Wednesday, April 18, 2007



There have been some changes going on here at work with the business partner and me the last month or two. What it boils down to is that he wants to pursue some other things and get out of the framing business which he's been doing since Jesus was a cowboy.

Of course, fear and self-doubt (close personal friends of mine) are taking their toll on my fragile mind and I haven't been able to get much in the line of sleep. I have slight anxiety during the day, but nothing out of the ordinary. It's when I'm in bed at the end of the day that my mind betrays me.

I have always been a worrier. I get it from my mother, so I come by it honestly. I will be in bed and suddenly start to think about the business.
"Can I do this alone?"
"Will customers still come in if he's not here?"
"Can I handle all of the paperwork?"
"What if something complicated comes in that I can't deal with?"
"What about all those bills?"
"Business is slow now and we've got so many bills to pay."
"Where will this money come from?"
"What if I wind up having to close?"
"What if I have to go bankrupt?"
"My God! The business is now under my own name!"
"I could lose my car...the house."

All of this comes back to my biggest fear. That I will be alone, homeless, and living on the streets. Honestly, the thought of that terrifies me.

So the past several weeks have been rough for me. I see the bills that are due, but I'm not seeing our customers coming in to pick up their work and paying. I have to remind myself that it is like this every single year at this time, and then we'll see the upswing again (knock wood). There have been a number of nights where I'd be lucky to squeeze about 3 or 4 hours of sleep in total. Usually those hours are broken up by a few all-too-alert hours.

Last week after one of these nights, The Squeeze suggested I see my doctor. Good idea, I thought. Why didn't I think of that? I'm a martyr. I suffer in silence. Well, maybe not silence. Actually I bitch about it to whoever will listen.

I called my doctor's office that morning to book an apointment for my only day off the following week. I was told there was nothing available for about 3 weeks.
"Well, that won't work for me. I need to sleep soon before I lose my mind."
"You really should book ahead."
"Thank you, I'll remember that when The Psychic Friend's Network informs me I'll be sick in three weeks." OK, I didn't say that.
"Is this stress-related?"
"It is."
"OK, then we'll get you in here somehow. Let me see what I can do."

After many attempts to get me in during my business hours which I told her wouldn't work for me, we finally got an early morning appointment with a different doctor in the medical centre.
"Would that time be ok for you?"
"I'll be up."

I spoke to a friend on the phone and she told me to get Ativan. "It shuts your mind off so you can sleep." Moments later I spoke to Weezie, who is a nurse, and she said "Oh God NO! Not that stuff. It can make you a little psychotic. Aside from that it's highly addictive. We usually give patients Imovane to help them sleep. That would be better for you."

In the meantime, my good buddy "Neen" hooked me up with a bottle of Melatonin to get me some sleep in the meantime. "One dropper of that stuff and you're out for the night." The night she gave it to me we were out having a few, so I didn't want to mix it with alcohol that night, and I did alright without it. I took it on Sunday night and Monday night, and both nights it made me feel a bit drowsy and I managed to fall asleep. Unfortunately, I would wake up about four hours later, and be on & off until it was time to get up.

Yesterday I saw the doctor, explained what was going on, and he said he'd give me a prescription to help me sleep. Imovane it is! I had the prescription filled right away and couldn't wait for bedtime. Unfortunately I had some cake work to do to prepare for my class, so I was up until just after midnight whipping up icing and prepping my cake.

I took the pill. Yuck, yuck, yuck! What a horrible taste! Three glasses of water didn't get rid of it. I went upstairs and got in bed. Worked on a Sudoku puzzle for a few minutes until I felt somewhat drowsy. I no sooner put the book and pencil on the nightstand, and the clock radio went off.

The Squeeze was in the room at the computer and he turned to me and said "You must have taken a pill last night. You even forgot to turn off the lamp beside the bed."

All I can say is "Wow". I only wish I went to bed around 10:00 instead of 12:15, but what a feeling to sleep through the night! My mouth felt a bit dry, so I grabbed the bottle of water on the nightstand and chugged it back and was hit with the foulest taste in my mouth. "What the hell did I just drink?" I thought. No, it was only water. Man, that pill's taste just keeps on giving. Even after breakfast, lunch and several bottles of water here at work I've got that taste in my mouth.

