Monday, February 21, 2005

Lamp shades and physics... how to correct a "wobble".

Glass lamp shades were made to be broken! It's just a matter of time.

You know those pedestal lamps, those pole lamps with the exotic glass shades on top? Who the Hell thought of those? Think about it. The lamp is comprised of a base that is 12 to 14 inches, usually brass or some other type of metal and a 3 to 4 inch diameter metal pole that runs from the base up about 4 to 5 feet to where the light fixture and SHADE are attached. The key to realizing there's something wrong with this design is that the whole lamp "wobbles" from side to side when you first stand it up on the floor. They're top heavy! No way around it. A slight nudge from the cat, a bump by the dog, a nudge by your Dad and they wobble. How many times have you had one wobble on you?

And the glass shade. It's not made of everyday normal glass... it's made of that etched, stressed glass that tends to shatter into a few large shards and a gazillion tiny little razor sharp slivers that slide across the floor after impact and imbed into carpet or cloth or come to rest in those areas where there's most likely going to be the most foot traffic in the house... you know that path where innocent, unprotected soles of feet hit the floor. It's amazing how the designers of these lamps figured this out! They're evil geniuses.

I know, I helped my daugther and son in law move their family into their new house over the weekend. They HAD a matching set of pole lamps... fairly expensive ones too. Now, I'm not necessarily known for my coordination when it comes to holding heavy boxes of china and balancing a lamp behind me with my left foot. Obviously, I can't drop the boxes to grab the lamp nor can I judge the lamp's side to side sway without seeing it. That coupled with my broad shoulders trying to move through a tight space and my inability to gauge the strength of corrective nudges with my left foot spelled disaster for the lamp couple.

Here's how it all went down... I'm 51 years old, tired from moving a bunch of heavy items (I usually get the heavy ones because I'm stronger than most of the folks helping), arms are burning from the weight of the boxes, knees are rubbery and I'm trying to get from the U-Haul into the garage where I can put the boxes down and shake the pain off. In particular, the arthritis in my left shoulder was really acting up and my right elbow was on fire from the strain of the boxes.

As I stepped off of the U-Haul ramp I was looking for a place to put the boxes... actually, even before I stepped off the ramp. I spied a spot on an empty chair in the middle of the garage surrounded by two pole lamps and other assorted furniture. Perfect! There was a narrow path that wound through the boxes and household goods to the chair. I can negotiate it! No problem!

Strain, fatigue and stress tend to negatively influence rational thought processes. I know this... knew this going into it. I just didn't recognize or realize how I was being affected by it. All I could think of was getting those boxes of precious china out of my hands and onto something, somewhere where they would be safe... out of my hands

As I worked my way through the boxes and furniture along that narrow path towards the chair I felt my right shoulder nudge one of those pole lamps. The chair was only three feet away from me when it happened and I really don't have those uncanny reflexes I had when I was younger. By the time I realized the lamp was "wobbling" I was past it. By instinct my left foot came up behind me to "nudge" the pole and stop the wobble. Well, taking physics into account... when you "nudge" a wobbling, top heavy object low or high on the pole at the most extreme point of the positive wobble the nudge not only helps the object increase it's wobble back the other way but, if the nudge is done with a bit more force than necessary can actually launch the object across the room. Trust me, I know... I'm now a veteran "lamp launcher".

In short... according to the witnesses in the room at the time it looked like I had performed one of the best Wado Ryu reverse roundhouse kicks I had ever performed... a demonstration of handless defense. I caught the pole of the lamp with the ball of my booted left foot just above it's center point at the most extreme point of it's wobble with the apparent force of a mule kicking a farrier. According to my son in law the lamp "went flying". Not like it was supposed to do... not what it was designed to do.

That friggin glass lamp shade wasn't attached. It was just "sitting" on it's perch atop the lamp. As the pole lamp went one way the lamp shade went the opposite direction and found the only place in the garage that wasn't covered with boxes, bags of clothes or soft, protective couches... you know, a place where it could have had a chance for survival. Instead, it fell soundly on the cold cement floor shattering into a few shards and a gazillion tiny razor sharp slivers of glass that found their way into the laundry basket of dirty clothes, the cloth fabric of the love seat and dining room chairs, the basket of shoes and the opened bag of dog food.

