Age Old Wisdom

A co-worker and I were discussing life this morning.
During our discussion a famous quote was mentioned.  The quote was too good not to share.
 
"Youth and skill are no match for old age and treachery."
 
I tried researching who to give credit to for such poignant wisdom, but as of now, I have been unable to.

Third Time is the Charm!

Here is a recall to an old post titled "A Thanksgiving Turkey Tale" that was dated 11-24-2006 - Just shy of 1 year ago...

Tonight, like that day, I took a call from resident who had a wild turkey crash into (but not through) their window. The turkey had broken it's neck, and subsequently died. The homeowner called the police because even though the turkey was less than 10 minutes dead, and was bagged and in the trash when they called. They contacted the police with their concerns that the carcass would start to rot and stink by the end of the week (when their garbage collector came around).

Since one of my duties here is to "serve the community" I work for, I felt offering to take the remains from the distraught caller was something I SHOULD... no, my duty REQUIRED me to provide. (Yes, I know, I know... It's a sacrifice... But, hey.. Someone has to step up to the plate, and take the high road - it may as well be me!)

The caller was both surprised that anyone would want such a thing, and (at the same time) relieved that bird would not go to waste!

We (at the police department) frequently do this with deer. I take it upon myself each fall, to update and maintain the "Deer Kill List". The "Deer Kill List" is a list of persons who are interested in being notified when a deer is recently killed by motor vehicle accident, or has to be dispatched for whatever reason.

I was very excited! The officer that picked up the turkey was told by the caller that the dispatcher who offered to take the turkey sounded "giddy". After two unsuccessful prior attempts, the possibility of actually getting one home WAS making me "giddy". The officer picked it up, and delivered to me.

I made a quick stop at my parents home to show them, and it was off to home with my "booty"!

When I arrived home, the Mother of Five had told all the kids what had happened, and they were all patiently waiting for me to get home so they could see the turkey for themselves. After a quick "show and tell" session, the turkey was hung in the garage, the kids tucked into bed, and I prepared to get to the task at hand.

Armed with a couple of good knives a new game sheers (Thanks Ed!) - about an hour later I had a platter full of wild turkey meat, a grocery bag full of feathers, and garbage bag of "what was left" of the turkey.

I spent another (almost) hour cleaning, and preparing the meat for storage.

When it was all said and done, I ended up with a platter full of drumsticks, thighs, and misc pieces, and a full sized dinner plate of turkey breasts. They all were stuffed into a "seal-a-meal" bag, and were... well... Sealed!

There will (at some point) be a follow up to this post - after the turkey is "consumed".

Disclaimer: This is a true story and can be documented at BP071021-061317.

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Update: 11-23-07 (the day after Thanksgiving 2007).

No, we did not consume the turkey for Thanskgiving. I was at work, and had little to no say in the days cuisine. I will dedicate a whole meal to this turkey in the "not too distant" future - and will go into detail just how it all turned out.

Thank you for your patience while this post sat unfinished for so long.

Sproing-oing-oing-oing

While working the first of a couple of back to back 12 hour shifts (from 7am - 7pm), I got a call from the "Mother of Five" because apparently our garage door was not opening. I tell her to try and cycle the garage door opener a coupe of times (to which she said she already has tried - and it rose about an inch, then went back down). Immediately I suspected the garage door opener.

Well, since I was at work & she was at home, and she needed to leave - I gave her the old "pull the red handled cord to disconnect the opener" trick and told her to just manually lift the door. As she walked out into the garage (with the phone in her hand - and thinking to herself what a lucky woman she is to have such a smart and helpful husband) she proceeds to tell me that there are metal cables laying on the floor of the garage.

Uh-oh. That can not be good. After a couple of quick Q&A's - I am able to determine that it is the cables that go from the bottom of the garage door up to the drums on the end of the torsion spring bar.

Well, having recently had "cable issues" on our single door, I told her that the "red handled rope trick" should still do the job - but manually lifting the door will be a little more difficult without the aid of the cables. I told her to enlist the assistance of our neighbor and good friend Jeremy to help lift the door evenly.

