Super Bowl Commercials

Sorry folks. It's a short one this week because it's Super Bowl Sunday and I have my eyes glued on the tv waiting for another wardrobe malfunction.

The best part of the Super Bowl is the commercials, don't you think? Matter of fact, we talk during the game and when the commercials come on, everyone needs to be quiet. Backwards, I know. But if sponsors are paying $10 million per minute, I think we should pay attention. Speaking of which...

...We interrupt this blog to bring you a word from our sponsor...

Swiffer, "the mop that gives cleaning a whole new meaning"...

Note: No animals were hurt in the making of this commercial.

My Kaneclusion: Go Saints! Not because I'm a fan or that I've been following the Saints at all. But because I think that area of our Nation needs a pick-me-up, and what better way than to bring some pride and joy to the area than a Super Bowl win?

Is He or Isn’t She?

That is the Question. Of course, like all my blogs, I can never just say yes or no. It’s a story. Why? Because I like telling stories. So here's the story...

Swiffur is due for his/her shots. How do I know this? Good question. Since Santa didn’t leave any instructions or paperwork, it is more of an educated guess. Certainly Santa would have given him the first round of shots, right? Right. (Just go with it.)

So I call the nearest veterinary hospital to make an appointment. They in turn tell me they are not taking any more patients. Now what do I do? I happen to mention to the woman that answered the phone that I’m just looking for shots. She tells me that Petco offers that service. I call Petco, they tell me that they don’t offer the shot service but an outside vendor comes there and offers the shots. For the love of God, I don’t care who does it, just tell me when. Humans suck. I finally get the schedule by looking it up online. (

Now for some reason, Rachel has been looking forward to this for weeks since she got Swiffur for Christmas. I don’t know why. My take on this is that she wants to be a good pet owner and wants to be responsible. Taking the cat to the vet (or Petco, in this case) is her first experience of taking care of some other living creature, and she wants to be like me when I take her to the doctor. Her take is probably so she can find out what his/her sex is, if he is a he or if she is a she. A looming question for the last month since Santa dropped him off and didn’t make mention of that information anywhere. Now we can find out for sure. But either way, she’s all excited. Because of this, I let her do most of the work. I let her get Swiffur into the cat carrier and off we go to Petco. This is Swiffur's first ride in the car and Rachel takes extra care to make sure he is comfortable. (Sleighs don't count.)

Upon entering Petco, I take note of all the german shepherds, bull dogs, and other large dogs wandering around the store. I notice how they are staring at the cat carrier and licking their chops. The only thing separating them from eating us all is a thin leather strap being held by a human hand. I start to think that it would be an ugly scene if one of these dogs decides to go after Swiffur. So I let Rachel carry him. What? It’s her cat, right? Besides, I think Swiffur can hold his/her own with those sharp claws he/she has.

We go to the back of the store to find all the pet owners standing in line waiting with their animals, all on leashes, standing along side their owners not knowing what to expect. We take our place in line behind a little terrier. I point out to Rachel all the land mines, little puddles of yellow everywhere that she needs to avoid stepping in or setting the cat carrier down in. Yuck. But I can’t say I blame these animals. If I look at it from the little terrier’s perspective, there are so many things to be excited about. Pet toys hanging on shelves, 50 lb bags of food to consume, a whole aisle of rawhide, and a kitten contained in a bag-like thing. The little terrier had to be excited over the one thing he could presumably take. Let’s face it. Petco is like doggy heaven! I feel the same way when I walk into BJ's Wholesale. If all that excitement wasn't enough to make the dogs piddle, then there’s the fear factor – the likes of a giant, solid muscle, bull dog, salivating all over the floor, that could eat the smaller animals for a snack. Thank God the bulldog was eyeing the terrier and couldn’t see Swiffur. This made ME piddle a little. (No, not really.)

There was another dog in a carriage because he just couldn’t handle all the excitement so he had to be contained. It was like a parent in a grocery store putting his child in the carriage so they don’t run all over the store touching stuff. We were the last in line until IT walked in. THE mangiest dog I have ever seen in my life. His fur was matted, he had dandruff, you could tell that he was probably covered in fleas, and to boot, he had only three legs. Poor thing. He was the beast of burden for sure. But my compassion only went so far. Being in the middle of this situation, I was overcome with the fear that at any moment chaos could erupt. One wrong move by Rachel who was carrying Swiffur, the chew toy, and I could see me kicking the three-legged dog off of Rachel. (I cared less about Swiffur. Every man/animal for themselves at that point!)

What was shocking to me about this experience was the oblivious nature of the owners while their dogs would pee, as if we were in a park and this was normal. I realize that some pet owners treat their pets like they are their children. But I have to tell you. If Rachel dropped her pants and peed on the floor, I would at least wipe it up. I've even taught Rachel that if she is going to pee in public, it is her responsibility to wipe up the mess after herself. I don't care how she does it. She can use Swiffur to sop up the mess if she wants. But she can't just leave it there for other people to step in. (What? Swiffurs are good for cleaning up wet messes too.) As we moved up the line, we avoided the puddles of yellow acid that would burn through leather soles if touched. That’s what I told Rachel, just to make doubly sure she wouldn’t step in it. (No, I didn’t.)

