New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Old Fools Journal: How To Fix Stuff or Being a supervisor is such a drag

Procrastination gives you something to look forward to. ~ Joan Konner

The materials have been laying around for two days.

and I was getting around to it. 

But then a mere woman and a boy came along

and finished the job.
Note to self: Do not think this will this will always work.

Procrastination is the greatest labor saving invention of all time. ~ Anonymous

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Excerpt From The Log of Serenity

"You'll never achieve your dreams if they don't become goals." Anonymous
Leaving Palinita, Isla Cedros, Mexico
Tuesday, Nov 27, 1984
MST 0720 - We're off Motorsailing W/Jib (with jib)
                    Sumlog fixed itself yesterday
 0830  Undersail  5 kts. (knots)
           Course 155*M
           Log 2.4
           Spd 6  (km says 4)   (I thought we still had some trash on the sumlog impeller but on later inspection it appeared that some sea critter had taken a bite of it.)  

We had anchored here the morning before after a tense night with yours truly not trusting his navigation. During the early morning hours under a moonless starlit sky I was on watch as we sailed from Isla San Martin where we had spent Thanksgiving gorging on crab claws, langusta, turkey and dressing. I was cat napping in the cockpit and re-thinking my calculation when I suddenly realized that we should be there. Jumping up and looking forward I could see nothing. Looking to the left and right I could see stars and astern there was nothing but the frothy sea and stars.  Forward there was nothing but darkness that extended to the nearly straight up.   Oh shit! that's the island I'm looking for.  I immediately, and hastily I might add, disengaged the autopilot, started the engine and readjusted the sails for this new course which was 90 degrees to what we had been holding. I was aiming for the edge of the "Black Hole" which is how I remember this event. Isla Cedros will forever be remembered as the "Black Hole". To this day I cannot remember it with out getting that certain terrible feeling in my chest of "Oh Shit!".  SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) came out of her bunk wanting to know what the hell was going on and I calmly told her how I had made a slight miscalculation but I had found my mistake and saved us all from certain death and destruction. It was dark so she could not see me shaking like a leaf and did not know I had nearly crapped myself and really needed to throw up.  We still had 5 miles before hitting the rocks on that coast I think but since it was black as pitch forward I had no way of knowing. I vowed never to make another overnight passage inshore unless there was a full moon.

We made it into that anchorage you see in the picture and anchored in six feet of water. We were followed later in the day by Jim Murphy on the good ship "Evergreen" of Mammoth, Ca. We had met Jim at Isla San Martin and shared meals numerous times. He had left hours before we even got out of bed but we had a rolly gusty night and I imagine his little ship rolled gunnel to gunnel. We were to see him many times after that as we were going to the same places.

Our course was taking us to Bahia Tortugas were we would go ashore for the first time since entering Mexico. That is another story of anchoring, re-anchoring, engine breakdown (minor) and my first attempt to communicate in Spanish, a language I had not even thought of in years. I manage to ask an older gentleman there where I could find the "lesbian" while searching for the tortilla factory. Needless to say I did a little brushing up after that and I was a lot more careful.

But that is another story for another time.

"Your dreams come true when you act to turn them into realities." Anonymous 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Truck Driving Adventures or How To Work Your Ass Off and grow a Big Belly at the same time.

Everything you consume rides in a truck sometimes. -T Swaim
This was our last truck  and our favorite. We were driving it when it turned one million miles. Because Caterpillar engines was giving a really good deal it went in for a complete overhaul at that time. When they tore the engine down it did not need anything. Everything was still at factory specs. It came out ot the shop with a brand new engine warranty.

About eleven years ago we stopped driving a big truck for a living but until this year we have been licensed to drive anything in any combination over the American highways carrying anything for hire. SWMBO gave hers up as well this year.  Scares me to think about it.  However there were many adventures, many happy surprises and some terrible disappointments.

The disappointments have to do with Texas and Louisiana law enforcement mostly and I don't want to remember them so they will not be here. I will tell you that they fabricate violations (lie) and they do it a lot.  There is no recourse.
This was our first truck with this company, a brand new 1993 International with sixty some-odd miles on it with matching trailer. We put another 530 thousand miles on it and it still looked like new. You may notice that I have already acquired a truck drivers figure here. 
This truck had a Cummings engine. It was our experience that big displacement Cummings have a strange vibration that puts our hands to sleep.  

SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) always wanted to drive a big truck so when we came back from living in Mexico we took that trade up.  After the schooling and apprenticeship we went at it in earnest taking a job in Louisiana because in a moment of insanity we had moved to this paradise(?) and I liked the color of the trucks (special order Corvette yellow).
SWMBO(she who must be obeyed) driving somewhere in Texas.
Here she is in her office reading a book. We read a lot of books. This picture was taken in one our interludes between fights. It's hard for me to stay mad at her.

