Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Unusual

I usually don't have the time to write in this blog more than once a week or so, but this week has given me more opportunities. Like now. I'm sitting in an independent truck stop in Mt Vernon, IL. I left St Louis this morning, about 3 1/2 hours ago, and was headed to Louisville with two, count them, two bay window frames to drop off and then the plan was to head home from there. This means that my trailer is nearly empty, which means no weight, which means lousy traction in bad weather and strong winds. Well, best laid plans of mice and men and all that. It looks as though I will not be going to Louisville after all. You see, I love to drive, and I don't mind driving in bad weather. But I WILL NOT DRIVE ON ICE!! Nope, Ain't gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent. If I wanted to drive on ice I would move to Yellowknife. As a matter of fact, I won't even skate on ice. That wouldn't be prudent either, but for different reasons. The last 20 miles, before I reached Mt Vernon, I saw about 10 cars off in the ditch in various states of orientation. Meaning some were on their tops and others were on their side and a couple even were still on their wheels. I was doing about 25 or 30 that last 20 miles and had one fool lose it right in front of me.

Now help me out here. You're driving down the highway and all the traffic, this means everyone, is in the right lane doing about 25 or 30. The road just looks a little wet. But wait, what's this? There is no spray coming off of anyones tires. It must just be a temporary suspension of one of the rules of physics for my benefit. Great. This will allow me to travel at a high speed in this light misty rain without getting my windshield all gunky from those mean old trucks throwing up spray. It couldn't be ice though. Everyone knows that the freezing temperature of water gets much lower if I'm driving down the road. This will allow me to travel faster than everyone else.

But the sad thing with this scenario is when you suspend one law of physics, another one usually gets suspended as well. Like the one concerning friction. Friction is that mysterious law that keeps your tires from going off the road whenever you turn the wheel. Did you know that on a dry road your car will actually lose speed if you turn the wheel? Friction, force, thrust; they all play together in there. But some folks skipped physics class. Like that fool who thought everyone was just driving slow to watch the deer on the side of the road and that 60 was a good speed for him, cause he had places to see and people to be. That same fool that lost it about 50 feet in front of me and spent the next half a minute trying to get control back, put his Blackberry back in it's case, set his coffee down in the cup holder, and fill his shorts, all at the same time. Did you also know that the wake-up or rumble strip on the shoulder will help you maintain traction, a little bit?

Well, God was merciful to that fellow today because he was somehow able to get his car straightened out and continued on his merry way, albeit at a much lower speed. Me? I knew Mt Vernon was close and figured enough was enough. I'm done til the temp goes up. The only problem with that is that by then I will probably not have time to get to Louisville before the customer closes and they will not be open the rest of the week.

The boss says to be safe and he'll reschedule the delivery for January 6th, which is when I'm due back on this run anyway. I've got a good boss.

So here I sit, fooling around on the laptop. Good news though. Another boss wants me back tomorrow at a decent hour so they can load my truck for next week so everyone can take off on Friday. That I can do. And on top of that, the weather for my run next week to Grand Rapids, Chicago and Milwaukee looks good. A little cool, but sunny. That'll work.

Well, ya'll have fun and if I don't see you again before Thursday, Have a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Update


Just wanted to post this photo of our Living Christmas Tree from church. We're all done with the program and as I write this, the tree has already been dismantled and put away til next year.


Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Jesus is...

Just like Mom, I sing in a choir. Although one not quite as large as hers, and yet we have fun with it. This being the season for choirs to show their stuff, we have been rather busy. One thing out director asked of us this year was that we memorize the music. I've only done that for a whole choir performance a couple of times since college. But our director, ever vigilante, made it much easier for us by providing each part with a practice CD. Now with all the time that I have on the road, you would think that I would have it down pat.

But alas, I was not quite as successful in the memorization as I had hoped. I did have most of it down, but there were still a few spots that kept throwing me off.

During one of the songs we sing a line that says "He is King of Kings" and we sing another line that says "He is born in Bethlehem".

There is a term for it but I do not remember what it is, but it pertains to when you begin to say one word and switch to another word right in the middle of said word. This happened to me during practice on Wednesday and I was unable to continue since I was about wetting myself with laughter.

I started out sing "He is born..." and in the middle of "born" realized that I should be singing "He is King..." and so I switched. What came out was "He is Bong". It was here that I lost it. All sacriligousness aside, just the idea, Jesus as a bong, sent me over the edge.

It's a good thing our fine and skilled director is also so patient with us.

By the way, the performance was last night and again tonight, with about half the performance again on Sunday morning. We are performing in a "Living Christmas Tree". It's a huge contraption where we all look like ornaments in a tree. Looks good from the audience, but I get a little nervous up there. Good thing they didn't put me in the top. Maybe I'll send you a picture later, if I remember to take one.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Ghost in the Red Scarf

I'm laying in bed (yes, at home) the other night, and Preston hollers at me.

"Dad!"

"What!"

"Can you come here for a minute?"

"Sure. Be right there." I climb out of bed, and shuffle over to his bed, he's in the same room anyway, and ask him what's going on.

"Are ghosts real?"

"What do you mean 'Are ghosts real?' Do you mean are there really ghosts or do you mean are ghosts real people?" Not that this distinction matters to an 8 year old at 11 o'clock at night.

"Are there really ghosts, I mean?" he says.

"Yes," I respond and head back to bed.

"Dad?"

"What, Preston?"

"How do you know there are really ghosts?"

"Cause I've met one," I answer.

At this he rolls over in his bunk and looks straight at me. "Really!"

"Really," I say.

Nothing...nothing...nothing...then..."Cool."

"Wanna hear about it," I ask.

"Yeah," he says and I tell him this story.

I was driving across Indiana about 3 years ago and I had been through Indianapolis already and I was on my way to St Louis. I was running behind because I was having some mechanical problems with the truck and it was already night time. It had snowed the day before and there was still snow on the ground, but the roads were clear and dry.

I was hoping to get to Effingham where there was a garage that might be able to look at my truck and see if they could fix the problem. See, she would just shut down for no apparent reason. If I let it sit for about 2 minutes it would start back up again and run fine for another 30 minutes or so and then do the same thing all over again. I had checked my cables, my batteries, my alternator, the air in the tires, the milk in the fridge, and everything I could think of, but I was unable to find the problem.

So here I am, between Cloverdale and Brazil, and it happens again. Off to the shoulder I go, flashers flashing, tires rumbling on the rumbler strip, and soon I am sitting parked once again. I shut the key off and wait for 2 minutes to go by. After that, I turn the key again and voila! Nothing. What? Nothing! Nothing. Zip. Nada. This time it won't even crank. So I get out of the truck, pull up the hood and start looking again for anything that looks out of place. A mechanic, I am not. Everything looks just like it ought to, except the MOTOR IS NOT RUNNING!! Now I'm getting frustrated. After several attempts at starting it, and several smacks with a hammer, I realize that I am stuck.

But I think, there must be something I'm missing, and so I step out again to look. As I am leaning into the engine compartment on the passenger side, trying to warm my hands over the rapidly cooling motor, I hear a voice behind me. "Looks like you're having some problems."

I nearly jump out of my skin because I never heard her approach. Never saw a car come up behind me or pull over in front of me. I even glance towards the back of the truck and there's no car back there. Just the intermittent flow of traffic that is passing me on this cold lonely night.

"Yeah," I said. "It keeps shutting down for some reason and I can't figure it out."

The woman who spoke to me looks to be between 40 and 50, is dressed warmly for the weather and is wearing a red scarf around her neck. Also, in her gloved hands, is a large, green Stanley Thermos.

"There's a garage about 4 miles off the next exit. They might be able to come help you out," she says and hand me a slip of paper with a phone number on it.

"Thanks," I say and took out my cell phone and made the call. It was indeed a garage and they said that they would have someone out there in about 30 minutes. I said thanks and hung up.

I turned back to the woman and told her what was what and she just smiled and said that she had always heard they did good work. "Have you eaten yet? I've got some good hot stew here," she says as she holds out the thermos.

"Well, I have eaten but it's been a while. Hot stew sounds like it would be great right now," answer and she quickly unscrews the top and pours me a bowlful. It smells wonderful and the steam is rising off the bowl in the cold night air. She pulls a plastic spoon from her coat pocket and hands the dish to me.

"I hope you enjoy it. It was my husbands favorite recipe," she says. I dig into the stew and it is delicious. Just what I needed after a cold frustrating day. I have been wondering all this time though, exactly where did this lady come from and I ask her that question.

"From back there," she says, and points here thumb over her shoulder towards the woods. I glance over her shoulder and I can just make out a house about a hundred yards into the woods. She says "I saw you sitting here and I thought this was a bad night for a driver to be broke down. My husband used to drive a truck so I tend to keep my eyes open for you guys."

