Thursday, September 30, 2004

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

In the hands of the underknowing

OK, I am dying .... Gasp

Having applied for disability, they required me to get a report from my DR. It came in the mail today. As I read it over, in my non professional underknowing position, it seems I am falling apart.

There is the arthritis in my back. There is the edema in my legs. There is the hypothyroidism. The thyroid thing was the scariest. The normal reading is 0.35 to 5.5. Mine was 216.15. Over 200 is comatose. I was working 7 days a week, twelve hours a day, when we discovered this 3 years ago.
My heart is slightly larger in some places and leaking in others. My aortic root is enlarged and my interventricular septum is a little extra thick. Oh yeah, my mitral valve is leaking. That is called a heart murmur. There is danger there with infections. The blood pools behind the valve like water does in a stream behind a stick that juts into the water. If an infection gets into my bloodstream, it can pool behind the valve in my heart and kill me.
Then there is the sleep apnea and premature waking. My Cholesterol was high, but is better now. My triglycerides are high and not coming down. There were numbers that fell in the normal range and therefore inconsequential. There was this one reference to the fact that Doc B. couldn't get my leg to twitch when she banged on my knee with her little red hammer. You know, at work, we say, if it doesn't work, that we need a bigger hammer.

All I can say is that it is darn good that I am not a hypochondriac. Cough cough.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

At the risk of sounding fanatical ...

I am no long just naive. Now I have 'changed'.

How did I change? I have voted Democrat (the party of the working man) all of my life. To me it is a matter of economics. The Dems give tax incentives to manufacturers to increase production. To accomplish this, the manufacturers do several things. They hire more workers. They build bigger and better plants. They add to and upgrade existing operations. Each one of these steps puts money in the pocket of the working man. When factory workers have more money, they buy newer products. When construction workers work, they buy more products. This stimulates the economy and raises the Gross National Product. Inflation decreases in a fluid economy.
The Republicans take away that incentive to manufacturers and give it to the top 2% of the countries wealthy. Building stops. Construction workers stop working. Factories lay off workers. Production decreases. Decreased product availability inflates the value of the available product. Unemployed workers hoard their money. They don't buy new cars. They don't buy new houses. They don't eat out at restaurants. The economy goes stagnant.
GW touts his religiosity as he courts the religious right. He says he is against abortion but thinks we should not repeal Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision making it legal. He says he is against gay marriage, but says individual states should have the right to recognize civil unions on a state by state case. He says we should be tolerant of homosexuality. These are the moral issues that he banters in the public eye for his own gain.
Forget that he is robbing food from MY table. Forget that he is taking away the future for my grandchildren with a bigger National Debt than there ever has been. Forget that his lies about Iraq have already claimed the lives of more than 1000 men and women fighting his war.
He has stolen my future. He has stolen my children's futures. He is even taking away from my grandchildren's futures. The Bible states that there are those that will use Godliness as a tool for gain. It says we are to turn away from them.
It is your vote. It is your voice. I have read the numerous Kerry slams that are sent to me. I have, for the most part, remained silent about them. It is not my goal to change your mind. It is not my place to be your conscience. However, as a working man, I cannot vote for the man that has raised the number living below poverty level for 3 years running (1.3 million more this year). I cannot vote for the man that has increased the number of Americans that can no longer afford health care (1.4 million more this year). I will vote for the party and the candidate that will help me put food on my table and will help his wife with my next purchase of Heinz Ketchup.

Monday, September 27, 2004

My political naivete

Someone accused me of being politically naive today.

They sent me one of those worn out 'Kerry Attack' emails. This particular one was about jobs going outside the US. It pointed out all the countries in which Heinz operates factories. It was an impressive list of foreign countries.

I replied back to my friend that, first, Teresa Heinz Kerry is not running for President. John Kerry is running for President.
Secondly, Teresa Heinz Kerry owns less than 4% of the Heinz company. While this amounts to a substantial amount of money, it does not amount to any controlling interest. She does not sit on the board. Also, the factories in countries outside the US sell products to the countries in which they are located. There are freshness issues here. The ketchup you bought at Wal-Matrix was prepared by loving American hands.

She responded back that she was awed by my naive approach to politics. She was amazed that I thought the wife of the President was not an issue in the campaign. While I agree, that the wife of the candidate has some influence, I disagree that she is or should be a deciding factor in the election. There are substantially more important issues at hand here than the wife of the President or the wife of the Presidential candidate. I am not overly impressed with Laura Bush but that has nothing to do with my disdain for GW.

Naive ?

In 1974-75, I was a senior in high school. One of my history classes was "Current Events". Our text book was Newsweek Magazine. It was the end of the Vietnam War. It was the end of the Nixon Presidency. It was Watergate. It was 18 minutes missing on a tape. The entire political drama played out for the American people. At 17, I was hooked. I am not sure I have been politically naive since then. Ford .. Carter .. Reagan .. Bush Sr .. Clinton .. Bush .. I have followed them all. I have watched their records. I have VOTED and VOICED my opinion. I revere my right to vote and voice my political opinion. I am passionate about the causes in which I believe. I am an able debater. It is not now, nor has it ever been, my desire to end up with egg on my face. (that is not to say that it hasn't happened.) I study. I read. I listen. Naive? I think not.

Well, at least not about politics.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Home again

Here it is nearly noon and I am back already. Actually I got back around 10:30. A quick 4 hour check out. It is a testament to our continuing increasing ability. Every weekend the check out time decreases. There are fewer mistakes to correct. We become more fluid in our job.
I have been home with time to check my ever perpetuating cyber mailbox. I ate the sandwich Tammy fixed me for lunch. Now, I am prepared to navigate my head back to the bed. I am sure there will be drama aplenty later in the afternoon. For now, there are pillows in the other room calling my name. Listen closely. Do you hear that soulful sound? Like the sirens in Homer's "The Illyad And The Oddesy", they sing to me. No one here to lash me to the computer ... I am lost ... I am gone ...

