fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Multiple Diagnosis Lead Nowhere

I don't normally do blogposts so close together, but I thought it would only be fair of me to let my readers weigh in on the situation at hand.

It seems my 'doctor' -- which he isn't since he's only a physicians assistant -- isn't sure what I have. My fever hasn't yet abated and most of my bumps, with only two notable exceptions, seem to have dissipated. The two interlopers have gotten bigger and uglier!

Regardless, he's asked me to come in again today so they can take a look at the two evil bumps. He still seems to think I have chicken pox, though, according to my blood work, I could have any number of things which are most likely contagious since I still have a fever.

This is where you get to weigh in, dear readers, to make a guess as to what I have. I don't know how big the money pot has gotten to; I may be worth a fortune right now!

Here is where we stand.

My mother-in-law and her neighbor have both diagnosed me as having shingles. While I usually trust her judgment, I trust my Mom's too. My Mom's money is on a rash and the flu that just happen to coincide.

My dearest, darling son says I have Mad Cow Disease or possibly some psychological dysfunction and I'm bringing this on myself. My wife said simply "you've just got the first grade crud. Now get over it!"

My son's pediatrician, a real medical doctor, told me she could diagnose me. I just have to come in for a visit. My father, also a real doctor, gave me a number of things and told me he loved me. Doctors have the worst sense of humor...

My 'doctor' seems to still be under the assumption that it's chicken pox. The medical student he brought in to see me had no idea, giggled and then asked for options from which she could choose.

Which leaves me... Well, nowhere. So this is your chance, dear readers, to comment and tell me what you think I have.

While I can't promise the winner any money, I can promise you the satisfaction of knowing you were the one who got it right.

Monday, February 25, 2013

"I've Never Seen This Before"

The statement "You know, I've never seen this before" is generally not something you want to hear coming from your doctor.

However, today marks the second time I've had a doctor tell me that, though I've heard it before from numerous other people in numerous other instances.

The first time was when I found out I was allergic to tree nuts, specifically almonds and pistachios -- my two favorites. For some very odd reason, only half of me swells up.

"That's impossible, Phillip," my doctor at the time told me.

When I came in half swollen from a wedding cake made with almond extract, she was stunned. She stared at me a moment, speechless.

"Oh my God, Phillip," she said finally in her best authoritative doctor's voice. "That's crazy! I've never seen that before!"

She even went so far as to get one of her fellow doctors within her office to take a look at me. He, also, showed the proper amount of surprise and amazement.

And now, today, my 'doctor' -- he's not, since he's only a physicians assistant -- also told me, "you know, I've never seen this before!"

He brought in a plethora of people from the office into our minuscule examining room to check me out. Each one had a different diagnosis. I suspect they were making bets as to whose diagnosis would turn out to be correct.

Which leaves me at home, in bed, wondering if I have chicken pox or not. I had chicken pox as a kid, which makes my case unusual. Add the fact that no one knows where I could have picked it up and it gets even more bizarre.

The pints of blood they juiced from my arm today should answer that question. Sadly, though, I won't find out until tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Miracles DO Still Happen

My Volvo is trying to get me fired.

I know... I know... It sounds a lot like 'the dog ate my homework' or 'aliens abducted my homework notebook.' But here's what happened. What really happened.

Some weeks back, the key fob to the Volvo broke and fell off my keychain. No problem, though. The keys still work, right? So I woke up this morning only to find the drivers door lock frozen tight.

No problem. I'll just use the lock on the passenger side door and hit the unlock button. Worst case scenario -- I have to crawl across. Oh, yeah! Newer Volvos don't have exterior locks on the passenger side door anymore.


After a brief moment of panic, rational thought started to creep back into my brain. Why, I'll simply heat up the key. Brilliant! Someone showed me that trick once and it actually worked.

My first thought was the cigarette lighter. However, if I could get to the car lighter, then I probably wouldn't be stuck in my current situation.

Unfortunately, I don't smoke, so there were no lighters to be found. I did find a grill lighter, though. In fact, I found two. Tragically, they both spent they're last dying moments in my fumbling, frozen hands which were trying desperately to hold the flame and key steady.

On my fourth trip into the house, I found a box of matches. As I reached the car, I discovered the box contained only two matches. No problem, I thought.

On my fifth trip into the house, I found a full box of matches. My still frozen fingers, however, were still having problems holding the matches and key steady and close enough before my matches burned out.

I was beginning to be very late for work. Funny how the panic of an encroaching deadline can invoke creative thinking! A candle! That meant one more trip inside.

A pile of wax covered matches and grill lighters and 10 minutes later, I managed to break into the stubborn vehicle. Miracles DO still happen.

I must have been a sight, standing amidst my arsonist pile while holding my lit candle. I imagined my neighbor, who happens to be one of my first-graders, standing at the window and his possible reaction to the sight across the street.

"Mom! Mom," he probably yelled. "Come quick! My teacher is trying to set his car on fire!"

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kids Question Tooth Fairies' Intelligence

The big topic of conversation amongst the six and seven year-old population last year was Santa Claus. There's been a significant swing and this years hot topic seems to be the tooth fairy.

There seems to be no question as to whether or not the tooth fairy exists. The real question my kids want to know is just how smart the tooth fairy really is.

"If I accidentally swallowed my tooth," one kid asked me, "how would the tooth fairy get it? Would I still get my tooth money?"

