blogging / Life / Lori / Pink Hat Missions / writing

Return of the Pink Hat

Its 10:20 pm


Sitting here listening to a old radio broadcast of “The Green Hornet”,drinking iced coffee and glad I’m not outside driving. The cheetah and I were downstairs talking to Karen,our friend in Atlanta,online and watching CSI:Miami on the DVD player. This is my second attempt to write this week,my mind is muddled and has been for the past couple of weeks.
I just want the weather to break now,I am tired of being cooped up by the cold,I want to get outside and walk around a little bit,enjoy the sun. The snow we have on the ground has a thick coat of ice over it now. Its beautiful to look at during the night but I’m over it now.


While we are battling through the end of winter,my work is getting ready for the spring,we have done our seasonal reset…everything you need for the spring-summer season except for the actual season. I had a funny moment with the department head of garden,Marcus. This week I am working in his section. I started out working in freight but eventually I moved out to the sales floor. I had worn a heavy sweater in the back as the back room is cold to work in. But as I was breaking down three pallets worth of new products,I got warm…so I took off my sweater because I got warm. I was on the floor afterwards when I noticed Marcus was looking at me a little strangely as we passed each other. Finally he walked up and said “Whats with the shirt? ” I looked down,I had writing on my shirt but it was hidden by my work apron. I said as much and he nodded his head and said “What happened to your collar?” It hit me that I had put on a t-shirt because I had been coming in so late doing my overnights,I didn’t have to wear a collared shirt….I had totally spaced out when I moved back to days. We had a good laugh about it.

Marcus is just another one of my cool co-workers. I have said this once but it bears saying again,other then the guys at the EDGE,my current c0-workers are the best. The bonds we have at the store level are strong and everyone treats each other with respect and kindness. We have a new scheduler who is pretty kick ass and has fixed a lot of mistakes the one who got the hook had left behind.
I am headed back to nights come Monday but at a much more reasonable time frame,6 pm to 12 am. I am working with my buddy Batroc and we work very fast together.. I am looking forward to having a regular shift for a change,I will be getting the weekends off so I can go out and explore Ann Arbor this summer. I already have four people who want to join me in this…Ann Arbor has so many nooks and crannies where you can discover new and fun things to do. Plus I want to do some art fairs this year as well. Just to walk all around and look at people,ask the artists how they create, ‘plore around!! So if you are around this summer and want to hang out with me,let me know so we can make some plans!!

Its 4;06 pm on Thursday

I posted on my FB wall that I have been trying to post anything here but had become muddled. That means I struggle to come up with content I think folks like to read about. I know my interview series is my most popular segment and I am quite taken back that the movie reviews also drew some good traffic. But I am not just into posting pop culture…I am leery about posting about my job in very much detail because that isn’t wise or ethical. I know I popped off when Howard was let go but I have ZERO REGRET in posting that. It was horseshit then and horseshit now. The only saving grace is we did get another manager who seems to have the same exact values that Howard has,family first,then business and our employees. These are their own personal values and certainly not taught them or encouraged by the corporate leadership.
I digress (but hey,are you really surprised by that???)

This is what I was writing LAST week before my creativeness hit a mud hole…my adventure with a dead car battery.


Had a tough road last week as our temps shot down to record lows. No problems,right? Sorta…I finished my week at work at 3 am and headed home.
Because of the record cold,I didn’t have any real plans other then staying home and staying warm. Which is what I did,the cheetah and I watched a cheesy movie (a review is coming soon) called “Seattle Superstorm”. The weekend stayed pretty quiet and Monday rolled around and I got ready for work. Jumped into the Rodger Young and nothing….my battery had given up the ghost. It was completely dead. I got a last minute ride to work and worked my shift. My buddy Rome was kind enough to give me a ride to WalMart because I thought my fuel line was frozen,at the time I didn’t think it was my battery because it had worked fine except for a brief hiccup. Rome and I researched frozen fuel lines and it looked promising. We looked for some Heet but was it all sold out.

