Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Last Meatball

I remember the days when a church mouse was rich compared to us. We lived in Jamestown, North Dakota where I attended college. Audrey was pregnant with Rana, our rent was $88 per month, and I had no job.

We invited this couple over for dinner one evening. Their names were Cathy and DeGregg. And they attended the same college, Trinity Bible Institute. Because we were so poor, we were in a quandary as to what we would serve them. Food was pretty scarce and we had ruled out food stamps. We decided on spaghetti and meatballs. We had enough hamburger for one medium sized meatball for each of us. So we ran with that.

After we returned thanks for the meal before us, we served what we had. Of course, guests are always first to be served. So the food dishes were sent toward DeGregg, then Cathy, then Audrey, then me. DeGregg helped himself to three of the four meatballs. It was like the rest of us were hit in the gut. Then the dish went to Cathy who didn't know whether she should take the last meatball or not. Of course, we told her to take it. Audrey and I had spaghetti with sauce. DeGregg had no idea what he had done. I doubt if he has ever caught on.

Audrey and I have laughed about this for years. But at the time we almost cried. Back then, meatballs were so precious.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Just Skis

After being up in the beautiful Colorado mountains for a snowy hike, I have decided I want some cross country skis. I see others doing it and it looks like fun. So, I thought I'd look into buying some skis. The skis themselves vary from $119 a pair to over $700. So, I'm thinking of getting the $150 pair. Not bad. Oh, but wait! I need the bindings for another $100 and the boots that attached to the bindings for $80 and the ski poles for $50. All set for $380.

Now, wait a minute! That's a little more than I expected. But, of course, I also need a ski pack to carry necessities in. $80. And what about ski pants and a ski jacket. I'm actually afraid to price them. Then, what if I get all this stuff and fall down and break my leg! Will anybody buy equipment found on a body that is frozen stiff?

Will my wife say, "would you like a pair of ski pants that my dead husband wore when he froze to death? Do you think there would be any buyers. I mean, these are not John Elway's ski pants, they are Rod Speed's. And I didn't even autograph them.

So, If I spend $500 on ski gear and I go twice a year for the next 10 years that comes to $25 a time. Not too bad. At least that guarantees that I'll live another 10 years. Suddenly this sounds like a bargain.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Doggie Door

Believe it or not, I do like animals, although I have none of my own. I Just don't like caring for animals, like standing out in the cold with them while they do their job. And then, of course, picking up their job. That is especially embarrassing when the do their job on the neighbor's lawn.

In my job I run into all types of animal lovers. I mean, there are people who will do absolutely anything and everything for their pet, especially if it is a dog. Today I did a job in a home for a lady who wanted the doggie door moved. In the side of her house next to the patio door is a little doggie door. This is so the little critter and come and go as he pleases. What a life!

The problem was, the doggie door was 3 inches too low, so the poor little dog had to crouch to get in and out. Mary, Mrs. dog owner felt sorry for the poor thing. Thus, a call to the handyman, who is me. She wanted a bid to raise the doggie door 3 inches. I said, $150. She said do it. So I did it.

Once I removed the sheetrock around the doggie door I encountered an unexpected problem. A 2" vent pipe ran up one side and across the top of the doggie door frame. I showed that to the homeowner and asked what she wanted to do. Now, I could have installed new sheetrock and re-trimmed the door, and it would have cost her $50. But to move the plumbing was another $150. I asked her what she wanted to do. She opted to move the plumbing and the door. So, I did. $300.

Now, I know I am not the most kind hearted guy. But for $300 I would let my dog crouch a little. If he didn't like doing that he could just stay inside! Or outside! Did this little dog go to it's owner and say, "Gee, I don't like this crouching. Would you fix that danged door?"

