Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Random thoughts from today.

  • Had an interesting dinner today with two people in their late 40's who are "retired." Turns out both guys are ex-baseball players. Both seem to be in a good place and have done the right things with their money. Now, they play for "fun" in a league that the minimum age is 33. BIG egos still in play and of course they get paid appearance fees for each game in the ball park (no pun intended) of about $4k-$5K per game. Seems to be a nice amount for old ball players who can still play - just not with the 20 years olds anymore. Funny how the 45 year old pitcher was complaining about how it isn't "fair" to play against the 33 year old "kids."
  • Brinks Security ads still piss me off. NEVER is the criminal non-white. Find one on TV and let me know. Like, NO homes are broken into by a black dude or a Mexican?
  • "Jobs Saved" isn't measurable. Why does this POTUS still talk with us on TV like we are all morons? How come unemployment is over 10% if he has saved even ONE fricken job? Incompetent or just lying to me?
  • Why do people in parking lots walk in the middle of the lot like moving cars don't exist? Get TF outta my way and be damn glad I saw you and you can give me that "look" like you are supposed to be where cars drive.
  • Making work pay? Please! Now, I owe the IRS money back from my "refund" from this spring as promised from the POTUS? Screw that. Keep your hand outta my family's wallet, thank you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And the WINNER is...

And the winner is….

I am watching the CMA awards tonight while in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Wow, what a flood of memories about wonderful times I have been blessed with over the last 20+ years, with the love of my life.

I just watched Reba McIntire sing a song live….about “if I’m not the “one” or the “magical moment” etc of your life, then you can consider me “gone.”

As I listened, my heart swelled, tears came to my eyes and I watched Reba again sing about what I have in my life. Isn’t what you want is what songs are made of – what “other” couples have, or what you think “love” is? How does this happen and why did it happen to me?

Lunch time in the spring of 1990 was short. I was a salesman and if I didn’t get the order, money didn’t come home. About this time I knew a woman who was looking for happiness and… wasn’t. The love in my heart was going to change that woman. The love in my heart wanted so much and had so much to offer – if only “she” would look for the offer.

This woman had her lunch break about 12:45 and could be at her home at 1:00 every day. My schedule was crazy but I made a point to meet her for a sandwich, soup, crackers, or whatever we could put together for that one, special hour of the day at her house as often as I could. ABC at 1:00 was “One life to live” and we watched it together that spring – imaging a life together just like on TV. Two people going through life every day, yet missing so much.

Funny how having some tomato soup and crackers while watching a soap can make you feel like one of the characters on TV. I would watch the show while this woman next to me would melt into one of the women on the show; longing for the love they “have” and so wishing that she could feel “it, “ too. How much it hurt to watch her want “that” and knowing that I HAD what she wanted and so desperately needed! Life gets in the way of living - I found out those couple of years prior to this cup of soup on her couch. I was going to change that. I did.

Those lunches gave us time to get away from work, but more importantly gave two people time together to figure out what we needed. Not only what we needed from that day, or that month, but ultimately from each other. When the grind of “going to work” seemed like such a drag at 7:30 or 8:00, I could already imagine the joy when turning down her street, hoping to see her car for lunch – I can still feel my pulse race when she would be there before me. And, I can still remember the disappointment I felt if she didn’t or couldn’t show up that day to meet me.

Well, those lunches went way too fast and that spring dragged along with both of us living the wrong life – for each of us. As our precious time together seemed to be…ever so more important it became clear that I would have to DO something. I did.

I bought two tickets to see Reba McIntire in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1st, 1990.

Keep in mind that I was married at the time to the best ex-wife I have ever had. Going on a week-end trip with a woman, not your wife was going to be tricky. I knew that me and this woman would spend THE most wonderful week-end that two people have ever had in the history of the world that first week-end in June. So, I put together a “hunting trip” with a buddy of mine who also thought he might enjoy seeing Reba in the company of another woman and join us for a road trip to Tulsa. So, four tickets were purchased to see Garth Brooks and Reba McIntire for that Saturday and we were off to the rodeo.

The whole week leading up to the “hunting trip” was incredible. You think it was hard waiting for Santa to show up on Christmas when you were six years old? This was worse. I bought the tickets about six weeks in advance to go hunting and when that special week came around I was just waiting for something, anything, to go wrong and ruin the most wonderful trip ever planned by anyone, ever. Ever try to explain a “hunting trip” for June? Well, try it. I told you I was a salesman, so trust me it was the second best sale I ever made – that week-end pass.

The four of us made the trip Friday after work, and had a two room suite at some “swanky” Tulsa hotel like the Residence Inn or something. Friday night was magical. I had fallen in love with this woman and for the first time EVER I was able to fall asleep with her in my arms. I woke up on Saturday morning and felt like I was the king of the world and had everything I had ever dreamed of! As I watched her sleep in the early morning sunshine I couldn’t believe that I really was awake.

That morning changed my life. I knew that when I drove back from Oklahoma that my life was changed forever.

How strange that here I am back in Tulsa, Oklahoma after 19 years – that once again Reba is singing my life story?

The story of one very lucky man - and one incredible woman. I am truly blessed, indeed to have found such love in just one woman, my Betty. So, as far as I am concerned tonight’s winner - and every night’s winner, is the one guy who misses his wife tonight, again.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Burgers, Beers and Cassette Tapes

Burgers, beers and cassette tapes

The day I woke up on the right side of the bed, I knew then that I had made the right decision – to be on the side of the right bed. Betty’s bed.

Looking over to see a woman I had spent so much time thinking about within reach somehow seemed unreal, and yet it was real. More than months of wondering, thinking, and hoping that somehow I could make this happen, had happened. She said yes, and now had a new roommate. Well, that plus another cat who made the near midnight trip over to the Betty’s house on June 4th, 1990.

She told me that she wanted me to be with her. She told me that she wanted me to be with her again. I told her that I would go home that night after work, get my stuff, the cat and the cat box and we would see if her cat would get along with mine. Well, they didn’t- and that was about the last thing a guy needs on his hand, is two cats fighting, one woman crying and another woman being the reason. How do you make that decision?

Well, I fell in love is how.