"Well," I say. "That's very nice of you. Again, the stew is great. I don't want to be forward or anything, but would you like to sit inside where it's at least a little warmer?"

"That's ok," she says. "Looks like your help is here anyway." With this she points to the back of the truck. I look back and see a wrecker pulling up in front of me, it's yellow flashers bouncing off the trees and the fresh snow around me.

I turn back to her, handing her back her empty bowl, and say, "Thanks again. I better go check in with him. I'll be right back." I walk up to the tow truck and the mechanic who is stepping out of the wrecker, and I fill him in on what's going on. He grabs a few tools and heads back to the front of the truck. When we get back to my open hood, I notice that the lady with the red scarf is nowhere to be seen. It appears as though she has gone back home now that my help has arrived. I shrug my shoulders and wait patiently while the mechanic starts going over the motor.

Soon he decides that the repairs are beyond his capacity and the truck needs to be towed in to their garage. He quickly hooks up and we are soon off to his garage.

As we arrive at his garage, he pulls through one of the open bays, drops my truck there in the warm building, and unhooks his wrecker. I go inside and check in with the head mechanic and the work soon begins. He tells me there's a restaurant next door if I want to go get something to eat. I told him I wasn't hungry but I might go get some coffee. I then told him about the lady who came to me on the side of the road and brought me some stew.

At this news, his head pops up and he looks me square in the eyes. Then he asks me, "Was she wearing a red scarf?"

"Yeah," I said. "Do you know her?"

"Most people around here know of her, but only a few have ever met her." Then he asks me if I ate any of the stew.

"Yes," I said. "And it was excellent."

"I've heard that she makes a very tasty stew. But if I were you I wouldn't stray too far from the bathroom."

It was at that very moment that I felt an unsettling rumbling in my stomach. Sometimes, when you start to feel as though a restroom will soon be your best friend, you get some warning. Sometimes that warning is long with several rumblings, and sometimes it's short with a couple of quick cramps. This one smacked me in my gut and yelled at me in a loud voice, "NOW!!" And I was off in a run. I made it but barely.

I will not go into any details here as I am trying to keep this a family story, but let's just say...well...it was bad. Quite bad.

After I came back from the restroom, I started to ask the head mechanic about this lady but I was interrupted by another stomach doubling cramp and I was off for another dash. Twenty minutes later I was back. The head man, Billy, said, "At this rate, we'll have your truck done before you are." Very funny. Very funny.

"So tell me about this lady," I said and he started in on her story.

"Her name is Marcia Stillwater and her husband was a truck driver."

"She told me that," I said. "Did he pass away?"

"Yes," he said. "One month after she did."

"What?! You mean this lady is dead?"

"Yep. You are one of about two dozen truck drivers who have come face to face with the ghost of Marcia Stillwater."

Seems Marcia's husband, Tom, was a driver for a local company and he loved his job, almost as much as he loved Marcia. Marcia, on the other hand, hated his job because it took him away from her far more than she wanted. It was about two weeks before Christmas and Tom was on a run to California. He had left the night before and he and Marcia had had a bad fight. She was pregnant with their first child and was due to deliver in about a week. Tom figured he could get back home before the baby came but she didn't want him to chance getting caught out there or the baby coming early. She begged him to stay home but he felt they needed the money and so he went anyway.

Her worst fears were confirmed the next night when she started going into labor. It was cold and snowing and she could not get a hold of her doctor. She called her sister and she soon showed up with a friend who was a midwife. The labor was a bad one and the midwife was soon dealing with an issue well beyond her capabilities. Neither Marcia nor the baby would survive the birthing process.

This happened in the 1965 and her husband was beyond reach. He tried several times to call her over the next few days and grew increasingly concerned when he received no answer. He came home as fast as he could only to find his wife and child already gone. He was so distraught that he never left his house again. One month later he was gone too. The doctors say he died of guilt, thinking that if only he had been home he would have been able to do something to save his wife and baby.

So this was the story of Tom and Marcia, told to me between about 7 trips to the restroom and much laughter from the mechanics. By now I was sore, irritated, and totally worn out. I knew that even if my truck were finished, there was no way I would make to St Louis that night. But there were still some holes in the story that I needed filled.

"So what's the deal with the stew?" I asked. "Why would she do this to broken down truck drivers?"

And Billy told me. "The story is that her last words, spoken to her sister that night, just before she died, were 'Tom will pay for this. And so will every other driver out there.' Ever since then there have been about two dozen drivers or so, who have met up with Marcia Stillwater. Always at night, always near Christmas, and all but one spent several hours regretting eating her stew. And they all say she was wearing a red scarf."

"What about the one who didn't regret eating her stew," I asked.

"He didn't eat it," Billy said.

"And so, Preston," I said. "That's the story of the night I met the Ghost in the Red Scarf. What'd you think?"

"Cool," he said.

Yeah, I thought. Real cool.

I love stew. But some nights around Christmas... I just can't eat it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I had to quit and some sad news...

Well, I had to quit my job as Mayor of Tick Ridge, WV. Seems they weren't real thrilled about my idea of knocking down the football stadium and putting in truck parking. Hey, parking is at a premium. I thought it was a good idea. But the town council seemed to think otherwise. Can you say Impeachment?

Sad news this week.

This is Princess.

Princess is a Cocker spaniel/border collie mix that was born off a dirt road outside of Lubbock, TX. She has lived in Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, and Ohio. She's a regular globetrotter. She's a real sweet lady. Quiet, and loving, and she's my daughters dog. She has a skin condition on her back, arthritis, and is nearly blind and deaf. She is also 14 years old. Which means she is drawing near the end of her years on this earth. Hana was almost eight when Princess joined us. They are quite attached to one another.

My daughter was giving her a bath the other day and came running down the stairs. "There's blood in the water, Dad!" I'm thinking of the curse of Egypt and wondering why there would be blood coming out of our taps, but I soon learn what she's doing. We both go back up and check it out and see that her skin has opened up on her back and she's bleeding a little on her back. Hana gets her cleaned up and puts some ointment on her and all is well. Princess already had a vet appointment scheduled and so on Monday, she went off to see her doc.

Dr. Sandy Carpenter is a great vet and takes the necessary time with her patients. I called my wife later in the day to see how the vet appointment went and she told me that Hana was given "the news". Seems the vet told her that we need to start thinking about the conditions under which we...how long will we...there's no easy way to say it. When would we decide to allow Princess to ease out of this life into one that's less painful.

Now my wife has always believed that animals will be with us when we get to heaven. And this makes it a little easier for my kids and their pets. But I still needed to have the discussion with Hana about what we needed to do and when we might need to do it. Not an easy discussion. But the good news is that this day will probably not be very soon. Probably before next winter though.

My family is very pet oriented. We now have three dogs and two cats. And pets have always been a big part of our lives, even when we weren't allowed pets. We've hidden the dog a number of times from the landlord. I don't say that proudly, just matter-of-factly. We've also had fish, rats, and an orphaned bird at one point. But buzzards don't make good house pets and their always getting in the trash, so that didn't last long.

So I had the talk with Hana. She understood, but that didn't make it easier. But the last thing I said to her was, "Maybe God sent you Edgar because He knew that Princess wasn't going to be around a whole lot longer."

Let me tell you about Edgar. About two months ago the 12 year old neighbor girl came over to the house crying because she found a stray kitten that was in real bad shape and her parents wouldn't let her keep it. Needless to say, I went about putting my foot down, quite firmly I might add, that we were not keeping the kitten either. I mean come on. You should have seen this thing. Filthy, covered in mud, one eye completely closed and dripping pus, the other nearly closed and dripping pus, skinny as a rail. Now I'm normally a kind fellow but on some things I figure, be firm at the beginning and ease up later if I need to. As far as this kitten was concerned, I had no plans to ease up at all. WE ARE NOT KEEPING THE CAT!!!

As I'm sure you know, we now have another cat. I put my foot down and my kids stomped all over it. I knew I was in trouble when the kitten was named before the discussion was even over. Edgar! What kind of name is that for a cat?

Well, Edgar has filled out nicely and his fur is quite soft. He is completely black with a stray hair here and there that is white. It makes him look like he's sparkling. He likes to climb up on the back of my chair and sit there. He is right behind me now as I tell you his story. A curious thing about Edgar. He's missing his right eye and his left eye is about half covered with that interior lid that cats have. He probably would not have made it as a wild cat, not being able to see much and all. But we have some fun with him anyway. And did I tell you my kids have a sick sense of humor.

