Sunday, July 30, 2006

Magic Words

I was double-booked this morning.

I had a meeting. I was sort of in charge of it. I had also been asked to speak at another meeting in the afternoon, but late in the week the time was changed, so there was a conflict. Not really a big deal; these weren't highfalutin' powerbroker meetings or anything. I just called someone who was going to be at the first meeting, and asked her if she would wrap it up for me because I would have to leave early. She said yes, and the problem was solved.

As I left the first meeting, I wanted her to know I was grateful that she was taking care of things for me. So I mouthed the words 'thank you' as I left. As I did that, I also put my hand to my lips, and then extended them to her, palm up. In American Sign Language, this also means 'Thank you.' I really hadn't meant to do it; I don't really know ASL, except for a few basic gestures.

I live in a city with a higher than average deaf population. There's both a high school and a college for the deaf in the area, so ASL is somewhat common. Even though she was not deaf, she knew at least as much as I did, and probably more. She responded with the gesture for 'You're Welcome. Her hand went from her forehead to palm-up below her chin.

Really, very beautiful gestures. I feel like they really convey the meaning of the two phrases quite well. It felt good to do it, and to see the response.

This got me thinking about the phrases. Not many people give thanks anymore. You stop to let someone in front of you, they just move in like it's their right.

I always try to give thanks where thanks is due. I feel it's important to let people know that I appreciate their effort.

And surprisingly few ever say 'You're welcome.'

They'll say 'No problem,' 'Don't worry about it,' or 'Forget about it.'

They may think that it's the same as 'you're welcome,' but to me, it isn't.

Often times there's not a problem, I wasn't worrying, or I don't want to forget.

I can somewhat understand why some folks don't give thanks, but why the reluctance to receive and acknowledge the thanks?

Is it some social fear? Do they think that if they don't acknowledge that they did something, then they'll have me in their debt? If they do, too bad. I said my thanks. Whether you accept it or not is up to you.

I may not be online much next week. I'm heading across the state with the kids to visit my brother. I don't know how much time I'll be online. I may post a few comments on your blogs, but I doubt I'll have enough time to post.

Thank you for visiting my blog, and letting me get to know all of you, if only a little bit.


Friday, July 28, 2006

July 28, 1978

My gurney pushed through the green doors into the operating room. This was--what? The fourth time? Fifth? Well, it was not the first time that I was in this room in the past two weeks.

I was pretty well used to the routine. They gave me a shot in the room, haul me down to the OR, another shot...and I would wake up in recovery.

But this time they hadn't given me a shot. That was unusual.

The nurse unwrapped the bandages around my foot. By now I was used to the two blackened toes that poked out from the top. The big toe and the little toe. They were goners. I knew that much already. Stayed home, ate roast beef, and had none were still pink.

Dr. Hahn came to the room, and examined my foot. I think he did it just for the show of it. I think he had already made his decision

July 14, 1978

I was pretty happy when I showed up at work. It was Friday, and it was game night.

Three or four nights a week, a bunch of us from high school would meet at the ball field at Sullivan Park and play baseball. Someplace between 14 and 20 of us would show up around seven, choose up sides, and play ball.

Baseball, mostly. Sometimes softball. It didn't matter. We'd been doing it for two years now.

Most of us were from the classes of 1976 and '77; most of us were guys. The oldest regular player was my friend John's older brother Keith. He was 28. We called him the old man. Players would show up and leave, and the sides would shift to accommodate the personnel changes. The game ended when it was too dark to see.

I remember standing in right field, swatting june bugs between pitches, realizing it was nine o'clock, and we probably still had enough light for two more innings. That was about as happy a moment as I ever had.

Friday nights were the best. We'd play until dark, and then head downtown for pitchers. In 1978, the legal drinking age in New York was 18. Next year they would raise the age to 19; the next year, 20; and in 1981, it would be 21. Didn't bother me. I had the limits beat by a year.

