Saturday, February 4, 2012

December 19, 2011 The 2002 Christmas Letter

This getting older & forgetful thing reminds me of the old protest song. Signs, signs, everywhere there are signs…breaking my mind…do this, don’t do that…can’t you see the signs…like completely forgetting a vacation only 2 months after taking it. I have to begin this year’s newsletter with something we did in 2001. In October, we drove around Lake Michigan, up through Wisconsin, across the UP of Michigan, then back down on the Michigan side. It was incredible, the fall colors, the solitude, the scenery. We stood on 300 foot cliffs overlooking Lake Superior; we stayed at old Bed & Breakfast Inns including an operating lighthouse on Lake Superior. We went down into a copper mine, searched logging roads for moose…found none…did see eagles and ships going through the Soo Locks at Sault Saint Marie. We went hiking almost everyday to the most beautifully isolated waterfalls. After 9/11, this trip was a reminder of how perfect the world can be… and now….how imperfect our world actually is on a daily basis.                                                        

   The remodeling of the attic was moving along very slowly, but in February, we could actually use the whirlpool tub …aaahhhh….this was a wise investment…now we need a bigger hot water heater…the expenses never stop…but it is true that sex in a big tub with warm water flowing all around your naked body is great…and there was plenty of it until Chrissy started joining me in the tub.

   Our dogs, Glacier & Fluffy, have been with us long enough to earn nicknames…since Glacier stands like a statue and just stares blankly at me while Fluffy was having problems with her butt which she kept shoving her face into…they earned the names Fuck Face & Ass Face respectively. In February, we were invited to work the Great Pyrenees Rescue booth at the IKC show at McCormick Place. The place is huge & we parked at the Hilton. This is where it gets weird…the Harley Davidson Bike show is also at McCormick…in the elevator are us, two huge dogs and several members of Hell’s Angels (who just loved the dogs). As soon as we started thru the lobby, the concierge & others started heading toward us until they saw the bikers…then they stopped & just smiled. I probably could have let Glacier shit in the lobby & a bellhop would have happily cleaned it up. At the show the dogs had the time of their lives…they loved all the attention…for hours people stopped by just to pet them…they were in doggie heaven…after the show, both were passed out in the back seat five minutes down Lake Shore Drive.

   We still have a dial up service for the internet. One day Chrissy tells me that the e-mail server isn’t working, when she hits send it just stays in the outbox. I tell the server may have been down…problem is this happens several times to her and never to me. So once again I show her what to do, as I’m dialing up our server she starts yelling at me, “you never said I had to get online!” which I politely reply (while falling out of my chair laughing), “How the fuck do you think the e-mail gets from our computer to someone else’s computer?!!” This becomes quite an argument with comments like “you’re an asshole” (Chrissy) and “do you have phone conversations with people by picking up the phone and not dialing?” (Me) and “how did you get a college degree with logic like this?”(again, Me). After it all settles down, we kiss passionately, rip each others clothes off, and have wild sex right on my desk. Now, only half that story is true, you figure it out.

   Part of adopting the dogs, was agreeing to take them to obedience classes. Great. You throw a Frisbee and they give you that ‘get it yourself’ look. Well it turns out that being obedient also includes stay, sit and down…three things a Pyr does without being told. I swear we had to wake Glacier up after extended ‘down’ training. Of course Fluffy would sit forever, but the instructor would shake a box of dog biscuits and say “who wants a treat?”…and Fluff was off and running like Jenna Bush after free drinks. Somehow Fluff finished second and Glacier third in the class.

   Christy went to a bear conference in Tucson this spring. I decided to tag along and check out the desert for the first time in my life. It was a great trip. I went hiking out in the desert, which was very strange, almost like being on another planet. I was spooked by every little movement because everything looks so dead in the desert. The great thing is the lack of humidity. I drank several gallons of various liquids and didn’t pee once in five days. It was amazing. One day I drove 90 miles through an Indian reservation. I’m not lying about this, there were about 100 beer cans and bottles thrown on the side of the road per mile...I saw approximately 10,000 beer cans and not one Indian with a tear in his eye. The Delgado’s met us in Tucson. We went out into the desert, visited old missions, drove up Mount Lemon and partied at the Reid Park Zoo with the conference people. The party was great. There was a Desert DooWop band that was all transplanted New Yorkers and Chicagoans. They were very good, so were the traditional Mexican dancers, mostly little kids. I was up close taking pictures, when a little 5 year old boy lost his sombrero while dancing with a little girl. When I got back to our table Mrs. D was going on & on about the cute little boy with the sombrero, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that he said “Oh Shit” when he lost his hat. Overall the desert was beautiful; I can’t wait to go back.