I guess it was quite a sight... slow motion and all according to the witnesses. Shoulder nudge, lamp wobble, reverse round house... even the lamp flying through the air and the shade hitting the floor. All slow motion. Excepting the loss of the lamp my son (who was also helping with the move), grandson and son in law were impressed with the show. My wife, daughter and grand daughter had a different opinion.

From that point forward I was assigned the tasks of "setting" the curtain rods and "hanging" the curtains throughout the house. A task I was capable of. At least you'd think I was. But then again, that's a different story and isn't entirely my fault... all I can say is that if the package says "84 inches x 47 inches" you would think you could hold the manufacturer to that. New houses don't need extra holes in the wall... I'm learning as I'm going. Thank God for "Spackle" and Colgate tooth paste... Nothing a little bit of Spackle, Colgate and touch up paint can't remedy. I don't think my daughter will ever find out.

Unless she reads this blog.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Missouri River German Brown Posted by Hello

Different strokes...

Have you ever wondered what your neighbor does all day? I have. Just the curious side of me I guess but I've been distracted at times by my neighbor's activities... or should I say lack thereof. He sits in his garage at all times of the day and night with the garage door open... sits at the far end of the garage in the dark. I'm not sure what he's doing nor is it really any of my business but it bothers the Hell out of me...

He and his wife live next door to us so it's not like he's sitting in his garage watching everything we do in our house (than God!!! Think of the videos he could have by now!). They're an older couple. He's probably in his 70's and she's got to be in her 60's. He's retired and she's still working for the government somewhere. He (Rod) evidently loves to collect things. He's got a collection of automobiles that he buys and sells throughout the year... nice vehicles... cadillacs, pickups, SUV's, sedans. All different types, colors, makes and models.

Shortly after we moved in he came over to the house to welcome us to the neighborhood. J (my wife) is of Finnish and Irish descent so she's very attractive and well endowed. Rod asked me if "she" was my wife. I told him she was and he said "thank God, I was hoping she was. She's beautiful". I thanked him and wondered at the time just exactly what he meant by that, noting he couldn't seem to take his eyes off of her or her bosom. I never asked him... just took it as an old man whose day was made watching J carry things into the house time and time again... you know, provide him some eye candy while she worked on moving in. I mean, she is a good looker and was even better looking back then.

So back to Rod. While we were chatting that day I took advantage of an opportunity to get to know my neighbor a bit more. I found out he was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, that he flew helicopters for the Fish and Wildlife service after he got out of the Army and that he still had some "racial hangups" when it came to Asians... primarily Vietnamese and Cambodians... go figure, a Vietnam vet with a hangup.

The neighborhood is full of mixed couples... Asian women married to caucasian, black or Phillipino men. The people we bought our house from were a mixed couple... he's caucasian, she's Korean... a tall, mean, unfriendly Korean (I don't like her and at the time, felt sorry for him). I also learned from neighbor Rod that the couple who lived here before the folks who sold us the house were a mixed couple too... he was German and she was Korean.

Putting two and two together I figured neighbor Rod's dislike for Asians played into his sitting in the garage with the garage door open at all times of day and night. Also, I think this might have been the meaning behind the remark regarding my wife. Nevertheless, my curiousity was still a bit unsatisfied.

Finally, in August after we got back from burying J's mother in Arizona I saw him in the garage and went over to chat with him... to let him know my mother in law had passed away and wouldn't be around anymore (she lived with us until she died). I announced myself as I approached his opened garage door, unsure how I'd be received. I caught the smell of cigar smoke. The garage was dark but I could see his silhouette in the far back corner, sitting on a chair next to some shelves.

"Rod. Rod. It's me, D" I announced.

"Hey, come on in" I heard him say.

My opportunity! I walked through the opening into the garage's dark chamber. Road was sitting in a chair surrounded by stereo equipment with a Swisher Sweet stuck in his mouth. Kind of an "Apocalypse Now" type setting... a Marlon Brando type scene. He had a set of headphones sitting on the shelf next to him and a coffee cup in his right hand.

"Hi Rod. I thought I'd let you know my mother in law passed away last week and we buried her in Arizona. We just got back". I approached him as I spoke... watching his hands and eyes. Still unsure of how I'd be received.

"Aw, that's too bad. I'm sorry. I thought something was up with all of the activity over the past month. Here D, have a seat" he patted on the tall stool next to him.

I sat down.

"Want a Swisher?" he offered one up out of the box.