Maybe it was that time on a particular spring holiday that we drove out to Silverlake park on Lake Grapevine during the day with a bucket of ice and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. We parked her car and talked – for hours. Maybe it was that time that we drove out to that lake in Irving by the power plant before they closed it. We found a quiet little picnic table and had the radio on her Geo Storm playing one of the cassette tapes of Alan Jackson or Reba – both our favorites during that time of our lives. We wore out that Reba tape; the one with New Fool At An Old Game on it. Over and over we would play that song. If I hear that song today – immediately I can picture my Betty walking across the office in that white dress, you know the one. Maybe it was at that lake.

Maybe it was that time at the Cowboy saloon off of NW Highway in Dallas near loop 12. We would meet up after work for more than a couple of cold beers and talk until one of us was really late getting “home.” I remember that the place would get so smoke filled my eyes would burn. Betty would prop open the front door with that chair with cigarette holes in the fine plastic seat, and go stand by the back door and hold it open to get some air to go through there. I could see the light coming in from behind her, shining through her hair and watch the wind blow her dress against her skin. Maybe it was at that bar.

Or, could it have been those Friday long lunches at Club Schmitz in Dallas on Harry Hines. At least once a month we would meet up there as the lunch crowd was leaving so we could get a booth. I always got a kick (and still do) how she would look at the same menu every time like this place from the 50’s might add a new item on it. The Betty would get her hamburger basket, no pickles and no onions and a bottle of Coors light – every time, and still does. We would put a couple of dollars in the juke box and play our Reba song and then after about three more beers later she would decide that it was too late to go back to the office anyway. Maybe that old burger place did it.

Over some period of time, I got into a habit of going over to the Betty’s house on Monday’s after work. We would sit out in her back yard with her dog Shadow and again talk for hours. I know that we had lots to talk about, with the situation that was developing with both of our lives at the time. Funny - how things can be worked out with some time alone, when both people care about and respect one another. I looked forward to Monday mornings and going to work because I knew that at the end of the day I would end up in Betty’s arms after some problem solving on the back porch. Maybe it was the rocking chair she sat in while we listened to those cassette tapes. We would take turns getting up to refill our glass, get another beer and turn the tape over, and over, and over.

So, I guess that’s how me and the Betty figured out how to make this new life work. Even though we did have an ex-husband that was still around, a mad soon-to-be-ex wife, a dog, and two cats that don’t get along – we did have our Reba tape and each other.

What else could you need, really – but to wake up on the right side of the bed with so much to look forward to?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Party Plaza Maggots

Once again we have experienced the EGO of Jerry Jones being put ahead of his PAYING fans and his own football team.

Besides the fact that the Cowboys lost the game, the worst part of the day was the Plaza Maggots throughout the area. We, the Season Ticket Holders and PSL holders were completely ignored while JJ concentrated on his image of all things BIG. Those "fans" who only purchased the "party pass" were out of control, in the way, and a general nuisance to all of us who spent WAY too much money to enjoy the "game day experience."

What we did see was the Plaza Maggots crowded outside -locked out of the building and using trash cans for urinals since JJ didn't let them in, OR even provide port-a-jerrys for them to use outside. We had to push and fight our way through the PMs to find our personal entrance to the building. As we were making our way through the crowd, they opened the doors and people were PUSHING, RUSHING, and knocking people down to get in! We were very lucky not to be injured during this time.

If we had ANY idea that JJ was going to have the standing room only areas right BEHIND our seats there is NO WAY we would have bought a PSL, much less attend games in the new stadium.

I won't even address the issue of parking and traffic at this time but suffice it to say it was no better than the outcome of the game for us fighting our way through the plaza maggots all evening.

I'm sure that our own players would have preferred to have the place closed up in the 90 degree heat too. I heard our own Jason Witten say he had to have an I.V. during half time. It was clear our defense was completely gassed in the fourth quarter when we needed them most. But, at least Jerry got what he wanted - prime viewing on youtube picking a winner!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

and she is there.

And she is there

Night fall on Sunday has my mind wandering about the week ahead,
knowing that this night together is our last for a while.
Even though my thoughts are a day or two ahead,
It is nice to reach over, and find that she is there.

The time zooms by as I am busy working with lots of people,
but then the day ends and it seems that I am far away again.
Strangers make a nice way to pass the time each evening,
But nothing like picking up the phone, and she is there.

During most days I have so many things to do and say,
it is during times like this that I hardly know that I’m away.
Of course there are some bright spots that can occur,
one is when opening my email to see that she is there.

Long days sometime seem to drag on with no end in sight.
Day after day – turning into night after night.
The one beautiful thing that I can always count on
is when lights are out and I close my eyes, she is there.

It is Friday morning and then the work day is wrapping up,
with another trip to rental return, then the nearest airport.
The best part of seeing the DFW area on final approach,
is when I walk out to curb-side to find my best friend is there.

Am I nervous again or am I trying too hard this time?
I have really missed her and want this to be special.
let me enjoy this time together when we are so close,
My special love, my heart beats with hers – as she is there.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Five Nights

A lot can happen in five nights. Just when things get back to normal – you know, forks and knives pointing down in the dishwasher, all rolls of toilet paper in the house installed correctly – over the top, of course and the garage door is closed all the way down; I’m back in the Exit Row again.

I’m not saying that these things are all that important in the way our house is run on a daily basis. That is just the way I like things to be. I mean it is OK with the Betty if no matter which way she is facing, “that is north.” It works for her just like her map – north is always straight away. Me, I kind of like knowing where north really is. I need to actually get there on time. I don’t do late.

So, tonight I am on the plane again – only this night is Sunday night. Hey, not my plan; but the boss who just loves Friday afternoon conference calls decided that I need to be in Los Angeles on Monday morning for an 8:00 meeting, so here I am heading north to California. I just know that by Tuesday the paper in the master bath will be rolling from under and there will be a dinner fork pointing up mocking my absence. Betty says, “what’s the difference if they all go in the dishwasher?” I guess she is right since she was the one doing the dishes – it’s just when I start bleeding when I unload it that her system presents a problem.

