Tuesday, December 31, 2013
My kids have each advanced another year in age and although it was not a year of particular repute it was still none the less memorable. I got to see my son play his first hockey game. Spent the month of December at home which meant I was able to spend time with my three year old daughter during the day while the boys and the oldest daughter were in school.
I started this blog so I would have a way of not only getting my own thoughts out but also to leave a written accord of my trials and lifes journey for my kids to someday read. Then there is the book I've started which is better than the first book I started and hopefully I will finish it. whether or not it sees the light of day is another matter altogether.
Professionally I was eschewed and impugned. But in the end it was probably for the better. My travels again sent me to the deep south of Arkansas and Louisiana and Texas. I garnered no new skills but did manage to sharpen the ones I do have.
My wife and I saw the passing of 10 years of marriage go by with 11 just around the corner.
You know I must say I do not find the yearly accounting of ones life to be all that interesting to me. So I can assume no one would find this one to be all that interesting either.
On Sunday I will begin the juggernaut of travel take flight again. I will return to the scene of the crime. Which is Dallas Tx.
Mostly this entry is a lot to do about nothing really more of just an exercise for me to get the ink rolling through my fingers. For the last couple of weeks I have been writing a book. And because of the public nature of this blog I am not at liberty to divulge the details of what it is all about.
The clock sits at 11:30. Which means the end of the year is imminent. What will 2014 bring? who is to say other than the blessing of another year. I hope many things this year not the least of which is to be a better father and husband. To trim down and be little healthier.
The Year of the Pen is a good title and a better indication of where it is I am striving for.
Oh the other thing that came to pass this year is my new found fondness for red blended wine. Or the Malbec wines.
I will say this I am ready for winter to pass and summer to return I am already tired of the below 0 temperatures and the snow and wind.
Rickets I have the hiccups and have had them all day. I can't seem to get rid of them! The worst thing about the hiccups is not trying to get rid of them but rather trying to figure out how you got them in the first place.
Oh well since this post was nothing more than an empty attempt to get one last blog in before the stroke of midnight and i have a good 15 minutes to go before the gong of a new year I will sign off for now so that I can go and corner the missus and bring in the new year good and proper. Nothing worse than to start off a new year bollocked.
So a toast to a new year with new blogs and new things. Out with the trash of yesterday and in with what is to be garbage tomorrow.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Friday, August 30, 2013
3am on a Friday morning I leave the hotel on the south side of Little Rock and head down to my car. As I pass the
As I find myself standing in front of her with my suitcase beside me and a computer bag on my shoulders, she asks me "are you checking out"?
"Please". I say
I give her my room number and she thumbs through a stack of checkout slips in front of her. As she gets to the bottom of the pile her brow creases and a sturdy frown encompasses her face. As she looks back up at me the frown dissipates like smoke. A smile that never reaches her eyes greets me when we are again eye to eye.
"214"? She asks me again.
I nod and as her head drops I see the smile drop without hesitation and the frown take over her features. Her body language begins to take on a more aggressive appearance. Her hands no longer paging casually through the stack of paper in front of her. Her legs while crossed when she began now uncross and her shoulders square up to the desk. Halfway through her second pass she finds my checkout slip and her instant, aggressive demeanor falls away and becomes more feminine and languid as she hands me the checkout slip.
"Here you go, " she says.
Outside the air is close and confining. The heat of the August day is rising from the black asphalt like an outdoor convection oven. A light breeze from the north pushing the heat past me, but doing little to dissipate the claustrophobic humidity. The humidity is close and so oppressive it gives off the smell of an eminent afternoon rain shower.
My gaze drifts skyward looking for the telltale signs of rain. But the moonless sky is clear. Pinpoints of distant stars protruding from the heavens like the light from a distant lighthouse. Near 30000 feet I see the unmistakable blinking lights of a plane soaring across the heavens.
I put my bags in the trunk and set out for a 24hr Fedex store just a few miles away. Frequent travel has taught me the valuable lesson of not checking bags. I have plenty of time for this stop. My flight leaves in 6 hours and with the shortstop for luggage drop off and a gas station top off I will get the Memphis in plenty of time.
