Friday, June 27, 2008

LOL More Flags, More Fun...

The Verizon fun isn't quite over yet. With them, it never really is.

I got the account squared away, and the customer rep told me how to add the second line to my online account. I followed the steps to the letter of the law. And this is what I got (with three attempts, so far.):

A New Category!

Hi folks, ya gotta love this story. It actually covers two people. I think we'll file this under Dangerously Clueless. Check it out here

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I just wonder about something. When one gets hired to go to work on a Tech Support desk, do they take you inside and do something to your brain?

I mean, imagine you are choking on a chicken race to the hospital and when you get there, they treat you by handing you a book of chicken recipes.

That's really the level of response that seems to come back every time I contact a "Help" desk.

I once thought about becoming a Help Desk Analyst. I figured I'd have to be studying a long time before qualifying for that job.

Maybe not?

Out On The Verizon...

Being that I am a male, I have a genetic predisposition for exaggeration. You know, as in the 300-pound tuna I claim to catch is more likely a 5-pound bluefish.

But this is not an instance of complete exaggeration. This is a true, documented event. There will be some slight embellishments, which will be noted throughout. Be very afraid.

I plugged a phone into the second phone line in the house. I picked up the phone to dial and was treated to ear-shattering static (embellishment). I then began my ordeal.

I called 800-427-9977, which is the customer service number I was eventually able to extract from the Verizon website. I had to navigate through 10 steps on the site to get that number (embellishment).

I called the number, and was greeted by a lovely, warm female voice. This automaton inquired as to the purpose of my call. Once we came to our joint conclusion as to who I needed to speak with, "she" transferred my call. The line rang once, and then disconnected. I called back, and surprisingly, was greeted by the same female voice. We went through the same process, and again, 1 ring and disconnect. This went on until the fifth try when I actually got connected to a female voice belonging to an actual human being. Said human being told me I had reached the wrong place, and that I needed to call 800 275 2355.(not an embellishment)

Commence dialing 800 275 2355. To my utter shock and surprise, I was greeted by the very same female robot! Our reunion did not go well. We went through the foreplay and she sent me on my way to the repair center. I was treated to a repeat of the 1-ring-disconnect process 5 times. Each time I called back, I played footsie with the robot. At one point, when she asked me what I was calling about, I asked for a salami sandwich. She couldn't understand that (not an embellishment).

Upon reaching the next level of human contact, after 20 minutes, I was told by the human lady that I had to go outside the house (in the rain, not an embellishment) and plug a regular phone into the "interface" attached to the side of the house. Believe it or not, I actually had a "regular" phone in the house! I went outside onto the squishy lawn and found the interface. I had the foresight to bring my Phillips-head screwdriver with me (memories of prior experiences, mind you). Happily, I found that the screw in the interface was a flat-head screw. While I was readily available to find a regular phone in the house, a regular screwdriver was another matter.

I found one eventually, in the draw with the kitchen utensils (such a better place to keep one than a toolbox). I made it out to the "interface", talking to myself at this point, and opened it. I plugged the "regular" phone into the line and got the same ear-shattering static from a few hours ago (embellishment).

So now back to my automaton. I went through the dial-foreplay-1-ring-disconnect process. 9 times. NINE TIMES. Imagine what a stud I was feeling like, NINE TIMES in an afternoon. On the seventh try, the automaton told me her first name, and by the ninth we made a dinner date for Saturday (embellishment).

Now the steam is blasting out of my ears (not an embellishment) and oh man, I am ready! I am going to give someone a miniscule piece of my fragile mind. And just at the moment, the sweetest, most Grandmotherly voice answered the phone that didn't disconnect this time! I was totally disarmed and deflated, and I humbly and quietly told her everything I had done, and that I still needed repairs. I do not, however, need a date for Saturday night (embellishment)

Verizon told me that I am scheduled for repairs tomorrow, between 1 PM and the year 2015 (embellishment). I hope they fix it so that I can use my other line to stalk the automaton (not sure about this yet...)

The Grandma asked me something about Verizon FiOs, but I think not. Cablevision is my provider at the moment, and I only have to make 3 attempts to buy my Pay Per Views before I get to watch one. I don't think you can beat that.