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Saturday after work

It was a short 8 hour day today and there will be more of it tomorrow. Unfortunately, the work that was supposed to last until December will die next weekend, it seems. The hierarchy at Toyota Motor Manufacturing has decided not to complete this project this year. At least, that is what they are saying. Rumor is that we are making it look so easy that they now believe their maintenance crews can do the job. They may or may not be able to do it, but the reason we make it look so easy is that we have discovered, through a process of trial and error, the quickest and easiest way to do the job. This is not information we will impart freely. Which ever, the good work will die next weekend. The company has other work in the near future and has expressed that they would like me to stick around. I have told them I would be happy to take off a couple weeks if it meant more work in the near future.
Tomorrow is a doubletime day. I vacillated between the idea of working and the idea of not working. Both sides had merit. However, when the rumors about next weekend were confirmed to me in a conversation with the superintendent, I decided to make hay while the sun was shining. Tomorrow is check out. Today we took it out and put it back. Tomorrow, we run the system and make sure it is working before it goes back into production.
None of it is hard work. It IS dirty work. It IS is hot work. I personally think that the maintenance guys do not want the job. That is why we are doing it in the first place.

Some of the guys are upset about it. I can dig that, but this trade is a turkey shoot in the dark. You can take a job that is to last 2 years and it can end in 2 weeks. Then, conversely, you can take a job that is to last 2 weeks and be there 2 years. You just never know in the construction industry. We work when it is hot. We work when it is cold. We work when it is dirty. We work when it is nasty. We work on weekends. We work on holidays. We work when it is early. We work when it is late. We work long days. We work short days. That, as we say, is why they pay us the BIG bucks.

Time to eat a bite and rest. Y'all have a good evening.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Friday !!

Here it is .. Friday

We went to lunch at Todd's today to help Tanya out. She is trying to do a lunch thing at Todd's Karaoke. We emailed a few (216) friends and invited then to lunch. It was an invitation to the Lexington Groups Page that Tammy and I manage. We had 8 show up. Pretty good turnout for such short notice. The owner, Todd, was there and he cranked up the karaoke for us. That was fun. I tried a couple new songs. Tammy sang one. It is always a good time when we get to sing. Can ya tell that we love to sing ?

Having to work tomorrow and wanting to sing tonight, We took a nap this evening. It felt real good. We went out for a bit, sang a few, and came back home. It has been a good day.

Oh yeah, Sierra's ankle is broken. It is called a displaced fracture. It is also known as a buckle break. The bone literally buckled. Buckled .. Broke .. Sounds painful either way.

It is 10:30 and the alarm is set for 4:30 AM. Time to take this puppy to the warm comfort of a waterbed. Tomorrow is a 10 hour day minimum. Sunday is a possibility.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

ok .. the legal stuff promised

Here is the legal scoop.

Early August, while stopping a kid(21) up the street from hitting him, Chris and said kid stumbled into a police car. Both were arrested for Disorderly Conduct. Raymond (the other kid) plead guilty and paid a $50 fine. Chris plead not guilty and was given a new court date (after we posted $100 bond). The second court date, Chris was offered a chance to plead guilty, which he refused, and was held over again. This time he was instructed to get a lawyer. He did, from legal aid. Hearing number 3 was 2 weeks ago, where they held it over to give him time to talk to his attorney. Today was hearing number 4.
After dismissing several DC charges, the Judge ordered Chris over for jury trial. She instructed him that he had to get a lawyer, and his fee went from $100 to $500 for legal aid. The $500 fee has to be paid before the court date. If he doesn't pay the legal fee, he will be put in jail.
Here it is. Chris is 18. He has no record. This is a first offense, of which he has several witnesses to back up his claim that he was merely defending himself. His court apponted attorney suggested that they are trying to make it easier for him to just plead to the charge, pay the fine, and leave. That is all well and good, except, he is not guilty of the crime. When did it become a crime to defend oneself? If I am threatened by an armed burglar in my home, I can shoot him dead, and get off with self defense. I guess if he isn't armed and is just trying to strong arm me on the street, I have no legal recourse.
Is the crime of which Chris is guilty, just being poor? Is it the intent of the court system to penalize him because he cannot afford an attorney? I thought these were our basic rights. I thought we had the right to defend ourselves. I was unaware that the court can make me hire an attorney for money I do not have and penalize me if I can't pay. Because it is a court ordered payment, if it is not paid before the court date, he will be jailed for contempt.
Sign me
'disgusted with the court system today'.

