Saturday, December 19, 2015

Lights are on!

OK, I bit the bullet and hired two guys named "Santa's Helpers" to put my lights up. Yep, I caved in to my personal pressure. Am I ashamed? Nope. I needed help and Santa's Helpers came to my rescue. Lucky me!
Anyway, the guys showed up....plugged in the lights....ahhhh...the lights were amazing!
I flipped the switch and waited until sunset to see the holiday the sun set, the lights went on.....Ahhhhh......

Two hours dad came home and asked the question, "so, what happened to your lights?"

Huh? They are on....check it out. They are beautiful, festive, peaceful.....whatchatawkinabout?

Looking outside, my eyes saw nothing...darkness....who's playing with me? Come on now. What's the deal?

I know...let's check the breaker in the basement......That's it! By the way, when the lights tripped the circuit, the internet and television went out too.

Reflipping the circuit breaker, the lights went on again....ahhhhhh......

Three minutes later, someone yells "Internet is out! lights are out!"

Dang...double dang....triple dang!

Throwing up the white towel, I clicked off the front lights to turn the internet and television on. Then I sat and thought....and thought....and thought...what to do....

What to do?

I know! I called an electrician. That's right, an electrician!

I was beginning to feel the holiday pressure  as the entire neighborhood was impeccably lit and my house remained dark. OK, call me shallow, but I wanted the lights on. That's it.
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The electrician could not come until the following Monday and since Cookie fest was in two days, I made appropriate preparations to welcome my guests with holiday cheer. On the day of Cookie Fest, I went out to the garage to get the extra ingredients for the celebration when I noticed the refrigerator was dead. Yep, rest in peace old I was ready to pull the plug, I remembered the outside lights tripping the circuit and quickly ran to the basement to see if the fridge was on the same circuit. Lo and behold, it was a Christmas miracle! The refrigerator was not dead (although the food inside died), but needed a jolt of power. Problem solved, right?

After a successful Cookie fest and vow to never eat again, Monday came and so did my electrician. He scratched his head when I told him about my Christmas lights. It seems that this was his first house call to save holiday lights from extinction.

Finding the problem....too many lights in one outlet, he made plans to return on Tuesday to correct the problem. per his promise, he showed up on Tuesday and fixed the issue. He even helped me with a string or two. Problem fixed ten days after it started. Fortunately, I did not wait until the last minute to put up the lights....that's right, I said....I did not wait....I did not have any help from the peanut gallery and was blessed to find Santa's Helpers who will also take down the lights in January and return next year.

With that said, on my way home last night, I drove slowly at dusk and could see the house I shallow? Hmmm...good question.....I had to think about it as I made call after call trying to illuminate the house and here is my answer.....

Yes and No.

Yes, I am shallow because it meant something to me that the house looked pretty during the holidays. I like the lights and the pretty twinkling bulbs. It has a calming effect on me except in July when I think that it is awful to leave Christmas lights up all year.

No, I am not shallow because I believe that the lights and not the plastic Santas represent what the holiday is all about as the world was in darkness until the Light of the word was born in a little town of Bethlehem.

'nuff said about the lights. My semester is over. Students are contacting me that their grades are too low and I placed a 'gone fishing' note on my email. BY the way, I had to chuckle when one of my student evaluations (which are anonymous) told me that I gave her a headache and made her/him anxious and I should tone it down a bit.

I will return soon to update you on our favorite lefty as he diligently works to return to the mound.

OK, gotta run and finish preparations!


Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Not So Griswald Christmas

Good morning! How is it going in your world? Did you enjoy Thanksgiving?

The BPM family had a nice time in New Jersey as we were able to venture to the beach and scatter a few of Big M's ashes at the place where he felt most at peace. His sons added a cigar and a shot of whiskey. Then we said a prayer together and went off to stuff ourselves with stuffing, turkey, and roaster vegetables. It was an interesting day and one that I will not forget....

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How is the big lefty? Well, he is still working out and has a job where he gets to watch Netflix all day. If the job paid more than minimum wage, he would keep it forever. The toughest part of the job is turning on the television for the people who are working out.

He is also MIA this weekend. I believe that he is afraid that I am going to ask him to help me bring the Christmas decorations up from the basement.

In many ways, he is right. I need his help and he is gone.....or missing....or with friends...or sleeping....or working out....

Mark my words, I will see him again tonight after I put up the Christmas trees with the pups helping me with the tinsel.

Tink and I put the lights up outside on Friday. It took three hours to get them right. I placed them on a timer, like I usually do. After running a few errands late afternoon, I returned home and the lights were not on. Having a slight coronary, I went out in the dark with my flashlight from my cell phone (since all flashlights have disappeared in my home) and fixed the problem with a tweak or two.
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Last night, I returned home at 6pm to find two out of 15 sets of lights on. After having a nervous breakdown on this faux pas, I tried to find the problem with my trustworthy cell phone flashlight. To my dismay, I could not figure out what was wrong. Complaining to dad, who is anti lights, he simply said 'hire someone."

