Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Haven't Fallen And I Can't Get Up!

Out of the blue my lovely wife uttered the title of this post.

Not only did I crack up laughing at it, but it seems to me there's a deep spiritual meaning in that phrase.

If not there should be.

Because I certainly feel that way at times. Can I get an Amen or a witless?

These are the sort of revelations I often get. Not that I always get the message. No, far from it. So I'll get remedial revelations because I tend to be...dense at times.

BTW, "remedial revelations" would be an excellent name for a band. So would "I haven't fallen and I can't get up!"

Where was I? You see, this is precisely why I need remedial revelations. But they are still refreshing and new everytime I receive them.
So not getting it all the time can be a blessing.

Then again, I believe it's humbling to know I don't get it all the time (indeed, as my Grandpa used to tell me, "Ben, the older you get the more you realize just how much you don't know.")

However, I Am getting it more.

Every once in awhile a revelation, or part of one sticks and the old lighthouse in my mind goes on and I actually learn something and integrate it within myself.
Not to try to contain it but to allow it to contain me.

When I haven't fallen and can't get up (and vice versa...I think...no wait...) remedial revelations gives me a hand up.
It's part of His grace.

Off topic, we had a flood here yesterday, but thank God the water didn't get in our home.
To say the least, I was more tense abvout it this time then I was during the big one 5 years ago. Then I remembered (again) to do what I can and trust God for the rest.
Gave me peace of mind at least and that also is a blessing. :^)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Two Spider Sense

I don't know how it is nowadays, but back when I was in every sailor had to serve a tour of 90 days of mess duty.
The only exemptions being petty officers or, if you were lucky, your division being so undermanned they simply couldn't function without you. Anyone from a seaman (E-3) and below had to do it, generally speaking.

Now, I had served my time and paid my debt to society on my first ship, the USS Henderson (DD-785), which was a reserve destroyer that I only spent a little over 100 days on, since they decided to decom it and sell it to...puke...Pakistan.
Sorry, still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
She deserved better.

So when I arrived at my second ship, the USS Duluth (LPD-6), which happened to be stationed at Todd Shipyards in delightful San Pedro, CA., I was considered an ex-con when it came to mess cookin' duty, with time served.
After sanding and chipping untold tons of rust and paint off the ship, both inside and out, priming, painting, redecking the deck, refurbishing the mast and weather decks and passageways, and every other dirty job (but someone had to do it), we were getting ready to leave drydock and begin sea trials to see if the ship still worked (without flooding).

That was the time I chose to get in trouble. Well, I hadn't planned on it but that's what happened nevertheless.
So I ended up on restriction (like house arrest except on a ship), fined, and given two hours of extra duty per day plus, I had to muster five times a day to make sure I was there.
Oh, and I was reduced in rank from a seaman to a seaman's apprentice (E-3 to E-2).

Then I got in trouble again, got reduced to an E-1 (seaman recruit) and won an all expense paid vacation to the brig for 30 days. And another fine.

Meanwhile, the ship didn't sink, and she returned to sunny San Diego while I marched sandbags around and did a mini bootcamp kind of thing. By this time I had learned it wasn't a good idea to get in trouble.

After my R and R I returned to the Duluth on my 19th birthday. I had saved up around 25 bucks and this seemed like a good time to go to the base club and have a few cold ones.

Life returned to about as normal as it gets in the Navy and I found that San Diego was much nicer than San Pedro or Long Beach.

I worked extra hard, which you hafta do after getting in trouble because everyone is watching you. Especially my new division officer who was a sadistic bastard that didn't like me because I had gotten into trouble.

In fact, he told me when I met him that he didn't like troublemakers, and that he would see to it that I was kicked out on a bad conduct discharge.
I tried to explain that my attitude had been adjusted and I wouldn't get in trouble again, but he didn't wanna hear it. He had made up his mind.

He did everything he could to get me to mouth off or take a swing at him but I bit my lip and kept my nose to the grindstone.
He's not gonna break me, I told myself.

A few month's later, Chief took me aside after morning muster.

"Conrad, I hate to break it to you but I have to assign you mess duty," he said.

"What? Whoa. Wait. Chief...I did my time," I replied.

Didn't he read my record? I wondered.

"I know. But everyone else has gone, and since you were reduced in rank, you are next in line," Chief explained.

