Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Look Ma! No Brakes!

Last Friday night I was riding high after making 8 sales in the last 35 minutes of work.  I hadn't had any in the previous 9 hours and 10 minutes.  So I'm driving home talking to Gretchen on the phone, who was about 3 minutes ahead of me, telling her about the end of my day.  I pulled up to a stop light and I was just sitting there.  I adjusted my foot on the brake and heard a pop.  I then thought I felt the brake pedal get really soft.  I continued on my way home but kept testing the brakes to make sure I had some.  About 1/2 mile from home, I decided that I was just going nuts and that the brakes were just fine.  After being in the house for 10 minutes, I realized that I had left my phone in the car.  As I turned the corner to the driveway, I could see the puddle under the car.  I checked the brake fluid and it looked about 1/2 full.  I checked it about 20 minutes later and it was empty.  Now I have a tendency to get worked up about things like this.  But eventually I decided that there was nothing I could do about it and accepted that fact that I would have to get it fixed.  If only it was that easy. 

The next morning, I called my insurance's emergency line to get a tow.   This is how it went:

IML:  blah blah blah

Me:  Yeah, I need a tow.  I think I popped a brake line.

IML: Oh sorry hear that......Let me ask you "are you in a safe place"

Me:  Physically or mentally?

Nothing.  No, snicker, not even a sympathy chuckle.

IML:  Physical, sir.

Me:  Yes.

More questions followed but no jokes.  I wasn't going to that dry well twice.

IML:  blah blah...........I will call you back.

Ring Ring.

IML: Mr. Morgan were still trying to find a tow with a reasonable amount of response time.  We will call you back.

Ring Ring.

IML(new person): Blah blah........They will be there within the hour.

Okay now as that transpired other phones were being made as well. 

Brake shop #1  .... how can I help you?

Me:  I was calling to make sure you were open.

BS1:  Yeah, 8-12.   (It was 8:10. he didn't answer at 8:00).

Me:  Good.  I have one being towed to you.

BS1:  What's wrong with it?

Me:  I think I popped a brake line.

BS1:  We don't do brake lines.

I called them because they had done my back brakes a few months back.

Me:  So you have "Brakes" in your name but you don't do brake lines?

BS1:  Like I said.  We don't do brake lines.

Geez, tough crowd today.

Me:  Do you know who does?

BS1: ...... does.

Me:  Okay thanks.  ( in my you're an idiot tone)

BS2:  Blah blah

Me:  I was calling to see if you were open.

BS2:  Yeah, 7:30 - 2.

Me:  Great. I think I popped a brake line.

BS2:  Better get here quick.  I don't do much mechanic work on Saturday.

Me:  I have tow truck on the way. 

I thought "Damn.  Doesn't anybody work anymore."

The tow truck arrived.  I wait for the driver to get out of the truck but in seems like forever.  Finally he gets out and the following occurs:

Driver exits truck and walks to me.  He walks with a bad limp almost as if he has a wooden leg.  I don't dare ask.

Driver: Is dsjgbgshi upihg caufff a.

Me:  Excuse me.

Driver: Is this going to .....?

Me:  No.  they don't do brake lines.  It's going to......

Now the driver couldn't have been more stereotypical than this piece of work.  Add to the limp, a extremely rural Louisiana hick dialect and a dip of tobacco in his lip and you have my driver.  I could understand about 10% of what he said.  I responded "Uh-huh" to everything.

 After a quiet ride in the tow truck, we arrived at brake shop #2 at 9:30.  I explain that I had called about the brake line.  Then I told him how BS1 had recommend them.  The following monologue the occurred:

BS2:  I can't believe that guy would recommend someone to me.   That guy is a crook.  I sent someone to him.......$975.  He doesn't even need to work he has all sorts of money...............

I knew today was going to be rough but this day exceeding my expectations.

As I sat in the "waiting area" I thought about blogging "Scenes from the Repair shop,"  because I was the only one there without a mustache. And that included two women.

