That’s the kind you want…

Zooming around the gorgeous east Texas night in Da Altima the sequel (the wife’s ride…reminder…gotta get her to name that thing)…we were inbound to the metro-mess from the Old Vic and we stopped at a Braums store for a quick dinner, a few groceries (milk/bananas and such), and a break. It’s about halfway between the two houses so we do this fairly often.

Afterwards, leaving, I walked the wife to the passenger door and opened it for her. As she got in I, of course, tweaked her on the butt, and then closed the door behind her.

slap_butt

As I turned to walk to the other side of the car I noticed a mother and her teenage daughter sitting in the car a space over from us (the space between us was empty). They were both watching. The young one had gasped.

Mom winks at me and says, “No honey, that’s the kind of guy you want. He respects her enough to open doors for her, but still desires her enough to slap her butt.”

Yep, 25 years we’ve been together…and I still slap her on the butt (and she still blushes and squeaks).

I’ve never felt so vindicated.

I’ll see you on the road!

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Lies…

Saturday morning, Pierre, the massive polydactyl Maine Coon, appeared a bit listless…not his usual social self. late Saturday night/early Sunday morning we realized neither of us had seen him in a while so we went on a search. He was backed under a bed in a spare room and hadn’t left that spot in a while.

Obviously something was wrong. Like most of our pets, Pierre is a rescue so we’re not sure how old he is…we’ve had him just about 7 years and he was fully mature when we got him.

He didn’t seem to be in any pain, and still purred and liked the attention of his normal head and belly scritches, but he’d lost weight and we don’t think he’d been eating or drinking. A veterinarian visit was in order.

Our preferred veterinarian is near the Old Vic and I had business there while Carey had stuff to finish at the Suburban Blah House…so I piled the cat and I into Big Iron and took off. Yeah, it runs in the family. Even Pierre likes road trips. He’s partial to classic rock blasting on the Pioneer Supertuner. Big tough biker dude…and his cat…both singing along to REO Speedwagon (Roll With the Changes) while slinging down the road at high speed in the big Dodge truck.

For the record…Pierre is a better singer than I am. Especially for Speedwagon tunes.

We were waiting at the vet’s door when they opened. Pierre is a friendly sort…and while he doesn’t exactly love going to the vet…he’s an easy patient and does like the attention. That’s a good thing…as under all that fluff he’s about 20 pounds of pure muscle.

Exam examined. Vitals measured. None of the obvious culprits indicated. Blood work was ordered.

An hour later I had a call from the wife.

“How’s Pierre?”
For the first time in 25 years of marriage…I lied to my wife. “I’m waiting on the lab results.”
“Okay. Let me know!”
“Yep. Love ya!”

Yeah. The lie. I wasn’t waiting. The results were back already…and they were conclusive. This is not the kind of news you deliver by phone or text.

Pierre…my best bud and the wife’s constant companion and highly-skilled, illustrious watch-cat…has cancer.

Pancreatic cancer.

There is no treatment. If we couldn’t get him to at least drink, his time was measured in hours. This must have been building for a while…but since he’d shown no symptoms until Saturday, the vet commented, “That’s one tough cat.” The vet recommended we put him down before he suffered too much more. There just wasn’t anything to be done.

And then another lie. This one I told myself. Maybe we could get him to eat and drink. Yah.

The wife was three hours away and in another city. Pierre was *completely* normal on Friday. The severity of this was completely unexpected. My brain wasn’t coming to terms with leaving for what we both expected to be a routine vet visit…and coming home sans cat.

I know some will say, “It’s just a pet.” Yeah. Another damn lie. I wanted her to see him again.

A vitamin shot with some other magic vet juice that could perhaps help stimulate his appetite…and some pills for the same purpose. The vet did this because I asked. I could tell he didn’t think it would help.

Pierre and I piled back in the truck and headed home…the inevitability of our return weighing heavy.

