Monday, November 30, 2009

Too Close for Comfort

Friday, I was taking R and "i" home after babysitting "i" overnight. We were in a not-so-nice part of town when R said "OMG Dad, look out the window"
I did, and ther was a cop in full SWAT gear running down the sidewalk with an M-16 in the "Ready" position. Other people were running all over the place.
As we wnt a little North we came upon the RiteAide Parking lot, and there was a guy on the ground in a pool of blood.
We were stuck in traffic at a light with cars in front of us. All I wanted was to get the hell out of there. We were stuck, as three police cars with lights and sirens came roaring down the wrong side of the road.Even though the light had turned green, we were stuck there for a while.
I was relieved to finally get through the intersection and head away from the scene, but we had to pull over three more times so two more cop cars and two ambulances could access our side of the street.
I never did find out exactly what happened.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Three Beer Job

First of all, I hope everyone out there had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was fine. The food was great, the conversation was scintillating, and all was well, other than the fact that we were short a few family members this year.

I have been waiting for a convergence of sorts. The first was a break in the weather. Latteland is known for it's gray skies and precipitation, but usually it is a gentle bath. I grew up with drizzle and mist and accept that as normal. However that has not been the course of things lately. It has been back to back downpours with high winds for the last three weeks. When The Summer That Would Not Die finally passed, Mother Nature went in for the full weeping and gnashing of teeth. She rended her clothes and threw herself prostrate.

My truck developed a vacuum leak in the Brake Power Boost unit. It was fine as long as I didn't use the brakes. Then there would be this loud hissing noise, and the RPMs would drop. Occasionally the engine would die if it was idling. Not a good thing. When you have power brakes and power steering, the car objects adamantly to stopping or turning once the engine is not running.

Friday was sunny and dry, if a bit chilly. We were babysitting "i", so I didn't think I would be able to work on the truck, but Mrs A was kind enough to take over babysitting chores so I could . For some reason she was unsettled by the whole thing with the truck dying and having no brakes or steering, Go figure.

List Price for a new unit is $460.00. Thank God for junkyards ($45.00). I have never heard of a Power Boost unit going out before, so I was reasonable confident in purchasing one from a formerly living truck. I have also never replaced one before, so I had to slip into my library when no one was looking and read up on how one went about replacing it. It was much easier than I had anticipated, at least on paper. But we all know nothing is as easy as it looks on paper.

Removing the clip from the brake pedal was a piece of cake. Except that the brake light switch is attached and when I worked it out of the way it came apart, the guts flew out. Removing the Master cylinder was easy. However removing the four bolts holding the unit to the firewall proved to be a real challenge. It was one of those times when you could SEE all four nuts, but only two of then were accessible. As a matter of fact each one of them required a different lash up of ratchet, extension and socket. I was required to go down to the Auto Parts place and buy a special deep 15mm socket to get out the last nut.

It was easier putting it back together than it was taking it apart, except for one thing. When I hooked it all up, the brake lights would not go out. Remember the brake light switch I mentioned? Well I hadn't found all of the guts when I put it back together. I finally found a small spring on the floor, and being a master of deductive reasoning, I tore the switch back apart, inserted the spring and viola', the brake lights worked.

A Three Beer job. Not real simple, not real difficult. Only one run to the auto parts store.
Between three an four hours total, most of it upside down under the dash immitating a contortionist.

I have a few muscles that are telling me that i failed to loosen up before strenuous exercise. I'm pretty sure that means I am supposed to finish off the rest of the six pack.

Tonight we go to Jazz Alley to see Taj Mahal. Should be a very entertaining eventing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Last night was the annual TSO concert.

Of course it was an awesome heavy metal screaming guitar pyrotechnic laser light show Christmas music and performance extravaganza. Hard to describe, but it should be experienced at least once.

After the Christmas part of the show they do other stuff. In this case, they did selections from their new release "Night Castle". It inspired me to go on-line this morning and purchase the download MP3 version.

The only bad part was the drive. It took almost two hours to get there. The trip normally takes about a half an hour. I allowed an hour, or double the normal travel time. So we missed almost an hour of the three hour show. But better to remember the incredible two hours we did see.


On the home front........

I had these brass swing arm wall lamps in the bedroom. The one on my side of the bed broke, and I couldn't fix it ( a rarity ). I went on the Internet to see if I could find a replacement. I came across these gorgeous Tiffany swing arm wall lamps. I could envision them in out bedroom, so I went ahead and purchased them. They came in on Thursday, so instead of working on the toilet, instead I assembled and installed the wall lamps. I have to say they look incredible.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Grazing Day

Today is grazing day at work.We have next Thursday and Friday off, and a lot of people take off next Mon-Wed so thay have a total of nine days without a wake-up.

