What’s up, cool cats. Today I have a bit of a bummer story, but I figure I could make a bit of difference in some lives if I relate some of it to my adoring fans.
I have a very dear friend who I’ve known for an embarrassing number of years and decades. She has been with me through thick and thin, and has been a great help to me as I’ve gone through my admittedly extreme ups and downs in life. She’s the person who has picked me up out of a gutter in front of a dive bar at four A.M. after I was stomped by some bikers, and bailed me out of jail on more than one occasion.
This gracious and beautiful woman has a strength of personality borne from a very difficult and tumultuous life. She was an army brat, never staying in one place for more than a year or two, so she never had any close friends growing up. All she had was a few brothers and sisters, all much older than her, who never really paid her any attention; a mother who her father had married while stationed in Japan and taken back to the states, where she never really knew up from down; and finally, a drunk and abusive father.
Her home life was never good, and so as soon as she was legally able, she left for her mother’s home country of Japan to live with her grandparents. She grew up to be exceptionally beautiful, winning quite a few beauty pageants in her day. Unfortunately, her incredible looks and her poor upbringing made for a terrible mix, and the relationships she developed with men over time did not stray far from the ones she was familiar with in childhood.
She moved back to the states with her first husband, left him, and found a second one only a couple short years later. That one wouldn’t last either – and so it went, with her floating from one disaster in love to another.
There were only two really stable relationships in her life – me (which is really saying something), and her dog, Mako. I couldn’t tell you what breed or mix of breeds this little runt is – jet black fur that tufts around the neck, with a splatter of white on the chest, and the most annoying yapping bark that you could ever imagine.
Still though, that dog has been her constant companion for going on fifteen years now. She never had children, despite her many marriages, and so Mako is the sole object of her maternal love and devotion.
That’s what makes this story so sad – she recently noticed the dog had been barking a little less, coming to greet her a little less enthusiastically, and seemed a bit less excited to go on walks than usual. She took her to the vet and received the worst possible news: cardiomyopathy.
In other words, a death sentence.
She called me up in tears, and she brought the dog over to me and cried in my arms all night. I’d never seen her like that before – the woman always seemed impenetrable, always upbeat and positive about life no matter what new tragedy she was walking into.
One thing she had always neglected was healthcare – not only for herself, but for the dog. She simply had not grown up in an environment that put much stock in taking care of yourself and making healthy choices.
If she had given the dog regular checkups, the problem might have been found a little earlier – prognosis usually improves if found in the early stages of the disease. If they had caught it a little earlier, a cardiac veterinarian may have been able to give her the tools needed to extend Mako’s life comfortably and given her a little more time to say goodbye.
I, of course, didn’t tell her any of this – don’t need to rub that in her face. For those of you reading out there, however, consider this some advice borne from experience: get your dogs regular checkups, and make sure if they find a potential heart issue, get them to Dr. Carly Saelinger of Cardiac Vet. She will give you an accurate prognosis and treatment plan that will get your pet back on track, or at least give you a little more time.
As a city boy growing up, I never had a lot of opportunities to learn how to grow much of anything. My mother enjoyed her little window planter boxes and filling the apartment up with low-sunlight plants, but for the most part my experience with gardening was looking at the landscapers work at the park as I walked past on my way to or from school.
This trend continued well into adulthood – when we first started touring, I basically lived out of our van or, occasionally when we could afford to splurge a little, a hotel. At that point, my experience with gardening was limited to watching rows upon rows of corn flying past the widow as we drove yet again through the Midwest.
It wasn’t until I was well into my 30’s that I was actually able to afford property. With the usual gusto I put into things, I bought a nice ride-mower so I could get the full experience of weekly lawn care as a productive member of society and my community.
Safe to say, that energy lasted about three months until I was absolutely sick of it. It started off with the random patches of grass that died off and just absolutely refused to come back to life no matter what I or my nice neighbors did to coax it back to the land of the living. After that came the gophers and the little rodent massacre I perpetrated on my own property, which still gives me nightmares.
Problems kept on popping up, and soon my mind became consumed with how to get my lawn back into perfect working order. My (now) ex-wife became concerned as I didn’t pick up an instrument for weeks at a time, instead working outside with a little planter’s shovel plucking out weeds.
