Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mush, Daddy, Mush!
Merry Christmas from
Steve, Julie, Sam, Bella and Clark

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here's a Thought

Maybe the Yankee's can provide the funding for the next bailout plan. They just spent $423 million. Obviously they have plenty of wealth that they could spread around.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Different Times

There was a time that I closed bars. Wanna know what Julie and I closed Saturday night? Target and Toys R Us. Woo-freakin'-who! Childless for the night and this is what we do. There must be a disconnect in my brain somewhere. I'll have to address that.

Other news:

4-wheel drive is out on the Toy. I'll have to address that with all the snow that is expected. I just don't want to work on it when the temps aren't even breaking out of single digits, or not even cracking the positive side of zero like yesterday.

It's cold. But, we are now on the side of the calendar that means we will be adding, not subtracting, minutes to our daylight.

Got a close look at the Rocky. Better shape than described by the seller. Even has a metallic flake in the paint job. I'm actually geeked about the build. It could be any build at this point. I don't know that I truly need a cross bike. I think I just need to have something to work on during the long, chilly winter. Maybe I'll just build and sell right away. That's a big maybe, but it exists.

Happy Monday, all ya' all.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Quick Review

Friday - Normal night. Little popcorn and a movie at home with Julie. Had put in a max bid on something on Ebay. Fell asleep on the couch. Woke up at 2:45 with a screaming bladder. There may have been a few beers with that popcorn and movie.

Saturday - Haircut for Sam. Complete with product for the hair. Would make John Fischer proud. Well, except for the fact that it smelled like cookie dough. Hard to be a dude when you smell like chocolate chip cookies. Clark had difficulty leaving Sam's head alone. Oil change for the Soo-b-roo. Haircut for Steve. No product. Not going down the road with that particular brand again. Some house cleaning. Picked up some Chinese and headed to the hospital to visit Beth, Marcus and unborn Carter. Things have leveled out and Beth is back home as of yesterday, but she's on bed rest for an undetermined amount of time.

Sunday - Took advantage of the 47 degree weather and got the rest of the ice of the driveway. Played with the boy while Julie did some errands. Put up the tree on the screen porch. Watched the dismal Packer game. Made fifty on the dismal Packer game. Went to get a tree for inside. First one we looked at was the one. There, loaded and gone in less than ten minutes. Just the way it should be. Cleaned some slop out of the garage and checked the downspouts and lighting before hauling the tree into the house. Wrote out checks for school pictures, daycare and hot lunch. Those hurt.

Just finished the last of my Ma Po Tofu in hopes that it clears my ailing throat and sinuses. It seems to have helped, but it feels like it will only be temporary. The weather you ask? 43.8 when I went to bed at eleven last night. 6.6 when I put the dogs out this morning at six. 37.2 degree drop in seven hours.

My max bid? Well, coming in at $4 under my max, this should be here late this or early next week:
Happy Monday, all ya' all.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Today was mentally exhausting. That is the easiest way I can put it. My mind is just spent. Little fires, big fires, unnecessary fires. Finding out I won't get to replace the head on my staff that was lost to long term disability due to year-end budget restraints. How do I keep production at the same level when down people? Good friends of ours separating and most-likely headed down the road to the D word. Other friends having to put their dog down. Sister-on-law in the hospital with complications. Hopefully both she and our unborn nephew will be all right. Temps below zero tonight. No motivation.

I'm done whining now. I know that I have numerous things that are good. But, nonetheless, I'm glad it's the end of the day.

Good night, all ya' all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Hate Ebay

Okay, maybe hate is a strong word, but all that stupid site does is get my hopes up and frustrates me 99% of the time. One of you out there knows what I've been looking for. To another one of you out there, I guess that I, too, am a follower. I'm trying to classify this as a need, but I truly know better. Back to Ebay. I watch, I watch, I watch. 6 days left, 5 days left, 4 days left, 1 hour left. Steady price, steady price, steady price, steady price. Hey, I may be able to afford this one. Last 36 seconds, price nearly doubles and most of that increase in in the last 15 seconds. Dang nab it. Guess I won't be getting that item as my top end just got blown out of the water. Yeah, yeah, I know the process. I know that everyone waits to try to sneak in their bids. Hedging their bets if you will. I know that I tend to do the same thing. Why do I get my hopes up? One easy answer: a nearly new, unscratched Salsa dos Niner frame for $300. A savings of $600. That carrot is always dangling in front of me. I shouldn't get so worked up, yet I do. Maybe it's a disease. Maybe it's stupidity. Maybe it's the rush I get when I'm able to tell C Todd how inexpensively I've been able to build a new steed that I plan on selling to him to turn a profit. Maybe I should give this all up and keep my stress and tension levels down.

Gotta fly, there's an auction ending soon.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Celebrate Today

Today is the 75th anniversary of something that we should all celebrate. It was this date, in 1933, that Prohibition ended.

Bottoms up, all y'all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh yeah...

Happy World Toilet Day everybody!

Honda Civic Owners Beware!

I was downtown this morning and chose to park on the street rather than roll up and down the lot to find a parking spot. I had left enough room before the ally for a small car to park in front of me. A youngish male decided that he was going to park there. I was early and was checking some account balances and such while remaining inside the Toy. He backed, backed, backed, backed. Yes, I'm sure you know where this is going. Yup, right into the front end of my old vehicle. I have a steel bumper and steel tow hooks on the front end. The Civic has plastic bumpers. Just after he hit me, he looked into his rearview mirror and realized that I was in my truck. He had a bit of a horrified look on his face, put the car into drive and took off. Why the warning in this title? It appears that a tow hook is more than capable of putting a hole in a Civic bumper while sustaining no damage itself.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Julie and I have had the rule of "no tv during dinner" for a long, long time. It makes us take the time and talk about the day's happenings and other things. Gosh, heaven forbid a married couple take time out of the day and enjoy each other's company and conversation. While I was making dinner, I had turned the tv in the family room toward the kitchen so that I could watch hockey on a 32" screen rather than a 13". I served up dinner and turned off the tv before I sat down. Julie looked at me and said, "You can leave the game on if you want. I know you don't get to see hockey as much as you'd like lately." I looked at her and said, "No worries, it's 2nd intermission anyway." I then got a look from her and heard her say, "Nice timing."

Dang... I was so close.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday morning came in with homemade apple-cinnamon-oatmeal pancakes. Most excellent. Could have downed many, many more than I did, but I keep it to just a few normal sized ones and washed them down with a few mugs of good coffee and thermosed the rest of the pot for later use. I've been told that if I switch to more generic brands of goods, I'll be able to afford a cross bike in a few months. Hope CB doesn't mind when I take the Folger's/MJB/Maxwell House or even better still the can that just says coffee and I grind the grounds into an espresso grind for his 'cinos when he's here.

The rest of the day brought gutter cleaning, flowerbed cleaning, leaf cleaning and numerous other getting ready for winter projects including coming up with a way to ensure that our problematic downspout stays connected so we don't end up with water in the basement. Split some firewood and brought some kindling closer to the house.

Took about an hour break in between to grab some lunch and went back to my list. We're pretty much set for winter now as far as outside is concerned. Need to make sure the snow blower is ready, but I gave it a tune-up this spring. I'm not too worried there.

I keep looking at my bike on the trainer. It's set, it's ready to go. Can't bear the thought of it. Think I'll be out in cold weather as long as possible. I'm good for a few more degrees drop.

Happy Monday all y'all.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I've been dreading days like this

That friggin' purple dinosaur has been allowed to appear on our screen. I'm already having nightmares and I haven't even gone to sleep yet.

