Month: March 2012

Trifextra: Unwanted house guests

Our horrible house guests were just on their way out the door when my wife mistakenly said “Oh, leaving already?”

“What, you want us to stay longer? Okay” they answered, and they stayed another day.

For Trifextra: Week Ten

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Rescue 91……1

Today we were talking about our favorite reality shows. While I am not a fan of any of the newer ones, I certainly enjoyed the old Rescue 91…1 (at least that is how Shat pronounced 911).

The show was basically re-enactments of various 911 calls. My favorite was the one where the kid got his tongue stuck in the freezer while reaching beyond his means to obtain a Popsicle.  He was like “I got my Thung (That’s how he pronounced ‘tongue’) stzuck in de freezber” It cracked me up, not sure why.

I loved the way that William Shatner made each call sound like a worldwide panic. A similar show to this was Unsolved Mysteries. Robert Stack hosted this show in  which re-enactments of mysteries were shown. I always wondered why they never made a show named ‘Solved Mysteries’, not THAT would be a show!

An open heart and an open door

All my life it seems that people in need choose to seek refuge in me. For me, this is part honor, and part horror. The honor part is because I feel honored that somebody realizes that by coming to me, I can find some way to help them. The horror part is because I worry that my help may not be enough, and as I lack the proper training, I often feel as if I should attend university and do a few psychology courses, never know.

A while ago I worked in an electronics store. When we sold computers, I was always asked to go to the customer’s home to install the computers, set up the networks, printers, etc.

On this occasion, I was to visit the residence of a woman who I will call Diane. Diane and her small child lived alone in a small, run down apartment in one of the rougher sides of town. I could see from all the artwork on her walls, Diane was a very talented artist. I could also detect sadness in her work. Diane’s small daughter dealt with hearing issues, and Diane said that this caused her grief, not only because her daughter’s father refused to help, but because she could not afford the expensive hearing aids that her daughter so desperately needed.

I was surprised at how much Diane revealed about herself while I was there. It was as if she knew me all her life, as she told me things I really had no business knowing. I tried to direct her to the proper avenues to seek help in receiving the proper assistance with her issues, and she seemed thankful for this. She was, however, angry when I said I had to leave. She asked if I could drop in again sometime.

I returned to work, and apparently she called my employer to ask him for my home phone number, which he provided without my knowledge.

One night, at approximately 2 a.m., I received a call from Diane. She sounded grief stricken and she asked if I could drop by. I worked all day, and with work in the morning, I didn’t feel as if it were a great idea. Despite the fact that I had not been in a relationship with anyone at the time, I decided against pursuing any relationship with this woman, leaving it to a professional relationship instead. She practically begged me do come to her home.

She got to the true reason why she had called after about a half an hour on the phone. She said that she could not take it any longer. Her boyfriend had abandoned her with a small child, her child had hearing issues and was struggling in school, she couldn’t find work and her rent was due soon, and she had been drinking. She said that she had a few pills from a friend, and she had taken them while talking to me on the phone. She said that she was beginning to feel weak.

I asked that she hold on for one minute, and while talking to her, I also called the local police to report a possible suicide. The officer asked if I thought she was serious, and I agreed that this seemed very serious. I remembered her address and provided it to the officer, and then I rejoined Diane on the phone. I talked to her, and assured her that there was a future here. I explained that her daughter needed a mom in her life and without her, her daughter’s life would be so difficult.

During our conversation, she said that her door bell rang, and she rushed to answer it. She returned to the phone to tell me one thing before the officer could take control of the issue. “You Bastard” she said, violently, and hung up the phone.

A few years afterward, I ran into Diane at the local grocery store. I was surprised to find that she came over to talk. “It was you, who called the cops to my home that night, wasn’t it?” she asked. “Do you know that they took my daughter from me and forced me to seek counseling?” she inquired.

“I had to do it, I felt that you would do something drastic like end your life” I told her.

“I would have, but thanks to you I am still here” she said, surprisingly.