Sh*t. What a revoltin' developement this was, I thought.

"Do I hafta do the full 90 days again?" I asked.

"Yep. I hate to lose you, especially since you've been working so hard but my hands are tied on this one," Chief said, grimacing.

"I...I understand, Chief," I said.

Unintended consequences suck, I thought. Oh well, more incentive not to get in trouble again.

"Report to MS1 Baker and he will get you situated," Chief said. "Oh, BTW, you'll still report to Combat during general quarters, condition 1 alpha or navigation detail," Chief added.

"Roger that, Chief," I replied.

On the bright side, I wouldn't hafta to put up with LTJG asshole as much, I thought.

After grueling 12 hr. days in the shipyards and the brig mess duty wasn't nearly as bad as I had thought it would be.
Relatively speaking, of course. Because it also wasn't a cakewalk neither.

Near the end of my second tour of mess duty I was helping to bring on some more stores we had received as part of underway replenishment with a supply ship.
We didn't actually need much, if anything, since we were only underway for a few weeks to conduct exercises and work-ups for an upcoming WestPac deployment, so this was part of that.

I heard a scream and something hitting the deck. As I turned to see what it was I almost got bowled over as a fellow shipmate ran past me.

"What the f*ck man?!" I shouted.

I saw a dropped box of bananas on the deck o few feet in front of me. On the other side of the banana's two other sailors were backing up, and flailing.

"Shit! Watch out!" Rodriguez exclaimed, pointing.

Then I saw what he was pointing at.

I don't know exactly what kind of spider it was, but as a kid I was always trying to catch spiders, snakes, even scorpions.
I wasn't an expert but I thought this one looked like a tarantula but not quite as hairy.
Naturally, I couldn't resist trying to catch it.
Lessee, what to use...I guess that box top will work temporarily, I thought.

I took a few steps toward the banana box top and the spider scurried over next to the bananas as it saw me approaching. It lifted it's front legs as I crept closer.

"What the hell you doing essay? Oh hell no!" Rodriguez exclaimed as I reached for the box top.

"Trying to catch it," I replied in a loud whisper. "Don't make any sudden movements," I added.

"Don't f*ck with it homes," Rodriguez said, now also in a loud whisper.

"Kill it! Kill the motherf*cker," said Wilson, the guy who initially tried to bowl me over and the one I was pretty sure let out the primal scream I had heard earlier.

"Don't be such wusses," I said, almost reaching the box top.

On Rodriguez's end of the passageway I saw a crown forming as more of our shipmates arrived to see what the scream was about.

"I'm out of here," Wilson said in a shaky voice.

As I reached for the box I kept one eye on the spider. The spider kept four eyes on me and two on Rodriguez...I think.
Finally, my fingers brushed the lid and...

"What the f*ck is the hold up?!" I heard someone bellow behind me.

And the spider jumped...at me!

I jumped too, backwards, and tripped into whoever had startled the spider.

"Sheet! Get out of there man!" Rodriguez shouted.

This seemed to agitate spiderzilla even more and it scurried towards me really fast.

Oh sh*t! I thought, trying to get up as fast as I could.

"Aiiiieeee!" Screamed the hapless sailor who I had tripped over.

Thae scream was louder than Wilsons and spiderkong began to scurry the other direction.

"Holy Mary mother of God!" Shouted Rodriguez, backing up and making the sign of the cross.

At that moment, MS1 Baker pushed his way through the retreating crowd and almost gave Rodriguez a heart attack when he grabbed his shoulder a pushed past him.

As I began to regain my footing el spidiablo, startled by petty officer Baker jumped and scurried in my direction again.

"Aiieee!" Shouted the screamer behind me kicking his feet...this, along with the rolling of the ship on the waves tripped me up again.

Damn! What the hell? I thought, wondering who in the hell was kicking the back of my legs.

"Aieee!" Screamed the screamer again, hurting my ears.

If I wasn't so busy trying to get up and watch the spider, I swear, I would've punched the screamers lights out!
If I hadn't been so preoccupied I would've thought to elbow him in the mouth.


"Shut the f*ck up, man!" I said in a loud whisper.

Mr. Spider creeped closer and I pulled my feet closer as well, bending my knees and raising my right foot, in case it got close enough to bring my boot down on it.
Thanks to Stanley Screamer I had abandoned the idea of catching the spider alive.

