Category: Christmas

A New Christmas Tradition?

According to my son-in-law, it is our family tradition to not let a Christmas season go by without a hospital visit by someone. He is exaggerating, of course, but this year it was me. As a matter of fact, I had a kidney removal the December after he joined our family. He also had to escort my niece to the emergency room on another Christmas.

This year, on Christmas Eve at one o’clock in the afternoon, I drove myself to the local hospital emergency room for treatment. For the second time in my life I had contracted Bell’s palsy, a malady which manifests itself as an attack on the nerves that control the facial muscles. In a few hours I went from being a relatively handsome, distinguished man to looking like the latest iteration of Frankenstein.

With Bell’s palsy, exactly one-half of the muscles in your face go limp. The disease strikes one side of the face or the other, and it looks like half your face is sliding off, giving one’s visage a grim, sneering look. It ain’t pretty.

After an examination by Dr Malcolm, and a CT Scan to make sure I had not had a stroke, I was released into the wild with a couple of prescriptions. It seems that corticosteroids are the primary treatment for the palsy, and that is to relieve the inflammation.

That’s all they gave me for a multi-thousand dollar emergency room visit. So, I endeavored to assist the medical profession by adding to the effort, and stopped by a local liquor store.

That’s when I discovered Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey. Those of you who keep up with the Moonshiners program on the History Channel know of whom I speak. Popcorn Sutton was a (almost) world-famous moonshiner in Tennessee. He swore he would never go to prison, and when the Federal revenuers finally got him, he committed suicide rather than spend most of the rest of his life in jail.

Popcorn’s whiskey was reputed to be some of the best moonshine, ever, and after his death was put into commercial production.

I was anxious to try the 93 proof nector of the cornstalk, and was rewarded with something totally unexpected. The stuff is as clear as water (White Whiskey), very little aroma, and a delicate, lingering taste reminiscent of Johnson’s Floor Wax. I had to read the label, again, to make sure I had the right stuff.

Between my diligence in going to the emergency room, and Popcorn Sutton, I think I am going to beat this Bell’s palsy thing. I just hope that neither emergency rooms or moonshine will become a Christmas tradition.

Merry Christmas

optimus-primeI have had a very good Christmas. Although my body has been hosting a nasty virus for the last two weeks, Christmas has turned out very good.

My family is doing well, and the grandchildren have never had a better one. From Barbee dolls to Star Wars light sabers, they got pretty much everything they wanted. Optimus Prime was expected and delivered.

If you don’t know who/what Optimus Prime is, you don’t have a four-year old boy. OP is s transformer, and is composed of many parts. He/it starts as a double-axel truck cab, and morphs into a gun-toting, bad-guy killing unstoppable machine. Yes, the wonderful world of transformers is something to behold.

Perhaps the most precious moment was when our two-year-old grand-daughter discovered her coveted Princess Panties. With a squeal of delight, she proceeded right then and there to put on her new underwear. These were the long-awaited big-girl pants, and they went into immediate use.

So, what do grand-dads get for Christmas? Well, in this day and age they don’t give us neck ties. We stopped wearing those things when we retired. Now, we get sweaters, socks, and sweatshirts, and pretty much anything warm. Now you get the idea how we are viewed in the gifting world. Since grand-dads hardly ever shave we don’t get cheap after shave lotion, either.

Satisfied with a stack of new shirts, sweaters, and sweat-shirt hoodies, this has been a pretty good Christmas for my kind. The most important thing was watching the family open their gifts, and making new memories to have for those cold winter days to come.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Christmas Eve Gift?

Today is Christmas Eve, and as ordained by all, was a good day to sleep in. We did, and we slept really late having stayed up after midnight watching some movie we can’t even remember this morning. A new Morning After pill for memory would be much appreciated by citizens above a certain age.

After I finally got out of the bed, I decided the first order of things was a shower, as I did not hear Sam, or fifteen year old dachshund, barking. Now, Sam doesn’t bark to go outside. No, siree! Not our Sam. Our four legged critter only barks AFTER he has done his dirty deed and wants me to clean up his mess. After all, he does have his standards.

This morning I figured Sam’s bladder was either not over-full, or he was dead because I had not heard him barking. Much to my shame, I was hoping that when I went downstairs I would find the old guy in terminal slumber on his bed pillow. What a dreadful way to think about the family pet.

Sam has no idea how close he has come to meeting his Maker, on several occasions. Whenever I clean up after him, or have to pay his veterinary bills, I do some mental scheming to figure out how to ease him into the next life, but I am always afraid that the Pet CIS people will penetrate any pet crime and punish the perpetrator, me. I don’t want to spend the next five years in a place where bad things can happen to a person.

Enough of the day-dreaming. Sam was alive this morning, having broken through the pet gate and defiled the den with his less than hygienic habits. This morning, Sam came really close to making the trip to his Sweet By And By.

Being a beneficent person, I gave old Sam a reprieve on his sentence. Today is Christmas Eve, and I have decided to give him another chance.

Well, enough bad and sad stuff. I gotta go and finish my Christmas shopping. One thing I will get is a new pillow for Sam’s bed. The old guy needs it.

Bah, Humbug!

That’s me. I am the original Bah, Humbug guy.

It is the Christmas season, and we are all  supposed to be jolly, but it wasn’t always that way with me, no matter how many nagging females or hopeful little faces were around the house. Now, before you get all upset and confrontational, let me explain a few things.

Until I retired (was fired at an advanced age), I was always under major stress during the happy holiday time of the year. For about thirty years, I was in sales, and the way things work out, the holiday season falls right smack dab into the busiest time of the sales year.

Let me explain.

Panic time in sales is the fourth quarter when you are trying to make up for slack months. The fourth calendar quarter is the time when you score LOTS of business for two reasons. First, many projects and contracts tend to be awarded that time of the year because other companies operate on the same fiscal calendar as yours. Secondly, some buyers find extra money in their budget, and they have have to spend it or lose it.

All this means that there can be TONS of orders to let, and lots of negotiations and pricing to do. If you are a sales manager responsible for tens of millions of dollars of business, just keeping up with your people and making sure nothing falls in the cracks is a full time job. Indeed, you can wind up working through the entire holiday season, except for Christmas Day. It’s true, and it always happened to me.

Add all this business to the idea that your management is constantly pushing for more, and more, and more. Now, you get the idea that the stress is coming from two different directions, from over you and under you in the organizational food chain.

Don’t forget your commitments to ship TONS of stuff before the first of the year  to meet shipments quotas. Or, don’t forget to make sure that the factory does not ship all your orders EARLY just because the factory manager is paid on how much ships from his little kingdom. It can be really embarrassing when a truck loaded with several thousand pounds of steel arrives at your customer’s warehouse, and there is no place for them to store it.

Next, try to explain to the customer why they are being billed early so your accounting department can look good at year’s end.

Oh! I forgot the Christmas parties, and the celebratory lunches for customers, sales people, office staff, and management. Lots of heavy boozing and late night pandering with people that can get you fired can put you into the hospital.

Every Christmas Day for years and years, I was sick with stomach problems. All the work, social activity, boozing, partying, and all those things under the heading of just doing my job damned near put me in the hospital.

Yeah, sure. Merry Christmas, everybody. Pass the Pepto, please.

Silver bells, silver bells, it’s Christmas time in the city. Ring-A-Ding-Ding.