Sunday, December 5, 2010

Still tired


So tired. I did my timecard yesterday - 3 days into the pay period and I have 48 hours! something is wrong here. That coupled with the fact that I'm still cutting down my meds (cut in half every month, in the home stretch now) and a grueling work schedule - and I'm pooped.

Friday I was lucky (?) enough to deliver the proposal to the client in Denver (and this is the NFL project in downtown Los Angeles). Denver was fine. Got it there 2 hours early & gave a Gensler guy a ride back to the airport - New to the firm/career & wondered if it will always be this bad. I told him I started in my twenties, that was 80 lbs ago, and then I told him I'm 32. You should have seen his jaw drop.

Taking Monday off - Sadly, my EP office called & it appears my device is sending him reports he doesn't like. Guess where I get to go on my day off - to my doctor's office in LA!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brilliant Idea!


I was bummed recently with trying to get the house refi'ed so I can get rid of any obligations I have with the ex. Its taken 4 months!. Seems mortgage company didn't like the language used in the paperwork and had lots of questions. Some I could see as they pertained to the settlement, others - a bit prying as they dealt with custody issues (and I can see how this affects my qualifying if I had payments). So back to my depression. . . it was further amplified as I asked the paralegal who dd the paperwork if I was vulnerable and yup - I was. You see, I did not seek half of the ex-wife's retirement account as we both knew I would not be able to qualify for refinancing the entire equity of the house. We both agreed that this was a fair resolution, though not reflected in paperwork. So I forgo the retirement AND I owe her 50% of the equity! Well - Once ex saw the appraisal, I'm sure dollar signs danced in her head (Lipo, boobs, facelift, travel, fly boyfriend out from England again). She had, in fact, inquired if I could actually access her retirement (I could but it would cost too much). So I was a bit nervous. I needed her to sign off on the amount I could qualify for (a difference of about $22K ) fast and I'm thinking she must be talking to others who are coaching her to screw me.

So. . . . While getting rid of gas at work (I won’t elaborate any more) it occurred to me how I should handle any possible “financial issues” with the ex –

If she decides to play ugly and ask for the entire 90K rather than the 60-67K I can afford (and she agreed to), I can counter with one of two things:

“Hey – you have legal first right of refusal on the house” – She can buy me out! (as she can qualify for a higher mortgage) Or -

I’ll just sell it (a hassle), but if she refuses to buy it that’s the only option, If I sell, it’ll only net her possibly 60 on a good day. Besides, if either of these two events happen, she will owe me the mortgage & taxes I’ve paid so far (as it contributed to her equity as well - about an additional 20K)

So I feel much better (both financially and physically) thank you.

Friday, November 12, 2010

exhausted


I'm pooped. I've worked 3 weeks in a row without a break. Weekends spent in Los Angeles, while tourists are gawking below are annoying.
I really feel used too. I don't mind the occasional crunch, but I have 4 people that feed me work. 2 are in Asia most of the time & their partners so you just have to kind of suck it up. They aren't the bad ones, its the senior associates (or Sr.Asses). They've got something to prove & "by god, their gonna prove it - through me!" I call one AssholeAmy & the other is DoucheDude. AA is anal to the highest degree. Her bunghole is so tight, you can insert charcoal & she'll shit diamonds. She means well, but she is basically an overachiever with no life so she takes on EVERYTHING in the office. Kind of like a high school cheerleader on speed. She makes changes upon changes and if your don't make the changes fast enough, she'll do it herself.
DoucheDude was named by others as he lacks common courtesy of saying thank you. He also has other character flaws like he promises things then forgets, or my favorite - work bombs. He likes to drop little annoying tasks one on top of another. I don't think he's malicious or mean, just careless in how his actions affect others. When he asked how my weekend was, He meant well. When I answered "shitty, spent it here - again". He had the perfect opportunity to say - "Sorry, I appreciate it". But he doesn't.
The fact that I'm paid soooo much less than before, and now my expenses are going up as I got to pay off the one who lied to and cheated on me. They keep telling me that my bonus is structured by how much OT I do. Well toots, I've got 20+ years experience and I know that in this industry, at this time, bonuses are like carrots to horses. I'm not keen on having one dangled in front of me, and a can pretty much tell when their blowing smoke up my ass, and frankly, I can't see 3 feet in front of me. I guess, whats worse is that bonuses are not paid at the holiday season - they pay at fiscal year end, in March. I'll wait to see if in fact there is any kind of renumeration or mentioning of my hard work at Christmas. If I feel their still lying, I'm letting those recruiters know I'm exhausted, er . . . interested.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My pledge as your friend. . .




1. When you are sad ~ I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.
2. When you are blue ~ I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
3. When you smile ~ I will know you are thinking of something that I would probably want to be involved in.
4. When you are scared ~ I will rag on you about it every chance I get until you're NOT.
5. When you are worried ~ I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.
6. When you are confused ~ I will try to use only little words.
7. When you are sick ~ Stay the fuck away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
8. When you fall ~ I will laugh at your clumsy ass, but I'll help you up.
9. This is my oath .... I pledge it to the end.

Why- you may ask??
~ because you are my friend.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weekend at Bernies - or my Vegas trip with #2

Anyone who’s seen Weekend at Bernie’s, this just about sums up my weekend in Vegas.

Yes – I felt like Bernie

Lets start at the beginning. Hoover Dam. I was last there as a kid. Despite being in Vegas every summer of my childhood, I can’t recall ever going. I can Gar-an-damn-tee you that my parents would not likely invest the .50¢ it probably cost back then to do the tour. As an adult I always wanted to go but my ex thought it dull, besides, it would take precious time away from the tables, free drinks and the gray haze of casino cigarette smoke.