Spidey seemed to speed up and for a second there I thought I saw fear in it's eyes...all 6 of them. I almost...almost felt sorry for it. Then I wondered if I would be fast enough to kill it or if my timing would be off and instead I would feel the plunge of one inch fangs instead.

Okay, maybe they were more like half inch fangs, but they were fangs, nonetheless.
Or maybe, just maybe, the spider would run over me and bite screamin' Minnie behind me.
If I could've communicated with it I would've coordinated the attack myself.

Splat! MS1 Baker's boot came down and all I saw left of spidey was the tips of eight legs, evenly dispatched on both sides of Baker's size 14 boot.

"Quit lollygagging around, we got work to do," MS1 Baker said, smiling.

He reached out his hand and helped me up.

"Thanks!" I said.

"Is it dead? Is it dead?" Asked screamin' Nellie.

""You tell me," Baker said, raising his boot up into Nellie's face.


It took me several minutes to stop laughing after that.

MS1 Baker smiled. His smiles were equivalent to laughing out loud.


No doubt you all have noticed that my blog posts, as of late, have been one solid paragraph (which I dislike as much as I'm sure you guys do).

Well, I finally figured out my settings were wrong (I suspected as much) and in a moment of lucid clarity I figured out how to fix it.

Sometimes I wonder how I function at all when I overlook something so easily solved, although. for the life of me I had no idea how until I had a window where I was operating on at least two out of eight cylinders.

Now that I do have more than one brain cell working, I think I'll solve the mysteries of the cosmos.
Starting with, how do I get a steak like this?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Google Nostra With UPDATE!

Nice blog...be a shame if something were to happen to it."

So here I was, yesterday, suddenly, and without warning, blogless.
Yep, my blog was gone.
So was my gmail.

Every time I tried to access either acct., I couldn't continue unless I gave Google my phone number, in order to get a "verification code."

Of course, I didn't wanna give the Googlefather my phone number but I had no choice...if I wanted to see my blog again.
The bloody blog head someone put next to me while I was sleeping was the only warning I got.

I understand the Google mob (Gob?) wanting to have a method to verify I am who I say I am. Afterall, it's for my protection, see. Yeah, yeah.

Then what's the freakin' point of a password?

Surely Google would never use my number for their own gain. They said they wouldn't. And we all know we can trust Google. Right? They have never lied or used personal info from their customers (and non-customers) for their own gain. Right?

The Google mob has ties to leftists and they support leftist causes because they profit from it. However, I would be just as concerned if Google was sympathetic to conservative causes.
There simply is no reason they need my phone number for my own good.

Hey, if folks wanna voluntarily give it up to Google I wouldn't have a problem, but Google doesn't give that option.
Well, technically speaking I could say no, but if I do my blog will end up in the East River, sleepin' with the fishes.

Anyhow, I finally gave my number to them and miraculously, I now have my blog back.
I'm so relieved Google cares so much about my welfare.
I'm sure it's nothin' personal. Just business.

"Trust me."

This actually makes sense (in this context).

UPDATE! Let this be a warning shot across the bow to you, Google. I have friends in high places. Google Shares Take A Dive"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


As you can see, Patti is feeling better. In fact, so much better she took this photo of Little Miss, one of two dachsies that roam our home. Apparently, Little Miss is ready for the big screen and does a purty good job acting like a FrankenDachsi, which Tim Burton should've used in his Frankenweenie film. I mean, dachsies ARE the definitive weiner dogs, so what the hey? What say you, dear readers? I think Little Miss is clearly star material. Update: Patti's wound has closed up, and there is no sign of infection, and I 'm convinced your prayers helped! Thank you, my friends! Patti is experiencing some pain from the nerve damage, but that should fade away within six months, according to her doc.
It's good to see my love smiling more. :^)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Can't Believe

