Sunday, January 31, 2010

Running Again

In more ways than one. Seems like I just got home and I'm gone again. Last trip was more than 40 hours door-to-door and it's only been 29 and change at the windy old homestead. Something's wrong with this picture.
The only thing I can do with all that time away is run on the treadmill at the hotel and play around in their gym. I was hoping to keep some of the winter fat off but I still seem to be gaining. We're gonna get that bike trainer soon and start spinning it off but for now...Run boy, run!

...I better run or I'll be late for work. 0100 call and here I am pecking on the keyboard. Run!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

To Do...

I'm about tuckered out. There just seems to be so much to think about these days that it's wearing the old guy down. Weird hours...long trips...constant turmoil at work...worry about the home all adds up. Just keep plugging away and try to do one more thing at a time. The To-Do list is long and figuring out where to start is the hardest part.

One thing at a time...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

...And Now The News...

I know, it's been a while. I haven't forgotten the Wayward Home, it's just that life kicked in and pretty much brought things on my laptop to a standstill. I looked at my last post and thought, "Wow, that was weird" but a whole bunch was going on and that was all I could muster at the moment. I'm not going to elaborate too much but lets just say that the last couple weeks have been something less than idyllic and let it go at that.

I guess it's been a rough start to 2010...the weather has seemed a little colder, darker and nastier than normal for January, there've been some medical issues around the homestead and work has been all out of kilter with lots of hours in the hotel and on the road. To put the icing on the cake, my faithful old Canon Powershot died. I took about 150,000 shots with that camera and dragged it through everything from ground-level macros to panoramas but I guess the bouncing and banging finally did in the sensor. I've recorded a lot of memories at 4 megapixels but I guess it's time to either upgrade or go back to the ancient Kodak. The last shot I tried on the Canon was colorful but not exactly what I was looking for. Maybe I should keep it for psychedelic effects...

In between all the uproars this month, I've been trying to think of the warmer times that are hopefully on the way. It's snowing big fat flakes right now on top of the slush from the last couple of days so it's kind of a long reach but hey...I can wish can't I? The forecast for further crummy weather is making it pretty hard to see spring on the horizon anytime in the immidiate future but I guess there's always hope. January has 12 days to live and February has only 28 so March can't be that far away. Even the annual season of mud that comes at the end of winter is better than the snow and cold wind.

March is sort of the round-the-corner month to me. It might still dump a blizzard on us but it can't last long and the peepers will soon be singing in the evening. A man's mind might even turn to dragging the Harley out of it's privileged parking spot in the kitchen and maybe blowing the dust off. I always used to figure that if I didn't have the SuperGlide out by the tenth of March, I was way behind schedule but these days, I'm lucky to ride much before May. The cold and wet gets to us old guys a lot more than it did when we were 25 and much warmer blooded. I'll leave the forty degree days and late spring snows to the young bucks out to prove how tough they are and the Gold Wingers with heated lowers and windshields who don't really care. I suppose if I keep getting old at this rate, I'll have to break down eventually and get a fairing of some sort. Either that or I'll end up only riding about two months out of the year at this latitude.

I'd like to get out on the leg-powered bikes too but have developed a strong aversion to frozen fingers and the multiple layers of clothing required. It's about the same thing that keeps me off the Hog this time of year. It just takes too damn long to get ready. Chris and I did manage to go out and push the pedals on one of those 'Fooled Ya' days last week. The sun was peeking out and if you were standing still, it was pretty nice. Hit the road though and I soon realized that I was severely underdressed. Fooled Ya! I nearly froze by the time we got home much to my partner's amusement as she had done a better job of preparation and so was toasty to the point of perspiration. I on the other hand, was dripping icicles from my nose and lost the ability to speak clearly or feel my extremities after about 5 miles. Besides, my tires turned white from salt even thought the road was mostly dry so I knew I was throwing high-powered corrosives all over the bike. It sure felt good to ride but I think I was wishing just a little too soon. I guess there's still a while until any of the two-wheelers get out very much. I'll still need my windshield scraper for a while and my heavy Carhartt isn't ready to retire to the closet to hibernate just yet.

I suppose there's nothing to do but dig in and hope for an early spring as I do every year. The nights are slowly getting shorter as they always do and with any luck, the worst of the winter will soon be over.

