Sunday, September 30, 2007

Back to Reality

The steam train at Garibaldi.

This boat was incredible.

The "Depot" at Garibaldi

The sunsets were incredible

Mrs A working hard at ccontemplation.

Vacation was beautiful. We did everything we wanted to do, and then some.
The weather couldn't have been better, for the end of September. During the days it was in the 70's, and at night in the high 50's. Perfect weather for walking the beach, visiting the sights.
Of course, reality came around to bite us in the butt when we got home.
I woke up this morning to the sound of water dripping. Unfortunately it was dripping in our bedroom. Water was comming down on the frae of the window, following it around and under and dripping on the INSIDE of the window. I have lived in this house for 20 years, and this has never happened before.
We tried various schemes to block the water, but at the bottom line, it had to stop raining before we can seal or caulk to get it fixed. For now I put in a piece of flashing that diverts most of the water, but it is still dripping inside, so I put something in place to catch the water until I can caulk.
Welcome home!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gettin' Out of Dodge

Time to hit the road again.

Mrs A and I and her sister are leaving tomorrow for the Oregon Coast. We have a week at the Condo at Rockaway Beach. That's about 15 miles North of Tillamook, 20 miles south of Cannon Beach.

We love it there, and with the kiddies all in school, it should be quiet.

We really don't have any plans once we get there. We will probably go down to Tillamook and hit the cheese factory, and stop at Tillamook County Smokehouse and get a bunch of their Honey Glazed Jerky. Go up to Cannon Beach one day and hit the shops and go get the worlds best chowder for lunch. Probably take the hike out to the end of the Tillamook Spit and back (8 miles) Walk on the beach, read, listen to music, consume adult beverages, watch some movies and read a good book.

Maybe or maybe not.

Y'all stop by.

I hope they have a Wi-FI connection soo I can send you some pictures and maybe post something. We'll see.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Emancipation II

It was as much fun as I had anticipated.

V went to a fund raiser for the debate team on Sunday. It was at Emerald Downs, a local horse racing track.

First question:

"Does this in any way involve betting on the ponies, because no matter what good tips you have, it isn't a sure thing."

"Grampa, we are just handing out bruchures and stuff.

"Well, OK. By the way, I don't want to hear any more of this "Emancipation" shit. You have no idea what the hell you are talking about."

""I do to. I hate the idea that I have no rights!"

"Do you really understand what that means?"

"Of course. I have done my research."

"Well, where are you going to live?"

""With you of course."

"Sorry, kid, but I have no obligation to provide you with housing. $400 bucks a month for the room. And by the way, unless you pay for part of the electrical bill, no electricity to your room. I have a circuit breaker, and I'm not afraid to use it."

"But that's not fair!"

"Oh yes it is. If you are an emancipated adult, you are responsible for your own expenses."

At this point his eyes started getting a little large.

"And by the way, the bed you are sleeping in does not belong to you. That includes all the furniture and everything."

"You're kidding, right?"

"Nope. If you want a soda, you can buy your own. All that food that you like. Pay to play. Plus we have minimum cleanliness requiremment. If you want to stay here, you have to meet them or get out."

He started turning a little green around the gills.

"A judge has to grant you emancipation. Why would he do that? My parents make me do dishes? Don't think so"

I don't think I'll be hearing about emancipation any time soon.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mrs A's New Toy

Here's our new acquisition. It is a 2007 Chev HHR. Yes BRAND STINKING NEW! I think at the moment it has 38 miles on it from us driving it around.

It has all the bells and whistles. Air conditioing, stereo system (with MP3 port) automatic. power heated seats. power windows, high performance 4 cyl engine, sun roof, roof rack. Remote start. Anti-skid brakes. It drives real nice and is responsive enough to get the job done.

I traded in the Pathfinder. I kinda hated to see it go. It has been a good car and we have had some good times in it. But it had outlived it's purpose.

We bought it to go camping. Lots of room for gear. Four wheel drive. When I bought the Airstream, it became redundant. So I thought "Why the hell am I driving around a car that gets 12 miles to the gallon?"

I still wanted something that could haul a nice load of stuff, but get good gas mileage. Style is important to me, and I like the way the HHR looks. Plus the fact that it gets 30 miles to the gallon on the road.

We are going on vacation to the Oregon coast next week, and it will be a good chance to break it in.