So #2 & his BF helped me realize an item on my bucket list. Sadly. Now, due to my AICD, I can’t go below! SHIT!

So we walked across & it is truly an amazing experience. Very humbling to think of how they built this HUGE dam & the concrete is still curing! Its 600 feet thick at the bottom and just 43 feet thick at the top. Of course #2 & BF were more interested in the 5-man german bike team walking around in lyrca shorts looking like there smuggling plums in their shorts.

So onward to Vegas - but I had a surprise for #2. Because hotels never allow you to check in at a convenient time, I made arrangements for him to do Indoor Skydiving. He had a blast & actually did very well. So off to the hotel we go. Remember that $49.00 rate I got? Well, they tried to charge me $349. for #2's room. After a bit of arguing we settled on $79. for his room and he still got $60. slot credit, and a fantasy room so I thought it fair.

Due to his drinking and short attention span, the only casino games he latched onto was Roulette and both him & BF had fun & did OK. We took in Downtown one afternoon and they were not too impressed. Later we did Dick’s Last Resort for dinner. It was fun & the food was surprising good. They force patron to wear homemade hats with sayings like “I shaved my balls for this?” or “Dr. Phil makes me moist” Not exactly family entertainment, but we had fun!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1UjPYmWTdA&NR=1

Some observation –
City Centre is way too big. Very difficult to navigate. Also – I’m really getting sick of porn-slappers. I’m beginning to think they are specifically breeding them – You know, those short Guatemalans that slap the business card before they force it upon you at all the major corners in Vegas. I used to think they were all retired jockeys who didn’t make their weight class then said to hell with it & came to Vegas. Can you imagine what their employment review are like? “I’m sorry Hector, your slapping is not forceful & your not getting into everyone way enough to be effective, turn in your ill-fitting tee-shirt.”

All in all a good time, but I felt a bit out of place most of the time – A bit like Bernie.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Suprise at Mayo Clinic

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_sUy0EHSRyCs/S8OdbGX1NZI/AAAAAAAAH78/iaupXD4PSy0/s1600/bc+06a.jpg

While I was at the Mayo Clinic doing my heart evaluation, I agreed to meet meet up with an HCM'r and her niece. Since they did not have any email access & I didn't want to give out my cell phone, we agreed the previous week to meet at the Grand Piano @ 5:00 on Thursday.
If your not aware, the Mayo really several tall buildings, each added in a different decade. Tying the latest additions is a beautiful light filled atrium that rises 3-4 stories and is windows on one side and elevators on the back side. They have several Grand Pianos throughout the facility and the main one is in this lobby area & its not uncommon to have someone sit down & play. They also hire someone who plays standards & all the old folk gather around & sing along.
Anyways - Being 5 o'clock, the building was emptying out & doctors, nurses, and researchers were leaving. I sat down & waited for my new friend to show up. Her niece walked up to me and introduced herself and said that Mary would be a while longer. We talked & learned a bit more about each other and this large burly guy in green scrubs walks up and asks if he can play - SURE! Please do! we both said, and he played very well indeed. His first piece was Moonlight Sonata and as he was playing the second number, I glanced over and happened to notice that his scrubs were riding low and the back of his top was cresting his muffin-top. And there it was - A purple thong!
I guess my expression got the most of me as the niece noticed my eyes bugging out or some other clue that prevents me from becoming a professional poker player. She did a quick 180 and notice the same visual assault and commented that the colors clashed. It was difficult to keep from laughing, but we agreed he could wear anything he liked, as long as he played as well as he did.
I'll post more on my visit on my next posting.

Mayo - The results


So I met with the Good Doctor O, and I also did the Mayo cardio gauntlet. You have to train for this like a marathon - 6-8 tests in 7 hours (lost count) in the glass Hab-i-trail that is the Mayo Clinic.

So I'm down 20 lbs from my Myectomy in 08, I've also shrunk in height. Stats on Echo look excellent. Echo took 1 hour & 20 min. Another 30 to verify results. (they run less than a half hour at Cedars Sinai in LA). They now look at Strain, which is a new thing for us HCM'r. Not sure if this is new at other centers, but its the first time I saw it. They take a measurement of the heart muscle (inside & ext diameter) then model the thickness. Then they document the muscle as it flexes during the pump. They then measure selected areas and record how this area (vertical & horizontal) flexes. Now that they have a base map of these sections they can compare how these areas do over time. If the flexes less, there is more thickening and scar tissue. Dr. Ommen explained that they can actually see minute HCM traits before they become more apparent with traditional echo - but they need a baseline to begin with. Again, Its the reason to come to a research center for cutting-edge care.

I also did the exercise test and didn't do as well as I'd have liked. Couple of issues affected it. I have a horrible cold, a bad knee, and a paralyzed diaphragm. That coupled with beta blockers, and ICD and I performed at about 75% of normal non-HCM guy my age. So I got the usual lecture on Cholesterol (I'm normal - but my LDL is elevated), Need to lose more weight (no surprise), and need to get back in the gym (since my syncope in Aug I've not gone).

Good news - No surgery ! The Watchman device is overkill. Not an issue with me since my last documented Afib run in '08 and we're going to go off beta blockers slowly & see how I do. I'm currently on 150 a day (75 am, 50 pm) and were going to just 75 a day for 3 weeks and see, if things go well, then down to 25 and wait again. So now that I know if safe for me to go, I'm going back to the gym, Going to lose another 20 & get off those BB & see if I can do any better on my next visit. Its good to have goals.

