In Memory…

Dad, 3 years old

Mom and Dad on their wedding day

The Family in 1999

Beth’s Wedding, 2002

Still missin’ ya, old man…

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Summer Plans

It’s that time of year again… as summer approaches, I’m getting out my calendar so I can plan for the weekend getaways that will take me away from life’s insanity.

First up is Memorial Day weekend.  While not officially “summer,” it does signal the first weekend of the summer season.  And what better way to celebrate the approaching warmer months than with a ton of guys in leather?  IML (International Mister Leather) is an annual event in Chicago that draws thousands of leather daddies, puppies, otters, bears and everything in between for a weekend-long celebration of the leather lifestyle.  And whether you are turned on by it or turned off, there is sure to be something interesting to see.  Heck, just walk down Michigan Avenue anytime from, oh, about now until Memorial Day and you’re assured to see some very interesting sights.

My friends and I don’t necessarily identify with the leather community, but we call ourselves “Leather-curious.”  So we doll ourselves up (as much as we can– some of us don’t own any leather items– myself included) and see what kind of trouble we can get into every year.  Most of the time it’s harmless… most of the time.

After that is July 4.  And while I’m not really looking forward to July 4 for fairly obvious reasons, I can’t just sit around and pretend it isn’t here.  Besides, after the year I’ve had, I will need to get away.  So a-campin’ I will go… again.  This time I get to try out my fancy new tent… which, hopefully, will be a lot easier to set up than my old one.

Somewhere after that, I need to plan a trip.  It could be to New York, or it could be to California.  I could even be to Mexico.  It doesn’t matter where I go… as long as it’s in the contiguous US or Mexico.  I have two free tickets on American Airlines to use.  Where should I go?  Hm….

Then toward the end of the summer, my friends and I will be going up north to my friend Jeremy’s family’s place in Eagle River, WI.  We had so much fun there a couple years ago, so I can’t wait to get back up there again.

What are your summer plans?  Are any of you going to be in Chicago?  Let me know!

An Open Letter re: MySpace

Dear Amber, Bobbie, Cassie, Deirdre, Elaine, Frannie, Gina, Heather, Ingrid, Jennifer, Kelly, LaTasha, Monique, Nancy, Ophelia, Penny, Quinn, Rachel, Sandy, Tess, Ursula, Vivian, Wendy, Xena, Yolanda, and/or Zelda (among many others):

I usually don’t do these types of things en masse like this, but I’ve simply had enough, and I felt I had to do something.

So here it is:  I do not want to be your MySpace friend.

Please stop asking me.

I don’t know you.  I don’t want to know you.  And, as a matter of fact, I am hesitant to think you are even real people.

Why don’t I want to be your MySpace friend?  Well, for starters, your interests generally involve the following:

Stripping

Posing naked

Making X-Rated videos

Now, I’m sorry… but if you had maybe listed “Singing showtunes” or “Cooking up a mean souffle” maybe I would be interested in chatting… but I think you missed a very important part of MY profile when you chose me as your potential friend:  I’m GAY.  That means I like BOYS.

Boys that strip or pose naked or make x-rated videos are high on my list.  Girls who do these things are not.

Now I should add that I have plenty of female friends on my MySpace page.  Hell, even my sister is on my MySpace page.  But I have to draw the line somewhere; and this line is most definitely indelible.

So please, stop asking me to be your MySpace friend.  I’m sure there are plenty of horny straight men out there who would be glad to check out your newest website, “www.jiggles_for_giggles.com.”

I hope I’ve made myself perfectly clear.  Please stop wasting your time and mine.

Best wishes on your future endeavors!

Sincerely,

Rick Aiello

Who don't bring me flowers?

My rough times didn’t start with the first time I couldn’t pee without yelping in pain.  (I promise, less pee references soon.  I PROMISE!)

I’ve been going through a little batch of “spring blues” lately.  Maybe it’s stress– I mean, I’m going back to school, I’m still working full-time, and I’m trying to stay healthy, all while maintaining some aspect of a social life.  I should be handling it like a pro!

Yeah right!  I’ve had moments of melancholy and “woe is me” to help myself feel better.  I’m human– I’m allowed.

Well the other day, I was browsing around YouTube and somehow came across a video I hadn’t seen in years– 26 years to be exact.  It was the video of the 1980 Grammy Awards, when Barbra Striesand and Neil Diamond appeared on opposite ends of the stage at the very end of the awards broadcast.  It was an impromptu moment for both of them and for the production.  They sang “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” as they crossed to center stage, and went down in history as one of the most electrifying performances on TV ever.

I remember watching that with my parents and sister back in 1980, and I haven’t seen it since– until just the other day.   Now I always knew the lyrics were a dialogue between a couple in a dying relationship, and that they were very syrupy and melancholy… but for some reason, I couldn’t help but place myself in that situation.  After all, nobody is in my life to bring me flowers.  Nobody is around to sing me love songs.

So yeah… instant Debbie Downer moment.

Anyway, I found myself thinking of the song again; singing it, reading about it online, and listening to the copy I own.

Well today, I got home from work and there was a cardboard box under my mailbox.  A box of flowers.

It was from ProFlowers, whose boxes I had seen zillions of times around that evil Valentine’s Day and around Sweetest Day as well.  I never thought I’d get one of those boxes for ME.  I didn’t even believe it was mine until I checked the label and saw my name.

Inside was an arrangement of lilies and orchids, still as fresh as if they were cut today, inside a glass vase.  I filled up the vase, trimmed the stems, and put them in the living room.

