A few years ago, Judy and I were driving home on Hwy. 41 when I noticed a tarantula on the upper corner passenger side of the window of the car. Judy rolled the window down to try to get rid of it and it got sucked into the car.

I continued driving and she was trying to see where it went, but couldn’t find it, so we thought it had blown off, outside the car.

A few minutes later, I felt something crawling up my leg under my jeans, and looked down – there was a lump moving up the inside of my pants leg…

Yep – it was the tarantula inside my pants. I quickly pulled over at the first opportunity, got out, ran to the other side of the car and jumped up and down while un-doing my pants until the thing (the tarantula, I mean) fell out onto the ground.

It really freaked Judy out and I wasn’t too happy about it, either. But it was super hilarious after it was over.

She doesn’t open the window to shake bugs off the car anymore…

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Her name was Cathy…  She lived just down the street from me, and we were in several classes together in the sixth grade.  She was smart and I was – me.  We didn’t talk much, but we had been neighbors and classmates since the fourth grade, and I thought she was kind of cute – she had blonde hair, a pageboy haircut, blue eyes behind, and framed by, some sort of tortoise shell looking glasses with fairly thick lenses.  Though I didn’t quite understand why, I really liked her and wanted to get to know her better. 

During class one day, we were instructed to form teams of two for some assignment or other.  I was about to team up with one of my buddies when I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I turned around and almost swallowed my tongue – there was Cathy – standing before me and looking all cute…

Our eyes locked, and for a short eternity, I was completely lost to all that was happening around me…  My universe had suddenly contracted to the exact space in which Cathy and I were standing… There were no stars, no planets, no moons, no sky, no sea, no people… There were only her eyes, and I was immersed in those two pools of blue – It truly was one of those incredibly rare moments in life when time becomes completely frozen in its temporal tracks.  And then she spoke… To ME…

She said “Billy, will you be my partner?” 

My heart joined my tongue, stuck in my throat… I didn’t know what to say… I – I stammered, searching for words, just – just the right words… What were the words I needed at this exact moment???  Where were they? The words that would be etched in her mind for all time as the most perfect, the most wonderful, the most – the most – the most – perfect statement that anyone could ever deliver at this, the most perfect moment in my life, so far??

Search as I might, the words wouldn’t come… So, rather than say something imperfect, I did the next worst thing… Simply stated, I farted.  It wasn’t of the great bull moose variety, mind you (I doubt it was heard in the principal’s office), but it was loud enough…  I had heard it, she had heard it, she knew that I had heard it, I knew that she had heard it. And, worst of all, we each knew that the other knew that we had each heard it…

This, of course, broke the spell…  She must have assumed that my flatulence was just my way of saying “No,” because she just turned away and found another partner.  

It is still, today, the most humiliating moment of my life.  And it’s also one of my great disappointments.  My one chance with the girl of my dreams, gone in an audible puff of methane.

Fortunately, it was not long after this that my dad was transferred to Ventura…

(From Chapter 7 of my bio. But I thought it would be a good addition to the category…)

** ” How could something so simple be so hard?”

Here, another great lesson in life was revealed to me:  The words “Simple” and “Easy” are not synonyms.  I don’t even think the actual definitions share any letters in common.  I wanted them to be the same, but the best I could do was to make up my own definition of each…  After much contemplation, I decided that:

  • The concept of Simplicity is conceptual
  • The concept of Easiness is procedural

For instance:

  • The concept of a G, C , D chord progression is simple, not confusing.
  • The process of putting them together on the fret board of a guitar for the first time is hard, not easy.

So that (applying the Bill Kammerer “’swapping the order’ law of equality” to the second statement):

  • Simple = Not Confusing
  • Easy = Not Hard

By doing this, I was at least able to come up with definitions that shared a common word: 

“Not.”

The only thing that I could determine about the mutual sameness of the two concepts is that they are “NOT” the same.

Therefore:  Simple ≠ Easy

 

“…Yeah, I know… Me, too…  I was practically dumbstruck… nearly completely without words.  And the only words I could think of at that precise moment was a two-part phrase beginning with the word “holy” that had actually gotten my mouth washed out with soap a few years earlier… 

“With that event still fresh in my memory, I decided that silence is the better part of swearing, so, silent I remained…” – The Very William H. Kammerer, Jr, Esq. (not)

A couple of days ago I did something that I almost never do. I did one of those copy and paste things on Facebook.

