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.

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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?

Haunted


I Ain't Afraid Of No GhostFolks, I’m going to come right out and say it: our house is haunted.

There have been at least three things that have happened over the course of about a month that have convinced me that such is the case and no, they have not been ordinary. If they were, then obviously I wouldn’t be going out on a limb and writing this post.

And before you ask, no, I’m not going to call in Zak Bagans and his idiot Bro Crew from Ghost Adventures. That show is a joke and Bagans is about as bright as the guy who bagged your groceries today.

Wait, what? Anyway, here we go.

Incident 1: The Flyer
We’re those kind of people who get more junk mail than anything else. No honestly, we get more than you. It’s a fact and there will be no arguing over it, mister/ma’am.

One day, Ann had gone through the daily pile of junk mail and kept a flyer for some reason. It was made from a heavy card stock and was sitting on the kitchen table. I wandered into the kitchen to grab a snack of some sort. My back was leaning against the countertop near the sink and I was facing the kitchen table – and the flier went flying off the table and landed on the ground near the pantry. It wasn’t the fact that it flew off the table that caught my attention; it was the manner in which it did.

The flyer took off  like it was tied to a string that was yanked very hard and while in flight, it had absolutely no rotation. You know, like how an index card would spin if you flung it across the room? Yeah. This was nothing like that. It took off at a speed that couldn’t have been attributed to any breeze that may have been going through the house at the time. It was sheer force that made it take off like that and in a straight line to the floor. I have no explanation for how it happened but I saw it with my own eyes.

Incident 2: Early Morning Footsteps
When I’m not blogging or sitting at my drawing desk, I’ve made it a habit to relax in my huge lounge chair in the den, kick up the leg rest, pop in my earbuds, and listen to some white noise to lull myself to sleep. Even if I don’t feel like sleeping, the white noise also helps to mask my tinnitus which can he downright unbearable at times.

And sometimes I fall asleep in the chair and Ann will leave me there, knowing I’m perfectly comfortable, while she retires to the bedroom to go to bed. This is what happened the other night when I woke up around 4:30 am and took my earbuds out (they had been in my ears since around 10:30 pm the previous night). Shortly after I took them out and started rolling around in the chair, I heard the sound of footsteps going into the kitchen.

We have two cats and a dog that like to walk around the house as they see fit, but the sound was not like any they can produce. We know when Arliss (dog) is walking because we can hear his claws clacking on the hardwood floor and the cats, well, they are pretty light on their feet and don’t make much sound, except when they run. And even then, it sounds nothing like when any of the humanoids in the house walk.

And that’s what this sounded like: human footsteps going into the kitchen. I stayed in my chair and looked over in the direction of the kitchen and didn’t see anyone. I got up and checked on Anthony and he was sawing logs. I went into the bedroom and asked Ann if she had been up a few minutes ago. Nope, everyone was asleep except for me, but I know what I heard.

Incident 3: The Purse
This happened just yesterday. I was in the kitchen – I really need to stay out of there – to get a drink. Just as I was leaving to go into the living room, Ann’s purse (resting on the chair) fell onto the ground.

But like the flyer, it didn’t appear as if it was just gravity that made it move. The purse looked like it was pushed hard off of the chair and, get this, did a complete 360 in the air before landing right-side up. Seriously, it made one complete rotation before hitting the ground and nothing fell out of it.

So far these are the only things I’ve seen happen around here and haven’t actually seen any shapes or forms nor have I captured any in the background of pictures I’ve taken in the house. As for who we might think it could be, well, we do have an idea.

Ann’s grandfather was a neat freak. The house we live in was his, and it can be quite messy at times.

Needless to say, Ann and Anthony spent the day cleaning it up while I was at work.

I’ll keep you posted if anything else happens but until then…

Why I Can Never Visit Japan – Or Why I Must


madayadeOn Saturday, Anthony had another golf event at a local golf course that we hadn’t been to. It was hosted by the SCGA, the organization that hosted the 100 Hole Marathon earlier in the year.

After the event (where he was complimented on his form/stroke by a PGA pro instructor), we decided to head over to our latest, greatest, most favorite grocery store: 99 Ranch Market, a place which specializes in Asian products. One would think that with the area it’s in and their specialty/niche items that the clientele would be mostly Asian. That’s far from the truth because I saw people of all ethnicities shopping and enjoying their experience. As I posted on Facebook, this is how the world should be: one people together for a common purpose. It was honestly quite beautiful.