Anyway, I filled out the paperwork that was handed to me by a vet tech. I asked my questions in secret code, as to not give anything away, so Rachel didn’t know that I knew more about Swiffur than she did. The 20 year old vet tech just thought I was a weird lady that couldn’t communicate. “If the kitten had a shot before this, I’m not saying he did, but if he did, would it hurt him, cause I’m not sure he did have the 1st shot or not. [under my breath…he DID have his first shot…] Those vet techs don’t make enough money, I’ll tell ya’.

With each encounter with a human being, they would ask what the kitten’s name was. Each time we said Swiffur, the person would laugh. His name does conjure up an image, doesn’t it? It’s a complete compliment to be considered original when a vet finds it amusing. They hear so many names during the course of their day that you would think that they would have heard that before. But they hadn’t. It made us feel good when they laughed at the concept and name we had chosen.

Ok, onto the real part of the story. The vet tech takes Swiffur out of the cat carrier, ooh’ing and ah’ing over how cute he/she is. The first and most impending question: what is Swiffur? The vet tech manhandles him/her to try to look. Swiffur will not have any of it. The vet tech tries to feel around to see if she can tell. Swiffur takes great offense to this violation of his/her private area and lets the vet tech know with a letter “s” contortion of his/her body and a jackhammer kick of his/her back paws. The vet tech, bless her heart, is persistent in the search to determine the sex of this kitten that is slashing her. Another vet tech comes to assist. “You hold his front paws while I look”, she says to the assistant. Swiffur goes absolutely berserk. Rapid fire slashing of his front and back paws in an effort to break away from these perverted humans trying to feel his/her genitalia. He/she asserts that he/she is not into bestiality and wants this all to stop. Rachel and I stand by and watch, both of us thinking, is it really that necessary to know? Is this all worth it?

Anyway, FINALLY, the result is in. The moment of truth. Drum roll please: The vet tech says she can’t tell. WHAT? After you’ve scarred my kitten for life, not to mention I’m not sure he/she is okay to walk after the desperate measures he/she used to get away from you, you can’t tell me what Swiffur is? She said she was 90% sure he is a he. 90 percent. His testicles had not descended yet but she thought she could feel a penis. Are you telling me it takes 12 years of college to become a vet and all they do is feel for a penis? I could have done that! She said she might know better when we bring Swiffur back for his next round of shots. I made a decision right then and there. Since she used the word “his”, and 90% is close to 100%, Swiffur is a male. I don’t care that in 10 months from now he may give birth to a litter of kittens. I will call The Enquirer and be famous for having a male cat giving birth. I don’t care. He is a he and that’s final. (Although that 10% does have me a little concerned.)

Swiffur in drag

As if that wasn’t traumatic enough for all of us, next was the shot. He hadn’t calmed down at all. Both vet techs had him in a grip, while one poked the shot quickly into what looked to me like his belly. He let out a sound that made everyone in the store stop and look. It wasn’t a meow or a cry. It was more like the noise a train makes when slamming on the brake to come to a sudden stop. A guttural W..T..Ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff? I have never heard a more anguished, torturous, painstaking scream in all my life. When it was over, they threw him back into the cat carrier and we zipped it up quickly to contain the wild beast. I peaked through the mesh window to make sure he was alright. He looked up at me as if to say, “I thought we were bonding? Wtf?” (What can I say. The cat has a mouth on it. I’ll address it some other day but that was not the time to bring it up to Swiffur.) He let everyone in the store know that he had a temper tantrum over his distemper shot. Hopefully that shot will take care of that nasty temper problem. What? That isn’t what a distemper shot does? I want my money back.

The lab tech’s hands and arm were bleeding. You would think that they would wear protective armor in that job. But they don’t, or at least they didn’t for the “sweet little kitten”.

Directly after, we decided to go to the grooming center to have his claws cut. In hindsight, maybe we should have done that first. We will the next time. Anyway, I told the girl in the grooming center about the experience the vet tech had and that he LOOKS all mild–mannered, but when removed from the cat carrier he becomes Captain Crazycat. She insisted she could handle it and removed him from the cat carrier. She put a mask over his face so he couldn’t see and began to clip away. He was frantic at this point. He couldn’t see; his weapons of defense were swiping everywhere; little shards of claw are flying everywhere; and we were standing there wondering if he was ever going to be the same again. He was still swiping as she put him back in the carrier. But the impact was no longer there, like being swatted by a feather duster.

We left Petco. I’m not sure who was more scarred from the event: Swiffur or Rachel. That'll teach her a lesson or two about being responsible for another living creature!

For three days after, poor Swiffur was lethargic. He couldn’t walk. He had to be carried to his food and water. When picking him up, he was limp. Before this, I couldn’t comb him without him biting and scratching me. But after this, he didn’t have the energy or the claws to do anything about it. I almost wanted to say, “Haaa Haaa, your paws don’t hurt anymore”. But I didn’t. He had already gone through enough. He didn’t need me rubbing it in. He couldn’t jump on the furniture he was climbing on and swinging on before. He couldn’t do his trapeze artist tricks of jumping on the chair to the bed as he had done so many times prior to this. Instead, now he tries, but because he doesn’t have claws, he just slides off the side of the bed, like a fried egg off of Teflon, and goes splat on the floor. Funny, but pathetic.