The car payment will be almost exactly the same as it was for the Pathfinder, so for the same amount of money we will be driving a brand new car.

Friday, September 14, 2007


V. is SSOOOO 15 years old.

His room has crime scene tape on the door. It should be toxic dump tape. There ARE places where you can see the floor, but not many. Empty soda cans abound on every flat surface. Clothes are strewn around. It looks like a twister has gone through and hefted and randomly deposited it's contents. He would play World of Warcraft 24/7 if we would let him.

His main chore is to wash the dishes. Originally we set the time to wash dishes at 7:00, but in conceession to his logical and well thought out reasoning, we removed the time constraints. As long as he has them done when we get up in the morning, it's OK.

If he doesnt, we will get him up when we get up (5:00) and make him do them then. Today was a late start, so he was looking forward to sleeping in. Nope. Rousted him out of his lair and made him do them at 5:00. Much grumbling.

Last night he declared that when he turns 16 he is going to be Emancipated, because he thinks all of the laws meant to protect him are BS. He can't work full time while in school, technically any wages he earns are still legally mine. (Since when did he get a job and earn any money?) He has to answer to me.

I give him as much freedom as I think is apropriate, which is a lot. But it is never enough.

I need to sit him down and explain a few things to him.

Yes, it is his computer, but until he starts paying part of the bill, the electricity is mine. I won't take away his computer, because that is his, but I WILL unplug it.

All that food he consumes? No longer free. The bedroom, the bed, the furniture? All mine until he pays for them.

BWA-HA-HA-HA (evil laugh) This is going to be fun.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Feeling fuelish

One summer, over on the farm, we were all busily working on various projects.

I forget whose chore it was to mow the lawn, but they had run out of gas about halfway through the job. This was no big deal, because we had a 55 gallon drum of agricultural gas down in the garage.

Whoever it was had gotten an old mason jar full of gas and filled up the lawn mower. There was a quite a bit of gas left, which they left sitting out until the chore was over.

Enter my little sister Susie, who thought it looked tasty, and started drinking it.

We never did figure out how much gas she consumed, but suddenly she was tearing around the yard like crazy. Some adult (I believe it was my mom) went to check on her and detected the smell of gasoline on her breath.

It was a panicky trip to the doctors office. The doctor looked her over and figured she had not ingested enough gas to do her any harm.

We asked how long we could expect her to be running around like crazy.

The Doc said "Oh, she should run out of gas pretty soon."


I like being a grandpa. In fact I liked it so much that I adopted my first grandkid. Now there are times I wish I could give him back. Just for a couple of years until he turns 18. He is 15 now.

Oh to be fifteen again and know everything. The older I get the more I realize how little I know.

I am still all twisted around the idea of my daughter being pregnant. I love kids. It is so great watching them on their journey of discovery. Everything is fresh and new. As we age we lose that joy of discovery. The attitude becomes more "Been there, Done that" than "What exciting new thing will I discover today?" Having kids around reminds me how joyous it is to look at things with fresh eyes.

R. is going on 23, so she is old enough for kids. Maybe it will settle her down when she realizes that this wonderful new life she has helped create has needs that are more pressing than hers.

Time will tell.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gone Visitin'

I am guest hosting over at Rick Leonard's "Diary of a Middle aged White Guy" today, so wander on over and see what's going on.

See the little line over there on the right side?

The one that says "Rick Leonard"?

Click it a couple of times.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I got a call yesterday that kinda set me back on my heels. I really don't know what to say, or how to feel.

One of R's lifelong friends called me to tell me that R. is expecting.

My first impression is that this is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard. She hasn't worked in two years, hasn't had a permanent address, has been on and off of drugs. She hasn't had a lasting relationship with a man.

I have always told myself "Well, at least she doesn't have kids." So much for that.

On the other hand, this may provide the impetus for her to settle down and take life seriously. She can't drink or take drugs while she is pregnant. She will be responsible for another human being's needs, needs to provide a stable environment. She has a lot of potential if she can get herself off high-center.

The guy that beat her up last week is the father of the kid, I hear.

Me and my baseball bat are going to have to have a little "talk" with him.

If this is all true. She hasn't called me and told me anything.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Jerking the chain

No, No, No.

That's not anything like spanking the monkey or choking the chicken.

