the first place 'cause the Septage Sucker wouldn't be able to lie about it." My last thought was something like, "Why should he get paid for 40 hours, if he's not working 40 hours? That's not fair to me. I'm the one who works 45 hours, and I only get paid for 40." I finally decided that my anger was appropriate, and that complaining about it was the right thing to do. Why the hell should the owner of the company pay him for hours he's not working?!?! Anyway, I got tired of listening to everything, so I began to walk away. But then I heard the Septage Sucker come out with:

"I'm only doing this because I never take the breaks we're supposed to get in the morning and in the afternoon. It's the law, Asshole, it's a requirement of the state that we get breaks, and I work right through them every day. That's what people do when they give a two-week notice, they take it easy."
     This was one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard, and it was obvious he had no idea what he was talking about. At that precise moment, I went from CALM to DEFCON-5 in two seconds flat!!!
     In David's defense, I ran over and jumped in between them, screaming at the top of my lungs in order to be heard over the two of them, and a barrage of profanity spilled out of my mouth directly into the Septage Suckers face! All the hostility I've "held in" for the last 19 months came pouring out. The flood-gates broke, and I let him have it. So, now, it's the Septage Sucker and myself going at it, with David on the side-lines not saying a word. I think David was shocked. No one has EVER come to his defense before, and since he hates the Septage Sucker just as much as I do, he didn't even try to stop me. In fact, when I glanced over at him during my rampage, the look on his face could only be interpreted as "GO, DOVE, GO!!! GIVE IT TO HIM, GIVE IT TO HIM!!!"... so, I did!
     Through my entire rant the Septage Sucker kept screaming back at me, saying things like, "You're stupid! You're all crazy! It's the law! You're all stupid! That's what people do! They take it easy when they quit! It's the law! We're supposed to get breaks! It's a requirement! You're all stupid!" And I was like, "Oh yeah? You're the asshole! You have no idea what you're talking about! It's not the law. We work from 8:30 to 5:30. We get an hour lunch! Period. You're lunch IS your break. That's all you get! End of story! You think you know so much, go look it up, Asshole! Get online right now and go to Connecticut's Labor Board site, and look it up for yourself, you ignorant fuck!!!" And, of course, he kept refusing to do that, 'cause - secretly - he knew I was right, but since he's one of those "know it all" kind of people he can never admit to being wrong. He's always right, everyone else is stupid, he's never wrong, he knows everything!
     At this point, David put his coat on and was getting ready to leave. He had to bring a "proof" over to Schick to get they're approval on it before we ran the job. He said, "All right, well, I have to leave. I'll be back in about a half-hour." He then looks at me and says, "You're doing a good job... I trust you can continue to handle things here?" LOL, I said, "You bet, no problem!!!" and I turned back to the Septage Sucker to let him have some more! Once the Septage Sucker realized he had no support whatsoever from the boss, he walked away from me and went back to work. I figured we were done with the argument, so I went back to work also.
     As soon as David left the building, "SS" comes back over to me and starts screaming at me again saying stuff like, "You're so stupid. You're crazy. You get too upset about stuff. Why do you even care? It's none of your business anyway. It's a requirement. By law we are supposed to get breaks. That's what people do. They take it easy when they quit. Everybody does it. You're so stupid. You've been completely unhelpful ever since I started working here. You're impossible to work with. You're impossible to get along with. Everyone is always yelling at me! Everyone says I fuck up all the time. It's because you people are always yelling at me! That's why I fuck up stuff. You make me nervous. I don't care! I know what I'm doing! I know my job! You're so stupid."
     He just wouldn't shut up, so I "blew up" at him all over again. His "you're so unhelpful" comment really got under my skin. During the whole time he's worked for us, I've been the one babysitting him. I've been the one "holding his hand" the whole time. I've been the one answering his repetitive questions fifty times a day. I've been the one pulling all the stock off the shelves for him 'cause he can never find it. I've been the one explaining all the job tickets to him all this time. I've been the one covering his ass for the last 19 months. I've actually hid some jobs that he's screwed up so I wouldn't have to listen to David scream at him. What else does he expect from me? Am I supposed to wipe his ass and suck his dick too??? Jesus!!!
     And all the stuff he said about us yelling at him "makes him nervous"??? And that "our yelling" is the reason why he screws up so much??? That is total bullshit!!!! Obviously, if he was doing a GOOD job the yelling never would've begun in the first place. After six months of his continuous errors, David was bound to snap eventually. I mean, after all, David is the one paying for all his mistakes. None of it is coming out of the Septage Sucker's pocket. He's cost this company - literally - THOUSANDs of dollars. Of course David is going to get mad. A person can only take so much! Once you keep all the anger bottled up for so long, you eventually reach a point where you can't handle it anymore. Again, in David's defense, I think David's yelling and screaming is perfectly acceptable! He has every right to scream at the Septage Sucker as far as I'm concerned. In fact, "SS" ought to be thankful we've actually allowed him to work here so long. He should've been fired over a year ago!!!