We're painting right now in the dining room and my wife is not thrilled about company right now since the house is such a wreck, but Pastor dropped by for a visit last week. We quickly scooted him through the dining room, into the living room and we all sat around visiting and sharing about the upcoming church projects and visiting the elderly and the sick and Edgar walks in the room. Pastor loves animals as well and when Edgar strolled over to see if this new visitor would be so kind as to give him a bit of a rub, Pastor willingly obliged. He bent down and scooped him up and started stroking Edgar on his back. Edgar, as I said, is very soft and loves to be rubbed. Don't we all?

Soon Pastor turned him around to get a good look at him and saw his eye was missing. "What happened to his eye?" he asked. I started to answer that he was like that when we found him when Hana spoke up loudly, "What do you mean 'what happened to his eye?!"

Pastor is looking a little concerned now and he says, "Well, his eye...his right eye. It looks like it's missing."

Again I start to answer and Hana jumps up and is across the room in a flash. She grabs Edgar from Pastor and spins him around, looks him square in the eye (heh heh) and gives out a blood-curdling scream.

"What did you do!?" she screams. "Where's his eye? Dad! His eye! It's gone!"

"Hana..." I start.

"Dad, His EYE!" she screams again. And I see her sly wink as she turns her back to Pastor. And I think, you cruel little girl.

"Uh...what happened?" Pastor says.

"His eye!" Hana screams. "What did you do with his eye?!"

Pastor is looking totally flumoxxed by now and I'm sure he was wishing he had skipped our house on his visitation rounds. "Uh...I...Maybe..." he tries to mumble.

"Quick," Hana yells and drops to her knees. "Help me look. Maybe we can find it and have it put back in." And she begins crawling around on the floor, Edgar still firmly in her arms as she "searches" for his eye. No one else has moved and I'm sure Pastor was wondering why my wife had her face buried in her hands and why I sat still doing nothing as our daughter scurried around on the floor.

I figured it was about time to end this charade when I hear Hana holler out from behind the couch, "I found it."

Huh, I think. You found it. This I've got to see.

But she doesn't come out right away. And I hear her say, "Oh... oh...this is nasty...oh too gross...Dad, get me a tissue...sick, it's still got the string thingy hanging from it." At this point she begins to retch and heave behind the couch. I must admit, she sounded quite convincing. Enough so that Pastor stood up quickly and scooted across the room. Who knows, she might get some on him.

And here she comes, backing out from behind the couch, Edgar still in one arm, something in the other hand, scooting out on her elbows. She stands up and quickly crosses the room to Pastor, her hand extended, trying to show him the "eye" she found. "I got it," she says.

For such a big man, he was very light on his feet as he tried to get away from this mad little girl.

It seems that somewhere along the line, one of my sick kids decided that one of the green grapes they were eating was a little past its prime, and rather than getting up and throwing it away, they figured behind the couch was as good a place as any.

This is what Hana dragged out and waved under Pastors nose yelling, "Here it is! Quick! If we get to the vet now she can probably put it back."

I am sure that this was not in any of the curriculum that Pastor studied as he went through his doctoral studies in seminary. I mean, do seminaries have a class entitled "Wacko Children"? Just wondering.

He knew something was up when Sheila started laughing so hard tears were streaming down her face. I then quickly explained that Edgar had come to us without his eye and that all was well.

I think he'll come back some time. I hope at least. He's a good pastor. Meanwhile, Hana is still snickering about it. I really do have some sick kids.

Monday, November 10, 2008

To the Son of JB

This may seem a little weird to you, regular reader, but I must make a personal plea here since I have no other way to contact this gentleman.

Last week, son of JB posted a comment on my blog here concerning the pics I took on my trip to Texas last March. It took me some genealogical hunting, but I soon found out that the Son of JB and I are related and exactly how we are related. Seems his grandfather on his daddy's side is the brother to my great-grandfather on my daddy's side. Like most southern families, ours is so spread out that it is nearly impossible to keep track of who's married to whom and who's cousin that was and why Aunt Zelda has that bump on the back of her head, without a Cray computer and a GPS Navigator. But I found it intriguing, nonetheless, that a relative that I have probably never spoken with would come across my blog and choose to comment on it even. I mean, most relatives of mine usually hide their familial affiliation whenever I am around. Obviously, the fellow doesn't know me all that well.

So, son of JB, if you're out there and you come across this again, I would love to get in touch with you and see what all is going on with you and yours. Feel free to email me. You can find that address on my profile page.

For the rest of you, I will be back soon and fill you in on my new job as Mayor of Tick Ridge, West Virginia. "What?!" I hear you say. Yep. That's what I said. Mayor. Elected by a landslide at a pancake breakfast held in the elementary school of a town I don't even live in.

How's that for charisma?!

I'll tell you later.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why I Do Not Hunt

So I'm running down 65 through Indiana and morning is coming on. I can see the sky lightening up in front of me. It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day. A mini-van passes me and scoots back over in front of me and continues on down the road. No big deal. Plenty of room between us.


Good thing too. From out of nowhere, well, not nowhere actually. Actually he came from the bushes. Anyway, here comes a big buck. I just have time to note the size of the rack when he runs right in front of the minivan. She hits her brakes hard and I see her swerve to the left trying to avoid the buck. Man, it's a biggie. That sucker is going to do some damage.


And over he comes. I could not believe my eyes. This big old buck comes flipping over the top of the mini-van and crash lands in the middle of the road. I've been on the brakes for some time now and traffic behind me is slowing up. I hit my flashers and head for the shoulder. The deer has landed in the right lane and I holler out on the CB, "Dead buck in the granny lane, southbound, at the 183. You wanna move left. I'll try to get it moved.


I jump out and go check on the mini-van. The woman inside is shook up and is shaking in her seat but she's alright, no injuries and she soon calms down. She gets out and we check out her damage. Actually, it's not too bad. I sure would have figured a lot more. Her hood is bent in where she hit the buck, but apparently she knocked his legs out from under him and threw him up over the top of the van. She's got a small dent above her windshield and other than that there's nothing. No fluids leaking. No weird noises. All seems well. She smiles.


"Thanks for stopping," she says.


"No problem. Just wanted to make sure everything was okay."


"Is he dead?," she asks.


"I think so," I say. " He's still laying there where he landed. If he were still alive, I figure he'd be up and gone by now. Wanna go with me and check?"


"Sure," she says and we start walking back towards the deer as traffic is crawling by in the left lane.


I'm not much of a hunter, never have been. So verifying the demise of an animal is usually confined to whether or not I can see any obvious indications of death. Massive open wounds, blood flowing, severed head, those kinds of things. I've never shot a deer but I have seen many of them strapped on the hood of a Buick and they always seem to have blood dripping from the nose and the tongue hanging out. Maybe this is the universal sign of death in deer.

As we get closer, I am amazed at the size of the rack on this thing. Huge! I try to count the points but I keep losing track as I shift from one side to the other. "Sure is a big one," she says.

"Yep. Maybe a record of some kind", I say.

"So do you think it's dead?"

"I think so. See the blood dripping from the nose and the way the tongue is just lolling out there like that. I believe that is the universal sign for death among deer. I think I read that somewhere."

But just to be safe, I pick up a stick and start poking at the deer to make sure. No movement. I reach out and grab it by the antlers and give it a good shake. Nothing. It's got to be dead.

"I think it's dead," she says. "What should we do with it? Do we call someone?"

"I think you're supposed to call the police and they'll have it removed, but I've seen so many of these things lying by the side of the road and it sure would be a shame to waste all that meat."

"You think you want it?" she asks.

"Well, if you don't think you want it, then sure, I'd take it."

"How would you get it home?" she says.

"Well. It really should be bled out so the blood doesn't spoil the meat. But I don't think I want to do that right here on the side of the road. It might gross people out and it's sort of dangerous to do that right here."

"So what are you going to do?"

"Tell you what. If you can help me throw it up in the back of the truck, I'll take it down to the next rest area and I can hang it up there from the back of the trailer and bleed it out. It's cold enough right now that it won't spoil before I get it home and get it butchered."

And she agrees. We grab this monster by the antlers and start dragging him to the back of my truck. After much heaving and hoeing we finally get him up in the trailer and I shut the doors on him. All I've got in there right now is about half a trailer full of light bulbs going to Columbus and there's plenty of room for a deer carcass. So we are both happy. Her car is drivable and I've got quite a bit of extra meat to help out at home. I feel like a hunter gatherer from the Mesozoic period. Or one of those Oic periods.

We say our goodbyes and we're on our way. Life is good. Just six more hours to Columbus, then about an hour and a half to home and I'll get to work on skinning a deer. How hard can it be, right?

