Saturday, December 14, 2013

The good news: I didn't ruin the party...

There were some pictures posted online from last night's NY Improv 50th Anniversary party.  I wasn't in any of them.  No, I wasn't being elusive, I wasn't invited.  Ouch.  I would like to think that someone had it in for me or some axe to grind, I fear that wasn't the case.  More likely scenario:  it was word of mouth and no one thought to tell me.  Part of my Invisibilization.  Not since I was frosted for the TEEN WOLF reunion have I felt so marginalized, but more on that later.  I don't do stand-up any more but then neither do most of the people I saw in the pictures.  But I guess I don't talk to anyone as much as I think I do.  Being religious can be isolating, that's without taking into account the raising of a family and having a job and all the time that they all take up.  I'm just sad about it, certainly some of my best times come from hanging out at the Improv (NY, LA not so much) and I dearly love a lot of the folks who were there last night.  Also, I missed my opportunity to compare myself and my career to everyone at the party and then find a way to feel shitty by being on the short end of said comparisons.  Ughhh.I'm kind of excited at the idea that I care about missing out on something, it's pretty rare that I feel that way as a grown-up.  During my Improv days, I remember thinking it didn't get any better than this.  I'm not saying that things aren't terrific now I'm just saying that I didn't even have to look back to realize how much fun I was having it the time.  I hope someone has an excuse for a party soon.  Judy?

TEEN WOLF, in contrast, was NOT fun at the time.  The best part was that I got to work with my friend Mark Arnold who played the bad guy.  But everything else kind of sucked.  Everyone was invested in hierarchy and as "Coach's assistant who had one line, cut after the first day" I ranked very low on the totem pole.  To paraphrase an old show biz saying, there are no small parts but that's the way we're going to treat you.  The guy playing Stiles, it turns out, was the guy that an ex-girlfriend went for after she dumped me.  Michael J. Fox and me were actually kind of friends before TEEN WOLF and not so much after.  Oh, I did have some fun - I sat next to Jay Tarses (the Coach) who was hilarious,  and made up most of his lines.  Casting director Paul Ventura, who I also like, called to tell me about said reunion.  He gave me the director's number, and the director never called me back.  So let's say I was semi-invited but, unlike the Improv party, I really didn't want to go.

The last laugh on Teen Wolf, of course, is I still continue to receive hundreds of dollars in residuals every year, for the last 25 years.  It makes me wish I had figured out how to get into more evergreen type movies.

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Maybe It's Just Gas."

It started on Friday afternoon as a stomach ache.  I took a nap and when I woke up, I had a stomach ache.  In a few more hours, I had a stomach ache.  I ate a little Shabbos dinner then we went to lie down - just me and my stomach ache.  The only difference is now I'm crying because I'm in pain.  The girls are freaking out because Daddy is lying on the bed crying.

Roll around 10 PM and everyone is going to bed.  "Wait!  You all just can't leave me."
Kirby gently suggested I call my doctor.  "It's 10 o'clock, I don't want to bug him."
"Charles, you're CRYING."
"Yeah, but..."

Here's the "but".  Guys get a bad rap for not seeking prompt medical treatment.  Here's the thing:
1) I'm looking at an ER visit, at least $100 - $150 that I can think of other things to do with.
2) I haven't been stabbed, I have a freakin' tummy ache.  I'm going to sit in ER for hours; and
3) And this one's important - nothing is worse than seeking medical treatment and finding out it's nothing.  It makes you a jerk.  It means you're stressed.  Or you panicked.  BUT THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU AND YOU WASTED TIME AND MONEY AND ACTED LIKE A BIG GIANT BABY.

I call my doctor, who I like, (who's no longer going to be my doctor) and he answers.  He said, "it could be your appendix.  I wouldn't mess around.  You don't want to be 'that guy.'
"Which guy"
"Wait around until your appendix bursts and then you need an emergency appendectomy guy."

