The Lost Week

I’m not sure what happened to last week. I lost it. I know I lived it. It existed. It took place. But it was a wisp – gossamer – ethereal.

Even my calendar forgot about last week

I wasn’t drunk and partying with Harry Nilsson in Los Angeles like John Lennon once did. No, I was at home on vacation and the week disappeared as if a magician borrowed my watch and didn’t return it.

What time is it? What day? Where am I?

I had plans for the seven days – a big to-do list – but have nothing much to show for the time.

I bought my daughter a new bike for Christmas, which didn’t take long. I ordered my wife some presents. Just some clicks at Zappos and L.L. Bean. Not very time-consuming and she’ll probably send everything back anyway. I worked a little bit each day, as mentioned in my previous post. But not that much.

Other actions completed: My daughter’s Christmas show at school one night (one song and we sat far away). Bought a new electric guitar and played Rocksmith a couple of times. Installed a wall mount for a TV. Watched a couple of movies. Switched alarm companies. Spent an afternoon on refinancing paperwork so I can build a compound wall high and strong enough to keep vermin out and our dogs in.

With the exception of Skyping with my friend @seanset of Englandshire, I have nothing valuable to show for my time. I didn’t read or write a book. I didn’t write five or six blog posts. I created very little.

I managed the mundane.

Some scientific minds theorize Time feels like it moves more slowly when we’re young because we constantly experience new situations and thus make boatloads of new memories. When we’re older, we don’t make as many and time feels like it moves faster.

I’m not sure if they’re correct, or if I’ve accurately described the therory in two sentences, but it will make do for my purposes because I believe I lived a week without memories. A week without anything worth remembering beyond tasks on a to-do list. A week without surprise.

I’m hoping to change that this week and slow down time by creating new memories. I need to explore new places, plan the days, and make the most of the two weeks I have left in my vacation. I don’t want to repeat this post on January 3rd. I want the first post of 2012 to be titled, “Two weeks I’ll never forget.”

An American Work Vacation for Me

I have three weeks off. It’s because I didn’t take much vacation this year and I can’t roll over the days to next year.

Here's where I want to be on my vacation. I'm pretty sure this island lacks cellular coverage

So, I’m catching up on projects around the house and working, as in “work work.”

Yes, the work I’m supposed to be off from right now.

Last week, just before we were about to launch a new video – 5 ,4, 3, 2, abort, ABORT – my manager asked for a major change  – one he and others could have caught early in the review process.

This led to a week of my time tweaking it and the programmers devoting another week to the changes. I like my manager, great guy, but the bummer of this change is that it won’t make much of a difference for the end user, and I now have to shepherd and review the project during my vacation.

Part of this is my fault. I have a hard time making a clean break from work. I have to come down slowly and wean myself off it like a junkie breaking a habit. But technology, limited resources in our department, and the economy are the pushers.

And one device stands out as the villain of my story.

Blackberry, oh Blackberry, the enemy and destroyer of vacations. Blackberry, oh Blackberry.

What a turd of a device at times and savior when I need it. I want to fling it like a rock across a glassy pond. Watch it bounce off the payment and explode into a thousand shards of plastic. But then there are days I want to marry it, be its mate. I love you, little BB.

Future generations will discover piles of these buried in landfills, plastic dinosaur bones

Blackberry, oh Blackberry, you tease. I try not to look at my email, but I can’t help it. I’m Pavlov’s dog and run when the ringer sounds or red light flashes. Email, must read now. Bark. Bark. Must read now. [Drool everywhere.] Why did I read that now? I’m such a stupid f**K. It could have waited. Where’s my bowl of food?

Now I imagine you reading this and thinking, “Why doesn’t someone else do the work while you’re gone?”

Good question, O Wise Reader. I have several answers for you.

First, no one knows the content like I do and they’re buried with their own work and planning for their own vacations. Second, we have limited resources. Over the years, we’ve been told “do more with less.” It’s all about maximizing production and working ourselves to the bone, which ties into my third answer to your question, the economy. Yes, if you don’t do more with less and work every minute of the day and beyond, there is someone unemployed who will. And if you’re thinking of getting another job, don’t.

