Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Gloria Scott; July 28, 1926 to February 3, 2017

So here we are standing around my mothers’ grave and, even in death, she is the center of attention.   When she walked into a room, it lit up, and she owned it.   She was brash, blond and bold.  Vain as the day is long, the worst cook ever, the most amazing secretary, a good mother, loved my father dearly,  and could talk your ear off.  She never held back.   And did I ever tell you she could hold a grudge?  Oi Vai.  Though,  if she loved you, it was for life.  

She used to tell a story about wanting to join the USO  and entertain the troops during World War Two.   She was a looker, had spunk, and had a beautiful singing voice.  It was probably around 1944 after she graduated high school.   Her father nixed the idea saying, “A goil hasta woik,”  thus dashing her hopes for fame. The consolation prize was having her in the room shmoozing,  telling jokes and stories, and entertaining us.    

She was a voracious reader and gifted to me the love of reading.   One of my first memories is taking the bus into downtown Bridgeport and going to the public library.   Big lobby,  polished wood and brass, very, very quiet.   I was maybe five.  We walked up to this huge circular desk, a large silver-haired women behind it, bustling around doing book things and such,  and my mother tells me we are giving the books back.  WTF?  Or the whatever the five year old equivalent of WTF is,  I screamed out, “It’s mine!” My mother and I literally had a tug-o-war with the book in the middle of the library.  People shushing us left and right.   I won the tug-o-war and proceeded to throw the book at the silver haired lady and hit her in the head.   As I was being dragged out, I distinctly remember screaming, “I hate you. I hate you!”  But I'm never without a book!

Being from Brooklyn she fancied herself as a tough, savvy, street-smart, woman.  Oh, she was indeed.  She had such a passion about  jewelry.    She loved it so much that she got into the business  or as she would say, “The biz a neese.”   Why she said it that way, who knows.  She relished going into New York on buying trips.  She especially enjoyed handeling(negotiating) in a man’s world and holding her own.     For her, she got a thrill out of not only picking out the jewelry, but negotiating and matching wits with the seller on price.  She LOVED a bargain.  She was  extremely generous with her stuff.   She was always giving away something; a charm, a chain, some earrings.  She shared her love of jewelry with others. 

I can never remember a time when music was not on the stereo.  She was proud of that stereo.  Music was always on. Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Vaughn Monroe, Tommy Dorsey, Glen Miller, crooners and big band.  Oh and Barbara Streisand.  Oh my god, Babs was her bomb.  And yes we had a stereo when no one had one.   It was a mahogany RCA console with brown and gold grills.  My mother was, we shall  put it mildly, cheap.  Very, very cheap.  A tightwad if you will.  This was an unprecedented extravagance.   It sat as the focal point in the living room for a long time.  It did have a stereo speaker that they ended up buying separately.   When they got it home it didn’t sound as well as it did in the store.  I'm sure at the time they didn’t want to spring for the extra cost of the speaker but as soon as she heard a low sound quality, she and my father marched back to the appliance store and bought the speaker.   They came home from the store, speaker in tow, laughing hysterically about woofers and tweeters.  That’s all we heard all week woofers and tweeters.  When guests came over, yup, you guessed it, woofers and tweeters.  I still laugh when I hear that term.  

Because of the woofers and tweeters, I have loved music all my life.  It’s one of the things that I could never live without.  When I was twelve she asked me if I wanted to take up a musical instrument.  I immediately said, “The drums!”  She said absolutely not.  Too noisy.  So I got private saxophone lessons.   I hated that instrument.   Mercifully after a year of torture, it was over.   But later on I took up the drums. And, the guitar as well.  Thanks mom.  

