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The Bagel Company 

As recounted here a number of times, before I became a credit card fraud investigator (for almost 22 years) I worked in a number of jobs.

FORTY, to be more precise!

One of those many jobs was a commercial bagel bakery.  I needed work; they were there.

Not to far from my house.

Who knew they had bagels in Arizona?!

So, I was hired.  Again, second shift.

Most of the rank and file were Latino, with a few American Indians mixed in. We all got along, although I’m pretty certain before they were employed, most of the ethnic types had no idea what a bagel was.   😛

I worked there a few months. The bad news was I came home after midnight, often smelling of yeast and onion.

The good news was whenever there were overruns, the workers could take home free bagels.

Dozens of them! 

Our freezer was often overloaded.

It was hot,  busy work. And I thought I had a future there.

But, it was not to be.

The (then) wife took a job which required some overnight travel. This meant someone had to be available during the day for Molly.   For day care and school.

And I had to change jobs for something with a day shift.

John’s Uniforms it was!

Biological Warfare

(from The Feral Irishman)

A person “passed gas” Sunday afternoon on an American Airlines jet forcing all passengers to deplane. The incident caused nausea and headaches and complaints from passengers that they felt “ill”.

Click HERE for the story/
How sad that this reminded me of an incident from my distant past.
I was in Junior High (8th Grade?) in Mr. Procopchek’s Mechanical Drawing class.  We rotated mechanical drawing, metal shop and wood shop each semester.
And, being a shop class, it was all boys.  This was 1964-65.
And, in the middle of class, Phil Cupp cut one.  Seriously long and loud, from the back of the classroom (I almost wrote from the rear! 🙂 )
And the guys began giggling and retching, as the unseen biological cloud of death wafted it’s way toward the front of the class.
And Mr. Procopchek became more and more annoyed, asking us to keep working and to act like adults.
That is, of course, until the cloud reached his desk at the front of the class!
He made a face, cracked the windows, and told us to exit in an orderly fashion for a few minutes…
Seriously.  Chemical warfare or terrorism!
Phil was a classroom god for the next week or so.
It was that easy to impress junior high boys.

And The Adventure Continues, Part Ocho 

So Monday the contractor returned, closed the hole in the downstairs ceiling, and replaced the upstairs bathroom floor (they had taken a divot earlier to test for asbestos – none found!)

He returned yesterday morning to give the ceiling a second coat.

Everything looks GREAT!  FINALLY!

paint still drying…

previously

(the leak began in MAY!)

I’m still dealing with my enlarged calf, visiting my regular doctor again today. And the vascular guy again next Monday.

At least the shower is no longer leaking. 

But, the adventure does continue. The one working vehicle (J’s 2006 Honda Element) has a battery which is dying. It still starts the car, but could be gone any day now.

$100-250 at most auto parts places.

And I don’t get paid until mid week next week.

It’s always something… 

Sigh.

Der Fledermausflügel

In another lifetime, I was newly married (one year) and had job ‘issues’.  Those who know me know I held 40 jobs from age 16 until I landed as a credit card fraud investigator (TMCCC).  I stayed in that job for almost 22 years!

My bride worked for an electronics company, then ubiquitous in the Phoenix area.  MOTOROLA.  Seems her father and one brother also worked there.  Family business (?)

(Well, anyway) I was between jobs, and The Wife told me they were hiring.  I applied, with the hope I would be working armed security (based on my job experience).

Not only did they NOT hire me for security, they hired me a a line worker doing silicon wafer inspection, in a clean room suit, and, I was assigned second shift!  Which meant I’d hardly got to see The Wife.

Hardly my first choice!

But, they had a credit union, and health insurance, and I needed work.

It was NOT the best of experiences.

The crew was largely like those one encountered in the security business.  Mixed education and experience, ethnicity and background.  One manager was constantly sexually harassing the men, openly; one of the new guys was openly addicted to pills, and treated co-workers horribly.  The harasser was left alone, because she was a long-term female employee.  The pill-popper was ethnic, and so he was allowed much more leeway than if a White guy had been doing the same.  One of the lead engineers was also a harasser, who didn’t get held accountable until years later.

