Friday, June 30, 2006

Royal Flush

Any morning that starts out with overflowing toilets does not portend of a good day. I was an hour late for work this morning because I was busy cleaning and plunging. It could have been worse. It reminds me of this:

Words you never want to hear.

"Honey, did you know that when you flush the toilet, stuff comes up in the back yard?"

There is no way that this is going to turn out good. It was January in Seattle, so that means cold rain, us having only two seasons here: the cold rainy season, and the warm rainy season.

I flush, and run to the window overlooking the back yard. Sure enough, the back yard is getting Charminized. Right below the window water bearing tissue and unmentionable other things wells and subsides.

Oh crap.


So I repair to the basement for a shovel and boots. This is not going to be amusing. Out into the pouring rain. Staring where the water is coming up, I follow the trail. Two feet down I come to where the pipe exits the house. The "Y" is split and part of it has fallen in and is blocking the line, so I go down to the hardware store and get a new section of pipe and some oakum to seal it, replace the pipe. By now the hole is three feet deep, and fills with water as fast as I can bail it out. Everyone in the house has been advised not to use the plumbing until I can complete my repairs. Every five minutes it is "Are you through yet? I really have to go!" "Go to the neighbors, or go up to the gas station."

Having replaced the section of pipe, I run inside and test the system. A veritable cornucopia of crap rises in the yard.

My hole becomes a trench and cesspool. Here I am knee deep in stuff I don't even want to think about, diggin' in the pouring rain. The first two pipes in the horizontal run are also split right down the middle. The third is intact. So I replace the pipes and seal everything up,

Inside to test the system. No apparent leaks.

Back outside and cover the trench back up. By now I am pretty much covered head to toe, and am pretty fragrant besides. I offend even myself.

I have never been happier to get in the shower than I was that day. Even after a half an hour scrubbing, I still felt dirty. Even today it gives me the shivers thinking about it.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Sometimes the horses just get tired
Sometimes charge goes unsounded
The buglers lips are cracked and dried
The Indians come too soon

Sometimes the horses just get tired

Sometimes the posse just gets tired
Takes the wrong cutoff at the pass
Doesn’t quite arrive in time
Evil goes unavenged

Sometimes the horses just get tired

Sometimes the Spring arrives too late
The seed rots in the ground
And doesn’t sprout at all
Promises unfulfilled

Sometimes the farmer just gets tired

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

No fun at all

Other than the trip to Forks with life hasn't been a whole lot of fun lately.

R. called me up last Friday and the conversation didn't go well. It started out OK, but when I got down to questioning her about what she was doing, she went ballistic, screamed and yelled at me on the phone and finally hung up. After everything I have done for her lately, it really hurt to be told that I didn't love her and couldn't care less what happened to her.

The reasons I was trying to find out what was going on, are that right after I signed for her $5.000.00 line of credit, she quit her job or was fired. When she was over on Father's Day her behavior was pretty erratic. She has stopped seeing her friends, and is hanging out part of the time on Broadway.

All these signs point pretty directly to her being back on Meth. Breaks my heart. she has so much potential, but she is throwing it all in the toilet. She was using once before, but came home, got straight, got a job, moved out, got a car, and everything was looking up for the last couple of years. I guess her recovery was a lot more fragile than I realized.

Anyway, this whole thig has put Mrs A. over the edge. Having so many people dependent on us really puts a strain on her, but she is to the point now that the smallest thing is likely to send her off on a screaming tirade. Monday it was because V. didn't weed whack the front yard, yesterday because L. didn't do a load of towels. The minute the steam starts coming out of her ears, everyone else scatters like a school of fish when a baracuda shows up. Which of course leaves me swimming there all alone looking like lunch.

I am going to call and set up an appointment with a counselor. I hate to see her in such pain. It tears me apart to see her come home and tears start coming up in her eyes.

She and I get along great, and our relationship is good, but things outside our relationship are causing a lot of pressure on both of us.

I would do anything for Mrs A., so this is just a speed bump in the hiway of life, but I hate it when my head keeps hitting the roof.

Monday, June 26, 2006


You need to look at the pictures from the bottom up. chronologically. I tried to add a few more pictures last night but it was so flamin' hot yesterday I just gave up. I'll try to add a few more tonight

In the one picture is proof in color that Ed, the lead guitarist, will help on the setup under the right circumstances. That's him up on the ladder hepling rig the tarp over the stage.