Last week I am at the hotel and go to get my socks and sneakers to get my walk in for the day – and the two white socks don’t match that were paired together. So, what’s the big deal – who will know, right? Well, I know and the whole time I’m on the treadmill I’m thinking, “where are the other two socks? Are they also together like these two, or will I go home to a whole lot of white socks paired at random?” I mean to tell ya, when I take my socks off I don’t just rip ‘em off and let ‘em get inside-out; no siree! I know how I hate to turn the socks back correctly when I do the folding, so I take care not to just toss ‘em in there all wrong side out! Once I casually mentioned that my socks were wrong to Betty and I got about as much sympathy as she would give me if I was floating in the pool and told her my ice was melting too fast. So, when this happened again last week as I was unpacking I went over to look at my sock drawer to find the other lonesome pair of mismatched socks. Betty looks at me, like “what ARE you doing?” I explain my socks were mismatched this week and without missing a beat, “I’ll tell the maid,” she says. (We don’t have a maid.) I wasn’t planning on saying a WORD, I swear! I just didn’t want to end up in Cal-E-FORNia with any mismatched socks. They have laws against that out there, I’m told.

I’m afraid that my next couple of weeks will give the B way too much time around the house alone – my stuff is sure to get moved around. I think she does it on purpose, too. You know, “oh, I thought you didn’t want that old copy of the SuperBowl program anymore. It was so old, anyway.” Things get too neat around our house when I get past three nights out – in a row. I’ve got five this week – and three more next week. That’s eight outta 14- I might come home and be down to one car in the garage. “Well, you weren’t using it.” I could almost hear her say it now. I had better hurry up and head straight home – north to Texas.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cap and Trade SCAM coming soon.

The Democrats are working out the details of a massive wealth redistribution bill, all in the name of climate change. This is the liberal nirvana. You take a naturally recurring climatological phenomena and use scare tactics to stampede the great unwashed into supporting your tax and spend schemes. The looter's plan to limit greenhouse gases are not in the name of sound environmental science but in the name of more government. The Democrats want to use something known as "cap-and-trade" to lower naturally occurring emissions by 17% by 2020 and 83% by 2050.

The looters know that this is going to be expensive. So in order to offset the soaring energy costs associated with this plan ... which we will get to in a minute ... they want to create a system where the government would issue pollution allowances. These permits would then be traded in a government-designed marketplace.

Besides this artificial market, created entirely by government for government, cap-and-trade promises to cripple our economy. The Heritage Foundation has done an analysis of how this Waxman-Markey bill would affect our economy by 2035. Now 2035 might sound like a long way off .. but a child you have today will only be around 26 years ago and just starting to raise a family when that time comes. Here are their findings. Waxman's "environmental" bill would:

* Reduce aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) by $9.6 trillion
* Destroy 1,105,000 jobs on average, with peak years seeing unemployment rise by over 2,479,000 jobs
* Raise electricity rates 90 percent after adjusting for inflation
* Raise inflation-adjusted gasoline prices by 74 percent
* Raise residential natural gas prices by 55 percent
* Raise an average family's annual energy bill by $1,500
* Increase inflation-adjusted federal debt by 26 percent, or $29,150 additional federal debt per person, again after adjusting for inflation.

I will guarantee you, folks, that the government already has plans to make sure that low-income Americans will not pay a dime in increased energy costs. This will be just another notch on the entitlement belt.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

She is there.

Best friends. I hear that a lot, but what is a “best” friend? Usually when someone talks about their best friend it is a buddy or girl friend that they run around with, can confide in and have good times together. I’ve got that right at home. I am a very lucky man, indeed.

I’m not sure when the Betty became my “best” friend. Maybe it was when we worked together, and both of us were married to others. Occasionally at work when I could see that work was stressful I would talk with her to see if there was anything that my sales team could do to make her job easier. You know how most sales people are always in a rush and expecting so much from the administration’s staff to process their orders – as if that is all they had to do all day. Nothing is more important to a sales rep than getting paid. Don’t mess with their money, they say. Forget how about five other people in the office must touch their order to make it happen; from inputting the order in the system, getting equipment set up and ready, shipping it and installing it –all on a strict schedule. In my office, nothing got done without the Betty doing it right and rarely with a smile, I might add. She “hated” sales people. “Lazy, boorish, overbearing, rude and demanding” would be her description if she ever said it out loud.

She wouldn’t even give a new hire a pen, much less a stapler until they could sell something. That is where she rightly earned her name, “Betty Bitch” or BB as we all called her – many still do today. It is hard getting on her good side. I can’t really say she has a soft side, but I do see it occasionally.

So you see, making her happy sure helped me in those days to get things done. Just like now. Betty was in charge of the office secretaries, and the dispatch system. You wanted a demo, well God help you if your paperwork was incomplete. Same thing if you turned in an incomplete order. You would find that paperwork right back in your inbox that afternoon with a not-so-nice note about what you were to do. So, I trained my reps on how to meet her expectations early on in their careers. She appreciated it then, and I’m sure still does when I meet her “expectations” today. I was the young gun in the office – starched button-down type she couldn’t stand with a quick mouth, too. But, together over those first few months we learned about each other’s way of getting the job done- selling on my part and getting the orders billed on hers. We made a great team and our business grew during that time. We learned to trust each other. We became friends.

Her husband at the time wasn’t a very nice man. I am sure that her strong personality was quite the challenge to him with his military background of “following orders” and not questioning his thoughts on life. During my first years after meeting Betty we could talk after work for hours over a few cold ones about both her marriage and mine. Kind of bouncing ideas off each other about what is wrong and what each other could do about it. It is true that in most office environments like ours that you spend a lot more time at work that you do at home. You go to work all showered, clean and put on a nice work suit or dress everyday. At home, sometimes people get lazy and don’t look so nice and get way too comfortable and take each other for granted. I admit it – me to. I loved my job, was good at it; and a great deal of my success was because of the way that BB took care of my work and my sales teams. She cared. It showed and the sales grew.

