This morning I dreaded driving the truck to the body shop knowing there would be the question, What happened?
Scratched paint. Crinkled fender panel. Something had to have happened. What do I say?
Bodyshop Dude: Wow. That's a hella scratch. Lots of damage. What happened?
Me: It was horrible. Last night Wifey and I were driving home from a family celebration and all of a sudden a black SUV pulled alongside. SUV's window rolls down, driver and a guy in the backseat starts yelling at us. The backseat guy starts waving a gun. I have no idea what they're yelling or what they want.
Body Shop Dude: YOWWW! Holy chicken soup with rice!!! Then what?
Me: I'm not stopping to ask questions. We speed up and try to lose them. I think shots were fired. Couldn't really tell 'cause Wifey was screaming shit that I can't even remember.
Body Shop Dude: Were you packing heat?
Me: Only Wifey. About a minute later the guy driving the black SUV slammed it into the side of our truck. There were like blades that came out of his SUV that looked like they were supposed to slice tires. But the blades were sitting too high on the SUV and instead made the scratches that you see on the truck.
Body Shop Dude: Then what? How'd you get away.
Me: Well, about the time the blades came out a highway patrol car passes going the other direction. This freaks out the guys in the SUV who make a sharp right onto another street. They like fly baby fly down that street. Funny though the CHP never turned around or came back. Guess they didn't see anything. We high tail it home and never see these guys again.
Body Shop Dude: Wow. They must have thought you were somebody else. Man, you're lucky.
Me: Yeah, lucky. Now let's see how lucky I really am. How much is it going to take to repair the damage?
The need to be at a job five or six days a week, 10-12 hours a day is no longer there. This means come, go, drive, walk, job, bike, rock and roll whenever and where ever I want. This means a lot more drive time and less sit on my ass time.
I have to do inner talk before I hop in the truck and when I drive. Like I'm the horse whisperer but I'm horsing around with myself (okayokayokay, in my head - get you mind out the gutter).....I whisper. . . almost a mantra, "People are stupid. People are stupid. They have no manners. They have no manners. No one ever taught them the correct way to drive. No one. They'll cut me off, piss me off, never use their turn signals, stop in the middle of the street caring less what anyone behind them does and then make their turn. Be calm. Be cool. Don't lose it." And so on.
I have a temper that can usually be controlled. But I have to work it to keep it inside. So I have to talk to myself. Be calm, Bob, I say. Don't get riled. Smile. Take your time. Take defensive tactics when necessary to avoid a fender bender. Leave that middle finger on the wheel and hand off of the horn. Ain't worth the hassle. Two wrongs don't make a right and you'd be just as wrong of some of these idiots by letting your temper fly.
What really gets my goat are people who text or put on make-up at stoplights and forget to watch for it turn green. There they sit. They sit until the light is about to turn red again. Guess what? They make the fricking light. It turns red. Everyone else has to wait for another green. Grrrrrrrrrr.
Being irritated when someone cuts me off goes back to elementary school and lining up. NO CUTS! remember that? Some folks didn't learn anything in school, did they? Think about merging on the freeway. Three miles before it happens, a sign warns, Merge left, right lane closed. So 99% of everyone eventually merges left except a handful of bozos. They scream down the right lane and attempt to merge just at the last moment when the two lanes turn into one. These idiots, all about themselves clowns, take cuts. Grrrrrrr.
Inner talk comes in handy. I could easily get into road rage form 7 days weeks. Not worth it. Stress is bad, hurts the mind and body. I've got all the time in the world, I tell myself. Slow down. Smell the flowers. Ignore the idiots. They'll get theirs someday.
I turn on the truck's audio system, slide a CD into it and let the rest roll off of my back.
The kitchen cabinets had just been refinished. The house stunk like chemicals. With freshly painted surfaces and a stinky house last night wasn't the time to eat in but to eat out.
After a brief husband/wife conversation of where do you want to eat, I don't know where do you want to eat, well I am in the mood for this this and that, Well I'm not in the mood for this this and that I want to eat there, we finally ended up driving 20 minutes west to the old mining town of French Gulch. French Gulch is just a tad bit past the lake where the sailboat is moored. Nice drive by the lake and through the forest.
There's not a lot going on in FG. A few live there. A post office is located in an old building that once housed a store (now defunct and for sale). A saloon operates from about 11 in the morning until 6 or 7 in the evening (pretty tame and not like the old days I'm sure). It's an original that has been operating since the goldrush days.
The main fixture in town is the FG hotel and restaurant. It was bought by a couple of partner guys from Seattle a couple of years ago. They've learned the hard way what it's like to run a business like this in a town populated with people who don't eat out a lot. No doubt it's been a tough tow to hoe for these two.