It was about 30 minutes later that I noticed something strange was going on. I had been listening to my Ipod, ZZ Top specifically, and so the music was a little loud. It was in between 'Cheap Sunglasses' and 'Legs' that I first heard it. A bang. Or it might have been a bong. Not that kind of bong. The bong you get from whacking a gong. And now I sound like Dr Suess. Maybe it was more of a bang. Yes, definitely a bang. And there it was again. It was then that the thought "Oh Crap!" ran through my mind. Quickly followed by "NO!" and then some others that I'd better leave out of here. My mother reads this blog you know.

The rest area has still not appeared but I can no longer wait. I dive for the shoulder in a hurry, dust flying out from the back of the trailer. I get as far off the road as possible and hit the parking brakes. My flashers are going as I jump out of the truck and run to the back. Morning is in full bloom now and traffic has really picked up. I reach for the door of the trailer and get ready to throw it open, and I stop. From the sounds I hear emanating from inside the trailer, it appears that my skills at determining the death status of deer is severely lacking. This thing sounds like it is trying to punch it's way out of my trailer as it kicks and thrashes around inside.

And do you remember what I have in there that might provide this manic buck some cushion for his inevitable slips and falls? Yes! That's it. My precious load of light bulbs is doing it's best to make sure that Mr. Buck does not get hurt as he falls around inside my trailer. I can hear them giving up their very lives for him with no more than a whimpering tinkle.

I want to throw open the door and get him out, but he's sure to jump out into traffic and probably cause another wreck. What to do? What to do? Then it hits me. I run back up to the tractor and grab the CB. "Anybody got a copy on this radio?"

"Copy that" comes back and I start trying to explain.

"I need traffic stopped. This is the big truck on the southbound shoulder and I need all traffic stopped behind me. Anyone north of the 152, you need to stop before you get to me."

"What's going on?" and "We're not stopping for nothing!" and "Anybody want to buy a radio?" comes flashing back in a hundred different voices. How do I tell these guys that I'm getting ready to turn loose one really pissed off buck out on the highway.

"Hazardous Cargo!" I scream into the radio. "It's loose in the trailer and I don't know how it's going to react when it hits the air." Which is somewhat true, right?

I get a couple south bounders hollering out for a brake check and they block the highway. As a result, the northbound starts to back up and slow down to see what's going on. The word gets passed to them and they're stopping the traffic as well. When I finally see that all traffic is stopped I head to the back of the trailer again and start to ease the door open. As I'm doing so I hear a trucker behind me holler out, "Don't open that! Wait for the HAZMAT guys to get here!"

I turn around to tell him it's okay. But I've already opened the door enough for Mr. Buck to get a glimpse of light and it is anything but okay. He heads for the light, as any good deer would, and promptly bowls me over with the door, head over teakettle. Mr. buck hits the ground and is skidding right toward the other driver, who jumps back so fast that he trips over his own feet and down he goes. But Mr. Buck doesn't stop there. His mission seems to be to hunt down the man that locked him in that rolling coffin and meet out some justice.

That man would be me.

I see him spin on the shoulder of the road and look straight at me. Until this time, I thought only bulls pawed the ground, and then only in bad movies. But no! Mr. Buck wants to express his anger and he begins to throw dirt up over his shoulder just as he charges.

I may never win the high jump, but I know now that I can clear the back of a trailer deck without a running start. Up I went, with a mighty roll, as Mr. Buck comes a-snortin and a-huffin. Something else I learned. Deer can clear the back of a trailer deck as if it's not even there. Here he comes, right up over the deck and into the trailer again, trying to kick me in the head as he passes over my quivering huddled body. He gets by me and I roll out the door and quickly duck underneath the trailer. I hear him skidding around in there as he gets turned around and out he comes again looking for his nemesis, that would be me.

He soon spots me under the trailer and I learned one more lesson for the day. Deer cannot crawl. "I thank you, God, for your foresight in designing these animals with this limitation." I am safe. At least for the time being. That is until the video gets posted on Youtube. "Big Bad Truck Driver attacked by Bigger Badder Buck." I'm sure it will appear soon.

Mr. Buck is thoroughly frustrated by now but he soon realizes that I am beyond his reach. He paws and snorts and throws more dirt around as he shows me who the real Alpha Male is between us. He finally quits snorting bucksnot on me and struts off into the median, does a slow circle, observing the audience he has gained, and slowly strolls across the northbound lanes and disappears into the trees.

"You can come out now," an Indiana State Trooper says. When he showed up, I haven't a clue.

"Not yet. He could be back. I think I see him just inside those trees over there. I think he's waiting for me to come out so he can have another go at me," I say.

"Come out now," the trooper says and I slowly crawl out from under the trailer. It's then that I hear the laughter from both sides of the highway. But the trooper is not smiling.

"You want to tell me what's going on here?" he says.

I thought it was fairly obvious what was going on here, and it crosses my mind to say as much, but as I glance inside the trailer at the devastation of the "buck meets bulb" massacre, I know that there is no way anyone is going to believe this. But what the heck. Let's give it a try. So I begin...

"So I'm running down 65 through Indiana and morning is coming on..."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Errr Visit

It was Wednesday, two days of good running behind me and I'm at the shop doing paperwork. I haven't felt too good for a couple days now, just an overall poor feeling. I've had heart issues in the past, and when I say "issues" I mean an attack. AAUUUGGHH! I'm too young for this. So anyway, I got real sensitive to feelings in my chest. Whenever anything feels a little weird I start to get nervous, which sends my blood pressure up, which doesn't help and it becomes a vicious cycle spiraling into the netherworld.

So it's Wednesday, like I said, and I'm thinking, this feels like my hearts having a problem. I'm tossing around whether or not to go to the ER and since the nitro pills aren't doing anything (this should have been my first clue) I decide to go ahead and give them a visit. I get a buddy at work to run me over there and tell him I'll call my wife to come get me later. I call her and tell her what I'm doing and that it's probably nothing, but I want to be sure. Got to put on a happy face, right?

If you don't already know this, here's a hint. When you get to the ER tell them you have chest pains. NO WAITING! They scoop you right in there and put you in the bed and start hooking everything under the sun up to you. My room sounded like an R2D2 soundtrack was playing.

So I get in there and they take blood and send it off and it's time for a little nap while I wait for the results. I'm there a couple hours, got a good nap in and I'm relaxed now, and the blood work comes back fine. No heart problem. I ask the doc, "What's the problem then? Why do I feel like crap?"

"Heartburn, he says.

"HEARTBURN!? Are you serious?! Heartburn? You mean to tell me I just spent a thousand buck for you to tell me I have heart burn?"

"Well, it's really bad heartburn."

"Oh. Well that makes it alright then."

So he asks me if I take anything for heartburn and I tell him I take Pepcid AC.

"How often?"

"Twice a day"

"Every day?"

"Yeah. Every day. Is that bad?"

"Here. I'll give you something stronger." And he writes me out a prescription for Prilosec. Wonderful stuff. Haven't had a problem since. Meanwhile my mom calls to check up on me. Seems my wife has called her to let her know where I was. They want to keep track of my whereabouts, you see.

Mom says, "Maybe you should cut out the caffeine."

"What'd you say, mom? You're breaking up. I can't hear you. I'll call back later when I have a better signal!"

So the doc comes back with the scrip and a bunch of papers. "Here's a list of what causes heartburn."

"Keep it." I say.

"Keep it?"

"Yeah. Keep it. Save your paper. I already know what causes heartburn. I just need to know what doesn't cause heartburn. And that I have not found yet. But you have given me something to help and for that I thank you."

My wife says, "Being in here reminds me. We're out of bandages and gauze pads at home."

"There's some in that drawer over there by the sink. Do we need a sphygmomanometer?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Anger

Terry, over here at Road Rage, writes a very entertaining blog about her adventures as a truck driver. She's a better...uh...man(?) than I am cause apparently she goes into NYC on a regular basis. Won't find me doing that. But the reason I bring her up is she posted about her observations regarding some folks and there anger issues.

I was reminded of that this morning. I'll get there in a minute. Just be patient.

Our local McDonald's, which I do not frequent very often, recently posted a sign behind the counter for all the customers to see. "PLEASE DO NOT SEAT CHILDREN ON THE COUNTER". Seems like a reasonable request. And one that I had never really given any thought to, but seeings as how the kids who would be "sat" on the counter would be the littlest ones, who may or may not have complete control of their bodily functions at this stage in their life, I'd rather not order a Big Mac and find it sitting in a surprise, even if it is set upon one of those oh so sanitary trays. So at that time, I just thought "huh" and went about my business.

Now get this picture. I'm in Mt Comfort, Indiana at exit 96 at the McDonald's there, which has truck parking (obvious, right?) and I walk in a minute or two behind a woman who has three kids with her, all between 1 and 4, from the looks of things. I hate to be judgmental, but these kids were fairly filthy, as was mom. I think you know what I mean. I tried to think, well, maybe they're traveling and the kids have been playing in the floorboard or the back window or the oil pan while mom drives and maybe she's a single mom trying to do her best and that they don't sell soap or wipes where she comes from. I know. I'm a jerk, but more on that later.

