Friday, October 31, 2008

The Princess and The Rat

Happy Halloween Everybody! Here are some pics of our neighborhood outing.

I considered making "Rat" the boy's nickname from now on. I decided the name carries so many negative connotations, it would be a cruel moniker to put on the lad so early.

"Seriously! A rat?! My first costume is a fuckin' rat?!"

Was there any doubt what the Monkey would be? Of course she was a Princess. What you may not know, is Daddy tells "Princess Amelia" stories at night. Nary a prince in sight. Only Princess Amelia and her trusty steed "Bob". (Gotta undo that "knight in shining armor" crap somehow.)

"Prince who? Tell him I'll call him back. I'm fighting skeletons."

"Ugh. So much candy to carry, my shoulder is sore."

Scratch, who is not allowed candy yet, was understandably unimpressed with the whole experience.

"Yeaaaa. Me in a rat suit. I swear, I am going to kill you while you sleep...get me out of this thing."

"Fine! I'll take the damn thing off myself you jackasses!"

"I'll just hide the candy wrappers back here..."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Year Ago Today...

In a blogesphere where people discuss the loss of spouses, or God forbid, children, the loss of a dog seems minor. It still hurt like hell...

This is my blog namesake, Miko. I held her as she took her last breath a year ago today. She was my best friend for 12 years, and saw me through a lot. She still holds the record for my longest relationship with a female, who wasn't my mother.

She wasn't classically beautiful, her head was too small for her body, and only one ear stood up (unless she heard something, then number two sprang to life). She wouldn't have won any dog-shows, but she was smarter than any dog I have ever met. She could be directed with only your hand and listened to every command. Well, almost any command, she did teach herself to open the sliding glass door in my old apartment in Virginia. This way, she could let herself out when the neighborhood dogs were out and playing.

I met her in 1995 when I was still in the military. She was 11 weeks old and with 5 of her brothers and sisters. I walked into the room and it was a flurry of little furry bodies, playing and yipping. Then, like someone blew a whistle, they all piled together and went to sleep. I didn't know there REALLY was such a thing as a dog-pile, but there they were, a little hill of cuteness. I picked each one up, and they woke up and licked my face, or tried to rejoin the pile. Not her. I picked her up, she opened one eye, decided she was safe with me, and went back to sleep in my hands. I was hooked.

Miko helped me pick the Swede. Although, she didn't know it was going to lead to losing her spot on my bed. She may have rethought it, had she known. My roommate was dating a girl, who had a friend in from Sweden, and who joined them at our apartment to go hiking.

The Swede entered my apartment and was greeted, as everyone always was, by 80 lbs of fur. She immediately got down on the floor with Miko and started to play tug-of-war with Miko's rope. (On a side note. Miko was a German Shepard/Rotty/Pitbull mix, and keeping toys was tough. She chewed through everything I EVER bought her. The rope seemed to last the longest. She never chewed anything but her toys BTW.) A minute later Miko was on the floor with her legs in the air, and a tall blond rubbing her belly. Miko looked at me, and I swear I heard a voice in my head saying, "This one might be a keeper Dad!” They remained friends until the end.

Miko only barked once. Always. If she heard a noise outside, or someone at the door, one deep bark alerted us, and let the person outside know she was there. She passed this on to Daisy, the Cocker Spaniel we got when Miko was 6. In fact, she trained Daisy in everything. We didn't do much, the little one just copied Miko.

Miko had a cat. That's how my friends put it. "Jamie has a dog named Miko, and Miko has a cat named Riley." It was true. The women I was with in the 90's got a kitten when Miko was 8 months old. When we split, I took my dog, and my dog begged me to give her the cat. You see, Riley worshiped Miko. He cleaned her face and ears almost every night. Slept with her, wrapped inside her legs, and feared nothing when she was around. Every time we moved, Riley would hide until Miko found him. Then he would come out and stand underneath her, filled with the knowledge "his" dog would protect him.