Ian Day


Ian and Papaw Posted by Hello

Today is Ian day. On Thursday of each week, we keep Ian, to keep that point of contact and to enjoy his sparkling company. It was a good Ian day. He was in a great mood. Chasity called to check on him because he had been so grouchy and fussy last night. she was surprised to discover his good mood.
He is a great kid (and I am not just saying that because he is my grandson). He is, as you can tell by the pic above, adorable. He is quite the ladykiller.
Later .. when I am not gushing about Ian, I will tell you about the court system and some wondering I have.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Change of plans & Sierra's dish night

Tonight was supposed to be Karaoke night at Todd's. Well, 6 nights a week is karaoke night at Todd's, but we go regularly on Tuesday and intermittently on Fridays and Saturdays. We were about to leave the house when the kids began screaming. While playing 'hide & seek', Sierra fell and hurt her ankle. Tammy carried her from the back corner of the house while Chelsea and Kyle ran to get me. I picked her up on the porch and carried her into the house. Tammy got Sierra's foot elevated while I went to her room to get the drugs she has left over drugs from her last 'brush with death', the bike wreck.
By the time I got back with the pills, her foot was noticeably more swollen than when we brought her in. Karaoke was out. Hospital ER was in. Tammy took her to Good Sam while I stayed with the kids. We talked several times while they were waiting to be seen (I love my unlimited mobile to mobile minutes).
Around 11:15 Chris called from work looking for a ride home. I hopped in the truck to drive and pick him up. I back up about 5 foot when I felt something under my tire and heard a barking sound. In an instant, I knew I had run over Sierras puppy. Turns out (fortunately) that it was just a plastic cup in the driveway and someone barking their tires while making a legal u-turn. I collected Chris and came home.
Tammy called to let me know that the ER could not tell if Sierras ankle was broken or not. The X-rays were inconclusive. The ER physician looked at her ankle and said it looked normal. I guess if swollen twice the size of the other ankle and having a blackish tint is normal, it was normal. They wrapped it and we will take her to see an orthopedic specialist.

I think we have figured it out. Tonight was Sierras dish night. I told her (sternly), "No more breaking things to get out of doing the dishes".

Monday, September 20, 2004

Using the "G" word

Looking back, it was a fun trip. Tammy and I went to the nursing home to visit her mom, Carol. We took Malcolm. He loves to ride, and they encourage bringing pets as part of therapy for the patients. The nursing home, by law and common sense, must maintain a clinical cleanliness. This makes for a very stark living space. It is easy to lose a sense of self there. Northpoint encourages familiar items in the individual rooms. They also do not discourage bringing familiar pets to visit. So .... We took Malcolm along for a visit.
We brought Carol out to see Malcolm and me. His leash was MIA. We sat out in the grassy area in the front. Being the perpetual picnickers that we are, we have those folding chairs in the boot of the truck. Carol sat in one. Tammy sat in the grass. Malcolm and I stood, leaned, and played under the tree.
Carol looks better then she has looked at anytime since coming here in May. That is a great thing. It gives us the ideas that we might be doing the right thing by her. The best thing would be for us to have a huge house and take care of Carol ourselves, but that isn't possible .. Yet. (When the book is published and we are rich .. lol) For now, this is the best case scenario. It still sucks right out loud, but it works.
In keeping with my own advice to see the humor in all of this, Carol had some funny moments today. One of those happened when she was telling us that she wanted to go out with us again on a Tuesday evening. (For the novice reader .. Tuesday night is one of our Karaoke nights.) She commented on our singing. She said, "Pardon my language, but you were GREAT." Pardon my language ? I wanted to snap back, "Carol, stop using the "G" word." She has trouble finding the right words at times for different situations. It is not a tragic thing. It is just part of this tragic disease.
She was telling us about being busy there at Northpoint. When she first arrived there we informed the staff that she has a compulsion for working. It doesn't matter what, as long as she feels useful. They put her to 'work' folding washcloths, picking up and putting away dinner trays, and other various menial tasks. This is her 'job'. She was telling us today they were going to give her other duties because they know she "used to work there". All in all, it was a good visit.

Oh yeah .. Dude is on the shit list again. Well, it is more like the pee list. While getting into bed last night, I discovered the wet spot in the bed. There we were, changing sheets at 2 AM and fussing at the cat. Tammy says it is an act of defiance because we have inundated his environment with multiple creatures. I really do not care why he is doing it. I also do not plan on putting him on the psychiatrists couch to find out, either. Beating him is becoming a clearer choice.
He is trying to make up with Tammy. He climbed up on the couch where she was reading and nudged her hand for his petting. She ignored him. There is no Dude petting for now. OOPS ! .. She just accidentally petted him. There goes a whole morning of intensive ignoring right down the drain. I hate when that happens. We would never make good tyrants. We keep forgetting that we are supposed to be mean and tyrannical. I am thinking that would be a requirement.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Defraging .. Good idea

I just defragged the computer. It runs faster and better now.

Can I get a defrag button for my life ?

You know when you store bits of info on your computer, it gets scattered around. Every once in a while, you hit that defrag option and it gathers all those bits of info and sorts and collates them. It puts all those errant little tidbits into their proper place. It speeds up the operation of your computer, because it doesn't have to search every where for all pertinent info. Yes, I know that is an over simplification, but it works.

I need a defrag option for my life. All the things we encounter get stored in our heads. Every joy and sorrow is in there waiting to help you react to the next joy or sorrow. They have different names than your CPU, but the hippocampus, the hypothalamus, and amygdala are all parts of the most wonderful and elaborate processing system ever created. Everything that happens is compared to everything that has ever happened. I just think that sometimes I need a way to gather all those errant memories and tie them neatly in areas of similar concern.
I just want to go to Wal-Mart and pick up a gadget without reliving all my childhood while in the gadget aisle. Ok, that is a way over exaggeration. I do, however, wish I could get rid of some of these useless bits of info. I never use them unless I am playing Trivial Pursuit. That doesn't happen often anymore. Well, not since that incident in Mexico .....

Friday, September 17, 2004

I know I am right

I can picture this actually happening. The room is filled with people. There are young folks and old folks. There are women and there are men. The rich and the poor attend this meeting. The chairs are in an ever widening circle. In the small hollowed out center of this mass is one person, a leader. One by one, a person stands and makes an announcement, followed by a brief but emotional confession, of sorts. In the interim between speakers, there is a sense of hesitancy. The leader gently urges the room to be open. He reminds them they are among friends. No one is here to judge anyone.
Slowly, almost painstakingly, a redhead stands. She greets the group. "Hi, my name is Tammy, and I am a right-oholic."
That's right, my friends. You have just been privy to the inner sanctum of Right-oholics Anonymous.