As mom is trying to pay for the Super Size Deluxe Big Monster Heart-Stopping Breakfast that she ordered, she plops the littlest one down on the counter so she can fish in her purse for her change. Then it hit. Where's the Sign?! They didn't have one at this particulate McD's, and I thought, oh how sad to not have a sign when you need one. But littlest one wasn't there very long and she went about her business of waiting for her Cholesterol in a Box meal, as I proceeded to order my own heart stopper.

Mom's order arrives and her and the kids are off to their seats. I'm standing there waiting when she's back in a flash. "I ORDERED THE SUPER SIZE DELUXE BIG MONSTER HEART-STOPPING BREAKFAST AND THERE'S NO SAUSAGE IN HERE! JUST PANCAKES, EGGS, A BISCUIT, HASH BROWNS, A SAUSAGE, BACON, EGG AND CHEESE McGRIDDLE, AND A SMALL BISCUITS AND GRAVY. BUT NO SAUSAGE! YOU GUYS FORGOT THE SAUSAGE! NOW THE REST OF MY MEAL IS GETTING COLD WHILE I WAIT FOR YOU TO GET ME THE SAUSAGE!"

At this point I thought, "John, you were right the first time. Trust your instincts." So the little old lady behind the counter says, "Oh dear. I am so so very sorry. I apologize severely. Please, let me get you a sausage and while I'm at it, I'll replace your whole breakfast since we let it get cold." And she toddles off behind her walker to gather up this poor, mistreated mothers meal once again, her support hose drooping around her ankles as hot grease splashes out of the fryer onto her bent, arthritic hands.

"Good!" mom says with a harumph, and glares around daring anyone to comment on her rudeness. She sees me watching her and she says to me, "I can't believe they forgot the sausage! It seems like nobody can fill a simple order anymore."

I put on my best face of compassion and say, "You're absolutely right. Tell you what. Let me finish my breakfast and you finish feeding your oh so darling children and then we'll take Granny here out back and beat her to death with a fry basket. That'll teach her to mess up somebodies order. People like that just shouldn't be allowed to live."

She looks at me for a moment, not sure what to think of this maniac who's proposing senioricide, and then gives me a look that says "not funny".

"No, seriously. Let me help." I say. "It's not fair if you're the only one that gets to meet out the justice in this world."

By now, her Artery Sucking Order has been refilled and she storms off to her oh so wonderful children. Granny comes back, shuffling her walker, and sets my breakfast down on the counter. "Sorry for the delay, young man," she says.

"No problem," I said. "Oh, and by the way, Ethel, (at least that's what her name tag said). You're doing a wonderful job here and I hope you have a marvelous day. rest assured, I will be back, next time I'm through here, just so I can come in here a see your pretty face again and enjoy your wonderful service."

I get so tired of having to clean up after stupid people. It's so easy to be nice in the first place. You get more results anyway, nobody spits in your food, and it keeps you're blood pressure down. What more can you ask? Do people really think they are going to get better and faster service by yelling and being stupid? Apparently so.

Let me tell you how it really works.

I went to the doctor the other day, nothing serious, she just moved her practice so we all had to go in and get check-ups. Whenever I speak with someone behind the counter I will try to call them by name, even if this is the first time I've ever met them. I'll read that name tag and say, "Good Morning, Nancy. How's you're day going so far?" People are always looking at me as if they are trying to remember where they've met me before.

So I'm at the doctor's, joking around with Linda, the receptionist, and I tell her that her hair looks nice because she just got it cut. Now I could really care less how Linda's hair looks, but she just got it cut, and a lot of women are worried about whether or not the new cut looks good. So I tell them it looks good. Period. Linda beams at me. Seems her husband hasn't even commented on it yet. So I've made her day.

I sit with the prerequisite forms to fill out, finish and bring them back up. Linda says, "Have you filled out our customer survey yet?"

"No, I haven't", I said.

"Do you mind filling one out while you're waiting? We want to see how we're doing," she says. "And don't forget to add any suggestions at the bottom if you have any."

Well, you know me. Never give me a blank page and let me write what I want. I answered all the questions by circling the numbers and I got to the suggestion line. Heh Heh. They wanted to know what they could do to improve their service. So this is what I wrote:

"I think that you should provide doughnuts for those of us in the waiting room. Or if not doughnuts, then how about blueberry muffins. As a matter of fact, let's just go with the blueberry muffins. They're probably healthier for us anyway, and I like blueberry, although sometimes it doesn't like me. And coffee. Could we have some coffee out here. Real coffee, not that flavored stuff but maybe some of that Ethiopian Medium Fresh Ground from the Peace Coffee Company. And maybe you could pass out those stainless steel travel mugs with your name printed on them so your favorite patients, like me, can remember who their doctor is and tell other people about what a great doctor you are and what a great service you provide as we travel this wide country of ours. Oh, and doesn't Linda's hair look nice today?"

So I hand the sheet back to Linda, the suggestion side facing down so she can't see it, and I sit back down just as the nurse calls me back to get weighed and tagged before the doc comes in to see me and fuss at me for gaining 8 pounds. I have a nice visit with Dr C, despite getting chewed out for breaking my personal record for gravitational strain and for still, um, ...smoking, and I head back out to see Linda and make my copay.

After she schedules my next appointment, I hand her my card so she can take $20 from my ever dwindling bank account, and she hands me a large pink bag that has some unpronounceable drug name on the side of it. The bag is stuffed with goodies that they got from all the pharmaceutical reps that show up peddling their drugs. Inside is a red plastic travel mug, a "manly" size pen with a cushioned grip, a pen with a highlighter on the other end of it, a flashlight that looks like a pen, a pen that looks like a flashlight, six different sizes of post-it notes tablets, three different sizes of notepads, a mouse pad, two magnets, and a key fob that says "Real Men Use Cialis."

"Come back soon, John," Linda says. "And you don't have to wait until your appointment either if you want." Maybe I will. I could use one of those wall clocks. Or an office chair. A new office chair would be cool.

Friday, October 3, 2008

What's up with that?

Gotta pee! I mean, seriously! I have got to go like nobody's business! I'm not comfortable with the amount of room on the shoulder so I head to the next exit, there's a Petro there. Jump in the fuel island, pull through and run inside. AAAAHHHH. Much better

Hey. While I'm here I might as well get something to drink. Another 1 liter Diet Pepsi should do fine. I take it to the counter to pay and there at the counter, in a box there on the counter, all by themselves there on the counter, is a box of Snickers Bars. MMM, Snickers would be good right now. What's different? Did Snickers change the wrapper? Hey! It's a new Snickers bar. The Mars company in all their wisdom, has decided that the sugar rush from scarfing down a Snickers bar was not enough. Now they are producing Snickers Charged. Yep, you guessed it. Caffeine added.

Who thought that adding a stimulant to a candy bar, that already has enough power to bring a diabetic back from a near-coma, was a good idea? I mean, when I'm feeling a little down, I reach for a Snickers. Always have, always will. But now I'm a little frightened. Maybe that Snickers Charged might just send me a little further over the edge than I was planning on going. What if the Mars company keeps me from passing the random drug test that I win WAY too often? What if that sweet little candy suddenly turns me into a raving Type A Personality? I doubt I could handle it.

But I thought, It seems like there is caffeine being added to everything nowadays. So I thought I would do some research. Some of these are crazy, and some are just stupid. Actually, adding caffeine to anything is probably stupid. But who am I to say?

We've all seen the plethora of drinks that have caffeine added to them; Monster, RedBull, Amp, and Nos. But then there are the killer drinks. There's on called Ammo. It comes preloaded with 171 mgs of caffeine per ounce. Granted, it only comes in a one ounce container but still. Mountain Dew only has 4.58 mgs per ounce and why the hell won't this thing quit underlining? It's driving me nuts.

There we go.

Anyway, so I'm thinking why are we putting caffeine in everything? Is it to stay awake or are these people trying to get us addicted to their product? Seems I remember some other company trying that a long time ago. And it worked fairly well, apparently.

So I'm looking around and I see, no lie, potato chips with caffeine added. Also I found gum, sunflower seeds, candy, jelly beans and ice cream. It's not like we're not wired enough already. Right?

But, not only that, Molson is also adding caffeine to one of their beers. As is Anhueser Busch, and there's one called Moonshot that's made in Massachusets. So how does that work? You get drunk and then drive home really fast? Then stay up all night worrying about whether the cops saw you or not?

What are we coming to?

