Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Crying Shame

A couple of Sunday's ago I went in to work. When I got there J, my 24 hour driver for the day, wasn't there. He'd left his girlfriend a month or so earlier and had been couch surfing until he found a place to land, so the boss gave him one. He stayed at the spare room at the office on his 24 hour shifts since he didn't always have a parking spot for the truck wherever he was staying. He stayed there a site more than that but that wasn't supposed to be shared around. We all knew anyway.

His motorcycle was gone and I thought maybe he'd stepped out for a bite to eat. An accident call came in so I sent it to his app and then called him, because he didn't have the truck and needed to beat cheek to get on the road so we could meet the mandatory time frame the PD requires. It rang twice then went to voice mail. I hung up and called him right back and it went straight to voice mail and continued to do so. I got hold of the boss who woke up the only driver not out of town, who had run the Saturday 24 hour, and got him on the road, and then we started tracking J down. It was far easier said than done but we were worried about him and, frankly, he owes the boss money. We finally got hold of him yesterday.

J is a disabled veteran with PTSD. He was single in the military and after a while felt that if he was on the line that meant someone who was married could stay home. 5 years of near back to back tours left him confused, broken, drifting. When he got back he tried to go back to normal living. He got a job, a girl, and a sweet motorcycle. Still, the ugliness was never far away. He started drifting in with a lively crowd who welcomed him with open arms. I guess when you're confused the calm, reliable life he had been struggling to resume leaves too much quiet in your head, and that's a bad thing. Unfortunately we can pinpoint the moment it happened, the boss sent him out to strawberry to haul a cycle for one of them that live in a motorcycle club compound out there. Pretty soon he was going on road trips with them, and when his girlfriend complained his "brothers" said dump the old lady, she's a drag. So he did. Roaming the roads with people who not only excused but encouraged his PTSD moodiness into rages was easier than staying home and learning how to cope with life. He'd always been a good driver, he has the skills and the brains to handle most of what we threw him at, he showed up when he was supposed to, worked as long as we needed him, took on any shift we had for him, if he hadn't been reliable and trustworthy the boss wouldn't have set him up at work like he did. Shortly after the girl was gone they started working on us. We made him work too much, too long, and didn't get him, no one got him but them. That caused a real issue for J, because he knew we did right by him, but they worked on him and got him so conflicted that he just gave in and left.

J came in to the office for a few minutes today. One of his "brothers" was there with him, but he stayed out in the lot. J's not okay. He's been staying out in strawberry bar-tending for the club for free so he can sleep on the couch in the lounge. It's a private club so the bar is open 24 hours and he's constantly on call catering to their alcoholic needs. He's been using his disability money to replace what shows up missing when he passes out in exhaustion because he can't risk being kicked out, but they're his brothers and they're gonna look out for him and take care of him. It's obvious just how good of a job they're doing.

The boss talked to him for a while, and came to an agreement about things that needed wrapping up, and then chased him out to the parking lot to tell him to make sure to keep in contact with us. We have to have a place to send his tax forms to, you see. You really don't want the IRS out there looking for you. That got the brother's attention. J said he'd see what he could do, then climbed up on his cycle and took off, his buddy following him and flinging a one fingered salute our way. I sent him a text this evening, told him to drop me a line and we'd get together and he and Cave could exchange stories about the idiocy in the chain of command. I'll be very surprised if he responds.

I look around me on this Veterans day and I am humbled at the sacrifices, the loss, the suffering that goes on, every day, in the name of freedom, and it curdles my stomach to see that so many throw it away and roll over for a bigger pull on the government teat.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Don't mind me...

A photo that I've asked someone to look at in the hopes that they can provide advice on fixing the problem.

The hinges on the 5 drawer cabinet for my 108 year old Singer 66 are stripped and are getting worse every time I use the machine. I haven't used it in almost a year because I worry about damaging it further. I'm not sure where to start in fixing them, although I remember watching my dad fix stripped out door hinges by drilling and gluing dowels in, but I'm not sure that would be appropriate. Your thoughts?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Laundry Day


This isn’t practice for a grid down situation, nor is it an invasion of helpful mimes. It is my children learning what happens when you are doing your best to irritate your sibling and wind up breaking the washers timing mechanism. This is actually a teaching moment with a t-shirt and some fabric, the real work went on outside in plastic totes and well out of my earshot. Unless a cheap used machine shows up at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store (they sold the only one they had yesterday) I won’t be able to afford a new one for three weeks or more. I’m not going to pay to use a laundromat when the responsible parties are perfectly capable of handling the job. I invested $3 in a new plunger et voila! Meet my new washers. Tomorrow, if I’m feeling generous, they’ll learn how to cut down on the plunging time by boiling the whites. They’ve been snarking at each other all summer so I’ve decided that if they haven’t learned how to work together without antagonizing each other by the time I’ve got the money for a cheap washer I’m thinking I’ll just keep saving until I can get a nice front loader. Of course I’ll need a matching dryer so their weekends may be booked up for quite a while…

Friday, August 30, 2013

Here’s the thing. Bluntly.

Erin has a couple of spare inches. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a few, mine are around my waist. Hers are located elsewhere. My gender, genetics and sexual orientation all match what society, and I, expect to see so I can not truly comprehend what her life is like. I am often upset by what I see in the mirror, so maybe I can understand a fraction of what she feels when she looks at herself, but that’s about the closest I can get. I have a cyst on my face. I lived with it for years until I could afford the removal. I’ve had it removed three times, but it keeps coming back. It was at one point the diameter of a nickel and was a half inch high white waxy lump that stung and tingled. I tended to stay at home because I was so embarrassed. When it was that large I could see it whenever I looked down. It’s located between the edge of my nose and the corner of my mouth. It distorted my mouth and the inside of my lip was raw from being rubbed between it and my teeth. It’s not like that now, most people don’t notice it except for the grayish discoloration and the scarring but for many years I experienced people staring, whispering, and being grossed out, even nauseated, by my face. I know the pain of being rejected and ostracized for something beyond your control, where no one seems to care to look below the surface and see the person that is me. Unless you emerged as a whole, perfect adult you have experience with people rejecting you too.