Oh… I assume you’re wondering who they are from.  Well.. they are from a very special person.  Someone that cares a lot about people, and goes out of her way to make people feel special.  Even if everything in her life isn’t going as well as she had hoped, she is there to help a friend up and make them feel better.  She’s an amazing friend, mom and wife.  And she writes one hell of a blog.

Thanks, Tuna Girl!!!!!!  You really made my day!

My Flowers!

The lost week

When last I left you, I had just returned from the hospital from another bout with a kidney stone.

You know that old saying “It’s deja vu all over again?” Well, this was one of those situations.

I went back to work on Wednesday, and managed fairly well; only feeling pain toward the end of the day. By the next morning, however, I felt like I was back at square one. Everything was back– but even worse: the pain, the nausea, the vomiting, the dizziness. I paged my doctor and he told me to get the Emergency Room right way. It was 6:00 in the morning.

Thankfully, I found a friend would could drive me to the hospital and he got me there in no time. And once again, because it was so early, I was checked in and on a bed in less than 10 minutes. It took 4 syringes of pain medication to calm me down. I knew I was going to be there for a while.

After I was fairly stable, they brought me back to the observation unit. This time they put me in a room with a private bathroom (how nice!). My Urologist was waiting for me when I arrived. I was never so glad to see him. He said they would send me down for another CT scan to find out where the stone was and decide what to do when they saw those. But more than likely they would have to insert a stent (a tube) into my ureter to help “encourage” the stone to move. That didn’t sound like fun, but at that point, I would have shoved a hot, fiery dagger up my dick to get the stone out if it would work.

OK… not really.

Anyway, that day they did the CT scans, which showed that the stone had moved maybe a centimeter from its original spot. So the stent had to go in, and would go in the following day. So I was assured at least one night. The doctors told me I would be going for my surgery in the afternoon the next day, so it was looking pretty good that I would be there two nights, tops.

Now it is at this time that I should mention my Urologist’s assistants who came to visit me. Northwestern is a teaching hospital (much like Seattle Grace of Grey’s Anatomy). So there are always a lot of young interns and residents running around. A lot of HOT young interns and residents, that is. My Urologist’s assistants were no exception. One, whose name I believe was Chad, came to visit me the night before the surgery. He was wearing a loose-fitting T-shirt and sweat pants, and holding an athletic bag. And when I say loose-fitting T, it wasn’t all that loose. He was very, very hot. All I could think while he talked to me was, “You? Are going to be working on my penis? Oh YES you are!” I wish I could have been awake for at least some of that. Sigh.

The second assistant, whose name might have been James or Jaime or Hottie… I don’t know… came to see me the morning of my surgery. He was dressed much more appropriately in his medical white outfit, but that didn’t make him any less hot. His eyes were what got me… dark, deep, friendly. I didn’t need any anesthesia, I just could gaze into his eyes and everything would be fine… just fine.

Sadly, it didn’t work out that way. 10 minutes before the end of the The Birdcage (which I was watching on Starz! or Encore! or one of those cable movie channels that isn’t the usual HBO), they wheeled me into the prep area so they could begin my anesthesia. At first I didn’t feel much. I just relaxed a bit as they wheeled me into the OR and started prepping me for surgery. I felt my legs stretch open (which meant I was open for all the world to see), and my hands go into their restraints… and then…

…I woke up. In a flash, I felt like I had been transported into another dimension. I was back at the prep area. People were calling my name, but I was definitely awake. And instead of asking where I was, or what had happened… I began to cry. NO… I began to absolutely BAWL. For no reason. I felt no pain, I couldn’t even explain what was making me do this. I just… CRIED. I even asked the nurses, “Why am I crying!?” They told me that it happens when people wake up from this anesthesia sometimes. I found that odd. I mean… I know I can be a crybaby… but come on! I could at least use a REASON to cry!

After about 5 minutes, the crying subsided, and the pain suddenly hit. It was like a fireball slowly approaching. And again I was in hysterics. I felt like I had to pee SOOOOO BADLY. They even gave me a bottle to try to pee into… all I could muster was a tiny, bloody droplet. So they shot me up with pain meds and it eventually died down.

I went in for my procedure at 5:00pm. When I awoke, it was 6:00pm. Naturally, I assumed I would be staying another night.

I went home at 2:00pm today. I still have some blood in my urine from the procedure, but for the most part I am feeling 1,000x better. I have no idea if the stone is actually out, but more than likely, with all the fluids they had been feeding me and the drugs they gave me to help dissolve it, it is probably gone. I don’t feel anything anymore. And it feels pretty fucking incredible. The bitch is that I have this stent inside me now, and I will have that for about 4-5 weeks. But at least if any other stones pop up, I’ll be ready for them.

And please, whatever you do, if your doctor gives you a prescription and says “These will help you prevent something bad from happening to you,” TAKE THE DAMN PILLS. Don’t bitch and moan about how many you have to take or how crappy they taste or how you hate taking pills. If you take the pills, you will save yourself a lot of grief. I wish I had taken my own advice 5-6 months ago. But I guess some of us just have to learn the hard way.

So that’s the end of my lost week. Lost to pain, lost to hospitals, and lost to agony. Keep your fingers crossed for me that next week will turn out to be a lot better!

And finally, a big thank you to everyone who commented on the last post, who wrote special Emails, who called, who helped where they could, and who lent their support through this most incredibly painful situation.  Thanks especially to my friends, Raf, Perry, Jeremy, Jason, Matt, Arnie and Ricardo who called or visited or helped drive me to and/or from the hospital.  Once again I am reminded how blessed I am to have such great friends.  You are all the best.