Not long after, "MOF" called me back and told me the wonderful news! Not only are the cables disconnected, but the big spring at the top of the door (also known as a torsion spring) was broken into three pieces...

Well, (as stated earlier) having just installed a new opener, and having dealt with "cable issues" on the single door, I was not too worried about it. By the time I got home, and had a chance to look at the damage, I felt it was something that I should be able to fumble my through. I was not familiar with the details of a torsion spring vs the tension springs, so I started researching.

Wow. There are a lot of people out there that do not want you messing with the torsion springs WHAT SO EVER! They make it sound like you have better chances of survival in a south-eastern jungle prisoner camp.

The FIRST WEBSITE that came up was actually VERY informative. It acknowledged the inherent dangers involved in torsion spring replacement, along with some myths, and some rip off's to watch out for! I book marked that page, and continued on.

I then came across a plethora of web sites that really tried very hard to warn me away from doing this job on my own. The site that summarizes this side of the debate is THIS ONE. This site even talks about how wrong the FIRST SITE is. There seems to be some underlying "Hatfield vs McCoy" feud going on between the professional garage door repair people, and... well... seemingly the rest of the world.

If I were to believe all that I have read about replacing torsion springs myself, I...

a). Would be foolish to try and do this myself
b). Would be foolish to not try and do this myself
c.). Would expect to pay between $100 - $800 (wow, that is quite a range) to have it professional done
d.). Would be able to find someone who will (honestly) charge between $100 - $200.
e.). Would have a very difficult time finding the parts
f.). Expect to pay between $80-$100 for parts.

I have some additional research to complete here. I may need to call a couple of "professionals" and see where in the $100 - $800 range this job falls into. with between $80 - $100 for parts, it may well be worth my time to get the job "professionally" done - but yet then you do not get that wonderful feeling of "having done it yourself".

Either way - I will have to do something about it quickly. We cannot use our garage door until it is repaired. I think I will have time Wedesday, Thursday or Friday.

Update 10-28-2007: I did choose to have the Lakeland Overhead Garage Door Company Inc. come out and replace the springs. The repair technician was friendly, fast, and courteous. He had both springs replaced and was on his way within 15-30 minutes. He also took the time to lubricate the tracks/rollers, hinges, and adjusted the opener for the new better balanced garage door. He then went over and did the same for my third garage door (which did not need any repair).

By the time he left, both garage doors were working noticeably better than before the springs were sprung.

If you found this post by searching for Lakeland Overhead Door Inc in Minnesota - I have only good things to say about the work they did for me.

A Milestone

Seventy.

Today is my father’s Seventieth birthday.

Even though seventy is not the number of years he has been my father, seventy is the number of years that have shaped and prepared the man who continues to help form who I am today.

Seventy is the number of years that has shaped and prepared the man who helps form and helps me form who my children (his grandchildren) are.

Seventy is the number of years of wisdom that he can (and does) share - and that I sometimes listen to, and sometimes disregard (with an upward roll of my eyes - hoping he did not notice).

You may (or may not) be wondering more about this seventy year old father of mine. Well, since his “Milestone” seventieth birthday is today, I am going to take this unique opportunity to share with you a little bit about my dad.

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My Dad is a man who has unconditionally “been there” for me since day one (and even before) - showering me with more love and affection that I sometimes even knew I wanted.

My Dad is a man who (I now can see and understand as a father myself) has worked hard his whole life and made selfless sacrifices to guarantee that his family does not do without – and even though they did not have everything they WANTED, they never did without the things they NEEDED.

My Dad has now paved most of the miles of the road that is his life. He has tried to teach me where to watch for the potholes, sharp turns, and dead ends of life that he has had to work though (some through the “school of hard knocks”). He has tried to make it so that I did not have to “re-pave” some of those same difficult roadways in my life.

My Dad also watches me pave my own road, and (even though I am sure it was painful to do so at times) stands back just far enough to watch, yet stays just close enough to rescue me if that road gets too bad, or if I drive off the road altogether.

