Saturday, June 18, 2011

Funny Father's Day Story

A couple of years ago I was working on Father's Day. A father approached me and told me that his son wanted to be alone in the store for the first time so he could buy him a present. I assured him that I would keep a look out for him while his dad waited outside.

The little boy was about 7 years old. He was a chubby, little thing and he was absolutely adorable. I watched as he wandered around the store several times and I noted that he kept ending up in the beer aisle where he would count his money and continue to look around the store. There was a stack of beer there that was the perfect height for him to count his money and I really didn't think anything about it.

I looked up to see this little boy approaching me. He was carrying a huge 24 pack of beer that was so big that he could barely lug it to the counter! He was actually staggering under the weight of it and I thought he would drop it at any second. He strained to lift it onto the checkout counter and I helped him slide it up there. I smiled and asked him if he needed help with something.

"Yes mam," he said, "I would like to buy this for my dad for Father's Day."

I could barely contain my laughter as I politely told him that I wouldn't be able to sell him the beer because it was illegal for him to buy it.

"But mam," he politely protested, "this will make my dad really happy!"

I felt like a heel for telling him no, but I had to. Steve, the other cashier, was standing there chuckling to himself at the picture the little boy presented as well. I offered to get his dad and let him pay for it but the little boy insisted that HE had to make the purchase by himself. I told him I would put the beer back for him and I think he ended up buying his dad a baseball cap or mug or something.

I am quite sure that his dad would probably have enjoyed the beer as much as the boy seemed to think he would but I had to do what I had to do.

Nobody in My Family Died During the Ice Age...

...we store fat as easily as a hot knife cuts butter!

I have to look at the bright side to my body's fat storing capabilities. Otherwise I would be so depressed that it just wouldn't be funny. I diet and diet and diet for weeks and loose weight doing it. The trouble is I find it in one day and it never comes back off that fast.


One of my doctors suggested lap band surgery. I used to be against it but now I would be all for it if I could pay for it. There have been 7 or 8 people in my family who have either had lap band surgery or a gastric bypass. Only one of them has had any problem from it and she says that her weight loss made even those problems worth having.

So, I'm working on saving for the surgery since I don't seem to be able to lose the weight on my own. There are several others in my family as well who want to have the surgery. My doctor was fascinated to learn that it was such a problem in the family and that my relatives had such good success with the surgery.

There has to be a genetic component to such prolific fat storage capacity. In the meantime, I'll keep working on losing weight the old fashioned way.

the beanie boat

When we were kids we went on a lot of vacations. Anytime we were in Florida we had a friend with a place in Kissimmee which is near Disney World. The trailer was on a canal near a lake and one day while we were out playing we discovered the "beanie boat".

The beanie boat was little more than a raft. It was in the canal a short way from our house and me and Billy and Rhonda spent endless hours on that boat. (no, I don't have any idea who owned it and from the state it was in I would say it was abandoned. We were lucky that it even would float!) Nevertheless we floated up and down that canal like we were Tom Sawyer or somebody.

Our fun on the beanie boat came to an abrupt halt one day when Rhonda (she is the youngest by the way) was giving us a push into the canal because we were stuck in some reeds. She went from being knee deep in the water to straining to hold her head above water in one step! It was everything me and Billy could do to drag her onto the boat. Thank God she didn't let loose of the boat before we grabbed her. We would have NEVER found her in that brackish water and as stupid as we were we would have probably been diving in to find her and drowned ourselves. Our many hours of fun ended in one quick second and once we paddled to shore we never got on the beanie boat again!

After having lived in Florida for a few years I know now that we were lucky not to have been eaten by alligators too! Thankfully we always looked out for each other (when we weren't trying to kill each other in a brotherly and sisterly fashion! hehe).

This is just one of the many things which we did that I look back on and wonder why we weren't killed when we were kids.

note: I am wrong about alligators killing us back then. Even though they are plentiful now, back in the 70's they were on the endangered species list. Happily they have made a tremendous comeback.