Went home and went to Meijer the next day to get the Heet. Added it,waited 30 minutes and tried to turn it over. It was a no go so I went to my neighbor Rich’s house to borrow his battery charger,he hooked it up,gave me directions on how to run it. The next day came and I went to turn my car over. It didn’t at all…I unplugged the charger and got dressed for work. The temperature was -16 factoring in the wind chill factor. But I had on my new heavy cap that my friend Karen down in Georgia had kindly made for me,that kept my head warm. The walk is 3.5 miles one way and I got about a mile into it when I heard my name being called. I turned around and saw my other neighbor,Marlene,whose cat I watch when she goes on vacation or business trips.She and her son Dylan were taking Crash (the cat) to the vet to get his nails clipped. She asked me about the car and then insisted on taking me in to work.
While the walk wasn’t that bad in terms of the weather during the day,when we got off work,the weather was even colder. My co-worker Larry gave me a lift home but I knew I had to get this solved. After getting a jump that didn’t work,I noticed that my buddy Rich had put the battery charger cables on wrong,I re-attached them and wait three hours. The plan was simple,start the car,wait 30 minutes and get a new battery. Sure enough,that is exactly how it turned out. The charger worked and I was able to drive far enough to get a strong new battery.
A common theme has emerged here,a lot of people came together to help each other out. Simple gestures of kindness towards each other all worked as one to help a person in need.

The reason I point this out is thus….I am writing about a common theme here,compassion. I have benefited from many avenues of compassion and have done my best to pay it forward. I am so aware of how much compassion can mean to people,be it showing some manners in opening a door,saying “thank you” or “please”. In a world that seems to be sliding backwards into hatred and cruelty,rising above this to reach a more compassionate view of the human condition is more of an exception then the rule. Are we becoming more jaded as a society,as a nation?
I don’t know…I know that compassion is a quality I look for in a friend,be it in real time or online. I have benefited from acts of kindness for the past 4 years and I have done my best to pay it forward. I do try my best but as it was pointed out,I am slightly cynical as well and I know this as well.
I am less tolerable towards people and events that scream folly and foolishness. Simple things that you don’t think twice about,complaining about people,a spouse,not getting to go somewhere,accidents that be could avoided simply by using common sense,extreme and wild political viewpoints…you get the drift. People who have a good life but can’t seem to grasp just how good they do have it. Couples who battle each other instead of remembering why they fell in love in the first place. I struggle with that…because I don’t have my life anymore and I get mad watching others just toss it aside. I know I have lost people I care about over whether addictions are a illness or a choice. Cancer is a illness,slamming a needle or popping a pill is a choice. I will always stand by any friend who has addiction problems as long as they work to stay sober. And yeah,that includes relapses but when they quit caring,so will I. Its not the lack of compassion or love but its more of a survival issue. You can’t save anyone who doesn’t want it. I know the past two years have been very dark for me and yeah,there were times I really fought hard to see the next day. Those days are less and less now…no,it doesn’t mean I’m “healing” or “moving on”. Because I still don’t want to be here but since I am,what can I do with what I have?
I started the Pink Hat Missions by going here to read its origins. I started off doing small tasks around the town I live in and at my job. It seems like it went south once I started working overnights and the days just got away from me from actually trying to organize a Pink Hat Mission. I never stopped doing them on a personal level but as a group,I did stumble. The spirit is willing but the heart is broken and sometimes needs a jump start of its own.
Recently I have been asked “when are we doing a Mission??” ” Its been months”. Well I am glad to say that we will have TWO missions we can partake in.

The first involves one of Lori’s nurses. I wrote how Melanie’s husband had a relatively simple surgery at Oakwood Hospital. A simple surgery almost had a most tragic ending as her husband,Vaughn,suffered blood clots to his lungs and his kidneys shut down. He was taken to the U of Michigan where he had to stay several weeks undergoing treatment. While he is home now,his road to complete recovery is going to take time.
So for our first Pink Hat Mission,its going to be a simple one,we’re going to send the Whites some “get well” cards and wishes. I think getting mail is a nice moral boost,I know Lori enjoyed getting cards and letters as I know it raised her spirits up.
I know Melanie could use the kind words as well as she is taking care of Vaughan,her two boys PLUS working long hours as a oncology nurse at the U of Michigan Cancer Center.

You can send your cards and notes to:

Melanie and Vaughn White
22150 Brehmer Ct
Brownstown Twp Mi 48183


The second one also involves sending a card or two but in a different nature.

