Oh Baby


Life. Man, what a crazy thing it can be.

If I had gone to a psychic last year and they told me that in the first week of 2019, I would be calling a lawyer in Texas for representation in a paternity/child support case against me, I would have a) laughed my ass off and b) told them they are full of it.

Yesterday I was doing just that. I. Am. Not. Kidding.

But first a little background.

Cue up instrumental version of “Summer Samba (So Nice)

On October 12, 2018, literally just three days after Ann’s nephrectomy, there was a knock on my door. I walked to the door and answered to some guy standing there with a folder bursting with papers.

“David Moreno?” he asked.

“Yeah, that’s me.”

He identified himself as a Los Angeles County process server who was there to serve me with papers for a case in Texas – a child support case. Where do I even start with this?

“Nope. Wrong guy,” I told him. I have never been to Texas. I have no business dealings in Texas, no owned property, absolutely nothing to tie me to the Lone Star State. And I sure as eff don’t have any other children let alone Texas children. I may know some people there but they are pretty distant and that’s about it. The closest I’ve ever been to Texas may have been when I flew over it en route to Arkansas in 1993 while working for Walmart.

He was confused. He had the right address, the right name and the same birthday as me but ah, the photo he had of his intended recipient was definitely not me.

“Look at that guy. Does he look like me? Come on, now. I’m much better looking than that dude anyhow.” He laughed.

After deciding I wasn’t the guy he was looking for, I told him to take a picture of me and my CDL for whomever – his boss or the attorneys – so that they knew I was not the deadbeat dad. I also took a picture of his process server ID for my own good because he wouldn’t let me look at the paperwork because, technically, they didn’t pertain to me. (I’d later find out that that was a smart, smart move on my behalf.)

Once convinced, he went on his merry way without leaving me any information. Then I had to go back in the house to Ann what the hell just happened.

“Umm…you have some major explaining to do, mister,” she joked. Not bad for a woman who had three organs removed three days prior. And after we got a good laugh out of it, we simply forgot any of it happened.

That was until January 8, 2019 when this letter came in the mail.

Photo Jan 09, 9 56 35 PM

Yeeeaaaaaahhh. Shit just got real serious.

I had no idea what this was or what to do next. Fortunately, an old schoolmate is an attorney here in California so I contacted him about this. He gave me some invaluable information and advice on what actions to take in order to clear this up, the first of which was to contact the Texas Attorney General’s office and see what they say.

That’s exactly what I did. They were of absolutely no help. To back up this claim, they wanted me to fax my photo and other information over the Locate Department which I can only assume with that name is the department responsible for tracking down these idiots and gathering their information. I wouldn’t know. I’m not a loser and am not familiar enough with law enforcement at this level or child support proceedings.

“Wait. You want me to fax these things?” I said in a phone call to one of the clerks. “No really, a fax? That’s antiquated technology and this is a matter of identifying someone based on the image they send you. You serio — a FAX?”

But they insisted. I was livid and refused.

And I had every right to be angry. Failure to pay child support is a big honking deal that could lead to wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, and even jail time. And if I didn’t clear this up or failed to appear by the hearing date of January 23, this would make me “father by default” and start the wage garnishment process – up to 20% of my total paycheck. In short, I did not need to get fucked around with this.

“No no no. I’m not doing that. I want you to give me an email of someone there who will handle this and I want it now.”

The clerk put me on hold – this was only one of many calls I made to the AG’s office on Tuesday – so she could get the address for me. She returned and provided me with it.

She sounded old, like working-there-since-The-Alamo old. And if there’s one thing I know about old people, it’s that most of them are technologically illiterate. So when she gave me the email address, I had her repeat it to me so that I could confirm it.

I then wrote up a few things, scanned the documents they wanted, attached them all to an email and sent them to whomever this address belongs to.

“It’s going to bounce back to me. It’s going to bounce back to me.”

Five minutes later I get the “Undeliverable mail” notification. I wanted to punch something. Of course now had no choice but to fax everything from Ann’s office.

But before that, I had to start looking up family law attorneys in Texas. For fuck’s sake, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH MY LIFE RIGHT NOW?

I called a few and one that was eager to take the case. The cost for just the consultation: $500. Errr, I don’t have that so thank you, goodbye. I realize I needed an attorney but I just couldn’t afford this. I didn’t even want to know what his hourly rate was.

In between calling people and getting things ready, Ann and I discussed this and were both in a shambles. When something like this is thrust upon you and you have no idea on how to handle it but know what the ramifications are, it is just overwhelming. Then there’s the two-week time frame in which I needed to get all of this done. It was all too much and I honestly thought I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown at one point last night.