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Hire someone.....right....hire someone....I already put the lights out....bought more....added more....had them light up....and now, I am going to hire someone and pay them hundreds of dollars to plug them in? Uh, no way, Jose. I am going to figure this one out on my own.....which I did not....

All night I lay in bed, I kept going over the configuration of the lights. What did I do wrong? What have I done right? How do I approach this problem in a logical way? And if I cannot, what do I do? Do I hire someone to re-do the lights, since dad has said repeatedly that I do not have the Christmas light gene in me? True, the lights are askew....and perhaps missing in some spots...and maybe a little sloppy..... but dang it! I wire the outside of the house out of love. Right? %^#(@^))%$#

When the kids were little, we put the Christmas lights up for Santa to  find the house every Christmas eve. What happens this year if only one strand is lit? Will Santa skip us? If I go by Dad's philosophy.....he will pass over our house because there are no longer milk and cookies and lights up? Why do  I even bother? Who cares? Anyone? Someone?

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Actually, I care. I want the house to look like a home and be festive. So, if I have to stand outside in the rain today until I find the faulty wire or light, then, doggoneit, I am going to do it.

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With that said, I am going out with my boots on to figure out what the heck is wrong.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Yoda and Luke

Good morning! Yes, it has been a while, but the amount of time that I have for writing, sleeping, and eating drops considerably during this incredibly busy time. Life should slow down in 2026......or so....

How is the big kid? Well, he is back with Yoda and they are working together three to four times a week. In fact, Yoda is taking him to the Y today and working him out in the pool.

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This is quite a unique relationship. Our faithful Yoda, in his mid 80's, works with elite baseball players only. Someone like me....a middle aged....weekend warrior....would not even get a call back from the guy to tell me that he laughed when he heard my request to work out with him. That's right. You have to be somebody and not a big ole nobody like me.

Is this arrogance? Is this wrong? this point in his life when he could be sitting in a beach chair sipping on a margarita or five, he chooses to work with athletes helping them to either regain their form or improve. That's it. And I feel that I owe this man in a big way. He had gotten the big lefty back on the mound a number of times and if the kid makes it, it will largely be due to Yoda's wisdom, guidance, and exercises.

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While he is rehabbing, he found three jobs to keep him busy. He will be working at the local health club and baseball center at the desk checking in folks as they enter the building. If it is really busy, he might empty a trashcan or two. As he sits, he is allowed to watch Netflix. Sign me up for this one!

He has also been offered a position as a pitching coach at another club. He gives 10% of what he earns back to the club. Nice.

Lastly, his high school coach whom, as I recall vividly, used to traumatize him on the earlier posts....asked him to teach at his winter camps. And so.....

He now has an income and can leave my payroll for a period of time. Gee, what will I do with the extra cash?

Hmmmmm....well, the way that he has been hitting my credit card.....I can......

Buy a new car!

Take a year long cruise around the world.....

Purchase steak! Or chicken!

Eat less peanut butter!

Get the house painted....

Enjoy a night out...... the bills! Yes, that's it. I will pay the bills with the money that he has been siphoning out of my account....

Anyway, he is in a good place as he rehabs.....

Last week, he went to a Sixers game with Meat and sat next to a man who had seen him play in high school. After hearing his story, he told the lefty that his good friend is a scout for the Dodgers and when he is fully recovered and carving the plate (not a Thanksgiving reference....), he will call his friend in to see him. This one gives me shivers. There is also the coach from the Indians whose brother is a friend of Dr. G's. Anyway, there is hope in the BP mom world.....

On to something more serious....last week, there was a big layoff of faculty and staff at my university. Friends were given their pink slips and I could not be more upset. As I taught my afternoon class, I could see out the window as my friends and colleagues carried big boxes of stuff to their cars with tears in their eyes. It seems that the people who respond to my emails and  requests in less than a month were the ones who were let go. Sadly, I got myself home that day and cracked open a bottle of wine....the good stuff and toasted my friends who are now unemployed. May they find happiness and work elsewhere.

When I did not lose my job, I was elated and thoughtful. Yes, I enjoy my job, Yes, I would like to retire and try my hand at something else. No, I would not want to lose my job unless I wanted to leave. The feeling of powerless must have hit them hard.

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Sheesh. Life is not easy!

OK, got to a load of underwear in the dryer and the dogs are ready for a little walk to their personal bathroom in the backyard.


