The best laid schemes of mice and men

I always thought it was, “The best laid plans of mice and men”. Wrong. The correct phrase is “The best laid schemes of mice and men” from the 1786 poem, “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns. This was the line used in the title of Steinbeck’s, “Of Mice and Men”. I always thought that was the quote that was taken from but Mr. Steinbeck took liberties with it. Hell, he’s John Steinbeck and he can do whatever he wants.

The actual verse is:

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane [you aren’t alone] 


In proving foresight may be vain:


The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men


Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry] 


An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,


For promised joy.

I hope y’all learned something from this. I guess our trip to Toronto wasn’t a waste.

The trip here was not without problems. We got to Amsterdam (stage one) as planned. I could carry on to France (stage 2) but Shujie couldn’t. Because she is a Chinese citizen she needed a visa to move through the airport. Naturally no one told us. We were lucky. The Amsterdam airport police got her on another flight direct to Toronto and she arrived 2 hours after me. The flight was free as Amsterdam would be fining Air France and billing them for the plane ticket because they decided it was their screw-up. They shouldn’t have let her on the plane in Oman without a proper visa, and the people who bought us the tickets should have told us about this. Farewell Oman, we knew you well enough.

So we got to Toronto at different times but no major disasters. I had my transesophageal echocardiogram scheduled for the next morning so we took the long drive out to the hospital to have it. I went to check in and they said they had rescheduled it for July 23rd and had written me about the change. I said, “where did you write me”? and they gave me an address 4 years old. They blamed the doctors office and told me they couldn’t do it then. I decided the doctor’s office for my cardiologist was full of idiots and I wanted nothing more to do with them.

I called my other cardiologist and he could see me the next day so we went. I had seen him twice before and the first time I really liked him and the second time I didn’t care for him. So this was visit number 3 and the tie-breaker. He was an ass. He made me feel like he had no time for me and I was too complicated to deal with and would take up too much of his time. I guess he’s a cardiologist who only likes simple cases. What a bozo. He passed me off to a different cardiologist in the same office. We went to see him the following week and he was patient, happy to answer questions, and seemed to know his business and explained why this test was best for me. I asked him how he kept track of all the patients because the office was jammed and I figured they double and triple booked. He said he always sees his patients within 5 minutes of their booking time. To quote Tevya, “unheard of, absurd”. He really doesn’t double and triple book, takes his time, makes sure you understand, and has you listen while he dictates a letter to your family doctor. A true professional.

They booked my TEE (that’s the test I mentioned above) for July 18th. He said he would send me to the guy who did my test in the past but I wasn’t really listening. After all, I was sure I had never had this test before. We go to the hospital and the nurse says I look familiar and I say “I’ve never seen you before”. The doctor says, “you look and sound familiar” and I say “I’ve never seen you before”. They couldn’t find my previous records so they had nothing to back up their claims.

They did the test and it appears I have had no major change since the last time. When I went back to the cardiologist, he said, “your mitral valve isn’t perfect and the prognosis is ‘wait and see’. He asked me to come back in 6 months and I told him I’ll see you in a year. So the good news is there is nothing bad and the bad news is I suffer from a really bad shortness of breath. So, wait and see.

Shujie tells me we’ve been there before and I tell her she’s crazy and where is the video evidence. She said my sister and her took me 2 years ago. I asked my sister and she said, “yes, we took you there” and she described it. That whole experience has been wiped from my memory banks. I have absolutely no recollection of this, not even a little one. Oh well.

It’s very nice of my mother and her live-in to allow us to stay here. It’s a nice apartment for 2 people but not for 4. I miss staying at my sisters and having the downstairs apartment but her mother-in-law is still there. I need to get out of here as they get on my nerves (but beggars can’t be choosers). However, to quote a title of a great Daniel Day-Lewis film, if I’m here much longer, “There May Be Blood”.

We haven’t done much. We’ve seen a few people, been out for dinner a few times, saw a baseball and a football game, and went to a movie. This was our first trip to the cinema in 2 years. We saw “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. It got good reviews and my nephew raved about it. Shujie, my brother-in-law (who usually likes this crap), and I watched it. After 5 minutes I wished it were over. It was deadly bad. None of us liked it so I had my nephew beheaded.

We’ve had a lobster dinner, which was great (one of the highlights) when we dined with friends. I haven’t had a lot of cravings while here. I think the cravings only come when I know I can’t have something.

So after the doctor on Wednesday I was set to book our cruise to Alaska. When I started to look 3 months ago it was about $2000 for the two of us for the cruise and the plane. Naturally I couldn’t book because I didn’t know my medical situation. I looked around on Wednesday and we were talking about $4000+ for a week. That’s the cruise and the plane. I’m crazy and have little respect for money but it just seemed too much for 2 people for 7 days who are not rich. I was crushed. I had my heart set on this trip. So, we needed a backup. I looked for all-inclusive “fun in the sun” trips (something I swore I would never do) and New York City. It came down to NYC (not cheap) and the Dominican Republic. Shujie voted for the Dominican because is if she tells Chinese people she went to New York they’d say, “big deal”. However, if she told them Dominican Republic they’d be impressed. That’s good reason to pick a vacation spot…………..not. So we are off to the Dominican next Friday for an all-inclusive vacation. There are free drinks but I’m not really one of your big drinkers. I like some drinks once in a while but I guess I’ll have to flirt with alcoholism when we go. There are extras that we can do that we have to pay for (not cheap) but we will do them if they are unique to us. Right now it looks like doing the zip line thing and taking surfing lessons. I mean c’mon, let’s go surfing now, everybody’s learning how, c’mon on a safari with me.

So we will be gone from August 1st to 8th. Shujie’s flight out is August 13th and mine is September 26th because I didn’t know my future and they wanted to book for me. I’m changing it on Monday to August 13th also. I’d rather sit around and do nothing by myself than with my mom and live-in.

Shujie’s job starts September 1st (but she has to be there mid-August for training) and my job starts October 1st (I should be there a week early for training). So I will have nothing to do really but what choice do I have? We are hoping to visit Turkey and Israel this year. I hopes school is good but you never know until you get there.

So that’s basically it for now. Next summer Shujie will head to China and I will come to Toronto to do doctor’s appointments. Then I will go to China too to see my Chinese family. Shujie said we could go to Chengdu where they have the Panda raising places so I look forward to that.

This will end up being a short trip (compared to previous years) but people here are in pretty good shape so that’s good and it’s good to see that for yourself.

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