🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
If you have to have a doctor tell you a body part or yours is small, I suppose one of the least offensive would be the ear canal. That’s what a doctor told me this morning, after I finally broke down and actually went to said doctor’s office more than a week after I ceased to be able to hear out of my right ear.
I’d tried everything to avoid the doctor’s office. Nasal spray to clear up congestion. Ear drops. Holding my nose and blowing like I was trying to inflate myself. Nothing worked, and when I woke up this morning worse than ever, I made an urgent care appointment, took a day off work because I generally felt like poop, and went.
I know I’m getting older. I accept that. Yet one area in which my comparable age still is very jarring is with medical care. It was fine when Major League Baseball players started being younger than me. And when most of my coworkers started being pups. But doctors? Medical assistants? The people in whom I trust this magnificent but aging dad bod? Do they have to look like people whom I would sit down and say, “Let me tell you a story about how things were back in grandpa’s day”?
The medical assistant who took my vitals and first peered into my ear hole was impossibly young. When she mentioned that the ear was severely packed with wax, I was not proud. I keep myself clean. I also know not to jam Q-tips into my ear holes. I learned that one the hard way. But I do keep up on my auditory hygiene. The ability to hear means the ability to hear music, and without that, I’d want to die.
The doctor came in, confirmed the statement of the medical assistant, who didn’t have to incur so much student debt to be able to arrive at the same diagnosis, and then sent for the medical assistant to do the dirty work.
The medical assistant (I missed her name, owing to the fact that she introduced herself while on my right side — the side of the clogged ear) proceeded to squirt a 55-gallon drum of saline and hydrogen peroxide, perhaps mixed with vinegar (???), into my ear hole, stopping from time to time to utter things such as, “Wow, that’s really deep in there” and “You want to see what’s come out so far?” while taking from me the bowl I held below my ear to catch the runoff. I didn’t take her up on the offer.
When the entire doctor’s office was running low on water to shoot into my head, she paused, got some sort of ear drops, dumped those in, and told me to sit there with my left ear as close to my left shoulder as possible for 10 minutes. Then, she returned with a new 55-gallon drum and flooded my head again.
Voila! All of a sudden, I could hear again!
Aaaaaaand, I immediately got super dizzy and sorta fell/leaned into her like a drunk guy at the bar. “Woah, woah, woah there,” she said, steadying me with one hand while holding my ear runoff with the other. Talented woman, she was.
Turns out the dizzy thing was “normal” due to the sudden change in pressure in my ear. “Isn’t the human body wonderful?” I sarcastically said as she cleaned up her stuff and prepared to fetch the doctor.
“I love this stuff, actually,” she said. “It’s fascinating.”
“You do you,” replied I.
The doctor soon came back in and, having avoided the dirty work of flushing crap out of my ear, told me my eardrum was red, irritated and a bit swollen from being clogged. She also told me I had a small ear canal.
“Why thank you,” I said. “That’s the nicest thing anybody’s said to me so far today.”
She didn’t seem much in the mood for humor — or, at least, my humor. It was 8:45 a.m. on a Monday, after all, and she had started her week gazing into my gunked-up ear. I get it. I didn’t push things any further.
“So, you’re good to go,” she said awkwardly. “Want your paperwork?”
“I’ll pass,” I said, and off I went to the rest of my day.
Eddie Vedder is a grunge god. On the Mount Rushmore of grunge music, there is Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, Alice in Chain’s Layne Staley, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. Period. That’s the list.
Of the original Mt. Rushmore, only Eddie remains. Cobain and Cornell died by suicide, and Staley died of a drug overdose.
Boys The Elder & Younger journeyed to St. Louis last night to listen to Pearl Jam in support of their “new” album Gigaton, which came out in 2020 right before COVID shut down their tour. The concert was amazeballs. It was a perfect blend of old and new, harder and softer, and, unlike the first time I saw the band, they did sing my favorite PJ song, Black.
I live for live music. And the week’s not done. Wednesday night is Alice in Chains. It’s not the same without Staley, and the last picture I saw of AiC’s other big name, Jerry Cantrell, showed him with short freaking hair. We’ll see if I can get past that.
As my father-in-law faded toward what comes Next in January 2021, I was able to visit him in his hospital room. He was not the man I remembered, the man who welcomed me into the family so long ago and with whom I would annually watch five high school basketball games in one day. Ravaged by COVID following heart surgery, he had shrunk to nothing and was very much in the process of dying. He would finally pass the next morning.
On that last visit, I tearfully told him he didn’t have to fight anymore, that I would do what I could to help take care of Mom (AKA The Judester) and he could rest easily knowing we’d step up.
So when Wifey Poo called me this morning and asked if I could meet her at Mom’s apartment, that’s what I did. A storm smashed her senior living community last week, and a lightning bolt fried many residents’ electronics, including the Judester’s TV. Wifey Poo went with her to get a new set today, yet Wifey Poo and the Judester combined have the technological acumen of your average gerbil. It’s not a knock on either of them. Both are amazing at far more important things, like, for example, raising good kids, which, in my opinion, is of greater societal value than the ability to hook up a television.