So I was in a good mood that Friday morning. I had been hitting the ball very well, although I didn't have the power my brother had. However, I had a rocket for an arm, and relished gunning him down when he tried to stretch doubles to triples.

Although I didn't owe my soul to it, I worked for the company store. No, not that kind of company store. Our town was a small town, and most of the people worked for the Fortune 500 company that had its headquarters there. It manufatcured consumer goods, and employees of the company were able to buy them at a discount at a store downtown. That's where I worked. Since my father had died a company man a year and a half earlier, and since my friend John's father was a manager in the personnel department (and the man who drove me to the ER the night Dad died), I got a job moving product from the stockrooms to the floor.

The actual floor space of the store was small, so we made several trips a day. The store was in an old building, and there was storage in the basement, the mezzanine, and the top floor. We moved pallettes of goods from those floors to the store on an old freight elevator.

How old was it? It was so old, that it was run by tugging on a series of ropes. Tug this rope, and the elevator went up. Tug this other rope, and the elevator stopped. Tug a third rope, and the elevator went down.

It was also so old that the elevator had no doors. Oh, there were doors on each of the floors. But the box itself had none. It was open on both ends, since the mezzanine was in back. Oh, and the doors themselves were flush with the floors they were on, which meant that there was about a six-inch gap between the space where the doors were, and the elevator shaft.

It was a boring job, moving product. It was boring on that elevator. If I was near the edge of the elevator (which I was, because I would be the one charged with holding the product on the palettes as I helped push it onto the elevator) was supposed to face the wall as the elevator went up and down.

This day, I was facing in. The guy who ran the elevator didn't always get it flush with the floor, so getting the palettes into the elevator wasn't always easy. I often had to push hard as I steadied the boxes. I got this one in, closed the door, and put my head down on the palette. I had one foot slightly behind the other, my heel not touching the floor. What I didn't realize, was that there was no floor underneath my heel.

The elevator went up. As it raised past the top of the floor, I felt something hit my heel. I tried to slide my foot forward, but my foot was now wedged between the top of the door we were rising past, and the floor of the elevator. This was why I was supposed to be facing the wall. It was the company's idea of a safety regulation.

The elevator snapped my foot in half.

The elevator did not slow down. It continued rising, and my foot and ankle were ground in between the elevator shaft, and the bottom of the elevator. There was probably about a half-inch space between them.

I screamed. Screamed. Screamed.

The controls to the elevator were on the far side from me. The guy who was running it stopped as fast as he could.

"Go back down!" I yelled.

He did, and I pulled my leg free. My foot was mangled. Blood was gushing. My work boot dropped off and hit the bottom of the shaft.

"Give me your belt!" I yelled at him, and he did. I don't know if I was wearing a belt or not, but I used his as a tourniquet.

At this point, I remember being pissed because I wasn't going to be able to play baseball that night.

By now, everyone in the store knew something was wrong. Luckily, one of the customers in the store--or maybe from one of the neighboring stores, I don't know--was an EMT, and he came onto the elevator, and did what he could for me until the ambulance arrived.

It was a small town, and the trip to the Emergency Room was short.

It was a small town, and word got to my mother quite quickly. She made it to the ER before I did. I saw her as I was rolled into the hospital.

"Are you all right?" I called to her as I went past.

She nodded.


Dr. Hahn made a show of examining my foot. He had been looking at it for two weeks now. The skin on the bottom of the foot was thick, he had told me on more than one occasion. We had to wait and see how much of it had died.

"There's a quarter-sized patch on the ball of your foot that's still alive," he told me, "and the three middle toes. The rest of the skin on the bottom of your foot is necrotic."

"You're going to cut my foot off?" I asked him.

He took of his surgical mask and walked up next to me. "What we're going to do is take away something that's now useless. We'll replace it with a prosthetic that will allow you to lead a normal life."