"Nah. Just wanted to chat a bit... let you know what was happening. Thanks though"

As I fidgeted to find a comfortable spot on the stool Rod told me "Yeah, I appreciate it. I want to let you know the missus and I really appreciate you guys as neighbors. You honk all of the time and you keep to yourselves. We appreciate that."

He's right, I do honk everytime I drive by. I know he's somewhere in that garage by himself huddled up under a blanket on the cold days or sitting in front of a fan on the hot ones. We also do "keep to ourselves". We don't like pushy neighbors. We don't really get involved with them so they won't feel that "door is open."

"Well we appreciate being here. You two are pretty damned good neighbors yourself" They really were... never really poked around or complained about anything to us. Even when I was digging up the septic's drainfields to repair them (another story) they never complained about the smells or the noise of the activity coming from the house next to them.

We chatted quite awhile, Rod and I in that dark garage. I learned that he listens to classical music... Bach, Beethoven, etc. I learned he was shot down a couple of times in Vietnam, that he had to land his helicopter in a very remote area up in the North Cascades of Washington State after the rotor had "iced up". I learned that it took a week for the search and rescue folks to find him. I learned a lot about Rod and "the missus" that day. I learned a lot about the neighborhood... his hobby of collecting cars, the reason he has gravel rather than grass in his front yard, his plum tree that hangs over our fence... a lot.

Rod's a unique individual. He's done a lot and is a content, though peculiar man.

After that little meeting with Rod I felt a bit more "at ease". My curiousity was a bit more satisfied. I look at Rod differently now. He's his own man with his own haunts. He does what he wants when he wants... mostly, sitting in his dark garage looking out at the world. Drifting back in time to the helicopter, the small arms fire from the ground below, the icing of the rotor.

Rod seems harmless enough and yes I was right he does have an obvious aversion to Asians though he keeps it in "check". I don't agree with it but then again, I don't have to. He's not harming anyone with his secret prejudice. I imagine there's plenty of Asians out there who have aversions to helicopter pilots too.

Rod's a good neighbor. So is "the missus". They're a peculiar couple with their own peculiar quirks... but then again, aren't we all?

When I leave the house each day I look towards his garage. I know he's in there sitting in that chair, coffee cup in hand, listening to his classical music and smoking a Swisher. Even though I can't always see him I know he's there. By habit, as I pass his house my hand hits the car horn and I smile... knowing he's seeing and hearing everything he can.

Rod's safe... and he loves to watch my wife's breasts. I can only thank the good Lord that he doesn't sit out on the back porch... he'd certainly get an eyeful.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Weather... what's up???

Have you ever noticed how the weather is changing? I mean, when I was a kid growing up here in the great Pacific Northwest we used to get hellacious storms in the fall and spring, cold, crisp days in the winter and mild, sometimes humid days in the summer. Not so anymore... it's like a roll of the dice. Some years we get summer extensions well into late October and some years August is the beginning of fall.

This year our spring seems to have already "sprung"... the plants are getting new growth, we're getting green up on some of the grasses, bulbs are sprouting, bugs are out... it's just not like it used to be.

Maybe a lot of it can be attributed to that infamous "global warming" but not all of it! So what's happening? Has the earth shifted in it's revolution? Are we spinning closer to the sun? Is the earth's core warming? What the hell is happening?

I used to love soaking in the hot tub on those very cold February nights while the snow fell. My hair would freeze, the steam from the tub would rise and form ice crystals in the air... little tiny crystals that would either be carried away in a light breeze or fall back into the tub's water again. The deck would be covered with a blanket of snow and oh... my whiskey and water would taste ever so good! I can't do that anymore... well, the whiskey and water still tastes pretty good but the other stuff... the snow, ice, frozen hair and hot tub I can't do anymore. Aside from the fact that we no longer have a hot tub and I have far less hair than I used to... minor details... it rarely snows around here anymore. And whatever a hot tub might have to do with the weather is beyond me. But it's uncanny. We get rid of the hot tub and the weather changes! Go figure...

I don't see those clear distinctions between Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall that we used to have around here in the 50's, 60's and 70's. The seasons just seem to "meld" together into some sort of "Winingsumall". Like a melting pot of seasons. The plants are confused, the animals don't know when to shed, bugs flitter around lost, bees sting you in the dead of January, spiders nest continuously, ice is a novelty and the sun seems more prevalent. Just what the heck is happening?


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

This should be short...

