Here’s a joke.  What do you get when you mix an exhausted dad with a new teen driver. Answer. Tired.

Ok, not much of a joke but a good description of my Friday night. After a long and stressful week I arrive home at 7:30 with no more ambition than collapsing. Leaving late meant I had to turn down an evening with my friend Paul which I had been looking forward to all week. My wife had made other plans and was out. The only one happy with the situation was my son. He now had access to my car.

I settled in with dinner in front of the TV. Not for long. I get a call from Son saying that a tire “blew” and that he was parked about a mile and a half from the house. So much for my relaxing night. First, let’s focus on the good. No one was hurt. These are the days of cell technology. If it had happened to me at his age I would have been searching for a pay phone. Remember those days?

On go the shoes as I run/walk to where Son and car are awaiting. Note to self. Get in shape. Painful and slow mile and a half.

I have changed many a tire in my day. We had 20 or so minutes of daylight left. In my mind this was to be one of those father/son teaching of basic skills night. Yeah right. After getting the tools, jack and spare out of the trunk I had Son start loosening the lugnuts. Some teen angst, a little swearing but generally the first 4 were no problem. He was struggling with the fifth. I, assuming that he just isn’t focusing, was getting angry as darkness was setting in. Wrong. The tool did not fit the fifth lugnut.

How many of you know about “locking” lugnuts?  None of my former cars had them and apparently I had not changed a tire on this one. After a phone call to my handy brother-in-law I learned that there should be another tool in the kit to deal with this. I found nothing. Here we were unable to get the tire off and out of ideas. That’s when Lady Luck strolled in. Actually this is when Lady Luck got up off the couch, went for a walk, turned left when we were to her right and then finally arrived in her own sweet time.

Let’s see if I can shorten the remainder of this story. Sent Son to friend’s house less than two blocks away hoping he had tools. The two arrived carrying nothing. Short banter. Friend has phone number of dad of son from Son’s baseball team who owns a towing business. Dad of baseball son agrees to come.

In meantime I find special little tool for locking lugnut hidden in special pocket of car tool kit. Get tire off but luckily do not cancel dad of baseball son. Car is on an uneven and rocky surface and twice the cheap jack that comes with the car slips. Second time the spare becomes pinned under the car and I wait for a hole to develop in the spare.  

Dad of baseball son shows up with a professional man’s jack and takes care of everything. Everything includes the special issues in putting a tire back on this particular car. He then drives off into the moonlight not accepting any payment. We have known him for years and he is one of those nicest guys you will ever meet. Gift basket coming soon.

I drive the two of us back to the house and Son tells me how nice it was spending the evening together. I do not think he was being sarcastic– at least not totally. He was genuinely appreciative that I came to help and I am sure that he thought I might be angry. No anger. These things happen with new drivers. It will probably cost me two new tires and a night. Relatively small price to pay.

For the record the tire blew because he was driving too close to the curb on a four lane street. He ran over the curb at a point that happened to have a jagged edge. A 4 inch square piece of tire ripped.

Tired. That says it all.

I’ve Been Tagged!

Frank at iflipflop tagged me. Now it is my turn to play.

  1. All right, here are the rules.
  2. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  3. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  4. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  5. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

So here are my eight.

  1. I bite my nails. Bad habit but I cannot remember a time when I didn’t. BTW I am only referring to my fingers.
  2. I once danced on the top of a speaker at a club. The questions in the minds of people who know me are (in order) A club? Danced? On top of a speaker?
  3. I am deathly afraid of heights.
  4. I like to hike in the mountains. This sometimes conflicts with #3.
  5. I envy people who love their work. I have a love/like/tolerate/hate relationship with mine.
  6. For years I have been getting up between 5-5:30 am on work days but I am not wired to be an early riser. On weekends I can easily sleep until 8 or 9.
  7. Ever since I wrote a pretty good story in 6th grade I have wanted to be a writer.
  8. I am shy one- on- one but a fairly dynamic and funny public speaker. Go figure.

I do not know eight bloggers so I am going to call out eight people who read, or should be reading this blog. Put your eight habits/random facts in the comments section. Gary, Paul, Bob, Irv, Steve, Ami,  JT, and Harold.


A lot of spam hits this blog. Some even gets through the spam filter. Most of the spam  are sites to buy cheap prescription drugs. I thought this one was interesting.