She did protect him. Once a neighbors' dog was in our house and ran towards Riley. Riley didn't move, and gave the dog a 'Dude, I wouldn't do that if I were you' look. Out of nowhere there was a black flash, and the neighbors’ dog was hip-checked into the wall, and pinned to the ground by Miko's teeth. She didn't bite it, but it knew she could have. I swear this next part is true...Riley walked up to the now-helpless dog and stood over it for a minute. 'I told you.’ he seemed to say, and turned with the flick of his tail and sauntered off.

Miko didn't like the Monkey (this was one of the great disappointments of my life). She was old when the baby came, and her hips were already hurting her. She would whine when the Monkey would crawl/walk towards her, and scramble to her feet to avoid the strange little human. She used to look at me, as if to say, "Dad! A cat, a woman, and a puppy. They weren't enough?" Still, she knew the Monkey was important to us.

6 months before she died, the Swede and Monkey took Miko and Daisy to the dogpark. (You know, big fenced field where the pups can run.) A women and her Husky were there. The women paid no attention to my clan, but her dog did. It rushed over to the Monkey and jumped up on her, knocking her down. The Swede swatted it off, and looked for its owner. Nothing. As the Husky came back towards the Monkey, Miko struck (less of a flash this time, her hips were really bad). Miko hit the dog at a full limpy run, catching it around the neck. This time she DID bite. The Husky yelped, tore away from her, and ran back to its owner, who was finally coming to control her animal. The women started to say something, but Miko had planted herself between my family and the women (and dog), and growled. The Swede said she had never heard her make a noise like that before. The Swede told the women that the sign said "Control Your Dog At All Times", and she was a jackass. Apparently, a growling Miko and screaming Swede convince people to shut up.

The medicine finally couldn't stop the pain in her hips anymore. I took her to the veterinarian for the last time, October 30, 2007. I held her head, and looked in her eyes as the Dr gave her the shot. For a minute, nothing happened, then she took a deep breath...once, twice...and she was gone.

I miss you big girl, thanks for loving me for all those years.

(Sorry this was so long. I have a million more stories about her, my fingers got tired.)

My Daughter is a Pornographer

My MIL found my four-year old daughter taking pictures of her vagina today. We are raising Hugh Hefner, and Daddy ain't happy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the lady parts. I spent the majority of my “tween” and early teen years trying to find a picture of them. (That’s right son, back when Daddy was a kid, we had to look at something called magazines. Pictures on paper, I know, it seems so primitive. Cable? It was new, and your Grandmother didn’t like new, but even if we’d had it, there was no Cinemax then.) In my youth, the most valuable friend you could have, was a kid who’s father got Playboy.

After that, I spent my teen years, oh hell, I spent ALL my years trying to get women to give me access to their "lady parts". The vagina brought me my children. I love the vagina.

Except…when you have a daughter, things change.

I spent the first month of the Monkeys life terrified of cleaning “down there”. (If you don’t have a daughter, here’s the thing, sometimes the poop in the diaper…gets in “there”.) How did I clean it out? “How do I get it , what do I do?” I’d ask the Swede. She laughed at me, and said “You have to clean it out. What did you think, it was self-cleaning?” Noooo, I just don’t far do I pursue the poo, what if I push it deeper? These things frightened me. With time, I got over it.

Then it got worse.

One day, when I was changing the Monkey, she got the most blissful smile on her face. I was touched, she loved me. Nope. She loved TOUCHING herself! I had a 6 month old who had discovered the joy of “self-pleasure”. I tried to distract her, but apparently stuffed animals are no match for “self-love”. I was mortified. I got over it.

So today, my daughter is taking pictures with her mothers’ camera. She loves the camera, and she takes great pics. My MIL notices that the Monkey has gone behind the couch, and is taking pictures of something back there. She goes to share the joy of photography with her grandchild, and finds the Monkey with the camera in her PJ bottoms, TAKING PICTURES of her v-jay-jay! The Monkey smiles at her, and offers to share her new pictures, Grandma declines. Apparently, there is something that can shock even Swedish folk.

So, we have deleted the pictures, lest we be caught up in INTERPOL’s next child-porn sweep, and spoken to the Monkey about why it might not be the best idea to take pictures of your “private areas”. She nodded and said she understood.