Well, another day. Valentine's Day went by rather quietly. We gave each other a card in the morning, went off to work, spent the day occupied by our jobs and after work went over to visit Dad. It was a nice visit. We were a bit concerned about how he was doing on this day being as he'd always get Mom flowers or something on Valentine's Day. Well, he did. He took flowers to her grave and visited with her a bit. When we saw him later in the afternoon he was doing great. Like I said, it was a great visit...

I finally figured out some technical stuff about this blog. Remember, I'm new to this blogging stuff so I wasn't exactly sure how to set it up. I still can't figure out how to get a "Guest Book" or counter on this site but that gives me something to do.

J has no idea I have this thing up and running. Nothing here should really annoy or startle her aside from the fact that I'm posting my thoughts to the world. Which I find is a good thing... it's therapeutic in it's odd little way and a bit addicting. Much like the diaries of old.

Instead of going in to work today I'm going to work at home. I keep getting distracted in that "cubicle" world and can't stay focused on some of the tasks that need to get done so I thought I'd bring the urgent stuff to the house and complete them here. I have one other guy coming over to help. Between us we should be able to have everything rewritten, prepped and ready for final dissemination by Friday. It's too bad when you can't do this stuff at work but the job needs to get done.

I got a bit of a "start" yesterday. My ol' heart started racing and felt a bit erratic, my chest felt like it was cramping and I felt dizzy. All this after I took that friggin' pill. Not immediately after but a couple of hours after. Kind of strange but I worked through it. Besides, I know what was happening. Like I said, it runs in the family. There's really nothing that can be done so I'll just have to learn to live with it. Odd though how it seems to have "come on" so recently... over the past six to eight months.

I've been busy at work preparing some testimony for legislature the past four days for one of my exec bosses. She delivered her testimony yesterday. I'm unsure how it went but am sure she'll let me know later in the week. She was testifying on a pretty important piece of legislation that will affect the department and quite a few citizens of the state. Hopefully, all went well.

J and I are going to go help our daughter, her husband and our grandkids move this weekend... a local move. They bought a beautiful new house and are moving from a rental into it. I'm a bit concerned for them because the mortgage payment is up there. I'm sure they've prepared a budget... he's anal like that and probably has it worked out but like I said, I'm still a bit concerned. Big debt and tight finances can ruin good marriages... not that theirs is in jeopardy though... just a father's concern.

Oh yeah! The good news! A representative is coming over to the house next week to conduct an "in-house" survey and to interview us re: Andrew. One of those necessary steps to get him back. We're looking forward to it. The little bugger needs to get out of his mess as soon as possible and get into an environment where he can grow and be loved. Cool, huh!

Alright, I'm getting off of here... going to do my online news reading and wake up J for work.

I'll drop a line later.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Sleepless again...

Good morning! It's Valentine's Day... February 14, 2005.

I woke up at 0320 and couldn't seem to get back to sleep so I got out of bed around 0412. Such is my life lately. This blog, it's consuming. I think about it quite a bit when I'm not on it writing something. I find it to be an outlet of sorts for my pent up thoughts... an effective way to clear my mind. Yesterday I tried to watch the Pro Bowl but kept getting side tracked. Finally, I shut it off and J and I took our walk around the neighborhood. I still don't know who won... nor do I really care. That's rather unusual for me because I've always been an avid football fan... hmmmm, maybe it just isn't that important to me anymore.

Well, I'm starting out the work week early. I answered several work related emails yesterday, Sunday, my day off and caught the ire of J for doing it. But the emails were important to me and I just couldn't wait until today to write my responses. I'm one of those spontaneous, compulsive freaks who, once I get a thought in my mind I can't get rid of it until I address it head on. Hence the emails on Sunday rather than today.

I'm not sure why I've been waking up at 03dark thirty for the past several months but know this much... once I do there's no getting back to sleep. I got J a card for Valentine's Day... nothing major. We're a bit tight on the budget right now so I'll see what shakes out in the ol' account this morning before I do anything else re: flowers or something. I mean, after 27 years I just don't know what to get her anymore.It's not like she "has it all" it's just that she's a challenge to shop for. You'd think the longer you're with someone the better you'll know her... in many ways that's the case but in many other ways it isn't. I mean, people tend to change their wants and needs over the years as they get older. Given that, I'm still a bit unsure what to get her. Though flowers always seem to get good results :-).

