Monday, March 31, 2014

Consequences 3

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

So, the chain so far is thus: as a consequence of flirting with the wrong woman I ended up in a cast.
As a consequence of having a cast, on my way to the doctor I was involved in a car accident.
As a consequence of the car accident...

The headache never went away.

It was a constant mind numbing pain that became the background of my life. I mean the kind of headache that under normal circumstances would send you to go lay down until it went away.

Then two or three times a week I got "the spike".
It started by a sudden light headedness before the debilitating feeling of someone driving a red hot spike through my temples. A pain so great it caused nausea, sensitivity to light, sound, and odor!

The only cure was to vomit, and go lay in a dark room, with the gentle whir of a fan blocking out any noise.
4 hours of sleep and I was "functional" again.

I ended up missing more time from school than I was there. I tried to make it into work as much as possible as I still owed money on my wrecked car, bought with a $1000 personal loan from the credit union. Only had PL/PD insurance on it so I could afford to drive. 

This changed me...
My normal happy go lucky  Dr. Jekyll attitude was being suppressed a Mr. Hyde type. Short tempered, angry and combative.

There were other changes as much vaunted memory was failing me. School had always been almost too easy...I could listen to the teacher lecture on a subject, take minimal notes highlighting the core information, and take a test a couple weeks later and not score under a B+ without looking at my notes again!

Now...reading, by the time I got to the end of a paragraph, I'd have to start over having forgotten what I'd read. I had to drop out of our next play (in which I again had the lead) because I couldn't learn the lines... This had NEVER happened to me before!

But the scariest incident happened as I was leaving work one night. As we left, and I got in my suddenly occurred to me I didn't know how to get home. Imagine that if you will...
I knew WHERE I lived, and I knew where I WAS, but how to get from one to the other???? Nothing!
I started to panic, how was this possible?!?

I tried relaxing, clearing my mind...nothing!
I tried to think in reverse, how do I get from home to here? Nothing!
Pre cellphone era I was literally trapped by indecision!
My final solution was to start driving until I saw familiar things. I knew the general direction from where I that's the way I headed. After a couple wrong turns that didn't feel "right", I found my way home.

During this whole time I saw a bevy of Doctors. Our family Dr. was at a loss. I ran the gamut of tests. X-rays, EEG, EKG, CAT scans, Spinal tap to check for meningitis...nothing. Next, finding nothing physically must be in my head right? Psychologists and Psychiatrists followed...with one positing the theory of PTSD because I hit a bus full of kids. ASSHOLE!
If he didn't listen any better than that...he was probably a pretty crappy Psychiatrist!!! The bus was empty AND she pulled in front of ME! I had zero guilt associated with the accident. The others found though mildly depressed I was normal. Well who wouldn't be depressed if your head felt like it was going to explode 24/7?!?

The final straw...and only a very few people know this.
After a fight with my sister, where something very minor she had done, on purpose to bother me had set me off, I lost it! Complete mental breakdown! I beat my sister with a rolled up magazine to it's destruction!
In hysterics I got in my car (a '70 Dodge Dart we'd bought for $50 from a guy my mom worked with) and left. In my pain ravaged and hysterical state, where no one believed there was really anything wrong with me. The solution came to me that a car accident caused this, a car accident would end it!!! I got on M-59 and opened her up...going 120mph (the most I could get out of her) running red lights...I would end my life!
Twenty miles I went...when it occurred to me that I might be doing to someone else what was done to me, I stopped. Still sobbing uncontrollably, I found a payphone and called home. My sister was fine, though Mother and her boyfriend talked me into coming home. It took hours to calm me down enough to allow me to get some sleep.

Suddenly they started taking my problem seriously.

Finally I ended up at the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute under the care of Dr. Joel Saper.
I'll spare the long and short. Diagnosis was the portion of my brain which regulated blood vessel dilation was damaged in what we now call a "closed head injury". So any time I got angry, scared, happy, or excited adrenaline would constrict my blood vessels, and raise my blood pressure to a dangerous level in the classic "fight or flight" response. With no way to relax them again my brain started getting oxygen starved, causing nausea, pain and memory loss. I started getting a "spike" while at Dr. Sapers and my BP was recorded at 220/170! 

It was decided I needed immediate inpatient treatment, at Chelsea Community Hospital near Ann Arbor, MI.
A six week stint while they tried different drug cocktails to get me relief. While I was in I only had two visitors that were not family. An ex girlfriend and my good buddy Ed Musiel (who I'm still proud to call my friend to this day).

Finally upon my release I was back to myself, thanks to a daily cocktail of powerful drugs. I would still get an occasional "spike" but had a separate fast acting drug to help counteract that. Eventually the problem would "self correct" they told me, but it may take years. I was on that cocktail for 3 years. And to this day need BP medication.

