Hi, I’m Zeke And I’ll Be Taking Care Of You
Sunday the 10th
After a pleasant afternoon geocaching we decided to eat out for dinner. Because a couple of our favorite haunts are not open on Sunday we settled for a third tier option, Chilis. They have that 2 for $20 thing going on which we had enjoyed at one in Statesboro, GA on our way back from Florida at Thanksgiving. This dining experience wasn’t as good as that one, but that is a whole ‘nother post.
While waiting for Zeke to bring our drinks, Donna spotted an application booklet on the table to join their E-mail Club. They ask for your birthday, so we figured maybe you get a free margarita or something on your special day. Trouble was we didn’t have anything to right write with, so we asked Zeke if he’d lend us a pen. We both filled one out and handed them and the pen back when Zeke brought our appetizer.
As we finished our desert Zeke asked if we wanted anything else, when we replied in the negative, he dropped off our check and disappeared. Trouble was, he didn’t leave us a pen. I eyeballed the receipt and noticed that it was that thin glossy stuff, almost like old time fax paper, and thought, I bet this is pressure sensitive. I grabbed the salad fork, which I hadn’t used, turned it backwards and test wrote the total on the *guest copy*, with the handle. It worked, it was a little light, kind of like I signed it in pencil, but fully legible.
Zeke returned a few seconds after I had finished filling out the charge slip and said, “Did I forget to leave you a pen?” “Yep,” I replied, “But not to worry, I signed it with the fork.” He was so stunned than he forgot to say thanks for dining with us or hurry back or whatever the corporate mandated server’s last line is.
A Case of Attention Deficit Disorder
Monday the 15th
I haven’t blogged much about the actual reason we are in the hospital for several reasons, Donna isn’t as excited to share the intimate details as I would be, the spotty internet connection and the lack of free time allotted the assistant lay nurse of a sick person. But I will share my favorite story of the past week. Treatment for her type of colitis is the steroid solu-cortef. The steroid amps you up and in Donna’s case on the second day kind of turned her into a 5-year old kid with a case ADD. To counter act this, the doctor proscribed Xanax, an anti-anxiety medicine, and it has calmed her some, but not entirely.
While on the clear liquid diet she was drinking all sorts of fluids, but she always kept her favorite three at hand on the bed table, water, cranberry juice and diet ginger ale. Each fluid had its own little styrofoam cup which she would have me write the fluids name in three or four places along the top edge of the cup. She would line them up in a straight line formation. Directly behind the cup marked water was the large hospital supplied plastic mug which the staff kept full of ice and water, directly behind the ginger ale was the small 8oz can of soda and lastly right behind the cranberry juice glass were stacked the 4oz plastic containers of juice. Each cup had its own separate straw. After each drink from the cups, sometimes one right after the other, she carefully arranges them back in straight lines.
This morning after we got all the cups arranged and filled with the appropriate combination of fluid and ice she looked down at the row of drinks and frowned. When she looked up at me I asked, “What’s wrong?” She looked at me and said, “My straws don’t match.” Sure enough, there were two yellow straws and one white one. I went over to her neatly arranged bed stand picked out a matching yellow straw.
With This Ring I Thee Wed
Wednesday the 31st
Back when Donna was in the hospital and they were aggressively working at healing her ailing colon she was being given 40mg of Prednisone a day and she was very hyper with signs of ADD. Her favorite pastime was to cut up paper and magazines to make bows and ribbons. She loved to tape things to other things with the hospital supplied clear dressing tape. Thirdly she hated clutter and was forever rearranging and cleaning up. She used a food tray to keep all her supplies on and it moved with her from bed to chair and sometimes the floor as she worked on her “projects.” As a consequence of the medicine and the zero humidity air of the hospital her hands were always dry and chapped. This led to a lot of applying of hand cream.
Early in her stay she removed her wedding ring and the birthstone “engagement” ring we bought for her after the glass chip feel out of the real one early on in our marriage. I kept them on my key ring to return to her when she got out. As the hospital stay lengthened she asked for them back. You know where this is leading right?