My Dad is a man who comes from a generation that I did not. He is a man who has lived through things I have not had to, worried about things I have not had to, and seen changes in this world that I have not had to. Yet, at the same time (because our life experiences are not the same), I have had to live though things he has not had to, worried about things he has not had to, and seen changes in this world he has not had to. Through some of these differences we do not always see “eye-to-eye” on everything, and sometimes we debate a topic until we have to “agree to disagree”. We have always been able to do this with a little grin – each thinking that they have the “upper hand” and that the other has “lost their marbles”. (Well, I assume that is what he thinks, I know I do…) Through it all though, we have never allowed these petty differences to cause damage to our relationship.

Don’t get me wrong – as with any father/son relationship, over the years I have learned that there are a few things that “irritate” me about my father (Who's dad doesn't?). Fortunately, I have become a father myself (of five... as my blog title proclaims). Being a “Father of Five” has given me many opportunities to realize that I am not a perfect dad. I am human, as my dad is human. It is as a “human and imperfect father” that I can now see clearer and appreciate my father and the things he does for what they are, and why he may do them. You see… I now find myself doing things to/for my children that “irritate” them. Regardless if it is something my father does that “irritates” me, or if it is something that I do to “irritate” my children, I understand that it all stems out of care, compassion, concern and unconditional love...

So Dad, I wrote and I dedicate this “Milestone Birthday” post to and for you. I want to know that even though we may not always see things “eye-to-eye” and we have our minor differences and beliefs, you should know that I am thankful for the gift of having you as my father – and as for the things that truly matter most, you have done well!

Happy Birthday Dad! I love you so very much. I thank you for all you have done and continue to do for your family. You have done the job (of fatherhood) right – and have given me the guidance to do the job (of fatherhood) right too!

Your loving and appreciative son... David.

The horror in my life

Preface
 
As I was reading one of the Blogs that is part of my "regular diet" - Stuff In My Brain - I started writing a comment to Dad Stuff's "Are you Scared" post.  After a short while I realized that my "comment" had grown long enough to be more of a posting for "FOF" rather than a comment for "Stuff".  So, I left him a comment about how he inspired this post on FOF that started out as a comment for him.  
 
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I too - truly enjoy (or enjoyed) horror films. 
 
I grew up watching "slasher movies" with my cousin Bob... Dawn of the DeadTexas Chainsaw Massacre
The Driller Killer, Motel Hell, Microwave Massacre, and Maniac were just a few of "highlights".
 
Although it was a lot of fun, I do not care so much for that genre any more.  (Although I do get a kick out of watching some of my old "Favs" for nostalgic purposes).  I too have zero interest in the "Saw" movie series... I'd rather watch the "Scary Movie" series, and get a chuckle!
 
But classic horror books ROCK!
 
A few years back, for Christmas the kids got me a huge gilded edge, faux leather covered copy of "The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe".  I love it, and have even started reading bits of prose to the kids.  Last Halloween, I read "The Raven" to them.  Just a couple of nights ago they asked me about "The Raven" which I read to them about a year ago, and asked if I knew about "the story where the one dude buried the other dude's heart under the house" - I know what I am going to read them this year!!!
 
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly was without a doubt was my favorite story in high school.  I was a bit of a "slacker", and of the numerous books that were "assigned" and/or "required", I really only read 3 (that I can remember) - Julius Caesar, Flowers for Algernon (don't ask me why I read that one.. It just captured my interest at the time) and Frankenstein.
 
My english teacher was one of the few teachers who still taught Frankenstein (or - at least so she told us...).  I remember how delighted she was to (for once) see me motivated and actually read this book.  I came prepared EACH AND EVERY DAY.  I actively participated in class discussions and had NO difficulty with the quizzes and final test.  I loved that book!
 
I have yet to re-read Frankenstein... But, I have discovered another love.  Vampires.
 