It is an insidious condition that causes those infected to compulsively correct the wrong ideas, wrong spelling, wrong grammar, or wrong actions of others. There is a gnawing inside them that causes them to fix all the things wrong in others lives. It doesn't matter if the wrong idea is completely inconsequential. If a person suffering from Right-oholism hears someone say that the moon is made of green cheese, they are hell bent to explain the physical makeup of the moon and how it is impossible that the moon be made of cheese, green or otherwise. It matters not at all, that your believing said fallacy will have no ill effect on their life or yours. They are driven by forces they cannot even comprehend themselves.
Some say it is a genetic condition. Some say it is environmentally contrived. Discovering the beginnings of the disease will go a long way in finding a cure. Until then, there are meetings. There are steps. There are partners.

Hold on. I'll be right back. Tammy wants to check my spelling.

Ok, I am back. You can help. You can host a fund raiser for Right-oholics Anonymous. You can make a donation. You can help defeat this condition .. in our lifetime.

Ok, who is next ?

Polls

I was reading about the presidential race polls. According to one poll, Bush & Kerry are even. According to another poll, Bush is ahead by 14 points. Then, there are other polls that have Kerry in the lead. I wonder, according the polls, how many people pay any attention to the polls. They are created by and the tool of Spin Doctors. A spin professional can take any number of random facts, ask questions geared toward the desired response, hand pick the ones questioned, and then take the results to say whatever he/she wishes. Any poll is meaningless, unless you know the way the questions were asked, the demographics of the area surveyed, and the way the results were tallied and sorted.
I am reminded of an incident many years ago. A noted American celebrity was de-boarding a plane in England, when, out of the blue, a reporter asked if he was gay. He laughed, and said, "Of course not." The next morning, it was the headline of the paper for which that reporter worked that he "Denied that he was gay". Those were the true facts. He did deny he was gay. The way the truth was presented created the illusion of a lie.
Polls are like that. They are the truth presented in a lying fashion. 4 out of 5 dentist surveyed preferred the taste of brand X. Compared to what ? Dog poop ? Asparagus ? Pizza ?
There is one poll coming up that will have some significance. It will be taken nationwide on a Tuesday in November. The question of points and choices will be settled. The questions will be asked correctly. The Spin Doctors will sit, (albeit, not silently) to the side. The demographics will be wide spread. The question will be settled. I look forward to that day.

Of course, the Spin doctors will be around afterwards to tell us what our choices actually meant. You know we aren't smart enough to know what we have done. "Do you know what you have done? Do you have any idea the terror you have unleashed?"

Interestingly enough .. It is politicians and strippers that ride polls/poles.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Blank Page

I am sitting here with a blank page in front of me wondering what the heck I am gonna rant about. It isn't like there aren't randomly regular things to complain about. I could always go off on traffic in Lexington. I saw a bumper sticker once on a car that said, "Why am I the only person on the planet that knows how to drive?" I now have great empathy for that guy. Today doesn't feel like a traffic ranting day, however.

I could complain about the weather, but that is so trite. It isn't like complaining about it will change it. Most of the things complain about are things we can't change (well, at least not by complaining). It serves little purpose to complain about them except to remind us of how miserable we are. When you complain to friends, it becomes a complaint fest with each one trying to complain about a bigger ill than the last. ("Oh yeah, well there was this one time in band camp ..")


The day had some good spots. This morning I met a unique creature. It was (are ya ready for this) a pleasant, helpful, courteous, articulate, government worker. Mrs Howard, my hat is off to you. (We did compliment her while we were there as well.) I was at the social security office to apply for my disability. My hypothyroidism, edema, and arthritis are to the point where I cannot meet the physical demands of my jobs anymore. This is a hard step to take. It might be a step I should have taken over a year ago, but I am stubborn.

The other bright spot of the day was that it is payday. Yes, the ever popular dollar rears its head. "Money, It's a crime .." Oh well, gotta feed the kids and working beats bank robbing. You know, that whole incarceration thing just doesn't appeal to me.

So, the day was normal. It had a little good, a little bad, a little indifferent, and will have some drama before the day is out. It will be a full day.

Oh yeah, and I have a job interview for entry level management at Radio Shack this evening. We will see how that goes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Maybe it is just me

Hello .. Yelling into the black abyss that is the world wide web ..

Is it just me or is anyone else having trouble with post here ? They seem to be running behind. My post from yesterday is available for editing but not available to view on my blog itself. It isn't that my daily blog/rant is all that consequential. The world won't suddenly stop spinning and reverse direction if I don't get to stand on my porch of the WWW and scream out my displeasure with the way things are going.


Really, it is the vanity of it all that urges us on. The thought that something we say might make a difference in the way someone else perceives the world is all consuming. We are pushed onward because it is our duty to save the rest of the planet and only we can do that by our copious amounts of typing and speaking. Is it the spewing forth of words into the vacuum that satiates the entropy that would consume the world? Is it the energy expended that creates a matching vacuum that keeps the world from be sucked into oblivion? I think it is the manure factor. The world requires a delicate mixture of bullshit and sentimentality to keep it spinning true. So, some days it is sentimentality and some days it is just the bullshit.