I drive myself to the hospital.  Kirby drove herself to the hospital after her water broke with Orly so she can't say shit to me.  Also it's Shabbos.  Also the kids are in bed.  So I drove alone.

The hospital part was quick and uneventful.  Except for the part where they injected me with Dilaudid.  Whee!  Eventually, the doctor comes back with a diagnosis of diverticulitis and, let me tell you, that is one serious letdown.  Yes, I have a diagnosis and I wasn't faking but that's an old people disease.  Or a girl's disease.  How much cooler would it have been to get my appendix out.  But you get what you get and you don't and you try not to wet.  Or whatever.

I don't know what happens now.  Except I can't eat popcorn.  Bummer.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Her house is still a dream

Amalia got a $25 Target card for her birthday  She's so excited.

"I don't know what to get."
"Just remember that you really can only buy $22.50 worth of stuff."
"What do you mean?"
"You have to pay taxes."
"Oh man.  That's terrible."
"We should write them an angry letter."
"Who do you suggest we send it to?"
"How about that person behind the counter?"

You know the husband chair at women's clothing stores?  They should have one in the Barbie aisle at Target.  I thought I was going to kill myself.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Order in the Court, the Judge is eating beans...

I WANT to go to jury duty.  I don't understand why everyone tries to get off.  I would LOVE to be in a jury room and see what happens for real.

I think it probably won't happen unless I learn to keep my yap shut.  Two times in two years, I was the first potential juror bounced from a case.

I work for a law firm and that guarantees me that I'm going to get a special little interview.  This case today was about one lawyer suing another lawyer.  It gets better.  The plaintiff (a short, Napoleanish type guy) went to arbitration on a matter.  When he lost that case, he turned around and sued his lawyer (plaintiff)  for malpractice.  The most amazing thing to me is that he found someone who would still be willing to represent him.

After a uninteresting exchange the attorney said, "do you have any thoughts about this case that may be relevant?"  I did.  And that little voice in my head is saying, "don't say it!"  I said it.

"Well, I don't know anything about the case and I'll be open to hearing about the specifics but - isn't arbitration supposed to be binding?  And final?  It sounds to me like someone got there nose out of joint."  The next thing I felt was the door of the courtroom hitting me in the rear.

My favorite moment in the juror questioning? The judge asked if anyone had been involved in a civil action before and Juror 9 raised her hand and said she was involved in the Dalkon Shield case.  The judge said, "you mean, you were part of a class action suit?" "Yes." "Twenty-five years ago." "Did you testify or have anything to do with it?" "No."

Last year was a malpractice case where a terminal patient died and the family was suing for malpractice.  When they asked me my opinion I once again opened my pie hole and said, "I don't know, it doesn't seem to matter what happened, it just seems that somebody feels that should get paid for everything that happens."  I don't even remember which side threw me off.

If I had a bucket list, serving on a jury would be on it.  Once.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A doll for my doll

I honestly don't feel that great about this.  Amalia is going to be 7 tomorrow.  And she's wanted an American Girl doll, like some of her friends have.  For those of you who don't know, i.e., those without daughters, an American Girl doll costs $110.  Not a typo.  That's just for the doll and the outfit she's wearing.  You can buy accessories totaling another $39,000. None of their parents by them the dolls, this is strictly grandparent territory.

I'm trying to remember anything that I wanted as a kid that cost so much.  The Baseball Encyclopedia which was $25 in 1969.  My parents did buy it for me, although by the time they did it had been marked down considerably as it was some time in the middle of the 1972 baseball season.  I was still pretty happy with it.  

Amalia has not been a jerk about it.  One day she said, "I don't know why things cost what they do.  Like for $100 you can buy a barbecue grill which is a useful item.  But a doll is smaller and isn't useful, it's smaller, it shouldn't cost more than $30."  This works much better on us than the "Can I" gambit.  "Can I have an American Girl doll?  Can I?  Can I?"  Also, she's right.