As talented as she was, she was not without her faults.   She was an abysmal cook.  Horrible.  I prayed that my parents would go out on the weekend so I could have a TV dinner.   Once in junior high she gave me a sardine sandwich for lunch.  Who does that?  I couldn’t trade it for anything.  Took one bite, threw it out and was starving all day.  I’m famished by the time I get home.  “Why did you give me a sardine sandwich?” I cried.    “I thought you liked them.” She replied,  “You had a sardine the other day and you said it was ok.”  I thought that was just idle chatter.   I never dreamed she would turn that into my newfound culinary must-have.   Her disdain of cooking led me to become a pretty good cook.  And that love of cooking was passed on to her grandchild Aaron.  And speaking of grandchildren she loved them so much.   Joshua, Todd and Aaron.  She always asked for them first when we talked.  

She was an exceptionally   vain woman.   Never leaving the house without her face on.  Always dressed to the nines.  She was contemporary and stylish.  With a dash of extravagance.   Well, maybe more than a dash. Actually, a lot more.  Even a walk to the mailbox was an ordeal because, “Maybe I should  meet someone on the way, God forbid, and she sees me looking like this.”    My father adored her.   Anything you want hon.  Anything you want.  She doted  on my father to the ends of the earth. The sun rose and set on my wonderful brother Steven.  It broke her a bit when he passed.   But she was a “tough broad” as she was fond of referring to herself, and life for her resumed. Sadder, but I could always coax a laugh out of her. And she loved to laugh.   

All of the gifts that she gave me and made me who I am do not compare to her last one.   Her last gift to me on the day she passed away was our first grandchild.   A little girl.  In twelve hours I went from profound grief and sadness to profound joy.   Somehow she knew it was time.   And that kind of sums her up.  My mother always loved to get in the last word. I love you mom.   

Friday, August 12, 2016

Cape Cod; To Spray Or Not To Spray

Ah Cape Cod.  My wife and I love coming here to relax for  a week.  A week of sun, sand, and seafood. We pile into the car, pray for no traffic, and blissfully drive to our destination listening to the soothing sound of two dogs killing each other.  It really is tranquil.  As soon as we unload the dogs and luggage, we race to the beach, pitch our umbrella, open the beach chairs, settle in and broil.

However, sitting in the sun does have its drawbacks.  Dry skin.  Saggy skin. Wrinkly skin.  Cancer ridden skin.  So I load up on sunscreen.   We typically use No-Ad because that’s the brand my wife buys.  It happens to be a pretty good product, at least, according to Consumer Reports.  And they know everything.  Every 45 minutes, or if I go into the water, I slather on thick globs of SPF5000 cream.  Hopefully that will hedge my bets.  Lately I’ve noticed that a lot of people have been forsaking the tradition squeeze and slather method with spray on sunscreen. You’ve seen that; the wind is howling off the water and someone is applying spray on suncreen.  Most of it never reaches the intended target.  It flies away at 90 miles per hour and settles on the sand or a seagull or something. What a waste!

Anyway, being the responsible blogger that I am I did a little digging into spray on sunscreen.  First stop, the Google.  First article I found was from Consumer Reports that emphatically stated you should NOT spray them on kids.  Okay, that’s about half of the people I see running around getting sprayed with the stuff.  Next stop was an article stating that there are harmful chemicals in the spray on sunscreen.  Stuff like retinyl palmitate, which even though it can be found in regular sun screen has the potential to cause skin tumors because it may be inhaled.  Oops.  I’m trying to prevent cancer not cause it.  

Another article said to be careful with sprays because you might catch fire.  Sorry?  I’m just going to spray me up some sunscreen, walk over to the grill, grab myself a hot dog and burst into flames. Also, be careful that the spray on sun screen doesn’t contain oxybenzone.  This might be inhaled and it can act like estrogen.  So now, I’m causing cancer, bursting into flames and growing boobs.  Great! So instead of looking at women in bikini’s, I’ll become one.  

