Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Taken as a whole, this year has been a pretty good year. This year marks the fifth year since I met Mrs A., and it is the first year for us that has not been and endless stream of one crisis after the other. Mind you, it has not been completely smooth sailing, but all in all, not bad.

Either that or I have become so accustomed to chaos, that I didn't percieve the chaos as being particularly bad.

I spent a good part of the year not speaking to my daughter R. She had adopted the street life, and was back into drugs. I just don't want that around my house. It's her life, and she can live it her way, but I don't have to be a part of it. It can really tear you apart, trying to control something you have no control over.

But eventually things worked out, and she came over for Thanksgiving and we gave her a ride to the family Christmas Eve get-together. Everyone was happy to see her clean and sober. The story isn't all peaches and cream though. She is expecting. Her due date is May 5th. While I will be glad to welcome a grandchild to the world, it would be better if she had a husband to go along with the child. 'Nuf said.

The other daughter L. broke up with her long time companion, and we took her in for a couple of months. They had parted ways as partners a couple of months before, but he was still trying to run her life. After a couple of months things settled, and she is now living with a different guy. Although I don't approve of the morality of jumping from bed to bed without the sanction of Matrimony, I do like this new guy. He actually is working and isn't into drugs. He has plans for the future. I have worked on cars with him a couple of times. You can tell a lot about a man if you work on a car with him, and we worked smoothly together. I'm crossing my fingers on this one.

We purchase an Airstream 19' mobile home, and took it out camping a couple of times. I will sure never go back to tent camping. Our first outing was to Deception Pass State Park. It was a wonderful trip, and we will definitely be going back there.

Mrs A. has been under a lot of stress at work. She has been asking for help for over three years, and nothing ever happens. When she started not sleeping at night, I told her she needed to go see the doctor. Her blood pressure was 150 over 84. We're talking heart attack territory here. The doctor told her not to go back to work for a couple of weeks. She has to go back on the 3rd, but the doctor has limited her to 4 days a week. So we will have a new journey of some sort through her job adaptations. When we met I told her she could quit any time she wants, but she likes working and has supported herself and her kids her whole life. Although it will put a strainn on our budget, we can live pretty comfortably without her salary. I would really like her to quit and do volunteer work at Church, something she would enjoy very much, and is a heck of a lot more rewarding that her current job.

My Aunt Pat passed away in Mexico this fall. She had health problems for quite some time. She was such a lively, intelligent, fiesty lady, It's hard to think of her as gone. Mrs A. and I spent almost three weeks with her and my Uncle Ben as our honeymoon, and the memories are something I will carry with me the rest of my life. We had been trying to get back to Morelia to visit them, but things just didn't work out. I wish we could have seen her one last time.

V., my adopted grandson is 15 and a typical teenager. You almost have to beat him to get him to clean his room. He knows everything and we are old fogies. He is a good kid, and a rising star on the Debate team, but doesn't pay enough attention to his schoolwork and spends too much time in his "Lair" playing World of Warcraft, but is usually reasonable. Given all the crap he has been through in his life, he's not turning out bad at all.

Well, Happy New Year to everyone out there in the Blogosphere, and here's hoping 2008 is a banner year for you and yours.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Jensen Healey Pictures

Here are some pictures of the Jensen Healeys

This is the rear end of the "donor" car.

One of several reasons it is the donor. The trunk is so rusted out that the straps that hold down the gas tank have nothing to attach to.

It doesn't look too bad from the front. Notice the nice straight fenders, and the 60MPH duct tape holding down the hood

The engine compartment of the good car. Notice the lack of rust.

The right front fender. It looks fixable to me.

Looking forwards down the left side. The fender isn't too bad.

I don't think there is anything that is unfixable. The engine was partly disassembled, so I have spent a quite a bit of time today just figuring out where things go. The biggest problem so far is the vacuum lines are old and brittle. I have already broken a couple and stolen a few parts off of the donor.
Unfortunately the two engines are not identical. The one in the white car came out of a '74 so the vacuum systems are different, and the cooling hose arrangements are different.
I got it to the point I have everything hooked up except the vacuum cannister that has a broken part, and a mysterious round inlet or outlet pipe that I can't find a hose for.
I turned over the engine just in case it wanted to start, but after a 22 year nap, the beast was reluctant to fire. I haven't checked the tiing yet, so I will check that next time I am out playing with it.
I was out under the deck for about three hour this afternoon in the pouring rain. Having a deck to provide partial cover is nice, but several drips appeared in unfortunate places, like right down the middle of my back. I ended up soaked to the skin.
It was sure nice to come in and change clothes and get warm.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I Done Nuthin'

Well, maybe not nuthin', but very little.

I got up and rebuilt my mom's favorite lamp, ran down to the bank to deposit some checks to replenish a badly depleted bank account, ran the lamp down to Mom's.. That was it.

Sent an e-mail to my Uncle Ben in Mexico, watched a movie.

Tomorrow I want to get the good Jensen Healey running. It now turns over with the key, but I need to install the intake manifold and carbs, get the timing right, check the gap on the points, put the distributor cap back on, attach the gas line, and cross my fingers. Shoot a little starting fluid in the carbs and turn the key and see what happens.


I hope.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The day after

It was a very nice Christmas. It actually snowed here yesterday. Doesn't happen that often up here in Latteland. It was just enough to turn the lawnns white, not really enough for even a good snowball fight. But the last time it snowed on Christmas was in 1996, so it was nice. We laid back and ate,ate,ate until we couldn't eat no mo'.

My first two tasks for the post Christmas vacation were to get the white Jensen to turn over, and to drill out the bolts of the ignition switch of the other one so we could turn the steering wheel. The first was easy, the second was a pain in the butt.

There are two bolts holding the keyed switch and steering lock mechanism to the steering column. When you install the switch and collar, they have a small head and smaller shank, which you tighten until the head snaps off. The end result is you have two medium size very hard bolts that cannot be removed by coventional means. The only way to remove them is by drilling them out.

Did I mention that they are very hard? Conventional drill bits won't do much. You have to get a special extra-hard drill bit. It still takes a long time and a lot of muscle to drill them out.

It took about three hours of drilling to get them to the point where I could get them to snap off, but it got done. The car is ready now to park under the deck. I don't have quite enough muscle to push it myself without damaging myself, so I will wait until tomorrow when V. is home and I will chain up the car to the S10 and pull it out in the street and then push it under the deck.

Then I can finish puting the white car's engine together and see if I can get it to fire up.

Maybe I don't understand the concept of "Vacation".

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone out there is having a wonderful Christmas.

Take a moment in your busy day to remember what the Holiday is all about. Not a fat guy in a red suit, but the most important birth in the history of of mankind.

Speaking of the fat guy in the red suit, I hope he brought everyone wonderful things. I got more than my fair share of swag. First I have the love of the wonderful Mrs A., a gift beyond price. The love of my family, Kids that now are doing well. Enjoy it while you may.

We bought the big screen HDTV and stand. I got a pair of nice driving gloves, a bottle of good rum, a hoodie, new slippers, some cash, and of course my two Jensen Healeys.

I am very contented. As chaotic as my life is usually, it is really nice to have this time to recharge my batteries, physically and emotionally. Today is a day to just lay back and bask in the contentment.

I made Cheddar scalloped potatoed and a honey glazed spiral cut ham, so no one has to cook or scurry around today.

So I hope everyone the same. A moment to kick back and take it easy and recharge.

So a very merry Christmas to everyone.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Al --

A poltergeist sent back in time to change the course of history forever
'How" will you be defined in the dictionary?' at

Explains a lot. You better watch out. You know who you are.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Exhausted + Constipated = So tired you just don't give a shit.

I was up at 6:00 this morning so I could be over at my buddie's (The Other Al) to borrow his truck to tow the car dolly around today, then back home to load up the truck, then down to U-haul to get the dolly. Back up to home to pick up my Navigator and Cheer Leader, the lovely Mrs A.

U-haul has a scam going. Almost all manufacturers of towing equipment use the same plug. Whenever you are plugging the towed equipment, the plug in the back of the vehicle has a round plug. But the U-haul equipment has a flat connector. Of course you have to have a special adaptor, and of course they just happen to have them in stock. What a coincidence! And of course the adaptor is $15.00. And worth at least six bucks. Capitalism at its finest. Oh well, it won't break the bank at Che' Warren.

Both of the Jensen Healeys are home now. When picking up the first one, it rained hard and steady. By the time I got it home and unloaded, I was soaked. Had to change clothes to go get the second.

Everything went pretty smoothly, except for the fact that I CANNOT back up anything being towed. I have never had any reason to acquire this skill, and when I attempt it, I can't get it even close to right. It makes my head hurt.

I think there must be some driving in reverse while towing something gene that I just don't have. My Macho male ego was severely bruised by having to have someone else back up the truck and dolly. But I survived.