My Kaneclusion: I’m going with the odds that Swiffur is a boy.

I’ve looked and I can’t tell. Can you?

(Ha! Caught you looking at kitty porn!)
Swiffur says, “And now that you’ve looked at me that way,
I feel dirty. I need a shower…”

“These people are crazy! Somebody please help me!”

In our defense, we were sure that the mangy, 3-legged, beast of burden behind us in the Petco line gave Swiffur fleas. So once he was over the trauma of the shot and claw-clipping, we gave him a flea bath. No worries. After he dried off, he was back to his normal “I think I’ll run over here very wait, I think I’ll run over here very quickly instead…no wait, it was better over there…” self. He’s fine.

In 3 weeks, he gets more shots and we get to do it all over again.

Shit Ain't Right

My younger brother always used a saying for when things were unjust. He would shake his head and say, “Shit ain’t right”. Then he would shake his head some more in disgust for how unfair life is sometimes. When we were kids, this was even funnier because we weren’t allowed to swear in my house. So any time he felt that he had drawn the short stick or the scales were tipped not in his favor, he would say, “shit ain’t right” and believe me, if he thought “shit wasn’t right” then, it got worse after he said the word “shit”. Then truly “shit wasn’t right”.

I titled this article this way because something happened this week that had me quoting my brother, which if you knew my brother, you would know that the probability of me doing so would be close to zero. Never before had I thought that he had found the perfect words to describe a situation. And although it’s not profound, it is extremely fitting.

For example, why did an earthquake have to hit Haiti? The Haitians haven’t hurt anybody. Why didn’t it hit the Taliban training grounds? Somewhere where the Earth could open up and swallow the people who serve no good purpose in this world? Shit ain’t right, right?

I had typed up my opinions on the Haiti situation and was going to post that this week. I also had a funny little story that I was working on that was a potential but I wasn’t sold on the idea yet. Then, out of the blue, this story came to me, and before I knew it, I had typed 6 pages. Sorry to those who will only read this if it's short. Next week I'll just post a picture for you folks. Promise. But this week, it’s a long one, and there’s a reason that I needed to do this.

There is a little overlap of some of the stories I have told previously. One being my contractor story and the other being the story I wrote about angels. If you are familiar or unfamiliar with these stories, it doesn’t matter. No need to go back and read them. (But they are available to read by clicking on the archive links on this page if you so desire.) This article is more of an update to the saga, if you will. I think it’s a good one and that’s why I’m taking the time to write about it. Every once in a while I need to show my serious side and since I haven’t done that in months, it’s time again.

Let me start with the contractor story. It all started 3 years ago when I noticed some mold growing on the outside of my house. Upon further inspection, I noticed that it was time to get the house painted. I called painting contractors to get prices and references. But the memory of my father hiring a guy to paint my childhood home and him not completing the job, leaving my house painted almost to the top made me skeptical of every painting contractor that came to give me a quote. Vividly, I remember the embarrassment of friends coming to visit me and seeing my three-quarters-of-the-way painted house. It got to the point where I stopped inviting friends over. So, the more contractors that came to give me quotes, the less I was sure I wanted to go through with getting my house painted. I grew so tired of the process that I soon realized that I did not want to go through this process every 5 years when it needed another paint job. So I started looking at vinyl siding. At least with these contractors, I knew I was only going to go through this once and then I would be done with it. Vinyl is final, as they say. So I had many vinyl siding companies coming to my house to give me quotes. One of them, I can’t remember which one now, they all start to look and smell alike, told me that while I was doing the siding, I could save money in heating costs if I replaced my windows at the same time. My windows were old and it did seem like a good idea to get it all done at the same time. So from there on out, all the quotes had to include windows too, to make the comparisons apples-to-apples. Otherwise, how would I know if I was getting a good deal, right?

Ok, so I get a few quotes with everything I wanted. The last contractor that paid me a visit was a short little Italian guy from Rhode Island. He was well groomed, dripping in Italian gold, and dressed nicely. Obviously, he didn’t do the work himself. He was too clean for that. He told me he was the owner. He was likable. He was Italian so we bonded over talk of wine and limoncello. His name was Dominic. Dominic and I reviewed everything he needed to give me a quote. While in my kitchen, he did the math on his calculator, took measurements, yadda, yadda, yadda, and gave me a price. His price was the lowest out of all the estimates I had received. Now, I admit, I wanted to have all this work done but I didn’t want to pay the outrageous prices I was getting. Dominic’s price was more appealing and more in the ball park that I was looking for. I told him I would have to check his references and I would get back to him. He gave me his spiel about the summer booking up fast and if I didn’t commit to a time that day, it would have to wait until the fall. I was anxious to get it done because I was having a pool party at my house and wanted it to look nice before that. (Probably has something to do with the childhood scars of the half-painted house. Add it to the list to talk about in therapy.) But I didn’t want to commit to anything without checking references first. He asked me if I had a computer. He told me to look him up on the Westerly Board of Education site, that he was a Board member. This was to inspire trust. He said that he wouldn’t do anything to ruin his reputation and that he was an outstanding person in the community. While he stood in my kitchen, I looked it up and sure enough, there was his name and face on every site relating to Westerly’s School Board. What can I say, from that point, I trusted him. We created a contract which included an addendum that allowed for a penalty if he didn’t finish the job in time for my party. (Seriously, I need help.) I wrote him a check and off he went, touting on his way out the door, “Believe me, when we’re done with this house, it’s going to be beautiful.”