By now most people know the story about how the B and me got married. We moved in together-B with her dog and one cat, and me with a cat and two more dogs. Quite the challenge to make everyone get along, indeed; but we made it work. We lived on a great street back then and our house had the perfect driveway that curved into the garage to the west so we could set chairs out front in the shade and solve the world’s problems together over cocktails, and a dog or two on a tie-out also. We did this nearly every night for most of the 15 years we lived there – true story! Neighbors would come over, and many nights we would not eat dinner until way past most folk’s bedtime. Not having kids really gave us the time together-real time with just each other to share our day, talk about tonight and plan on our future lives. We became “best friends” on that driveway I truly believe. Of course, one of us would occasionally say or do something not so nice to the other. But, one of us would always say that he is sorry, and Betty would say that’s ok.

It was during these driveway years that I began to travel so much for work. It was very hard on the Betty at first. We were never apart for more than a rare night or two for the first seven years of marriage. She told me that she was OK with me taking that new job with all the expected travel – after all it was a “field” manager position with all that implies. My new office was in Stamford, north east of New York, for God’s sake! Good thing I never had to go there much. That first week out I was gone Sunday night and came back Friday, riding with the guy who’s territory I was assigned. Sure, I was busy – but my best friend was at home, hurting like a puppy missing his litter-mates one by one. I would call home every night before her bed time to talk about our day and tell her I love her. Just like I will tonight.

She was the first person I called when I hung up the phone when I made that big sale one time in the early 90’s. I cleared $50,000.00 on that deal-and I was so excited I couldn’t stand it! I figured out that I had made more money than Emmit Smith did that month during his 2nd year with the Cowboys-that’s how I looked at it. A month later I bought my best friend a convertible Corvette for our 2nd anniversary. She was used to her Geo Storm and I drove her over to look at this beautiful car and couldn’t wait for her excitement to show, too! Well, the B isn’t really into cars much but she did let me trade in the old Geo for the ‘vette. Problem was it had a white convertible top on it and to me, it just looked wrong. So, I had asked if they would replace it with a black one. Well, being the last day of the month turned out to be a good thing as we agreed to split the cost on a new convertible top, but it would take about a week to get it done. They gave her a Chevrolet Lumina as a loaner; a nice one with a big V-8 in it, too. After about two days, the Betty tells me that she wants to keep the loaner! I almost dropped a load right there! Here I am-giving her a RED CONVERTIBLE CORVETTE, and she wants to keep the loan car! Well, that is what she needed a best friend for, was to talk some sense into her and quick! Once the dealer had her new car back with the new black top on it and she took it down Highway 114 for a spin, I think it kind of grew on her some. She took it home that night. Her boss at the time just about pulled his hair out when his office manager pulled in next to him that next morning in the parking lot, too. I wasn’t there, but I know that she enjoyed that moment, because she still likes to tell that story.

She was there when my 95 year old grandmother died and she was there when my father’s only brother died, and she was there when a dear friend of mine killed himself one day. Best friends go to the funeral with you. Best friends let you cry and will cry with you, too.

The great thing about a best friend is that you know that they will always be there to answer the phone. A voice you can count on. That’s what my best friend is, and I’m missing her right now.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The White House has decided that private companies deemed "too big to fail" need to be policed by a supercop, and the White House is recommending the Federal Reserve play the role.

Last week, Obama's economic advisors had a meeting with representatives from banks, hedge funds and financial groups. These groups had suggested to the president that if the government insisted on regulating industries, that the task should be divided among various regulators. But that doesn't seem to be what the White House is going for. It wants a single independent regulator to monitor system-wide risk, and that one regulator "should be given better visibility into all institutions that pose a risk to the financial system, regardless of what business they are in."

So we aren't just talking the financial industry here. We are talking about any company that the government feels is too big to fail and would pose a risk to the financial system. Who in Congress has been chosen to lead the task for drafting legislation for such a supercop?? None other than slobbering Barney Frank.

This legislation, according to tax cheat Tim Geithner will include an "aggressive" package of reforms for the financial industry. That includes a fundamental overhaul of how the industry pays its senior executives. In other words, those evil bonuses will be a thing of the past.

This is a massive proposed increase in the control privately-owned businesses by government. But I don't have to tell you that, do I? What you may not know, however, is what you call this type of economic system --- a system where business is owned privately but owned by the government. The word would be Fascism.

Friday, May 8, 2009

What's wrong with this culture?

I was walking through the mall earlier this week when I noticed a black dude walking the other way. His t-shirt had the old Warner Brothers logo on it .. but the lettering was interesting. "If you see the police, Warn-a-Brother." How cute.

Let's not get into a whole rant here about what this t-shirt says about the culture this character lives in. I'm just wondering what happens if I go to a mall in a predominately black community wearing a t-shirt with the words "If you see a brother, warn-a-cop."

My guess is that I'm not going to fare too well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Eight Days

I was a single man in 1990 for eight whole days.

Yep, the first wife’s bad decision making led to our divorce on Thursday, October 18th. Not that I place all the blame on her for our divorce – I generally give me all the credit on the perfect escape. The Betty decided that she wanted to be Mrs. Watson earlier that summer so my plan was to make that happen as quickly as possible. Since I fell in love with her one day watching her push a shopping cart; that was that – she was going to marry me as soon as I could pull it off.

I was driving down McArthur Boulevard in Irving Texas when wife number one calls me with the news that the judge had signed off on our final papers and that I was a free man. What a weird feeling that was. So, after thinking about that for a couple minutes at the next red light I called Betty and told her the news. She said we should get married right away and so I told her, “let’s go tomorrow and get our marriage license.”

I guess my Betty called in sick or something since we both could take off Friday afternoon and go hunting for a marriage license. Now rocking on nearly 24 hours as a single man, I figured that the best way to go hunting is with a cooler full of 12 Natural light beers. So, I took about 1/5th of the finest discount beers I had out of the fridge and loaded up the car with the Betty and the Beer. So, the B & B and me headed to the nearest county office (outside of Tarrant county where my divorce was just finalized, or Dallas county where we both lived) to get our marriage license, and that was in Denton, Texas.

