for verification purposes can you give your DOB?

“Today, 48 years ago, Mutha-F-er.”, I wanted to say but didn’t.

IIIIIIIIIII don’t want to work, I just want play on these –

dylandrums

all day!

Yes, it’s my birthday and…… I’m working :_(

WTF? I knew I shouldn’t have scheduled a stupid meeting on the day of my birthday. But (hopefully)– I’m out of here after it’s over.

Charlie is taking me out for a birthday dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Va-highlands. I have already received most of my presents already. Charlie got me phone holder clamp and a USB port for my motorcycle and the latest Walking Dead comic books (which are eons ahead of the TV series and really way more interesting, too. Seriously, if we have one more season of wandering through the woods of south Georgia and killing zombies I’m D-O-N-E). Ellen got me a nice bottle of whiskey and Charlie’s parents got me a gift certificate to Outback.

My sister really tried this year by getting me a belt that I hook this flexible dog lead to so when Sadie and I go running I won’t have to hold the leash. Kind of ingenious but she kind of ruined it with a Cuisinart Smart Stick – borrrrring. I can’t even sell it on Ebay, either, because what I’ll make on it won’t even be worth the trouble to box up and ship it. So, I think I’m stuck just mixing margaritas with the thing. (Especially since I got a bottle of tequila from Jess for my b-day) Oh well, you win some and drink lose some.

You know I’m still going around and around with those f*ck-tards at the insurance company? Finally, they sent out the memo stating that people who were in same sex marriages could add their spouses to their insurance and to use June 26, 2015 as the qualifying event date (no matter if you got married previously in another state – that June 26th date would be the date of the qualifying event in Georgia). SO, I got Charlie added and they sent me documentation that stated that I would have to provide a copy of our marriage license as supporting documentation. SO –I uploaded it to their site – per their instructions. A week later, I’m getting emails and documentation in the mail of: PLEASE PROVIDE SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION BY AUGUST 28, 2015. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN DENIAL OF REQUEST AND COVERAGE WILL REVERT TO PRIOR COVERAGE.

So, once again I called them and was put on hold forever while they tried to verify that they received the supporting documentation. Once the woman came back on she said she would have to look further into it. I told her to call me back and let me know either way. She never called me back. So, again, I get a nasty-gram email and letter saying above. I called again this morning. The lady said, yes, they had received it but it had been denied because our qualifying event date was outside the 30 days as our marriage license said, September 24, 2014. I was revving up to shout out loud, “FOR THE 45TH TIME SAME SEX MARRIAGE BECAME LEGAL IN GEORGIA JUNE 26, 2015 AND THAT IS THE MOTHER-F*CKING QUALIFYING EVENT DATE!!!!! When –

-she said, “Oh I’m sorry Mrs. Lanie– I’m sending this back for review since this is a same sex marriage it should be approved.”

-Sigh –

Wtf do I have to do to be treated like an equal around here? I really do hope that this is the last phone call I have to make to these people. I took down a reference number and assured her that I would be calling back if I didn’t hear back from them. She at least said Happy Birthday before hanging up as for verification purposes for the 45th time I had to give my DOB. All I really want for my birthday is to not have to make anymore phone calls to these people. Ever. Again.

 

 

 

neighbors

'Normally I'd be optimistic that we could work out a little problem like this.'

‘Normally I’d be optimistic that we could work out a little problem like this.’

We have a mediocre like love/hate relationship with our neighbors. They first moved into the house next door last summer. I have lived on the street since 1997 and am among only a handful of others who have been there before or as long as I have. So, I count myself as a veteran of the street. I remember the next door neighbor being alive who was the original builder of all the houses on the street. I remember when he passed and then years later his wife passing. Her name was Mildred. I loved having her next door because she was almost deaf and never complained of my drumming and parties. In fact, the only thing she ever complained of was a Tulip Poplar on my property that shed leaves onto her property. The woman almost couldn’t stand to have one leaf in her yard. Eventually, I took the tree down because it wasn’t in the best of shape and leaning towards the house.

After Mildred passed friends of her family purchased the house. I first came across the new owner named Carl who would constantly introduce himself, “Carl and Amy here, nice to mee-cha!”

This would be the moment that I would look around for “Amy” never to be found. Carl did a bunch of work to the house – even later when I’d see him he’d say, “Hi, Carl and Amy here how-ya doing?” Again, no Amy anywhere and to this day I’ve never met her.

But no one moved in for quite some time. Then finally two older women moved in – (well, in fact I only SAW one but was informed by the other that the second did exist even though she was a hoarder and never left the house.) Apparently, Carl and his invisible wife, Amy, were getting a divorce and Amy was renting it to one live person and another invisible like herself.