“There ain’t none to be had, Mister,” said the imaginary hobo by the bus stop.

I guess I shouldn’t feel too sorry for myself. I have a very good job and according to this Yahoo!/CNNMoney article, $34.3 billion in vacation days to go unused this year, a good percentage of Americans don’t use many of the vacation days they earn. At least I get to take my days with some work sprinkled in.

So, bring on the holidays, Xbox madness, and day trips with my daughter to places unknown, like a lake with a smooth surface, perfect for skipping stones.

I experience a perfect day

Saturday night, at 1:30 in the morning, as I wedged myself onto the dog couch with a yellow lab at my feet and a black lab on an adjoining ottoman, I realized I had experienced a perfect day.

Yes, with who knows how many days left to go in my life, I did it.

Jackpot. Hole in one. Full-court basket. An elusive occurrence indeed.

It started Saturday with the first day of my three-week vacation from work (future blog post). I woke up with relief that I didn’t have to think about email and projects for Monday. And what a difference that makes in enjoying a weekend.

Great game and the Xbox equivalent of Wii's Mario and Luigi.

I took the dogs on a long walk in 70-degree weather. Other than making the mistake of wearing my flannel-lined pants and having to strip off a couple of t-shirts during the walk, it was April in December, with the sun’s low angle the only difference. And maybe the brown lawns. An no flowers. Nevermind.

I returned and played “Rayman Origins” with my daughter on our new Xbox. The 9-year-old monkey is testing me on video games now. I’m the king of video games but she’s playing with a faster network of nerve impulses from her brain to her hands than I am and it’s everything I can do to keep up with her.

Later that afternoon, we did a parent doubleheader when our daughter played guitar at a recital, followed by a soccer game.

She strummed Silent Night and some other Christmas song I can’t remember because I was doing my best to keep tears from spraying from my eyes like a broken fire hydrant. Something about the experience knocked up my emotional cortex, and watching her up there, dressed up and concentrating, made me feel so lucky to experience the moment it was hard to maintain my composure.

At the end of last year’s soccer season when my daughter’s opinion of her effort didn’t match reality or our opinion, my wife and I had what was one of the hardest conversations we’ve ever had with her. We’re not of the school that we tell our child she’s great at everything-but we’re not about destroying her self-esteem either. However, we gently told her we didn’t think she gave the season very much effort.

And boy did she grumble. And she may have cried a bit. But to her credit, she came back this season and played with more effort and skill than ever before. And it culminated in the last game of the season where she played a great game. She’s not the best player on the team, but it’s about being engaged and trying hard. And she did that. So, we celebrated by going out to dinner and letting her pick the location.

I am a sherbet freak. This is one of my all-time favorite flavors

At the Argentinian restaurant she chose – she likes steak – I stole some of her rib eye and ordered a black and white lobster ravioli in a pink sauce that was mind-blowingly good. I followed it up with a dessert at home of Tropical Rainbow sherbet and Oreos. Perfect finish, a foodie touchdown.

After more Rayman where my daughter and I ran circles around my wife, who spent her youth studying and listening to Tom Petty and Bee Gee records and not hanging around 7-11 stores playing video games, we put our little superstar to bed and watched Friends with Benefits. It was the perfect “I don’t have to think hard to watch this movie” movie, and got me out of the doghouse for choosing Melancholia a few weeks ago.

Then came SNL with Katy Perry hosting and more laughs. And at 1:30, when I went to bed, I realized I had achieved an elusive goal – make each day great.

Saturday, December 10. Check.

The economy + an uncertain future + daughter’s future education costs + corporate cost cutting and waiting for the return of Queen for a Day

My wife and I spent some quality time at the dining room table this weekend pouring over what it would cost to move. Over the years, we’ve resisted moving up like many of our friends have. Thank you, cystic fibrosis, for that decision, as my wife needs to be able to afford a house payment on her own and not be straddled by debt.

So, we looked over the numbers. And as much as I want to move, there’s no way around the costs associated with moving, e.g. agent commission, movers, etc.

And then there is the weight of carrying debt. It’s heavy when you’re allergic to it.