Erin and I don’t talk. A few times our tweets have crossed and I think I left a comment at her blog that she replied to once. Considering I normally fly under the radar that’s a lot of interaction and I should probably throttle it back. :D She seems like a bit of an odd duck, but I’m an odd duck too. I’m just odd in ways that are easier for society to accept. I’d love to wave my pom pons around and say hey Erin, I think that’s fantastic! It’s so wonderful that you are who you are and you’re great! It’s not in my nature. My nature runs more towards disappointing my friends and relatives who come out by saying uh-huh. I made a friend of mine cry once because she told me that the Joe she had been talking about incessantly was a woman named Jo and that I was the first person she’d ever come out to outside of her immediate family. I said okay. That’s good to know and got back to what we’d been talking about. A little while later she brought up her sexual orientation again, probing to see if there was going to be some sort of delayed reaction. I looked her flat in the eye and said I really wasn’t surprised. You look at some women like I look at chocolate. I didn’t figure it was anything I needed to worry about, and I still don’t. I wouldn’t go up to her (gesturing to a women out with a man and children) and say I think it’s so great that you’re a heterosexual. I’m really happy that you are attracted to and have sex with the opposite gender, that’s just fantastic! Do you think that because I’m not saying similar things to you that I’m not being supportive? If you feel the need to hear me say such things I will, but I feel it’s only fair to warn you that I suck at being fake. I do care. I care because people will treat you badly. I care because I love you and I want you to be happy. I can’t change how the world is going to react, but the way I feel and what I think of you hasn’t changed. To my credit I have great taste in friends, she blinked for a minute then started laughing her head off and gave me a great big hug and then we got back to talking about the interesting stuff. I’m not a totally accepting and wonderful person, but I don’t think it’s my place to dictate to people what they should think or feel.

I don’t love Erin. I like her blog but I don’t know her. I’m not going to become a cheerleader or read her because she has gender issues. I enjoy her writing. She’s amusing. I like amusing. She bumbles around with things she doesn’t know about, and shares it. I bumble too. I’m not going to tell you to like her, dislike her, add or delete her blog. I am going to say that if you have problems because the reality didn’t match your expectations welcome to the real world, where things rarely line up, aren’t as they appear and simply refuse to stay within your boundaries.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Has it been a month? Really?

Goodness gracious. I'm sorry. There's been a lot going on, but nothing much has happened since I last posted. The biggest thing is that I made a quilt. Well, technically I made two quilt tops and quilted them together as the top and the backing of one quilt, but I'm not one to stand on formalities. The one with the black is the backing, it’s a quilt that I began years ago and added to to make it the correct size.

2013-08-16 23.31.28

Colorful, isn’t it? I was aiming for a bright and cheerful coat of many colors look and I think I’ve achieved it. I've made three quilts in my life so far. The first is in Silly E's closet awaiting repair because he loved it a bit too much as a child, the second is slated to be tucked away because the fabric was given to me as a valentines day gift from Cave on the day he proposed to me. It's too precious for me to use every day, and since I used inferior thread for the quilting it’s already showing wear. My newest never seems to be where I am when I want to use it and I'm tired of schlepping it around. Obviously the answer is more quilts. I’m already on it.


My grandmothers quilts. On top is one of her own design, in the center are a WWII flag, with 48 stars, my sister’s pinwheel quilt, and on the bottom is a whole cloth quilt with our family tree embroidered on it.

Quilting has a long tradition in my family. We are all makers, although my mother eschewed crafts and mundane activities and put her efforts into oil painting and flower arranging. (Yes, really. She both took and taught classes on arranging flowers and making arrangements out of dried things.) My sister and I have had to teach ourselves the skills mom didn’t care to retain. My grandmother began quilting as a young girl back in the 1900’s and like most quilters she was very frugal about her fabric purchases. She read an ad in the local newspaper for a damage sale on dry goods at a port in a large city two counties over, so my mom drove her. Mom said she was like a kid in a candy store. The fabric had water damage and they were trying to recoop some of their losses. They had big burlap bags that contained lengths of good fabric cut from otherwise unsalvageable bolts that they were selling for a penny a pound. My grandmother stuffed my mothers car full of burlap bags. She spent $1.08 on her bounty, we still have the handwritten receipt somewhere. When she got home she opened up her sacks and started spreading things out. Two bags were all garment fabrics, we still have some of the little suits she made for her grandchildren out of them. Others were mixed with some odd, heavy fabrics that she made into rag rugs. The majority of the rest was good old cotton, perfect for quilting. Some of the bags had been packed when the fabric was still damp so there was a bit of mildew to be reckoned with but grandma was very pleased overall. My grandfather, who was still carrying the bags in from the car, called out Gayle, I think this one has full bolts in it. Grandma met him in the living room, fairly dancing and clapping her hands at the thought of full bolts. Sure enough, it did. Two white and two in pepto-bismol green. Or, what pepto-bismol would look like if it were green. As they unpacked they found more bolts tucked in here and there. All the same green. She wound up with six bolts of the green fabric. They only had a little bit of water damage on the last two or three inches of one end and they were sound after the first few layers. She and my mother spent the next few weeks laundering and trimming away the bad spots on those bolts, carefully packing away the trimmed “scraps” and wrapping the rest back onto the bolts. Grandma and grandpa came from large families with lots of siblings, and the bolts of green were distributed amongst them. That green became legendary among our family, and not a single one of us has ever liked it. The younger generation calls it minty dismol.

That green was in some part of each and every quilt that grandma made after that, except for the pinwheel quilt that she and my sister made. Grandma hand pieced and hand quilted her quilts so she lived with each one for several months. She became heartily sick of that green cloth. She tried everything to use that up, selling it, trading it, giving it away, but she still had more, and she was too frugal to not use it no matter how tired she was of looking at it. My mom told me that grandma, ill with the beginning stages of breast cancer, walked to the neighbors one afternoon to call and tell her that she had made a very generous border and a quilt backing out of it and the green was all gone! Finally! Mom laughed with her and congratulated her in her endurance. When grandma was ready to start her next quilt she asked my mom to help her sort her scraps. Mom pulled all of the scrap boxes out from under grandma’s bed and noticed one tucked way back under there so she fished that one out too. She opened it and discovered the green fabric that they had so carefully trimmed away from the bolts. She and my aunt pawed through it and estimated that there was almost 20 yards of it in there. They spirited the box away to the trunk of my aunts car and she dumped it in a charity donation box on the way home. If your family has a plethora of things made from minty green cotton found at the thrift shop back in the 60’s you are welcome. Grandma passed away before she completed another quilt without the green fabric. She beat minty dismol, but it got the best of her. I wish I’d met her. All I know of her is from stories and her quilts.

2013-08-11 13.40.29

This is the first quilt my grandmother made from her bounty. The block is one that she designed, she took the center from the rolling stone block and placed it on a background variation of the broken dishes block. Rolling stone, broken dishes. The joke tickled her to no end, mom said. She used blue sashing between the blocks, pink corner patches and it had a wide green border. She used white diaper flannel instead of batting inside the quilt because she didn’t have any batting and she couldn’t wait one minute longer to make a quilt. She used the green for backing, and she bound it in green too.

Where is all the green I’ve been fussing about? Therein lies the rub. Look closely at the pink squares. See how they’re shredded, some to the point where everything is gone except for the stitched edges? Anything we had that was made with the green or the pink disintegrated. At my house it happened during spring cleaning. Mom filled the washer with a load of quilts and when she started pulling the quilts out of the washer we heard a sickening rip. The green fabric had shredded itself into strings that wrapped around themselves and the agitator. The four quilts pictured in the beginning are the only survivors that our family has out of all of the quilts my grandmother spent her life making. Grandma gave away more than she kept so I’m sure there are more out there, these are just the ones we know of.

