Honda Needs WABAC Machine Back…But Don’t Cue Michael Bolton Again

So the wife and I are waiting…and waiting…and waiting for our beloved Honda to be returned to us after submitting it for a state inspection and an oil change. This should not have been a long process considering there were very few cars in the dealership that morning and we had one of the earliest appointments.

One hour and fifteen minutes later we were finally summoned for checkout. After paying our debt something both usual and unusual happened.

The usual was the service advisor told us we would be queried via email about our service experience and it was hoped we’d say it was “Excellent.”

The unusual happened next. The service advisor went on to advise Honda was very, very keen on having ALL of the dealership customer service experience surveys come back as “Excellent.” In fact, we were advised by the advisor if we didn’t think our service experience was “Excellent” they would very, very much like the chance to fix whatever our service issue was first before we went ahead and reported a service experience that was not “Excellent.” It sounded like anything other than “Excellent” would not serve well for the dealership.

As we walked to our car, my wife offered…”We should have asked him for our wait time back. How do they fix THAT?”

There is a play land for children at the dealership, several television viewing areas and a number of vending and coffee machines. However, there was no sign of a WABAC Machine similar to Mr. Peabody and Sherman’s (timely reference for their upcoming cinematic experience which may or may not grade out as “Excellent.”)

Honda must have a time machine somewhere.  After all at Christmas they brought back Michael Bolton.

But we apparently can’t get our time back.  We’ve found something that needs repaired with the Honda service survey.

When it comes we’ll not be able to report “Excellent.”

If we even take the time…

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The Self-Heimlich

Yes, it can be done.  In fact, it turned out to be far less complicated than first thought.  Well, that’s not exactly honest because I never, ever thought I would be facing the task of losing my life over dinner.

Last night I sat down for a hearty meal of roast turkey, gravy and stuffing.  Everything was proceeding nicely until I found my airway constrained by the presence of way too much turkey.  I had not properly scaled down what was going down my gullet and the next thing you know…gosh, I don’t think I can swallow all this.  Wait, I don’t think I can even move this.  Oops…I can’t even breathe.

Fortunately I am not the panicky type so I quietly got up from the dining area and re-positioned myself over the kitchen trash can.  I figured at this point SOMETHING was going out in the trash…either the dislodged, partly consumed turkey…or me.

Quickly flashing back to my college days after a night of excess, I summoned the recall ability to make myself vomit.

It is fascinating what velocity of adrenalin you can muster when facing your demise.

The turkey landed in the can.  I did not.

At this point, the wife had relocated herself from her casual dining position to one of first-responder rescue and recovery next to me.  As we both stood above the trash can she offered up what you usually hear in the movies…or on television…after a drama-filled experience…the classic, time-honored line, “Are you OK?”

Having finally offered up the turkey I managed an equally stirring reply.  “I believe I am.  Sorry about that.”

The only after-effects aside from full-on embarrassment was a bit of a sore throat from forcing the issue…to become a non-issue.

The irony to this turkey of an experience took place earlier this morning while driving to work and listening to talk radio.  Apparently, one of the hosts was in much the same position as I during lunch yesterday and actually had the “official” Heimlich performed upon him to remove his meaty blockage.  One of the folks in the studio commented from talking to people having gone through the experience from a sufferer standpoint once you almost chew yourself straight into Heaven, you never, ever approach eating meat quite the same way.


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Winter Road Tips For Those Assigned To Clear Them

I have noted on this blog previously here in Philadelphia and its suburbs we don’t handle driving well.  Especially when it comes to our perverse delight to construct and maintain four-way intersections.

We don’t fare well in dry, sunny and tranquil conditions.  Therefore, you can only imagine the daily horrors taking place in conjunction with this Polar Vortex thingy that has us in its unrelenting, icy grip.  Nights in the single digits, days around 20.  And then there is…wind.  And these small clipper systems that bring just enough snow to require you to hurry out and dispense of it…otherwise becoming the substance formerly known as snow.

