Monday, February 19, 2018

Yes, we all know the adage about the Squeaky Wheel "getting the grease".  For once, I'll play the role of the Squeaky Wheel.  And I literally mean the Squeaky Wheel. 
     So there I was Friday afternoon, ready to head home for the President's Day weekend, but had to make a quick pit stop at the market for the essentials which would allow me to stay tucked in at the house all weekend.
     First stop...  the grocery store.  See here's the rub...  I live in a small college town and if this perceived ten minute stop is done at the wrong time on say Mom or Dad's Weekend, you might as well have brought a tent to camp out, cause the lines for the new iPhone launch are a tad smaller.  So coasting through the parking lot doing my recon, the mission looked like a Go.  Parking available, a few carts in the cart corral, and most cars looked local.  Let's do this. 
     Once in the door I grabbed the first cart I could get my hands on, disinfecting the handle of any hibbie geebies the last shopper may have graciously left. 
     Now as I may have inferred, I needed the essentials.  Dawg and cat food, beer and a pallet of water for the barn fridge.  As I cruised past the organic veggies, I realized that the front left wheel on my shopping companion was teetering. No biggie, I'll only be here for two minutes, max. 
        I continued on my predestined route to isle 17, pet food.  Grabbed the 50 pound bag of dog food for my buds, the 20 pound bag of food for my mouse eradication team, plus six cans of the wet stuff that smells like, well, cat food.  
    Engaging the handle I push.  That 70 plus pounds starts to head immediately left.  Heading right for the bird food and cat litter.  Whoooa...  Hang on partner.  I self correct and begin to realize this cart had just copped a major attitude.  Knowing I could out muscle this contraption, I adjust my heading with a 20 degree crab (aviation term for angle) and head to the libation section.    
     Half way to my next check point that front left wheel literally starts to squeak like a 13 year old kids voice as he talks to his first crush.  Now, I've got every shoppers attention as I literally push-drag that cart to my beer.  Finally arriving at the brew with a major cramp in my left forearm, I hoist two cases of high octane and one pallet of water (strategically positioned a the end cap) into the belly of that beast.  Lets see, if I do my calculations right, that's another 32 pounds of liquid.  So now, this limping cart weights about 110 pounds and just pulling on my left arm like a six year old who sees the twizzlers are on sale.  I mean yanking and squealing! 
     20 yards past the massive pyramid of bargain soup cans is the goal line.  Push, drag, push drag, yank, squeal, squeak.  Almost there.  So what happens next?  That's right!  That cantankerous wheel liberates itself from bondage, straightens up and drives straight into that pyramid, sending tomato, barley, and vegetable soup flying across multiple isles!  What do I do?  Pull my hat down and head to the exit, and quickly!  That squeaky beast can be someone else's burden.  "Clean Up on Aisle 10!" 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