My sister and I have been bonding over quilting. We’ve been having virtual bees each weekend, texting photos of our progress and complaining about curved seams and matching points. We live half the continent away from each other so our contact has been a phone call every few months and one visit in 12 years. I love connecting with her. She hates being tied to a phone so the fact that she spends so much time texting with me on the weekends indicates that she’s been enjoying it too. I asked her the other day how many big quilts she makes in a year, as opposed to little quilting projects like table runners. She said around 12? I think her branch of the family tree will be warm and toasty for a long time to come.

Time to go get ready for work. Monday is our busiest day and we’re usually slammed especially hard as we tow all the cars that broke down over the weekend. Hope your weekend was good!

Monday, July 8, 2013


Nothing blogworthy is going on, sorry. Just putting shoulder to the yoke and keeping the ball rolling. I’m sure much is the same for ya’ll. I don’t know for a fact because when Google reader went south it took half of my blog subscriptions with it and the new service I’ve been using, which was originally based on Google Reader, won’t let me re-subscribe to them because it’s under the impression I’m subscribed already. Gah!

Technology has been a thorn for the last week or so, actually. It’s great when it’s up and running, but when it’s not it leaves us busting butt to get simple jobs done. Even the boss, who started with only one land line, battery operated radios, two trucks, and a notebook, was having a difficult time keeping up with five trucks today. He may understand the concept of “two is one and one is none,” whether or not it supersedes the “too much redundancy is a waste of money” mindset is to be seen.

In other news I took advantage of a sale at a newly opened local fabric store to pick up a bunch of sewing patterns over the 4th. I’m an indifferent sewer, modern sewing machines with all of their bells and whistles intimidate me and my ability to alter patterns is minimal. I’m fair at using my beloved treadle machine but it’s straight stitch only and most modern patterns require zig zag and other stitches that my machine can’t do without fancy attachments. I’m more than a passable hand sewer but if I’m going to put the weeks of effort into hand sewing clothing I want it to be something extra special. I’ve had my eye on the patterns Claire Shaeffer designs for Vogue. She puts out designs that use Haute Couture techniques with pages and pages of instructions included. Haute Couture is very extra special. Her patterns start at $25 and go up from there. I have wanted them for years, but I couldn’t afford to indulge. When I was at the fabric store this past week I saw that they had all of their Vogue patterns on steep discount and I couldn’t get into the pattern drawers fast enough to see if they had any. They did, and they were even in my size so I won’t have to redraw them. I was able to get all 9 of her current patterns for $36, a savings of $200+. 


I have my eye on some beautiful wool crepe fabric to marinate in my stash until I’ve girded my loins for the project.


If only I could find such great deals on gold and silver.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Earlier today Cave asked for my opinion on an article at Ms Magazine, authored by Heidi Yewman, titled My Month With a Gun: Week One.

I shall not dignify Ms. Magazine, Ms. Yewman, or their particular brand of journalism with a link. Instead, I shall direct you to PJ Media where Bryan Preston has written a good article dissecting several of the issues that I had with Ms Yewman’s gabbling. Mr. Preston’s article Ms. Magazines’s ‘My Month with a Gun’ Story Shooting Blanks? does such a good job that my writing would be redundant.

I shan’t be watching for the rest of her series, nor do I intend to give it any more thought than I already have. She and her adrenal secretions shall have to jitter on without me as I have far more important things to spend my limited brain power on, such as admiring my new handspun, handknit socks or contemplating my next crochet dishcloth project. Or removing my son’s toy robot half of my son’s toy robot the arm from one of my son’s toy robots from Rhye’s mouth.

In other news, a friend and I attended a gathering of my people at the local National Forest range, spending the day testing out recent purchases (for her it was an AK, an AR, and a Kimber, for me my AR and my vintage Rem Sportsman 58 12 ga) and firing many, many guns that were proffered. The most exotic were a set of pistols chambered in .223 and .308. There was an option for 30-06 but we both felt the .308 was a gracious plenty. After a full six hours at the range we came home dirty, sore, tired, and grinning ear to ear.

As it gets warmer out things at work have been picking up. Being the primary for the motor clubs and dealerships is kind of interesting. We towed a vehicle in to a repair facility Friday morning, transferred it to another facility on Friday afternoon, took it to a dealership yesterday and today we hauled it to the crusher. It didn’t have a stock number attached to it so it likely wasn’t a trade in, the dealership probably facilitated the disposal as a favor to the owner. There seems like there’s a story wrapped up in there, with a few different permutations. It was a ‘74 Valiant with a nice wax job and a pristine interior, according to my driver, so I prefer the tale of a faithful servant and it’s well earned retirement over a fiery evisceration and a crushing disposal of the remains.

The Valiant is frolicking amongst the azaleas, the sun shining off of it’s yellow flanks, sipping unleaded and snacking on quarts of 10W-40, not a welding torch in sight. It Is TOO! Hush Up! MOOOOO-oooo-oooommmmmm!!!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Thank you

Life is pretty much humming along, and I appreciate that the sacrifices made by the service members and their families are what makes my humdrum daily life possible. Thank you.

If you'll excuse me, I have a few trucks to take care of. Please don't limit your appreciation of everything that our service members and their families go through to keep us home and safe to just one day and a post on a blog, no matter how heartfelt. Thank you. If I never hear taps again it will be too soon.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Better Safe Than Sorry

I was looking at my checking account online early this morning and noticed a charge I had not authorized from a place I have never heard of. Something called the Crystal Hotel in Miami, FL, for $1.73. They reversed the charges immediately, but it made me sit up and take notice. I called my bank's fraud line this morning and had my card cancelled. The bank was able to tell me that it is a hotel but I haven't been able to find it online. Hopefully some clerk was in a rush and entered the numbers incorrectly and this is all for naught.

We have had our money stolen via our debit card before. The last time my husband and I took a vacation we took our kids up to my in-laws in Virginia and then drove down to Atlanta and spent a very nice week at a posh five star hotel downtown. We saved up for over a year to pay for it. A scam artist in the form of a parking lot attendant got hold of the numbers from my husband's debit card and proceeded to bleed our bank account by having the card run through a hotel in some minuscule podunk town in South Carolina. Just getting it straightened out enough so we could check out of the hotel in Atlanta took several hours of phone calls that went all the way up to a corporate manager with our bank and required the police to verify our identities over the phone twice. Once we got back into town our local bank manager did verify that we were here, had a police report from Atlanta PD, and that we probably weren't at Jebeziah's No-Tell Motel in Bums' Rush, SC racking up charges. Apparently once our accounts ran dry they forgot to turn off whatever program they were using to automatically charge our card every hour to an hour and a half and it continued charging and bouncing until the local bank manager did something to block it. There were over a thousand dollars just in fees, and we were well over ten grand in the hole. Ultimately it took weeks to get everything figured out and get our bank account back into some semblance of normalcy. Fortunately I have a checking account that is seperate from the family checking they accessed and we were able to use mine in the interim so we were able to deposit paychecks and keep the bills paid and the kids fed but it was a very stressful time. We wound up mailing a few merchants money orders to pay for legitimate charges we made while on vacation that the bank mistakenly did a charge back on. Most of them were very understanding, especially since we were contacting them rather than their having to chase us down, but one quick lunch ended up costing us an extra $150.