     And when he started talking about how "he knows what he's doing" and that "he knows his job"??? That made me crazy! At that point, I dug out the paper carton full of jobs he's screwed up and I yanked the top of it off and showed it to him. I said, "Well, if you're soooooo smart, if you know exactly what you're doing, and you know your job sooooo well, then I want to hear the excuse for all this! This is everything you've screwed up since October! Only from October, and this box is FULL!!! If I had been keeping track from the time you were hired, I'd probably have a whole skid of paper cartons full of shit by now!" And for a split-second I had him. For a split-second I could see it in his face... he was shocked. He had no idea I had been keeping track of everything, and he had absolutely nothing to say. For a split-second he was appalled... but then he just kept saying "I don't care, I don't care, you're stupid, you're all stupid."
     He is impossible!!! How do you argue with comments like "I don't care"??? How are you so supposed to compete with "You're so stupid"??? The whole thing was pointless. I saw no reason in continuing this argument. I mean, really, participating in a "battle of wits" with an unarmed opponent is a waste of my time, so I walked away from him and went back to work. I just kept thinking to myself, "My God, no wonder he gets along with his son so well." (NOTE: His son is eleven years old.)
     In my last entry about the Septage Sucker (entry # 201) I wrote something about how his "reading comprehension" is equivalent to that of a ten-year-old. For the last year I've been convinced his "maturity level" or his "mental growth" (call it whatever you want) stopped at about the age of 10(?), 12(?) years old, or around there somewhere. His "comebacks" and "excuses" are always very juvenile. For instance, a couple of months ago, in regards to his body odor, David actually told him to go home and take a shower sometime over the weekend. This, in turn, prompted the Septage Sucker to fight back with "I don't smell, you're the one that smells!"
     OK... first of all, that's a complete lie. David does NOT smell. Second of all, his response was so childish, he might as well have said, "I know you are, but what I am?" or "Sticks and stones may break my bones..." So, basically, this proves my point. Comments like "I don't care," and "You're so stupid" is exactly how a twelve-year-old would try to win an argument. He has the mentality of a twelve-year-old. He's pathetic!!!
     Once he saw that I was trying to walk away from him, I guess that pissed him off a little more, so he followed me, continuing to run his mouth. He wouldn't stop. He kept badgering me with his bullshit trying to prove himself. He started in on the "law" again, talking about how we're supposed to get breaks, that it's a requirement, and how he works through them daily without complaining 'cause he's such an "outstanding" employee.... how his lying on his time-sheet is justified behavior.
     So, for the third time, I flipped out. I started screaming all over again. I kept telling him to "look it up, look it up, asshole. I want you to SHOW ME where it says it's an actual REQUIREMENT. If you're so right I want to see you back it up with some facts!!!" Well, something must've finally gotten through to him. He must've finally realized that I did know what I was talking about because - all of a sudden, miraculously - he changed his story. After ranting for the last twenty minutes about how it's a law, and that it's a State of CT requirement, he actually had the balls to say to me, "I'm not talking about Connecticut's requirements, it's MY requirement!"
     My God!!!! Even his "change of story" is total bullshit!!! His requirements are irrelevant. When he was hired, when he decided to work for us, when he accepted the job, he was well aware of our hours. By accepting the position, he agreed to our "hours of operation." 8:30 to 5:30 with an hour lunch! Period!!! There is NO disputing this! A person can't just "make up" his own requirements as he goes along. That's not how it works. And he's an idiot if he thinks we don't know this!
     He's infuriating! By now, I was so disgusted, so frustrated, I actually flung the job tickets I was holding in my hand at him, and screamed right in his face, "GET YOURSELF AND YOUR FUCKIN' DRAGON-BREATH AWAY FROM ME!!!!!!!!!" Thank God I wasn't holding a pair of scissors at the time because he would've been dead... or, at least, severely mauled at that point. And, finally, FINALLY, he shut his mouth, he sat down at his desk, and went back to work.
     I, on the other hand, logged online immediately and headed straight to Connecticut's Labor Board website. After a few minutes of searching, David got back from Schick and came over to me. As soon as he saw my face he said, "Oh my God, you're beet red. What happened?" I was so pissed I could barely talk... all I was able to say was "We've been at it ever since you left." He kept apologizing to me, saying he completely understands how I feel, and how he should've gotten rid of him ages ago. And I was like, "You know what? You really don't understand. You think you do, but you really, really don't. You're not the one stuck with him all day. You don't get here until noon, sometimes even later than that. I'm the one that's here at 8:30 in the morning... I'm the one dealing with him all day long." All he kept saying was, "I know, I know," and I was like, "Dude, you DON'T know!!! You just want him gone. I've reached the point where I actually want him DEAD!" At that he had nothing to say. What could he say? Then he looked at the computer screen and saw what I was doing. He told me I didn't have to bother looking it up. He said that he knew I was right. I told him I wasn't doing it for him. I said, "For my own peace of mind, for my own fuckin' sanity, I have to look this up. I have to see it in black n' white." He kind'a laughed and said, "OK, OK, no problem. Take as long as you want."
     I finally found an "FAQ" page that included the info I wanted:
Is my employer required to provide me a break?
Connecticut state law does not require your employer to provide you a break. For additional information, please see "Is my employer required to provide me a meal period?" below.

