Sunday, December 30, 2018

Looking Forward

The part time job of delivering mortgage delinquency letters I’ve written about in a previous blog has some interesting twists and turns.

Recently I was able to help a couple sort out an administrative nightmare. Seems their mortgage has been sold twice within a month and now they are getting dunned by two different companies. The couple is totally frustrated. They have the money to bring their account up to date; they just don’t know who to pay and are sitting on the money until they clearly know who holds the mortgage. I don’t blame them.

My youngest son, 100% disabled Army vet, still has kids to raise with all that implies including braces for growing teeth. I suggested he consider doing what I am doing. Long story short, my employer has signed him up and are giving him a ton of work.

I’m grateful. He is a worker, always has been from his early teens, and cannot work a regular job. He has days when he has mobility issues. The job allows him to work his own schedule, within reason, and on his good days he gets a lot done. I hear a much better tone of voice when we talk on the cell, more upbeat, without the undertone of depression. He is so damn tough it breaks my heart when I know he is struggling.

I may abandon the COLOEXIT plan. A tax credit scheme 62+ senior complex is near completion in my town. I’m 98% accepted. The anti government part of me is screaming, “You hypocrite”, for becoming involved in a semi-socialist scheme. Another part of me says, “Son, you have been, and continue to this day, paying income taxes for 61 years. Time you got some back”.

(The husband of the recently defeated Senator from MO has profited greatly selling these tax credits.)

All residents of the 200 unit complex are over 62. The majority are women. I’m single. Possibilities????

If this doesn’t work out, the COLOEXIT plan can be restarted.

Looking forward, those I care about have their health, jobs, and a roof over their head. Can’t ask for more.

Here is wishing all reader a happy and prosperous 2019.

Thursday, December 27, 2018


Railfans may find some interest in this post. Others might want to skip it.

Locomotive manufacturing in the USA is in sorry shape, IMO, but Siemens, the German conglomerate, builds locomotives in Sacramento. Recently they secured an Amtrak order.

I grew up along the tracks. For ten years my father worked for the Denver and Rio Grande maintaining tracks. I tried to watch the three passenger trains the D&RG ran daily, the California Zephyr, 

the Prospector (Denver to Salt Lake City)

 and the Yampa Valley Mail (Denver to Craig).

 Seeing them was exciting to a growing lad.

 As an employee, my father could get “passes” at greatly reduced prices. My mother and I made several trips to Denver on the Yampa Valley Mail from the various towns we lived in.

I’m happy to see the new Amtrak units will be A/C instead of D/C. Tesla was right and Edison wrong.


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Wall Job

Greybeard has a post up about shade-tree mechanics that brings to mind several stories. This is one.

In the dark ages car repair emporiums would perform “wall jobs”. You left your car. The ‘mechanic’ would add some high octane gasoline, take the vehicle for a hard, high revving drive, blow the carbon out of the engine, and park it next to a wall. Two days later the customer could pick the vehicle up (after paying an inflated bill).

The wife and I traded in her Volvo P1800 she had before we married for a Renault 16. Car seats and new babies don’t work with a sports coupe. The R 16 worked well for us until we moved to Ogden, UT. The dealer there was a thief. 

After the 2nd large bill, before the car went in again, I spent thirty minutes or so making small marks on bolt heads and block. Sure enough when I picked up the car, all the marks were in place indicating they hadn’t moved anything. A classic “wall job”.  Then my wife informed me she had received two calls from the owner that she felt were unrelated to the work on the car. She found the calls to be “flirtatious”. 

Caution: Don’t fuck with a Norwegian woman’s money. We had a conversation with the owner ending with him bouncing off the wall of his showroom. Someone called  the police.

Being a prominent member of the LDS Church, the owner decided he wanted the whole episode to just go away. All moneys spent at his business were refunded then and there.
Our son by that time was walking and the Renault was traded in on a Dodge Charger (at a different dealer). I thought a 2 door wasn’t the best choice but the ‘yes dear’ factor was a large influence on that decision. 