Do you tell a stranger when they have a button undone or some other potentially embarrassing situation?

One time I left a restroom with my skirt tucked into my panties. Highly embarrassing! Fortunately I discovered it within minutes, although I do know that one old coot followed me down the hallway when I left the restroom that day. He got a good look at my wide track pontiac ass!


I have seen many people walk through the store with a zipper undone or a button or some other potentially embarrassing situation going on with their wardrobe. I STOP THEM AND TELL THEM. Everyone I have told has thanked me profusely for not allowing them to be publically humiliated. I just tell them I would want someone to tell me - and I would.

This is the best website for congestive heart failure patients that I have ever found.

In the beginning there is a section called "read this first". It describes my life with heart failure to a tee.

I hope this helps someone.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Well, I made it past the Expiration Date on my Foot

June 16th. was the 5 year anniversary of my heart failure. Basically my body died that day and I keep trying to ressurect it without success...but I keep trying.

When I went into the emergency room that day I was immediately unconcious. When I woke several hours later there was a doctor sitting by my side. When he asked how I was feeling, I told him, "better, I'm ready to go."

He said, "well, there's a problem and I think we need to keep you."

I told him I didn't have the money to pay for the treatment that I had already received and I had to go.

He informed me that the only reason I was feeling better was because I had 2 inches of nitro paste on my chest and if I left I would be dead in a matter of I called my neighbors to feed my dogs and I stayed in the hospital for a week.

They told me if I didn't change my ways I could die anytime. I undertook a major effort to change my diet and I now have a healthy diet even though I eat too much of the healthy stuff.

I feel much better.

The doctors told me I had a life expectancy of about 5 years. Social Security told me I had 3 years and that expired a year ago. I remember my mom telling me I wasn't going to live until my birthday so she gave me my birthday money a month early to pay my bills. Then she showed up on my doorstep a few weeks later and paid another month of my bills. She told me, "I have just bought a month of your life. It is up to you to take it from here."

My heart is not enlarged anymore. It is normal sized but it still doesn't pump right. I am too full of fluid.

They stopped 2 of my heart meds a couple months ago and I can tell a big difference. There is an energy there that hasn't been there in years. Even with my 3 broken toes healing I am still doing more than I was able to do a couple of months ago. I am doing more than I have been doing in years.

Here's to hope!

My First Engagement Ring

It was red and yellow and blue plastic.

Stevie Goggas gave it to me under the front porch when we were playing cars.

I was 4 years old.

The Day My World Came Crashing Down

I took a couple of friends out to my farm to just look around one day. We were standing on the porch which encircled the trailer. I had just told the one guy to not go any further because it wasn't safe. So, what does he do? He goes further. (the porch was the only thing we didn't remodel on that trailer)

I was talking to the other guy when we heard a loud CRRAA++CK! I looked over to see a fearful look on the first guys face (sorry I can't remember their names) and watch him fall through the porch! Then the whole section he was standing on started to crash in over top of him along with a couple of my dogs!

I ran to the edge to check on him. BIG MISTAKE! It starts to cave in as well. The other friend, the rest of my dogs and I go crashing to the ground with the rest of the porch falling like dominoes! It was about an 8 to 10 foot drop. Fortunately I landed on my ass which has always had plenty of padding! I was even still holding a bottle of Gatorade that I had been drinking - didn't spill a drop!

We sat there a second or two taking stock of ourselves and then we all busted out laughing. Fortunately nobody was hurt. My dogs were all crowding around me trying to get comforted all at the same time, but we were all fine. I made sure my friends were OK and then we left for the track. End of story.

WRONG! The next morning I couldn't get out of bed. Every move caused excruciating pain. I dragged myself to the ER and got checked out. I had to have physical therapy for 2 months and for most of that I couldn't work. (greyhound training is a very physical job) I couldn't even get a job walking dogs at the track which is what everybody who recuperates does because it is sooo easy.