What transpired after that initial meeting is nothing short of a multitude of criminal acts. I’m not going to list everything that went wrong because this blog is just not long enough for all the details. But to wrap it up in one sweet, little, tidy paragraph: he took my money, hired his cousin and unskilled workers who had never done windows or siding before to do the work; they didn’t know what they were doing, nor did they have the tools to do the job; he never came back to my house to see what was happening; the size of the windows he ordered were the wrong size, there was a 1”-2” gap in all of them; they didn’t know how to wrap the windows in aluminum or match up the siding evenly; they broke all kinds of things around my house. They basically trashed my house. To add insult to injury, they didn’t meet the deadline and therefore my house was in ruins for the party. For those that attended the party, they can attest to the condition of the house and my stress level in regards to dealing with this contractor. Nothing he promised came true. Nothing. And the more I tried to get him to talk to me about the situation, the more he claimed that I was a pain in the butt. Finally I came home one day to find the workers packing up all their stuff and the supplies that I had paid for into a Uhaul truck. I called the police and it was nothing short of a scene. The police advised me to let them take all the stuff and just sue the contractor in court, which was apparently what needed to happen since my house was totally trashed. Off they went and a slew of legal battles ensued.

Let me say at this juncture - Shit ain’t right.

This whole event aged me. I couldn’t fathom how he could be so unscrupulous. He took my money without having the means to do the job. Bottom line, he committed fraud. But proving he committed fraud and getting my house back in order were two different things. Hiring lawyers, suing people, having to go to court, were all not what I had intended. I just wanted my house to look nice and be warmer. That’s all. I eventually won in CT court. But since he lived and operated out of RI, I had to then go through the RI court system. Then he filed bankruptcy. This, I was told, was going to cost me another $10-15k to fight in RI court. This was just to get him to pay me back what he owed me.

This all took place over a six month time frame. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my house had sheets of insulation all over it; I had gaps in my windows; my outside outlets no longer worked; I no longer had gutters on the house; due to having no gutters, I had mud slide problems (and not the drinking kind either!); the list goes on and on. My neighbors were getting ready to complain because it looked like my house was condemned. I’m sure they had to be worried about their property values. Not only was I angry over this entire thing, but I was also embarrassed that I had had this error in judgment. How could I have been so bamboozled? And I had lost so much money over it, with no end in sight of recovering any of it.

I’ll spare you all the details. I won’t tell you all about having NBC30 news crews at my house and getting quoted by the Providence Journal, The New London Day and the Westerly Sun newspapers. I’ll leave out the part about holding a protest outside the Westerly School Board meetings to get him kicked off the Board, which eventually he was. I won’t mention the part about him getting arrested for punching his wife in the face. That his wife filed for divorce and had a restraining order against him for him not to come close to her or their children. And I won’t mention the scroll-length list of other people that he had screwed who came forward once I did. And I’ll leave out the part about me winning the judgment against him, only to have him file for bankruptcy. But ultimately his bankruptcy was reversed due to the fact he lied on his application, hiding the fact that he had assets like Rolex watches, etc, that he didn’t list.

This guy was the scum you find in a clogged drain pipe. And if this was the point of my story this week, I could go on and on. But it isn’t. But you get the picture, right?

That shit ain’t right.

Back to me. Somehow I had to find the energy to start over again. This is my house and I am the sole owner. It was my responsibility to get this fixed and nobody else’s. The burden was solely on me to take care of this problem. What should have been a fulfilling and rewarding experience of making my house pretty was then turned into having to face trauma again for me. I knew I had to hire another contractor to do the job. But who? I couldn’t call the contractors that came in the first place for two reasons: 1) they would charge me double the price they originally quoted me and 2) pride. I didn’t want to hear them say, “You should have hired me in the first place.” So the mission started from scratch with trying to find a respectable contractor who would not only side and replace the windows in my house (again!), but fix my house from the destruction that was caused by inexperienced men. Potential contractors would pull their trucks into the driveway, take one look at my house and ask what happened. After going through the story, they would get in their truck and speed away, refusing to even give me a quote. They would take one look at my house and hear the word “lawsuit” and run as fast as they could away from me. Nobody wanted to go to court to testify about the damages. But they would have to in order for me to prove what the previous contractor did. Well, I shouldn’t say nobody was willing. One contractor from Waterford, (I won’t say his name, but it rhymes with Wost), said he would absolutely go to court to testify on my behalf about the damages. When I received his quote to do the job, it was for some ungodly amount like $100,000! This, by the way, is probably more than my entire house is worth today. So I was somewhere caught between contractors saying “Hell No!” to contractors with dollar signs in their eyes saying, “Hell Yeah!”