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Cape Cod; The Madness Begins

So my wife and I are on our way to the beach this morning looking forward to spending a relaxing day soaking up the sun and surf.  As I’m walking down the street (an exact  seven minute walk mind you) I spy, out of the corner of my eye, what appears to be a statue dressed in black.  Okay, we are on Cape Cod.  Maybe it’s some memorial to the Pilgrims.  Right? As we get close to it I am shocked to find that, no it’s not a Pilgrim, of course not.  It’s a blow up sex toy, with a Halloween mask on, dressed in a Nun’s Habit!  Really, I’m not making this up.  I mean “what the fuck?” doesn’t even begin to describe what’s going through my head.  Oh, and did I mention that her name is/was Sister Suzie?  Probably not.  Anyway to make matter worse there was a sign-in book.  Of course I immediately signed it, but I didn’t leave my email address.  I mean they could ask me for money or something later on.  

Anyway, I can genuinely say that I have never, I repeat never, seen anything like Sister Suzie. Someone actually took the time and thought that one out.  “ Let’s see.  How can I honor my dear Sister Suzie? Hmmm. I’ve got it.  I’ll dress my sex doll up in a Pilgrims costume, put an Ilsa mask on it and call it a day!”    Listen, I’m Jewish, not Catholic, but even I know that is way out of bounds as far as the Church is concerned.  Although the sign-in book was a stroke of genius. 

So, who is Sister Suzie?  Good question.  There was no pamphlet nor prayer card so I begin my hunt on the Google.  Immediately, Google wants to know if I really mean Sister Susie?  Hey, if I wanted Susie with an S I would have typed that!!!  Sorry.  Anyway, the first result is a song by Cock Sparrer, (not making that up either) an eighties glam band.   The video is horrible, the lyrics allude to incest, and I moved on.  Sister Suzie appears in “Let Em In,” a Paul McCartney song.  I not sure Sir Paul would approve of that homage to his song.  The Google is continuing to torture me about whether or not I still meant to spell it with an S.  Okay, fuck it.  I look up Sister Susie and this  version is a World War I drinking song made famous by Al Jolson.   “Sister Susie's Sewing Shirts for Soldiers.”  Eh?

The mystery of Sister Suzie continues.  A fallen angel?  Or some sick, twisted, demented mind with a diabolical plan to scare people not to come to Cape Cod.  I don’t know, but I think I’m going to back and give them my email address.  Maybe they can send me updates.  

Friday, August 5, 2016

Cape Cod 2016

So I’m heading to Cape Cod tomorrow for my summer vacation and already I’m stressed out.  I’ve actually been on a summer vacation since the summer pretty much started, but tomorrow I get to spend 7 relaxing, sun-drenched days, 6 seafood eating nights just dawdling on a nice strip of beach.  This is in addition to the week I just spent in Colorado, but not counting four days in Florida, because visiting my mother in Florida in no vacation at all! Oh the stressed out part?  I have to DRIVE there.  

 Here we have a piece of land blessed with white sand and a plethora of restaurants, bars, tschoke stores and pirate themed mini-golf courses.   However, this little jewel   is not actually attached to the mainland.  What? Not actually attached to the mainland you say?  Well, that sounds like you need a BRIDGE to get there.  Yep! That pretty much sums it up, but to be more specific two bridges.  Two old, rusting, creaking bridges separate you from paradise.

What’s more, you are not, I repeat not,  the only one doing this!  No, you are surrounded by a mob of likeminded people, bent on doing exactly what you are.  Oh, and those two bridges I spoke about earlier?  Cape traffic is pretty much unlike any traffic I’ve ever driven in.  And I’ve driven in a lot.  Campers, buses, bike-ladened minivans, SUV’s stuffed with beach toys, you name it. Filled to the brim with kids, pets, and luggage.  And we are all vying for our position in line to cross, for lack of a better turn, these two fucking bridges.  And it’s madness.  Also, there is no “good time” to go on a Saturday.  In the best of times Saturday is a busy traffic day.  Add in half the East coast population trying all go to Cape Cod at precisely the same time and I’m just not sure how it doesn’t just sink under its own weight. 