But I pulled myself together and did what I needed to do. The last thing we did that night was go to Ann’s office to fax the forms over to the AG’s office. After that, I told her I needed to make a stop at the am/pm for some of their crappy, not-good-for-you hamburgers because when stressed, horrible food comforts me. Excessive amounts of horrible food I might add, and the cheeseburger and chicken sandwich did the trick.

This morning the calls continued. One the calls was to a prepaid legal service my employer offers but they couldn’t help me Tuesday because they needed to verify my eligibility. Today they did just that and after explaining my situation, emailed me a list of attorneys in both California and Texas.

Most of them were busy and one was a flat-out sassy, fresh-off-the-Bar hotshot bitch of a person. I hung up once she sassed me. This is not how you handle potential clients, lady. Your Yelp rating is gonna suck.

After calling nearly half of them, I finally got a guy who was the most down-to-earth of them all. He was familiar with cases like mine, been practicing since the mid-80s, and just a good guy to talk to. Before I even agreed to anything, he was on the computer looking up the case for more information. My search was over.

He told me what he needed to do and gave me his price. From the previous calls I had made, he was the most inexpensive of them all but I still couldn’t pay him until Friday. I made him aware and he was okay with that but once I paid him, the ball would get rolling.(Because this is an ongoing case, I’m not expanding on our conversation.)

Now here’s where things get even more funky. Once I realized what was going on, I immediately thought I was the victim of identity theft. They had my SSN, address, and date of birth so it sure seemed like that was the case. So I went to Credit Karma to check for any recent activity, namely those which could be suspicious.

There was nothing unusual. I was aware of all of the activity in my name and there was nothing in Texas.

Taking all of that as well as the level of incompetence at the AG’s office into consideration, I can only come to the conclusion that this was a clerical error. If they have a database of people named David Moreno and you have some yahoo college intern who has worked too many hours, too eager to please or hasn’t had their morning cup of coffee, the chances of them grabbing the wrong info from a row of an Excel chart (if they are using an Excel database) are exponentially greater. Why else would they have my SSN, address, and DOB but a picture of some other guy, right? I don’t know for sure but it seems that way.

Besides, my attorney (that still sounds weird) said that the middle initial of the guy on the court papers is C. Mine is A. Ruh-roh, Raggy!

And if that’s the case I’ve had to miss a day of work, been stressed out, sought legal representation, drove to Ann’s office to fax documents, and overall have had just a shitty few days because some fool entered the wrong information for the case. I’m going to see what my attorney says and if confirmed, ask if there’s any way I can get some kind of recourse for a mistake they made. It shouldn’t have gone this far and they’ve made my life hell so paying me back for their stupidity seems like the right thing to do.

I will keep you posted on any new developments because it’s not quite over yet. And note that this is the truncated version of what happened.

So. How was your day?

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16


Well, it’s been about a month so I thought I’d write a post. And thankfully, I have something to write about.

But first, check out this AMAZING setup I’ve got going on here!

The keyboard was being tossed out by a neighbor so I gladly took possession of it and I’m using my old Samsung tablet with it since a) my computer is near death and b) my iPad is only good for an alarm clock these days. Damn iOS 9.3.5 is pretty useless — all the thing does is crash. At least the alarm clock app works.

Anyway, onto the post.

As I had mentioned a few posts ago, I’m beginning to believe in my empathy more and more. Today I have three solid examples of that and they all involve music.

The first one is simple. While we were sitting outside enjoying the evening a few nights ago, I started whistling Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” as I perused my Timehop posts going back eight years. As I continued to whistle and swipe left, this picture from four years ago popped up.

I posted this on Instagram four years prior. It’s our firepit sans volcanic rock which exposes the flame element and that is, of course, round. So for this post I decided to use lyrics from the aforementioned song that I was whistling earlier.

Strange? Maybe. Coincidental? You decide.

For the second entry, I bring you some 80s goodness from The Go-Go’s. I recently joined a gym because the weather lately has made it practically unbearable to exercise outdoors. Not only that, Planet Fitness was running a fantastic, no-commitment deal of $10/month that I couldn’t pass up.

I have a Spotify playlist called “Drumming” that I listen to while, um, “playing the drums” as I do on occasion. It also doubles a a nifty running playlist and I was listening to it this morning while on the treadmill.

It includes The Go-Go’s “Head Over Heels” which not only is a good song, its beats are pretty much the pace at which I run.