And management constantly held impossible standards over your head, and threatened all with layoffs (a product of the semiconductor production business – we need to get product out, hire more people.  When contracts end, lay the folks off!)

So, I worked there a little more than a year-and-a-half.  And was miserable.

The Wife and I DID get to see each other on weekends (she became pregnant in May!), and I left der Fledermausflügel in November to begin my private investigation business.

I was laid off.

Why der Fledermausflügel, you ask?

German for bat wings, of course!

Dangerous Things For Kids!

(from The Art of Manliness, in part)

Even though the modern world isn’t any more dangerous than it was thirty or forty years ago, it feels like a more perilous place. Or, more accurately, we inhabit the world today in a way that’s much more risk averse; for a variety of very interesting and nuanced reasons, our tolerance for risk, especially concerning our children’s safety, has steadily declined.  So we remove jungle gyms from playgrounds, ban football at recess, prohibit knives (even the butter variety) at school, and would rather have our kids playing with an iPad than rummaging through the garage or roaming around the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, as we discussed in-depth earlier this year, when you control for one set of risks, another simply arises in its place. In this case, in trying to prevent some bruises and broken bones, we also inhibit our children’s development of autonomy, competence, confidence, and resilience. In pulling them back from firsthand experiences, from handling tangible materials and demonstrating concrete efficacy, we ensconce them in a life of abstraction rather than action. By insisting on doing everything ourselves, because we can do things better and more safely, we deprive kids of the chance to make and test observations, to experiment and tinker, to fail and bounce back. In treating everything like a major risk, we prevent kids from learning how to judge the truly dangerous, from the simply unfamiliar.

Fortunately, we can restore the positive traits that have been smothered by overprotective parenting, by restoring some of the “dangerous” activities that have lately gone missing from childhood. The suggestions below on this score were taken both from 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do), as well as memories from my own more “free range” childhood. If you grew up a few decades back, these activities may seem “obvious” to you, but they’re less a part of kids’ lives today, and hopefully these reminders can help spark their revival.  While each contains a element of danger and chance of injury, these risks can be thoroughly mitigated and managed by you, the parent: Permit or disallow activities based on your child’s individual age, maturity level, and abilities. Take necessary precautions (which are common sense and which I’m not going to entirely spell out for you; you’re a grown-up, not a moron). Teach and demonstrate correct principles, and supervise some practice runs. Once you’ve created this scaffolding of safety, however, try to step back and give your child some independence. Step in only when a real danger exists, or when your adult strength/dexterity/know-how is absolutely necessary. And don’t be afraid to let your kids fail. That’s how they learn and become more resilient.

In return for letting your children grapple with a little bit of healthy risk, the activities below teach motor skills, develop confidence, and get kids acquainted with the use of tools and some of the basic principles of science. Outside any educational justification, however, they’re just plain fun — something we’ve forgotten can be a worthy childhood pursuit in and of itself!

23 Dangerous Things You Should Let You Kids Do

Unlike many of you out there, I grew up in a city.  And, my Dad was largely absent.  I was given boundaries, though.  Don’t cross these streets; Don’t play with these kids;  Let us know where you are;   Be home for dinner @ 6 o’clock.

Other than that, I was pretty much left to my own devices.  Playing in old abandoned houses and construction sites, climbing into open manholes and irrigation conduits.  Picking through discarded trash for treasures.  Making rocket fuel and fireworks.  Dissecting unexploded fireworks.  Dirt clod fights.  Rubber band guns with projectiles!

I wasn’t foolhardy, but I wasn’t a namby-pamby either!

I remember when my Dad’s .22 rifle went missing.  He accused me of taking it, but was most upset I hadn’t asked! (I didn’t take it – it was stolen and later recovered by the PD)

From what I’ve observed, most kids (and most adults) don’t play outside or explore anymore.  Instead, they are inside getting carpal tunnel…

(And not in the traditional way!  😛 )

Toss your kid outside, without their electronics.  And tell ’em not to return until dinner-time.

They might learn something!

On Mother’s Day

Long-time readers of my humble blog might notice I don’t usually make mention of the above ‘Hallmark holiday’.

Because reasons.

