Friday, November 2, 2007

That was wild!

We had our first taste of whats to come the past several days. What came to mind in the midst of the tempest was the story of the Three Little Pigs. I was laying in bed the other night listening to the gusts of wind battering the side of the house, flipping the spa lid, slapping the bathroom vent pipe, and making our windchims sound like a bad Manheim Steamroller soundcheck, trying to remember what structural materials the 3 pigs finally used to build their house that the wolf couldn't blow down. I didn't remember it being 'logs', therefore worrying me a tad of the fate of our home. As it turns out, if the 3 pigs had used logs as opposed to bricks, in fact they would have found that logs do hold the same bearing force load as bricks, and it probably would have been cheaper to live and learn. No snow in this one, but alot of rain. The average daily temps were only 39 degrees, but the wind chill was 18. So every time I would smile out in it, the chill would whistle through my chops and send shearing pain into my aching gums......I learned real quick to keep my mouth shut....tight! But hey, this was nothing I am sure, as I have heard the stories of when it starts getting down to -40 below 0 with the wind chill at -70 below, and how life tends to somewhat stand still for a couple weeks. Can't wait! And you think I am kidding. Reason #8 why we moved to experience real winters. The whole episode also brought back some childhood memories of a windstorm in La Crescenta one hallowed night many years ago. I think the statute of limitations would have long since expired regarding this story, therefore I suppose I can safely tell it. We lived at the base of the San Gabriel mountains in a canyon town outside of Los Angeles called La Crescenta. I was little....can't remember how, but little. We had a terrible wind storm one night, as many times the Santa Ana winds would blow, but this one was different. I woke to this horrible clattering sound. The best I could describe it as was...well, Santa's sleigh with all his reindeer in tow landing on our roof. At first I was too frightened to move. You know, as a kid when you are scared shitless and literally freeze in place under the covers. I finally couldn't take it anymore and made a mad running dash into my parents' room. But they weren't there. I find my mom in the living room, and she tells me don't worry in a frustrated voice. It's your dad up on the roof she says. So naturally, as 'Dad' is a boys hero, I figure he can only be saving the house from blowing away, right?! Come to find out the next morning when I woke to find roof shingle strewn throughout the yard, he was up there in the dark, ripping shingles off in the wind storm. We wonder why our insurance rates are so high! I guess the neighbor looked out the window that night to see what the commotion was across the street, and could only say to his wife, "looks like Roger is at it again". However, the new roof the nice insurance man paid for was sturdy and true, and never again would I have to worry in a wind storm of our house blowing away.... My dad was a little hell raiser back then! He used to be a welder, and him and one of his neighbor buddies would go out late at night into his garage and they would fill these huge oversized balloons too the hilt with oxygen and settling from his welding tanks. They would go down in the caldesac where his buddy lived and would tie long fuses to these balloons, lite the fuses, and let go as the balloons floated upward in the peaceful night sky. These things would get a couple hundred feet up and when the lit fuse hit the balloon, would just cut loose a powerful blast that would light up the sky and send out a kaboom that would reverberate down the canyon and rattle the neighborhood windows. The cops never did figure out who the mad-bombers were! Fortunately it was a tight knit neighborhood, and everyone would just giggle anytime something happened...."Roger is at it again"! I remember one time he was having a huge problem with fire ants tunneling under his driveway. Now, times were tight and money was hard back then, and my pop was too cheap to waste money on a pest exterminator.....when he could just take care of it himself. No, he decided he would fill the cracks of the driveway with oxygen and settling, and run one of his infamous fuses into the main crack. You should have seen the dust billowing out of that cracked driveway. Remember the end of the movie "Caddyshack"? Needless to say the ant problem was solved and the driveways cracks were a couple of centimeters bigger. Then the story that sticks in my mind the best was the story of Plunket Volkswagen, where he worked as a VW mechanic. One day at lunch break the shop was empty as all the mechanics were at lunch. Dad decides to put together one of his oxygen/settling balloons in the tool room. He proceeds to go out into the shop and lites the short fuse, lets go, and runs the other direction. I guess he didn't quite make it out of the shop when that thing cut loose.....KAAAABOOOOM... It was so loud that paint was literally falling off of the ceiling. Judy Plunket, the owner, this wirey little guy with bottle glasses comes out of the front offices his eyes as big round as his glasses and plastered to the lens' screaming. "What the (blankety blank) happened". "I want the (blankety blank) who did this....." I guess Judy's sphincter was at 'pucker factor' 0 that day. Yes, this was my dad! He has mellowed with age thankfully, and meeting him, one would never guess the mischievous little hellion he once was. So the winds have died down, and are possibly going to get some snow tonight. Not alot, but the temps will be cooler for the next several days as we eagerly await winter. I started working with another local investor as an independent contractor this week. I was referred to him and he seems to be very happy to have me on board working maintenance on his properties. Needless to say, since I dont have welding tanks, he won't have to worry about exploding balloons going off in his shop! He is a really nice guy, down to earth, simple and has a great team of a handful of handymen who independently contract with him. They are into teamwork and really make working an enjoyable and supportive item. So I am looking forward to moving forward with this client. As for my Real Estate class. I have to finish the hours this week and study like no other to get the test done. It is going to be a challenge, as there is alot to learn, and I am new to this kind of exposure. But I am still eager and will push ahead. Remember that D.E.C. incident with that leaking fuel tank. You know, the one I allegedly rolled into the lake. That whole thing turned into a fiasco. Apparently that tank had been leaking for a long time. The contaminated soil seemed to go down China even.... John and I gracefully backed out of that deal, as it was apparent that the owner would need some heavy equipment to complete the task. As for the D.E.C. agent, I am sure he was sad to see me go...... What a mess that turned out to be. I don't think I ever mentioned the outcome of the fabled tank. I was able to get a guy that runs a used tank disposal business out on the highway to take it off my hands for a 12 pack of Corona. Saved me alot of trouble. Getting rid of those things is like trying to pass off spent uranium. We just had to change out the 25 gallon propane tank we had here. It is one of those outdated ones that doesn't have the new safety valves. I'm gonna use it as a pontoon for the dock I want to build lakeside. Well, I am going to go now and settle by the fire and await the arrival of my lovely wife from work. At least I know my house can't be blown down, and 'crazy Jack' isn't a welder ;) Before I go I left a couple of pics. We take the dogs out for a walk on the beach every weekend. They like this....alot. Funny thing is, they tell us what day it is. You see, they have come to know that Maryann and I are both home on the days we take them to the beach, unlike the weekdays when Maryann is home and I am working. So they literally go ape, and won't give an inch until we take them to the beach on the weekends. Who says animals aren't smart. Good night!

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