Oh and Blogger STILL thinks I'm a spam-bot. Maybe that's why Verizon's automaton was so mean to me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Things I Missed

So ummm...

  • When did conversate/conversating become English words?

  • That group that gave Dina Lohan some sort of "Mother of the Year" award...There was something being passed around at that party and as soon as I get an ounce or two my legs won't hurt anymore.

And TV used to be like this:

...that was good. I liked that. No problem here.

But now we have this:

Do I really want to see someone that close? I mean it's ok when they're somewhat attractive and hygienic, but I'm getting nervous...

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I guess reading someone's Blog can be annoying when there's no rhyme or reason. I have been so random in my thought processes lately, and I feel like one of those drunken storytellers at a wedding.

I was thinking about all the kids in the family, and how they behaved through the whole death and funeral situation. The kids range in ages from 9 to 23; 16 kids: 4 boys 12 girls.

My thoughts drifted to my 9 year old daughter. The day that Pop died, about 8 of the kids were here at the house too. Naturally, there was a lot of crying and sadness. My 9 year old was the first one to ask if she could go up and say goodbye to Pop. I told her that would be fine, and walked her up to the room. One by one, the other kids followed suit, in their own time. Slowly but surely, things started settling down. The kids started talking, and the chatter turned normal. Eventually the silliness started, so we know those kids were ok.

It was cute, though, a little later on. I noticed that 9 year old wasn't around. Of course that was a little cause for concern, but not alarm. I just wandered through the house to see where she was.

I went to Pop's room quietly, and realized she was in there. I stood by the door and watched her. She was simply browsing all the items in the room. She was by herself, and just picking things up, looking at them, and putting them back, like she was "straightening up" the room, you know? No tears, just quiet time. I let her be.

So funny how you come to realize that kids really are people, too. They have their own mannerisms, personalities and ways of coping with things. It's kind of nice to learn that. We start seeing the fruits of our labor. Not bad.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Starting Line...Again

This week took a lot out of me! There was a lot to follow up on with the funeral: paperwork, thank-you cards to write, etc.

And it's time for a rearrangement of life in general, as in "the real world is calling." I own my business, and the best way to define that is, "no work, no money." So the business beckoned with a lot of overtime; time to make things right and new with the world.

Which brings me to this point. Something just isn't right here. The week before Pop passed, my kids' Mom was involved in a car accident. She's fine but there appeared to be some serious damage. The insurance company had a body shop on recommendation, so off the vehicle went. I'm seeing tens of thousands in bills there. Yay!

At the same time, the air conditioning in my Explorer decided to retire, and we were moving into the first delightful heat wave of the season. I figured that was easily 80 or 90 grand at least.

Well, today was the wrap-up of the auto horror show. First up was the Explorer. Went in, got that taken care of. $60 bucks. Not 600, not 6,000. $60 bucks. I actually asked the guy, "What's the catch?". No catch. Hmm...

Then off to the body shop.

Again, all sort of damages...I was thinking second mortgage for that. I know there's insurance, and I only had a 500 dollar deductible, but still. Well, the total was 2900 dollars. I was charged only $500. No sneaky add-ons, no "extra's".

I was definitely off-balance, that's for sure. I had that "waiting for the other shoe to drop" thing going on all day. But, no sneaker avalanches. Nothing. Free and clear.

Well, not exactly. It's me, after all. Things are out there reminding me that I'm still me, and my world is still Stupid.

  • I bought a tea kettle for the stove. It's a 3-quart job, and I brew a ton of homemade iced tea. Only problem is, if you fill this thing more than halfway up, when the water boils, you get a geyser of hot, steaming water shooting out everywhere. Yay me!
  • We had a short power-outage overnight. Short, as in, just long enough to make sure the alarm clock was set to the wrong time. Woke up two hours late. I don't smile a lot when that happens, but I did resist the urge to launch said alarm clock across room.

  • Blogger still thinks I'm a robot that posts SPAM. They are very dumb.

  • Stopped by a client's home last evening. She had made a ton of cornbread and gave me a piece to take home. I love, love LOVE cornbread. So do my kids. They ate it while I was at the body shop. All of it. Damn kids.

So things are sort of getting back to normal, see?