I haven’t gotten over this one yet.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Its A Boy!!

So, for the past year, since the birth of Scratch, I have had innumerable people say something like, "I bet you're happy it's a boy, huh Dad?". As if, somehow the Monkey was less than perfect for me, because she was a girl. Like I longed for the day the Swede would bear me an heir. This is for them...

First of all, my four-year old girl will kick the ass of your four-year old boy...hell, I'd put my money on her if your kid is younger than seven. Since she was able to crawl she has loved to wrestle with me. I am 6'2" and go about 240, she doesn't, nor has she ever, but she loves to bang heads on the floor. She knew how to turn her hips and shoulder into a straight right-hand, behind a left jab since she was two.

The Monkey gets hurt...a lot. She likes to run and jump, and doesn't always look where she is going or correctly ascertain the height of what she is jumping from. She rarely cries when she gets hurt. We usually find out what happened when we notice the bruises at bath time. If she is crying after a fall...she is HURT.

The Monkey loves to fish with me, or her uncle, or her grandfather. She has loved to go out in the boat since she was about 2 1/2. She handles worms, she picks out her own minnow, and she reels in her own fish before asking, "Can I touch it?" She has already asked if she can come hunting with me someday...

The Monkey loves bugs, toads, construction sites, Barbie, and Disney Princesses. If they made a "Back-Hoe Barbie", the Monkey's head would explode. She asked for a Remote-Controlled car for her birthday, after she saw one near her favorite playground.

Scratch is a boy. He makes a one-year old version of "Vroom-Vroom" when he pushes anything with wheels. He enjoys head butting things, people, pets, and occasionally the wall. He also likes to put his head on my shoulder when I rock him before bed. Then he puts his arm over my shoulder, and rubs my cheek with his little hand. Every time, it makes me love him a little more.

So no, jackasses, I wasn't "relieved" or "thrilled" Scratch was a boy. I was, both of those things, that he was healthy. You see, I expose my kids to the things I love AND things I don't know jack about. I don't decide, beforehand, if it is a Girl thing or a macho Boy thing. If Scratch had been a girl, she would have gone fishing too, AND she would totally be able to kick your little boy's ass...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Monkey Dreams and Daddy

(The picture is apropos of nothing; it's just my favorite picture of The Monkey to date. My folks have a lake house in the Pocono’s, and we were there about a year and a half ago. The Monkey was still in her PJ's, the morning sun was coming through the picture window, and she made a fort out of the pillows of the big chair in the living room. My SIL got down on the floor and took the pic. That is a happy Monkey.)

The Monkey had a nightmare tonight. So she came downstairs to get her hero, her safety net. To my amazement, that is me... When she is with me, nothing scares her. She can jump tall buildings in a single bound, take on all comers...because Daddy has her back. It still humbles me. I am not worthy.

I followed her back upstairs, and tucked her back in. I cast my "magic spell" to assure only good dreams. This involves taking a Kleenex out of the box and holding it by the corners, then I delicately bring it down over her head and down her face while whispering, "I banish all bad dreams. Tonight you will only have happy dreams, with doggies, princesses (Freakin' Disney), and beautiful rainbows". Then repeat. The spell changes based on what new delight is occupying The Monkeys time and energy that week.

She smiles, and gives me a kiss. Then nestles down into the covers. I climb in bed and lay down behind her. It's a comforter-coated Monkey, nothing but blond hair and a little arm outside the covers. She scooches closer, closes her eyes and says, "I love you sooo much Daddy. I'm going to keep you forever." I rub her arm and tell her I'm not going anywhere.

She trusts me. Like no person ever has. Nothing can hurt her while I am there. I notice her bent arm is the same length as my hand, as I rub it, and silently make her a promise. "Nothing WILL ever hurt you while I am around sweet Monk."

Now I just have to figure out how to follow her everywhere until I die.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Please, Please, Please, Stop Talking Now!

I know I was going to write another one about religion, but watching CNN over the last couple of days has me ready to shoot the TV. (It was good enough for Elvis...)

