Friday, February 26, 2016

Autism and The Police

Rev. Paul, Way Up North, had a post that prompted this post.

My oldest son, now 46, has been autistic since birth. No good explanation as to why but his mother was in labor for 36 hours. He was in a transverse position. He has given me permission to relate some of his history.

Autism spans a broad range of behaviors and impairments. In his case it seemed his brain didn’t process stimuli in real time – always with a noticeable delay.

Our first interaction with the police was at a department store in Salt Lake City. We turned around and he was gone. Two police officers showed up and helped search. Two hours later a clerk discovered him among the shelves under a display island. He hated going into stores. I had a pair of ear protectors he latched onto and wanted to wear them. We indulged him and he was happy to go into stores so long as he was wearing them. Seems the florescent lights made a noise he could hear and was painful.

Fast forward to his teen years. With the help of some gifted and dedicated Special Ed teachers he was able to function fairly well in school (still special ed) and society. Around age 16 he started demanding money from his mother. She told him no. He then tried to rob a tavern.

He entered the back door of a tavern one night armed with a marshmallow  stick and demanded money. The police were called. When they entered the back door, he let out a screech and charged them.  They wrestled him to the ground, handcuffed him, and took him to the police station. I was called and went down. The two officers were visibly nervous as they explained the situation to me. He was fairly well scuffed up. They relaxed after I thanked them for their professionalism in not shooting him. Even though he is only 5’4” and 135 lbs, charging two police officers with a “weapon” in dim light is a recipe for disaster. They let me take him home where I was able to learn his motivation.

Seems he “owed” some drug dealer money and the dealer was threatening him. He was robbing the tavern to get money to pay the dealer because his mother wouldn’t give it to him.  I found out where he was to make payment and a description of the dealer. I showed up in his place. The meeting did not go well for the drug dealer.

Now 21, he had a job in the deli section of an upscale grocery store in Bellevue, WA. One morning he stepped off the bus and was hit by a bicyclist. They went head to head. In the weeks following he went back to zero. The road to recovery was rocky. We did extract enough money from the bicyclist’s insurance company to find a condo for him and purchase it. Then came his knight in shining armor period.

Seems one of his friends claimed she was raped. My son went to the “rapist’s” door armed with a butter knife to do who knows what. My son got punched, the police were called, and my son was arrested.  Some butthead Assistant District Attorney laid attempted murder with a deadly weapon and other charges and got bail set at $300,000. He spent the next four months in the King County (WA) jail awaiting trial. Here is where professionalism came into play. The correctional officers kept him safe. It wasn’t pleasant for him but it could have been a nightmare. When his case finally went in front of a judge, she tossed the whole case and spent ten minutes publicly berating the ADA.

From jail he went to a mental health facility for a year and then to a less restrictive placement where he remains. He works in the kitchen and has a part time job selling an alternative newspaper outside a coffee shop in the Seattle Fremont district.

He has had interactions with law enforcement over the years, mainly positive. Once two street hustlers got his bank card from him. He went to his bank and they called the police. He made a big hit with the investigators when he gave them a stick figure drawing of the suspects to help identify them. A less positive experience was being robbed of his leather coat and luggage in the Chicago Amtrak station while a police officer was in the area and didn’t intercede. Of well, Chicago where you need to pay to play.

I truly appreciate the police officer that have been involved with my son (and his siblings, another story for another time). They have been professional, compassionate, and caring. They deal with human misery and dysfunction at a level most of us will never, thankfully, experience.

Please don’t feel “sorry” for me as the parent. Life isn’t always fair. I get up every day and start putting one foot in front of the other. Somehow it usually works out. Feeling sorry for yourself just makes you sorry,  and a burden on those around you. YMMV

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Let's Drive through Colorado, It Will Be Fun (Update)

Back when Interstate routes were being decided in Colorado the fight was the US 6 route with a tunnel(s) or US 40 with a tunnel.  The ski resorts, especially Aspen, favored US 6 which won out. Unfortunately that meant building a highway above Georgetown then through Glenwood Canyon and DeBeque Canyon, home to some of the most unstable rock to be found in the state. A tunnel under the Continental Divide on the US 40 route was feasible with known risks thanks to the Moffat Tunnel and another tunnel pushed through by the GODDAMNDENVERWATERBOARD (yes, one word to the Western Slope residents).

The point of the preceding paragraph is this; Glenwood Canyon is closed once again due to mammoth rock falls. This is almost a yearly occurrence. The Interstate has been closed for a week with no opening in sight. Once it does open many weeks will pass before it is more than one lane for both directions with pilot cars.

Bitch of a detour. Rifle to Craig on Colorado 13, all two lanes with few places to pass.  At this time of year the area has huge deer and elk populations crossing the road. From Craig it is US 40 via Steamboat Springs. East of Steamboat Springs you can decide to take Colorado 131 through Oak Creek, Phippsburg, Yampa, Toponas, McCoy and Bond to Wolcott Junction and back on Interstate 70, about a 113 mile detour. Or you can stay on US 40 and join Interstate 70 below Georgetown. You have the thrill of Rabbits Ears Pass, Muddy Pass, and Berthoud Pass. This route also has eight miles of Byers Canyon West of Hot Sulphur Springs, a 35 mph two lane, no guardrails,  section of US 40. While large rock falls are rare, small ones are frequent. Nasty little surprise for you as you exit one of the sharp corners.

None of the roads on this detour are adequate for heavy traffic. Many drivers have never faced these kinds of roads, especially in winter. While paved, most have no shoulders and follow what were stage coach routes. All the small towns have 25 mph speed limits. The two big towns, Craig and Steamboat Springs, have never mastered synchronized traffic signals.