So I made the 12 minute drive, got her TV set up and, while I was there, hooked up an Echo Dot so she could listen to 1950s music and fixed her computer speakers (the latter of which involved plugging in a cord that must have come out at some point). The Judester was happy and appreciative. Wifey Poo was happy and appreciative. And I’d like to think FIL was looking on and was happy and appreciative, too.
Soul Comforts A just-because gift An accidental nap Shared fries A hidden note, found A joined passion A soft hand Communicated desires A hug, freely given A safe landing place A secluded table Memory-filled songs Appreciation, openly stated Take me away from here Take me away Take me Take A common blanket A slow dance…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Alice in Chains on Wednesday.
- I’ll stick around a few more days since I can hear things now.
- Fall starts Thursday with actual fall weather in the forecast!
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Weird Date 🪦Nature Walk🌳Bulldog Bath 🐶 If you have a date walking around a cemetery, you’re either weird or goth, and neither Wifey Poo nor I were wearing black today, which I guess tells you all you need to know about us. Old cemeteries are something of a fascination for us,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩So Long, Kid 👨👦Steak Celebration🥩Chip & Joanna 🪚 Regular readers of my drivel know that I’m kind of an emotional guy, which is like saying that Jack kind of could have fit on the spacious floating door with Rose in Titanic. So it should come as no surprise when I say…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Cash 4 IRS 💰Cash 4 Workers 💸Sound of Silence 🤫 Be extra careful on your taxes this year. The IRS is expected to receive nearly $80 billion when The Inflation Reduction Act eventually becomes law, and its plan is to hire 87,000 full-time workers. More than half of the $80 billion…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Spoon Nose 🥄👃🏻Dump Truck 🚚Twitter Traitor 🐦 Every night, I strap a mask attached to a long hose to my face so I don’t die. Not satisfied with looking kinda like an idiot, I then wrap a flexible Velco-enabled strap around my chin and fasten it on top of my bald…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Thanks, Yankees ⚾Kitchen Moment 👩🍳McDonald’s Glasses 🥛 Wifey Poo and I were recent college graduates and months away from becoming Married Folk when our relationship nearly faced its greatest test. The New York Yankees were rolling toward their first World Series appearance since I played with Matchbox Cars, and the St.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mammoth Dilemma🦣Zombie Pigs🧟🐖Stadium Pals⚾ Finding the fossilized remains of a Wooly Mammoth in New Mexico isn’t exactly news. It seems the furry elephants loved to hang out in the land so frequently visited by aliens. What is news is the condition of the fossils from the latest find. Some of the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ankle Shot 🦶🏻Teamwork 🤝🏽Talkspace Stupidity 🤪 Over the years, I’ve played catch with Boy The Younger dozens and dozens of times. From those early days of him aimlessly flinging an oversized soft thing a few feet forward, to now when he’s zipping a real baseball the regulation distance from a pitching…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Creative Desert 🎨So Long, Supra 🏎️Taco Truck 🌮 I have absolutely nothing today. On most days — even the really, really bad days — I can push out something creatively worthwhile. A blog post. A flyer. A video. Not today. Today I have jack shit. This is professionally problematic, considering my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hungry=Stupid 😋Strategic Planning 📅Bed Sizes 🛏️ Hunger is a strong motivator. This, most of us know. Yet I witnessed this truth at a whole new level this weekend. Wifey Poo and I traveled up to Hannibal, Missourah, for a few days. Hannibal, for you uncultured folks, is the hometown of Mark…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Change 🌀Me, Different 😷Bad Baseball ⚾ I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Most everything in humanity is governed by two intertwined forces. Supply and demand. Scarcity. Whether its the economy or human emotions, everything about us is geared toward responding to these two things. For example, when there…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Double Standards 🦅Birthday Deals 🎁Video Guy 📹 The United States has a problem with hypocrisy. Don’t worry, though; it’s nothing new. It just happens to be glaringly apparent right now. Our revered Founding Fathers got things off on a really bad foot when they penned the lofty statement that all men…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Revolution 🌍Rain 🌧️Refund 💰 By this time tomorrow, I will have completed 48 trips around the sun. Or is it 47 and I’ll be starting my 48th? Whatever. I’ll be 48 years old tomorrow. I have to admit, I’m feeling kinda blah about it. Looking back, this past revolution was busy…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bitchy Mother Nature 🌧️⚡Tech Woes 🖥️Maturation 👦 Overnight storms made for a restless night, as waves of rain and thunder rolled through our section of Missourah. Flash flood warnings pinged my phone sometime in the middle of the night, and by the time I left for my drive to work, eastbound…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Rollercoasters 🎢Sad Puppy 🐶News Roundup 🤖 It’s possible to think a lot of thoughts while plummeting 90 feet at a 90-degree angle while staring up at the sun. This I learned yesterday while at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missourah, with the Core Four, Div, Wifey Poo’s baby sister and baby…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Date Day 🤟🏽Prison Justice 👊Universe Questions 🚀 Wifey Poo and I ended up having more than 12 hours to ourselves yesterday here in the Midwest Redneck Mecca of Branson, Missourah. Boys The Elder and Younger, along with BTE’s lovely girlfriend of nearly three years, and Wifey Poo’s baby sister and family…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩WFH WTF? 🧑💼Rebel Ball ⚾Psych Myth 🧠 As a writer/columnist/blogger/thought-spewer, I always enjoy when I get something out there before anyone else. I dug that when I was a newspaper journalist, and I dig it now. That’s why I’m happy to be hearing national publications and sites like Business Insider starting…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Fahrenheit 🌡️Blindingly White ⬜Alone Time 👴 Muricah is very much a reactionary nation. Much of what we do and who we are is because we were pissed off about the way someone else did things. Monarchy? We’ll have a democracy, thank you very much. The metric system? We’ll measure stuff our…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tryouts ⚾BBQ Sauce🍖TMNT🐢 There is cause for celebration in the Core Four: Boy The Younger has been drafted. Sadly, we’re not talking about the ongoing Major League Baseball draft. Rather, we’re talking about the sick modern world of Little League baseball. Not to get too “Get off my lawn!” on you,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Growth 💗Dreams 💤Redecorating 🛋️ There are moments in a dad’s life in which he can see the growth of his sons quite clearly. Sometimes that growth is physical. One day, Boy The Elder was a short, stocky little boy and then, boom, he came home from his high school job at…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Burn Pit🔥Alaska Ass🍑Nose Hair🐽 Having a plan is a far different thing from having a plan work out. I’m really good at the former, yet the latter seems to be extremely elusive. Yesterday, my plan was to take the huge pile of chopped-down cedar-tree limbs that have been in my backyard…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Jewel💎First Kiss💋Slow Ahead🐢 Wifey Poo and I are headed out into the sweltering hell that is Missourah this evening to see the woman who, should she knock on my door and say “let’s go,” I am fully empowered to join in the next part of life’s journey. I jest. Sort of.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Parenthood 🚓Alexa 📋Quick-Hitters 👋 Just about every statistic imaginable tells us we shouldn’t have kids — at least, not if we’re concerned about our own happiness, mental health, marriage, career, finances, time or ability to buy a really boss car instead of a freaking minivan. Yet here we are, still a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Lawrence Pfaff Sr. Sucks 🚓Engagement Talk 🌯Quick-Hitters 👋 From what I know of Lawrence H. Pfaff Sr. of Belmont, NY, he was kind of a douche. The 81-year-old man died on June 27. I never met him. Never even heard of him. Until I read his obit. And about that obit?…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Travelling Companion🚓Free Beans 🌯Unfollowed 👋 Brandy Bottone is either stupid or brilliant. Whichever it is, she’s also right. The Texas woman was traveling in the HOV lane — which, for the country folk out there, stands for High Occupancy Vehicle and is reserved for cars with two or more people to…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Slots 🎰Dude Perfect ⚽Bye Bye Facebook? 👋 My mother-in-law (AKA The Judester) is nearly 81 years old and has knee problems that keep her from getting around too well these days. Watching her stand up from a chair is to feel pain yourself. Yet when I walked into the Ameristar casino…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Reflections on Grandma 👵Kids & Death 👨👦👦Don’t Say It 🤫 My grandma died yesterday, four days shy of her 96th birthday. As it goes with people at that age, it wasn’t a surprise. She had been fading for more than a year and, though she still was breathing, that version of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sleepwalking 🧨DnD Gang 🎲Gas Idiots 🛢️ If there were a day-by-day measure of the collective output of workers in these here United States of Amuricah (and for all I know, there is), I would venture to guess that July 5 ain’t our most productive day. I base this on my observations…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Stupid Parade 🧨Math Matters ➗What Amazon Reveals 🚚 Not being a hugely patriotic person at this point in my life, I made no plans to go to any Fourth of July parade this year. It seems mighty foolish to be celebrating freedoms that are eroding right before our eyes, though I…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Alone Time, Girl Time 👩👧Picture Hanger🔨What Amazon Reveals 🚚 Wifey Poo and I found ourselves in an interesting position at home today for a little bit: Alone. Boy The Elder took off for Six Flags with his buds, and Boy The Younger left with a friend and his family (Chicken Owner,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Oil Change 👨🔧Goose Lover🛦Church & State⛪ Based on my history, the last place anyone should ever look for me is underneath a car. Yet that’s where I found myself late this morning, side-by-side with Boy The Elder as he showed me exactly how stupid I’ve been all my life. I’m not…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Media Bias 📰Rudy’s Sandals 🩴Lack of Faith ⚖️ I’ve watched with interest the blowback against newspaper tyrant Gannett following its reminder to its journalists in the wake of the Supreme Court’s undoing of Roe v. Wade that they are not to take sides on social media. “You cannot use social media…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Censorship 🍈🍈Newspaper Talk 📰Toothbrush 🦷 I did my first actual “work” thing at my new job yesterday. The first two-plus days have been filled with meeting new people and learning about the kazillion awesome products we sell so I can talk somewhat intelligently about what we do. But then Nu Bossman…Keep reading