Most of the time from the accident to leaving the hospital is a blur to me with a few incidents standing out...

My Senior year of High school went normally. I managed passing grades in 3 of my 7 classes from the second semester of my Junior year, taking an "incomplete" in three others, but my Chemistry teacher (that Really disliked me) was having none of it and gave me an "F", the only failing grade I ever received...just for spite. Seems he thought if I could pass other classes, I ought to have been able to pass his.

When I graduated in June (I'd have had the credits to graduate early had it not been for the accident) I attempted to enlist, per "the plan". 

Only to be rejected on Medical grounds. Not only would they not accept me because of the drugs I was on, but a report from a Neuropsychologist suggested another severe blow to the head could be catastrophic and possibly fatal. The military wouldn't touch me with a ten foot pole!!!

Not having the grades for a scholarship, or the money for college I went full time at the sporting goods store.
Thinking I could take classes part time, and somehow salvage the plan. Though my outbursts and attempted suicide while sick would have likely kept me out of both services.

Unfortunately rotating days off made it impossible to take classes, and I needed to work full time to help my Mother keep her house as she had divorced my step dad and need my help, so part time was out of the question.

When the store closed, I sold advertising for a while.

Finally I settled on a new plan...I learned to drive a truck, figuring I could make enough to take some college classes AND help mom. Bounced around a couple jobs before I landed at Perry Drugs, still unable to take classes as I couldn't plan anything! Not a 9 to 5 job, you left with a full truck and you weren't done until it was empty!!!

There I met the woman that would become Mama bear, and married her. We had Princess Bear.

After 11 years there, my wife's cousin Paige told us that for the first time in their history GM would be hiring "outside" drivers. I jumped at the chance to almost double my wages, and halve my workload!

9 months after GM hired me they sold the division to Penske! I worked for them for 18 months until our contract was up. Penske started talking cutting wages...and they offered us a chance to go back to GM.
It meant working in a plant, but I figured trucking companies come and go, in a hundred years there would be a GM...would there be a Penske?

So the one thing I told my High school self I'd NEVER exactly what I'm doing.

One little bad decision...had such consequences.

Hope your decisions turned out better than mine did!

Be Well!

Beastly Bear

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Consequences 2

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Now for the "Rest of the Story".... very Paul Harvey'esque eh?

I told you how an innocent flirtation landed me in a cast. Read about that here.

So I dutifully wore my compression cast for the next 8 weeks. Drama club was doing the play "On Borrowed Time", and I had the lead "Gramps". We took our little play to Regional Forensic competition and while we didn't win "Best Play" I did take home the "Best Actor" award.

So the night we were to open for a paying audience was also the day I was to finally get my cast off. We stayed after school for a final run through, and I offered one of my castmates, Stacey Penrod a ride home before heading to my Doctor for final x-rays.

It was a dreary, rainy and gray November day.

I was still driving my first car, a 1973 Pontiac Catalina 2-door. You know, one of those cars that seemed like a "Starship" compared to today's "shuttle craft".

My Doctors office was in Rochester on Walton Blvd., not far from Crittenton Hospital.

As I came up on Old Perch Rd. I saw a school bus facing me in the left turn lane. A '60s era all steel built like a tank school bus...

As I was, oh twenty-five yards from the intersection the light turned yellow...and the bus turned in front of me.

Traveling 55mph I never even had a chance to hit the brakes before the collision.

In slow motion I watched my car come apart around me. My hands at ten and two, I watched the top of the steering wheel break forward and my hands go into the instrument panel. That mile long hood came back up over the windshield. The motor/trans broke free of their mounts and pushed through the transmission "hump" and into the passenger compartment, luckily on the passenger side. At this point my body pivoted upwards, fulcruming at my arms and the top of my head went through the windshield and into the hood.
My chest struck the steering column, before I was jerked back into my seat by the seatbelt. For you youngsters, this was before shoulder belts were permanently attached, they were folded up in a clip above the window and you had to manually unfold them and attach them separately before putting the seatbelt on.
And nobody ever did!!!

The world came back to normal speed as my ass landed back in the seat!!! Through steam and smoke and the smell of gasoline I maintained enough sense to shut the cars ignition off before before there was a fire.

I tried to get out the door, it would only open about an inch. I laid across the seat, got both feet up and several kicks later I was able to just squeeze out the door.

As I stumbled up to the bus, the driver was in near hysterics! The bus was empty except for her, she was running late on her route to pick up her elementary students, which is why she jumped the light. She was on the radio with dispatch getting police sent. As I knocked on the door I heard her saying:
"I think I just killed somebody..."
She was quite shocked when she opened the doors and I asked HER "Are you alright?"
"Oh MY GOD! I thought you were dead...I've got police on the way."