The second car did not have the keys, so the steering is locked, and you can't turn the wheel. I was determined I was going to back it up so we could unload the car underneath the deck, but when I went to back up, the car on the dolly wouldn't back up. I thought I was doing something wrong, but it turns out part of the exhaust system had dropped down, and when I tried to back up, it jammed into the pavement and the car wouldn't move.

Tomorrow I will have to take the steering column apart and drill out the switch so that the locking mechanism doesn't work. A realtively minor pain in the ass.

At least both of the cars, and the spare parts are home now, and I don't HAVE to work on them any time soon, although the second car is blocking two parking spots. I now have enough projects lined up that I feel comfortable. The idea of not having a couple of projects lined up bothers me. I can't just sit around and do nothing.

My back is beginning to stiffen up. I am going to apply an inner anesthetic and muscle relaxer (Plymouth Gin) for medicinal purposes only of course.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Last Working Day of 2007

Today is the last working day of the year for me. At least the last working day I get paid for.

Tomorrow will not be a fun day. It is supposed to be 39 degrees and the rain coming sideways.

And of course I will be out in the weather most of the day, because I am going out to drag my two sports cars home. I have reserved a car dolly to be picked up at 9:00. So I will be out in the weather loading up cars and towing them home.

If you want to be a total pessimist, one of the local channels is predicting SNOW. But the weather channel and NOAA aren't. If I so much as see ONE snowflake I am going to run outside, shake my fist at the sky and yell "Who's in charge here?!. What the Heck do you think you are doing?! This is not funny! Who do you think you are anyway?"

It probably won't do any good, but it will make me feel better.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

More car stuff

I went down to transfer the title to the one car, and it has not been licensed in so long that it has dropped off of the computer. That means they will not transfer the title until they get it back into the computer, and God only knows how long that will take.

They turned me away and said"We'll call you when it's ready." The second car I don't even have the title for yet, so Lord only knows how long it will take to get it transferred. I love bureaucracy. It provides thousands of semi-literate incompetents with a feeling of purpose, and keeps them off of the Welfare Rolls. Oh well, enough of that.

My cousin came over last night, and dropped off a Christmas Present. It was a thank you for taking her to see TSO. We have been best buds since we were in diapers. We always have a great time whenever we get together. She and Mrs A. get along great, so if she is over, I can go off and do something else and they will hardly even miss me.

She got us a gift certificate for Bahama Breeze, We have been there a couple of times, and the food was great. The activity behind the bar is entertaining, with the bartender juggling bottles and occasionally setting fore to things. But mainly the food is great. Seafood and Rum Punch with an umbrella in it with Carribian music in the background.

I can't wait.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Blame it on Rick

In the comments Rick smart remarked "A Jensen who?" To prove my store of useless information, I choose to answer here.

Austin Healey made some of the most beloved sports cars in history. Good original or restored examples go for a lot of money. The bodies for these cars were made by The Jensen Brothers. When they quit making Austin Healeys, Jensen Bros. looked around for something to do.

They made a partnesrship with the son of the original Healey. They produced bodies, and Healey helped acquire engines and assemble the cars. They started out using Vauxhall engines, but they were underpowered, and wouldn't meet US emissions standards.

They ordered 2.0 liter 4 cylinder 16 valve engines from Lotus. The engines were still in development, but working with Lotus they ironed out the kinks, and the result was the Jensen Healey. The engines were originally developed for sports car racing, and they detuned them to make them more reliable.

They hoped that the new sports cacr would be as popular as the Austin Healey, but it never caught on, and it was only produced for a few years.

There were only 3,000 and a couple hundred produced in 1973, and I now own two of them.

Walking a thin line

I am always walking a thin line with Mrs A. My interrests are not the same as hers (except in the bedroom).

I have confessed before that I am a motorhead. I love working on interesting cars. The Z I bought for $1000 is now worth about six times that amount. I am proud of the work and the results.

I am always running into "Deals" that I can't walk away from. Last spring it was the Airstream. I bought it for $5000. Low book on it is $14000. I had a guy stop by the other day and offer me 7500 for it in cash. Of course I told him I would't accept less that $10,000.

Yesterday I found a deal on Craigslist that I couldn't turn down. Tw0 1973 Jensen-Healeys and a spare motor for $500. The first car could be put on the road with a little effort. The main problem is that it has not been run since 1985. It has been stored in a heated garage all the time. It has some body damage from beng flipped. The hood and front fenders are dented, but I don't think it is anything I can't fix. The second car has been rear ended but the damage appears minimal. Included in the deal is a complete spare motor with a cracked cylinder sleeve. These cars are powered by a Lotus dual overhead cam sixteen valve engine with dual Stromberg side draft carbs.

I knew the time was ripe to strike. I had just bought Mrs A. her TV for Christmas, so I am in her good graces. I proposed the deal, and she said OK, but I need to get rid of my 1978 280Z parts car. I Ineed to pull the computer out of it and then will put it up for grabs for free for parts.

I have rented a tow dolly for Saturday so I can go fetch the cars. I cant wait to get them home so I can start to timker. I may be able to get both of them running and on the street evenutally.
All it takes is time and money.

Monday, December 17, 2007


We went out and did the last of our Christmas shopping this weeekend.

Some of you out there have not even started yet. You know who you are.

We set out to look at TV stands and ended up at Fry's. I had been eying a 47" Plasms HDTV at Sam's club. When we were in Fry's, they had a sale on. 50" Samsung Plasma for less than the 47". WOHOO!

It and the stand are now firmly ensconced in the living room. The picture is fantastic, and we don't even have the box yet. We watched a DVD on it last night, and the clarity is great. We watched "The Bourne Ultimatum". I'd give the movie a 6, but the TV get's a 9.

Mrs A. has the rest of the year off, so I wanted her to have the new TV while she is off. It will be strange coming home and she is already there.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bring it on

I have an evil genius little sister.

Most of the time this does not bother me because she is far away. She lives in the kingdom of frost and mosquitos, so she can't bother me much.

However, she has sent a missive to my wonderful, beautiful Mrs A. suggesting that I might be less thruthfull, and therefore worthy of nothing more in my stocking than a lump of coal.

Fie one you I declare! FIE.

Oh, and by the way, if you should come here, there is this little thingie on the bottom called comments. If you have the cojones, click on it and comment.

You have been challenged!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Just For Me Day

I declared today to be galactic Just For Me Day.

I turned off the alarm, called in to work.

Then I went back to bed and slept until 10. It felt wonderful.

Got up and got the book I am reading,"Black Order" by James Rollins. It's pretty good. An end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-if-we-don't-stop-the-badguys thriller. It has three separate story lines that converge at the end. It is well written and I don't always want to put it down.

Fell back to sleep.

Got up and worked on my current jugsaw puzzle, had lunch.

Went out and wandered in the car. hit the Mall , a jewelry store, Linens'n Things.

I am buying Mrs A. a 47" LCD HGTV for Christmas, Now don't go looking at me like that.

I am too.

I don't much care for TV.

Of course there is an occasional sports event I will watch, just to keep up socially. You know, Monday morning water cooler bonding. "Did you see that incredible (catch, run, kick, tackle, sack, pass) in the third quarter? I mean it was HIGHLIGHT REEL stuff!

But I wanted to buy Mrs A. a little something special. This is our fifth Christmas together, so I went to the jeweelry store and bought her a five diamond pendant. It is in a teddy bear. He has a sack. It is sitting under the tree.

She knows it is there. She asked me "You expect me to not peek?"

I said yes.

Tonight after she goes to bed, I am going to take the pendant out and put a note in the jewelry box that says "You Peeked" and hide the pendant.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007


The post immediately below this is wwwrrrroooooo....


The facts were misreported.

In Sunday's Seattle Times in the Parade section, there is a column "Ask Marilyn". The Marylin in question is Marilyn Vos Savant, who is listed in the Guiness World book as having the highest recorded IQ.

She was the one who presented the "facts".

And I believed her. After all if you read it in the peper it must be true, right? RIGHT? Especially from the lady with the high IQ.

Somehow it just didn't seem right to me that the Aleutian Islands crossed the International Dateline. So I went on line and checked.

The International dateline jogs to the west specifically to avoid them.

So I was led down the path once again. I should always check my "facts" before I blog them.

Now who will believe my useless information?

Monday, December 10, 2007

More useless information

In my endless pursuit of meaningless information I present the following:

What is the westernmost State in the U.S.?

First off you need to establish if this is the contiguous U.S. (that means does it touch at least one other State), and it is not.

The answer most people come up with is Hawaii. Most people are also wrong.

The correct answer is Alaska. The Aleutian Islands go farther west than Hawaii.

In the same spirit of Geography, what is the Easternmost State in the U.S.?

Most people would be wrong again.

