Friday, January 29, 2010

The Yah But Choir

Old Joke. Don't try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and it annoys the pig. A recent experience reinforces my joy in being retired from herding cats. Advice was asked for and given. The response was, "Yah, but that doesn't exactly apply here because.." Few things piss me off quicker. There have been occasions when I fired those uttering that phrase on the spot.

Here is the deal, sport. It is not my job to be an analytical engineer or lawyer and form a custom answer to account for every nit picking detail YOU can imagine. Your job is to take the information and YOU apply it to your silly little problem. The effort will allow you to more clearly understand your problem and take ownership (and responsibility) of the solution.

There is usually one of two motives on the part of the person asking advice. The first, rare, is a genuine quest for useful information. The more common reason is to set up an opportunity to bitch and moan; to transfer the problem to someone else; and to invite others to a "pity party".

In reviewing the above, once again the message is sugar coated and diluted. My apologies. That is a problem I need to work on.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Riding in a 2-8-8-2 Locomotive

Milepost 154 has some wonderful post and pictures of trains and riding trains. As an eight year old I had several rides in the cab of a Denver & Rio Grande 2-8-8-2 steam locomotive. These engines were used as "helpers" to push heavy freight trains up the grade from Hot Sulphur Springs, CO to the West Portal of the Moffat Tunnel at Winter Park, CO. They were based at Tabernash, CO which was once an important maintenance site. At the time, a roundhouse still existed.

My family lived in a house car and my father spent that summer as the foreman of a track crew. Most crew members were Navajos. There were no other children near my age in the area so I spent my days exploring all the engines and railroad equipment.

The engineers and firemen liked me and let me ride on their trips. I would come back badly needing a bath from the coal dust. There exists no greater thrill for an eight year old than blowing the steam whistle of one of those monsters at every crossing!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Romance and Business

The most hardcore auto repo man in the Denver area recently wanted my help. He was after a very high end SUV. The debtors workplace has controlled parking and they live in a gated community. My job was to wait outside the gated community in the evening hours. When the debtor drove away, I was to follow and call the repo man.

A delightful lady and I have been meeting for coffee and conversation. This job interfered with a "date" so I invited her to share an evening surveillance. She agreed. As luck would have it, the debtors left their community and we followed them to a shopping area with a four story parking garage.

The repo man soon arrived pulling a 18' goose neck trailer with a winch. Thankfully, he didn't ask me to maneuver the trailer. (See Watch Out!! May 10, 2009) In short order, the SUV was skidded onto the trailer, the repo man left, and I returned the lady to her car. An enjoyable evening; delightful company and money made!

Arriving the next morning to be paid, repo man said he would pay me extra if I could get the keys. This SUV has a complex ignition/security system and is very expensive to "re key". After reaching the debtor by phone, I asked for the return of all sets of keys in return for him retrieving his personal property. His initial response wasn't positive until I explained we had yet to force entry into the vehicle; it was still on the trailer. To protect ourselves, when we did force entry, an off duty police officer would be hired to inventory all the contents. Within two hours, the debtor arrived with all keys.

Moral of the story; Even if you are a big time mover and shaker - don't make the strokes, lose the spokes. Also, repo men have no obligation to be truthful.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Careful, Please

Recently encountered Officer Sweetheart (12/10/09 Compounding Irritation) and she gave me a nice friendly hello and a strong hug. Nice to see her but..........

Lady officers, please consider this. Your vest and gear has blunt edges. Giving someone a strong hug can leave a long lasting impression.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rough Weather Camping

Matt G at Better and Better has an entry about rough weather camping and scouting. My rough weather camping story is from the Army in Germany circa 1964.

We were at a rifle range for two days of qualification and had set up our 40 man platoon tents. I was sent back to our Kaserne on a mail run and, upon return, no spot was left to set up my cot. Rather than get in a fight or go whine to the platoon sergeant, I tossed my gear into the empty deuce and a half bed and went to sleep.

In the middle of the night, our bivouac was hit by a powerful storm that knocked down the tents and soaked everybody and everything. After viewing the ghastly scene from the dry comfort of the truck bed, it was back to sleep for old ish, despite all the noise and cussing.

Walking around the next morning in dry boots and wearing a dry uniform brought many unkind and/or vulgar remarks from my comrades. My responses. along the lines of being a well prepared, savvy trooper who should be emulated, only increased their displeasure. You just can't please some people.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Alcohol and Drugs Whine

With age comes wisdom, so the adage goes. Why then, at age 65, am I clueless in dealing with alcohol and drug use? Not myself, I quit alcohol in my early thirties for five years. Since then, no more than one of two drinks at a time. No drugs since my twenties. Dealing with others is my problem.

Substance abuse damage is everywhere in my life. Children, children's significant others, sibling's significant others, meth babies, cousins, ex wife, parent, neighbors, friends, and good friend's family members are all caught up in lifestyles involving alcohol and/or drugs. I am blessed that none have killed anyone or themselves with a vehicle. The financial costs are considerable. The emotional damage? Who knows, only that hurts are deep and long lasting.

During my many years in the retail automobile field, I worked for, with, and employed numerous drunks and dopers. I was rarely successful in doing much more than damage control with these individuals. In 2009, six men and one woman I've worked with died. All but one had alcohol and drug issues.

People have been abusing substances since prehistory and will continue long after I am gone. My need is to cope, without ripping my guts out, when it involves people I deeply care for. I continue to study and learn, to seek answers, and hope for wisdom.

End of the pity party. One thing I've learned that works, for me, is to get up every morning and put one foot in front of the other. Keep on trucking.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wings Over The Rockies

Visited this nice museum yesterday. Located in the surviving hanger at the closed Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, it has an interesting collection of aircraft and missiles, with a B-52 on display outside and a B1A inside. There is a room devoted to the Colorado Air Guard and their distinguished history. The Air Force Academy started at Lowry until their home was built near Colorado Springs. Another room shows that history. At lot of value for $10 if you are in the Denver area.

A warning to veterans who trained at Lowry; the urban "redevelopment" is butt ugly.