Fact – Ice is not easily navigated when you can’t drive to begin with.  And thus is our dilemma in these parts right now.

For those folks charged with the significant responsibility to try to assist us from playing bumper-cars, some tips:

1. When applying that cool new brine people are raving about, perhaps it would be best applied just prior to the storm instead of a full day ahead of time?  One questions the full effectiveness of brine while hundreds of cars drive over it prior to the first snowflake or sliver of icy rain.

2. When applying that old stand-by salt, perhaps distributing it evenly across the road surface rather than in mega-clumps might lead to a wider area of the roadway melting?  Just a thought…a wider area of coverage might result in a wider area of melt.

3. When applying that old stand-by gravel…don’t.  Just don’t.  Keep it.  I can’t tell you how many times those miniature stones have become giant rocks when it comes to my vehicles’ performance.  You get one of those suckers in the business end of your car and it sounds like your auto is gone-o.  Not to mention the fact once hundreds of cars drive over it the gravel all gravitates to either side of the road and…alas…there’s nothing to provide any traction in the actual area we drive within.  We do however get to continue to collect it on our sidewalks and walkways…and subsequently into our homes for the next three months.  There’s that…but we really don’t need extra traction in our living space.

4. Once you have come through the first time after a storm and essentially plowed our parking lots and driveways in – which we understand is a by-product of this kind of weather and what must be must be – do be kind enough to re-visit your work a second time and scrape away the residue if you didn’t get it all off…when you’ve clearly not revealed clear roadway during your first pass.  When you know 32 degrees F ain’t going to happen for days on end, you must understand what you didn’t get the first time…well, golly it isn’t going anywhere.  Take another shot the next day.  Please come back.  If it’s a matter of raising taxes to pay for coming back and completing the task at hand, just raise them.  It’s not like they don’t rise annually anyway.

Heck, I’ll get the checkbook out right now just to pay for no more gravel.


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The Day I Almost Killed My Wife Playing Tennis

My wife and I have not played tennis since.

The incident is referred to rarely, in hushed tones…simply as “The Drop Shot.”

Several years ago, the Mrs. and I were playing tennis at least once a week.  Never in a competitive way mind you (although that is an unfortunate point of contention relative to the incident as you’ll soon learn)…we simply went out for an hour of hugging the baselines and keeping each other there with our responses to serve.

That is, until “The Drop Shot.”

It was a week night, early in the evening when we took to the court – say 6ish.  The temperature was 70 or so.  No wind to speak of.  No one playing on the court next to us…although there were a couple of guys playing on the court one removed so periodically we had to serve as ball boys for each other.

In short, ideal conditions for a spontaneous visit to an outdoor, public court.

We were about a half-hour into play that day when the incident occurred.  Mind you, we always kept score but our play was designed to extend points, get exercise and enjoy the sport…not finish off the competition by running them ragged (again, a point of contention on this day…).  As I recall, my wife was somehow winning for a change.

And that is where the point of contention comes into play…for in the midst of this particular point as my wife had just returned my shot from deep in the far corner…I executed “The Drop Shot.”

To this day, my wife insists it was because I was losing and I consciously wanted to win the point in question.  My take is that my competitive mind and muscles simply converged at an unfortunate moment in time and created…“The Drop Shot.”

It was the greatest drop shot I ever hit.

It also was the most costly.

My wife, also reacting to the moment and coming out of character with the spirit of our session, attempted to sprint from the back court in an obviously futile effort to reach the greatest drop shot I ever hit.

Futile intersected with fall.  My wife went down several feet from the net in a full-on concrete face plant.

I thought she was dead.

I was gratified to have won the point but I decided to check on my wife before retrieving the ball.

As I got to her, she was rolling onto her side and making some low, unintelligible sounds…which indicated she was, a) alive and, b) able to move somewhat.

“You OK?  What hurts?”

“My hand.”

“Just your hand.  Great!”

“Great?  No, my hand hurts.  A lot.  I think I BROKE it.”

