Thursday, October 23, 2008

No Myrtle No More.

So the 1981 BMW 320i that I've been so very proud of is gone. We called her Myrtle. She was purchased brand new from a dealership in Myrtle Beach. We have the original paper work. I had to take her off the road a few months back. The gas tank was leaking up at the top. Other problems with her too. The registration expired in September. I kept her insured because we don't have a garage. The minimum liability was not that expensive.

I had her parked out back. In our driveway, just off the alley. I got a notice from the Code Enforcement people. It came in the mail last Saturday. It was a warning. The notice said they would give me ten days to get her registered, inspected and running. Or rid of her.

My wife and I were planning on restoring her one day. That's not why we bought her. We bought her 'cause she was affordable. Good cheap transportation. I got about four years out her. I had very little money in her. The gas tank issue was something that needed to be addressed in order to operate her safely. We just don't have the money for that sort of thing right now. With a daughter in college and my wife having cancer. Restoring old cars is not a priority.

I work with this guy who runs a used car business with his father on the side. They swung by here with the flatbed on Sunday afternoon and pulled her over to their shop. They will do what they can. They might know a guy who can part her out. They might get her running and sell her. They might just scrap her for three bucks a pound. The price of scrap is way down lately. It was as high as nine bucks a pound a few months back. No matter what they decide to do, I'll see a couple bucks out of the deal.

So next week is our fifteenth wedding anniversary. We are going out for a nice dinner one night during the week. We were going to wait 'til the weekend but my wife has chemo on Friday. She won't be in the mood for our favorite Italian place after chemo. We realized that it's been well over a year since we've really gone out anywhere. Like on a date gone out. It's been longer than that since we've been to our favorite Italian restaurant. The younger baby girl will be joining us for our anniversary dinner. Her big sister is away and we are not going to leave her home or drop her at a friend's house. She's part of this fifteen years. She's almost thirteen of them.

It's sad. The younger baby girl really likes that old BMW. She loved the sunroof.
She had a stuffed duck that she named Jake sitting in the back window. I made sure she got her duck back.

Heard Jackson Brown last night on the radio. WDVE at about 0200 on my overnight Pittsburgh run. The Pretender. What a good song.

I know it's not the car that's making me cry right now. It's everything. I'm very tired.

Coffee time for this Happy Idiot. Pick up the Struggle again tomorrow.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rough. Ruff.

I have that other blog. have not written anything on that blog since 20OCT07. I wrote something on there tonight. I would put a link to it on this page, if I could remember how to do that. It's on my profile page. The link is on my profile.........I like to write........I'm going to make a real effort to write more often. To work on the fiction thing........Anyway. It's all rough stuff, with no edits. No re-writes. No re-reads. It's rough and the dogs are barking. I have to go see what they are barking at.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Caution Crossing.

Why are the Cautions crossing? What do the Cautions look like?......So I can keep an eye out for them when they cross.

This morning when I got home from that overnight Pittsburgh run, my wife said that the Kool-Aid chemo was actually better than this New chemo. She said the Kool-Aid chemo made her sicker. She said the side effects were far worse. She said the difference is this. With the Kool-Aid chemo, she knew when it was over. With this New chemo, it comes and goes in waves. It changes all the time. She never knows how she'll feel one minute to the next.

This past weekend she was up on the eight-foot step ladder sealing up first floor windows while I did yard work. Today she's crashed. She hit the wall and crashed in the Pooh chair. We have this chair that sort of looks like the color of Winnie The Pooh. Not really but it's close. We call it the Pooh chair.

Had a stop I've never had before on last night's trip. Naser's in Apollo. It's at the end of the Apollo bridge, right on the bend on the left hand side. That's if you're coming out on 56 east through Vandergrift like I was. It's a tight squeeze into that loading dock. You have to drive your semi in between the grocery store and a beer store. You have to jack your trailer into this very old and narrow dock.

When I got there I didn't see or hear anyone. The sometimes vehicles crossing the Apollo bridge out front were all that could be heard. Not a sound came from the store. The garage type door was unlocked so I entered the store after ringing the loading dock bell a few times with no response. The lights were all on. I walked through the back of the store from the loading dock area as quietly as I could. I didn't just walk in shouting hello immediately.