We had a mild autumn that year, thank God. But as the winter months approached, I grew more desperate. Literally, every window in my house had a gap in which you could see outside. These weren’t gaps that could be filled with some caulk. Oh no, these weren’t gaps at all. What’s a word for bigger gaps? I don’t know. 1”-2” openings around the windows. I needed to get it taken care of before winter or we would all freeze.

Late November, in steps contractor #367 to give me a quote and to laugh at me for being taken advantage of. Or at least that’s what it felt like. He introduced himself as Rich. He was a well dressed man, in his mid 50’s I would guess, every hair in place, and his clothes were clean. Oh no, not another salesman, I thought. Not another Dominic. I had already been taken advantage of by a slick salesman once already. It wasn’t going to happen again. My guard was up and I was ready for the bs. Rich and I took a walk around my property. I told him my tales of woe. Five months had passed since the house assault took place. By this time, I had told the story so many times that it flowed out of me like a rehearsed script. I wasn’t even thinking about what I was saying as I told him what happened. I was more accurately timing him to see how long it would take him to get into his truck and drive away, never to be seen again. But Rich kept shaking his head, saying, “This is awful. You need to go after this guy’s license” followed by more shaking of his head. He didn’t say it, but I could tell he wanted to say, “shit ain’t right”. By the end of my story, Rich said he would be more than willing to go to court and testify because Rich, you see, took offense to other contractors who did this. He said it gave good contractors such as himself a bad name. Even though he talked a smooth game, at no point did I hold up any hope for Rich. Matter of fact, I got so jaded in the process that I actually ran him through the mill a few times. Instead of asking for 3 references like I did with Dominic, I asked him for 52 references AND I insisted on having his mother’s address. Just in case. Rich one-upped me every time. He took me down my very own street and showed me houses that he performed work on. In addition, he gave me several other references and insisted that I go and speak to the owners, which I did. Everyone had good things to say about the guy.

Great, I thought. Here comes the $150,000 quote. But you know what? Rich, being the fair and decent man that he was didn’t do that. Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t do it for nothing. But he didn’t rape me in the price he quoted me either. Equally as unsure of what to do as I was the first time, I HAD to take a leap of faith on someone. If it wasn’t going to be Rich, it was going to have to be the next guy. My house couldn’t stay like that. The insulation on the house came from ABC lumber supply. When driving past my house all you could see were big blue ABC’s on it. My daughter called our house the “ABC house” because she had seen it that way for so long that she thought it was supposed to look like that. She loved it. An ABC house. What fun! I hated it. I hated pulling into my driveway and seeing it, reminding me of all the turmoil that I had gone through.

Anyway, I had to take the plunge and trust someone again. Before signing the contract, I warned Rich that I was going to be unlike any other customer he had because of what I just went through. I was going to be home every day to make sure things were going to be done right. If he or his crew had a problem with that, then I was not going to sign the contract. Rich said he understood and that I would like his crew of workers. He said that he guaranteed that when he was done with my house I would be happy. I told him that I had been told that before and look what happened to me. He let me know that he too was taking a chance on me because by the looks of the house, he really didn’t know for certain what happened. Was I some unreasonable nut job who made the contractors leave? He didn’t know for sure. Ultimately, we signed the contract. His crew came in December, worked in the snow and ice, and made my house beautiful again. The new windows fit; the new gutters worked; the siding all matched and was even; I couldn’t have been more pleased. There were two things that I discussed with Rich prior to the job starting that I wanted done which his guys failed to do. I complained to Rich about it and he said, “let me come take a look at it”. He did and immediately told his crew to fix it. No problems, no eye-rolling, no making me feel like I was asking for the impossible. He just took care of it like a professional is supposed to. Even a year later, my chimney leaked a little where they were supposed to put flashing. I called Rich. He sent a guy over to fix it and no more leaks. No charge. He just took care of it. THAT is a great contractor.

After the project was done, I gave Rich the balance of what I owed him. The job was done just in time for the winter. My house looked exactly how I had imagined it would look earlier that year, before all the horror started. I thanked him and told him that he was an angel. He saved me. And he didn’t take advantage of me when he could have. I specifically thanked him for putting up with my crap, because I was not easy to deal with after what had happened. I thanked him for his understanding and for being a good guy. I gave him a bottle of my homemade wine to show my gratitude and appreciation. This was symbolic for me because I had joked with Dominic, the first contractor, that once he finished my house we would have a party and drink my wine. That crook certainly didn’t deserve it. So when I handed the bottle to Rich, it meant more than just a bottle of wine. And do you know the big lug gave me a hug and we both got misty-eyed over that? I can remember him saying, “Thank you. Let me get out of here before I start to cry and make a fool of myself.” He was an angel when I needed one the most. A bottle of wine certainly wasn’t enough but he was touched by it, which made me feel good.

Ok, flash forward to this week and the reason why I had to write about this. A friend from work that I haven’t seen in months called me on the phone this week to tell me that he was shopping at the mall and ran into Dominic, the crook. He said he looked horrible. His hair was a mess like he had just gotten out of bed. He was wearing dirty clothes. No dripping in gold anymore but rather looked like a homeless person.