That Old Coffee Cup
     "What in the tarnation are you doing with MY COFFEE CUP!  Hand that over right now or I'll punch you in the snot locker so hard, you won't be able to smell Christmas DINNER!"  These are my exact thoughts when one of our visiting family members grabs my favorite coffee cup out of the cupboard to enjoy a nice fresh cup of Java.  What really comes out of my mouth?  "Hey ahhh, I think that one still has grounds in it.  Try this one."  Or perhaps, "Good Morning, opps, that one's cracked, let me pour you a fresh cup."   I deftly grab MY CUP and hand off one that I stole from work about six months ago. 
     Honestly, there are some things in this world I am willing to throw down for, and this is one of them.  Seriously, how strange is that?  A coffee cup?  I had to ask myself what makes this small piece of sentiment sooooo important? 
     I examined this chink in my armor and realized it's the sentiment and value that I place on the time with my old friend.  My cup waits almost a full 24 hours for me to carefully extract it from the cupboard and pour that morning steaming sunshine into it.  Sounds corny doesn't it?  But is it?  If my cup was a puppy it'd be the one with the tail just flailing, ears back, tongue hanging out, eye's saying "Pick Me!  Pick Me!  Pick Me!" 
     And I do J  And I'd wager that you do as well.  Just like yours, My Coffee Cup fits perfectly in my hand, just the right size, just the right warmth, just the right amount.  It's, well, Just Right.  Much like my favorite pair of work boots, which is another blog entirely, this piece of pottery has history with me.  We've shared the dawn of my best days, my worst, and many that have some and gone.  Truth be told, perhaps the reason it's so special is the time we get to spend with the other love of my life.  Each Saturday morning we pick our best friends out of their hibernation, fill them to the brim and share tales of our hope for the day.  All four of us, experiencing the most uncluttered time of the day.  And who doesn't love Saturdays?  The bonus day!
    My heart truly skips a beat when I see a relative reach for my friend as it proudly sits there, unsuspecting, unable to protect itself, waiting patiently for my hand to guide it to the coffee pot.  For like my beautiful spouse, you are the one I chose.  Amongst all the others. 
     Hiding you in the back of the dishwasher or my side of the bathroom during holiday visits is not above me.  You mean that much, your friendship, your memories, your loyalty. 
I look forward to many more mornings together, sharing the dawn of new day, preparing to make history.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Half Pipe?  Half Crazy!
So here I sit watching tonight's Olympic Coverage from the safety and warmth of my living room.  Fires blazing, yellow Lab snoring, mid evening nap looming.  Beautiful night, no doubt. 
     Tonight's events grab my full attention and make me start to wonder how deranged some of these winter athletes must really be.  Seriously, they must be nuts!
     The half pipe is on at this very moment...A young athlete is hurtling 50 feet in the air doing twists, turns and half this and a full that and I tell ya, it's amazing to watch.  But what the heck is going through her mind right now?  "Hmm, wonder what's going on at home?" , "Man, what was that Korean thing I ate last night, it was awesome!" or my favorite "I wonder if someone is insta-gramming this?".  No doubt, she can think that; she has trained her mind and muscles to perfection.  And it shows!  Me?  What would I be saying?  "Hail Mary..." or "I shouldn't drink and snow board." or perhaps the most realistic "Am I gonna Die?".
Half Pipe?  Try Half Crazy! 
     The events changes to another safe hobby; the Ski Jump.  Oh My God!  I know most of you remember the "Agony of Defeat"?  You literally couldn't pay me enough to go barreling down that massive hill, knowing there is no possible way to get off this ride before you go flying, and I mean FLYING through the air.  How in the world do these athletes get started as a child?  The only potential I have shown for the winter Olympics, no joke, was last year when I fell off our six foot ladder changing a light bulb out in the barn.  Full summersault, half twist, with a debilitating leg over the head split to end my performance.  Hadn't practiced at all!  Nope, no hot totties and congrats by a roaring fire in the Lodge like these phenomenal winter athletes, but more like four weeks of 800mg horse tranquilizers, a blue sling and a bunch of "What the Hell happened to yous".  Yea, that's more my speed!
But seriously folks, the concentration, dedication and pure personal courage these half bonkers individuals show is amazing.  And its so hard, I mean soooo hard to compare the Winter and the Summer events.  Honestly not taking anything away from the Summer crew, but how many of us would attach ourselves to a turbo charged sled for the thrill of going at amazing speeds, or maybe standing a top the glorified 1 x 6 planks to soar miles in the air, or maybe, just maybe, climb into a aerodynamically perfect tube with blades on the bottom to blow through curves higher than those on the best NASCAR tracks?  Hmmm...and Oh Yea, can't forgot to mention the thrill of being thrown through the air twirling, while your partner awaits you with open arms  going 20 MPH on ice skates?
Incredible, Just Incredible.  My hats off to these Winter Athletes that Do It because they can!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