It is not Maine or Florida, but once again Alaska.

The tip of the Aleutian Peninsula crosses the International Dateline. making it both.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Little Sunshine

I have always felt that this year would be critical to the success of Mrs A and I's relationship. It had been four years of one real life crisis after another.

It kinda came to a peak last Christmas Ever when R called up to say that she was in need of saving, that she needed me to come and get her. Just like the ninety-seven other timmes I have pulled her out of whatever mess she had gotten herself into.

I told her that the kind of help she needed I coulldn't provide, that she needed to check hetself in to a clinic. She told me "Fine, I'll just go kill myself!"

I told her that was between her and God. After thouroughly cussing me out, she hung up.

I spent some miserable days wondering if she was alive or dead, but after a while got used to letting her go. You have to let The Lord do his work in other peoples lives. You have to let them go, knowing they can't jusy run to you to bail them out. At some point you stop being a nurturer and become an enabler.

I didn't hear from her for a quite a while. Yes, I worried and fretted and prayed. I spent sleepless knights.

I heard from her when she called to tell me I was going to be a grandfather. I didn't ask her if she knew who the father was. Just to be mean. But the whole conversation, over a couple of days ended with her cussing me out again and hanging up on me, so I cancelled her cell phone.

She finally called to say she was coming over to get her stuff, which had been in the basement for almost a year. She and a friend had found a place and were moving in. She was going to look for work. She was off of drugs and clear headed.

She managed to repair things enough with Mrs A for us to have her here with the whole family at Thanksgiving. Everything went fine.

She called on Monday to say she had a job, at Target. She had stopped at one of the electronic Kioscs and filled out an application. When she finished, a message flashed on the screen "PICK UP THE TELEPHONE" There was a handset, so she picked it up and tentavely said "YES?" A voice as her to report to personnel. They offered her a job on the spot, as a shelf stocker at night. She didn't really want that. It would have been ironic, because her Aunt Susie is a shelf stocker at Taget at night in Minnesota.

The guy asked her to wait a minute, disappeared. When he came back he said that they had created a job for her on the floor, and she had to go to HR. She was told that as soon as they cleared her, she would start.

Her first day was Friday. After orientation she was told that she had recieved a pay raise and promotion, and was now in charge of logistics. Making sure that the right products were on the shelves and all that.

R. has an exceptional employment record for someone so young. She was assistant manager in Motor Clothes at Downtown Harley-Davidson for two years by the time she was 21. She was manager of Molly Maids for Mercer Island after that.

She will do exceptionally well, as long as she can stay away from the drugs.

So after a long journey in the darkness, there comes the dawn.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Well, at least it's Friday.

I have been wanting to take a day off JUST FOR ME.

Every once in a while I like to take a day off and stay at home and just do whatever strikes my fancy. Read a book, work on a jigsaw puzzle, take a nap, have a beer. Disconnect the phone. Maybe put on some good jazz or blues. Snuggle down on the couch with a comfortable blanket and just tell the world to go to ........well, go someplace else.

I have been unable to do this for some time. Like since the beginning of August, because the kids have been living with us. Having a rugrat running around the house is not conducive to peace and quiet. Don't get me wrong. I love my grandkids, but the way this is supposed to work is they come over and you spoil them rotten, fill them up with sugar and send them home. It is one of the few socially acceptable ways of getting even with your kids. But I keep forgetting the part about sending them home.

I have been waiting for that day when my presence at work would least affect things, but every day lately I have had critical meetings that I need to attend. It's not like production would come to a screeching halt without me, it's just that we are in the critical point in planning a new production strategy and I have a lot of good input, having spent most of my career in shipside support.

This morning I woke up and wanted to take that day. But I remembered that I had a meeting that I had promosed to attend this morning on emergent wiring repair and rework. So I resigned myself to it, got up and went to work.

When I got here, the first thing I did was open my e-mail. And there at the top of the page, the very first item was a notice cancelling the meeting.

It's not like I have nothing else to do, but none of it is critical or has to be done TODAY.

I could have taken my FTW day.

Oh well, at least it is Friday.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More meetings

I have back to back to back meetings today. Lots of politics and hubris. It may get interesting.

I also have a free end-of-the-year lunch, but it is in the company Cafeteria, which is not exactly known for it's gormet delicacies. It is a place that supplies fuel for the body, not inspiration for the soul. Nobody is ever going to ask for the recipe for anything.

My take on a typical recipe:

Take one 55 gallon drum of pre-made potato soup mix.
Add water
Drag a clam through it on a string


Clam chowder.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I have a lot of meetings, so I won't be around much.

I am trying to set up facilities and equipment for my group for the P8-A program. They haven't even given me a floot plan yet, so I don't know how many desks there are, so how can I figure out how much equipment we need?

What a giant pain in the ass.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


The weather has been entirely too interresting lately.

First it was freezing and snow on Saturday.

Then yesterday it was close to 60 degrees and raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock. Roads closed, hillsides sloughing off parts onto the streets below. High winds. We set some records for the amount of rainfall in a 24 hour period.

When you have seven inches of snow comverting itself to water during a torrential downpour, you got more water than you have places to put it.

And the big kicker: The local MickeyD burned down yesterday afternoon.

The end is near.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


I am exhausted today. And a little hoarse from yelling my head off. And maybe my ears are a little sore, and my eyes a little blurry fron the light show & pyrotechnics.

At three o'clock my cousin called to say she didn't think she ccould make it out of her driveway. Mrs A's sister called to say she had infected sinuses and wouldn't make it, it was snowing hard and the streets were white. We had a couple of inches of snow.

I was beginning to get worried and pissed. They were predicting that it would be gone by Sunday night. Why the heck did it have to snow NOW? I had spent $500 on tickets as Christmas presents, and there was no way to get a refund.

It began to warm up, and at 6:00 my cousin called and said she could make it, as the street was clearing. I had counted on her to drive, as she has a seven passenger van. She said we could use her van as long as I would drive. Hell, I would have pushed the thing.

We just barely got there in time, because of traffic. It is usually a half hour drive, but it took us an hour. We were seated just as the show started.

I have heard from a couple of obviously misguided people that they thought it could not have been better than the 3:00 show. I have to say there is no way the first show could have been as good.

Consider that when they did the 3:00 show, they knew they had to reserve energy for the second show, so the first show was just like a warmup for the main event.

There were four generations of family there, and everyone thought the show was stupendolossal. There is really no way to convey the sights, sounds and yes smells.

I have liked the music for several years, and loved the videos on the internet, but there is no way to compare that to the total impact of the multi-media kick-ass Christmas pyrotechnic screaming guitar light show experience.

My mom is 81, and this is the first time she had been to anything like a rock show. I was a little concerned that it would be too much for her. But she was as thrilled as anyone else. Every performer was outstanding, My favorite was the chick that played the hot pink electric violin. Or maybe when they did the duelling Hendrix on the guitars, or when they did the duelling pianos (classical vs contemporary.) Or the twenty foot tall blasts of flames ( I could feel them from my chair). Or the fireworks during Christmas in Serejevo. Or ..........

Hell, I could go on for an hour. They had an amazing light setup, and light show. There were half a dozen fixtures that raised and lowered, turned and twisted and changed color. The whole backdrop was computer controlled lights. And the lasers were wonderful. There was so much going on that you really couldn't keep track of it all.

Oh yeah, there was music, too.

It was so special I woke up this morning with TSO in my head, and feeling like today should have been Christmas.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Damn the Snow, full speed ahead

We have eight reservations to go see Trans Siberian Orchestra, and wouldn't you know it, I got up this morning to snow.

It melted off of the streets by about noon, but about 3:00 it started up again.

The streets are now white.

I took the HHR out to gas it up and drive around to guage conditions, and we are gooing to go anyway.

Two people have already backed out. I am not going to let a little snow stop me.

Hopefully tomorrow the only thing I will have to post about is the concert.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I will be out of touch for a couple of days. I am in a workshop, but I can't tell you much about it.

Suffice it to say that we are basically sequestered in a rom, work on a situation, and hopefully come out with a solution.

This is what I do best. I have been challenged to help create a new way of doing businness, which if it works (and I will make it work) will provide a business template for a whole bunnch of future business.

If somebody gave you a semi-free balckboard to create a new way to do your business, would you step up, or lay low and see what happens.

I am the guy that has stepped forward and defined the new way we need to do this. It is a challenge, but one I enjoy. I will have the opportunity to either prove out what I believe is the right way to do business, or fail. And I will be the guy on the floor making it happen.

I love a challenge, and I will either succeed ot go out in flames.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Crooked car mechanics

I sold my 1997 Blazer 4 X 4 to my grand daughter for considerabe under the market value. I had just had the transmission replaced and a door rehung, so she was just paying for the repairs, and I gave her the car.