What the pictures DON'T show is the thousands of big black flying ants.


Man, I am exhaustipated (so tired you don't give a shit).

This weekend was tiring, I got very little sleep, it was way too hot, and we had a great time.
Per my previous post, There was a show by Morning Light at the Olympic Correctional Facility near Forks, Wa.

Friday Mrs A. and I took the day off, with the intention of getting an early start (but not too early). L. had two medical procedures, so we didn't get out of town until 6:30. I would have been better off to have gone to work and saved the day of Vacation. Everything turned out fine for L.

So we ended up pulling in to the Hotel at Forks at 11:30, only to find out that the band had still not arrived. The guy at the counter wanted to hit the hay, so we put a note on the office door and he gave me the extra key to the other suite, which of course meant that I had to wait up for them to arrive.

They pulled in at about 12:30, so I didn't get to bed until 1:00. At about 4:30 someone started up a diesel truck right outside our window and woke me up, so I was running on about three hours sleep.

The weather forecast was for sunshine, so the band elected to have an outdoor concert, setting up on the soccer field. It turned out not only sunny, but it broke the temperature record by 11 degrees. It was 90. Well, unpacking and setting up the stage and everything was hot and dusty work. Not to mention that there was an invasion of these enormous black flying ants, which got into everything.

I was so hot that the band was concerned about the instruments being out in the hot sun. Mrs A. suggested that we borrow a couple of sheets from the facility. After talking to the guards, we scrounged up this enormous blue tarp. But what to do with it.

Since this was a daytime outside show, we weren't setting up the light show. I suggested that we take all the scaffolding that we normally use to mount the lights and use it to turn the tarp into a tent. It took an hour or so to get it set up, but it worked out OK.

There was a pretty stiff breeze, so it threatened to go parasailing a couple of times, and we had to retye some of the ropes when they pulled the eyes out of the tarp, but everyone was thankful for the shade.

April started losing her voice during the show, and had to ease up on the high notes, but she managed to make it through the show. They even introduced a couple of new songs.

Setting up the sound system was a real pain in the butt. We were on a slight rise over the soccer field, and there was a solid wall of trees on the far side. It provided this split second echo that distorted the sound. Because we were on a rise, the midlevel and high frequencies were going right over the heads of the audience, so we had to unstack the speakers and set them on the ground. Sound check took better than three hours, and with the hot weather and endless sound check, tempers got shot, and words were exchanged.

We came back yesterday, and took the long way around, to complete the Olympic peninsula Loop. We stopped at Ruby Beach on the way back, and spent a couple of hours playing at the beach. What a beautiful day.

When we got home the house was still standing and actually reasonable in order. I think this is the first time we have gone away and not come back to complete chaos.

K. is sick, has a nasty cold and congestion. We got a knock on the bedroom door at 3:00 that they needed to borrow the car to run him to the Hospital. His temperature was over 103 degrees, and his breathing was very strained. I thin it was overreaction to run him to the emergency room, but they are fairly new to the parent thing, and tend to think everything is a crisis. They were gone a couple of hours and came back and everything was fine. All the hospital did was give K. some children's tylenol, and we have plenty of that at home, but the women were not receptive to logic, and I didn't dare to tell them to calm down.

So I am sitting here kinda zombified this morning, and I sure a hell better remember to used Spellcheck this morning.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Goin' to Prison

That's right. Mrs A. and I are going to prison this weekend.

Before you jump to any conclusions, let me admit to obfuscating. No, that's not a crime, it is the act of being deliberately misleading. It is not the first time I have led my fellow bloggers down the garden path, just to get them off balance.

So long time visitors here are aware that Mrs A. and I are crew to a Christian Rock N' Roll band,
  • Morning Light . Their mission is to the incarcerated, so this weekend we are going to Olympic Correctional Institution in Forks Washington. It is about a six hour drive to get there, but a scenic drive. I hope to talk Mrs A. into taking the Z. That would mean that she could only take two suitcases, and me a gym bag (snicker). It also means I have to do all the driving, as Mrs A. is terrified of driving the Z.

  • We will be staying two nights in a hotel, accommodations provided by the Foursquare Church. Many thanks to them.