Somewhere around Day 8 the rings went missing. We weren’t even sure when they actually disappeared because time was very fluid for someone taking that much steroid. Best guess is one of the times she took them off that day to put on hand cream; they were laid on the craft tray and somehow got thrown away during a cleaning up of scrap paper. The staff was very upset and helped tear apart the room looking for the rings, even looking in the cleaning person’s trash collection, but they were nowhere to be found.
We were not that upset, things happen and even though there is that line in the vows, neither one of us felt that losing the ring had any significance in the overall scheme of our marriage. We have been meaning to look into buying a nicer set of rings, maybe even do a major upgrade in quality from the set we could afford when we first started out, but as time passed we came to the conclusion that there was not much sense in that. Donna has started to feel funny without any rings on, so we have been keeping our eyes out for something that would quasi-match my ring whenever we went in a store. Last night as we were poking around in Dillard’s looking for a pink sweater for Donna we came across a table with some jewelry on it, including some rings. Hey look, here’s something that’ll fit the bill, its gold and has a bunch of shiny little bits around the circumference. The size 6 was too small, but the 7 fit just right. And at twenty bucks the price was right. Wait a minute, here is a size 9, I wonder if that will fit my skinny finger. Yep, sure did, we have matching rings again. As a bonus the rings came in sets of two, so we have a backup in case one of us misplaces one. Behold, the Tivoli CZ Eternity Band Set.
Little Boy Blue
Thursday the 1st
The Folks in the MMC don’t know it yet, but tonight is Donna and my last Club meeting. Regular readers will remember that a couple months ago I was virtual car shopping, well we have decided on a car. It was not on the original list in either category because it fell outside the theoretical budget limit, and if recent events have taught us anything it is you only live once, so you might as well enjoy yourself while you can.
The local dealer didn’t have what we wanted, but a quick search turned up almost a perfect match, satellite radio instead of the Ip Odd interface, in Charleston, SC. We will be able to pick it up on Friday at Taylor BMW in Augusta. With trading in the Emperor, $2k additional down, we ended up financing $28,000 @ 3.95% or $475 a month for the next 6 years…
Iron Man 2
Sunday the 16th
My rants about this movie the other week turned out not to be as big an issue as I imagined. The intro to the Stark Expo was still a little long, but taken in context not all that bad. The race scene/suitcase suit grip disappeared because Whiplash didn’t just wait for it watching, he was pinned to the side wall by Happy driving a Rolls Royce. Mickey Rouke makes an awesome villain. I don’t understand why they change the opening bit from the trailer where Tony jumps out of the plane unless they thought it might spoil the ending bit. I thought it would have been a perfect way to tie that together…
Scarlett Johansson looks good in black hair and her chemistry with RDJ leads me to believe she would have made a good Pepper Potts had not Gwyneth Paltrow already had a lock on that role. But the whole Black Widow bit seemed tossed in as an intro to the character and for the sex appeal of the suit (not that there is anything wrong with that.) But if rumors are correct and the Black Widow gets her own movie, I think I feel a repeat of Cat Woman or Elektra coming on.
There is more action in this one, some dangerously close to being too much (and/or too long), but all and all very satisfying. Man I need one of those suits…
Two important lessons can be learned from this movie, 1) do not ever let a Russian near your computer, both the males and females seem to be trained hackers that can break any encryption thrown at them and 2) (this one I already knew) a convertible is as good as a pickup truck on a sunny day.
Brian gives it 2 thumbs up and Donna says I owe her a Julia Roberts movie.
Tuesday the 1st
While returning from Hendersonville on Saturday afternoon I witnessed the true definition of frustration.
We were zipping along south on I-26 somewhere south of Spartanburg with Donna at the wheel and me watching the world go by at 70 MPH. Up ahead I could see three turkey buzzards right on the edge of the shoulder moving back and forth towards the road. One would take a couple steps towards the right lane and then quickly hop back. Then another would do the same thing. When we got right next to them I could see what was going on. There was a small piece of road kill about 2 feet into the right lane and after a car passed, one bird would take a few steps towards what it considers food, he would get about 5 feet from a tasty morsel, then another car would approach making it hop back to safety. Trouble was, traffic was fairly light and there were single cars in the right lane spaced evenly about 200?-300? apart, so there was never enough time to get a nibble safely.