When I sold it to her, she asked if there was anything else wrong with the car. I told her "Yeah, the heater doesn't work. It doesn't hurt anything, but when winter rolls around you are going to want to get the heater core replaced. It will cost you around $500. When you take it in they will tell you that the intake manifold gaskets need to be replaced, the water pump is bad and the radiator is bad. This is a lie. The coolant used by GM is called Dexcool. It breaks down over time and turns into two components, and acidic liquid which eats the gaskets out of the intake manifold, and a second substance that is like mud that plugs the heater core and radiator. I have had the radiator power flushed and it is fine. The gaskets are still fine, but the heater core is still plugged."

Late last week, she called me from a repair shop "Grandpa, they say I need to spend $1200 to replace the manifold gaskets and replace the water pump. What should I do?"

"Go to Schmucks and buy a gallon of antifreeze and put it in the radiator. Then go find an honest shop. Tell them you want to have the heater core power flushed. It won't fix the problem completely, but it should give you some heat."

Her foster mom knew someone who was a mechanic and just opening a new shop, so she went there.

They power flushed the radiator for free.

She now has heat, and it didn't cost her a dime.

They did tell her she will need to replace the heater core, and it would cost her about $500.

When she left the crooked shop, her "Service engine soon" light had come on and she was in a big panic, The mechanic at the crooked shop had gone in and disconnected the CO2 sensor so that the lght would come on.

The new shop told her there was nothing wrong, and reconnected the sensor, and voila' the light went off.

It really burns me up that places will see a young woman coming in for something done on her car and see dollar signs on her forehead. And charge her for a bunch of work that doesn't need to be done.

The reason I know all of this is because the local Chev dealership tried to pull it on me.

The Repair guy told me I had real problems with the car (this same Blazer). He told me I needed a head gasket, but pointed to the intake.

I asked to see the manager. I told the manager "Your guy told me I needed a head gasket, and then pointed to the intake manifold. Either he doesn't know the difference, and is incompetent, or believes I don't know the difference, and he is a crook. This reflects very poorly on your dealership. I am going to let this slide, but if you ever try to screw me again, you will be hearing from my attorney."

After that they have treated me real nice.

But I wonder how many other people they have screwed?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I got home last night, and the kids had moved out. It is great to have our house back.

I don't mean that it was a burden having them there. Everything went just fine. But having three extra people in the house makes you adjust everything you do. Be extra careful not to close the door too hard, the kid is down for a nap or still sleeping or just went to bed.

If you buy a special treat at the store and are hoarding it, it will now still be there when you go to get it. A gallon of milk will last longer than a day.

I am looking forward to playing hookie one day soon and having the house all to myself. It's been since early August that I could have a day all for myself.

I now can take a nap on the couch and not be disturbed. I love a good nap.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ho Hum

I'm back to work, but I'm not real enthused about the idea. No doubt a lot of others feel the same. I have my 20 oz diet coke with lime and my beef jerky, so I'm sitting here waiting for the caffiene to kick in.

Yesterday Mrs A. and I went for a drive just to get out of the house and away. We headed East and took the road to Snoqualmie falls. It was a beautiful if a little nippy fall day. Blue sky and a light breeze.

After going to the falls, we just wandered. We stopped at the Fall City Cafe for lunch. The burger I had was really good. It was a two-hander. The kind that you have to roll up your sleeves to eat, because the juices are gonna run clear down to your elbows. It has been a long time since I have had a burger that good. Thick sliced bacon, real cheddar, sautee'd onions, and mushrooms.

K. and her boyfriend and kids are supposed to move out by the end of the month. Mind you, I don't mind having them around most of the time. We set a time limit of three months when she moved in and the time is up.As we apply more pressure to her to find other accommodations, she does less and less around the house. Mrs A. is getting anxious and a little pissed. She got on L's case Saturday night, and they all walked out and had not returned as of this morning. Like that is going to punish us or something.

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.

The caffiene is starting to kick in, so I had better get to work.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Everything went just great on Thanksgiving, although there were a couple of "No shows". One out of town, one sick, one we never could get ahold of. My son N. and his wife were hosting their own dinner at their house.

So of course that meant filling the gaps. R. brought a couple of friends, and Mrs A invited a couple, so there was no lack of guests. I counted around 20.

I had been somewhat apprehensive about R. and Mrs A. being in the same house together, but for at least this one day they got along just fine. R. didn't stay too long, as she was invited to a couple other celebrations. At least they kept their claws sheathed and tongues curbed.

Mrs A. had to work today, so she turned in early. That left me to do clean-up. I was at until 11:00, washing dishes and putting things away. There is not enough room in the fridge for all the leftovers. Currently there are three pies, some dressing, nuts and Pub Mix sitting out calling to me.

Which is better for breakfast, cherry pie, pumpkin pie or peach pie?

Don't look at me like that, you know you've done it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I hope everyone out there in Bloggersville is having a wonderful Thanksgiving day.

I have so much to be thankful for. For my health, for my skills and tallents, for my family. Mrs A. I drive reliable vehicles,

I own my own home, five cars and more clothes than I can wear. I have enough money that I can buy just about anything, if I want it bad enough. I love and get along with my family.

I am well paid at work, and the work I do is challenging. It gives me a lot of opportunity to use my intelligence and creativity. I have enough projects at home to keep me busy, but not so many that they overwhelm me.

In a couple of hours I will have a house full of loud opinionated intelligrent loveable people, family and friends, swilling beer, telling tall tales, solving the worlds problems, and stuffing themselves with food.

And I will be their leader, just for today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Mrs A. took the day off today to get ready for Turkey Day. I thought about taking the day off to help, but figured I was way safer going to work today. When she gets wound up, she is a dynamo of work, and she expects you to be, too.

I explained many times that my family lived on a farm, and while things were always sanitary maybe not a lot of attention was paid to details. When you have that many people sharing space, it is impossible to keep things absolutely in order. Our house always looked "lived in".

But it was always a warm and inviting place. I don't know of anyone ever feeling uncomfortable. No one was afraid to sit on the sofa. And on the other hand there was no garbage scattered around, and you didn't have to move things out of the way to sit down.

Comfortable and inviting.

My house I like to keep in "Two Hour" shape.

Keep in good enough shape that if you got a call that someone who was going to come over, it would take no mare than two hours to get the house in condition to receive guests.

Of course Mrs A and I disagree about where that boundary is.

So good luck to all of you preparing for a Family Thanksgiving. Those of you not hosting, give the people running the show a break. Volunteer to wash or dry dishes or clear the table.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

T-DAY Minus Two

We are having our Potluck at work today. There is enough food for a small Army.

Here it is at 9:30 and we have been snacking for a couple of hours. There are several meat and cheese trays, a couple of cheesecakes, and my egg rolls already being scarfed down. As per usual, the egg rolls are going fast. I expect they will be gone by 10:00.

One of the guys brought in a small rotisserie oven and we have a roast going. It smells wonderful in here.

Culture changes over the years. When I first started here, someone would have brought in a mobile home which would be set up as an unofficial open bar. People would disappear to "Go out and coordinate with the shop" and come back a little less stable than they went out.

Over time they tightened up the attitude. Now they have gotten to the point of zero tolerance. Go out to lunch and have a beer, and your job is in jeopardy. I like an occasional beer, but it's certainly not worth risking my job over. That's not too say there aren't an ample number of people that have a beer or six with their lunch. The rule isn't strictly enforced, but if they wanted an excuse too walk you out, that would be one they could use.

I know it is the best thing for the Company, because it eliminates the possibility of lawsuits, mostly.

But I remember a time when we were a family, not so long ago.

When McDonald Douglas took over Boeing, they brought something other that low morals and corruption with them. They told us we were no longer a family, we were a team, and in a team if you don't perform you get cut.

That combined with Lean Manufacturing has made the place more of a business, and it is reflected in faster turn times, lower inventory costs, less waste. And higher stock prices, although they are not doing that well at this moment.

But I really miss the congenial atmosphere, especially around the Holidays.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Second Place!

V. came home with a trophy from the debate tournament. He came in second. He is still in the Novice category, but since he has been consistently kicking ass, he is going to get bumped up to Juniors when this topic is done in one more tournament.

As he put it to me "If I don't occasionally get my ass handed to me, I'm not learning and not being challenged." His debate coach agrees, so after this next tournament it will be a new topic and a new level.

Go V!

Around the house, we are working on getting things ready for turkey day. We bought the bird and the trimmings and stuffung and sodas.

Mrs A bought some paint to touch up the kitchen. I need to do some work on the kitchen floor (there's a gap that has developed between a couple of pieces.) None of it is a big deal, it just needs to get done.

I am taking a few hours off. Watching The Seahawks vs Da Bears. Last two minutes of the third quarter and the Hawks are up by seven.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


V. is at another debate tournament this weekend. That means I had to stay up late last night to go get him, and then get up early too deliver him back at school.

