Archive for June 20th, 2011

June 20 – June 26 (2011)



I was traversing the 5 freeway with my friends Joe and Zandra this past week and I couldn’t get this song out of my head. Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” GREAT song!

Monday the 20th – MONDAY, MONDAY! – I slept in for awhile today and it was GREAT! When I did get up I discovered it was an absolutely beautiful day, so I biked over to my homeowner’s association office to get paperwork to have a new air conditioner installed. The one I have in my house has been in there since I bought it in 2000, and God only knows how long it’s been there before I moved in. It seems like every summer it gives out right in time for a heatwave. It has a very hard time keeping up. So, this year it goes away in favor of a new, energy efficient model. I changed clothes and biked over to “The Tonight Show.” It was a great ride, since the day was absolutely perfect for it. I biked home and went over to Panera to meet my assistant Sara for dinner. When I got home I did some banking stuff, looking through statements, reconciling with my checkbook registers, etc. I also started in on my main showcase. When my contractor Terry replaced the hinges a week or so ago, the vibration of his cutting took knocked a bunch of stuff over. Plus there was sawdust everywhere. So shelf by shelf I had to take every item out, clean it, vacuum and clean the shelf itself, and replace all the collectibles. The first night I only got 3 of the 11 shelves completed. It was going to be a LOOOOONG process! Sara came over later that night to watch “Six Million Dollar Man” on DVD.

Tuesday the 21st – SASSIE 1 – In the morning I took my dog Sassie out to go potty. She was having a hard time walking again. Probably the worst time she’s had ever. I took her back inside and got another hour of sleep. Then I got up to head to Voice Trax West for another IVR (Interactive Voice Response) session. We’ve been working on this since February and it’s finally starting to wind down. This will be the last full week of sessions for awhile. Next week we’ll go down to one session a week. We’ve recorded a TON of stuff! Probably tens of thousands of lines have been recorded! When it was over I headed to KFC to get some lunch to go, then over to NBC to record a voice-over bit. We taped “TTS” and then I headed home. I had my sinus headache again. I have an MRI scheduled for next week to see why my sinuses aren’t draining properly. My acupuncturist said I blew my nose too hard when I had my stuffed nose problem a few months ago. She may be right. I may have blown it so hard that I created some sort of polyp or something. We’ll soon find out. I came home and went to bed, but I was awakened to Sassie barking. BARKING!? She hasn’t barked in a long time. She was crying and whining in her bed. I petted her and she calmed down, but was breathing very rapidly. I did my auditions to e-mail to my agent, then took her outside. But her balance was way off. It was worse than just the usual weak leg problem. I brought her back inside, did more auditions then spent the rest of the night working on my showcase. I got another shelf done!

Wednesday the 22nd – SASSIE 2! – I got up early again all on my own. Not sure why. Strange though that the time was 9:47. This has been happening a lot lately. The frequency of the radio station in L.A. where I used to work was 94.7, so I’m not sure of that significance, if any. Sassie did #1 and #2 just as the garbage guys came around. Talk about good timing! I went back to bed and slept late. It was much too hot a day to bike to “TTS” again. It hit almost 90! Wouldn’t you know it it cooled back down into the 70’s the following days…days that I had a full work day planned? So I got cheated out of a good biking day. After the taping of “TTS,” I went over to Gun World to buy a new gun box for the Smith & Wesson Model 459 I recently purchased. My pal Jorge over there gave me my late birthday gift…a range bag! A really beautiful black nylon bag that will hold several guns, ammo, clips and more. What a great gift! I stopped by It’s a Wrap and bought a few new clothing items…a purple velvet blazer and a black baseball cap. I hit KFC for dinner (I had been craving KFC lately!) then went home. I did some work around the house and worked on the showcase again. But Sassie wasn’t doing so well. She could barely stand and walk now. She wanted to tip over to her left all the time. She needs constant support. I now have to hand feed her and hold her up to give her water. It was breaking my heart! But we went upstairs to watch TV on the bed and I fed her some chicken. We had fun, but I feared it would be one of the last nights we would be enjoying this ritual together.