This means that we have to have our potluck's today. There are a LOT of groups having their potlucks today. I call it grazing day, because a people wander around eating a little here and a little there all day long.

I brought egg rolls. But we have a lot of real good food. Chinese style pork with hot mustard and sesame seeds. Deer dip (kinda like chili cheese stuff with Vennison) Sweet Potato suoffle', main course of chicken. Cheese trays, vegetable trays, meat trays. Spinach dip in the hollowed out bread. And don't forget the cookies, donuts, and pie. And sodas.

I declare today a guilt-free, calorie-free day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Hate Plumbing, and it hates me

The house lies in wait for moments of weakness. Nay, it veritable LURKS. Things always go wrong in bunches. I sense a sinister glee in the piling on of disagreeable tasks.
I accept that as a homeowner, I will need to do maintenance and repair, or be prepared to pay someone else to do it.
I prefer to do it myself, but some things are better than others. I will remodel a bedroom, lay new flooring, rebuild cabinets, rewire rooms and I actually enjoy it.
But I hate plumbing.
Oh, I can do about anything that needs to be done, but would prefer not to have to do it at all. And some of it is nastier than other parts. Few things make me shudder more than remembering the time when I pulled the cleanout plug out of the line going fron the disposal to the downtube and had it all blow back all over me. Multiple showers were not adequate to wipe the stain from my psyche.
So of course I Have been faced with multiple plumbing related repairs.
It started out innocently enough. I should have suspected that the house was setting me up for the one-two-three.
The knob on the Kitchen sink came loose. As a matter of fact the serrations inside the knob had worn off, SO I had to do some creative repairs to get it to work again.
As I went down into the basement to fetch a tool. I noticed water on the staris. It was dripping from the upstairs bathroom.
As soon as I was through with the kitchen I went upstairs, and there was water all over the floor of the bathroom. How does it happen that the cold water line all the sudden comes loose and leaks. It has been working just fine for a long time. There has been no earthquake or disturbance.
Although annoying, it is not a major problem. I took everything apart, cleaned it and reassembled it. Seems to work fine.
When I was going back to the basement to put away the tools, I heard water dripping.
The downstairs toilet is leaking.
The house is getting the upper hand. Somebody needs to call fifteen yards for piling on.
I think it is the wax ring has developed a leak, which means I have to pull the toilet. We have now passed from annoying to nasty.
I have purchased a new wax ring, and it is waiting for me tonight.
I think I may need to fortify myself with a couple of beers before I undertake this chore.
It is kinda EEWWWWW.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I have been a bad blogger lately. Practically a non-existent blogger.I guess I just ran out of juice.
We went this weekend to see "2012". I hate end-of-the-world thrillers that are based on bad science.The last one I was coaxed to go see was "Day After Tomorrow" which I hated with a passion.
Mrs A needed a little pampering and a reward for being such a good sport with my mom. She insisted on going to go see "2012", so we went. Yes the science stinks. Yes a lot of the special effects are physically impossible. Yes the story line is ridiculous. But I went in having told I would not alow rationality to interfere with the movie. Every time that little voice started to say "Hey, wait a minute", I ruthlessly squished it. That made the movie tollerable. It held my interest for the entire show.
I'd give it a six on the sliding one to ten scale. The science would get a D at best.
For dinner we went to The Olive Garden. Love that place, except the wait to get seated on Saturday night is about 45 minutes. But the food was worth the wait. And a couple of Tanqueray and Tonics didn't hurt the mood.
All in all a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I am not out to look for pity, because I am not one to blame things on other people. Pretty much, I believe that we are where we are because we have made choices that put us here. Things daisy-chain off of one choice to another to another. Sometimes it feels like life has painted us into a corner, but it isn't life or chance, it is our own decisions.

I see a lot of people try to blame their circumstances on others. It is mostly BS. I suppose there are people that have totally been screwed, but 99.9% of them are acctually where they are because of their own choices.

Sometimes I get down, like everyone does, because life seems to be kicking the shit out of me. But if I take the time to look at the situation, I ALWAYS find that I am the creator of my own situation.

My recent troubles with my teeth are a result of genetics, certainly. But only my decisions made them what they are. Seven years ago, I knew my teeth were going bad. At that time I made the decision to fight losing my teeth. I could have opted for dentures, but said "Hell no, I will fight every step of the way"
So if I lose a battle, the war is still of my choice.
There has been a lot of turmoil at home recently.. V. is a pretty good kid. He isn't into drugs or running with a bad crowd, or in trouble with the law. I know a lot of people would wish for a kid like him.
He is also an arrogant, insensitive, disrespectful, selfish spoiled rotten asshole.
There are times I really wish I could take hime out behind the woodshed and teach him how it REALLY is. But I am not willing to spend time in jail to prove the point.
He does not get along with Mrs A. He is disrespectful. Talks back. If he talked to me like he does to her, he would apollogize, or I would beat the crap out of him.
V is my grandson, now adopted, and legally my son. I don't need to go into all of the very painful circumstances that brought this about. But I accepted the responsibilty to provide him with a stable and safe environment.