The bank offered us a boatload of cash for a loan, or at least it feels like a boatload to us. And we had to laugh because why would we want the stress of starting a 30-year loan with a big payment right now?

Damn, I can get this stove on Amazon for 28 bucks and change. Yeah, baby. I may need it for boiling nebs if we remodel.

Big payment = hello, soup kitchen line.

We factored in our daughter’s future education needs, the current economy and both of us working for large corporations. We’re convinced there’s someone at our companies fresh out of business school looking at numbers and thinking how he or she can save the company big bucks by sending more human capital to the unemployment line. Or by outsourcing our jobs to monkeys – my job at least.

Uncertain economy + uncertain employment by large companies + my uncertain future = staying put.

Now our conversation has moved to upgrading our house – security wall with razor wire first; kitchen second. But totaling up what it will cost us for a new kitchen is causing my wallet to pucker up.

Mormon dream or old TV show?

We had a contractor over and we’ve worked up a kitchen budget. The sound you hear is me gagging on 35K of kitchen debt.

Here’s my new plan: I need to go on The Price Is Right and win a new kitchen. But then I’d have to pay taxes on my winnings. Damn you, Taxman, the Beatles were right.

If only Queen for a Day was still on and my wife could tell a pathetic story and win a refrigerator because God knows a new appliance makes any woman’s hardship vanish.

Here’s the story my wife could tell on Queen for a Day: My husband won’t do dishes or cook. He made me watch every minute of the movie Melancholia. He won’t let me drive when he’s in the car. He’s called me “grumpy” during my special time of month (audience gasps). He’s missing a few bricks upstairs and roams the house saying, “I’m the McGriddler; Batman ain’t got nothing on me.” And he’s so ugly, he wears a paper bag on his head.

Damn, after writing that, I think she wins. I’m buying her a new dishwasher for Christmas. I am the McGriddler and I make the magic happen – one appliance at a time.

Odds and ends and odds

Work

I’ve been doing it. A lot lately.

My life would be so much better if I didn’t have to work and was rich. Actually, I like working. If I could just trim some of the mundane, mind-numbing tasks from my job and keep the good parts, I would be happier.

I like work that doesn’t feel like work. And sometimes I have that type of work. Just not as often as I used to.

***

Robert Frost, my man, you were wrong about fences. Wrong, so wrong.

Good fences don’t make good neighbors

I feel like I’m playing a real-life game of Risk in my neighborhood. My argumentative neighbor hasn’t said anything to me since the day we disagreed on how he should speak to my wife. And he hasn’t said anything to my wife since then, which is even better. But times are tense here in the land of palm trees, cement and brown lawns.

I do, however, feel better about loading up my house with security cameras and the soon to be built Berlin Wall II. I have East German-like clandestine meetings with my neighbors on the side of my house in the dark, where we whisper about what we’re going to do about the country so intent on causing pain and suffering to its neighbors.

We’ll see how it plays out, but it makes me wish I was a renter right now and could give my 30-days notice and move.

It’s amazing how much stuff my wife and I have accumulated over the years. I long for the days when I moved to California and all of my possessions fit in a brown Camaro with a 1-inch round hole in the driver’s door where someone shot it with a slingshot one night.

My advice to my daughter – don’t buy s**t you don’t need and live light.

***

Now we’re cooking – or not

Holy crap, kitchens are expensive. If my wife and I don’t move, we’re going to remodel our kitchen. We’ve lived with the current one for over 15 years. The grout is chipping away. One drawer won’t shut and points upward when you close it. The giant fluorescent light fixture covers the area with nasty light and fills up with dead bugs and debris. Our stove is black; our stove hood white. The face of the dishwasher falls off sometimes.

Yes, we are the most frugal people in the world. But even we don’t feel like being pigs anymore and would like something nicer – a smooth countertop, no grout. Handles on the cabinets. Ah, to dream.

***

Grind away

I’m going to the dentist every week these days. All because I chewed through my bite guard a few years ago and was too lazy and busy being sick to replace it.

I’ve eaten my own teeth – cracked and polished them like river rocks made of glass.

I blame the stress of CF and going to bed many nights not 100 percent positive I’d wake up in the morning.

