'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

31 July 2013

First Competiton (Updated with pics)

My first competition match ever.

The range is fantastic. I'm used to much more spartan facilities so I was impressed and happy with the range and targets. Shooting was from covered bays, a plus in many areas but a necessity here I think. It's freaking hot, even at 7PM. The Range Officers were professional and very helpful.In fact all the guys went out of their way to make me welcome. My thanks to all but Ken and Glenn especially.

There were 4 stages. The Glock decided not to run so I didn't get to use my cool Michael's rig. Instead I went with plan B. A Sig 226 .40 and my nylon duty gear. Yep, thumb break level three holster and snap fastened flap mag holders. Nobody pointed and laughed which gives you a good idea how patient they were with me. I loaded up the Sig with 10 rounds in the mags (per the rules). Somebody told me the class I was shooting in but frankly it pretty much went by me in a haze of concentrating on not shooting myself or anyone else.

The stages were well planned and challenging. I sucked badly right off the start on stage 1 a combo of falling and static plates. I missed but I missed slow so there's that. I could start a new class "Aim Slow, Miss Slow. Stage 2 was no better though I felt marginally more competent. It was also a nice combination that didn't leave me scratching my head trying to figure out which target to shoot and how many times. A little coaching and it was on to stage 3 where I didn't completely suck, just mostly. It was just the large static plates that even I couldn't quite miss. By stage 4 I felt more confident and actually shot it like something a little less than a complete goober. It was also the longest stage with poppers thrown in just to change things up. My favorite stage of the match.

No procedurals (though they might have just been kind) and no safety violations. No DQ, hallelujah. I didn't even sweep anyone. Targets were both falling plates and static, both large and really, really tiny.

At the end of the shoot we were invited to practice a little. I got to shoot one of the guys' slightly more tricked out guns. I got to see a lot of guns and gear so got some good ideas on equipment I need.

And I didn't even come in last. I was 9th out of 10. Maybe not the best result possible but for my very first match I'll take it. Of course the guy I beat was approximately twice my age (and I'm 54) but screw it. I wasn't last.

I was very pleased with my first attempt at competitive shooting. I got a lot of good info I'll need if I'm going to continue and got to meet some really great shooters. I also got to knock some of my rust off and see where I need to improve. Pretty much everywhere but nothing locks that in like shooting in front of better shooters. Humbling. I have a newbie competitor session on Friday evening and they've asked me to take a briefing on Thursday morning and come out to help officiate a match on Saturday. I suppose the best compliment I can give them is that I'm going back both to shoot and to play range monkey.

So that's it. What I really ended up taking from this whole effort is that it's sometimes a very good thing to step past your comfort zone and try something brand new. I'm glad I did and I recommend it wholeheartedly. Competition makes you shoot under stress and that makes you concentrate on your fundamentals and figure out where you're weak. All good things. Don't be afraid or intimidated. Just put on your gear, buckle up your chin strap nice and tight and take the plunge.You'll be glad you did.

Now to practice. Next time I'm going to beat two guys!

A couple of pics from the shoot.

This is one of the buildings on the range. We actually shot from inside through bays in the side. Much appreciated in July in Southern Utah. You can see the targets and berm on the left.

A view of the target area. This was a steel shoot and they consisted of falling plate racks, static plates of various sizes and pepper poppers.

The inside of the building and one of the Range Officers and all around good guy, Glenn.

30 July 2013

Moving Outside My Comfort Zone

I am taking the competition plunge today and I'm a little nervous about the whole thing.

I recently found current USPSA Production Champion Ben Stoeger and his writings on all things competition. Stoeger has a common sense approach to shooting that I really like, to the point that I bought one of his books, Practical Pistol. It got me to considering.

I had always been of the mind that I'd try my hand at IDPA. I even had Michael build me a rig for that specific purpose. I have since decided to go ahead and give USPSA a try, mostly because my local range and club, Southern Utah Practical Shooters, is a USPSA affiliated range. I sent an e-mail off to a club contact yesterday and got an invite to a steel shoot tonight as well as a newbie class on Friday. I have accepted their invitation and will be shooting steel this very evening.