Doesn't look like sentimentality today.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I guess it is just my style

Tuesday afternoon and we have just returned from a grocery run. I sat down at the keyboard after helping put away the groceries. Tammy is still thrilled about the fact that I go to the grocery with her. What can I say? I love to be with her, where ever we are going. There are times that the pains in my back prohibit me from going everywhere with her, but it is rarely a 'don't want to go' choice. Her Ex would never go, but accuse her of taking enough time at the grocery to bang the bagboys in a backroom orgy-fest, while she was gone. I guess that just isn't my style.

Allow me, if ya will (like ya have a choice) to switch gears here.

The funeral was yesterday. My friend and Aunt Lydias pastor, B. E. (Buddy) Puckett , did a great job with the service. I sang, as did Mom, Sue Roe, and Jackie Puckett (Buddy's wife). After the service was concluded, we were invited to make one last procession by the casket for a final goodbye. It was difficult to see her lying there. I am used to seeing the fire in her blue eyes. She had the sweetest smile and the fiercest gaze and knew how to use both.
When Tommy was killed earlier this summer, the kids wailed loudly and threw chairs off the porch, as expressions of grief. They had trouble walking. They were very expressive of their grief. I am not saying that it is the wrong way to grieve. It isn't a 'my way is right and yours is wrong' or 'my way is wrong and yours is right' kinda thing. It is just a style thing.
When I was younger, with Dad being pastor, he had to temper his responses. He had to be the strong one. When everyone else was falling to pieces around him, he had to keep it together. Grief was a private thing to him. It is a learned response, I guess. I am very expressive in my writing. My poetry drips with emotion. It is where I pour the expressions that I temper. That is just my style.
So, if you are the loud lamenter, please, loudly lament. If you are the quiet reflector, please, quietly reflect. Whatever your style, do that. Well, unless your style is to cause pain and suffering for others.
I started to say, It goes without saying. Why is it we preface some things with that? If it goes without saying, don't say it.
Anyway ... That is about it for this afternoon. I am sure that I will be around later. I'll keep an eye out for ya.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Left hanging

oops .. Did I leave ya hanging or what ?

The conference call thing was postponed .. Twice .. And rescheduled. Turns out that Phenix & Phenix are not publishers, but publicists. They will work to get ya known after you are published. They are going to send me a market analysis that I can use for leverage when choosing or searching for literary agent. Of course, this presumes that the analysis comes back saying that the book would be a success. I am sure it wont be much leverage if it comes back saying it is the lamest idea for a book ever conceived. I am back to square one, or perhaps square one point one, since I gained a little knowledge here.

Since talking with Andy at P&P, I have hit the research trail once again, looking for publishers. I have chosen 4 to send emails requesting forms and/or info. I looked into publishers considered to be small press because they are more willing to work with new authors (or at least that is the perception). Time will tell and we shall see what is to be.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Friday .. uh, Saturday .. uh, Sunday

It is Sunday evening already, and I am wondering where the weekend has gone.

Friday was a slow day. We made it to Mom & Dad's to drop off the rents of both apartments. We met Cocoa, their new teacup poodle. We had Malcolm with us and he loved Cocoa. He loves other animals, but doesn't understand that his size alone scares them first. They never get to see his sparkling personality, because they are too busy running for their lives.
From there we came home, hung out, and generally vegged. Later that evening we made our regular appearance at Todd's Karaoke Bar. We did leave earlier than usual, as I had to be up at 4:30 AM to begin the tortutous process of getting ready for work.
4:30 came. It did. The clocks without mercy began screaming for me to 'get up already'. I was in the parking lot at work by 5:40, twenty minutes before work time. Waahooooo. I worked 10 hours on Saturday. That was 8 hours of time and a half and 2 hours of doubletime. It was a good day.
The day was not without it's sadness. While returning calls to my cell phone during break, I found out that my great aunt, Lydia, had died. She was 97. It was not totally unexpected. She had a stroke a couple weeks ago. Until the stroke, she lived in the home that her and her husband, Uncle Malcolm, shared until he died, ten yrs ago. She still kept her house. Her daughter in laws came by weekly to do the big cleaning, and her sons or grandsons kept the yard mowed, but she took care of herself. She will be greatly missed. Her husband was my dad's pastor when dad accepted the call into the ministry. Dad, eventually, became their pastor. Uncle Malcolm's death in January 1994 marked my return to poetry. At least, it marked my return to fervency in writing. "Welcome Home Valiant Warrior" was dedicated to Uncle Malcolm. Since then, I have written over 130 poems. "Heroes" at the bottom of this post is for Sister Lawson.
We had a monthly scheduled dinner with an internet group at 7 pm and following that we made a stop by Todd's for more singing. Another early night cuz I had to work on Sunday.
Sunday, I slept in until 5 am. We didn't have to be at work until 6:30. I worked 9 hours today. The viewing for Sister Lawson was this afternoon from 4 until 8. After getting home and cleaning up a bit, we went to the viewing. It was nearly full. I saw many people I knew that I didn't know. It is always good to see family, but never a good thing to see them over a death. It seems that only death unites everyone's schedules. It is the one thing that we all generally take notice of at the same time.
We came home, exhausted. Tammy is determined to catch the cold she has been chasing all weekend. She is about to go to sleep with Prince NyQuil. We will see if he is as good at inducing slumber as 'Jack and coke'.
Tomorrow at 12:30 pm is the funeral.

as promised above ..