So, my public service announcement tonight is . . . see a dentist and get a hard plastic bite guard if you grind your teeth. You’ll save your teeth, thousands of dollars, and more importantly, you’ll avoid annoying lectures from dental hygienists who can’t wait to tell you “would have, should have, could have.”

Yes, I am an idiot.

Standing in line is agony

I’m not a patient person. It’s one of the reasons I was such a screw-up early in life, though one could argue I haven’t changed. I do feel I’m able to manage my impatience now, as an adult, and understand the value of working hard toward long-term goals.

But standing in line is still my Achilles heel and forces me into mental tailspins.

No, there are three registers and one line. What if someone makes a new line?

This weekend, at Barnes and Noble, I entered their line at the point the sign says to enter the line. But thanks to the incompetence of B&N line designers at that store, there is also an opening in the line at about the spot where you stand waiting to be called to the next cashier. So, as I walked closer to that point, a woman with two kids and man broke into the line, failing to see the beginning of the line or choosing not to walk that far to enter it.

As I was still waiting for my wife to pick out some new reading glasses, I said “go ahead” to the woman to take the first spot. I thought the man was with her and the kids. Then I noticed that he wasn’t and was on his own with a separate purchase, but had taken advantage of my hospitality to the woman.

And that’s my problem with lines, I find them very stressful because they force me to put my “asshole” hat on, to confront other people who are trying to scam to get ahead or are just plain clueless.

At B&N, I had pent-up anger left over from the day for reasons unknown, and had been a bit snippy with my wife. So I held in my need to have a deep conversation with this man and ask him what he was thinking, lest I blow up, get in fight and knock down rows of gift cards and discounted books, leading to my arrest and subsequent new profession making shivs from old nebulizers.

Lines make me feel like a chump. They are pianos being loaded to an 8th-floor apartment waiting to fall on my head and crush me.

Our next stop was World Market where a couple in their 30s walked up to the cashier ahead of me, but chose the wrong side, which happens there because the layout to pay is confusing. I’ve done it a few times myself.

Now I had a choice. I could have ducked in and been first to the register, having mastered the puzzle, or I could be a nice guy and wait for them to return from the dead-end they’d scurried into. I was a nice guy and let karma guide me by allowing them to come back around and go first.

But I paid a price for my niceness, or what I might argue to be wimpiness in the city of Los Angeles where we all want to kill each other with our cars.

I was punished when I saw the couple carrying a tall stack of dishes, each one having to be individually wrapped by the cashier. Edvard Munch, you were a genius, because The Scream was really about standing in line, wasn’t it?

More pain and suffering when the man tasted the sample chips, and liked them, doing his best to be cool for his lady and the cashier, who I’m positive wondered why anyone would spend a Saturday night at World Market, as she could attest to the torture of the place with its rugs “fresh off the boat” emitting an odd odor that made her dizzy and which she was sure wasn’t good for her health, made worse by the constant temptation of the food from countries she longed to visit but would never, but which she relived her pain by opening up cherry-gummy packages to see how many she could stuff in her mouth at one time – 16  – or eating a blood-orange chocolate bar one piece at a time by hiding it in her apron right next to a picture of her mother, whose house she would live in forever because no one would ever marry her if she didn’t find a way to lose the 35 pounds she had gained since she started sampling different foods from around the world with her five-finger discount.

Who was here first? I don't know. Did he just walk up? Hey, he's not with her. Line-cutting asshole.

So, did this dude pay for the chips when they were ringing up the endless stack of dishes? No, of course not. He decided to buy them after the first transaction was over, bringing my head close to the point of a total blood-swelling explosion. I watched the crumpled bills come out of his pocket one by one and his quest to pay with the exact amount of coins and the clock in my head slowed and I thought about paying for the chips to speed up the process or just smashing him across the face with my plastic bottle of wasabi mustard from Germany. But I didn’t.

When another employee, fresh from her nap in the stock room, opened another register I ran to it like a fire-starved pyro to a warehouse fire.

