Friday, August 27, 2010

And that's the truth

Now where did this "it's ok to lie" thing start. I don't know for sure but some people say it started with a certain president that lied about what he did and was never punished for it. I am not one to judge but when someone says Technically I did not do whatever that is a lie. Which leads me to my topic for today....Not telling the truth.

It’s not what you say that counts, it’s what you don’t say. Now who remembers that game show? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone? Ok you can tell me in private because that would be showing your or should I say Our age. I don’t even remember the show all that well but I do remember the intro where they said their name in kind of a catchy way. I seem to recall it was kind of a fill in the blank game show and the contestant had to do the filling. Anywhoo.

Truth in advertising:

We have been doing some window (and craigslist) shopping lately for a few items and I got to thinking about advertising or more precisely truth in advertising. I remember when I got my first car. It was a 1969 VW square back sedan with a sunroof. Sounds pretty snazzy I know but it had its share of problems. For starters the radio didn’t work and it had some surface rust but I planned on getting it painted so I didn’t mind.

As most teenagers do, the first thing I did was to get a radio for the car. And not just any radio, it was an AM/FM radio and it had transistors not tubes. I know I was a big spender and it was the best that radio shack had to offer at the time. I think I paid $60 for it including speakers. The good news is that I only paid $250 for the car and I paid cash for it. The bad news is even though I had it painted it wasn’t long before the rust started showing through again. And there seemed to be rust everywhere on it.

When I bought the car, I got it from a “friend” of my father’s. He told us that it just had some surface rust and that the engine had just been overhauled. I never questioned why the engine had to be overhauled even though it was low mileage and he never volunteered the information. He also never told me why he was selling the car so cheap and I assumed it was because he was doing my father a favor. So technically he wasn’t lying. It was about 6 months later when I found out the truth about my little car.

Apparently the previous owner drove it down onto the beach in Daytona. Driving on the beach was allowed and free back then so that part isn’t anything special. However he parked it close to the water at low tide and got the car stuck. The tide came in and flooded the car up to the seats. It also flooded the engine with seawater which is why the engine had to be overhauled. That explained the rust. The car still ran well and did have that new stereo so I kept it.

When I joined the Navy, I figured it would be a while until I needed a car so I “sold” it to my brother. He agreed to make payments every month. While I was in boot camp, he totaled the car and quit paying me because “why would I keep paying you….the car is no good now” I guess that was in the fine print somewhere but I didn’t see it that way.

But the funny thing about back in the day is that most car "dealers" were truthful in their advertizing. If they put an ad in the news paper for trucks for $5000 dollars, you could go to the lot and actually find many trucks for that price. These days, the advertisements are nothing more than lead-ins to get you to the dealership. Most of the time you would be lucky to find one of the trucks at all and if you do, it most surely won’t be for the advertised price. And when you question their integrity they will show you the ad and point to the disclaimer at the bottom in teeny tiny print that says something like “exclusions apply” or “not all dealers have advertised cars” or something similar.

The last time I went shopping for a car, I asked the salesman that same thing. I said; wouldn’t it be more honest to put everything up in large print instead of hiding the negative things in fine print? He didn’t have an answer other than everyone does it. So I am guessing since everyone does it, it is ok. At least as far as he was concerned it was but not in my book.

Truth in asking:

Last week while searching through Craigslist (I love Craigslist by the way) I came across an ad from a lady asking for free women’s clothing. Here is what the ad said and I am paraphrasing:

My husband just found out he has brain cancer and he can’t work. I need some new clothes but I can’t afford to buy them with him not working.

Ok let me stop right here and say I felt sorry for the woman at this point and thought if I had some extra clothes I would gladly give them to her. But she continued:

Hospice has already stepped in and I have lost some weight so none of my clothes fit me so I am looking for something in a 4/5.

Hmmm something smells fishy here, but she goes on:

My husband didn’t have insurance and he just died so I really need some nice clothes to look for a job.

Now all that was in the same post, written on the same day, so…...

Either that was one really aggressive cancer or she is really slow at typing. I’m not poking fun, I am just saying.

Truth in sincerity:

Last week I also saw an interesting request on our company bulletin board. A woman was looking for a car for her daughter so she could drive to college. Because it was a long distance she was looking for a “very reliable car. She also asked that it be in very good condition (I am guessing because a girl just has to look good) and she mentioned a specific kind of car that she wanted (it was a kind that her daughter really liked). She then said that she only had $800 dollars to spend on the car and oh yes, one last request: She would really like a convertible. No way….Yes way.

I thought to myself; That takes a lot of nerve to post something like that. First off if she really just wanted a reliable car she would have taken anything out there that got good mileage and ran well. Secondly my first car wasn’t much less than that when you included the price, paint job and radio. And that was 1973. Is a moped a convertible? Those are really dependable.