Having my bank turn off my card and waiting while they mail me a new one will be inconvenient but it really seems the prudent thing to do.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I'm back again.

I miss y'all. My brain is stuffed full of maps, tow points, dispatching procedures (secondary tows vs primary tows vs priority accidents vs everything else we do), how to set up the charges, and more, and somewhere in all that I'm trying to keep the house from falling down about our ears. Right now my mind is kind of like a layered compost bin, pile the new stuff on top while the old stuff at the bottom disappears. I just hope I don't forget how to dress myself!

This week I've been called a crook and a liar, by two different people. The liar guy tried his best to get me into trouble with my boss and the motor club, all because he was irritated that HIS car broke down and I couldn't get a driver there on HIS schedule. Unfortunately being abused by the customers is fairly common. I understand that your car breaking down/getting stuck/being in an accident throws a wrench in your day. I know you have places to go and you want to get on with your life as cheaply as possible, but we don't have drivers lined up waiting for your call. If the trucks aren't moving we aren't making money. Just because our shop is right around the corner from your break down location doesn't mean that's where the trucks are and I'm not going to tell you where my trucks are coming from because frankly it's none of your business. If you call in ahead of time to let us know that your car is going to break down, be in an accident or that you're going to do something stupid like drive to work on fumes because you're running late I will make sure to have a driver standing by to go help you.

We aren't the cheapest in town, nor are we the most expensive. Our trucks are well maintained, our drivers are experienced and trained to the best of our ability. No matter what names you call me or how loudly you rant and rave and scream in my ear I'm not going to abuse our drivers by making them skip lunch or dinner or pull them in on their time off to go haul you out of your mess so you can get on the road half an hour faster. There are other companies that don't have as many calls as we do and therefor may be able to get there faster, but you can be sure that there's a reason why the motor club/shop/police officer didn't call them in the first place.

Other people are having crappy days too, and we prioritize everyone just about the same and try to knock them out in a timely manner that makes geographical sense. The only things that get prioritized first are accident calls from the various local police departments and children and/or animals locked inside vehicles. In the case of emergency lockouts we often end up doing them for free. Even then we get burned, we've had our insurance pay out on claims against us for damage to window and lock mechanisms that was done by helpful bystanders with coat hangers and police officers with their slim jims. The boss knows he should get release forms signed before he gets to work, but when faced with a baby or an animal wilting in a locked car his only thought is to get them out as quickly and safely as possible and the forms go out the proverbial window. Usually this only causes problems when the vehicle owner is someone other than the parents. Usually.

To the man whose son got his truck stuck out at the hunt club, I realize that you didn't like that the actual price was far above what we quoted you on the phone, but you were misleading when you called. He was indeed visible from the parking lot, but he was almost 50 feet off of the dirt trail and over half a mile off of a gravel road, in the rain, and he was in the middle of a plowed field, buried up to both axles. I know you didn't like the additional wait time added to the bill either, but we had to twiddle our thumbs for over an hour before the club manager showed up with the gate key. The driver was ready to leave when he told us how long he'd have to wait, but he asked us to stay because he wanted you and your son ejected promptly. Sure we could have driven around the gate like you tried to tell my driver to do, you guys sure left a clear path when y'all did, but our equipment is bigger, heavier, and can do a lot more damage that we're responsible for. I suppose we could have tried to save you a bit of cash by driving across the field instead of sticking to the trails, but our 14,000 pound trucks don't do well with a plowed field that's planted with game crops that reach halfway up the door, especially when the ground is soggy and sticky like marginal marshland tends to get when it's raining. We could have hooked up to the hitch or the bumper like you told us to rather than taking the time to dig it out some and hook it up properly, but my driver has 20 years of experience with tow trucks and I would rather trust his judgement than have you calling and yelling about the damage to his incompetence did to your vehicle. It didn't save my ears any because you still yelled about his incompetence because he wouldn't listen to you, but at least you weren't trying to hand us a bill. Oh, and cancelling the charge on your account when you got home? That didn't work either, we would have disputed it and then you'd have been stuck with interest and fees, but the club manager took care of it. Don't be surprised to find out you owe them a boat load of money on top of not getting your dues back.

To the lady who I called to inform that we would be 20 minutes late in jumping your car: you may have been screwed, SCREWED, as you continually screamed in my ear, but I daresay it was by your car and not by me. We were late, that is true, I wasn't able to call you earlier and let you know we'd be late, and you're right, that wasn't courteous, but I was busy diverting the driver away from your call (he was already within a few miles of your location, actually) to send him on a call for the State Patrol. I sent another, less experienced driver to you as soon as I could and called you as soon as I knew we weren't going to meet the ETA. I didn't give you any reason beyond traffic and that we had an accident call because, again, that simply isn't any of your business, but a dumbass had t-boned a minivan while both vehicles were at highway speeds. The minivan bounced off of a car in the next lane, and went hurtling into some trees. The passenger side looks like an accordion, the drivers side is in pieces that my driver picked up and put inside of it, the drivers side front wheel is between the engine and the firewall, and when my driver was dragging it sideways out of the treeline they discovered that the accident was a fatality, their dog didn't survive. The cover on the passenger seat is ripped and the seat back broken from the force of the impact that tore the fathers arm in half, but what gets me are the bloody hand prints he left all over the interior while fighting his way to get to his children. He managed it with his bare hands where the rescue squad had to cut them out. On second thought, lady, your day was sunshine and roses.

To the lady from out of state who was stranded after your son's college baseball game, you're welcome. I know it is scary being stuck with a car that won't work, alone, several hours away from home. You were in one of the worst areas of a bad section of town, but I didn't think you needed to know that. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation too, and hearing the relief in your voice when our driver pulled in was all the thanks I needed. I'm glad your son's team won and that we were able to get you on your way.

To the guy who has called us several times a day, for three days in a row? Yes we can ping a cell phone to locate a vehicle and it's driver but as we have all explained to you every time you call and ask, there has to be a person at the other end of the cell phone. We use a service that texts a code to that phone and the customer must be able to give us that code so we can enter it into our software and locate them. We can't just type in a number and track the phone to wherever it is, not even the police can do that if it's not on or has lost it's charge, which I would imagine it has by now. Your story keeps changing too, first your friend had the car and left it somewhere they were too wasted to remember, then you were driving it and it broke down and you left and went out of town to your brothers house and forgot where it is, then it was back to the friend but this time it broke down on him too but you can't get hold of him because his phone is in the car and you're out of town and can't go looking for it. I don't know what you're trying to do but we want no part of it. The office staff even had a short meeting about you.