After making sure she was OK, I went back to my car to get my registration and proof of insurance from the glovebox. As I laid across the seat to reach, I must have passed out...the next thing I remember a cop was pulling me out of the car by my feet. (remember folks, this was 34 years ago)

I was talking and lucid so he canceled the ambulance and took the accident report, issuing neither of us a ticket, though she clearly failed to yield to oncoming traffic. She said she didn't see my shiny black car against the shiny black pavement...

Because I was bleeding here and there, from my head and cast was MIA having disintegrated in the accident.

So he drove me to the Emergency room at Crittenton to be looked at, and called my mom at work to come get me. Leaving me to wait my turn, he left.

I had had plans to go to church with a young lady named Theresa Blust that I was interested in, and had to call her to say I would not be making it. I was on the payphone with her when my mother blew into the waiting room like a hurricane. Wanting to know what the hell was going on, why were the police calling her from work to come get me??? When I explained she started to shake, evidently she had passed the accident on the way there. Didn't even recognize my car, and had thought whoever had been in that car must have died.

The Doctors gave me a full round of x-rays, head, chest, arms and hands. A cursory neurological exam and sent me on my way seeing no immediate signs of a concussion in spite of my temporary loss of consciousness. I did not re-injure my arm and despite a couple stitches appeared fine.

I went on that night with the play, despite a blinding headache...which I figured was "normal" given the circumstances...the show must go on after all!

Little did I know, this would become my "normal" for the next nine months and would change the trajectory of my life...

Ok, that's not the rest of the story, but an important part...Coming in "Consequences 3" I hope to finish the chain.

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The squirrel lady...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

You know how most families have that "crazy cat lady"? Aunt or cousin, you shake that family tree hard enough one will fall out.

Not us, we have "the squirrel lady", and it's my Mom!

One of my earliest memory's from the time I was about three was of a squirrel coming up to our storm door on a sunny summer day and scratching to get my Mom's attention so she'd bring him a cookie!

Eventually she had me out there hand feeding the little critter.

When we moved to Waterford, she really put out the welcome mat...bird feeders, squirrel feeders, birdbaths, you name it. 

For years she was content to watch and feed them...
Until one afternoon after a spring storm her boyfriend found a baby squirrel that had fallen from it's nest.

Almost hairless, eyes not even opened yet...I thought surely it would die.

But my Mother was determined to save it!
She made a makeshift nest by shredding and old towel, and putting it over a heating pad in a cardboard box. At first she fed it with an eye dropper, as it grew a bottle for small animals. It not only survived, it thrived.

At the time they were deeply involved watching in the HBO show " The Sopranos" so my Mom decided to name him Paulie Walnuts after the character of the same name played by Tony Sirico.

This just cracked my mother up!!!

Well within a year she had a full grown fox squirrel as a pet!

She bought a large parrot cage to put him in at night and when she was at work...otherwise the thing would ride around on her shoulder.

She cut some tree branches so he'd have limbs to run and climb. She made a kind of hammock/sling from an old bath towel for him to sleep in, and lined the bottom with shredded newspaper.

And this bushy tailed rat lived like a king!!!

Let me tell you this squirrel ate better than most people I knew!!! She bought him FRESH corn on the cob, because he wouldn't eat frozen! She bought him mixed nuts from the produce section of the grocery store, and then would take the nutcracker and crack the nuts so he could "get into them easier, otherwise it's too hard."

"TOO HARD?!? Mom, he's a freaking SQUIRREL!!! It's what he DOES!!!" Good God, there was no talking to her about it.

One day she calls me up and asks me if I can find online,some offbeat brand of individual cup applesauce...when asked why this particular brand she tells me:

"Well, I used to buy it at Big Lots but they don't sell it anymore"

"But why that brand? Don't you guys like Mott's, or Musselmans?" I asked.

"Oh it's not for us, it's for Paulie! He won't eat those other ones..."

"Sounds to me like he doesn't want applesauce very damn bad..."

"He's very particular..."

"Ma, he's a squirrel...for Gods sake!!!"

I even got accused of poisoning him once...
For having the temerity to buy my Mother a Calla lily for Easter! She called me in tears, evidently calla lilies are extremely caustic and when Paulie ate some of the leaves it burned his mouth and throat so badly he could not eat!!!

Apparently I should have known this...and not bought her a poisonous plant.

"Well I didn't think you'd let the damn squirrel eat the calla lily Mom...why would I?"

"He just wanted to try it....and now he might die!!!"