This arrangement was fine until I was sitting in my carport one night talking to Charlie (this was before Charlie and I were together and she lived in Florida) when the one who I had met – the non-invisible one –  just came walking into the carport in her nightgown telling me to keep it down.

It was 8:30.

Ok, in the history of living on my street NO ONE had ever told me to keep it down. That lady was lucky I didn’t shoot her after walking up like that because she scared the crap out of me. After that, every time she saw me she made it a point to stop and talk to me. I’d be walking Sadie and she’d stop and talk. It got to a point that when I saw her coming I’d run and hide.

Finally, her and the hoarder moved out because Carl and Invisible-Amy’s divorce was final and she was moving in. So, we thought. The house sat empty again for months which suited me just fine. Then, Charlie moved in and then the current neighbors moved in. I came home one day and found Charlie standing in the back yard talking to some man who introduced himself as Tim. I would later meet his wife DeeDee. At first, it started out ok. There weren’t any incidents or complaints that I remember that first year. They would let out our dogs and then we’d let out theirs. We had even hired Tim to let them out during the day while we were at work and paid him. Then, Tim got a job and kind of left us in the lurch to find someone else so we decided to make due with blocking off rooms and hiding anything that could be chewed by Bailey. We were glad that Tim got a job because he was starting to come around more and more. He’d pop into the carport with a drink and talk about his penis sex which made me uncomfortable. I even got up and left at one point because I didn’t want to hear it. I even said something to his wife about it. Then, one morning last winter when Ellen and I were doing the Hot Chocolate Race I had gone out to ask her if she wanted any coffee before getting into her car and going and apparently Tim had heard me ask that and had called my cell phone number telling me to keep it down. Ok, by the time I had gotten the message we had already left that’s how quickly we were gone.

So, later Tim quit his job and decided to stay home all the time – and drink. Last week we had Michale, her gf and friend from Maine over to play music. We were literally in the back of the house in my office – right up against the neighbors on the opposite side of the house singing, playing drums and being rowdy until around 10:30 – we did this three nights in a row, in fact and those neighbors never said a word. (I think they probably felt guilty that I was up with every one of their kids when they were teething so this was my chance to keep them up). But, Thursday when we finished playing in my office we went out to the carport to sit and take a breather. The night was winding down but we got to laughing about something and suddenly both my phone and Charlie’s phones are going off from the neighbors – Tim and DeeDee. I let the message go to vm but listened to the message of Tim saying, “Hey, can you keep it down over there?” and a text saying, “Time to move the party inside…..please.”

We all shut up and started whispering and everyone left after that. What really p*ssed me off about that was BOTH of them were off the next day – DeeDee going to the mountains with a bunch of her girlfriends and Tim – well, just staying home and drinking. It was Charlie and I who had to get up early and drag into work. That morning going out the my truck I almost wanted to drag out my crash cymbol and start banging on it under their window.

That weekend with DeeDee out of town Tim didn’t have anything better to do than bug us. Even though we partied like rock starts again on Friday and Saturday playing music and drinking there were no more complaints from Tim -probably because he was bombed off his @ss. Then, Sunday I’m getting ready to go to the store when he calls my cell phone. Why he doesn’t text, I don’t know. I hate answering the phone to be honest. I only answer when it’s 100% convenient (which, is almost NEVER) or I WANT to talk to the person on the other end (which, I could list only 5 people not including TIM!). I let it go to vm and like Tim it was the standard, “Hey, Lanie – call me.”

Never saying what the f*ck he wants or what’s on fire – NO! Hey, call me. I never called him back. I texted Charlie, OMG WTF Tim just called me see what he wants. I’M DONE!!!

Apparently, he’d run out of vodka and wanted to borrow some of ours. We only had a teaspoon left in our bottle in the freezer so when I got home I had to ride with him to the liquor store and listen to him talk nothing. Once home he said, “Hey, I’ll just go make a drink and come by.”

Charlie and I internally cringed. We hadn’t had any time to ourselves the whole weekend and wanted some down time together but we were trapped. Fortunately, he’s usually only good for one drink before going home to drink more.

This week at work has been really busy. I’ve been killing myself getting ready for all these end of the month status meetings. Yesterday, I’m going into a meeting when my phone rings. I don’t recognize the number so I let it go to vm. Later, after my meeting I pick up the message, “Hey Lanie. It’s Tim, this is my cell phone. Give me a call.”

I went into a rage. WTF was that bastard calling me at work during the day for? What the hell is on fire that he thinks he needs to Eff-ing call me while I’m WORKING! I still had a ton of stuff to do before I left and got busy. I never called him back.

Later, at home Charlie and I were hanging out in the carport talking when suddenly DeeDee comes strolling up through the carport  – like the previous neighbor in her nightgown – scaring the crap out of us. We talked for a bit – I was hoping the topic of Tim calling would come up because all I really wanted to say was, “What the Eff is Tim doing calling me while I’m at work?” But, nothing was mentioned.

