None of the following pictures were planned or posed.

I have somewhere around 50 or 60 nieces and nephews. One of them reminds me of me. Both of us are extremely fashion conscious.

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This little guy is named Calvin. Take careful notice as this is probably the only time you’ll ever see him with matching shoes on the right feet.

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This is the real Calvin. Always has one shoe on for athletics and one thong on for the beach. (At least that’s how we would have described him 40 years ago.)

I feel bad for him because he IS so much like me. We both like hanging around where the action is. As you can see, he’s not well grounded. His shoes are on the wrong feet. They’re also untied. I deal with these same problems to this day. He’s probably safer being suspended by his overall straps than tripping around on his shoelaces.

We both grew up in the same house. We’re both still growing up. Calvin’s got a year or two left before he’s fully grown. I’ve got a couple of weeks before I hit maturation. Just ask my wife.

We both learned to drive at four years of age. The only difference is my dad wasn’t in the truck when I first started. He was bucking hay bales onto the back of the truck. Calvin’s first drive was 2016. Mine was 1959. I’m sorry about the great camera work.

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On the plus side, we both love the heck out of life as Cal is demonstrating here. We both enjoy wearing creative footwear when attending church. We both cry when my brother Brent wants to hold our hand.

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It’s probably lucky that neither of us has a good sense of smell.

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Last year Calvin’s mom hid their TV remote up high on the door chime box. Five minutes later she caught Calvin retrieving the remote. All on his own. That kid is going to go places.

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Calvin’s sister went on a mission for her church. I guess they lock them up so they can’t change their mind later. Calvin wanted to see her one last time. So he did. This picture was taken after the gate keeper told him to get lost.

Calvin’s a kidder and is teaching me the same trait. It takes a long time to pick it up since it’s not in my natural nature. But day by day, as Calvin the Kidder patiently extends helpful pointers and gives me homework, I think I’m slowly grasping his art. What I picked up from Calvin is included in my book.

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Read the reviews.  Paperback or Hard Cover.

Kindle Book One      Kindle Book Two

We got to Dallas, at least Dallas airspace, around 10 pm. It was still as light as at noon day, at least most of the time. Lightning flashed every few seconds with the storm clouds below us reflecting and increasing the lumens. We drove around in the sky for a while, looking for an opportunity to park our rig.

It never happened. Conditions at Dallas/Ft Worth were still intense with lightning and wind shear. Finally, the pilot announced that he and his crew had worked a long day and couldn’t legally hang around in the sky much longer. They were down on hours and in the same boat with the jet fuel gauge. As passengers, we had been up as long as they and were getting also getting tired of being high.

Finally, the pilot headed for Austin, a half-hour drive away. We landed without fanfare and noticed the weather was calm. American Airlines was flying a crew in from LA to ferry us to Dallas as soon as the storm let up. We vegetated in an empty and unrelaxing terminal for three hours until the new crew arrived and got the plane revved back up.

We taxied out to the runway in the middle of the night and the middle of the storm that had just arrived from Dallas. The pilot said he had clearance to take off but basically was chicken to hit the throttle. I didn’t blame him. The rain was pounding and the lightning brilliant and often. The wind was blowing in a good 50 mile an hour gale and as we sat waiting on the tarmac, I could see we were probably in a permanent stationary jam.

Two business guys were among our fellow travelers. One was the boss of the other. I’ll call him Boss. He was in his forties. He sat in the window seat with Michele sitting next to him in the middle. The other was a duck who sat in the aisle seat across from me. I’ll call him Duck. He was in his thirties.

After we had parked and sat waiting for a break in the storm, Duck got up and left. Boss stayed put and played video games on his phone. Every once in a while as everyone else was attempting to doze off to pass the time, Boss would open wide his mouth and yawn. As he did this, he would emit a foghorn-style sound emission to accompany his yawn. The only difference between his horn and a tugboat’s is his was much louder.

Everyone in his general vicinity would jump from the sudden loud blast. Because his mouth was as open as the mouth of a cobra while trying to swallow a large hyena, I think his ear drums were stopped off and he had no idea how loud his yawn was. I mentioned that everyone in his vicinity would jump. This included especially the dozing passenger seated next to him, my dear wife Michele.

She had a couple of seconds worth of a grand mal seizure every time he enunciated his yawn. Her entire body tried to shoot out of her seat even though her seat belt was still snugly buckled around her. Watching Michele and Boss interact were the only times through the entire night that I cracked a smile. It made the Boss racket worthwhile.

Duck was gone for hours. I asked Boss where his partner had gone so he got up between yawns and searched the plane. He returned with no clue as to Duck’s whereabouts. I began to worry that Duck had accidentally hit the high-powered airliner flush button while still sitting on the commode and was now swimming around in the dark, trying to keep his head above water in the black-water tank of the airplane.

We sat and sat some more in the cramped quarters. Eventually the pilot announced that his crew were now out of hours and illegal. We had been in Austin so long I figured the first crew would have caught enough zzz’s that they could get back on board and relieve the present crew. Duck reappeared just as we were getting ready to exit. His feathers were still dry so he  must have luckily just fallen asleep in one of the bidets instead of hitting the flush button. We deplaned and decomposed for the next few hours in the hostage terminal surroundings.

