Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday With Sammy

Sammy scanned the menu at Bob Evans.

Debbie commented, "You are looking skinnier, Sam."
"I lost a few pounds. I just don't have an appetite ... I'm not as hungry any more."
Just then the waitress came up to take our order. "What can I get for you?"
Sammy, "Um ... I'll take two eggs over easy, bacon, two biscuits and an order of pancakes."

Hmmm ... I wonder what he would have ordered if he was really hungry.

"Sammy, " I said as I noticed the syrup dripping down his front, "that shirt looks good on you."
"Everybody tells me that."
"It's a good color for you," Debbie said,"You still have the other two I bought you?"
"Yeah, I think so. They are still in the bags."
"What colors are they?"
"Yellow and blue."
"Why don't you open them?"
"I don't need them. I have three shirts and that's all I want."
Deb looked at me. "Well ... we can exchange them."
"No. I'll probably use them."

Sammy switches gears: "So you are going on boat next week."
"Yes ... we are going on a Mediterranean Cruise out of Rome."
"I like Rome ... are you going to Israel?"
"No ... not on this trip."
"Why not?"
"The boat doesn't stop there."
"Well ... it should."
"I'll tell them."
Sam continued, "You know ... I was proud of myself in Israel."
Debbie asked, "Why was that Sammy?"
"Because I prayed at the Wailing Wall ... and I was able to do it all by myself. Nobody had to help me."

Okay ... I said it ... "Doesn't everybody pray by themselves?"

"Don't be silly Joel. Of course they do."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Patios, Football and Me and Julio

Man it's hot today.

Debbie asked me to help clean off the patio ... so ... I grabbed the hose and cleaning gear and headed outside. Those were the hottest 12 minutes of my life.

I was exhausted.

So ... I stretched out on the couch and watched the TiVo recording of Friday Night Lights. Ever watch it? Probably one of the best series ever produced. 

It's all about the Dillon Panthers, a high school football team based in fictional Dillon, Texas, with particular focus given to team coach Eric Taylor and his family. 

In the fourth season, Taylor becomes coach of the Lions at East Dillon High School, set in the poorer side of Dillon with a larger African American population. The show uses this small-town backdrop to address many issues facing contemporary Middle America, including school funding, racism, drugs, abortion, and lack of economic opportunities.

This is the fifth season. You gotta watch it. 


Alissa called me. She told me about a concert she went to the other night:

"Hey Dad. Paul Simon was awesome."

"You recognized his songs?"

"Yeah ... I knew more than half of them. It was so cool."

"That's great."

"... but there was one thing about the concert that kinda creeped me out."

"What was it?"

"Everybody sits down through the whole thing."


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Go Bolts!

It's been 7 years since the Tampa Bay Lightning won the NHL Stanley Cup. This year they once again made it to the playoffs and are tied 2 games apiece with the Boston Bruins. 

Exciting times on the ice. I was lucky enough to have a seat in the players' box for practice right before the game. Check it out:

Game five is in Boston. Keep your fingers crossed. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ablation Part 2

After what seems like 25 visits to Tampa General Hospital ... They finally found my heart!

Wasn't easy for them. I've pretty well beat it up over the last 62 years and it wasn't too big to begin with. So if you're not TOO OVER my medical stories .... Here's another.

Yesterday my angelic wife Debbie drove me to the hospital at 6AM for Part 2 of my cardiac ablation. This time ... to try to zap the little electrical misfires on the right side of my heart (the last time it was the left side).

I didn't bother taking pictures of the stuff that you must be sick of by now ... My gown, slippers, potty, wires, nurses ...

They pre-prepped me when I got there. That means, they stabbed me a few times, checked my weight, blood pressure, and told me to lie down for a few hours (apparently until the anesthesiologist and doctor woke up and arrived at the hospital).

The anesthesiologist came in to talk to me about 8. He was already dressed in surgical gear and ready to go (didn't fool me ... He just wanted to look like he was in the lab for hours). He asked me the standard questions: Did you eat anything? Do you smoke? Would you like to have drinks with me after the procedure? Standard stuff.

Then the nurses came to get me. I remember one of them from my last procedure. She drove the bed down the hall and only hit three people this time while she talked to the other nurse about what she did last night.

Once in the EP Lab (that's a fancy way to say the place where they stick things in your heart), they REALLY prepped me. Six lab techs surrounded me. I got the full bikini shave treatment as well as the 40 Year Old Virgin uneven chest trim. Monitors were attached, Ice cold patches were put on my back and sides (not sure why they have to be ice cold), high tech cameras were covered with plastic (hmmmm, I thought, is this to protect me or to cover the lenses when the blood starts spurting everywhere?)

Dr Herweg arrived.

"Good morning Mr. Momberg." He has a heavy German accent and reminds me of Colonel Klink from Hogan's Heroes.

"Hi Doc," I said trying to sound brave and relaxed even though my voice sounded a few octaves higher.

"Are you comfortable? Ready for the procedure?"

"Ready as ever ... I guess."

"Goot .... Vell here's vat vill happen. Ve vill have catheters in your right and left groin, vun in your neck and another in your left arm. Do you feel comfortable enough to stay awake during the procedure or should ve give you general anesthesia?"

Okay ...the only image I had at that time ... looking up at the German doctor ... was Mel Brooks telling the story about his colonoscopy and endoscopy at the same time feeling like a "rotisserie Jew".

"How long do I have ... um ... I mean how long is the procedure?"

He looked down at me. "Could be four hours ... Could be 6 hours ... Could be longer if we need to go into the valve ... " He paused and said to the anesthesiologist ... "Put him out."

I woke up sometime after the mask went on and anesthesiologist said "Get the big needle ....."

If you've ever had general anesthesia you know just how crappy you feel in recovery. My throat felt like it was filled with razor blades from the tube they put in to keep you breathing and my whole body was sore. The one saving grace was that one of the nurses took the Foley catheter out (that's the one that goes to your bladder) before I woke up.

Alright ... Enough whining. Good news!

Check out the monitor picture on the left ... It's normal! A regular heart beat .... Been so long since I have seen that. I know ...  Sounds silly since yours is just like that all the time.

Mine used to look like this.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Oh ... To Be Loved

You know... ever since I've been writing this "humor" blog, I've noticed that I have lost most of my friends, my kids don't talk to me for fear they will appear in print, I've gotten hate mail from friends of friends and my wife doesn't even read it any more.

The good news is ... strangers love me.

Today I decided to be the kinder, gentler soul that the strangers love and those close to me have apparently forgotten. I'd like to award some special awards to those who read my blog and some who have even appeared:

Favorite Remodeler: That would have to be Debbie ... who has made a second career in this field. We have been married for about 12 years (she can't remember either). Eleven of those have been in houses that have been partially renovated ... although I always thought they were finished. Note to Debbie: Yes dear ... you are my best friend.

Favorite First Person I Thought Of: I hired Stephanie Hall 256 years ago at All Children's Hospital as my secretary (I promoted her quickly after she had a melt down over my messy desk). The running joke here was that she always thought she was my second choice because I interviewed some other girl who I barely remembered (great legs!).

Favorite Offspring: Oh yeah ... you think I'm crazy? Standard answer ... ALL THREE. Now will any of you CALL ME?

Favorite Clownaphobic: Mike Sexton, my guitar playing co-writer and good buddy. He hates clowns ... so much so that I think he killed three of them at a birthday party when he was about 4 years old. I could have also said Favorite Future Crabby Old Man as that is his goal in life ... to wear black socks, sandals and scream at cars while he stands with a cane in the middle of the street.

Favorite Blonde: Sis-in-law Keli has a great sense of humor. She always is the first to laugh at herself (after I explain the joke a few times). 

Favorite Deaf Person: My Dad 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Check, please?

This afternoon the family met at a little beach place called The Pub for Mother's Day.

It should have been an easy afternoon ... no stress ... sisters, brothers, spouses, kids all were happily sharing tales ... Joanne (Deb's mom) was having a ball.

Then the check came.

Now, ordinarily, paying the check is not a traumatic event. If a bunch of couples are eating together and the check is dropped off, typically one of the guys says ... "Okay ... let's see ... it's $200 and there are 20 of us ... that's $10 apiece plus a $2 tip ... so depending on how many in your party, multiply by $12 and we're there."

Not so easy when the sisters do it:

Lee: "I put Mom on my check, so everyone owes me something."

Dennie: "No, I put Mom AND Dad on my check ... so we need to figure this out."

Debbie: "Here's my card."

Keli: "I'm lost."

Lee: "I just don't want anyone to think that I'm not paying my part."

Debbie: "Lee, just leave what you think is fair."

Lee: "Oh no ... I am not leaving without paying my share."

Keli: "What are we doing?"

Dennie: "Don't worry ... I have it all figured out."

Lee: "But I had Mom on mine."

Debbie: "Then just pay for Mom and we will make up the rest."

Dennie: "I have the exact amount Debbie. Don't confuse the process."

Keli: "So what do I owe again?"

Editor's note: In fairness to the sisters ... I took a few liberties with the facts of this story. I actually think Keli was lost only twice in the conversation.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day ... Esther Remembered

Indulge me. 

Mother's Day brings up thoughts of Esther and I thought I might republish two of my favorite Esther stories:

1. THE CLOSET. (Note: Those of you who have heard this ... about 357 of you ... feel free to skip to number two) Esther's closet was literally half the size of Esther's house on Melody Drive and was legendary in New Orleans.What made this even more interesting was that Esther was not wealthy (not even close) ... just a little crazy. The house was small ... but the closet .... was MASSIVE.  

One year, I made a sizable income selling tickets to view THE CLOSET. It was every little girl's ... and big girl's dream. For starters, there were eight 30 foot racks of clothing all individually wrapped and hung by color, season and type. Many were duplicates and triplicates of the same item. (Remember Esther was "obsessive" and didn't want to ever run the risk of something going out of style). I think we once also counted more than 300 pairs of panty hose ... some never out of the package. There were two full sized closets top to bottom and four deep of boxes of shoes. That's right ... shoes. Imelda Marcos was a lighweight. And her acres of makeup were enshrined in a six drawer bureau with a Hollywood mirror surrounded by lights. Macy's wanted to use THE CLOSET as an outlet store. Sam ... On the other hand ... had one rack and a clothes hanger.

2. THE BUS RIDE. In later years ... Esther's fear of flying was bad enough that she and Sam once decided to take a Greyhound bus to visit my brother and me. If that's not a funny enough visual ... here's the conversation that Esther and I had on the phone when the bus hit Clearwater ...

"Joel ... I couldn't take it anymore."

"Mom? Where are you?"

"I'm in Clearwater ... they dropped me off."

" In Clearwater?"

"Yes ... I will take a taxi to the bus station and you can pick me up when your father arrives on the bus in St. Petersburg."

"Dad's still on the bus?"

"Yes. "

" What????"

" The people on the bus are horrible ... and I told them so. They don't bathe you know ..."

" Oh no ... you didn't ..."

" I've got to go .... my cab's here ..."

She hung up.

I picked her up about an hour later as the bus pulled into the station right behind her cab. As she walked to my car the whole busload of people pointed to her ... and booed. I have no idea what she could have done to make an entire busload of people boo her.

Just then Sam got off the bus and looked at mom. He said, "Esther ... Where have you been?"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sammy's Field Trip

Yesterday ... I decided to take Sammy to the university to see the campus.

