When the going gets tough, check for gas

Gasoline. The word itself conjures up a range of emotions. ” it’s too dang expensive these days.  I remember when it cost….”  The gasoline engine is “outdated”;  electric “green” energy is the “wave of the future”.  But every kid and every adult who does not reside in the New York, Boston, Chicago megapolis, needs an automobile to get around.  California which prides itself today on guilting its residents’ emotions while bleeding its residents dry not least of which with fuel taxes, was the main reason for the expansion of the car and highway industry.

I use gasoline in my old Ford Ranger. Jf it were running today, my Honda Civic would use gasoline more efficiently,  A third car, a Kia is the needed transportation for my spouse. For neigbbors of ours, diesel may be a close second and for some friends, the popular Prius hybrid electric may be an interesting experiment, but gasoline is still the main fuel for getting about.   And thats why I’m obsessing today over gasoline.  Citgo, USA, ExxonMobil, Shell.  Any would do.  I ran low on gas coming home the other evening and the truck choked, harumphed and died in my driveway.  The center of my driveway – where it sat embarrassingly for a day.

First I thought it might be a clogged fuel line or filter.  Then last night I got the five gallon gas container and made a trip to the gas station at the 7-Eleven.  And dear reader, you guessed it, Sometimes the needle on the gauge lies.  Not an eighth of a tank…. EMPTY.  It started right up once the motor had sufficient gas to run!!!!

When a working dog works her master over

I’ve owned an Australian Shepard-mix, shelter dog for 13 of it’s nearly 14 years.  I originally adopted Sydney as a companion for my Lab mix, Happy who died earlier this year.  When I would take them to Dog Beach, to parks or to other open areas to run, Sydney would often apply her herding instinct to my calls to retrieve Happy off in the distance.  Though she has had a sweet disposition throughout all her life, this has masked an annoying character: Sydney has been a constant “flight-risk”.  Over the last ten years,  my dogs caused me embarrassment and irritation in taking themselves for a walk. At least twice a year, from a loose fence plank, a poorly-shut gate, or a frequently-open front door (3 teenage boys grew up here during these ten years) one or more of our household has gone in a wandering-dog search – or met the neighbor coming to the door.   These times, including two occasions when retrieved from the County Animal Shelter,  Sydney and Happy – who always took his cue from her – cost me embarrassing encounters with my neighbors.   A month ago, this dog got out, and during the night – started shaking and drooling uncontrollably.  That episode cost me SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS and a day in the Veterinarian’s care – and little wear on the little beast.  I just suffered another moment –  as my neighbor informed me that Sydney was down the road again.
Now back at my feet asleep, I am considering what my pet’s contemplating for her next escape.

With Apologies to Morpheus and Neo

In the movie, “The Matrix”, the idea that we are all living in a dream world managed by computers, is of course, a good plot, but what if our reality – the universe if you will – actually IS a creation of an Almighty God? Fifty years of living, thirty or more as a working man, and ten since engagement and marriage, active belief is fundamental to my relationships. As far from a fervent, dedicated, and thoroughly indoctrinated biblical Christian as my own self-perception is, I still choose to believe that everything exists because of a loving Creator. While so much of the world is consumed by basic needs – power, recognition, gratification, hunger, comfort, I can enjoy going to a Christmas party that my wife held for her staff at a pizza place. Almost everyone came with family, were obviously enjoying themselves from the infants to the oldest adult,and the young waitress was genuinely touched when Sheri settled the bill and tip. It’s Christmas-time! When I think I could have taken the Blue Pill and remained aloof, frustrated but comfortable in my old cynical life, I see all that I would have missed.

You know you’re getting old when

Everyone recognizes the signs of an “older adult”. On the first official weekend of the Christmas season, while youth goes to the movies, buys an Ipod, or imagines what new 20-inch rims and tires look like on their Nissan, an unshaved old chief and his wife are looking at a dryer at the Navy Exchange. OK, so I wasn’t the one imagining the steam cycle setting of the fancy thousand-dollar dryer, but I did imagine what an LCD TV / Blueray / wall cabinet might look like in my office.
At the same time that grizzled veterans are shopping for dryers, young sports-fan families are dreaming of the complete Chargers outfit for Junior -size 2 Nikes, team -logo hoodies, looking at the bigger-than-last-year’s LCD TVs. But young and old alike have something in common this year. There’s darn little confidence that anyone will have any money to live on over the next several years – so anyone buying anything at the stores this season is as much a gambler as the Casino patrons on the various indian resorts around the county.