We get there and try to open the dining room door. Sign says use the bar entrance which we do. Dark place. A couple of people eating. One of the owner dudes who serves and doesn't cook (his pard does all the cooking) says be seated anywhere in the bar as the dining room is closed.
I order an 8 ounce sirloin, baked potato, vegetable, salad with honey mustard dressing, Wifey orders a mushroom chicken deal with the same sides.
About the time we ordered another couple, obviously local (he's wearing a red shirt, yellow suspenders and a large tan broad rimmed hat ---like a miner dude would wear), sits at the table next to ours which is already occupied by a young man that they knew.
Just as we were served the young man at the neighboring table begins recanting the film he had just watched. It was about WWII, Jews, concentration camps and what have you. It was like a blow by blow, detail by detail description of the film. He went on and on and on and on and one in a tone loud enough to be heard by every one in the room. There was no holding a conversation. Wifey and I kept looking at each other through this blow by blow movie review both thinking will it ever end?
Finally I stand up, look at the neighboring table and say, "How many minutes until this movie is over?"
The boy looks taken aback, the couple smiles knowing what I was referring to. He says it's done and shuts up.
If that wasn't enough the guy next to us adopts Wifey and I as his two new best friends. He talks about things wayyyyy out there, things you and I never think about. The remainder of our dinner was filled with his thoughts about this, that and other things that honestly....I could care less about.
We finish our meal. I head to the bar to pay the tab. The new friend follows, sits at the bar and continues his conversation with Wifey which now is about the fact that they both love the same book store and could never live without it.
I pay up. We shake hands with the man in the red shirt and suspenders and walk out to the car.
The meal was great with exception of the canned green beans (these partner dudes should know better). On second thought maybe the canned beans were part of serving an authentic gold rush meal. Miners probably didn't have fresh vegetables and likely ate out of cans. Hmmmm. But did miners like green beans?
Whatever the case, we'll be back if for nothing else but to support the two guys who are hanging onto their business by their fingernails.
When we eat at the French Gulch Hotel again we'll probably bump into our new friend and have another one of those conversations. Not a bad thing. Maybe I'll learn something.
If I pass some slow ass car when it's just not right then I want rightous music to die with. This one: Santana....No One to Depend On. This is the one.
So, listen up: From 2:20 (or sooner) until 2:53 you're behind some guy with his finger in his ear, in his nose and up his ass driving 49 miles an hour on a 65 mph two lane highway. You've been following this idiot for 15 miles and you're tired of it.
Finally you see a place to pass. Risky 'cause there are cars coming at you on the opposite lane just over that hill way in the distance. You think you can make it.
Think that at 2:20 into this music. At 2:53 you're around him, going through the gears (you're driving a yellow corvette with the top down), and just missing the on coming traffic.
PS Win, lose or draw, long before I take the final breath, I will own that Silver or Yellow Corvette in the not so distant future. . . and much sooner than you think....
I'll be passing those slow ass bastards. Just you watch.
Are you wondering what families do for cheap entertainment? Times are changing. Money is tight. People are out of work. Inflation is rampant. What are families doing for cheap entertainment. Staying home watching the tube or scoping out a Netflix movie doesn't count. Getting out of the house and doing something: That's entertainment!
Back in the day when few families had a pot to piss in there were options for cheap entertainment. Take the drive-in movie and buck night. A buck a car. Stuff the car full of people. Bring lawn chairs. Some sat outside. The rest sat inside the car. Candy, popcorn, drinks. . . all from home. No need to buy then expensive snacks and drink at the snack bar.
Most drive-ins had a small playground that sat in front of the screen. Any family coming before dark and too early for the movie would let their kids play on the playground (and without concern someone would take one of their precious little darlings.....those were the days). We're run around in our p.j's and not think a thing about it (wearing p.j.'s were necessary for getting home late so dad could carry us into the house and into bed). While we romped mom and dad would sit in the car and enjoy a semi-quiet quasi-date night. Back then I guess you could call that quality time.
Today most all of the drive-in's have been dozed in favor of condos or shopping malls. Where there were once 4,000 drive-ins in our country there are now about 430. Any family wanting to get out of the house to take in a movie now pays a kings ransom at the walk in movie and has to mortgage something to buy a little popcorn. Gone are the buck a car load days of old.
It would be nice once in a while to pack up the dogs, pickup some dinner and take in an outdoor movie. I'd even wear my p.j.'s and run around the playground. Bet I'm not the only one who longs for that experience.
Me: Yes, I know. Palm Sunday is my most favorite Bible story.