The house is lonely without my wife Patti here. Too lonely...even for me. There are times I crave being alone, at least for awhile, but not like this. Because part of ain't here. The best part of me. She had surgery about 7 weeks ago for trigger finger. It was almost healed up when it got infected. Unfortunately, the infection was worse than Patti and I thought (there was no telltale signs of a usual bad infection that we could see) and Patti needed surgery to get it out. That was Tuesday. Today, the doc says she needs another surgery because this infection just won't go away. God, her hand already is completely black and blue from the first surgery. I can only imagine how much it hurts even with the pain meds. I can handle when I'm sick, but it hurts 100 times more when my wife or kids (they're grown up now but they'll always be our kids) are hurt or sick. If all goes well, Patti may be able to come home on Saturday. I hope n' pray that happens. And I'm tryin' real hard to ignore the nagging doubt lingering in my mind that Patti may lose her hand. She has diabetes so it is, sadly, a possibility. But I don't think that for long because it's more productive to pray. That's all I can do. Sometimes, that pisses me off that I can't do more. But if I had the power to do more than I already have I'm certain I would find a way to screw it up. So it's best to leave situations like this in God's hands. I know that. I reckon prayer just ain't one of my strong suits. I don't like to ask God for help unless I absolutely need it. How often do I pray when it's not for asking for help for others or myself? Not nearly enough. Mostly I have wordless communion but sometimes words are needed. Just because I can't always find the right words doesn't mean I shouldn't try. That sounds muddled but God gets what I'm saying. God, I miss my wife.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sun Shone Lightly

After 10 days of "you better not eat that...see, I told you, dumbass!" sickness, I can now say I have a new appreciation of this timeless classic. Thankfully, I have been able to eat today...and not regret it, so things are lookin' up. :^)

Friday, August 31, 2012


I've said it before and I'll say it again: on Nov. 6th, 2012, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will win in a landslide. The RNC convention, the best one since Reagan's, merely confirmed it. There's definitely a huge shift going on in the GOP and real conservatives are beginning to take back Congress and the Senate! It'ss take some time but we can turn this country around and get back to our Founding principles. And let's not forget Gov. Scott Walker's win in Wisconsin, which is a win for the folks of WI! And a huge win for conservatives everywhere! God, Gov. Walker has a huge set of cajones doesn't he? Republicans, take note! And let's not forget the rise of the Tea Party in 2010! All of this pushback against leftism and fascism of Obama and the democrat party is a win for our individual liberties. It's a pushback against lawlessness, political correctness, cronyism, corruption, fraud, waste, injustice in the Justice Dept., and a foreign policy that greatly strengthens Russia, China and terrorist states as well as radical Islamists throughout the middle east. It's also a pushback against stabbing our Allies in the back and treating them poorly. It's a renunciation of all of these thigs and more, such as the nat'l security leaks by Obama and his Administration. Leaks that have severely damaged our war against Islamic terrorists. Leaks that have dealt a devastating blow to our human intelligence networks. Leaks that have put the lives of our Special Operations guys, CIA operatives, and local informants that want to help in serious risk. The Pakistani doctor who helped us find Bin Laden? He's serving 30 years in a Pakistani prison, no doubt tortured, because Obama wanted to get him some personal glory and look cool to his celebrity pals...oh, and make a movie that makes him look good. Think that movie will mention the consequences of Obama's security leaks? Leaks that made all the intelligence our SEAL's gathered useless? Leaks that gave Al Qaeda and other terrorists time to get away before our military could track them down? No. I don't think so. But if it does, I'll gladly apologize to Katheryn Bigelow and her crew for putting America's security ahead of her friendship to Obama. Anyways, I look forward to seeing America give Obama and his idiot clan a pink slip on election day! Let's celebrate a bit shall we? And in honor of Clint Eastwood, I salute you Sir!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Eat Lead Punks!

This 71 yr old man, Samuel Williams deserves a medal! Bravo Zulu Sir! I would be honored to shake your hand! It's hilarious how these two bit thugs fall all over themselves as they scramble to escape, LOL. Good thing that hero was packin' heat! This song fits the situation, I think:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Being Ernest