So, now I think we need to build a fence and tell the neighbors to please text us first before coming over. I mean, really – is that asking too much?

the [walking] dead ride

Last Sunday, Charlie and I met up with a group of [mostly] guys to ride to several Walking Dead sites in Georgia. Even though Charlie and I were the only cruisers of the group we managed to keep up. The group leader, Dakota happened to be a county sheriff in North Georgia, carried a sidearm (which, I was thankful for as I had decided to leave mine at home and I had been to Terminus previously and vowed I wouldn’t return without one) and ensured no one would get left in the group or exceed 70 mph on the highway.

Many of the photos below I linked to The Walking Dead Locations website.

Our first stop was the bridge overlooking the Highway. I’m not sure if this is Jackson bridge or not. I couldn’t find it on TWD location website. IMG_3303 (someone took a panoramic picture of the group)

Next, over to Grant Park for a photo in front of Rick’s house:

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After Ricks’s we decided to ride to Smyrna where the Cobb Energy  Performing Arts Center that “played” the CDC in the show. (The real CDC wouldn’t let the film crew anywhere near their site for security purposes)

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After sweating our butts off a bit we hopped back on the highway and headed for Terminus.

IMG_3305 (Charlie’s in yellow, I’m in blue in front of her. The guy in the back was one of our trip captains and he always made sure Charlie didn’t fall too far behind since it was her first highway trip)

IMG_3264 (Terminus. Like several TWD sites it’s chained up and no getting into)

Next we rode down to Newnan, GA to the Caldwell  Tanks location. This location was known as the Woodbury Arena where The Governor held the zombie fights and eventually where Daryl and Merle fought. (this was my favortie location of the trip)

IMG_3865 IMG_3267IMG_3866

By this time we’re parking in the trees to get any sort of shade as possible. The next place we stopped was the FEMA camp where Shane shot Otis.

Then to probably the creepiest town I have ever been in – Sharpsburgh, GA. As you can see from the photos the only people who were there were us. This is where Glen and Maggie went to Steve’s pharmacy and Carriage Bar and Shruggs Hardware:  

IMG_3874IMG_3877 (one of these stores had creepy dolls in the window. I told Charlie “Let’s get out of heeeeeeere!!)

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(that’s me looking in the window. There was a ton of junk in there)

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By this time I was running out of steam. We were all hot and dehydrated and seeking food and shelter – kind of like TWD survivors. So, we headed to Senoia, GA for lunch.

IMG_3878 IMG_3879 IMG_3880

These were the only pictures I was able to capture at the time. Charlie and I ended up in this cool Irish pub eating lunch with part of our group (we kind of split up at that point because part of the group wanted to walk around and being as my boot heel melted off and I was hot and tired I just followed the other half of the group into the nearest bar possible). This was a good choice not only because of location but because one of the guys in lunch group was a camera person for TWD for four years and he had all kinds of interesting stories and inside scoop on TWD. Unfortunately, after our ride back we never got his contact info nor was he on our FB event page. So, I guess we’ll just have to run into him again someday. Charlie and I want to do another ride down to just Senoia just to have lunch and come home. When it’s cooler!

finally

“Press One for English……Press Two for Spanish…… apriete dos para español……..please hold for the next representative.”

“THIS PHONE CALL MAY BE MONITORED FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE”

[Good because I’m about to get QA/QC all over your @sses]

“Hi, this is [name of numerous reps] for verification purposes can I have the last four digits of your social security number and your date of birth.”

[Given]

“Mz. [Lanie] do you still reside at [entire address recited]?”

“Yes, I do. Since today, yesterday, the day before and last week when I contacted you – I have not moved since then.”

“How may I help you today?”

“I have a life event and I would like to add my spouse to my health insurance.”

“I’d be happy to assist you with that Mrs. [Lanie]. What was the date of your marriage?”

“September 24, 2014.”

“Oh, I’m sorry Mrs. [Lanie] but you had 30 days after that event date to add your spouse to your health benefits. You will have to wait until open enrollment to do so.”

“I don’t agree because my marriage became legal in the state of Georgia June 26, 2015. Therefore, it is within the 30 days to add my spouse and I’d like to do so at this time.”

“I’m sorry Mrs. [Lanie] we are aware of the Supreme Court Decision, however, at this time our agents are working diligently in updating the policy so same sex couples can add their spouses to their insurance. We will put out a directive soon but other than that is there anything else I can help you with today?”

“When will you be putting out the directive?”

“I’m sorry, we don’t’ know at this time.”

“So, you mean to tell me that Joe next to me who just got married is able to add his spouse but because I’m in a same sex marriage I cannot add my spouse?”