It's more like putting the dog on a chain and then throwing a ball. I've never done this personally. I've just seen it in cartoons.

I set up an appointment to have the oil changed in the Pathfinder, so I e-mailed Mrs A to let her know which day I was having it done.

I mentioned that since I was taking the car in she would have to drive one of the other cars.

Since the Blazer will be gone by then, that leaves two choices.

One: The Z. She hates driving the Z. She hates being so low to the ground. No power steering or windows or anything. You have too DRIVE it not point it. It is very responsive, and fast. she is also afraid what would happen if she damaged my "baby".

Two: The Airstream. 20 feet long nine and a half feet high, wieghs about 8,000 lbs. SHe would feel intimidated by it. I think the biggest thing she ever drove is the Pathfinder.

So I floated my e-mail out there like a fisherman floating a dry fly, waiting too see if I could get a rise.

She replied that she laughed out loud at my suggestions.

I must be getting to be too predictable.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Beware of Garbage Trucks

How often do you let other people's nonsense change your mood?
Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day?
Unless you're the Terminator, for an instant you're probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly he/she can get back their focus on what's important.
Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson.I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab.
Here's what happened.
I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station.We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us.My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car's back end by just inches!
The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident,whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us.My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy.And I mean, he was friendly.
So, I said, "Why did you just do that?This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!"
And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, "The Law of theGarbage Truck."Many people are like garbage trucks.They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it.And if you let them, they'll dump it on you.When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally.You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.You'll be happy you did.
So this was it: The "Law of the Garbage Truck."
I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me?And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people:at work, at home, on the streets?It was that day I said, "I'm not going to do it anymore."
I began to see garbage trucks.Like in the movie "The Sixth Sense," the little boy said, "I see DeadPeople."Well, now "I see Garbage Trucks."
I see the load they're carrying.I see them coming to drop it off.And like my Taxi Driver, I don't make it a personal thing; I just smile,wave, wish them well, and I move on.
One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field.He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled.He never dwelled on a hit.Payton was ready to make the next play his best.
Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting.
Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home fromschool with hugs and kisses.
Leaders and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about.The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks takeover their day.
What about you?
What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbagetrucks pass you by?Here's my bet.
You'll be happier.Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so..Love the people who treat you right.Forget about the ones who don't.Believe that everything happens for a reason.
If you get a chance , TAKE IT!
If it changes your life , LET IT!
Nobody said it would be easy...They just promised it would be worth it!
We cannot all do great things but we can do small things with greatlove.Mother Theresa
Forgiveness doesn't make the other person right, it makes you free.Stormie Omartian
Some of us need structure and Jesus. Stay safe and blessed for the restof your life.Al Haskins Jr.

The incomparable Mrs A sent me this today. It was just the thing I needed to hear right now.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tough Love

The phone rang a little after midnight. It was my daughter R. calling from the hospital. She has spent the summer being a live-in babysitter for a long time friend. He went off on her and messed her up.

She babbled along semi-coherently for about five minutes, and then hung up on me. I called back and tried to calm her down but she hung up on me again.

I couldn't just go get her, because she is not allwed at home until she apollogizes to Mrs A. for threatening to kill her. She refuses to apollogize. I have told her repeatedly what she needs to do to set things back on track. She ignores me.

I know the right thing to do is let her roast in her own juices, to stay the course until she comes around.

So why do I feel like shit?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Labor Day

It was appropriately titled. I spent most of the day removing repairing and reinstalling the radiator on L's 93 Chevy Corsica. I really don't like working on modern cars all that much, they just have too much crap crowded into too small a space.

The radiator had a major leak, and we had tried various stopleak kinds of stuff, none of which did any good, so I had to remove the radiator to get to the area too repair it. JB weld, while not man's best friend (that would be duct tape), is probably second for guys that work on beaters.

Choice: $200 for a new radiator, or $4 for some JB weld Now if you are talking a newer car, go for the radiator. But with a beater that will maybe last another year, Go with the JB weld.

We went to see Keiko Matsui at Jazz Alley on Saturday Night. She is so passionate about her music, and a very dynamic performer. The members of her band are also inspired, but the percussionist is a show all by himself. We bought her latest CD "Moyo" which means hear or soul in Swahili. She played a lot of the songs during her performance, but I haven't had time to sit down and listen to the whole thing yet.

I had to come back to work to rest up from the Holliday.