There's a prince visiting and the place was abuzz, and this one tech, with the sweetest mid-western twang said to me when I commented on him - "Ya know, he's treated no differently than you, we just accommodate his security entourage - thats it, your just as special to us, don't ya know"

I needed that on this birthday!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Another device in me

http://www.atritech.net/animation.html

So I'm told I'm a candidate for a matchman device. This is suppose to reduce my risk of stroke to that of a "normal" person. Stroke is a very scary thing. Yeah, people make fun of it (me included), but seeing my mother with her entire left side paralyzed and watching her live the last 10 years of her life in nursing home makes me want to do everything in my power to prevent this. They want me on blood thinning meds, but I didn't like them. I'm already a slow clotter, and I've have cuts bleed for DAYS on these meds. I'm meeting my doctors at the Mayo in October to review if this is appropriate.

Get Away - Vegas!



# 2 is t
urning 21 in October. Thought I'd take him & his friend to Vegas to celebrate. I'm not drinking & I have no idea his abilities so this should be odd. I'll likely do my usual and wake up early, and be in charge of reserving chairs pool-side.
Got a great rate of $49. a night (Weekend!)
Now the tiny tiny print says this is good, one offer per person. So I booked one king in my name, and one double in #2's name. Let's see if this really does come true.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Passed out




Was at a lovely work-related rooftop event. Had a big mojito (and a coke, and water) and afterwards - I passed out. Now I have a shiny new shiner and a reputation! Not sure whats is up with this. I’ve made an appt. with Mayo in Oct. for my 2 yr review a week ago as I’ve not been feeliing chipper of Late.

My doctor wants to rule out electrical issues so tonight I download my device & tomorrow we talk. He was very concerned as I don't remember anything from the event - NADA - this is a sign of a concussion and a bit hard for me to take, but considering this black eye & red eyeball its very likely.

Somehow I made it to the train station from the event (I have no idea how), found the right train & and again passed out (i think). I awoke at the end of the line (5 stops passed my stop) at 10:30 at night. Train must have been sitting there for at least an hour. I had to take a cab to my station to get my car! Felt fine, but a bit dingy and $55.00 lighter.



For my co-workers who don't know of my HCM, I blamed low blood pressure, lack of food & and a really strong mojito. I was a bit shocked that someone from my work didn't follow up, but I really must have appeared OK But I have no idea & to ask makes me look like a real idot.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Its final

According to the judge, as of July 21, I'm a single man.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What a difference a week makes



I love my job.
I really like the company.
I'm so happy.

I spent the week in Seattle. The MotherShip called me to learn the inner workings of the firm.
Some key notes during my visit:
Bring gym clothes - theres a free 24 hr fitness across from the hotel.
Alaska Pale Ale in a planning meeting - It was 3:30. . .
4 Massive Starbucks coffee makers on each of 2 floors. . .
Real Half & Half in the fridge (I almost wet myself)
I'm encouraged to question authority, They call it Pushing Back.
There is a full-time documentary videographer on staff. As well as fantastically talented photographer.
There are no org charts - Lots of pie charts, process diagrams, flow charts. This is truly a flat organization. No one, not the board members, partners, lawyers, comptroller - no one has an office. Its very cafeteria style (open, long tables/desks).
They have a system for everything and if not, your encouraged to share ideas for creating what is needed.
On my last day, they cooked (in a small conference room) pancakes and had mimosa's.

I think I'll be happy here.

And you wonder why this state is having problems!


I'm an honest guy. I don't lie or cheat (like some people I know, er- married). I trust others as I think they should trust me.
Apparently - I goofed on my State taxes. Hey, I have no idea of what I did wrong, but I know it was an honest mistake. I got the dreaded letter from our lovely state franchise (like they want to replicate this mess elsewhere?) tax board. Basically they told me to compare my answers to there and you'll see the error. My mistake is for $14.46 - They list it as a estimated tax penalty. I know I'm being picky, but the language chafes me. PENALTY.

OK, I made a MISTAKE, an ERROR, I'm human. (ok, 99.98% human, the rest is thanks to Boston Scientific). I think what really frost me is that they are charging me $0.01 interest and fees. Yes, a P E N N Y. And it cost them $0.48 to mail this to me! I would have understood if they charged me a reasonable "fee" to cover their costs - Say $.50? a buck? two bucks?

Next year - I vow to make a real error - on purpose. I'm going to be off by $0.45!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I’m a facebook ludite


I admit I have but one fault (IMHO). I don’t really understand Facebook. I understand the premise of how I connect with others and see whats going on in their lives, but I’m also forced to see the soft white underbelly of humanity, and it sickens me. This afternoon I logged on (or is it logon? or Login?) to see something offensive on my wall . . .

“I FUCKING GIVE UP ON MY KID!!!!!!!!! FUCK HER SHE DONT EXIST TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This was one person’s rant to another, yet I can see it, and I’m sure if you accessed my page, this idiot’s rant would be visible for you to enjoy as well. Once I gained my composure, I wrote my mutual friend a PRIVATE email and let her know that not only do I know his name, his daughters name, and that he had the lack of decency to let the entire world know of his “issues.” I let her know that I hope that she never has access to Facebook or that her friends, family, school, or employer has access to view this jerks tirade.

I know that kids can wear us down, I know that life can be hard, but to put into words and share this WITH THE ENTIRE WORLD is plain wrong. Its not the language - Lords know I love a good cuss word, its the words that cannot be taken back, the image that can not be erase, the heartache shared and felt by millions but typically held privately. Also, to add insult to injury, this asshole has the balls to post 2 hours later that “I just scored 107,150 and earned a 100k Star Medal in Bejeweled Blitz! Here's a video of my awesome game.”