When did politics become throwing every bullshit catch phrase against the wall, and seeing if anything sticks with people too stupid to realize it is bullshit?

Maybe I know the answer. True confession time. I voted for Bush in 2000. Yep, blame me. I TOLD you I was an Independent who had voted both Democrat and Republican. ALTHOUGH I stand by the vote, given what I knew at the time. Dems and Rep from the state of Texas claimed, as Governor, Bush had brought the two sides together like nobody ever had. He claimed to want to minimize US military involvement around the world, etc, etc. In short, I was bamboozled OR a really dumb alien pod replaced Bush.

Anyway, the answer to my question above may be the Iraq war. After months of telling us we were going in because of the risk of WMD's, none were found. SOOOOOOO, we went to bed one night having gone into Iraq for WMDs and woke up the next morning having gone into Iraq to bring Democracy to the Middle East region. What the fuck? They decided if they pretended that's why we went, that ALL of us would forget the past year? Most surprising, SOME of us did! "Oh, that's right...we went to Iraq to bring democracy. I'm getting very, very sleepy...".

So now, apparently, that's how we run campaigns. If McCain or Palin accuse Obama of leading us to Socialism, ONE MORE FUCKIN' TIME, I am going to lose my mind.

During the past eight years of a Republican Administration, with 6 of those years having a Republican controlled House and Senate, we created the LARGEST EVER government agency in our history, The Department of Homeland Security. We just spent over ONE TRILLION DOLLARS to bail out businesses that supposedly were free-market.

Not allowing equal distribution of windfall profits, while spreading the cost of failure across the entire tax-paying population of the country isn't Socialism. IT'S FUCKING STUPID SOCIALISM!!! For 3 years we have heard the CEO's of Oil Companies testifying that taxing their record profits, while the price of gasoline tripled, would be unfair in a free-market economy. Alright boys, now that we have paid over 1 Trillion dollars proving that we ain't in a free-market, pony the fuck up.

However, the idiots are listening to McCain/Palin, as if none of this happened. I keep seeing interviews with people voting for McCain, who keep saying they are worried Obama will lead us to Socialism.

One of the interviewees was a farmer. A FUCKING FARMER, WORRIED ABOUT SOCIALISM?!?! AREN'T YOU GETTING MONEY FROM THE GOVERNMENT TO NOT GROW SHIT?! WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT IS MORON!!!! You don't want socialism, Farmer Brown? Great, give us back the money you have received for the last 20 years to keep your field empty, so the government could regulate grain prices.

You Democrats aren't without blame either kids. Didn't Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid lead the charge for "throwing the Republican bums out" in the last election? They were going to start bring the boys home from Iraq, restoring our civil rights, blah, blah, blah. They ain't done shit. Oh, they whine about why they can't do shit, it's always someone else's fault. So they tell us we need to vote Democrat, because they aren't to blame for any of the last 8 years, nor the last 3 months. Huh?

All of them keep telling us they will get to the bottom of what happened to create this economic disaster. What?! Like you all weren't a part of it? During the WorldCom/Enron days, we were told that you would get to the bottom of that too...and create transparency in corporations so it could never happen again. You were ALL there. Nancy Pelosi joined the Congress in 1987. Harry Reid the Senate in 1987. Biden has been in the Senate since 1973! McCain in '87 as well. BUT NOW THEY ARE ALL GOING TO INVESTIGATE HOW "THEY" LET THIS HAPPEN. "They"! What fucking "they". "They" is all of you!

So is it a matter of who is wrong’(er)(est)? Great. That's what the Founding Fathers hoped for, a decision between a bunch of piles of steaming shit.

How about this. How about an admission that all of you in our Government have made a big ole mess of everything? Ask for a clean slate, because you can't point out what a fuck-up the opposition is, without admitting you are his/her equal in that department. Tell us what you want to do to rectify all these problems. (Here's where it gets radical.) Then actually do it!

How we got here, is much less important than how we fucking get out. We Americans, all learned not to call each other names in kindergarten, we are teaching our kids the same now. Stop by, if you need a refresher, then shut the fuck up, and do something. Please...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Politics, Religion and Money #2

(All right, let's ride this SOB off the rails. Time for religion kids!)

