Hell of a Guy
We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time. - Vince Lombardi

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Road Trip…


Saturday morning just about nine o’clock, I headed down the driveway in a blue Dodge minivan for a 1025 mile trip from Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, population 711 to the thriving metropolis of Conway, Arkansas.  I have had the van at my house since August after one of my sales reps left the company.  The company wanted it in Conway.  I wanted it out of my possession.  I had a business trip to the plant planned, and the twain met.  Long story short, I made the drive.  It was interesting, enjoyable, nerve wracking, educational, and relaxing.

I made be off my rocker, but I don’t find driving especially tiring; though after ten hours and 776 miles of it on Saturday, I was less than energetic.  Bowling Green, Kentucky was a pleasant site having driven a couple of hours after the sun set, and I was looking forward to eating some dinner and going to bed, which I did at exactly 8:48PM.

Driving through the mountains I was treated to majestic colors as fall hung heavy on the trees.  The trip started out in the rain, and as my odometer clicked over the 200-mile mark, as I motored south on I-79 in West Virginia, the rain ceased.  The smoky, gray clouds hung over the mountains like a shawl and accentuated the color of the leaves.  I was listening to “The Dream Girls in Concert” and got a little emotional as I gazed out at what God provided as my entertainment along the way.  Awesome!

This Technicolor scenery lasted for nearly 400 miles through West Virginia and Kentucky.  I got so involved in it I missed a turn and drove an extra 100 miles before I bought a map.  Hell, I am a guy.  I was not about to stop and ask for directions.  I’d rather die.

After a restless night in a Hampton Inn, I awoke this morning as 3:30 and lay in the bed thinking about getting up and on the road for about fifteen minutes before finally do it, and hit the road at 4:16.  I drove through Nashville, Tennessee in the dark and nearly made it another 200 miles before Her Majesty lifted over the eastern horizon.

I checked into my hotel here in Conway, Arkansas at 10 this morning having gone 1113 miles.  It is the longest trip I have ever made by car, and I am excited that one day I may get to do it again.  But I think next time I would like to have The Nancy with me.  She would have asked for directions.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Milwaukee or Bust…


AirTran flight 231, heading northwest in a near cloudless sky, row 27, seat “A.”  The seats around me are empty; the plane is about half full.  I suppose not many people, including me, want to go to Milwaukee today, perhaps not on any day.  This is a business trip, although I don’t fully remember why I am going there – where it is just 46 degrees.  I am supposedly going to work a conference exhibit with the local sales rep, but I cannot for the life of me remember what it is about other than it being one with educators in attendance. 

Educators tend to be a nice group of people, as a whole.  By educators I, of course, mean anyone connected with educating kids, and that includes those who work behind the scenes – from the bookkeepers to the maintenance people, bus drivers, lunch room staff, etc.  I love them all.  All of them have a hand in the process of making kids the best they can be, and they all can buy my stuff.

Everyone needs a break.  Educators are no different, and they need their party time, too!  This doesn’t mean these conferences are all play, quite the contrary is true.  Educators go to these things to get educated on new trends in education, school business, food service innovations, and, yep, even new buses and cleaning products.  Education is big business.

But along with the work comes the play, and educators know how to do that as well, and that is when I really love to be with them.  In private business, an awful lot of it gets done on the golf course.  Some of that might happen with educators, too, but I have always found I get it done with a beer or two after hours. When the daily work of educating is done, educators let their hair down, so to speak, and educators have been known to have a drink from time to time – judiciously, of course. 

So here I go to Milwaukee, clean shirts, coats and ties, and a thirst for business.  What a deal!!!

And that is all I have to say about that…

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Disappearing Me…


Back in mid-December of last year I talked myself, with some pressure from The Nancy, into getting my fat ass up on the bathroom scale.  I had managed to avoid knowing what I weighed for nearly a year – ignorance is bliss.  The scale, poor thing, almost immediately began to scream “Get off me!!!”  The little wheel went round-and-round looking for a spot to stop, and finally got to that point in the mid-200rds, at the two forty-three mark to be exact.  Talk about a wakeup call.  It was the slap heard ‘round the world.

At this same time my lovely wife was having conversations with herself most mornings as she dressed for work.  She didn’t bother asking me if an outfit made her “look fat.”  She knew it did and her grunts and groans were a good signal her weight had become an issue for her, and I didn’t need to add to her angst.  I do know when to keep my mouth shut and save my marriage, even quite possibly my life. 

As for me, I was in to 40” waist pants and shirts with seventeen and one-half inch neck, and casual shirts of the XXL variety.  The big pants were starting to even get a little tight around my keg-sized waist, and I knew something had to be done.

A good friend sent us information on a website and a program called “Diet for Dummies” and “Fat Loss for Idiots.”  The Nancy investigated it, got all the information and put together a diet for us – one that excluded beer.  We were going to go to extremes to get into shape and loss some weight.  I would call a diet that excludes my favorite beverage as an ultra “extreme” program, but got into all the same, and I am so glad I did.  It worked.  I got on the scale this morning, as Friday is now our “weigh in” day, and the little sucker smiled at me and called out in a very melodic voice…204.  A weight I might add I have not seen in fifteen years.  As a side note, The Nancy now a good looking, kind of sexy 130, and I am proud of her perseverance, and also proud of her for “allowing” me, not pressuring me (much), to do this with her. 

The good and bad of this is, one, I am now into some 36” waist stuff and 16” shirts – and, damn, if I don’t look good!  We both eat better – abstemiously and healthily, and are exercising everyday.  The bad part is, I have now spent about $300 having slacks and jackets altered to fit my new body, I have fourteen dress shirts in my closet that I cannot wear, and The Nancy now wants to go shopping, since there isn’t anything in her closet she can wear.  Weight loss can be expensive, but I would rather put my money into new clothing than in doctor’s bills.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Illness has befallen me…


Lord, have mercy!  I am sicker than a dog eating rotten meat; ready to heave my cookies; spew my non-meat eater lunch all over the world.  This is the worse feeling I have ever had; greater than any pain I have had to endure.  What have I done to deserve this?

Yesterday at a quiet time I succumbed to it.  I could not stand it a moment longer, though I wish I had, and I recklessly accessed my 401K.  Damn, me!!!

Words cannot be found to express the horror of it.  My poor 401K is now a 133.66K-, and that is an undisputed fact.  The balance shocked me to the core.  Without putting myself to more pain I guesstimated the loss – more shock and awe!  It appears with a quick, mental calculation the loss from just one-year ago is nearly two-thirds of my meager savings.  A rough calculation, mainly because I couldn’t let it go, is that every cent I have put into the 401K prior to 2002 is gone, vanished, kaput, out of here.

Know what?  I really don’t care.  Well, maybe a little.  It was just money on paper anyway.  While I am a little put off by the loss, I certainly am not sick about it, though I do feel a little headachy.  Perhaps reality will set in should the stock market not rebound, but in the long run it wasn’t money I ever saw or had my grubby, not-so-little hands on.  It was all on paper – it went up, it went down.

As my eventual retirement approaches (please, Lord, not too soon?), I may have to reassess my needs and my budget, but for now there isn’t much I can do but sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.  Oh what ride it is!!! 

And that is all I have to say about that…   

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