He got home at a little after 11 and had to be back at school at 6:15, so I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. I went back to bed and caught up, but since he is in the tournament today, it will be another late night.

I really don't like giving up my Friday and Saturday ninghts, but you do what you have to do to support your kids.

When I got up, I went to the big Chinese Market, The Great Wall and bought the ingredients for egg rolls. The original recipe I had made 100, but I have expanded on it, and it now yields around 120. We make egg rolls and watch TV and have a little Adult Beverage.

The quality control falls off a little towards the end of the batch, but it becomes a fun activity instead of a chore.

L's boyfriend says he keeps trying to find egg rolls better than mine, but so far nobody comes close.

We just finished eating our sample batch, and they are very good. I have never made a bad batch, but some are better than others. This batch is above average.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I had a haf day long meeting today, and an all day long meeting tomorrow, so I won't be around much.

Today was one of those Northwest specials. Dark, pouring rain, windy and just plain miserable.

So of course I had to run around all over the placec after work. Nothing like a couple of hours fighting traffic in the pouring rain and dark.

V. needed a suit for Debate. I didn't want to buy a real good suit, because he is 15 and will probably outgrow it before next year. So it wasn't all that easy to find something in a 38 short. After the fourth store we finallt found a real nice suit. Black suit, red dress shirt and striped red and black tie. He really looks sharp.

He can't wait to get to school tomorrow so he can show it off. Oh to be 15 and strutting your stuff.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Liberal Identity

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Peace Patroller, also known as an anti-war liberal or neo-hippie. You believe in putting an end to American imperial conquest, stopping wars that have already been lost, and supporting our troops by bringing them home.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Philosophy of Enevitability

I was reading in the news about the interest in an archaeological site in Peru, called Caral. It seems that the people there were building pyramids at about the same time as the Egyptians.

Pyramids are found all over the world. Asia, the Middle East, South and Central America. Some people use this as suppport of greater commerce between the continents. Others say it supports the idea of alien contacts. All sorts of theories abound.

Mine is the theory of enevitbility.

Given certain precursors, certain things are inevitable. Take the doorway. The proportions of a doorway are pretty much the same, a little over twice as high as it is wide. This proportion is extended to all sorts of architectural constructs. Why these particular proportions?

Of course they have to do with the size and proportions of the human body and the resonable size and proportions of an entryway. The system of measure and math used to define a pleasing hallway or entryway would be different of we were six times as tall as we are wide, or as big around as we are tall.

In any society complexity is a logical chain of development. One thing leads to the other in a realatively predictable sequence of events. Just as the standard hallway is an extension of the doorway, which is an extension of human parameters, the pyramid is a natural extension of things in nature.

The pyramid is an extension of the cone, the mountains and all manner of piled objects. It is a logical nature driven shape, and relatively easy to design. All you need is eight sticks of equal length and some string and you get this magically proportioned object that BEGS mystical implications.

When people reach a certain level of sophistification, they will come across this shape, and to me it seems inevitable that they use it for ceremonial buildings.

This same principle applies to all sorts of things.

Such as extra-terrestrial life.

Given the size of the universe and variety of conditions, given a finite series of building blocks (atoms) every possible ccombination of compounds must exist in many places in the universe.

The combination that results in life is inevitable.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Random Day

Things are going to get more and more busy at work, so I think I have to start getting used to the idea of blogging more from home. I just feel out of sync with reality (as if the blogosphere has anything to do with reality).

When I got a few moments at work today, I did a post and made a few comments, but everything was so Random.

Stop here and leave an incoherent or barely coherent comment, move on and do it again.......and rhyme, no reason. a little flash of this, a little shake of that.

I live by my focus. I can follow a chain of logic. I can take a plate full of data and make into a sensible meal, edible by Management.

I take chaos and turn it into something resembling order.

But oh what fun to just submit to the randomness of the world and do things that do not in any way lay claim to logic.

On one hand today was a day that challenged the rules of order. I FORCED logic into chaos and triumphed.

My victory dance was into randomness.


Queue music from JAWS.

Thanksgiving looms on the horizon.

I have every expectation that it will be pleasant. However there are a few sharks circling that could turn it into a bloodbath.

Mrs A has done the growed-up thing and told the DIL it is time to let things go, and included a personal invitation to T-Day. I blogged about that the other day. DIL has never responded. I have let everyone know that Mrs A did this, so that there can be no confusion about where things are. If they come, fine, if they don't, they will miss out on some good food and conversation.

I have also asked Mrs A. to bury the hatchet with R. for the day, and much to my surprise, she agreed.

On one hand things are looking good. Everyone will be there, and it will be good to see them. On the other hand, it will make for a tense day with me doing my best to keep the combatants separated.

If they get into it, I am pretty sure Mrs A can kick both their asses.

And if she can't, I know I can.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


V. joined the debate team last year as a freshman. He did well as a rookie, got his first academic points and a couple of letters. But it was as a part of congress, which is a team event rather than an individual event.
Nonetheless, he ended up going to State, one of three from his high school. He got there more by persistencec than anything else.
This year he is a sophomore, and is entered in indivdual events. It's sort of like going from the JV to the Varsity.
This weekend he went to his first tournament.
And kicked ass.
He had six individual debates. At the end of the event he knew he had one four out of the first five, but the results were not in on the sixth. Since he and the coach didn't figure he would be in the finals, they left before the medal presentation. He called his coach this morning to find out how he did in the final event.
Much to his surprise she told him that he had won a medal in the event. I guess this is a school first for an individual. They will have an announcement over the PA at school and a medal presentation. I am so proud, I want to stop people in the street and tell them.
Way to go V!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday at Last.

Maybe it is because we turned the clocks back or something but I have been dragging ass all week. Every day it was a little harder to get out of bed.

Instead of lunch today, I am going to take a nap. This is one skill I acquired in the Army, which has stood me well over the years. I can curl up and fall asleep quickly under almost any conditions. It takes me about five minutes, and I am good for about a half an hour, then wake up. Most of the time when I wake up I am rested and alert.

This weekend will be dedicated to cleaning up the house and yard for Thanksgiving. I will be making a couple of trips to the dump, raking up leaves, trimming shrubs and other exciting stuff.

By the way, there is a new chapter of STAR:

Thursday, November 08, 2007


When I said yesterday that the turkeys are coming, I wasn't talking about my family. At least that wasn't the intent. It was a parody of Paul Revere, intending to convey a sense of impending doom.

I find that by the time I work a full day, I have little or no energy left when I get home. I get up with the best of intentions, but by the time I crawl in the front door after work, all I want is my chair, my paper, and my laptop.

There are a lot of things that need to be done in preparation for Turkey Day, and I just don't have the energy to do them.

I have off a bunch of time at Christmas, and I am SO looking forward to not getting up to the alarm clock.

I always line up some project to work on around the house. This year I need to put the molding in the kitchen. Something that will not be too difficult but requires some time and attention.

I just have to hang on unti Dec 21st.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Turkeys are coming, The Turkeys are coming!

I had to look up something on the calendar this morning, and all the sudden my eyes drifted down a couple of lines and I realized Thanksgiving was TWO WEEKS FROM TOMORROW.

Holy crap! I have so much to do.

We are having my family over on turkey day. That means somewhere between twenty and thirty people. Mrs A. will obsess that the house is a mess.

I need to take a couple of trips to the dump, move things around so I can free up a couple of parking places. We haven't even discussed the menu yet.

Of course turkey is the centerpiece, but I think I will do a pork tenderloin roast in Cranberry Chutney. And riced potatoes. That's a start.

I need to call everyone to coordinate who brings what side dish.

And try to whup V. into cleaning up the front yard.

And pick out some wine and beer.

And dig Mrs A.s good dishes out of hiding.

And we need to make egg rolls.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Growin' Up

No, not me. I have found that there are no advantages to growing up.

I was so proud of V. last night.

Anyone who has come around here for a while knows there is an ongoing fued between Mrs A and DIL. They haven't talked in two and a half years. It is much too complicated to go into now, just suffice it to say that it makes things awkward for V.

He is living with us because I adopted him to keep him from being put out for adoption outside the family. But he has at times lived with his dad.

DIL can't handle him. She has no experience being a mom, and had no idea how to handle it when things didn't go smoothly. Anyone who has raised kids knows that is pretty much the norm, not the exception.

Every time things would get off kilter, she would send him back to us.

I finally put my foot down and said he was going to stay with us, that all the moving back and forth was not good for him.

DIL went all drama queen. Mrs A pointed out to her the fact that she was NOT V's mom either legally or biologically. Therein lies the seed of the feud.

I have told both of them that they are being childish and need to just get over it and move on. Poor V is always getting caught in the middle of it. So am I , and my son. It makes it hard during the Hollidays.