We did not fit the image of truck driver. I am not very big, I don't wear a ball cap or stetson, I drive bare footed or in flip flops and I wear aloha shirts. She is slim, wears feminine clothing, wears the same kind of footwear but drives in house shoes or barefoot, had blond hair and  does not wear a bra. Neither of us wore underwear.  We believe in the concept of being our brothers keeper. Damned hippies.

She took abuse on the CB in the south because there were a few manly men, driving pickup trucks mostly, that resented the fact that a 100 pound women could take the place of a 300 pound grit gut. She could and did. I stuck her with the handle of "Mad Dog" (her initials backward) on the CB. No one understood because they had not seen that side of her.  Believe me it was a name she earned. She never used that handle but it was definitely hers. She could drive longer without peeing than anyone I've ever seen. I have to pee a lot and I usually wake up before I'm in the ditch.

We hauled a variety of loads during the seven years we  drove in the 48 state (we did not drive in the foreign countrys of Alaska and Hawaii as there is no bridge to Hawaii and Alaska might as well have been on the moon), fought in all of them and made love in a 18 wheeler in all of them .
Loading alligators in Sebring, Florida.

We hauled everything.  We once hauled alligators from Sebring, Florida to Houma, Louisiana because Houma had a shortage of them.  We, on several occasions, had the opportunity to tell the agriculture inspectors in-route that we did not have time for their business as we were carrying a "hot load". After inspecting our papers and discovering that we had a load of Crystal hot sauce from New Orleans or Tobasco from Avery Island laughed and waved us on.
Grandson checking out the alligators
Picking up paper in Valentine, Louisiana bound for Corona, California.
We hauled paper, sometimes toilet and sometime blueprint or newsprint, we hauled cane sugar, cane syrup, dried beans, chicken, oysters, catfish, boudin, candy and ants. The ants did not pay well since they would stop you in Arizona and send you back to New Mexico to fumigate your truck. Arizona doesn't know that they already have ants. Neither does California. The worst attack of fire ants I have ever experienced was in California. New Mexico is making a tidy profit killing ants. I wonder if they split it with Arizona.
This is the line to get into the Border Patrol check point in New Mexico. They were all over the southern routes protecting us from them furriners. This one backed the traffic out onto the interstate (10) and a driver with his young son rear-ended the last vehicle which happened to be a Suburban (I believe) at highway speed. Killed everyone then burned the evidence. When we passed the Suburban was about four feet long. The truck in front of it was a total FUBAR. The trailer in front of that was not like new any longer. The truck that hit it was not recognizable. We passed there the following week and it was business as usual but there was a big black fire damaged spot on the highway that served as a reminder. I heard there were no human remains just ash. They were not backing the traffic out on the the highway at that time but life is cheap and within months it was business as usual and fuck the safety. 
While I am on that subject I would like to add that it is a tremendous waste of taxpayers money.  It only hassles those who are trying to do right. Those who know get out of the truck/car  walk across the highway and then down the other side until they are well passed then meet the truck/car after it passes the "your papers please" government check point. I've seen it myself a dozen times or so and on one occasion the person did not even go to the other side of the highway.

That was just the stuff we hauled to Arizona and California.  We hauled produce back to Louisiana and sometimes other southern states. I am quite familiar with Florida both in delivering produce from California and picking up produce to deliver to California. Crazy, No?

The best was the time we took a delivery from ROADRUNNER Trucking. We went to the ACME warehouse in Chicago and picked up a load of assorted hardware, poisons and edibles. In that load was a pallet of ANVILS. The delivery was to Albuquerque, New Mexico to a place on COYOTE  Street (near as I can recall.  Being a Roadrunner cartoon fan I got a lot of entertainment out of reading that load sheet
We drove this portion of the California coast regularly. We had stopped here for a break and lunch. I seem to remember it was thanksgiving but I could be wrong. I often am.
Same parking place looking the other way.  I love that coast and I wish I could afford to live there.
Mad Dog trucking on down the road.  I have never been around anyone that so consistently made the right split second choice in an emergency and we had a few. I'll tell some of those stories one day if I live.  She makes up for it by not handling leisure time well at all.
 Sometimes the parking is a little tight.
 I had to wire the door back to make it fit.
This is the other side and the doors are touching.  I think this is where I tore the door off someone else's truck trying to leave the dock. They said it happened all the time there. I never went back and if I had I would not back to the dock if there was another truck there.  The profit in that business is marginal without being set up for damage.
Babies. Their mouths are taped shut. They maybe little but they only know one thing and that is to bite. I know some politicians that could use s ome of  that tape.