Well, actually, if I had a dog that said that I'd have him in some kind of talent show, making millions. Then I'd probably fix his little door.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Little House On the Prairie

I live in the little house on the prairie, in the city, next to the mountains. Not exactly like the original "little house on the prairie." Life is definitely a little easier here. But why do I bring this up? Well, isn't that where they had the "long hard winter?" Now, I realize that the winter here is no where near as severe as the original "long hard winter." But quite frankly, I am definitely tired of this winter. It is longer and harder than I like.
I don't know why these weather forecasters can't keep the snow in the mountains where they need it and like it. Why do they have to spread their misery all over the city, too. Oh, I know why! The car wash operators are bribing them. So are the snow plow guys. Why can't they just go plow snow in the mountains? I think the mag-chloride guys have bribed the weatherman, too! No, It's not enough for them to get a salary, they have to take bribes, too! They must work for the government.

Now, I don't mind snow as long as it is confined to the mountains. I mean, up there they ski, and snowshoe, and close roads. What else do they have to do? And I do like watering my lawn all summer, so we need the snow in the reservoirs. But all these reservoirs are in the mountains, so let's just restrict the snow to there. Oh, alright, I can make one exception. Lot's of people down here like a white Christmas. I mean, man, they sing about that for two and a half months before Christmas actually gets here. But it doesn't have to actually snow here for Christmas. I'm cool just dreaming about it. Just like I think about putting the Christmas lights on the house, but never do. I'm satisfied with that.

So I think we should hire weathermen that keep the snow where it belongs. And speaking of that, where is my sunshine? I want more sunshine! And when I snowshoe in the mountains I want two feet of fresh fallen snow with plenty of sunshine. Come on, weatherman!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Were They THAT Good?

I thought the Canadians were very good in the Ice Dancing Competition. But were they that good? The Americans program was much earlier and I thought it was fantastic. Zero errors and a great, fun to watch program. Then I saw the Canadians and I knew it would be between the two. I thought the Americans were better as I compared the two. I can live with the results.

However, the one that surprised me was the Russians edging out the other American couple for the bronze. They were not nearly as good and used ropes to propel themselves around. Here's what I think happened: I think the Russians threw such a stink with the men's singles that the judges felt inclined to medal them in the ice dancing regardless of their performance.

What impressed me was the sweet attitude of the Americans taking fourth when they should have medaled. True sportsmanship.... unlike the Russians.

Lucky us! The next olympics is in Russia. I wonder what will happen there.

Monday, February 22, 2010

America, The Beautiful

Audrey ran off with her pals up the Breckenridge for a two day retreat. She got her first skiing lesson and is staying in a beautiful lodge. So, instead of feeling sorry for myself I went for a hike up at Brainard Lake, above Ward. What I found was a winter wonderland. The beauty and majesty of the snow covered pines and mountains.

I drove through Boulder and turned into the mountains on Lefthand Canyon Road. The wonderland began there. The road was clean and white, the trees snow covered, and the sun was brilliantly shining. Winding upward I stopped from time to time to take pictures. I went through Ward, that doesn't look too bad when covered with snow. I drove right past the espresso shop at 9400 feet above sea level and entered the road winding up to Brainard Lake. I parked and got out of the truck. It was 5 degrees F. But that's ok., I had my cowboy hat, warm gloves, wools socks, a bottle of water, Advil, jerky, and two cameras. I had my phone, too. But that didn't matter, there was no signal.

Thus began the three mile trek up to Brainard Lake. It was always up. A slight breeze, snow cascading from the trees. Though cold, the sun gave warmth, as did the arduous plodding on ever upward. I stopped here and there for a few pics. The mountains loomed in the distance as a shadow behind the spray of blowing snow. The beauty all around was breath taking. The coldness was it's beauty. The solitude was another reward. I trekked on and came upon a cabin buried in the snow. then I finally reached Brainard Lake. What a sight with Mt Audabon looming straight ahead. It was inviting and yet foreboding. A blizzard was high up and temperatures were way below zero up there. Yet, it was still tempting.

It was time to return. I stopped for water and an Advil. I looked at my watch, it was 12:30. It would take an hour to come back down. This was a lot less work and snow had begun to fall. I'm at the truck at 1:30 and back home at 3:30. This is what I like about Colorado.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What Should We Talk About?