The blankety-blank is getting what he deserved. Shit is right!

On the flip side, (which is usually how my life works), as I was going through my mail, which mostly consists of junk mail these days, I received a letter from a window contractor. At first glance, I was just going to toss it in the garbage. Thank God, I thought, thanks to Rich Deabay of Tri-State Windows, I don’t need any window contractors for years to come! But then, instead of tossing the letter out, something made me open it up. Believe me, that in itself is strange because normally I would have just thrown it away with all the rest of the junk mail that comes. I opened it up. It was a letter with a business card enclosed. The letter read:

Dear Valued Customer:
As you may know, due to the death of Richard Deabay, Tri-State Window Distributors has closed its doors…

I was floored. I have no idea when he died, how he died, or anything. All I had was this letter assuring me that my warranty on my windows would be covered by this new contractor who obviously bought Tri-State Windows client list.

After the initial shock wore off, I had to ask myself, why did all this happen this week?

It has been over 2 1/2 years since my contractor woes and I have not heard from either of them or seen either of them in all that time. Why this week did I get news about BOTH these men? Both came into my life for such brief periods of time, and both had such converse affects on me. What the hell does it all mean?

My Kaneclusion: I have never felt more certain in all my life that things happen for a reason and that we are all inter-connected somehow due to those reasons. Barring the minor differences between them, like the difference between good and bad, right and wrong, righteous and evil, all this is bubbling inside me like a lava lamp with nowhere to go. I want to know why both these men surfaced this week and why there were so many things that fell into place for me to hear about them. Am I the only one that thinks this is odd?

Some nay-sayers might think this is just a coincidence. I don’t. But I have no explanation of why this happened this week. But don’t you think that someday I will know why this had to happen to all the parties involved?

Maybe it’s true that only the good die young. If anyone deserved to die it would have been the first contractor for all the people he hurt and all the people he took advantage of. But instead, he is free to roam the streets, being the vermin of the earth. While someone like Rich, a good, honest businessman with a big heart, dies so young. It just doesn’t seem fair.


In a word, this week: bizarre. And maybe it doesn’t mean anything but fodder for this blog. But suffice it to say, I’m angry that one man isn’t behind bars like he should be, but I guess I need to be content in knowing that his life is no longer what it used to be. He is paying the price for his misdeeds here on earth. I’m angry that the other man was an angel on earth when I needed one the most and he is gone now, but I’m content in knowing that he is in a much better place for the good deeds he did while on this earth.

To you, Rich, I hope you are in a beautiful place, drinking better wine than my homemade swill. Cheers to you! R.I.P.

...Shit ain’t right.

Does Size Matter?

I've been told that some of my blogs are too long and they take too much time to read. That people have busy schedules and they don't have time for my nonsense. Not that I'm comparing myself to these people, but did anyone tell the Apostles they were going on too long? "Hey Paul, can you just get to the part where He walks on water and turns one fish into thousands?" Has anyone called Wally Lamb to say, "Could you speed it up? I don't have all day. Can you just tell us that she's come undone and just be done with it?" I think not.

Let me remind you that this reading entertainment is FREE. You didn't have to buy it in a store; didn't have to subscribe to anything; didn't have to join a book club; and best of all, some of you know the cast of characters, whether directly or indirectly. So, stop yer bitchin!

But to appease you lazy readers out there who claim to have no time to read all of my blog. (Oh, and keep in mind I can see what you are doing on Facebook. You have time. Plenty of time as far as I can tell. I know, those farms need tending.) This week's blog will be short and sweet. Happy now? Matter of fact, you barely have to read at all. You just need to look at the pictures and read the captions. Can I make it any easier for you people? (You exhaust me.)

Here it is...
(Did these last 3 words put you over the edge? Did I exceed the word count? Just scroll.)

Photo 1: Rachel reading a book, pretending to be all studious. She had me convinced for a while. But upon further investigation...

Photo 2: ...her buddy Swiffur was joining her under the table, sharing a seat.

Photo 3: This was obviously a book club that I wasn't invited to...

Photo 4: Rachel's reading choice.

Photo 5: Swiffur's reading choice.

My Kaneclusion: See. Children, and even cats, like to read. Why are you complaining about how long my blog is????

In all seriousness, years ago I wrote a book and in telling someone about it, I told him that it wasn't long enough, that I felt that I had to have more pages. This person asked me why, why did I feel like it had to have a certain number of pages. He gave "Bridges of Madison County" as an example. Since then, I don't pay attention to length as long as my point gets across. Sometimes it's short and sweet; sometimes the creative juices flow and I can't stop. But if it is a deterrent to reading it, I want to know. So, please take a second to answer the poll on the top right section of this blog to help me determine whether my blog is too long or too short. I have no way of knowing who clicks on what so feel free to be honest. If clicking a button on a poll doesn't quite express your thoughts enough, feel free to comment on this blog, or email me at Thank you in advance for your participation.

Decade in Review

Here is my Decade in Review 2000-2009 Blog. I've tried to balance the good and the bad that happened in the last 10 years. Certainly this is not everything, but here are some of the highlights and low points that I experienced. They are in no particular order.