Apparently she stayed in counseling, eventually got her daughter back, and then received the help she needed to purchase the hearing aids for her little girl. Diane has a job now, and has met a nice guy. The three of them live in a beautiful home with two dogs and a cat.

Diane’s story ended very positive, but for years I regretted calling the police. I know now that I did the right thing. For some reason, suicidal people seek me out for answers. I am not sure whether this is a gift or a curse, but my door is always open, and I always offer whatever help that I can.

Diet ideas

I am working at cutting out Junk food in my diet. (notice how I capitalized ‘Junk’? That’s how much I love Junk Food)

Last evening, I sat and finished off a bag of Lays Ketchup Chips. I love em, but I know that they are not good for me, and even worse for my sugars (Diabetic here).  This got me to thinking. I don’t really care for the chip part, but I love the flavor, so why can’t someone make Ketchup Chip flavored water? How about Ketchup Chip seasoning for lettuce? You get where this is going, we need a product that we can put on healthy food so that we can enjoy the taste and not worry about the effects on our health.

“Hey Snb, what are you having for lunch?” a friend could ask.

“I am having a bottle of Ketchup Chip water, and I have a wonderful veggie salad topped with healthy Ketchup Chip flavored seasoning” would be my response.

Until then, I will treat myself to my chips once per month as I always do, and walk an extra few minutes afterwards.

Bullied in the 70’s

Growing up in the late 70’s was very difficult for me because I was a victim of bullying. Thing was, it was so common that nobody did much about it. The bigger kids bullied the smaller ones. The confident kids bullied those who lacked confidence, the sports stars bullied those who sucked at sports. Unfortunately for me, I was a kid who was smaller than most, I lacked confidence, and I sucked at sports. I might as well have had a big bulls-eye painted on my back.

There was a kid in our community whose nickname was Moose. Hell, I think he put that name on himself because he didn’t like to be called ‘Stevie’…he beat a bunch of kids up for calling him that once.

My bullying didn’t only exist in the earlier grades, but that is where it begun. I remember walking into the school late for after lunch classes, bloodied and battered, and the teachers punishing me for being late. Because the kids who I claimed bullied me were athletes, nobody believed me. So in this circumstance, I believe the school system at the time bullied me as well.

There was this one kid, Danny, who was every teacher’s dream kid. He excelled in not only soccer and hockey, but also in his studies. How he found the time to torture me I will never know. My family was very poor when I was younger, and each year, my parents struggled to save enough money to buy my books and school supplies. Every year Danny would steal my books and throw the out or burn them, and he made sure that every pencil I owned was broken into pieces too small to use. For some reason, perhaps the fact that we shared the same last name, he was always paired with me as my locker partner. This did not work to my advantage.

My favorite clothing, including mitts and hats that my grandmother knitted for me would go missing so often that I chose not to wear any. There was no way I could store my boots in my locker, because they would often end up in the girl’s bathroom, and you can guess how that turned out.

Kids who were fortunate enough to attend self defense classes such as Karate or other martial arts often practiced their moves on me, ouch, I can still remember how much I suffered!

Nowadays, I work at a high school, and it puzzles me to see how bullying is still such an issue. Each year the school holds events like Stand Up to Bullying day, Anti-Violence week, etc, but kids are still forced to face the terrors of bullying.

I read somewhere that a new documentary is being made about bullying. I think this is great, but until schools develop a Zero Tolerance rule on bullying, I don’t think the issue will ever go away.

By the way, my bullying problem from the 70’s ended abruptly one June day in 1980, when our graduating class had an outing at a local park. Danny, who thought he was bulletproof and that he had led a charmed life, chose to dive into very shallow water. He hit his head on a rock and died on impact. Although this was a tragic accident, and it took the life of a very young person, I could not find sadness for him at the time. I was shocked at how many other kids felt exactly like I did on that one faithful day.

 

Racism hurts all

Racism is a terrible thing.