He didn't, Mom pulled him out of that too by mixing cooked veggies and milk into a "soup", loading it into a cocktail straw and trickling it down his throat until he recovered enough to eat on his own!

She told any and everyone that would listen about old Paulie Walnuts. I still meet people who tell me they know my Mom because of that damn squirrel!

When her longtime boyfriend was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, they got a dual headstone...with a squirrel between them.

Paulie lived to the ripe old age of 9, quite old for a squirrel...and when he passed she had him cremated.

With plans to have him placed in the coffin with her when her time comes...yep "crazy squirrel lady"!

She still feeds the neighborhood squirrels... Peanut butter sandwich cookies!

I asked her if her plan was to make them so fat she'll be able to run down another one? They can barely climb trees anymore...poor things.

Hope you all have a great Saturday!

Be Well!

Beastly Bear

Friday, March 28, 2014


Den of the Beastly Bear

Hiya Folks!

Having casually strolled past the half century mark in my life, it's only natural to look back and wonder:
"How in the HELL did I get HERE?

I think I owe where I am, or can blame it all on one thing...a woman!

From the time I was but a tyke I had one job, one plan in mind for how my adult life would be. I was gonna be a cop.

I grew up on a steady diet of Adam-12, Dragnet, Barretta, Ironsides...yep definitely gonna be a cop.

By the time I hit High School there was a refined notion that either the FBI, or the Marshals service was the place for me.

And I had a plan to effect this notion.
Out of school I would join the Marine Corp. like dear old Dad, but I would be an MP. Take my college classes while in...apply to the FBI or Marshals upon discharge.

One thing was for sure...I was NEVER working for GM!

Then the " woman" happened...

Her name was Barb.
She went to my school, a year older than me. She was friends with one of the cashiers at my part time job, Carol. Carol and I were friends from school and Drama club.

When one of our other cashiers left, they hired Barb.

Built like a brick shithouse, with eyes the color of the sea during a storm. She wore her medium brown hair in a Dorothy Hamil bob that perfectly complimented her full lips and cute little upturned nose.

I was infatuated...

She had only one told to me by her friend Carol, she was BAT SHIT CRAZY!!!

I was too young to understand the full import of that statement!

When a guy tells you a woman is crazy, chances are she's shot him down. When a woman tells you another woman is crazy, she's probably jealous of her. When a woman tells you her friend is crazy, brother you better believe that shit!!!

Barb was depressive and a cutter back before we had really identified those things. I didn't care, I could fix her!

One Saturday night after work, as we headed out to our cars...Barb and I were chatting. I walked her to her blue metallic '72 Nova, as everyone else left we stood there talking. I felt I was making good progress...

After a while Barb said "Well, I should be going..."
In that wishy washy way girls do when they want you to beg them to stay.

"Ah, come on Barb you don't really have to go do ya?"

"Well...I should..." She said.

"Five more minutes...surely you can stay 5 more minutes?" 
In my head it didn't sound as desperate as it does now.

"Nope, gotta go...see you Monday." And she hoped in her car after a quick hug.

Being a playful, silly guy I hoped up on the fender of her car and said "You can't leave if I'm sitting on your car! Hahaha"

Without a word, she smiled at me...started the car, dropped it in gear...and FLOORED IT!!!!

As those 300 horses roared their fury I realized I was in trouble...thrown back against the windshield.

What had started out as being silly, had suddenly turned into a very dangerous situation!

I didn't even have time to hop off before we were going dangerously fast, the hood on a '72 Nova is flush so there was nothing to grab a hold she headed towards the exit she had to make a sharp right hand turn. Without slowing she juked the wheel to the right and I went sailing off the hood at almost 35 miles an hour!

Though I landed on my feet, I certainly could not run 35 miles an as I tumbled towards the asphalt I instinctively put out my hands to keep from face planting the parking lot. As I hit I was able to tuck a shoulder under me and roll to a stop...more or less in a heap!

As I lay there trying to figure out what was broken I heard her back up, roll down her window and in a giggly sing songy voice said: 
"That's what ya get...hahahaha!"
And in a squeal of tires, off she went...

As I unfolded myself and stood up, my clothes were ripped and my left arm wasn't working quite right. Not broken, but not right either...and limped to my car.

"Bat shit crazy?" I thought "Fucking INSANE is more like it!!!"

The infatuation was over...

So my wounded pride, screwed up arm, and broken crush took our stupid ass home.

By the next day I had no left arm was the same size elbow to hand...and I had Popeye forearms before this, so this was not good. That, and any movement caused immense pain!

Off to Emergency...
Torn ligament's and a fractured ulna bought me strap-on cast, made in two halves and held together by an ACE bandage. I would need to wear this for 8 weeks.
Not the end of the world, it was early in my junior year...I'd survive.