I looked at him, and then at the nurses and technicians in the room. "Will I be able to ski?" I asked.

Dr. Hahn looked a little flustered. "Um, well--there are items that can be used--outriggers and such--so that, yes, you will be able to ski, if you really want to."

I laid my head back onto the pillow. "Cool," I said. "I've never been able to ski before."

I know it was kind of cruel, but how many times do you get the chance to use a line like that?

This was on Friday. Since I was stable, it was decided that the surgery could be performed on Monday. I spent the weekend watching cartoons on demerol. Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner were never funnier.

I became an amputee on Monday, July 31, 1978, one day short of eighteen months after my father died.

I had a rough couple of years.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006


May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, but never catch up.

No, not that kind of toast.

The bread kind.

I cannot smell it without wanting to eat it.

My daughter's on a 'toast for breakfast' kick right now. So every morning, I'm smellin' toast.

Although if you ask me, what she's eating isn't toast. It's just warmed-up bread.

Toast is supposed to be dark, man. Crispy nut brown, with just enough char on the edges to give it that good smoky taste. If my daughter's bread turns light tan, she starts to complain. And don't get me started on english muffins. Either talking about them or eating them.

Regardless, I've had a bunch of toasty mornings here. Since I've already had breakfast by the time I get the kids up, I try to refrain from sticking a slice or two in the toaster along with hers, but it's damn hard.

Because whenever I smell toast, I want to eat toast.

Taylor thinks it's because the smell of the toast is remisicent of my growing up. I don't know if that's true or not. We didn't usually have toast with our breakfasts.

But it does fit into the evocative nature of scents. We seem to process smells differently than any of our other senses. I don't have the science to back this up, so I may be wrong, but it's my understanding that unlike the other four senses, we use a less 'conscious' part of the brain to recognize smells. We see a flower and recognize it as a lily. If we smell a lily before we see it, we think about Easter Sundays at home or Grandma's funeral, and then realize that there's a lily on the table.

About three years after my Dad died, my Mom was going through his closet looking for something. There were still a few articles of his clothing in the back of the closet. She moved one of his jackets, stopped, and started crying. "It smells like him," she said. I sniffed the jacket. It smelled of coffee, wool, pencil shavings and cologne. Unmistakeably Dad.

It's been nearly thirty years since he died, yet, if someone would put those scents (and probably a few others) together, I'm certain it would take me back to that day in February, when I hugged him for the last time.

What are the scents of your life?


Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Her name is Taylor.

She's a photo archivist, working on her Master's Degree.

She has her own business.

She's come to my town from LA via Toronto.

And she likes me.

We've seen each other several times at different functions the last year or so. We chatted afterwards a few times. I gave her my opinions on a few business-related issues of which I had some knowledge.

We emailed. We phone-tagged. We got together. We ate. We drank.

We kissed.

We kissed a few more times.

And then we said goodnight. No, really.

And now I feel like I'm in no-man's land. What do I do now? I don't want to be a moon-eyed stalker. I don't want to ignore her. I also don't want to appear to promise anything I can't deliver...I have two kids and three jobs. Right now, they all take precedent to any potential relationship I might have.

All this time I go around thinking I want to have some sort of relationship, and a potential one drops in my lap, and I'll be damned if I know what to do with it.

And to finish up tonight on a lighter note, I will post the lyrics of the song my son just made up. He and his sister have been singing all night long.
(sung to the tune of Queen's 'We Are the Champions')

I like bananas, my friend
And I'll keep on eating 'til the end
I like bananas
I like bananas
You have to peel them
But I like bananas.....
With no bones!

God, I love my kids.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Save Ferris. For Me.

I've been having a lot of trouble finding the movies I want to watch on DVD anymore. I guess it's just a sign of age. Both mine, and the ages of the movies.

'Big.' 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off.' 'My Favorite Year.' 'The Big Chill.' All classics. God, I feel old writing that. These were movies of my adulthood, now so far out of mainstream that it's a struggle just to find them.