Grace: Then Papa you know that Palm Sunday got its name from the palm branches that were waved by the crowds of people and strewn in the path of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem for the Passover riding on a donkey.
Me: What? No way. That's not how it happened, Gracie. Here's what really happened:
See Jesus and some of his pals were itching to go surfing during spring break. They were tired of studying and just had to take a break from school. And did you know that Jesus was the best surfer in the world. He won all kinds of contests.
Okay, okay, just listen........So Jesus and his buds grabbed their surfboards and went to Hawaii. I don't know how long it took them to get there. Jet planes and fast boats were not invented yet. They must have made a big raft and floated to Hawaii. Or, they could have just gotten on their boards and paddled there. It must have taken a couple days of floating or paddling.
When they got to Hawaii. Jesus and his friends sat under the palm trees, soaked up the sun, drank lots of blue colored drinks and ate pineapple. And they surfed. And they surfed.
When Jesus and his buds got hungry the went to the store and bought a whole pig that was ready for roasting. They wrapped the pig up in palm leaves, put it in a deep pit filled with firey coals and covered it with sand. 12 hours later it was oink, oink time for everyone. The pig was alsolutely delish. It was so tasty that it was something Martha Stewart would have loved to have eaten.
Next day was the surfing contest. No one could beat Jesus. No one. He was the best surfer in the whole wide Bible! Jesus could do stuff on a surfboard that no one could.
Grace: No way. How could Jesus be the best surfer back then? Surfing wasn't even invented.
Me: What do you mean? No way. Jesus could walk on water, couldn't he? So who else would be the best surfer in the world? No one could out surf a guy who could walk on water.....
Me: True story, Gracie.......Anyway, Palm Sunday has a special meaning. It was a great Spring Break for Jesus and his friends. They sat under palm trees, roasted a pig wrapped in palm leaves and Jesus was crowned as the best surfer in the world.
After Jesus was crowned he and his buds piled in a donkey cart and paraded the streets of Hawaii. Tons of people lined the streets waving palm branches crying out, AWESOME DUDE! WAY TO HANG TEN! THAT'S SOOO GNARLY!
That's how Palm Sunday got its name.
Gracie: I'm going to get my Bible. I've just got to find this story and read it to everyone in my Bible class. They're going to be knocked out when they hear about Jesus being the best surfer in the world.
Me: If you can't find this story in your Bible I'll be happy to visit your class and share it with them. I'm a great story teller.
Grace: That's what Grammy keeps telling me...........
At ages 5, 6 and 7 next door neighbor pal Doug and I would walk the distance from home to school and back again each week day. We'd pick up stuff that we'd find and talk it over. There were railroad tracks to cross where we would stop to play for a bit. We'd put rocks on the rails thinking that they would cause a train to derail. Never happened but we kept trying.
On one such walk Doug picked up a discarded but empty pack of Camels and shoved the front of it in my face. As seen here the front of the Camel package had a picture of a camel.
Doug: Look. Look!
Me: I'm looking. So what?
Doug: Look! What would you rather do? You're in Egypt and it's time for bed. Would you sleep on a camel or sleep on the ground?
Me: I guess I'd sleep on the ground. Sleeping on a camel would probably be not good at all.
Doug (laughing and flipping the pack of Camels around to its back): I'd rather go around the corner and sleep in a hotel!
Yahahahahahaha, cried Doug.
Funny what one remembers after all these years.
Then last month while traveling in another state.
Wifey: There's a nice looking place to spend the night. The No Tell Motel.
Me: Looks like crap to me.
Wifey: Really, it probably would be okay.
Me: Nope. I'd rather go around the corner and sleep in a hotel.
We've had Netflix on demand for a year maybe two. Films in the Netflix "instant play" catalogue can be sent online to our PC then travel via WiFi to the big screen LCD TV in the living room. There's like thousands of films and TV programs available through this service. 10 bucks a month brings all the instant play movies you can watch 24/7. Beats the hell out of waiting for a Netflix movie to come in the mail or driving to Blockbuster to rent something.
The other night it was hard to resist watching a Gary Cooper film, High Noon. Low tech (tt was 1952, the era of tin-can telephones). Interesting. Acting techniques in the 50's were way different from what we see today. No cussing. Back then cowboys didn't cuss or kiss girls.
Anyway, if you have instant play Netflix check it out this weekend.
This one is for a friend who is soon traveling on vacation to Mexico . .. a clothing optional resort where things, from my understanding, can get a little racy. Spicy. OMG. LOL. etc. You get the picture.
The friend is having second thoughts on the what ifs of this sojourn south of the border. Hell, were it me I'd say "let the good times roll", I'd SURRENDER! and let the "dice" fall where they may.