As quoted in Ferris Bueller's Day Off – I weep for the future.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Got a job!


After 6 months of unemployment, I finally have an offer. While it is not a great salary, and I’m taking a 25% hit, it’s a great job with a great firm that has a solid reputation. I’ll be their Markets Specialist – Kind of an odd name for the firm’s marketing director. I’ll be working out the LA office and doing pretty much what I’ve done in the past, Proposals, PR, and New Business Development. I’ll be working in concert with Headquarters in Seattle, so I may be traveling some. The bulk of their work is in China, so this may be interesting.

One of the odd perks and reason I decided to accept the offer (like I had a choice) was the fact that their PTO policy is structured so that they look at the time you’ve worked since you were 22. Therefore, I qualify for 4 weeks a year. Plus, I can bank & roll over half of that a year.

I’ll probably have to resurrect my freelance business again in order to repair the damage this unemployment has caused my savings account, but I look at this as way to augment my vacation fund as well.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Phone Play



You know I have too much fuckin free time when I do this shit -
I offer you an easy way to get folks to remember your phone number -
mnemonics!
(sounds like a religion for Kirstie Allie and Tom Cruise)

I found a site and put in my phone number - Out popped:

wino-Mark

whom-Mark

I-on-Mark

go-on-ark

in-on-ark

(I've elected to not post my area code)


And consider my soon-to-be-ex, I thought this was amusing:

wino-ma-75


Give it a go!


http://phonespell.org/






Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Elderly - Don't get me started !

If you know me, you know I’m an Ageist – I hate the elderly. I know, I know, one day I’ll be old you say. Well toots, No, I’ve got enough pills here to put half of Cucamonga in a coma. When I get to that point where diapers and counting liver spots is all I have to look forward to, then its time.

I don’t like the elderly. There, I said it. I don’t like the way they drive. I hate that they use carts in stores for 2 items. I hate walkers & canes. These folks block traffic on the streets and in the aisles of stores. Their slow, confused, and occasionally smelly.

Yeah, yeah - I know. It's not cool to complain about the elderly. But I'm going to Hell anyway, so screw it.

I just have a real problem trying to run out for a quick errand and being delayed by Ernie and Maude as forget which way they were traveling as they approach an intersection, or having to dodge Aunt Pearl in her enormous Oldsmobile as she attempts to park across three time zones.

The other day at the Gym I went in a bit later than usual. I forgot its Silver Sneaker time/day. I swear - it looked like Dawn of the Dead - All these old folks shuffling in, from the parking lot, the side walk, the street. Not one of them can figure out how to open the fucking door. Rather scary. . .

And don't get me started on going to the doctor's office. I have to see a cardiologist and some days it looks like God's waiting room. You can see the pity on their faces as they see me. I can see "he's too young to be here" in their eyes. (when in fact, some of these old broads may want to hook up with a nice young man like me with good insurance). I have to get that vision burned off my eyes.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It hurts to help

Part of me wants to say tough shit, part of me want to take the high road for the kids sake. part of me wants to do a wee bit of both.

Seem's ex-"better half" broke her wrist last night leaving a bar with her PIC (partner-in-crime) its pretty nasty and likely to require surgery. She called wanting pain pills and for someone to drive her car to her apt., also for the kids to rotate shifts helping her for the next day or so. (this is the second time in 6 months we've needed to retrieve a car at a Bar, first time for a "medical" reason).

When I had my open heart surgery & she left to go back and left me with #1 son (the alcoholic) as my attendant. I called her to inform her that #1 bought a case (24 cans) of beer and was intending on drinking them before we leave at 4 PM the next day. She said for me to have one with him. (I was 4 days post op).

I'm leaving it up to the kids to work out their shifts and I'm in no hurry to deliver pain relief . . .

I’m Ordained


In the big picture, Its part of my retirement plan. For now, My sis-in-law is getting married (3rd time - This makes for bro-in-law #14) and this prompted me to finally get ‘er done. I figure my weekends can be fun, full of food and drink & happy people. Despondent drunken bridesmaids are always a plus.


Retirement-wise, It was either marry folks or rob a bank - If I get away, I'm rich!, if I get caught - 3 square meals a day, just have to worry 'bout Bubba.


BTW - I won't do a Bris

BTW2 – Did you know my ordination allows me to absolve you of sin? Pretty cool perk !

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mom's Eulogy




My mom passed away a few years ago & it took me forever to get her grave marker done. Part of me was waiting for my dad to pass, part of me didn't want to deal with the final chapter of her life. Tomorrow, I get to visit and see the new stone. Its going to be an emotional day for me. She died quite fittingly the day after Mother's day. As a tribute to her I'm publishing her eulogy. Happy Mother's day.


Alma

First I want to thank you all for coming today. Mom didn't like funeral - I know that because she has lost many close friends and did not attend their services. I stand before you and apologize on her behalf. I don't why she never went. I guess on those days she could not do anything to make you happy, and as we all know, she lived to make others happy.

I'd like to share my memories of mom & how her life affected me, affected us all. Because I think a life should affect others. She may not have thought she did a lot, but in her own quiet way she did.

Born in 1920, the second of two children to Belle and Joseph Weisbart. It was in her early life that her father left, preferring booze to babies. Soon after, Belle, unable to afford the children, was forced to place them in an orphanage. I think it was for 2-3 years that they only saw their mother on holidays, if at all. Belle eventually got a job and an apartment so she was reunited with her children. My bubbe lived with us until she died in 1967. I don't think she would admit it, but I believe that my mom never wanted to be separated from her again. I'd like to think that now, they are back together again.

