June 21, 2010

We've got attitutude

The high school guidance counselor who broke the news to Joanne Coyle and me said the school district had never seen anything like it. Two record breaking IQ scores in the same class. Within two points of each other.
A later guidandance counselor, Max Heinl, kept me in perspective by calling me "4-minus-4" in class. Most people didn't know why. And while Joanne and I were proud, we didn't brag or boast. And we didn't knock 'em dead in class. Neither of us was valedictorian or salutatorian.
We went along our ways, invoking our scores with teachers when it suited us. I wanted to go to college while in my senior year of high school and became the first kid in Malvern to do so. But I had to argue with the principal to sign the admission application.
Joanne did other extraordinary things. When it was time to write reports on the poem Evangeline, Joanne did not. When the teacher huffily asked her why, she said she'd like to explain and got up in front of the class and recited the 77 page verse that begins: "This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and hemlocks, bearded in moss and in garments green, stand indistinct in the twilight." That's how I remember it and all I remember!
Joanne and I got together early yesterday to share stories of illness and hope. She is rejecting a double lung transplant and is finishing up testing today to determine if she qualifies for another. She has been on oxygen since Thursday.
I have been falling while walking across lawns this trip. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic progressive disease. I have fought it for 20 years.
A woman across the street shouted for her husband to come pick me up when I fell while she was quizzing me as I unloaded the car. NO. I fall a lot. I'll get up with less trouble myself. I have multiple sclerosis, I am used to it, I said.
"Yeh, I've got a bit of repetitive stress syndrome myself," she said.
Stupid people, Joanne remarked.
After her transplant, she enjoyed golfing in a women's leage evenings at The Quarry. A few women there said they'd like to trade places with her: live in luxurious surroundings with their own pool and bad lungs.
"Stupid women," she commented. And then we talked about classmate Jeff Kieffer, who hung himself a year ago, six months after loosing his job as VP at one of the largest home building companies in the Carolinas. He'd amassed a small fortune on his own building homes without incurring personal debt. But his self worth was his job and Eastwood homes didn't foresee a profitable year.
Stupid. My advice was to sell his toys and till gardens for the family. Over simplification, but when it comes down to it, that is survival and that's all you need.
"You know, I observe the people around me and sometimes I just think, they don't deserve to be breathing the same air. Here we are, you strugging to keep walking. I struggle with every breath. But we both want to go on."
What's wrong with people? I dunno. But I do know that Joanne and I both have attitude. And it willl take us places!

June 10, 2010

Dia libre

My natural Type A tendencies have been put to rest! I have a free day. I was to have lunch with my longtime buddy Tom, but employer needs are depriving him of the time. We'll have dinner after my happy hour tomorrow, which means I won't go for an art walk in Tremont with my hosts. But then, I'm not going to a concert with them tonight either for lack of ticket.
This is sort of the way life is in Mexico. Except work demands would not be permitted to get in the way of a 1pm lunch. Otherwise, it's a go with the flow life there.
So I have a day to leisurely shop, get my driver's license renewed and if it gets warm enough, catch the rays I missed in Mexico getting ready to be here.
Yesterday afternoon, after FedEx showed up with the computer they have at the terminal since June 1, Bryan took me to Enterprise to get the car that was to have been delivered. Not a perfect world.
I drove around amazed at the feel of power brakes and power steering, and not finding a couple friends home, stopped at an Irish joint next to my old acupuncturist's office. What a find!
Jimmy O'Neill's Tavern on Lee Rd. has a fusion menu. I topped a steak salad, yes I am done studying for labs, with a chocolate beet cake. OMG it was good. It goes something like this. But they make theirs in a bundt pan, slice, dip in chocolate and serve slice microwaved with the melting chocolate ready to mix with beaten and frozen creme fraiche.
It was yummy. But I won't be having more. I will go back to my high fiber smoothies and life of greens! Even on a free day, which will best be spent shopping around for my prescriptions and getting my driver's license renewed.
To my friends in Mexico: It's not as great here as you think. It's not worth leaving the la vida normal behind. Si hay betabel y chocalate? Hace un pastel!