  About this same time, I agreed to take pictures of Flat Stanley for my Cousin Kathy’s kid. Flat Stanley is a paper cut out of a person…you take him with you and describe the pictures so kids learn about other places…apparently these kids don’t get out much…anyway I agreed to do it. Flat Stanley almost got me killed, laid and arrested. My first day in the desert, I’m placing him at the base of a cactus when some prehistoric looking bug buzzes around me scaring the shit out of me, then I notice a tarantula on the ground. I almost left Stanley behind in my haste to escape. While hiking, I put Stanley in my backpack. The sweat from my water bottle made Stanley a paraplegic. So I took him to the hotel’s front desk and embarrassingly asked the two hotties working the counter for some tape to repair Stanley. They thought he was so cute and I was such a good guy for doing this project that they were all over me, then Chrissy found me in the lobby…damn. Finally, I took Stanley to the Ford Theater to see a play in Chicago. Before the curtain went up, I took his picture in my seat with a Playbill. Next thing I know security is asking me “Who the hell is Flat Stanley?” and “do you know you can be removed for taking pictures?” This is why I don’t have kids…I don’t want to do this shit.

   In May the attic was finally finished. I don’t have time to go into details about the amount of bitching I had to endure about how long it took my friends to complete the job. Once it was finished, Chrissy was so excited about how perfect it looked that we kissed passionately, ripped each others clothes off and had wild sex all over the attic. (You married guys now which part is true!) . The attic now looks like a cabin retreat in the mountains, unless of course, you look out the windows and see suburban Chicago. We need to paint some scenery on those damn windows.

   I stood up in my friend Ralph’s wedding…it was an Italian wedding from the Italian spoken by the bridal party( I was the only Italian half-breed) right down to the huge dessert table after dinner. Before dinner a Sinatra type singer was serenading the bride & groom when the ringer bearer(Ralph’s nephew who looked just like a seven year-old Sinatra) interrupted him to tell everyone a joke…with mic in hand he told the joke about peeing on buttercups when Mother Nature appears & says you can’t have butter for the rest of your life…and the punch line is thank God I wasn’t peeing on a pussywillow…the singer was stunned, the rest of us were laughing hysterically especially when the singer asked “where’d you hear a joke like that” and he replied “from my mother”.

   In an effort to get into shape, we began biking. We make it out occasionally, one Sunday, the skies were threatening, so Chrissy bailed on biking with Mike Crafton & I. We took off hoping for the best. Ten minutes out it starts raining. We decide to push on, by the time we make the forest preserve, it’s pouring and lightning is crashing all around us, we find a dry spot under a tall tree ( I said dry not safe), the lightning let up so we pushed on, by the five mile marker, the wind has increased along with the rain…at the ten mile marker small dogs are swirling in the air around us…we give up and head back…as we walk through the door completely drenched Chrissy says to Glacier “look it’s Dumb & Dumber”!

   My mom always told me a story about her father that amused me. He died when I was 3 so I don’t remember him, but this story always made me think that I had his sense of humor. It seems he would stop by to see my mom, take one look at me and ask “do you still shit in your pants?” My mom would reply “he’s just a baby!”. Anyway this brings us to a hot summer day this past August. After working all day, ingesting my usual 5-6 Pepsi’s and who knows what other combination of junk food, I go to baseball practice, eat some fruit and drink Gatorade on the way there. Practice is uneventful. But on the way home my stomach is churning like a motherfucker, the pain is building and what is this….traffic is at a standstill on the highway and I’m stuck between exits. By now the pain is excruciating, I’m working the gas & brake pedals with my legs crossed (try to do this, it’s damn near impossible) and trying to weave through traffic which is not moving an inch…I swear. I’m battling my lower bowels for like 30 minutes and I’m in unimaginable pain. I’ll spare you the details but Grandpa the answer is “yes”. Just another of the many signs of getting old…fucking incontinence…this one I could do without.