She didn’t like our International Travelall 4x4 with a 4 speed. I didn’t understand that. I mean, she was 5’4” and the seat went far enough forward for her to reach the pedals. Plus, it had power steering. What’s not to like?

Thinking back, that Renault was a bitch to work on. The metal was soft and you needed to careful not to over torque bolts. The ride was wonderful, great fuel economy, and it went well in snow. We purchased it at a huge discount given the trade allowance they gave us on the Volvo. The Volvo was a huge money pit – I was glad to see it go away. I worked on the Renault two times a year. The Volvo, once a month.
If you appreciate reliable vehicles avoid European cars. Leading the list are Italian, British, French, Swede, and German. YMMV. I believe I have some creditability because at some point I’ve owned all.

Getting back to the shade-tree part, maybe it was the mechanic and not the car.

Seat Belts

You can’t fix stupid, as the saying goes. What about willful ignorance? Maybe a slap alongside the head from abuela’s chancla might work.

Once again hard knowledge from someone who knows.

Look here! If you don’t care about your own life, have some consideration for the first responders. Much easier for them to extract your intact carcass from the wreck than picking up your scattered body parts or spilled intestines, don’t you agree?

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Christmas Tree Story

Old NFO has a Christmas Tree post which sparked a sixty+ year old memory of how my parents found some lifelong friends in a small town where we had just moved.

My dad was managing an ice house in Rollinsville, CO. That was in the days before home refrigerators were common. The Estes Ice Company had a dam on Coal Creek and a large four story warehouse. Blocks of ice would be cut out of the frozen reservoir, stored in the warehouse, and shipped by rail to Denver where ice was delivered to homes and businesses.

My Dad and I climbed a steep hill looking for the right Christmas tree. He cut one down and ‘we’ dragged it down to the road. He left it there and we went back to the house for the truck. When we came back the tree was gone!

The next night my parents went into town to the Stage Stop. There, nicely decorated, was ‘our’ tree.

Seems Mike and Vera Neal were driving down the road, saw the tree, picked it up and delivered it to the Stage Stop. From that awkward start, the Neals became lifelong friends and godparents to my sister who came along a few years later.

Mike and Vera were childless pensioners who had spent most of their lives in Central City when it was still a rip roaring mining town. Both had previous marriages. They were lifelong staunch Republicans and had a framed picture of President Eisenhawer with signature prominently displayed in their living room.

Both were walking history books about Gilpin County and were fine raconteurs. They had a house off the upper Moon Gulch road that was a challenge to reach in the winter. We had many a Sunday dinner there.

Old NFO has a picture of an aluminum Christmas tree. I heartily approve. Growing up in rural areas with little or no fire protection we lived with a constant awareness of fire danger. I have an early childhood memory from Rollinsville of watching a family in their night clothes standing in snow and watching everything they owned going up in flames.

Raising my own family, we always had an artificial tree for just that reason.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm

Rarely do I look at  the blog stats. Many bloggers get more visits in a day than I do in a month. What surprises me is the traffic sources that come from porn sites.

Now I admit I enjoy the female form but am not much of a spectator. If all porn were to vanish from the internet tomorrow I wouldn't be disturbed. Oh well, maybe it is my use of vernacular that triggers their search engines.

Don't seem to have much of an international audience. Since I'm basically xenophobic I couldn't give a rats ass.

Maybe in a month or so I will go back and look at this again.  

Monday, December 17, 2018

Bean Counters

A car story with a dash of bashing bean counters.

2003 found me working for an aggressive car dealer, Steve, a rodeo bull rider, who was a cinch short of a roping saddle.
We had gone from a two lot operation focused on used pickups, stock and utility trailers and occasional livestock to adding a Kia dealership. At one point we had three Kia stores.

