Is It Finally the Right Time?…

I got home this morning after working an overnight shift at the grocery store, and after powering down a couple of mini-cinnamon buns and a glass of iced-tea, I checked my upcoming work schedule on the website…probably should have checked my sugar…but I saw an item that stuck out immediately…as part of my company’s community outreach, I found that I have been volunteered to work at an upcoming pet adoption show in June…

I love dogs…just about all of them…even the three that bit me when I was delivering packages…while I don’t necessarily love them…wasn’t their fault…well-behaved dogs come from owners who treat them well, and who give them the chance to inter-act with both people and other dogs…in the area I used to deliver to, there were 3 pit bulls…everyone has heard the horror stories about this breed…but these 3 dogs, all owned by separate families and adopted (rescued), were 3 of the sweetest dogs I had on my route…they had responsible owners who treated them well and gave them a chance to inter-act…

I thought that this day of service might also be a chance to adopt a new family pet…our family beagle passed away this winter…

Goodbye Bailey…You’ll Be Forever In Our Hearts…

…and to be honest, I still haven’t gotten over losing him…I’m still living in the house that Bailey owned…we had him for 14 great years…many nights when my wife was traveling and the kids were away at school, it was just me and Bailey…more often now, I think about another dog in the family… would we get another beagle?…something different?…can we afford another mouth to feed in the house?…afford the additional cost of vet visits and kennel costs if we go on vacation?…do I want to invest the time in raising a new dog the right way?…do we really need that Complication in our lives right now?…

We bought Bailey from a pet store when he was a puppy and his mark on our family will be forever…is it time to let him go and allow a new dog to make its mark on our family?…and in our kitchen?…our family room?…the office and the bedrooms?…get back to you on that one…

IMG_0142

“Excuse Me Sir, But I Am Not A Liar”…

Had a strange, somewhat interesting conversation with a customer at the market the other day. This customer was in search of a manager who he thought could somehow enable corporate changes in our policy of who gets carded when purchasing alcohol in our store. He found me instead…which is to say his dream of corporate change was about to head over the falls in a barrel…a cheaply one made at that…

…So this gentleman’s disagreement was that we were lying about WHY we card our customers when purchasing alcohol…I gave him the most obvious answers…the answers he was really entitled to…not good enough for him…he insisted I tell the truth…I promised him I was…not good enough…the real truth, like him, was out there, and he wanted that other truth…tiring of his personal agenda, I pressed him back to tell me why he thought we carded all customers…his answer was both simplistic and obvious…Captain Obvious-like obvious…his answer was liability

It was here that I decided I had enough of this conversation…of course we do it to reduce our liability…what company doesn’t put rules in place to protect themselves from liability?…he then went on a rant about how this country had too many regulations…how the population was too divided against itself…how there were too many hand-outs…our politicians were failing in their duty to us…he was really warming up now…and starting to Infect other customers happy little Saturday morning grocery shopping experience…time to change the subject back to his initial complaint…so I simply asked him if for some reason he had been denied a purchase in our establishment today…his answer was almost ridiculous when you consider all the argument he had put into it…he only drinks once, maybe twice a year…my first thought was that maybe today was one of those days?…a thought I kept to myself by the way…

 After a couple of minutes of back and forth I decided I had to politely end this guys dream…EA164E10-C2FD-4190-A954-F50535481935…one technique I’ve developed is to politely ask the customer’s name and shake their hand signaling my intention to move on and end a pretty much no-win circular conversation…but with this guy I felt a couple things needed to be cleared up first…after all I gave this guy a lot of time…so I made sure that he understood that his wish for us to change our carding policy would not happen, not even a little bit…and for some reason…using this interaction to improve my ability to understand other people’s motives…I was interested to know what this customer’s political party affiliation was, if he had one?…his complaints of too many regulations…of a nation divided…his objection to some, not all social programs (hand-outs)…of politicians who fail to do what he thought was right (drain the swamp?)…and his answer didn’t surprise me…

IMG_0142

The People I Meet…

 

The current job I’m in as a grocer allows me to speak with many people everyday …some I know already, some I’m meeting for the first time…and yes, of course there are some I wish I had never met… “I’m sorry, (insert sir or ma’am here) this is a grocery store and you might have to wait in a checkout line for a few minutes…what makes you think your time is so much more important than anyone else’s?”…not that I would ever say that…

…and of course there are a whole new cast of characters who have entered my so-called life…the nice lady who calls me sport all the time…I’m 58 years old for craps sake, nobody’s called me that since my early twenties…the nice guy who wore his New York football Giants jacket into the store everyday…haven’t seen that jacket since the Eagles won the Super Bowl…and then there was the pharmaceutical industry conspiracy guy who spoke in whispers and who told me he was being black-balled out of the industry by his former employer…he actually took his groceries out to his car and came back into the store to share more of his job history EA164E10-C2FD-4190-A954-F50535481935and his thoughts on what’s wrong with this country…this was at 1:30 A.M. and after letting him go on for a couple minutes, I finally had to ask him to leave the store…he was too strange even for me…

