Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jokes and Spokes

Cheyenne on her 17th Birthday with Jesse
Thank goodness - at least in my neck of the woods, that heat is gone.  Replaced by sunny, but kinder and gentler temps.  At 85 degrees, I begin to melt, but at 95 degrees, brain cells are frying, blood pressure is boiling, and its just no fun.  In fact, in my house - it is the most JOYOUS time of year.  School!  Cheyenne - the youngest - will be a senior, and she just turned 17 August 3rd.  So hard to believe my baby is in her last year of high school.  Seems like just yesterday she was pooping all over my brand new tennis shoes as I tried, unsuccessfully, to change her diapers.  My parents celebrated 44 years of "wedded bliss"?  Ok - we'll call it marital togetherness.  Never really understood the word bliss when it involves marriage.  And finally - football!  My favorite time of year!

Clowning around in the Emergency
Room after I got a little hot last month
Now - I know some of you are looking at the title of this segment, probably thinking "Here he goes - flyiin' off his rocker again!", but sometimes circumstances being what they are, you have to find humor in your life when things aren't going so well.  This month, for whatever reason, it has been a couple weeks filled with challenges.  It isn't anything we cannot overcome, mind you, but at some point the challenges get to be a bit of a strain.  My business associate says when life gets you down, find something to laugh about.  This month, with all the challenges we have had, it seems like all you CAN do is laugh, because if you start thinking about it all, well, break out the hankies.  Challenges tend to be a way to make life interesting.  If we didn't have a challenge tossed at us from time to time what would life be? 

Mowing the yard at my office. Hey - at
least it gets me OUT for a few hours.
I'll start with jokes.  Last week we received a certified letter from the most ghoulish of places - the Internal Revenue Service!  Very interesting letter.  Made up some claim that a credit we claimed back in 2008 would not be granted.  It involved the purchase of our home, and the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit.  After rifling through all of the needed forms, documents, letters, bank statements, Letters to Santa, that missing IOU for a bottle of scotch, I found the document, proving my taxes were filed correctly.  Today, however, we got a second letter, to the tune of over $9,000.  Cue the clowns!  So we called those "wonderful" folks at the IRS.  Stayed on hold over 40 minutes waiting to speak with someone.  Finally our patience paid off.  We verified some personal info, explained our issue, and was put on hold.  After what seemed like an eternity, the rep came back on and told us to disregard the letters due to an IRS "glitch"?!  We would be receiving a letter shortly that would absolve us of any wrongdoing.  Now - here is the FUNNY part.  All the while we were on hold, their on air background music was playing, of all things, "The Nutcracker Suite".  Whoever picks their music selections needs a good swift kick in the heehaws!

A 2012 Road King, in Big Blue Pearl,
during a recent test ride. Love the color.
Spokes!  Melissa, my beloved Harley, is not doing well.  The tapping noise from the engine has returned.  It isn't a catastrophic thing yet, after all, she starts she runs, but at some point I will have to come to a decision.  Complete engine overhauls are spendy.  Trading in for a newer bike may be my only option in part because it would probably be quite a bit less expensive than a new or remanufactured engine.  The advantages of a new bike are pretty obvious, but couple those with a 2 year warranty, and all that nickel and dimeing pretty much goes away along with the headaches and the cramping and the nausea.  The 2012 models just came out, too, and all the new Harleys with saddlebags are coming with the 103 cubic inch engine - something that I would love to have under me.  Not only are these loaded with pulling power, but they are including a new internal oil cooler, which can save a lot of wear and tear on that engine as well.  I have spied a couple of the new models out, and the new color schemes and the larger engine are attractive.  I had hoped to wait at least another year, but I also have plans to tour around South Dakota (not during Bike Week - are you nuts!), would like to take a trip to the Mackinac Bridge, perhaps even a trip to Colorado and Utah! Places like the Grand Canyon, The Arches National Park, even Yellowstone are all on the bucket list.

PO1 Jon Tumilson from
Rockford, Iowa
I want to mention in parting our recent loss of 30 Navy Seal team members in Afghanistan.  I cannot recall such a loss of life that would ripple throughout the military community.  The effects are felt everywhere, even the National Guardsmen mention it will be tough to replace such uniquely skilled men.  One such sailor is Petty Officer First Class Jon Tumilson, from a little town called Rockford, Iowa.  Funerals for these men will begin this week, and I would hope that we all can reflect upon the freedoms that are defended by men such as these.  As a former sailor myself, it is especially hard to accept that men such as these were lost in such great numbers, literally defenseless against a single rocket attack.  I mourn their passing, and I will look to attend Petty Officer Tumilson's funeral this week.

Peace and Love Everybody!