Steve got it in his mind to have offsite sales. Colorado regulations allowed up to five days. He had a motor home taken in trade he wanted to use for a mobile office. He hired a man with “experience” and the first sale was a near disaster. For my sins, he and the General Manager decided to put me in charge of the program, the “Roadshow” as it was called.

The challenge intrigued me. My one demand was no one could dispute my decisions. Only Steve, the owner, and the General Manager could counter my decisions. That took two days to resolve but I prevailed. Of course, I was expected to account for all expenditures. No problem.

Steve’s instructions were straightforward.

“Do it right, do it legal, don’t cut corners”.

Man of his word. In the next three years we held about 60 sales in 18 different Colorado towns. I spent north of two million of his dollars. In that time we probably talked less than two hours. All he wanted from me was, “It’s handled or, It’s not handled because….”

Now to the bean counter part. Our pace was two to three sales a month. I would hit a town, find a space to rent, arrange telephone service, arrange advertising, and reserve motel rooms. This placed a great deal of stress on the accounting side of the business as I needed to move fast. At our home store this was no problem. At our Grand Junction store we had a person who got outside her lane, questioning everything I did and slow walking the money.

Had a short meeting with Steve.

Me. “I’m supposed to be working for you. Right now I’ve got $8,000 of my own money invested in your business because your bitch running the books won’t cut the checks – thinks I have to get her approval first”.

Steve, with a grin. “I like that, your money in my business”.

Shortly he defined her lane. As the conversation was reported to me,

Steve. “Who’s fucking name is on this business?”

Her. “Yours.”

Steve. “Then who are your to question my instructions to the Tank? The Roadshow is another store and he is the General Manager.”

Should say at the home store as I entered accounting with a fist full of check requests Shirley would greet me with,

“No! Get the fuck out of here with your bullshit!”

She loved me! Always got my checks done within an hour.

After three years of the Roadshow we shut down. The Kia incentives dried up. Steve had me find used car locations. At one point we had five used car stores. I “supervised” the managers, i.e, herded the cats.

I ended up doing all kinds of weird stuff for Steve. He liked me because I always got the job done, and I never failed to account for every penny. He didn’t like that I could piss off half the state getting the job done but he always had my back.

He had a strong friendship with the President of Kia America who bought control of a remanufactured engine company when he left Kia. Got Steve involved in pumping up sales. Yah, guess who Steve put in charge of that!

Steve finally crashed and burned. Had to start all over. He is still out there plugging away and fishing. The man lives to go fishing.

Keeping a business on track from the financing side is a thankless task. I have the greatest respect for those who do it well. It is when they decide they also need to have control over other parts of the business that we part ways.

Sunday, December 16, 2018


From the local rag. Good job by the deputies. The driver is someone we had dealings with a few years ago in the car biz.

His companions seem to be well on the road to a life of crime at a rather tender age.

Reminds me of another individual from the car biz who violated a restraining order by damaging his former finance’s car parked by a security camera. Got to love that video evidence if you are a prosecutor.

And on an otherwise dull Sunday, there was a stabbing at the local Goodwill store. No details. What is so valuable at a Goodwill store worth a knife fight?

Saturday I was once again reminded how much I respect big rig drivers. 60+ mph wind gusts along I-25 and I-80 in Wyoming. The company Yaris was quite lively. Coffee got lukewarm in the cup holder – two hands on the wheel drive.

Received a notice from the management company they are raising my lease 27% in February. COLOEXIT is looking more attractive by the day.

Friday, December 14, 2018


How I envy those bloggers that come up with something to write and publish that is of interest most days. Not happening here.

Most recent excitement? Employer's Christmas party. Came away with a bottle of wine.

The local rag is fixated on the monster who offed his family and has something every day on the case. Tiresome. The DOJ moved him out of state after his guilty plea. Didn't think he would survive in a Colorado prison.

People crashing their vehicles while not wearing seat belts continues. Damn fools.

Stay safe.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Antifa Sex

Looking at video of Antifa protesters I see many physically unattractive people. Then they open their mouths and the crazy shows. So what draws them to the protests? My guess is they are hoping to get laid.