As passengers, we were getting a little agitated. The airline gave us no help or advice and little refreshment. The food shops were closed for the night. Most of us were starving. I wasn’t quite as hungry as the rest since it hadn’t been that long since I had snarfed down my smuggled soggy sandwich and electrolytic fluid.

Finally, the airline generously brought us some much-needed groceries. It must have cost them at least ten bucks, no more than fifteen. What we, the 160 or so passengers got was 60 little bags of goldfish crackers, 40 tiny plastic bottles of water and a few small token helpings of Gardetto’s, a poor man’s trail mix. The pigs in the group got enough nourishment to whet their appetite. The more polite majority got squat.

In the interest of keeping my own public image as polished as possible, I won’t divulge what I obtained and ingested in the hour of need.

Finally morning arrived. More incidents of airline ineptitude occurred but I’ll save the airline criticism for the next time I get bumped. Since our flight was cancelled, we had to go clear back down to baggage claim and retrieve our bags. Then visit the ticket counter to get rebooked as standby’s on already crowded flights for the new day headed to Dallas.

The next step involved going back through the Homeland Security drama…one bad penny after another. In the course of our journey, we met a nice lady probably ten years younger than ourselves. I managed to slip in a pitch concerning my book and she said she’d check it out on Amazon and order one. I thought “Sure, that’s what everyone says just to get me off their back.”

Later, up at the gate, we ran into her again. Her name was Laura. She had lost her phone downstairs and was pretty frantic. She said she had the app Find Lost Phone on it but didn’t have another phone to track it down. I gave her mine and told her good luck.

Three seconds after she disappeared into the crowd, I started wondering if I would ever see my phone again. I should have installed Find Stolen Phone on it before turning it over to a lady who looked nice on the outside but most likely had two or three hundred stolen phones piled on the shelves of her closet at home.

All the forgotten passengers from the stormy flight were congregated in the area, hoping for their name to be called since we were on standby status. The counter lady called out Boss’s name several times. Duck heard his boss’s name and started screaming for him without any reservations whatsoever. He must have yelled his name ten times. Duck’s yell was almost as loud as Boss’s yawn.

All of a sudden, Boss woke up from sleeping in a corner on the floor and looked totally confused. Duck yelled at him again and Boss took off running across the waiting area, carrying a suitcase and dragging his coat by one sleeve with the rest of it cleaning the floor. It was funny stuff!

Boss finally got to the ticket counter but the ticket lady had gone to the next name, ushered the passenger into the passageway, and slammed the door. Boss was not happy with the lady and let her know all about it. Duck walked over to where his boss was venting and began yelling at Boss while pounding on the counter. “You are STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! You are STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!”

I couldn’t believe the sight. It was hilarious. Both guys releasing their pent-up tensions in front of a crowd of bone-tired, way-late spectators. Boss didn’t act like he could hear his underling Duck. He was still cussing out the airplane lady.

During this time, I had been sitting with Michele keeping an eye on her phone that was charging on her hot pink wired charger plugged into the wall 20 feet away from us. Duck’s and Boss’s antics were keeping me amused enough that I stood up and walked over to where I could get a better view of their act. After they finished, I walked back and sat down by Michele.

I looked over to make sure Mitch’s phone was still secure. It wasn’t. All I could see was a teenage black kid bending down and blocking my view of Michele’s hot pink phone cord. I knew immediately that this young punk was absconding with Michele’s phone, using Duck’s and Boss’s comedy act as a diversion.

I sprinted for the culprit, roughly grabbed his arm that was so very obviously unplugging and heisting Michele’s phone. “What do you think you’re doing?!!!!” I demanded. A couple of seconds later, I noticed that there was no hot pink phone cord in his fingers. As he was saying something about just plugging his phone in, Michele called out to me that she had already retrieved her phone.

I belatedly realized this kid had just been innocently plugging his phone in. I muttered an embarrassed apology, released my grip on his arm and slunk back to my seat. I chalked it up my paradigm of the world, created by many years and vast experiences of regularly getting ripped off.

Another hour passed. Laura reappeared with a big smile. My stolen phone without the app Find Stolen Phone had returned. Once in a while it just works out.

My phone had tracked down her phone. She was so happy. I didn’t have to track her down. I was so happy.

She offered to buy us cups of coffee in repayment. I mentioned we were Mormon and politely declined. She then asked what she could do for us so I said she could buy my book which would dramatically boost sales.

She immediately set about finding Recovering Idiot on Amazon. I was later surprised to find she had ordered two. We finally caught a plane to Dallas. It had been a long and sleepless ordeal, not soon to be forgotten.

A couple of weeks later, I received the following message from Laura:

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“Through the 1st chapter and loving it. Can totally hear your voice as I read it.”
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Read the reviews.  Paperback or Hard Cover.

Kindle Book One      Kindle Book Two

 

The old blog…

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And… The new blog!