Heroes

Heroes come
In shapes and sizes all
From wide to thin
From large to small

They carry voices
Both booming and frail
They know how to win
And they know how to fail

Heroes vary greatly
From one to another
One may be justice's warrior
One may be a faithful mother

Heroes stand
Just for standing
Heroes leap
Unsure of the landing

Heroes side with truth
Even in the face of the lie
And, sometimes, sadly
Heroes die

Heaven waits no longer
For you, Hero
Welcome home
Lydia Lawson

Ron Simpson, Jr.
September 12, 2004

Thursday, September 09, 2004

11 months of hers/mine

We have two sets of clippers. We have two vehicles. We have two microwaves. We have two refrigerators. We have been married for nearly 11 months (hey honey, our anniversary is Oct 11). It is hilarious the way we keep things identified. There are things that each of us brought into the marriage. We sill identify them as hers/his. She brought her car, her microwave, her clippers. It isn't like I ask for permission to use those things, nor does she. She will tell me if she is taking 'my' truck and ask if I were going to use it. We identify the clippers by who brought them to know which ones need to be cleaned or was used last.
On the outside looking in, it would seem that we are being territorial. We don't do it with the refrigerators cuz we got both while married. We got our waterbed while married. It is our bed. Even when it was my bed that we had before, I don't recall calling it my bed. It is just a tag. So, if ya visit, don't be surprised to hear us talking about his/hers.
There is her dog. there is my dog. There is my cat that has become our cat. There is 'the' snake and there is 'Chris'' rat. There are my kids and her kids. We do share the grandkids. I call her kids my kids. she calls my kids her kids. When someone requires more clarification, however, the tags come out.

This is my blog, tho .. lol

How do you know you can do that ?

I sent this to post yesterday, but Blogspot wasn't cooperating.

I was reading some of my online news sources and came across a strange one.

It seems that Ilker Yilmaz, a 28 year old construction worker from Istanbul, Turkey, might have set a new world record. He poured milk into his hand, loudly snorted it up his nose, and then squirted it 9.223 feet out of his LEFT EYE. It seems he is one of a few that can do this because of an anomally in his tear gland.
That is all well and good, but, how the heck do you figure out the you can do that. It isnt a mainstream sporting event. Never once in my 18 years of public school, college, or technical school has any teacher in any subject ever brought up this possibility. I did dodge ball, but no eye spitting. I got a ribbon for my talent on the rings when I was a sixth grader, but no one got a ribbon for eye spitting. On Field Day's, there were some crazy events, but still, you guessed it, no eye spitting. I did the vault, the horse, and I tumbled. No eye spitting. Wrestled. No eye spitting. Football. No eye spitting.
How do you discover this talent? Do you choke one day on your school lunch milk and instead of milk squirting out your nose, it shoots out of your eye? It just isn't the natural thing to do. No one normally snorts milk up their nose for squirting it out of the eye. Sorry. Not gonna happen.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

It is the anticipated day

Well, it is here. Wednesday, the 8th. The day of the conference call. It happens in about 84 minutes. I wanted to hurry and rave a bit beforehand. I am sure I will be back afterwards to deliver the good/bad news. Cross yer fingers for me. Cross yer toes. Heck .. Cross anything.
Either way, good review or bad, it was still a good write and a good read.

Oh yeah, we took Carol out last night to karaoke with us. For those not familiar with our eclectic family, Carol is Tammy's mother. She has Alzheimer's disease. She was amazed that Tammy and I could sing. She has been hearing me sing for months and Tammy for years. That's the thing about Alzheimer's. Next time she hears us sing, she will get to be amazed all over again.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Lazy Tuesday

Whatcha wanna talk about ? <~~~Original post New post ~~~>

Checking the news around the world, I can across a report from a former college professor of President Bush.

Bush's Biz School Prof Calls Him a Dunce
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (UPI) --

President Bush won't get an A-grade from his old Harvard Business School professor when he spells out his economic policies in New York this week. Yoshihiro Tsurumi, who taught Bush's first-year management class when the future president studied at HBS during the early 1970s, has told the Harvard Crimson newspaper that Bush was a dunce.
Tsurumi, now a professor of international business at Baruch College in the City University of New York, told the Crimson Bush only scored in the bottom 10 percent of students in his class. Bush's "always very shallow" behavior still stood out in his mind 30 years later, Tsurumi told the paper. Tsurumi told the Crimson he particularly remembered what he called Bush's right-wing extremism.
"I vividly remember that he made a comment saying that people are poor because they are lazy," he told the Crimson. "I remember saying, 'If you become president of a company one day, may God help your customers and employees.' "
The White House refused to comment to the Crimson on the interview and Tsurumi's allegations.

This is shaping up to be some mighty interesting debates. I hope both parties stick to the issues facing the country.

Monday, September 06, 2004

LABOR DAY !!

Yep.. it's my day. I am labor. See the calouses on my hands. See the the sweat.

One of the most frightening statistics I have seen in years was one I saw over a year or so ago. In this country, the biggest employing sector is the Government. This means that there are more people working to tell others how to spend their money than there are working to make that money. There are more Federal, state, local, and city workers in this country than there are workers involved in making the products that fuel our economy.
Have you felt that burden on your back while you work? You are supporting at least one Government worker with your pay. Claim them on your taxes. lol

Anyway, I love working. I love making things work. I love the toil.

Yep, this is my day, but I am willing to share it with ya.


Saturday, September 04, 2004

Too Funny

I was playing with my cat and my laser. I ran it across the floor. He chased. I ran it over the couch. He chased. I ran it up the wall. He chased.

Then .. Malcolm spotted it. He chased it. I ran it to the bed. He ran and jumped on the bed. I ran it back into the living room. He ran back into the living room. He was running and jumping and sliding.