    One of the things that Morning Light does is provide transitional help for people being released back out of Prison.

    This is the first time Mrs A. and I will have gone to an adult facility. Up until now we have helped set up at juvenile detention facilities. I have to admit I am a little nervous. It's bad enough when the big door goes "Clang" at Juvie, but I know I will never be mistaken for one of the inmates should anything happen. I could also take care of myself and Mrs A. if anything happened. In an adult facility that would not be true. I know I am being overly concerned, but that's part of being a spouse.

    Friday is also L.s surgery. One of the reasons she had to terminate her last pregnancy was that they discovered multiple lesions on her cervix. They won't go as far as telling her they are cancer, but the suddenly decided they needed to go in and remove her cervix. The operation is pretty much standard, but we will stick around town until she is clear, then drive out to Forks. It will be a long day.

    I will try to remember the camera, and if I do, I will post pictures here next week.

    If you are the praying type, remember us, if you're not wish us luck.

    If you are a complete heathen have a beer for me.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    The Rambler Part 1

    I was pondering what to blog about yesterday, yesterdays blog being rather mundane. I mean, how do you top a pissing-on-an-electric-fence story? I couldn't think of a thing, so I decided to go in an entirely different direction.

    There are certain cars that come into your life and for whatever reason become legendary. Sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for less than good reasons.

    The Rambler was one of those cars that seemed to just accumulate stories. Even the way we obtained it was unusual.

    JB was working at a place that mede fiberglass tubs and shower surrounds. They had gotten in a shipment of fiberglass resin that was contaminated. A half a dozen 55 gallon drums. Since the contamination would cause the parts to be discolored it was useless to the company. The supplier wrote off the resin, and the company said that anyone could have it that wanted it. We grabbed four drums.

    My landlord had an alcoholic son, who couldn't hold down a job. However, he was a talented boat builder. He could use the resin to coat a couple of coulpe of double ended steelhead drift boats he was building. In return his dad would give us a 1955 Rambler station wagon, which was firmly entrenched in a field.

    The Rambler had been sitting for a couple of years. It was butt ugly, a sort of mold green, with lichens growing on it. It looked quite organic.

    They had been in the middle of doing a valve job on it when they had lost interest, but it was mostly all there, so we dragged it out of the field, and took it over to Steve's garage. They had removed the head and pulled the valves, which were in the back seat, but when we inventoried things, we were missing the valve stem keepers.

    Off to the junkyard.

    The junkyard was less than heplful, but we did find another flathead six Rambler. They refused to loan us tools or help us in any way, so we went back home and got the tools we needed. It took a quite a while to tear down the engine enough to get at the keepers.

    Since the junkyard had been such jerks, and we were near the fence, each part we removed, we chucked over the fence. After a couple of hours, we went to the office with a small handfull of valve keepers. They charged us $.50 for the keepers.

    We came back later and picked up the intake and exhaust manifolds, head and distribtor that had fallen over the fence.

    When we went to install the radiator, it rattled, and was too heavy. WTF? We shook it, and hazel nuts started falling out of the bottom of the radiator. Some squirrel had been using it as his safety deposit box. Well, we had just broken the bank. We must have gotten a couple of pounds of nuts out of the radiator.

    We cleaned everything up, put everything in place, and it started up the very first try. I was astounded that it had been so easy. Things are never that easy.

    Steve took it down the street to give it a trial run. About a half a block away, there was a loud explosion, with fire and smoke gushing out from under the hood. It looked like a dragster that had blown the engine during a race. The door popped open, and there was Steve running down the street, ducking, waiting for the Hollywood explosion. It never happened.

    After letting the car sit a while to make sure nothing was going to happen, we went down to see what had happened.

    There were three of us working on the car at the same time. Someone had put the gas line on the carb and just tightened it a couple of turns, meaning to snug it up later, which never got done. The line had rattled loose and sprayed raw gas all over the inside of the engine compartment, and when it caught WHOOOMO!

    The fire had burned up the seals in the carb and a bunch of wiring in the engine compartment. Luckily, we had all of these spare parts that has escaped from the junkyard, so after a couple of hours to set things right and make sure the gas line was tightened, the car was ready for the road. (To this day we still argue about who didn't tighten the line the first time.)