I think it was only about a two beer trip to downtown Denton and we arrived in style wearing our best blue jeans to go visit with the licensing department. I had called ahead and knew exactly where we were going and found out that no appointment was necessary. We showed up and were given the form to fill out about names, addresses, whether or not you were a felon and questions like that. But, one question asked if either of you were married or had been married within the last 30 days….uh, oh. Well, shoot - here we both were all dressed in our nice jeans and all so I put down “no.” Then came time for the interview. The nice lady went through all our answers and everything was going fine until that question came up and then I guess one of us kind of laughed or something. Well, it was kind of funny since I hadn’t been single yet for one whole day at that point! Denton County’s finest government help didn’t think that was funny at all. I told her to “ask us again.” Then, she went on and on about how this was all official business and that we would just have to come back in 29 days. Aw, man – BUSTED!

Hell, here we were 35 miles from home and nothing to show for it but a bladder full of beer. We needed a plan. So, I went to the closest 7-11 and asked to borrow a Texas map to see where the next closest county seat was. Good news! Wise County courthouse in Decatur, Texas was only 28 miles away and we still had eight beers left in the playmate.

Now, Decatur has more than one stop light in town but this isn’t exactly the kind of place strangers just drive by the courthouse and decide to get married like on the strip in Las Vegas. “Yep (spit) we wuz driving along US-380 and done decided to git hitched rat now.) So, after learning our lesson in Denton we did some planning and both agreed to not laugh if this lady asked about that 30 day thing! So, we pop in the door and THE lady in the office asked if she could be of some help. I explained that we wanted to get married and needed a license. I even explained that it was a great day for a drive and that we picked Decatur to get our license - and she was real pleased to oblige us. This time we passed all the questions, paid our $22.00 cash for the license and went on out to celebrate with another a couple more cold beers and head on back to Irving.

Texas law requires a 72 hour waiting period after you get a license to actually get married. We talked about it and decided, “who wants to get married on a Monday?” So we picked the next Friday. We didn’t tell anybody we were getting married, and neither of us wanted a fancy wedding so we picked Judge Ovard in Irving, TX – the county Justice of the Peace, to marry us. Betty called and made us an appointment during lunch as we both went to work that morning.

Betty wore a real pretty cream color dress to work that day, but with her office job I’m sure no one said anything about it. Back then, I wore a business suit every day so we were all set and ready to go. I pick her up at home with the cooler full of beers and off we go!

You have to have a witness to get married so we picked Judge Ovard’s secretary, who said she “does it all the time.” You know that part in the wedding when they ask, “does anyone know of any reason why these two people can’t be married?” Well, right about then, Judge Ovard’s door opens! We all started laughing, and then I quickly thought about that 30 day thing, oh, no – busted again! But, it was just some one needing the Judge to sign something and he told them he was “kind of busy” and they shut the door. So, we said our “I do’s” and the Betty was officially, Mrs. Mark Watson!

Needing somewhere to go celebrate our big day, we knew of no better place to go in Dallas other than “the Cowboy Saloon” off of Northwest Highway and loop 12. So, we hop in the car and pop the top of a cool Natural Light and head over to the beer joint. This is the kind of place that smoke POURS out from under the door and the whole place reeks of alcohol – I mean THE perfect place to spend your wedding day! So, we drink some beers, play some pool and reflect on what a great life we have planned ahead of us.

The Betty and me have had a lot of road trips since then - and I am still in love with my best friend. I’ll always remember those first eight days that started a great life together.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I have found the perfect idea for Summer Vacation-The Somali Cruise!

Subject: Somali Cruise Package

I found a Somali cruise package that departs from Sawakin (in the Sudan) and docks at Bagamoya (in Tanzania). The cost is a bit high @ $800 US per person double occupancy but I didn't find that offensive. What I found enticing is that the cruise company is encouraging people to bring their 'High powered weapons' along on the cruise. If you don't have weapons you can rent them right there on the boat. They claim to have a master gunsmith on board and will have reloading parties every afternoon. The cruise lasts from 4-8 days and nights and costs a maximum of $3200 per person double occupancy (4 days). All the boat does is sail up and down the coast of Somalia waiting to get hijacked by pirates. Here are some of the costs and claims associated with the package.

$800.00 US/per day double occupancy (4 day max billing)

M-16 full auto rental $ 25.00/day ammo at 100 rounds of 5.56 armor piercing ammo at 15.95

Ak-47 rifle @ No charge. ammo at 100 rounds of 7.62 com block ball ammo at 14.95

Barretta M-107 .50 cal sniper rifle rental 55.00/day ammo at 25 rounds 50 cal armor piercing at 9.95

Crew members can double as spotters for 30.00 per hour (spotting scope included).

They even offer RPG's at 75 bucks and 200 dollars for 3 standard loads

"Everyone gets use of free complimentary night vision equipment and coffee and snacks on the top deck from 7pm-6am."

Meals are not included but seem reasonable.

Most cruises offer a mini-bar... these gung ho entrepreneurs offer......... get this.....

"MOUNTED MINIGUN AVAILABLE @ 450.00 per 30 seconds of sustained fire"

Sign my ars up!

They advertise group rates and corporate discounts......and even claim "FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY"

They even offer a partial money back if not satisfied....here's some text from the ad.

"We guarantee that you will experience at least two hijacking attempts by pirates or we will refund back half your money including gun rental charges and any unused ammo (mini gun charges not included).. How can we guarantee you will experience a hijacking? We operate at 5 knots within 12 miles of the coast of Somalia. If an attempted Hijacking does not occur we will turn the boat around and cruise by20at 4 knots. We will repeat this for up to 8 days making three passes a day along the entire length of Somalia. At night the boat is fully lit and bottle rockets are shot off at intervals and loud disco music beamed shore side to attract attention. Cabin space is limited so respond quickly. Reserve your package before Feb 29 and get 100 rounds of free tracer ammo in the caliber of your choice."