30 minutes later, my chariot is pointed East towards Tennessee. I like this time of night. Seeing the sun beginning its ascent into the sky always gives the feeling of being reborn. Its now 4am and traffic is light, mostly truck drivers.
With the window down and the radio turned up I listen to blues and jazz. My mind begins to clear and I start to come down off of the stress from the past week.
The miles roll by and time becomes distant. The dark sky keeps me in a cocoon of timelessness. Before long the first 100 miles are behind me and yet I feel as if I just left Little Rock. The lights of roadside distractions come and go. The radio plays on and every song feels like it is the first.
At 5:30 the horizon begins to transform from an endless black horizon to the amber beginnings of daybreak. And before I know it amber turns to first traces of a yellow sky. I start to see features on the horizon the night sky had blanketed in a cocoon of inky blackness.
Somehow another 100 miles have fallen behind me and the morning sky has given way to full daylight. The egg and hammers have now joined the trucks and state patrol vehicles.
And just like that I have traveled in time to another land the 200 miles behind me feeling like it was never there.
You can't beat time travel in the dark.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Sunday, July 21, 2013
The stench is overpowering and the need to vomit or seek immediate ventilation is a truly a primitive survival like urge. What possesses someone to piss inside of an elevator that has glass windows facing the sun during the heat of the day, in the middle of June?
The first lesson of a road warrior is never ever park your car in the parking garage next to the police station. The reason is fairly obvious. The second is never to ride elevators with glass windows in the summer.
When you park near a cop shop the customers whom they serve inevitably come out with desires that range from immediate revenge to a good scrubbing down in a hot shower.
And because it's a tough call as to which way they are leaning it should always be your policy to avoid parking in garages near penal institutions and then of course to never get into elevators located in the same garages.
You know now that I think about it this level of sage advise probably has a monetary value attached to it. Perhaps I should write the great American Road Warrior novel first and then dispense this advice on Oprah or the AC360.
This is how I find myself stepping into the elevator in downtown Rock Island IL. Normally I would have heaved my largess down the ramp, but I had in tow, my suitcase, tools, computer and cpap machine. As the doors parted and the wafting odor of baked in urine hit me in the face and would not relent. I hold my breath for the ride to the street, but alas was forced to exhale and take in a lung full of nefarious urine gas. If I were to forgo one of the five senses for life at this moment it would have to be smell. I really want to wretch into a garbage can but pride and the knowledge of the order it brings prevents me from expelling the contents of my stomach inside this elevator.
Right now at this minute I would love to have someone who romanticizes the occupation of world traveler inside this elevator. Because at this moment I would be screaming "how romantic is it now"!!!
The third role of my novel would have to be the last minute flight. There are a few things that bother the road warrior than having to drop everything and pack your bag because you have been summoned to the far reaches of this country or the globe.
When you travel you have so much energy stored for the flight out and the flight back. Because the rest of your store is saved up for the job that week. People who don't travel for a living don't understand how draining air travel is. The flight itself is not that bad, except for the cramped space, recycled air, 2oz cups for liquids (1.5oz's of which contain ice) and the bags of peanuts containing 6 peanuts. But everything that leads up to the flight is very taxing. First, there is the repacking of everything, then there is the drive to the airport hours before the flight and the return of the rental car and the checking in and least but not least the feeling conveyed by the TSA you are a criminal for just showing up at the airport.
Then when you get off the plane there is a moment where you are disoriented. It takes a few beats for you to orientate yourself to being on the ground again, but more importantly, it's the recognition of not being in the same surroundings you were when you got on the plane.
Now its off to baggage and then the ride or sometimes the walk to the rental car counter. All of which takes a bit of getting used to. Even if its an airport you are familiar with and have spent many hours in. It's at this moment your defenses come up. And you ramp up your energy because in order to make it through the next several days you have to operate at a level that is not normal or natural.