Take, f'rinstance, 'Big Trouble in Little China.' Actually, don't take it. If you see a copy let me know. It's MINE!

Most movie rental places don't have them either, and if they do, they're so scratched up that they're nigh unto unwatchable.

Or, when I CAN find it, it's part of a two disc 'commemorative' package with crap I don't want.

I saw 'Silverado' on the racks the other day, but it was gussied up with a whole bunch of 'special features' that I'll never watch, and included a deck of playing cards. For $22.50. Playing cards I got. What I want is to hear Sherrif John Langston say "As you may have guessed, I am not from these here parts."

Playing cards? Why? It's not like they're even a big part of the movie. It might make a bit more sense to include them in a 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' collection, but THAT one's already going for $40.

And this is important. I try to watch one or two movies a week with my kids. Often, it's just the new stuff, and that's ok. But I want to show them the movies I've enjoyed in my life, to see them again through their eyes.

And, frankly, to show them how many of the current comedy bits have been ripped off.

So, I search. I managed to track down 'Ferris Bueller' in a grocery store. We watched it tonight. He looks just the same as he always did.

And it's only slightly disconcerting to realize when Ed Rooney says 'Fifteen years from now, when he looks over the shambles of his adult life, I want him to realize it was me that brought him down,' he's talking about five years ago.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Home Again Home Again Jiggety Jog

Kids are back. They flew overnight from Las Vegas. No, of course they're not tired.


So they're in the living room watching cartoons. It's nice to have the background noise.

Lt. Trouble's eyes are fine, although there was a scare when he and Fred were goofing around and Fred stuck his finger in his eye.

And to clarify: as far as I know, there's no X-Men 4 in the works.

Off to hug my kids again.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I Miss My Kids

As much as I'm enjoying the escape from responsibility for anyone other than myself, I miss them terribly. Here's why:

A few days after we saw the X-Men 3, I remarked on how convenient their mutations were. Like the guy who had the mutant ability to generate these wicked-looking bone spikes that slid right into his hands from his forearms. How fortunate for him, I noted, that they didn't exude from some other part of his body--like the soles of his feet.

Or his butt, my daughter suggested.

Or his nose, said my son.

So, we started coming up with some ideas of unfortunate, or simply useless, mutant abilities.

Here's the ones I remember:

  • The ability to turn trees into shoes
  • The ability to grow really thick back hair
  • The ability to turn milk chocolaty
  • The ability to turn clouds into buffalo (actually, a quite deadly ability, if you think about it)
  • The ability to instantly ripen bananas
  • The ability to turn any shade of blue into a slightly darker shade of blue
  • The ability to turn beans into raisins
  • The ability to know everyone's middle name
  • The ability to always have exact change.
Are all 8 and 10 year olds that clever?

I doubt any of these abilities will show up in X-Men 4. I'm really looking forward to Friday.


Monday, July 17, 2006

How Was Your Weekend?

Mine was pretty good, thanks.

First weekend without kids and STBEW in nearly two decades, in fact. Actually, the weekend sorta progressed in a sort of microcosm of my adult life so far.

Friday night, after one of my freelance jobs, I met up with a friend--a coworker, actually--at a bar. He was in a band that had just broken up, and was supposed to be playing at the bar where we were now drinking. He wanted to hear the band that was hired to replace them.

They were loud. Not as loud as the music in the The Michael Todd Room, but still too loud for the space we were in. So loud, that the force of the music was blowing people out the door. So loud, that you had to scream at the top of your lungs right into a person's ear in order to be heard.

As one song was ending, I leaned over to my friend and started yelling something in his ear. I timed it so that the last few words of the sentence were shouted after the band had stopped playing, i.e., in relative silence, so it sounded like I was just too slow to lower my voice.

So, when the song ended, everone around me heard: "...and the swelling's gone down, so it's much easier to walk!"

