Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Beat Off



I was on my way out to the suburbs to see Mom in the hospital on Tuesday. As I zoomed down Lake Shore Drive, I suddenly could feel a flutter in my chest and a bit of light headedness. So I slowed down to sixty miles per hour. A few moments later it happened again and this time it did not go away. All I could think about was having a heart attack and driving off into Lake Michigan. So I slowed down a little bit more. That feeling of something fluttering around in my chest continued all day long. I considered walking down to the ER at the hospital my mom was in, but quickly pushed that out of my mind and drove back into the city. Wednesday morning I still had the feeling in my chest. Normally, when I lived in Florida, I would call my doctor and he would tell me to come right over. So I called my doctor here in Chicago. I got a automated machine that kept asking me questions. Finally I was connected with a human who asked me more questions.
"All I want is to see if I could get in to see the doctor today?"
"Sure, let me see what I can do....   Ummm, no. The doctor has no open appointments this week. I can connect you with a nurse who will help you."
"Okay." I said, and shortly a nurse was on the phone. She asked me what the problem was and then told me that she would have to turn me over to a triage nurse. After ten minutes of answering more questions, the triage nurse asked me if I wanted her to call 911 or was I feeling well enough to call them myself.
"No! No 911, no ambulances, no lights and sirens outside my house. All I want to do is go to the doctor."
"Sir, from what you have told me, you need to go to the emergency room right away."
"But I don't want to go to the emergency room." I said, nearly sobbing. "I just want to go to the doctor's office."
Well, the triage nurse convinced me that I needed to go to the ER immediately. Which I did. I had my friend Dennis drive me there and on the way my nurse sister called me and told me to make sure I tell them that I was having chest pains.
"That way they'll rush you right in there ahead of everybody else."
So I did, and they did. Still, it took five hours of poking, sticking, prodding, and waiting around. I was wired up like my old component stereo system. During the course of the day I saw five doctors. At least a couple of them were very young and cute, which made things a little bit more palatable. What I was told by the doctors was that I had an irregular heartbeat, that it was a beat off. It was explained that this was in the upper chambers and not much to worry about. They called it 'palpitations' which I thought only happened to antebellum ladies of the South along with the vapors. Anyway, I was sent home but I am still wired up with a monitor attached to me. I get to wear this thing for two days. I can't take it off, I can't take a shower with it on, and as of yet I don't know how the hell I'm going to sleep with it attached to me.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I'm smart and I want respect!



I know that I'm not a genius. Without spell-check and the internet I'd look like a complete moron. When I was a kid, I did horrible in school. I never understood English grammar, I still don't. I just write what sounds right to my ear. Math was confounding to me. And algebra, what the hell? To this day I cannot understand how you do math with the alphabet. One thing that I was taught in high school, was how to think for myself. Every day in Miss Green's class, each one of us got our own copy of the Chicago Sun-Times. She then taught us how to read the paper. How to recognize the difference between editorial content and news content. Before our regular lesson we would have a short discussion of what was on the front page. Miss Green was a good teacher. So with all that said, I can also say that I am not stupid. There are things that I do know. Somehow I managed to work twenty five years in the computer industry. Somehow I kept myself employed and earning a decent wage since high school. I have common sense. For instance, I know that you should never, ever, buy something from a door to door salesman. Not religion, not cosmetics, not a vacuum cleaner, don't buy anything that way because you will be sorry. So how come I let some sweaty young man with a clipboard sell me electricity?

A few months ago this kid came ringing my doorbell and I answered it. He assured me that if I signed up with.... let's call them Energy Indirect (Not their real name), I would save money. It was hot that day as we sat on the front porch and the young man assured me that it was the right thing to do. So I signed up. As I watched him walk slowly down the street I immediately knew I had done the wrong thing. Yesterday I got my first electric and gas bills since signing that contract. It turns out that I am not saving money, not breaking even. The cost of my gas and electric went up considerably. That young man who I gave a glass of ice water to and I let sit inside for a bit to cool off, lied to me.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Yellow Ants