Maybe we’d get a week. Yet another lie I told myself.

I brought him back to the wife…at the very least to say goodbye. A bittersweet reunion. I’d tried to coax him with some favorites before we left town…but he wasn’t interested. Perhaps, I told myself, he would eat for her

Yep…another lie.

He did try though.

I don’t always make the right call. I’m still not certain about this one.

I spent most of the night with Pierre on my lap…stroking him so he would sleep…instead of shudder and cry.

Gawd dammit.

We were back at the vet this morning…a last ride. I should have done that yesterday. He perhaps suffered more than was necessary.

The wife too.

I’m just fine though (another damn lie).

Pierre the Polydactyl Maine Coon.

Pierre the Polydactyl Maine Coon.

A Pierre paw. He was a massive cat.

A Pierre paw. He was a massive cat.

Happy Cat

Happy Cat

Needs pettin's

Needs pettin’s

RIP Pierre.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

Posted in Blog, Pets/Animals | 2 Comments

Mama’s a girl!

I met quite the little man last evening. There may be hope for this world yet.

***

Blasting my way across east Texas in Big Iron, the big Dodge beastie, making time and jamming to tunes, the massive V-10 made its presence known by the rather significant reduction of “increments” on the gas gauge.

A quick stop was called for.

I’d paid at the pump, but after shoving 30-odd gallons of go-juice down the big truck’s gullet, as often is the case, I decided that some caffeine was needed in addition to the fuel. There were very few folks about in this cold and at this late hour so I just locked the truck and hoofed it across the lot to the convenience store.

I grabbed a cold drink (yeah, the ideal thing in freezing, blustery weather), thought twice about it, pondered the distance remaining on this run, and grabbed another to go with it. ‘Cause, yanno…TWO cold drinks in freezing, blustery weather has GOT to be better than one…

A young man had just paid for fuel and was leaving, and a young woman, carrying an infant and holding a young boy’s hand (perhaps 5) was stepping up to the counter for her turn. I was approaching from the drink coolers that were clear at the far side of the store. She let go of the boy’s hand to fish around in her purse.

That’s when…we’ll call him “muscle-dude”…comes from her other side, steps between her and the boy, knocking him down and out of the way, and literally ELBOWS her…the woman holding an INFANT…away from the counter, gruffly telling the clerk to get him some brand or other of cigarettes.

I sighed. The night was…one way or another…about to get interesting.

I quickened my pace, depositing my drinks on a handy shelf and pondering whether I was going to…ur…politely speak to the dude, or just drag his ass out of the store by his hoodie.

I didn’t get the chance.

The 5-year old, no-shit…popped back to his feet and kicked the dude…and hard…a full force toe kick with everything his slight build had to muster, and whether by luck or intent, got muscle-dude directly in the back of the knee. His leg collapsed and muscle-dude went down hard.

“You little shit! What the fuck!?” Muscle-dude yelled as he rolled to his buttocks facing the kid and started to get up.

“Daddy says you don’t treat girls like that!” yelled the kid. He had guts. I’ll give him that for sure. I liked him immediately. He already had two of the principles down pat that will take him far in life.

One, yah, ya don’t treat girls like that.

And two? Well, they tell ya to ‘pick your battles’…and that’s good advice…but sometimes…a man’s gotta pick a battle…even when he knows for damn sure he’s going to lose. Sometimes it’s just the stand…that matters.

At this point, I’m approaching the mom from behind, muscle-dude is on the floor in front of her, and the kid is on the far side.

With adult-like foresight, kid has scrambled for a weapon, grabbing for something off the end-cap. Unfortunately with kid-like experience/judgement what he came up with was a large bag of Doritos. He had it out in front of himself in an almost convincingly threatening manner. His face clearly showed he knew a world of hurt was coming his way.

My brain, of course, churning out, evaluating, and discarding plans, immediately rendered this gem: “Oh man…weaponized Doritos take WAY too long to work.”