Saturday Morn

Julie's Saturday to work. Sam and I are at home. Before he got out of bed, I started brewing my day's worth of Alterra Organic in my Krup's coffee maker. Got Sam up and got his breakfast started. Julie's scratch pancakes from the Betty Crocker cookbook. Hodgeson Mill flour, Eggland's Best eggs, C&H sugar, Michigan blueberries. Real homemade pancakes made in bulk to have the ability to freeze some fore later use. I poured my coffee into my Hell's Backbone Grill coffee mug (thanks CB and DB) and put the rest into my Nissan thermos to keep it fresh and hot without keeping the heating plate on the coffee maker powered up. As Sam finished up his pancakes I was feeding him Stonyfield Farm organic Yo Baby apple yogurt when I caught a whiff of my coffee. The coffee wasn't next to me, but the aroma was saying, "Drink me." Where was it? I can't see it! Where the heck did I put it!? It was at that point that I set down the yogurt and left Sam asking for more while I searched for my hidden black gold. I found it, and had a long draw off it before getting back to my son.

Does all of this make me a bad dad, a slave to brand names or a caffeine addict?

Happy Saturday all y'all. I have chores that need attention.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Progress in the garage. Actually have both vehicles in it now... and I beat the snow. Good think I don't live in Arizona, I wouldn't have made it in time. The big help was selling the 3rd set of wheels and tires that I had for the Toy. Everyone needs 3 sets for their vehicle, right?

Anyway, I'm back. One more fire extinguished. Well, extinguished to the point that the chief can hand it off to the firefighters.

Brought in some good coffee today. So much better than the brown cesspool sludge that we normally have. Hate to complain because the price can't be beat, but dang it's bad.

Pretty mellow weekend planned. Julie works tomorrow am ao it's Sam time for me. He's so much more like a little person now. Makes things much more fun, plus he's not yet at the talking/talking back stage... complete bonus. Some more busy work around the house to complete the winter prep and that will be ready. Decent weather report for Sunday. May need to roll for awhile.

Happy Friday, all y'all.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why is it called common sense? From my daily observations, common sense is anything but common.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Wednesday

Had a meeting this at our downtown office this morning. Not a bad thing. It just means that I got to play in a lot more traffic than I normally do. Afterward, I stopped to chat with someone that I hadn't seen in a couple of months. She's happy, bubbly, upbeat, positive... you get the idea. It must have rubbed off a bit because I feel better today than I have over the last few weeks. Some people are just good for your soul. When you find people like this, stay in touch with them. It's always good to have people that help you raise yourself up to better things.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I'm sick of stupid penalties.
I'm sick of small engines that don't start/run well in cold weather.
I'm sick of leaves.
I'm sick of hidden piles of dog sh!t under leaves.

I'm not sick of Appleton Estates therapy in a bottle.


Monday, November 3, 2008

It's November 3rd. I'm in Wisconsin and it's 70 freakin' degrees out. Where am I!? Stuck at work! Someone get out and ride for me... please!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Odd Thought... Sorry if it offends

I don't think that smells or scents get digested. Why do I think this this? One word - asparagus.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The first trip for free candy happened for Sam on Sunday. He was pretty much expressionless the entire trip up and back down the cul du sac at his Aunt Beth's house. I had been working on getting him to roar like a dragon. He can do it. But do you think he'd do it while in costume? Not a chance. Back at Beth's out of costume he was once again replying to my roars with his own. Dang kids.

I think Sam enjoyed the wagon ride. I think that Julie enjoyed all of the chocolate that Sam received. Trick or Treat at our house is Friday evening/night. Julie wants to take Sam out again. I think Julie is looking for another fix.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Finale?

Starting at the end of April or beginning of May, Tuesdays mean Beechwood. Tonight may have been the last Tuesday night ride and social gathering. I've looked forward to every Tuesday this season. I missed a total of four this year. Missing those few nights made the week seem quite long. Do not know what the coming weeks will bring... especially with going back to Standard Time and probably not seeing much of the sun during the week.

Since this was going to most likely be the last Tuesday night ride, I thought, hey, why not make it a bit more painful than the previous weeks and pulled out the XXIX SS. It felt great to be back on it. Still don't like the fact that I can't get all the hills without a dismount, but I know what needs to be done to accomplish that.

It was a smaller crowd than usual tonight, but that isn't surprising. The last Tuesday in October in Wisconsin after then end of the MTB season will do that. Throw in earlier sunsets and a temperature of 44 degrees at the start and no one really wonders why it's the die-hards that are the only shows. MC, JoJo, Jaybird, JB, DoubleB, Merklein, Melcher, Young Sam, Dean and I all got our laps in. There was some night riding involved, but not by me. I had a great lap (for me anyway) and went back out do hit a couple of more sections that are just plain fun. No spills, clean ride, no breaks. Couldn't ask for more than that. A good way to end.

Dean cranked up the bonfire. Josh lit the cooking coals. We stayed warm. We ate grilled meat. We drank beer. We laughed.

It was 33 degrees when Ben and I hopped into the car to head home.

Whenever this ritual truly ends for the season, I will indeed miss it.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, October 27, 2008

One of the best

quotes from the Beechwood Blaster weekend:

"I like to blow and I like how I blow."

Who knew that trail prep could be so intimate?


I have lots of things that have happend, but here's a quick post about just one random thought that popped into my head during this morning's commute.

Many bumper stickers of support are seen, especially during the time surrounding presidential elections.

I've seen "Teachers for Obama" and "Verterans for McCain" and I understand these and can see the logic.

On this morning's commute I saw "Irish for Obama."

All I could think was, "I hope you realize it's "Obama" not "O'Bama."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Beechwood went well. Cleaned more than I have before, but still having issues with one of the new sections. I don't like it. Probably because I haven't been able to ride it yet. But I just don't like how and where it fits. Maybe that will change with time. Only about two Tuesdays left. I don't have a sitter for this next one. Could be a huge issue.

Best quotes from last night:

It may not be wide, but it sure is short.

A brat on a whole wheat bun... yeah, that's like a Big Mac with a Diet Coke.

Happy Wednesday, all. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In Review

Saturday, few things around the house and made a big ol' batch of chili for the 5th annual cook-off that our friends host. 12 different chilis to be had. All very good in their own respect. I didn't agree with the winner, but that's my own opinion. Mine was too hot for that particular crowd. Oh well. Winning certainly wasn't the point. You could vote as often as you wished. Votes cost $1. All proceeds went to the American Cancer Society. Our little gathering of about 30 people brought >$100 for the cause.

Sunday morning, 9:15 tee time with Marcus, Chris and Stephen (brother and brothers-in-law.) We played best ball and had a blast. Pizzas and pitchers after in the club house and we were off to the in-laws (or parents in Chris and Stephen's case) for Grandma's 95th birthday gathering. Still living on her own. Still sharp as a tack. Mobility is a bit of an issue. But it's great to see her doing so well.

Less than 2 weeks until Sam's 1st b-day. Holy crap... where did it go!? What did I do with my time before? Apparently nothing. I know what I'm not doing now. I'm not biking. I'm not camping. I'm not hiking. I'm not up on pop culture. Not that it's all bad, because it certainly isn't. I really hope to get some more of these scheduling and time demands under better control. We've come up with some solutions, but we'll continue to work.

Beechwood tonight. Always good. Love the Tuesday night getaways. Will need to bring the lights. The waning daylight demands it.

Happy Tuesday all!

Friday, September 26, 2008

I was CB's first.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Are We Coming To?

