Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug . . .

I’ve had to do quite a lot of construction type work around our house in the last few years, repairing all of the damage done when we had to have our foundation repaired, and then when we had to dismantle our upstairs bathroom when  a water leak had eaten away the entire structure of the outside wall and floor. The thing is, most of this rebuilding had been stalled, because I can’t afford to buy all of the materials needed, and I had no place suitable to store materials if I bought them a little bit at a time. My conclusion? I had to tear down our rotted out and falling down shed, and build a new one that would actually protect our construction materials from the elements.  As always with this sort of thing, it ballooned into a project that was much larger than I had anticipated, but still, we went at it with gusto and ripped the old one down, and started building its replacement. So there we are, my father-in-law and I, busting our butts off in my back yard trying to build the shed, when my wife returns from her workout. She takes one look at her father and starts shouting.
“Dad, your truck just pulled out!”
I think that we were kind of in shock, because it didn’t click at first what she was trying to tell us, and so she repeated it. “Your truck just took off down the road!”
It did eventually click though, and my father-in-law and I ran like hell for my Mustang to give chase while my wife called “911”. My father-in-law was as white as a ghost as he sat beside me, because this was more than a truck to him – it was his livelihood.  Since he was helping me to do construction, he had brought his work truck, with all of his tools and materials. In addition to taking his truck, the thief had also taken my father-in-laws very ability to earn a living, and my father-in-law had realized this immediately. 
There are maybe three routes directly out of town from my house, and as Murphy would have it, we chose the wrong route. After a few minutes of running stop signs and red lights hoping to either spot his truck or drawn the attention of a police officer, we decided that we were doing ourselves absolutely no good what so ever and so we returned to my house to wait for the police to arrive. As we pulled into my driveway, my wife was walking toward the car, with her cell phone in one hand, and giving us the thumbs up with the other, and the grin that she was wearing from ear to ear made it pretty clear that she had good news for us. It turns out that luck was on our side this day, because just as the 911 operator was providing the description of the truck to the officers in town, it just happened to be driving right past one of them. My wife could hear the radio traffic through the 911 phone line.
“I think we see it, and we are pulling it over . . .” a slight delay, “Yeah, we got him.”
Before it was all over, his truck wasn’t gone more than maybe 30 minutes before it was parked right back where it belonged in front of my house. The bad news? The kid that stole it was a junior in high school who had just got out after six months in jail for his last stunt. He hasn’t even graduated from high school and his life is all screwed up. . .

Well, as seems to be the case these days, I made a trip and very little of any interest occurred. I had a fairly early flight, as is usual these days, and so I had to be off to the airport WELL before most people are outta bed. My neighbor however, is not most people – he leaves for work at about 430AM every morning, and so once I got myself together, I had to spend about twenty minutes staring out the window and waiting for him to leave. At long last, I watched the poor guy sleep walk out to his truck and drive off. Before he had rounded the corner, I was reaching for my suitcase. The joke was on me though, because the handle of my rather large and obviously overloaded suitcase came off in my hand. I guess it just couldn’t take the strain anymore of carrying enough clothes, shoes, makeup, jewelry, and coats for two people for a week. And really, who can blame the poor thing, because sometimes it’s too much for me too. Eventually I dragged/carried the damn thing to the itty bitty trunk of my modern Mustang, and off we went.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that our flight attendant was a woman that I recognized as she had been on several flights with me before. She has long dark hair, and while not exactly pretty, she is distinctive and kind of unique. I have no idea where she is actually from, but I always assumed it was New York or New Jersey as she has a bit of that kind of accent, but what really makes her voice unique is that she has kind of a lisp. I don’t even know how to describe the way that she speaks other than maybe a passing resemblance to the way that Sean Connery often includes an “H” sound when he is saying “S”.

Yeah I know – I just tried to describe a woman who talks like Sean Connery, with a lisp and a New York accent – YOU should try this sometime!
Anyway, let’s just say that she is distinctive, and so I recognized her immediately.  That didn’t win me any points  though, because when I thanked her for the cup of coffee that she handed to me, she looked straight at me and said “You’re welcome sir.”  Welp, guess I know where I stand with her now!

I spent a day at what I like to think of as the birthplace of all of my cars – Ford in Dearborn Michigan, and then the next day, I headed for Minneapolis MN, where I was less than brilliant for the duration of my visit.
In order to keep liquids from condensing in the sample lines, the plumbing leading up to and away from our instrument is heated to a nice and balmy 191 degrees Celsius. It’s always a pretty good idea to keep this ever present in your mind as you’re working, because let’s face it, my skin is allergic to 191 degrees Celsius. I was reminded of this as I was working behind the instrument and ever so briefly placed the side of my face right up against said plumbing. The good news is that when I am properly motivated, my reflexes are pretty good, and so I jerked my face away from the hot plumbing so quickly that no serious harm was done. The bad news is that there was a metal brace not far behind my head, and so while I had saved my face from a good burn, I gave myself a pretty good lump on the back of my head. Worse yet, with all the jerking around I was doing, my glasses flew off of my face, and yes, they broke when they hit the ground. They were brand new too – maybe a month old. The trip never really got any better or worse . . .