Ah, the sound. The outfits. That spastic Belinda Carlisle dance. Quintessential 80s all the way!

I had the song on repeat a few times as I was running and looked up at one of the TVs that was showing CBS Sunday Morning. They had just wrapped a Billy Joel interview and moved on to another music act: none other than The Go-Go’s.

It turns out “Head Over Heels” is the name of a new Broadway play that showcases their greatest hits in an Elizabethian setting. While I was captivated with the interview (click the link above to see what they went through), I was also taken aback by what had just transpired. It was like the whole “Ring of Fire” thing hapenning again. I smiled, shrugged, and continued on doing four miles total.

But here’s the most interesting one of all.

Thursday morning, my coworker arrived to work and saw this cryptic note on her desk.

(Company name hidden, obviously)

She asked if I knew who left it and I said I didn’t but that before the day is through, there would be some correlation between me and that number. Just like that. Not even giving it a second thought.

Even she thought I was reaching on this one. I mean, some random note on her desk that I’ll be connected to? Why would I even say that, right?

But I knew why.

Before leaving for work that morning, I had told Ann that Anthony has such a deep voice compared to other kids his age. It’s pretty baritone and I jokingly mimicked his voice to Ann as he played Xbox with his friends.

From there, as I randomly do around the house, I broke into song but not any song. Topically, it was one with a baritone voice and one I nailed at karaoke (without even looking at the lyrics).

Ready to be freaked out again? Because here it is.

I kid you not. Sixteen Tons. The correlation I had said would be there, was there. I then told my coworker the above story and she didn’t believe me, so I had to call in the reinforcements.

Once I asked Ann if I was singing it, I showed my coworker the screen and waited for Ann’s reply because I knew what it was going to be.

“Oooooh scary” was Ann’s reply. My coworker told me to stop it because things like this happen between us quite frequently.

Again, I leave it up to you to decide whether it was mere concidence, luck, or that empathy thing working again. Just remember that these songs haven’t been on the charts in decades but they all played a part in these scenarios.

As for me, I seem to know more than I think — whether I know it or not.

How Can I Freak You Out Today?


I’ve said in the past that I’ve always been an excellent judge of character and that those I keep in my small, close-knit circle of friends – online or IRL – deserve to be there. There might have been a few mistakes along the way but deep down inside I always knew something wasn’t right.

And those who get cut from the circle? I have no problem cutting them off because they proven themselves to be not worth my time and therefore, I have zero emotional investment in them. In other words, it doesn’t hurt to say goodbye. You might even say I welcome the departure – one less problem.

I’m talking about emotions and feeling here, and I’ll be the first one to tell you that I’m a strange duck. Granted, “strange” is a subjective term but the strangeness I embrace is on an artistic level. Again, emotions and feelings.

For the past month, I’ve been doing a little research on empathy and while I don’t have all of the most common characteristics (read: introversion), I do have most. And I have a few examples of that.

Last week, I decided to walk through downtown Long Beach during lunch and take pictures as opposed to my usual bike ride near the beach. This alone was unusual and it sets up the rest of the story.

While walking past Hamburger Mary’s, one of the many LGBTQ establishments in the city, I noticed an addition to their outside wall:

Photo May 30, 2 10 03 PM

It seems every city has a pair of angel wings somewhere and these were completed in time for Pride Weekend. Not satisfied with just taking a picture of them, me and a coworker Neena went back the next day so that I could pose in front of the wings and have a new social media profile picture.

Photo May 31, 1 01 16 PM

(Why yes, I’ve lost 10 pounds!)

I was pleased with the result but decided to add some effects to it before I made it my ubiquitous profile picture. It reminded me of my friend Ray’s profile picture, the last one he would post. He passed away unexpectedly in July 2017 at the age of 43. I miss him.

Photo Jun 04, 9 09 50 PM

Where is this going? We’re getting there.

Later that same day, after posting my picture everywhere, I get the following Facebook notification.

Photo May 31, 1 58 42 PM

You’re reading that right. On the day I took that picture, Ray and I had become Facebook friends seven years prior. And if I had not taken a walk instead of going for a bike ride the previous day, I would have never seen this or made the connection. It seems I knew, or felt, this and had to act upon it.

Moving forward to today. During my Sunday morning bike ride yesterday, I decided to do something completely out of the ordinary. Instead of riding down the bike trail, I made use of the city’s many bike lanes. I had no itinerary; I just went wherever I wanted to go.

My adventures would take me 18 miles down streets I’ve never been down and even some alleys I never knew existed. It was while riding down one alley that I came across a bunch of dumpsters along the rear of a shopping center. Exciting stuff, I know.

