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Dear Diary

I can’t believe summer is over. It was supposed to be vacation, but it seemed like anything but.

Our vacation to the East Coast was short, but exciting. We ended up having to drive from the Midwest to New York City because some family members do not like to fly. Mrs. WhiteCoat is cartographically challenged, but swears that she’s Sacajawea – at least regarding trips to the East coast. She will not use the GPS system in the truck, preferring to travel by memory alone. So when we got lost after a wrong turn, we drove 20 miles out of our way and then had to turn around and drive 20 miles back. I was trying to show her the route guidance system in the truck, but she wouldn’t listen, instead of stopping at a gas station to speak to a very nice man whose first language was definitely not English. Of course, it is better to trust a random person in a gas station than your own husband, but that’s beside the point. So she drove a little bit further and got lost, then turned around again and stopped at another random gas station. While she was inside, I pulled up the route guidance system. It was telling us to go in exactly the opposite direction that the second man told us to go. When she actually listened to the computer, we were on the right road in 10 minutes. I didn’t say a thing.
We took a boat tour of New York City in addition to going to the World Trade Center Memorial. A lot has changed since I lived there many years ago.

The kids were busy most of the summer with dance and sports … and acting. They have all had major roles in horror movies which seem to be the specialty of the Midwest. Oldest daughter landed a leading role in a film about ghosts who kill hospital patients. We spent a week filming in the basement of an abandoned hospital. Even some of the cast members were freaked out by random noises. Youngest daughter also got a role in a horror film about a hospital. They filmed in one of the 10 most haunted buildings in the Midwest. During the second night, it was a full moon and they were filming a scene about several children being murdered, so all of the young actors were laying on the ground in makeshift pools of blood. The next afternoon when everyone returned to the set, there were 13 dead rats and mice on the floor. Don’t know if that someone’s idea of a joke, but it sure freaked everyone out that was working on the movie.

Have been getting into strategy battles about turning off the television during the day. I kept asking the kids to turn the TV off and read a book or go outside and play. Instead, they had to watch the 75th rerun of Dog With a Blog on Disney. Eventually, I got fed up and unplugged the TV. Then I’d leave to run an errand and someone would plug it back in and they would be watching again when I returned. Then I would unhook the cable connection from the basement. They would watch movies on DVD instead so they didn’t need the cable. Then I unplugged the TV from the back of the television set just enough to disconnect the power without fully removing the plug. They went into our bedroom and watched television, so I pulled the plug on the back of our television. Then they started watching videos on their phones. I went online and disabled their video streaming. Now they go over to their friends houses and watch TV.
I can’t win.
If they were only half as creative at doing work as they were in figuring out how to watch the damn television, they would have full college scholarships waiting for them.

Oh, and had a little incident with the fire department and HazMat team, too.Took the dogs out for a walk and all of a sudden, smelled this putrid odor like burning plastic. It was all over the neighborhood. Couldn’t see any smoke. When the smell got stronger, Mrs. Whitecoat called the police. No other complaints, but they’ll send someone out. Then the dogs come back and the smell gets even worse. I grew up in the country and I’ve smelled a lot of skunks, so I know it wasn’t a skunk. Then a neighbor comes out and says “Whew. That skunk is pretty bad.”
“That’s not a skunk. Smells like plastic burning.”
“No, that’s definitely a skunk.”
Five minutes later, two loud diesel engines break the silence of the night. All the neighbors start peeking out their windows as the trucks stop in front of our house.
“Man, we could smell that skunk a half mile away. Is that the smell you’re talking about?”
“Apparently, my olfactory glands are a little challenged tonight. Sorry about the false alarm.”
Then daughter WhiteCoat opens the garage door and the dogs run inside and start rubbing themselves all over the living room carpet.
That only took a week to get the smell out.

Oldest daughter got her driver’s learning permit. Concomitantly my hair suddenly started going grey. We started out by driving in the parking lots. We drove to a grocery store and I parked next to an embankment. After we loaded groceries into the car, I let oldest daughter drive home. The wheels were turned toward the median, so when she started up the car and stepped on the gas pedal, we drove up the median, hit a grocery cart, and missed a tree by about three inches. To her, that was hilarious. So I rolled down the window and when she began to back up, I slapped the outside of the car with my hand and yelled “Did you just hit that old lady?!?!” To me, her reaction was hilarious. Now her hair’s going grey, too.
She got a little bit better during the summer, so for some strange reason I actually let her drive home from an appointment we had in Chicago. All I can say is that someone was looking out for us. I was actually videotaping her driving and she came within a foot of running into a brand-new Cadillac Escalade that had cut in front of us. Got it all on video, including me screaming at her to stop the car. I keep thinking that at one time I had to learn to drive. I just never remember my mom having to go home and take sedatives, though.

Now all four kids have started school.