I'll be going home for dinner in two hours. Something with garlic sounds good right about now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Patty Cake, Patty Cake Baker Man, Bake Me A Cake As Slow As You Can

Last night I baked two cakes for my class. I did the easy thing and used a mix. I hate to admit it, but since time is something I don't have lots of lately, I had to use a mix.

We have a gas stove that came with the house, and we are thrilled to have gas instead of electric because you have more control when cooking on the stovetop. The oven, however, takes for-freaking-ever to heat up. After getting off the phone with everyone who called last night it was about 10:00 before I even got to the mixing stage. The oven, luckily, had been turned on about an hour earlier, so it was ready whenever I was. I greased & parchmented (if that's even a word) the pans, threw the box of chemicals into the mixer along with the eggs, milk & oil and flicked it on and let it do its thing. I divided the batter into the pans and popped them in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.

While the cakes were baking, I watched something on TV that I had recorded earlier that night and came upstairs just in time for the timer to go off. I pulled one of the pans out and noticed the batter was still pretty liquidy. Back in it went for another 10 minutes. I checked them again. Still fairly wet. Another 7 minutes. Looking a bit firmer, but the toothpick test told me the inside was still a long way off. Another 8 minutes. Another toothpick. Another 6 minutes. Another toothpick. Another 5 minutes. What are we up to now? Well over an hour. What the hell?

Finally they made it to the "done" stage, cooked throughout, golden on the top. Out they came to cool.

So what's with this oven? It appears something is screwed. That probably explains why it took about an hour and a half to make creme brulee instead of the half hour or so it was supposed to take. It also explains the butter tarts I made at Christmas that took more than twice the time as well.

The Squeeze and I just had to laugh about it this morning. Yet another part of this house that sucks the bag. What a surprise. NOT! Since we moved in back in August we have encountered, so far, an air conditioner unit that didn't work properly and flooded the base of our furnace. We replaced the A/C unit in the back yard, so now we should be set for a good number of years. Our garage door opener was installed in such a way that it doesn't open all the way so we have to duck on our way in and out. This opener also doesn't work in the cold months unless you push up on the door while it tries to lift it. We'll have to have a new opener installed eventually. The dishwasher detergent release door doesn't work, so we have to wait for the first cycle to finish and we have to manually add the detergent after it drains (when we remember). All three toilets in the house run on and on and on. Many faucets drip or squirt water from the handles. The roof in the garage leaks water due to a defective membrane on our flat deck above it. The entire condo needs to be re-roofed next month to the tune of $10,000 for each unit that we have to pay for. I tell ya, if you don't laugh, you'll cry. Obviously, the previous owners, were about as useless as tits on a bull. OK, the roof obviously had nothing to do with them, but there was little to no maintenance done on anything. Could they not figure out how to change a washer?

Today I'm going to call an appliance repair shop to get this thing looked at. Hopefully it can be repaired instead of having to have it replaced. If we can get a few more years out of it we'll be happy. If it can't be replaced, we're going to have to get used to doubling the cooking time on everything that goes in that oven. It's a good thing I have nothing better to do.

Friday, April 13, 2007


A Piece Of Cake

Last night was the first night of the cake decorating course I'm taking with Weezie. She wants me to be able to make birthday cakes for the kids, so I guess it's my duty as a father. The weirdest part of the night was the very beginning when the instructor asked us all to introduce ourselves and explain why we're taking the course, and offer a funny story. Huh? Suddenly it's open mic night at the comedy club. There were 17 students in the class and the funny stories were few and far between. One woman said she dropped a cake once and "everyone" tells her that she invented the upside down cake. Oh, she just yukked it up while she told that tale. Unfortunately, when she finished, you could hear crickets chirping over the silence. Another girl told some lame joke that I can't even remember. Most people just said their name and told the class they just wanted to learn to decorate cakes. Weezie said she wanted to learn how to decorate a cake with more than just Smarties. I've seen her cakes. I know what she means. I just told the class I was there because Weezie dragged me there due to my obligations to the kids. I think I threw the class off when the instructor asked if we were a couple, and I just said, "no, we just share a daughter". Hmm...I'm sure the wheels are turning. Someone's gonna ask.