Yes, money!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Trip to Wawa

I'm back and sorry that I have not posted this week after the surgery. With the big guy laid up on the second floor, it was my job to run errands, feed him, and keep up with the enormous amount of trash that accumulated from his granola bar and rice krispie treats wrappers. Oh yeah....breakfast is always a fresh bagel, egg, and cheese. Lunch consists of a chicken cutlet hoagie, and dinner is whatever I have the energy to make. Oh yeah, let's not forget....I have to work, too. Tink has been wonderful and is spoiling him. Me? Not so much...after two days, I was ready to move him to the first floor, which he balked at for some reason.

I sort of get it. He has to be in a CPM machine for 6 hours a days while lying in bed. Therefore, he cannot move, weight bear on his right leg, and is stuck in a hip brace that looks like a torture device. His next appointment with the surgeon is on Friday when he gets further orders as to his rehab. Until then....he does not walk, drive, or hobble to the first floor. I have been able to get him out of the house a few times, otherwise, he sits in bed or watches ESPN in my bedroom. He also has an odd reaction to his pain medications and literally becomes loopy.

His loopiness means that I want him on the second floor until the medication wears off since there is no way that I can catch him safely if he falls on the stairs. And so...we about rehab...plan for more baseball in football on ESPN, and feed him.....I have to go to the food store at least once a day since he is immobile. He claims that the first thing that he will do when he can drive is to drive to the Wawa (our convenience store) and buy a barbecue chicken hoagie. That's all this guy wants for now....a trip to Wawa....

As far as other news is concerned, we had planned a big surprise party for Dr. G's birthday. The secret was safe...until....yeah...until......a colleague of his texted him on Friday afternoon (mind you, this colleague is a doctor) and told him that he was sorry that he could not make his party that night. Dude! Didn't you read the invitation that specifically said "SURPRISE PARTY"!

Oh yeah, as I drove him, Lil A and Tink to the party, it was Tink's job to text Scooby to tell her that we were two minutes away and get the gang ready to shout 'surprise'.

Imagine my surprise when he walked into the room and no one noticed nor shouted 'surprise!' Apparently Scoob did not receive the text real surprise....just a party....which was still a great deal of fun.

Now that that is over, I have to concentrate on work. Like the rest of the world, I have to perform certain tasks to be paid.....although, there are days when I am at work that it does not seem like work. In other words, it is more of a lifestyle.

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I do tell dad that I would LOVE to retire to try my hand at something else. However, I am not sure what I would do. But there has to be more out there where I can do something, be paid (or not), and feel fulfilled....Who knows. Until I find that elusive job, I will continue to teach, grade, and share our adventures on the road to the majors....oh yeah....and drive to the food store for more bagels, hoagies, and rice krispie treats.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Chicken Cutlet Hoagie and Its Healing Effects

Good morning! As most regular readers know, I have not written because we have been in a holding pattern waiting for surgery. This does not mean that baseball has not been at the top of the list of discussions that we have had, but it has been a nice break to not have to talk about fast balls, speed, and body ailments. Actually, it has been quite nice....

But it is now back to work.....

Tomorrow at 6 am, the big kid is scheduled to enter the surgi center for his hip surgery. He has forgiven dad and me for his congenitally weak hips and labrum and focuses on rehab. Michael Jordan gave his blessing to the choice of surgeons, which is good since the Mets surgeon is currently quite busy taking care of the team that is in the World Series this week. After all, we do not want a preoccupied surgeon, do we...especially after last night's game......
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Having the first surgery of the day is generally a gift. Since he is not allowed to eat or drink after 9pm, this helps him sleep, pull himself out of bed at 5 am, be prepped for surgery, and finish the procedure before lunch.

We now have a post operative tradition in our family. After surgery and on the way home, we stop at the sandwich shop and pick up a large chicken cutlet hoagie for the breaking the fast feast. Is this how my friends in the Jewish faith break their fasts? With a chicken cutlet hoagie? Not sure, but will have to ask.

And so, the kid will be on crutches for 6 weeks and basically immobile until he gets the word that he can train with Yoda. Once Yoda works his magic, he heads back to Seattle.....

Speaking of Seattle, it seems that the Czar called and bought their program. One of the big lefty's friends has been working behind Psycho's back and sending him tape of his technique. The big kid critiques it, tells him how to alter his delivery, and bingo! The friend is now throwing a high of 96. When the Czar asked about his progress, the pitcher responded that he was doing the Seattle program. He also figured if the coaches balked, he would walk and sign on with any other Division 1 team without a second thought.

Flash forward to the Czar possessing the training techniques as his entire pitching squad sits at 82 - 83 mph. After he read the program, he stated, "it's a bunch of bull." Then he closed the manual and refused to speak of weighted balls and fundamentals to the pitchers. In fact, he is going back to the ineffective system that he has used for the past 15 years. That, my friends is called 'worst practice models' rather than 'best practice models'. In fact, the Czar in all of his humility contends that his was is the best way...hence his losing record for the past two years.....

Yep, it will be interesting to watch the next few months. Only time will tell who is right and who is wrong.