This is what I consider 'fun.' As does my friend.

As the next song ended, my friend leaned over to me and did the same thing, and the bar patrons heard: "...that's when I found out they weren't really women!"

After the next song, they all heard me say "...I told him the ketchup bottle wouldn't fit, but he insisted!"

We did this until his roomates threatened to leave.

I had fun. I drank four beers--probably three more than I've drank in any one night for quite a few years. And I discovered that, although it was cool for an evening, I don't want a steady diet of that sort of activity ever again.

Saturday night I had a date.

Yep. A date.

With a lady.

Her name is Taylor and she's a photographic archivist, specializing in the cataloging, restoration and preservation of consumer-based photography. In other words, snapshots. Of course, some of the photos are a century old, and it's a pretty cool gig.

She's not from 'round here (She's from LA via Toronto), and she wanted to do something near the lake. I took her to a place called Marge's, which has been around since before I was a sperm.

No, we're not in this picture. But that's the place.

Marge's was originally a beach house (just like all the other cottages that surround it), but during Prohibition, Marge turned her place into a speakeasy, bringing booze from Canada right to her dock, and brewing beer in her basement. After the Twenty-first Amendment was passed, it was one of the first places in the county to get its liquor license. It's been around ever since, with each generation adding stuff to the place almost like sediment. It's one of a kind.

We sat and talked, and then went to another joint for dinner. The food was good, the conversation better. And it ended quite...pleasantly. It was a really nice evening. One I hope to repeat again.

The third part of my weekend falls squarely into the 'not fun' category of adult life. Things like hanging out, having a few pops, being a goofball, going on dates, eating dessert before dinner, all fall into the 'fun' category. 'Not fun' stuff includes paying bills, flossing, getting the gunk out of the drain in the kitchen, and buying dryers.

Actually, buying dryers is ok. Setting up a delivery time is ok.

Dealing with morons who don't really care whether or not you've wasted an entire day waiting for a delivery that was promised but not scheduled is definitiely not ok. That falls waaaay into the 'not fun' category.

But let's start at the beginning.

My rental house had a washer and dryer in the basement. The landlord didn't even know they were there. He didn't care whether or not I used them. I used them. The washer works fine, the dryer conked out about two weeks after I moved in. Because of its age and condition (old and poor), I decided that any attempts to repair it would be at best futile, at worst, costly and futile. Which was not really a problem. I had a back yard, so I bought some clothesline rope and some clothespins, and just hung my clothes on the line to dry. I figured I had until probably October to find a good dryer at a decent price.

Well, one was found, and purchased, and a delivery was scheduled. "We could have it delivered on Saturday, if that's convenient," said the sales associate, whom I shall call Leon*

Well, I have a meeting Saturday morning, but I'll be home after eleven. Can we schedule a delivery for after eleven on Saturday? Otherwise, we could do it on Sunday.

"No, that's no problem," said Leon. "Saturday after eleven is fine."

Saturday morning at 8:30, as I'm about to leave for my meeting, the phone rings. Can anyone guess who was on the line? Can anyone guess what they told me?

Yup. My dryer was going to be at my house in thirty minutes. I explained what Leon had said to the driver. The driver explained that Leon's head was positioned in such a way that he could clearly see the corn he ate for dinner the previous night.

A few minutes later I get a call from the guy who schedules the deliveries, who confirmed the location of Leon's head vis-à-vis his ass, and tells me that the delivery needs to be rescheduled for Sunday. I'll get a courtesy phone call when my dryer is within two hours of being delivered.

This is a disappointment, but not really a problem.

It's not until Sunday afternoon that it becomes a problem.

Because I sit around Sunday morning, and most of Sunday afternoon, waiting for the phone call. At 2:40pm, I call them--I call them--only to hear that my dryer hasn't been delivered to the shipping docks, so it won't be delivered today.

How could it not be delivered to shipping, when it was on a truck Saturday?