Mrs A had been talking with V. in the morning after I went to work, and the conversation got interrupted by the bus, so when V. got home she started up again.

V. explained to her how he had to take the brunt of their feud.

He very politely asked her if she would do something for him. He asked her to e-mail DIL and tell her that it was time to just let it go, and get on with life. He stressed "Please, do it for me."

What a grown-up way to put it.

Mrs A. has agreed, and has sent the e-mail and invited them over for Thanksgiving.

We shall see what we shall see.

Cross your fingers.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Hurtin' for Certain

Here, let me ease into my chair.


Much better.

I'm walking around like Frankenstein this morning.

Saturday was another concert day with ML3. They played at Maple Lane in Centralia. We hit the road at 8:00 and got home at 1:15 AM.

They were a little short on crew, so the ones of us that did show up had to work a little extra hard. Plus with the new stage, it left some extra room in the truck, so John had to find something to fill the empty space.

The "something" turned out to be a six foot long, fout foot wide 5oo lb 64 channel sound mixer. It sure works nice. The sound was better than I have ever heard.

They also replaced all of the aluminum scaffolding uprights with steel. The downside is that they weigh a lot more. We are up to about 20,000 lbs of gear now.

We were just starting sound check when they asked us to stop because the kids were in the next room for dinner, and they needed to monitor the conversation. This threw us off by ak hour, so we were still doing sound check when they started bringing the kids in. But after that everything went just fine.

Sunday R. came over and got her stuff out of the basement. She had a couple of guys show up to help, but they sure took a lot of smoke breaks. From the look of their eyes, they had taken a "Smoke Break" before they got there.

Everything went smoothly. No arguments, name calling or confrontation. Mrs A. went grocery shopping. with L. just to make sure nothing happened. It took about an hour to get the truck loaded.

So I have all sorts of muscles telling me I should act my age. Ain't happening baby. I'm not about to retire to my rocking chair quite yet.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Sky Is Falling!

It was widely reported this morning that the sky was falling.

A mysterious crystaline substance appeared on the roofs and hoods of parked cars. It was never seen to fall from the sky, but early indicators lead experts to believe it fell somehow from the sky.

Upon application of heat, this mysterious substance DISAPPEARS! Many believe this is the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it. Religious zealots claim it the first sign of the Apocalypse, comparing it to the "Mana" described in the Bible.

Global warming theorists claim that the mysterious substance is causing an imbalance in the Ozone and will lead to global warming. The mysterious substance seems to generate cold around it, causing people to turn to desparate means to keep warm. The particulates released by these alternate sources of heat are poisonous to humand and animals. If inhaled in relatively minor concentrations, they can cause unconsciousness, and even death.

This intrepid reporter, throwing caution to the winds, and at great personal risk, improvised a substance removal tool. If not removed from the viewing ports this substance is known to cause blindness, and in extreme cases, mortal injury.

Coming next: Fog. Will it really eat your face?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I always loved Halloween as a kid.

Getting dressed up, although it was usually as a hobo or a ghost, running from house to house extorting candy from terrified grownups. Running loose on the streets.

Later it was driving around in some beater car, having egg wars and trying to pick up women.

Then it was adult parties with booze and other stimulants.

Then came taking my own kids out trick-or-treating.

Now, the youngest, my adopted grandson is 15. He is right on the cusp of being too old to put on a costume and go trick-or-treating. When I was growing up, I had little sisters, so I could always go along to keep an eye on them, thereby extending my trick-or-treating years. He did ask me this morning is we had any eggs.

My favorite Halloween story is when my son was seven. I don't remember where I got it, but I had gotten a face make-up kit somewhere. It was very high quality stick-on preosthetics with filler and color and everything. The packaging said "Hollywood Quality".

I didn't believe it for a moment.

But as I applied the cheekpieces and nose pieces, and faired them in with filler and colored them it, the results were amazing. It was hard to believe that my son lurked under that face. They eyes and mouth were familiar, but the rest was unrecognizable.

And kind of unsettling.

We set off. We had hit a couple of houses, and a man and his small child approached from the other direction. Other than the face makup, all N.'s costume consisted of a black robe.

The child, who was about four, took one look at N. and shrieked at the top of his lungs. He was shrieking "I want to go home! I want to go home.!!"

Of course V. found this very entertaining. A lot of people thought he looked.......disturbing. Because it wasn't a mask, and you couldn't tell where the prestheses left off and kid began.
Grownups would look at him and do a double take, and call inside "Come out here you HAVE to see this!"

And they always gave him a little extra candy.

There was enough face putty and double back tape to last two years, so we did the same thing the next year. And although I searched high and low I never could find the same or a similar product again.

If I could, I would get one and use it for myself.

And scare the little candy extorting would be monsters right out of their underoos.


Monday, October 29, 2007

The rest of the story

I can't tell just half of this, so I am in for the whole thing.

We decided to get married on April 9th. No big ceremony or celebration. We had both been married before, so it was just set the date and go see the judge.

On Sunday the 4th of April, we were visiting with L and her hubby. L was pregnant at the time, but she told us that she thought something was wrong. The baby had not moved that day. She was going to go in the next day and get checked out.

The news was not good. They could detect no signs of life. This was on Monday.

On Tuesday they ran tests, and came to the conclusion that the baby was dead.

They took the baby on Wednesday. I was there, as was her mother. She delivered a perfectly normal baby, except for the fact that it was dead. No abnormalities, no birth defects, nothing to indicate why it wasn't alive.

I held it in my arms and cried.

Mrs A and I went out into the hallway, and I held her in my arms as she cried "Why?" She railed against God and asked him why he would take this barely begun life.

This was on April the 8th. We were to be married the next day.

After things settled down, we talked. If a thing is the right thing to do, it is the right thing to do, regadless of the impediments.

We spent the night in the hospital room with L. Got up the next morning, went home and showered and went to meet the judge.

We got married despite all the other stuff. I think we did the right thing, and I would do it again. We faced a challenge to what we believed, and we persevered.

We had talked about adversity and said "You have a coice in life. You can take the easy route, or you can take a different route. We realize that things may get crazy, but if you ride the roller-coaster you will be OK as long as you hang on tight in the corners."

We are still hanging on, and there are lots of corners.

After five years, we are still together, and it is a testament to our love.


When I was over visiting Sue's this morning, she was doing this meme all about her relationship with her "Hubs".

I was wondering if I had ever posted about how Mrs A and I got engaged. I thought I had, but couldn't find it , so I thought"What the heck, it's a good story." So if I have and you already know the story, forgive me and go about your way.

Mrs A and I had been dating about six months, and things were getting pretty serious. Early on in the relationship we had talked about what we each wanted out of the relationship. We both wanted a stable lifelong commitment.

We had been down at her place cleaning up, and had loaded her dresser in the back of my Blazer. We were unloading it, and when we got in the house, I glanced around.

Holy shit! I had been burglarized. The game system and all the games. My laptop. Anything that was small, light and hockable.

The week before, I had spent my entire week of free time shopping for an engagement ring. I had looked at every ring in the south end of Latteland, and found one that was perfect. It cost a little over $5,000.

It was gone.

Unless you have a special rider on your insurance, no single item of jewelry will be repaid for more than $1500. I was just screwed.

I called the cops, and they came. We were sitting there on the leather couch, listing the things that had been taken. At last I listed "An engagement ring, just purchased, worth $5,000.

Mrs A. had no idea I had gone and purchased the ring. Her eyes got real big and she said "You didn't?"

"Oh yes I did."

A couple of hours later my daughter R. called. She said she had come home, seen what had happened, so she grabbed the ring and left. What followed had several different versions, and I have never been sure exactly what went on. I suspect it was some of R's "Friends" that ripped me off.

Because of the evidence, we knew that whoever burgarized up was around long enough to play CD's on the CD player, drink all the liquor in the house, and smoke several cigarettes. I figure R had a party while we were gone, and things got out of hand.

At any rate I got the ring back. The police grilled her, and were sure she knew something, but she would never admit complicity.

Mrs A. was there when R got home, and delivered the ring.

I asked her if she wanted to see it. She said yes, so I showed it to her, then went and put it upstairs.

After the police left, she disappeared. My house is big enough that you can disappear. So I wandered around looking for her.

She was in the Master bedroom, and she was sitting there with the ring on her finger, crying her eyes out.

I told her that this was certainly not the way I wanted her to find out about the ring.

I told her "I think the safest place in the world for that ring right now is on your hand. I don't think anyone is going to be able to get it away from you without knocking you out first. Just keep it on for now."

We had already made plans to go to the Lake Quinault Lodge for Valentines Day. I had planned to ask her then, and I did. On one knee and everything. Room 110 in the main lodge.