“Mrs. [Lanie] we are working on that policy at this time and will put out a directive –

“So, this is a discrimination wouldn’t you think?”

“Mrs. [Lanie] –

“This is the fifth time I have called and still I am not able to add my spouse to my benefits even though there are thousands of others who can and I’m being discriminated against because I happen to be in a same sex marriage – is that what you are saying?”

“Mrs. [Lanie] –

“I suggest that [insurance] company gets the directive out soon or the next call will be from my attorney. Good day.”

I mean seriously – all they have to change in their system is this:

marriage2 (it’s that eff-ing simple)

The directive from my HR came out yesterday and you’d better believe I was burning up the phone line to add Charlie to my insurance. Once this is done I hope to never hear health insurance again until it’s time for open enrollment. This has been an on-going battle, believe me. First, Charlie was one.week out from getting insurance at the company she worked for (they had a three month waiting period after being hired) when she fell off the ladder and busted her heel and was out of work for three months. So, she had no insurance. We dealt with it -pretty well, considering.

Then, Charlie gets a new job. The day she came home from her working interview with a new vet that specializes in eyes and sees all kinds of animals that she was so excited to work with – she’s crying.

“What’s wrong? Did your interview not go well?”

“Yes [hiccup] it did but I called my Mom to tell her because I was so happy and she yelled at me about what I was going to do about health insurance and that I shouldn’t switch jobs right now because I just got on their insurance.”  

“Yeah, those bastards that made you wait six months for insurance, wouldn’t take you back for three months after your accident even though when they did they just sat you in a chair in reception and made you answer the phone – like you couldn’t do that at one month in? Then, they work you to death, bad hours, yell at you -but no, you shouldn’t leave because OH WOW they decided to grant you benefits like you should kiss their @sses and be soooo grateful. EEEEEFFF – THEM! We’ll figure this health stuff out even if we have to get you on Obama Care and Ima call my insurance company and hound them every day until I can add you in the meantime. Don’t sweat it – I want you to do what you want to do and what makes YOU happy.”

Next: Call from my sister:

“What’s new?”

“Oh, Charlie had an interview with a vet that specializes in eyes and is really excited about the job and will probably take it. It’s practically walking distance from the house and the hours are much better than the other place and it’s a private practice.”

“What about insurance? I hope you’re not going to let her go without insurance again. You should have been on that when she left the other job.”

“It’s being taken care of – no worries.”

“Well, I hope so because you need to –“

[Bitch sister name] I’m on it! Plus, we have the Supreme Court decision coming out any day now and if it rules in our favor than I will be able to add her to my benefits.”

Next: Call from Charlie’s brother after the Supreme Court decision:

“That’s so great! But, you still won’t be able to be on Lanie’s insurance will you?”

“Yes [narcissistic brother name] I will be. We will have all the rights as any couple  [except for you, brother who will need to MARRY your girlfriend of 12 years in order to put her on YOUR insurance – HAHA!] It’s across the board.”

So, you can understand why I am sooooooooo eff-ing sick and tired of the health benefit thing and having to explain it to family members who are not eff-ing supportive AT. ALL! So, I was celebrating yesterday, believe me! It’s one thing to have the Supreme Court decision but another to actually be able to put it into effect. It’s now real. We now have all the rights as any other couple.

Soccer and Crystal 

I was about to tuck into a Wells Bombardier the other night and watch the soccer game at our favorite little Irish pub when Charlie said, We’d better get there early and get seats.

I was really hoping that we would catch at least the first 30 minutes of the game but agreed she’d had a point. We were going to see Crystal Bowersox at Edie’s Attic and it was bound to fill up. I looked up at the TV and USA was warming up and knew it would be another 30 minutes even before kickoff. I suggested that we finish off our beers and go. I was proud of Charlie for getting us concert tickets and planning a date night so I wasn’t going to ruin it by making us arrive late and have to stand all night.

We walked into the room and already people were sitting at the middle bar. There were several seats at the back bar but several of them had water glasses sitting in front of them like they were being saved. I started to go up and tap the lady sitting on the end and ask if they were taken when I realized she was…………

LEE!

I turned around and started the opposite direction when Charlie said, “Oh my God is that Lee and Heidi?”

“Why yes it is.”

Just then two seats appeared at the front bar and I asked the guy next to one of them if they were taken and he said, “They are now.”

Pulling out one of the stools so Charlie and I could wedge our way in.

I’m so glad we found a seats here.

I am too, and we have our backs to them now so we don’t have to look at them.

If you read this post you know that Lee basically went out to Seattle to bust up Rhoda and Heidi. Apparently, Heidi is shacking up with Lee who still lives in Bertha’s (her ex of 9 years) basement.