The temperatures dropped into the teens for a couple of nights last week which required me to dress differently. I got up to walk the dogs on Friday morning and the thermometer read eighteen degrees. So I pulled on my thick winter jeans to keep my legs warm. Then I put on a tee shirt, a long sleeved shirt over that, a sweat shirt over those two things, an insulated vest that zips up to my chin over that, and finally I put on the big fluffy coat Mark bought me last year. That's the one I think is actually made for a woman but it is very warm, so what the hell, I'll wear it. The problem with all this clothing is that after putting it all on, I can't bend over and slip the dogs into their harnesses. Too many layers. This is how I get the dogs ready. Scout jumps up on the window sill so that I can put her harness and leash on. For Chandler, I make him stand at the top of the stairs while I walk down three stairs until he and I are at eye level. After getting all that together, I take the dogs out for their walks. But I still have a problem, I cannot pick up dog shit with all this crap on. When I am swaddled in these winter clothes I can't bend over to pick up my dog's poop. To reach the pile of poo, I have to drop to my knees. I'm sure I look like a complete moron, on my knees in the snow, scooping up dog shit. And I'm sure I look even more silly when I try to stand back up. On occasion I have had to drop and roll to the nearest tree so that I could drag myself back up. Yet despite these hardships, I still do not miss Florida. Have you heard about the hordes of yellow ants invading homes in FortLauderdale?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Lock Them Up, Lock Them Up



There are some people who should be locked away forever and never heard from again. Like politicians, or wannabe politicians who have no idea what the hell they're doing. Or they do know what they're doing, stealing from the tax payers. But that's not what is pissing me off right now. What has got my shorts all in a twist are the assholes who have ruined a decent holiday. I don't mean Halloween. The twenty something's who dress up as sexy nuns, sexy doctors, sexy fill-in-the-blank, can have that one. I'm talking about Christmas. Seriously, all I want for Christmas is for it to start about two weeks into December. On December fourteenth people can start wandering around singing carols. The pretty lights can all be turned on. And that's when I want to start seeing Christmas cookies, cakes, wines, and what have you. What has got me in a tizzy, besides the guy down the street who put up a Christmas tree the first week of October, is on the radio. Those assholes who have the sixth button on our car radio, right after Mark's Justin Bieber station, are playing nothing but Christmas music already. On the way out to see Mom yesterday, I kept mistakenly hitting that button. Just one bar of Christmas music is too much at this early date. I do not want to be put into the Christmas mood the first week of November. Hell, by the time December twenty fifth rolls around I'll be ready to kill somebody. Nobody can sustain that kind of cheer for that long. Nobody can stay merry for two full months. Human beings just aren't built to stay that upbeat. At least I'm not. Maybe we could get those moron politicians to pass a law prohibiting Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Then after they do that, we lock them up.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

From Red to Blue



I was walking Scout around the block last night and I noticed the big Penske rental truck out in front of my neighbor's house. Pedro was in the back of the truck, huffing and a puffing, shoving all his family's belongings up in there. Pedro is about my age, retired and moving to Florida. He sold his two flat, informed his family that they're moving down south, and that was that. I'll miss him. I've only lived here about eighteen months, but I got to know Pedro. He's a real good guy. The thing is, that the big truck with all of his earthly possessions jammed in there brought back some painful memories. Moving. I swear, I'll never do that again unless I can just leave everything behind and buy all new stuff. I would have all new furniture delivered, assembled, and arranged. I'd have all electronics connected by a professional and all the utilities up and operating the day I moved in. I never want to pack another box. I never want to see packing tape again.

So Pedro is moving down to Florida. He is taking his extended family with him, and he seems real happy about it. Even though I related stories of hurricanes, heat, humidity, and cockroaches that fly and are the size of a football, he didn't care. I told him about the various other vermin that seem to find their way into the house no matter what you do. He doesn't care, he's happy because he won't have to shovel snow or wear piles of clothing just to keep warm. "Ah ha," I told him, "you have to air condition year round and electric in Florida is very expensive." Pedro doesn't care. So I wished him a safe and pleasant trip down there in the big truck. I told him to enjoy himself in the warm weather while we freeze up here. And then I told him to remember to register to vote as soon as he can. Because between good Democratic voters moving to Florida from Chicago, and disgruntled Puerto Ricans moving to Florida because of slow hurricane relief, look for Florida to flip from red to blue in the coming years.