This is when it really got ugly.

For anyone who works with customers or clients, here's a tip: If you've got an upset client on the phone, and you've boned him not once but twice, do NOT tell them there's nothing they can do. Do NOT keep repeating the same boilerplate response.

Because that's what I got.

Eventually, after going through three 'supervisors' and actually cancelling my order, I talked to someone who was willing to help. The dryer's getting delivered Friday afternoon. I wanted them to waive the delivery and installation fee, and they couldn't, but they are sending me a gift card that matches the value of that service, plus they threw in a one-year service agreement in free.

I would have preferred the dryer on Saturday afternoon.

But in the end, things worked out ok. Having been on Grand Jury, all my work clothes are clean. I did have to go out and get some underwear (boxerbriefs, if you must know), but I can deal with it.

Now what should I do with the sixty dollars?


*Because that was his name.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Another Inconvenient Truth

From Greg Harris at The Talent Show:

I hate to think that it's come to this, but it really does feel like the notion of making a ...cogent argument using logic and unquestionable facts seems...naive.

If you wanted to remind the world that 2+2=4, these days you might have to deal with the Arithmetic Study Society who insists that there's growing evidence among mathematicians that 2+2=5. We don't know for sure yet, they'll tell us, so until we've got all the facts, the brainless media will do their best to play the centrist role and think that saying 2+2=4½ is a responsible position. After all, they can't uphold their journalistic duty to avoid objectivity if they choose sides in political battles.

Of course, this just enables the biggest problem of them all : the intellectual laziness of the American public.

Finally. A metaphor that puts all this into context. Harris wrote this after reviewing Billmon's review of An Inconvenient Truth.

Which got me thinking about a post I wrote over on Burned Out Paranoid Democrat back in May of '05. The reason people keep disbelieving Inconvenient Truths is because someone else is always out there spewing Comfortable Lies:

...many people's vision of America is the one they learned from their sixth grade teacher. The one where we were always the good guys. The one where Pilgrims brought civilization to the savage Indians. The one where the cavalry always rode to the rescue. The one where Henry Ford modernized mass production of cars, making them affordable for everyone. The one where hard work will get you ahead, no matter who you are.

And there's truth in all those statements. But not the whole truth. They don't want to know about the America where we were sometimes the greedy, awful bastards. The one where the Pilgrims actively sought to destroy native cultures. The one where the cavalry knowingly sold smallpox-infested blankets to the Indians. The one where Henry Ford was a vicious union-buster and rabid anti-Semite. The one where no matter how hard some people work, they will find it nearly impossible to earn a living wage.

Painful truths. Ones that make people ask questions about their country. Difficult questions. And many don't want to do that.

So, with the help of spinmeisters, revisionist historians, and other nameless, faceless people, comfortable lies are created, and circulated. The internet gives them lives of their own. Fat, drug-addled radio personalities throw them out. They sound plausible, reasonable. And, they sound like the America their sixth-grade teacher told them about.



There really were WMD's in Iraq: Comfortable lie. The judges who ruled in favor of Michael Schaivo were activist judges: Comfortable lie. We're one nation under God, and that God is the traditional Judeo-Christian God: Comfortable lie. Homosexuality is a choice: Comfortable lie.

Reading the post, and the ones around it, it's hard to believe how much bullshit we've let get past us. How many lies this administration's pulled over on us, got caught doing, and yet they're still in power. So many progressives, liberals and Democrats are looking forward to the November elections, and I'm sitting here wondering what 2+2=5 crap the Rovians will pull this time. Has America been beaten up enough by these guys to act yet?


Tuesday, July 11, 2006


The phone rings.

That's ok. I was expecting the call. STBEW and the kids' plane arrives at Las Vegas Airport at 11:59 Pacific Time, 3AM my time. I told Lt. Trouble to call me when they arrived, just so I would know they're safe.

That's not the call I got.

"The plane's not here," was the first thing out of my eldest son's mouth.