Back many years ago, while working overnights, on a whim I read Bram Stoker's Dracula for the first time.  It was a book I could not put down.  I really was hooked.  It reminded me of the same feelings I had when I read Frankenstein. I have re-read it twice.
 
Since then, I have discovered a few more vampire novels that I really enjoyed!  There is a three book series called "Diaries of the Family Dracul" (Covenant with a Vampire, Children of the Vampire, and Lord of the Vampires) by Jeanne Kalogridis - if you are into vampires, these are great stories!  They are not long, and well worth the time needed to read them!  
 
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - Is a long novel, very rich in detail and imagery - filled with history and geography.  I understand this novel will soon be made into a movie!  Looking forward to that one!
 
Although not about Vampires, Steven King's books have also been books that (from time to time) have frightened the beejeesus out of me.  Of all his works, IT was the most frightening.  (The book that is... The movie - eh, just did not do it justice).  There is just something scary about a clown... Then to make it evil....... 
 
So, Dad Stuff... Thanks for the inspiration!  I'm with you all the way!
 
If anyone has any suggestions on any good vampire or scary horror novels, be sure to let me know!
 

I am back.

The Adventure of getting my new (my sister-in-law's old) Saturn home went pretty uneventful.

It started Sunday afternoon, when my father-in-law and I were dropped off at the airport for a one-way-flight from MSP to ATL.

We self-checked in at a touch-screen terminal, and got in line for the security checkpoint. We reached a guy who was reminding all passages about the "minimum liquid" restrictions. Having forgotten about this restriction, Joe needed to throw away some toiletries before hitting the checkpoint.

Reminder to self: If I ever need any toiletries (Toothpaste, deodorant, cologne, etc) make a quick stop off at the airport. There are several trash cans full of above listed items. Some which have never been opened!

After cleaning out (what was thought to be) everything, we got back in line and proceeded to the checkpoint.

I thought my bag would (for sure) flag someone, somewhere and require a full body cavity check of some sort - it was loaded with my Palm Pilot, my XM Radio (and it's remote control, cassette adaptor, and antenna), and my MP3 Player - but alas, I got to walk through unstopped. Joe, on the other hand, seemingly left a bottle of cologne in his bag that he forgot he packed. That did cause alarm at the checkpoint, and he was pulled, and checked. After the TSA attendant found and removed the violating container of fluid, we were on our way.

Since we were not going to be arriving until 7:30 pm, we stopped, and had our first of many meals "on the road".

We boarded the plane on time, but spent a little extra time on the tarmac due to a closed runway.

The flight was uneventful, and we arrived, made our way though Atlanta Airport, and met up with my sister-in-law Mary. She seemed happy to see us, and we were happy to see her.

We walked out and got a look at HER NEW CAR. It was BEAUTIFUL. Mary's Vue is "Ruby Red", and the website does not do the color justice.

By now, it was going on 8:30 pm, and having not eaten since 2pm, we were getting hungry. I treated both Mary and Joe to dinner at Miller's Ale House (a recommendation by Mary - which was a great choice!). After catching up, and some visiting, we headed back to Mary's. Once there, we took care of the business end of the transaction, and Mary's old car became my new car!

We planned on an early start... About 5:30 am - but I had forgotten that there was a time differential, and that 5:30 Central is really 4:30 Eastern. So we adjusted our start time to 6:30 eastern (5:30 central), then went to bed.

We were up on time, cleaned & packed up, and ready to go by our target time. As we went down from Mary's home to the car in the lot, it felt odd... I was approaching "my new car" for the first time, and the whole transaction was done "sight unseen". I was able to do this, because I bought the car from someone I trusted. It was sort of "surreal"....

I took "first shift" for driving, we said our goodbyes, and we headed out 6am Atlanta time. It was still dark, and we found our way though the unfamiliar "Atlanta area", and by the time daylight was upon us, we were well on our way.