Mom…I think…was starting to panic. She’s got an infant in her arms…seriously the most vulnerable person in the building…so there’s not going to be a lot for her to do. The clerk was already dialing a cell phone.

Yeah, I’d already quickened my pace even more. The question now was do I flat out tackle muscle-dude or grab the kid out of the way and hope separating everybody would diffuse the situation. Muscle-dude could flatten that kid with one swipe. Hell…he could possibly flatten ME with one swipe!

“Fuck what your daddy says!” Yep, dude was pissed.

The kid looked flustered, “But,” he stammers, “Momma’s a girl!” His tone managed to get across that he thought that should be obvious, and really should settle the matter.

I happen to agree with him.

This is the point I swept past the mom, over muscle-dude’s legs, and scooped up the kid into the crook of my arm. He was shaking like a leaf.

Three more big steps and I turned around. Muscle-dude was nearly on his feet, and sputtering some profanities or other.

As he regained his feet, I simply raised my free arm and pointed directly and steadily at the door.

I said one, and only one word, “Out.”

I think it was clear…that’d be the end of my ‘negotiations’.

We locked eyes for a moment…or forever…it’s hard to tell at these times. In a few seconds…or weeks…as I said…hard to tell…he decided “living to fight another day” wasn’t going to work out if he started yelling at or physically attacking the 300-pound biker-dude instead of the 5-year old and his mother, and spat out, “Fuck you all!” as he headed for the door. He was limping.

He tried to shove the door open hard, for that ‘super manly’ effect I suppose, but it rebounded back on the dampened closer and clipped his foot as he passed through the doorway. It spun him to the side and he almost went down again, comically stumbling for several feet.

I set the boy down by his mother and stepped to the door to watch him leave the area.

***

“You don’t treat girls like that!”
“Momma’s a girl!”

There are those that would argue that the proper action would have been to let muscle-dude shove folks around, get his cigarettes, and hopefully, while farting rainbows and singing songs about appeasing unicorns, leave with no further harm done.

Those…would not be men.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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More tape! Stat!

I’m beginning to remember why I don’t much care for Chevrolet. I’ve owned a few over the years…and since most of my vehicles have been used and abused (BEFORE I got to them!), I’ve had to work on my own stuff for years.

I always seem to recall the work on the Chevys often involved fixing something that never, ever, should have gone wrong to begin with.

Well…

A few months back the windshield on Little Rivet, the grumbly little Chevy S-10 runabout, began to resemble a three-dimensional star map after a particularly hard “smack” (by, I think, a truck lug-nut) on the freeway added the image of a new galaxy to the windshield directly in my central area of vision.

Easy fix. I had it replaced. Drive to glass shop, open wallet. No biggie.

A couple months later after a heavy rain, I found the driver’s floorboard soaked in water. I assumed the windshield was leaking, and indeed, found a drop or two of water on the upper seal just above the steering wheel. Didn’t seem like enough of a leak for amount in the floorboard, but who knows? Leaking one place, could be leaking elsewhere.

I took it back to the glass shop and they reset/resealed the windshield. Fast forward to Christmas weekend…tornadoes and the like…and EIGHT inches of rain. You’d have drowned if you went outside and looked up with your mouth open…

After the deluge, and once we finished chasing all the animals away that were lining up two-by-two…there was 3 inches of water in the drivers floorboard.

Gah.

Back to the glass shop. Must be it, yes? Didn’t leak before the work and they DID have to reseal it so….?

Nope. Not the windshield. They DID find the leak for me though. They didn’t even charge me for the effort…quite nice of them actually.

All the water that hits the windshield area drains through the cowling and exits inside the front fenders to spill to the ground.

Chevy, in their infinite wisdom and clearly superior manufacturing processes has a LARGE hole made into the body that goes through into the cab (in the wall right by where your feet would be). By “large” I mean 6 or 7 inches wide by 10 inches tall or so! It’s not normally visible from inside as there is a plastic interior panel that covers over it.