After we sent the pups away, we moved closer to the track. When you are working 18 hour days, it pays to stay as close to the track as possible to eliminate travel time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Queenie Worked Hard (part 3) make sure her puppies were good racers. She would pick up the squeaky toys and run with them and all the pups would chase her. Before long they were running with the squeaky toys themselves. I knew things were going to be OK when they started to outrun her.

When it came time to train them on a leash that was easy also. I would put the leash on one and the other pups would pick it up and drag the poor pup all over the place. It was hilarious! I have seen people get $10,000 on video shows for dogs doing a lot less than that - things that other people see as unusual, I used to see everyday.

One puppy, Saddlebags, broke her right front leg when she was about 5 months old. We moved her into the trailer while she was wearing her cast. She broke the cast 3 times in the 6 weeks she wore it because the other pups figured out that she was in there and they would run circles around the trailer barking. She would run back and forth down the hallway the entire length of the trailer barking back at them. You would think the pain would slow her down a little - not in the slightest bit. I was worried that this would hold back her racing career but it didn't. She went to double A and stayed there until she was hurt and we had to retire her. She got a good home with a family.

Poor little Preety came up to me one day and she looked like Frankenstein. The whole top of her head was swollen. I had never seen anything like it. I was sure that she must have run into a tree at 40 miles an hour and cracked her skull. I put her on a round of antibiotics and the swelling immediately went down. I took her off them after 10 days and her head immediately swelled up again. I did another round and it went back down. When her head swelled again I took her to the vet. He started laughing when he saw her. He asked if she had been chewing any wood (she had, she was cutting teeth). He said that she had a splinter in her gum and the only place the swelling had to go was behind her eye socket. He drilled a hole in her gum for drainage and this time the swelling didn't come back.

She was around 8 months old when that happenned. I took her by the track on the way home from the vet. You should have seen the trainers drooling over her. My dogs looked track ready and they were only 8 months old. My giant sprint field was paying off - that, and the fact that I didn't skimp on their nutrition either. In fact we didn't skimp on anything, those pups even had Lyme disease shots because the mosquitoes were so bad out in the swamp.

Unfortunately it wasn't long before my pups figured out another way around the fence. We couldn't keep them in and they were starting to roam the neighborhood. (that was the downside to raising them to think) The plus side to raising thinkers is they think their way around the track. They looked for ins and outs in a race instead of running the same way around the track every time. So it paid off in the long run, but while they were pups they started getting out every time we left the house! Finally one day the dog pound caught them all. They were nice enough to take them to the track kennels for me instead of putting them in the shelter (I gave the man a HUGE tip for that). We kenneled them at the track for about a month until arrangements were made for them to go to a farm that had the facilities to hold them.

During the month they were kenneled at the track Bobby and I had to keep quiet. If they heard us in our own kennels (they were in an overflow kennel) they would jump 8 foot fences to get to us. One day Paro jumped 8 fences to find me. One more fence and she would have been to my kennel.

At least my babies loved me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

At What Point Do You Go Back to the Store and Pay When You Find You Were UNDER Charged?

The other day I went back to Family Dollar and paid for some toilet paper that the cashier had missed when she was ringing me up. It was $5. I didn't know until I looked at my receipt when I got home that she had missed it. (I bought all kinds of stuff that day)

I thought about not going back but I just couldn't see doing that. If it had only been a dollar or so I wouldn't worry about it but I couldn't see not paying for it. Especially when the store is only a couple of blocks from the house and I didn't have to go out of my way to do it.

I will say if it had been Foodland, I wouldn't have gone back. They overcharge me all the time. I would have thought of it as getting even.