I looked at the clock on the wall – we still had an hour before any music was played. I signaled the server and ordered a pitcher. If we were in for the haul might as well focus on the liquid. I told Charlie I was going out on the back porch to see if the soccer game was on and go to the restroom. I went out back and no, the game wasn’t on –which was so LAME and then to the bathroom. I’m standing there waiting for someone to come out of one of the two stalls when one of the stall doors open almost hitting me and out walked Crystal Bowersox.

“Oh, sorry.”

“No problem.” Thinking, Crystal Bowersox can hit me with the bathroom door anytime.

I came back into the music room and settled down next to Charlie. It wouldn’t be long now. Finally, people started flooding in and taking the reserved seats and the place started to fill up. Eventually what seemed like an eternity Crystal took the stage to introduce one of the warmup performers.

“I want to bring to the stage a good friend of mine. This is a woman I discovered in Seattle walking by a café’ I heard this incredible voice…..”

I eyed the keyboard on the stage and my stomach dropped. Surely Crystal Bowersox wasn’t talking about Heidi and her pitiful little mewing she calls singing while she pounded the keyboard. Surely not. I’m going to fall.out. if she brings her up there. Maybe that’s why Heidi and Lee are here – Heidi is playing. Oh.My.God. If she brings her up on stage I’m going back to the Irish bar and watch soccer until she’s gone.

“……….please everyone welcome Whitney Monge.

IMG_3801 (Charlie and Whitney)

Relief flooded me.

“Oh, I knew she wasn’t good enough to be up there, Lanie.”

“You never know, Charlie. She’s fooled a lot of people.”

After many drinks, and listening to wonderful artists including Crystal Bowersox we left. We managed to get through the whole night without any communication or contact with Lee and Heidi and USA won without my visual help so it was a win-win situation.

IMG_3807 (Crystal takes to the stage)

Brunch and Brain Damage

Saturday, I did the Pride race in Piedmont park that I had signed up for months ago. Charlie and I took the dogs down there so they could watch me run. At one point we ran back by the spectators after the 1 mile marker and Sadie really expected me to grab her leash and take her with me. She whined and cried while Charlie and the other people around laughed.

IMG_3075

I could have probably taken her but it was already getting hot outside.  I thought I was going to keel over at mile 2 in the meadow that was sweltering hot.

Since I had that race we did not go with Katharine, Yvonne and Michale to the mountains to ride motorcycles. I was glad because by the time they left town it was already in the 90’s and they didn’t get back until 9:30 p.m. Charlie and I got invited by Hannah Thomas to a backyard concert so we went to that. It was amazing! The house it was held was just up the street from our little Ujoint bar and we were able to bring a cooler, chairs and things to nosh on. The back yard itself looked like something out of House and Garden and Hannah performed on the deck of this darling little shed that Charlie and I want to build something identical to in our back yard.

IMG_3085 IMG_3088 IMG_3092 IMG_3098

The next day we had planned to ride down to Juliette, GA home of the Whistle Stop Café’ but we decided to bag it because we got in so late on Saturday from the cottage concert. So, we decided to ride to brunch somewhere. As we were riding I kept hearing a call come in on my helmet. I ignored it and suddenly Michale was speaking in my helmet.

Hey, are you guys coming over?

No, we thought you’d still be in bed from getting in so late last night.

Well, I thought we were riding to Juliette?

Nah, we’re riding to brunch- you want to come?

Yes, but I need you to come over here – I have a problem.

I sighed. I had already gone over to her house the previous week to help her pick her jinormous bike up from lying on its side in the backyard.

IMG_2989

What happened?

Oh, I was trying to park it and it went over and it’s laying against my car now. I need help picking it up again.

Ok, we’ll be over but we’re down in Candler Park right now it may be a minute to get back your way.

As I turned around and headed that way I hit the intercom button and told Charlie what happened. When we arrived, the bike was indeed leaning up against her [company] car. Fortunately, neither was worse for wear. I grabbed the back sissy bar and helped her right it. Charlie and I had parked down at the curb because Michale has a hellaciously steep driveway that not even I would attempt.  After some discussion of riding over to Katharine’s to see if she wanted to join us I walked down to the street to my bike. Charlie was sitting on hers the whole time. We started and watched Michale roll down her driveway, turn sharply onto the street, almost fall over and hit a car parked at the curb before righting herself, taking off and blowing through the stop sign at the end of the street without even looking.

Oh boy, I said into my intercom

You ain’t kidding, Charlie replied.

I was suddenly teaching at Honda again.