What I had no way of knowing...

This one simple act of flirtation would set in motion a string of events.

Events that would cause me to almost fail my junior year, keep me out of the military, ruin my chances of going into law enforcement and almost cost me my life, twice.

But that is a story for another day...

Anyway, my point...and yes there is one, lol.
Is that the simplest of decisions can forever alter your life...

I've tried to instill this notion in my daughter.

That there are always consequences. 

They may not be immediate or easily identified but they are always there.

That, and be very careful who you let into your life...

Of course had it not been for the happily insane Barb, I'd never have met Mama Bear, and Princess Bear would not exist. So I DO have things to thank Barb for.

But I'd like to kick her ass for costing me my career, cause working for GM is just not cutting it!!! Lol

Well, there's always the lottery...


Happy Friday Folks!

Be Well!

Beastly Bear

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not what I expected...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Another tale from the "Ghost Files" from my days working at Waterford Kettering High School.

A few months after the girls broke into the Cheerleader locker room (read about that here), it was the Drama teacher that sought me out.

Patti Looman, the Legendary Drama teacher at Kettering had retired the year previously...and this new teacher was struggling to distinguish herself from the shadow of her predecessor! She must not have done that great a job, as her name slips my!

Anyway, she came to me to say that someone was getting into the prop/costume room above the stage.

She had found cigarette butts and things were moved.
Costumes had been thrown on the floor into a "pile", evidently to sit on as there was no furniture up there.
Her very real fear was of these kids accidentally starting a fire up there, and it going full bore before anyone knew it!!!

Again, this is a locked room and she had the only key save for the custodial staff, principals, and hall monitor/security. She never is without her key or loaned it was a mystery. I LOVE a mystery!

I discussed the situation with the other monitors and the principals and it was decided I'd pull another covert vigil to see what I could find out. Because the room was so rarely visited she had no idea when this was occurring so I could be in for a long wait.

The stage, like at most High schools of the day was in the Gymnasium. Not long after I'd graduated the school went from gender specific gym classes to a coed format. Normally my suspicions would have run to the girls, as the stage was on their "side" of the gym, now it could be anyone.

Drama club was preparing for their final play of the year, and the stage proper was in somewhat of a disarray. Luckily for me there was a couch not being used for their production at the back (read darkest part) of the stage. By rearranging a couple screens, I had a little "blind" built with a clear view of the prop room door. I set up outside, so I could see exactly how they were getting in.

Because of my previous experiences I thoroughly examined the door to make sure it was in fact locked, the mesh vent at the bottom was secure, in short there was no way they should be being able to get in there.

So, I sat my blind right after the beginning of first period. Got comfortable on my couch and sat in the dark to wait...just like deer hunting! Lol

It was almost lunchtime before my quarry appeared.

There were 2 of them, that much I was sure of, it was too dark to tell if they were boys or girls...they were of a height, about the same size and weight...other than that I had no idea who they were.

They came in around the side of the curtain, walked quickly and quietly right to the door and within seconds were inside. WHAT?

I checked that damn door, it was definitely locked!

Through the vent screen I saw the light come stayed on long enough for them to navigate their way up the stairs, and then the light went out.

Just like the girls in the locker room.

I gave them about five minutes to get settled and comfy before making my way to the door.

Silently as possible I tried the door, still locked!
I quietly slid my key in, one tumbler at a time until I could open the door. I ghosted silently through the door and closed it quietly behind me.

I could hear relaxed voices at the top of the stairs, I was undetected.

Now it was up the stairs, one at a time...gently setting down my gum soled shoes as to make minimum noise.

My eyes were well adjusted to the dark, but I could see glow from the lit end of a cigarette though I could smell one recently burned. I didn't know what they were up to, but I no longer heard talking.

I searched behind me to find the light switch, I had no idea where in the room they were, but it was not an overlarge room.

I hit the switch and said "Hi guys!!!"

The surprise was mine this time, as what I saw before me was a couple "In Flagrante Delicto"!!! YIKES!!!

A certain scene from the movie "Porky's" flashed through my head an instant before the young lady screamed like her skin was being peeled!

There was a mad scrambling for anything with which to cover themselves from the pile of costumes they were using for a bed...their clothing, in a pile not far from my feet being unobtainable.

"Ummm, sorry guys..." I stammered out "but how in the hell did you two get in here?!?"

"It was open..." Said the young man.

"No it wasn't...I checked before you guys ever come up on stage, see I was sitting up there waiting for you."

"For us???" The girl, obviously terrified said.

"Well, not you specifically...but whoever was sneaking up here." They looked at each other "So again, how'd you get in here?" 