…and not to be left out…the folks who stop over from the nearby gym…who love to  Flaunt the results of their winter spent working out in various forms of dress and not so dressed to do their shopping after their workouts…with warmer months coming…and there’s really no way to write this without sounding like a creeper…but, I can only imagine what they’ll be wearing or hardly wearing into the store…

but those are just a few of the people I see…this post is about a young lady who is a imageco-worker that I’ve gotten to know because she works at our Customer Service desk which is also part of the department I work in…she told me one day this week that she was a volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and that after work she would be visiting the home of a critically ill child where, thanks to Make-A-Wish, she would get to tell this child that his wish of a trip to Disney World had been fulfilled…

I only share this story because so many times I might hear someone of my generation be critical of “those lazy, little snowflakes”…this person I’ve met shows that just volunteering and giving of your precious time can help make life a little better for those living in life-threatening situations…so next time you’re standing in a check-out line fuming over the few minutes it’s taking from your day…be mad at yourself for picking the wrong line…or you can use that time instead to think about what you might do to make life better for someone who may not be as fortunate as you…

IMG_0142

My Annual Physical And Prostate Exam From Ol’ Doc Hook…

I like my family doctor…genuinely seems like a nice guy…usually we have a good patient-doctor relationship…I don’t visit him much which allows him to see some of the older more profitable patients…and he keeps my required by him prescription rolling…unless of course I don’t visit him for my annual physical…which as it turns out, I’ve missed a couple with the Hook…though to be fair, it was only last year…the 2 years prior were on him…apparently he had other things to do…one year he even had me take my physical with his physicians assistant…and her trainee?…

I remember when we got to the part that involved a glove, some lubricant, and my prostate…she said she would have her trainee do this particular part of the exam…”Your trainee?…sorry mam, but what made you think I was even going to let you do it”, I protested…

…sorry, but Ol’ Doc Hook is the only one who gets to finger-diddle my prostate…if I’m paying full price, I want the headliner…not the back-up band…

So anyway, back in January, my pharmacy…those bastards…refused to refill my Dilantin prescription…ahh, seizures…forcing me to call ‘Ol Doc Hook’s office for a renewal, which of course…after a 15 minute test of my Patience spent listening to crappy music and commercials where they told me Patients Matter Always…did they mean patients or patience, I was no longer sure…they refused to do the one thing that mattered always at this moment in time…and they adamantly refused to do it too!…

“You haven’t seen the doctor in over a year…you need to have an annual physical done before we can refill it!”

A year?”, I scoffed, “To be honest with you mam, I haven’t seen the Hook himself in almost 3 years…he’s hardly ever there…”

…that snarky answer didn’t really get me any closer to a new script, so staring into a near-empty vial of my daily drug, I finally conceded to try and match my schedule to the Hook’s…or in other words, take whatever date they give me and shut-up about it…they all happily agreed I would be in on March 5th…renewing the prescription however?…no problem…all I would need to do was visit their website where I could request a refill, it would only take 24 – 48 hours to be called in..

…on the day of my physical, as I laid on the table, knees to my chest…my dignity and my pride left far behind in the waiting room …the Hook’s freakishly large, and in my opinion, under-lubricated index finger playing an uncomfortable game of hide-and-seek with my prostate…same place as always, Doc…Doc seemed to be mailing this one in…he wasn’t hitting me on the knee with his little hammer…not asking me to turn my head and cough…hell, he didn’t even check for a pulse…and when this sham of a physical exam was done, Ol’ Doc ordered some tests…

46405881-125E-4614-A87D-AA01EFA44B01

anyone reading this who knows me, and there might be 2 or 3 at the most, knows that I am in no way “giddy”…the photo below closely represents my outlook on life…okay, dizzy yes, giddy?…hell no…c’mon Hook, do your job…know your patient…I thought I mattered…