This is when I went into ultra-positive mode.  Knowing my wife as I do, it would be important to assure her she was, a) OK except for the hand and, b) the hand would be fine with some rest and TLC.  She’s as tough a trooper as I know, but in any accident situation I always have felt with anybody it is important to isolate and deflate potential injuries.  Getting stressed about what may or may be wrong doesn’t help dealing with the reality of what is “currently” wrong.

My wife feels to this day in addition to trying to calm her by having her quickly walk it off…I quickly got her to her feet and into our car also to reassure those guys playing a court removed a hearse would not be required.  I will admit there was some concern one or both of those players might have seen my wife stick the landing.

I can see it like it was yesterday.  I will never forget that horrific sight.  Apparently, her hand took the brunt of the landing…which was a good thing because her head was on deck if that hand wasn’t extended to break her fall.

The question now was…was the hand BROKEN?

First stop was a convenience store to get some ice on the injury.  I left her in the car briefly, returning with a cold drink, cold ice…and a TV Guide.

“You thought to get your TV Guide during ALL THIS?”

“It’s the next week’s edition.  I’m getting it early.”

As I was getting her arranged for the drive home, making sure the ice was located properly, the drink was readily available…the headrest somehow came loose.  For a brief moment, I thought she was going to go from the front seat to the rear.  She managed a laugh.  I then knew I had gotten some form of control of the situation.

Until the next day of course…when her hand looked like it was inflated for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Off to the doctor.  Then the hospital.  X-rays negative.  Bad sprain requiring a couple of weeks of rest.

Since that time, our conversations regarding “The Drop Shot” go something like this:

“You know you hit that drop shot on purpose.”

“I did not.  I just reacted in the moment.  It was an instinct.  You were so far away and the shot was there for the taking.  I didn’t mean to almost kill you.”

“Well you almost did.”

“I’m sorry.  If it makes you feel any better, I thought you were dead and I’ll never forget that sight.  It was terrible.”

“Good.  I still can’t believe you bought that TV Guide.”

“It was out early.”


(originally posted on

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When Sneeze Gets In Your Eye

With all the relentless reporting on the relentless flu outbreak all across the country, my wife and I have stepped up our efforts big-time to stay healthy regardless of what varied viruses are roaming the planet.  We have always been God-fearing, hand-washing, Purell-using people.  But even if you’ve managed to avoid sickness to-date you can’t avoid all the noise about it.

She and I thereby couldn’t be any more protected from any possible contagion.

And then…yesterday…I sneezed in my eye.

I can’t recreate for you or any sketch artists how I managed to wind up with my head, face and body in such a bizarre, contortionist position that somehow allowed me to pull this feat off.  I can tell you at the moment I sneezed I was reaching for a book located beneath my seating level…and when I suddenly was overcome with the urge to blow I quickly, awkwardly turned my head away and up from the book itself.  The elbow I normally would have sneezed into was already occupied elsewhere..with the book.

And in addition to sneezing into my own eye…I also managed to simultaneously spew upon my wife…innocently watching TV four feet away on our sofa.

I recently read particles from a sneeze can project at a rate well over 100 miles per hour, particulate landing as far as five feet away.  I’m a believer now after yesterday’s explosion.

Especially because my eye felt sore.

I thought I dented my eyeball.

The conversation…

“You realize you just sneezed on me.”

“Yeah, well I sneezed in my eye.”

“You what?”

“I sneezed in my eye.”

“How could you possibly do that?”

“I was picking up my book and turned my head.”

“You just think you sneezed into your eye.”

“Really?  It feels like I dented my eyeball.”

“You didn’t dent your eyeball.”

“Wait a minute.  Can I infect myself by sneezing into my eye?”

“Think.  If you had something wrong with you it would already be there…if you really, really think you sneezed into your eye.”

“Can you look at my eyeball?”


As of this morning both eye and eyeball are fine.  The area is dry, no longer sore…and it appears I neither infected nor re-infected myself…or my significant other.

I do however have a new-found respect for the function known as the sneeze.

I will approach and view future ones…with a more careful eye.

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