Don’t Dwell On It, whatever it is.

This day did not quite go as planned, and therefore this blog post will not be what I had planned to write about tonight.

I like chinese food. A lot. I eat at chinese restaurants at least once or (more usually) twice a week. I particularly like chinese buffets, and consider myself to be a bit of an authority on the best restaurants of that categoy in the city of Memphis. To be clear, I know next to nothing about “authentic” chinese cuisine, but I know a lot about the best place to get a good (meaning relatively cheap) meal at a Chinese Buffet in Memphis.

Now, as everybody knows, part of the ritual of eating at a chinese restaurant is reading the message in the fortune cookie that the the waitress or waiter delivers along with your bill at the end of the meal. Over the years I’ve read literally thousands of those little message. Most of them have been bland and boring. Some have been hillarious. Some of them have been profound and thought provoking.

Fourteen years ago, while I was living in Decatur Alabama, the fortune cookie message simply read, “All bad things are now behind you”. This was, of course, not true, but at the time I read it, that message of meant a lot to me. You seek the day I read it was just three days after the aniversary of my father’s death. That day was, in fact, the first aniversary of his funeral. Needless to say the previous year had NOT been an easy one. But that little slip of white paper with the small print literally made my day. Reading that made me feel good, really good, for the first time in several months. The feeling didn’t last long, but for the time it did last, it felt great. Of course something happened not long after that day that made me feel even better, but that story will be told on August 23.

The next bit of wisdom that I got from a fortune cookie that really grabbed my attention was delivered by a waitress at the New Hunan restaurant on Park Avenue. “Struggle as hard as you can for whatever you believe in”. That little gem has been taped to three successive computer monitors over the last six years.
I’ve been told that I have an argumentative personality, and my standard response to that is, “You think?” The fact is that I do like to engage in verbal combat. I’ll debate just about anything, just for the fun of it, for the joy of the skill. Normally I just debate for the fun of the debate. I’ve been known, when on a long road trip with another fan of verbal combat to spend hours debating one side of a topic on the first part of the trip, and hours debating the exact opposite side of the same topic on the return trip.
However, if the subject is something I truly care about, something I’m ….for lack of a better word, “passionate” about, something I truly believe it, …well that’s a cause  I’ll carry on in any way I can for a very, very long time. In that case the “struggle” is not just a debate, but it encompasses working in every way that I can to bring about the solution I want. I’ll support it in any way I can.

Today, at the excellent Panda Buffet restaurant in Bartlett, I got this fortune from the mysterious cookie, “Dwelling on the negative will only increase it’s power”. Damn, damn, and double damn.
You see, I had planned for this post to be all about the way the last week has truly sucked. I had planned to rant about the fact that last Friday three fecal units in human shape had tried to steal the air conditioner from the house I live in. I had, in fact, planned to spend  quite a long time describing the torments that I hoped would someday  happen to those three subhuman scum.
After I had exhausted that topic I was planning on ranting about the fact that I got a ticket on Tuesday for not wearing a seatbelt. Apparently the Bartlett police officers don’t have enough to do, so they are using their free time to pull over people that make the choice (admittedly a stupid choice, I know, but a choice) to not wear a seatbelt and writing them tickets. A ticket I’ll point out that will cost me 25.00.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d rant on after that, but it might have had something to do with gas prices, or the fact that Shrub  was still president, but I’m sure it would have been, long, eloquent, and in the end, it would not have done much good. In fact, such a long rant would have been damaging, for it would have made me think about all those things again. I would have gotten angry, again. My blood pressure would have gone up, again.
But then I read, “Dwelling on the negative will only increase it’s power”. Kind of took the wind out of my sails. Kind of made me look at things from another point of view.
See, the three scum didn’t succeed in getting the air conditioner. Oh, true, they did manage to cut the lines, etc. but they managed to forget the one aspect of theft that you should never forget; “make sure no one is home”. So, we were only without AC for one night, and we only had to pay to get the unit hooked up again. True, that was more money than we wanted to spend, but not nearly as much as what replacing the unit would have been.
And yeah, I did get a ticket, and yeah, that did piss me off to no end, but the fact is, I’ve been remarkably lucky over the last 25 years. In that time I’ve had three car accidents, but have never had any injuries. I’ve never worn a seatbelt either. SO, if my seatbelt luck had to run out, it’s much better that it run out and only cost me a 25.00 ticket instead of running out with an accident and possibly having serious injuries. I’ve been wearing the seat belt since getting pulled over the other day, and will continue to do so. I don’t like it, and never will, but it is, truly, better to be safe than sorry.
And yeah, Shrub is still the President. However, in only 173 days, he won’t be.

Be careful where you step…

The weather in Memphis has turned fugly the last couple of days. Heavy cloud cover, intermittent rain. Just, “blah” weather.  This kind of weather has meant a lot of wet sidewalks, slick wet leaves on the ground, etc. etc.

I mention this because as I was leaving Their Majesties home yesterday, after completing the inventory of Heir’s Equipment, I did something rather embarrassing. As I stepped down from a stair in front of their house, I apparently stepped on a wet leaf that was on top of a slick patch of pavement. Entirely on it’s own, without any direction from my brain, my left foot decided to do a bit of “pavement surfing”. This, of course, made my left leg, the one that was supposed to be taking the weight (considerable as it is) in this step go kind of shooting out to the side. Of course I then proceeded to fall down the remaining two stairs.