The owner/manager liked to talk.  In my roughly 4 hours of being there, I heard him run down about half of the people in town.  I don't know how he stays in business.  I know I ain't going back.  In the end and $477 later I get to drive home.  Luckily, it was payday.  Unluckily, it looks like a lot of Ramen Noodles in my future.  ( Chopped Challenge is coming)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Special Investigation--Behind the Hoax

ISB has been digging deep in investigation into the whole Manti hoax. The following is what we have discovered:(allegedly)

In or around late November 2009, Manti made a called home stating how lonely he had become.  Granny, feeling bad for her favorite grand son hatched a plot to make Manti much happier.  A fake Facebook  account, a stolen picture and voice altering device later, Lennay was born.  After about a year and  half Granny determined that Manti was getting "way to infatuated" with Lennay. The late phone calls that lasted eight hours were having to be taken in 2 hour shifts by members the of family  A twist had to be created.  The car crash did not persuade Manti to move on but instead made him that much more devoted.  So, Granny gave cancer a try which only drove Manti deeper into the web.  As granny and the family were putting more effort into ending the love, Granny died, thus killing Lennay as well.   After causing such sorrow to Manti, a decision was made by the family to bring Lennay back (a la Bobby Ewing) and they had her call Manti.  However, Manti did not fall for it. Manti instead promptly reported the call  to ND officials.  Weeks after keeping under wraps, the hoax story broke.

ISB's phone calls to Granny have not been returned.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Star Trek and Fathers

"Now, your father was captain of a Starship for 12 minutes. He saved 800 lives, including your mother's and yours. I dare you to do better."--Captain Christopher Pike -STAR TREK(2009)

This got me to thinking.  Am I doing better than my father?  He set the bar pretty damn high.  I would be doing good if I could reach half that high.

That led me to thinking about:  Does every son strive to do better than his father?  Take sports "heroes" that reach levels that their sons are unable to attain.  How do they feel about that?  I would think they would hate being compared to their father.  I know that for my entire life, I have been compared to my twin brother.  And I know that sucks!  We are different people and let's leave it at that.  But back to doing better than dear old dad.  I have always thought that I want to leave the world a better place than when I entered it.  How that would be measured, I have no clue. Same  with fathers, what kind of measurements would you use: money? children? titles?  wives?

What about sons who never knew their fathers?  How would they judge if they were better or not?    Then there are sons whose fathers are abusive, alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals or all of the above.  I suppose they may see that topping their fathers isn't that tough.   But do they choose to top in being better people or worse people?  So many questions and not one good answer.

I guess in the end as fathers, we can only show sons how to be men; to set the example and hope they follow.  As we watch them grow, we can judge how good of job we did as we hopefully watch them do same for their sons.  As for my father, I not striving to do better, I'm just hoping to catch up.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Comedy of Aeros

*Based on a true story

     Jordan blamed himself.  It was his fault that they were running late but he didn't care.  He was hungry.  So, when he saw the Wendy's at the edge of the terminal gate, he darted in. It was the Fourth of July and he and his fiancee, Bridgett, were headed to England.  What better way to celebrate the American independence than to go to the loser's home turf and rub it in their face.  However, since it was Bridgett's homeland other activities had been planned. 

Jordan had been so busy with his last second packing and list checking, that he had forgotten to eat.  Due to traffic, his 20 minute jaunt to the airport turned into 95 minute, curse laden fiasco.  The Wendy's, Jordan saw as a gift from above.   Being that he considered himself famished, he ordered the double value meal.  His plan was to carry it on the plane and eat it.  As they approached the terminal, the white-haired agent shook his head no and said "Can't take in, son."  Jordan now faced a dilemma:  eat and possibly miss his flight or starve and guarantee Bridgett wouldn't kill him.  Then something incredible happen.  Jordan took his burger in 3 bites, drank his fries as if he had been in the desert for days and then took a breath and swigged his large Dr. Pepper with one huge slurp.  It was the stuff that brings tears to eyes of competitive eaters.  Bridgett, on the other hand, looked on in total disbelief and utter horror and disgust.  Jordan looked at Bridgett, shrugged his shoulders, grabbed his carry-on and proceeded through the gate.  Bridgett rolled her eyes.