Guilty as charged. Yes, me. I can't believe what I just did. Yet, I truly believe that it's indicative of where we are heading as a society. I share a prison-cell-sized cubicle with the two leads that work for me. It's an arrangement that works well for us in our environment. One of them just asked me the location of some particular files on our server. I found the path to it, copied it from my address bar and sent it to him via Instant Messenger. Yes, he's about eight feet behind me. Yes he can hear me perfectly well over the noise of our distribution center. I could easily have spoken the path to him using the drive name and major folder names. He is certainly more than capable of taking it from that point. But, I choose to IM it to him - yes, I just used a noun as a verb; another thing that is showing a rampant growth rate, but I digress. Heaven forbid I turn and actually speak to someone on my staff. That kind of personal interaction may help to build a better working relationship and possibly further build, do I dare say, trust!? The art of interpersonal communication is on the decline. Email, text, IM... none of them verbal. All easy to put your own feelings into and completely change the intent of the message and cause fabricated issues. A short-coming of technology that we are allowing to happen for the return of better efficiency, which may not even be accurate. Talk to each other, don't just communicate.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Ride

DoubleB picked me up early yesterday and we headed to Beechwood for the Tuesday night ritual. I've been running the gears the last couple of weeks as I have not been feeling one-gear-fully-rigid strong as of late. I must admit, it's been a good feeling to do the climbs completely as opposed to planning on where to unclip, hop off and run (well, okay, walk) up the hill. Help the ego which seems to have transferred to the rest of the trail as well. First lap was crap, no doubt about it. Only redemption was not having a tree take me down this week. Missed the new rock garden, missed the exit on the new log bridge, missed the berm bowl... you get the idea. 2nd lap became the best one I've had in over a month. Still missed the new rock garden, but it will still be there next week. Things started flowing much better. Climbs felt even better. I still climb like a cow climbs a tree, but they did feel better on lap two. Cleaned the new bridge. One touch on the berm. Waited for some others to cycle through, went back up the trail for another run at it. Clean and did the full 180 to the next trail. Turns out it was all psyche, looks worse than it is. Finished up the lap, did my obligatory parade lap, changed, re-hydrated and headed over to the fire and grill. Chicken brats and grill puffballs. Yes, puffballs. Some huge ones in the woods next to the trail. Never knew you could eat them. Peel, slice, grill. Pretty tasty. If I'm ever lost in the woods, I want Jay to be one of the people with me.

Julie has settled into her back to four-day work schedule and has added every other Saturday as well. We were starting to dip into savings too often. This was in hope that we be able to start paying ourselves again. Don't know that this will happen though. We're about to be punished yet again for being smart and not completely over-extending ourselves. Makes me feel just plain wonderful that we can turn over our "wealth" - and I use that term very loosely in this case - to someone for redistribution.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Catching a tree with the right side of your bar can get your clothes dirty and make your left shoulder hurt.

A dog can do some dumb-a$$ things that can horrify and embarrass you. I am truly sorry MC.

I already dread the cold weather coming which will force a change in my Tuesday evenings.

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's Friday

I got nothing.

Maybe take in the local high school football game. It is, afterall, only a 1/2 mile walk from our house.

Maybe some grocery shopping.

Good times, I tell ya, good times.

Well, okay, maybe a beverage thrown in there.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today is the day of the weekly staff meeting. Or, as I like to call it, the clear cutting of the forest. We print out so many metrics tracking spreadsheets for each of us that we don't always get to it drives me nuts. Good thing we're a "paperless" company. I'd hate to see what it would be like otherwise. At least we went through everything today.

Two thumbs up on the mango chicken salad. Julie said it's one of the best she's every had. I'd rate it up there as well. Super simple as well. It will be on the menu often.

Already thinking about the Old Pueblo.... thanks a lot CB. Because of you I'm already dreading the trainer during the winter. Don't you have budgets or something to work on?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Loaded the gears, water and my pointer and we headed to Beechwood last night. I felt faster on the gears. May have just been the feeling, but I'll take that feeling. Clark nearly took me out a number of times last night. It's been nearly a year since I've had him out for a Tuesday night romp. He seems to have forgotten his trail etiquette. A quarter mile in, he doubled back and met me not only on the first bridge, but also the second bridge. There's not room on either for two-way traffic of canine and clyde. Luckily he's plenty spry and doesn't mind jumping off, over and into things. The single track I road felt more flowing that it has in weeks. Don't know why, it just did. Maybe my mind is clearing up a bit and I am more able to better focus. I cut a couple of loops out so that I could keep the dog out of other bike traffic. He didn't need to be the cause of any crashes.

Got done with my abbreviated lap. Talked to a couple of people and then did the obligatory parade lap. Yes, I know it's supposed to be done at the beginning, but when Autumn is just around the corner and the shadows are becoming earlier and longer, I much prefer to use the available light in the woods and use dusk for the field lap. My guess is that we'll have to run lights starting next week.

Grill was fired up and the food was cooking. My thanks to Kevin and Amy for a very tasty jalapeno-cheddar chicken brat. Grabbed a couple of Sun Chips and cheese curds and a water bottle. Enjoyed the conversations and headed home a bit earlier than normal.

As always, it was good to get out there. Thanks to the sharing of Mike and Jay, my Tuesdays really break up my week.

New recipe tonight - Mango chicken salad. Looks like it will be good. Can never have enough good chicken recipes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Was gone on

hi-8-us from my blog for awhile. Did a lot thinking. Looking back. Re-thinking. Not sure if anything has come of it, but I'm still here. And, since it's Tuesday, I'll be at Beechwood tonight. Taking the gears tonight. Don't feel I have SS drive in me. Maybe I'll turn it into a good night. Have just had bad luck with the XXIX. Nothing bad (except for kinking the left fork blade the 2nd ride out), just little irritating things. Rubbing brakes, seatpost that won't stay at height, loose crankset, loose chain, flat. Nothing bad, just tired of the adjusting on it. Besides, have only been on the dos Niner once since the purchase. It's time to ride it again.

Grandma passed a few weeks ago. I thought I'd have something profound to type about the meaning of life, but I don't. She was a good woman who lived life. She went out on her terms. Little or no pain, just drifted off. Not the what could have been the agonizing cancer death that we thought may happen. At 92, she deserved the peace that came over her.

Can't believe that Sam is just over a month away from being a year old. Where did the time go? I don't know. I do know where it didn't go, but that's a much further and deeper story. I've had to make so many changes that I never thought about before. Don't want to sound bad, because I have no regret about it. But, until you live it, you have no idea what it's like. It's so cliche to say it changes the world as you know it, but that's the only way to put it. Right now, I just keep on keeping on as Sam grows and make adjustments that keep all parties involved happy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Ride

Took the new XXIX SS to Beechwood last night. Two words: I suck. I have much to learn and rethink. The bike is great and with a few changes, it may become one of my all time favorites. It tracks were I point it, which, by the way, may not always be a good things. It's not as rough as I thought it would be for a fully rigid and I know that it will make me better over time. I was talking about changing a few things on it and making it lighter because it is very close to tank weight. The owner of the Bartoszuk Traveling Burrito Bistro looked at me and said, "Gosh, Steve, I wonder were you could shave some pounds." It wasn't too long after that he was serving me a wonderfully tasty chicken burrito. Hmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oh Yeah

Rocked the Salsa last night. One moderately hard lap on my own and then out for more of Beechwood "torture" and it was the best night I've had out there in ages. I heard some of the fast guys coming up so I let them pass before some ST and jumped behind to try to hold on to MCs rear wheel. His property, he knows the trails. That speed put a whole new perspective on things. Could I hold with him? Never. But I found the great lines in that section and I think the smile was past my ears huffing and puffing up the next hill to greet the group that had taken a quick break. Did some more ST and hillwork and headed in. Legs spent from the speed that I made myself carry. Lungs burning from the climbs. Really made me get some desire back.