So, I’m planning my strategy.  Its night and I haven’t even packed.  That’s my strategy; avoid.  I’m steeling myself to face the morning ride.  Hours upon hours of yelling at other cars who are too slow, too fast, too rude, too (insert-any anti-social, driving behavior that you despise here), too reckless; you get the point.  This year, we are traveling with two dogs.  Lucky us you say?  Indeed, because what could be more fun than being locked up  listening to two dogs kill each other for ten hours?  Right?  

Geographically speaking, this is the closest, as the crow flies, destination so far.  But, it’s takes the longest in time to get there.    So the closest spot is actually the farthest spot.  Sounds like Common Core math.  Anyway, looking forward to it.  Charge!  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mattress Shopping Part 2.

My wife and I started to look for a new mattress.  Our old one served us well, but after continually  waking up with  aches and pains in places that I didn’t even think could ache or pain, I figured it was time.  When we bought it years ago it was state of the art.  Chrome steel coils, individually wrapped, triple-sealed in extra thick batting, wrapped in silk no less.  The store referred to it as "The Brick" because it was a very firm mattress.  And indeed is was firm. Sadly, the Brick is broken and it’s breaking my back.   It has lost its mojo and is now a sort of soft, lumpy, saggy, shell of its former self.  A pity really.  

Well, it seems that the world has passed me by on the latest in cutting edge mattress technology.  When we bought The Brick,  the choices were soft, medium or firm, pillow top, no pillow top.   Now fast forward a number of years and there is a dizzying array of choices.  Inner spring, memory foam, latex,  air mattress, water mattress, I’m getting sleepy just thinking about all of these choices.  

So we begin our search on of course, the Internet.  How hard can it be to find the perfect mattress that will give me 8 hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep?  Pretty freakin’ impossible if you ask me. 

Every mattress type has its advantages and disadvantages.  Some are better for side sleepers, or better for stomach sleepers.  Some serve the back sleeper well, others don't.  We were interested in a memory foam mattress until we read the part where it was unsuitable for romance.  Which means, in layman's terms, that this bed sucks for sex.  

I’m sorry, call me old-fashioned, but I fail to see how this is in any way shape or form a selling point for, of all things, a bed.

Cue the sales help:   “Yes sir, this bed comes with a twenty year guarantee, offers great support, we just don’t recommend that you have sex on it.”  
Me: "It’s not good for sex?"
Sales help: "Yes sir.  That is correct.  One hundred percent not recommended for sex.  But if you buy it today we will throw in a pillow."  

I mean I am buying this for sleeping, wink, elbow, nod, the sex is kinda implied. What kind of perverse mind invents a bed that isn't good for sex?  

Me: "The little lady and I are interesting in buying a bed."
Sales help:  "Are you interested in a sleep bed or a sex bed?"  
Me:  "That’s really none of your business." 
Sales help: "Well sir it really is because some beds are good for sleeping, while other beds are good for..." Wink, elbow, nod.
Sales help:  "So do you want a fucking bed or just a bed?"
Me: "No need to get rude my man!"

See what I'm saying? Um, I really don’t want to have to buy two beds,  one for sleeping and one for sex.  That just seems like overkill and I am on a budget.  

To make matters worse, not only can you not have sex on this mattress,  there is an odor problem with the memory foam.  Apparently it takes a while for the smell to dissipate.  This is called off-gassing.  Some manufacturers use formaldehyde in the processing of the foam.  I want to sleep like the dead not with the dead. 
So memory foam, smells, farts and you can’t have sex.  Sounds like a girl I knew in high school.  Wink, elbow, nod.  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mattress Shopping; Part 1

