Friday, July 3, 2015

Vigilantes at ToledoTalk?

I don't spend much time on FaceBook, but today I was bored and so spent a few minutes browsing around. I was surprised at what I found.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mom, Money and Charity

Last Tuesday I was minding my own business and about to freshen my morning bourbon glass, when I found Mom on the phone arguing with The Bank.  Wondering aloud what was up with this deal, Mom told me she was trying to find out the balance on her checking account.  I told her I could help with that, and proceeded to go online, logged in to The Bank and displayed Mom's account.

My very own dear old mother is in the red.

Banks live for crap like this.  The overdraft fee is something like $25 per item, and once the account is listed as overdrawn, everything bounces like a super-ball.  Everything but the bank's fees, that is.

So I grabbed Mom and took $500 cash out my secret emergency cash fund (also known as mattress money) and headed down to The Bank, where we made a cash deposit into Mom's checking account.  The Bank tried giving me a hard time about depositing the money, but I had Mom there so as to make things official.  We then went out to lunch.

When I got back home, I printed out the last 60 days of activity and passed the print out over to Mom, instructing her to list everything that hadn't cleared the bank.  While she was safely occupied, I logged into her account, downloaded the last 60 days of transactions into a spreadsheet, and started trying to make order out of chaos.  In the middle of this Mom showed up with a list of outstanding checks, which I entered into the spreadsheet. 

The result?  The account is still in the red.

By this time The Bank had closed for the day, but that gave me time to see just where all that money was going.  One word: Charities.

These blood suckers call during permissible hours and plead their case with more skill and urgency than any downtown panhandler ever dreamed of.  They send junk mail by the pound, complete with empathy inducing photos illustrating the importance of give, give, give.  And because Mom has a tender heart and wants to help, she writes them a check.  The thing is, one check won't do it.

Give them one donation, and they immediately hit you up again for another donation - because their particular cause is so important.  And Mom can't remember that she already gave them money, so she writes another check.  And another.  And another after that.

And so, you see, Mom is dead broke for the month of June.  I don't mean just a little broke, I mean dead and damned broke.  So broke that I had to go down to The Bank the next day and put another $100 cash into the account to keep more checks from bouncing.

That's a total of $600 in two days to put the account right.

I've managed to impress on Mom that charities are completely out.  No more charities.  None.  Then I started a 'do not mail, do not call' list.  We'll see if I can get them to back off.  If they won't, I don't quite know who to appeal to, but I'd think the Ohio Attorney General might have some influence in this area.  But then again, maybe not.

I blame myself for this one.  When I answer the phone and find a charity on the line, I tell them to put us on their 'do not call' list, but evidently word has gotten out because they are very quick to hang up when they discover Mom isn't there.  One lady kept calling and would hang up when I answered the phone.  I should have watched the mail better, and I didn't.  I could have watched Mom's account a little better, and I didn't do that, either.

I also blame the charities, and there's quite a list of them.  They aren't asking for a small donation here or there; they want all the money, and they want it now.  They've got an emergency, and they need money.  Bastards.

I wonder if any of these charitable organizations are willing to help a former donor in need?  Somehow, I don't think so.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Silver Lining

During my bout with cancer my weight went from 305 to 220, where it tends to fluctuate between 215 and 220.

So I'm going through my closet and separating my pants out by size.  This means I have to try every pair on and decide if they go into the way too big pile, the a little bit large but they'll do pile, or the these fit pile.  I planned to have a too small pile, but I can't find anything to put in it.

I know things have changed when I found a pair of pants that I knew were too small for me, and they fit.  Not snugly, not suck-in-your-gut fit.  They just fit.  That's a silver lining.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

PET/CT Scan Update

On Monday, May 4th, 2015 I had another PET/CT scan for multiple reasons.  One, my radiation therapy doctor wanted to see how I was doing, because if the cancer came back, now was the time to do something about it.  I got the results on May 11th, and with one tiny exception I'm free of cancer.  The exception is the salivary gland on the right side, which shows an abnormality.  The sawbones thinks this is due to being bombarded with more radiation in 7 weeks than most folks see in a lifetime, and so is not worried.  So neither am I.

I'm still recovering from the treatment.  My sense of taste is about 75% normal.  Beef, for instance, doesn't taste good to me.  Ice cream doesn't taste like much of anything, and I can't taste the hot fudge on a sundae at all.  I suffer from a lack of saliva (dry mouth), so bread or bread like products are inedible for me.  This includes crackers, cookies, cake, pie or anything remotely similar.  I couldn't choke down a saltine cracker to save my life, and pills are extremely difficult to swallow - although I've learned that taking pills with milk makes it easier.

I'm cold most of the time; it's hard to stay warm, even at 70 degrees.  I suffer a nagging backache and general muscle aches that occasionally make me reach for the pain meds.  And that's all the bad news.