Sam and Julie are at the farmer's market as I type. I'm jealous. I'd much rather be picking out good, fresh, locally grown produce than slaving in the corporate sweatshop. May be due for some off time again. Had saved a few days for CBs visit, but as we're all feeling the crunch, it's not going to happen this year. I'm going to be feeling the need for some steps come Spring.

Julie has really been stepping up on the natural front. Hard surface floors get steam cleaned, no chemicals. She's even started making some cleaning products. I'm trying to get my diet closer to what Sam is living on. My habits die hard. I'm working on it. If I could eliminate the stress, my stress eating would disappear. Fat chance. (Pun intended)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wonder What the Rattle Is

The Toy has been rattling for the past few days. Bump, rattle, bump, rattle. Really getting irritating. I realize that at 224k on the odometer and 20 years old, there's bound to be some rattles. Crawled underneath to start looking. There are supposed to be 8 nuts holding the axle to the rear leaf springs. Turns out that if one is missing and 3 of the remaining 7 are only finger tight, the rear end of the vehicle will rattle over every bump. After a couple of stores, $1.69 and some wrenching, it's good to go again.

Finished cutting up the tree I took down a bit ago. Now as I look around, I see a few more that should be down. One to make room for a shed and two that are just too close to the house. One at a time and eventually the yard will shape up to what we want. We're still in the process of removing a lot of the things that previous owners had. Everything that they had grew very fast and was very high maintenance. But, they were both retired, they had much more time than we do. I do feel sad cutting down some of the trees, but they had been planted so close to each other that large parts of them are dead. I'm hoping that by removing the dying ones, the others will have a better chance to flourish. We'll see.

One quick errands ride today and that was the only saddle time this weekend. But twenty miles worth of errands on the bike saves a gallon of gas and makes me feel better. Trying to work more of those types of errands in. I've been able to find short cuts and trails that pop me out in the middle of the shops that we frequent. I should have looked for those a long time ago. It's nice to know that we will be able to find easy and mostly safe ways to do our running around.

Hopefully my latest purchase will arrive this week. Won't be in time for Beechwood Tuesday night, but should be here by the weekend.

We're going to try to get out to see Ben during Superweek. He's playing with the big boys in the Pro/1/2 this year. Good luck to him.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Found a budget buy. Couldn't pass it up. Made a purchase. I think I have a disease.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


When out today to do the Town and Country ride that I mapped out (see earlier post if you're really interested in the route.) I was moving a bit slow this morning because, well, I'm on vacation. So I got out a bit later than I had wanted for my quickie. I thought that I would beat the storms. I didn't. I'm going to blame Ron and Andy. They could have kept them in the Madison area a bit longer rather than sending them due east to me. My 25 mile plan turned into 10 miles of nice cruising to 10 miles of time trial like riding. It poured. It was raining sideways. It was large, somewhat painful drops. There was close lightening... not as close as the time in the saddleback of Mt. Humphrey, but close. There was loud thunder. I actually chose to ride the sidewalk part way back out of fear that the vision impaired vehicle drivers wouldn't see me. At least it was warm. Got into the garage, soaked, but not chilled and feeling great. It was a good ride. I took off most of my wet kit and headed into the house. Julie called me some word that starts with a "D" but it didn't matter because I was grinning ear to ear. I'll probably never tell her how bad it was at Nine Mile a couple years back. I hopped into the shower and then I started to feel the 10 miles of maximum effort on top of the hill work from Beechwood last night. So far, great time off from work.

The Reba

The Reba has been installed and had it's maiden voyage at Beechwood last night. There are so many freakin' possible adjustments on that thing. I got used to get the psi where you like it and it was either locked out or ready to absorb. Got some pointers from Mr. Merklein as he's running the race version of it. That helped. I'm sure it's going to take some more dialing in. It almost seems too plush. I didn't have any big hits on it so I'm not sure if how easily it will bottom out. It did seem to soak up everything much better that the '03 'zocchi that I had on previously. Tracking? I don't know. I was all over the ST last night and I can't blame the fork for that. I just wasn't flowing at all. After numerous near misses - and by near miss I mean they were hits - I decided to just go and work on my biggest weakness... climbing. I went to the hayfield and did grassy climbs until my legs would barely turn the pedals. Then I did one more for good measure, took the downhill to Jay's driveway and headed to the pavement for an easy spin back to the parade grounds. I could tell I was tired as the knobbies were given the telltale woom woom sign of pedal pushing rather than pedal spinning. Concentrated on that the for the mile or so back, parked, pulled off the helmet, drained the rest of my water bottle and popped open a tasty bottle of Stone Soup followed by a tasty Harp, followed by a spotted cow accompanied by a yummy chicken brat masterfully cooked by Chef Josh. Talked to part of our very large group there last night and headed home at about 10.

Woke up today after 7. Stretched out a bit. Legs hurt. Will probably pay for that later today on my ride. Time for some yardwork and then errands as soon as the little man wakes up and eats.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Catch Up

Well..... hmmmmm...... been a few days. Never gave a race report. Reforestation Ramble went better than I had expected. Didn't quite ride it right. Had some left in the tank. I like that course. It's kinda like Nine Mile without all the rocks. Wide open double track into twisty single track back into wide open double track into twisty single track. You get the picture. No real resting areas. Apparently the 12 hour race that is held there in September uses more of the area's single track. May need to check that out. Anyway, I made up 8 minutes on the winner when comparing my finish back in Wausau. I'll take that since the race was 8 miles longer. Still a long way to go as far as improvement is concerned.

Mapped out a nice little Town and Country road ride based from home. 25 miles. Some climbing. Would like to hit this for one or two laps once or twice a week after work. We'll see about the timing.

Beechwood tomorrow. Hope to get the new Reba on the Salsa tonight.

The Epic has been sold and shipped. Really liked that bike, but I have not ridden it since I built the Salsa. Couldn't see keeping it. Plus, had some bills to pay. Still on the hunt for a SS 29incher at a bargain rate.

One more day of this work this week. The plan? Miles and yard work. Then heading up north to my brother-in-law's cottage for a long holiday weekend.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Why does a 92 year old lady have to find out that it won't be old age, but cancer that will be with her and her demise? After so many years, something more peaceful seems like it should be in order.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Yum Yum

I feel like the last week I've been taking large bites of those $hit sandwiches that CB refers to every so often. Finances, work, bikes... all part of that sandwich. Unfortunately, it all ends up transferring to relationships as well. Can feel the stress and answers aren't coming quickly enough. I know I'll get through it, but right now Koop's Arizona Heat mustard doesn't even seem to be masking the taste.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Yanked the fork apart tonight. Put some different seals in it. What a pain. If it's holding air tomorrow, I'll ride it at Beechwood. Also plan on ordering a new fork... hopefully tomorrow. Don't want to take the chance of it blowing up during a race again.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fork blew. Not holding air. Sucks a$$. DNF. Damnit. Actually felt pretty good, too. Either have to rebuild the fork or find a new one or the race Sunday is out. Don't even know what I'm going to do about Beechwood.

Oh yeah, happy Father's Day tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

1st Beechwood

Being amongst friends outside on a beautiful day with a Leinie's next to me while finishing up work on my bike made for a great night. Even got a lap in. Beechwood is just as painful as I remember. XTR is off the Salsa and back on the Epic. Being mostly anti-shimano, I started celebrating my personal victory of having a non-shimano bike... until I saw the hubs. D'oh! May need to add a new wheelset to my list of wants. Per the landowners, the Beechwood lap was shortened a bit so we wouldn't damage the low lying areas. Not that 9" of rain in two days doesn't damage things, but why add to it, and this was obviously the best decision anyway. The rest of the course was in excellent shape. Even with the couple sections cut out, I quickly remembered why that trail makes you better. 1st time out there this year and it was just as painful as I remember it. Can't wait for next Tuesday night.