"There's no information about the flight at all." His voice is precise, well-modulated. I recognize it immediately. It's his business voice. He's about to spring into action. Any second now, he's going to pull out his badge and start commandeering search-and-rescue flights. "Are you sure of the flight number?" he asks me.

At 3AM, I'm not sure of anything. So I tell him I'll get the information (it's in the office), and I'll call him from there.

There's got to be some misunderstanding, I tell myself as I flip on lights and dodge cats* on the way from my bedroom to the office. I find the itinerary, and call him back. I confirm the flight numbers and times, and he's adamant that there's no flight listed. By this time, my computer's booted, and I check the flight information online. It shows that the flight is landing. Still, the El-Tee says there's no such flight.

Turns out, my eldest son, battle-tested leader of men, can't tell the difference between the United Air Lines flights and the USAir flights.

I consider getting on a flight of my own, just so I could go out there and dopeslap him.

And, since I miss him, here's a bit from my 10-year-old son's standup routine:**

Does it bother anyone else that everytime you see a broomstick in the Harry Potter movies, it's always the fastest one ever? (adopting a British dialect): 'It's a Nimbus Three thousand--fastest ever built!' 'It's a Fireball--fastest ever built!' 'It's a stick with some straw on one end--fastest ever built!'
I'm guessing your shtick was weaker than that in fourth grade.


*Whenever I come out of my bedroom, they automatically think it's time to eat. Even if I just fed them.

**Yes, he has a solid five minutes. But what he really wants to do is direct.

These Things Happen

I've been away from the old blog for a while now.

My kids just left with STBEW to visit Lt. Trouble in Las Vegas.

Well, not just left. Their flight took off at 8:35 pm. 25 minutes late, due to thunderstorms in the area. About 2 hours ago.

And, of course, having my kids fly out when there's severe thunderstorms in the area doesn't worry me one bit.

So, for the past week or so, my attention's been solely on them. Blogging took a back seat, as did most other non-money-making activities, so that I could spend as much time with my kids as possible.

Not that I'll miss them, or anything.

So, I figured I'd come home and follow their flight online, with a flight-tracking website. But my internet connection's dead. Hm. And there's no cable. Hmmm. Which means that my internet phone's out. And I don't have a cel phone. Damn thunderstorm.

I wait a while to see if it comes back, and it doesn't, so I figure I'll go find a cel phone and call the El-Tee, just to let him know they got off safe (assuming they did--I'm not worried). I grab my keys, and head out the door, thinking I'll just drive to a store a couple of blocks away to make the call.

I admire good parking jobs. When someone parks their car completely parallel to the curb, and only an inch or two away, with the front wheels turned slightly towards the curb (in case it's hit from behind, it won't head into traffic). It's a sign of a good driver when the car's parked that way.

Of course, with that much attention to detail you would have thought the asshole would have seen he was parking in front of my driveway.

Seriously, it was a perfect job. So perfect, that I wonder if it wasn't put there deliberately. One car length further, and it would have been fine.

Now I'm without phone, internet, or transportation. I jot down the license plate number, and walk down the block to the intersection. There's a dive bar about 100 yards to the north, and another dive bar about 100 yards to the south. I figure one of them (or both) still have a pay phone. I call the El-Tee, tell him the phone may be down, but try nonetheless. Then I call the cable company, and get a recording saying they know the cable's down and will have it back on soon.

Then I call 911 about the car. I really didn't want to, but no one on my block seemed to know anything about it. While I'm on the phone, a fight breaks out between a whole bunch of women. Something about a car.

I'm not gonna tell them I think I know where it is.

It's just turned midnight. Right now, my kids are about to fly over Steele City, Nebraska. The car's been towed. I'm debating watching the entire flight, but I know that's really silly. I need my sleep.

Maybe I'll just watch until they head into Kansas Airspace.

It's gonna be an interesting eleven days.