This hole goes basically outside…the fender sort of covers it from view but does nothing to keep water, air or debris out of it (there’s about a 2″ gap between the body and the fender.

I’ve no idea what this massive hole is for…perhaps to use less material, lighten the weight, or for access during assembly…doesn’t matter really…the problem is how they chose to seal it up.

Large Body Hole in S-10

Large Body Hole in S-10. What you’re seeing through the hole is the back of the front fender.

The “high quality” way they chose to seal it? They basically taped over it with some tar-backed box tape…that thin plastic stuff you tape boxes shut with? Yeah. That. With a little black tar stuff on it.

Yes, this is factory. No, it stands no chance of lasting to cover a hole this size unless you figure to design your vehicles to fail far sooner than they should. I’m surprised a rodent or bug or something hadn’t gone through it years ago.

"Mil-spec" seal.

“Mil-spec” seal.


When the inevitable occurs and this “high grade” seal fails, outside air blows into the cab, and since any water draining out of the cowl runs DIRECTLY over this…well, the majority of it just enters the cab too.

I guess I’ll cut a piece of flashing to fit this and glue it on with some polyurethane sealant or such…but gad…REALLY? All the things that wear and tear on a vehicle I get…but THIS? Properly sealed this should have never needed attention. Ever.

Ah well. Always something I guess.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Wait…how many years?

Cover price...$2.75

Cover price…$2.75

“Spider Robinson? I’ve not heard of that author.” says the woman I figured was about my age as she bent way over to read the cover of my book.

I was lounging around the automotive glass shop (yet again) reading my dog-eared copy of Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon to pass the time when she struck up the conversation. I must admit I admired the view a bit before I replied.

She sat and we chatted a bit…a very friendly sort. After books, auto glass and tornadoes were the natural subject given the setting and recent events. Both are on a lot of folks minds nowadays. She took a 2×4 through the windshield. Fortunately the car wasn’t occupied at the time.

beer_in_carAfter a few minutes the shop guys called me back to show me why Little Rivet’s cab was filling up with water in the heavy rains (hint: It wasn’t the windshield this time).

Remember the old drunk driving commercials where the car is full of beer? Yeah, it’s like that…except it’s not beer…it’s water…or maybe Budweiser.

Anyway, I left my book and coat sitting in my chair. When I got back she was reading it. “Sorry…” she said while handing it back and blushing. “That’s pretty good. I’m surprised I’ve not heard of him. When did that come out?”

“I got that copy in the 1980 or so.”

“Really?! That’s ten years before I was born!”

I blinked. Just her manner of speaking had me assuming she was about my age. Now that I thought about it and actually paid attention to the ur…quality…of the obvious visual queues…nope…she was quite apparently younger than me.

By about TWENTY-FIVE years.

Cripes. When did I go and get OLD?

***

It took me a disturbingly long time to realize she was flirting with me. It was hours…in fact…after I left the shop…and I wouldn’t have “realized” it even then…except the card with her number and a cheerful, “Call me!” scribbled on it fell out of my book.

I chuckled and tossed the card.

Damn damn damn damn…

Old. Yep. When the hell did that happen?

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Married life…

wolfottermedNow I know the movies, sitcoms, and most literature have trained us to believe marriage is this cumbersome, weighty thing…the thing that drags you down, curtails your freedom, ball and chain and such…

You know, drama and conflict and constant misunderstandings…and nobody more than about age four can deny that men and women are completely different critters…FAR, FAR more different then simple “tab a inserts into slot b” anatomic mysteries can even begin to account for.

Mars and Venus? Hell…not even close. We’re not even from the same galaxy!

Drama and conflict and constant misunderstandings. The sitcoms LIVE on this. It seems inevitable.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret.

It doesn’t have to work that way.

***

So…worked today…Christmas Eve…not a bad day as far as work days go…but not a great one.