Towards the end of the Vietnam War I was attending a “streetcar” college in Denver. After demonstrations were always wild times and wild parties. Seemed to really loosen inhibitions. Lots of sex happened.

So are these demonstrations more of social/sexual events for marginal to loser people? I do believe that is a component.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Religious Ire

An unchurched lapsed Methodist probably isn’t the best person to comment on things Christian. That said, this pissed me off.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Car Story

Had lunch with some folks I was in the car biz with and the “Out Story” contest began. My contribution was the saga of my friend Gene K., and his turbo Corvair Monza.

Gene and I were like a lot of young men and women from small Colorado towns. Out of high school we went to Denver where there were jobs.  Clearing right of way brush in the summer and plowing snow in the winter didn’t have a high appeal.

Gene tried to join the service but failed the physical. He was an apprentice butcher, made decent money, and had a clean older Chevy sedan.

At the time, retailing automobiles was changing with advent of factory financing companies. Spot deliveries came into vogue. Gene discovered he could drive away in a new car, drive it for a few days, and “have to take it back” because the financing fell through. About once a month he would show up in a Valiant or such.

One day he showed up in a Turbo Chevy Corsair. He decided he didn’t like it. He called the dealership asking when he should return it. “Why”, was their response?  “Your financing is approved”.


So Gene manned up and paid it off in two years. About a week after the 90 warranty expired, the car developed a full blown case of Corvair disease. I would sit back and listen to him piss and moan and then laugh. Such a good friend am I, no?

The Corvair must have cost GM a lot of lost revenue. Gene grew up in a GM family at a time when brand loyalty was a big deal. You started with a Chevy, move up to an Oldsmobile or Pontiac, then a Buick and retired in a Cadillac. Gene never bought another GM product even to the point of not buying a Frigidaire because it was made by GM.

There are few things more dangerous to peace and tranquility than bored car salespeople, IMO. “Out Story” probable approaches that. Pity the people in the adjoining tables.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Winter Fool

Some comments on recent blogs centered on vehicles and winter driving prompt more development. The elephant in the room is why I do it? Short answer is usually I’m paid.

The picture is from one of my vehicles. My truck is far better equipped as I often venture to the back of beyond in it.

The small beat up backpack goes into any vehicle I’m driving. It carries supplies to keep me from hypothermia and frostbite for up to 72 hours. At my age and fitness I’m not walking far, especially in winter conditions, so I need to hunker down until the roads are opened.

 If I must travel or move around on foot, I have YAKTRAXs, slip on cleats. Mine are several years old and still serviceable.

A lot of what goes into winter driving preparation is from lessons learned. As an example, my father once spent four days on top of US 40 Berthoud Pass because avalanches closed both sides. He was ok but many of the others stranded weren’t. Being the man he was, he helped all who needed it. 

When he, and my older relatives, talked about what worked and what didn’t I listened closely.

As an example, if you need to move just a few feet, jack up your vehicle and slip your floor mats under the tires. You should be able to move a few feet. Repeat as needed. NOTE: If you can’t turn off your traction control you are screwed.

One thing not available to my father was the internet. I click on the National Weather Service and various state highway condition sites before I venture out. I will still go but with less stress about what I may find.

There are many sites and resources for what to include in a “GO” bag. YMMV. I’m not looking for the comfort of a Holiday Inn Express room, just survival.

A large part of my life centers around the phrase, “Winners do what losers won’t”. Yes, it bites me in the ass from time to time but I’m rarely bored.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Legal pot is a boon for Colorado so say proponents. Not so fast say the detractors. From our local rag.

The source can be looked at as being prone to bias. Not saying they are but the source needs to always be considered.

Like any other crop, the quality is in the hands of the producers.

Asked a local LEO friend his/her opinion.

“Shitheads will always find something to fuck up”.

Tad cynical or a clear view of human nature?