If your travel plans are to/from Las Vegas or Southern California, this would be a good time to see Arizona and New Mexico. To the North, Interstate 80 is your best option.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Nebraska Byways

Headed South out of Scottsbluff on Highway 71 you go over Wildcat Hills. Just before you start up, there is an interesting byway. The road goes back just a few miles before it dead ends. Today I had some time and the road was dry for the first time in weeks.

Imagine you are headed North to Scottsbluff on a stagecoach. If you have ever ridden in one, you know they are not noted for smoothness and comfort. Finally, you sight the end

of your trip.

The driver starts down the hill.

Sure is pretty.

Thanks to Ami Mental for the idea for this post.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


How I envy and admire bloggers who post daily or even regularly. No inspiration here.

Sometimes I see something that might make a blog. As an example, a pick and pull auto salvage yard owner is a model hobbyist. The office areas have display cases filled with museum quality military aircraft and ship models. Who would expect to find something like that?

So, my apologies for the lack of posts. Be assured I enjoy reading yours.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Another Grumpy Old Man Rant

Being unable or unwilling to do tasks I once did, I’ve turned to Craigslist. Damn frustrating.

First, the bad spelling and grammar. If the poster isn’t bright enough to post something coherent and spelled properly I am loath to hire them.

This may reflect the quality of our educational system and probably does. Still, there are spell check programs or girlfriends.

Second, the lack of follow up. “Let me get back to you with a quote”. Never hear from them.

Third, the over promise, under perform issue. Seeking a part payment (or full) for work not completed.

In the end, it is what it is, and I deal with it. Still, it pisses me off that people take such little pride in what they do. Do they ever think through why the world is so hard?

Secret Service and The Lightbringer

What happens when leaders aren’t respected by their subordinates? Often the subordinates go rouge. Consider the Secret Service. Fairly high opinion held by the public. With the Lightbringer in office that has changed.

Not to mention leaking details about a Congressman’s earlier application to join them.

My guess is the agent despises Obama and his crew. They will physically protect his ass but have such low morale that when temptations come around, they say, “Fuck it, let’s go for it”.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Helicopter Ride

Going back thirty five years thanks to a memory sparked by Greybeard.

My middle son at age five was fascinated by airplanes and helicopters. One day he was riding with me as we passed by a parking lot where a man was giving rides in a Hughes 300. My son got really excited so we went for a ride (probably 20 minutes). Everything was cool until we lifted off. He took in a deep, gasping breath as the ground fell away but soon settled down and enjoyed the ride.

When I’m in a general aviation airplane, pilot or passenger, my head is on a swivel. Just a habit my first instructor implanted in me. Look left, up and down. Look front up and down. Look at the instruments. Look right, up and down. Repeat. The pilot noticed this and finally leaned over (no intercom) and shouted, “I’ve been doing this for a while and have never had a RPG come my way”.

Having never been in Viet Nam, I have no way of knowing if my behavior was normal over there.

The kid enjoyed the ride and the pilot had customers waiting so I was never able to clear up his misconception.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


The story says "single engine" airplane. Um, no.

Looks like his gear is up. Belly landing on grass makes more sense. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Bitch and Moan

Tough start for the month. Everyday on our route something is closed. I-76 in Northeast Colorado. I-25 Cheyenne to Wheatland. My shift, Monday to Wednesday was three 14 hour days. 

Paul, who works Thursday to Saturday, is facing the same conditions. Black ice and blowing snow makes for a long day.

Had my first off road excursion in many years Tuesday. Asshole darted across the highway. Missed him but spun out into the median. Took out a delineator.

Two oilfield men stopped, got out a tow strap, and pulled me out. Got to love Wyoming people. Maybe karma for all the people I've pulled out over the years.

Wallowing around in the snow with a shovel, and crawling around in the snow finding a place to tie the tow rope, makes me realize I'm too fucking old for this shit. Developed a touch of a chest cold.

Maybe someday I will grow up, ya think?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My Sister

Puts this on my FB page. Can't get angry; it is dead on the mark.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Earning My Daily Bread (Three Days a Week)

Kind of a rambling and perhaps pointless blog entry. You have been warned.

The large winter storm moving through the area is more towards the South of us but the fringe is still hitting us hard. Crappy cell phone snaps, please bear with me. This morning around 0430. 40 mph in a 80 mph zone.

There were many of these out working. Not supposed to pass one but I don't have time to follow one at 40 mph.
 Then there are these signs on 78 miles of road I must travel.

And damn little after 5 am.

South of Kimball, NE. Highway 71. Strange day - the wind was from the East. Hold my beer moment when a jackass trucker missed his turn, stopped dead, then started backing up. Prius vs 53' trailer? Didn't like those odds. 

Something to make a car collector cry. Scottsbluff NE. 57' Chevy convertible.

The place has cabbage burgers but not at 0900 when I gas up.

486 miles, and I get to do it tomorrow and Wednesday. The wind wasn't bad today but the forecast for tomorrow is for worse weather.

The man who drives Wed to Saturday spent 40 years driving big rigs in 49 States and most Provinces.  We are two old silver-backs but have the jobs because we are "seasoned". The other "kids" want our routes. Not happening. Our routes are the branch's most lucrative and for the most demanding client. The managers leave us alone and the job gets done every day no matter what the weather throws at us.

I'm nearly finished paying off the deductibles and co pays on the pacemaker but think I will keep the job until summer or I win the lottery.