Don't think I'll be doing the entire stage race this weekend. It's a cost and return thing I think. CC race on Saturday is normal, but each of the next 2 races are $20 each. Not that $20 for a race is bad, but when they're only 15 minutes or less, seems like that's a lot of dollars per minute. I'll get a much better return on investment spending Father's Day with this guy:

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Weekend

Per CB's instruction, I was going to live it up and go full throttle this weekend. The only thing that was full throttle was coming out my backside and frontside. Been a long, long time since I've been sick like that. Weather was full throttle as well. Record rainfalls. Just a little puddle in the basement. Escaped that pretty well. Was finally feeling better Sunday evening. Worked on the Epic to get it ready for the auction block. A few more adjustments and it's there. On a positive note, I found that Nuun tablets are able to get lost fluids and electrolytes into your body even when the stomach is quite upset.

Subaru Cup this weekend. Two days, three races. Want to do the entire thing, but getting the guilt trip about not being around for Father's Day. I'd be back mid-afternoon or so. Will have to see how the week goes.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

First Race In

Went to Wausau for the Big Ring Classic. Also had to plan for two extra days away from home because of a work function. Forgot something, turned around to go back home. Not a good way to start race day. Called Josh on the way up to verify start times. Bad news. Slowed the driving down because it wasn't worth the possible fine if I got pulled over. When I arrived at the venue and walked to registration, the race I wanted to do was starting. 1-1/2 hours to the next start. I upgraded by default. I wasn't ready for the shorter race, let alone the longer one. Guess I'm back in Sport. Started slow knowing I'd need to save energy somewhere just to finish. Hilbert was there. He started pretty hard and I passed him about 1/2 mile in as he was wheezing from a bit of an asthma attack. He said he'd be okay, so I just kept on going. About half way in I was in a rock garden and had too much confidence the ability of my 29ers to roll over obstacles. I misjudged and came to a dead stop as both wheels hit rocks that may as well have been wheel chocks. I kept going and found the landing on my top tube to be quite uncomfortable. Back into the saddle. Another couple of miles I was starting to get my feel for the dirt back. Things felt like they were really starting to flow. I've spent many hours racing on the terrain at Nine Mile Forest and I think that hurt me. As I got more and more confident, my speed increased. The issue was that on this particular race day, we were running some of the trails the opposite that we normally do. I'd recognize the are, but the flow wasn't the same. I'm not sure that this was a contributing factor or if it's just an excuse, but I caught a tree with the end of my bars. The bar got ripped out of my hand. Pain shot into my wrist and the next thing I felt was my shoulder hitting the tree. Rode a lot of that remaining lap one-handed as the trail allowed. Luckily there are a number of fire roads involved in the course. Finished the first lap feeling better, but not great. Looked at the Lap/Finish sign and made a decision to turn right. One more lap. Slow, steady, complete the lap. I finished. It hurt. It was annoying. But I made myself finish. I was DFL, but I was still in the saddle and turning the pedals. One race in the books. Looking forward to the next one. Wrist is still a bit tender, but it will be ready.

Huge congrats to the Curtes brothers. 1-2-3 in Comp SS. 1-3-5 in Comp overall. That's one heck of a family showing.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Remember when cell phones came with a couple of video games on them at no charge? They were simple, didn't take much thought, and were very basic. Bowling, skydiver, etc. Try to find that now. Our new phones have nothing but teasers. Clear 1/3 the maze on pac-man and it's game over, please purchase if you'd like to continue. When waiting for someone at a meeting or a park and ride, it would be nice to have something small to pass the time. Don't let me complete 5-7 rows of tetris just to end the game and tell me to buy, that just annoys me.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I'm surely voting for

Obama now. If he doesn't win, I don't know how I'll handle Susan Sarandon leaving the US and moving to Italy or Canada. Maybe she can take Alec Baldwin and Babs with her as they never followed through on their promise concerning the results of the last election. Is this another empty Hollywood threat/promise? I don't know. Nonetheless, this has me quite distraught.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Triumphant Toy

No big story here. Just that the Toy passed emissions after previously failing. What did I change? Nothing! The mistake I made the first time was taking it straight to testing after it sat for a number of weeks. Now, running it as a daily driver, it has cleaned out and emits far less than my old grand cherokee did. Let's see, a vehicle that's 6 years older with nearly twice the number of miles (near 225k now) that burns cleaner and gets better economy. Wasn't too long ago that I was told by someone that I should get a newer SUV because my current one was so old and bad for the environment. Well, maybe I should get a Flexfuel pick-up like he has. That will solve all our problems. I get 21-22 mpg during daily driving. 24-26 on the highway depending on the load. Seems to me that we've gone backward with our mpg's over the past 20 years. I'll run my "old-fashioned" car (f'n-a-right-kid) into the dang ground.

Julie is currently at an all day working interview. She's looking to get into a different dentist office. This one is closer to home, pays more, and is very small which should eliminate a lot of the politics that she's experiencing at the current large clinic-like practice where she's currently employed. This could be a very good thing.

Sam has Grandma and Papa Nejedlo spoiling him today. Love the way my parents interact with him. Even my dad who isn't a baby person at all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not what I had planned, but...

No niner on the trail. No commuter on errands. No Gardin on crit laps. Don't own an SS any longer.

Cut the lawn. In the house for a quick-change. 45 minutes on the trainer. Does that qualify as cross-training? It's saddle time, but not the way I wanted it. Probably more of the same tonight.

Really need Sam to get to that one-year mark so I can put him in a Burley.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Need to Re-organize/prioritize

Saturday - Worked from 5a-9a, haircut at 9:30, home to watch Sam while Julie did some volunteer work. Out in the afternoon to clear brush and cut trees.

Sunday - more of the same.

Monday - Dead to the world, body aches, no way I could be a landscaper.

So, what's missing? Didn't make it to Lake Geneva to cheer on the Big Ringers - who, by the way, are having a great season - let alone race. I miss it. I haven't even been on my bike. Saddle time must start now. No exceptions. Even if it means charging the lights and doing crit laps around the school campus at night. Wausau in two weeks. May not even make a good showing in Cit, but the soul needs it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Another Weekend

Got all the A/V hooked up in the rec room. Now when CB visits he can go down there and play PS2 until his departing flight. Finished up a few other small projects. New shower curtain rod. Oil changes in the lawn and driveway equipment. Good share of the garage cleaned up and organized.

C'mon, people, this is exciting stuff here, isn't it?

Did some yard work with young master Nejedlo in his backpack. He spent an hour in it this time. Cleaned up the yard - again... dang dogs. Picked up garbage... dang high school kids and contractors. And, felt the difference between the leaves on a deciduous versus a conifer. Everything is a learning experience for the little turd. Love to see him going through this process. He's really liking the outdoors, that makes us very happy. Sam and the backpack represent about 2/3 the weight I've lost over the last couple months. Didn't realize how much better I was feeling until I strapped on the additional weight again.