What was truly odd was that it all seemed to happen in slow motion. Her Majesty Kenna was standing on the porch behind me, and I quite clearly heard her ask me if I was OK as I started to tumble.  I may be remembering this incorrectly, but I think I actually had time to say, “Oh yeah, just falling a little”. Actually, I know I’m remembering that incorrectly. That’s what I would have liked to have said, but what I think I actually said, if anything was, “Oh shiiiiiii”. Although the fall seemed to be in slow motion I didn’t have time to finish that last word before my right knee and left elbow hit the pavement. I’m fairly sure earthquake detecting machines in California registered the vibration of that impact. I know my knee did.

Now, let me assure you that there was no real damage. But the truly odd thing was that although it was my right knee that hit the ground, it’s been my left thigh that has been hurting all day. Feels like I sprained a muscle or something.  It’s been more annoying than anything else, but still kind of strange.

So, the moral of the story this little story is this: be very careful where you are stepping. Could save you all kinds of annoyance.

(sorry folks, I didn’t have anything more interesting to write about tonight)


Sometimes the way to victory is to not fight.

I am feeling in a mood for self revelation tonight. The mood to share something about myself that most of you that read this don’t know about me, so here goes: I love a good debate. I’ll go further than that, I love a good argument. I’m good at it.  Hell, I’ve been known to spend three hours debating/arguing one position , the use of the death penalty as an example, then turn around and spend three hours arguing/debating the other side of the same argument.

I know, I know, you are all shocked and surprised. ……surprised by the fact I was able to type the above paragraph with a strait face.  The fact is that anybody and everybody that knows me, has known me for five minutes, knows I rarely back away from an argument. Especially if it is an issue I feel strongly about.

(again reads several dozen posts on the home group email list)…..

But the thing is, for an argument or debate to be a good argument (and to be clear, I’m not talking about BAD arguments, that’s a subject for another time),  both sides have to be willing to truly listen to the other side.  Both sides must be willing to hear what the other side is saying, and must be willing to admit the other side has valid points. Finally, both sides must be willing to believe that the other side is acting honestly, and not trying to hide something, or scamming someone, etc. etc.

(reads the emails again).

When those conditions don’t exist, it is not a “good” argument/debate. It is just name calling, slander, and does nothing but raise suspicion, disrespect, mistrust,  and ill will. This brings me to the thing I really wanted to reveal, what you may not know about me: I have recently come to truly understand that the best way to win an argument or debate, when it is a bad one, is to simply not get drawn into it.


Tape removal is not fun

So, last night I had to check into Methodist Hospital’s Sleep Disorder Clinic to have what’s called a “Sleep Disorder Test”. They apparently call it that because “seven hours of uncomfortable attempts to sleep normally” is to many words.  I had to have this test because my Doctor thinks I may suffer from sleep apnea, which apparently is the scientific name for the conditon “snores damn loud”.
For those of you that have never had to have one of these tests, let me describe it to you. YOu show up at the clinic, they show you the room you will be sleeping in and you are surprised to find that it looks remarkably like a mid range hotel room. It most emphatically DOES NOT look like a hospital room. The very nice technician then asks you to change into what ever you sleep in, and says he’ll be right back to get you “hooked up”.
“Hooked up” refers to  the placing of approximately 3700 electrodes to your head, chest, face, back, legs, and wherever else the technician feels like placing one.  Or ten. This process does not occur in the sleeping room, but in the “Patient Hook Up Room”. That is a room I never want to enter again. These electrodes are held on with pieces of surgical tape. Remember that, it will become important in just a little bit.
Once all the electrodes, and the tape that holds them in place, are attached the technician then escorts you back to the “sleeping room”. He then instructs you to lay down and sleep as normally as possible. Slight problem here. Normally I do not sleep in a room that has a camera trained on me while I sleep. Normally, I do not have the itching caused by approximately 4700 pieces of tape holding approximately 3700 electrodes in place. Normally when I wake up in the middle of the night I don’t have to call a technician on an intercom to come unplug all the wires from the machine so I can stumble to the bathroom and take care of business.
So, for the next seven hours I attempted to sleep. Eventually I did sleep, but while it normally takes me four, five minutes top to get to sleep at home, last night took about an hour and half. I never did get as deeply as asleep as normal. At this point I should point out that I do, I admit, have sleep problems. Usually I only sleep four or five hours a night, and I normally wake up at least twice, sometimes more.
Once it was over I asked the tech what the test showed. Of course he tried really hard to not say anything, claiming it was up to the Doctor to interpret the results. Eventually he did say that he had never had someone snore quite so loudly. Hell, I could have told them I snore loud. Sometimes I wake myself up snoring.
Eventually it was time for the great “unhooking”, the removal of all the electrodes. The removal of the tape. Remember the tape? I assure you, I’ll never forget the tape. See, while I’m bald on my head, I do have a rather hairy chest. There is apparently no way to remove surgical tape that has been installed over chest hair without removing that same hair. The tech tried, he really did, but …but DAMN that was not fun.