Unfortunately, this has lead to the exposition of at least one of my life’s most closely guarded secrets. Things I have been afraid to reveal for reasons that – well, read below…

 

 

 

As you can see, I got a few responses from friends and relatives around the country, mostly adhering to the ‘one word’ part of the project, and those that added more didn’t do too badly.

And then this showed up…

I was, to say the least, surprised. Here’s why…

Dear Tom, I love you, man. I have always loved you. I will always love you. But now you have revealed, for all of the world to see, my most closely held secret, and it hurts.

I have never spoken of my heroic deeds within the space program. I have always painted myself as your normal, every day (albeit abnormally handsome) all American guy. I had hoped to have people love me for my “ordinariness” – never suspecting my extraordinary accomplishments on Earth, in space and under the sea.

I wished that my self-sacrificing actions in singlehandedly saving the world from complete and utter destruction at the hands of an, (thus far, known only to the three of us) enemy might stay hidden in the dark recesses of our memories.

But now you have exposed a small hint of my true greatness, and I fear that people will look at me differently… Not loving me for who I pretend to be, but for who I truly am.

Sadly, I will now have to practice making my signature semi-legible for all of the autograph seekers about to invade my space. And then there are the Paparazzi – who knows what to expect from them…

I could request that everybody who reads your description of how we first met take it as a brilliant and successful attempt at humor, however, by the time they get to the end of your post, they will have realized that “there was always something ‘different’ about” me and that your report can only be taken seriously and not as a humorous joke meant to elicit laughter.

As I said in the beginning, I still love you, man…

PS – Your family and friends should know about your own heroics, Tom. Have you told them about the “volcanic surface of Jupiter” incident? I didn’t think so…

Update:

jupiter 1.jpg

Alarm goes off…

Judy turns off the alarm, yawns, turns to me and says: “The ‘Room Sensitivity Index’ is required in order to calculate the ‘Furniture Pain Score’.”

I respond: “Good morning.”

Obviously, she understands math better than I do.

Upon waking in the morning, I imagine that most happy wives might greet their husbands with the words “Good morning,” or “Did you sleep well,” or “I love you” or something else heartwarming…

Judy is special…

Alarm rings, Judy turns it off and turns to me…

Judy:  “I have some sad news about my purse.”

Me, yawning and stretching:  “Do you need another new purse?”

J:  “Not anymore.”

So I’m sitting in my home office eating a bowl of oatmeal with raisins when the cat prances in and, without so much as a “hello”, throws up on my carpet and walks out again.

That’s it. Just enter, barf, exit.

At least she is efficient.

Is It Too Late?

July 9, 2018

I started going grey pretty early in life – in my early 20’s if I remember right. The process sped up quite a bit in my very early 30’s – about the time that my oldest child, my beloved daughter, hit 12 1/2 years of age. Not sure why that happened…

Couple that with the fact that I also have 10 younger siblings – 6 sisters (responsible for my learning to dance… Waiting for the bathroom…) and 4 brothers (at least partly responsible for me having hair because my dad gave me his and he loved me so much that he threw in Tim’s, John’s and Bob’s hair along with it).

Well, when I started going grey, I also started getting a lot of “old man” comments from my brothers. I never stopped getting them until this happened:

When It did happen, I decided to take the high road and not seek revenge on the perpetrators. Rather, I attempted to be encouraging, supportive and helpful.

Don’t worry, Tim, you’re not losing hair, you’re gaining face…

Bob, it’s not that bad – you hair isn’t receding, it’s just moving down to your back…

Hey John, just think how easy it will be to find you with a flash light if you ever get lost in a deep cave… Even if the search party doesn’t see you directly, they can still find you by the reflection of the light off your head onto the ceiling… 

I’m such a good brother.