I call myself an Agnostic. I think that may be wrong. I DO believe that there is something out there. I just don't have any freakin' idea what that is. There is something beyond our comprehension, and that may be the only for sure comment I make this whole post. No matter what you believe, there is no beginning to this whole thing...I mean life, the universe,

If you believe the science (which I tend to), and the theory of the Big Bang, you still have no beginning. So there was a hot, dense "initial state" that exploded (presumably with a BIG bang) and the universe was formed and continues to expand to this day... Fine. Where did the matter come from? What did it exist in prior to the bang?

If you believe that God created the whole thing (which I don't think has to be mutual exclusive to the above scientific explanation)...fine. Where did God come from? Where did he/she/it exist?

See, no matter what, there is something beyond our understanding as humans. We know that everything has a beginning and an end. Even the long, long, term stuff. Mountains. The sun. George Hamilton's tan. They all are going to end, and they all started somewhere. SOMETHING didn't. Something doesn't have a beginning, I don't know if it has an end, but it didn't have a beginning as we understand it...that is why I believe in something. It is bigger than my puny understanding, and I respect that.

Either on Laggin's or Ciii's site recently, I spoke of an analogy that sums up, for me, Organized Religion's attempt to define Spirituality and the something. If you teach a child to count from 1 to 10, and then to write out those numbers, he will recognize the numbers when he sees them. This does NOT mean he can do math. Hand him a Calculus book, and he will recognize the numbers, and from his limited knowledge base, believes he understands the book. He doesn't, but it is cute to listen to him try to explain it.

I believe this explains Organized Religion's (lets call it OR now) attempts to explain the something . Many humans recognize there is something out there. There have been many "special ones" through the ages that seem to grasp it, and even to teach about it. Humanity listens, recognizes the numbers, and tries to explain the Calculus book (*poof* OR). The problem is, it isn't that cute when we do it.

A quick aside. I am writing about religion, but I don't care for most atheists either. They are as annoying in their certainty as any fanatical religious believer. When there are so many things in the universe we don't understand, they are still SURE that there is no something. That kind of closed-minded certainty is, IMHO, what causes issues in all things.

Atheists love to blame OR for all of the problems of the world. They claim religion is at the heart of all the wars and fighting in the world. Ummm, the two largest losses of life, due to war or fighting, WWII and Stalin's "cleansing" of the Soviet Union, were caused by, not so much on that argument.

Let's face it, we are not THAT much more evolved than other animals. Animals fight. They fight for food/water (We humans add stuff to the mix, but mark my words if animals had stuff they would fight over it. Come on, if a pack of wolves had a boat, you telling me they wouldn't fight other wolves (not to mention bears) to keep it?), territory, pack order, and breeding rights. We humans fight for the same things, we would fight if there were no OR, we just like to use OR to justify our fighting sometimes.

So, atheists use their certainty of a lack of something (Bill Maher I am talking about you.) to shake their heads in condescension at all the idiots who believe. They do what all the religious fanatics I can't stand do; use their belief to establish their superiority over those that "don't get it".

All right, enough Miko, people have shit to do. Next time, why people make their God a Son of a Bitch...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Politics, Religion, and Money

I've been reading a bunch of blogs tonight. Scratch couldn't sleep. We don't know if it is a molar coming in, the 2 shots he got yesterday, or if he is just becoming like his old man. I brought him downstairs with me, we cuddled, we wrestled, he spread Cheerios around the room like some modern-day, General Mills-sponsored, Johnny Appleseed...all in all, just two dudes rockin' the night.

I read a bunch of old archives about politics, the "bail-out" and, unfortunately, a few posts or comments by "religious" folks spreading their judgment of others. As I read, I had a running internal dialogue of responses. I commented a couple times, but I always feel badly when I write too much in the "comments" section. Oh, I still do it, but I feel badly...