In my eulogy. there are 4 key areas that comes to mind when I think of her. They are Food, Humor, Wisdom & People


Food

I don't think there is a person here that wasn't invited to join us at her dining room table. It was build for 8, but often sat 20! Mom loved to cook & it was not unusual for her to spend days preparing food. When not actually preparing food, she would be sitting in her studio, making roses & watching those early day-time cooking shows like Julia Child or Graham Kerr all the while never taking a note. Later she'd try to recreate the recipes, occasionally with some sad results. If she couldn't dazzle you with taste, she'd go for the garnish. Thanks to her, I was the only kid at 8 that could make a radish rose.

As the youngest kid. it was I who got to observe her as she whipped up tuna salad in a scalloped tomato for Earlene, our cleaning lady. She'd be constantly describing what she is doing as if there was a TV crew in the kitchen, Earlene and I could care less how to properly seed a tomato. I'm not sure why, but she did talk all the time as she cooked. To this day, as I cook, I can hear her warn me “never to add hot liquids to cold eggs, or using seltzer water is the secret to making fluffy matzo balls”.

When I was little, I used to see her rushing around as guests were arriving and my Dad would be worried about her being barefoot! (this, from a man who's feet have never see the light of day) She'd turn to me and say that being barefoot puts her company at ease, its not so formal and allows them to relax more. Truth be told, her feet and ankles would swell from standing and cooking for the last 24 hours straight. She just couldn't get them to fit in the shoes she bought the previous week! I cook barefoot all the time now & often entertain that way. I' d like to think I'm giving my guests a more relaxed, informal meal. Radish roses & all!

I may not share any DNA with her but she taught me two important things in life. How to cook & see the humor in things.


Humor

Mom loved to laugh. April fools day in our house was taken very, very seriously. I'm sure My sister Jody remembers the pancakes that couldn't be cut as there was a neat circle of flannel baked into each one. I, on the other hand, was suspicious from beginning by the shear fact there was a hot meal in the morning! She's even pulled a few pranks on the neighbors as well. Again, I apologize if her antic got out of hand. I'm sure Phyllis can remember back in the old neighborhood, the magical orange tree that somehow grew baseball sized oranges overnight, It was upon Phyllis' close inspection that she saw the words SUN-KIST stamped on each one. I like to tell people the story about the scar on my eyebrow & how she reacted when that accident happened. She was in her bathroom shaving off her eyebrows and painting them on (that was, apparently, the thing to do in 1960). anyway, She had like 4 or 5 painted on when Jody brought it to her attention that I had fallen and was bleeding, a lot. With Phyllis, not home to drive her, She picked me up & ran several blocks to the doctor’s office. They weren't sure what to make of this frantic lady with multiple eyebrows and the bloody kid. Age did no slow her down in the humor department. Later in La Mirada, she and Sherry would get dressed up on the weekends, only to crash wedding receptions at Los Coyote Country Club.


Wisdom

As I became an adult, she never offered any advise or voiced her opinion. Perhaps she didn't think it mattered, but I would seek it just the same. In the 25 years of our marriage my mom has never once "butted in". She kept her opinions and thoughts regarding my marriage, kids, jobs, heck, anything, to herself. Not even a facial clue to tip us off! I tried to adopt that philosophy with my kids as they reach adulthood, and its not easy!


People

She loved socializing with others and made friends easier than most. Even in the nursing home and without a voice, she could be found introducing new patients to each other. She loved playing bingo as all the others would eventually nod off & she'd always win. To all of you who visited her, I do appreciate it. I know in the last year or two communication was very difficult and it was hard to see her once bright light go dim, but your visits truly brightened her day. Thank you.

In Closing

Erma Bombeck once said about death: "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could proudly say, "I used everything you gave me."

I'd like to think my mom used all her talents as well.

Thank you all for being such a special part of her life.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Should I be worried my son's on TMZ?

I happened to be flipping through the channels one night & their was a blurb on Danny Devito at the Coachella Art & Music Festival. Seeing that #2 just returned, it piqued my interest to watch.
Imagine my surprise when I see #2 about 3 rows behind Mr. D. (just a little to his left).
I did what any parent would do - I recorded it.
http://www.tmz.com/videos?autoplay=true&mediaKey=33b85613-6ccb-4287-9718-e2583d61f4ef

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Now I know why all the little people win Academy Awards

It ain't easy! I'm sure all the editors, sound editors, gaffers & sound and special effects earned every penny they made & deserve every bit of recognition.

I did a cable cooking show (5 minute meals with Marc - Eat your heart out Rachel Ray) about 25 years ago and it was rough then. It hasn't improved a lot since. Back then I just came up with the meal, brought all the stuff, made it and smiled. Someone else was in charge of credits, sound, lighting, music & such.

#3 son was suppose to help & did a lot of the camera work. but when it came to editing and stuff (where he shines) - he lost interest. Not sure why or what happened - I swear I was not a diva! Suffice to say I needed to learn very quickly how to edit, add sound. fades, titles, etc. Not an easy task for an old fogey such as yours truly. And to add insult to injury, I had a host of issues that popped up whilst #3 was in school that I had to deal with. Like the fact that all my raw footage looked like crapped (software issue). Then, when they were converted (over 65 files), these 65 files lost sound, think silent movie. All the witty repartee & Bon Mots disappeared faster than donuts at Kirstie Alley's house! So I had to think fast - How can I fix it? I did what any sane director/producer/writer does, I used plan B.