I am of two minds about this. First, I'm a pretty experienced shooter and no neophyte when it comes to steel. Embarrassment holds no terrors for me. If I don't shoot master I will not wilt away in a cloud of fail stink. On the other hand I am naturally competitive and hold my shooting skills as dearly as anyone. I don't want to stink up the place just for personal pride if nothing else. That makes me slightly nervous. I have never shot this range, do not know any of the shooters and have absolutely no idea what to expect. The club guy has been very supportive and kind. He basically told me to bring my gun and just have fun. The club seems pretty squared away and actively recruit new shooters. That's a good sign for me.

Going into any brand new situation, especially one where there will be scoring and ranking, is very boundary challenging. I've never shot competition in any form before. Stress is an old and familiar partner so I don't anticipate collapsing under the glare of public scrutiny. But. I haven't done much shooting since I retired 3 1/2 years ago so I'm...well, rusty is probably being charitable. In reality the suckitude may be epic.

Still, I am determined to at least go and try my hand at this endeavor. I'm certainly not getting any younger so if not now perhaps never and that is unacceptable.

So wish me luck, if you would be so kind, that my suckage will be something less than catastrophic and I will at least manage to not sweep the entire firing line and be sent off to forever exist in durance vile. I will be running my G35 in my Michael's rig so at least I will be stylish. If I do moderately well I will update with a new post on my experience.

If not I will disavow this entire post and allow it to self destruct in a laptop destroying cleansing ball of nuclear annihilation.

29 July 2013

Flash Flood

First an update on the California house. We got a great offer on the house late last night. It's for a little more than we asked, As Is, the buyer is already qualified for the offered amount, they put down a large good faith payment, the lender is a good one our agent likes and it's a 30 day escrow as opposed to 45. Lu and I talked it over with our agent and have decided to accept it. The paperwork begins today and man there is a bunch of it to do. We signed the offer sheet (all 8 pages!) and fired it off. With a bit of luck escrow will close at the end of August. Lu and I are ecstatic. We have been truly blessed. The power of prayer is strong. Thank you all for yours!

A couple of days ago the skies started looking pretty ominous and we got the Emergency Broadcast interruption on the TV. Within about an hour it looked like this outside.

It rained like that for a couple of hours. As it died down we decided to walk the neighborhood and take a look at Gould Wash which is just half a block from the house. It's normally a dry wash but it was pretty full of swiftly rushing muddy water.

Around the block there's another bridge over the wash. Next to it was a huge old cottonwood tree that decided it was time to come crashing down.

Another view of the flood from that same bridge. That's a lot of water.

Fortunately it didn't crest it's banks so flooding was kept to a minimum. It has before. A few years ago it was bad enough to flood our basement. We went back the next day to check and the water was mostly gone. If you take a look you can see the high water mark. I figure it was about 6 feet deep at it's highest.

A neighbor captured some of it on video. It includes that big tree that crashed.

We had some more rain and lightning yesterday and the forecast is a little uncertain to my mind. We shall see. In the meantime Lu and I are celebrating the pending sale of the California house. If it does go through I can get back to working on this house for a bit. It's been a while since we were down to a single house. I cannot wait. It will simplify our lives immensely and in these days that is a very good thing.

28 July 2013

Sunday Kipling

Missed last week so I hereby acknowledge I owe you all at least one additional Kipling post somewhere down the line. Seeing as how I'm pretty lazy, bordering on narcoleptic (and I'm feeling pretty nappy right about now) I hope you'll settle for just one today.

We're all recovering nicely though we did have a flash flood yesterday. I'll post some pics and video next week. It was a real gully washer. The house is now posted and the open house is tomorrow. Lu and I are doing our best to simply let things unfold as they are supposed to and trying not to stress out. To that end I think it's BBQ time today. We have some nice chops in the freezer and I think they're just what the doctor ordered.