Soooo, why not write out some of my own opinions on my own blog? Since the blog is new, and I have just a handful of readers, why not alienate those few? How better, than with the two unholy topics of conversation, politics and religion? I threw in money, because some of what the campaigns are talking about leads straight to Wall St.

If any of you stick around after reading my opinionated drivel, PLEASE, PLEASE, comment with your own opinions. (Feel free to leave HUGE comments. I only feel badly when I do it, I love reading others.) The one thing I strive for myself, is an open-mind. I am a registered Independent, and have voted for both parties. I like to change my mind, because it means I learned something I didn't know, discovered it rang true with me, and superseded an ignorant belief.

Ignorance has a bad rap these days, but it isn't a dirty word, it only means something you don't know. Ig'nant, now ig'nant is different. Ig'nant means holding on to a belief in the face of knowledge to the contrary, but you can't be ig'nant if you are just don't know enough.

The one thing I am going to try hard not to do, is to call people names. I was with my Father the other day. MY FATHER THE MINISTER. John McCain came on TV, and Dad immediately said, "He's an asshole." What the fuck?!

McCain is not the politician I loved in 2000. I still believe he was taken aside by someone in the RNC after 2000, and told that if he ever wanted to be the Republican nominee, he had to play ball. No more going against the party in public, no more maverick.

HOWEVER, John McCain was a Navy pilot whose father was a Navy Admiral. If anyone could have avoided Vietnam, the son of an Admiral was that guy. JM requested a combat assignment. The enemy captured him in 1967 after his plane was shot down. The North Vietnamese would not treat his broken shoulders or other injuries UNTIL they learned who his father was, some weeks after his capture. That means he was tortured and his bones were allowed to set incorrectly (and probably excruciatingly) during that time. About half a year after capture, McCain’s father was put in charge of all Naval Ops in Vietnam, and JM's captors offered to let him go, to garner favor with the old man. JM REFUSED TO BE SET FREE UNLESS THE MEN WHO HAD BEEN CAPTURED BEFORE HIM WERE ALSO RELEASED! The N. Vietnamese refused, and JM spent the next 4 1/2 years in a POW camp, because he wouldn't allow his release to break the spirit of other American military men or be used to discredit the military by allowing a "privileged" soldier to have special treatment.

I am voting for Obama, for a number of reasons, but mostly because I believe we need an entirely new direction for our country’s leadership. I do not agree with John McCain’s choice of Vice President, his methods during this campaign, or many of his proposals. I will not, however, sit quietly when I hear people call him an asshole. I told my father the same info I wrote above, and let him know that the guy in that story deserves respect. Not agreement, but definitely respect.

Enough for today, stay tuned for alienation and the righteous anger of the masses. (Well, as many masses as a guy with 5-6 readers can muster.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Holding Hands with The Monkey

So Miko no feel so good. I got a cold a couple of days ago, and it has now settled in my chest. (As I get older that seems to happen, EVERY damn time. Why no chest colds when I was younger?)

So the fam decided that they were going to the Pumpkin Patch Saturday, with the Swedes...

I did mention that my In-laws arrived from Sweden on Friday, and are staying for three (3) weeks, didn't I? (Yes, I wrote out, AND showed the numeral for three to make sure you heard me. In-laws, in my house, for three weeks...sigh.)

Daddy decided to stay home and take a nap, as I am the biggest, whiniest, wussiest, sick person ever. I tend to take to my bed (how Victorian that sounds, "I'm sorry sir, the Prince has taken to his bed, overcome by the vapors I'm afraid."), drink tea(that's how I know I'm really sick, don't touch the crap healthy), and call my wife up to the room every two minutes for more: tea, Gatorade, soda, tissues, medicine, head rubs, etc.

I took my nap, and they did this:

Upon their return, the first thing the Monkey did was come upstairs to check on me. She threw off her jacket and asked me, "Daddy, I know your sick, do you want cuddles?".

She climbs into bed with me, and I warned her not to get too close so she doesn't get sick. She gets under the covers on the Swede's side, and puts out her hand, "We can hold hands though, right Daddy?". So we did. I held her little hand, and she told me she was sorry I was sick, and to tell you the truth, I never felt better.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's My Party, and I'll Cheat If I Want To

I'm sure this is cheating, but what the hell, it's my damn blog.