As if all that isn't enough to whet your appetite, there were a few testimonials

"I got three confirmed kills on my last trip. I'LL never hunt big game in Africa again. I felt like the Komandant in Schindlers list!"---- Lars, Hamburg Germany

"Six attacks in 4 days was more than I expected. I bagged three pirates and my 12 yr old son sank two rowboats with the minigun. PIRATES 0 -PASSENGERS-32! Well worth the trip. Just make sure your spotter speaks English"
----Ned, Salt Lake city, Utah USA

"I haven't had this much fun since flying choppers in NAM. Don't worry about getting shot by pirates as they never even got close to the ship with those weapons they use and their shitty aim--reminds me of a drunken 'juicer' door gunner we picked up from the motor pool back in Nam"
----"chopper' Dan, Toledo USA.

"Like ducks in a barrel. They turned the ship around and we saw them bleed and cry in the water like little girls. Saw one wounded pirate eaten by sharks--what a laugh riot!! This is a must do.
---Zeke-Minnahaw Springs Kentucky USA

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Me thinks the Swine Flu is complete nonsense.

C'mon, people!

We have 30,000 people die every year right here in the USA from the ordinary flu. Why is this on TV all the time, AND the lead story on the news??

I'm just waiting for someone on TV to blame this on George W. Bush!

Take care of yourself, if you feel sick go see your doctor. No biggie.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Finally, the pool temperature has risen!

Yea! Finally can get in the water around here! This spring has been WAY too cold and wet for too long.

The floats are blown up, and ready for the water.

C'mon over and help us break in the summer!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh, Susan - A Poem for you, too!

Susan McCleary Rydell is a happy woman
just by looking at her we all can tell

Our time together in Houston ended too soon
as little by little McCleary was becoming Rydell

Up to Dallas for some time with SMU
and I-35 kept saying, go north with you.

Cleveland- now Hudson claims her pretty smile
It looks like Ohio will keep her for a while.

But in 52 days we will all again gather
back in Houston to see old friends that matter.

I'm hoping that among all the friends we know so well
that a car, or plane will bring us Susan McCleary Rydell!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The best things in life.....

While she is only a heartbeat away, if only for today
knowing that she will always be as close tomorrow.

Even when my tomorrow is a thousand miles away
with eyes tightly closed she can be here in an instant.

A dream can go on all night long and be so real
and only by opening your eyes can the dream continue.

To reach out in the dark only to find it cold, dark and empty
can make a long day turn into an even longer night.

The quiet sounds of slow, deep breathing can be so intoxicating
even in the dark of night a clear beauty is in my mind.

How can it be that one woman has so much power
without knowing, wanting or even thinking it could be possible?

Soft shadows outline beauty as is rarely seen, or imagined
and few can ever dream of touching, watching or tasting her.

Many nights come with cold, dark sounds of strange places
but with this night will come another dream of a woman at home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stick it, IRS!

I fell like such an enabler today as our check to the IRS has been mailed. It's not enough that they have taken money each couple of weeks all year long - it wasn't enough, AGAIN.

So, those of us who actually have a job, and work every day once again are paying others not to. Thank you, Uncle Sam. What a great system. 10 percent of our population pays over 70% of all taxes. Nearly 40% out there pay zero - and that number keeps getting bigger and bigger. Soon, there won't be enough of us left to pay for those who choose to sit on the porch and watch the traffic drive by.

So, go ahead and ignore the problem- enjoy American Idle or what ever other TV program that has taken over your brain. I just hope that you have saved some gold coins, ammo and Jack Daniel's liquor - because you will need that to trade for fuel to get to the country soon enough when the cities are taken over by the ignorant masses that come looking for you to feed them and their bastard children.

Good luck.

Monday, April 13, 2009

R.I.P. Ashes, the cat

Ashes, our beloved cat died today. He will be missed by us as he was always there for us and asked nothing in return for his love.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

When will Football get here??

I can't fault you Ranger's baseball fans out there who still have hope as it is only April and the Rangers aren't dead yet - but this is about my Dallas Cowboys!

This new stadium is awesome! It will have the largest TV screen on the planet for everyone to see the replays and of course, Jerry World ads. The Betty and I went ahead a paid too much for our Personal Seat License and tickets again this year. And the city of Arlington isn't ready yet with roads and traffic planning but we are excited anyway and ready to go!

Now, if we can just get Tony Romo to pull his head outta his ass long enough to concentrate on football this spring we can have some hope. I know his Jessica is Hot and all - but c'mon MAN we need you to bring back the 'boys to the BIG GAME this year. So, put yer pecker on hold for a while and get serious about EARNING those guaranteed $31MM and win me a playoff game!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hope for one last summer

Ashes, the cat has earned all his lives, and now is on the back end of number nine.

Many years ago, maybe 18 or so while Betty and I were outside sitting in the driveway solving the world's problems with some Crown Royal, a little cat with half a tail appeared. He looked like someone's pet, but the poor thing only had half a tail. The little guy wouldn't let you get near him, but you could watch him all you wanted. The Betty and I were in a habit of holding "court" out front with some of the neighbors back then and court was in session most every night.

Soon after we first saw our new neighborhood Tom, we found that he would come over to observe these strange people who seemed to live outside with him. The little guy didn't have any tags on or any collar but he had the most beautiful markings, like a Himalayan cat does with the long silver and gray markings. He was such a regular around the house now, I decided that I would name him “Smokey.” Smokey gained enough courage now to wander into our garage and now had decided that the best place to sleep in the neighborhood was on top of my convertible Corvette. Now, me being an animal lover and all I needed a plan to make this cat a home but at the same time I had to keep the ‘vette from getting it’s soft convertible top from becoming the neighborhood scratch post. I hate to encourage bad behavior but ol’ Smokey was becoming like family around here. Betty had even started putting food outside in the garage with a water bowl and everything. I couldn’t imagine why this new cat would ever leave his new family.

One evening the neighbor lady from across the street and a couple of doors down came over and saw HER cat sitting on top of our car. She had just now missed ol’ Smokey I guess and came over looking for him. Turns out our cat had a name all his own; Ashes. I guess the name I chose was close to Ashes, but since then Smokey became Ashes. Neighbor lady now says, “if that cat is bothering you we can get rid of him.” I couldn’t believe she said that, you just don’t get rid of your own pet! I should have guessed by the way the cat was always at our house and didn’t even have a collar that his owner wasn’t a very good pet owner. So, we explained to her that Ashes was no trouble and please don’t take him to the pound. Other than not being a good pet owner this lady seemed nice enough, but we didn’t ever ask HER to watch our other pets when we went on vacation!