What about being Earnest? Well, earnestness is something we should all choose to do...and...Be. One of the best examples of being earnest is the late, great Ernest Borgnine. He was a man who spoke earnestly. He's beloved by many for his many, topo notch performances: Marty Bad Day At Black Rock The Dirty Dozen The Wild Bunch From Here To Eternity McHale's Navy Emperor Of The North The Poseiden Adventure Airwolf Escape From New York Red And so many more! Ernest served 10 years in the US Navy and fought during WW2. He was a great American patriot 'til the day he died. He visited each and every one of our veteran hospitals, and was the Navy's most successful recruiter! Because he believed in the United States, and American exceptionalism. He believed our liberty was worth fighting for. And he always honored those who have served and those who are serving today. Mr. Borgnine was a class act who had dignity to spare. He believed in hard work and he had a sense of humor that was infectious. He was proud of his service but he never bragged about it. When Ernest Borgnine spoke he spoke honestly and from his heart. We veterans know without a doubt the love he had for us. He was one of us. He was Earnest. RIP and Godspeed Petty Officer First Class Ernest Borgnine. And Thank you! We love you and so do millions of American civilians! Our loss is Heaven's gain. This is Mr. Borgnine receiving his SAG lifetime achievement award. There are also many interviews he gave that are on youtube and they are well worth watching! Lots of wisdom in those interviews.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Stand Alone

Oh?! Whoa! It's downright criminal that this song wasn't played on the radio at least half as much as Stairway To Heaven or Freebird. Not that there's anything wrong with those great songs. I just can't help but wonder how songs like this ever get overlooked. I mean, c'mon! I thought 'instant classic' the first time I heard it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I'm back! Again! Hurray! Where's My Parade?

Update! Okay, it seems to work in IE (which I already have but hardly ever use). So this buys Blogger a temporary reprieve from The Wrath Of USS Ben! Based on a true story.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sun Shine Again

Well...I reckon I was sicker than I thought.

Little darkish humor there. An inside joke you might say. Really. I'm smiling right now.

Okay, I realize no one new to this blog would get it without reading some backstory here (re: archives). All I can say is I can't guarantee it is funny enough to read my archives, and if you do you may disagree about the funny factor of sickness, but if you do (disagree) the yoke is on you. :^)

Then again, some of you new guys reading this blog may still not get it. Well, perhaps you weren't put on this earth to get it (another paraphrased inside joke that Big Trouble In Little China afishyendos will appreciate).

And no, I'm not gonna explain it (Hint: it was a Lopan line).
Man. I really miss villains like Lopan. Most villains nowdays are so boring and flat.
Lopan had style and substance...after he married the two green-eyed ladies and drank some blood from one of them that is.

My point is, he is memorable. Everyone appreciates a good villain. The problem with todays villains (and heroes, for that matter) is they are almost all cliches or cardboard cutouts.

But I diegrasp (little gallows humor there).

It might seem strange (might?) that I'm taking this tack on Easter but there is a good (maybe not necessarily good, per se, at least not in a literal sense) reason for it (500 free One Cosmos At Sea credits to the first one who guesses the right answer...to, um, use in my online store!...after I build one...and stock it).

You know, I had some videos linked in here for you guys to watch that sort of helps fill in some blanks (and live ammo also).
However, it's not showing and I have no idea why. Almost no idea (blog...er. Cough. Sucks. Cough).

Anyhow...if it doesn't appear later or if it does, Happy Easter and Happy Passover!
The Lord is risen and an empty tomb bears witness!
Blessed be the name of our God!

I'm truly blessed and thankful to Him for what he has done for me (and for the deviled eggs)!

Um, you did send the deviled eggs, didn't you Lord? Just kidding (but You know that).
Ha ha. I'm glad we can laugh about it.

Okay, I finally figured out what I did wrong, so without further delay I'll return you to the previously scheduled programming. Reprogramming actually.
Hope you like these as much as I do. :^)

Incidently, these vids may give you a clue as to where I have been lately.

Is there a reason why these guys ain't as well known as the Eagles or Lynyrd Skynyrd? I sure can't think of one.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Like Dial Up In A Bullet That's Just Been Fired

Finally got DSL 1.5! Hurray! (Canned applause for the hearing impaired or for those who don't know that's a cue to applaud). Super duper fast. Faster than thought. Well, my thought anyways. And really, that's as fast as it needs to be.

Now if only there was a feature to do away with the typing part...and talking...like a mental projection thingy or E-SP for short. Might not want that to include pictures though.

"Hey guys! Here's my latest nightmare."

"Wait, where did everyone go?"

"Okay, I admit it's actually worse than Helen Thomas, Roseanne, Nancy Pelosi and Michael Moore combined but that's why they call it a nightmare."


But other than that it would be nice. Plus, I could say stuff without talking.

Thought quotes:

No, I can't talk right now my wife is throwing stuff at me.

Sorry, my mind is just not into it today (or any other day you psycho...um, did I just think that out loud?).