Managed to get enough done so that I got off a bit early, but then zoomed my way through “escaping town” traffic up through the center of the metro-mess in what is becoming a Christmas tradition…to visit my Dad in the hospital. Seems he has double-pneumonia and won’t be getting out for a couple days. He’s a tough old coot and doesn’t want me to worry…but I’m a stubborn son and do anyway…

I don’t think folks realize how big the metro-mess is…home-to-work to “just-across-town”, not even all the way mind you, and then back-to-home…took a tank of fuel on the big Valkyrie and racked up over 140 miles.

Just across town indeed.

Traffic home was frantic and crowded, but fast…full moon weirdness filling in any gaps of “normal” missed by the drunk, texting, aggressive, pent on escaping, distracted nutjobs pretending that they’re actually driving their high power hunks of steel and plastic.

In short, perfect stress inducing conditions for your average motorcyclist…yanno…the one that actually wants to survive, and thus spends a good chunk of his commute simply trying, with varying degrees of success, NOT to die…

GahhhWWeeeeeeeee!

Ur…uh…where was I? Ah, yes…NOT dying. Success. Again.

With all that and the work and the hospital and the worry about my Dad and the three missed calls from work before I even got home, on and on…well, …I was a bit frazzled when I rolled up to the house.

Yeah. Frazzled. On Christmas Eve. When really, I should have some plan for the evening that involves the wife. The shopping was done long ago…but that’s the easy part. What about us? Not the stuff. Us?

Dragging ass in…wearily waiting on the garage door to roll all the way up…and I belatedly realize…I’ve got nothing left. Nothing for her…and as importantly, nothing for me.

Remember before when I said, “Drama and conflict and misunderstandings”?

Remember what I said next?

It doesn’t have to work that way.

See, there’s that other thing…the big one. The most important…no…strike that…the ONLY important one…the one the sitcoms and movies and comedians and grumpy old bachelors and bitter old maids never tell you about. What you have in a marriage…is a team. More than that really…back to back…two against the world. Defend against all comers…cleave up all the others and hide the bodi…ur…wait? Have I got that right?

Conjugium corporis atque animce…

Or, sometimes…just a friendly, knowing hand that knows just exactly how to help the other up when he stumbles…

It’s a choice…yanno…sitcom or…well…other.

***

The wife met me at the door. “I’ve got a big evening planned for us.”

The uninformed…the “dragging ass” guy that’s beat down and wants nothing more than to “veg” for the evening might groan. What does THAT mean? A big night? Dinner out? Crowds? A ballet? A house full of guests? Ugh. Right?

Me, not being “the uninformed”, just smiled. Context matters you see. And she knew…or at least suspected…just what the events of the day were adding up to for me. She had my back.

She had my soul.

“I’ve got a pizza and cookies and we’re gonna sit around in our underwear and watch our favorite Christmas movies and open some presents and see where that leads!”

Sounded pretty good to me.

As a side note, our very favorite Christmas movie is a gorgeously animated yet under-appreciated thing where Santa has tattoos (and swords), and the Easter Bunny has an Australian accent and is a wicked shot with a boomerang…

Oh, and the next one on the list stars Bruce Willis tossing Severus Snape off the Nakatomi tower…

Oh, and did I mention context matters?

When the woman that tells you we’re gonna open some presents and see where that leads is dressed in wrapping paper-patterned panties and a bra and some frilly fuzzy gauzy thing and has a bow on her head…well that’s just a bonus…or perhaps it’s the main course and everything else…is a bonus.

Doesn’t matter really. Main course? Appetizer? Seconds? Fourths!? We’ve got time for it all. She’s got my back…and my soul.

I hope y’all had a very Merry Christmas Eve!

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Uh, no. No I don’t.

Yeah, SO not happening (click for larger(.

Yeah, SO not happening (click for larger).

Dear Whataburger #667 (west Tyler, Texas),

Nope, I agree to no such thing and am tempted to take you to small claims court over the sign just to show you that.