My exact answers to these two questions were "with great care" and "probably."

I, personally, have sent home five teeth in plastic baggies in students' pockets. I've been made to witness at least 12 loose teeth since my students live for the thrill of showing off loose teeth to anyone who wishes, or doesn't wish, to see.

One student asked me how much money I got for my teeth if I lost one. I feigned ignorance and told her that I didn't remember. Truthfully, I remember it being around $3,000. Unfortunately, that was my cost to the 'tooth fairy' who fixed it!

Another student was telling her teacher and myself about her confused, misguided tooth fairy. The student's actual words, if I remember correctly, were "confused" and "not smart with direction."

"What makes you say that," the teacher asked.

"Cause the tooth fairy left my tooth money on the bathroom counter," the student replied.

"Well... Then... How do you know that money was from the tooth fairy," the teacher asked her.

"Cause I took it," was the student's only response.

Neither the teacher nor myself asked how much money it was. I suspect the teacher was as afraid to ask as I was. If it was any more than five dollars, I suspect the tooth fairy may be repo'ing those funds.

Any questioning or argument with that student would have been a moot point. Mankind simply doesn't have anything that can rebuke the sound, solid logic of a six year-old.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide

The sad news is, I didn't write this. It's a high school English writing project authored by my 15 year-old son. The assignment was supposed to be skewed towards a specific audience. Looks as though the apple didn't fall to far from the tree, huh? Enjoy!
You wake up one morning ready for the big game, but something is wrong.  Out of your window you hear sirens and car alarms. A blood curdling shriek pierces the surrounding cacophony followed by rapid gun fire. You cautiously open your window and are bombarded by the smell of smoke woven together with rotting flesh like a tapestry of horror.
You, dear reader, are in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. But, worry not, there is hope.
Seventy-two percent of all zombie related deaths occur between the home and shelter. In order to avoid this, you must prepare.
Go to your closet and grab your old helmet and other sports gear from that nostalgic bin in your attic. Assuming you’re a respectable man, grab your baseball bat or other autographed sports object.
Next, you flee your house and neighborhood in your truck. If you don’t have a truck, simply steal one from your zombie neighbors. As you speed out of your neighborhood, make sure to hit whichever zombie-fied neighbor you liked the least.
Now that you’ve distanced yourself from any crowded city-like areas, you must assemble a team of survivors. You are likely to come across a young idealistic man/woman panicking on the roadside. When this happens, slam on the brakes, open the passenger door and firmly bark a short gruff order such as “get in the truck!”  Soon after that, you will encounter a young soldier desperately trying to reason with his now zombie partners, a married couple, an arrogant S.W.A.T. team member, a young man who is constantly making unfunny jokes and an attractive scientist trying to find a zombie cure. They will bicker and argue, but you must inspire your team to work together and stay alive.
Now that you have a team, you must lead them to shelter. The best shelters are well fortified indoor stadiums. Or prisons. Both make great shelters.
Once the shelter has been found, establish a defensive strategy. Assign positions to each of your teammates based on their strengths. Send others out to find food and water. Begin to establish living quarters. This is also a good time to see which sports teams your fellow survivors root for. If you see that one of the survivors supports your team’s rival, then feel free to feed them to the zombies.
As your team of survivors return with food, you stride to your shelter’s window. You might hear explosions as zombies trigger your fort’s mine defenses and then the sound of survivors happily eating canned goods.
As you smell the gun powder and recently retrieved chicken noodle soup, you, dear reader, survived the zombie apocalypse.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Technical Genius Turns Teacher Assistant

As a kid, I was a technological wonder and a genius.

Allow me to explain. I wrote a program that featured a little green space ship. The ship lifted off from the bottom of the screen and disappeared out the top. It even had a puff of smoke. I also designed and programmed a video game that I called 'chaos.' It involved a green dot. The dot moved in a seemingly random path around the screen for an infinite amount of time. In hindsight, I should have named it "screensaver" and made millions.

Somewhere between that programming child prodigy and the current 44 year-old teacher's assistant, something changed.

Sure I know how to navigate my school and personal email. I even have a rudimentary knowledge of MS PowerPoint and MS Excel and can utilize them, too. There's no word processing package that I can't handle. But this whole Twitter thing has thrown me for a loop!

In an attempt to tap my inner nerd, I researched Twitter. After some exhaustive research, here are my findings.

Twitter is a proper noun and the name of a popular social networking site. Tweet can be used as a noun or a verb, as well as the occasional adjective. The verb 'Tweet' can be conjugated. I will tweet. I am tweeting. I have tweeted.

And the past tense of tweet is tweeted, not twit. While it is not a 'bad word,' per se, you still don't want to be called or considered one.

Interestingly enough, I now have a Twitter account (@phillip_haworth for those interested). While I am slowly struggling and learning, I seem to be stuck on the wrong side of the learning curve!

My family has gone a little overboard with the new, improved tech-savvy me. They keep making suggestions of other online advertising avenues for my blog, but they sound like nonsense!

Pinterest, for example, sounds like the bad guy's name out of a horror movie. Also, MySpace doesn't have a space. I'm an English major. There should be a space between the 'y' and the 'S.' I couldn't begin to tell you how heavy an Instagram is. And I've finally gotten the hang of Google, so what's this Google Plus mess they're telling me about?!