CAM00959But before I witnessed this wonderful display, we happened upon another store on the way in and it was all over for me, at least. From a distance I really couldn’t tell what it was but when as we approached, it became more obvious.

The store was called Daiso Japan. They sell stuff from Japan. Most of it sells for $1.50 or sometimes less (and in some cases, more). I was immediately lost.

As my eyes glazed over their wares displayed in the window, I told Ann that we HAD to go in there. Right now. NOW, I tells you.

See, I have this strange affinity toward all things Japan, whether it’s J-Pop, their culture, or just cars. I wouldn’t consider it an unhealthy obsession as much as I would a curiosity; it’s simply a glimpse into a place I’ve never been would love to visit sometime.

But above all, I can’t get enough of Japanese craps, as in items one would find in a place like Daiso. And if I ever won the [insert jackpot game of your choice], I would go to a place like Daiso and buy one of everything whether I needed it or not. Then I would book the next flight to Japan and either go nuts buying more Japanese craps or end up not coming back and taking up residence in a capsule hotel where…I wouldn’t have room for all of my craps.

Okay, maybe it is a bit unhealthy. But hear me out before you judge. Take a look at some of the assorted craps I found in Daiso and why me going to Japan would be a dangerous, dangerous proposition.

First, upon entering the Daiso, I discovered that J-Pop was being piped into the place and could be heard all over the store. My shopping experience was already at a 5-star level. As I made my way through the store I started to notice why I love crazy Japanese craps.

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Here we have a pair of training chopsticks with some kind of animal face on the top. Hey, whatever gets a kid to learn how to use them is fine with me. But look at the packaging! Aside from “Training Chopsticks” there’s no other English on it and that’s what I find so intriguing. Sure, I would know what they were if not for the English but still, the packaging on all Japanese items is insanely pristine and damn near perfection.

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And what do we have here? Oh, nothing but some kitchen sponges SHAPED LIKE CAKE SLICES! Note the precautionary “Do not eat” on the bottom right of each sponge-cake.

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Enjoy the softness! Aside from the “WTF?” factor, here’s another reason I love Japanese products: Engrish, which is Japanese translated into English that produces humorous results. What you see above isn’t the best example of it but still, it’s pretty funny to read on the pack of…grape candy.

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Now this here is some great Engrish. Historically, kings have worn crowns and as such, were…well, kings. Maybe he was Super King.

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These happy little guys will make sure your mundane task of sweeping up that pile of spilled Yan Yans will be a joyous event!

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I almost slapped this on my face and started singing Music of the Night.

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The “frip-top” made me laugh so hard that I had to buy this. It is now my daily container for the snacks I take along with me to work.

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Aside from the chuckles I was getting, I did buy stuff that wasn’t amusing and too cool to not pass up. I ended up grabbing two of these really bitchin’ battery-powered, color-changing LED stars which we used as décor that night for the Supermoon viewing from our front yard. I love goofing around with artificial lighting and taking pictures with my phone. The results are always interesting.

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But I’ve saved the best for last. While walking down the aisle that had party goods, Ann pointed this out and almost fell on the ground laughing.

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This place has everything, even inflatable boobs that, according the package, are “Sopresa Bomba Sexy”! Well, maybe not on a guy with a necktie around his head or any guy in general but you get the idea. I think.

But sadly, as strange as this item was, it has NOTHING on the next one which is still leaving me, for the lack of a better term, curious.

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You know, there are some terms I never thought I’d search for in my life. But after seeing this item, I had to go to Google and search for “inflatable swan penis” to find out exactly how this thing worked and what it did because the instructions on the top of the box didn’t really help me.

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So after researching it, here’s what you do.

  1. Peel off the adhesive backing and stick the flaccid swan-penis to your crotch.
  2. Squeeze the swan’s neck-testicles which will activate the inflation mechanism.
  3. Stand back and watch the swan-penis become erect.
  4. Stand around like a perverted old man with a sheepish grin on your face.
  5. That’s pretty much it.

If you follow the instructions on the box cover, you can also opt for putting on a tutu and sticking the swan-penis to the outside. This would obviously be my choice. Go big or go home, yo.