To the teenage girl who locked her keys in her car at the mall and I had to call and extend our ETA, apologizing while I did it? When you said "why are you apologizing? It's not like it's your fault I locked my keys in the car and have to wait" I could have reached through the phone and kissed you! Keep that sensible thinking up and you will go very far.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

There’s an App for that.

I just finished my first week. I have to say that I quite enjoyed it. The work is a good mix of steady and slow with bursts of holy heck where did all this come from?!? My boss is good, both as an employer and as a man, and my co-workers are excellent although one has some issues and may not be there much longer. Patience with him has run thin, deservedly so.

I think the job is going to provide a lot of blog fodder, although the most common topic may be how to communicate your location effectively to the dispatch. Where are you? Across the street from the old Save-u. Okay, what road are you on? On the road that runs in front of the old Save-u, isn’t really helpful, but in the fairgrounds parking lot across the street from Walmart is. They’re the same location.

I’ll get started with the topic that the title references.

I’m not going to use a Motor Club unless I’m in absolute dire straights and have no other option. Let me step aside for a moment and explain something about motor clubs that a lot of people don’t realize. Many people have motor clubs/road side service through their insurance, groups they may be members of, their banks, credit cards, cell phone providers, I think I saw a thing for road side assistance attached to a grocery store membership card and I’m pretty sure you can get one with a cup of coffee these days. Smile The vast majority of these services contract with one of a handful of companies to handle the calls for them. One of the major players in the field covers Progressive, USAA, Nationwide, State Farm, Travellers. and many other accounts. Geico and Allstate have their own motor clubs, Allstate also accepts some accounts (they just got GM away from the aforementioned major service provider) but Geico is pretty much just for Geico customers.

We use an app that one of the major contractors (see above) has developed that sends job orders straight to our smart phones. We can take in the job order on their app, open the app that our dispatch software comes with and dispatch to the driver on the fly. Very handy for middle of the night dispatching from home. Often the job order arrives in the app while we’re still on the phone with the company. It supports multiple logins, which is very handy since we have 9 drivers, 3 dispatchers, and a couple of other people that get pressed into service when needed. Unfortunately it doesn’t give us any information about how many people are logged in to our account. It stores all the job orders we have received, although it tends to only show fifty or so at a time. I paged back a few months and could have loaded more but my finger got tired.

The nature of the information on the job orders is quite personal but it’s necessary. Vehicle owners name, policy holders name, telephone numbers, location of the car (complete with mapping service), year/make/model/vin/plates of the car (the vin is necessary, we have to verify it against the one on the car to make sure the vehicle is the one covered by the job order otherwise we don’t get paid), nature of the problem, whether or not the car is attended, location of the key, what the policy holder is covered for, what charges the company has approved, how many passengers the tow driver will have, and the destination of the tow.

All of this is vital information for us. The app really helps us do our job more efficiently and to help make the process less stressful for the customer. However, I’m not necessarily comfortable with it. I just opened it to see if I could find an example of why. A lady is on the interstate east bound at mile marker XX with her check engine light on. One passenger for the wrecker, which means that she’s alone in the car. Anybody want a victim and a 2012 Toyota? Yesterday we had a lawyer with a flat on a $50k SUV in the parking lot at the court house. He needed it towed because the tires have locking hubcaps and he didn’t have the key with him. The app told us “Cust left keys on r front tire, do not call!” We had his key location, his vehicle location, his swanky home address, and we knew he’d be tied up and wouldn’t be answering his phone. Jackpot!

There are less than scrupulous local guys with minimally functioning equipment that want to do nothing but run motor club roadside service calls. They accept any and all jobs they’re called for, call and change their original ETA to something ridiculously long, then show up to the calls with the wrong equipment to handle the problem. If the customer is still there they’ll mess around for a few minutes, tell the customer the motor club sent the wrong information, vehicle needs a tow not a jump, some other excuse, and go home with their $15 consolation prize. I’ve met a few of them and there’s a reason why they’re known in the industry as bottom feeders. They also tend to do a lot of abandoned vehicle pick ups for businesses, booting cars in pay lots and the like. One of them lines the roads in his neighborhood with vehicles he’s “impounded.” Classy. If they have a smart phone they have access to the app. So does anyone they’ve chosen to share their login with.

My boss runs a good shop with very little employee turnover, but he had a driver who moved on to a different industry last year and his replacement is skating on thin ice. If the boss does wind up letting him go we’ll get another login, but it will mean going without motor club calls for anywhere between 1 and 24 hours while their system updates. I don’t know if many of those bottom feeders would be willing to go through the process, or even care, when their newest “business partner” flakes off with the app.

Now, the information isn’t randomly broadcast to every company in the area. It’s only sent to the company who accepts the job, but if we weren’t diligent about our login a smart criminal could watch for road side service on unattended vehicles and beat us there and we wouldn’t know. It’s pretty common to show up for a jump or a lockout to find the customer figured out a way to fix the problem and left without bothering to call. Especially if you give a ridiculously long ETA like the less reputable people do.

There are reasons to have and use a motor club, I’m sure, but if I need assistance I plan on finding my own tow service and submitting the bill for reimbursement. I really don’t want that kind of information being broadcast to anyone not of my choosing but I will freely admit that I’m paranoid.

Monday, April 15, 2013

I have a J-O-B

Starting tomorrow (Monday) I will be working as a part-time dispatcher for a local wrecker service. 

Poor Rhye will have to get used to spending his days in his crate. I think he’ll adjust eventually, although I do anticipate my name will be mud until the kids are out of school and can supervise him while I’m at work.

They wanted a minimum of a year of dispatching experience, which I do not have, so I asked what software they use and found a “getting started” manual and a set of training videos online and made a book length study guide for myself, adding in notes from the videos. A poor substitute for experience but the boss was impressed. He kept me in his office talking for an hour and a half during the interview on Wednesday and they called Thursday to offer me the position. The children and I did a happy dance and a celebratory Kermit flail for good measure. I went outside to clear more weed trees out of the azalea bushes and Monster Girl surprised me by making dinner. She opened a jar of my sweet and sour pork and served it over rice, for dessert she made mint chocolate chip ice cream (from a mix) and chocolate cake made from scratch. She also made a tremendous mess in the kitchen, but I didn’t mind.

This is the first paying job I’ve had outside of the home since NAFTA allowed Motorola to send my division overseas 12 years ago. I’m so excited!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


DrJim's step-grandchild appears to be fading. I'm very sad to hear it, and my thoughts and prayers go out to he and his family at this time.
To the young man, I ask for peace, light, and freedom.

DrJim blogs at Every Blade Of Grass.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Phooey again

The new cord arrived today (YAY!!!) but the video card is still wigging out (Boo!!!) and I had to reboot the computer twice while trying to answer comments (Hiss!!!) (to the reboots, not the comments!!!!) so I'm resorting to posting on my phone again. I can post from the phone but I haven't been able to figure how to see comments, much less reply to them. Guess it's going to be a weird hybrid thing until stuff gets figured out. Yay for technology?