The Interstate Highway system was built for national defense and the department of defense owns it. If you do not believe that it is only because you did not pay attention when "Bush the first" mobilized to teach them A'rabs a lesson. Loads that were for the war effort deviated from the law for expediency. Some local enforcement types learned the hard way to not delay a load of bombs.  
Yes they transported bombs in civilian trucks, even in produce trucks.
The Interstate makes it possible for me to walk out my front door and be in Los Angeles in 36 hours in my car or deliver fresh caught oysters from the boat in Sulfur, Louisiana to a dealer there. Jacksonville, Atlanta or Dallas is only 12 hours without hurrying, ten if you hurry. On my first trip for this company another driver and I delivered a load of produce from the west coast to a town on the east coast (North Carolina somewhere) in under 48 hours. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Old Fools Journal: To Busy To Write or I'm Living Life

Not much to say about this except I told Steven I would probably bleed and I did.
It only took me a couple of years to get around to this hurricane Gustav damage
The new panels are the same color the others are dirty.  That's what I like about the color almond it gets dirty tastefully.
 ATT damage. That's the phone wire on the right  (no longer attached) that done it.
What color should we paint the door?
 Screw that just cover it. I will still paint it if I can think of something crazy enough.
Oh no another chair.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Old Fools Journal: 09/11/2011

To Whom It May Concern,
Old Fool

You cannot slander human nature; it is worse than words can paint it - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

The only bright side to all this is that eventually there may not be a piece
of the planet worth fighting over. -Calvin(calvin and hobbs)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Tropical Storm Lee has moved on. There will be another along soon.

We've dried out a little so I made a little trip to the general store to pick up some paper work.  Not very heavy but both saddlebags are maxed out with cat food, dog food, paper towels, napkins, etc.  The important stuff is on the top of the rack. This bike makes shopping for volume products easy.
The pump is essential as I have flats riding in the broken glass the locals keep the roads supplied with by throwing beer bottles and ramming each other.
 This is my favorite bell. You see it here in the stealth mode.
When it's down like this it quietly dings as I ride making most zombies aware of my presence which is no problem since they detect no noticeable brain in my head.  When I shake it with my thumb even the deaf hear it. Never mind the rust it's just another color in this wet country.
I consider this type bell as minimal but it works and came on my folder.
This is a little fancier and is cute but the compass is only good for telling where the steel handlebar is. That would be handy if I ever lost it. The direction it's pointing is south. It rings so it's good enough.
My help although not much.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Plenty of Water Here

How inappropriate to call this plane Earth when it is quite clearly ocean. - Arthur C. Clark

The ditches are full and so are some of the yards. This is the ditch in front of the house.
You need a boat to cut the grass.

I have seen it worse than this in a big summer thunderstorm and that is scary because it happens so fast. SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) is more upset about this than I am.
It's still raining (pouring as I write this) but the end is in sight.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Quack, Quack beats Glub, Glub Anytime

Rained all day yesterday, rained moderate to heavy all night and there is light rain now. The ditches are full, part of the garden is full and every small leak I have has leaked prodigiously.  It's sort of like living on a boat.
It is currently 82 degrees at 0945 central daylight time and there is light rain. The wind is south southeast at about 5 knots down here among the trees. I don't think I'll be riding my bicycle today.

This Avocado that I sprouted from a California Hass avocado I ate about a year and a half ago is growing like stink despite the freeze last winter and numerous wind events. The wind last night kind of bent it over but I'll fix that after a while.
This is one of last years Jalapenos.  This is the first time I have had a Jalapeno grow chilis in clusters. I have six chili plants both jalapeno and serrano and I have all I need. I made mango salsa last week and it was delicious.
The fall tomatoes I put out weathered the rain and wind pretty well. The big problem is the cats and that is why all the pots and boards are there.  Cats feel compelled to shit on new dirt, sand, perlite or any thing else new. It's what they do.  Unless we have an early freeze I should get some ripe tomatoes from these. If not green ones will do.
The problem is not with freezing I can protect from that. The problem will be the shorter cooler days. These plant are hard wired to do what  they do without a thermometer or clock.
I planted the equivilent of a 20 foot row of sugar peas a few days ago and apparently they like the cool and the rain as they are already sprouting. You can see them above. They were floated out of the dirt by the rain but I have reburied them.  I tried planting these in the spring but it was too late and they fried before they could fruit.  These are what I call grazing food as I eat them off the plant as fast as they form like cherry tomatoes.
Everything is in the shade right now and will remain so until I'm sure we are not going to get more blasting heat. Then they will go out into full sun.
 At least every two weeks I go to the villages east of where I live about 10 miles to visit my favorite vegetable stand. This is also where I get my eggs.
Their vegetables are sometimes local and sometimes not. For instance today's potatoes are from Minnesota, onions are from New Mexico and tomatoes are from Alabama. The eggs are from this farm's backyard.
I met Mister Howard because of Tropical Storm Lee that brought all this rain.  I call him mister because he is older than I am by a year.  His card says "IF YOU EAT IT I GROW IT". Although he lives just up the road from this spot under the hwy 90 overpass he normally goes into Houma, La on Fridays to the farmers market.  It was too windy to set up his shade in Houma so he set up here under the overpass. Lucky me.
Today he was selling Okra and it is the sweetest okra I have ever had.  He said I can call him anytime to see what he has.  At the end of November he will have green beans.  I suspect we will be doing further business.
Now I'm going to fry up some of that okra for lunch.