February, ahh yes, the mentally darkest month of the year.  And who first spelled it anyway?  Thank God for red lines, always thought it was "Feb ewe airy".  Have you ever met anyone walking this rain pelted, ice growing, snow covered earth, that actually pronouns the "r"?  Well, I sure haven't.
     So this blog post doesn't really concern the weather but brings to light a daily phenomena that exists as a byproduct of Mother Nature's rank attitude. 
     For those of you whom I haven't had the pleasure of meeting, my family and I live on a small horse farm in the Southeast corner of Ohio.  Absolutely beautiful area with rolling hills, meandering creeks, real Norman Rockwell stuff.  Just gorgeous.  In order to keep this little parcel of land and its inhabitants moving right along, I also have a full time job about 20 minutes up the road.  Love the company and will stay there as long as they'll have me.
     Each night I make the trek home knowing that my loving spouse has beaten me to our humble abode and is diligently chopping, boiling, and prepping a fantastic dinner.  Which means, that yours truly, gets to head out to our "Equine Facility" and feed our four hay burning, muffin making, mud wearing, retirement devouring horses.  Much like my beloved, I prep their hay, scoop the grain and then get the hose out to fill up their 100 gallon stock tank.  And here, my friends, is where the phenomena makes itself know.  Every night, its unfailing and every present. I slowly uncoil the hose from it's keeper, you know, the one I diligently placed the hose on just 24 hours ago and run it the 75 feet out to the thirsty tub.
     Quick pause for a bit of background...  I grew up on a small farm, bailed hay as a kid till my skin wore off, raised steers, hogs and sheep.  Tied and untied knots for halters, gates, and siblings who were out of hand.  Then, to manifest my need to work my bones into the dirt, did a 21 year stint in the U.S. Army.  Had the pleasure of jumping out of planes, rappelling from helicopters and attending the US Army Ranger School.  I mention these experiences not to beat my chest, but because I was taught, untaught and retaught how to tie 1,323 different type of knots.  At some points, the man in the Smokey bear hat said my life could depend on this skill.
    But for the life of me, how on this blessed earth, can an inanimate object, like the heavy duty farm hose, neatly stored and unstored every night, tie itself in a perfect square knot within 75 feet?  Honest to God, I have never witnessed anything, I mean ANYTHING, like it.  One night the Soma da Bitch even had two half hitches on either side of the perfectly dimensional square knot.  Took me years to perfect that simple configuration!  Its never a granny knot that'll come undone, but an unflawed piece of art, just laying there choking the water away from the vessel that needs it most.  There are times I believe a well camouflaged Ranger Instructor sprints out from under the horse trailer and ties that thing himself.  Simply amazing.
   Now I know that each one of you who works in the elements can relate to this daily miracle.  And if by chance, you know what incantation I can place on this water carrying apparatus, or have extra chicken bones and blood about the house to break this spell, I would LOVE to hear from you!

Time to go water the horses...


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Maiden Voyage 1,323 Miles to GO!

So as you may know, A One Thousand, Three Hundred and Twenty Three (1,"323") mile voyage begins with one step.  That step for me happened as I sauntered onto a Southwest flight in Columbus, OH bound for The Dig D.  Ahh yes, Dallas, beautiful city, and for those of you living under a rock frozen to the ground, it's 45 degrees warmer than Columbus (currently 12 degrees as I bang this out), or should I say Athens, OH, my actual stomping grounds.
As a newly minted/ published Children's Book Author "The Adventures of Coal and Andy; Charlie the Catfish" I was looking forward to reading a phenomenal book my publisher, friend, and mentor, (Ms. Gina McKnight of Monday Creek Publishing) had given me prior to my Adventure to the Great State of Texas.  This bite sized book "YOU ARE A WRITER (so start ACTING like one)" by Mr. Jeff Goins intrigued me immediately.  Didn't even have to open it, I was hooked by the cover.  I couldn't wait to devour the wisdom within. 
Needless to say, it didn't disappoint.  Jeff recommended several things for us rookies.  One of the nuggets that grabbed my attention was blogging.
As Jeff would also recommend, tell everyone you're a writer.
That's three times right?  Worked for Dorothy, so why shouldn't three reps work for me?  "There's no place like home"...
So here I am...
What I can promise you if you endeavor to hang in there as I pontificate the oddities of life...

-  I don't really care what people think of my Blog...  My ideas, my keyboard, my blog...  However, if I strike a cord, let me know.  We'll agree, disagree, and then move on.  It's the forward progress that's key here People.
-  Humor... Dry, Sarcastic, Unique.  The kind of humor that carries a bit of well disguised insight into the normal oddities of life.
-  A Truly Red White and Blue, Patriotic point of view.  After 21 years in the Big Green Machine, it's worn off on me a tad.  If you come from the far left, enjoy what I have to say, tell me to get bent, and then come back for some more.
-  (This particular launch being the exception)  Brief and to the point.  I'm not going to waste anyone's time.  Most importantly, my own.
-  A healthy smattering of Poetry, Lyrics, growing stories for both real kids and adult kids, and perhaps some other literary stuff that no one has a name for yet. 
-  A thought or two on other folks efforts, especially those who espouse a unique twist on life.

So welcome to my First Blog entry.  Remember this is the first, the only one of it's kind, and you had the distinct privilege to be here when it started.  This is going to be a Hoot!

Catch Up With You Soon!