The po po in neighboring states have their opinion, and that opinion is negative. Drive in their states with Colorado plates and you will get looked at, hard. Bullshit stops, and,

 “Can we check your car for drugs?”

Soon after pot became somewhat legal in Colorado, two of us traveling across Kansas on I-70 were stopped three times. No citations were issued.

 Bless dash cams!

 No getting back three wasted hours which bites when you are self employed.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Damn Fool III

Arrived to drive my route and found new tires. Also, an apology and a cash bonus.

Tough day. Yaris in Japanese means, "Wander all over the place".

Good timing as I was only in the storm system for about 45 minutes.  The downside was a very large tumbleweed over the hood at 75 mph.

A new windshield will be nice as that one is badly pitted and sand blasted.

Notice Prairie Adventure has a post up with videos of the weather in Kimball. Lucky me I was about 30 minutes ahead of the storm once I got past the Double L Country store (about 10 miles south of Gering). 

So far it has been a mild winter on the High Plains. The usual suspects have been closing I-70 over the Continental Divide with multi-vehicle pileups and spin outs. I've never understood the mentality of skiers who blithely travel to the resorts when they haven't a fucking clue on how to drive on snow packed roads. (Do you hear me Californians and Texans?)

On a happy note my sister spent Thanksgiving in Reno with her daughter and was able to watch her grandson's high school football team win their semi-final game. Next stop, the state championship game in Las Vegas.

That grandson is still an underclassman but shows real promise as a future Division I player.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Criminal Justice System

I’m fortunate to live in a county where the criminal justice system works as intended and is full of dedicated and honest people.

Along that line, our local rag just ate some crow. My respect for those editors just increased.

A county resident made international news by killing his pregnant wife and two young girls. Motive? Wanted out of the relationship. The crow part?

Rourke filed a motion to seal the autopsy reports citing the potential tainting of still-to-be interviewed witnesses. In October, a Greeley Tribune-led coalition of media partners responded by suing the Weld County Coroner's Office to release the reports.

Turns out Rourke and Weld County Coroner Carl Blesch had a compelling reason to keep the autopsy reports under wraps.

As has now been widely reported, Shanann had a blood-alcohol content of .128 percent at the time of her autopsy. Although a raised BAC is a natural part of the decomposition process, Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant at the time of her death and Rourke worried the media would spin that information to raise suspicions about her innocence.
Not to be overlooked, Shanann had just returned from a work trip the night she was killed, which meant investigators needed to confirm she hadn't been drinking by interviewing anyone and everyone she might have come into contact with in Arizona, at the airport and even on the airplane.
"Had there been reports in the media that Shanann had a BAC of .128, it might have made people question what they had seen," Rourke said. "Because those reports had not been made public, everyone we interviewed was certain that they never saw Shanann drinking anything other than water."
No need for me to elaborate the gruesome details. Those who want them can find them on their own along with the name of the scum who was sentenced to three life terms without parole plus eighteen years.
I have the profoundest respect for the men and women who deal with this shit and the damage it can do to their souls. I’m also grateful I don’t have to do it.
This case never went to trial. That said, I respect those citizens who sit on juries.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Damn Fool II

The wipers that were on the Taurus when I bought it were starting to leave streaks. $50 later at the auto parts store they are replaced. 

The brand is Trico and they are a one piece silicon wiper with a shield over the pivot point. Nice lady at O'Reilly  Auto Parts upsold me. She and her husband have them on both of their vehicles. We salesmen are such pushovers.

Seems I wasn't their only customer.

I do find the steering wheel a bit odd.

Time will tell if the wiper blades were a good choice. 

Used my siphon hose to drain the windshield washer reservoir. Replaced the fluid with some extreme temperature Rain X product and redid the windshield with Rain X. The product takes some elbow grease buffing to get a smooth application. I find it worth the cost and effort. As always, YMMV

Yeah, I'm about five weeks late getting all this done. Sue me.