Tuesday, July 27, 2010

All In

The family is Oceanside as I sit marooned in Las Vegas. I'll be joining them in a day or two however there is a story to tell. There is ALWAYS a story to tell.

I quit my job on a Friday and started my own firm exactly 8 days ago. My business partner and I have used the analogy of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid eluding capture many times since then to describe our predicament. The bandits were being chased by the law and ended up on a cliff with two choices: jump into the water or fight the army that was hot on their heels.

Butch Cassidy: Alright. I'll jump first.
Sundance Kid: No.
Butch Cassidy: Then you jump first.
Sundance Kid: No, I said.
Butch Cassidy: What's the matter with you?
Sundance Kid: I can't swim.
Butch Cassidy: Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.
Sundance Kid: Oh, shit...

We jumped


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

"The Paradoxical Commandments" were written by Kent M. Keith in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders. _________________________________________

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Done Deal

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City and back in 27 hours and not a hiccup....unusual for me.

As previously reported, I was towing a trailer full of baby furniture and loot from the shower and returning with some furniture and odds and ends from our place in SLC.

Not only did I pull off this transportation feat, there weren't even any close calls or stories to tell. None. In fact, I was so tired on the drive up, I placed our lives and the life of my unborn grandchild in the hands of my daughter-in-law who showed her moxie by driving 80MPH while towing a trailer rated for 55MPH. She easily drove 1/3 of the way. Gutsiest move I ever saw. We love her.

The ride back was even less stressful - Jake and I loaded up on donuts, juice and diet pepsi for a true 'Breakfast of Champions' and sped back down the I-15 in record time for towing a trailer. This makes 2 speed titles in the past 2 months. For the record though, I'm done driving. I hate road trips. I'd rather go to the dentist - really.

So as the dog days of summer linger upon us, thoughts turn to Oceanside and sun-drenched days at the beach. I'm down for 2 weeks this year and am going to enjoy every minute of my time there. We return to North Coast Village after a year's absence. Last summer we rented a house just south of the pier - it was nice to be sure, but the absence of people on the beach made for lousy people watching. At NCV, we choose our spot for the week and camp out; the people watching is extraordinary and constant...sort of like living theater. It's better than the people watching in airports by far.

Since the dog days also mean zero meaningful sports, I've been able to dial in on some reading material I've wanted to get to and have been enjoying my iPad (aka Maxipad) although I do find it somewhat unwieldy in comparison to the Kindle for reading books. The Kindle is smaller and fits on one's hands better than the iPad but that's where the Kindle's capacity ends. Jake was watching the World Cup final on the maxipad during our drive to Utah. TV in the palm of your hand????? The apocolypse is near. What next? Flying cars?

Here at the house, it's an early morning and the Chief of Security (Ray Ray) is all wound up. A new dog in the neigborhood means a new sound for him to get all worked up about so the neighbors are being treated to a bark-a-thon at 7am. I'm sure they love it.

Alec and Tiffany move to Reno in a few days and Janae will fly up next week to help them unpack and get settled in. Seems like yesterday when the boys were in grade school and we were dropping them off at Derfelt Elementary School....Time marches on, things change. Accept it.

I like the quote, "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

So go out and live your life on your terms - it's the only life you have.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It Ain't Easy Being Me

The Story of Two Cities and Keith Towing a Trailer.

Since Alec and Tiffany are moving for medical school next week her baby shower was held yesterday in Las Vegas. My job was to rent a trailer to haul all the shower booty up to Utah. Easy right? Nope.

Baby furniture that had been ordered was also delivered here and needed to be in Salt Lake by next week so it could be moved to Reno the week after.

This is generally a simple task except that the second I become involved in anything even moderately complicated, the wheels sort of fall off.

The SUV has a tow package but since I don't tow anything these days and absolutely, positively hated, hated, hated towing the boat back in the day I really thought my "trucking" days were behind me once and for all. Nope.

Of course waiting until the last possible day to hook up the tow sleeve and wiring could be construed as procrastination on my part but not really. I mean I should have just been able to pop off the plastic cover, insert the ball and hitch and meet the fat guy at U-Haul. Nope.

Taking the plastic cover off was easy - took me two minutes. "Uh oh," I said. There wasn't an electrical hookup in sight. Okay....I found the manual which nowadays is about as thick as a phone book and went straight to the index, found "towing" and flipped to page 294 where I was told all sorts of things except for where the wiring coupling is. Meanwhile, it's 9am and already 90 degrees. I've been underneath the vehicle getting filthy and now I'm sweating profusely. Time to go to the dealership.

I pulled into the long service line and decided that since I'm me and don't wait in line, immediately pulled out in the exit lane, moved to the front of the line and said to the guy who was looking at me like, "Who the hell are you?" - "This will just take a minute." It wasn't like I needed an oil change or something. He barks at me to pull over so I threw the car in reverse and nearly caused an accident - horns blaring, tempers flaring....I managed to keep my cool. I told the guy my plight and within 5 minutes a mechanic had be all set up. Whew. Lexus rocks. On to U-Haul.

The fat guy wearing a belt and suspenders with short pants was my first clue something was amiss. Yes they rented U-Haul stuff but there were more like a storage facility. The rental stuff was a side-job for them. We located the trailer and I backed up precisely to the right spot, hopped out of the car, looked at the trailer hitch and uttered, "uh oh." The car has a round electrical coupling while the trailer has a rectangular one. "Hey Mike, you guys sell converters?" (me thinking this would be something that comes up frequently). "Nope." You have to get those at an auto parts store.