We're missing DO and the kids something fierce but it won't be long before we see them again. In the meantime I will kiss my best gal, scratch my best buddy and enjoy a beautiful Sunday as it was meant to be. I wish you all love and peace today and every day.

This poem is dedicated to my brothers and sisters caught in the storm in Great Britain. Especially Ex Bootneck. Hang in there my brother.

Alexa Certified Site Stats for poetryloverspage.com

26 July 2013

The House

A couple of observations. First, we are no longer 25 years old. heck, we're not even 45 any more. Second, a good pocket knife may well be the single most versatile tool you can possess. Third, California building codes purely suck.

We got the word from our realtor in May that the local market had recovered to the point that selling the California house was now a go. When we left in 2010 we were badly underwater on the mortgage. To the point that it would have cost us an arm and leg to get out from under the thing. We decided to hold on, rent it out and see if the market would come around. It apparently has. So last Wednesday we took the kids to the airport in Las Vegas and headed out to California.

We got in late Wednesday evening and started right in to work. We borrowed tools and whatnot from Car Guy since he has everything and lives just down the street. We also decided to just sleep in the house so we could work whenever the mood struck us. Primitive but workable though it was a bit crowded with two adults and one Black Lab.

Speaking of which. Never let anyone tell you dogs don't get homesick. Angus spent the whole week trying to convince us it was time to go home. The first night I found him sitting in the entrance, leaning against the front door and whining softly. Every time we got near the truck he wanted in right now. That boy wanted to go home and he wanted it bad!

We had a lot of work to do. One of the things we brought with us was the paint sprayer since we had an entire house interior to paint. Lu handled that part while I did all the repairs and updates. The kitchen/dining room was red, the master bedroom was blue and white while the rest of the house was a tan color. The realtor wanted the whole house Navajo White. She indicated that the banks were driving the market and all their houses were that color so that's what buyers were expecting. Since the renters had made various holes and bad repairs a paint job was in order anyway so we gave her what she wanted.The best part was the fact that we were replacing the carpeting so draping and taping off was reduced a bit.

What color is Navajo White? This is Navajo White. Not that Angus was an issue in a newly painted house or anything.

Some before and after shots:

The Great Room

The Kitchen/Dining Room

Master Bedroom

DOs Room

Spare Bedroom. In this room I had to do three repairs to the drywall. You can see them from the center right to the far left at the bottom of the wall.

Bear in mind that Lu did all the painting. I hate it and suck at it. She likes it and is good at it. I married well my friends. I reciprocated by doing all the repairs and the yard work. The yards were a mess in spite of having hired a service. They were summarily fired when we saw the state of the yards. Word to the wise; get references. Good ones.

As of today the carpet has been replaced with a good quality tan Berber. The realtor sign is up and an open house is now scheduled for Sunday. Our agent anticipates receiving offers even before the OH so we're keeping our fingers crossed.

We finished late on Monday and headed for home that night. I hate driving in the heat and the late night traffic is so much better so we drove straight through and got in to Hurricane Tuesday morning exhausted. We've been just trying to recover since then. We had a lot of late nights and worked 14, 16 and 18 hour days trying to get the place ready. The realtor was pleased with our work and pronounced us ready. When you consider the bid for the paint job alone was 2500 dollars and that didn't include any repairs we saved a bundle by doing it ourselves.

We've had our termite inspection. They'll be going by on Monday for a treatment but found very little to address. That made me very happy. Had some dry rot but in a house built in 1969 that's hardly surprising. One word of advice. Fix It All (aka Fixall) is pure magic. I used it to repair a lot of my dry rot issues and I highly recommend the stuff. Cheap, mixes quickly and easy as stink to use. I get no commercial kickback from those folks I just love their product.

There were a couple of areas I had to bring into California Building Code compliance. One was understandable, the other was stupid. I had to retrofit the water heater containment for earthquake safety by adding a double steel strap. No problem. Then I had to add in a 20 minute fire door between the garage and the house which was idiotic because it already had a solid core door installed. No dice, it must have the certification and it must have swing hinges so it will close automatically. I really didn't want to remove the jamb and install an entire unit which would have cost me a cool 200 bucks. Instead I bought a non-pre hung door for 60 and routed out the hinges. A bit more figuring and such but cheaper and easier in the long run.