June 9, 2010

I'm just bitchin', thank you

A reader emailed suggesting I am remiss in not bloggin from Ohio yet. So here goes. I'm just saying what's been going on and aside from the weather, I'm just bitchin', as in "that's a bitchin' set of wheels, dude!"
You see, since I got here Saturday, the weather has been by my definition crummy. Today, for example, it is 66 degrees, rainy and windy. I ran two burners on the "ghetto heater" while I took my shower this morning. I put fake heat patches on achy spots on my body. I ate. It's cold and I know I'm just bitching, but gee, somehow that makes me feel warmer.
Having been on native soil for some 100 hours, allow me to opine.
I think the recession has worn people down. Folks would just as soon sit in that seat than offer you one. Only the service people who work for tips seem to have any hustle left. Mind you, I am a stranger here, so it could pass with time. But, it is not very pleasant to receive poor service or no response to service requests.
We were expecting Kate and Bryan to have my computer when I arrived. So far, FedEx has been to the apartment three times and Bryan has talked to them twice.
They cannot arrange a 4p or later delivery because the depot closes at 4pm. Tell me they don't have trucks on the road after 4! Well, maybe in this zip code, a first ring suburb of a major dying city???
I had some time to kill after my Monday appointments and went on Coventry looking for a friend I left a voice mail for during the weekend. I was late and the place was closed. New hours, the sign said. What are they? Do you care to share them?
So I went looking for a haircut. I stopped at a place where the Steppford Wives were all getting the same highlighted, shoulder length cut I had in high school. $50. Oh, that's too much, I said. $40, the cashier replied. Nope, sorry, still too much.
I moved on to my original intention, the Crazy Mullet. Yep, sport fisher-persons were brain storming and came up with this name for three salons.
Since they love Bryan and Kate there, I got great service. Then I went to an upscale sub sandwich shop and ordered the veggie sub, extra onions. "They don't come with onions." OK, add onion!
After a long morning at the Women's Center of the Cleveland Clinic, I decided to plant myself in the food court/cafeteria. It really is both and I recalled fondly their sushi. It was good. $5.99 for spicy tuna rolls. An iced tea and I was happy.
Then getting out of there, all I was to do was ask for a manager to call a Red Coat and they'd be right over. One tried. She called again.
Then another tried, and he called again. I had been told that if a Red Coat did not arrive, the manager would wheel me. That didn't happen.
So I finally got out the door and on the right campus bus, to my afternoon appointment and called for a cab as we were wrapping up. "In front in 10 minutes." We don't take advance appointments. Click.
Called back in 10 minutes from outside the building and waited 15 minutes. Called again. 15 minutes, called again.
The only nice thing was the driver was a former cook from Becky's. Remember Tim Shaw, the cabbie who used to hang at Becky's? he asked.
Yeah, I used to call him Dead Man Walking. Skinny alcoholic and addict who got a DUI, lost his cab license for life. Then he got a bicylce DUI.
"He died. They found him after three days. Said it was natural causes."
Yep, I'm just bitchin'!
That's it. FedEx might be here any moment and I don't want them to leave because it took too long to get to the buzzer or something stoopid. Hope you're not upset at my bitching.

June 2, 2010

An alpha woman

As I pack up to go to Ohio, where it seems everything is out of my control, I realize that I am not at ease in leaving the life here. I am the alpha dog of the house!
Everyone listens to me: from the dog, to the handyman and cleaner, the accountant, the plumber. Add the neighbors who seem to value my opinion, others on the island, and there you have it. I feel very alpha here.
I'll lose my status in Cleveland, where I will be a patient and also relying on the kindness of strangers for my day to day goings on.
It was that way when I bought the property here and I didn't ever foresee a day where I would feel alpha in this environment. Now I do and feel uneasy about the ways of life north of the border! Weird, huh?