We flew to Seattle and waited for our Dallas flight around noon. Michele offered to fetch me something to eat. I requested burnt peanuts or as a second choice, Boston baked beans. This was not a difficult or expensive request and yet I had a good idea of what was coming.

“No way!” the No-sweets-on-my-watch Gestapo agent informed me. My idea had been correct. One more time I listened to an impressive 300-second oratory concerning my little weight problem.

I thought my dear wife went a little overboard in front of all our fellow passengers. I noticed none of them would look me in the eye but instead seemed to be worried about their safety as they locked in on my mid-ship section. She was acting like my excess baggage was going to bring the plane down, induce a hammerhead stall or cause loop d’ loops after take-off. Our collective doom would be my fault. I surmised as she left for her hunting and gathering, she would return with a bounty that contained no sweets.

Sure enough, she returned with a big puffy roast beef sandwich and Gatorade with a cup of ice. I started in on the manwich and pulled a couple of jaw muscles getting my teeth wrapped around the outside perimeter. After I had taken just a couple of bites, Michele saw the line moving and told me to follow her and get in line. As usual, I obeyed.

I hurriedly rewrapped the cold bun and shoved it in the bag with the cup of ice and Gatorade. The bag was a little small when I included the cup of ice. (Michele always minimizes unless my weight comes up.) I grabbed my carry-ons and followed my leader who was standing and waiting on the herd in front of her to move forward, inch by inch.

In retrospect, I should have stayed seated, leisurely eaten and finished sipping the drink and then strolled to the cabin. It would have been a much more efficient use of my time. But as usual, when a line forms, girls just have to jump up and get in it. I guess it must be an internal wiring snafu that is constantly pushing them to conform.

We finally got parked in our seats. Since we hadn’t paid for the sit-together option, Michele was seated across the aisle between two flirty guys and I was parked in the middle seat on the other side, between a non-flirty guy (thank goodness) and a nice little Hindu lady in her 30’s. I shoved my carry-on under the seat and placed the bag of lunch on the floor between my legs, figuring I would tear into it after we got airborne.

The girl was a college professor, had a three year-old boy and a husband in Dallas. I couldn’t pronounce any of their names. The closest I could get to her name was something like Helen Reddy and that was just one part of it. I am fairly positive it wasn’t Helen Reddy. It reminded me of when I was a kid and we had a guy from India stay with us. His name was Chivalayah Narasamiah.

Anyway, we had a nice talk. Covered a broad range of topics, including the one where she was a devout Hindu and the fact that their religion respected cows so much that they let the critters walk through their house whenever they wanted. We both began doing other things. I started focusing on trying to bend over in the cramped space and retrieving the overfilled sack of Gatorade, ice and mondo roast beef.

By the time I got it on my lap, I realized the entire bag was sopping wet from the soppy sandwich and condensation from the drink cup. What to do? I figured I would concentrate on carefully balancing, grasping, eating and drinking. My main objective was to keep the hoagie together and get the monster down without choking.

Finishing off the first half manwich, I began the second. On my first bite of the second half, I realized the limber Indian lady had put her head down on her lap, something I haven’t been able to do for a long time. Her head was turned away from me. The thought suddenly dawned on me that it was very possible that she was totally turned off by my lunch. The thick slabs of roast beef on the first halfwich had probably reminded her of ole Bessy back in Bombay.

I felt bad. It had not been done on purpose. She shifted periodically in her seat, probably trying to get as far away from the object of my desire as possible. I know how it feels when someone desecrates my religion. However, I have no idea what it feels like when someone is eating it.

My instantly heightened senses informed me that roast beef also smells. I had never noticed this before. I reached overhead with my Gatorade bottle in hand and turned the fan on high, hoping to dispel the smell. It made it worse. I knew the beef had to go. I jammed the dry roll down my throat and then did a little plunger action with my forefinger to make sure it stayed.

There! The sacred cow was no longer in sight or nostril. I downed the drink and put the cup, wet napkins and plastic bottle in the sack. I tried to lower the assembly to the floor between my legs to hide any semblance of my sacrilegious activities. About the time the bag touched down, the wet sucker gave out and dumped the contents on the floor.

I bent over to try to contain the spill but couldn’t reach the stuff. I stretched as hard as I could but could see that the hand I was using was just a couple of fingertips out of reach. This was one of the times when I really wish I hadn’t cut those things off. I stretched and strained to no avail.

For the next 20 minutes, I tried to corral the remnants between my feet. Finally, my other seatmate got up and headed for the restroom. I unbuckled, lay down on both seats and felt around, trying to retrieve all the wet trash. Unfortunately, the guy directly behind me had taken off his shoes for the flight. I grabbed a couple of toes lodged in a sock before I realized what I had. He said something like “Hey, what are you doing down there?”

I apologized, released my catch and pulled the rest of the sopping wet booty back up and set it on my lap. The stewardess with the garbage bag didn’t pass by any time too soon. The rest of the trip was spent trying to normalize relations with the ambassador from India.
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Read the reviews.  Paperback or Hard Cover.

Kindle Book One      Kindle Book Two