I'll be by to see you all. You were missed.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Pop Update June 8th

We all envision things in our life going according to at least some sort of plan. And the best times in our lives seem to be when those plans are fulfilled.

My buddy went to his rest yesterday afternoon. And while this could hardly be viewed as a joyous event, it was at least a happy and peaceful resolution to his long struggle.

Pop died here at home yesterday, June 8th, 2008. It was somewhere around 3 PM. The two daughters who have been involved with him since the whole thing began were able to be here with him, as was I.

After returning home here Friday evening, I spent the last two nights in his room with him. Sleep was scarce during those hours as his condition seemed to deteriorate rapidly. Sunday afternoon he asked to use the bathroom. I realized just how much he'd declined as lifting him showed me just how much weight he'd lost. After he was done, I sat him on the bed and gave him a cold drink. As he drank that, I turned on the television and the Yankees' broadcast was on. Yankee ballgames were among the last of his life's pleasures that he still enjoyed. He looked for a minute and then asked to lie down. As I got him situated in the bed, he asked me to remove some pillows so that he could lie flat. I did, and he said that he was comfortable. I asked him if there was any pain, and remarkably, he said no.

Then something went wrong. I saw a marked change in his condition. I don't know what caused me to realize it, but I'm grateful. I was able to get his two daughters to the room in time. I told them that if they wanted to be there for the end, it might be time to come into the room. And there was no time to spare. As the three of us joined Pop at his bedside, he closed his eyes and took his last breath. It was very peaceful, and he did not appear to suffer at all.

So that was it. A very quiet ending to Pop's time here. We were concerned that the Hospice care people would come today and recommend he be cared for in an actual facility, which really wasn't what anyone wanted, but would accept. I think fate took its place here and put an end to the need for that kind of decision. So be it, and for the best. Pop is at peace now, and I believe his whole family can accept that it was time for the pain to end.

I don't think I could have asked for a better ending to the story.

Thank you all, so very much, for the kind words of support, friendship, caring and love. We're in a quiet holding pattern, as we have to make arrangements for his wake and funeral in another state. The kids are all here (Pop's grandchildren - my nieces) so we're all just taking time to relax and prepare.

As is the case with them, I wouldn't have wanted to do this without all of you. Thanks again, and see you soon.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


Right now it's a little bit before midnight. Yesterday, I took Pop to see his Oncologist for probably the last time. The CAT scan was taken a couple of weeks ago, and the results weren't good. The cancer is out of control now. It's taken over his liver, and it's returned to his lungs as well as his bone. His doctor thought we would tell him the news, but I thought it best if the doctor, Pop's daughter and I all sat down together to talk about it.

And so it went. Pop took the news without saying too much. The Oncologist told him that further treatment with the Tarceva was counter-productive now, and that it would only make him more ill and uncomfortable. It was a rather unceremonious end to a very good relationship with that doctor.

It's a very surreal experience, sitting with someone and listening as he is told that there is little, if any, hope, and that from here on in there is nothing more that can be done. It's hard to watch someone receive a death sentence, but it's even worse when it's a family member, and you were holding out hope that your care could matter in the prognosis. You think you can make magic, and it's terrible when you realize that isn't going to happen.

So here we sit, just he and I. He's sleeping most of the time. The cancer is visibly taking him down now, and he's lost most of his strength. He has to be lifted and assisted with most everything, but the medicines seem to be keeping his pain at bay for now. His breathing is very labored, and he has occasional moments of discomfort, but they seem to pass. Drugs are merciful that way.

This is one of those times where nothing is certain. By all appearances, this is a short-term battle now. No one with any authority would say what kind of time is left. His care will be transferred from the Oncologist to the hospice care professionals now. The paperwork is due to begin Monday morning, and the sooner, the better.

There's just so much to think about.

Blogger Idiots

Funny thing. When you allow a process to be completely automated, you lose some control you probably don't want to lose hold of. When I think of Ford putting Microsoft-based programming into some of its cars (SYNC), I couldn't come up with any reason that would make me avoid Ford more than that. I don't want Microsoft even remotely involved with something as vital as my car.

When I came to the world of Blogging, it was through America Online's "Journals". I'd seen lots of blogs in various places, but I figured since I was paying for it, I'd have a little more control over the editorial process. Eventually, AOL's journals became yet another of the many AOL disasters, and I came to Blogger.