Plan B was a campy voice over of the whole thing. I basically made fun of myself. Think of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 meets Yard Crashers. It came out OK but I had to edit out an awful lot & it still was around 4 minutes (the amount of time casting can actually view it and not be board). While I wish I could have done more, I had a deadline & a pot roast to baste.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lights - Camera - Action


Well, its no secret I watch TV. This form of entertainment has taught me many things. I especially like to watch people cooking and transforming things. I think the cooking is from my mom. As the baby in the family when my mom’s drug use was getting the best of her, I was the unlucky audience to her Julia Child.

I’d sit at the counter and watch as she explain (in detail) how to coddle an egg, or fold in a meringue. Not sure, but I think I was the only kid in 2nd grade that could de-bone a chicken.

As for Home improvement shows – Heck, anytime you can make something nice in a half hour – whats not to like? So it may come as no surprise to some that I’ve tossed my hat into the ring and applied to HGTV to be an All American Handyman.
I’ve had no luck in landing a real job, why not?

To get this far I had to fill out a 5 page detailed application that asked some very personal and insightful questions. Yes – A bit of soul-searching was in order as well as photos of my projects, and of course, myself. Now, by the time I was done with the application and all the legal disclaimers it was over 13 pages. I know the competition is steep with professional actors & pretty boys, some of whom may have actually used a tool. But I figured why not!

Imagine my surprise when I get an email from casting asking for a reel. Well, Us guys from Cucamonga don’t have reels, so now I get to play director as well. Heck this may turn out to a new career – I’ve always wanted to direct.

The Evil HR People

I’ve learned over the years to never trust HR personnel. It took me years to understand that their kind, nice, and sincere attitude was only a fa├žade. Same goes for Recruiters, which I believe are the evil cousins of HR personnel.

When your employed, HR folk find out things about you they really have no reason to know. I’m talking your medical history, credit scores and your GPA in school. Now for the most part this is fairly harmless information, but some have been less than professional and leaked this information. Take it from me, I know.

Recruiters are even worse. They advertise perfect jobs and extol the benefits to the unemployed like a donut maker at a Jenny Craig meeting. You tailor your resume to suit and then wait. And wait. And wait. They never respond to your follow up emails or phone calls. Never. The only time you hear from either recruiters or HR is when you get a rejection email (I’ve had 5 in one day!) and they either never reference the company nor the position so you have no idea of who or why. Its very depressing to send your resume with read and respond tagged to your email so you can see if/and when they read it and see the following - "Your message was deleted without being read on Saturday, April 24, 2010 8:10:31 PM (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Taxes – Bloody Taxes


Its not enough that I have property taxes due the beginning of April, but was also blessed with that annual event that happens on the 15th – The Blood Letting of America.

This year, I tried to complete my taxes several different ways – single, married joint, married separate. There is no escaping it, I had to pay. Seems I was too busy to run a side business this year & all those wonderful deductions fell to the way-side. Like watching money blow away. That, coupled with my two-legged deductions that keep getting older and therefore, no longer useful in that department – It’s a no win situation. I wish someone would tell Uncle Sam that the ex-deductions still live here and have to eat.

Olive oil update

Yeah, the crime of the century was actually a non-event. Seems Son # 2 used it and some salt as some form of facial rub. Relax Bubbelah, I’ve replaced them. Now, if I can just get to the bottom of the colander caper. . . .


My Electrician


So I go to see my electrophysiologist (some called them an EP, I call him “the electrician” as opposed to my cardiologist – “the Plumber”). He’s the guy that monitor’s my heart’s electrical activity. Its really a very interesting visit in a scientific kind of way. They put a paddle on my upper left clavicle area where “my little friend” is implanted. (Visually you can’t see it, but you can feel it.) then they test it by surging power to it. You can feel your upper Atria and then your lower Ventricles vibrate. You do get dizzy as your brain is not getting 100% of the blood supply due to your quivering heart.

Then they interrogate it. Yup, they do a data dump & it spills all its information. So my Doctor says – “Oh looky, you’ve had 8 episodes of SVT (Supraventricular tachycardia) in the past 3 months !” now for all you lay folk out there, that’s a super fast heart beat. Usually they come on fast and if they don’t convert to sinus (normal) then they could trigger my device to kick in and either shock me, or monitor & wait. Amazing. Like a lifeguard. That and the fact that I’m Bluetooth is cool! I have a device at home that allows me to send a data dump if I’m not doing to well. I’ve done it a couple of times. It also reminds me to do it, should it sense something. It has this 4 inch light that glows off & on. Like the mother ship wanting to communicate.

So back to Dr. Bendarhi’s comment. “8 episodes - Have you’ve been under any stress lately?” “Yeah, you can say that.” was all I could muster.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Not a good day

I’m usually an upbeat person. You know, the kind that sees the glass is half full. I’m not the cheery, wide-grin smiles 24-7 type, but it takes a lot to get me down. But yesterday, I got the news that the position I really wanted, they decided to “go in another direction.” Also, rather than any of the key personnel I interviewed with giving me this news, they had the department secretary call. So sad.

The months of unemployment were going to end. The position had a nice balance between creative & administrative. The folks seemed very nice. This opportunity was much needed as I face my father’s rapid decline. He is barely able to talk anymore and when he does, it doesn’t make any sense. Usually, he recognizes me when I say good-bye.

I think what also is getting me down is that this is the second company to post ad, interview candidates, THEN decide that they don’t need to fill the position. Not sure if its poor HR management or what. Its not only depressing to me but their own employees as well! And with this most recent news, I’m left in the dark – I have no idea what going in a different direction means. I can assume is cheaper than hiring a new person, but that’s it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

She stole my Extra Virgin Olive Oil!