First, my real Mother, the woman who bore me, passed away when I was in the Second Grade, directly because of her addictive personality.  She was ill my entire life with emphysema.  I barely knew her – certainly not enough to bond, or to have fond memories.

My Father loved her immensely.  Her death about killed him.

Subsequently, he met, dated and married the woman who became my stepmother.  She obviously wanted to be with him, but soon after the marriage, it became apparent she had no patience to raise yet another child.  She already had two grown of her own.  And deeply resented my Father’s traveling for business, and being absent because of his addiction to sports – watching, officiating, refereeing, umpiring, baseball, softball, basketball, football and hockey.

And, not to put to fine a point on it – she took her resentment out on me.

So, my relationship with my mothers was lacking at best.  Certainly it colored my future relationships with other women.

But, I am learning.

My ex-wife receives a bouquet of roses every Mother’s Day.  And has for the past twenty-two years.  Not because I wish to rekindle the relationship (we remain friends), but because our daughter Molly is unable to get them for her.

It’s the least I can do.

To all of you who had good moms out there, Good For You!

I wish I had…

Memorable Movie Mistakes

I’ve not been ‘on a date’ in some time.  It’s simply a matter of logistics – I’ve no extraneous funds and my car is a beater with no air conditioning.

The fact that I don’t travel is any circles with available women has nothing to do with it!

😛

I was thinking this morning about a few of my more memorable dates in the distant past.  Some with fondness; some not-so-much.

I used to like to attend the cinema.  There were many first-run films each week, lots of theaters from which to choose, and who doesn’t like sitting in the dark with a young woman? (this was in my 20’s – before I had been married, and subsequently divorced).

Now, of course, there are fewer movies and movie houses.  And one may sit at home in one’s skivvies and watch videos until the cows come home, with beer, pizza, and (if one is so lucky) company.

AND, one may pause to go to the bathroom!

Times have changed.

ANYWAY, I remembered a couple of dates.  One was a later Hitchcock film.  I did (and DO love Alfred Hitchcock).  My date said she did as well.  Were post-date antics in the offing?

Sadly NO.  The film was Frenzy.  A film of a serial killer rapist, made in London.  I think it was the first time Hitch actually exposed breasts on film.  Following a violent rape and strangulation.  Hardly something to arouse a normal young woman to later romance.

Sigh.

Another time, a former girlfriend returned to town and looked me up.  We went out a few times, and I had hope of rekindling the romance.  But, it was not to be…

She had mentioned she liked Burt Reynolds.  There was a new film out with him in it.  I thought “Hey!  Maybe this will get things going again?”

Hardly.  The film was Deliverance.  You remember – dueling banjos, homosexual rape?

I just couldn’t get a break!

(as an aside, the consummate actor Ned Beatty was the rape victim here.  I’ve wondered about the audition…“Hey, pages 18 and 19 are missing?  Don’t worry about it, Ned.)

And The ‘Adventure’ Continues…

(in our last episode…)

Let’s see…Heart pain (NOT!), a rash, leg edema, J’s health, water from the upstairs shower into the downstairs…

THAT’S IT!

(It’s been a busy month!)

Shower leakage!  We’ve not taken a shower for seven days.  Not that we don’t want to.  Water began coming through the ceiling into the downstairs, and continuing to bathe in that manner just seemed imprudent.

My washcloth and I have become VERY close.

Call the insurance company, you say?  Sure, why not?  Not having the $500 deductible at hand was a bit of an issue.  Fortunately, my very kind and generous Sister stepped up with a surprise gift allowing us to begin the process of again being able to get clean!  Thanks, EL!

Of course, the process is never easy.  The plumber says first they must check for residual moisture and damage before beginning.  And, due to the age of J’s home, asbestos. 

ANOTHER $400.

Fortunately, the company who removes the ceiling (and maybe the shower pan) tells us they can eat that cost (the insurance does not cover it!)!  Whew!

This morning comes the asbestos test.  If negative, the above company may remove the ceiling w/o further adieu, and the plumbers may begin repair this afternoon.

If not…perhaps another day or two of asbestos remediation is involved.

Sigh.

At least things are in process.

Thanks, again, Sis!