Anyway old friend, this is for you and in the name of whatever floats your boat. Just be sure to come back with your head on your shoulders.
BTW: This is post number 1,575. WAHOO! And they said it wouldn't last. What About Bob? can outlast the best of them. Don't you know?
When I filled the truck with diesel Saturday I could not help but wonder how much is enough? No, not how much was enough diesel to fill the truck but how much is enough money for each each barrel of oil. It's hard to imagine the hardship fuel prices are for low income families who commute to work. Wow. Expensive. It's likely they're wondering how much is enough, too.
Here you see Cowtown's least expensive price per gallon as of Saturday morning. Betcha diesel will top 4.75 a gallon before this is over.
As it is now the truck gets pretty good mileage given its size, weight and its engine. In town it will consume just under 19 miles to the gallon if I keep my foot out of it and don't race someone stoplight to stoplight (sorry, old habits never die).
Freeway mileage runs about plus or minus 22 miles to the gallon if I'm not towing anything, there's no headwind, if it's all flatland traveling and the speed is kept to 60-65 miles an hour.
She holds 35 gallons of diesel. In today's terms it would take a little over $151 bucks to fill the truck with diesel. Roughly speaking that would be nearly all consumed in 475-550 miles of travel.
I grew up in an era of cheap gas. Thirty-one cents a gallon or less for regular. The VW I drove in high school would go all day on a bucks worth of gas. A bucks worth today would not even get you out of Cowtown.
I'm not complaining. I'm just concerned for the little people with not a lot of extra cash to pay these "extra" prices for gasoline.
But I will complain about whoever it is making big bucks off of each barrel of oil. Someone is. It's a matter of supply and demand. Lots of stuff equals low prices. Not a lot means big bucks for the consumer.
Gas for our fossil burning cars is like buying toilet paper. Gotta have it. Can't live without it. Gotta pay the price. Unless you want to walk and use corncobs or grass (and chant - -- wax on, wax off).
Lyrics from Paul Simon's "Rhythm of the Saints": "I could be sailing in seizures of laughter."
Actually, when I sail there are a lot of seizures of laughter. You know, since I've quit working (or did work quit me?), there's been lots of smiles, many fits of giggling, and belly-laughs. Before I had to grow up and get serious life was like that. Life can be like that.
It's like I've done a complete 360 (full circle for those of you lacking in that kind of lingo). Back to being a kid in many ways would be a more accurate description of the internal morphing that's taken place.
One day this will happen to you. Count on it.
A friend living in Oregon is about to have his job quit on him (or is he quitting the job?). You'll get different, I tell him. You'll be back to who you used to be, I said. No longer will your life be run by the clock and a day planner, I explained.
Oregon friend Eric is also looking for a sailboat. I imagine we'll shop together. They say misery loves company. Shopping for a boat is anything but misery. This I look forward to. I also look forward to witnessing Eric's personality change from this to that.
Next year come April Eric will definitely be sailing in seizures of laughter.
There are a lot of reasons I'm lucky to be alive. During my younger years ....and even after those passed .. . lots and lots of opportunities were presented to the good lord that had my name on which shouted: He's fucking nuts! Hell on wheels! Take this boy! He's earned a trip to heaven or hell. Just take him.
You're thinking WTF do what's posted here in pictures have to do with the potential demise of good old Bob?
As the story goes . .. . as a pre-teen and into my teenage years my family waterskied. We owned a small ski boat powered with an outboard motor that had enough heft to pull someone on a single ski. We skied in San Francisco Bay, Lake Tahoe, Lake Mendocino, Clear Lake and at what's pictured here: The Russian River at the Healdburg Memorial Beach.
Come Memorial day the flood gates you see in this photo were closed and enough water was held back to swim and ski in. On Labor Day the gates were taken down to accomodate migrating fish. No more swimming and no more skiing until the next Memorial Day.
To launch a ski boat here you had to be a member of the Russian River Boat Club or know someone with the gate combination. We tow the boat to Healsburg to ski on dad's days off or after he was off work. It was a short 20 minute drive from the house to the launch ramp as compared to other places to ski that were an hour plus away.
There was barely enough water in spots to ski (close to the beach). Whoever was driving the boat had to have come skill to make tight turns at the end of each run. Less than tight would put either the skier or the boat on dry land. Brother Marty did just that once. Didn't watch what the hell he was going and he ended up skiing on dry land. Major road rash. Major crying from Bro Marty. Lots of bandaids. I was smacked for laughing. It was pretty funny.
We continued to ski here, there and everywhere until I turned 18 and went into the military.