One summer that lady and her family moved away. We knew that they were leaving but didn’t know exactly when. Then, they were gone. Only thing was, Ashes the cat didn’t get on the Mayflower moving van with them.

Ashes had a new home-with us.

Even now with Ashes being part of the family he still treated us like old news. No petting me, mister! I’m just fine sitting here on the seat of your Harley, thank you. We couldn’t let Ashes in the house because we had dogs in there and another cat that actually got along with dogs, but not cats. We found that out real fast when Betty moved in with her cat and the fight was on! From that day forward, Betty’s cat had the Master bedroom and bath and the other cat had the rest of the place. But, that’s another story.

Ashes now had Betty trained. The walk-up cat now had matching food/water bowls, a home-made bed and even a mat you plug in with a heater for the winter. Nice too, he still uses it even now.

Lots of summers and winter came and ol’ Ashes had finally let you pet him, but only if he decided to let you. We would be sitting outside and he would wander up “in the area” and just sit with us. He might even walk by and rub on us, marking his property just in case those other cats inside didn’t know who owned us! We might be able to rub his head when he wanted but that’s about it, mister! What kind of cat do you think I am?

Spring came and Betty is out planting flowers like always, but now she has a new helper! Ashes now followed Betty everywhere and would be real helpful by sitting on the new plants or digging ‘em up for her, too. I guess he didn’t like Betty planting stuff in his bathroom, since he would be in there making regular deposits just like a banker. The two of them eventually came to terms, though. Ashes would walk along and watch by sitting on the pavestones next to Betty and purr with approval as the roses bloomed or the lilies made their Easter time appearance.

More years go by and now Ashes will not only rub on your legs, but actually jump in your lap during court. Not for everyone, but at least for me and the B. We had really gotten used to him being right there for us each night. He might wander across the street or go a couple of doors down to see what snacks were available, but he knew who’s car to sleep on at night and always came around in time for lights out. We would keep the garage door cracked just enough to let him come and go when he needed. One morning, I go outside and Ashes is sleeping in his bed with a possum! Side by side, curled up together. We wondered how he was eating so much and now we knew- he had made a friend. This didn’t really bother me, but I did wonder what about all the other possum; where were they? I guess we had a stray possum now too, at least for a while. Mr. Possum didn’t stay long enough for us to name him and one morning he was gone.

Four years ago we decided to move to Trophy Club. Except for Dollar dog, Ashes was our only other pet living now. Five other pets made the move with us and still are comfortable in their “boxes” on the living room book shelf. Since Ashes had always been an outside cat, moving him into the house wasn’t an option because Dollar would kill him – not because he wanted to, it is just that he weighs 75 pounds more and “plays” too rough. Plus, Ashes has those claws and all. I had already given up saving my cars with the scratches bumper to bumper but no way Betty is giving up on the leather furniture. So, we loaded up Ashes in his cage and moved him into the new house. Hearing all those stories about how animals don’t take to moving very well, we kept him is a small bathroom for two whole weeks, but did let him out to the garage with the door down so he could sleep on HIS cars. I guess he figured if the cars moved to Trophy Club, that would be good enough for him, too. After three weeks, the garage was again ALL his with the door up for him to explore his new yard with a pool, too.

The problem is the pool is in Dollar’s back yard. Since Ashes likes to hold court with us he now wanted to come into Dollar’s yard to be with us by the pool and this just won’t work. One time he jumped the gate faster that I can yell for Dollar to stop and Dollar had him down by the neck! But, he didn’t bite him, just wanted to play! But, we can’t have any of that, so we would put Dollar on a tie-out and let Ashes join us for pool time. This worked for the last three summers just fine.

I imaging that Ashes is about 18 years old now, and I am afraid that he has seen his last Christmas. He never did like going on a car trip as they only go to the vet as far as he knows. This last car trip two weeks ago didn’t go well for Betty, either. Ashes has stopped following Betty to the flower beds and will now only eat a bite or two. The once spry guy who would jump fences to be with us can barely make his way onto the warm mat for naps now.

Even grilled chicken, his favorite can’t coax him into managing more than a few bites. His little body is showing some ribs now and I am afraid that he is letting us know that he has chased his last mouse around back. Many times he would bring us one (or half a one) to the back door, so proud of his accomplishment. Our vet wants us to bring him in every week for a B-12 shot, but he hates the car ride so much I am not sure the stress on him is worth it. I think he just wants us to leave him alone now. It hurts again to see the final stages of a life long friendship that has given us so much joy for all these years. I just hope that lil’ Ashes can make one more summer with us all - before he finally gets to join us inside the house in the living room in a box of his own.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's really not about me.

It’s really NOT all about me.

I spent a lot of my life acting like the only thing that mattered was what was going on in my life and what I was going to do about it. Sometimes I am sure that I still do that, but I am sure trying to get over myself. A while back I wrote about things I had done to “make her mad.” There were a lot of things that I wrote about, while some other things I had done didn’t make the list. But, I had an email from an interested party asking me to write about some things I have done to “make her smile.” So, to risk some personal embarrassment on my part and some boredom on yours here are a couple of things that come to mind.

My grandmother used to tell me that I cried every day for two years after I was born-she was convinced that I was Satan’s spawn, and the absolute worst baby ever. I don’t remember what all the fuss was about – but I am sure that I was perfectly happy before that Doctor cut my Mom open and dragged me out of that warm, happy place by my forehead and introduced me to the world with a firm slap on my bottom. But, I know that on that special day-my Mom smiled.

My dad’s mother, Nannie we called her, was as friendly as a one could imagine if you lived with a water well in the living room and had to go outside to use the bathroom. Pictures of me as an infant are even scary for me to look at. I mean I looked like a space alien, all pink and wrinkled. I bet Nannie used to make me sleep with a mirror just to watch me cry. I was born all of five pounds and went right back to the incubator after losing a half pound. My dad used to explain to his friends about my weight loss being due to them having me circumcised. Well, it is funny when he tells the story – and that makes my mom smile some, too.