"I told you, it was open...can we get dressed" the guy, over the initial shock was getting cocky.

"Sure," I said. " unless you want to walk down to the office like that."

I tossed the girl her gym clothes and turned my back so she could get dressed and gestured to the guys clothes indicating he should get dressed as well.

Had I not been in such complete shock I would have thought to search their clothing before allowing them access. 

As the boy picked up his clothes, something went into his hand and right into his mouth! I was across the distance between us in a second, grabbed his throat and told him "SPIT IT OUT...NOW!!!" 

But I was too late while I caught a flash of gold he had already swallowed whatever it was.

"Well, that was stupid..." I told him "what was it?"

"I don't know what you're talking about." He said, a triumphant smile on his lips.

"I wouldn't be too cocky there boss, just because you swallowed's still 'on you'..."

When I got them down to the office, I discovered that the young man was the son of one of the night custodians. It also turned out there had been multiple thefts from otherwise locked rooms throughout the school.

This prompted the inclusion of the Waterford PD Liaison officer. And a trip to Emergency for the young man as I was not certain what he swallowed.

X-rays determined he had swallowed a key. Laying the master key over the x-ray proved it was a "master" key. His mother the custodian was called and she produced her key. While talking with the police the young man admitted to stealing his mothers key as she slept, and having a copy made.

Making a deal with our young felon, the school promised not to prosecute if the stolen property was returned.

Our young lady got a week suspension and I'm sure had plenty of explaining to do at home.

The young man fared far worse, while not prosecuted he was expelled from the ENTIRE school system.
So he finished his schooling, the rest of junior and then senior year elsewhere!

Mom was given an official reprimand for not keeping track of her keys.

All in all a lot of misery for a little bit of fun...

Let's hope your fun is nowhere near as costly!

Be Well!

Beastly Bear

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Saga of "Frankenchair"...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Three years ago, Mama Bear and I decided it was time for new furniture. 

Our old furniture from Jennifer Leather had served us well over the the last 17 years, but it was showing its age...springs broke, and new kittens had destroyed the side of my chair.

So we did some searching, made the rounds to the local furniture stores...before finally deciding on a set from Be Seated Leather in Rochester, MI.

We went with them for several reasons:
  1. Made in the US.
  2. steel frame (we were told)
  3. Lifetime warranty (we were told)
Now this set was not top of the line, but for us it was kind of pricey...but we didn't mind paying for quality, right?


Our set consisted of an electric reclining sofa ($1,700.00) and an oversized electric "King" reclining chair ($1,500.00)!

So we paid our money, placed our order and waited the month and a half for delivery.

It arrived while I was at work, they brought it in, assembled it...tested it.

It looked just like it had in the showroom, Kathy was was all good!

Until I got home...

Like a sign from the Gods, suddenly Kathy's side of the couch inexplicably stopped working. As with anything electrical, the first thing you check is "did it come unplugged from the socket" (always a possibility when you own cats). Nope, plugged in...

So we pulled it out to look underneath. I discovered the problem almost immediately. The electrical system was modular. 
There is the cord that plugs into the wall, which also plugs into the transformer. The transformer is hard wired to a splitter going to the two motors, the motors have a cord hard wired to them that plugs into the splitter. THEN there is the power button that plugs into the opposite side of the motor housing! If any of these come unplugged...nuthin'! That was the problem...

Over the next week, one or more of these came unplugged disabling the couch or the chair.

It was a sign from the Gods...."GET RID OF THIS SHIT NOW!!!"
But, like most mortals I ignored them.

First I tried electrical tape, nope! Duct tape, huh unh! Gorilla Tape (think duct tape on steroids, 3X stickyer and 5X stronger), nyet!
Finally in desperation I super glued the connections together, modularity be DAMNED!!!

Foolishly I believed I had won my battle with the furniture, but they were insidious...waiting their moment to strike again!

Everything was fine for a few months, then out of nowhere my chair ceased working, with the footrest extended...

I could feel it laughing at me as I crawled my fat ass out of I turned I could swear the cushions formed a malevolent grin! I checked all the connections, all were intact...the thing's possessed!!! 

Undaunted I continued to use the chair until I could get a call in for a repairman. Then just as suddenly it started working again, it was toying with me.

A month later it stopped again, in the down position this time...and refused to work again. This time I got the service call in, they sent me a new switch, transformer and cables. I replaced the switch, back in business!

A month after that, it quit again....this time the transformer was to blame, but since I already had a spare I was up and running in no time.

This seemed to anger the spirit of the chair even more...but it was waited until I was putting on my shoes to go to work.
When CRACK!!! The left side of the seat dropped 3"....GREAT!