But my coworker Neena sees them as art. Her Instagram account is filled with abstract images that were mostly on dumpsters we’ve discovered around downtown. At any rate, I saw one dumpster in particular that I figured would be a good fit for her account. I took this shot and sent it to her.

Photo Jun 03, 7 19 03 AM

She didn’t see it until this morning but when she did, she immediately said it looked like a pastel she did about three years ago.

Photo Jun 04, 10 05 44 AM

If you’re not entirely sure if they look the same, here’s a side-by-side.

Photo Jun 04, 11 28 44 AM (1)

The big, black splotch. The diagonal lines on the right. The dominant yellow-and-red theme. The fold on the bottom left of her pastel and the black on the bottom left of the dumpster picture. Note that this is exactly how I composed the picture – I did not crop it at all.

There are definitely lots of similarities that again, if I had not had the urge to try something different, would have never been tied together. Something told me to do it. This is the result.

And yes, she slightly freaked out.

So when it comes down to it, yes, I consider myself in many ways an empath. There’s just no other way to put it. I acted on instinct and it turns out I was picking up someone else’s vibes, and the proof is all up there for you to see.

As for that vivid dream I had the other night of the plane crashing near my neighborhood? Let’s hope it remains that. (It was about a mile away from my house but I can still see it.)

That’s a wrap for this one, folks. You didn’t think I was this deep, did you?

Romantic Comedies


Holy mother of effs, I’m getting old(er).

The family — I refuse to use the currently popular and obnoxious term “fam” — was out decorating for Christmas Saturday night, mostly concentrating on the positioning of our new laser light display.

We’ve been looking at them for some time now and found them on sale at OSH so we caved. And for $20 I have to admit they are pretty spectacular.

The colors, man! The colors! Plus we’re feeling exceptionally lazy this year so we’re only putting this up with a few strings of lights. Humbug!

While all of this was going on, our beloved neighbor* was in his frontyard listening to some music through his Bluetooth speaker. I didn’t really notice it until Ann said something.

Ann: The jackass** is listening to that Sam Smith chick-flick crap that you’d hear in those romcoms.

A beat. I heard what she said loud and clear, but I wasn’t sure exactly what she meant by the last word.

Me: What?

Ann: He’s listening to crap you’d hear in a romcom.

There it was again.

Me: (looking bewildered) Uh, say that again?

Ann: What, romcom?

At this point, if this were a phone conversation using a wired GTE Phone Mart landline, I would have tapped it several times on the nearest hard object to make sure I was hearing things correctly then continued.

Me: Yes.

Ann: A romcom? Romantic comedy?

Me: Is that what it means?

Ann: Yeah, I heard it on the radio the morning.

Keep in mind I don’t listen to morning radio — I’m a Spotify guy and hate blithering morning jocks trying to elicit a laugh at any cost. I’m not entirely surprised they’d use such a stupid term.

Me: Oh okay. Well, don’t ever say that around me again.

Ann: What, romcom?

Me: (shuddering) Yes.

Deal.

Here we are taking a break from the decorating in Season 24 of our own little romc…uh, romantic comedy. Hats off to the kid, now taller than Ann and almost eye level with me, for taking this picture.

You all decorated yet?

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Footnotes:

*Sarcasm **Absolute truth

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Composed on an iPhone 7 Plus app using the WordPress app because I’m feeling exceptionally lazy tonight.

Space Shuttle Endeavour in Inglewood


It was about three weeks ago when I wrote a post about the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s tour of southern California and until yesterday, it was stationed at LAX where it was waiting to be removed from the transport jet and onto another vehicle for its final destination: the California Science Center.

For its ground travel, locals were discouraged from gathering to see the shuttle because it needed plenty of room to travel. We were lead to believe that it wasn’t going to be a parade; this was serious business.

But the pictures on the local news pretty much told the story: nobody was going to let this historic moment pass them by and I was one of them. Once I saw it was in Inglewood this morning I rushed the family out the door, stopped for some donuts, and headed out to see what we could see.

And the following shows just that. Enjoy!

Space Shuttle 008

Space Shuttle 009

Space Shuttle 010

Space Shuttle 014

Space Shuttle 015

Space Shuttle 020

Space Shuttle 021

Space Shuttle 030

Space Shuttle 022

Space Shuttle 033

Space Shuttle 036

Space Shuttle 035

Space Shuttle 038

So far I’ve seen it in the air and on the ground, and the family is looking forward to see it on display at the end of the month. It’s been an amazing trip and a lot of fun to watch.