Then Sunday night we went to dinner in Topanga Canyon. At the restaurant, you stand in line and order dinner and drinks and they bring the food to the table. But you have to go to the bar to pick up your drinks. Madness at the bar, of course. No clearcut line, one bartender and every person for himself.

So I was patient, and a small line formed behind me. But other people came in and wedged forward, so I started moving forward, fighting for position.

After we received our drinks, a loud, attention-seeking woman who came into the line after us, made some passive-aggressive remark about “this guy (me) needing his drinks really bad” and that’s why she hadn’t been helped yet. I told her she came after us, but in the din of the restaurant and her own need for attention – this is, after all, a community of actors and artists – she didn’t hear me and I let it go.

I hate lines because they make deal with the clueless, the scammers, and the idiots in life who cut you off on the freeway then flip you off. They’re the people you can’t reason with, who see life in a way the rest of us can’t. The sky is blue, but they’ll argue it’s raining and believe it, or when caught in a lie will lie to cover the lie.

I like places with numbers. I take one and roam around. I don’t have to worry about jockeying for position or monitoring the line for anyone who tries to cut ahead. I just have to watch the display and listen for my number to be called.

And with numbers I get to go ahead of the people I see waiting with frustrated faces because they just F-1’d their Land Rover through traffic, making over 50 lane changes, to get to the grocery store. And they walked in knowing they were more important than anyone else there, and smarter and wealthier. But with the number system there was no way they could push forward, intimidate anyone or work their way to the front of the line ahead of the guy in dirty shorts and a ratty t-shirt smelling like he only takes showers every four days or so – what the fuck is he doing in a grocery store like this ahead of me, Mr. Range Rover thinks.

And I look back as I place my number on the counter and grin, ordering the last of Tuesday’s night’s delicious and highly sought after beef stew. Sorry about your bad luck, number 13,  I say and walk out into a world without order.

How I spent (and didn’t spend) my summer vacation

I didn’t spend summer in the hospital. [Fox applauds, then passes out.]

I feel like I won the lottery by not going in, though the pattern for me has long been one without summer hospital stays. With falling leaves, colds and other viruses on the way, you can bet that I’ll soon be returning to hell.

Ebony and Ivory, living in perfect harmony on the beach

I didn’t spend June, July or August coughing up blood, though summer hasn’t officially ended.

And if you’re a betting man or woman, I’d bet on the blood thanks to the blood thinning shots I’m stabbing into my McGriddle-fattened six-pack twice a day. And I’ve just tempted fate by mentioning it on the blog, which means I’ll probably be in the hospital coughing up blood within the next two or three days.

I did spend June working on what the Donald would call a “super-big, important, super-large” project at work. It was a success and once again I proved it’s better to be lucky than good, and assembling a talented team always makes one look better than they truly are. Go Team Unknown.

We did spend the summer with a new puppy – a goofy, mischievous, shower-squeegee stealing, whining, scared of her own shadow, mystery of a black lab that I wanted to give away, but was outvoted by my wife and daughter, who are both attached to the black shadow-thief. (That’s all I can write about the dog, otherwise my friend @onlyz tunes out at this point and starts to read the back of the vegan muffin package.)

I didn’t spend this summer blogging or watching TV, but I did spend it reading. I read over 8,000 pages and enjoyed every minute, staying up late and making the most of when time takes its mandated-by-law break.

Malibu coastline on a nice summer day.

I did spend the hot months milking every bit of fun I could. I filled every weekend with an activity and dragged my wife and daughter to all kinds of places. From the American Idol concert, to the beach, the circus, a dog agility trial and canyon roads we’d never driven. We didn’t take a summer trip this year thanks to the blood-thinner shots, but we still had a great time and spoiled ourselves by eating dinner at restaurants more often.

The end of a great concert at Theatricum in Topanga. Check out a play here if you're in Los Angeles.

Monday, Labor Day, we ended the “holiday to holiday” summer with the annual benefit concert at Theatricum in Topanga. What an amazing afternoon filled with talented singers singing Burt Bacharach songs. A great way to finish my favorite season of the year watching some of Los Angeles’s most talented musicians, like Inara George and Sara Melson, play music for two hours.