Truth be told, there was a brief period when I seemed to be finding my hair in combs, brushes, drains, and pillowcases, etc.. I don’t know if it was a seasonal or environmental thing, but I wanted to be encouraging to my brothers, not join them in their folliclessness… 

I found some stuff that’s advertised to arrest your hair from falling out. Not sure if it works, but I noticed that whatever hair loss I was experiencing stopped dead when I started using it. 

And now, decades later…

Oh… Hey guys! I forgot to tell you about this stuff:

Is it too late?

 

* (You may be wondering “what about your other brother? I he OK?

Well, actually, yes. He was too young to make verbal attacks on my hair color at the time, so he seems to have been spared the hair loss thing. Good for you, Jimmy!)

 

Hearing Aids…

July 7, 2018

For years, the first word out of my mouth when addressed by my wife was, “Huh?”. This was usually followed by a repeat, on her part, of whatever it was that I didn’t hear the first time, and completed by the words, “will you PLEASE check into getting hearing aids??!!

This went on, as I said, for many years. More than a decade, actually. 

Then one day a little over two years ago, I decided that, maybe, I should have my hearing checked and I contacted the VA medical system to set up an appointment.

It was all pretty painless and after two visits – one to get tested and measured and one to pick them up – I walked out with a brand new pair of electronic ears. I commenced to wearing them over the next several days to get used how they work. 

These particular devices are built so that they fit into your ear in a fashion that makes them almost invisible to the naked eye. AND you can control them with a device that hangs around your neck and connects to the aids via Bluetooth technology. 

AND that’s not all! you can also connect to your cell phone the same way! 

But, after a few days of wearing out the novelty, I stopped wearing them on a regular basis. Oh, I didn’t just let them rot for six months at a time, I would throw them on every so often when I could see Judy becoming frustrated with the word “Huh?”, but I kinda let them rest for weeks or a few months between required usages. 

As time went on and the TV volume grew in inverse proportion to my hearing ability degradation, Judy began to start moving further from the living room when I was observing whatever show I was enthralled with at the time.

I believe the camel’s back finally ruptured when I discovered The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. The show seems to fit in well with my level of sophistication but it is not a good match for Judy’s tastes. 

And there is the fact that, by now, the volume is up to about 79. 

Well, being the perceptive and loving husband that I am, I decided, yesterday, to give the old hearing aids another shot… 

I am happy to report that the situation has improved a lot since the day before yesterday! 

And today I figured out how to connect to both my computer and the TV! I watched a whole episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Judy couldn’t hear a thing!

Grawesome!!

With these little buds in my ear canals, I have the hearing of Superman! I can hear EVERYTHING!

And I mean everything. I can hear so much that, depending on what’s going on around us, I am now having a bit of a challenge hearing Judy when she talks to me…

So, what can I hear? I’ll tell you…

In addition to Judy’s voice and friends talking to me, here are some of the things I can hear with my hearing aids:

  • Dog talking to me
  • Flowers in the garden talking to me
  • Ants crawling on the sidewalk
  • Every breath I take
  • My heartbeat
  • Blood circulating through my veins
  • Me in my “outside” voice
  • Me breathing
  • My hair growing
  • My finger and toenails growing
  • Me scratching my head
  • Toothbrush – sounds like a train
  • Eyes blinking – mine and everybody else’s
  • Teeth grinding
  • Joints cracking
  • Everybody’s thoughts
  • Dog’s breathing
  • Dog’s tags jingling
  • Bird wings flapping
  • Electrons running through wires connected to outlets
  • Vehicles driving along three miles away

The only time I can’t hear any of this stuff is when I’m actively connected to the phone, computer or TV. (And when I say “any of this stuff,” I also mean the human voice…)

Unfortunately, all of this racket is going to drive me nuts so I may have to use the aids somewhat sparingly. Or figure out how to filter some of this stuff out. 

But at least I can turn the TV volume down to zero…

And after taking the garbage out today, I’m really glad that there’s no such thing as smelling aids…

Do You Know This dog?

June 16, 2018

See update at bottom…

Please look at this photo. It is a photo of a dog. She seems to be a very nice dog.

Do you recognize this dog? Because we don’t. 

“So what”, you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you.

She is now a resident at our house. 

“How did she get to be a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you…

She is now a resident at our house because our middle son, Shawn, is camping with his beautiful wife and children in Yosemite National Park.