I still pretend to be a hockey player…but this brings lots of signs of getting old. I now chase kids half my age around the ice. I also complain about the late 10:50PM games. I’ve been playing that late for years but now it bothers me…excuse me…I gotta run to the bathroom…damn this getting old sucks. I agree with Denis Leary, you can have my later years…the drooling on yourself, shitting yourself, someone has to wipe your ass years…damn, I’m 2/3rds of the way there. I gotta wonder if Chrissy loves me that much.

   In August we went to NYC to visit family and my parents came too. We stayed a few nights in Manhattan with my parents. This actually was a lot of fun…there were ‘slowly we turned…step by step’ moments but most were avoided by staying calm. We had Mimosa’s at The Tavern On The Green on a picture perfect day, we saw the play Frankie & Johnny and afterwards my mom took pictures of the stars Stanley Tucci and Edie Falco with my cousin Terri. The pictures would have turned out better if there was only film in the camera. She can’t blame this on a ‘senior moment’ (her sister Pat’s phrase) because she’s been doing this for years. The whole Ott family went to an Italian restaurant in my Aunt’s neighborhood for dinner one day. My Aunt warned the portions were very big…so what…we all ate a ton of good food…everyone said they were stuffed…couldn’t eat another bite. My parents and Maryann went out to smoke; Chrissy went to the bathroom downstairs. Terri & I order a dessert platter with fruit, cannolis, sorbeto and more…it was huge. The smokers came in and started in on the dessert…God it was delicious…and those people were devouring it…I was barely able to save a grape and a strawberry for Christy as she made her way back from the bathroom. I plan these trips very carefully, to make the best of our time on vacation…OK I ADMIT TO BEING ANAL…that’s beside the point. We run around the city all day long, my parents are good for a half day. So I decide to start the day by taking the Staten Island Ferry to Staten Island then right back to Manhattan. A nice relaxing boat trip. The Gilligan Island survivors had a better boat trip. Once on Staten Island my dad decides to take charge (OK Gen Custer “what next”) He decides to jump on the Staten Island Railroad (only because it’s free according to Chrissy) and take it to Great Kills to relax on the beach. Now we are not dressed for the beach, nor do we want to go to a beach. Once on the train we learn you have to make bus connections to get to the shore, apparently there is no beach…what is there you ask…a closed garbage dump that was reopened in order to bring the Twin Tower rubble there. This trip was wisely aborted about halfway. That night Chrissy referred to it as the trip to KILL ME! Overall the trip was a great visit with family and Chrissy & I visited all 5 boroughs…( the Bronx Zoo & Coney Island in Brooklyn)… a thorough trip through my favorite city.

   For my birthday this year, we put JD to sleep. This would have been a gift if it was one of the other cats, but JD was the coolest cat I’ve ever had. He was like a dog. He’d come when you called him and would play on the floor with you. While digging his grave in the yard I was complaining about being so old to which Chrissy replied “if you dig the whole big enough, I’ll bury your fat ass too!” I started to dig a grave for two but at my age, I got too tired. Bye JD, we miss you.

   Quick notes from a fast year…Chrissy turned 40…hahaha…I DJ’d my 20 year reunion this summer… Look for Chrissy on the Animal Planet’s “That’s My Baby”, the polar bear episode. It was filmed this summer at the zoo. She wants to know how many of you mom’s with human babies got cable specials about your kids and future episodes of “Scared Straight” will not count…we entertained British soccer players & German exchange students that stayed with Kimmie this summer…this year we saw more plays (Contact, Movin Out, Aida, Copenhagen, Dirty Blonde, Kiss Me Kate, Proof, 42nd St, Suessical) than concerts (Art Alexakis, Ryan Adams, The Warped Tour, Mighty Mighty Bosstones & Steve Earle) this year…yet another sign of aging too rapidly…while djing at the waterpark this summer, I was asked my age by a cute kid with a puppy love look in her eyes…upon hearing my answer, she replied “aren’t you too old to be a DJ?”...I didn’t see her again the rest of the summer…another sign of getting old…our flower girl turned 21…now she can use her real license…send us your e-mail address to …this could be multimedia next year

   Well, another year has gone by and I know we didn’t get to see most of the people who receive this stupid newsletter. The fact that you get this means we are at least thinking of you. The invitation to visit goes out to everyone, the remodeled attic is open for business…we have a friends & family rate…friends can stay a little cheaper (and longer)…we really do want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas & the Happiest of New Years!!!!...and something we learned from our British friends…CHEERS!

No comments:

Post a Comment