This necessitated a visit from a repairman. Though we asked for an AM appointment, he did not appear until after I'd left for work at 2pm! After 4 hours of scratching his head, hemming and hawing he finely left the chair half ass repaired, not fixing the issue with the springs. Seems the wooden frame had broken.....HOLD UP, WHAT?? We were told this furniture had a steel frame, "Oh no, this is all wood. The recliner mechanism is steel..."
Well no shit!!! Anybody here EVER see a recliner mechanism that was NOT made out of steel??? Anyone???

6 months after THAT it was the right hand sides turn to do the same thing, and another call to the company to get the frame repaired yet again. "Well your furniture is no longer under warranty."

"But there is a lifetime warranty on it, that's what you told us!!!"

"The LEATHER has a lifetime warranty, as does the recliner mechanism....NOT the frame."

"Well that is certainly not what you led us to believe, AND you told us that it had a steel frame! Which is why we bought it in the first place!!!"

"Look, I can hear you're upset...tell you what, we want to keep you happy so we'll repair it one more time...but we can't keep fixing this thing."

"Well I don't want that other guy back here...he creeped my wife out, came late and stayed for four hours."

"No problem we got a 'new' guy."

So this repairman comes, tears the chair apart, says he'll take the part home and rebuild it, be back on Thursday. Thursday came and went, no call...Friday, Saturday, Sunday...nothing.
Monday morning I called the shop "Oh, he'll be calling you..."

He did...Wednesday, to tell me he'd be back next Tuesday or almost two full weeks...the thing was affecting him as well!

While we were waiting, the couch broke in much the same way! You got to be fucking kidding me?!?!?

Comes on Tuesday, "OOPS! I split the wood, I'm gonna have to glue and clamp it...I'll be back tomorrow to put it all back together."

He was, when he finished he admonished us to stay off it for 48 hours as he used more glue and wanted to make sure it set. We gave it 72.

Three days later it broke in the exact same place...

I was LIVID!!! In three years we've had more trouble with this furniture that stuff we'd had for 17 years!!! That we paid a lot less for!

This time, I skipped the Asshats at Be Seated Leather and got my own repairman, Larry at Clarkston Furniture Repair LLC, money back guarantee if not completely satisfied!!!

Larry, came do battle with the beast! He tried his best but only fought it to a draw! He's gone back to his shop to attempt to rebuild, with OAK this time, what was previously white pine!

So it sits in the corner, watching me...
I feel the malevolence rolling off of knows it's time is almost done!!! 

Larry promises he'll return by the weekend. 

With oak, craftsmanship, and a sprinkling of Holy Water he will defeat my Demon chair!!! 

If he is successful, next we exorcise the couch!!!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March Madness? Hell ya....I'm mad!

Den of the Beastly Bear

Howdy Folks!

I've added a new feature to my blog!
You'll find it right about here----------------------------->
You can now subscribe via email so you don't have to wade through your Facebook news feed to find me.
I can show up right in your "inbox"!

March Madness is upon us!!!

That time of year when our 
TVs/News/Newspapers/Radios are consumed with College Basketball!

To say I could not care less would be an understatement! Let's say you took the amount I care and put it in a thimble, it would be like a tear in the ocean!!!! THAT is how little I care.

What I can't understand is why anyone else does???

Sure there is a certain affinity you may have for your Alma mater, but most of the guys I see losing their minds over this...may or may not have graduated HIGH SCHOOL!!!! PLEASE!!!

Yes, I understand the whole "bracket" thing...but I just don't get the level of investment they have in these teams!

I guess I am in the minority...I mean like black, Jewish, homosexual, double jointed, female astronaut with webbed toes minority!!!

I've never been a big "sports team" kinda guy!!! Rarely even watch televised sports. Oh, I'll watch football come fall...PRO football. Again, I have no interest or investment in college sports whatsoever!


One of my pet peeves (again there are many) is with sportscasters and the inane drivel they spout like it's the wisdom of the ages!!! Don't believe me?

Try paying attention the next time a game, any game is on. You'll hear such pearls of wisdom as these:

"Well Bob, if they hope to win they're going to have to maintain their lead" Captain Obvious.

"They're way behind at halftime Jim, they're going to have to score more points to pull out a win." Ya think?

"Larry, I talked to 'Superstar X' before the game and asked him what their strategy was to win against such a formidable team. He told me they hoped to play hard and outscore them!" Wow, really?

The other thing that bugs the shit out of me is the fools that yell at the players on the television!!! 

At lunch I'll be sitting at my desk (which happens to be in the team room where the television is) working at my computer, sometimes whipping out this blog if I lost track of time. My back is to the TV. When I hear:




I turn around and say "You guys know they can't hear you, right???"