We're going to put our house on the market this coming fall... we need to get out from under this friggin' adjustable rate mortgage that we let someone talk us into. We're already paying too much a month for the place and to have it increase on January 1, 2006 isn't acceptable. We'll be broke by our mortgage payment by March. We could always refinance and get a conventional or VA fixed loan but we've decided to down size our home. Hell, the two of us don't need a 2200 square foot home anymore. We did when we had J's mother and Andrew living with us but since her mother died in July and Andrew's been sent back to Georgia this house has grown in size and loneliness. So, we're gonna dump it... let someone else who needs a larger home have it. We're talking about an 1800 square foot home... you know, the three bedroom, two bath, fenced yard thing or maybe a nice double or triple wide on some property somewhere. We'd still have enough room for Andrew and for company when they stop by but will have roughly half the payment... we could use an additional 800 bucks a month.

I still have to do the taxes too. Damn! Last year we had to pay over 1100 bucks to the feds. I'm dreading this year's taxes... most likely we'll be shelling out more.

Oh yeah, the doc put me on some blood pressure medicine a couple of months ago. I'm sure some of you folks are on it. It's a pain... the prescription says right on it "take one daily, do not miss a day. It could worsen your condition". Now how many of you can remember a little fact like that day to day. Most of you are probably saying "Hell, what's so hard about that. I can!" but trust me, I can't! I keep forgeting to take the bloody thing! Then when I do it's usually after I start getting cramps in my chest and can feel my heart going nuts... what is this? I mean, I know my family has a history of heart problems... I'm otherwise in good health, about 15 pounds overweight (not bad for a 50 plus year old guy), am somewhat active... moreso than most my age and although the arthritis is starting to creep in and the old war wounds are flaring up again I feel fine. Now I have to take that damned medicine and keep forgetting to take it... sometimes until half a day later. I must admit though, after I take it things seem to settle down in that ol' ticker area. But, I hate being tied to a pill. I hate being controlled, period! And that friggin' pill has some odd side effects too. Weight gain, loose bowels, dry mouth, ringing ears (moreso than normal)... stuff like that. And to compound things the wine I drink every night seems to intensify some of those affects. Whatever... when I cash it in I hope I'm on a trail in the woods somewhere trying to solve a puzzle. That's what I hope.

I've been thinking a lot about the world situation lately too. I mean, North Korea with nukes???!!! How the Hell did that happen. They can't even make cars right! Now a nuke (or two or four)??? And they claim to have a delivery device that'll reach out and touch someone over 2000 miles away. You do the math... Washington State, North Korea... Ft. Lewis, McChord AFB, Bangor Sub Base, Bremerton Naval Station, Everett Naval Station, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and on and on... It's suggested they're "posturing" for more aid and a lift of the sanctions. Posturing my ass! If someone's pointing a gun at my head and asking for my wallet that ain't posturing! And China! All of those people over there... all of them and the fantastic creeping of technology into their country. Look at the stuff coming out. It's pretty damned good. I was once told by a very good professor that you can tell how advanced a country truly is by the toys they produce. Not just kids toys but grownup toys as well. Hell, China's kicking out some pretty good toys! All I can say is we'd better not piss them off.

Well, enough of this drivel... I guess I should get off of here and do something constructive. It's almost 0600 and I need to finish up some things on this computer before I wake J up for another day of work.

Take care all.

Monday, February 14, 2005 06:08 A.M.

The old man...

Okay, it's Sunday morning at 0600 hrs. I've been up for an hour... can't seem to be able to sleep past 0330-0430 anymore, no matter what time I hit the sack. I've read emails, sent emails, read horoscopes, the headline news, cleaned out mailboxes, smoked ten cigarettes and am now on the blog. My wife is still sleeping so I'll post this then go play some online poker or something.

J (my wife) and I took my father out to dinner last night at O'Blarney's. While we were there our son and his girlfriend stopped by. They were going to the show next door... gonna watch some mushy film or something... I have to laugh about it, watching my son get domesticated slowly but surely by his girlfriend. You married guys out there most likely can identify with what I'm saying. Either way she's a keeper...

Anyways, back to dinner with Dad. If you've never been to O'Blarney's you should go. It probably has the best steak for the buck (my preference is the Cajun steak). We didn't order steak last night... had the seafood platter instead. But the food and company was great.