Last minute flights suck and urine soaked elevators should be reserved as a form of enhanced interrogations. There is not a better way to put it.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
The best thing about spring is not only the change in colors but the signaling of a new season fast approaching. The winter chill hanging around has started to give way to warmer air.
It gives you the feeling of a phoenix rising from the ashes of a frozen tundra. People in general seem to be more upbeat. Friendly and less dower.
There is an expectation of good things just around the corner. You feel lighter and happier. The sky has a blueness to it that seems dampened during the winter months. A heaviness that just permeates everything and everyone.
Maybe its because of the bundled clothing. Your closed off and separated from your surroundings. Unwilling to allow yourself to feel connected to anyone or anything. Or maybe its because during the winter months the cold keeps us locked away.
I know for me the spring and summer months are when I feel the most alive and open and ready for new things.
When the thermometer starts getting above 70 the windows come down in the car. The tunes get turned up. A smile comes more easily.
Ah Spring looking forward to just having a break from the winter blues. Mow the grass water the lawn and just send some quality time with my kids and the wife.
Kinda short today but its late and I'm tired.
Starting to work nights now which means I will be missing the great sunshine of spring. It's the downside of what I do. giving up the day time in order to earn a living at night. The graveyard or vampire hours are the worst.
You spend days in bed sleeping and your u all night working. Its great for getting the week to fly by but not so much if your at home.
Also this week my Bluetooth antenna died on my phone this week. Nothing makes you feel more stupid than when your dealing with a smart phone. Also its a sad state when I have to get a new replacement phone and then spend a large amount of time getting it back up and working .
Ugh I'm tired and been up all night. Try this again later.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
As time has went on the advent of satellite radio. But you had to be in a Ford branded radio to get it and then later your choices doubled because you could also get it in a Chevy brand.
There was stil the option of regular radio and then as cassette tapes were on their way out you could listen to CD's.
Now you have MP3 players on your phone. Internet radio on your phone and also the aforementioned satellite radio in the car or on your phone.
CD's have went the way of the dodo bird. Which is a good thing because tapes and CD's take up space. and they weigh a ton when packed into your carry on or in your checked luggage.
Which reminds me you also have books that come on your phone or tablet. So now when packing your bag you no longer have to make room for paperback or hard cover books.
This is definitely a case where technology is a great thing. I listen to 3 different pod casts on a regular basis. Adam Carolla, Jay Mohr and Marc Maron. I also have only the music I want to listen to downloaded on both my phone and tablet.
I carry around 3 digital books at all times. I also have a subscription to XM / Sirius radio. I now have more content to pass the time than I have time to listen or watch. And speaking of watching when I started to run the road if you missed an episode of your favorite program well thems the breaks kid. But now with Hulu and Netflix all of my programs are right there whenever I want to watch them.
And here is one better for you. I can video chat with the wife and kids whenever I want to. Gone are the days when only the sound of a voice was all you had.
I play words with friends all the time with people scattered all over the country. And of course there's facebook and twitter for that immediate connection.
Here's something crazy. When I was in the Navy you only had the written word to keep you connected to family and friends. Today I understand they have email and a internet connection to keep them connected while they are at sea. How crazy is that??
I'm still holding out for the flying cars. Speaking of cars. Used to be I kept a truckers atlas beside me at all times to get from one place to the other. Now I have a GPS that fits in my pocket for all of my navigation needs. And if for some reason that either fails or I don't have access to it there is always Google Maps to keep me on the straight and narrow.
Yesterday I picked up another pair of Bluetooth headphones. Several of my peers have this brand made by LG. It doubles as a music headset as well as a telephonic headset. Battery lasts for 15 hours and I wear both earbuds so I get that stereo affect when I'm on the phone and the best part is no matter how nosy it is the background stuff is filtered out. Love it.
Now when I write the great American Road Warrior manual I'm going to include a chapter on both content for long drives but also for air travel. I'm also going to include information on the best headsets to carry and Apps for the road. It's a must if your going to run the road a lot.