    So The Rambler became our communal errand running grocery getting car of many uses.

    Those old falthead sixes were notorious for blowing head gaskets. The head is about 1 1/2" thick, and if you overheat the car at all the head warps, and you have to replace the head gasket. The head is held in place by about 40 studs coming out of the block. Getting it loose can be a real pain in the butt. The nuts have to be first loosened just a little and then removed in a particular sequence to keep from warping the head.

    We had done the initial torque down of the head, and were going back for final torque, when JB broke off stud #1 (the one right in the center of the head) flush with the top off the block. Crap.

    We didn't want to take the head back off, so we took a bolt of the right size so it was a tight fit and cut off the shank so that it was just the right length. A tube of epoxy. Put some epoxy in the hole and hammer the bolt in place. Let it set for 24 hours, and off we went.

    After a couple of months,we were driving down the road when BANG CHUFF CHUFF CHUFF. A small dimple appeared in the hood. The epoxy had given out and the bolt had blown out of the hole and put a dimple in the hood of the car.

    No big deal, bolts were cheap. So we repeated the procedure. The only problem was that the fit wasn't quite as tight the second time, so the duration wasn't quite as long. Each time the duration was a little shorter.

    We accumulated a nice series of dimples in the hood of the car.

    When it got to the point that every other weekend we were refitting bolts, we decided we had to fix the problem. So we tore the head off of the engine to see what was up. It was a bit of a chore getting the head off without breaking it, because some of the epoxy had cemeted the head to the head gasket, which in turn was cemented to the block.

    We futzed around for a while after we got the head off, and decided we needed to go get an easy-out to remove the remains of the stud. JB jumped in his truck while Steve and I waited.

    I got a deliciously evil idea.

    We were working in JB's driveway, and I lived right next door. In my garage I was rebuilding the engine from a 1940 Chev. pickup truck, which was all in pieces.

    Even though the parts were not real similar to the Rambler, we grabbed the crank, rods, and pistons from my motor and dragged them to where we were working, and strewed them around. Lastly we draped an old towel over the engine compartment.

    As JB pulled in, I saw his eyes get big, and he sat up higher in the truck, as his jaw dropped. He jumped out of the truck and was pointiing at the parts on the ground. His face went white, then red, then white again. His mouth was moving, but no noise was coming out. He kinda made a little hop and turned to point at another part.

    Bu this time Steve and I were litterally rolling in the driveway, laughing so hard we couldn't talk.

    Without saying a word, I got up and leaned over and took the towel off of the engine compartment.

    Monday, June 19, 2006

    Fathers Day

    Hope y'all had a great Father's day. This was a busy weekend for Mrs A. and I.

    Saturday was a two hour meeting at the Church for our upcoming mission to Mexico. Then Grocery shopping. By the time we got done we were both exhausted.

    I had rented the movie "End of the Spear" so we put it on. Good movie if you can get past the violence. It is a movie about first contact with a violent tribe in the Amazon Basin by missionaries in the 1950's. No one had survived contact. The male missionaries make first contact, and end up getting killed. The wives and kids go in after and manage to work things out. It is based on a true story. The best part is at the end, when the credits are playing. The head of the Natives eventually flew up to the States and his perceptions of life in the US are worth watching the whole movie.

    Fathers Day after church I watched the Mariners whup on San Francisco. Swept all three games.

    Friday night game was a classic. The lead went back and forth a couple of times. Ninth inning, score Seattle 5 SF 4, Two on two out. Barry Bonds at the plate JJ Putz in Relief. The were both stoked and the crowd was on it's feet. JJ put two fastballs by Bonds. Everyone was on their feet. Putz lets go with a splitter and tied up Bonds, and the game was over. It was great!

    So for Father's Day I grilled Shrimp Kabobs and Chicken Kabobs and ate until I couldn't eat no mo. Then Mrs A, and I watched 16 Blocks. Bruce Willis looked so old and worn out in this movie that I couldnt believe it was him. It was the right voice, but I couldn't relate it to the face. Really good makup job, since he plays a washed up Detective.

    Any way, here it is Monday again. Hang on tight and make sure the safety bar is engaged, 'cause the Roller Coaster is about to begin.

    Friday, June 16, 2006


    Once I got started down this path, There was no turning back. Men, electricity and shocking results.