Mom passed away on January 1, 2005 so Dad's still getting over her... hell, we all are. He's never truly going to get "over her". She was a huge part of his life for 67 years. They were married for 63, almost 64 years. So, after she passed on we were all concerned about Dad. He was really down in the dumps (understandable) and wouldn't eat, couldn't sleep, didn't want to do anything. Now don't get me wrong... the old man is hard, he's the epitome of macho and has the battle scars to prove himself. He was a warrior in WWII, serving in the Army for 22 years. He was one of the first Special Forces soldiers in WWII... a member of the "Alamo Scouts". His life back then was New Guinea, Phillipines and other Pacific Island jungles full of enemies that he and the rest of his group had to monitor without being detected. He lived off of the land for extended periods of time (over a year per stint) without any real support and with a knowing enemy looking for him, all the while reporting back to his command the troop strengths, locations, etc. of the enemy. In short, he must have done things right because the enemy lost that war, he's still alive and he can talk about it without going into a tearful frenzy. All the while Mom was "stateside" waiting for him to "come home".

So, given the circumstances, knowing much of what they went through during their 67 years together it's totally understandable and even expected for Dad to have his "moments". Last night though, I think it was a breakthrough of sorts... I think he's liking life again. At 83 years old that can be hard to do. He talked about all kinds of things from Mom to O'Blarney's to fishing and pictures. We laughed, joked and remembered together. After I paid the bill we all sat around at the table and kept it up. It was a healthy evening...

He's over the hump I think... he'll always remember Mom, will talk with her from time to time but realizes he has others around him who love, respect and need him here. When J and I got home from that dinner we watched the movie "The notebook" or something like that with James Gardner in it. It was purely coincidental... we had no idea what the movie was about but, thanks to Netflix, ordered it and subsequently watched it. If you haven't seen it you should! While I watched I couldn't help but think how much it told me about my own father's life... especially how he must feel today. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to him... it would most likely open those recent wounds that are starting to heal but truly understand his devotion to Mom and hers to him.

Okay, enough said. I'm getting off of here for now and going to play some online free poker at a $25.00 player limit table.

If any of you are in there look me up. ciao for now.

Sunday, February 13, 2005 7:34:05 AM

Moving on...

Now that this is set up I can move on.

I get to vent first though!I'm getting a bit frustrated with the crap that's happening in my "old" job. Adults acting like children, alleged professionals with huge egos forever needing to be fed. For over seven years I was able to "ride herd" over that particular group of self serving primadonna's and finally, after my live in mother in law passed away I had enough of serving as those grown men's father, confidant, baby sitter and mentor. I was tired... very tired of the constant 24/7 paternal intervention I had to do to keep them all on track, going the right direction and working together. I was offered another position that afforded me opportunities to "move on". The intitial thought of "abandoning" my little group of alleged professionals and moving into a new job frightened me. I felt a paternal allegiance of sorts to see the group through their back stabbing, belly aching, ego feeding, childish approaches towards each other.

When I was with them I provided the buffer, served as their confidant, kept everything in check. Finally, upon my wife's and my return from burying her mother after a tragic and painful death I'd had enough! I moved on and effectively up, ridding myself of their constant complaining... hell, they complained about having to do their job, they complained about each other, they complained about things that didn't even affect them... I can whine... I can vent... I earned this right! I had to put up with this very crap for too long. Now it's my turn to be free of it! So, in the end I served myself... my family by moving on. No more direct supervision... a point decidedly negotiated by me at the job offer interview, no more budget management... another negotiated point, no more multi level headaches!I've moved to a new plateau late in my career. I've been brought in to review, fix or otherwise create and oversee a program of sorts that has substance to it... a program that has potential for fantastic returns! And best of all, I have SUPPORT from the exec group! Such a novel feeling of renewed excitement in my professional life!!!It's been sixth months since I've abandoned "that old group" of selfish, belley-aching wanna-be's.

I'm well on my way to healing myself mentally, physically, emotionally and personally. From the outside looking in at the old group I find myself watching in awe as they tear each other apart. The little cliques I rode herd on and effectively neutralized while I was there are raising their ugly heads and lashing out at one another... huge ego medusa's. Their "program" is crumbling, they're digressing in what little forward performance they had and their morale is below the point of no return.