In the three hours of our first class, we opened our icing kit boxes and learned how to attach the tips to the piping bags, how to make parchment piping bags, and how to make buttercream icing. Don't let the name fool you. The closest that stuff got to butter was the proximity of the vanilla to the butter compartment in the fridge. Shortening, icing sugar, meringue powder, vanilla and water. Yep, that's it. My Sweet Lard! OK, My Sweet Shortening! Once the course is done and we're back in the real world, we can do half shortening and half butter. For our purposes, we don't use butter so the stuff can last a long time. Alright, I can live with that.

We didn't actually get to do any decorating on this first night. The instructor brought in a couple of cakes she had baked, she whipped up the icing in the different thicknesses, and demonstrated how to level and torte the cakes, how to do the filling and how to base coat the cake. Then she got busy with the piping bag and did some decorating around the edges and base of the cake. Then came the best part of the night: we got to eat the cake. The thing is, when you know it's just a brick of shortening and icing sugar, it loses a bit of its charm.

Next week we have to bring in a cake and a boatload of materials so we can decorate our first cake. The good and bad part of this is that we get to (have to) take the cake home with us. To make matters worse, every week I'll be baking and decorating and bringing home a cake. The Squeeze hates to have this kind of stuff around the house because, well, you know, it gets in your mouth.

I've checked my calendar to see if any friends or family members are having a birthday, but it looks like April is a pretty clear month. Weezie can take hers in to the hospital where she works because there is always a grateful and hungry group of nurses and doctors to take care of it. I should send mine with her.

Tonight I'm going shopping to buy all my materials and accessories, and maybe I'll do a bit of practicing this weekend. I just need to fight the urge to eat the stuff. Maybe working with it so much will turn me off it. Not bloody likely, but here's hoping.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Coming Soon To The Apollo Theater

Don't miss this upcoming one night only appearance at the Apollo Theatre in the heart of Harlem.
"The Asshat Monologue", performed by Don Imus.
Please note: the monologue was not written by Mr. Imus himself, but rather by the audience. He is merely repeating it back to them in what is expected to be an unprecedented performance.
Special opening act is the inimitable Michael "Kramer" Richards.

"Bound to be a classic." - The Tribune
"With these performers, how could you go wrong?" - The Spectator
"This show is so hot it could boil tar, baby." - The Review
"Ho, ho, ho, I laughed so hard I needed a little nappy." - The Sun


Woop De Freaking Doo

So the DNA test is back and Larry Birkhead is Anna Nicole Smith's babydaddy. Surprised? Me neither. After all, I never saw the baby oozing slime, so it was pretty obvious it wasn't Howard K. Stern's.

I just can't get over how obsessed the great unwashed have been over this whole ordeal. I just took a peek at a few of the hundreds of posts at and it's just astounding to see how so many of the people who have left comments think that this somehow involved them.

"Way to go Larry, I was behind you the whole time."
"I knew Howard wasn't the father."
"I just hope Virgie doesn't get her hooks into that precious little girl."
"Larry, protect her and keep her safe from the evil demons Howard and Virgie."

Oh my God. I had to stop with the quotes. I kinda threw up a bit in my mouth. Does this pack of National Enquirer-thumpers really think that this really has the slightest thing to do with them? I want to line them all up and give one, long, bitch-slap to the entire lot of them. Just how many of these drooling slobs have been more engaged with this fiasco than in the lives of their own children? They talk about the players like they have known them all their lives. They sound as if they have some personal insight into what these people are really like. Give me a freaking break!

There was one post that I found most accurate. Something about the baby's mother being a skanky, drugged-out, non-functional sorry excuse for a human being (let alone a celebrity), and that the best thing for that baby would be to get removed from the whole lot of them.

From the glimpses of media surrounding this train wreck, I can only say that something about Stern creeps me out and I wouldn't be surprised to see him implicated in Anna Nicole's death (and her son's), Virgie seems like a bit of a lost case, and Larry seems to be the only one who is involved in all of this because of love. Maybe that's just the weepy biological father in me, but I'm glad things ended up this way. I'm just a bit disturbed how he reacted with his arms in the air, like he just won the lottery. Ahh....ok, nevermind.

Now everyone can get back to their lives. How about that Valerie Bertinelli getting on the Jenny Craig bandwagon or whoever happens to be on the cover on the scandal rags this week. What!? It's still Anna Nicole on there?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


If You Got It, Use It.