Getting ready to leave on Wednesday for OK to see Tim and Laura and the boys. The time away will be good. Taking the clubs to see if I can resurrect my old name. Bringing the skinny tires as well to get some miles on without the guilt of thinking I should be doing something else.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

So, yesterday I tried

to do my best Brian Merklein imitation. Child in a pack on my back, trying to do some yard clean up. I've seen Brian cut new trails with one of his kids in that position. Brian back and forth, bending, cutting, raking, his son bouncing back and forth smiling. Yup, Sam and I are a long way from that at this point. At least we got to talk to some neighbors and clean up the numerous land mines that our two canines leave behind. Went well for about 35 minutes or so before the fussing started. Went about five minutes more before I went back in the house. A little bit more each time and I figure we'll be ready for short family hikes soon.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sweet taters are a hit.
Peas are a hit.
Squash tonight.
Can't feed the veggies to Sam swiftly enough.

Had 30+ people in the house on Sunday to celebrate Sam's dedication to the church. Was a great day with all the family and friends. I'm not really one to enjoy that many people over, I much prefer smaller, intimate groups, but I have no complaints.

Want better weather to get here so we can spend more time outside. Oh well, this is Whiskey-onsin, we'll get out hot and humid weather at some point and before we know it we'll be ready to welcome the cool weather.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rice cereal - check.
Oatmeal cereal - check.
Mixed grains cereal - check.
Carrots - check.
Green beans - check.
Sweet potatoes? We'll see tomorrow.

The little man loves his veggies. May help that Julie has taken on the task of making Sam's food... except for the ones that absorb too many nitrates from the soil. Those will come from the baby food factory. We know exactly what will be in his foods. Gives a good feeling.

Oh yeah, back has been out for about a month. At this rate I'll be lucky if I can even pit for CB & JB for the 24/9. I'll find a way to make that happen. It may require an all-terrain wheelchair, but I'll find a way.

Friday, April 18, 2008

News from da yoo-pee

Was in Upper Michigan for a long weekend. Highs in the mid 30s, lows in the mid 20s. Received nearly 12" of snow while up there. There's still close to 3 feet of the white stuff in the woods. That measurement was taken by a person in our party who stepped off the hard-pack logging road to relieve himself. Snow was too deep to unzip, he re-thought his plan.

Wheelin' is much different in teh snow than the mud and rocks. Slippery, cold, heavy, hard to judge. Found some in our party getting so much snowpack under the vehicle that their wheels would just spin. Very glad I made the choice to perform some labor and ride higher. And, as an added bonus, the Toy even rides better now.

There was plenty of stupid talk. Food was great as always. We're thinking about pushing the trip back a month next year - my 40th maybe? Eleven in an almost 20'x30' cabin can get pretty tight, and noisy, and smelly, and... well, you get the picture. Later in the year leaves plenty of space to pitch a few tents. Bears and wolves beware.

I swear Sam changed during the four days I was gone. Little dude is growing so fast. I'm still amazed when I watch him figure out things. Simple things, like how his hands work, how to switch things from one hand to another, how to balance while sitting, how to work a cup. But, mostly, I just smile when I'm near him. His feelings and actions are so pure, so innocent. A smile is a true smile. A laugh is a true laugh. He hides nothing and has no other motives. He's still not turning over or crawling. I look forward to his mobility as a next step for him, but, I know that means a whole new slew of issues for Julie and me. One day at a time, enjoy every moment. Live - Laugh - Love.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

After about 16 hours of hard labor, the Toy has been enhanced. Trail report to follow after the weekend. I'm going back to "nature" for a few days. Stay well all.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Six Days...

until the annual pilgrimage to Iron River. Ten or eleven guys this year. Will tie or break the record. That's many people in a two-room, no running water, no electricity cabin. Good thing we're away from any civilization as no one would want us near them by the end of the weekend. The first time I went was nine years ago. I've only missed one year since as there was something pretty major going on and funds just weren't there as they were basically gone or frozen. The weekend could be classified as male bonding, but for me, it's more of an escape from everyday life. We're all very different on views and/or opinions, but it works and there's never been anything that couldn't be settled around the campfire. We ride the trails in the woods, have a clay pigeon shooting contest for bragging rights, hike and catch up with each other. Home states represented are NC, WI, MI, MN, KY and AK. The first year, meals were: B-fast - Fruity Dyno-bites, milk, juice and coffee; Lunch - bologna on white, granola bars and beer; Dinner - beans from a can and anything you could put on a sharp, pointy stick and roast over the fire. Here's Saturday's Dinner menu:

Pan Seared Loin of Venison
Wild Rice Buckwheat Blini
Low Bush Compote
Char Ratatouille
Rocket Couscous
Gateau Chocolate, Maytag Blue, Port and Espresso

One of the guys that goes with now is a professional chef. We can all very much hold our own in the kitchen, but he has certainly moved the bar up a few notches. We've come a long way, but now it's almost more of an eating fest as opposed to an outdoor, back to nature gathering. My brother-in-law and I are taking care of Friday night's dinner. Trust me, it will be good, but it will be a very simple, midwest-style camp meal. It's at the request of the host who now lives in NC and doesn't get the finer things that he grew up with. The Toy gets the wrenches put to it tomorrow as it needs some enhancements before I flog on it next weekend. Hopefully all will go well.

That's all. I know it's been some time since the last post as someone was kind enough to point out to me.

Oh yeah, Julie is great, Sam is great.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Badgers beat the Wolverines in the Big Ten Tourney yesterday. I have difficulty dealing with the fact that Bucky only put up 51 points. I have no idea how I'd handle a team that only scored 34 like, oh, say, Michigan. So is this a testament to incredible defense or poor-beyond-belief offense?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

In Training for Madison

Sam has found a new favorite activity. He's just learning in this video (sans sound by the way) but he's really gotten the hang of it now. "Jump Around" will be a piece of cake when he makes it to Badger games. 5 months old and I already see that he's going to be high energy. Yep, Julie and I are in trouble.

There is talk about

a tax on hospitals. I don't know the particulars and, admittedly, I'm going to have to do some more checking on it. This bill failed in our state before while the budget was getting hashed. There are people in office that ran on a platform that included the thoughts that health care in our state was too high. I agreed. After all, we'd all like to see things cost less. There are wonderful facilities in this state and we have access to many things that are among the top of the field in many areas. But, just on a surface observation, how does taxing the hospitals to increase state income decrease the cost of health care? I would think that these costs are going to be passed to either the patient or the insurance companies who will then pass it to the patients.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Am I Missing Something Here?

The possible change to the Wisconsin State Constitution regarding voter photo ID did not pass. The Milwaukee County Arm of the Law did a 3-1/2 year study and produced a 67 page document that outlined the voting fraud that happened during the last major election. In my eyes, this is unacceptable. I must show ID when I'm at work, when I use my debit or credit card, when I write a check, when I cash a check. I went to pick up some medications today for sick family members and I had to show photo ID to the pharmacist before I could buy an over-the-counter cold symptom remedy. Yet to vote - one of the most important things we may do for our country - all I had to do was tell the volunteer my last name, first name, and address. I received a ballot and away I went. Heck, I know my neighbors' names and addresses. I know some of them didn't vote. What's to stop me from from saying I'm one of them and casting a few more votes? In my case, morals and ethics. As the documents have shown, not everyone has high standards of themselves. Why is it our lawmakers deem this a permissible practice? Can someone enlighten me? I'm open to reasonable explanations and even not so reasonable ones.