We asked the grandmas if they'd split a doll and they cheerfully agreed.  So yesterday we went to THE AMERICAN GIRL DOLL STORE at The Grove and told Amalia the surprise.  Surprise was an understatement.  She settled on Saige, the 2013 Doll of the Year.  I didn't want to look at any of the other people in the store because I didn't want to see "what kind of people bought their kids American Girl dolls."

She looks pretty happy, right?  Happy birthday, baby, I wish I could buy you ten of them.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The dirty business

Went back to court to try and get a 3-year restraining order against this guy who harmed my daughter.

The guy and his father lied, under oath, to the judge and to me which, in the scheme of things, is not as big a crime.

I don't feel like rehashing this.

But the judge granted us a 5-year restraining order.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sometimes justice crawls

Things are no worse than when I went in but, boy, that was a crappy day in court.  I should have known - I got a good parking space.

At 8:30, the hearing time, there was no sign of the respondent.  At around 9, the kid's father moseys in.

At some point they tell us we're going to Mediation.  HUH?  What is there to mediate?

I'm alone in the hallway with the father.  I offer a handshake.  He shakes my hand.  He says, "Why would you want to shake my hand?"  I'm a little taken aback.  What I meant was, "look, we're both fathers and nothing could have prepared us for the horror of these last couple of years."  What I could have said was, "you mean because your son is a creepy pedophile and no one in your family has shown anything that resembles remorse?"  I mumbled something like, "why wouldn't I shake your hand?"  Being civilized sometimes feels really stupid.

We shuffle off to mediation where there are two cases in front of us.  One is neighbors, who used to be friends, until one of the daughters egged the other ones' house on Halloween and there was a misunderstanding, blah blah blah.  The second one wasn't even that compelling.  The mediator was crabby and impatient with both cases.  Can't imagine what he's going to do with us.

The mediator is confused by the father's presence.  He finally realizes that the kid is a no-show and he lays into the dad.  "Then this is over.  He had a court order to appear to appear.  Why did you think you could ignore a court order??
Father: We were told it would be okay.
Mediator:  Who told you that?
Father:  The police.
Mediator:  What police?
Father: The sheriff who served the papers.
Mediator:  Impossible.

The mediator yelled some more and then asked again, who advised him to ignore a court order.
The father said, I talked to a couple of lawyers. (Translation:  If my asshole son has to speak, the case is over.  If I show up, at least we have a snowball's chance of fighting back.)  The mediator is furious.  He tells the father to go wait in the courtroom.  When we're alone, the mediator says, "I have three daughters and if this was my daughter I would have killed that kid."

Let me tell you something.  Everyone fancies themselves as a killer.  When I dropped of the TRO papers to the North Hollywood PD, know what the sergeant said to me?  "If it was me, I'd have killed this kid."  I think it's a way of offering sympathy but I guess it bugs me because I never seemed to fully answer the question of why I didn't kill him.

The mediator said, "this case has me so upset I can't even go back to work."  So for the next 15 minutes I rehashed the case with the mediator so he could calm his nerves.  I appreciated the sympathy but I'm kind of over talking about it, I just want my restraining order.  "I don't know even know why they sent you to mediation.  I think they saw two older Jewish guys and figured it was a business dispute."

He sends me back to court where the judge yells at the father and then holds it over for another date.  A month from now.  Truth is, the original judge on the order was called away and this judge was happy not not have to decide anything.  And I got to do this all over again in April.

Thanks to Markus for coming along.  It would have been that much worse to go it alone.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Turn, Turn, Turn

This week is barely half over and the excitement never ends.  Friday I have to go to Court for a hearing to secure a permanent restraining order against this creep*.  I'm nervous that I'm going to have to speak, that he may be there, that he may even have a lawyer to contest the order.  I talked to my sister-in-law, Liz, who was very helpful.  She's in family law and, among other things, she told me to point out that 1) this has been an extreme emotional hardship for the family, particularly may daughter, 2) he pleaded guilty in a plea bargain but was charged with more violent acts, 3) that, because of his age, he's not registered so that's one layer of protection that we're missing and, most importantly, 4) my daughter is only 6 years old.  She can't defend herself.  She has to know that if she encounters him that she can just tell an adult to call the police instead of trying, in any fashion, to negotiate herself.  I'm sick to my stomach as I write all this.