Sorry, you cannot execute a legally binding contract on your customers just because they walk through your door.

Fuck off.

That is all.

Sincerely,

A former lifetime customer.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

Posted in Blog, Corporate Incompetence | 1 Comment

Suddenly…bagels!

bread_trayAnd suddenly…bagels!

A first for me…

Today…I hit a bread rack tray (similar to the picture) that was sliding down Arapaho Road and changed lanes directly in front of me when a car clipped it.

Mighty rude of it. It didn’t even signal!

The rack was full of packages of bagels.

I ran directly over it. T-bone smack-down. No chance to do anything else except raise a bit off the seat and prepare to use whatever “skilz” would be required to live another day.

The rack went “crunch”. The packages exploded. Bagels and smashed bits of plastic went flying everywhere.

I’d have loved to see the airborne mess…when not involved in piloting the thing that created it.

Have to admit though…bagels make a pretty cool noise with thumping off me, my machine, and neighboring cars.

“thurpop thurpop thurpop thurpop thurpop thurpop thurpop thurpop thurpop thurpop thurpop”

The Valk kicked up a bit, squirming a bit sideways in the rear…but fortunately not enough to make her unrecoverable. A high-side in three lanes of 45mph congested traffic would not make for a good day.

Front wheel in the direction I wanted to be, a lean “inside”, and a healthy twist of the throttle saved the day.

Bagels. Sheesh. I guess “they” were right.

Those carbs really are bad for ya. Damn near killed me today…

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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We belong…

toxicMen and women belong together. It’s a simple truth…and far more complex than an evolutionary biological imperative.

We’ve created a society where we can succeed apart…and this is a good thing…but we teach…we taunt, and we want to believe we don’t need another in our lives. That we can “have it all” on our own.

The truth is we require another in our lives, yet those men and women that acknowledge this are called whipped…or weak. We teach in school that these relationships will hold us back…that we should succeed first…and then possibly…if we have time for it and it won’t impact our “success”…find another.

Yeah. On your own. Independent. Strong.

Alone.

Except “on our own” deprives us of an essential part of our humanity…the trust, dependence, and companionship of another. We lack the very experience of a relationship that holds above all others. That person that you know has your back no matter what. We can succeed on our own…but we never truly live.

We deserve that relationship…and as humans, we deserve it to be a passionate one. Passion is a core experience to achieve our humanity.

That said…do not EVER confuse a passionate relationship with a toxic one. You both deserve better than that.

I’ve seen…and experienced…the fallout and absolute carnage such relationships create…and they impact far more than just the two involved.

Mutual respect, honesty, trust, and safety are paramount. Couples disagree…it’s the nature of humanity…but safety for either person and the relationship itself should never be what’s at stake. If those are hostage…the relationship is toxic…and doomed.

Happiness is a choice. Expect it…and find yours.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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As Riders, we learned how to live…

I’ve reused this several times over the years to honor lost friends. I don’t think they mind.

I’ll see ya on the other side RJ.

As Riders, We Learned How To Live

There’s a special few, a chosen breed
That fathom just what it is to ride
Astride their machines these men flex their wings
And twist the throttle and fly.

Death holds no terror, and no undue sway
For these pilots of the wind
It rides with us always, mere inches away
An enemy one day, an acquaintance for sure, and occasionally, one of our friends.

All men will know, when their time comes
Just what it means to die
Age and disease and a thousand other things
Conspire to shorten this life…

Some go too soon, some hope for the end
All worry for those left behind
Death comes when it does, we’ve little control
But how we greet it tells much about our life.

The chosen breed, the daring few
Will embrace what death has to give
They’ll fight to the last but go with a grin
Because as riders, they first learned how to live

Solo 1 (left) and RJ (right) Pic by Dave Ritsema

Solo 1 (left) and RJ (right) Pic by Dave Ritsema

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