Thursday the 23rd – UNBELIEVABLE DEVELOPMENT! – I took Sassie out in the morning and she was still very weak. I had to go to the IVR session, but my assistant Sara came over to sit with Sassie to wait for Dr. Gray, Sassie’s acupuncturist. When I got home I looked at Sassie but she still wasn’t doing very well. I was starting to seriously consider the worst…having to put Sassie down. After all, Sassie was a near invalid now and wasn’t seemingly enjoying life that much. On my way to “TTS” I called Bea Lydecker, a world famous animal communicator. I had consulted with her several years ago and found her to be VERY accurate! Say what you want about animal psychics or communicators, but I’m totally sold. I asked her if she was still doing readings and she said she was. She said, ‘What’s going on?” I was very careful not to tell her the real reason I was calling. All I said was, ‘I want to see what my dog is thinking.” She asked for her name and I told her it was Sassie. Bea was quiet for awhile and said, “She’s missing a woman who used to come to your house a lot, but hasn’t been there for awhile.” I couldn’t think of who that may be, but then I realized that my friend Scott’s wife Vickie hadn’t been there for movie night for a few weeks. That could be her! Vickie and Sassie would lay close to each other by the fireplace while the movies played. Then Bea said something that astonished me. She said, “Sassie likes her because she doesn’t let anyone talk about putting her down.” I burst into tears and almost drove off the road! How could she have known that was the reason I called?! I didn’t even tell Bea Sassie’s age! It was difficult for me to speak but I said, “Actually, that’s the reason I called.” Bea said that Sassie wasn’t ready to go because she wasn’t ready to go yet. She just has a lot of weakness but no pain. Shaken, I got to “TTS” to tape a comedy bit, then went to Taco Bell for lunch. I headed back to “TTS” and we taped the show. I decided it was about time to book a hotel room for the San Diego Comic Con. I wouldn’t be there until late Friday night, but I would be there Saturday and Sunday, and even doing TWO voice-over panels. The closest room I could get was 3.3 miles away. But I took it anyway. I went home and carried Sassie outside to potty. She can’t walk on her own at all now. Very sad. It looked like I’d be losing my best friend very soon. We had a good 10 years together, but when the time comes you always wish for a few more years. I went over to Jerry’s Famous Deli to meet with Thomas and Tim, a few robot guys I had recently gotten in touch with. I told them about a few ideas I had for robots in Planet Wallywood, and we had a great time talking about possibilities. We were joined by my Irish friend Kassandra, whom I hadn’t seen in awhile. But the strangest of all coincidences…Tim started telling me about some robot figures he worked on in Singapore on a new Madagascar ride. A bell rang in my head. HEY! I’m the voice of Alex for that ride! What a small world. When they toured my house later they said, “We want to make every mannequin in here move!” How wild would THAT be? Adam West in his Batman costume, looking around and spouting lines from the TV show? Andy Kaufman doing his comedy routines! Later that night I did my auditions to send to my agent via e-mail, then I started “Man from U.N.C.L.E.: Season 4” since I had finished watching “Six Million Dollar Man: Season 3.”

Friday the 24th – THANK GOD FOR HIATUS! – I got up for the IVR session but I was very tired. Exhausted! Between the stress of Sassie’s issues, all the work stuff going on, and other things, I was really dragging ass. The IVR session was particularly stressful because it was a long list of people’s names that will be used in the automatic greetings. So I had to read thousands of names, some hard to pronounce. The clock started moving to 2:00, quitting time…but we still had several pages to go. The producer said we could stop and pick it up at next week’s session, but I wanted to finish them up for the week. I’m a completionist I guess. It only took another 5 minutes, but we got all the names finished. So next week we can start anew! Then I got home, took Sassie out and then headed to “TTS” for an early call. We were taping a half hour early because it was the day before another week-long hiatus. And just in time! I did the opening, but during the taping of the show I put my head in my hands and just zoned out. I was spent! I got a second wind though, thankfully, and drove home after the taping. I got ready to go to my pal Deverill Weekes’ exhibit of great make-up artists at this weekend’s Make-Up Artist Trade Show. My friend Alex had driven in from Phoenix that day and she was supposed to go along, but they were running late and weren’t able to make it. At the exhibit I saw Scott and Vickie Sebring, Deverill and his wife Juliet, and a bunch of other friends. Though I had Sassie weighing heavily on my mind, it was great to hang out with friends. Scott, Vickie and I walked across the street from the Pasadena Convention Center and had dinner. But during dinner I got very tired again and had a very hard time keeping from nodding off. I’m glad it was the weekend! When I got home, Sassie was very lethargic and unresponsive.