All I get are blank I'M the idiot here!!!

March Madness means something completely different to me. Instead of being Mad for Basketball.

I'm MAD that it completely disrupts EVERYTHING, like it's actually important or makes a damn bit of difference!

Just an extra bit of bullshit to distract the masses from the things that ARE important...but this is not a political blog so I'll leave it at that!

Because I work second shift I have to DVR the shows I watch (not that many), problem is the DVR doesn't know if Duke VS Harvard runs into overtime so I record 30-45 mins of a game I don't care about instead of my show!

It wouldn't be that big a deal if those shows were also available "On Demand", even though I'd have to suffer through commercials, I get my show!

Thank God for the Mp3 player in my car I don't have to listen to the DJ's talk incessantly about it!!!

Put this crap on the "Sports" channels, and leave network TV and radio alone!

March Madness? 


Be Well Folks!!!

Beastly Bear

Monday, March 24, 2014

That song's been driving me crazy...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

You ever hear a song...and it just touches something inside you? Even though you heard it just a couple times, it stuck with you?

Here is the story of mine...

The year was 1979, my junior year of High School and I was at my part time evening job at Gells Sporting Goods.

Back then we played 104.3 WOMC on the radio in the store. It was a pop/current music station. It has since gone to an "oldies" format...which is a rant for another day...I mean how can Bob Segar be "oldies"!!!

Anyway, it was end of the day...a Friday night...and we were all hanging out while the manager counted out the drawer. One of my favorite programs was on the radio station, were the DJ would play obscure and seldom heard songs that he personally loved.

This song came on, the melody quite haunting...
The song was about a fox that lived in the woods, that was afraid to leave because she knew it was dangerous in the meadow. One day she got up her courage and ventured out. Just as she was enjoying the smells and sights she heard the scream of an eagle, and knew she could never get back to cover in time.
As the eagle's shadow blocked out the sun, she prepared for the worst.

Instead of killing her the eagle explained that he was so lonely, and if she would come with him he could show her such sights!

The song was beautiful! And it touched me!!!

I waited for the DJ to repeat the name of the song, or the I had been talking and missed it when he introduced it. He never did. I asked everybody I worked with "Did you hear that song? Who sings it? Do you know?" No one did.

I thought about that song all night...I had to know.

Back then, I had not become the beastly bear...instead I identified with Raptors. My CB handle was the "Silver Falcon". I fantasized about owning a golden eagle, read everything I could about them, researched what you had to do to own one and hunt with them.

So the next day I called the radio station and asked them if they knew the name of the song, they did not.
They suggested I call back during that DJ's show and ask him as he often brought his own music in. Fair enough, I'd try that.

He was off weekends, so I waited for Monday.

The DJ was on 6-10 and as 6 o'clock rolled around...wait a minute...that's a different DJ!!!
Well, maybe he was on vacation...I'll try tomorrow.
A whole week went by, next week he was still not back! So I called the station again...

"Oh, we're sorry. He no longer works here, he took a job at a station in Chicago."

"Do you know which one?" I asked hopefully.

"No, I'm sorry...I don't." Damn!

So I tried the local record store, yes I'm old enough to remember record stores!!! All I got were blank stares...

I went every place I could think of that sold music, no one had a clue what I was talking about.

Years went by, I never gave up...

A line from the song haunted me...
"Please do not fear me for I will not harm you, no matter what others may say, though it is true that our lives should not mingle, I'm in need of some friendship today."

When the Internet became available I Yahoo'd, I Googled, I searched every permutation of "fox and eagle" I could think of with no luck. 

Eventually I came to believe I may never find it...
Oh, every now and then I'd try my search again...but I held out little hope.

Then last May, I tried trying a lyric search for a song including "fox and eagle" and I got a hit!


It said do you mean "I am the Eagle" by Rhett Davis, 1976?

Holy shit! I don't I searched for Rhett Davis, and got to his web site, sure enough he had music samples...I played "I am the Eagle"...

As soon as the melody started I knew...


I listened to it over and over, my 34 year search was through, I had my song!!!

Of course I ordered a CD, emailed him and told him the story...he wrote back thanking me for my dedication, and sent a signed copy!

I make everyone listen too it, I'm sure Mama Bear is sick to death of hearing it!

I don't care!!!! It took me 34 years to find my song, I'm playing it Dammit!!!!

I include it here for your enjoyment, I hope you like it!

Over the years I became more the lumbering bear than the swift powerful eagle...but I found something that caught my eye as this song caught my ear.

I feel it reflects the duality of my nature, I found it at a store that sold Native American art work. It is on a 10" X 10" ceramic tile...somehow the camera doesn't quite do it justice.

Needless to say, it is a prized possession!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear