My Daily Commute

Daily I drive through undulating curving acres upon acres of corn and soybean crops. I am greeted by a diversity of animal life from fox and fowl, possums and peacocks, equines and egrets, and hawks and hounds. It’s a calming effect on my soul as I prepare for what is to come. The open fields and forests slowly disappear and my lonely peaceful trek gives way to concrete lanes filled with modern chariots made of steel. The landscape begins changing to boxes upon boxes made of brick and mortar, covering the former hills and meadows into flat earth with increased production of boxes of grandiose proportions.

As I progress, the speed at which these modern chariots travel increases dramatically and you must keep pace or be swallowed or pushed aside by these chariots of fire spitting billows of pollution scarring the air before you. From breathing fresh air to sealing yourself in my own chariot I must ride.

Reaching my destination the boxes reach into the sky almost turning day into night. There are no paths of green, only sheets of rock covering the earth for people to walk. Rare blades of grass fight to find a crack to peer out from beneath only to be covered by local pets for their morning constitutional.

A commute of 44 miles into the concrete jungle to dim your light, drown out the silence, and restrict your breathing. Then turn around and do it day after day for over 20 years. Was it worth it?

Chance You Were Your Own Dog

I usually call home a couple of times a day. The wife almost always has me on speakerphone as she continues to do what she had been doing. Suddenly, it will start with one short bark. Then another, and if I don’t respond to Chance, our last Shih Tzu will then begin a chorus of doggie expletives until he has my attention. I acknowledge him and he barks out what I assume is him telling me “what’s been going on all day” and or “why aren’t

you home yet and when will you be here.” I then have to talk to him and explain that I’m on my way and that he’s a good boy and I will see him soon. Sometimes he may add one more comment or two, especially if he’s agitated about something. But, usually, he accepts my response and goes to lay down on his bed and accept what I have said to him.

Every day it’s the same in that he has to talk to me and hear back or he won’t stop. The wife and I cannot continue our conversation until he is satisfied that he has expressed himself properly.

Chance and Lilly were the first dogs we had ever adopted from a shelter. We believe they were between 4-5 years of age when we chose them. We were told they didn’t have a happy life and were probably caged their entire life. We think they were used by a breeder and weren’t shown any love and they really didn’t know how to interact with us.

Somehow, in the family, it was decided that Chance was my dog. Our other dogs seemed to have bonded with other family members. Though Chance really didn’t seem to be want to bond with anyone as he was a solo dog. We could feed him and take him out but, he wasn’t much of a hugger and for the most part, stayed to himself. He would occasionally play with Lilly yet even with her he was a bit standoffish.

Lilly was with us for a few short years and acquired Ketoacidosis and was gone suddenly. It didn’t seem to faze Chance, he just went on like nothing was wrong. Actually, Chance didn’t seem to show any affection towards Lilly at all. He must have had it hard before we adopted him. He was a loner and didn’t seem to want anyone. If for some reason he would follow you around the house and not leave your side it was more of him being afraid than anything else. He didn’t want to be held, he just wanted to be protected from whatever he was afraid of.

I’m kind of the same way in that I don’t express my feelings either and stay a lot to myself. Though I could use a hug now and then.

Over the last few years, Chance’s health had been getting worse. Shih Tzu’s are prone to ear infections. His infections wouldn’t go away and in fact, spread to his skin as some sort of yeast infection that would make him scratch all his fur away. He was beginning to look like one of those hairless cats or dogs. The infections were also contagious to humans and if you touched him and didn’t wash, you could have pink eye in the morning.

Jake our other Shih Tzu had seemed immune to the infection and regularly tried to groom his buddy.  Jake just passed two weeks ago and Chance seemed to go downhill fast. I didn’t want to say goodbye so soon after having lost Jake. Despite Chance’s stance of being a loner, I loved that guy. I call home now and I wish I could hear his bark wanting to talk to me. I really do believe he understood me and I him. I believe that he got a second chance coming to be with us and we let him be his own self.

Jake Our Little Golden Retriever

We had a Golden Retriever at home and she was the perfect dog. But we thought we should get a smaller lap dog for grandma. So we purchased Jake, a Shih Tzu but he was sick and we couldn’t take him for another week. We were told we could visit Jake every day if we wanted, he just couldn’t be near another dog until his medicine had taken effect. We did visit a couple of times during that week of waiting. Our family in a pet store is a dangerous thing with our love for pets we could have brought a dozen more animals home with us. When the day arrived, I had to work so the wife went to pick up Jake. I must preface this by letting you know that our golden retriever had absolutely bonded with the wife more than anyone else in the family. Also, our golden retriever was also a year and a half old now.

When she arrived at the pet shop they started to get Jake ready for his trip home. She decided to take a walk down the aisle past the other puppies. A brand new golden retriever puppy had just arrived and it took one look at her and went wild. It barked and barked like crazy. Of course, She wanted to see it and probably hold it but she held her resolve and kept walking. Another person was walking a few feet behind her and walked by the new puppy and the puppy didn’t even flinch. Absolute quiet, the puppy just laid there. The wife stayed out of sight and watched as several other people walked by and still no reaction from the puppy. So she decided to walk briefly in front of the puppy again. Sure enough, the puppy went crazy again. She walked one more time out of sight and the dog quieted down and several more people walked by again and nothing. She asked the store owner if she could see the puppy. Of course, they gladly obliged. It wasn’t even ten minutes after that point that my phone rang. Me being the dog lover that I was, what was I going to say. What I haven’t told you is that we bought our first dog, the other golden retriever at home, from the same pet store. The new golden puppy had the same mother as our first dog. They were sisters. How this dog knew and how it chose the wife I’ll never know.

So we ended up with the “Three Musketeers” with Jake the ShihTzu growing up thinking that he was a golden retriever and he could do anything the big dogs could do. He also fell madly in love with our second retriever and would not give up trying to figure how to mate with this dog that was five times his size. She tolerated him by letting him groom her every day that she was with us.

Today after eighteen years our third Golden Retriever “Jake”, went to be with Vegas and Mesa and I know he’s happy. Jake, you were a “Good Boy”

My Come To Jesus Moment

They talk about a “Come to Jesus Moment” as being an important step towards change or improvement. I thought I was part of a “moment” for someone about 20 years ago. The man had been staying in my hotel for almost a month. He was a pipefitter and he was an alcoholic. He had refused service from housekeeping for almost his whole stay. One day I got the call his family hadn’t heard from him and the employer called also looking for him.  I opened the door to his room expecting to find him dead but no, there he was laying on his bed in a drunken stupor. To the right of his bed was a pile of empty liquor and beer bottles just tossed upon each other as high as the bed and equal to the length of it.

His wife and children were worried sick about him and wanted him home. I spent the next few hours pouring coffee down his gullet in hopes I could bring him back to consciousness. When I thought he was ready, I took him out to his car. The scene reminded me of a “Moses” moment when Moses was talking down to his people and it was raining and lightning was lighting up the sky behind him and making him look all-powerful and putting the fear of God in them. It was raining heavily and the lightning was striking above my head and the red neon lights that circled the roof of the building were flashing as I spoke to this man about how he had failed his family and himself and that he needed to return to that family and make things right. He went on his way and I hope he was able to change.

I’ve been waiting for my come-to Jesus moment. With all my health issues I expected someone to play Moses and scare the bajeebies out of me and set me on a new path. I expected to have a mass heart attack and maybe then the healthcare professional would ream me out and do a “Cher” on me (a slap across the face and say snap out of it). So far, all the doctors seem to be so nonchalant about it. Maybe they have seen this too much with other patients and they are tired of their advice falling on deaf ears.

My nurse practitioner listened to my heart and said oh you have a heart murmur.  She was surprised that I didn’t know I had one. So, I’m 67, overweight, my cholesterol is high, have had several blood clots, I have two large arteries with blockages of 50% each, have had a torn meniscus, I can’t even walk more than 50 feet and I have to sit down, I have high blood pressure and a host of other medical issues. It was then that I got my breakdown moment. My eye faucets opened up and began flowing a river. It was too much. Jody Adams (no relation) my nurse practitioner had worked for a heart Dr for the last 25 plus years and took a moment with me and for that, I will be grateful. You see here I am thinking my life is over and she was kind enough to explain it wasn’t and what I can do by taking small steps and it will improve. I had heard it before but wasn’t ready to listen. It wasn’t raining for us and there was no lightning, there was just someone who cared and I thank god for that. Now I have two angels in my life Elisa Rhodes my Nurse Practitioner who caught my blood clots and Ms. Adams who is my Moses who looks so much better than a guy with a long beard. Now if I could only have them with me all day long. I know, be careful what you wish for. In the meantime, a new journey is what I am on and so it begins with one step. Who let the dog poop here!

I’ve Been An Unhappy Man.

I’ve considered myself to be an unhappy man. I’m always doing something I don’t want to do. Or I want to be somewhere else. I don’t want to talk, I want to just listen for the silence. But all I hear is noise. The way I want my life conflicts with the way the people I want to be with are living their life. No one has time for us, we have given all our time away. We never have enough. Life gets in the way for all of us I think.

This is how we go through life. Everyone wants a puppy. They’re so cute, you want to just hold them and squeeze them and play with them. Even them pooping in the house we can live with as there so cute. But then they grow up and there not as adorable as that puppy. They’re not the same. The same with our kids. They’re all cute and adorable when they’re so small and learning to do everything and they make you laugh and give you so much love. Then they grow up and it feels like the aliens have taken over their body.

God gave us free will, that’s the problem. I/we have no one to blame but ourselves. Everything wrong in our lives is because of the choices we all made. I made the choice to work for Donald Trump years ago at one of his hotels as a manager I don’t feel like sharing that now. I made the choice to teach my kids how to drive like a crazy guy. Now one of them is doing the same as me. The other one refuses to drive at all.

If we really sit down and backtrack we will find where we went wrong. No, we can’t change what we have done. The time machine is still not here yet. At some point in our lives, we chose the path we’re on. We just accepted it as it was the path in front of us and said why not. No one told us about the other paths and what they could offer. After a while you just tell yourself this path is fine, I’ll stay on it, and eventually what I want will be down this path, no reason to change.

So every day we wake up and make a decision as to which direction to take. You can change your path at any time but, will you be so bold to choose the path less trodden or unfamiliar. The path of least resistance will not challenge you.  For years I told people I wasn’t a risk-taker but in reality, the path I was on led me on a path of least resistance. That path was actually putting myself and my family in an even risker position. Not a path of opportunity but a path of relentlessness, unforgiving, inhumaneness.

Now that I have you all depressed, I do see light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been making my own map for a new path and I hope you all find the right path much sooner than I did, as it gets harder as you get older.

My new path is fast approaching. The retirement path is a better path for me. I will have more control over this path. I will have three hours a day more to do what I want instead of commuting. More time to be with family, or to watch Netflix, Youtube, and write endless dribble on this page for you to read. Or maybe a new puppy to shit all over the house. Choose wisely folks.