    On the farm, the pasture was a half mile long with electric fences all around and separating the sections. So it was a couple of miles of electric fence. We had what was called a "Brushcutter" fence.

    With that much fence, it was hard to keep up with the maintenance. Grass would grow up and touch the fence and short it out. One option was to send out one of us kids to trim the grass. The other was to upgrade to the "Brushcutter".

    Electric fences are pulsed, like they are being turned on and off. The strength of the pulse is determined by the transformer. In a "Brushcutter" that pulse is strong enough that if the fence is brushed by a grass stem, it will cut it in two. It gives quite a jolt.

    As kids we would fool around with the fence. We would see if we could jump up in the air, grab the fence and let go again before we touched the Ground. There was no faking it if you falied. I felt like you had been hit with the Cosmic Karma hammer.
    When we were out in the field, sometimes you wouldn't know if the fence was on or off, so the best way to find out was to very quickly touch the fence with the back of your hand. You used the back of your hand, because the current could make your hand clench.

    The worst I ever got was one day when I was fishing across the road. I was standing calf deep in the creek and reached up to grab a bush to help me get out, and grabbed the hot wire. I swear my hair was standing on end, smoking when I got to the bank.

    When I got my draft notice, another friend got his at the same time, so we threw a big going away party. This was in Seattle just South of the Airport. One of our friends was renting a small house of about 800 sq. ft.. We packed that house full. It was an isolated house, with no near neighbors. His landlord lived next door, but on the other side of a horse pasture.

    The house was crammed, and of course only had one bathroom. One of the advantages of being male it that the world is your bathroom. The ladies used the bathroom, the guys a comvenient tree.

    I was in the back bedroom making out with my girlfriend when I heard this very loud roar from the front yard followed by a lot of laughter.

    It was my friend Dave, who was jumping up and dowm bellowing at the top of his lungs and holding on to his whanger, which was flopping up and down. Now, Dave was a 6' 8" beanpole, and the sight of him jumping up and down bellowing was hilarious.

    It seems he went a little farther out into the yard (Out of modesty?) to tke a piss than the other guys had. Because he had been drinking, he failed to see the single strand of silver wire.

    I can see every male who reads this cringing. Probably along with some serious shrinkage.

    That's right, Dave has pissed on the neighbor's electric fence.

    Later he said it felt like he had burned the last couple of inched off of his works.

    At the moment I was laughing too hard to ask.

    Thursday, June 15, 2006


    I was over at the Peanut Queen's this morning, and her blog started me down this path, so since she is royalty and I am not, we will blame this on her.

    She was talking about using a cattle prod on the PK's left nut to stop him from snoring, and it reminded me of this.

    When I was working in a different building, which has since been razed and leveled, we had a carpet that was really bad about building up a charge of static electricity. We had to go get stuff off of these metal storage shelves, and I swear I have jumped a spark at least an inch a couple of times.

    Several of us got in the habit of carrying around a small piece of metal, which we would use to ground ourselves. You got pretty jumpy after the hundreth time you got shocked.

    One of the guys I worked with carried around a silver dollar with him. He liked to walk up to people and show them the coin. Of course when he did, he shocked the hell out of them. He found it highly amusing.

    One day, I had been up doing something or the other and was coming back to my desk, when I noticed the guy was sitting on the corner of a desk kinda spraddle legged. These were the old metal desks with a formica top. They had a metal piece of trim running around the edge. I wondered what would happen if I grounded myself on that piece of metal trim. It seemed to be running right under his crotch.

    Yep. I jumped a spark about an inch, and he rose to the occasion.


    He did a little dance while hloding on to his package. I almost felt guilty.


    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    Going, Going, Gone

    I picked up a bike when I went to the dump the other day. A perfectly good Huffy 18 speed girls bike. I took it home and cleaned it up. Yerterday, the next door neighbor was out working in the yard, so I went over and asked her if one of her girls needed a bike.

    Her older girl, who is in the same class as V. had outgrown her current bike, so she could use a new bike. The lady next door is a single mom, and I know her budget is real tight, so I brought it over. She was real pleased. Made me feel good too.

    It didn't cost me anything but asking and a little elbow grease to clean up the bike, and what a good feeling.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    I didn't know that!