Julie works in a dental office that sees Title 19 patients. These patients, through various means, have come to rely on tax dollars for their health care. This can be a very good program when used properly and enables those who are in need of health care to receive it. The office typically double-books these patients. Why you ask? Because the have a 50% failure rate. This means that half of them don't show up for their scheduled appointments and services. Are they unable to get there? That should never be an issue as they receive taxi rides to and from the appointment at no cost to them. Some even take advantage of the cab time and free fare to run errands and go shopping. Others may have reason for not showing, but calling to cancel is unheard of. I know that many private patients can be charged for not showing for an appointment or failing to give adequate notice of cancellation. But these issues are not what got to me. They upset me, but the kicker is, THEY GET A FREE $10.00 GIFT CARD FOR WAL-MART FROM THE GOVERNMENT PROGRAM JUST FOR SHOWING UP FOR THEIR APPOINTMENT! That makes free health care, free transportation, a free $10.00 gift card and still a 50% failure rate. Oh, and by the way, there are those that are in this program that do have their own transportation. Some in that group have a nicer vehicle, better clothes, and more expensive cell phones than I have. I don't want to be in the position that I need to be supported by the government. I do like the fact that there are programs in place in case that does happen and I truly need it. But, when I see what is going on, I start to feel that I've been doing things wrong. I see a lot of room for improvement in a program where there is much abuse happening.

Monday, March 3, 2008

In Vain

So, the trenching and the ice removal yesterday? Yeah, water coming into the basement. I'm now working from home in between sucking up water and rerouting any water outside that I can. If I had more than just the two years equity, I'd be thinking pretty hard about moving. I'll suck up some more of that seepage and then I'm going to spin for awhile and go make dinner for my wife when she gets home. I do lead an exciting life.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My abs, arms and back are going to

hurt tomorrow. Great workout you ask? Nope. When you guess that it's from spending time trenching/picking through ice to divert water away from the house, let me know. That's what it's from. I'm thinking that we may have some issues with our landscaping. We'll probably need to re-pour the patio. As long as I'm at it maybe I'll extend it and add a spot for a hot tub and a parking spot for the tangerine dream. This also means that I'll be putting off the purchase of a new vehicle. Pains me to say that as I was actually starting to get excited about it. I know that keeping water out of the house is more important, but that doesn't make it easier to accept.

At least is was nice out today. We were able to get a nice walk in with Sam and the mutts. The couple of miles on foot felt great in the open air. But one day of sun and warmth means snow to follow. 1-3 inches of wet, heavy slush to come tomorrow. We are starting to see the temps get closer to normal, but I think we're still going to have a long way to go.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


It's March1. It's been two weeks since I've posted. My how time flies. I'm so stuck in the rut that is this winter that I'm going nuts. More later. I'm not in the right mindset to type anything other than whines and complaints. I know that sounds pathetic, but right now I'll be much better off building or fixing something.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The D-bags Head to the Old Pueblo

Good luck to the Small Town D-bags as you make your way to compete in the desert. Make sure that you keep the rubber side down and keep it straight going through the washes. Would hate to see any more barrel cacti harmed. Remember, at the end of the day, what matters is that you have fun. I trust all y'all will have a good time.

Friday, February 8, 2008

This notice is to inform you...

that your 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee has received a tow placard. If you do not remove the vehicle from it's current location it will be towed to the City of Milwaukee tow lot at your expense.

The letter goes on. Boy I'm glad I had documentation to prove that I sold it before this happened. You can never be too careful.

Complete family weekend approaching. Really looking forward to it. Time to relax. Speaking of which, I do believe I here some ice cubes begging to be surrounded by Appleton's and Diet Coke with lime.

All y'all enjoy your weekend.
Time to kick back.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Postman's Motto

Contrary to popular belief the Post Office does not have an official motto, but most people recognize this, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

Came home from work early today due to the 3-18 inches of snow we were supposed to get. Must have at least twelve out there right now. Had to drive through some white-out conditions, but luckily it was still "daylight" and I know pretty much every bump in the route so I knew where I was. Came around the corner of our street to see the little white postal truck buried in our neighbor's snowbank with pretty much no chance of getting out. I rolled down the window and asked neighbor Meg what was going on. "He really mad and dropping f-bombs. He won't even let us try to push him out. Meg has 3 kids and a foreign exchange student in the household right now. I went up the street and told Julie I was home safe and grabbed my tow straps and headed back down there. Found an anchor point. It worked, but I don't recommend using the leaf-spring hanger unless you absolutely need to, and proceeded to start yanking on the truck. The snow may have stopped Mr. Postman, but it didn't stop the Toy. He thanked me and offered to get my mail out of the truck. Turns out we had none, but hey, at least there were no bills. I wanted to take a picture of the hook-up but he wouldn't let me. Something about a non-postal truck hooked up and yanking on a postal truck. Oh well.

And CB, next time, don't send the storm our way.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Good-bye Old Friend

Well, you're gone. Should have been gone sooner, but it was tough to let go and part ways. We've been through a lot together and over the course of 110,000 miles you only left me stranded a few times. Water pump - twice. Power steering pump - once. Radiator - once. Transfer case - once. All things considered, you were very dependable. You hauled and towed through things that would never be seen on your maker's commercials. Enjoy your new owners.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Same Ol' Same Ol'

Just realized that it's been nearly a week without an entry. Not only was the week fast, but I've nothing exciting to type. I certainly wouldn't make a good reality series.

Monday, work. Tuesday work. Wednesday downtown office for an eight hour Diversity and Inclusion training session. Guess I'm now diversified and included. Thursday, work from home. Friday, work. Saturday, 1/2 work.

Went to the local HS Basketball game last night. Hope that there's a different coach there when Sam is plays.... well, if he plays. I may end up being one of those bad sports dads. Could already feel the temper rising when I saw things not happening on the court.

Final thought. There's nothing like a baby's laugh. Unrehearsed, completely natural. Pure joy.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Another Week

No overheating engine. Heat in the cab. I addressed that issue. Was an inexpensive fix. It's all good.

Was a pretty calm weekend. Puttered around the house, got some work done. Woke up at 4:30 this morning with all intentions of some quality time on the eliptical. Didn't happen. At least I know I can wake up that early. Trainer tonight. Trying to psyche myself for that. Doesn't seem to be happening. Maybe I can find some hockey to watch while I sit and spin.

Picked up some new coffee this weekend from Cup-a-Java. Italian Roast ground into expresso. Alterra Organic whole bean. So tasty, so smooth, so strong with no bitterness. Just plain yummy. And, none of my hard earned $ to starbuck's.

Friday, January 25, 2008


It's been a long, cold week. Toy is still overheating. I'll have to address that issue soon.

Many fires at work.

Sick family.

Wonder if I can froth Bailey's.

Ready for a quiet weekend. I have some issues to address.

CB and JB are talking about Old Pueblo. I'm jealous. I need the escape. Can't do it right now, yet I find motivation in them going. Good luck on the rollers and trainers boys. In a few weeks it will all be worth it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Still Brrrrrrrr

3.8 below zero this morning at 5:40am when I left for work. Toy overheated, no heat in cab. I'll have to address that issue soon. Turned around, limped home, got a different car. What did I do at work today? Made some shuttle runs to our outdoor storage pole barn with with one of my staff members. Spend a good portion of today outside. Sunny, clear skies, dressed properly. I was out of the wind. Felt great to be outside. It even got up to 2 degrees on the positive side. The sun can do wonders for the soul. I needed that.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


It's cold. 1.8 degrees when I left before the crack of dawn. Wonder if the Minnesota hockey moms are grilling out today. Toy didn't overheat, but I had no heat. I'll have to address that issue soon. Told Julie about it when she called. She laughed. She said you certainly don't sound upset about no heat. Told her that if I can't have an old, leaky CJ, the vehicle I have may as well act like one. 20 years old, nearly 218k miles, still runs through just about anything. No heat, windows don't seal. It's all good. Need to add a soft top to it. It'll all be better then.