Dr Jim. I have had the jack pull off the motherboard before and it's definitely something that takes a skilled hand to repair. This time it was just the cord. I figured it was on its way out when I noticed cracks up and down its length about a month ago.

Laura, yes the dogs often do accompany my into the ladies, but our master bathroom has an attached walk-on closet that they like to lay in so they're not quite as up in the business as that sounds lol

The kids started a three day weekend today so when they got home I put them to work instead of chaining them to their books. The car was cleaned out and vacuumed, meat was thawed and browned, onions were chopped, beans were rinsed and drained, laundry was folded and dishes were washed while Silly E and I sawed some double wide pallets in half lengthwise to make a fence for my front bed. I'm planning on painting them and filling them with soil to make a vertical garden. Even in its raw state it looks better than the rolls of wire and picket fence we have had for the past few years. I took that fence apart and plan on using the pickets for a hugelkulture bed and having Cave use the wire to build a trellis for grapevines.

Rhye starts his puppy training class tomorrow and I have a full day planned around chauffeuring kids, dogs, and digging through the shed for paint for the fence. Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Well Phooey

My laptop is barely hanging in there. The power cord is on the fritz so it cuts off if I do something so dastardly as pick it up and move it and a gentle bump, sometimes just typing too hard, sends the video chip into fits that often require a series of reboots to get it to settle down and run right. I have a new cord on the way but the video card means it's going to have to be replaced sooner than we had budgeted for.

In the meantime it's set up in a puppy/kid bump-free location that also happens to be inconvenient and as far away from daily life (and the router) as physically possible. Using it right now is about as enjoyable as listening to Feinstein speak at an Occupy gathering without the pleasure of decking myself out in all my NRA and gun positive gear.

I was able to find a blogging app for my phone that works but it's not without its own issues. Blogging will continue, and the pace may even pick up, but content will probably be light.

Speaking of blogging, Google is retiring their rss reader. I managed to export my list to the laptop, hopefully I'll be able to get it set up with a different service when I'm more reliably online. In the meantime I miss y'all.

There really hasn't been a whole lot of interest going on lately. We've been working on cleaning up the yard, weeding and pulling out saplings that have sprung up everywhere. Rhye accompanied me to a local botanical park that offers free composted wood chips and didn't get freaked out when they bellied up the front loader and filled the bed. Even at just Four months he's turning into quite the truck dog. Roxy tries but she gets freaked by the way the truck sounds and how it's old suspension jolts around so she curls up tight on the seat next to me and refuses to move. She's just too big to fit there and interferes with the shifter so she'll have to stick to car rides. Rhye lays his head on my purse, puts his back against the seat and lets those big paws dangle.

Rhye is pretty much my constant companion, meaning he is ALL up in my business just like a good doberman thinks they should be. It reminds me of having toddlers again. We planted some trees, a peach and a plum and he thought the digging was so much fun he kept on, even after we filled the hole.

This morning I futzed with a come-along and the miniature compressor to try to convince the bead to seat on the wheelbarrow tire, and he thought that was great fun too until the air shot out the side right into his nose.

With the barrow out of commission I backed the truck right up the the bed and started unloading. He cavorted around scratching, digging his snout in and flinging it everywhere. He didn't even mind when the forks full landed on him, but after a while his attention finally wandered and we were able to unload mostly in peace.

I'm doing the back to Eden deep mulching again this year so this truck load was enough to fill the bed i have earmarked doe peppers/beans to the 8 inches I wanted with just enough left over to mulch around the blueberries. I'll need another two loads to do the rest of the beds and trees that I already have, and I want another two to make a new bed or two. Hopefully they have enough compost and I have enough gas. Either way, There will be lots of busy in the next few weeks!

On the plus side I discovered that a weed I've been battling for years, Florida Betony, aka rattlesnake weed, has edible tubers and its prime harvesting time for them right now. I think I'll be slicing and frying some for lunch today.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

We have a new family member


2013-02-15 05.19.17

He’d look good with his ears cropped, wouldn’t he? Oh well.

His registered name will be Valentino, but we’ve been calling him Rhye. We brought him home on Valentines Day, just in time for the entire family to be laid flat out with the flu. We’re just now getting over it.

Rhye, on the other hand, has had two clean bills of health from our vet clinic. I took him in the day after he arrived because I’m paranoid and then again yesterday for booster shots and he’s gained three whole pounds between visits. He’s also eaten his way through 2/3 of the bag of puppy chow we have, but judging by the thigh friction Roxy Rotunda has recently developed I think we all know where a good portion of that puppy chow has been going.

He’s a good boy. A bit stubborn about some things, he is determined to have his way with any and every tissue he sees, but he learns quickly and willingly. It took him all of one afternoon to learn that if he slapped the floor with his butt good things happened, and he’s proud to show that skill off. Fortunately he enjoys ear rubs and chest scritches and willingly accepts them as his reward a good portion of the time. Before I was stricken with the flu he was getting the concept of down but studiously ignoring No. I was able to do a little work with him tonight and he showed that he’d retained a good amount of what he’d learned before I got ill, and he was even able to learn to focus (make and hold eye contact with me) within ten minutes, and that’s something I hadn’t worked on with him before.

It took Rhye a while to decide that this was home. He is older, a few days shy of 12 weeks when we got him, so he was with his mom for longer than I would have preferred and the whole new people new house thing confused him at first. The breeder is also in the process of moving and was unable to socialize with him as much as he normally does older puppies. He had been handled twice a day at inspection times but other than that he wasn’t really played with or worked with. He quickly discovered the joys of the easy chair and his spiffy new jacket but it took a few days and a couple of dehydrated chicken gizzard noms before he decided people are where it’s at.

2013-02-22 20.53.42

And possibly a smidge of whipped cream from the ladies at Starbucks helped too

I was hesitant to get another puppy so soon after Hag passed. I was concerned that he would be compared to Hag and found wanting. Comparisons have been made, it’s inevitable and would have happened regardless of how much time had passed, but they haven’t been unfair or negative. More observations than anything else. He’s more clutzy, he has the same scampery trot, his paws aren’t as big, no, they’re bigger, nah, they’re the same size as Hag’s were at his age. He likes being petted and snuggled more, he chews more, he squeaks when he yawns, he’s learned to drift when he corners at full speed on linoleum. He isn’t sick. That’s the big one. He isn’t sick. Silly E came to me after a day of hurling and headaches and said if I have to choose between the family getting sick and the puppy getting sick, I’d much rather we get sick!

Me too.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I’ve been running my butt off hither and yon, and between I’ve been staring wide eyed and slack jawed at the political doings. Unconstitutional much?

I’m tired of the anti-gun crowd. I know many of you don’t bother with them any more. I probably shouldn’t either but I see Linoge (@linoge_wotc, Walls Of The City), @sdsorrentino (NC Gun Blog), Barron (@barronbarnett, The Minuteman), Erin (@erinpalett, Lurking Rythmically) and many more getting in there and slogging it out and I want to support them.