I remember one time at Fruth I gave a lady back an extra $45. I thought she paid me with a $50 bill and she had paid me with a $5 bill. I figured it out about 5 minutes after she left when another customer paid me with a $50 and I didn't have another one in my drawer. I know she knew it when I made the mistake to because of the look on her face. I thought I had done something wrong and I asked her if I had done something. She hurriedly said, "no, no, no, " and rushed out the store. Fortunately when I called the manager and told him he didn't make me pay back the shortage.

I remember once when we were with my dad at a Waffle House, the waitress brought my dad the check and she had made a humongous mistake adding it up. All of us kids were cheering at our good fortune. He told us that we had to let her know that she would have to pay back the money at the end of the day if we didn't. He corrected her mistake and paid for the meal. She was very pregnant and we had heard her talking about not having enough money to buy Easter baskets for her 3 kids.

Daddy left her a $20 tip and told her to go buy some Easter baskets for her kids. In those days that was plenty of money for Easter baskets.

My First Litter (part 2)

At 2 months of age it was obvious that my puppies were outgrowing my yard fast. I found a 10 acre place in the middle of the swamp in Loxahatchee. It had a rundown trailer that we had to rebuild from the floor up -literally, there were no floors in it. We made a deal with a friend to be a partner in half interest of a pup to help with the labor of building fences and such.

He sold us back the interest because he didn't like some of my ideas about raising greyhounds. I did not allow any rabbits to be killed. It wasn't necessary. When they were about 5 weeks old I started buying rabbit toys that squeaked and throwing them in the middle of my pups and it took no time before they started to shred them in seconds. I used to run around the fence holding a mop over the pups and have them chase it. (this was to simulate the rabbit at the track) By the time they were 3 months old they were chasing birds that flew over the yard. Nothing had to die to instill this instinct to chase in them either.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when I came home to find that our partner had bulldozed a 500 foot run that was 20 feet wide to raise the dogs in. This left a collosal amount of the property that wasn't being utilized for the dogs and I just couldn't see the logic of it. I called the dozer guy back and we scraped a 5 acre field for the dogs to run. By the time it was finished it was a circular shape like the track (except they could run across the middle if they wanted to) and it was even bigger. My partner thought this was crazy. It defied every bit of greyhound farming that his 20 years of experience given him. (I had about 5 years experience at this point) So we bought back his interest in a pup.

Our pups loved this field. More than once I would step into it and have to hit the dirt because a herd of greyhound pups was coming at me at 30 miles an hour and they didn't have enough sense to stop! They would just run over me and keep going. There was a 6 foot fence around their pen but we had just a 5 foot gate. That was a mistake. Queenie, their mom, would jump the gate when she tired of her babies. I thought this was cute until the puppies got older and started to jump the gate with her.

Once they could jump the gate at will, they spent a lot of time living under my trailer. I would be in the house and they would all be lounging under us and I would hear Baby Greyhound chattering away. She would talk even when there weren't any people around. She sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher in one of those tv specials.

I give full credit to a stray cat that hung around to training my dogs also. I fed him in the yard until the pups started to stay there and then I moved his food outside the gate so he wouldn't be harrassed by them. He seemed to enjoy the chase though. Even though his food was outside the gate, everytime I fed the greyhounds he was right there in the middle of them to get his share.

The strange part is that all 11 dogs would encircle the cat while he ate the food and watch him until he finished eating. Then he would slowly make his way toward the gate and there would be some invisible signal that I never quite figured out. All of a sudden he would streak to the fence and climb over it with the greyhounds hot on his trail. At first I would scream and try to make sure that he wasn't going to get killed but it soon became apparent that nothing I did was going to make a difference. Both the cat and the dogs KNEW the game they were playing.

(to be continued...)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My First Litter of Greyhound Puppies...

...brought our neighborhood together. I was living in downtown West Palm Beach in a typical neighborhood where the neighbors never spoke. The way our apartment complex was set up was there were 2 rows of apartments facing each other. On my side there was the apartment up front and then there was ours and we had a huge fenced in yard. On the other side of my yard was a row of 3 apartments facing us and the neighbors came and went and nobody ever spoke.