Anyone who’s been through a divorce knows the trials and tribulations I’ve had to endure. Its bad enough to find out that the person who bore your three boys doesn’t like you, let alone find out a week before your birthday that she’s been having an affair for the last six months.

But this latest assault just rubs me the wrong way. She stole my Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

I’ve allowed her 100% access to the kids and house. I think this is fair as our youngest is still in high school and currently our divorce is on hold until I can get a job and pay her for half of the house. She only moved out two months ago (to a place I call – Bachelor Arms) so this latest “issue” is a surprise to me. Am I her personal 7-11?  I think what I don’t like is that fact she didn’t tell me. No note. No email. Nadda.  It wasn’t until last night when I was cooking a dinner of sausage & peppers with linguini that I realized the EVO was pilfered.

I have no idea what else is missing! I’m sure if someone is going to stoop so low as to steal your olive oil, that they may have also purloined some other staples from my larder as well. I’ll likely happen upon these missing items when I’m cooking again. It was like this about a month ago when I noticed that she took two of the smaller strainers. (again another pasta dish).  I’m not being petty, I have said time and time again, she can have what ever she wants, I want her out of this house ASAP and did anything I could to make this happen (and that took her over two months to do).

I would not think of stepping into her domain and lifting her pickles. This behavior is strange indeed.  She did leave a post it the other day stating she’s taking a mixing bowl (I was out running errands). When I saw her later that afternoon (she had come by to walk the dog & pick up #3 son) she then asked if she could take it. I said it appears you were going to take it regardless, based on the note. Truth be told, I was probably still stinging from the prior colander incidence. 

I just think I deserve some respect. Is that too much to ask for? 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Plea for a job

The following is an mass email plea I sent a couple of weeks after I was let go. I was really tired of annoying HR forms & stuff. It did lead to a few calls which is good.


Fellow Marketers and Colleagues:

Well, the economic times have finally hit me and I’m resorting to a mass email campaign. While these are generally reserved for school fundraisers and foreign lottery scams, I guess this is a testament to the times. It occurred to me – We all work in the same industry and are members of the same group. If I needed to let my brethren know of my plight, who better than you?

I promise no chain letters or threaten harm to you or your loved ones if you don’t forward this to 5 others.

I was "let go" last week and to date have contacted 48 A/E/C firms. Have you any idea how mind-numbing some HR portal are? My favorite ones have like 20 screens (and a counter to view your ”progress”) where they force you to enter every job you ever had for the last 10 years. While that alone is not tough, its doing it in the format they require – 2 digit months/days and 4 digit years, supervisors name, phone and email (did they even have email 10 years ago?) and other such important and obviously vital details. Then, at the very end, you are allowed to import your resume, which you’ve just spent an hour recreating for them!

Only to have them respond in 2.25 seconds with “while your qualifications are impressive. . .”

Firms seem to have had a great deal to say about me! Remarkably, Firm A makes an identical assertion. Firm B also express this view but does not limit its opinion to my qualifications. Rather, it considers my “credentials and qualifications” to be “impressive.” Firm C takes a different focus, indicating that my “background is impressive.” According to Firm D, my “resume is impressive.” Furthermore, Firm E feels slightly more strongly, stating that they were “most impressed” with my resume. Clearly, there is a consensus among many firms that I am “impressive.” Although there is some disagreement about whether my background, credentials, qualifications, resume, or a combination of these are impressive, it is obvious that I am impressive on some level!

So I ask you, Could you open your outlook, your rolodex, that massive stack of business cards on your desk that tests the elastic strength of the rubber band that holds it together, and possibly send my resume to a few of your friends – You know, the one that complained that their too busy to meet for drinks. Or the one that cancelled dinner at the last moment because they had to finish that proposal.

And what do you get for this lofty, time-consuming gift? Karma. Sweet, Beautiful, Karma.

You see, I was just like you last week and I know if I had contacted myself last week with this request, I surely would have done so! I appreciate your help and I hope that I never have to reciprocate, but if requested, I will.

Wishing you a lovely and blessed holiday.

The Amazing One, Marc

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sleep disorder testing - What a frick’in nightmare!

When I was first investigating my heart condition, I had to endure a lot of other tests. This is one of them. 

Arrive at the “sleep center” at 9:30 last night. They didn’t start to hook me up till 10:30. By that time I was really tired & looking for a good nights sleep (despite having 26 wires connected to my face & head, leads on my chest, stomach and ankles – 2 each). I too, wondered “what if I have to pee?” and they showed me a quick disconnect device (which I never got to use). By 11 (I am trying to stay awake for the instructions . . .) its finally lights out & testing time.

In the dark they have camera’s watching me, microphone recording me (snoring and other bodily noises I assume) and for the next 15 minutes they use an intercom to give me instructions . . .”roll eyes up, now down, grit teeth, wiggle toes, blink.”

Once I get the clearance to sleep - I can’t. I am aware of every frick’in noise in that place! Noisy ac, the sound of a candy wrapper down the hall (through a very heavy door mind you) a jet-driven toilet that I swear could swalllow a small deer, the weird CRUNCHY pillow, etc. Some time around 1 am a loud voice comes over the intercom (they assumed correctly I was barely awake) MARC, TURN OVER, WE CAN”T GET A HEART BEAT! I literally did a 180 in the air above my bed. And landed on my back. Sometime around 2:30 the heavy door swings open (slamming the chair next to it) and bright light fills the room. Nurse Racket decides to fiddle with the electrodes on my ankles and once she satisfied with her elaborate taping job, she leaves slapping her hands together like a baker getting flour off her hands.