CB, good news. I've figured out how to froth chocolate 8th Continent in the new 'cino maker. I reckon I'll have me a few of them when I get home tonight.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, Monday

Yes, I know it's Tuesday. But after a three-day weekend (Thank you MLK) and a sick family, Tuesday can turn into a Monday in a hurry. Was it the near foot of snow that fell? No. I can deal with that. Even had the driveway cleared before I left for work at six. Should have left earlier, but as long as I'm there by seven, no problem. Made it by seven. It's normally a 20-25 minute drive, but I expected that. It was even a balmy 14.8 degrees when I left. And, the Toy didn't overheat. Should probably address that issue soon.

Anyway, I'm going to break from the norm and mention work. I don't normally do that because I don't want to incriminate or upset anyone. So I'll withhold the names to protect any parties that may be involved. No matter what point you are in leadership, things are expected of you. One of those things at my level has shown up in employee opinion surveys. It seems that hourly/frontline people expect that management take time out upon arrival to greet each and every employee with a, "Good morning, (insert name here)." And ask them how they are doing. Remember what they had planned for the weekend and ask about that. Etc, etc, etc. Now when doing this, you must remember to be sincere and have a smile on your face that is genuine and not a pasted on Grand Hotel smile. This is fine. I also happen to think that this is a great practice and it truly does build relationships with your staff. Today, I came through the door and had not even made it to my desk - a fifteen foot walk from the door - before I was greeted by people in their own special greeting which was anything but how I described above.

"Walk with me I need to show you something."
Translated - "Someone put something somewhere I don't like and you need to tell them to do something about it."

"You and I need to talk."
Translated - "Someone did something that pi$$ed me off this morning and you need to speak to them about it."

"Just turn around and go home."
Translated - "Something is so FUBAR that you don't even want to know what it is and it's going to have a major impact on production."

"Could you check my time card, I'm not sure that I punched in."
Translated - "I'm an idiot and I cannot perform the simplest of tasks because I was too busy jaw-jacking about the Packer loss to my co-workers."

"Hey, about those parts we needed for the cosmetics, any word on them?"
Translated - "I know I didn't provide you with the information you asked for on the quantities that I need to perform the work I have here, but I was hoping you got tired of waiting for my sorry a$$ to do it and you went ahead and did it for me."

There once was a Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you'd have done unto you." I've now heard it said that with our warmer, fuzzier social environment that we should, "Treat others the way they wish to be treated as they may not want to be treated the same way you wish to be treated." They're both a big ol' pile of steaming Mackinac Island road apples! In the cases above, had I shot back in the same manner that was exhibited I'd be the jacka$$, jag, knob, a-hole, etc. And I know for a fact that I was not treated the way I wish to be treated. Good grief, people. At least let me set down my things and take off my jacket. And by the way, good morning to you as well. Even though my weekend didn't go as planned, all things considered, I can't complain.

See this pic? I know that at least one of you out there can name the exact location. Maybe it's time to find some extra funds and get to this area again. Hmmmmmm..... plane ticket or new fork for the dos Niner?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Simple Statement for Friday

There is a difference between different brands of diapers.

All y'all enjoy your weekend. Find some way to stay warm.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sour Milk

Well, it only took two days of day care and Sam got sick. Poor little guy. Spiked a fever, lost his precious food, left sour milk puddles in his chair, dehydrated... that pretty much covers it. I know that his body needs to learn how to fend off viruses, but it just plain sucks. Hopefully he'll get back to his smiling self quickly.

Kick-off is getting closer and the temperatures predicted for the start are getting lower. They're now talking less than 3 degrees. Home field advantage? I'm not sure that anyone really wants to play in those temps, even if it is your yard.

I fully expect flat spots on my tires tomorrow morning for the first part of the drive out to the highway to get to work. I'll make sure that I have a proper lid on my morning triple espresso to keep those bumps from spilling any of that coveted life juice during the twenty-two mile jaunt.

Advice for the upcoming weekend: Layers people, layers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

In a Funk

Don't want to eat right. Don't want to hop on the trainer. Don't want to work on home projects. Don't want to work. In a funk? Yes, it would so appear. Welcome to my typical feeling in Whiskey-onsin in the dead of winter. Single digit high temps in the weekend weather forecast. Don't get to see the sun during the week with the hours I work. The weekend is supposed to get me that vitamin I so crave from the sun. But at a measly, lousy, pathetic three degrees above zero Fahrenheit as a high temperature, a nice roaring fire and a book sound much better. Am I whining? Yes, to an extent. But, hey, it could be worse. I could be a Vikings, Lions or Bears fan.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Of Sundances and Tires

Was on the way to work and someone was very much in a hurry. Not just using multiple lane changes, but to the point of using exit and acceleration lanes to do the passing. I saw him quickly dart back into the driving lane after passing a fully-loaded dump truck leaving only a few feet of room. Quite the NASCAR move. But, HELLO, IDIOT! You're in a Plymouth Sundance! Do you realize that you're not much more than a bug on a windshield compared to that truck!? Maybe Darwin will strike for this person. Let's hope that it involves no one else at the time.

I've been looking for tires for the Toy for playtime off-road. Funds have been tight so I decided to revisit a retreading company that I had used before and was pretty pleased. Prices are still great, but better still is the environmental impact of this process - or lack thereof if you will - when you compare. To make a truck tire requires the use of 22 gallons of oil. Yes, 22 gallons are used in the process. Most of this is in the casing of the tire. A retreaded tire reuses the casing which does two things: keeps the casing from the landfill and only uses 7 gallons of oil in the process. More than one-third less. I'd say that's substantial. Now I can tread lightly and practice some environmentally-conscious recycling. All the little things add up.

Monday, January 14, 2008

First Day Back

Well, today was my first day back at work in nearly two weeks. I spent time with Sam when Julie first went back to work. Really needed the break. I had taken care of some work and went in a couple of times my first week off to finish year-end reviews for my staff. But then I did something that I haven't done since joining the cable giant nearly four years ago... I actually took a full week off of work. That may not sound like much. But it was. And by full week I mean: no answering the work cell phone, no work email, no thinking about work, no calling work, no going into work to check on things. Was a great, relaxing week. I certainly need more of those. Made for much better time with Sam as well. I did come into work this morning with nearly 450 unread emails. I'll get through them... eventually. Fires couldn't have been that big, my home phone didn't ring. One thing that I'm looking forward to is being able to leave on time at least three days a week. Have to pick up the little man from daycare. I need to learn to just walk out more often. The work will wait and I'll have a better opinion of it in the morning.

Will be on the trainer this evening. Julie will be on her eliptical next to me. It's time. We've decided to lean on each other and make this work for us. Plus it gives us more time to catch up on the day's activities now that we're both back to work.

Still sitting back and watching the candidates. None of them are perfect, but not one of us is. We can't expect that. None of them are really tugging at me yet. Will have to wait and see.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Daddy's Little High Octane Helper

Well, here it is, small but mighty. Sorry about the focus... I was a bit jittery. Had a cheaper version of this a few years back, but it only did espresso. This one is made of much heavier grade aluminum and has a pressure valve inside. It will do espresso, lattes and cappuccinos. It's a little weak on frothing for cinos, but then again I haven't tried it with real milk. Sorry, CB, you're going to have to have to suffer when you're here. Or we'll have to saddle up and head to Cup-a-Java. Picked the stove top version over the electric. This way it can travel with me and work on the camp stove. Nothing like a good jolt in the morning when you're far from civilization.
How's the training going? Sucks! This one day here, one day there thing isn't doing much for me. It will, however, make me very frustrated when I head southwest in a few months. I had contacted Double B a few weeks back. He doesn't always care for his trainer either, but at least it's someone to suffer with. Makes me more accountable as well. That just seems to work better for me. How long does it take to make something a habit?