I “met” Josh Hadley indirectly through a podcast that I listen to. He had appeared as a guest on a few episodes which isn’t breath-taking. He is a smart writer,has his own projects going…but what caught my attention was when he went nose to nose with one of the most disturbed trolls I have encountered on the internet. This troll has taken cyber-bulling to a whole new level and was attacking a lot of innocent people in some very nasty ways. Normally one wouldn’t get even bother responding to such a ass but the attacks were getting rather personal and psychopathic. Silence is what enables trolls to expand their hate rhetoric as we have seen just week with for baseball player Curt Schilling’s daughter being attacked on Twitter.
Josh decided he had enough and as I said,went nose to nose with the troll exposing him for the weak minded cowards that trolls are. People are aware of who this person and while he is still spouting off,he isn’t doing it so freely anymore. I admired Josh for his actions and told him as much.
I sent him a friend request via FB a few months ago and during the time since,started seeing some serious heartache on his wall. Pain that I can relate to on many levels.
Josh and his wife Melissa live in Wisconsin. A few months ago,Melissa fell and hit her head on her driveway. She hit head so bad that she was permanently disabled with a traumatic brain injury. Josh,who works as a freelance writer,stays home and helps her during the day. While they are working their way through the medical and social service networks,they are dead broke. I saw posts on his wall about how hungry they were that he was being forced to sell several priceless items they have just to make ends meet as far as basic needs go. I know how bad luck can turn on you,I was blessed to have heat this winter only by the grace of a beautiful gesture by our friend Jalyne and her friends in Utah. So I felt moved to try and help and I made a few phone calls and was able to get the Hadley’s a food voucher from a church.
They live in a small town,the nearest serious resources are 30 miles away and with a broken car (their son helps get Melissa to her doctor’s appointments. The son lives with his parents) getting help is a chore. I don’t know how to crowdfund anything so I am doing this the old fashioned way. If you are moved by the family’s plight and want to help….I know Josh and Melissa would be grateful.

I just want to say this for the record: NO ONE ASKED ME TO DO THIS. I am doing this solely on my own. I did ask permission for I wrote about the Missions so folks wouldn’t be taken by surprise.

If you want to help the Hadleys:

Melissa and Josh Hadley
529 West Maple St.
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235


I like to thank you all for taking the time to read my words,it means a great deal to me.

If you are on Twitter,feel free to follow me @Jinzo_2400

Upcoming stuff on here includes a new “8 Questions with…..” interview with Mary Munez,a peek at San Jose State’s (as well as CMU,WMU and EMU) recruiting class and 2015 schedules and new “Have Cheetah,Will Review” movies.


Shout outs

Alana: Let’s get to work
Melanie and Vaughn – thank you
Melissa and Josh – thank you
Jerry and Cheryl: Safe trip down South!! Do you already miss Autumn?
Monte – Happy birthday!!
Bonz – those doughnuts look so damn good!! Have a fritter for me!!
Mary – thanks for your patience
Lorna – The word for today is “Spring”!!
Rome – Have a great vacation! I’ll make sure Jarod gets some more great flicks to watch.
Monique P – loving the nightly Colby pictures!!
Karen – I am excited to get my matching scarf.
Angie and Kim – he’s a cheetah.
George and the The Lost World Team – thank you for all the Retweets and sharing my blog. So grateful!
Donald – I wish Amy and yourself could be making that trip to Holland as well. I wish Lori and I were right besides you.
Love you brother…
Thanks for the understanding when I shared how I burnt my pre-made cookies. I truly am not a Iron Chef.




2 thoughts on “Return of the Pink Hat

  1. Hi Michael! Im glad I finally caught up with one of your blog posts! 🙂 I look for your posts on FB, announcing a new one is up, and it seems like whenever I actually catch one, I’m not able to read it right then. I have to go back on your blog page and get caught up as I know I’ve missed a few. (I really do enjoy reading them!)
    I too have wondered about the Pink Hat missions but also knew you’d been working overnight a lot this past fall and winter. I’m glad to see you’ve posted a couple missions for people to help with. I will definitely send a card or two to Melanie & Vaughn. I’m not sure I can help anyone financially right now as Dave and I have our own financial issues (who doesn’t these days) but if I can help, I will.
    I am hoping me, you and Susan can get together at Cebella’s again soon! I really enjoyed hanging out with you guys and finally meeting in person! 🙂 If only we could get Karen here too, I think her and Susan would hit it off greatly, don’t you?? Thank you, btw, for introducing me to both Susan and Karen. I just love both of them and have become good friends with them. Karen and I send each other little goodies all the time (my daughter and I got matching handmade scarves! lol!) and we have finally started texting instead of trying to communicate thru FB. And Susan and I have been texting for quite awhile now and are always trying to plan another get together, centered around a Cebella’s handtossed Hawaiian pizza! So, I feel like I can’t thank you enough for helping me form these friendships that mean so much to me. But, ill say it again, thank you Michael. 🙂

  2. I am originally from NY so I get the frozen dead car. Then I moved to GA for 15 years and so loved the warmth but not the humidity. Now I am in Hell, El Paso (commonly known to me and my readers as HelPaso, also a reference to Thor and the 9 realms…never mind lol) and it is way too dry and crap here. I don’t miss the cold or the snow or being in Retail or working in stock or anywhere else!

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