I picked him up at 9. He was eating breakfast in a dining room that was about half the size of the one on his floor. His floor is being changed over from a multi use floor to specific focused care ... so the dining facilities have closed and now the residents eat in an area that used to be patient rooms.

"You doing okay?" I asked him.
"Sure ... now that I'm not peeing blood any more."
"Hey ... let me ask you. Did you ever have your bladder cauterized?"
"Nope. Can't say I have."
"Man ... is it painful."
"You felt pain?"
"No ... but the doctor told me it was gonna be painful." He gummed a few more bites of his scrambled eggs and made sure his mouth was completely full before he continued. "How do you like this dining room?"
"Well ... it's a little small I guess."
"I really like it."
"That's ... good."

Sammy finished up breakfast and we headed to the elevator. There was a little woman who was practically folded in half from the ravages of osteoporosis. She waved her hand without seeing who was behind her.

Sam said, "Myrtle, you want to go downstairs?"
Without waiting for an answer, Sam pushed her wheelchair into the elevator. Sirens went off. The elevator locked. Sam kept pressing the button.

"Dad, I think that Myrtle is probably not supposed to be on the elevator."
"Naw ... these alarms go off all the time. I think her bracelet sets it off."
I looked at her arm. Actually there were two plastic bracelets and both looked like they were for emergencies. "Her bracelets are probably what prevents her from going downstairs."

He wasn't paying attention to me (big surprise). He grabbed one of the other women residents who punched in a key for the elevator to close and the alarms to stop.

"See?" Sam said.

As soon as we got off the elevator and Myrtle wheeled past the door, the alarms went off locking everything again.

"Stupid system." Sam muttered.

Eventually, I got Sammy into my car. He struggled with the seat belt, as usual, but managed to actually clip it in. He was very proud of himself. "See that?" He asked. "I've been practicing on the Menorah Manor van when we go out on field trips."
"That's great."

I still can't believe he's made it through these years without knowing how to buckle up. Mom used to do it for him.

The trip out to the university takes 45 minutes so we had plenty of time for conversation. As you've noticed ... Sammy loves to talk.

"Lemme ask you this ..." His favorite intro. "You know the guy who just got married?"
"You mean the Prince?"
"Yeah him ... he won't wear a wedding ring."
"I think I heard that."
"It's an English thing."
"I don't think so Dad ... there are ..."
"Yeah, it is. Just like English girls pay the check on the fist date."
"Where in the world do you hear these things?"
"It was ON TV Joel."
"Ahhh ... so it must be true."
"You know why they pick up the check?"
"I can only guess."
"Because they don't want those guys thinking they can just get in their pants the first time."
"Of course."

The entrance to USF was such a beautiful sight.

"Here we are, Sammy."
"So that's the university. And this must be Tampa."
"Yes .... we've been in Tampa for the last half hour."
"No. I mean if that's the university ... is this Tampa?"
"Yes. We are in Tampa."
"Not the university?"
I felt like I was in a bad Who's On First monologue.  Some time later I realizes that he was asking me if the university was on that side of the street, what was on the other? I know, I know ... makes perfect sense if you are Sam.

I showed him my office. He asked countless questions like ... Who lives here? Do you know the other people in these offices? How much money do you make?

As we drove through the campus, he continued to ask questions ... until ... the Rays game came on the radio.

Suddenly ... it was like a switch was turned on.

Sammy does the play by play ... "Shields is pitching ... he's got a 2.14 ERA .. and Fuld. Man I like him. He's a Jewish kid you know. Batting .289."

Who is this guy? What happened to Sammy?

I had to laugh. It reminded me of the time I was watching an interview with former President George W. Bush. He was talking about his days as a baseball owner with the Rangers and was quoting stats just like a color commentator on ESPN. Then the interview changed to a question about some of his Presidential decisions.

He commented, "They misunderestimated me."       

Ballad of the Big Prostate

Here’s a little country tune I wrote just yesterday to commemorate a dark day in my history. I don’t have a tune but realized you can use an...