That is until Queenie had her pups. I put them in a large kiddie pool in the extra bedroom and we took care of them in thehouse for the first few weeks. When they got to be about 5 weeks old we put them outside in the building and left it open so they could start to run and play. By the time they were 6 weeks old I started to notice my neighbors looking out their windows pointing at the puppies. One by one they would catch Bobby or I outside and come out to talk about how cute the puppies were.

By the time they were 2 months old and the pups were running and playing like crazy (there were 9 puppies and Queenie and Levi - Levi was their uncle). Everytime I came home there would be neighbors sitting in lawn chairs watching the puppies. They were waiting for one of us to go in the yard and hand a puppy over to be petted. They were surprised that we would let them pet them but as I explained the more they were handled the better they would act at the track. As long as they didn't go in the yard to get them when I wasn't home, I had no problem with it. As time progressed I was coming home to cookouts and get togethers - puppy watching became the neighborhood pasttime.

There was only one problem with the situation. In the last apartment on the other side was a drug dealer. We were worried that somebody going to his house would to try to steal one of the puppies. Droid (his nickname) must have read our minds because he came over one day to assure us that he had warned off the people coming to his house about the puppies - he told them he would cut them off if they even thought about taking any pups! He said he had come to love watching them as much as everybody else on the block did.

So we invited him out to join the cookout and he became a regular fixture like everybody else. In fact we named a pup after him, afterall Droid is a pretty cool sounding name for a greyhound. We also warned him that the dogs were tattooed and if somebody tried to steal one and race it or sell it, it would be traced. The only value a stolen greyhound has is as a pet. So, he made sure that people knew that they couldn't make any money on the pups afterall.

Very early in their growing up, my neighbor, Maria, came over to tell me that one of the puppies was talking to her. This puppy grew up to be Baby Greyhound. She was the skinniest, ugliest greyhound that you ever saw; but she was also the most adorable because of her loving, outgoing personality. Baby Greyhound and Maria became great friends and Maria had a great time giving her special treats. Baby Greyhound talked so much that she became a track favorite and the leadouts used to fight over who got to take care of her at the track. The track wanted to make her a mascot but she was so ugly that they decided against it.

We named her Baby Greyhound because she looked like a perfect greyhound when she was 6 weeks old, all the other pups looked like little hound dogs running around. We thought this would be a good thing. It wasn't. She ate double what the other dogs did and walked around looking like something out of " Nightmare Before Christmas"! The rest of the litter went to AA (which was the best grade at West Palm). Poor old Baby Greyhound farted around as a C dog for most of her life. She lived with me until she died though.
After the divorce Bobby and I fought over her like crazy. I won the arguement.

to be continued...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"you'll have to be a lot quicker than that to bite me, daddy!"

While my dad was in the hospital there were times he had to be restrained. By restrained I mean they had to tie him down. A heartbreaking situation if ever there was one. There were moments of humor though that shine through the bad times.

The only time they would untie him was if I were physically in the room with him. Consequently I would sit there for days so he wouldn't have to be tied up. There were a couple of times I had to request the restraints to keep him from hurting himself. It was hard but it had to be done.

One time he was trying to pull his pic line out. (a pic line is a line surgically inserted into the artery to administer meds and such) To pull this line out could cause a deadly hemorhage. I was trying to physically hold his arms down until the nurses got there one day. He had already told me that "it won't hurt to pull it out, I've done it lots of time!".

As I was holding his arms he was actually snapping and gnashing at me with clenched teeth, trying to bite a chunk out of me in his desperation to pull out the offending pic line (in a neck artery). I was dodging his mouth as best I could when out of exasperation and exhaustion I told him, "Daddy, you'll have to be a lot quicker than that to bite me. I been dodging greyhounds for a lot of years now!"