This one's pretty much stacked on our side, but he worked the Juvenile system pretty well so there's no slam dunks.  I've been adrenaline flooded since Monday and a court hearing - no matter what the outcome - isn't likely to alleviate that.  Maybe this is why middle-age folks don't do a lot of bungee jumping or zip-lining - there's plenty of buzz to go around.

*Maybe I'll write about it some day but I figure 1) most people are sick of hearing about it, 2) the rest of the people are better off not knowing about it and 3) no one reads this thing anyways.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Now that I've scarred you for life...

I owe Orly a huge apology.  She's an awesome little girl.

With Six You Get Eggroll

It's been quite a day so far, some of it personal.  Who can I tell but still keep it private?  I know, I'll put it on my blog.  NO ONE reads that.

Yesterday was Kirby's 44th birthday.  She's now as old as I was when we met.  And I'm as old as her parents when we met.  Like that Twilight Zone Episode where she sees herself on a horse in the future... then in the past... okay, it's not exactly like that.  Last night, to celebrate, we went to MexiKosher and a leisurely showing of Django Unchained.

And today was Kirby's scheduled heart surgery.  Procedure.  Surgery makes it sound dire.  But procedure makes it sound like a band-aid.  Probably closer to band-aid - I'll let you pulmonary experts to hash it out.  She has Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), which is a kind of heart arrhythmia.  Annoying, not life-threatening.  She was scheduled for a catheter ablation this morning.  Basically, they zap the offending cellular structures in the ventricle from the inside.  Like a sci-fi movie.

I'm kicking it in the waiting room for a few hours when Kirby calls me on the cell.  "The nurse is going to come get you."  "I'm supposed to be at Amalia's for lunch, should I go there?" "No, come in here."

I hate bad news.  So much.  It doesn't get better since I've gotten older, in fact worse.  I start to make my way through the wide doors and I'm thinking, "I don't know how bad it is, but until I make it through the final door, it hasn't happened yet."  That barrier is soon behind me.  Kirby is sitting in a hospital bed.

"They've canceled the surgery."
"Because I'm six weeks pregnant."

I know, I buried the lead.

The first thing that I did was laugh.  Heartily.  I am aware that, with the mother of your children, there is a first response that you can never take back.  "Oh, shit," is a toughie.  Fortunately, laughing was my honest reaction. Relief, that nothing was wrong.  Funny because it was ludicrous (I'm soon to be 55).  Because it was inconvenient - she finally scheduled the procedure.  Funny because it's fantastic;  I should be caring for my grandchildren.

There's three things - and only three things - that pass through the mind of an expectant father, particularly an older one:  1) Oh Lord, how will we afford it? 2) What am I going to do if it's not 100% healthy, and 3) aren't they going to be mad at me when they realize how freaking old I am?  After that, omigosh, we might have another baby!  There's going to be another person introduced into the world that I'm going to be crazy about and I haven't even met them yet. 4) What if our streak of nice kids has run out at 2 and the 3rd one is some kind of problem child?  I'm not looking forward to sleepless nights, diapers, etc. but that part passes pretty quickly.  But an asshole is for life.  5) If the new kid turns out perfectly normal, he/she will graduate high school when I'm 73.  All of this is my way of explaining that I'm pretty ramped up right now.  I'm feeling a little panicky.  And my head hurts.  I'm as glad as I can feel under the circumstances.

And here's the other part - everyone was waiting to hear about Kirby's surgery.  I told people it was canceled.  Why was it canceled?  Complications, I say.  Ooh, what kind of complications?  Complicated ones.  Fact is, neither of us is great at not telling things.  I mean, you definitely don't want to be blabbing to the world that you're only 6 weeks pregnant.  So you're the only one I'm telling.

But I know two people who are going to be very excited:  Amalia and Orly.  Like over the moon.