Have a great day,

Greg

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thankful Thursday, It's getting better all the time


You know without even having to think of it, just being alive and well is in itself enough to be thankful for these days. With all that is going on in the world I am blessed just to be healthy and to have a place to call my own. However things seem to be on an upward path for me at the moment so I am going to list a few special things that I am thankful for.

My oldest has officially started college now. Wow it is hard to believe. He will be the first male in the family to go to college since I started back in 1974. I never finished though but hopefully he will.

My youngest is doing well in school. I know it is only the first week but still starting on the right path is a step in the right direction.

As I said above I am healthy and that is a big thing. My wife and mother also continue to improve and I am thankful for that.

We got more rain. After that long drought we are getting rain on a regular basis now. I am thankful that I don't have to go out in the dark each morning and turn on the sprinklers.

I am also thankful for opportunities that I am given. This Saturday I am running the hotdog stand at the annual grape stomp down at the winery. I will be working with my youngest son this year and we are hoping to break the bank. Ok not really but we are hoping to do well enough to take the family out to dinner and maybe play a round of golf.

So what are you thankful for today? Please join me in being thankful. It is what helped me through the tough times.

Have a great day,
Greg

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thankful Thursday, Back to school.


For the first time in a long time I don't have to dig deep to do this post. So many positive things are starting to happen for me now that I will have to chose which ones to post. Funny thing though I almost forgot to do this. I woke up this morning thinking; Oh no, it's Thursday and I haven't even given it a thought. Then I remembered that I have been thankful for so long(even through the hard times)that I don't even realize that I am thankful. It's like they say; If you do something long enough it becomes easier and you don't even have to think about it.

The kids are back in school around Charleston. My son started yesterday and although it is still too soon to tell, I have a feeling that he will do good this year. I am thankful for that.

My older son just enrolled in College. This week we found out that he got the SC Life scholarship. That is a big financial gain for us and I am thankful for that. Yes we might actually get a college gradgiate (spelled incorrectly on purpose) in the family. I started but never completed my degree.

Last night I dropped the fuel tank on his car to repair the fuel pump. This was another first for me and that just goes to show you that at age 55 you can still learn things.

I am finally getting caught up at work. Things are improving there as well and for that I am thankful.

My mother is out of the hospital and back in rehab. Oh this is too much. While I was just typing that, the commercial came on for Life alert. So while I typed, in the background I heard; "I've fallen and I can't get up" That is what happened to my Mother. That was spooky.

I am going to put in a #6 today. (somebody stop me) Anywhoo, my wife is doing much better and starting to get around the house a bit. Yesterday we took back the wheel chair and walker that she borrowed. She is now just using crutches.

Have a great day, Drive safely, watch out for children.
Greg

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday. This is a tough one.


It’s Thankful Thursday again. I am not sure where to start this week. Life in general has been pretty trying for me lately. I have had mental trials, monetary trials and now physical trials.

I will start by saying I am thankful just to be alive. Without going into detail I have a number of medical problems at the moment but at least I am alive. Enough about that.

My mother isn’t doing well but at least she is hanging on. I have a friend who’s mother is 20 years younger and she isn’t doing well either. The mother that is. And my mother’s problems are minor compared to her mother’s problems. I am thankful that she is 82 and still around.

Oh I just realized that my eye is feeling better. I know I said I wouldn’t dwell on my medical problems but my eye got infected today for some reason. I just put drops in it and it is feeling better now. I am thankful for modern medicine.

I am thankful that I avoided an accident the other day. This crazy diver was texting in heavy traffic and she almost slammed into me. After that she quit texting though but soon I noticed that she was scratching off instant lottery tickets while driving. Some people amaze me.

I am thankful for little signs of hope. The other day while I was driving home, my son noticed that there was a huge cross in the sky made of clouds. He tried to get a photo of it but failed. All I can say was that it was amazing. I told him it was a sign and he asked if I was serious. I just said maybe it is, who knows.

Have a great Thankful Thursday,
Greg

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dining in Paris

I have never actually been to Paris but I would like to go there someday. Reason: I am a big fan of the food. I love French fries, French dressing and French bread. But now that I think of it, I am not a big fan of French toast so maybe I will have to have something a little more American for breakfast. Maybe a crepe or a pancake. I have however dinned in a little Italian Café on the shores of the Mediterranean, enjoyed a lamb dinner in a castle in Scotland and cracked lobster in Nova Scotia. But as everyone knows if you want great meatloaf there is only one place to go; Cracker Bucket! (name changed slightly to protect the guilty)

As luck would have it, on Wednesday, while we returned from our training session, there was a Cracker Bucket just off the highway. We all quickly agreed that it was what we wanted. The parking lot was full as usual because everyone loves Cracker Bucket. Or at least everyone in Orangeburg SC does. That is where this restaurant happened to be. And as is usually the case, there were a number of people rocking in the chairs on the front porch. I don’t quite know what the fascination with rocking outdoors when the heat index is 110 but to each his own.