Now we wait. When and if we get an offer we like there will be a home inspection. I'm crossing my fingers that no major issues arise but if they do I'll be loading up again and heading out. I am convinced that I can do a better and much cheaper job than anyone we could hire. besides, Car Guy is there and if there's anything I can't handle I know he can.

It was quite a week and we're all still pretty tired. The first two days back Angus didn't even snivel about walkies so that gives you an idea how long the trip was. If the house sells for enough for us to get out clean it will have all been worth the effort. There's even a small chance we'll sell it for enough to make a small profit but considering that we've been subsidizing the rent by 800 dollars a month for nearly 3 years and are now carrying the mortgage entirely it seems unlikely we'll recoup all our investment. Still, we're not being greedy. If we can get this white elephant off our backs with just a little pain we'll be very happy.

I'm back now and should be blogging regularly again. Thanks for all your well wishes, they mean a lot to us. I'll update as things progress.

23 July 2013

Holy Schlamoley

We're back after what ended up being quite a week. Wednesday we took the kids to the airport and were in California by that evening. Due to the work schedule and time pressures we jumped in immediately. We completely painted the interior of the house, did some major yard work, fixed a host of renter issues and generally got the house ready for the market. Open house on Saturday. The house goes on MLS tomorrow and our realtor is expecting offers even before the OH. Apparently inventory is low and demand is high. How much has the market changed in the last year? If we get what she expects it's gone up in Salinas between 70 and 80 thousand in the last year, 30 to 40 just since September 2012. Timing is everything and we felt The Good Lord was rapping us both on the forehead, telling us not to miss this obvious blessing (if our realtor wasn't just blowing smoke. Not likely but always a possibility. We're continuing to pray. Hard.). To that end we basically went through that house from end to end in 6 days. It was exhausting but if it all works out definitely worth the effort.

We left California last night at 9:18 PM and rolled into the driveway at 7:15 AM this morning. Tired but oh so happy to be home. Especially Angus. We took a nice nap this morning, got up to shower and eat something. We're still pretty bushed but I'll have a complete report with pics up tomorrow. I'd have posted from there but we ended up not having any internet access. My thanks to Car Guy who provided help, tools, expertise, food and much needed support. Good friends are such a treasure.

Thanks for all your well wishes and for checking in. See you tomorrow.
Six and Lu

14 July 2013

Sunday kipling

It's Sunday! It's been a fabulous couple of weeks with our daughter and grandkids. Sadly they have to go home on Wednesday. Booo! On another note when Lu and I take them to the airport in Vegas we will be loaded down and continuing on to California. Our real estate agent has decided the market has improved to the point where selling the house out there is now recommended. We notified the renters and they have moved out. Now we have to go out and get the place ready for sale. Car Guy will be assisting, especially with the tools. Yard work, some minor repairs, new paint and new carpet. Hopefully we'll only be gone a few days. No internet access out there so I'll take lots of pics and post when we return. I'll also be posting a write up of the Grand Play put on by the kids. It was a hoot!

Have a fine day my friends. Pay no attention to the naysayers and those who exist for nothing more than to vex us. Kiss someone you love and play with your little ones. And I can attest that if you build a stage they will come and magical things will be produced.