Within 3 months, I was burnt out. I couldn’t look at the grass without feeling sick, sickened at my own failure and sickened at the grass for conspiring against me. We began paying for a landscaper to come, but by then it was too late to save my appreciation for a well-manicured lawn.
As the years wore on, I must have spent tens of thousands of dollars on keeping that damn grass alive, with the various treatments and number of landscapers I’ve had working on my various properties. If someone had told me sooner that there were viable alternatives to natural turf, I would have switched in a second.
Luckily for me and all my future endeavors, I discovered that the artificial stuff has been getting some very major upgrades since my childhood getting rubber burns on the football field. Synthetic turf gives you the beautiful vibrant green of a natural grass yard, but takes only a fraction of the time, effort, and money you’d use keeping that stupid living carpet alive.
If you’re in southern California and looking to get rid of the lawn like I was, give NoMow Turf a call. They hooked me up with some very excellent turf installations, and they can do the same for you.
A quick note for today, feeling very contemplative. Tonight my daughter went to her first high school prom, having just turned 16 a few short months ago.
She looked beautiful, in a big flowy dress with sequins and ruffles, hair up in a messy bun that perfectly matched her personality. I had to hide the tears in my eyes as she got into the limo with the other kids, waving to me one last time and promising to be home before 11.
I am intensely proud of my children, both of whom are growing into fine and upstanding people, and the thought of losing either of them sends chills up my spine and a great pain in my heart. The fact that I almost did thanks to the guile of my ex-wife’s attorney eats away at me when I look back on it.
I am beyond thankful that I had access to some incredible legal help of my own, even back then when I was younger and much, much dumber. I was one of the lucky ones, but there are many who have been in my shoes who either couldn’t find or didn’t know where to look for a solid divorce attorney.
I know most of my readership is in southern California, so for those of you who are either in the process of getting a divorce or will be in the near future, I recommend you take a look at Shuff Law Firm and their excellent team of family law attorneys. They come heavily recommended by both my own law team and the excellent testimonials their clients have left them over the years:
“He was so understanding. He helped me get my daughter back into my life after years of estrangement. I had changed my life and became responsible for my actions. He helped me plead my case and get me a step-up plan would prove my new direction to all parties involved. My daughter is still in my life and i am forever grateful.”
Travis Kratsch, Google Review
“Shuff Law Firm was recommended to me by a dear friend and I highly recommend them to you!
Joe, Tamara and their entire team work with the utmost professionalism coupled with a genuine care for their clients needs. This Father- Daughter team brings many many years of experience to the table! They’ll represent you with integrity, honesty, and a great energy, yet will not be steamrollered by opposing counsel.
Most recently, Tamara held my hand during an incredibly tough situation while believing in me and the justice to prevail. Her kind heart keeps her honest and her experience keeps her strong!
I can’t recommend Shuff Law Firm enough!”
Laura K., Yelp Review
“After 6 years of having one disappointment after another with a different attorney I decided to find someone else that would hopefully do a better job. From the very first phone call Shuff Law Firm handled my unique case with respect and care. Tamara was simply amazing. I was kept apprised of everything that was happening as it happened. The job she did was so well done that the ex actually backed down and reversed her decision to go to court for more support. I can finally take the last step in moving forward with my life thanks to the hard work of Tamara and the team at Shuff Law Firm.
If you have to go through a divorce, then you have to use them.”
Michael G., Yelp Review
A good team of custody attorneys can mean the difference between seeing your children grow up and not seeing them until they are already grown up. Do yourself a favor and give Shuff Law Firm a call –
Shuff Law Firm
2634, 2107 N Broadway STE 301, Santa Ana, CA 92706
What’s up, cool cats! It’s been a while since my last post, but some recent events have pushed me to write up about something that’s a little bit of a downer, but stick with me.
When I was growing up, my family owned a couple dogs that I basically knew from the time of my birth through my earliest memories. This isn’t strange by itself, but let me tell you, I loved one of these pups like it was my own brother. I took him everywhere with me, and if I couldn’t, good Lord would I make my displeasure known to the world.
Well, unfortunately for both me and my little buddy, my parents were not particularly good pet owners. More to the point, they were also not great cooks or health buffs, which meant that dinner a lot of the time was either frozen pre-packaged meals or an unholy amount of pasta.
