Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shaking Hands with the Pig Flu

There is a lot of talk going around about the H1N1 virus and how to curb the spread of it. I'm not too worried about the swine flu - it's a flu. If you get it, stay home and get over it. Another tip - wash your hands. Frequently.

I was sitting in church today and was all at once freaked out and amazed at how much people coughed, sneezed, wheezed, burped and no doubt farted during the sacrament meeting. The guy behind me was sneezing and coughing to the point where I was holding my breath in order not to breathe whatever air he was recyling.

When church lets out I make it a point to race home and the first thing I do is wash my hands like I'm going into surgery. Think about all those handshakes at church. The Bishop shakes EVERYONE'S hands - all those sweaty, meaty hands that covered up coughs, sneezes, and burps....and wiped their kids snotty noses and changed their babies diapers....I mean, is there a place anywhere with MORE germs than church? A daycare center, elementary school and airport come to mind.....and any Walmart. If you shook your Bishop's hand, then you essentially shook everyone's hand too.

Blowing your nose? What is the deal with people who blow their nose and then look at the inside of the tissue with that curious look on their face like, "What the hell is THAT?" Just don't peek. Cover that stuff up man and throw it away - don't look at it. The people who pick their nose while they in their cars? Same advice, don't do it - the windows may be tinted but it's not one way glass. Pick a winner, not your nose.

Here's a lesson for everyone: Use your LEFT HAND for your personal business. That's right, sneeze into your left hand or better yet, your left sleeve. Cough into your left hand. Don't be germing up your right paw and then spreading your germs by shaking hands.

Oink Oink

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dough Boy

It was a cool Las Vegas fall evening when I arrived home from work and the Vikes were just about to get it on with the Packers. That Brett Favre had changed teams and now played for Minnesota made for a "Can't Miss" evening of Monday Night Football.

It had all the promise of GREAT evening....until...

Janae walked into the kitchen and said, "Uh oh."

Of the 16 dough balls she had left on a tray on the lower oven to rise, only 7 were left. This meant only one thing. Ray Ray had himself a snack. A big snack of yet-to-rise bread dough.

In typical guy fashion, I scoffed at her concern with a "he'll be FINE" quip and was glued to the game.

"No, this isn't good. The dough will expand in his stomach. We need to call the vet."

Of course all I could see was dollar signs and, again, in typical guy mode I said,

"You know, in the wilderness if animals swallow something they shouldn't, they will just hack it up."

Used to this sort of debate she was already on the phone with the animal hospital. And not just any hospital..... The ANIMIAL EMERGENCY HOSPITAL. More dollar signs flashed in front of me.

I had already googled "Rising Dough Dog" and the results were all the same: Get to the Vet's office.

"Uggghhhhh....." as I took the phone from Janae and waited for the attendant. I explained the situation and was told to bring the dog is ASAP - of course they are going to say that. $$$

Meanwhile Ray Ray has already started to whine - the canine equivalent of the feeling one gets right after Thanksgiving dinner. Ray started to walk around in circles too - like a toddler that needs to go peepee. Time to go.

Just then, Zeus runs in the room, panting, all 9 pounds of kick-ass Maltipoo.

"Did he have any dough?" Janae says.

"Uh.....I don't know, but since I'm going, I'll bring him along too."

When I arrived at the Animal ER (can you believe this?), uniform clad attendants scurried out like on ER but for the dogs. I half expected the word "Stat" to be used (it wasn't - thankfully).

They took the dogs in the back and asked me a bunch of questions. An hour later, Zeus was discharged - they induced vomiting which I'm sure went over really well with him and found no trace of dough.

As I figured, Dough Boy Ray Ray ate all the rolls. 9 of 'em. The Vet walked in with a plastic baggy full of bread dough that Ray regurgitated by himself. They needed to keep him overnight she explained since the dough already digested would emit ethenol and we'd have a drunk dog wandering around. Plus they were going to give him a diet of ice chips to stay hydrated and, I guess, cool down any residual bread dough. If things went south, I had to pre-authorize a doggie IV, x-rays, etc.