A great paradox is working in my life. It is hard to explain, but I will try. I don't know if there is a science for this. I'll let you decide.

As you know from a previous blog, Audrey spends a lot of time away from home because of her job. I take her to and from the airport and miss her greatly in between. After the first night, I hate the empty house. It is a real joy to have her come home.

But after she is home.... what do we talk about? We've been together nearly 40 years and it seems as though we have discussed almost everything. Many things we have talked about several times. So she sits in her chair or in her office with her laptop, and I sit in my chair with mine. We watch the Olympic events between commercials. Make some popcorn, tea or coffee. And there we sit with very few words between us.

Even today. The twenty-five minute trip to her office, we spoke very little. I said, "maybe we should invest in gold." Silence.

Yet, her presence means everything. I don't feel alone and I do feel a great connection. I sense a joy and a feeling of well being. Even in the sound of silence there is a voice that is heard, a connection that is made.

What shall we talk about? I don't know. Let's just be quiet and sense each other's presence and hear each other breathe. Most of the time, that is enough.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic Fun

There was a day when we held our own olympics in our own neighborhood. Everything about me and my siblings and my friends was competitive. These were the days that the real olympics was held at Squaw Valley, California. There was always plenty of snow. That's just the way TV was back then.

After it rained on the hard packed snow, we had our luge run. And it was fast and just as dangerous. We used our sleds with the steel runners, ran at the top of the hill and dived onto the sled headfirst as we got to the crown of the hill. The object was not to time the run.... the winner went the furthest, which probably meant the fastest. We streaked down the ice covered hill, jumped a road at the bottom and continued down into the cattails. It was always obvious who went the furthest.

The next event was the toboggan jump. We made a 3 to 4 foot high jump by shoveling and packing snow. Then we'd pour hot water on it to firm it up. And we were ready. The object was to see who could jump the toboggan the furthest. We had one man, two man, and three man teams, and one 6' toboggan that lasted only about one season. The most dangerous position was either first (driver) or last. The last guy seldom made it down the hill as his tailbone would smack down on the hard snow upon landing off from the jump. The front guy (driver) often got creamed if the toboggan nose dived. The others would not so gently land on top of him. The wooden toboggan would end up on top of us all. And, hey, who needed a helmet? We were tough. We were Olympians.

The last event was figure skating. For this we went to the local rink where there was a warming house. I always won this event because I was the only skater who could to the waltz jump, flip jump, lutz, and the axel. I could spin, too. So they changed the competition to playing it. The idea was to be it and the guy who tagged you became it. The winner was always the last one to be it. The warming house manager asked us to not be so rough.

I think, at heart, every kid is an Olympian. At night, instead of seeing Lindsay Vonn speeding down the hill for gold, we see ourselves. Instead of Apollo Ohno, it's us. We become our heroes. Just like the little boy that dresses up like Batman or Spiderman, we imagine ourselves to be our heroes. We are all Olympians.

The next olympic event is the snow shoveling competition. You got it! It just finished snowing.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

No Payment Loans

I've heard them advertised for years and they have always bothered me. Furniture stores are especially guilty, along with may others. You know what I'm talking about. "No money down, and no payments until 2011!" It's the no money down and no payment loan. This loan is now declared illegal and is coming to an end.

It seems to me that furniture stores are taking a big risk by offering this. How do you repossess at sofa that is a year old and the dog has peed on it, not to mention the baby. Eeewww! And what if the purchaser decides he doesn't like that couch after all, so he refuses to pay. How much money does the collection agency make on this one? They can probably find the furniture in the house that is being foreclosed on. Bankruptcy cures all..... Except for the furniture store. I suppose they can always revoke the sales commission.

Anyway, the new legal avenue is to pay up front, or pay as you go. But you must pay. There is going to be a whole lot less furniture sold. Or shall I say..... given away?