    I'm a pretty competent guy when it comes to financial stuff. I've never gotten in over my head financially because I'm pretty conservative.

    As I mentioned yesterday, I cosigned for R. to get a line of credit. Mrs A. and I were talking and she said she was talking to one of her co-workers at the bank, and the co-worker asked if I had voided the master on the loan application.


    It seems that when you cosign on the loan, if the master is not voided, the other party can apply for any other kind of loan, using the same master.

    So if R. decided she wanted a new car, she could have waltzed into any dealership and bought a car, using the Master Loan Agreement as her collateral, and because I have excellent credit, they would sell her a car. Without even informing me. I would only know when it showed up on my statement.

    The Master stays in effect for five years.

    Now I love R. and I don't think she would do that, but it's a whole lot safer to remove the temptation. So I went down to the bank after work yesterday and voided the Master on the loan.

    The Bank should have to inform you about this when you cosign the loan. I was completely unaware.

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    Monday, Monday

    Which is, of course a song by the Mommas And Papas, which starts out "Monday Monday, can't trust that day". Kinda sums up my feeling about Monday.

    Hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was busy but good. Went to a retirement party with MRS A. for one of her co-workers. It was OK.

    Worked on the Z, worked on the Mercedes, did some yard work, took a recycle trip to the dump for cardboard and newspapers. When I was there a guy next to me had a Huffy girls 18 speed bike in the back of his truck along with the garbage. I asked him if he was throwing it away. When he said "Yes" I told him I would take it off of his hands. It is a perfectly good bike, absolutely nothing wrong with it. I took it home cleaned it up and oiled the chain and it is just fine. I have no need of it, but I bet I can find a kid in the neighborhood who needs a bike. It just seemed such a shame to see it go in the dump.

    I did something I swore I would never do, and that covers a lot of ground. I co-signed for a line of credit for R. She has supported herself for about three years now, has always paid her bills on time.

    Well, she got a DUI. amd the court fees and lawyers fees came to almost $5,000.00. I told her I would not pay or loan her the money. She had until the last day of May to pay the fines and court costs, or they would put her in jail. I waited until the last minute before I told her I would co-sign on a line of credit to keep her from going to jail, but I let her sweat some first.

    I got the lawnmower running yesterday. I have no idea how old it is. I got it from my dad seven years ago, and I don't have any idea how long he had it before that. It refused to run the other day, so I pulled it all apart yesterday, cleaned everything and put it back together. It started with the first pull.

    Now comes the hard part: getting someone else to use it.

    Friday, June 09, 2006


    I am not a morning person. When we got married, I told Mrs A. "I am not very nice first thing in the morning, so it would be better if you didn't try to engage me in meaningful conversation first thing in the morning."

    I stumble around, disorganized, and I have a hard time getting out the front door with all the stuff I need. We have evolved a check list. 'Badge" Check "Bug" check "Cell phones(2)" check "Keys" check "Wallet" check "Watch" check "Lunch" check. If I get out the front door with all of the above and matching socks, it has been a good morning.

    Yesterday was not a good morning.

    Since I get up at zero dark thirty, I have to be in bed and asleep by 8:45 to get eight hours sleep. This never happens. That may be part of the reason I am grumpy in the morning.

    At 11:00 Wednesday night the phone rings, and it is L. "We are at the Supermall, and the car won't start." I had been sound asleep, so formulating a complex thought was nigh on to impossible, but eventually it registered that they wanted me to come down and rescue them.

    I guess that's what parents are for.

    So I didn't get a lot of sleep.

    Blogger was screwed up all day. I tried to leave comments on my regular reads, but Blogger was having none of it. Every time something went wrong. That's why there was no post for yesterday.

    I was perusing "Craigs list" yesterday and there was an ad for a 1966 AC Cobra Reproduction for $5995.

    In the pictures it looked incredible, and the listing was brand new. I sent the guy and e-mail and said if that was the real price, I would be by with the cash the same day. I sent an e-mail to Mrs A. and told her I was going to buy it, that I would sell off a couple of other cars to get it. She thought I was kidding.

    Of course the price was a typo, it should have been $59,995, but for a moment there I had visions of tooling down the hiway in my Cobra blowing the doors off of anything that dared to challenge me.