You may not agree with my point of view on some of the things I list. And as the above states, that's okay. The one thing that hasn't changed in this decade is we all have a right to our opinion. And these are just mine.

In the style of "liking something by showing a thumbs up on Facebook", I've listed the "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" moments, as I see them...


Gave birth to my wonderful daughter. Bar none, this was the best thing that happened this decade! (Mia was in the last decade but I want to give a shout out to her as well.) Best thing I ever did in my entire life was to become a parent.

My father and his wife passed away. Not at the same time. But the funerals are memorable, maybe more so than their lives. Fodder for another blog.



Put Rachel on a plane for the first time to go to Las Vegas. (She had never flown before this year due to her hearing condition. So any trip we took we drove.) Thanks to Dianne who let us tag along on a conference she had to attend, Rachel and I got on a plane and flew to Las Vegas. When all was said and done, we celebrated that nothing bad happened – no significant progressive hearing loss; no terrorist attempts; no baggage lost; and no plane crash!

During the trip to Vegas, I had to explain all the naked women billboards and promotional cards with naked women on them being handed out by men on the street. Rachel, age 8: “Mommy, this is a VERY inappropriate place.” (Before judging me, I was told that they had cleaned up Las Vegas! I didn't know! Did I mention it was free?) For the remainder of our stay, we hung around at Bali's pool for the week, where women in scantily clad bikinis were much more appropriate, in Rachel's eyes.



Rachel learned to talk.

Rachel learned to talk.



My 75-ish year old mother hooked up with her boyfriend. I'm happy she found companionship after divorcing my father years ago. Big thumbs up for Senior dating!

I finally met my mother’s boyfriend. He's...well, how do I say this...he's...MY AGE! My mother is a Cougar. Ewww! This decade made it okay for women to date younger men, like men have been doing for centuries! Rock on, Demi Moore! But not when it's your mother!

The above is from "Young Frankenstein on Broadway", one of the many plays we went to see, including "Disney's Tarzan", "Spamalot", "Blue Man Group", "Beauty and the Beast", and "Wicked". There are more, I just can't remember them.



Mia took up acting and performed in quite a few plays. I think it's her calling.

She's honing in on her skills by acting like she doesn’t know me. (That’s okay. All part of adolescence.)



I, myself, made headlines during 2000-2009. I was on NBC30 News, not once, but twice, covering two separate stories. My fifteen minutes of fame. Well, 30 minutes if you count each one separately.

In order to get on TV, 1) I had to become part of an accident in which I had to be sitting at a stop and allow a car to slam into the side of me, knowing my 3 year old was sitting directly behind me, then had to be extricated from the roof of the car, taken by ambulance to the hospital, then endured years of doctor apppointments, treatments, and so on and so forth, and will spend the rest of my life in pain, and 2) Had to hire a fraudulent contractor who took me for $50k and destroyed my house. Is fame worth it, you ask? Hell Yeah! (sarcasm) Got to deal with deceitful lawyers, including CT's very own Attorney General Soon-To-Be-Governor DICK Blumenthal, who got on TV and stated he would go after the contractor because he came from another state (RI) but never did a thing. Yeah, he has CT resident's best interests in mind when/if he goes to Washington? He didn't have THIS resident's best interest in mind! (DICK won't get my vote! C'mon Democrats, surely there are better choices in CT!?)



Speaking of politics, it was quite a decade for women. We were in the forefront of politics – Hillary Clinton almost won the Democratic candidacy. Sarah Palin almost became Vice President of the United States. Hillary became the Secretary of State. The first Hispanic woman judge, Sonia Sotomayer, became a U.S. Supreme Court Judge.

Sarah Palin almost became the Vice president! Holy Crap, Batwoman! And even scarier, could have become the President of the United States had all the stars aligned! Egads! Although, if that had happened, she probably would have resigned anyway and just wrote a book called, "Going Rogue in Washington".



One can not talk about politics in this decade without mentioning the most important factor in our country's history: The first Black President of the United States was elected, exhibiting how far we have come with Civil Rights.

Have we really come far in the Civil Rights movement? Gay marriage is only legal in four out of the fifty states, thus proving just how far we still have to go.



The attacks on 911 – okay, there really is no positive spin on this. The only thing that I can say is that I did not personally know any of the victims. But will always remember where I was when the unthinkable happened.

As if the event wasn’t horrible enough, the memory I have was watching TV with a despicable person I worked with while the events unfolded. She was an insignificant human being in my life prior to this event and should be long forgotten and put out of my mind. But because the events took place while I was at work, this woman has become an indelible image in my head and is forever a part of the 911 memory for me. I realize that things could be worse regarding that episode in our history and how much worse my experience could have been, like losing a loved one. But if you knew this person, you would understand that she doesn’t deserve to be in my thoughts…ever. But if this is the worse that I suffered from that horrendous event, then I am grateful and acknowledge that am truly fortunate, unlike so many others who suffered from the needless loss of that day.



An airplane flew into the Hudson River to save lives. A hero was born.

Airplanes were flown into the Twin Towers, The Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania with the intent to kill lives. So many heroes died.