Is my employer required to provide me a meal period?
Your employer must provide you a meal period of at least 30 consecutive minutes if you have worked for 7-and-a-half or more consecutive hours.

     So... there it is... in black n' white. We do NOT get breaks. We get 30 minutes! That's it!!! I printed it out and highlighted this information. I'm right, he's wrong. Period! My sanity was somewhat restored, thank God. The "FAQ" page also goes on to list a link for "Meal period requirements" that are covered under "31-51ii of the Conn. State Statutes" which I also read and printed out.
     About an hour later, David walked by, and I pointed to the sheets of paper sitting on my desk. While he was reading them I said, "If he's gonna talk shit like that, he needs to be able to back himself up. I knew I was right. Hell, by law, you don't even have to give us a whole hour for lunch. He's such an asshole." Of course David agreed with me. He also told me to "hold on to this stuff" just in case the Septage Sucker brings it up again.
     SO........ that was my day today! What fun, huh?
     I hate him!!!!! I CAN NOT WAIT FOR TUESDAY TO COME AND GO!!!! I will NOT be shedding tears when he walks out that door for the last time!!! I'll probably be doing cartwheels in the lobby!!!!
     The sad thing is... I know this isn't going to be the last "screaming match" we have before we're finally rid of him. I KNOW he's gonna start more trouble either tomorrow, Monday, or Tuesday right before he leaves. I'm sure of it. That's the kind of person he is. He's gonna try to have the "last word" and I know it won't go over well.
     Goody, goody....

 PS:  Sorry for all the profanity, but that's exactly the kind of "Circus" I was dealing with today.


ENTRY # 208
DATE:  02/20/07 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  Black is Bad. Very, Very Bad!!!

     If you're a regular visitor here, you might remember that I bought a new car back in June. It's a Kia Spectra. It's a (*ahem*) black Kia Spectra. You've probably seen the pictures of her by now, but - if not - click here to check her out. Notice how shiny she is! She's soooooooooooo pretty! The day I brought her home, she was perfect! Sparkling clean... that mirror finish just gleaming in the sun! Not a speck of dust on her anywhere!
     It's February now. We've had a mere TWO INCHES of snow and, OH MY GOD, look at her now............