The Ballad of the King's Jest

When spring-time flushes the desert grass,
Our kafilas wind through the Khyber Pass.
Lean are the camels but fat the frails,
Light are the purses but heavy the bales,
As the snowbound trade of the North comes down
To the market-square of Peshawur town.
In a turquoise twilight, crisp and chill,
A kafila camped at the foot of the hill.
Then blue smoke-haze of the cooking rose,
And tent-peg answered to  hammer-nose;
And the picketed ponies, shag and wild,
Strained at their ropes as the feed was piled;
And the bubbling camels beside the load
Sprawled for a furlong adown the road;
And the Persian pussy-cats, brought for sale,
Spat at the dogs from the camel-bale;
And the tribesmen bellowed to hasten the food;
And the camp-fires twinkled by Fort Jumrood;
And there fled on the wings of the gathering dusk
A savour of camels and carpets and musk,
A murmur of voices, a reek of smoke,
To tell us the trade of the Khyber woke.
The lid of the flesh-pot chattered high,
The knives were whetted and -- then came I
To Mahbub Ali, the muleteer,
Patching his bridles and counting his gear,
Crammed with the gossip of half a year.
But Mahbub Ali the kindly said,
"Better is speech when the belly is fed."
So we plunged the hand to the mid-wrist deep
In a cinnamon stew of the fat-tailed sheep,
And he who never hath tasted the food,
By Allah! he knoweth not bad from good.
We cleansed our beards of the mutton-grease,
We lay on the mats and were filled with peace,
And the talk slid north, and the talk slid south,
With the sliding puffs from the hookah-mouth.
Four things greater than all things are, --
Women and Horses and Power and War.
We spake of them all, but the last the most,
For I sought a word of a Russian post,
Of a shifty promise, an unsheathed sword
And a grey-coat guard on the Helmund ford.
Then Mahbub Ali lowered his eyes
In the fashion of one who is weaving lies.
Quoth he:  "Of the Russians who can say?
When the night is gathering all is grey.
But we look that the gloom of the night shall die
In the morning flush of a blood-red sky.
Friend of my heart, is it meet or wise
To warn a King of his enemies?
We know what Heaven or Hell may bring,
But no man knoweth the mind of the King.
That unsought counsel is cursed of God
Attesteth the story of Wali Dad.
"His sire was leaky of tongue and pen,
His dam was a clucking Khattack hen;
And the colt bred close to the vice of each,
For he carried the curse of an unstaunched speech.
Therewith madness -- so that he sought
The favour of kings at the Kabul court;
And travelled, in hope of honour, far
To the line where the grey-coat squadrons are.
There have I journeyed too -- but I
Saw naught, said naught, and -- did not die!
He hearked to rumour, and snatched at a breath
Of `this one knoweth', and 'that one saith', --
Legends that ran from mouth to mouth
Of a grey-coat coming, and sack of the South.
These have I also heard -- they pass
With each new spring and the winter grass.
"Hot-foot southward, forgotten of God,
Back to the city ran Wali Dad,
Even to Kabul -- in full durbar
The King held talk with his Chief in War.
Into the press of the crowd he broke,
And what he had heard of the coming spoke.
"Then Gholam Hyder, the Red Chief, smiled,
As a mother might on a babbling child;
But those who would laugh restrained their breath,
When the face of the King showed dark as death.
Evil it is in full durbar
To cry to a ruler of gathering war!
Slowly he led to a peach-tree small,
That grew by a cleft of the city wall.
And he said to the boy:  `They shall praise thy zeal
So long as the red spurt follows the steel.
And the Russ is upon us even now?
Great is thy prudence -- await them, thou.
Watch from the tree.  Thou art young and strong.
Surely the vigil is not for long.
The Russ is upon us, thy clamour ran?
Surely an hour shall bring their van.
Wait and watch.  When the host is near,
Shout aloud that my men may hear.'
"Friend of my heart, is it meet or wise
To warn a King of his enemies?
A guard was set that he might not flee --
A score of bayonets ringed the tree.
The peach-bloom fell in showers of snow,
When he shook at his death as he looked below.
By the power of God, Who alone is great,
Till the seventh day he fought with his fate.
Then madness took him, and men declare
He mowed in the branches as ape and bear,
And last as a sloth, ere his body failed,
And he hung like a bat in the forks, and wailed,
And sleep the cord of his hands untied,
And he fell, and was caught on the points and died.
"Heart of my heart, is it meet or wise
To warn a King of his enemies?
We know what Heaven or Hell may bring,
But no man knoweth the mind of the King.
Of the grey-coat coming who can say?
When the night is gathering all is grey.
Two things greater than all things are,
The first is Love, and the second War.
And since we know not how War may prove,
Heart of my heart, let us talk of Love!"