I maxed out my contributions in my 401k and in 2001 I could have retired at an early age had I chosen to do so at the time.

The Stock market crashed and my 401k is worth a quarter of what it was. I now have to work until I’m a bazillion years old. Or at least that's how it feels.



Social Security Administration started being accountable and sending statements of what I will receive upon retirement.

Social Security Administration started sending me what I will receive when I retire, and based on that, I will have to bag groceries at Stop and Shop to supplement my income until I die. I’ve submitted my application in advance to plan ahead.



My property value went up. The Town did an assessment and I am living in a palace, according to them. Woohoo! My house is worth $3 trillion! Anyone want to buy it?

While my property value went up in the first part of the decade, (wished I had sold it then, but then I'd probably be in a mortgage that I couldn't afford now), the Town assessed the value of my property and raised my taxes as if I live in a mansion. Then when my property value went back to normal (due to the mortgage/bank scandals), guess what? The Town did NOT re-assess the value again. So what they list the value of my house for tax purposes and what I could get for my house right now does not equate. So, like you, I'm still paying taxes on the over-inflated assessment rate that the early part of the decade brought on. Yet they can't seem to plow my road!



I lost weight.

I gained weight. Not atypical of any other decade but worth noting.



Started making my own wine as a hobby.

Had to join AA from drinking all the wine I made. (Just kidding. I gave some away as gifts.)



Was turned on to camping, RV style. Have taken lots of adventures in the Minnie Winnie including trips to Mount Rushmore, Florida, Mall of America, Maine, Lake George, Lake Superior, Cape Cod, Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, just to name a few.

The RV - an added expense; another house to clean; another set of variables that could go wrong on the road. The Money Pit Deux!



Was introduced to the new technology of “smart” devices like Blackberries where I can stay in instant contact with everyone.

Was introduced to the new technology of “smart” devices like Blackberries where I can stay in instant contact with everyone.



TECHNOLOGY: Google was invented to look up anything and everything on the internet; GPS units became the craze for lost drivers or people looking for stations that had the cheapest gas prices; phone cameras were invented to take pictures anywhere anytime; Tivo and Dvr’s were invented so tuning in to your favorite TV show could happen at your leisure, anytime; commercial-free satellite radio came to light; and data storage became smaller yet bigger - smaller in physical size, yet more storage capacity, like hard drives are now available in terabytes. (Megabytes were just so 90's.) Not only this, but data storage became more transportable by the invention of thumb drives.

The Encyclopedia became obsolete due to Google. No more having to have shelf space for the encyclopedia set. No such thing as having to fold up a map the right way due to the GPS. And remember when gas prices were not an issue, then became one, then went back down again, and now they're back up again but nobody has noticed? Being able to snap a picture anytime anywhere, we've all become paparazzi! No more listening to commercials on radio and remembering jingles like “You’ll see what you like and you’ll like what you see; you’ll pay much less for quality, when you do your shopping at...” THAT is why kids don't know commercials like we did when we were kids. No AM radio. And fast forwarding through the commercials on Tivo. They don't know important things like "The kid'll eat the middle of an Oreo first and save the chocolate cookie outside for last." My daughter does it all wrong. She just eats the thing.



TVs went from big, thick pieces of furniture to being something you can hang on a wall like a picture, saving floor space.

The floor space I saved by hanging the TV on the wall has been monopolized by Wii equipment, Wii Fit Mat, and DVD movies.



TV shows like "Glee", "American Idol", and "The Sopranos" started.

"Friends" ended.



Rachel learned how to spell and is excelling in it, working on a 5th grade level but she’s only in the fourth grade.

Rachel learned how to spell but needs to forget everything she learned in order to abbreviate everything in order to text message. No wut I men?...Me 2! LOL



Was introduced to a little thing called "Facebook" where I reunited with friends in my past and met new friends via networking.

Reunited with friends in my past. This coincides with being blackmailed for the first time ever in my life – by a childhood friend (I use the term "friend" loosely). (A story for another blog.) I also have been "unfriended" by folks that didn't understand me or my sense of humor. C'est la vie. As Sammy Davis Jr. sang, "I gotta be me, I gotta be me." (Don't worry. The friends that unfriended me won't find out that I'm talking about them. They didn't think I was funny so they shouldn't be reading my blog, right?)



In this rough economy, I managed to keep my job this entire decade - a first.

Although it was the first time ever in my career where I was part of an investigation, and the first time I have been interrogated. Oh, being interrogated by a significant other when coming home late doesn't count.



Had to put our 20+ year old cat, Darby, to sleep. You might think this would be a thumbs down. But actually he gave us lots of laughs and love through the years. Not to mention that in this decade, the vet actually came to the house to provide the service.

At the end of the decade, we had to put Swiffur the kitten to sleep. Well, not yet, but I’m thinking of making an appointment.



And lastly,

Created this blog, in which I get to unleash my creative side.

Why are you looking for a thumbs down here? I leave that part to you, don't I?!

My Kaneclusion: So many things in this decade were at the opposite ends of the spectrum. But I truly believe it's a great time to be alive! With all the changes that have happened in the world and all the changes yet to come, I'm glad I'm around to see it all. Aren't you?