And I have to admit, the functions were superior, the layouts a lot more imaginative, and the editorial policy at Blogger was very hands-off. I became a big fan.

Maybe it's the timing, but of late, I have lost a lot of love for Blogger.

Then I found this. These are normally used in the comment area of some blogs, but I found a word verification in my publishing area a couple of days ago. When I investigated, I was told, "Your blog appears to be a spam blog."

Yeah. A guy writing updates about the last days of a cancer patient would most assuredly qualify as spam. It appears that Blogger is as capable of employing idiots as America Online is. Now I have to wait for one of the Geniuses to "review my blog" to determine that it isn't, in fact, a "SPAM blog".

I would imagine there are lots of spammers out there posting stories about a family member who is dying. Sounds reasonable to you, right?

As a sidenote, someone mentioned to me that this situation is possibly a result of someone "flagging" my blog as spam.

When I think of the quality of life of someone who would look at this blog the past couple of weeks, and use this time to carry out their own pitiful agenda, I'm so glad that I don't have that kind of cancer in my life. See, that's the thing about vermin, they don't care if your loved one is dying, they'll attack and feed anyway. That's why vermin is always better when it's eliminated.

Anyway, thank you for indulging my little rant. I have such a low tolerance for morons as it is, add a family crisis to the mix, and I become downright maniacal.

And if this Blog was flagged, I add this little message to the Flagger:

You're pitiful. Enjoy your worthless existence. I'm sure you're a delightful soul with the social value of lice. Take care, and thanks!

Pop Update June 5th

I had this posted on my AOL journal the other day...

Today the world is looking a little bit different for my family and me. We have to take what has happened, and channel it all the most positive way we know how.

Pop got some bad news yesterday. Basically, the cancer is out of control now. It didn't really come as a surprise, but bad news always hits you hard no matter how well you were prepared or how much the news was expected. His daughters took the news especially hard because they are fairly optimistic about life in general, and sometimes it's hard to reckon with the inevitable.

The next move is to get him up to see his oncologist tomorrow morning. There obviously will be no more call for his services, as we are looking at this situation in terms of the best palliative care possible. A cure is no longer an option, nor is remission. The goal here now is to make him as comfortable as possible for whatever time he might have left.

I'm thankful, though, that there will be an opportunity to assist in this comfort. I'm sure anyone who has been involved in the home care of a terminally ill patient would be able to tell you that it can be draining, both emotionally and physically, and there certainly have been times when I have not been at my best, nor at my most charitable 100% of the time. I've had moments of impatience with him, in that he often was his own worst enemy when it came to his care. He would get the advice from some of the best in the business, and completely disregard it. He would then impose on those people to make it all better for him, despite his actions. And even with the professional training they've had, they sometimes found it difficult to remain patient and understanding with him.

In other words, there is a chance to let this story come to its inevitable conclusion, but with a happier ending. And for that I am grateful. I've had my eyes reopened, I've had my attitude adjusted, and we are going to forge ahead and give Pop the best that is available to him for the duration of his life. I love my children more every day for their resilience. It's often forgotten how disrupted their lives have been through the past 9 or 10 months. They've stepped up and done the job. It's even more remarkable to think how well they did when you consider their young ages. Again, something to be grateful for.

We no longer have the prospect of some miracle cure. The miracle in this case will be in how little the man suffers until his days on earth come to an end. I believe that we must be the miracle workers who provide that peace and comfort because it's all we can do.

Thank you all very much for the kindness and support that has come our way throughout this ordeal. Maybe, if you have a minute, you could ask for some assistance and strength to come our way because we're realistic and know that there are some tough decisions to be made in the near term.

I'll keep you all posted.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

This Boy's Request...

When I was a boy, a very kindly nun taught me something. She told me that we could ask people to pray for something, even if we didn't want to say out loud what it was. She called it a "Special Intention" and that when we asked people to pray for that Special Intention, God would know what it was.

Most people who know me, whether through this blog or in my life know that I haven't completely surrendered my boyhood. And it's that part of me that's going to ask a favor. A friend of mine is having some trouble at the time being. She's someone who will never truly understand how she has come to brighten many a day in my life, and that's ok. I know it.