Yesterday afternoon was an exercise in frustration. A dear friend of ours lost her mother over the weekend and the visitation was to take place Tuesday afternoon and evening. The funeral home is about 40 minutes or so from where we are, so I e-mailed our group of friends to see if anyone wanted to carpool with The Squeeze and me in The Ark since it seats eight. Well, to be honest, it seats five normal people and three members of the Lollipop Guild on the very back bench, but it's not about the comfort, it's about going together and laughing on the way. We put the 'fun' in 'funeral'!

I talked to Weezie (my baby mama) and she said she'd go with us. When I checked my e-mail late Monday night I had received two replies. Jeannine (aka Neen) said she was in and we arranged to have her meet me at my shop. The other e-mail was from our friends Karen and Steve. Steve was working out of town and didn't expect to be back in time, so he asked if we could take Karen with us. I e-mailed back and said it was no problem and explained that Neen, The Squeeze and I would leave from my shop, scoot across the city to get Weezie, and pick Karen up as we headed out of town since it's sorta kinda on our way.

Tuesday afternoon I got a call from The Squeeze. He was at home to get changed and he told me there was a voicemail message from Karen wondering what the plan was. Clearly she didn't check her e-mail. The Squeeze tried calling her, but he kept getting a message telling him that "The person you are calling does not have their voicemailbox set up". I told him to let me try to get ahold of her so he could get ready.

I tried, and tried, and tried, and kept getting the same message. WTF? However, what the message did add later on was "Please enter the number of the person you are calling". Huh? OK, so I did that again and guess what I got? "The person you are calling does not have their voicemailbox set up." That was followed by "Please enter the number of the person you are calling. If you do not have a touchtone phone, please stay on the line for assistance". Alright, now we're getting somewhere! I waited for a few seconds, heard a click and then "The person you are calling does not have their voicemailbox set up. Please enter the number of the person you are calling. If you do not have a touchtone phone, please stay on the line for assistance". I think you know where this is going. I thought I'd bypass the system by hitting the '0' button a few times, but received "The number 0000 is not a recognized number".

I tried to get through to Karen for about half an hour when finally she picked up.
"Hi Dave!"
"I have been trying to get through to you for ages (me? exaggerate? nah!)."
"I was on the phone with Steve."
"OK, you need to set up your voicemail."
"Oh, we don't use it. We have an answering machine."
"Ya, well, welcome to the '90s. You've got voicemail. Use it."
"But we like the machine."
"That's all fine and good, but it doesn't help when people need to leave you a message when you're on the phone."
"That's true. Well, we'll think about it."
"And quite frankly, I've got better things to do at work than listen to the endless loop of phone prompts. And furthermore, did you not check your e-mail?"
"No I didn't."
"I sent all the info about tonight's plan last night."
"Oh, did you?"

The whole time Karen just laughed at my frustation. It's the kind of relationship we have. Eventually, we got past all of that and discussed the plan, and at that point she told me that Steve might be making it home in time. She said she'd give him a call and would call me back. I told her to call me back at the store until 6:00, and after that to call my cell.

At about 5:40, I hear my cell phone ringing somewhere in the back of the shop in one of my coat pockets. I go running back, fumbling through my coat and miraculously find it in time. Yep, it was Karen.

"Hi Dave."
"Oh hello Karen."
"What time would you be coming by?"
"Probably around 6:30 or 6:45 at the latest."
"Steve said he'll be home around 7:15 or 7:30 to get changed, so maybe I'll just wait and go with him."
"Alright, sounds good."
"We'll see you there by 8:00."
"Sounds like a plan."
"OK, see you Dave."
"See you Karen, it's been an ordeal."

So when all was said and done, there was a total of four people in The Ark, but we still had a good drive and chatted and caught up on what was going on in our lives. Actually, it was mostly Weezie and Neen talking about kids, but it was still fun. We met up with the whole gang at the funeral home, and everyone got together at a nearby pub afterward for wings and beer.

Neen made the comment that it's always so hard to get the whole gang together for a night of fun (potluck or whatever), but we always manage to pull together in times like this.

It's all about priorities I suppose. We can be counted on when we're needed to give our support to each other. We made a plan to get together in two weeks for a happier time when the husband of one of the old gang is performing at a local establishment. When The Squeeze and I got home last night I looked at the calendar and realized we had plans to go to another function that night. It's an annual art auction that we always go to, but this year I think we're going to skip it. Laughing with the old gang trumps standing around in a sweltering room looking at art that we don't need.

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