IMG_0142

#WeCallBS Movement Needs To Learn How To Play Politics…

I was happy to see this past weekend the public vigils and ceremonies honoring those who were slaughtered in Parkland last week…sorry, but what else can you call it other than slaughtered?…at the same time, as so many have regarding this and so many other things…maybe they proved me wrong about how long the Parkland tragedy will stay in our public consciousness…in my last post I made a point of writing that it wouldn’t take long for us to move on…to disregard any lessons or political changes that could have come from last Wednesday’s events…how school shootings have become the new normal…a senseless, but accepted part of our society…we all hold our noses and just move on…

this time it might be different…this time the students, not just in Parkland, but in many other cities and small towns, have added their voices to the national conversation over gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment…and to political campaign contributions and the National Rifle Association…and this is where as students, the #WeCallBS movement will find a massive hurdle…as strong as their will is…as loud as their voices shout…many are too young to vote…and that is absolutely the defining issue in the #WeCallBS movement vs. the NRA and congressional democrats and republicans…all of these strong young voices won’t resonate with the members of our congress because they are in no danger of losing their seat…losing their NRA money…because of a largely too-young-to vote movement…

If the #WeCallBS movement wants to make a difference it will need to have money and it will need to know how to spread that money around…just like the NRA does now to advance their warped view of the 2nd Amendment…Congress and the office of the President are up for sale…and no, it didn’t just start with this president and this congress…there is a saying that goes…

“To be the man, you have to beat the man”.

When it comes to gun legislation in America, the NRA is the man…they have the most money for buying votes…the largest membership, otherwise known as voters…and can influence any election, any ballot question, any vote by congress they feel crucial to their defense of the 2nd Amendment…they can financially support a candidate just as easily as run attack ads against those they consider a threat to their way of life…right now the NRA is the 800 lb. gorilla behind the 2nd Amendment debate…in the House and especially in the Senate…

#WeCallBS needs to have the ability to challenge them…financially and in voting membership…they scream they know about government…they now need to learn about back room politics and how to win and influence members of Congress…simply, they need to know which Senator’s seat…or which Congressman’s gun debate vote is up for grabs, and put it in their pocket, not the NRA’s…and when our leaders like Florida’s own Marco Rubio whose own seat is Encrusted  with so much NRA money say, “Let us pray.”…#WeCallBS needs to shout, “Let’s change, what’s it gonna cost us?”…

Marches on Washington, prayer vigils, and social media are great starts…those things alone won’t unseat a Senator, won’t change a Representative’s vote…#WeCallBS has to become more than just a movement to save students lives…they will need learn how  real politics works to silence the 800 lb. gorilla in the room…if #MeToo can effect change, so can they…

IMG_0142

The Parkland Tragedy…It’s That Conversation Again…

Another senseless school shooting this week…more screams from liberals for gun control of some kind whether it’s background checks or bump stocks or limiting automatic weapons or whatever…more replies from 2nd Amendment supporters and gun enthusiasts about how now is not the time to discuss guns in America, instead let us pray for the victims of this senseless tragedy…and they’re right about praying for those affected by Wednesday’s shootings if you believe it will help…but let’s be honest this time and just admit it…we’re all full of crap…

Do you really think this time next week that we’ll still be talking about Wednesday and the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, FL?…sure the kid will show up on TV at some point where he will plead guilty or not guilty or for whatever…and we might scream, “You miserable bastard, I hope they put you away forever!”…but tragically, the event will exit our consciousness as fast as it entered…and not a damn thing will change…I know it…you know it…Congress and the NRA know it…

Let’s face it…nothing will change until assault style weapons, bump stocks, background checks, all of it…are acted on by our legislative leaders…you know, the guys who don’t have the balls to stand up to the NRA…who continue to suck the golden teat of the NRA year after year…and who like Senator John McCain turn to prayer instead of legislative action…

“Cindy & I are praying for the victims of the terrible #LasVegasShooting & their families.”…

I only choose John McCain because his name is at the top of contributions from the NRA list…but what I would really like to hear John say is that while he is praying for the victims (in this instance Las Vegas) he is also committed to keeping We the People safe from events like Las Vegas…like Parkland…like Orlando …like Sandy Hook…like Columbine…#dosomethingforfuckssake…#ifnotnowwhen…that goes for all of them…reds and blues alike, because I’m sure there are some Democrats getting NRA money as well…we need to quit lying to ourselves…we need to assure We the People that when we send a child to school, or if we go to church on Sunday…we all get to come home the same way we left it…it really is time for changes…

If you listened to Number 45’s statement this past week, it was really from the heart…but it was also 6 1/2 minutes of nothing…of not taking a stand politically…of not challenging congress to grow a set of balls and stand up to the NRA and the over enthusiastic gun “enthusiasts” who have really stretched what “the right to bear arms” means…to not take the money from the NRA…to put the safety of We the People ahead of campaign contributions…like the $11 million Number 45 received during his run in 2016…or Senator McCains $7.75 million which puts him at the top of the congressional list…

I saw a comment from a reader of a different blog who wrote a couple of things that I think sum up why our attitudes about guns and the 2nd Amendment seem to never change…in response to the writer’s call for changes, he wrote…