After my 3 years, 21 days in the military I returned home to a bunch of wild over 21 friends who loved stupid crazy shit. Outboard motor ski boats were out. Too slow. To mom and pop. If you owned one it had to be a flatbottomed boat, preferrably a Sanger much like the one pictured here. We're not talking 25 to 35 mile and hour boats. Flat bottomed boats were dragsters in disguise and could reach speeds of 50 to 75 miles an hour or more.
After work we'd all pile in someones car, tow the Sanger up to the Russian River and ski until there wasn't any light. We'd barbecue. We'd down enough beer to make us crazy stupid. Skiers were blitzed. Boat drivers could hardly walk but oh, could they drive (well, not all the time). It was not unusual for skiers to be hauled up and down the river at speeds well over 50 miles an hour. When you're on one ski that's hauling ass.
Beer crazed boat drivers had to drive in a straight line but they had to turn around twice. The first turn up river was easy. The most difficult and dangerous came when the boat passed under the bridge. To make the turn the boat had to come very close to the concrete pillar in order for the skier to make the turn. Sometimes the margin between the boat and the pillar were in inches.
Even after sunset we'd be skiing, drinking and having fun. That's when millions of bugs would come out of hiding. Anyone skiing would have bugs in their mouth, on their teeth and plastered on their foreheads.
Wifey and the other women chicks would wear swimming caps like these. Some of Wifey's favorites are in the first row of caps. Wifey chicks would act as the observer in the boat while the guys skied. Sometimes wifey chicks would watch the skier but there were times when they really had to keep the driver doing in the right direction.
Why no one was towed over the gravel, why none of our boats were driven onto the beach, why not one skier hit the concrete bridge pillar, why none of the skiers were run over by a ski boat (there were close calls) and why all of us came away with ten fingers and toes, two arms and two legs is a freaking miracle.
That said, after I had been home from the service for more than a few years, one skier did hit the center bridge pillar and died instantly. Shortly after that a ski boat hit the pillar killing the driver, the sole occupant of the boat.
It was then that the powers to be felt it in the best interest of the public to close the ski club. It remains closed.
The kids were over this weekend. Sitting around. Doing nothing. Wifey gets stir crazy. Wifey always has to get it on (well, not with the kids here),. . . do something...go somewhere, be active, live life. . . etc etc etc.
Wifey: Come on guys. We gotta get out there and do something. We're wasting life away here.
Everyone: Got any ideas?
Wifey: I thought you might have something in mind.
So the kids and I did this dance and sang this song for Wifey:
That will be the last time she ever asks the old man and the kids what we'd like to do. Ya think?
Since she was old enough to crawl I've stayed away from and out of Gracie's bathing or shower area. Not appropriate. Not.
Even now that she's eight years old Grace still asks Wifey to have me come see something she's doing in the bathtub. The latest being the tub completely filled with bubbles and our little Grace completely covered with them.
Wifey: Grace wants you to come see what's she done in the bathtub. It's pretty cute.
Me: Nope. No can do. Not appropriate.
Wifey: It's okay. She's completely covered in bubbles.
Me: No, it's not okay. Think about it. Grace goes to school and tells her friends that she was taking a bath with bubbles in it and I come in to check it out. It's likely the cops will be on our doorstep off the get-go to investigate. That's the world we live in. . . like it or not. Besides, I don't care if she's 8 or 28 it's still not appropriate for me to be anywhere near Grace's bathing area and frankly it's wrong. It sends the wrong message. Take a picture 'cause I'm not going there.
Wifey takes three pictures. Today and for a moment I ponder whether or not to add them to this post. You should know that Grace's mom is a wingnut. Big time. She flies off the anger handle over nothing. Last week her anger was over a pair of shoes Wifey bought for Grace....nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary. . . a pair of shoes that stay here as extras. I won't get into the why of the mother's anger other than she does pull that emotion over basically nothing. This woman makes life miserable for everyone and anyone she has contact with. She spares no one. She does not discriminate. Without warning this woman lets family and bystanders have a dose of her wrath big time.
So I started thinking about posting Grace's bath photos here . .. the ones of Grace all covered in bubbles. Nope. Won't work. What if the mother gets wind of bathing photos of Gracie on this blog? Even though she doesn't have the address of What About Bob nor has she ever read it it would be just my luck for her to get wind of the photos of Grace in her bath. All hell would break loose. She'd be pissed if she happened to read this post. Ask me if I give a shit about that?
Then I think about the pervs who love pictures of any child in any situation. Hmmm. One more reason to not include the bathing photos here.
For those who follow this blog you know what our Grace looks like. Visualize a large garden style bathtub with her in it all covered with bubbles.