Hell of a Guy
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it - Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Morning at McDonald’s


I am not sure what drew me here this morning, but I sure as hell am at the McDonald’s here in Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, population 711.  Other than the staff and one table with a mom and two little guys, this place is loaded with people who must be drawing Social Security or very damn close to it and that includes Yours Truly.  I don’t generally see this many “Gray Hairs” in one place except funeral homes.

Really, I just stopped by for a cup of coffee.  My laptop was in the car, and since the cleaning lady is at the house right now, I decided to take my time going back to my newly relocated office in our basement on The Farm, so here I sit taking in the ambience of this establishment, wasting my time counting the old folks.

Whenever I see I McDonald’s commercial on TV I notice there is a preponderance of kids and moms, but rarely do I see large numbers of old timers.  I suppose that little omission is marketing, but I bet a dollar to a donut most of the early morning take at any McDonald’s, especially those in the suburbs, is dolled out by persons of the senior variety.

As for me, I have been here long enough hobnobbing with the elderly.  I am heading home so I can earn the big bucks my company so magnanimously hands out to me each week.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blow Out…


The Nancy and I had planned a trip to Winchester, Virginia on Saturday so she could get a pedicure.  I could hardly contain my excitement, until she told me afterward we could go to one of our new favorite places to eat and have a late lunch and some good beer.  I am a sucker for good beer and was immediately on board.

Having dropped her off at the Toe Palace, I decided to go to the local Lowes, about five miles away, and do a little shopping for man stuff.  Yep! You guessed it, along the way to Lowes I heard a pop and little by little the distinctive sound of a rolling flat tire sang its sad song to me.  After about a half mile of wop, wop, wop, I dare not have stopped on the road I was on, I pulled off into the shopping center to put on the spare. 

Tires never go flat at a convenient time, you know?  This was certainly no exception.  I was not dressed to change a flat tire, and the weather, at 92 degrees, was not exactly conducive for it, either.

The spare tire on my Jeep is underneath the car.  The location of the tire must have been designed by a psychopathic, masochistic, people hater.  And the person who hid the jack in the car wasn’t much better.  I had to get out the car’s manual to figure out where the jack was hidden, where to place it to raise the car, and how to unleash the spare.  The spare has to be cranked down from inside the car.  Then it has to be dragged out and unhooked from the cable.  By the time I got the flat tire off and the spare tire on the car, I was covered with greasy dirt up to my elbows.  My shirt was soaked with sweat and sweat was dripping off my nose and brow.  It was an enlightening experience, despite all the four letter words coming off my lips.

Later over a couple of beers, I realized the tire episode I created was done so the beer would be all the better, and each and everyone I had was better than the one before, making Saturday the Best Day Ever (that is before Sunday came).

And that is all I have to say about that… 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Making the Best Day Ever Difficult…


This morning, at 10:01, finds me secluded in room 431 of the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Des Moines.  I am at fault, as usual, and have no one to blame but me for my situation.  I made the flight arrangements and stranded myself here with nothing to do.  Had I investigated the agenda for the conference I attended, I would have found out it ended yesterday at four in the afternoon.

I am an Aquarius, and if you follow astrology you will immediately understand details mean little to me, and that gets me in more poo-poo than I want to acknowledge.  Today I am swimming in shit.

The flight I booked doesn’t leave until 4:05pm this evening.  It is now 10:08am.  I do have more than enough to keep me busy until flight time, but I was hoping to maybe go stand-by on an earlier flight.  Guess what?  Delta does not have a stand-by program.  One would think Delta would love to fill empty seats on any flight, but, alas, no.

I was told when I arrived in Des Moines (say it like it is spelled and it sounds cool), if I wanted to take an earlier flight I could call three hours prior to departure, and if a seat is available on an earlier Delta flight, it will allow me to have it for a $50.00 fee.  I am cool with that!  So, I went on-line this morning and saw a 9:57 flight out of Des Moines with a connection in Detroit.  At 7am I called Delta, and after an aggravating thirty minutes listening to some god-awful music got to speak to a real, live person who disappointed me.  It seems I can only do this on a Delta plane, and the connection is flown by a Delta “co-share” airline, in this case the one Delta is merging with, Northwest, so, bottom-line, Delta won’t let me do it.  Hmmm!  As I explained my position, all of the flights listed on their website indicate Delta flight numbers and I purchased a Delta ticket, I got the distinct idea the person I was speaking with didn’t care.  After hanging up I thought maybe that person didn’t really understand what I wanted to do, so I called back.  After another thirty minutes of god-awful music I got to talk with a nice lady, who became not so nice when she told me the same crap as the first guy did.  I am stuck here until 4pm.

To top off my morning, after two exasperating phone conversations with Delta, I visited the breakfast buffet here at the “Rene-nuisance” hotel and had dry scrambled eggs and greasy potatoes all for a mere $13.66.  It was a breakfast not fit for a canine, let alone a really nice guy like me.  Still, with all that has confronted me this morning I declare this to be the “Best Day Ever.”

And that is all I have to say about that…

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Des Moines or Bust…


I have not traveled much over the past two months so this is a departure, no pun intended, from my recent mode of operation.  This is one of those flights, Delta 6229, where there is a layer of clouds both above and below us, kind of surreal yet secure.  Kind of like being held in cupped hands.  So far, fifteens minutes into an hour flight, it is a very smooth ride.  I suppose if there is any anxiety within me it is being on an Embraer 145 aircraft like the one that went down in Rochester last winter – this one also has a male pilot and female co-pilot, and it is just a little too spooky.  Not that I am particularly superstitious, sitting here chewing on a rabbit’s foot with my lucky nickel in my pocket that I can’t get to because my fingers on both hands are crossed, but I am kidding around here, of course, because I still love to fly.  It allows me to pass the time thinking, planning and remembering.

I thought about this past weekend and the guests we had at The Farm.  The Nancy’s folks and a bunch of her family joined us for a very nice time.  I so enjoy it when people visit us and get to enjoy for a couple of days what we get to enjoy everyday.  We had two full days of good meals, Jeep rides, a little fishing and great conversations.  The nights were cool so we got to really enjoy sitting on the front porch in the rocking chairs like a bunch of old people waiting to be seated at the Cracker Barrel.  The porch is the most peaceful part of the house, it’s where you rock away your cares and worries, and maybe catch a beautiful sunset.  You really need to visit us to see what I mean.  Let me know when you can come?

I have written about the garden we planted this year.  The harvest has been incredibly abundant, and the garden seems to be a magnet for our guests.  I suppose they are in awe of it, knowing I planted it, and if that if a simple guy like me can grow crops, one does not need any special ability to do so.  The Nancy’s kinfolk raided the garden on Thursday and picked about twenty pounds of squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and green beans.  On Friday, The Nancy’s brother visited the garden and got another ten or fifteen pounds of stuff, and last night The Nancy and I raided another load equal to the others.  The stuff seemingly grows overnight, and I know when I get back there on Thursday I can probably pick at least twenty pounds of tomatoes and maybe a few squash, though they seem to be slowing down a bit.  I know I am crazy as hell for doing it, but next year I am doubling the size of the garden and also turning an area for corn and potatoes.  Maybe next year I will retire and open a produce stand?  Retirement, especially mine, scares the hell out of The Nancy.

Well, this aircraft seems to be in a decent into Cincinnati’s airport, which is actually in Kentucky.  Blue sky is now over us with little marshmallow shaped clouds below.  It is a hot, hazy day near the ground and I am eventually going to pay my first visit to Des Moines, Iowa.  This is the “Best Day Ever” and I am enjoying the hell out of it.

And that is all I have to say about that…