The good news is that I can go out dancing with Main Lady, I can do housework and general housekeeping chores.  I have a circle of friends that are glad I'm on the sunny side of the lawn, and I'm able to use my experience to give other people a little encouragement.

And that's the latest.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Yesterday (May 4th) was Star Wars Day.  May the fourth be with you.

Man oh man, is that bad.  Today is a little better, and as the day grows older I'm predicting it will be a lot better.  Today is May 5th, you see.

May the fifth be with you.

Happy daze!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Local Bird Cage Liner Does It Again

Our local scandal sheet is the Toledo Blade, a newspaper who's flair for creative journalism occasionally reminds me of News of the World. This is one such occasion.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Spring has sprung.  The current temperature is 30°, and the weather nit-wit predicts a high of 54° and a low of 42°.  This is not the new normal.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Book Announcement: Aviatrix: First Woman Pilot for Hughes Airwest

You know what really pisses me right off?  Sexual harassment.  When I started teaching ballroom dancing back in 1973, I was sexually harassed by the gay guys that worked in the studio.  I was 21 at the time; what did I know about gay men and harassment?  Nothing.

Getting right to the point here, a lady I know has just released a new book on Amazon that's worth reading.  Aviatrix: First Woman Pilot for Hughes Airwest by Mary Shipko is an autobiography about her career as a commercial pilot, overcoming discrimination and dealing with sexual harassment in the airline business back in the bad old days.  This one is a good read.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cancer Recovery: Week 17

This may be the end of it.  I had a PET/CT scan along with a flexible fiberoptic laryngoscopy (they shove a narrow tube up your honker to look at your throat) which concluded that:
  • The tongue is clean.  No cancer on the tongue.
  • The lymph node on the right side of my neck may be cancerous.
  • There is a shadow of some kind on one lung, which the doctor says is nothing to worry about.
So it's off to get a biopsy of the lymph node, then wait around for two days for the results.  Today the results came in.


So I am now officially cancer free.

Now all I have to do is wait for the deleterious effects of the radiation and chemotherapy to wear off, and I'll be back at my usual bar stool.

Thanks to all of you for helping me through this.  When I was at my worst, I'd re-read your comments and my spirits were lifted.  That helped.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cancer Recovery: Week 16

Here's the latest health news for those of you bored enough to read it.

I had a Positron Emission Tomography - Computed Tomography (PET/CT) scan last week, and the results are in.  Back in June of 2013 cancerous lesions were discovered on the base of my tongue.  These cancerous lesions have vanished and the tongue is completely clean.  The lymph node on the right side of my neck is still questionable; it may or may not be full of cancer, so I'm having a biopsy done on the 21st at the uncivilized hour of 7:30 AM.  The biopsy involves the CT machine, needles and drugs that make getting dressed up in an angle robe, tying a bedpan to your head and riding around on a gurney playing an imaginary game of polo seem completely normal.  I suppose this is not the worst experience possible, but given a choice I think I'm a little old for polo.

If the lymph node is cancerous, then it's off to surgery to have the fiendish thing removed.  With a knife.  I'm told this operation is not a walk in the park, but compared to many of the other things the surgeon does, it's pretty simple.  I'll be in the hospital 2-3 days.

Then there's the lung.  The PET/CT scan revealed a dark shadow at the bottom of my left lung.  I'm told that this may be nothing at all, or it may be a train wreck with attendant haz-mat spill, or something in between.  No one can tell exactly what it is without use of a knife on yours truly, which I'm trying to avoid.  The future is very uncertain here, and there is a likelihood that whatever it is might just go away on its own.

The good news is that ever since I had my gastrostomy tube (g-tube, used for feeding nutrients directly into the stomach) removed, the chronic nausea has vanished.  Not being sick to my stomach all the time has made it easier to eat, so my weight has stabilized around 221, down from my original 305.  My doctor says he wants the weight to remain stable for four to six weeks, then I can redouble the efforts for weight loss again.

Another problem is that I can't sleep nights.  I stare at the ceiling, toss and turn, drop off for maybe an hour before I wake up again, usually at 3:00 AM.  Nice, huh?  So it's off to my primary care physician I go, where I'm given a prescription for Ativan and instructed to get a blood test on my way out.  You see, back in June I was also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, probably brought on by obesity.  I got the news this morning that I no longer have type 2 diabetes (or any other type), most likely due to weight loss.  So I'm happy about that.

My last problem involves my gall bladder, which is malfunctioning.  The surgeon who discovered the problem wants to operate, but since I'm not feeling any ill effects from the busted gall bladder I nixed the surgery.  My radiologist agrees with this - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  So the gall bladder can stay like it is and I'll be fine with that.

And that's it.