I not sure if I ever went back to sleep. At 5:30 the daytime staff arrive (for what I ask, this is a sleep clinic!), coffee is brewed and at 5:45 they barge in again. Within 12 minutes, they rip the tape & electrodes from my body and I'm out the door "ready" to drive home. Blink Blink.

Once I get home I realize they didn’t rip all the stuff off (including her salute to ankle taping) so I have to tear it off myself, cursing my hairy ancestors. Then I discover the lovely use of putty and Vaseline used for the connections on my scalp (12 of the 26 leads). Needless to say, now I understand the instructions to rinse and repeat.

So how was your night?

Bad Interview

Now, mind you, I've interviewed all my life, I average 2 a year while I have a job and significantly more when I'm in between gigs (like now!). I've had bad interviews, horrible interviews, I even had a guy die on me once. but this last one was the worst. 

Meeting was at 1:00 and I arrived at the golden hour of 12:45. This allows me to see the employees at their lunchtime best (and identify if they are a cup-a-soup crowd or a subway crowd). The office is not an office, but a house, next to a small (but busy) regional airport. Every two minutes the entire structure rattles and shakes as tiny 4 seater planes barely clear the roof. The odd part was watching the employees as this is happening. Aluminum bullets loaded with aviation fuel are literally 5-10 feet above their heads and their discussing Lady GaGa's Grammy dress as if nothing is odd. 
The waiting room is not a lobby, but a converted mudroom and it already contains a "reception" desk. 

My interview was with the VP and he was late from lunch. He arrived somewhere around 10 after and we proceeded past the kitchen to one of the bedrooms which serves as his office. Now this house was converted to an office sometime in the 60's but it STILL had 60's space/rocket wallpaper! It also contained two desks. It seemed odd that a VP would share an office, but then again, at least it didn't have bunk beds!

He sits down and the very first words out of his mouth are - "I have no idea why Mike sent you here" (always a charmer this guy). He mentions that according to my resume, I've never worked in this industry and I quickly point out that in many of my jobs I was new to the industry and this allowed me to bring a fresh approach. Apparently, he's not looking for fresh. He wants someone with a golden rolodex, ability to talk the talk, and willing to pay for client's lap dances at the many fine establishments in the area (where I'm sure they have a tab).

Suffice to say this last interview lasted all of 8 minutes. I was outside ducking airplanes at 1:20 pm. I then went to the Nursing home/Hospice to visit my dad for a more uplifting experience.

Oops

True story - 
Just got off the phone with my sister who live in Oregon. My sister is 6 years older and my parents first born. I was adopted & came last in the line-up. Suffice to say due to age difference, my sister & I really didn't have a relationship until we were adults. 
One of the things we like to remind each other is how much my sister is like my mom & how I lucked out on that gene pool. Case in point. . .
Yesterday my sister & her neighbor decided (on the spur of the moment) to go to the local Y and go swimming. (I was always envious that she can do laps for an hour, while I'm lucky to actually do A lap!) Anyways, seems they decided to go to the local "alternative grocery store" after the swim & grabbed her cloth shopping bags from her trunk. She mentioned when checking out that the bag boy seemed a bit odd, but they chocked it up to the large quantity of raisin bran they purchased. Well imagine my sister's horror when she brought the bags into the house & was emptying the bags and found their bra's and panties in one of the bags!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Little Background

Thought it might be useful to put a wee bit of background on me and why I started this Blog. Number 1, to vent and help me stay sane, and Number 2, Well, if it helps you in dealing with a similar situation – Great. And, if you are seeking new inspiration and ideas for a television show – Good Luck!

Perhaps the easiest way is to start from today and go back a few months. . .

Today is Valentines Day 2010, and the 2nd anniversary of my becoming bionic. You see, I have an AICD (http://health.howstuffworks.com/aicd2.htm) in my chest. It prevents me from SCD - Sudden Cardiac Death. I’ve been lucky that it’s never fired, but it has taken control and monitored a couple of situations.

January 1st, my father went into the hospital for a Gall Bladder/EColi Infection and recently has been transferred to a nursing home/hospice. He’s 92 and has dementia. He only knows me about 50% of the time when I visit him.

The day after Christmas, my wife of 28 years moved out (at my request). For more on that, see October. I lost my job December 3rd. As we all know, this recession has hit the A/E/C (architecture/engineering/construction) industry very hard and my prior firm was just not very well diversified.

In October, I found out my wife had been having an affair for the past 6 months. This confirmed what I had suspected. Sadly, I found out a week before my birthday (Happy B-Day!) but couldn’t address the situation until after my #2 son’s B-day as I didn’t know how this was going to play out. Perhaps the worst 3 weeks of my life.

Also in October, I celebrated the 1st anniversary of my Septal Myectomy (http://www.mayoclinic.org/hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy/treatment.html). I had found out a couple of years prior, that I had HCM (http://www.mayoclinic.org/cardiovascular-disease-rst/hypertrophic.html) and thought I might be able to escape surgery, but realized that Summer the medications I was taking were not doing the trick and surgical intervention was necessary. Sadly, there are very few surgeons experienced in this and I wanted to go to the best and that led me to Dr. Joe Dearani at the Mayo Clinic.

So for the past 6 months, you can see I’ve had a lot to deal with!

Aside from that, Some personal stuff - I’m the father of 3 boys (#1 is 24, #2 is 20 and #3 is 16) all living at home. You can find me at the gym M-F for about an hour & a half and I'm home before the sun rises. I consider myself a bit of a renaissance man as I like to design & build things. I did my pool, backyard & outdoor kitchen myself, and I love to cook (desserts especially).

I’ll be sharing bits and pieces as they become relevant. Until then, I welcome your comments. Thanks for allowing me to vent.