    Sure it has no roof, sure it would get like six miles to the gallon, sure it would scare the pants off Mrs A., but for one summer, I would rule the road.

    Oh well, for a couple of hours there I was wound up and excited. Heck, I would have come around and given you a ride you wouldn't soon forget.

    But don't ask to drive.

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006

    Behind the curtain

    The beautiful and vivacious Peanut Queen more or less dared me to tell the story of how I met Mrs A. She had posted how she met the Peanut king, and I told her it was nice to get a glimpse behind the curtain, so she wanted to know when she could look up my behind my curtain. Kinda like "I showed you mine, now you show me yours...."
    Bad Al, BAD BAD.


    I had been dating a Min Lao woman, and things had gotten pretty serious, but she wasn't up to the cultural challenges, so we weren't seeing each other. For probably six months, my son's fiance' had been trying to get me to date one of the women she knew at work, but I wasn't interested because I was "Otherwise occupied". She supplied a phone number.

    After about a month of sulking and licking my wounds, I decided I was not going to sit around feeling sorry for myself. I saw that Karrin Alyson was at Jazz Alley, and I wanted to go see her, but I had no one to take, so I scrounged around and found the phone number. I figured that I had nothing to lose. If it didn't turn out we were compatible, I could still enjoy a good dinner and a good evening of music.

    So I called her and set up a meeting at a neutral place (Zoopa's). We described what we would be wearing and figured out a time. We met. She was very easy to look at, and all the bits were in a pleasant configuration. I liked the way she walked, and the way she looked. We had pleasant conversation on the way to the club, had a nice dinner and drinks, and listened to some very nice jazz.

    Her prior husband had dropped dead of a heart attack six years before. She had pretty much reconciled herself to living by herself. We were both really looking for someone to go places and do stuff with, because it is sure a lot more fun when you have someone to turn to and say "Look at that incredible sunset!"

    The turning point was one Saturday, a month or so later. We both love hiking. She wanted to go hiking on the beach, so on the spur of the moment I decided to drive to the Ocean to Twin Harbors State Park.

    I have always figured that if you want to find out what someone is REALLY like, take a multi-hour trip in a car with them. We had a ball. I missed the turnoff and we ended up going all the way to the Columbia River before I turned, anf then we went out to the coast and back up to Westport. We ended up being on the road for 6 hours. We stopped and got dinner, and went down to the beach, and went for a long walk on the beach just as the sun set. She found a sand dollar, and I asked if the knew it had angels inside. She gave me a "you're pullin' my leg" kinda look, do I found a rock and broke it open and showed her the "Angels". I think she still has them.

    The sunset was incredible. I was exhausted by the time we got back to the parking lot where we had left her car.

    I kissed her for the first time, there in the dark in the parking lot, and I floated home in the clouds.

    Six months later we were married, and although it has not always been smooth sailing, it has been a heck of a trip, and I wouldn't have missed a minute of it.

    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    You Tryin' to tell me something?

    I got this image in an e-mail yesterday, and I couldn't resist the impulse to share it.
    I really couldn't tell if it had been manipulated or not.
    The message was that if you saw this, it was probably a good idea to just turn around and go home, because things were not going to get any better as the day went along.
    Last night was a really good evening. V. had his new game, so he was entrenched in his room killing monsters.
    L & N & K were gone camping.
    I had BBQ'd on Sunday and we had leftover steak, so I cut it up real fine, and we had BBQ beef sandwiches. Mrs A. had made it back to work, and everything had just pretty much been dumped on her desk while she was out, so she was pretty stressed. So I popped open a bottle of Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante. Gormets would probably shudder. Asti and BBQ........
    It was delicious.
    We watched a little TV and when the Mariners game came on, she went upstairs, and I watched downstaris. The house was quiet. I could feel my body soaking up the quiet, and feel the knots unwinding.
    The Mariners won, but it was only Kansas City, who has the worst record in Baseball. They beat them three games out of four. Any game that puts an "X" in the win column is good.
    The evening was very pleasant. It is the way I had imagined our life together to be.
    As soon as the game was over, it was upstairs for a little snuggle, slap and tickle, and a good nights sleep.
    The world seemed a little sunnier this morning.