For the last 3-4 months we have been dealing with some family crises here in Miko's world. We found out my father had esophageal cancer, then two weeks after that, found out my MIL in Sweden had a recurrence of breast cancer. (I know, right? I guess we're riding the Grandparents hard and puttin' em away wet.)

Anyway, I discovered this ethereal world of the "World Web Internet Computers and Such", can be pretty cool. A bunch of people I had never met, from the group blog I joined, would check in on Dads status with some regularity. I wrote the following for them, 'cause updating individually would have busted the 'puter. I like the way it came out, so I am copying it here. If you have already read it again!

To catch you up on the back-story (imagine this scrolling across the screen a la Star Wars). We found out about 3 months ago my father had a tumor in his esophagus. The good news is he was scheduled for an endoscopy due to a long history of Acid Reflux, so the tumor was found before symptoms showed. Usually, once the symptoms (cough that won't go away, trouble swallowing) appear, there is little medicine can do to save the patient. Dad was seen by two of the top cancer hospitals in the world (Foxchase in Philly and Sloan in NYC) and the course of treatment was set at 1 week of chemo/radiation (in-patient), 3 weeks of radiation (out-patient), another round of both (in-patient), then a month of recuperation and finally a major thoracic surgery at Sloan to remove a piece of his esophagus. The expectation is this would completely cure him.

(OK, all caught up? Stay with me, 'cause this fucker is about to go off the rails, plus I get some funny one-liners in soon...)

Dad checks into the hospital on Monday, August 25th to begin his 1st round of Chemo and radiation. (That's right, I said August 25th and he is scheduled to get out tomorrow on October 3rd, it's called foreshadowing...see what I'm doing here?) That week was what you'd expect; he was tired and a little sick to his stomach. My daughter got to visit, and when I was visiting him, walking around the hallways of the Oncology ward, he told me that while she was there, the hospital brought in a women to play the harp. I stopped him with my arm, right in front of the nurses station, and asked "Dad, this is important. Were you the only one who could see the lady with the harp?" The nurses heard, and one spit her soda on the floor, and the others laughed out loud. Dad laughed so hard it caused a coughing fit. Walk over. Seriously though, a harp? On the Oncology floor? WTF?!

Saturday Dad is released, goes home, and promptly keels over unconscious that night. My stepmother couldn't wake him up, calls the ambulance, and they can't get a blood pressure. Not good. Unfortunately for Dad, they live in Podunk, it's Labor Day weekend, and the ambulance took him to the nearest hospital...Podunk Memorial. There, it is determined his kidneys have failed. We knew we were in trouble when one of the nurses said she had never seen the IV port that the Philly hospital had placed in Dad's vein for the chemo, and another nurse commented WHILE PLACING THE IV BAG, that she had never given anyone that much IV before and she wondered if it would cause Congestive Heart Failure. What? You say this to the patient and his wife?

Apparently, the doc at Philly had heard stories of Podunk Memorial, because he arrived at his office at 9am the Tuesday after Labor Day, and had written the orders to have Dad transferred to Philly by ambulance by 9:15am. Thank God.

In Philly it is determined that one of the drugs in the Chemo had caused Dad's kidneys to totally shut down, and the other drug had caused him to have Diabetes. I researched these drugs, and you have to scroll to the very bottom of the data sheets to find the "Extremely Rare, but Serious Side-Effects" line. That's right he got two drugs and contracted the rarest of side-effects from both. Over that week, he was given Dialysis to help the kidneys rest, and Insulin to treat the Diabetes, and Dad was wondering if we weren't going in the wrong direction.

Now, if a patient, especially a patient in his 60's is in the hospital for a long period of time, they give them Heparin (a blood thinner) to reduce the risk of blood clots. If you look up Heparin, it has very few side-effects, but at the bottom of the page, way down the bottom, is a paragraph titled "Extremely Rare, but Serious Side Effects". Yep, third medicine, third time. Turns out Heparin can do its job TOO well, lowing the Red-blood-Cell Platelets to the point where the White-blood Cells can clot. It has a long technical name, and the old boy got it. We are all called to the hospital, yet again, and told he would receive a blood transfusion the next day (Saturday). To which I comment to the doctor, "So he should have HIV by next Friday?". My brother and Dad laughed...the doctor not so much.