From what I can see only one of them is salvageable and I'm going to do my best to salvage him. He's a good worker, astute, personable, intelligent, tenacious and level headed... and he's catching the wrath of several of the other "idiots" I left behind. Dirty laundry is being aired as we speak by some of those pompous, self serving folks I left behind. I'm not the brunt of it but I'm certainly ashamed of the way they're responding to change.

Oh well, I feel better... I vented and my life is getting 'oh so much' better by the day. Now I need to "bring over" the last salvageable person in that old group... get him out of there and prove to him he can be happy and solve puzzles at the same time.

For what it's worth. 9:35 AM

Saturday, February 12, 2005 9:46:42 AM

Sunday, February 13, 2005


Smiley faces mean a lot to me. Thank you!

Just an FYI... we raised this little bugger for three years. His parents were never married. His mother is an alcohol abusin, Atlanta social "butterfly" who admits to abusing prescription drugs and his father is an unstable, emotionally challenged, good hearted but easily influenced man who has made a ton of wrong decisions in his life. They both lost custody of Andrew during the period of time that we had him. We love the little guy and he deserves a chance to grow up in a loving home.

In 2004 the State of Washington decided to give Andrew's mother a second chance and returned him to her in Atlanta. True to form his mother continued to drink, abuse prescription drugs and otherwise party on. Andrew was removed from her custody and put into a foster home where he remains today. J and I are posturing to get him back. Things are, so far, going our way though there's still that "maternal bond" that the government seems to think is best for the child... regardless of the affect of the mother's lifestyle on the child.

The latest... Child Protection Services in Washington State is working with their Georgia counterparts to place him back in our care. We've been told this is a lengthy process but are willing to "sit it out" for as long as it takes until he can come home again. We can't even imagine how the past two years have affected Andrew. His mother's battle to get him back only to subject him to the horrors of alcoholism and drug addiction. He's impressionable and so innocent at his age right now... just over 4 years old. Hopefully both state's governments will "wake up" and get past that "natural mother, natural father" experiment and get him back to us where he's loved and will be positively affected.

There's a lot of work to be done.

Sunday, February 13, 2005 8:03:08 AM

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Beach Buds

Nephew and I on the Pacific Shore. Posted by Hello

Just now setting this puppy up...

Okay, I've been reading about and reading blogs for quite some time now. I've finally "crossed over" from Reader to Blogger. I'm sitting in front of this friggin' computer at 0730 hrs. creating (so to speak) this little blog site that will hopefully serve as my own (and others) place to vent, place to rejoice, place to share...

I'll start. A bit about me...

At 50 plus years of age I'm not new to the world, obviously. I love to fish, hike, play poker, write, read, travel, have sex and love to solve real life puzzles. In fact, I'm a "puzzle solver" in the real world. Yeah, I get paid to solve puzzles... certain kinds, those odd little puzzles society throws my way. Puzzle solving has not only provided me a good income over the past 30 years but has become a fantastic hobby as well.

I love my wife of over 27 years, our kids, grankids, parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. I have to admit the other relatives I'm picky about. Some, I love... some I like, some I tolerate only because they're relation and some, even though they are relation I could do without.

I'm a well educated blue collar type of guy. I played sports throughout my elementary through high school years (swimming, football, baseball, basketball and water polo), served in the Army during the Vietnam era, jumped from airplanes, scuba dive, fought in martial arts tournaments for over fifteen years, have the ability to live off the land on almost any continent for extended periods of time, rather enjoy solitude on occasions (more so now than before), love to "track" humans through remote forests or just about any other landscape, don't necessarily like shooting things so I don't hunt anymore but can and will if I NEED to, was a framer of houses during my younger years, was a hard rock miner for awhile, am "okay" with pets provided they're house broke, managed a bunch of government primadonna's for quite some time and excel in "building" puzzle solving "groups" for the government.

I don't want to get too long winded here, realizing there's plenty of time to share snapshots of my life with those who might find it interesting, boring or simply have nothing else to do and light upon this blog to pass the time.

My challenge to you... if and when you ever get here to this little corner of personal cyberspace drop a note... tell the world a bit about yourself. Let it flow. Write whatever might pop up at the time and try... yah, I know I said it... I can't expect it... but try to keep your thoughts as "G" or "R" rated as possible. Having said that I know I've "crossed the line" a time or two myself so periodic outbursts committed to writing in this blog by you or anyone else will, for the most part be unedited for the world to see.

So, I guess the next step for me is to hit the "Publish Post" key. Here goes...