     How pathetic is that???
     That's embarrassing!
     I've said it before, but I'm gonna say it again.... I will never buy another black car! EVER!!!!
     Good grief! What was I thinking???
     Gross!!!


ENTRY # 207
DATE:  02/18/07 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  From the Mouths of Babes....

     Just got this email from my Dad. I thought it was kind'a cute, so here it is.......

1. Nudity:
I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year-old shout from the back seat, "Mom, that lady isn't wearing a seat belt!"

2. Opinions:
On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, "The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents."

3. Ketchup:
A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the jar. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. "Mommy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle."

4. More Nudity:
A little boy got lost at the YWCA and found himself in the women's locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement and then asked, "What's the matter, haven't you ever seen a little boy before?"

5. Police # 1::
While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, "Are you a cop?" "Yes," I answered and continued writing the report. "My mommy said if I ever need help I should ask the police. Is that right?" "Yes, that's right," I told her. "Well, then," she said as she extended her foot toward me, "would you please tie my shoe?"

6. Police # 2:
It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. "Is that a dog you have back there?" he asked. "It sure is," I replied. Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally he said, "What'd he do?"

7. Elderly:
While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, "The tooth fairy will never believe this!"

8. Dress-Up:
A little girl was watching her parents dress for a party. When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, "Daddy, you shouldn't wear that suit." Confused, Daddy asked, "And why not, darling?"
     "You know that it always gives you a headache the next morning."

9. Death:
While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that a proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased. The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said: "Glory be unto the Faaaather, and unto the Sonnn, and into the hole he goooes." (I want this line used at my funeral!)

10. School:
A little girl had just finished her first week of school. "I'm just wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write and they won't let me talk!"

11. Bible:
A little boy opened the big family Bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages. "Mama, look what I found," the boy called out.
     "What have you got there, dear?"
     With astonishment in his voice, he answered, "I think it's Adam's underwear!"


ENTRY # 206
DATE:  02/16/07 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  The World According to "Little Johnny"...

     A new teacher was trying to make use of her psychology courses. She started her class by saying, "Everyone who thinks they're stupid, stand up!" After a few seconds, Little Johnny stood up. The teacher said, "Do you think you're stupid, Little Johnny?"
     "No, ma'am" replied Little Johnny, "but I hate to see you standing there all by yourself!"


     Little Johnny watched, fascinated, as his mother smoothed cold cream all over her face. "Why do you do that, Mommy?" he asked. "To make myself beautiful," said his mother, who then began removing the cream with a tissue. "What's the matter?" asked Little Johnny, "giving up?"


     The math teacher saw that Little Johnny wasn't paying attention in class. She called on him and said, "Johnny! What is 2 and 4 and 28 and 44?"
     Little Johnny quickly replied, "NBC, FOX, ESPN, and the Cartoon Network!"


     Little Johnny's kindergarten class was on a field trip to their local police station where they saw pictures tacked to a bulletin board of the "10 Most Wanted" criminals. One of the youngsters pointed to a picture and asked if it really was the photo of a "Wanted" person. "Yes," said the policeman, "the detectives want very badly to capture him." Little Johnny asked, "Why didn't you keep him when you took his picture?"


ENTRY # 205
DATE:  02/14/07 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  Happy Valentine's Day... Or Not!

     OK... so this is, like, the umpteenth Valentine's Day I've spent alone. Not that I'm complaining at all. I really don't mind. It's just another day, right? Right! Fine. No problem. I'm cool with that.
     However, I don't think it's fair to have a special day on the calendar designated for "lovers" while not having one for us single folks. Are we not as important? Do we not matter? Where's our special day??? The last time I checked my calendar, I don't recall seeing a "Single's Day" anywhere... and there's definitely not a "Celibate's Day" or a "I-Love-Myself Day" mentioned...
     Basically, if you're single, completely unattached to someone, you get nothing. No cards, no candy, no flowers, no fruit baskets, no balloons, no dinner out, no presents... nothing! Us single folks get zilch, and I think that kind'a sucks.
     And, when you think about it, "lovers" don't even need Valentine's Day... they already have a special day, dammit!. It's called their ANNIVERSARY. So, technically, "couples" get two special days every year. That's definitely not fair. I think they're just rubbing our noses in it...
     Anyway... being that it IS Valentine's Day today, I'd like to take the time now to send out my "warm and fuzzy" sentiments to all the happy, lovey-dovey couples out there:


ENTRY # 204
DATE:  02/13/07 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  "Prayers Have Been Answered!"