AutoZone, Las Vegas, NV.....the line of guys was 3 deep at each register and none of them looked like they were moving. All had assorted parts in one hand and were describing their folly to bored, poker faced clerks. This was going to take awhile. Of course I scrambled around the store trying to locate the part myself, but since this was probably the first time in 2 decades that I had been to an auto parts joint, mission failure was a given. After 15 minutes an older guy stares at me, looks at the inscription on my t-shirt "Varsity Physics" and repeats the slogan. I said, "Yup." As if this guy knew jack about the Haldron Collider. He hooked me up and there I was, underneath the car in the parking lot of AutoZone fiddling with an electrical coupler. I felt like a real car guy.....all the while laughing at my plight.

Back at the U-Haul, Mike was ready for me. In addition to the belt and suspenders, he now was wearing a back brace.

Hmmmmmmnnnnn....I thought to myself.

Apparently it takes two guys to lift the hitch up and manuever it onto the ball. Heavy sucker. I looked around for the other U-Haul guy.... and it was me.

We heaved on the count of three and managed to hoist the hitch onto the ball.....as I felt the discs in my lower vertebrae; L-4 and L-5, pop out. Ouch.

As with any towing job, the attempted coupling didn't take. Mike thought the ball was too big and I'm thinking, "Isn't there just one size ball man? Why is this so damn complicated?"

I said to Mike, "Just jump on the thing and it'll go in." We used to do this all the time with the boat and it somehow worked.

Mike did as he was told and voila, success. We had a coupling. Now I just had to drive around not forgetting I was towing a trailer. I went to the baby store to pick up the furniture, even making some U-turns and was back at the house to accept hugs and kisses from the women in my life. Apparently this sort of thing for a guy - going to multiple shops, making multiple trips, and in sum, going that extra mile - is a rare feat and is rewarded appropriately. Guys usually quit once we find out we have to do more than the absolute minimum. Frankly, I had no choice.

Right now the trailer is parked in the front, ready to go on a journey to Salt Lake City and back over the next two days. Baby stuff moving north, furniture and stuff coming south.

This story isn't over yet. I have 900 miles of danger ahead of me.

Expect an update on Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thought for the Day

Two Wolves - A Cherokee Parable

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life.

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego. The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too.

"The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old chief simply replied, "The one you feed."

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July 2010

4th of July is always a great holiday.

We always throw a pool party and at any given time there are at least 20 kids under 7 years old racing around the pool, eating and doing all those things we were told we couldn't do when we were that age.

Remember the 30 minute rule? Moms told us that we had to wait a half hour after eating before jumping in the pool. I remember quite vividly that I used to time my re-entry to the 29th minute and 59th second.....stupid. I let my kids EAT in the pool. Never hurt them or the pool.

Last week Jake and his friend Adam took the turbo on a high speed illegal fireworks run to the Moapa Indian reservation. Here in Nevada there aren't any forests or trees that can burn but our fire department won't allow decent fireworks - just those little sorry-ass fountains, sparklers, and assorted other "safe" fireworks. We court danger thus Jake's mission was to head north about 50 miles to Indian Country where they sell the good stuff.

Since we took all the Indians good land I guess it's okay that we let them make some coin selling otherwise illegal fireworks, discounted liquor and cheap smokes. If you think the land in Las Vegas is bad, you should see the land we traded the Indians. I'm almost ashamed. I mean, they can't even grow corn or tobacco out there.

Firecrackers? Ha. We got bags of M-80's and found if we tied a bunch of them together we could replicate a low-grade dynamite explosion.

Next up is mixing it with ammonium nitrate - I'll report back on that next year. It's okay, I'm the HOA president and if we blow up the street, so be it. Yes, I am also 49 years young.

Once the sun went down, some of the women were freaking out about the fireworks - they just don't get it. Guys like to blow shit up. Future doctor Alec was ordered by me to not get close to the explosions but that didn't take. He and Jake engaged in a spirited Roman Candle assault on one another. Funny. Until someone gets burned. We had dogs in neigboring zip codes running for cover with our awesome aerial fireworks display. Awesome. Next year I am ordering direct from China.

With all the kids in and around the pool, jumping off the superstructure, careening around on the rope swing with marshmellow sticks dipped in chocolate in their mouths, and all sorts of fire and ash swirling about during firework hour only one kid got hurt. He wasn't really invited so I don't count that. If we get sued, then I'll counter sue for trespassing and other egregious behavior - I'm not gonna lie, the kid was sort of bratty. Jake agreed.

Alec and Tiffany spent the weekend with us after their week at the beach. Tiffany's baby bump is out to.............here (see below - she's in the middle with two other prego family members :-)

The boys and I played golf today and enjoyed a spirited father-son-cousin-uncle 5-some at Canyon Gate CC. We flew around the course in 3 1/2 hours and got back home for more pool time and to stuff our faces with more food.

Jake and Alec

Also happy to report that Jake didn't whack any fowl - he's usually good for knocking out a pigeon, duck or goose on any given golf outing...unintentionally of course. He was just bad. Now, he outdrives me and shoots a pretty decent game. Way to go Jake!

Of course it's not all about the parties. We celebrate our independence from England and all the nasty taxes they imposed on us.

Sort of like now.....seems like another revolution is in order.