And the rest is history.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Spider story

The Peanut Queen's post today was about spiders, which resuled in me thinking about this story:

I have always done a little side work on cars. Buy one, fix it up, sell it buy one a little better, etc.

I was working in a printed circuit board assembly area. The area had about 30 women, and three men. It was my first time working with women otside the back seat of the car. It was different.

One of the cute younger ones was Jacki. She was a bit of a scatterbrain, very unfocused, but fun to work with.

She had this 1955 Pontiac 4dr with low original miles. It was in pretty good shape, but she hated it because it wasn't cool.

She came in to work one day, late, pale as a sheet and shaking. I asked her what was up and she told this tale of being run off of the road by a drunk, ending up in the median, and having to be towed out. Everyone was very sympathetic, asking her if she was OK and was her car OK. She said everything was ok, she was just shaken up.

Something about the way she opened her eyes extra wide while telling this tale told me that she was not being truthful.

I cornered her later in the day in a quiet corner, and asked her what had happened.

She admitted the story was a fabrication. What had really happened was she was driving down the freeway and noticed a blur in front of her eyes. When she focused her eyes on it, it turned out to be a spider.

Of course she covered her face with both hands, and the car ended up in the median. I promised not to tell. The statute of limitations ran out some time ago.

I soon after the spider incident I bought the car from her for $75.

One fall day I was in the car driving to work. I was wearing a leather hi-country coat with a sheepskin lining. It was the first time I had worn the coat in six months. It felt like something was inside the arm of the coat.

The "something" turned out to be a spider the size of a quarter, who crawled out of the sleeve and across the back of my left hand. Although it startled me, all I did was let go of the wheel with my right hand and reach out and with as much force as I could generate, flicked him with my middle finger. He hit the winshield with a satifying splat.

Unfortunately he fell down the defroster vent, so I couldn't tell if he was dead or not. I drove the rest of tha way to work with one eye on the road and one eye watching for movement.

I never found the spider, and for a couple of weeks drove around prepared for the worst. I mean he could be out recruiting a bunch of his little spider buddies with his tale of woe. They might even be plotting revenge.

I fixed a couple of things and sold the car.

It had nothing to do with the spider situation.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nothing going on

The only thing going on is that I let L. use my truck today because she had an appointment.

I didn't work on her car last night because it started raining right about the time I got home, and you don't want to get water on the repair until it has time to cure. It is mixed clouds & sun today, so maybe I'll hit it right today.

I haven't slept particularly well the last couple of nights. The arthritis in my neck is acting up. I don't know why. I haven't done anything particularly stupid lately. Except fot loading and unloading a ton of stove pellets, but that was a week ago.

I forget that I can't do all of the things I used to. Or I can, but I have to be willing to pay the price.

L. and her boyfriend are looking at apartments, so I hope they will be moving out soon. I love her, and I think he is a great guy, but they need to be movin' on.

Before Mrs A gets pissed off and throws them out.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More car stuff

I guess I will have to get out and try to fix L's car. The last ditch radiator repair try. I will get a fiberglass repair kit and try to reinstall and fortify the radiator spud with fiberglass and resin tonight.

I don't place a lot of faith in this repair method working for any length of time. But it is the last ditch effort before getting a new radiator. Or getting a used one from the wrecking yard. The one from the wrecking yard would carry no warrantee of any kind, so I am leery of going in that direction.

Other than that, there's not a lot going on.

A guy could get used to no crisis.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Movin' Man

I got an e-mail from R. yesterday, and she is moving in to a duplex. She said she would get her stuff after the first. I have offered her the use of my truck, but I think she will probably turn it down.

She is still pissed at me, and it's OK. I will not wither and die.

But it is cutting off your nose to spite your face when you turn down the use of a truck so you can wait a couple weeks and rent one. SHe is so damned stubborn.

Wonder where she got that?

Had too be her mom, and you will NEVER convince me otherwise.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I am a motorhead of sorts. That is to say, I have spent more hours under a car than watching TV. My retirement dream is to buy a classic sports car that I can disassemble, restore every nut, bold and washer, and put back together.

Right now I wouls settle on a garage and shop so I don't have to work in the rain and cold.

Yesterday we spent a couple of hours doing a brake job for Ls 95 little Chev. Not a difficult job, since I have done this many times and have the necessary tools. I supervised and the boyfriend did the work. I knew several shortcuts and stuff. In the end we got it done.

The radiator was leaking some, so the boyfriend attampted to fix it with some JB WELD. There was a crack on the seam by the upper spud, so he puttied it up and let it sit for several hours. When he went to reattach the top hose, the spud broke off.

She had a court appointment in Court today over some unpaid traffic tickets. She is petitioning the court to be allowed too work off the tickets by Public Service instead of paying fines, since she has no money.

So I handed her the keys to the truck I just bought.

I Only cringed a little.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

No big Whoopee

There are places where the big windstorm has cut off power, downed trees and phone lines. But here at La Casa De Al it has been a big disappointment.

I love me a good storm. Once during a typhoon, I tied myself to a basketball pole so I could be out in the wind. Y'know the scene with Lt. Dan if Forest Gump when he ties himself to the mast of the Shrimpin' Boat and yells "Is that all you got?"

Thats me.

One of my ideal jobs would be Storm Chaser.

So far this is nothing.

But I am ready...............

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Exhausted + constipated = exhaustipated Def: Too tired to give a shit.

After a busy day at work, with a major storm headed our way, I went and got a ton of pellets for the pellet stove. My little S10 is kinda small for that amount of weight.

When I went to get the pellets, I told the clerk I wanted to pick up a half a ton, take them home, and come back for the rest. They told me they would only sell them as a ton, or by the bag. If you bought the ton, you needed to take them all at once. The bag price is higer, so I did the math.

The truck is rated at 6000 lbs. Weight of the vihicle, say 3500 lbs, plus 2000 lbs of pellets plus almost 200 lbs for me is 5700 lbs. Heck I could throw in a fat man and still be under weight.

So we loaded the pellets. The back bumper was about six inches from the ground, and the hood poined a little in the air.As I drove home the truck tended to wander a little, there being not enough weight on the front end.

I took back roads all the way home, and didn't have any problems.

Luckily L's boyfriend was there, so he helped me unload and stack the pellets. Or rather, I helped him, since he did more work than I did.

But now I am sitting here with a fire going in the pellet stove, watching "The Goonies" with Mrs A, knowing I am prepared for the windstorm that is supposed to hit tomorrow.

If the power goes out I have a generator that will run the pellet stove and a light and the TV. The Motor Home is gassed up and ready to go, and has a gas stove and generator. It will be cool enough outside to keep the beer cold.

What more could a guy ask for?


I had really not envisioned myself as being the parent of a teenager at this point in my life. I had things all planned out. I knew when my kids would be getting out of school, when the house would be paid off, when Social security would kick in. All planned.

Throw in a divorce, and adopt my grandson, and The Plan is no longer valid. According to the original plan, I would be retiring next January. With the new and improved plan, I can't retire for another ten years.

I really don't mind working. I like my job, and I work for a good boss, and work with people I like. The work is challenging and I have to use my brains, remain calm under pressure, be creative, and technically skilled.

But I would like to have the option of coming in tomrrow and tell them it's my last day.

Yesterday V. didn't go to school. He got up, but went back too bed after I left for work. He had been complaining of a major headache the night before, so that in itself is not surprising.

But when I got home yesterday, he wasn't at home. He had gone to the Mall.

The rule has always been "If you are too sick to go to school, you are too sick to go out and play." He knows this. He called from the Mall at 8:00 to say he was on his way home. Didn't walk in the door until almost 10:00.

"Who did you ask if you could stay home from school?"

"No one."

Who did you ask if you could go to the Mall?"

"No one."

This conversation went on for some time. Finally he announced he was going to watch a movie and then go to bed.

"Oh no you're not. You are going to go out in the kitchen and wash dishes, no movie, and then to bed."

"Can't I wait until later to do the dishes?"

"Look you selfish little snot, it may come as a surprise to you, but other people besides you live in this house. Those other people are trying to sleep. It is not your right to disrupt everyone elses life because you are so self involved that you don't even consider them!"

The dishes got done, along with some grumbling.

Some times I wish they hadn't changed the laws so you can't physically discipline your kids, 'cause I sure would liked to haul off and belt him one in the chops.

Anyone want a slightly used, untrained teenager?

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Lot More Nothing

There are no pictures of ML3 in performance, because I gave up my spare camera batteries for the cause.

The AA batteries in April's mic were dead and they didn't have any spares.

Other people took lots of shots of the performance, so they should show up eventually.

On Friday I bought myself a truck.

No big deal. It is a Chev S-10 Pickup with 120,000 miles. The color is turquoise, and I have yet to find anything wrong with it. It is a little temperamental when you first try to start it. Don't touch the gas, or it will flood. Something I discovered after work today. But start it did.