Monday, September 22, 2008

That's my girl

Do you have a friend that sends you those obnoxious emails where you have to fill out a bunch of information about yourself? What you like, what you would do, where you would go, and all that? I hate those things. And my daughter sends them to me. I never send them on but I do read what she sends me. She sent me this one and I laughed pretty hard. I don't think I wet myself, but could be, I haven't checked. As for her sense of humor, I see the apple has not fallen far from the tree. Enjoy.

Have you ever licked the back of a CD to try to get it to work?
No. But I have rubbed it against my chest ( with a shirt on, you pervs ). Doing that I discovered that most CD's are male.

What' s the largest age difference between yourself and someone you’ve dated ?
Me and Dr. McCoy are gonna beam down for " exploratory research" . .... Just kidding! I've never dated .

Ever been in a car wreck ?
Oh my god! I killed Kenny !

Were you popular in high school?
Oh yeah. All those wall bricks had crushes on me.

Have you ever been on a blind date?
I have glasses, but I'm not that blind ....

Are looks important?
Judging by the font, I'd say the person who created this survey doesn't think so.

Do you have any friends that you've known for 10 years or more? ?
Let' s just say that the phrase " friends & family" applies to the same people.

By what age would you like to be married?
Preferably . . . . after I die. That way, I won' t have to stress about loosing weight for the wedding.

Does the number of people a person's slept with affect your view of them?
Only if they aren't safety and hygiene conscious.

Have you ever made a mistake?
" mees- tahk- ey"? what the heck does that mean? Is it a craft ?

Are you a good tipper?
I guess so. I tip over pretty far when I'm tired .

What' s the most you have spent for a haircut?
Oh, about 8 pound s of my dignity.

Have you ever had a crush on a teacher?
Fictional teachers are hotter.

Have you ever peed in public?
Does an abandoned hiking trail count as " public"?

What song do you want played at your funeral?
" Come What May" from the moulin rouge sound track . Some people will love it, some will get pissed off, and others will just get it stuck in their head.

Would you tell your parents if you were gay?
I would on April Fools Day.

What would your last meal be before getting executed?
Anything and every thing that I could think of. I'd just have a smorgasbord and share with all the other . . . . . wait a minute... why am I getting executed?!

Beatles or Stones?
Bugs are gross , but some rocks are pretty.

If you had to pick one person on earth to die, who?
Just one? .... awwww ...

Beer, wine or hard liquor?:
Wine COOLER. Or Daiquiris.

Do you have any phobias?
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Interpret that how you please.

Do you walk around the house naked ?
Which house ? MY house ? No way, that' s just asking for dog hair in weird places.

If you were an animal what would you be?
An animal. Duh.

Hair color you like on someone you' re dating?
How about . . . .NOT pink.

Would you rather be blind or deaf?
How about I keep both those senses and give up my sense of smell .

Do you have any special talents?
I can touch my feet to my head. . . . ..as far as you know.

What do you do as soon as you walk in the house ?
Drop every thing I carry on the nearest horizontal surface and sit down.

Do you like horror or comedy?
I like them both, as a set.

Are you missing anyone?
( Looks around) No, I don' t think so. They' re all here.

If you weren't straight, what person of the same sex would you do?
Wow. . . . that thought never occurred to me until now. And I'll try not to ever think of it again .

Where do you want to live when you are old?
Not here.

Who is the person you can count on the most?
The Count from Sesame street. Seriously, he just goes on forever.

If you could date any celebrity past or present, who would it be?
Hitler, so I can order the most expensive meal and then leave before he gets there . Also, I would poison the wine.

What did you dream last night ?
Something about . .... a dream .

What is your favorite sport to watch ?
I like to watch good sports who don' t get pissed when you play pranks on them.

Are you named after anyone?
I'm sure there were lots of people who were named before me.

Non alcoholic drink ?
Yes, please.

Have you ever been in love?
I don' t think so. But if I ever find it, I'll be sure to write down the address.

Do you sing in the shower?
And in the car, and in my room, and in the hall, and while I'm working, and to bug my brothers.
Have you ever been arrested?
I've slept well before, but not lately.

What is your favorite holiday?
My birthday. .... Shut up! It is so a national holiday!

Would you ever get plastic surgery?
No. What' s the point in giving plastic surgery? It's inanimate, just throw it away!

Have you ever caught a fish?
Yeah, but I threw it back. I didn' t want to eat it, I just wante d to make it late for something.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Conversation with an 8 year old

"I'm really in bad shape, Dad."

"You're really in bad shape? Why?"

"Cause I can't find my jersey."

"You're jersey? What jersey?"

"My soccer jersey."

"Where'd you put it?"

"I swear I put it right up here."

"On the kitchen counter?"

"Yeah"

"And it's not there?"

"No! And now I'm in bad shape."

"Did you look upstairs?"

"No! I put it right here and now it's gone."

"You put your soccer jersey on the kitchen counter and now it's gone?"

"Yeah, Dad!"

"Hmmm."

"I'm gonna look upstairs in my...uh..."

"In your closet?"

"No, Dad...yeah, in my closet."

Feet pounding up the stairs.

"Found it! No, wait, that's not it. That's my basketball jersey. Oh, here it is."

"Imagine that. A jersey in the closet. On a hanger no less. What'll they think of next."

"I don't know. Maybe one of those things that makes peanut butter sandwiches for you."

"Yeah, that would be cool. But what if you're allergic to Peanut butter?"

"Then you could load it with ham or turkey or even tuna."

"Tuna?! Yuck!"

"Yeah. I hate tuna too. Isn't that cat hilarious?"

"Yes, Preston. The cat's hilarious."

"What's allergic mean, Dad?"

"It means you can't eat something without getting sick."

"Like I'm allergic to Mom's fish?"

"No, you just don't like fish"

"But whenever I eat it I feel like throwing up. That means I'm allergic to it."

"No, that means you don't like it"

"But you said..."

"Preston, go see if your mom's awake yet."

"Ok, Dad. MOM!! Are you awake?"

Isn't life grand.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Here I sit, brokenhearted...

No, it's not what you think. I'm not in the potty. Actually, I'm sitting on the shoulder of the road. I-65 southbound at the 181 yardstick, which is about 7 miles north of Lafayette, Indiana. And no, I'm not taking a break. I'm waiting on the road repair guy. I called our office, they looked up a couple numbers, I called one, they sent me to another shop, that guy said it'll be an hour or so before my man can get there. Fine. Can't go nowhere anyway.

I bet you can cut the tension with a knife. "What happened, John?" I hear you all asking.

Not much really. Just blew a tire on my trailer. Rearmost axle, passenger side, inner dual. Get the picture. Luckily, I've got a spare hanging underneath, just need the man to come and swap the tires out for me on the rim. No big deal for me, really. But it was a little scary for the truck that was following me when it blew. If you're not familiar with the inner workings of trucks here's something new for you.

When we lose pressure in a tire, the term used is "blow" or "blew". We very seldom get "flats". Only once have I walked around and checked the tires and found one that was flat. When they go flat, it's usually at 60 mph and the result is quite, how shall we say, explosive. When this one went there was a loud boom, lots of dust and flying tread. The truck behind me was a little close and a quick glance in my mirror saw him nosing down and dodging debris. Here comes the man. That was quick.

It's now 10pm and I'm sitting in the dock at the post office in Columbus. I was due here at 830 and I just backed in about 5 minutes ago. They've got 23 skids of Sports Illustrated coming off here so I may be an hour or so. It doesn't take long once they get started. It just seems that it takes a while to get started. From here I'm just looking for a place to park and eat a warm meal. Well, look at that, there's the first bang on the trailer. That was quick. I'll get back with you.

OK. It was an alright day even considering the blowout and subsequent running late. But now I'm pissed. My favorite truck stop is closing. There's a Pilot and a Flying J at the 131 on 71 northbound and then another Pilot at the 140. But I usually run up to the 151 where there's a Duke Travel plaza. The restaurant has good food and the lot is large and always has open spots, even late at night. Pilot's only have fast food places any more, Subway at 131 and Arby's at 140, and sometimes you just want a good hot meal after a long day. Arby's is way over priced for the quality and Subway just doesn't float my boat anymore. So I pull into the Duke longing for a good hot grilled chicken sandwich and some fries. Straight into the lot, straight into a spot with empties on either side, no idlers around me and I'm wore out. I stroll over to the restaurant and my heart drops into my stomach. All the lights are out. What? There's a sign on the door. "We're sorry. Our restaurant is no longer open for third shift. The restaurant hours are now 6am to 10pm. We're sorry for the inconvenience." AW MAN!! Sorry?! What now? Behind me is a convenience area. Crap food in the soda fridges, you know. I go look. Maybe I'll get a couple burritos and throw them in the microwave. I just need something hot. Nope, no burritos. Let's see what's over here. Not much. A couple pepper loaf sandwiches, a couple ham and cheesers, and one roast beef with cheese that looks like it's been there since Clinton was in office. Oh my, what a feast.