The other night while watching  TV, yet  another mattress commercial comes on.  Under normal circumstances I immediately tune them out, but since my wife and I are currently contemplating a new mattress I let curiosity get the better of me and actually listened.  Well, I was horrified with what I saw and  heard.  The source of my revulsion was Connecticut Mattress, but it could have easily been some other company blathering away during their sale du jour commercial.  These guys have more sale days in a month than there are days in a year!  Every holiday, seasonal change, president's birthday or any other excuse they have a sale.  Who would even think about buying something there when they don’t have  sale?  How desperate would one person have to be to buy a mattress that wasn’t on sale?  Hmmmm.  Well we could contemplate that until the cows come home,   So anyway, the owner of this joint is furiously hawking his wares about this inventory reduction sale up to 50%. Then he mentions  that this huge savings is good on, get this,  all mattresses including floor models.  Screech!!! Did he just say floor models?  I mean, WTF? I actually rewound the commercial because I thought I was hallucinating, but no he did say floor models.  You know, in all my years of watching mattress  commercials, I never thought that they actually sell, to the general public, at a discount price of course, a used mattress. Goodwill doesn’t even take used mattresses, and this guy is selling them?  How does he get  away with that? But an even bigger more horrifying idea is, “Who buys a used mattress?”  People have laid upon on it before you. People as in many, many people because it's a demonstration mattress.   “No sir, it’s not actually used;  it’s a demo.” That’s right.   Think of it as if it were a demo car daintily  driven around the block a few dozen times. This is in no way, shape or form, a used mattress.  I mean no one actually slept on it.  But still there is a really big ick factor.  “Hon! This old mattress of ours is getting too lumpy.  Let’s go down to the mattress store and buy a slightly used newer one.”  I really can’t imagine that people would buy something like that.  Is there a market for used hotel beds?  Now that is rather horrifying.  These must be the same people who buy the slightly dented cans,  day old bread, or Christmas candy in June.  “Yep, got my gently used bed at a real good price. Low mileage too. Only 5000 people slept on it before me.” 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Colonoscopy/Endoscopy: The Dreaded Double

Growing old.  It's not for the faint of heart.   I'm in my early sixties and  I've heard 60 is the new 40.  Don't believe that for a moment. 60 is still 60 and the only thing new are the  aches, pains and illnesses that I didn't  have in my 40s.   Among the indignities of getting older is the colonoscopy.  Yes. The colonoscopy, where a doctor snakes a "thin flexible tube" with  a camera attached into the rectum and way, way up into your large intestine.  The tube is anywhere from 4 to 6 feet long.  In this case I guess size does matter.  Obviously there is a camera attached to the tube along with the ability to take tissue samples,  if  God forbid, they see something they don't like.  As an added bonus, my doctor threw in an endoscopy.  An endoscopy is another thin flexible tube this time inserted in your mouth and goes down into your stomach.  Hopefully they don't do it simultaneously and meet in the middle.  Lucky for me I will be heavily sedated.  if I wasn't sedated for this I would probably lose my mind.  Imagine laying on your side, ass exposed, strangers milling about, machines blinking and making noises, blinding white light, nurses chatting about their weekend, all the while some  dude is snaking a thin flexible tube up your ass.  Nope. Not for me, thank you very much!  "I'll take heavy sedation for two hundred, Alex."  And lo and behold I hit the Daily Double because an endoscopy and colonoscopy, when done at the same time, is affectionately called by my gastroenterologist a "double." Yes, we are going to do a double on you. I urge you not to look that up on Urban Dictionary.   Okay. You did.   Satisfied?   I shudder to think what a triple would be.  