This slightly paranoid ex-cop from Jersey is now thinking that something must have happened. You don't just walk into an open and empty supermarket at five in the morning, find no one, and assume everything is okay. It could be anything. The overnight person could be sick, and or incapacitated due to injury or even a heart attack. Worse case scenario is of course the obvious robbery. The perps could have the store people stifled at gunpoint when the truck driver shows up to make the delivery. So like I was saying. I don't just go barging through the store making my exact position known to all.

I proceed with due caution. Carefully approaching the end of each aisle. Stopping for a second to listen and look at the floor for changes in light patterns. I do this before dropping to one knee and taking a quick peek down the aisle. I listen for a second again. I check six, or look behind me, then move to the end of the next aisle. Third aisle down I see a mop and bucket standing just about ten feet down. I hear something just then. I quickly and quietly back track to the loading dock area. I very quietly pass through the swinging doors that mark the border between the store and the Employees Only back rooms. Through the dock door and out to my big truck. I retrieve my phone from the cab. For a second I wish I had a Glock. Then I saw him.

His name is Dennis and he works at the store. Turns out he was upstairs taking care of his overnight cleaning detail in the bakery/deli area. I didn't know they had an upstairs. It seems the unlocked garage type door on the loading dock was an oversight. It turns out that this is not the type of area where that would pose a problem. All is well at the grocery store. No one knows about my paranoid reaction. I'm not planning on sharing that with anyone either. Given the same set of circumstances, I'd do it the same way again. Old habits die hard.

I heard Molly Hatchet, Flirtin' With Disaster on the radio on my way down 28 earlier in the shift. They followed it up with The Beatles, Yesterday. The Georgia Satellites rounded out the set. Keep Your Hands To Yourself. There really was no obvious bridge between them. It kind of works though. If you think about it.

Man made moon glow sparkles on the highway.
Franky said; I got to do it my way.
Drive on troop. It's almost Friday.
Got to have a beer.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Radio Free Beetus.

A couple years ago I wrote something about my friend Beetus. That's not his real name. We just always called him that. It was a post about flying the Shelby.

Me and Beetus, we go way back. Known each other since we were kids. We even worked at the same gas station where we grew up in Jersey. The guys who owned the gas station called me Gustav. That's not my real name. They just always called me that. They would drag it all out so it sounded like this. "GGOOOOOOOSTAAAAAAAV"!!!

They had a name for Beetus too. They called him The Flying Chap. It was cautionary in nature. Like when we had to take the old International Scout out to jump start some customers car. "Oh God son. Don't let him drive, he's The Flying Chap"!

So Beetus lives far away now. Me and Beetus are still tight. last week Beetus decided to buy me a CB radio that I can use at work. Since I now drive big trucks for a living, it was a very useful gift.

Beetus didn't buy me a CB radio out of the blue. It's something I've been meaning to do. The truck I usually drive has a broken old radio in it. It worked at one time. Now it's down for the count. That old radio has broadcast it's last ten-four. Not that it matters, but just for the record. I don't say ten-four on the CB radio. I find myself saying roger, received, okay or just 'kay. When I was a cop we said received. Some departments say ten-four. We just said received.

I'm going to drink some coffee and have a cigarette. I'm really not sure where this is going. I guess I'll find out when I get there. I do know that I will be traveling across waves of caffeine. Through smokey blue clouds of nicotine that will drift up from my back porch, rolling under the edge of the overhang only to ascend towards the heavens. My gift to the stars. My second hand smoke for the gods.

I'm back. That's better.

So Beetus orders the radio and antennae in a slip-seat set up. I can hook it up in any truck I drive in less than five minutes. It's good to have a CB radio in the big truck. Road conditions, construction delays, Amish buggies on the highway. You can get a good heads up on these things with a CB radio. You have to listen to a lot of nonsense as well. It just goes with the territory I guess. Today I drove with my new radio for the first time. It came U.P.S. here to this drafty old house on Wednesday. I did the overnight Pittsburgh trip Wednesday night for Thursday morning at midnight. Didn't have time to set it all up before I left.

Wednesday night's trip was odd. 102.5 FM, WDVE Pittsburgh was playing a bunch of John Lennon stuff while I was southbound on 28 approaching the city. Seems it would have been John Lennon's birthday. He would have been sixty-eight were it not for that jag off who decided to shoot him. Instant Karma was one of the songs they played. When I first heard Instant Karma, years and years ago, I thought he was saying "Mr. Carter's 'gonna get you....."... I guess I thought he was singing something about President Carter. I'm not even sure if he was still President at the time when I thought that. How's that for screwing up lyrics?