So I'm back in the truck, snacking on some Fritos and one ham sandwich is gone. Another day over and done with. Started at 7 this morning. Oh look, it's tomorrow morning already. 1245 am.

Guess what. No alarm will be placed in service tonight, or this morning rather. I'll get up when I wake up. Period. End of discussion. Have a nice day.

Well, I couldn't end this on a down note. So here's an up note. I'm going on the radio this afternoon on the show "A way with words". They want me to call them and pose a question to the hosts. Cool, huh? Tell you later about that. Have fun and get some sleep. I'm outta here.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Going for breakfast

I was sent to the store this morning to get eggs and biscuits for breakfast. Preston wants to go with me.

Sure thing.

We stop and get coffee for me a soda for him and for his mom. On the way to the store I hear, "You're the best dad in the world."

"Naw, I'm probably not the best, but I may be up there."

"Yeah, Dad. You're the best...Except for God. He's the best."

"You think?"

"Yeah, cause He could finish a video game in like...SNAP!"

I wonder.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A new hair style

Hana was having some fun with her camera. She didn't tell me it was on at first. That's why there's a lull at the beginning. Enjoy.



video

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eyes Wide Open

As you all must know by now, and if you don't you need to work on your memory retention skills, I got a new Ipod a while back and I have been loading it up with podcasts. I love the fact that I can listen to these programs anytime I want and learn something new everyday.

One of my favorite podcasts, or favourite for those of you in England, is WNYC's Radio Lab. It's about an hour long or so and they talk about very interesting things in the realm of science and human interaction and why we do what we do. I listened to several of them this Monday as I drove, had them all lined up, and one in particular threw me for a loop. Not the program so much as it was what I heard an interviewee say.

The discussion was about Morality, where does our sense of right and wrong come from? And the hosts referred back to the final episode of M.A.S.H.. SPOILER ALERT; In case you haven't seen the final episode that was broadcast about 24 years ago, I'll set the scene.
Hawkeye, played by Alan Alda, is telling some of his experiences to the visiting psychiatrist, Major Sidney Freedman, and he recalls an incident where he is hiding on a bus with a number of other people, all from one village. The enemy is approaching outside, and if they hear the people in the bus they will come in and kill them all. One woman has a baby that won't stop crying. Hawkeye keeps telling her to make the baby be quiet, and her final solution to the crying baby is to smother her own child. Hawkeye finally 'remembers' what she did in a fit of anguish.

So on the podcast this question is posed to a number of people "on the street"; in this circumstance, could you or would you smother your own child, in order to save the whole village of people trapped in this bus?

Now before I go on, a little about me and my family. My wife is adamantly Anti-Abortion. She cannot accept any reason that would allow an abortion to be justified, including saving her own life. Me, not quite so much. It's probably due to the fact that I'm not a woman and therefore have no "motherly" instincts regarding the baby, but I think if her life were in danger, I may consider aborting the child to save her life. I say "may" because I know she would fight me on this. So this is where our family stands on abortion. But this is not a debate or a discussion about abortion. I say those things so you know where we come from. No we go on...

Again, the question was posed to a number of people and various responses were heard. Yes, no, I don't know...and most folks elaborated a little bit on why they felt the way they did. And then I heard one woman say this, "Yes, I could do that. That's my baby and I have the right to terminate that life if I want to."

WHAT???

I have heard that statement made regarding the issue of abortion and I make no further comment about that here at this time. But I have never heard this spoken regarding a child who has been born and is out among the living and breathing. So I rewind. Did I really hear her say what I think I heard her say?

Yes, I did.

Now, I'm wondering something? Have you ever heard this sentiment expressed before regarding children that have already been born? I know that there are all kinds of people in this world with many differing opinions, and that China has developed different feelings about baby girls than they do baby boys, mostly because of China's one child policy. But we as average, everyday, normal American's, do we really feel that because a child is our child, that we have the "right" to terminate that life? I know that it would not be an easy thing to do, to smother your own child under those circumstances, but I think it was her tone and her word usage that threw me. She seemed quite absolute in her statement. "Yes! It's my baby and I have the right to terminate that life if I choose."

Maybe she was caught off guard and wished later that she had used different words. Maybe she misunderstood the question. Maybe she really feels that way. I don't know. Again, this is not a discussion about abortion, because I think we can all agree that this child would not be "aborted", but would be "killed". But I cannot wrap my mind around the idea that because a child is mine, I have the right to terminate it's life. And believe me, there certainly were some days that I longed for that right, that's for sure.

Anyway, I had a hard time with that. Maybe some of you will not have as hard a time with that, maybe some of you will have a harder time than I did. Regardless, it was an interesting podcast.

Oh...what would I do you ask? I don't know, but I doubt very seriously I could smother my own child to save a village. I'm glad I don't have to answer that question for real. And I'm sure my children are glad as well.

I promise not to be so serious next post. Maybe.

Day 16,725

Isaac has his pump "installed"(?) and is loving it. I think this is going to work.

Ben tells me that one, maybe two, more quarters and he's going to OSU at Columbus. So he'll be moving out. I'll miss him, I'm sure.

Sheila got three, yeah, I said three, tattoos today. Seems the radiation people have to put three little dots on her in order to line up their machine correctly, and those dots are permanent. They're about the size of a pencil point.

No police at the house last night, that was a good thing.

My boss had me fix a problem at work I screwed up. Seems I billed a broker with two invoices that had the same invoice number on them although they were for two different backhauls. Add to that the confusion that both dollar amounts were the same and both included 2.5 hours of detention pay. The broker saw the same invoice number again and figured they'd already paid it. I got it fixed. Hopefully.

I need a shower.

Did I say no police at the house last night? Yeah, I see that. I did.

My neighbor put two signs in his front yard, in Burma Shave fashion, one after the other.
Sign #1: "Whoever stole my ladder"
Sign #2: "I hope you fall off!"
I asked him that afternoon if he needed to borrow a ladder, which was very nice on my part since I don't own a ladder. But the guy across the street does and I figured I could ste...borrow his.
He said, "No, I just can't find it. I don't need one right now. Thanks anyway."
I come home the next day from shooting cows at the Roller Skating Rink and the signs are gone. His wife is in the yard.
"Hi Marcy. Did someone bring your ladder back?"
She laughs. "No, Mike's an idiot. Seems he left it behind the other neighbors house in their back yard while he was trimming their bushes for them. He got distracted and forgot about it." The funny thing is he's been looking for it for two weeks and his neighbor has just been moving it around so he can mow around it. I love this town.

That's it for now. I need to go help Ben pack. Why wait til the last minute?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Been Too Long

Did I say I missed all you folks? It seems like it's been way too long since I've posted anything. It's not like there's really that much going on.

All is going well. Sheila starts radiation treatments next week and the prognosis is very good. There really shouldn't be any problems.

Isaac got his insulin pump in the mail this week and we are waiting for him to get out of the shower so I can get in and then we're going in to Mansfield for a training session on how to use it. I really think this is going to make a big difference in his diabetes management. The doc seems to think so as well.

Sheila's van was finally fixed so now she can't borrow her mom's new Impala anymore and ride around in a nice air-conditioned car. It's back to her van in which the air-conditioning is on strike. She said it's ok. She just drives faster and gets the wind blowing through.

Hana and Ben are getting ready to get back into the groove of college life and Preston is chomping at the bit to get into second grade. Isaac, well, let's just say his excitement regarding school is still in the development stage. Our new foster son just left a little bit ago for a home visit and he'll be back on Tuesday.

Sorry bout that. It's now evening...about 11 hours after I started this post. Isaac learned all about his pump. I couldn't keep up but the nurse assistant said kids learn it a whole lot easier than adults do. It's like a new video game to them. He was pushing buttons faster than she could follow. He certainly lives by his dad's process of learning new technologies. "Push buttons until something happens."

Right now he's just carrying it around, entering the numbers that he normally would so he can get used to how it works. Monday they'll hook it up and he'll run saline through it for a day or so and then start running insulin through it. It's amazing the technology that they've come out with. His glucometer, the new one that came with the pump, automatically "beams" the number for his blood sugar to the pump so the pump knows what to do with the sugar reading. There is a sensor attachment that is a separate order that gives a continuous blood sugar reading by automatically testing his blood sugar every five minutes. But the docs don't want to use it just yet, plus it costs another $1000, plus insurances are just now starting to cover it and ours hasn't gotten on the train yet. Maybe soon.

After that was over, we stopped for lunch and came home for a nap. Felt like Sunday. I just woke up. Another day gone.

So that's it. Life in the fast lane.

I asked my wife, "Why don't we ever do anything exciting like other people?"