So, I’m happy with the job I did having fun this summer. I cannot guarantee I’ll see another one. I hope I do, but it’s not written in stone that I will.

Now it’s time to focus on autumn and the Denver Broncos winning and me staying out of hell and not catching colds or the flu or coughing up blood. I’m optimistic, but know sometimes there is nothing I can do but ride out ill-timed surprises.

Here’s to a healthy fall and winter to all.

Bye bye, Tooth. Hello Happiness – I think I’m gonna cry

It’s gone. Lost forever. Pulled out by an oral surgeon who went to medical school to learn how to do it without a hammer and chisel, or string and doorknob. Or black magic. Thank the universe for good, old-fashioned science.

This is the same type of x-ray they took for my tooth extraction. Scary looking. It reminds me of the alien Predator. Creative commons.

It wasn’t as bad I thought it would be. I tapered off the blood thinner to avoid a small gusher when he pulled it, but it wasn’t as bad as the root canals I’ve had, which last a couple of hours.

Five minutes of tugging on it while I was loaded up on a full dose of Xanax and listening to Mumford & Sons’ “The Cave” and life was good again with a piece of gauze to bite down on for an hour.

I was so happy when it was over I think the dentist thought me to be a wee bit mad, as in “Mad Hatter” mad.

It’s just that the stress of the decision to get it removed while stabbing myself with generic Lovenox twice a day worked me over in the head for a few weeks. I had visions of bad things happening, something I’m sure a mere dentist couldn’t understand.

And when I lived, I was so damn happy, I must have confused him by acting like a lottery winner who was happy to lose a tooth because he still had a million bucks in the bank.

I’ve alive. How do you like those apples?

Pulling my big fat tooth, which cracked thanks to the stressors of life causing me to grind my teeth, didn’t kill me – yet. I survived another medical procedure, one of hundreds, which I’m experiencing like restaurants on a “Best of” list.

The dental assistant told me it would take 45 minutes, which meant from the time I got in the chair and received the many Novocaine shots, including one into my infected gum that brought tears to my eyes.

“That area was a little sensitive, huh?” the dentist said, which makes me think it would be hard to lie to dentist, as they’re probably good at reading minute changes in facial expressions, and could have second careers working for the CIA ferreting out lying informants, thus bringing down the need to waterboard every enemy in Iraq.

So, I drove home, carefully, but happy I didn’t transform into a Bellagio Fountain of blood and that it didn’t take 60 minutes of chipping away and drilling to dig the tooth out. Pull, pull, pull – it’s out, go home. Yay.

But I do miss my tooth because, slowly, life is chipping away at me one piece at a time, most of which I cannot see, but feel.

But I can see the bloody socket where the tooth was and work at it with my tongue.  I have a feeling of loss, along with memories of drinking 8 16-oz bottles of Coca-Cola a day when I was younger. And letting the sticky soda work its magic on my teeth for hours at a time.

It all catches up to us at some point down the road, they say. And they would be right, whoever they are, #&$#@*s who want to be right all the time. Well, they are.

Some weekends are different than others

Last weekend started with the American Idol concert and ended with a 1 a.m. Sunday night visit to the emergency vet. That’s the beginning to the end without a middle. Oh, and there were police and fire trucks, too. Not an average weekend.

The American Idol concert was my daughter’s first large-scale concert. It wasn’t The Who or Springsteen or anyone great, but it wasn’t bad for karaoke.  It did convince me that America doesn’t vote for the best singers. And the show manipulates the results and finds ways to push favored singers to the end.

Oh, and Pia was robbed. How did she get voted off so early? She sounded better, looked better, and was more poised than second-place Lauren Alaina, who danced like a Disney Animatronic bear.

Being in a large crowd at the Nokia Theater also reinforced my theory that people are getting angrier these days. Two knuckleheads sitting on the isle seats next to us got bent every time someone had to leave to get food or use the restroom. Then, they didn’t want to move to let my wife and daughter back to our seats. It’s an American Idol concert you twits, not a play where if you miss one word the meaning is lost. You’re at the end of the aisle, what did you expect when you bought the seats?

I’m not good in crowds anymore.