Dyer Maker as I cross the Allegheny River on The Purple Bridge after my first stop in Fox Chapel. "Oh oh oh oh oh oh"... Slowly I climb the long hill towards Oakmont. I caught the lights at the railroad tracks green but I thought they were going to be red so I was downshifting when I should have been getting on it. Fly Like An Eagle while I climb that hill.

Queer As Folk. Some of the houses on the right while me and Steve Miller slowly climb that hill remind me of that TV show. I only saw one episode when it first came out and we had one those free preview weekends for Showtime. Came out. I didn't mean nothin' by that. It seems funny now though. After I read it I mean.

Turn right at the S&T Bank. The traffic light is flashing because it's like 0230 hours and the traffic lights around there just flash that late at night. I go under the highway and over the tracks to wind down the hill as what sounds like an old iron block Harley with a big after market cam and straight pipes warming up comes rolling through the truck cab speakers. Hot For Teacher. Van friggin' Halen. It's worth turning up a little. As I round the last curve on Milltown Road I see the bright neon lights of the used car place that stands next to the Plum/Penn V.F.W. Canteen that's right across from the entrance to the Verona Community Market. I have to turn into that parking lot. I have to follow the ramp to the back of the store and make my second delivery.

Next stop is off 56 in Lower Burell Township. I stay on 56 and head back out towards route 28. First I stop at the Donut Connection. I can swing into the very large lot behind Donut Connection. The lot by the Staples. I walk across the lot and enter the Donut Connection. The Stones are playing in my head and I'm cracking myself up. You Can't Always Get What You Went. You know the line where he says something about meeting a connection. Get it? The Donut Connection.

I was never as tough as I once believed I was. The older I get, the easier that is to face. Don't let the ink on my arms fool you.

My wife had chemo today. Her next one is on Halloween. I screwed that all up in my last post. Her last chemo session will be right around Thanksgiving. So. Only two chemo sessions left. She got a free gift bag at the hospital today. A handmade bag with some cards and other sundries inside. A volunteer group from Pittsburgh put them together for the chemo patients. She was happy. It's nice.

The older baby girl is gone now. Living in the dorms in downtown Pittsburgh. She's home for the weekend. I drove down after work and picked her up, along with all her laundry. It's really good to see her. It's really good to talk to her. It's even better to listen to her talk about all the doings at the college. She loves the city. She's a city girl at heart. I love my daughters.

Thanks for the radio Beetus. Good commo is hard to come by these days.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Twenty-four hours overtime the last couple of weeks. Ran as far east as Gettysburg to pick up produce. Ran as far north as Fillmore New York on the I.G.A. run. Keep in mind, we run local. We had a couple guys off on vacation. I don't mind picking up the slack.

I got paid today. All that overtime, like five-hundred bucks worth of overtime in addition to my straight forty hours. They took almost four-hundred out in taxes.

My wife started the "new" type of chemo last Friday. She reacts to it differently than the "old" chemo. This chemo drips into her port slowly. The "old" type was injected. Her time in the chemo room at the hospital is longer now. She was pretty sick last weekend. She's feeling better now. She only has three more chemo treatments left. The next one is on Halloween. She's bummed about that.

So this past Thursday I had the overnight Pittsburgh run. Fox Chapel and two stops in Verona. One more stop up on route 85 on the way back. I left at midnight, Wednesday night for Thursday morning. On the way down 28 all I wanted to hear was some good driving music. The Silver Bullet comes over the radio with "The Fire Down Below". I cranked that up, took a big pull from my large stainless steel coffee cup and fired up a cigarette. 475 Cat horses sitting out in front of me. Fifty-three feet of Reefer following along behind. Bob Segar blasting out of the speakers and no traffic in sight. Now we're truck driving. Now we can just think about driving. No cancer. No politics. No bullshit. Good tunes all the way to Pittsburgh. Yeah.

Hey Tommy. I got some very nice comments about all that political stuff. I just can't put them up here because I don't want to do that anymore. You know how I get. I get all fired up about something that has nothin' to do with what I'm all fired up about. That's why I have to leave this stuff alone. I'm votin' Tommy. I am votin'. I just ain't discussing it with anybody anymore.