I try to limit myself to responding to people who were politely asking. I typically use my personal facebook for that, but I have made a tweet or two. *Ahem*


The Piers Morgan comment is one of my favorite quotes from a book I’m reading. The character it is referencing is a porn star who decided to run for president. I thought it appropriate.

I’ve been asked repeatedly why the legislation they’re proposing (or have already passed) is unreasonable. I’ve explained, respectfully and with great care that the weapon the politicians are holding up as the flagship gun to ban isn’t the only gun they’re banning. I’ve defined assault weapon to them. I’ve gone over the characteristics they’re using to define military style weapons point by point showing them that it’s all cosmetics, the gun is not any more or less capable of mass shootings than a .22 rifle and that the strategy the politicians are using is engineered to rile people up and make an association in their brain that says guns are evil and politicians are their saviors. I’ve discussed with them that we may not necessarily have need of a militia right this minute but if we allow them to take our guns we are leaving our children and their children wide open for tyranny. If the tyrants wait that long to surface. *eyeing Cuomo*

I remind them that we’ve already lost the right to due process should we be deemed terrorists or suspected of terrorist activities, should the politicians decide owning guns is a terrorist activity then the people most capable of making a stand against further roughshod politics are likely to be on the next boat to Guantanamo or someplace equally as pleasant, that is if they aren’t summarily shot. The Second Amendment was added specifically to prevent such horrors. The legislation passed today in NY tells me that they’re well on their way down the gun owners as terrorists track, particularly with the ammunition background checks and automatic reporting of large purchases.

I’ve explained to them that when the next gunman breaks into a school and starts shooting I want the educators to have something more effective than their own bodies with which to protect the children and themselves.There is no doubt in my mind that when he aimed at their students all of the educators in Sandy Hook would have picked up a gun and fired upon the shooter, regardless of what they believed seconds earlier.Their instincts were to protect the children in their care with whatever they had, I don’t think their ideals would have entered the equation at that point.

For my efforts I’ve been called a murderer, a murder supporter, a tin foil hatter, a right wing nutjob of the first degree. My explanations have been summarily dismissed as irrelevant, insulting to the Ladies at Sandy Hook, !!!!!ZOMG 30 Round Clip!!!!!, or I’ve been ignored while they continue to whine that no one will reasonably respond to their questions. I have been told to shove my conservative Christian views up my [where the sun doesn’t shine] and to stop beating my wife and drag my racist white [butt] into the current century. That one was particularly amusing. I’m sure my husband will read that and be happy to know that I’m a wife beater, and then ask me if I have a wife why does he still have to wash his own uniforms? I’m not the maid, darling.

I did take advantage of the NRA’s lifetime membership discount to upgrade my membership. Like most of you I disagree with them on some things, but they’re our best bet against the bums rush we’re being given. We’re looking into forming a trust, hopefully that will keep our guns available to our family. We’re calling and writing our senators and congresspersons and voicing our concerns. Our governor has spoken out in support of the 2nd amendment. At least she’s got that right, and I’ve emailed her to thank her, then I told her not to get too smug as I’m not a one issue voter. Not for her, anyway.

I’m probably not as concerned as I should be about tomorrows pending executive orders. From what I understand he can’t use them to shove gun control completely down our throats. That doesn’t mean I want him to make them, I’m choosing to focus on Feinstein and January 22nd and trying not to lose perspective on everything else.

I had to set the headlines aside for a while this evening. A certain Monster Girl decided her toenails needed to look like purple disco balls and I was happy to oblige, with a coating of pink sparkle polish on her nails to boot. I wouldn’t be surprised to find her doing the YMCA in her sleep.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Waiting for the hammer to fall

So. Feinstein was supposed to present her scary black gun ban to congress yesterday. I went looking for it but the only pertinent legislation I saw was The High Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act and the Illinois Lame-Duck Bill.*

I was, however, told (by someone with less maturity than my ten year old) that my status as a gun owner, my name and the location of my residence need to be made public because I am mentally ill.

Then I was equated to convicted pedophiles and told, yet again, that my private information should be made public.

I wonder how long it will be before the ghetto entrepreneurs can download an app, hop in their hoopties and pay me a visit? I’m thinking of baking some cookies and installing a searchlight on the roof so I can shoot a silhouette of the Hi-Point Crosshairs into the sky, just to make them feel at home.

Next I was told that I need to be executed as a terrorist felon and have my guns pried from my Cold Dead Hands. On second thought, scratch the searchlight, it might screw up my night vision when that nutter comes gunning for me. The cookies are still in the running though.

As much as I want the name calling and insults to die back to their normal dull roar, the absolute worst for me was that no matter what corner of the web I looked in, it was already occupied by this:


I’m sure we’ll turn up some sneaky underhanded reason why she wasn’t tripping Boehner so she could beat him to the podium at noon o’clock yesterday, and that it won’t bode well for us mentally ill terrorist felon pedophiles, but I’m almost looking forward to her presenting her bill so this doesn’t jump out at me any more. Almost. Yeesh.


*I have to admit that I’m only 99.92% happy that there wasn’t enough support for it. The other .08% was blown away long ago by idiotic hunters from flatlandia** with no concept of private property or target awareness. Or what a deer looks like, but that’s for another time.

** It’s the land of the fip’s,*** eh?

*** fip;
freakin' Illinois people ~usually referring to crappy drivers of cars from said state, also a generic term for people from Illinois as they lack a good word for themselves (Illinoisian is not a word)

The funniest thing I ever did see was the father of a friend of mine, driving us to FFA and rounding the bend to find a car stopped in the middle of the curve while the driver stood in the other lane snapping pictures of leaves. Einer wasted half his tread to miss them but it took him a good five minutes of angry hand waving before he could squeeze out a “Dat Danged FIP EH?!” and put it back in gear. Then he turned to me with bright red cheeks and said “tell yer mum um surry ‘bout dat.” It was the most eloquent display and longest collection of words I’d heard from him to date.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Guns at the Pawn Shop

We frequent the local pawn shops because we find some good deals there. The last one was an Enfield No 4 Mk I in good shape, decently scoped and wearing a synthetic stock. The owner of this particular store (he actually owns four or five but this is where he has his office) is a bit of a character. He’s infamous for his “butt calculator,” a big rectangular thing with fake jewel buttons tucked into his waistband at the small of his back so he can whip it out and crunch up some numbers for you on the spot. He normally sets a fairish price on his inventory, but you have to watch him close when you’re haggling a trade-in or selling something outright otherwise you’ll walk out without your gun, owing him money, and not quite sure what happened, and he won’t even lubricate you with a cup of coffee. He’s not a warm person but he is professional and courteous enough while he eyes you with his predatory eyeball. I respect his bargaining skills and his obvious ability to read people, but if I ever decide to part with a gun it won’t be in his shop.