My Nannie’s funeral was the first one I ever remember going to. I don’t remember ever seeing her smile. But, I bet that she did smile when my folks came back to her house and picked me up for the night, with all that crying going on, and all. I guess that that will have to be good enough for me to remember about her.

Since it was all about me until just a few years ago I don’t remember a lot about “doing what’s right” but I’m sure that I didn’t go to jail or get any girl pregnant. I bet that made both my parents smile back then.

Some things you have to learn on your own. Some things you learn by watching other people do it first, even if that observation teaches you what NOT to do – like that time a friend of mine was determined to get him some new shades at the mall with the five-finger discount. I said that I thought that was a bad idea and that I would just wait for him in the car. After about two hours, I figured that he wasn’t getting his ride home from me that day. Sure enough, his ride came from his mom after going to meet him at the Houston police department. Not many people smiled that day, I can tell you that. One of those things that goes on “your permanent record,” I suppose.

Last year when gas prices were so high I was driving home from playing golf at some country club, feeling good about the day. I stopped just inside the Denton county line and was filling my car up. Sure, I check the prices but it isn’t like I’m not going to eat if I fill-er up. As I was watching the dollars on the pump go past $40.00 and not slowing down, an old beater pulls in next to me at the pumps. I watch as “mom” argues with the ungrateful teenage girl about wanting a soda and some snacks while mom digs in her purse for the credit card. I couldn’t help but hear her curse under her breath at the machine because it wouldn’t start working. I asked if she needed a hand and told her to go on inside and get her snacks while I gave it a try. Well, the machine wasn’t going to work for her today, since the machine had declined her credit card. So, while she was inside I put my card in there and got the machine going for her. The ungrateful teenage girl saw what I was doing with my card and just watched without saying a word as I watched her watch me. Mom came out and smiled since I got it going for her and as I put the pump back in the machine, she thanked me for helping. I am sure that after the daughter got her drink down the road a bit, she may have told mom that I paid, but I do remember that poor woman’s smile as I drove away. I sure hope her daughter doesn’t get pregnant soon. Mom has enough to worry about already.

Earlier this year while driving from Ashville, North Carolina to Charlotte I am searching for the Cracker Barrel restaurant to get me some chicken and dumplin’s – my favorite meal of all time. Now, I’m sure that most of you have been to a Cracker Barrel; half store and half restaurant. Great place to snag some “home cooking” while on the road. I’m not talking about diet food here, the good stuff with gravy, rolls and corn bread! This particular day had the place packed as usual with the normal crowd of over-fed locals, and the charter-bus cue-tip-blue-haired crowd on the way south to the river boat casinos. Sitting next to me is an old black man with his WWII Veteran’s hat on, and across from him at another table was one of the Bingo ladies that you could have living on your block. Both, eating alone at different tables. Now, I don’t mind eating alone as I do it all the time when I’m on the road. But, you could see that these nice old folks ate alone because their life’s partner was waiting for them to join them in Heaven. Luck turns out that my waitress was also serving both their tables so I told her that I wanted her to bring their checks to me and to take them both a slice of the fresh apple cobbler and put some ice cream on it, too! I made sure to pay their checks before they had finished eating their meals because these are the kind of folks “that ain’t taking no charity.” I let myself really enjoy my dumplins that day, even if they did cost me about $40.00. I know that as I drove away and as each of them left, they would have a little more pep in their ol’ legs and maybe, just maybe a smile on their face, too.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The 2009 Grapevine Elk's Lodge Officers were installed on Saturday, March 28th at the Grapevine Elk's Lodge. Dinner was served to about 80 people and after the installation ceremony the group partied with family and friends until the early morning hours to a great band!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blue hair or not - get OUT of the left lane!

People, people, please get out of the left lane!

It isn't just me asking you - it's the LAW here in Texas! The left lane is for passing.

Didn't your mommy tell you it's nice to share? The left lane is for everyone, not just those who get in it first. I know that you like setting your cruise control at five miles as hour below the speed limit so you won't get a ticket, and I'm cool with that. Just MOVE OVER, dammit! Some of us out here sharing the road with you actually have somewhere to be and want to get there as quickly and safely as possible. You are in our way.

Some of you, I know can't help it - you are driving as fast as you can see. I know this because of the white or blue hair you have. It looks like I'm following a cue tip. It must scare the Hell outta you when you see someone right behind you, right? So, move to your right and continue creeping along at 57 MPH in the 70 MPH zone all day and night if you like. We all want you to get to that bingo game in one piece. Good luck, as a matter of fact. I hope you do win that jar of peanut butter at the Moose Lodge.

Others of you act like you are the self-imposed-speed-police. "The speed limit is 60 MPH, so I'm going to go 60 MPH in the left lane all the way to Kansas City! Yes, there is an 18 wheeler right next to me for 37 miles and that way you can't get around us, either. We can all go 60 MPH to Kansas City, thank you." You are the person who causes the road rage because you actually do this on purpose - as your sense of duty as the highway-speed limit-police! People that have to pass you on the right aren't just waving with one finger, OK? Move it, mister!

And, the other group is our F.L.I.'s. That would be the Fu--ing Local Immigrants. This group of people is also doing the best they can, considering this is the first time they are driving anything other than a donkey. They must drive between 40 and 50 MPH on ALL highways, regardless of where they are. Everyone knows they don't have a driver's license or insurance so they poke along and hope not to run into anyone. You know this group because they all drive the 1980 model import that has blue smoke coming out of where the muffler used to be. This person will never move over becuase they don't know they should. You are best to just go around them as soon as you can see past the blue smoke.

Remember-drive Friendly out there, Texas.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

holein198 sent you a video: "Candidate Obama vs. President Obama: Change We Can Believe In?"

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And that's just the first 63 days. http://www.nrsc.org

Candidate Obama vs. President Obama
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So, you have money for a cell phone but not food!!??

First Lady Michelle Obama showed up Thursday as a surprise and welcome volunteer at Miriam's Kitchen, a soup kitchen for homeless poor people not far from the White House.

Can't afford to buy food - not when you have to pay for the new cell phone with camera.....looks like the Blackberry Pearl!

C'mon, MAN!!