After work I went to transfer the title, but didn't have enough money to relicense it. The tabs aren't due until Dec. 31st, so I have time. But first I had to get it emissions tested for them to transfer the title.

This pisses me off. Even if the vehicle is currently licensed and everything, if you live in certain zip codes, you have to get it tested. Well, what if it wasn't running? I had this logical argument with the clerk, but logic was not a system that applies.

So I ran over to the emissions place had it tested, and ran back. It passed and I walked in at the license place with 30 secconds to spare. I hit every light and crossing sign, but I got it done.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Echo Glen

This is how it all starts out. A big empy room and a lot of equipment

Hanging lights

The lights are all in place and the sound system is being checked out

One of the vertical supports developed a little problem, like breaking in two with all the lights on it. The whole truss setup threatened to come down.

Raw muscle to the rescue. They held the trusses up until we could figure a way to support it. We borrowed one of the monitor stands to support the trusses.

This is what it all looked like when we were through.

The band was in outstanding form. It had been a year since they performed, and the drummer and lead guitar player were new. The new drummer is an animal on the drums (in a good way).
New show, new band members and equipment challenges, it was a great show, and a good time.
Next gig Nov. 3rd.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mo Betta

It appears I am going to live. Not only that, it is a good thing.

My head still hurts, but it's not soo bad.

This weekend we are crewing for ML3, a Christian Rock band. We have been doing this for several years. They mainly play at places of incarceration (Yeah, that means jail). It's a lot of hard work, but a lot of fun, too. They have around 13,000 pounds of gear. Full light show and sound system.

It ususally takes about six hours to set up the equipment, but they have a new and improved super duper one size fits all some assembly required stage setup, so I figure that should add a couple of hours.

They are not a hard core come down and be saved organization. They are more you can have a whole lot of fun without drugs and alcohol kinda bunch. But the songs are all inspirational and have a religious theme.

Go here : and go over to their MySpace page and hear what they sound like.

If I can remember the camera, I'll post some pictures.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Back in the saddle

I made it to work today, but more because I was on Automatic Pilot than any intent on my part.

John asked how I was feeling, so I replied "If my head explodes I hope I don't get any brains on you."

He said "I hate when that happens."

Linda pipes in "Yeah, it's so hard to get out of your clothes."

Feel the love.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


My sinuses are acting up again, so I stayed home again. Ths is agravated by the fact that I have awakened at 3:00 the last two mornings and couldn't get back to sleep.

Mrs A is pushing for me to go to the doctor, but I don't know that it would do any good.

I am sitting here today in an empty house, and that may be the best medicine all by itself. After calling in to work, I went back to bed and finally fell back to sleep, and didn't get up until 11:00. and I'm the kind of persson that never sleeps in beyond 8:00 even if I can.

Things have settled down around here, but nothing is solved.

I think I'll eat something and go back to bed.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Too Much Drama

L. is coming off of a tough relationship, which she jumped into after a failed marriage. Her current boyfriend was waiting in the wings for her to get free, and slipped in the minute there was an opening.

Mind you, I really like this guy. I believe he genuinely loves her and her kids. He does well with the kids, and he is easy to be around and work with.

Last night L. told him to back off. He has been actively pursuing her to move in with him. She moved in with us to make up her mind about what she wants to do. And what she wants to do is finish her schooling as a Pharmacy Assistant, have her own place and take care of herself.

He did not take the news well. We could hear him sobbin from downstairs in the living room. He finally came downstairs and told us goodbye. It was real difficult, because I really like the guy, and seeing this six four 220lb man standing there blubbering like a 10 year old who just had his bike stolen was not easy.

I really felt for the guy, because I have been in his shoes more than once, but as L.'s stepdad I have to support what is right for HER.

I believe it is best for her to go back to school and finish her training, and I know it is not an easy decision for her.

Both Mrs A and I spent quite a bit of time single before we met, and I think it is good to have some time on your own, to be comfortable living by yourself. After you have learned to stand alone, you make a much better partner.

If he truely loves her, he will wait until she is ready to commit.

But it was a little more drama than I was wanting, and it was hard to not get involved.

Monday, October 08, 2007

No Cigar

I am flinging darts this morning. I can't hit a thing.

My rapier-like wit has turned to a dull stick.

The finely tuned engine that is my mind is only hitting on about three cylinders, and may be in the process of throwing a rod.

My input shaft and output shaft are not speaking to each other.

Plenty of horsepower under the hood, it's just not getting to the street.

I have arthritis in my neck, and when it flares up, I start getting spasms in my right arm and hand. It feels like it is on fire. But I have an excellent anti-convulsive muscle relaxer that makes it go away.

Unfortunately it causes my clutch to slip, so I can't get any traction.

It may look like I am sitting here doing very little, but the truth is, I am stitting here doing nothing.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Trans Siberian Orchestra is coming to town!

And I just bought eight tickets on a Pre-sale!

Cant Wait!!!!

If you don't know who they are go here:

Go to the video clips and play Christmas in Serejevo.

On the Other Hand

I posted a couple of pictures from our trip to Oregon the other day.

The sunset picture was good enough that I submitted it to KING 5 News Weather PIX, and it was published. Pretty cool.
A couple of people around me at work downloaded it and set it as their wallpaper.
I feel honored.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I called up R. yesterday, something I have been puting off. I got the cell phone bill and she had gone over her minutes.

By $100.00.

I have been paying her cell phone bill because I wanted to leave a communication channel open.

SHe didn't answer the phone, so I left her a message, and a warning. Basically, I said "Why would I pay a hundred bucks a month for your cell phone so you can call up and leave me obscene voice mails?"

She called back and cussed me up one side and down the other. It seems I ma responsible for every bad thing she has ever done, have never treated her fairly, am the major cause of world hunger and a walking disease vector. Then hung up.

Even I have my stopping point. I have finally had it. If your right hand is infected and no longer is any good to you and only spreads poison in your body, you aputate it.

When Mrs A and I were going to counseling, the counselor said something that stuck in my brain: "You need to examine your relationships. How much am I investing in them, and what am I getting back?"

Not hard to total the accounts here.

So I called up the cell phone company and had her phone shut off.

I will no longer accept the abuse she heaps on me. I have been poised at the edge awaiting any sign she is changing, and all I get is another face full of spit. She says she is exiting , and I am now ready to let her go.

But it still hurts.

On the other hand I got home and told L. about what had happened, and that I wanted to sit in the corner with my laptop and kill stuff. SHe and her boyfriend disappeared. They came back with an Oberto hard dry Salami, and sai "This is for you, but you have to share."

They also bought a jigsaw puzzle, which they know I love to do. We all sat down and worked on the puzzle together. It was great. I went fromsimmering rage and pain to comfortable and knowing that some of the work I have done has born fruit.

When I was at a low point, and everything looked black, the Lord showed me the other side of the coin. My own little miniature version of "It's a Wonderful Life".

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

This'n That

There was this old Black & Decker add that went; "On the weekends it was me against the house, and the house being bigger, it usually won."

Know that feeling well.

I went home last night and it had stopped raining, so I ran upstairs to look, and yes it was dry enough to seal the seam by the flashing. I went downstairs and got some plumbers putty and went up and sealed the seam

10:00 last night I hear "Drip, drip, drip." Get up to look, and sure enough it is dripping on the inside of the window. Too late to do anything, so I put a drip pan in place, and went back to bed.

When I got up this mornning, there wasn't very much water, so I have it 90% comtained. I'll have to get out and figure out where it is getting in. This still doesn't SOLVE the problem, just treats the symptom.

Lest y'all thinnk that my vacation was all sunlight and flowers, I thought I'd set the record straight.

On Monday R. called and confirmed the rumor that she is expecting. We talked for a while, and everything was pretty much OK. She went on to say that she wanted to make peace with Mrs A. I told her that if she really wanted to make peace, she needed to do what I have been asking her to do for the last six months: Write a sincere letter of apollogy to Mrs A for threatening to kill her, to start things off. This if course did not go over well.

I told her that the reason was to force her to look at her own behavior and deal with it, instead of just blowing it off and saying "Oh, I was just mad." like that would justify anything she had done.

I will not budge on this issue. She needs to be held accountable for her behavior, and as long as I allow her to continue with it, things will never change. I love her, but some times I don't like her.

I got up the next morning and there was a voice mail on my cell phone.

"You and your crazy B***ch wife stay the hell out of my business. I am moving in to my own place on Nov. 1st, and you will never see your grandkid. F### you and goodbye."

I am storing her stuff in my basement, and I pay her cell phone bill. I am SSOOOOO tempted to call her up and tell her I am shutting off her cell phone and she has 24 hours to come get her stuff or I will put it out on the street with a big "FREE" sign on it.

But luckily one of us is an adult.