Anyway, the intestine has to be squeaky clean thus necessitating a colon cleanse.  Now I'm not going to go into detail on this but suffice to say, you-

1. fast (no food, liquids ok)
2. drink some horrible tasting liquid 
3. stay close to the toilet for the next 12 hours
4. stay real close to the toilet for the next  12 hours
5. essentially live in the bathroom for the next 12 hours

Now I've been hearing a lot on the radio about DZ10.   It's the  new miracle fat loss supplement  that, of course, promises you weight loss without actually changing anything in your lifestyle like adding in silly things such as  diet changes and exercise.  I mean, why bother with sweating and eating heathy right? Their claim is I have anywhere from 4 to 22 pounds of undigested food in my intestines. I can't even imagine  all of that food just rotting inside my colon.    Four to twenty-two pounds mind you, of undigested food just sitting there festering away. Makes perfect sense right? Somewhere in there is the pizza I had three weeks ago.   That works out to an average of 13 pounds if my math is correct.  so I weigh 179  and after drinking this stuff I will be down to a svelte 166 which is what I weighed in college.  So lucky for me, I'll check to make sure I don't have cancer AND drop two waist sizes.  A win-win if I ever saw one.  

The doctor gave a me detailed set of instructions as to what I can eat.  I call it the Solitary Confinement Diet because  here is my food for the next 24 hours.  Broth, water, gatorade, tea, coffee, Jello and popsicles. Now, ever since  I was a kid I hated Jello so that's out, and the popsicles can't be red or purple because we don't want the food dye to show up as cancer, and since they are all pretty much red or purple,  that's out as well.  They should have thrown me in a jail cell because after a few hours of not eating food I was ready to murder someone and the cops always look at the husband first.  So that's out too!

Four o'clock rolls around and we need to start the cleanse.   I  drink the first 8 ounces.  Hmmmm. Slight lemony flavor combined with a heaping dose of salt, sour and bitter.     To call it vile would be an insult to the word vile.  This stuff is beyond disgusting and  I have to drink 8 ounces of this stuff every 15 minutes.  Then the fun begins.  I'll spare you the details.  They are not pretty.  Then, I have to do it all over again at 12 midnight.  Fun is.  Fun is actually not doing this at all.  Fun is not burning a precious Sunday staying within spitting distance of the toilet.  Finally this ordeal is over and at two in the morning, I fall asleep.

After a short nap I run to the scale and weigh myself.  I am visualizing size 30 waist jeans.  I will be buying out Nordstrom's.  I am quivering with excitement as I leap on the scale and...WTF?  I went from a 179 to 177.  Huh?  What?  two pounds?  What about all the massive amounts of rotting sludge that was supposed to come out?  What about the losing two waist sizes?  Two pounds is from the fact that I haven't eaten in two days and I'm slightly dehydrated.  I throw away the Nordstrom's catalog in disgust.  

We get to the hospital at the scheduled time and are whisked in to the pre-op.  After verifying who I am, I get prepped for surgery.  Johnny coat, IV-line, endlessly repeating that I am Barry A. Scott, my birthday and what procedure I am having done today. As if this is as simple as giving someone else your pee so they can pass a drug test.  "Sure I'll stand in for YOUR colonoscopy! What are bro's for?"   I will be given propofol, the drug that caused Michael Jackson to have an early demise.  Let's hope I have better luck than he did, or at the very least, don't moonwalk with six feet of hose dangling out of my ass.  

 Then I'm wheeled in and put under.  I'm always a bit skeptical about getting put under.  I mean, I'm essentially naked, in a room full of strangers, and to make matters worse, i'm heavily sedated.  Are they taking selfies?  Are they laughing at my body?  Am I moonwalking?  I don't know.  And you know what? I probably don't want to know.  Except for maybe the moonwalk.  Just sayin'.

I wake up in post op after about an hour and half.  The doctor comes in, shows me a few pictures of my insides, tells me they removed a few polyps and when the pathology report comes back he will get in touch.  He had a "don't worry look and attitude."  I asked him about the polyps he said nothing to be concerned about.  I like that.  I go home and have some coffee, eggs and toast... the first solid food in two days.  And now, because I still have some propofol in my system I promptly pass out.    

Oh, one more thing.  Did I mention that they inflate you with air?  Of course I didn't.  Well, in order to have a clear view of of your colon they literally blow you up.  Well, what goes in must come out and, let's just say, it will be a little noisy today.  Good night.