Saturday the 25th – NO REST FOR THE WICKED! – I woke up around 11 to let my maids in to clean Planet Wallywood. Then I got a text from my pal Bodie Stroud telling me that he was on the way with my Gran Torino. He was fixing some stuff on it, including installing a great new CD/DVD/GPS/MP3 system. I met up with him outside while my friend Amanda stayed with the maids, and I took Bodie back to his shop. While we were there he fixed my driver’s seat, which had been leaning to the right. He also fixed some trim pieces on my front bumper. While I was waiting for him to complete that work, I walked around the back of his shop to talk privately on the phone with Sassie’s vet Dr. Gray. She was helping me schedule an MRI for her down in Tustin (about 49 miles away from where I live) and I needed to find suitable transportation for us to get there. My car is much too small for Sassie to be comfortable in. So I phoned a place called Pet Taxi, who specialize in transporting animals. I also called my good friends Joe and Zandra in Lompoc. They have an SUV that would be perfect. They almost insisted that they drive down on Sunday and take Sassie down with me. They said it would be best of have good friends there with me. I agreed. I called Pet Taxi and thanked them, but told them I had found transportation. They were very caring and understanding and wished Sassie and I the best. I want to try every last thing for Sassie before making the hardest decision in my entire life. But the strangest thing happened. As I was behind Bodie’s shop talking on the phone, I saw a bunch of oil drums stacked along a wall. There were handwritten signs on some of them, and one sign floored me. It simply said, “NO SASS.” I’m not sure what it meant, but since I call Sassie “Sass” all the time, it did not look like a promising omen to me. I fought back the tears and went back into Bodie’s shop and put on the brave face. I took the Torino back out on the road and I was feeling better. I always told myself that when Sassie goes, I’m going to hop in my Torino, turn up the music and take a long, long ride. I made it home, but then turned right back around again and headed out to meet my friend Alex at a tailor shop. We needed to get her measurements to have a Michelle Pfeiffer-type Catwoman costume made for her for Comic Con. She’s never been to Comic Con and she’s always loved Catwoman. So this was her chance to go make her dreams come true! I also met her friends Christine and Brenda. They were all in town to go to the Playboy mansion party that night. The guy who measured Alex at the tailor shop told us he had measured Mae West in the early 70’s! We loved hearing his stories of his years in the wardrobe business. The girls sped off to get ready for the party (but not until after I gave Alex a quick spin in the Torino) and I went to Rusty’s Pets to get some more potty pads. I wanted Sassie to stay in my room that night, so if she started whining again I could wake up an attend to her. If she had to go potty or needed a drink, she would whine and bark. Then I would change her potty pads, or prop her up between my legs and let her drink water. I hand fed Sassie a full can and a half of dog food and laid her down to sleep. She stayed there all day and evening. I got a quick nap before movie night, gave Sassie some more water, then welcomed the gang over for “Somewhere in Time” and “The Jerk.” It was great having the company of friends. I really needed it. And it was great having Sassie sleeping in my room again. I feared it would be the last time. I wasn’t sure what the neurologist would say the next day, but I was fearing the worst, while trying to stay positive.

Sunday the 26th – MOMENT OF TRUTH! – Sassie woke me up around 6am to be changed and have her last drink of water for the day. She had to be put under to have the MRI done, so she couldn’t have any food or water after 11am. I went back to bed, but got up shortly after noon. Just as I was taking all of the stuff to the garage to prepare for our trip to Tustin, Joe and Zandra pulled up. We put plastic down in the back of their SUV, laid Sassie’s bed on top of it, then put potty pads all over her bed. I went and got Sassie and brought her down. Since today was the 26th, and 26 has always been one of my lucky numbers (13 is my main lucky number, and 26 is twice that) I was holding out hope that it would be a good day. I prayed that the neurologist would find something simple in the MRI, Sassie could have surgery, and then be back to normal. We took off for Tustin but I was lost in thought. I tried to keep the conversation going with Joe and Zandra but it was tough. Anytime the conversation veered toward Sassie it was all I could do to keep from breaking down. But I bit my lip and continued. We got to Tustin right on time and met with Dr. Murray. She examined Sassie. She said that she would order an MRI of Sassie’s brain, as she thought that had something to do with her loss of equilibrium and front leg problems. Her back leg problems could be something different. She said they would do the brain MRI first and if something was really wrong with that, they wouldn’t need to do the MRI of her back portion. She suspected that it was something wrong with Sassie’s brain stem. I think Dr. Murray was trying to be as delicate as possible, but I knew she was quite experienced, and probably knew what the problem was right away. The MRI place was done for the day, but they would do Sassie’s MRI first thing Monday morning and let Dr. Murray know what was going on immediately. Then Dr. Murray would call me with the results. They would keep Sassie overnight and do blood work and x-rays to make sure she was able to withstand the anesthesia. Dr. Murray said that Sassie’s heart and lungs sounded perfect. They carried Sassie off in her bed and Joe, Zandra and I went to have a late lunch. It was all I could to to stay conversant and not cry like a baby. I was looking for the answer to Sassie’s problems, but I was hoping it was something that could be easily fixed. I was starting to think that it wasn’t. We had lunch at Hooters and even though the waitresses were some of the hottest Hooters waitresses I had ever seen, I didn’t much care. I was only thinking about what a future without Sassie would be like. I had her in my home for almost 10 years and had become quite accustomed to her companionship. We made it back home in good time and we met Sara for frozen yogurt near my house. I thanked Joe and Zandra profusely, bid them farewell, and promptly went inside and collapsed on the stairway crying my eyes out. I took a nap for awhile, and when I got up later that night I felt dizzy. It may have been part of my sinus problems, or it may be been the stress. All evening long I kept thinking, “It’s time to walk Sass,” but then I would realize that she wasn’t there. Before retiring to bed for the night I thought, “Better feed and walk Sassie,” then realized again that it wouldn’t be necessary. This was going to be a very tough adjustment for me to make if Sassie’s life is coming to an end. But I’ll know more tomorrow when Dr. Murray calls with the MRI results.Stay tuned…

And how was YOUR week!!