As funny as all that was, it did not compare to 'the look'. Dude the cat was watching Malcolm the dog run and chase and spin in circles. You could see it in Dude's eyes. He was thinking how stupid Malcolm looked. Then a light came on. It was if he suddenly realized that was exactly how he must look when he is chasing the little red bug with super speed. AND that .. was .. Tooooooooo Funny !

Ahhhh.. Support

Ok .. I am back from work. I lived.

Actually, I got in from work a couple hours ago. I only worked 11 hours. It was hot and muggy in the plant. It no longer amazes me the disregard that Toyota has for those that keep their plant running. They have no production running on the weekends 90% of the time, but, the construction crews are in there every weekend fixing or changing things that cannot be worked on during production. The last shift leaves on Friday night/Saturday morning around 1AM. The AC goes off then. The fans shut down.
Now let me explain. Large scale buildings with AC do not work like your house. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to bring the temp and humidity down once it has risen. Toyota's position is that since none of their production people are there, they do not need to run even the fans to keep some air moving. By the time we got there this morning around 6, it was hot and humid enough to bring a sweat without moving. Then we went up into the screenguard, above the production lines on the floor. We were working 16 feet above the floor. It was HOT !

Then, add to that, it was filthy. Fine black metal dust covered everything we were working on. Between the sweat and the dust, I looked like a coal miner. Yep, you guessed. I loved it. I love working. I love the challenges of my job and the rewards.

While getting dressed this morning. I put on my support socks that help keep the fluid out of my lower legs. My legs (hereditarily) have a tendency to swell, especially after being on them for long periods of time. Over them I put on my regular white socks and boots. When I got home, I was took off the boots and was taking off the white socks. Chelsea looked up and say the black of the support socks and thought I had done something to my legs to make them black. I told her it was my support socks. She was inquisitive. I told her that all day long my socks were shouting "you can do it", and "way to go", and "Attaboy". They were supporting me. OK. I eventually told her what they really do. They keep my super powers from leaking out of my feet.

Anyway, I am off until next weekend. So, there will be regaling.

Lordy

OMIGosh .. It is 4:44 in the morning .. and I am up for work ..

Call 911
ok .. it's ok .. I'll live

Friday, September 03, 2004

Oriented

This morning was orientation day for going to work at Toyota. They portray this great safety image. I actually didn't have to watch the 20 minute safety video, as I watched it a month ago when I was there working during shutdown. Safety is such an intricate machine. There is no such thing as a completely safe working environment. The very nature of work means doing something unsafe. If you were to pick a spot and stand perfectly still, not touching or being touched by part of your job, you would still not be completely safe. There could be a bolt flying out of a mounting bracket to the landing gear of a jet passing overhead that is careening toward you. To be safe, you would have to be one foot to the left. You cannot assess every possibility and create a safe working area.
I know that my job (Electrician) entails risk. I do everything possible to eliminate the risks that can be eliminated, and use caution in doing those things that bring risk. My problem is with Safety Engineers or Safety Directors. Give me credit for a modicum of sense. I am not coming to work looking for a way to get hurt and collect compensatory damages from my employer for not creating a safe working place.
One such incident that emphasizes my point was during the shutdown. We were wrecking out the Toe Tester in final assembly. This created an open area in the floor. It was a large open area. There were 3 electrical cabinets mounted on the floor about 15 inches in front of the pit, opening to the pit side. There were electrical terminations that had to be made in these cabinets. The Safety people were concerned that the electrician doing this work might forget about the pit and step back into the hole. To rectify this situation, they erected a handrail to prevent him from falling.
Handrails (by OSHA standards) must be 42 inches with a rail on the top, one in the middle, and a toe board to prevent things being kicked down on guys working inside the pit. It must be able to sustain 200 pounds of force against it. Makes sense, a person stumbling against it would carry at least that much force.
The handrail that was built, and approved by contractor safety and Toyota safety, was built with 1/2" angle iron welded to the metal lip of the pit with a piece of unistrut welded across the top. No middle rail, or toe board were attached. This created a false sense of safety. The worker would have thought he was safe. If he has stumbled against it, both he and the rail would have tumbled. The doors on the cabinet were about 24" wide. The rail was 14" from the face. This prevented the doors from opening fully, causing the worker to have to work in a strained position. This is not safety.
I have been asked several times to sign safety sign off sheets on equipment that I was unable to ascertain whether it was safe or not. I refused (much to the chagrin of that companies safety director).
The idea of all these safety measures is not because the company loves you. It is because they get a reduced rate for insurance by implementing them. They are not in the business of safety. They are in the business of deflection. They want to deflect the blame for any accident from themselves and therefore reduce their liability. It is about money. It isn't about the money they pay you to do your job. It isn't about the money they pay the safety director. It isn't about the money they spend on safety devices. It is about the money they pay for insurance.
Don't try to tell me you are concerned about my safety. Your concern for my safety ends where it does not affect your purse strings. Let's understand this. You are not fooling me. I am not trying to get hurt. I want to go home with all my fingers and toes. I want to see my kids and grandkids grow. I do not want to put up with your stupidity about these facts.

OK. Safety aside, it was a fairly good morning. The printer at the security gate broke and would not print out badge pics. We went to the other security entrance to have our pics taken. Then it was back to the companies trailer for more safety talks and paperwork. The company had the same idea about the safety orientation as did the plant. I just saw it all a month ago. Here are my vitals and my contact info should any of these safety features fail to keep me from being injured. Here is my tax info. See ya.

Kyle is impressed that my badge will open gates. He asked if I were like a secret agent. I told him I was more like a secret electrician.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Oh yeah ....

This is really a Post Script (p.s.). It looks kind of funny being here in front of the post that I am post scripting. That is the way of the blog. The new comes in and pushes the old out of the way.