10 July 2013

Two Brand New Shooters

We have a great reason to celebrate today. Two brand new shooters have joined the ranks of free Americans around the country. Our grandchildren, Miss Princess (The Girl) and Captain Awesome (The Boy).

Last year we introduced the kids to shooting with a BB Gun. That's fine and all and is, in my opinion, an important step in exposing the young to shooting and beginning the ingraining of good habits, but there comes a time when the next step is indicated. Today was that day.

This morning I held a class in gun safety. The students were my grandchildren. The Girl age 9 and The Boy age 7. We went over the 4 rules and I required them to repeat them back to me without error. Then we went on to shooting basics, grip, stance, sight alignment, sight picture and trigger control. Basic stuff because I don't want to overwhelm them this early on. Then we loaded up and headed for the range. But wait, there was one small problem. One of my safes refused to open and in it were the firearms I had intended as appropriate, the Ruger 10-22s, a 77-22 and a MKI and MKII. On to the back up plan. A S&W M&P and Lu's Ruger SR22. Ok, we can do this.

Got to the range and it was a beautiful day. We had ammo to spare and two kids just about to explode from the anticipation. First up was the S&W. As feared it was just too big and heavy. We shot off a couple of rounds but as soon as I realized it just wasn't going to work we switched to the SR22. It actually proved to be a nearly perfect selection. Big enough to feel real but small enough that kid hands could grasp it effectively.

First up The Boy. Please note his trigger finger placement. I worked with their new shooter lean all day. We never got there but we got progressively closer. That's good enough for now.

And The Girl. Again, good finger placement.

Working on the grip. Kids seem to tend to reach out and try to grab it with both hands. Strict attention from the coach/instructor is required here.

Pretty good form with the exception of the aforementioned new shooter lean.

The Girl is taller with bigger hands. She's also a lefty. Well, she's really pretty ambidextrous but she's also right eye dominant. That can be a real issue with new shooters, especially those who cannot wink with each eye. I decided to go ahead and concentrate on her right hand with the idea that as she progresses we can switch her as we go. It'll also inculcate weak and strong hand shooting techniques from the get go.

Here's The Boy in full recoil. I know it's just a 22 but he's also just 7. His good body position (mostly) allows him to soak up what recoil there is without fear of the muzzle flying back and hitting him. Coaches, good position by the shooter will also lend both support and confidence. Plus you'll be in a position to immediately intervene or correct/teach. You can also coach them through their fundamentals as they shoot.

The Girl in the start of the recoil cycle. Note the barrel/slide position. A couple of great shots by our official photographer, AKA grandma Lu. Neither kid had an issue with recoil all day. Can you also see the smile on that little face? It's there alright. Oh yes.

Working with The Boy on grip and body position. You can also see our targets, placed at about 5 yards. Bullseye and some steel. If you want some great ideas on cheap targets go peruse Dann's site. We'll be trying some of them out next range trip.

Not a bad grip, especially for a brand new shooter. Not perfect but plenty good for starters. Did I mention that boy is 7?

And The Girl. Yes we need work but I am completely satisfied with where we got. I've seen much worse on police ranges I was running and this from a 9 year old.

The Girl and the targets. Both kids rang the steel and were thrilled to do so. Those are pretty small ringers at 5 yards in front of two kids who had never shot a real firearm before. Yep, I was mighty impressed and most pleased. So were they. Positive reinforcement and success will do wonders at this point. Keep the expectations and challenges reasonable.

It was a very good day. We even had a proper Cease Fire called by the kids when Lu was on the line. The Boy's ears had broken and they understood and remembered my range safety briefing and both called the cease fire. I was very happy. One note and it's just my opinion. I do not conduct kid ranges with the same intensity as adult. There was no yelling, no barked corrections, little pressure. Just good safety practices, low stress work on the fundamentals and maximum fun. Introducing new shooters is a tricky business and best done as gently as possible within the strictures of a safe range.