Saturday and Sunday were filled with me spending a lot of time reading the Game of Thrones books, dinner with friends, watching Team USA lose (heartbreaking), and a faux ABBA concert Sunday night. Nothing like Swedish pop to put a smile on your face and at the same time create the contradictory feeling of queasiness that you’re about to bring up your tri-tip sandwich to the opening bars of “Dancing Queen.”

But then there was late Sunday night.

At around 10:30 p.m., I noticed four police cars outside, which made me think that shredding my jury notices for the last 20 years wasn’t such a great idea. But they didn’t come for me – yet – instead they were after one of my neighbors.

So, of course I had to watch a bunch of police officers standing around – it takes 7 to arrest one person – throwing their gum wrappers on my lawn. Then, two fire trucks showed up and the fire department ambulance. That led to my neighbor being taken away screaming, handcuffed and strapped down to the gurney.

All of that took almost two hours.

Stick an electrode on her head and activists would be breaking her out of my house.

Then I went outside with the dogs and noticed our yellow lab had a lumpy head, gross, and a swollen muzzle. A dime of blood blossomed on her head. Executive decision: Trip to the emergency vet where they gave her a steroid and Benadryl cocktail for the mystery insect bite and me a $200 enema for owning the mutt who stuck her head in the wrong plant.

My dog also received the make-over bonus of a 4-inch square shaved on her head for the oh so 70’s look of a laboratory research animal. My daughter broke into tears when she saw her in the morning, having slept through the fun during the night.

So, that was the weekend. Thanks to Game of Thrones, it’s taken me three days to finish this post. I can’t wait to finish the last book and get back to my life and blogging.

Happy summer.

The simple bumper sticker that stuck in my craw

A bumper sticker from a week ago is still irritating me. I saw it on a Prius in the McDonald’s drive thru while ordering my breakfast of real champions, a McGriddle, which I’ll defend to my grave is the best breakfast sandwich in the world after eating over a 1,000 of them in recent years.

I'm eating one of these right now

Back to the bumper sticker, which read: “All you have is now.”

Harmless, you say. What’s the big deal? Exactly, I agree.

But then I started mulling it over in line, getting bothered by it, which may have been because I still hadn’t received my tasty goodness. Or, could it have been the bombardment of McDonald’s signs working me over to eat myself to an inner tube of jelly around my midsection?

Beef and bacon covered ice-cream sundaes, coffee desserts, quadruple burgers covered in chocolate, 50 oz. sugary smoothies, 10-pound bags of french fries covered in candy sprinkles and cheddar cheese.

The reason the bumper sticker bothered me was because the “all I have is now” attitude got me in a lot of trouble years ago. And because I have a daughter now, which made want to change the bumper sticker to the following: “All you have is now, but your children have tomorrow, Jackass.”

Clearly, when I see anything talking to me, it calls me Jackass, which is appropriate after a 1,000 McGriddles.

Here’s the rub.

We have a lot of conversations at our dinner table about the future of the planet: Oil production is peaking, global ice is melting, a very large pool of plastic is floating north of Hawaii, our natural food supply contains harmful chemicals, we’re getting bigger and have more ailments, and Earth can’t support its predicted population growth.

All of this adds up to a potentially bleak future, which is a post for the future, if I had one, which apparently I don’t according to the Prius driver.

So, when I see a bumper sticker “All you have is now” on a Prius, which is ironic as that car is better for the environment than most, I feel that’s the attitude that got us stuck in this mess in the first place and that if more people made harder choices and put the future higher on their priority list we’d be in a better place.

By the way, I’m doing my part by not taking as many showers and wearing the same clothes for a week, which saves water and keeps more detergent from flowing into the water supply or ocean. My wife clearly has mixed feeling about my strategy.

Back to the bumper sticker. Maybe I misread it. Maybe it meant “all you have is now to make a difference and that’s why I’m driving a Prius and not an oversized SUV, Jackass who eats McGriddles every day.”

It didn’t say that. But for my own sanity, I’m going to pretend it did and let it go.

There, done. It’s off my mind. I feel better now. Go about your day. There’s nothing to see here. Insane man back to enjoying the weekend. You do the same.