    Monday, June 05, 2006

    Up 'n Down

    Mrs A. is not a good patient.
    In fact the words "Patient" and "Mrs. A." do not belong in the same sentence. It has been very hard for her, because she has been laid up because of having a bunion removed, and it is DRIVING HER NUTS.
    She is somewhat OCD. and she can't get her foot wet, so she has a hard time taking a shower and washing her hair.
    This drives her nuts.
    She hasn't been able to get around very well, so she can't vacuum or mop floors.
    And this drives her nuts.
    L. is a slob and never picks up after her kid. He throws food in the floor, it is likely to just lay there until either Mrs. A. or I pick it up.
    This drives her nuts.
    They don't have enough money to pay us the stipend we are charging them, but they have money to but a ferret,
    and this drives her nuts.
    She is bored out of her skull, because you can only watch so much TV, and she is sure that the house is falling down around her ears because she can't get up and clean it. Having gone through a similar situation when I got my shoulder operated on, I can sympathize. I try real hard to shut up and just take it.
    So this weekend was up and down.
    For the up part, V. got his progress report from school. We have been going round and round because at midterm he had three "F"s on his report card. So I started taking things away from him. If things didn't improve, I told him I would continue to take things away until there was nothing in his room but himself, his school work,, and a bare mattress. He would have to study just to have something to do.
    V. comes in with his Progress Report. He has to be dramatic about it.
    "Well, I didn't get any "F"s"
    "That's great V."
    "I also didn't get any "D"s"
    "Super job V."
    "I also didn't get any "C"s"
    "No kidding! That is much better than I expected. You know that new game you've been wanting to get? Lets go down to Game Stop and I'll buy it for you."
    So he has all of his stuff back, and we'll see how it goes. There are still a couple of weeks until school is over.
    But all of the nagging and stuff actually payed off.

    Friday, June 02, 2006


    So R. called the other day all upset. She has taken on additional responsibilities at work and they have caused her no end of grief. First of all, she hired her long time best friend to work in the office. Well B. is a new mom and was missing a lot of work because she couldn't bear to leave her daughter with someone else, and the environment at work was not fit for an infant, so R. had to tell her friend to shape up or ship out. It was hard for her.

    She also started going out and doing estimates. There is a monitary bonus for every new customer you sign up. She started doing some of the book keeping, just ballancing the daily ledgers. She noticed that the manager, who is her friend and hired her, was taking money that she was not entitled to.

    She called me to get advice as to what to do. I told her that even though it was going to be difficult, she needed to tell the owner of the business what was going on. The owner is an absentee owner, and is never around, so she had to make arrangements to meet him outside the workplace. So when she was out doing an estimate, she met him at Starbucks, and let him know what was going on.

    He told her that she had done the right thing, and that they had been suspicious for some time and were about to do an audit of the books.

    I have no idea where things go from here. The owner asked her if she thought she could do the job as General Manager, and she is hesitant to take it. It would be a real challenge for her. After all she is only 21, and there are around 25 enployees. A lot of responsibility.

    I told her to grab on to the opportunity with both hands and go for it. Opportunities don't come around all that often, so you need to pounce on them when they do. It will look to some people like she ratted out her boss so she could get her job, but that is not it at all.

    All in all, I am very proud of R. She made a couple of very hard decisions, and made the right call.

    Somebody must have done something right.

    Thursday, June 01, 2006


    Yesterday wasn't a whole lot of fun.

    We got up at zero dark thirty to go check into the Hospital so Mrs A. could have her foot operated on. Just a bunion removal (as if any operation can be classified as 'just").

    We checked it at 5:30 sat around for a couple of hours and were informed the doctor was sick. Sat around for a couple more hours while they decided what to do. Come back at 11:00.

    So we went home and then came back. They finally got around to operating at 1:00, and the whole process took a couple of hours, and another hour for recovery. By the time we got out of the Hospital, 12 hours had passed. Mrs. A. was OK until around 10:00 when the drugs from the hospital wore off.

    She had a prescription for Vicodin, but it just kinda takes the edge off the pain. Since she was uncomfortable, she was up and down all night. Every once in a while it was "Honey, are you awake?. HONEY ARE YOU AWAKE?"

    She was there for me when I had my shoulder operated on, and I'll be there for her. That's one of the reasons for having a spouse.

    And I promise I won't complain.


    I mean it!

    Who is that out there snickering?