Michale darted across Memorial Drive (4 lanes of traffic, I might add) to Katharine’s street.  We got to Katharine’s and her and Yvonne were literally just getting up and passed on the brunch. They talked about the ride the previous day and I just figured Michale had worked all this stuff out since according to her she was a seasoned rider and they went all the way up to Brasstown Bald. I mean, surely if she could ride all the way up there and back she could ride to brunch. After Katharine bailing we discussed where to go to brunch and I mentioned Henry’s. (I would still like to give the place another shot before I call it quits on major suckage). Both Michale and Charlie said, Whatever. But, as we rode I thought about that steep parking lot at Henry’s and the turn at the bottom to get into the lot as well as all the loose gravel below. I decided on the Brewhouse in Little 5 just because it was close and we could have rock star parking. This turned out to be a good choice – food-wise and parking-wise.

IMG_3099 (this is Charlie’s new Harley in the foreground)

After a delectable lunch of a gyro and so much coffee I was sweating we decided to go to this thrift store so Michale could look for some chaps and a leather vest. I had looked at her skeptically when she explained she was going to start riding in that. Chaps – one thing – that’s fine but just a leather vest? What kind of protection is that? But, I was trying to stay off my soapbox. I had already cautioned her on using her rear brake more after she almost rear-ended Charlie coming up to a light we were stopped at. (I thought Charlie was going to have to stop and clean her pants out one time). I’d also recommended that she take a class on her own bike so she could get used to braking, cornering and operating it. So, I just shut up. I said I knew a great route to take to the thrift store and we took off. The ride over was uneventful and after Michale found some chaps, paid and wore them out of the store we agreed that once we got to Decatur she would peel off and go home and Charlie and I would do the same. At one point we were making our way back and I noticed that Michale was behind me instead of Charlie. I figured Charlie got tired of worrying about her hitting her @ss and let her go. But, later Charlie said that Michale again blew through a stop sign, passing her and that’s how she came up to be right behind me.

I just couldn’t believe this. Who in their right mind blew through stop signs on purpose unless she couldn’t stop?

Once in Decatur, Charlie and I split off from Michale and waved. We were home in 5 minutes and I texted her to let us know when she got home. Twenty minutes went by and Charlie and I were already in shorts sitting on the porch splitting our last beer.

Have you heard from Michale?

Nope. Ima text her again.

More time went by and our beer was gone and I decided to go get more and drive by Michale’s house on the way as she’s about 10 minutes from us. I parked at the street and groaned because I knew I had to run up her driveway to see if her bike was in the back. It wasn’t. I drove by Katharine’s house and she wasn’t there either. I texted Ellen and asked if she was over there and she said she wasn’t.  I told her to let me know if she showed up. As I was pulling into the gas station to get beer my phone rang and it was Michale.

Hey, where are you?

Well, I rode over to Nina’s.

I could sense hesitation in her voice. And?

And, there’s a problem. See my throttle got stuck and I went down. I’m going to need you to come over here.

I wondered when it had become my job to pick her bike up every time she tipped it over.

Here’s Nina, she’s going to give you her address.

Nina: She took a pretty good fall and I’m trying to talk her into going to the urgent care.

I’m not only a bike lift but also a paramedic, apparently.

What’s her symptoms? I guess if I was going to play the part…..

She hit her head pretty hard (I heard Michale in the background saying, But I had my helmet on) and she’s repeating the same things over and over again (hence the background, I thought) and she’s nauseous.

She probably has a concussion call 911.

She probably won’t let me do that.

Well, she has really good insurance. Just call them. If she won’t let you take her to the ER.

Ok, I’ll do that and call you back.

I was hoping she wouldn’t but she called back a second later.

She wants me to take her to urgent care.

Well, if she has a head injury then urgent care is just going to send her to the ER. You’re near DeKalb Medical, right? Just tell her you’re taking her to urgent care and drive there.

I was already back at the house with beer when a text from Nina came in saying that she was taking her to the ER.

Whew! She’s finally relented and took her to the ER.  

Thank goodness!

By this time both Charlie and our neighbor Deb were sitting on the porch. We drank while reports came in from Nina. CT scan: normal, but two cracked ribs and an overnight stay in the hospital. I was glad that Nina was handling it – and from what I’ve been told Nina wants to handle it – and more than that.

Let’s just ride by ourselves for a while.

You got it!

It was turning out to be too much like work.

 

puttin’ up pickles and salsa

Since I’ve been off this week (well, technically I’ve been in a virtual class for three days and it’s been boring, boring, boring) I decided to play around with my FreshTECH Automatic Canning system.

First up was kosher pickles. With this system you have to follow the recipe book they provide with the unit pretty closely. Apparently, they have all the acidity and cooking times worked out for these specific recipes. I knew this going into it because I went to the website and read a lot of reviews on the product prior to purchasing it. I was ok with this. I have no family heirloom recipes on how to can the perfect pickle, tomato sauce or dilly beans. (Although, I really want them to add a chow-chow recipe) The website has added even more recipes since they published the book and promise to add more. I bought pickling cucumbers at the local farmer’s market and some specific Ball pickling spice, pickling salt and vinegar (they call for 5% acidity) and got started.