I'm also going to include a chapter on luggage. Now tell me how it is that FedEx can ship my tools and luggage all over the world and never breaks a handle or a wheel. But if I give it to the airlines guaranteed if I have to check it more than 3 times I'm going to get a bag back that is voided of zippers, wheels and handles.
Give you an example. When I started traveling I was buying luggage on an average of twice a year. Now it never mattered how expensive it was or who made. In fact I came up with the bright idea of trading in my softsided luggage for a clam shell hard shell. Daring the airlines to break this one. First trip out I get it back with a golf ball size hole in the middle of it and both wheels missing.
When I went to ticket counter and complained I got the "sir its normal wear and tear and we don't cover any of those defects"
SO I moved up to a 1650 pelican case. It made it about a year before I got it back with a defect. The defect was the handle on the side. Now if your not familiar with pelican you should be. Although its not sexy (pretty much comes in black) the special ops guys use it as does NASA and major outfits that need luggage that is very sturdy. Its waterproof, fire proof and the handles and wheels are attached with 2in thick reinforced hardened plastic like rubber. It is the bag you should always use for air travel.
BUT I got MINE back from Delta with the handle cleaved completely off. It looked like someone had taken a laser to it and the right wheel had been literally carved out.
Now I ask you what the Fuck are they doing to destroy this piece of luggage? And when I showed my now destroyed bag to the airline all I got was a shrug and a "sir its normal wear and tear". And That was delivered with a straight face.
Name me another industry that gets away with this kind of nonsense??
You just want to go across the counter and beat the shit out of someone. Or at the very least smack that complete indifferent look off their face.
I'm starting a 12 day stint out here in wonderful AR. The best thing to say is its getting warmer. Plus I have had great mexican food everyday.
And since we are now minus one dog the hunt for another one is in full swing. We like the Boxer breed and are looking for a pup to replace the one who had to be put down over the weekend. I miss him I do and when I was at home this weekend I found myself looking for him. Its sad but like they say at least he's not suffering anymore.
Speaking of chapters to be written in my great American Road novel I'm also going to include a chapter on rental cars. It is my opinion the heated seat is the single greatest invention ever!! I live that heated seat a lot. to the point I really don't need the heater on. The drawback is it makes you a wee bit sleepy at times.
Not a lot to ponder today but tomorrow I'm going to write about guns, sequester and the media plus a spattering of our defunct political system.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Its starts as an innocent trip to the vet. You know something is wrong. You know it could be serious. But you tell yourself your pet will be fine. I mean he's been with you as a part of your family for the last 10 years. Deep down though you suspect it could be a lot worse than just old age. The lethargy and distended belly speak volumes as to how bad it could be. But the real tip off is his attitude. You raised him since he was a puppy. Since the day he was wrapped up in a blanket to protect him from the cold he has always had a personality that was as unique as anybody I've known
Curious and energetic crossed with an intelligence and a spark of life in his eyes giving him an almost intangible human like quality. Indian Hills Judd was more than a boxer. He was a part of the family.
But we as humans treat our puppies like people which is why we become so attached to them in the first place. They become our defacto kids, confidants, witnesses to our fallacies and our victories. Comforting in our time of grief.
A cancerous tumor had worked its way around the main artery that feeds his heart. The vet saying it was both inoperable and so large in size that putting him down was the only real humane option he had. What led us to his office in the first place really was the distended belly.
A tumor we were to find out that had burst and as dumping blood into his belly. Because it was an anti coagulant type of tumor the bleeding would never stop.
When he went into surgery he had a 1 in 3 chance of survival. the one chance being the tumor was isolated to one location and was not cancerous. So we knew going in his odds were slim at best. But hearing the news the next day didn't make it any easier.
the hardest part was my wife and I knew was still to come. We were going to have to break the news to our kids. Which as it turned at would be harder on us than it was on them.
When we told them there comments were "at least we still have 2 dogs". Who knew in a moment of trial our little kids would be the source of strength we would be able to draw from.
R.I.P to our beloved Judd.. You will be missed dearly. And Judd could you watch over Bogie?? We love and miss you.