We entered the restaurant through the trinket store. If you have been to Cracker Bucket, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, just imagine an indoor flea market but the junk is all new. After pushing our way through the maze of useless stuff we arrived at the counter with the “Please wait to be seated” sign. (all the fine restaurants have those signs) While we were waiting, I quickly sized up all the waitresses and came to the conclusion that we would end up with Miss Happy: Aka Alice without a smile. Remember that show Alice? If you do, hold on to that memory because another character will reappear in this story.

So the mate-ter-D (another French word I know) takes us to our table after asking the obvious question; “How many are in your party?” and; “would you like smoking or non smoking?” And a lovely table it was. It was right next to the smoking section but lucky for us the two sections are separated by a lattice panel which everyone knows can block smoke. As I looked around the room the first thing I noticed was a young man perhaps around 8 with a long Mohawk haircut. It was kind of like a mullet without the tail if you can picture that. He had that thin inbred look like one gets when their family tree has no branches. But I am sure that wasn’t his fault and on the bright side he could get an acting role as an extra if they every do a remake of the movie Deliverance. Oh and he could also be a poster child for Ritalin but again that wasn’t his fault.

So this fine young man comes up to the table next to us and dares the kid there to “Pick him up by the cheeks” Obviously they were friends because the second kid does it. That’s what friends are for. He literally grabbed this little Deliverance boy by the cheeks and lifted him off the ground. I kid you not. And not once but twice. At this point I am thinking the boy could also get a job with Circus Olay. I was totally amazed but it was short lived because our waitress “Happy Alice” showed up to take our orders. After a hearty greeting of; Haaaw Yu ta-day? She took our orders.

Now I know I said I was going to have the meatloaf but that was Tuesday’s special and this was Wednesday and all I could think about was that it might be left from the previous day so I ordered the cheeseburger. But right after I ordered it, I noticed a warning on the menu saying uncooked meat may kill you so I asked for it very well done. And trust me it was VERY well done when it arrived.

Let me back up a bit. Right after we ordered, this couple came in and sat across from me. She appeared to be about 50 to 60 and was with a man around 60 to 70. She had big hair that reminded me of Flo in the television show Alice. (see how this story is falling into place) Anywhoo she had on clothes similar to what Flo used to wear. She was proud of what she had and obviously wanted to show the “girls” off because he blouse was open almost down to her naval. The sad part is the “girls” weren’t trying to get out they were trying to head south if you know what I mean.

Now get this picture: We are trying to eat our meal. There is a maniac child running loose in the restaurant who has red cheeks where he was picked up. I have Flo sitting across from me (I think she was giving me the eye but it may have been an eye twitch) and the guy on the other side of the lattice panel has a smokers cough. So for some reason I zero in on the coughing sound and realize that there must be 30 people in this restaurant who are coughing. I start thinking about SAR’s and wondering when this town got infected and then Flo does something totally amazing. She takes a break from eating her salad to scratch her head. But since she obviously didn’t own a hair brush that left only one option; You guessed it, she scratched her head with her fork. And then, went back to her salad. I almost gagged. Ok I did gag but it was just a little one.

And that’s when it hit me. You don’t get entertainment like this at some fancy French restaurant. Well at least without paying for it. They need a sign outside that says “Free entertainment while you eat” at Cracker Bucket that is. I'm just saying.

Have a great day,
Greg

Thankful Thursday, Greener Grass


I just spent almost three days in a class up at our new campus. It is brand new and my initial though as I walked across the babbling brook and down the walkway that was lined with lush green grass was; I wish I had it this good. But after getting inside and taking an full look around two other thoughts come to mind; Don't judge a book by it's cover and The grass isn't always greener. Although the condition of the interior was immaculate, the offices were all tiny little cubes and there were row upon row of them. The food was overpriced and no one could see that beautiful view from their office. I will keep what I have.

So the first thing I am thankful for this week is my old shabby office. I only share my office with three people not two hundred and I like the people in my office. That wasn't the case in the big new building.

I am also thankful that the three of us don't constantly complain. Some of the people in the class did nothing but complain about everything under the sun. Again I have it pretty good.

I am thankful for clean water. Since the bottled water in the new campus was $1.25 a bottle, I decided to just drink tap water. YUCK. Talk about nasty. Then on our way back home on Wednesday we stopped at a restaurant (see tomorrow's post about that) and I got water with my dinner. Again the lemon in the water couldn't cover up the bad taste. I will stick with my water.

I am thankful this morning for some aches and pains. At 55 I am still able to work in my yard and get around pretty good. I know these pains will go away but they do remind me to be thankful I am still able to work.


I am thankful that I have a job that allows me to take time off. I plan on taking Friday off to get a few things done around my house. Of course I will throw in a little fun along with the work. I may even go to the gym to work out some of these kinks.

So be thankful for what you have and quit looking over that fence. Have a wonderful Thankful Thursday,

Greg