Hi all! My name is Eugene. I am from Ukraine!
I am engaged in construction! My business goes well! Recently I had a problem with automation of my processes and all my business. A lot of time I spent for unnecessary things. I needed the software which completely automates all processes at my enterprise. And I have found such software! There is a firm the Expert-Soft in Kiev which creates software for business automation. At present I am operating the processes by simply pressing the key. If you are interested you are welcome to visit their website

Does anyone fall for a “personal” message? Why exactly is a construction guy from the Ukraine contacting me? I am not going to find out. No good can come from this. However, if any of you check this out let me know what you find.

Definitely more interesting than a site trying to sell viagra.

Carnac the Consultant


I spent the day working with a challenging client. The challenge is that this client asks for your opinion but then takes a tone of “What could you possibly be thinking?” when reacting to what you say. It seems as what is really desired is for me to say exactly what she wants to hear. I charge way too much for me to do nothing but agree–when I don’t.

It made me think of the famous Johnny Carson routine, Carnac the Magnificent, in which he wore a turban, held an envelope to his head, gave an answer and then read the question contained in the envelope. Often it was riotously funny.

Maybe it is worth my outrageously high hourly rate for companies to hire Carnac the Consultant. Now where is my turban…

Generations Before and After

Within about 20 minutes this morning I found out that my mother had been admitted to the hospital and my son’s soccer team won their tournament. While not events of a common magnitude, I had this brain flash of movement from the generation behind me to the one in front.

Mom has not been well for awhile with a series of pains in several parts of her body that have made it hard to walk. She has been weak. She went into the hospital because of heart attack symptoms– fortunately false– and they are keeping her there for “observation and tests”. It would be great if they stumble over some treatable underlying cause of everything that is wrong with her but given the number of doctors she has already seen that is unlikely.

My wife reminded me of how healthy she had been just 5 short years ago at her 70th birthday party. Mom turns 75 on Wednesday. I am not ready for the switching of parent/child roles just yet. Raising a son is enough to handle right now. Not that I  expect this role reversal to happen today or this week but this is the first time I have witnessed my mom in a hospital bed. The future is getting near.

My son walked in minutes ago after being away for three days. After experiencing more freedom than usual reentry is always a challenge. I tried to remember how it was for me at similar points and gave him a little, just a little, space. Of course his mom and I wanted to hear all about his last three days and the last thing he wanted to do was talk with his parents. We compromised. Watch part of the Cubs highlights, change the cat litter and take some time for yourself.

 “May you live in interesting times” is a proverb/curse attributed to the Chinese. It sums up how life is for anyone in between aging parents and children.

“May we thrive in interesting times.”  48Facets 6/24/2007

Color My World

I can be a very critical guy. It is much easier for me to identify your faults, only to help you correct them of course, than it is to appreciate your gifts.

However, something I have known for a long time but often neglect to see became clear the other day. My wife brings color to my life.

On my own I tend to stay within a fairly narrow zone of comfort. Call it the grey zone. I will occasionally step out but not stay for long.  She is the outgoing one, the one with flair.

A simple yet telling story. I had asked for new biking gloves. She bought some on my son’s behalf as a father’s day gift. They were the exact style and size I had requested. One difference. The back, the side that you see while riding, was not the same grey as all the gloves I had ever possessed. Instead a bright red stared back at me. My first reaction was to take them off and suggest an exchange. Yet, while getting the rest of my ride gear together I sensed that I was in my usual rut. I put on the gloves.

A number of times during the ride I would glance down, see the brightness of the red, smile and ride harder.

My wife brings color to my life in both big and subtle ways.

Be Hopeful. Be Very Hopeful

As a counter to yesterday’s post, I wanted to share some good things that are coming your way in the foreseeable future.

Visual implants using technology borrowed from digital cameras may bring limited sight to the blind.

New wind powered electricity technology harvesting power from winds high above the eath’s surface where the jet stream winds are much stronger than earth bound breezes.

NOTES, a surgical approach requiring no recovery time and leaving no visible scars. NOTES stands for natural-orifice translumenal surgegy. Any wild guesses as to how the surgical instuments enter the body? (No printable pictures for this.)

Not peace on earth but signs of good things coming.