After being in the air for about an hour and a half, an announcement was made that dinner would soon be served.  Bridgett again looked at Jordan with a look only a woman could give.  Jordan had no response other than, "It's gonna be a long flight."  As the flight attendant pushed the dinner cart down the aisle, the young couple debated which to choose.  Jordan thought the beef and rice sounded tasty while Bridgett chose then lighter fare of chicken and rice.
 After dinner had been eaten and plates removed, the cabin lights were dimmed.  The third seat in their row was empty so Bridgett curled up in the two seats and rested her head with a pillow and Jordan's armrest.  As she dozed off, Jordan decided he would close his eyes and listen to his music on his iPod.  Later,  somewhere between Love Gun and Beth it happened.  "Grrrrmmpphhhhfftttt," went Jordan's stomach followed by an even louder "GRRRRRRMMMMMMPPPPPPHHHHFFTTTTTTTTTT!"  Bridgett, being at ear level with Jordan's stomach, looked up at Jordan an asked "Are you okay?"  Jordan looked down at he and with his infamous sarcasm replied, "No!"  Bridgett inquired again, "What's the matter?" Jordan again looked down at her with a face that read "Do you really have to ask?"  Bridgett rolled her eyes again and said "Just don't fart on me." She then rolled over to go back to sleep. This wasn't Bridgett's first experience with Jordan's traveling tummy troubles.
 Upon Jordan's first time of visiting his future in-laws, they had arrived to an empty house. Jordan had taken the opportunity to take liberty with the lavatory with a performance that resembled Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue.  After several encores, he emerged to find the 3 absent family members sitting at the kitchen table.  The future father-in-law looking at his watch spoke up, "Damn, five more minutes and I would have won."   Tonight, however, Jordan had a new dilemma on his hands.  "Maybe it will go away," he prayed to himself.

30 minutes later and somewhere over the Atlantic, Jordan knew it wasn't going away.  He made his to the bathroom at the front of the plane.  To his surprise, there was a line four deep.  He took his place at the end of the line.  As he stood there, the guy in front of him turned and ask him "Beef and rice?"  Jordan responded, "Huh?"  "Did you have the beef and rice?" he asked again.  Jordan shook his head "yes."  The guy then took his finger and waived it back and forth, signaling that the others in line had had the same.  The stranger then commented "You're lucky.  It was six deep when I got up here."  About that time, the bathroom door opened,  Jordan squinted his eyes because of the light and he saw the occupant emerge.  Unfortunately, all of the pent up air rushed out to greet the world, as well.  The stench felt like sledge to the face from Thor, himself.  This chain of events would repeat itself time and time again. 

Jordan had thought about crossing over to the bathroom on the other side of the plane.  But upon further review he noticed that that line had not moved.  At the precise moment, a portly gentleman in the range of 400 to 450 pounds came forth from the light.  The look on the faces of those in that line could only be described as complete devastation.  Jordan knew that he better stay where he was because he was pretty sure that a "Hiroshima Reenactment" had just occurred.  Minutes later, Jordan and the stranger were the only two left in their line.  Looking around the cabin, Jordan noticed a small Indian fellow that was sitting in the front row near the bathroom.  What caught his eye was that the guy had not only finished his beef and rice but had just polished off his wife's and was starting on his son's.  Jordan wandered when the guy had eaten last.  Jordan elbowed the stranger in front him and said, "Better be happy were in front of this guy!" as he pointed toward the hungry passenger.  The bathroom door opened again and the wafting air almost brought tears to Jordan's eyes.

As Jordan waited, he realized that his predicament must be getting more dire as he had began shifting his feet swaying foot to foot.  And then the thought occurred to him "I don't want to go in there."  But the gurgling bellows from deep within him told him he didn't have a choice.  The stranger came out and with the biggest look of relief that one could have.  Jordan looked down, took a deep breath and went in.  The bathroom was tiny and with Jordan being a rather thick individual, made it that much smaller.  Knowing that at least 7 people had sat there before him, he lined the "toilet" with several layers of toilet paper and then took his seat.

Jordan stepped out of the bathroom as if he had conquered the world.  He saw the line had grown to 4 deep once again.  He also noticed the Indian fellow had finished his third portion but now had one hand on his head and the other on his stomach.  Jordan couldn't help but smirk.  He returned to his seat.  Bridgett was sleeping but awoke when he sat down.  "You okay?" she asked.  "Yeah," he responded.  "I should've have had the chicken."  With that, Jordan put his headphones back on and he and his tummy had a peaceful flight thereafter.