We have a lot of work to do but I am immensely satisfied at the progress we made not to mention thrilled that I got to introduce my grandchildren to the sport of shooting. This is a big step toward them becoming responsible adults and shooters as well as Free Americans. From their response the joy of shooting has been well and truly implanted. For those who have never done it I cannot adequately express how proud I am of them and how ecstatic I am that I got to be their first instructor. It is a feeling that has to be experienced to be truly appreciated.

We are already planning the next visit to the range. If I can get the safe opened we'll do a little more rifle work. If I can't we'll concentrate on pistol. Anyone know how to break into a Winchester safe with a digital combination lock?

We have two new American Shooters in our midst. I hope you will all welcome them to the family. It is a very good day my friends.

09 July 2013

TSA, California And Shameful Treatment Of Our Wounded Heroes

Apparently being a severely wounded Marine Hero, and being honored as his legislative district's Veteran of the Year, means extra security scrutiny. Because it's quite obvious that wearing a Marine dress uniform with a chest full of medals, including the Purple Heart, is an indicator of terrorist activities.

The Military Times brings the story of Nathan Kemnitz. Go read the whole thing and ponder where we are and what we have become.

And the treatment by the TSA isn't even the worst of it. What he endured by the security folks at the California capitol may have been even worse. In Corpoal Kemnitz's own words.

"Kemnitz said after the incidents that he was not as annoyed with TSA officers as he was with a security screener at the California state capitol, whom he described as rude and unapologetic."

None of this is to excuse the treatment everyday Americans must endure simply to make use of the airspace, OUR airspace mind you, but it absolutely makes my blood boil to see one of those who have given so dearly to try and keep us free of the horror of War being treated so shamefully. It sickens me.

And it's my fault. I have accepted this state of affairs and allowed the creation of this attitude among those who are allegedly our public servants. I am going to be taking a zero tolerance stance from this day forward. I'll start by sending off a couple of zingers to my congressman and both senators. Not that I expect a great deal of assistance. As a veteran and member in good standing of the American Legion both the VA and the Legion will also be hearing from me. None of those I contact will ever see another dime from me nor any other assistance until the issue of wounded Vets flying, at the very least, is addressed. I'm also going to let my elected reps know that I will work actively against them should they falter or fail in protecting those men and women who have sacrificed so much to protect us. I am at that line in the sand.

This cannot stand. If any of you have suggestions please either leave them in comments or drop me a line. I'll update this post as more come in. I am as angry as I have ever been and this is hardly the first such incident, is it? It's up to us, those who are veterans and supporters of our fighting men and women to make a difference. I aim to make a stink.


07 July 2013

Sunday Kipling

I am so late today. I tend to simply lose track of the days when the kids are here. Today we got up and hit a nice recreation trail in St. George. Saw some ducks. Angus nearly lost his mind when I wouldn't let him go chase them. Stopped for some kind of frozen concoction that turned the kid's lips and tongues all the various shades of the rainbow. Good, clean fun.

I hope this day finds you all as happy as Lu and I are today. Kiss the ones you love and enjoy the ride.

The Rabbi's Song

"The House Surgeon"--Actions and Reactions
                    2 Samuel XIV. 14.

If Thought can reach to Heaven,
  On Heaven let it dwell,
For fear the Thought be given
  Like power to reach to Hell.
For fear the desolation
  And darkness of thy mind
Perplex an habitation 
  Which thou hast left behind.

Let nothing linger after--
  No whimpering gost remain,
In wall, or beam, or rafter,
  Of any hate or pain.
Cleans and call home thy spirit,
  Deny her leave to cast,
On aught thy heirs inherit,
  The shadow of her past.

For think, in all thy sadness,
  What road our griefs may take;
Whose brain reflect our madness,
  Or whom our terrors shake:
For think, lest any languish
  By cause of thy distress--
The arrows of our anguish
  Fly farther than we guess.