Some choose to judge others because of countries they live in

Some judge others based on the color of their skin

Where a person comes from, the way that they talk

The way that they run, the way that they walk

There are those who are judged because of who they choose to love

There are those who are judged because of the groups they are part of

Some are judged by how they believe

some are judged for the friends that they keep

Some judge others because of their name

Look in the mirror brother, really we are all the same

Eight items or less

While on my way home this evening, I decided to drop into the local grocery store and pick up a few items. Seeing how I could carry the four items in one hand, I decided to stand in the 8 items or less aisle. Big mistake! Some moron in front of me had a shopping cart filled with groceries. Now I have been trying to work on my filter these days, (let me explain. My lady thinks most people have this imaginary filter between what their brain is thinking and what actually comes out of their mouths. Apparently I wasn’t born with such a filter, but I am working on it!) so I tried my best not to say anything.

“Say nothing, say nothing…” The mantra went through my mind, and my lady would have been proud, until I somehow muttered “Excuse me sir, but this is the 8 items or less checkout.” The people behind me breathed a sigh of relief, as they knew as well as I did that this guy was going to hold up the line forever.

“What was that bud” the rude man with the shopping cart said. “This is the 8 items or less checkout, apparently your counting skills are equal to your reading skills!” I told him. “There goes the filter” I thought to myself, too late to stop myself.

“That girl at the cash register, she will check me in unless someone complains” He said, in a bully like manner, and I really hate bullies.

“Well, I am complaining!” I said, waiting to be joined by my fellow shoppers, but I wasn’t.

“This is only eight things, I have bread, milk, canned goods, meat, biscuits, cereal, juice, dog food, and candy!” he said.

The poor lady at the checkout didn’t have to do anything, because lucky for me, the store manager was standing next to the checkout.

“Sir, this checkout is for eight items or less, not eight food groups. Please go to the next line and wait your turn.” The kind store manager told the disgruntled customer.

I breathed a sigh of relief on this one, because if my lady were nearby, she would have pointed out the fact that I should have kept quite, but I couldn’t…I left my filter at home.

The Fiat 500, the ditch, and the fishing trip that wasn’t

I remember the summer where my dad came home with the new family car, a red 1971 Fiat 500. Well, I am not sure whether it was actually red, but by the time we got it, it was red, from a combination of spray primer and rust.  The little car didn’t run very well. Although the car didn’t cost very much money by some people’s standards, it cost my dad every cent he had saved.

I remember once, we went on a fishing trip. The entire family went, which then only consisted of myself, my brother, who was still an infant, and my parents. We still have family pictures of the weekend.

The road to the fishing spot was made when construction workers needed gravel from a nearby pit. One of the workers, my uncle, noticed the river from the gravel pit and told my dad about it. The road was very rough, and at the end of the road was a steep hill. The little Fiat 500 struggled to climb the hill. In fact, most of the day’s fishing trip was compromised of getting up the hill and to the fishing hole.

I remember the four of us sitting in the hot little car, without air conditioning or even windows that would properly roll down. The day was hot, and it was sickening in the car, but Dad didn’t give up. He made several attempts to climb the hill with us all in the car, me and mom pushing on the dash, as if that would help. On the final attempt, Dad asked that we get out of the car. He made one turn and attempted to back up the hill. This worked well, but after he had locked the parking brake and exited the car, we all watched as the little rust bucket took off on it’s own, as if possessed, and took for the bottom of the hill. Well it didn’t actually make it to the bottom of the hill, having steered itself into the cavernous ditch somewhere near the middle of the hill.

In a world without cell phones, we were stranded. Fishing was the last thing on my dad’s  mind, and it didn’t help that at 8 years of age, all I could see was that I wasn’t going to be doing any fishing today. Our family car, bought with the last few dollars my family had in their savings account, lay at the bottom of a steep ditch. I would imagine that if I could find that gravel pit, the car would still be there in some form.

We were lucky that day (well as lucky as you can be after your only car ends up in a deep ditch), as once we managed to walk out of the road behind the gravel pit, our picnic basket in tow, a few Sunday drivers happened along and offered us a ride home.

This was my family’s first experience with ‘Foreign’ cars. I am happy to report that both myself and my dad now own Toyotas, and we do not have any of the same problems that my dad experienced with the Fiat 500. Thank Heavens for that.