As usual with idealistic undertakings, it has led me down paths I never anticipated or wanted. You have to understand that he has no other spokesman. No one who has been willing to stand up in his behalf and take his defence.

I have the legal and moral responsibility to be his patron. He is a senior this year, and will be 18 on July 1st next summer. In a way I look forward to the point when I have no legal responsibility and can tell him that I no longer am required to put up with his BS.

I don't know what he thinks will happen when he graduates. The world is not waiting out there, wanting to meet his desires and needs, has no legal requirement to give him anything. The world basically doesn't give a shit if he lives or dies. OR YOU, OR ME.

The conflict between V and Mrs A is dificult for me. I need to take care of V, but in a lot of ways I would really like to just kick the crap out of him. Mrs A is much more of a controller than I am, but she is not wrong in expecting to be treated with respect. On one hand I have a legal responsibilty. On the other hand I have my heart, because I love Mrs A more than anything in this world.

Which lands me right in the middle of a situation I can in no way control.

As I told Mrs A the other day "No matter what I do, I'm F&(*ed".

Sunday, November 08, 2009


On Thursday while I was having my stitches pulled, Mrs A took The Matriarch in for her semi-annual poking and prodding. Earlier in the week, she had a spell when she got dizzy and kinda passed out for a short time. The doc checked her out and decided there was something a little "off" on her cardiograph, so he sent her to the Emergency Room.
Mrs A called me to let me know they were on their way to the hospital, so I jumped in the truck and met them there. We spent the next four hours with them running every test they could think of. First they were going to check her in for observation, then send her home, then check her in, then not.
After four hours they couldn't find anything wrong, so they sent her home.
We are taking care of "i" this weekend. He is a really enjoyable kid. With just enough mischief to make things interesting. It was R's birthday, and she wanted an evening out. Can't say I blame her. She has had to handle a lot over the last several months.
She got an early birthday present from the government. A $9,000.00 grant for education. She took some nursing courses earlier this year and had a 3.85 GPA. The grant is for her to continue and get her LPN. It's good to see her on a positive path.
Saturday was our other grandson's birthday, which they held at a bowling alley. I don't bowl, but it was "i"s chance to see some of his cousins. hate kiddie birthday parties, but at least there was a lounge. A double Tanqueray and Tonic took the edge off.
I believe we have an uncimmitted weekend next weekend. I owe Mrs A for being suck a good sport the last week or so, so I think a good dinner at The Olive Garden is in order.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

In Stitches

I get my stitches out of my mouth tomorrow. They have been driving me nuts. I know, short trip.
In fact I had one hanging down in my mouth that was especially bothersome. So when I got home I got out the cuticle scissors and took it out. The doctor will probably give me hell, but I don't care.
Monday they had to perform an emergency root canal, and put in a pin, then clean up the bridge and reinstall it.
Today is my Mom's83rd birthday. Happy birthday, mom. She now holds the record for the longest lived of her family line. Just think, every day is a new record. Here's too a long string of new records.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Post Halloween Decompression

I am not a big Halloween Fan. Not a Hallow-hater, not a Hallow-lover. I appreciate that it is a lot of fun for it's fans, and any chance for kids to let off a little steam and race around celebrating their childhood is fine with me. I don't get dressed up and party or anything.
R and "i" came over last night so I could see him in his first costume. She dressed him up as a little duck. Hardly what I would have chosen, but he really didn't care. They went around the block and got some candy, had a good time.
Because it was late when they got back, they spent the night, so we had a chance to visit today.
Nothing I like better than to have a grandkid around for a day. He ran around until he wore himself out, and crashed in the middle of the living room floor. We just threw a blanket over him and let him be. R had a chance to take a nap, something she seldom does. Normally when he goes down, it means she can go do things she has put off.
All in all, a very nice weekend.
Of course there is the other part.
We made egg rolls this weekend.
Before we started, we went out for lunch. During lunch, the permanent bridge on the upper left side of my mouth broke off. Nothing quite as disconcerting as having your teeth fall off during lunch. I am not a person that panics over any upset, so I just had them box up the rest of my lunch, and we went home and made the egg rolls. I put the bridge back in. but any time I tried to chew anything, it just fell back off.
I called my dentist at home, and we made an appointment for Monday morning first thing.
Sometimes I wish for a life where everything just goes along and your teeth don't fall out over lunch.