(Note that the bewbs also inflate using the same kind of chemical reaction.)

Man, I don’t know what kind of partying they do over in Japan but I’d wager that they are pretty crazy, which kind of scares me and excites me at the same time.

In the end, here’s what we hauled home.

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Candies, bike reflectors I didn’t need, cookies…but nothing inflatable.

And this, my friends, is why I should never visit Japan. But do you know what the sad thing about all of this?

We’re going back on Friday for more.

My name is Dave, and I have a problem with Japanese craps.

And music. Now everybody do the Monkey Dance! Berryz Koubou, take it away!

Blogging 365, Day 44: Who’s Older Now?


Ann and I always poke fun of each other when it comes to our age. While the small 5 years between us (with me being the older) makes no difference now, we’ll jokingly look back on our younger years when she was in 8th grade and I was out of high school.

We’ll shudder and laugh it off because now, with me turning 44 tomorrow and she turning 39 two weeks later, it’s all water under the bridge. Even so, she will still pick on me about my age when I rarely complain about sore joints or muscles after a rigorous workout/run/bike ride.

“You old man,” she’ll tell me with a smile.

Uh-huh.

Well, my dear wife of 20 years in June, do you mind telling me who feels older now?

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This is part of a piece of mail she received yesterday. Note that the rip through the middle was not done out of spite; it’s just what we do when we get junk mail.

Or at least that’s what she wants me to think.

I really didn’t want to pick on her about this but I simply had to since, with me being 5 years her senior, I have never gotten anything related to retirement, personal mobility, or funeral arrangements. And with my cholesterol and glucose levels at excellent levels, let’s hope my lack of mail pertaining to aging is a good omen.

As for Ann, well, she’s waiting to get her AARP membership application and pre-planning kid from The Neptune Society 🙂

Blogging 365, Day 8: Hey Hey, I’m a Monkey


Rooster

Much like numerology, I never really gave a lot of thought to astrology and the personality characteristics of traditional zodiac signs. I always thought it was a bunch of hogwash written by newspaper columnists that had some ad space to fill when the sales reps couldn’t sell it.

Then one day I discovered the Chinese zodiac signs while eating a fine Chinese dining establishment that had all of the symbols and information printed on their paper placemats. This, by the way, is probably the best way to gauge if the restaurant is worthy of your patronage.

Upon reading the chart, I discovered that based on the year I was born (1969 for those of you keeping score at home), my symbol was that of the Rooster.

And boy, did that animal’s personality fit me perfectly: proud, confident, bragging about accomplishments, keeping in good health, staying active, blunt but also loyal and honest. I always kept this in the back of my mind and whenever the topic would come up, I’d proudly exclaim that I was a Rooster and then everyone would kind of look at me and seem to think, “Yeah, I’m not too surprised by that.”

Hey, it’s not bragging if you can back it up, right?

Anyway, I carried that along with me knowing that it was spot-on, dead-nuts about me. I wouldn’t be bragging about it otherwise. Screw the traditional zodiac; the Chinese zodiac obviously had it right and was much, much more reliable.

MonkeyThen a few days ago I discovered that the Chinese zodiac doesn’t just rely on the year of your birth but also the date of it.

That’s when I discovered that, after years of laboring under the delusion that I was a Rooster, it turns out that I’m actually a Monkey.

Yep. A Monkey. So let’s take a look at what a Monkey is like and if it matches me.

They are clever, mischievous, practical jokers, rarely ill (because they think that being sick is a waste of a valuable day), adapt well to changing environments.

Once I discovered this I went back and compared these traits to the Rooster and found that I fit both Rooster and Monkey. It’s pretty safe to say that the Monkey’s traits also describe me fairly well.

But wait, I mistakenly thought I was a Rooster all these years based on my year of birth. Now that I have correctly determined my symbol, it turns out that I’m a Monkey and again, the characteristics match mine.

It was then that I came to the conclusion that if I went through all of the Chinese zodiac symbols, I would have at least one (if not, then a few) traits in every animal represented on the chart.

In other words, as if fortune cookies weren’t already a clear indication, the Chinese zodiac turns out to be just like the traditional zodiac: hogwash written to fill unsold ad space.

But I sure could go for a banana right about now.

By the way, I’m completely aware that Berryz Koubou is a Japanese not Chinese group so please don’t bother to point that out. Work with me here, people.