That’s one of the beauties of a free market. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Over the years I’ve noticed that their inventory is a good indication of the local economy. When times are good they’ll have a decent selection of a little bit of everything in a range of conditions and prices so someone is bound to find something that will work for them at a price that they can afford. I have noticed that their inventory runs heavy on synthetic stocks even on older guns but hot humid salty air is hard on wood stocks so that makes sense. Most of the average guns have cosmetic issues and a few of them have mechanical issues but nothing you can tell without firing it. They’re one of the few pawns in the area that let you bring back a gun if it doesn’t work. They won’t take the craptastic guns because they’re usually more trouble than they’re worth and if they wind up with something less than decent they’ll funnel it through one of their locations where quality isn’t as high of a priority for their customers.

Cave and I stopped in at one of those locations when we were in the area. Behind wired glass cases they had one AR, a couple of shotguns, and a bunch of low end pistols with one Glock as the crowned jewel of the case. You could drive ten miles up to one of their other locations and save yourself $200 on an identical gun. The poor tax in effect but I guess it pays for the damage the goons do trying to break in.

During times of economic crisis you’ll start seeing more safe queens, higher end rifles, garands and more “assault” rifles, things that people wouldn’t normally part with, and they’ll be priced so that if you’re flush you can get some good deals on some nice guns. Right now they have a mostly original (and what has been repaired was done several lifetimes ago), authentic, with provenance blunderbuss on their wall for $4000. Rumor is that it belonged to a pirate. I would want to see the provenance before I believed that story but pirates were in this area for a long time so you never know.

When I went to his store the other day I walked in and their shelves were full, but their inventory struck me as odd. There were a lot of decent bolt action hunters and shotguns, the type that people generally tend to sell privately because they don’t bring enough at the pawn. There were more than the usual amounts of safe queens including some gorgeous and pristine English bird guns, there were tons of revolvers, two cases worth, maybe five Glocks, and they were completely out of scary black rifles. I was hard pressed to even find a gun in a synthetic stock, I’m guessing anything wearing black plastic is in demand by those with little to no experience. I was very surprised to see just how much trash they had on their walls though.

Cave and I started looking around. We found another Mossberg 151M, this one doesn’t have a scope and the sights have been replaced but it was professionally done, the action is nice, the bore is clean and it’s obviously a gun that someone has taken care of. The price was about $30 more than it would have run last month, but it’s not a bad deal and still cheaper than one we found in Oct. We picked it up. While we were perusing the selection I had earmarked three other weapons. A nice short barreled 870 that we were planning on purchasing, a National Ordnance M1903A3 and a M1 carbine clone, both of which had been hacked on. We wanted to look at them on the off chance that there might be something worth the effort to salvage. There wasn’t.

The Carbine came down first. It was a Plainfield, with the original walnut stock in eh shape. The serial number was in the 18,000’s which by my quick and dirty estimate put it’s manufacture date no earlier than 1970, far past the surplus GI parts years. The action worked smoothly, the bore was clean with a good muzzle, but Bubba had his way and then some with this poor gun. Besides having to beat the rusty magazine out of the mag well the most noticeable problem was that someone had removed the rear sight and screwed on a flip up v-notch sight well forward of the action. It was loose and slopped around. The screws felt stripped, I pulled out one of the screws and it ran almost the thickness of the chamber. If we’d had the good bore light with us I’m pretty sure we’d have been able to see a disturbance or even perhaps bumps inside from those screws. To get the handguard over the sights they routed a hole into the the middle of it, removed the metal blade that inserts above the chamber and called it a day. The handguard clacked around while we were handling it and fell off when the action was worked. I can’t see it surviving recoil. Not only that but with the rear sights so far forward I found myself creeping up on them and trying to get a cheek weld almost on top of my hand. Hot brass, gasses, particles, and a flying handguard that close to my face? Not safe in my opinion. The asking price? $500. This is something they would have laughed out the door this summer and now they have it priced almost at what one in excellent condition normally brings…wow.

The National Ordnance didn’t have holes drilled in it but Bubba did hacksaw off most of the mannlicher stock, screwing up the balance and leaving the barrel free to noodle around. I’m almost curious to find out if the barrel whip would make a twang when fired. I would call it a bad sporterization except it didn’t even deserve that much credit. The action wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either. They wanted $200. A stock can be replaced but this one also wasn’t old enough to have GI parts on it and NO’s reputation for potentially turning themselves into shrapnel from bad receivers meant I passed on it.

Having thoroughly enjoyed the ten minutes of boggling over the bubba’d guns we turned to the short 870, and it was gone. The man who had been standing next to us looking perplexedly at a scoped Rem 700 in .270 was now across the store with the shotgun, filling out paperwork. We snoozed and we lost. I have reason to believe that he didn’t have two clues about guns and chose it based on what he overheard us saying. 

Prices were running a little high, $50 to $100 more than what I’d have expected and some of the heavier calibers were going for pretty close to their MSRP, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why they were asking so much for the chop shop carbine. Then I realized it was one of probably only three semi-automatic rifles left in the entire store. They were even out of semi-auto .22’s. I said something about the dearth to the clerk, who popped out with ‘Oh we had ‘em, a lot of ‘em. You should have seen the prices on those, we had a Colt AR go for over $3500 and a Mini-14 for somewhere around $1600. People couldn’t get their wallets out fast enough.” He also explained why the inventory was so different, people have been bringing in two, three, or more guns to try and offset the price of an “assault" rifle and the store was accepting guns they wouldn’t normally look at because they could get them cheaper than ever and people were buying them. I noted something I have rarely seen at that shop before, all of the lesser guns had tags that read As Is ONLY. Nice of them to label which guns not to buy.

I think AR’s and AK’s and all the other scary guns are useful platforms that everyone should at least be familiar with if not own at least one of. However, I hated seeing evidence that so many people are practically giving their guns away to purchase them. I hope that people aren’t doing other stupid things to finance this run, but from a few overheard conversations I suspect many are racking up the debt to "invest.” If you didn’t already own one they really aren’t a good investment right now. Either you will be legislated out of your right to profit from them, or nothing will happen and you’ll have to eat the loss when the prices normalize.

I understand their urgency, sort of. Earlier this year I was going to sit with my favorite gun purveyor and make an order so I could build my own AR. I was even thinking about two, a 5.56 and a .308. Finances necessitated that it be put off until tax time, and now it looks like that won’t happen either. Cave has AR’s, but they’re not MY AR so I have a bit of a lust for one too. If there were none available to me I would almost be tempted to whip out the card, but now isn’t really the time to lose your head about such things. I’m more concerned that my Garand and Carbine won’t pass on to my children. I had a nightmare that Feinstein seized them from my daughter and I silently screamed NOooooooo while watching her weld them to a giant Tower of Babel monolith she’s creating so she can ascend and divide the country at the same time. She’s already well on her way.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

This one isn’t about the pawn shop either

I saw this video today and found it to be a well researched, articulate, and thoughtful FU in the face of media hype and number massagers. I hope he continues to post.