She said, "We can't fit it on the schedule."

There you go.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Ta Ta Update

Ok. I know you have all been waiting with baited breath for the update so here it is.

Sheila, our daughter Hana, Sheila's best friend Melinda, and I all went together to the James Cancer Center in Columbus. No problems getting there, even though Melinda asked if I wanted to borrow her GPS. I said, "I don't need no stinkin' GPS", while wearing my sombrero and bandoleers.

Very nice facitlity and the nurses were fabulous. Very compassionate and understanding. Amy was by far the funniest and friendliest. The doctor, not so much. As a matter of fact, we all found him a bit rude. I personally think he was just covering his butt. Or maybe he was having a bad day. Maybe his dog peed on his persian rug this morning, or the heated cup holder in his Beemer wouldn't work. I don't know. But I have a hard time trusting a doctor that won't look you in the eye.

But the news was good. He said the margins were good on the mass that was removed and he did not recomend a mastectomy, although I think Sheila had geared herself up to be ready for that eventuality. He said that we shoudl proceed with radiation treatments and that if coming off the estrogen was going to be a problem then she should not take the Anti-estrogen therapy. They are nor dependent on one another.

So there we are. Sounds good. After he left the room, his nurse Amy stayed behind and was very understanding with Sheila's concern. I have always thought, and this just reinforces my beliefs, that the nurses are the real healers in the medical world.

So here's to you all and stay safe and get that Mammygrammy done, unless off course your a man. Then go get that other thing done. You know. The one we all fear? But men, do you know why we fear that exam so much? We're afraid we might enjoy it too much. Then what would that say about us? Bite the bullet, get in the car, take the bullet in with you, and when you here that glove snap on, bite the bullet again. You'll feel better later. But at least you'll feel better.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Earlier

I noticed on an earlier post of mine that Dant made a comment about a song that I was listening to and that he felt it wasn't a "One Hit Wonder". I responded with the fact that I am not very familiar with individuals names as much as I am the names of bands themselves. Then I got to looking and it seems that we were both confused. Dant thought I was talking about the song "All She Wants to do is Dance" by Don Henley, as he pointed out a core founding member of The Eagles. When in reality I was talking about the song "All she wants to do is Dance" written by Melvin Hammerschlein and sung by his group Melvin and the Hammers. Yes, I know. It's hard to believe that there is such a group, and it's true that they are very obscure. So obscure in fact that one needs an extremely strong search engine to find anything about them on the internet. Google won't do it. I recently had to hack into the Cray12 that is used by the NSA in order to find the last album art work that they did for the album "koalas and crayfish, love em and eat em".

Their music is mostly New Age Alternative Polka music and their origins of Latvia really show through in their use of tubas and glockenspiels. Amazing style, though. Give them a try, if you can find them.

I went to the pool today. It was a nice day, not too hot, and I figured since I hadn't gone all summer today was as good a day as any. I did notice that I needed to tan a little more when a lifegaurd told me that white t-shirts were not allowed to be worn in the pool.

"I'm not wearing a shirt", I said.

"Really?"

"Really"

"Oh. Okay. Sorry."

Maybe I should buy that tan in a bottle stuff. And some guy named Quiquay or something kept following me around the pool.

Worked on my check book today and got that all straightened out. Then I had to borrow two Vicodin from my wife after that was over. Whew! That wasn't pretty. We can't keep a checkbook to save our lives. Maybe one day before we die we'll have it all straightened out. In the meantime, I'll just continue to live life on the edge.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Back Again.

We're back. Again, things could have been better. Sheila has now been referred to the James Cancer Center at OSU to talk with them about her options. The pathologists report indicated "multiple focal points" meaning there are more places in her tissue that have not reached the level of the mass that they removed but could be on their way to DCIS. Her tissue is abnormal.If she does nothing then there is a 30% chance that it will progress to invasive cancer. Radiation and hormone therapy will reduce that but the hormone therapy is "Anti-estrogen" which scares her. She's afraid that would send her into menopause and emotionally put her where she was before she had her hysterectomy. A mastectomy would reduce the risk greatly, but reconstruction could be difficult. So that's where we stand. She has an appointment right now for August 12 to go to James Cancer Center and if they have an opening earlier they'll let her know.

Ever get the feeling that you're spending way too much time in the doctor's office? It's been that way lately. It's getting old. My mind is so focused on these things that I can't even come up with a good lie to blog about. How sad is that?!

Maybe next week.

Cya.

Monday, July 28, 2008

WOOHOO!!

I had a short run last week and was back home on Tuesday morning. My truck was due for it's 10,000 mile service job and so right after I got back to the shop the boss told me to run it over to the mechanics and he'd pick me up. Other than the lube, oil and filters, all it needed was a bracket replaced or repaired under the drivers seat so it would quit tilting to the right whenever I made a hard left turn, and the 2 month old radio was acting up. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn't. Sometimes the buttons on the front would not work until it got warm and sometimes it would just flash on and off without touching it. Seemed possessed to me.

I picked the truck up Friday from the mechanic and my seat was fixed and lo and behold there was a brand new Sony CD player in my dash. And then I looked closer. No! It can't be! Don't tell me it's true! What's that hole there on the right corner. Why, it's an auxiliary jack. WOOHOO! I can plug my Ipod into the radio now and I don't have to wear earphones. That is way too cool! It sounds soooo good! I was listening to my "One Hit Wonders" today. One night in Bangkok, The Night Chicago Died, All She Wants To Do Is Dance, One Tin Soldier, Werewolves of London, Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye. Sweet City Woman. Does that take you back?

Who says life has no soundtrack?! Mine does!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

This is getting old

I wonder sometimes if my sons doctor is a little bit of a hypochondriac himself. My son sees him. My sister-in-law takes her son to him. We have a few friends that take their kids to him and it seems that he finds something wrong every time. I'd like to go back to our regular family doc but she moved her practice and it's a bear getting in to see her.

My son has diabetes. Prick yourself 6 to 10 times a day, five shots a day diabetes. It's pretty rough for an 11 year old and he's having a hard time getting a handle on it. We're working on it and learning things about it. But he went to see Doc E yesterday and he puts him on a "Stop Light Diet For Children". He says if he doesn't get control of it he won't live past 20 and his kidneys are already struggling and the blood work looks like they are beginning to shut down. the funny thing is that when his sugar drops he acts like he's stoned. he got some Sweet Italian Sausages out to eat last night and put them in the microwave for about 1 minute. these are the kind that are not pre-cooked. So they're sitting on his plate all bloody and warm and about half pink and half white and looking really nasty. Not realizing his sugar was down I fussed at him and said,

"You can't eat those. For one thing, you're not allowed to eat sausages anymore and for another thing, they're not cooked."

"OK." and he goes into the dining room and tries to log in on the computer. He can't figure out his password.

"What are you doing?"

"Huh?"

"You need to put the sausages away."

"Ok". He continues to try to log in

"What are you doing?"

"Putting the sausages away."

"No you're not. You're on the computer."

That's when it hits me. His sugar is dropping. So I drag him back into the kitchen and check his sugar. It's down to 50. Not good. Give him 3 glucose tablets and fix him a peanut butter sandwich. Check it again. 54. Better but not good enough. Wait a few minutes. Check it again. 227. What! Hint: Don't try to prick a finger without wiping off the peanut butter first. Check it again, on a clean finger this time. 74. Coming up. Fifteen minutes later he's up to 97 which is about where he should be. He goes back now and tries to log into the computer under his account. I'm watching him making sure he's okay. He can't get logged in because he keeps messing up his password so I'm worried again.

"You okay?"

"Yeah, I just keep messing up my password."

And then I notice. His password is about 30 characters long. I ask him what it is and he tells me. (I have that power, you see.) It's a complete sentence! Subject, verb, and object type sentence! I'd have a hard time logging in stone cold sober!

I laugh and tell him he might want to pick an easier password. I mean, who's he trying to keep out?

So we are learning. We can't eat like we've been eating but if it's what you know then it takes some education to learn what you can eat. I've been perusing the American Diabetes Association website and there is a lot of good information there but again, one has to learn how to think in those terms.

He goes to Doc D, his endocrinologist, on Tuesday and Sheila is going to talk to her about this diet and what the bloodwork says. So we'll know more then. Tuesday is going to be a busy day.

Meanwhile, go check out the pictures that Kimmyk takes. Just absolutely beautiful. I really like her style.

Today is the AMA's Vintage Motorcycle weekend at the Mid-Ohio Racecourse. It would be cool to go but the tickets are $20 a piece and for 6 people that adds up in a hurry. Maybe we'll go to the mall. I think we all just need to get out of this house. It's too nice out there.





An old, old picture. Back when I thought a lot of my hair. You like that watch band? HA!