Friday, February 12, 2010


She was born in an obscure town in North Dakota.
She attended school in an even more obscure town.
She was a farmer's daughter, and the sister to nine.
She won a 4H speech contest.
She won a small scholarship to college.
She attended North Central Bible College.
She lived in Minneapolis, Jamestown, Broadus, Emerado,
Drayton, Lewistown, Creston, Garrison, White Lake,
Green Bay, Arvada, Aurora, and Thornton.
She got her BSN in nursing.
She became a renal nurse in Aurora.
She became facility administrator in Aurora.
She starter the Key program for Davita
She started the Village Health program for Davita
She served as a Director for Davita.
She consulted for Shaller Anderson.
She consulted for Aetna.
She serves as a Director for Renal Ventures.
She is a mother of three girls.
She is the grandmother of six.
She has the best character of any person I have ever known.
She is positive and buoyant.
She is a good house keeper.
She is a good cook.
She is a good lover.
She is my valentine.
She is my wife!


Airports are a big part of my life. It's not that I travel a lot.... maybe two trips per year by air. But my wife, Audrey, flies out nearly every week. She flies to Dallas, Odessa, Omaha, Odessa, Dallas, Odessa, Omaha. And, of course, she always comes home to Denver. It's not exotic, but it is her work.

For my part, I take her to the airport and pick her up each time. that's two trips to the airport each week. It's not that I mind. It's just the time between when I drop her off and pick her up that I mind. Life is getting shorter and we are spending more and more time apart. She sits alone in a hotel and I sit alone at a coffee shop or watching a game.

We have a king sized bed, but the sheets are getting worn out on only one side. Two stools at the counter where we eat, but only one gets used. Two cars in the garage and one usually stays in the garage. How does a guy grill just one hamburger, one steak, one chop, or one hotdog. Is it possible to peel just one-half a potato?

But the big thing is... I miss her so. Sometimes there is a constant ache, a longing, a tremendous desire to have her close. And on the weekends, I do have her close. Blessed are the precious weekends.

Drat the airports that take her away. Hooray for the airports that bring her home.

A husband's lament.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


It seems that recent presidents have had a penchant for trying terrorists in civilian court. This is totally out of line. They are war criminals, not civil criminals. In the current case where they want to try this terrorist in New York it will cost about $240 million. If it were to go to a military tribunal it would be a fraction of that because the military already has it's lawyers on staff whose job it is to do just that.

So why would the government not want to save the money when we are in a deep recession. Quick answer: the government never wants to save money.... only spend it.

Take the Tire

The snow storm back east has afforded all types of opportunities for thieves. There was one stretch of road where thieves have stolen all the tires and wheels off from 30 cars. The TV footage on Fox News showed these cars just sitting on the street on their bellies surrounded by snow banks.

I guess it does pay to park your car in the garage. Throw out the junk and park the car. It would make your neighbors happy, too.

Choke Hold

So this guy went into the rest room on the airplane and smoked some pot. He came out with his pants down and elbowed the female airline attendant. So she put him in a hammerlock and tried to cuff him. When he resisted she put him in a choke hold. then she did cuff him.

She had military training for terrorist and has a black belt in the martial arts. I would have liked to have seen that.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's All About Nothing!

I don't know what you know about nothing, but I must confess I don't know much myself. I mean, what is there to talk about? What is the purpose of nothing? What is the process of nothing and what is the end result of nothing? It's just plain and simply nothing! But this blog is not exactly about nothing, it's about nothing in particular, which means it could be about anything and everything. But I guarantee you it won't be about everything simply because I don't know everything. So it will be about just about everything, which could be anything, or.... nothing at all.

Now that this is settled, I have nothing to talk about.... tonight. Is there anything you want me to talk about? Just don't bring up everything or just about everything. But I will blog about anything. Anything at all. Well, just about anything.

So, Audrey, Rana, Amy, Sonia, Amber, Julia, Cade, Tori, Lane, Archie, or anyone else, just leave a comment. Tell me what you'd like me to blog about and I'll blog one just for you.