Three weeks pass, things get better. The drive to the hospital starts to run on Auto-pilot, and hospital coffee sucks. However, the kidneys come back, the radiation isn't causing any major problems. Hell, we're cooler than the other side of the pillow. We're like Jamie Lee Curtis after she kills old Mikey Myers, relieved that it's over. “Look behind you! He’s sitting up!”

Last week Round 2 of Chemo started on Tuesday, NOT the same drugs, totally different drugs. Very few side-effects, but down there at the bottom of the page...sigh.

I'm in Maine on business on Thursday. My territory runs from Maryland to Maine, so Portland is AS FAR FROM HOME AS I CAN GO ON BUSINESS. I'm an idiot. I get a call from my step-mom, crying. Dad's jaw hurt, that raised alarms with his Oncology nurse who ordered an EKG. EKG not normal, heart problems, Dad is moved to the Cardiac Intensive Care unit. The new Chemo drug has damaged his heart, causing Congestive Heart Failure.

I start driving the car, like I stole it, back from Maine. Only took 8 hours. The following day my uncle goes to the hospital to be with my step-mom, my wife goes to work, and I go to the Bus Station to pick up by brother and his wife who are coming in from NYC. My uncle calls, says, "I know you were going to come tomorrow, but I think both of you boys should come tonight." I call the wife, she comes home, we go to the hospital, not too worried, my uncle can be a little melodramatic.
Nope, not melodrama. Dad's heart went into A-fib. In laymen’s terms, the top portion of the heart was beating way to fast trying to pump blood, but since it was out of sync with the bottom, it was actually not moving any blood through the body. Medication didn't work, they had to put him under and shock the heart. The doctor asked my SM and uncle to come in and say goodbye, 'cause the shocking turns off the heart, they expect it to turn back on with the next know.

All right, I'm done. Hope you didn't pour coffee before starting this, because it's cold now. Dad's heart has improved with the discontinuation of the medicines, it appears the damage isn't permanent, and he will be released tomorrow. He can finally get out of the hospital bed for the first time in over 5 weeks. Now all we have to do is make it through the surgery. That's supposed to be the hard part of all this...

I'm not as funny as you think...

OK, so because of some extremely flattering words from Laggin (Under the Roof, over in my Blogroll, if you are frightened by strong women, don't visit!) on her site, and an e-mail from my old friend DCD(Dana's Brain, she's new too, but damn you'd never know to read her), here I go, into the abyss.

You see, two years ago I didn't know what a blog was. Well, I knew, but I didn't before you have sex for the first time. You know what it is, and that it's good, but...holy hell, you don't know.

Anyhoo, I found an old friend by mistake (DCD's brother, in fact) and he had a blog, and I hung around like the stray cat you fed, once, and now won't leave the back steps. Eventually, he and his friends invited me to join the blog, 'cause to be honest, me just hanging around was making everyone uncomfortable... From there, I read DCD's blog, then Carolyn's (same deal man, if funny chicks make you nervous, stay away), then I just bogarted Carolyn's Blogroll, and poof! I was addicted. So here I am.

This thing is gonna be about whatever goes through my head at any given moment, and that usually involves the The Monkey and Scratch. They are 4 and 1 respectively, and...they...well, you know. They do things that make me laugh out loud, and things that make me lose my fuckin' mind.

Oh! I will also be posting about the Swede. We've been married for a while, and she IS from Sweden, and is 6 years younger, and used to play on the Jr-Pro Golf Tour in Sweden. (Yeah, that's right boys, younger, Swedish, and plays golf. The Trifecta.) I've no idea, before you ask, I ain't that great...I think she may be a little off.

Thanks for reading, I'm sure you will find that you grow tired of me soon, but at least you tried...