As I grew from boy to man, I sometimes questioned God's wisdom, His decisions, His way of doing things. But recently, thanks to two other very good friends, I've found my way back to the relationship I had with God when I was a boy. I know that He will make this situation right, but as the nun told me, He might have to be reminded of the importance of this intention through the power of many sincere prayers offered on behalf of that intention.

I have an immense respect for this woman, and part of that is the respect of her privacy, which makes this request one for a "Special Intention." Please take a moment when you have one, and add your prayer for this request. The world needs her goodness for a long time to come, and I know this will be right in the end, with the help of those prayers. So please, I'd really appreciate it.

I want my friend to be ok.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Driver's Guide, Chapter One

When you start out doing something like this, it's not as simple as
it seems. Writing is never simple.

I figure this project is something that would be better in an interactive
style. Maybe we can get some feedback from people. Maybe there really
are legitimate reasons for some of the things we see The Ungood
Drivers do. Maybe there's a perfectly sound explanation for that guy
who's backing up in the left lane of the Expressway. Maybe there are
people who've been taught that Stop Signs really are optional.

But this can also be a source of some good, common sense advice, and
maybe we can even get a little input from a few genuine experts.
I'm not an expert, but I believe that at least where driving is concerned,
I'm pretty well-versed. But I would love to get this going as a means
of addressing a real problem.

So let's start with a few basic tips and see what people have to say.
I think the following are some generally accepted points and principles,
so it's a good start.

The Basics

  • The common automobile comes equipped with 2 or 3 foot pedals. The
    one to the far right is the gas pedal. We only mention that because
    we want people to know that it's ok to occasionally use that one.

  • When the traffic light is working, it's performing the function of
    guiding traffic flow. It is not some sort of modern art to be
    admired for hours. It's not going to get any greener. Drive please.

  • Despite rumors to the contrary, Stop and Yield signs really aren't
    optional. And by "Stop" the idea is, you stop. You're
    not being directed to make everyone around you slam on their brakes
    and make those pretty black marks on the pavement.

  • On a multi-lane highway, it's a generally accepted principle that
    the left lane is intended to be used by faster-moving traffic in order
    to pass slower-moving traffic, which, by default, should be traveling
    in the right lanes. If people are required to use the lanes to your
    right in order to get by you, and you're puzzled by the horrendous looks
    those people are giving you, here's The Clue of the Day: You're
    in the wrong lane! Move To The Right!

    I think that's good enough for Chapter One, no? Let's get some ideas
    here, folks.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Driver's Guide

I am always so surprised at the quality of drivers in these parts. I am not very nice when it comes to drivers who are ungood.

Yep, Ungood.

Ungood Drivers are people who just drive badly all the time. They have not caught on to the fact that there are other people populating and driving upon the planet.

No one can blame someone for making a mistake. Mistakes are deviations from normal, acceptable behaviors, and they happen to everyone. But when you're so bad at something that your "mistakes" mean you occasionally manage to do something right, there's cause for some review.

Now as short-fused as I am behind the wheel, my impatience for ineptitude really disappointed me. I was raised better than that.

It is time for me to face my intolerance for the Ungood Drivers. There are ways to work around problems you might have with other people, such as mine with the Ungood.

So this guide is my first outreach attempt to those who forgot the "education" part of "Driver's Education".

So stay tuned for the first version of the Driver's Guide for the Ungood

Contest Contest Contest

Jaime Chase is offering a gift certificate to MY online t-shirt company as a prize. She's holding a contest on her site and the winner gets the certificate.

Jaime's blog:

My t-shirt (yes, I make t-shirts and yep, I sell them online) site is:


Go play on Jaime's blog. It's way better than playing in traffic.




Someone, somewhere, is suffering worse than you are. Doesn't mean your pain doesn't count.

That's pretty true, right?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Stripes And Stars

The dishwasher door, if you leave it fully open, hangs about 9 inches above the kitchen floor. Funny thing, that's just about the height of my shin. And that only matters when the two meet in a dark kitchen.

  1. I should close dishwasher

  2. I should turn lights on in the kitchen before walking in there

I think though, that the jolt I got set something off in my brain. I heard the voice of a Muse.

Just a fair warning :)