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BOTH of my sons (Jason AND Ben), are retiring from the Air Force later this year after each finishing twenty-plus years in their careers. Theyíve both earned college degrees while they served and traveled all over the world doing time in some pretty nasty places, and now all thatís finally done. Each time they were sent off I worried until they returned safe and sound. Their completion of service not only makes me feel tremendously proud, it also makes me feel tremendously OLD!! In fact, my GRANDson Dylan is now a Major in the ROTC!
Although both of them are still way too young to even be close to qualifying for AARP (41 & 38), to think of them as being officially ďretiredĒ from anything is just strange as hell. Of course theyíll both be entering new careers in the private sector and have prepared for that... but once they go through their military retirement ceremonies, until they start working again, all three of us will be lazy retired pukes for a little while. Once again I can actually be better at doing something then they are just like the old days when they were kids... Iíve LEARNED how to kick back and relax, they havenít! Hell, itíll probably take Ďem years to even talk like civilians and quit saying things like, ďYes sir!Ē ďCopy that!Ē and ďI got your six!Ē (Which, by the way, translates to, ďIíve got your backĒ). Moving on...
As Iím writing this in mid-January, the past few weeks have been VERY cold here in NE Ohio. How cold might you ask? Well, it was SO cold that it could have, and probably has, frozen the teats off of some of our dairy cows. So cold, that trying to accomplish the morning milking would udderly fail (yuk yuk). So cold, that... Okay thatís enough of that! But you get my point. Twice I had to resort to a whole slew of swear words just to get into my %&$kiní car because the doors were frozen shut and wouldnít budge until I almost bent the door handles and window frames.
Sometimes I have a hard time writing stuff in one season knowing that youíll be reading it in another. In fact as youíre reading this it will be that glorious (but probably muddy) month of March when SPRING officially arrives at last! Speaking of that...
As I try to remind you each year at springtime, watch out for the accumulated winter road crap that has become piled up into triangles at intersections, on corners, and lays on the edges of the roads waiting to take you down. If your bike IS out on those roads early enough, you might want to rinse off your scoot each time ya ride because a lot of the residual salt will undoubtedly still be on the blacktop. Around here theyíve begun to use a lot of beet juice to melt ice (donít know what THAT does to rubber and steel), but they also still use a lot of salt which lingers a lot longer until the rain finally dissolves it and washes it all away.
Back in the old days when MY bikes were always swap-meet specials that required some major work every winter, I used to plan on April Foolís day for the scoot to be ready each year. Now, thereís not so much preparation since this bike is ďstore-boughtĒ and the ďroll-outĒ date is anytime IíM ready. But before ya head out for that first ride of the season, check all your fluids - motor oil, tranny oil, primary oil - and change it if itís been a while. Check the level of your brake fluid. Make sure both of your tiresí pressure (all three if ya ride a trike, duh) are cool and make SURE the tread is good enough to last the coming year while there are still plenty of not-so-great days to take care of that. We have a tendency to use the phrase ďGood enough for nowĒ when the skies are blue, the temps are fine, and those sunny days are giving us an uncontrollable itch to ride.
If you ride on the back fender, INSIST that whoever is piloting that pleasure machine does all this shit! Remember that itís YOUR ass on the back. And if youíre a single, lonely, and kinky female who is okay with fat guys, call me @ 330 872 1198. (Oops... where the heck did THAT come from?) Speaking of THAT...
A few months ago I asked anyone to let me know if they still read my column (since a lot of you are only getting your magazine online now). The result has been very uplifting for me, yet at the same time kinda humbling because I really wasnít expecting, nor was I asking for, any ďattaboysĒ... I just wanted to know if people were still reading me and I was losing some enthusiasm from not knowing. I know I can always be counted on for running off at the mouth, but itís different if youíre talking to an empty room. I might be sick, but not THAT sick.
Anyway, folks from all over the state have called me and sent emails... so it looks like Iíll keep doing this for a while. After I made that request in Januaryís column, I kinda regretted it and almost called Lisa (our wonderful editor) to ask her to delete that part because sometimes ya just donít wanna know stuff LOL! Then, when January came along I wasnít hearing anything back from anyone because that particular issue of the magazine was sent out late in the month due to a problem at the printerís (who sends the finished magazine out to everyone, I never did get mine). But towards the end of the month I started hearing from a ton of people, so now Iím glad I didnít cancel that part and I really appreciate all the responses Iíve received.
I remember a survey I posted about ten years ago asking readers to reply regarding what they would pack in their saddlebags for a weekend road trip. I thought it would be interesting and informative to know what everyone thought would be useful, if not essential. I thought Iíd be hearing yíall mentioning stuff like duct tape, fix-a-flat, road atlases, emergency kits, bottled water, nylon rope, empty plastic bags, bungee cords, extra lighters, and every tool you could pack. Instead I got ONE reply out of thousands of members, and all HE suggested was plenty of condoms! I donít know where the hell that guy was riding to, but I wanna go there!
Obviously my point is that I should have remembered that people donít usually respond to things they donít have to. But what Iíve received from my January request in emails and phone calls has been so fantastic that now you probably couldnít GET me stop! If the magazine quits running my stuff, Iíll probably be sending out personal mail to each of you LMAO! A friend said I could start a blog, but I donít even know what that is (and donít wanna). Slidiní far off to somewhere else again...
I have a big old Black Walnut tree in my back yard which was just an adolescent (not much more than a sapling) when I moved here over 30 years ago. Just recently Iíve been over-run by an ARMY of brown squirrels, most of whom seem to be living in my garage and tossing empty walnut shells all over the damned place. I donít know how they get the meat out without busting up the shells, but if you pick one up, it looks like a pig-nose with two little holes in Ďem (thatís the way they get the good stuff out I guess).
I first noticed their increased population on my little estate when I was comfortably soaking up the steam in my hot tub one snowy day and I looked over to see a HUGE pile of walnut shells (about 50 of Ďem) stacked up into an almost perfect pyramid on the seat of a bar stool that happened to be positioned directly below a sculpture of a big face that is hanging on the wall of my deck. It was just plain creepy. It looked like the little furry freaks were offering up some kind of a sacrifice to their god!
I climbed out of the tub (naked of course) and went through my kitchen to the attached garage to get something to put the nutshells in and throw them away. There, I stepped on another nut that was on the garage floor sending me flying head over heels and slamming ass first down onto the cement! Like, OUCH!!
As I lay there moaning and rubbing my bare ass, I looked up to see TWO of the little bastards running across the rafters! Then, I turned my head to see a bunch of other nuts scattered all over the floor! From where I lay, I could see a patch of daylight showing through the wall where the sumbitches had enlarged the opening around the lines coming into the house from my central air unit outside, which was obviously how they were getting in. So I patched it up... and Iíve had to do it again THREE times now! Iím about ready to weld iron plate around those AC lines.
They havenít really damaged anything else yet (except my ass), but Iím sure they will. And of course itís a real drag to have to watch exactly where I take each step as if I was walking across a mine field every time I go into the garage, due to the walnut shells that keep getting replaced as soon as Iíve picked up the old ones. If my cat Pussy wasnít retired, Iíd lock her up in there one night to let her feast on some squirrel meat (sheís a big cat). But sheíd probably end up spending the evening kickiní back, laughing, and haviní a few shots Ďn beers with the little shits.
Well, I gotta git for this month. Like I said, thanks again to all of you who took the time to let me know yer reading me and that ya seem to like what I do. I like to think that Iím talking to each of you people personally, which is way better now that I know youíre actually out there LOL! At least Iím not hearing voices... yet.