“What does that have to do with the dog now being a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you…

Judy and I are going to head up to Yosemite tomorrow (Sunday) to hang out with them for a few hours.

“What does that have to do with the dog now being a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you…

Being devout Catholics, we do NOT miss Sunday Mass.

“What does that have to do with the dog now being a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you…

In order to arrive at their camp site at a reasonable hour to give us time to hang out with them for a few hours, we have to leave before Mass starts in the morning.

“What does that have to do with the dog now being a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you…

In order to not miss Mass and, at the same time, hang out with them for a few hours; we went to the Saturday evening vigil Mass, thereby satisfying our Sunday obligation, and enabling us to head out at a time early enough to arrive in time to hang out with them for a few hours and not have to go to confession over it.

“What does that have to do with the dog now being a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you…

When we got to the church, there was a lady arriving and approaching the doors at the same time.

“What does that have to do with the dog now being a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you…

She stopped at the doors because she was guiding a dog (see photo above), hanging on to its collar because she had no leash.

“What does that have to do with the dog now being a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you…

After Mass was over, we were about the last ones to leave. When we exited the church, the lady was there again with the same dog. This time, however, the dog was on a leash and connected to a railing with a tub of water at its face.

“What does that have to do with the dog now being a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you…

It turns out that the dog was not her dog, but one that came up to her, lost. It has tags. On the tags are two phone numbers. One of those numbers goes to a department in a  police station in New York State. The other number takes you to a veterinarian clinic in Arizona. 

We think that the owner may be out here on vacation and they and the dog somehow became separated.

“What does that have to do with the dog now being a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you…

The lady called both numbers and got recordings. Both places are closed for the weekend.

“What does that have to do with the dog now being a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you…

The lady has several dogs, seven cats and a very small house. No room for another animal right now.

“What does that have to do with the dog now being a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you…

Another couple was there, also. they could help out, but they are just on their way to a hotel in San Jose and cannot take any animals with them.

“What does that have to do with the dog now being a resident at your house,” you ask?

Well, I’ll let you guess…

If you guessed that I am stupid, you may be right. I prefer to think that I am just a pushover for a dog in need. 

Somehow, we need to find this dog’s owner and return them to each other’s company. 

Monday, I will be calling the New York number and the Arizona number to see if I can track the owner down. If I can’t track the owner down that way, I will take the dog to our vet and see if it is chipped. If it is, maybe we can find a way to have a reunion. 

If not, we will have to go from there. 

So, as long a shot as I’m pretty sure it is, Do you know this dog?

If not, and we cannot reunite her with her owner, would you LIKE to know this dog???

PS – By the way, because we don’t know this dog, we also don’t know her name. For now, at least, she will be known as Sierra…

PPS – She and Murphy became instant best friends! It was GRAWESOME!

PPPS – Woof.

Up[date 6/18/2018

Judy gave me one job today…

Her name is Harper. She lives in San Francisco. She is licensed in Rochester. She is from Arizona. She was vacationing in Oakhurst.
 
Mission accomplished…

Banned…

June 9, 2018

I have just been banned from telling jokes at home between the hours of 10:00 PM and 8:00 AM. 

Forever, apparently. 

Shakespeare Wrote a lot of stuff, but he missed his chance to become famous when he didn’t write this…

Some days my hearing is not as good as other days. Judy just walked into the room saying something.

I responded,

Bill: “I’m going to get myself donated up? What does that mean?”

Judy: “I don’t know. YOU said it.”

B: “Well, what did you say?”

J: “I’m talking to myself. Don’t interrupt.”

B “Oh.”

Finally, after 67 years, I have met my match in the kitchen. Out of respect for my friend’s family, I will not give his name. 

How do I know that he is my culinary equal?

I’ll tell you…

Judy: “What did you guys have for dinner at the meeting tonight?”

Bill: “Lasagnsicles.”

J: “What’s that?”

B: “It’s frozen lasagna that you are supposed to cook for two hours at 350 degrees that you only cook for forty-five minutes in an oven that’s not turned on.”

And that, dear friends, is how I know that I have met my culinary equal.