Tuesday the 13th
Several years ago it seemed like there was an abundance of people by the name of Robert who worked at The Valve Store™ and as a joke, myself and another coworker would always say, “Morning Bobby”, when we’d pass each other for the first time each day. His name is Joey and mine is, well duh, Brian, but we got a kick out of it.
Over the years the number of Roberts waned, Jims took over the top spot, yet we still kept up the ‘Morning Bobby’ routine. The number of folks named Jim hasn’t diminished any, but Bobs have made big advances again recently. My immediate supervisor is named Bob and his boss is named, yep, you guessed it, Bob. To differentiate between them they are sometimes referred to as Little Bob and Big Bob respectively. Our latest Industrial Engineer is also a Robert and usually went by Bob, but I think as a condition of employment, he had to willing to be known as Rob to avoid further confusion.
With them ceasing manufacturing at the home office in Florham Park, NJ we have had a few folks from up there make the transition to working here in South Carolina. The last two to join us are both named Bob.
Joey and I will may just start saying, “Morning Bobby”, whenever we pass anybody, because we will have a real good chance of being right.
Sunday the 8th
Sometimes I don’t even heed my own advice.
Nearly 2 years ago I posted here that one shouldn’t use a string trimmer without wearing long pants. That time I came away with a speckled leg from the dirt and tiny stones kicked up by fishing line rotating at several thousand RPM. This time it is much worse.
Today when I cleaned off the front porch using the leaf blower I noticed a few strands of ivy creeping their way towards the house. I went and got the trimmer which was freshly loaded with some of that heavy duty red string stuff. As I made mince meat of the ivy I could feel a few things ricochet off my legs, but then suddenly I forgot all about my lower extremities because something grabbed me by the right ear and lifted me off the ground. OW! I must have pissed off a wasp and it stung me on the back of the ear.
It is 4 hours later and my ear still hurts worse than that time in second grade when Bobby Mitchell punched me in the head because I stuck my tongue out at him during recess.
I Can’t Believe I’m Still Listening
Saturday the 4th
I must be a real fan. As of this morning, depending on which version you believe, the FRS playoff chances stood at 3, 4 or 5%. That was before the Yankees won their game today and the Sox lost the first game, postponed by Earl from last night and will likely lost tonight’s regularly scheduled game (they are losing 3-1 in the 7th.)
As much as I enjoy the coffee (and the coffee cake muffin) from Dunkin’ Donuts I fear they may have lost our business forever this morning. We should have taken the hint. On our way into the place this morning we passed a car with a fellow in the driver’s seat talking very loudly to himself, or rhetorically to his passenger inside the store, saying, “How long does it take to get a double coffee?!?” There were three employees with only three customers, so it shouldn’t have taken too long, but somehow it did.
One associate, because of the headset, must have been the drive-up person, who’s job description read, “Do not leave the window for any reason, even if there are no cars in line. And when you are not busy please feel free to carry on a personal conversation with your fellow employees to aid in the disruption their productivity.” Employee number 2 was the main counter person and was either very new at the job or only used to dealing with humans via texting or stoned and having a hard type completing a complex order that consisted of three coffees. To be fair, this person was dealing with someone who had either never been in a Dunkin’ Donuts before or never ordered coffee or was hungover. The third person dressed in a pink polo shirt with DD embroidered in brown on their right breast was probably the “cook” and tried to help out the second person in line (whose partner was outside with steam escaping his ears and possible thinking of driving his 15 year old purple Dodge Neon through the front window), but was stymied by the request for iced coffee and the unexpected return of customer number 1 to ask where they kept the “to go” sugar. We took this opportunity to leave the store.
We headed back across town at a small family restaurant called Autens that we had been meaning to try for some time. We ended up spending a bit more money there and the coffee was nothing special, there were three really nice surprises. First was they offered a salmon cake as a meat side, which Donna ordered, and I sampled, which was very good. The second was instead of having “home fries” as the alternative to grits they offered something called potato scramble, which turns out to be, I’m guessing, last night’s mashed potatoes with some butter mixed in and fried on the grill into a sort of pancake. Thirdly, our waitress was Evangeline Lilly who was possibly doing research for her next movie. She is a little younger looking than she seemed on TDTVS and her freckles were covered by makeup, but it was her alright.