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One thing to note on the recipes – they usually give you two sizes of jars you can use and you use the amount of ingredients it calls for under the jar size in the book. I had to also purchase some 16 oz. jars as I had only 6 and 12. Pickles require a larger jar in order to fit in there sliced in quarters. Per the 16 oz jar recipe I filled four jars even though I sanitized 5 so they wouldn’t fall over on each other. First, you place the jars in the canning system and hit the programming button to sterilize the jars. This takes 12 minutes. That gave me time to bring to a boil on the stove the vinegar, salt and pickling spice. Once the jars are sterilized you remove one jar at a time and just close the lid (you don’t have to lock it back in place). According to the book you remove one jar at a time, fill and replace in the canning system before removing another empty jar and filling it. What the book doesn’t say is that it’s sometimes a bitch to get ahold of the empty jars if they’re all packed in there together with no room to get the tongs in around the mouth of one of the jars to pull it out. Also, sometimes the jars will fall over if they’re not supported by the other jars being packed in there. I don’t really think this is a big deal. I packed the quartered cucumbers in each jar and poured the liquid spice over it allowing ½ inch headroom.

Once all the jars are filled and replaced in the unit you lock the lid, hit the pickle button (it actually has a picture of a pickle on it) on the side and a number (they give you a numeric number to hit with every recipe) and hit start. For the pickles it took 38 minutes and they were done. I took them out and set them aside to cool. It tells you to let them cool at room temperature for 12-24 hours. While I was boiling the vinegar mix for them the smell was so strong it made me sneeze. So, I hope they are not too vinegary.

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Today, I decided to try the traditional salsa recipe in the book. This is the one that calls for tomatoes, jalapenos, green onions, garlic and cilantro. (There’s one called a Fiesta salsa but that is a Ball Fiesta salsa spice pack and tomatoes which, I may try next if this one is meh). This one is a little more involved. I skinned and seeded all the tomatoes. (I went here for an easy way to do that) I boiled water on the grill outside (because it’s really hot here and I didn’t want to heat up the house) and put the tomatoes in it until the skins came away slightly and then put them into ice water so they wouldn’t cook anymore.

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Then, I diced up the tomatoes, peppers, cilantro and garlic and brought it to a boil in a pan with lime juice, hot pepper sauce and vinegar. Once it boiled (again, on the grill outside) I put it on simmer for 15 minutes. (I also used 3 large orange tomatoes and 4 red vine tomatoes medium sized)

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I was also sanitizing the jars while I did this. Once it was ready I put it into the jars and hit the salsa button, the number 2 button and it started processing. This took 48 minutes. One thing about this recipe. It called for either an 8 oz or 16 oz jars. I used 12 oz jars and went with the 16 oz. jar ingredient amount and still only got 2-1/2 jars out of it. I was really disappointed given the amount of time it took to chop all that stuff up. So, next time I’m going to use more like 9 -10 cups of large tomatoes opposed to 7 cups the recipe calls for.

I haven’t tried the pickles or, of course, the salsa yet but I will let you know how they come out.

IMG_3761   (these little babies were still boiling in the jar when I took this pic)

sorry about your bed – ZOK!

I had a weird dream last night – or should I say this morning between the time when Charlie got up and my getting up. It was stupid. Remember those two women who screwed in our spare room Super Bowl night? And, remember bumping in to one of them at Katharine and Yvonne’s CD release show and her saying, “Sorry about your bed, man.” And me wanting to punch her?

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Yeah, it was sort of like that. In the dream Charlie and I had gone to Henry’s – this really gay restaurant/bar in Midtown which everyone raves about, we’ve been there twice and I just don’t get it. Anyway, we’re there getting ready to listen to this band play when a snobby server comes by to take our drink orders. (This is pretty accurate so far as the first time we went there we were greeted by a snobby host). The server asked to see two forms of ID – one a driver’s license and the other in the form of a government ID or a Weapons Carry permit.

“For a Miller Lite?!!” You say?

Yeah, that’s where it got crazy. I scoffed at the server and said, I have all three and pulled out my wallet only to find out that all of them were gone! She said, Well, no alcohol for you then and took Charlie’s order and unfortunately Leslie and the skank that she f*cked in our bed’s order and walked away. I also had the unfortunate experience of sitting in between Leslie and the skank and they kept talking over my head and handing things to each other across my face. Charlie had disappeared at this point and I was looking around for her like, Help. I’m trapped between these two with no alcohol.

Then, the band came on and they all looked like the skank with pink hair. Then, Leslie handed something across my face again to the skank hitting me in the nose and it was about that time I was going to drag her outside and beat the hell out of her –

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-that I woke up.