Our lives, our tears, as water,
  Are spilled upon the ground;
God giveth no man quarter,
  Yet God a means hath found,
Though Faith and Hope have vanished,
  And even Love grows dim--
A means whereby His banished
  Be not expelled from Him!

06 July 2013

Yes, We Are In Fact Awesome Grandparents

I have been remiss. I promised pics of the kids and haven't come through. It's been hectic but joyful. 

One of my favorite things is to give the kids a chance to try new and heretofore forbidden challenges. Luckily DO has raised the kids with the attitude that you can't protect them from everything and lets us all go do fun if maybe a little hazardous stuff. Nothing life threatening. More like skinned knees and elbows hazardous. I also am of the opinion that it's best to introduce them to new activities as gently as possible lest they scare themselves silly and never try anything new again.

One of the things I promised the kids was a mini bike. We have now satisfied that promise. Well, kinda.

Behold the Razor Electric Scooter.

It's not exactly a mini bike but as far as the kids are concerned it's close enough. Yeah, it's kinda girly in color but The Boy says that's just fine as long as he gets to ride it. It's actually big enough for Lu. Not that she's short or anything (she is). I can't decide who likes it more, her or the kids. I think it's a tie.

Plus he has another excuse to wear that awesome helmet.

We have a huge driveway area, big enough for the kids to have established a racetrack. Will there be contests? There has been talk. Scooter versus bicycle and winner take all.

How cute is this?

We're going to let them get their feet wet on the razor before moving eventually up to a real motorcycle. A year or two and they'll have the skills and confidence to tackle something with some real horsepower. Hey, it's just more incentive to spend Summers at Grandma and Papa's house. Yes, we are devious!

We've been having a ball in spite of the heat. Parties, swimming every day, hikes, trail rides and now the awesome scooter. It's been a blast.

Oh, and we paid cold, hard cash for that scooter. $249.99 plus tax gouging at Wally World. A far better use of our money than anything the government could come up with, yes?

01 July 2013

Grandkids - A Lttle Awesome and A Little Ewww

We went for a nice trail ride today. It was the first chance to try out the new suspension bikes we bought for the kids. The bikes were a hit and the kids got quickly back into the swing of mountain biking. Of course there was one more purchase we had to make.

When we got rid of the old bikes everything went with them. That meant new helmets were in order. We decided to wait and let the kids pick out their own so off to the big box store we went. Miss Princess went with Grandma while Captain Awesome and I perused the offerings. When each saw the helmets we eventually bought they were instantly grasped by excited hands and pronouncements of their awesomeness were both voluble and oft repeated. Which ones did they pick out you ask?

That's a cat on the left and a mohawk on the right. Cool Kitty and Mysterious Mohawk. They were in 7 and 9 year old heaven. Miss Princess refused to take hers off even in the restaurant where we went for an after ride breakfast. Which brings me to the Ewww part of the story.

I have now seen consumed what is perhaps the most vile and noxious meal ever imagined in the fevered dreams of even the most jaded and exploitative restauranteur. It was at IHOP so you may already have an unsettling idea of what we witnessed.

They both ordered the chocolate with chocolate chip pancakes. With whip cream of course. They then proceeded to absolutely cover them with every type of syrup available. Maple, butter pecan, blueberry and the horrible boysenberry. The plates were swimming in the stuff. It soaked into the pancakes and combined with the whip cream to produce a vile concoction that both kids ate with barely concealed glee, pronouncing it 'delicious'. I got a toothache just sitting at the same table. I couldn't even watch them eat. It was like two sugar sharks in a feeding frenzy with little bits of brown pancake flotsam and multicolored syrup jetsam. Even the gore channel would have begged off filming it.

It occurred to me that they may have stumbled upon the perfect interrogation technique for adults.

"Won't talk eh? Well how about we add some....BOYSENBERRY!! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!

"No no. Anything but that. I'll talk! I'll talk!" (Sounds of uncontrolled sobbing and retching)

Then again, it might just be too cruel. I know I'll never look at the kids menu the same way again.

The horror. The horror.