Sorry I Doubted You James
Monday the 4th
Oh, about a month or so ago, we had visitors and one of those visitors was a 3 year-old nephew named James (Hi James.) One of the things we had to amuse said 3 year-old was a book about airplanes. It wasn’t just any ol’ static book about airplanes; it came with little cardboard replicas of planes that needed to be put together and had the advantage of being capable of flight. Not real aerodynamic flight mind you, but by brute force. Each plane replica had a small notch on the bottom of the “fuselage” that you hooked the rubber band of the included primitive slingshot thingie into and then pulled back as far as your mighty 3 year-old arms would go before letting loose launching the plane into the wild blue yonder.
James and uncle Brian spent a few enjoyable hours over the course of a couple of evenings “flying” planes in the back yard. One evening James launched the B-2 bomber with a mighty tug and it soared off in the direction of our mimosa tree and I didn’t see it come back down. He said it was stuck in the tree. I couldn’t see it, so I figured it had come down in the neighbor’s yard. James insisted that he could see it and wanted me to go up and get it. I just knew it wasn’t there, so told him I would get it, but I couldn’t; because I didn’t have a tall enough ladder.
Tonight as I walked underneath the mimosa tree on the way to the shed to get out the lawn mower and leaf blower so Donna and I could do a little lawn maintenance, I looked down on the ground and this is what I saw:
Obituary For A Printer
Tuesday the 16th
It is with much sadness that I inform you of a beloved co-worker’s passing yesterday.
PRVLAK_DFT_H4V_01 succumbed to a “50 Service” error. PRVLAK_DFT_H4V_01 or as his friends called him, LaserJet 4V, was 16 years old and for the first 15 years of his life he was a robust and reliable fellow who printed each and every one of the over a quarter million pages with glee. Last year age finally caught up with him requiring a tricky fuser transplant. Shortly after his full recovery from that ordeal, his 11 x 17 paper tray needed to be amputated because of wear. Three weeks ago with his rare life blood toner running low, it was discovered that supplies of this precious commodity were no longer available through normal channels. Unfortunately the non-FDA approved toner from South America did not arrive in time to save his life.
PRVLAK_DFT_H4V_01 is survived by his big brother PRVLAK_DFT_HDJ800 and his cousin PRVLAK_ENG_HP4650. Funeral services are being handled by Safety Clean and will be private. In lieu of flowers please send Staples gifts cards.
Arts & Crafts Engineer
ASCO Valve Manufacturing
a facility of ASCONUMATICS
part of the Industrial Automation Division of Emerson Electric Corporation
located in beautiful Aiken, SC, USA
Worst BBQ Ever
Saturday the 4th
We went geocaching today in Crawfordville, GA and A.H. Stephens State Park. We took along a coworker and because the Miata does not seat 3 comfortably we took her car. Crawfordville is where Hollywood comes calling when it needs to film in a quintessential small southern town. There have been about a dozen films that have used this town as a bit player in them and there are 8 caches here with names that are the titles of those movies. We looked for 4 and found 2. The two we missed I don’t count as DNFs because they were in locations that made us very nervous searching which was only heightened by the fact that we were driving a car with New Jersey plates. There were 6 caches in the state park that you can get to by land and we found 5 of them.
Probably the most recognizable movie that was filmed in town was “Sweet Home Alabama” and for lunch we decided to eat at the BBQ place that was used in the bar scenes (Stella’s Roadhouse) of the movie. We were talked into getting the Plate by the almost surly woman behind the counter at Heavy’s as it included meat, brunswick stew and coleslaw. We opted for a rib plate and a chicken plate to split between the three of us. The coleslaw was too vinegary and had way too much pickle taste. The “stew” was run through a food processor for too long as it was kind of a sickly looking brown mush. The only thing remotely edible was the meat and that was overpowered by the amount of BBQ sauce it was covered in. Interesting place to visit, but you don’t want to eat there.