It's not you, it's my mind.

Damn, my wife says we need more alone time (meaning: turn the computer off and watch this stupid movie).

End thought quotes.

Anyways, I admit there could be a few kinks to work out but it would still be nifty. I said kinks without the y! No, I'm not being defensive! Do you kiss your mother with those thoughts?

I said end thought quotes! Ahem.

Does that mean I'll blog more and comment more at your blogs and stuff?
Unfortunately for you guys, aye, that I will. :^)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nail Call

After a record breaking snow storm, followed by ice and high winds (which have continued) and repeated power outages it was time for me to make a Walmart run.

As I pulled into Wallys I mentally growled.


Skully, my faithful sidekick raised his head and looked at me quizzically.

"Just thinking out loud boy," I said, looking for a parking place that was closer than Tim Tebow's 80 yard touchdown pass that defeated the Steelers in OT (ha!).

Not that I'm agin walkin' you understand, but the peripheral neuropathy in my feet has reached a milestone in pain and sustained pain categories and walking seems to aggravate it.
Plus, I like pulling within range of the cameras (close enough for store security to act) in case anyone tries to steal Skully who would probably go quietly if any potential thieves offered a quality meat product or a burger from McDonalds.

Thankfully, I didn't have long to look as someone pulled out just as I was trying another lane near the store.

After assuring Skully that I would, indeed return and wasn't abandoning him I hobbled to the store tryin' not to wince at the melee happenning in my feet between two gangs of cats...with flamethrowers.

"Awooooooo!" Skully lamented in his sadest howl yet.

Don't turn around, you'll just encourage him, I thought.


Did I mention that Skully has abandonment issues despite the fact that I never have abandoned him? Yet.


Skully has the amazing ability to change up his howls which can sound quite comical at times and yet, still forlorn at the same time.
Incidently, this is yet another reason I try to find a fairly close parking space.

As I entered the store I growled again under my breath, "grr."

It looked like the day after Thansgiving/Christmas sale crowd but worse.
Nothin' like power outages to get folks into Walmart for some panic shoppin'.
I wasn't here for any emergency supplies, being prepared and all. Just low on a few things that we didn't really need and nails.

What? Nails? I read the list again. Nails- One and 1/4 inch- Brad.

Who the hell is Brad? Oh she must mean the brand. Some guy named Brad does fake nails? I wondered. Whatever.

I decided to get the nails first, since it was in the section of the store I really try to avoid at all costs.
The female section. One of the female sections to be more precise.
The sooner I got it over with the better.

It took me awhile but I finally found the fake nail section. There were nails everywhere.
Too many nails. French nails (wheres the damn American nails?), couture nails, designer nails, toe nails (ugh), goth nails (I don't get it).
The nails went on forever it seemed.

Okay, take a deep breath, time to regroup, I thought. I'll simply narrow the search down by looking for one and 1/4 inch...which seems rather long, and Brad.

Several minutes later...

This is taking forever. Why do they print everything so small on these things? I wondered, taking my glasses off (I opted not to take the bi focals (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Now I'm in my furtive glancing mode. Because I don't belong here. No man belong here.

Fine, I'll just look for Brad first, I thought.

Longest minutes later...no Brad.

Okay, one and 1/4 inch then.

This is odd, I don't recal Patti ever having nails that long. And she has never asked me to look for fake nails before.
The female unmentionables yes (what a nightmare!), but not nails. She never wore them except for a few times that I recall in our 30 plus years of marriage.

Maybe it's a metaphor, I pondered. But a metaphor for what? Getting her claws out? Was that it? Is she sending me a message? Have I pissed her off lately?
Eh, maybe it's nothin'.

Or maybe it's not.

This is stupid, I thought, dialing Patti on my cell phone.

One ringy dingy...busy signal. I try again. One ringy dingy...busy signal.

"Grr!" I hate Sprint! I shouted, hopefully in my mind.

I walked around and tried again, repeatedly, with the same results.

Stupid, no good, #^%$&**@ phone!

Then my phone rang. It was Patti.

"Hello?" I answered in my best Inspector Clouseau voice.

"Hey handsome, you at Walmart yet?"

"Aye. Got here awhile ago. About the..." I replied.

"Can you add chex mix to the list, the blue bag, and see if they have any sun dried tomatoes and..." Patti said.