Thankfully, when I picked him up at 7am today he was fine.

And I did catch the 2nd half of the MNF game. Life is good.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hail to the King

My wife and next door neighbor, Michelle Jones, decided to toss a homeowners association party so we could chat and mingle with our new and not so new neighbors. We've been in the cul-de-sac for 7 1/2 years, some have been here a longer time while others have just moved in.

Even though we've been here a number of years, I only knew the people on my street and not the ones who live on the other cul-de-sac that makes up our HOA - we are sort of wishbone shaped.

The party was a success and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting everyone from both streets-all were different and all were very, very nice. So nice in fact that they elected me President of the HOA.

Now getting 20 people to agree on anything is impossible and our charge as a new HOA board is to spiff up the entrance of the community, re-seal the streets, possibly replace the gates and constantly keep an eye out for nefarious behavior. I am armed and ready for action - bring it on.

Fortunately for us, we have a neighbor who hails from the great city on the planet, New York. Carmine humbly told everyone he didn't want to serve on the board, but simply enjoyed his role as the...uh... enforcer (his word) who walked the neighborhood each day, "You know...keepin' an eye out fo whateva..."

I was quick to point out to the group, "Paisan, with a name like Carmine you can do whatever you want." Bada boom bada bing.

Nervous laughter all around.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fear of Flying

I was reminded the other day why I once disliked flying.

Back up, it's not really the flying part that I feared, it's the crashing part that made my palms sweat and cause perspiration to bead on my forehead. This in turn also inspired teasing from my better half.

"Hee, hee, look at you! Relax!"

In fact, I was so freaked out about flying with my wife that I insisted on us taking separate planes when we went on vacation together - just in case the plane went down our boys wouldn't be orphaned. That's how far I took my anxiety of flying and I took a load of shit for it over the years but every single time another young father hears my reasoning for the wife and I taking separate planes, they ALL say,

"That's actually a good idea."

Howie Long and his wife had the same flight policy while their sons were young. If anything, I'm practical.

Nowadays do we still travel separately? Nah, I got over my fear of flying and with the boys being older, I figured that if the plane we were on ever did go down, they would be old enough to remember their mother and father and have a pile of money to split up. I could spend eternity living with that logic. See you on the other side and all that.

So the other day I was on a business trip with a young man from my office. We hopped the company jet (Southwest Airlines) at 10:30am for a short flight to Ontario, CA. Our return was delayed since our client was very talkative and absolutely loved our presentation so we took the last flight of the day home from ONT. It was on this flight home that rekindled albeit for only a short time the reasons why I once hated to step inside an airplane.

The flight is only about 40 minutes so it's not like we hunker down and watch a movie - we go up for 15 minutes and then start the landing procedure. Strange. But it's a 3 hour drive with traffic if we took a car and I hate driving more than I hate flying - so flying simply became the lesser of two evils.

On the way home, at minute marker 30, the plane suddenly dipped, twisted, and porpoised - sort of a roller coaster ride for an aircraft, for about 10 seconds. I looked out the window and I watched the wing go way up and then it bounced way down - a few times. A rubber seal came flying from the ceiling and a guy 2 rows in front of us literally lost his drink in mid-air. For those precious few seconds, the pilot and I were both passengers on the same plane and I didn't like that at all.

At that moment, I seriously thought that the plane was going to break into 2 pieces and that I'd be in the part without the steering wheel or jet engines. Memo to Self: Make sure to pack parachute next time.

Thankfully the plane survived the rough air. We landed in a moderate crosswind (the culprit of the turbulence was high winds) and were no worse for the experience.

I remember what Robert, a retired 747 pilot told me years ago, wings are meant to go up and down just like they I watched them do - if they didn't, THAT would be bad.

It's just that that phrase I first heard as a kid has been bouncing around upstairs lately.....If man were meant to fly he would have been born with wings.