Oh yeah .. The p.s.
The publishers have the manuscript. They have emailed and we have set up a time for our conference call thingie. It is Wednesday, September 8th @ 10:30 AM.

Just wanted to let ya know.

Chia Pet

Tammy is talking seriously, for the first time, about giving up Donovan. She feels that she doesn't have the time to really take care of him. It also hurts her wrist to keep him combed. He is mostly cut right now. Just his undercoat remains. He looks kinda like a miniature sheep of some sort. Maybe he looks like a lazy miniature mountain sheep kinda animal. Most of the time he is laying down somewhere. If he isn't laying down, he is running thru the house after Malcolm, barking that mutated goat bark he has. Honestly, he sounds like a hair-lipped goat or a defective seal. Then, there are the times that he is not sleeping or chasing and barking. In those times, he is taking a dump in front of our bedroom door. It is always hard and dry, a breeze to clean. REMEMBER If anyone attempting to give you a dog tells you that they are housebroken, slap them for lying right there on the spot.
Anyway, Tammy has asked some friends that might be interested if they are serious. If you want him, you can have him. He is quiet, lovable, gentle, and housebroken. He looks kinda like a Chia-Pet right now. I think I could shoot him with a couple tranquilizer darts of Curare and he could pass for one. Imagine it. You buy a Chia-Pet at a yard sale. You put it in the trunk with all your other 'can't live without what you couldn't stand anymore' treasures. After the 4th or 5th yard sale, you begin hearing a sound that isn't right. Your car is making one of those funny noises that means nothing or that the motor is about to fall out onto the pavement. "Maurah Maurah", the sound comes.
You pull over and shut off the engine. The sound continues. It can't be your drive train, you are stopped. It can't be the engine, it is off. It is coming from the trunk. It is a muffled mutated baby seal spirit come back to wreak revenge on everyone with a seal skin coat. You spring the trunk, expecting ghosts and demons, and faint when your newly purchased Chia-Pet bears it fangs and hair lip barks at ya.
There you are, on the side of the road, fainted, laying behind your car, with the victorious Chia-Pet lording over ya. Paramedics bring you around slowly. The news crews are there. It is splashed across the front page. WOMAN IN BABY SEAL SKIN COAT ATTACKED BY CHIA-PET. Your career in politics is over.

OHHHH, the humanity !!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Breathe, darn it, breathe

Around 3 o'clock this afternoon, something happened to my breath. I took this great big gulp of air and put my manuscript into a DHL express envelope, and away it went toward Austin TX. It should be there for their media team to look over by Friday morning. Then they will call me and have a conference call type 'give and take' about the book. Can I hold my breath that long?
I know that whatever happens, I am the same person today that I will be on Friday. If they love it, I will be me (excited, but still me). If they hate it, I will be me (discouraged slightly, but still me). It is 148 pages, 48000 words, mostly of mine. Tammy added 9 pages at the end called, "Tammy's turn at the keyboard". It was easier for me to keep a daily diatribe about the situation as I did have a small amount of distance. Tammy sat down a couple times during the ordeal and put how she was feeling on paper. Whatever happens, it is a good read. I sent it to a couple friends first for them to read and rate. The reviews were good. If it helps or encourages one person, it is a good thing. It was therapeutic to write. That is a good thing too.
I just have to remember to breathe.

Lest We Forget

Lest we forget ..

It was a normal morning at work
I fussed about the lack of parking available as I did every morning
I stopped at the little convenient store for my morning Dew
The tool boxes were unlocked and assignments given
We all made our way to our work areas
Someone had a radio hanging on a metal wall stud
It twanged the popular country music of the day
It was an alright morning, nothing spectacular

That changed

There was a plane that hit a tower
For thirty-one minutes, it was a terrible accident
Then it was just terrible
We had been attacked in a cowardly act of terrorism
Everything changed at that moment
Then the Pentagon was hit
Next, a plane went down in a Pennsylvania field
Heroes were born all over this Country

I don't think anyone at work did much that day
Numbness set in rather quickly
The TV news splashed the pictures
Into America's living rooms
Radio stations painted the dismal scene
with vivid grays and blacks
Newspapers were filled with accounts
Of bravery and heroism

Nearly three years have come and gone
The war against terrorism still rages
The stories still travel around the country
Showing the wealth of patriotism
Occasionally, I will get an email
The subject line emblazoning
The rallying cry of that day
"Lest we forget"

How can I forget that sinking feeling
How can I erase the vivid imagery
How can I not see, not hear, not know
How can I unchange the changes
Tell me
How do I go back to September 10, 2001
How
How can I forget

Ron Simpson Jr.
August 31, 2004

About time

Don't know rightly what that was all about. I couldn't post anything. I am hoping this works

Welcome to the newest phenomenon created by the ever popular Lexington Smoking Ban. As you drive through town or around any of the local drinking emporiums during drinking hours, you will see better than half the population of customers standing outside smoking.

You remember the good old days. You would have to go inside and buy the obligatory drink or two to be able to size up the place. During this two drink minimum, you could also investigate the local pick up challenges. Not any more. The local meet/meat market now has drive thru or drive by service. You can size up the bar and your date prospects without ever actually stepping inside the bar. They are all out there puffing away. If you see something of interest, you can park it, walk over to the smoking crowd, pull out a cig, ask for a light, and you are in the group, without buying one drink. C'mon out and cruise the crews.

The annual savings are staggering. Of course, this will only work if you smoke. Savings will be less if you have to start smoking, offset by the cost of your new addiction. As always, there is a substantial penalty for early withdrawal.