"Roger wilco. About those..."

"Oh, and let me know when you get near the yarn section because I want you to find, just a minute that's my sister calling. Call me back when you get there," she said.

"Wait! Don't hang up! The nails!" I answered, but it was too late.

Crap. And they say men don't listen.

I tried my luck again at the nail section hoping I would stumble upon the ones she wanted.

Why does she always include something that's hard to find? I wondered, not for the first time. Why?

I waited five minutes and called Patti back.

One ringy dingy...busy signal. "Arrgh!" I said.

Oh crap, did I say that out loud? Women were staring at me. Or at least it seemed like they were staring at me, with a look that said "you don't belong here."

I tried to look like I wasn't shopping for nails for me and I wouldn't be here if my wife hadn't sent me. Really. But that's difficult to say with a look.

Every lady I saw seemed to express outrage and disdain at my unwanted presence in the nail section so I left. I abandoned my search.

I tried Patti again as I walked towards the chex mix section.

One ringy dingy...two ringy dingy! (yay! It's working! Three ringy dingy...busy signal.

I hate you Sprint. Assholes.

Then my phone rang. Patti!

"Hey Babe!" I replied.

"Why didn't you call me back?" Patti asked.

"I tried! Several times!" I replied.

"Well, my phone didn't ring," she said.

"It's Sprint's fault!" I replied defensively.

"I never have a problem with reception," Patti said.

"Maybe they like you," I answered cooly.

"Well, sometimes I do I suppose. Are you near the yarn?" She asked.

"Wait! About the nails!" I replied.


"I can't find the Brad brand. And are you sure you want one and 1/4 inch?" I asked.

"Yes, I wrote it down on the list. That brand was there last time I got nails," Patti said.

I took a deep breath.

"They ain't here now," I replied through clenched gums (I'm supposed to get teeth in a few months so I'll be able to clench them. Hurray!).

"See if you can find someone to help you," Patti offered.

Yeah right, in this crowd? I thought.

"Okay, I'm looking," I replied.

"Call me back when you..." Patti began.

"No! Don't hang up! I might not reach you again. Stay on the line! Are you there? Hello?" I replied, panicky.

"I'm here," Patti said, laughing.

Yeah, real funny. Hardy har har, I thought.

"look, I don't see a Wally employee anywhere. Let me go back to the nail section and I'll give you some brand names and stuff," I replied.

"Okay, but no longer than one and 1/4 inches because I don't want to crack the frames," Patti said.

What? What's she talking about? I wondered as I made my way to the nail section.
They have nails longer than one and a quarter inches?

"Alright," I replied, intent on getting to the nail section through the thick crowd.

Thicker than Denoson's chili, I mused. With beans.

"Also, don't get any nails with a big head. Only the small heads," Patti continued.

I froze and almost got kneed by a little old lady driving one of those go cart carts.
She glared at me like I was an idiot as she swerved around me.

"Ha ha ha ha!" I laughed.

"What's so funny?" Patti asked.

"Ha ha! You mean nail nails, right? The kind you hammer? Ha ha haaa hee hee haw!" I replied, trying to talk over my laughing.

The crowd avoided me, no doubt concluding I was insane.

"Yes! Nail nails, ha ha ha! You thought I meant fake nails? Ha ha!" Patti answered.

"Yeah. I can't believe I didn't make the connection earlier, ha ha!"

"I never get fake nails," Patti said.

"I know. I thought that was odd. Do they even make them that long?" I asked.

"Maybe," Patti replied, snickering. "You're like Clouseau. Something weird always happens to you, ha ha!"

"Yeah, tell me about it. It would be odd if nothin' did happen out of the ordinary," I said.

"That's because you're an extraordinary guy," Patti said.

"Aw shucks," I replied. It felt like my face was turning red.

"Are you blushing?" Patti asked.

"No. I don't know, there's no mirrors around here," I quipped.

"You're a funny guy," she said.

"Can I forgo the yarn section then?" I asked.

Eventually, I got everything, and thankfully, I only spent around 15 minutes in line.
As I approached our van I could see Skully jumping up and down excitedly.

"Good to see you too boy," I said as I opened the door.
"Let's get the hell outta here! What do you say? Wanna listen to some Molly Hatchet?"

Skully likes Molly Hatchet. He has good taste in music.