I decided to get up after that. I needed to run before it got a 1000 degrees outside (but only after checking my wallet to see if all forms of identification were in there). I do my best running in the mornings before its hot, however, I have a very difficult time getting up to do it. I’m trying to change all that so I don’t have to be worried about trying to work it in during the hottest point of the day or during my lunch hour on the treadmill – boring.

I’m off this whole week and so far it’s been wonderful! I do have a virtual class that started today and runs through Thursday but, really, it’s still pretty great! I’m hoping to start canning pickles this week with the automatic canner so I will let you know how that goes.

concerts and riding

A blinking cursor followed by an empty document is the worst, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s so hard to break the seal of writing. Last weekend I was able to break the seal and finally start my next book project. I at least eked out a chapter of 934 words. Not bad for not having written anything serious in the last few years. This one is a sci-fi thriller. I’m not really going to go into details as I don’t believe in putting my work on my blog. This blog and book projects are two separate things. But, I will say that if I self-publish this one (like my last one) I will link it in case you want to download it to read. (and, if any of you want to download and read my last book just shoot me a message and I will give you the information.)

I have all next week off – save for taking a virtual class for three days but I plan on making a huge dent on the new book. I can’t wait. A whole week dedicated to just messing around in my home office taking my class, writing and playing the occasional drums. I can’t wait!

Tonight, Charlie and I are going to see The Rolling Stones play. She’s going to take the train to my office and we’re going to dinner from there and then Uber it over to the stadium. I’m hoping this concert will be as good as the one we went to last Friday: Matt Nathanson: The Fray : Train. They were all fantastic and we had incredible seats that were lawn seats that I had scored for $15 each through a Groupon. It was money well spent because all three of them were good but Train just blew everyone away. We asked Michale to go with us and she drove us down there.  The three of us had a ball! She’s one of our few friends that actually do stuff with us. Granted, I feel like I always have to plan stuff – even with the friends who do things with us – I’m always looking ahead and seeing things to do or happy hours to have. Some people just never even ask – ever. It’s frustrating and makes me not want to ask them to do anything, either.

Michale also just got a motorcycle (yesterday) so now our little click is complete – me, Charlie, Michale, Kath & Yvonne all have bikes now. We were trying to get Stacy to get a bike but she stupidly said that until Georgia got rid of their helmet law she wasn’t riding (which, I could see Ellen roll her eyes out of the corner of my eye).

Since I quit the teaching business I don’t lecture anymore I just think, Being stupid is your business, not mine.

I bet you’ll change your mind when you see Ellen riding away on the back of my bike, Michale replied.

Hmm, should be interesting…..

IMG_3702 (1) (Charlie and I at Train concert)

we’ll see – my @ss

Remember that Grey’s Anatomy episode where everyone sang in place of the dialog?

Yeah, HATED IT.

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The idea of making a Broadway musical out of them trying to save Callie Torres was about the most ridiculous thing I ever watched. I felt like the singing took away from the storyline and that it didn’t advance as quickly because they were too busy singing. It was one of those things where you wanted to know the answers – will she survive, will her and Arizona get married, will their unborn child be Ok? Very important questions that were taken up with “We’ll see so I’m going to sing this song right now….”

We’ll see might as well be a four-letter word to me. Its’ a I’m not going to take responsibility right now for anything because I’m hoping the stars will line up perfectly by tomorrow and that way I won’t have to make a decision.

We’ll see entails nothing. It’s a sit back and wait type of deal. It’s a hoping that someone else will take care of it kind of attitude or a maybe if I don’t do anything it will go away ideal.

I can’t stand it, to be honest. In my job I am tasked daily to find out answers to the many questions involved in multi-million dollar projects. If my boss called me up and asked me what was the outcome of a question I asked to one of the many department heads on a task and I said that they came back and told me that they said, We’ll see I’d probably be written up. There would be a whole slew of firings if everyone took a We’ll see attitude.

Nothing gets done with a We’ll see attitude.

I heard this quote the other day: If you’re unhappy with your life then quit complaining about it and change it.

Most of the people I’ve ran across that takes the We’ll see attitude probably wouldn’t like that phrase above. They would be like, Well, things are OK. I’m getting by and maybe I’ll think about doing that next week. We’ll see.

It’s really hard to make plans with people that take a We’ll see attitude as well. Other phrases they use are: I’ll look in to it or It’s a possibility. Nothing is ever decided and/or planned and you feel like an ass if you ask them again about it because they never really gave you an answer the first time. Do people who do this have avoidance issues? They don’t want to deal with certain things? If so, then why don’t they say, Oh, I don’t want to deal with that right now. Or  I’ll get back to you next Tuesday on that and we’ll go from there. Those are much better responses than the blowoff of We’ll see.

Today, I decided to take a break from all my We’ll see people who drive me crazy – because my mental health is important.