With any luck at all, these that have been the darkest of days will soon be past.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dark Days II

There are days when you just wish you didn't have to get out of bed. Suffice it to say that this last few have been such days. Without going into details for now, it's been a tough go.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Short Stay

Going, going, gone. Everyone probably knows by now that I pretty much like what I do...I just can't stand the way it's done. Trains are getting to my terminal earlier and earlier while at the away-from-home terminal, they get called later and later. That translates to more time in the cab and in the crew hotel than at home. The last go-round was almost 40 hrs. door to door. Now after only 30 hrs., I'm going back again. Something's wrong with this picture.

By the time you get some sleep and do all the things you have to do...there's no time left to do much that you want to do. Before you know it, that automated voice on the phone wakes you up with a cheery "Hello, this is Crew Management calling for...". Yeah, I'd sound all chipper like that too if I hadn't just fallen asleep. Good thing I don't have to be coherent to push the buttons to take the call or have to be civil to the VRU. I used to have to actually talk to a live Crew Caller but now it's just " accept call, press 1..." and off we go. Gotta run...

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Another deep-freeze today around This Old House. There's probably a whirlpool in the fuel tank for the furnace it's running so hard trying to keep up. And I've only got it set on 62. This is ridiculous. I know it's now January and all that but come on. I didn't venture any farther than the back door to let the dogs out all day and even they weren't very enthused about that. This is when the crazy, fixed-female pooch Angel wishes she could have a litter box like the Blue Eyed Demon cat so she wouldn't have to be on her run at all. The fur-ball ex-male Cosmo on the other hand...he may not like the cold but he goes out, rolls in the snow and toboggans around the yard on his back anyway. No accounting for taste.

Yes, it's bitter, nose-dripping, finger-numbing, beard-freezing, miserable cold and the wind is screaming straight out of the west again; probably by way of Dante's Ninth Circle of Hell as raw as it is. It pretty much goes in one side of Old Breezy and out the other by way of the insulation-less gaps in the planks, except for some more determined drafts which take a shortcut through the single pane window glass, helped along by the holes the cat tore in the shrink-wrap. I guess the varmint wanted to see out better but I sort of wish he'd help with the oil if he's going to take liberties with what little wind barricade there is.

This is just too much house for one guy to bang around in, especially with weather like today's. I can't wear enough sweaters and woollies to keep warm in this creaky old wind tunnel alone.
Chris and the kids are en route home from their travels and their absence makes the hearth even colder than that west wind. There just isn't any life in the four walls without them, only a big empty hole in the storm that just barely keeps out the snow. Come to think of it...whenever I'm away from them, it doesn't matter if it's a hundred in the shade, it gets damn-awful cold in the house and soul. Even when we pass each other in the night as we so often do when I'm on the road trains, just knowing we all pause at the same home and share the same roof in our sleep keeps the family fire burning.

Time away from each other truly does 'make the heart grow fonder' as the saying goes and God knows, we get plenty of it in our world. The cold hangs around and hopes to stay whenever the time starts to get long. Even so, we usually manage to meet in our journeys often enough to keep the coals glowing and our toes toasty. But too much time away and too often apart can bring even a warm summer breeze to whisper of frost and falling leaves. We all go our separate ways day by day with a common place to call home and that's as it should be. Without that coming and going though, when it's just gone, there's nothing here but a stack of wood, nails, dog hair and dust.

Maybe that's why even a new house falls apart so fast when a family moves out and leaves it. By rights, a place old or new should last for years, completely empty, without much fixing. I should know since 'deferred maintenance' is defined by ours. But somehow I think the life goes out of it, the cold creeps in and before it's time, what used to be a home just falls in on itself and dies of loneliness. I think home can only be a home when we all make our way there and call it our own.

All I know for sure is this old place is way too big to fill with just needs the brothers extraordinary, the wife of my life and the noise of the four-leggers to drown out the freezing west wind. To live, it needs us all.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Lyric Of The Day

Once in a while, a line from a song won't let go. Such is this...

Got a girl in the war, Paul

Her eyes are like champagne

They sparkle bubble over and in the morning

All you got is rain.

They sparkle bubble over and in the morning

All you got is rain.

Josh Ritter "Girl In The War"