…we need to have gun-free school zones…

…does anyone who is still reading this think that would have stopped anyone determined to commit mass murder…like Parkland…like Virginia Tech…like Sandy Hook…like Columbine…does anyone think a sign on the side of a road announcing a Gun-Free Zone is a proper deterrent to mass murder…the commenter also wrote…

…it’s why I carry a concealed weapon, it keeps the bad guys away.

if you see the flaw in the commenter’s logic, just go ahead and shout it out…if not here’s a hint…if he can’t see it, then how would someone bent on doing you harm be deterred?…listen I get it…if there are people in this country who need to carry a concealed weapon to feel safe, let them…but we need to find a way to do it responsibly and, sorry NRA’ers…there needs to be tighter restrictions…whether it’s expanded background checks…or bans on assault style weapons and high capacity magazines…and that requires work and action from a bi-partisan congress and a President who is willing to show the Courage to finally wean themselves from the NRA teet…#dosomethingforfuckssake…

IMG_0142

Goodbye Bailey…You’ll Be Forever In Our Hearts…

I’ve seen things this week I thought I would never see in my lifetime…about a week ago Bailey stopped eating his food so we figured a flavor choice was all that was needed…to make a long story short…Bailey turned his nose up at everything that we put in front of him…if you’ve ever owned a beagle or are fortunate to have one in your life now, you can imagine our Shock  since there’s not too many things they won’t eat and they will always let you know when it’s time to eat…always…

After a vet visit…a trip to the hospital for an ultrasound…multiple medications for pain from his newly diagnosed ulcer and pancreatitis…Bailey’s was now taking 7 different medications…I wondered if it was us who were actually killing him slowly…Bailey still had no appetite…no longer made an effort to get off his bed to greet anyone who walked in the room…his tail which always gave his happiness away no longer wagged…he just had the soulless and sad look of a dog who had nothing left…he could have been one of the dogs on an ASPCA commercial …it was heartbreaking to see him that way…

Bailey came to us as a puppy and has meant more to our family than we ever imagined he could…over the years he developed relationships with each member of the family…when my daughter came home from school, he never left her side…on nights when my son would fall asleep on the family room floor, Bailey laid next to him…my wife returned from a business trip?…he was first at the door to greet her with the happy tail…it also led to the question, “Why does Bailey always greet me at the door first?”…and when both the kids were at school and my wife was traveling?…Bailey sat with me…of course I also fed him so that probably had something to do with it…

Bailey looked and acted as if he’d given up…the hair on both sides shaved so they could do the ultrasound…he no longer had that signature hound bark…his huge brown eyes Bailey&ducksaw us, but failed to move his happy tail the way they did before…he would only take his food through a syringe we inserted in his mouth…he no longer told us when it was time to go out, walking had become difficult for him, so he mostly used a spot of linoleum flooring in the laundry room…we became so concerned about the direction of his health on Sunday that I stayed with him on the floor of our family room all night…

On Monday Bailey stopped walking altogether…he began panting as if he were gasping for air…we laid Bailey in an over-sized laundry basket cushioned by towels to make carrying him easier and rushed him to the hospital…they wanted to keep Bailey for the next two days to treat him around the clock…the vet who saw him thought he had no more than a 50/50 chance of making it through the night, but we felt we needed to give him that chance…

Sadly…very sadly…today we decided to let Bailey go…he didn’t respond to any treatment from the vet at all, looking weaker than the day before when we dropped him off…they let us take him to a private room where we could spend some time with him and say goodbye…we were happy when he lifted his head to look at us…but within a few minutes he began to moan and it became obvious that he was in extreme pain…Bailey raised his head and looked at each one of us…his pained and saddened look brought us all to tears…and it would be cruel of us to make him stay any longer…his end came fast and with so many more tears…a cruel irony for the simple life of a pet who brought so much happiness into our family…

I had always hoped Bailey would live a pain-free life and one day just pass in his sleep at home with us…he deserved to…it’s terrible to think of what his last week of life was like…the pain…the forced feedings…I often wondered this past week if he grew to mistrust us…

I wanted to post this yesterday, but it became too difficult to write it…as much as Bailey was a family pet, because of all those nights spent by ourselves…his morning walks at breakfast time and his treat and last walk of the night I always gave him…playtime and our wrestling matches for the one true duck he would never give up…he was mine…I was his…and even though this is the morning after, I’m still crying…still mourning his loss…struggling to cope with the fact I’ve lost him and in some ways failed him…he gave us so much happiness, and our lives were forever changed when he was with us…his sudden loss has left a hole in our family…one which will never be filled…

image

I’ve written other posts about Bailey in the past…I hope you’ll take the time to read them…

Bailey and Us…I Remember When

Bailey…Our Pet Store Beagle

When Bailey Lays Around the House…