Middle daughter is in science class and they are seeing how chicks hatch out of eggs. She got to name the chick in her group, so she came home and decided to name it “little pecker.” Mrs. WhiteCoat and I told her that would probably not be the best choice of a name, at least in a school setting. So I came up with the name Glenn Peck. My daughter thought it was funny even though she has no idea who Glenn Beck is. When she told Mrs. WhiteCoat about the name, there was a screech from the kitchen and a shout that “You are NOT going to name some poor chick after THAT guy! He’s an IDIOT!” Of course, my daughter thought that was even more amusing. Then we decided to name the chick Gregory Peck. Again, she had no idea why, but after we showed her pictures, she liked the name. When she went to school next day, only one person including the teacher had any idea who Gregory Peck was. Middle daughter told everyone she was going to name the chick “Glenn Peck,” but her mom said that he was an IDIOT. So they changed the name back to “little pecker.” I’m just waiting to get to get the call from the principal that she’s being suspended for making some type of sexually explicit statements.

Hopscotch is a big thing at elementary school. Youngest daughter likes to play on the sidewalks when she gets home. Over the weekend during a hopscotch training session, she drew 24 squares instead of 10. When Mrs. WhiteCoat and I tried to correct her, she became very upset and went inside, shouting over her shoulder “That’s not the way that THIS generation does things, mom.”
Damn little whippersnapper.

Oh, and I have one more issue with school. Now that the kids are getting older, everyone wants to go and watch the high school football games. Normally, I wouldn’t go because the team isn’t very good, but to show our school spirit, we take all of the kids and go to the game. But the thing is, even though you pay to get inside the fence, none of the kids actually watch the game. Youngest daughter complains and wants to go home and the only way we can get her to sit still is to buy her hot chocolate. They just hang out underneath the stands talking with their friends or go way out behind the goalposts and play catch with a football. They don’t even know what the score is. I know I’m turning into a curmudgeon because I actually get annoyed by this.

Not only am I turning into a curmudgeon, I am leaving this good earth piece by piece. In the past couple of months, I have had a chunk of skin cut off of my face by a dermatologist, a tooth yanked out of my jaw by a dentist, and I lost the tip of my finger. The finger thing was my fault. Some friends took us out for a birthday dinner to a Japanese hibachi restaurant. The chef would randomly toss pieces of broccoli into the air and if we were able to catch the broccoli in our mouth, he would use a plastic ketchup bottle to squirt sake into our mouths. Apparently, he knew it was my birthday because he seemed to be throwing quite a bit of broccoli at me. By the end of dinner, I was feeling no pain. Our friends got me a new shirt for my birthday and they wanted to take a picture of all of us together and me wearing the new shirt. I put the shirt on, but the tag was sticking out of the front of the shirt. I pulled on it several times and the tag wouldn’t come off, so I pulled out my pocket knife and cut the tag off. Unfortunately my finger was in the way and I cut the tip of my finger off as well. That caused blood to splatter all over the table and all of the shirt as well. Kids started crying, the hibachi chef freaked out, and we never took the picture. I went home, put my finger on ice for about 15 minutes, then sewed up the tip of the finger with some leftover sutures I had. That hurt. Now all the kids tell their friends is that dad cut his finger off when he was drunk.
So I’m a drunk curmudgeon.

I ended up having to change jobs after our group lost the contract at the primary facility. Let me just go on record as saying what a pain in the neck it is to apply for staff privileges at another hospital. Pre-application. Hospital application. State application. Background check. Credit report. Billing forms. CAHQ forms. Oh, and pay us $250 to process your application. I’m waiting for the hair samples to check for drugs, a demand for an explanation of why I got a C in high school German, computer software data entry speed testing, and my genetic testing to determine tendencies towards patient satisfaction.
Maybe I’ll just open up a private office and write a blog for a living.

Oh yeah, the blog. I made an effort to post on a more regular basis, and that hasn’t been going so well.  Part of the problem is that I have to change log formats. I’ve actually gotten a lot of complaints about this new format, so for the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on switching everything over to a new and improved format. It’s coming along slowly, but surely. I have to divide my time between doing that, working at my other job, working in the emergency department, and even writing a couple of papers. I’m populating the new blog with pictures and x-rays that will hopefully be of interest to some people. Getting rid of the Google Ads and going to try a different format that doesn’t do all the tracking. Still working out a couple of other coding issues, but hopefully will have it up and running in the next couple of weeks.

Time for bed.


  1. Love the blog, no complaints. I am anxiously awaiting the new version. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I lost you for a time there. I’ll try to visit more frequently now. You have such a way of writing, it always makes me chuckle, even when you’re ticked off.

    Dang contract situations. I’m a fatality of that as well. Unwanted change comes for us all. I hope you’ll like your new position. Glad I found you again.

  3. Oh WC…it’s all good. My damn whippersnappers have done the same with the computer and TV. Kid 4 is my new problem. He is so smart, but so lazy and unless it’s a video game, he can’t seem to get from point A to point B with the slightest care as to efficiency. As Erma Bombeck used to say, “It’s always something.”

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