The remainder of the trip was very uneventful. The car ran fine, we listened to a whole day's worth of XM Radio Classics, and with the exception of gas and food - we drove straight through from Atlanta, to Minneapolis. We did take a slight detour through the middle of Illinois with the intentions to stop by and see Brian, Jessica and Miles. The Detour proved to take longer than planned (due to road construction, and a couple of wrong turns) so that by the time we passed the intersection that we needed to turn - Miles was already sleeping, and (my understanding was) Jessica was not home. It would have added an extra two hours to the trip, so we scrapped the idea, and continued on our way.

One thing I did want to note about the trip... Our "menu".

Before leaving MSP, we ate McDonalds at the airport. (Hamburger, small fry, small drink)
After arriving at Atlanta, we dined at Miller's Ale House. (I had the Philly Cheese Steak and a Michelob Golden Light)
We stopped for breakfast once again at McDonalds. (Sausage McMuffin with egg and an O.J.)
We ate lunch at Dairy Queen. (Mushroom Swiss Burger Value Menu)

By the time it came to dinner, (on our last leg of the trip) we were so sick of fast food, that we tried to find some sort of diner, or cafe, ANYTHING that did not serve food with the option of being supersized, came in a wrapper, box or bag. What I was really hungry for was a salad bar. We decided on stopping at the next "non fast food" restaurant we came across, and when we found the next "non fast food" joint, it was a locally owned truck stop. It had an attached Restaurant and Buffet. THE BUFFET HAD A SALAD BAR! We both ordered the salad bar, and enjoyed a much appreciated change to the diet we had eating.

We arrived at my father-in-law's house at 0230 hours, and after dropping him off - I finished the remaining 30 minutes journey to my house, and arrived at 3:02am (Minneapolis time).

The trip took a total of twenty-two hours (including stops, gassing up, wrong turns, and detours through "Children of the Corn" (rural / small town) Illinois - and was a total of 1205 miles from start to finish.

Hey Bill... WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THESE NUMBERS !?!?!?!
For thoes of you who do not know what this is all about, I'll give you a hint...

Mary, I want to thank you for selling us your Saturn!

It has proven to be quite a wonderful upgrade for us!

The Adventure will soon begin.

One way flight MSP to ATL



Road trip back from Atlanta to Minneapolis with a new "item".

Stay tuned!

Mixed Emotions

Today, at the King of Clubs, my friend Bill had a HUGE announcement. In a comment I left for him, I sent him the following sentiments...


Bill, it is with mixed emotions that congratulate you on this wonderful
news.

Since you started working with the COB as a dispatcher, I have considered
you a friend. It is as a friend that I am saddened to see you leave. Yet, it is
as a friend that I am also very excited to see you move forward!

You know that I wish you all the best, and that you stay safe from harm as
you take up the honorable duty to serve and protect the citizens of Bloomington
(which include both family and friends).

Stay safe - and I hope to be able to continue the friendship we have
established over the past five years. It may not seem like it, but it is a
meaningful friendship to me.

I know without a doubt, that I will be seeing less of you over the next few
months, and as you are busy on your field training, I will do my best to "leave
you alone" (grin) - but please know that you go with my thoughts,
prayers, and best wishes - and that if there is anything I can do to help you
successfully complete your journey - DO NOT hesitate to
ask.

Please, take care of yourself, and (as I frequently tell our
officers
) - "have a safe shift".

Proud to be your dispatching friend.
David.

I truly wish Bill all the best, and pray that he remains safe as he does what I truly never had the courage to complete.

We have had others come and go - taking the same trail as Bill has. They too also left with my best wishes, and I am glad to see how they have succeeded over the years. But Bill has become what I consider a close friend. It is as both a (soon to be former) colleague and truly a good friend that I can feel confident Bill will undoubtedly find success in the step(s) he is taking.

Regardless of my mixed feelings about your departure from our 9-1-1 center - As stated in the comment left for you, I wish you nothing but success and safety.

Since I will be seeing you much less frequently, be sure to keep your blog updated with how things are going, and oh-yeah... one other thing... Since I kissed your "arss" so much here, do I get one of them "get out of jail free cards"????

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