As to the other ongoing issues…

J’s health.  She has many health issues, some of which are chronic.  And is seeing many physicians monthly.  She IS recovering nicely from her rotator cuff surgery, and is currently involved in physical therapy for the same.  Our thanks to you all again for your kind wishes and help!

NO heart or chest pain.  The hospital said I was diagnosed ‘non-cardiac chest pain’ – which means they don’t know, could have been gas or muscle-related.

The rash.  I finished my second 5-day run of prednisone, and the rash returned.  Going to the pharmacy today to get a third course of graduated prednisone – so when I stop, it tapers off (per the Doctor).  If that doesn’t do it, then onto a specialist.

Sigh.

The leg edema.  I completed a 10-day course of broad spectrum antibiotics, and it seems to have improved the appearance and size of the leg remarkably!  The Doctor has me picking up a diuretic to hopefully complete the job.  Coupled with orange juice.

The proximate cause of either the rash or edema?  They’ve no idea.

I’m posting this early, as the itching kept me awake, even with the loratadine I’m taking.  Anxiously awaiting the pharmacy opening @ 0900 to obtain the additional meds.

Well, that’s it from us here in The Valley of the Sun.  Hope you all are doing better than we?

LAZINESS

Borepatch recently posted regarding his dearth of posts.

Hardly.  I told him I wait for friends and quality!

I, too, have been remiss in my blogging duties.  Either in performing more than the minimum, or in leaving comments for my blogging brethren and sistren.

Turns out, there are reasons.

First, both my roomie and I have had recent health ‘issues’ and concerns.  She, a number of surgeries; me, a rash-of-indeterminate origin, a bad fall and a blood clot scare.

Second, my focus has been on trying to help keep us afloat while she misses work (and income).

Third, the ongoing household chores and maintenance – they never stop!  Dogs and cats to tend, trash to be taken out, groceries…

Two days ago, a leak from the upstairs shower became apparent, as water began coming through the ceiling!!  Do we have homeowner’s insurance?  Of course.  Can we afford the deductible?  NO.

And we have neither diagnostic nor physical plumbing ability…

The good news, is J. was released from her restrictive sling yesterday (following rotator cuff surgery).  Only eleven more weeks of physical therapy for her to follow!  And four more doctor’s appointments later this month.

My rash is largely gone (although I still itch, somewhat) and my bloated calf seems to be getting smaller.  I return Thursday for another follow-up with my doc.

So, Life keeps us busy.  And my focus has been less-than-perfect on the blog.

But, we will continue and prevail.

Peace.  Out.

 

From The ‘Just When You Thought It Was Safe’ Dept.

In the past eight years, I went from a low-to-middle income ‘career’, to short-term disability and illness, to long term disability and remission.

Thus far.

While I am most grateful for having survived(!), with long term disability has come a lower income, and the loss of my job and home.  I tried to recover in the short term, and ended up maxing out my credit cards coupled with the inability to pay for them.  And the medical bills that followed.

Along the way my firearms collection was stolen.  Just to add to the ‘fun’.

Through the kindness of friends, I’ve been able to increase my firearms acquisitions to a small collection* (my surviving .38 snubbie and 1911, a Ruger .357 revolver and a compact Sig-Sauer .45!  And, of course, a spring-operated pellet pistol and single-shot gas one!!)

My cup runneth over.

Not the over 50 firearms I once owned, but, it’s a great beginning.  (I know, poor me.)  😛

So, what do I get in the email the other day?

Your Dream Gun Within Reach

One Gun One Gunsmith combined with oversized hand fit parts makes Nighthawk Custom pistols more expensive than assembly line guns. We know many of you dream of owning one “someday”, well someday is now today. With just 10% down and payments as low as $94 a month we have been able to make owning a work of American Craftsmanship attainable without having to cut corners.

The best part is, even if I had the down payment (which I don’t) with my trashed credit, there’s no way they would approve my application!

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t apply…

 

*We say collection.  Arsenal has developed a negative connotation.

 

(FTC – Nighthawk gave me nothing.  Apply for your own pistol!  My roomie has one she bought years ago.  It’s delightful!)

 

 

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…