He stopped trying to rip a piece out of my arm and looked at me and said, "I really wish you would stop comparing me to a dog!" For some reason it muched have reached a sane place inside him because he quit fighting me. Then the nurses came to tie him down and I left for some much needed rest because I couldn't bear to see him in that condition.

You won't believe what I caught when I went fishing yesterday!

I'm hanging out with my pole daydreaming my life away, content with the beauty of nature and the crystal clear waters of the pond in the Kanawha State Forest. I felt a tiny tug on my line and focused my attention on the unusual splashing in the water in front of me. I reeled in the line even though it didn't feel like anything was on the line - but there was something there.

It was a tiny, little mermaid! My eyes about popped out of my head because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. She was holding my hook with one hand, sitting in it like a swing and waving excitedly like she wanted to get my attention with her other hand.

Well, she certainly did!

She was quite pretty. Her tail had a purplish, irridescent tint to it. She was only about 2 inches tall with her wet, flowing, long, blonde hair curling around her tiny, perfect body. She was laughing a tiny tinkle of a giggle as she rode the hook up while I reeled it to my pole.

I was speechless and she looked as if she expected me to be. She couldn't contain her amusement at my bemusement as I carefully took her in the palm of my hand.

"So, we finally meet," she said to me. "I've been watching you for awhile now. You seem so lonely, yet I can tell you really enjoy coming to my little neck of the forest. I'm curious to know what it is you find here. Most people are bored out of their minds, you know."

I smiled at her and I giggled. I told her, "I guess I have been looking for you. I have always felt that I was going to discover a new creature and here you are."

"Creature!" She exclaimed. "I'm hardly a creature, but I don't take offense. I know you are a little in shock right now."

"That's an understatement." I told her. "I can't believe that you are here. I have only heard of mermaids in oceans, and their not real - never in a tiny pond in West Virginia."

"Oh, those would be my cousins. And they are so, so real. We are really careful who we reveal ourselves to. Have to be, you know. You never know what people will do when they meet one of us."

"Well, I'm very glad to meet you. Nobody is going to believe this."

"I know they won't," she said. "That's alright. I have wanted to talk with you for the longest time and I thought when I saw you today. Today's the day, and here I am."

"Do you live here?" I asked. "Are there more of you? I can think of a thousand things to ask right now."

"Actually I live a little ways up that creek over there. You know the one. You go there when you don't want any body to bother you. Last week I watched you as you followed the periwinkle butterfly right to my spot. Remember the splashing you saw?"

"Oh yes, I knew there was something special about that butterfly. I tried to figure out what was causing the splashing too. I saw minnows but that was all."

"The minnows are my tiny sisters and brothers. We start out as minnows and when we get a little older we turn into minnows and mannows. Those are our proper names. Mermaids are just what you people call us."

"Mannows? What's a mannow?" I asked.

"Ha ha, it's a boy mermaid. You didn't think we were ALL girls did you?"

"Well, I really haven't had time to think about it too much yet. I guess there would be boy mermaids or mannows though. It makes perfect sense afterall. Can I meet a mannow?" I asked her.

"I doubt it. You know how mannows can be. They are not so friendly as I and much more secretive."

She told me all about her life in the creek and how she and the other minnows and mannows survive. There was much too much to relate in this one little blog. She did promise to come back to see me again. I hope she keeps her promise. But if not it was an experience I will NEVER forget.

Did Daniel Boone Walk Here?

Everytime I go into the woods that thought crosses my mind. I know he lived around here for a time before he decided to push further west into Kentucky.

One of my favorite poems in junior high was "Elbow Room cried Daniel Boone". I don't remember if that was actually the title but at the end of each refrain we had a wonderful time with the cry, "ELBOW ROOM CRIED DANIEL BOONE". It was about his desire to explore the woods and his need to move west as settlers encroached further and further into the frontier.

So as I wander through the woods, and I do so more in my imagination than my body these days, I can't help but think,"did Daniel Boone walk here?"

I also wonder if he really had an Indian friend named Mingo? You know, like in the tv series.