My mom, as my dad would say while chuckling, made spaghetti like the president and his retinue were joining us for dinner. She would make multiple boxes at once, leading to huge bowls of the stuff that would just sit in the fridge for weeks, wasting away.
Because we hated food going to waste, my father decided to start supplementing the normal dog food with the leftovers. This went on for years, and soon enough my furry friends were becoming so fat and unhealthy that they could barely walk.
As I said, my parents were neither good pet owners or very health-conscious, which meant they just kept on feeding the dogs spaghetti up until the older one suddenly died while I was trying to take him on a walk. Just yelped and fell over, then he was gone for good.
The younger dog, my little girl, lasted a short while longer. I begged my parents to take her to the vet so that she wouldn’t meet a similar fate, but by then it was too late. Her poor health and the heartbreak from her brother dying suddenly and away from her caused her heart to give out too, and we had a burial for her just a few short months after his.
Why am I telling you this? Well, obviously, this was a rather traumatic experience for me. I’ve gone through most of my life totally incapable of owning another dog, all because my parents were stubborn as mules and ignorant about how to keep their pets healthy and happy.
We all love dogs, but most of us aren’t exactly veterinarians, so it’s up to us to make sure that they are taken to the vet regularly to make sure they aren’t getting too fat or unhealthy because of our questionable decisions. For those of us worried about whether or not our pets are already suffering from a heart disease because of symptoms that have popped up, I recommend you enlist the help of southern California-based Cardiac Vet and her veterinary diagnostics support to help determine the severity and treatment course for your pet.
Even now I live in constant paranoia that my beautiful pups will just drop over dead, despite the fact that no expense is spared on getting them the best food available. Carly at Cardiac Vet has been indispensable in calming my fears and, if trouble does appear, I have complete confidence in her ability to give me the correct course of treatment.
I really hate the ‘humble beginnings’ stories that you get from every single rock star or famous person in general; it’s cliché as heck. Seems like every VH1 ‘Behind the Music’ episode starts with some somber ballad playing over baby pictures of filthy kids that would eventually turn into superstars.
I’ve recently been doing some business that does make me think a little bit about my start as a musician, though. I was a lower-middle class kid whose parents made enough to keep us comfortable, but didn’t have a ton of extra cash that would give us all the expensive toys the other kids at school seemed to bring every day.
I worked a paper route from the time I was about 8 years old all the way until I was about 17 (with no car, no wonder I didn’t get a date until I was 20…). I never really spent any of the money outside of getting the occasional soda and burger when my friends and I went out to the mall on the weekends.
When I got into high school, on a whim I decided to attend a concert the school’s jazz band was putting on. Oddly enough, that concert altered the entire course of my life, as the guitarist was really killer (and I saw him kissing one of the hottest girls in the school after the concert was done).
So the fix was in – I was going to learn to shred on the guitar, and that was going to land me a really hot girlfriend the next day. Step one of the plan was to buy my first guitar.
Taking stock of my funds from about 5 years of slinging newspapers, I went to the music shop that weekend to see what I could afford. What I could afford was absolutely nothing, but man did I love the look and feel of that place and the cool older dudes who ran it.
So the next stop was asking my dad to drive me over to the local pawn shop where one of the guys at the shop tipped me off as a place to look. When we got there, we found one beaten up old Fender that had half the strings missing, and I bought it without a second thought.
So began my musical journey, one that would take me to a whole lot of highs and many, many lows. Now that that journey is over (in the professional sense), I’ve moved on to others with oddly similar beginnings.
Used items often are seen as lesser, but what they can represent is the humble beginnings of something far grander than anyone anticipated. That goes for anything from musical instruments to something as boring-sounding as office furniture.
Starting off your business using used cubicles, desks and everything else might seem like a pretty shabby way of operating, but it can give you the cash reserve you need to really kick off your business and put it into overdrive. Companies like Creative Office Design out of L.A., the guys who’ve been doing amazing work both selling me the office equipment I needed to start things off and designing the office to get the best use of them possible, can really help get things off the ground.
So, this isn’t really a humble beginnings story, just a helpful example of not worrying too much about where the stuff you start off with comes from. That may be humble, but it is just a beginning.
Creative Office Design
5230 Pacific Concourse Dr #105, Los Angeles, CA 90045, United States