     The "Septage Sucker" quit today........

     And this is me:

            

     It's official! We are finally getting rid of the Septage Sucker!!!! He gave the boss a "Letter of Resignation" today, stating that he will only be with us for two more weeks! So, supposedly, his last day will be February 27th (if all goes well).
     AMEN!!!
     OK, seriously, gotta tell ya... I am stupid-happy right now! Not just happy... STUPID-happy!!!!
     Wooohooooooooo!!!! There IS a God after all!


ENTRY # 203
DATE:  02/12/07 (Monday)
SUBJECT:  Think Before You Speak!!!

     A couple of weeks ago I was in Super Stop n' Shop constructing a gigantic salad for lunch. As I was heading to the check-out line, I happened to notice some bottles of tea on the shelf. Pomegranate Peach Passion White Tea, to be exact. It sounded interesting so I bought one. After the first sip, I was hooked! It's a little pricey (at $2.99 a bottle) but it's really good.... so now, every day when I get my salad, I grab a bottle of the tea too.
     Today was different. Today I grabbed ALL the bottles they had on the shelf, LOL. I was getting a little tired of buying one at a time so I decided to "stock up." While the cashier was scanning all the tea (ten of them, by the way), the "bagger" says to me, "Is that stuff good?"
     Dumb.
     No, Honey, I simply decided to blow thirty bucks on ten bottles of rat piss!
     Duuuuuuuuuuuuuh...


ENTRY # 202
DATE:  02/09/07 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Dealing With Bad Breath Demons!

     Even after venting that whole story yesterday, I still woke up this morning feeling a little agitated. And by the time I left work to take my lunch this afternoon, I was sick to my stomach - once again - from the "Septage Sucker's" stench.
     So...
     While I was at Stop n' Shop getting my salad and my tea, I also went looking for mouth-wash and air-fresheners. I bought two Renuzit air-fresheners to keep in the art department to get rid of the "dirty laundry" smell... and I also bought the largest jug of Listerine I could find to keep in the bathroom. I'm hoping the "Septage Sucker" will take the hint and give it a swish every once in a while...
     If he doesn't, maybe I can try performing some kind of a Bad Breath Exorcism. I figure if he doesn't actually use the stuff, I could always sneak up behind him and splash it directly on him, LOL. And, of course, while I'm doing that, for a little extra help, I can chant something like:

"I cast you out, unclean spirit, along with every Satanic germ of the enemy, every breath from Hell, and all your other rancid companions; in the name of this antiseptic, Listerine, begone and stay far from this Septage Sucker...."
     I wonder if Listerine would have the same affect as Holy Water in this case??? It's worth a shot, right?


ENTRY # 201
DATE:  02/08/07 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  The "Septage Sucker" MUST Go!!!!!

     I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! The "Septage Sucker" is driving me crazy!!!

[[[ SideBar:  For those of you that don't know, the "Septage Sucker" is one of my co-workers. He started working for us in July of 2005. I refer to him as the "Septage Sucker" because his breath is outrageously offensive! It's enough to make a person gag! He's a septic tank with legs! Now... for all you "city folks" out there that have no idea what a septic tank is, here's what Webster's has to say:

    septic tank an underground tank in which waste matter is putrefied and decomposed through bacterial action.

So, yeah... in a nut-shell his breath smells like decomposed poop. But I digress... "The Breath" is a whole other story. I'll get to that later... ]]]

     Seriously... he's actually making me crazy! By the time I get home from work I am so stressed out, so completely frazzled because of him, it takes me almost three hours to calm down. This guy is a complete idiot!!! How, or why, we ever hired him in the first place remains a mystery to me...
     He's a Graphic Designer but you'd never know it by looking at his work. He has absolutely no design skills whatsoever. At least none that I've ever seen. He can't spell... he can't proof-read... he can't even take a proper phone message. He'll write down the person's first name and that's it. He won't take down the person's company name, or even a call-back number, but on that same message slip he will check off the "Please Call" box. What's the point? How am I supposed to call this person back? I have no phone number. I have no last name. Do I look like Yellow Book? Do I have "AT&T" tattooed across my fuckin' forehead??? Jesus! And even if he DID get all the person's contact information it wouldn't matter because his hand-writing is atrocious. It's worse than a doctor's scribblings. It's totally illegible. We couldn't decipher his messages anyway.
     He can't operate the copiers without asking for help. He can never find the paper-stock the job is supposed to be printed on. He has no clue how to jog a stack of paper. The FAX machine baffles him every time. And, after working for us for almost two years, he still can't make heads or tails out of our job tickets. We are a printing company! This is what he was hired to do! He's supposed to know these things, dammit!!!
     His "Reading Comprehension" is equivalent to that of a six-year-old, and he has absolutely no common sense!!! He can't figure out anything on his own. He can NOT think for himself. He just stands there, staring at the job ticket, until someone finally comes over and says, "What's the problem? Why isn't this job running? Do you need help?" He doesn't even TRY to learn. He takes no initiative at all. He makes no effort to improve what few skills he has. He is clueless!!! After working with him for the last nineteen months, I can honestly say that he is so simple minded it wouldn't phase me at all to catch him using White-Out on his computer monitor!
     We work from 8:30 to 5:30, so it's your standard "8 Hour Day." During those eight hours, I'd say he probably spends about three hours being "productive"... then he spends the remaining five hours fixing all the mistakes he made during the first three. We are constantly reprinting jobs because of his errors. CONSTANTLY! He's costing this company a fortune! In fact, back in October, I started keeping track of all the jobs he's ruined. In only four months time, I have accumulated enough samples of jobs that he's screwed up to fill an entire paper carton!!! Again, he's been working for us since July of 2005.... I can't imagine how many paper cartons of crap I'd have by now if I'd been keeping track the whole time. It's ridiculous. He's ridiculous. He's useless. He's good for nothing. I have reached the point where I actually feel sorry for his mother. It's a shame she never had any kids that lived!
     He's also the type of person who asks the same questions over and over and over... and we explain things to him again and again, but he retains nothing. NOTHING!!! It all goes in one ear, and right out the other. And then he yells and screams at us, claiming we "never told him that." He's never wrong... it's never his fault... it's always someone else that made the mistake... and he's always full of excuses.
     He's obnoxious, he's arrogant, he's ignorant, and I am 100% positive that he's only dealing with half a deck. There's gotta be something wrong with his brain. It just doesn't process information the way it's supposed to. When I try to explain something to him (for the ninth time, mind you), I can see him "zone out." All of a sudden his face goes blank, like a deer caught in the headlights. He kind'a freezes up and just stands there staring back at me with this dazed look on his face. SYNTAX FATAL ERROR: PLEASE REBOOT! The lights are on, but nobody's home...
     And the same thing happens when we try to ask him something. We have to repeat everything we say at least three times before he even acknowledges that he heard us. Not that it matters... his answer is either wrong, or he doesn't understand the question. Call him "slow," call him "mentally challenged," "brain dead," whatever... there's definitely something wrong inside his head. The hotel is open, but all the rooms are vacant! I've come to the conclusion that talking to him - for any reason - is pointless. It's a complete waste of time. Why saddle a dead horse? It's gonna get ya nowhere.
     I don't know. I don't know what to think. Maybe he's dyslexic. Maybe he's got a touch of autism. Maybe he did too many drugs back in the '60s. Maybe he drinks too much. Maybe, just maybe, there was a little too much inbreeding going on in his family. Y'all remember the movie Deliverance? Burt Reynolds? Jon Voight? The "dueling banjos" scene with that freaky, jacked-up lookin' kid on the porch??? That's what I'm talking about. That's what I'm forced to deal with on a daily basis. It might sound harsh, but if you were to come face-to-face with the "Septage Sucker," if you were to really get to know him, I'm SURE you'd agree.
     He irritates the shit out'a me. I can't stand him. I've never had to deal with this before. I've never been in a situation like this where I didn't get along with the people I work with. I don't know how to fix it. I wanna fix it, but... he's an idiot. I hate him. I actually hate this guy! I was hoping that sitting here writing it all down would help vent some of the animosity I feel towards him but, NOPE!, it just ain't happenin'. It's making me think of even more stuff about him that bothers me...
     I mean, MY GOD, even his appearance pisses me off. He comes to work dressed as if he spent his morning dumpster diving. His T-Shirts are all wrinkled, torn and frayed at the edges. His sweaters have coffee and mustard stains all the down the front. His pants are full of holes... and he wears hiking boots every day that are laced up with rope. He never brushes his hair, and his beard is always full of crumbs (on a good day), or snot (on a bad day). I can't imagine what the customers must be thinking when they come in and see him in that condition. It's embarrassing!!!
     And to top it all off, as if all this wasn't enough, he smells. He's funky. Although, I can't really identify what the exact smell is. It's definitely body odor, but it's nothing specific. It's not an armpitty smell... it's not a fart smell... and it's not a dirty feet smell. It's a combination, I guess. Oh, wait! I got it!!! He smells just like a hamper full of dirty clothes. Yup! Dirty clothes that have been hangin' around for a couple of months.
     Now, in all honesty, as bad as his body odor is, I'd take his "BO" over his breath any day of the week!!! The body odor smells like roses when compared to his breath! His breath is rancid! Without exaggerating, I can be standing seven or eight feet away from him, and as long as he's facing in my direction, I can smell his breath even at that distance. It's the most repelling stench I have ever encountered. He could bring a stampeding herd of cattle to their knees simply by sighing.
     Rancid? Repelling? Stench? Nope.... they're just not working for me. Y'know what? I don't think there are any words in the English language that can do his breath justice. I think it's something you'd have to experience first hand to truly grasp. I don't know. Let's try this...
     Sardines. Rotten eggs. Pig dung. Dill. Stale cigarettes. Onions. Cat urine. Beer. Canned dog food. Garlic. Spoiled milk. Dump them all into a blender and hit the "MIX" button. Once it's thoroughly blended, lug the concoction outside and let it congeal, let it fester, in the hot sun for about eight hours. Then go out and take a quick sniff. If you choke on your own bile, consider the recipe a success. Trust me, it's really, really bad. If it was at all possible to bottle his breath, the leading extermination company could use it to fumigate roaches.
     He's repulsive. Physically and mentally! He's an absolute horror of a human being. I can't stand him. I can't handle working with him any more. I simply can't take it. I want him gone. I don't want to hear him. I don't want to talk to him. I don't want to look at him. And I damn sure don't want to smell him. I have had enough. He makes me sick. The sight of his face, first thing in the morning, makes me sick to my stomach. You know that gassy, diarrhea feeling you get right before you have to make a mad dash to the bathroom? That's what he does to me. Every day.
     It pains me to say all this stuff. It really does. I mean, this is some pretty shitty stuff to say about someone.... but I have to get it out of my system somehow, 'cause if I don't, I fear myself lashing out at him physically, and I'll end up beating him to a bloody pulp. Even though I hate him, and even though I KNOW how satisfying beating him to a pulp would be, I really don't want it to come down to that. Getting thrown in jail for assault, so far, has never made it on to my "Things To Do" list. I'm trying to keep it that way, but - God forbid - if I ever snap, I pray he's nowhere in sight!
     And what makes this situation even worse is the fact that because of him I'm starting to dislike myself. For the last six months I've been miserable. My attitude is just plain nasty. I have become hostile. I'm angry all the time; I'm irritated all the time; I'm moody; I'm bitter; I'm over-emotional; I'm impatient... it's been hell. There's been times, at work, when I've locked myself in the bathroom for ten or fifteen minutes just to cry. By the time I get home from work I'm so emotionally "wrung out" all I want to do is sleep. And it's all because of the asshole "Septage Sucker." I know it is. There's nothing else in my life giving me any grief. There's no other negative energy, at all, that I can think of. There's just... him.
     Good Lord... I should find a therapist. Anger Management courses, maybe? All I know is I need to get some help before I kill this son-of-a-bitch...



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