Sunday, August 22, 2010

Death of a Watermelon Part II

Let's recap... months of planning on how to transport the Watermelon (wm) from the Duck Fruitstand back to the vacation house. Mode of Transport: 21 speed hybrid bike. Carrier of wm: milk crated secured to bike luggage rack with bungee cords. Here we go.

It's a bright sunny June day in the Outer Banks it had rained the day before but for the most part a good day to make watermelon transportation history. Yes I am feeling good. I have my rig set to go. I set off for the fruitstand and in no time I am paying for the 15lb melon. I am delirious with anticipation on this epic journey. This is like Lewis and Clark, Thor Heyerdahl, Neil Armstrong and Jean-luc Picard all rolled into one.

I secure the melon in the crate, carefully trying to evenly distribute the weight. No easy task I might add. It's like balancing a 15 lb ball of silly putty. Well I do my best, but it ain't good enough.

I start pedaling and I am thinking the load shift is a little hard to handle, but I CAN DO THIS. To describe the route back home I have to cross Route 12 and then peddle up Wampum Drive a little ways until it levels off down to the house. Okay Route 12 is a freakin nightmare, there are cars, trucks, SUVs packed with family vacation paraphernalia and so on. I cautiously and patiently wait for the break in the traffic so I can make my move. Ok wait for the eighteen wheeler to pass and we are ready for launch. Awesome, the driver is waving me across. I start pedaling and I am saying in my head "10-4 good buddy catch you on the flip-flop". Off I go crossing 12 with the watermelon in transit, man this is cool I am high as a kite. Okay settle down I say make the turn up Wampum drive and we make history baby. I make the turn onto Wampum and what is under my tires - holy shit I am screwed with a capital MFin' S. Sand and little pebbles that had washed down from the rain to the intersection of 12 and Wampum.

Well my front tire slides diagonally, the bike tips over and my precious cargo hits the road with a resounding thud cracks and rolls out into Route 12 traffic. "Shit", "Shit", "Shit" I holler as I hop off the bike and chase down my melon.

I gathered the melon - actually parts of it, threw it in the crate and walked the bike back home. I am really bummed, but needless to say the family got a good laugh and after several Natty bohs I was over it... well not really

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Death of a watermelon Part I

Well, I thought I had it all figured out.... balance, stability, load requirements etc. For the past three years I have doing analysis and conducting R&D on transporting a watermelon (WM). from the Duck Fruit Stand to our vacation beach house Somerset Heath on Wampum Drive.

The length is about a half mile consisting of crossing Route 12 in Duck to Wampum drive. The mode of transportation is my hybrid 21 speed bike. Now riding a bike and balancing a WM is difficullt as I learned through my testing. I failed miserably at my two attempts. They were transporting the WM in the plastic bag and riding my bike. Well let me say skinned knees and hurt pride were the outcome. This year would be different so I thought, fueled by the many wintry nights in Charm City thinking about the beach, sunshine I had a plan. First a luggage carrier for my bike, second a plastic square milk crate and thirdly the most important invention of the 20th century - the bungee cord. I secured the milk crate from a roll off dumpster from the office complex behind my house on my many walks with JC -not a spiritual thing with the Son of God, but JC my dog. For my 53rd birthday I asked for a gift card to Performance Bike shop to buy a luggage rack and of course the bungee chords came from the other shopping marvel of the 20th century the dollar store. Part Two coming

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Bakery

Kevin was asking me why I haven't blogged in a while and I explained that well, the nice weather had beckoned me outdoors and we had power issues with the laptop.
It didn't bubble to the top to blog about my job at "The Bakery" until tonight when I randomly met someone who was directly connected to me working at "The Bakery". So here is my recollection:

In 1985 I was hired to run the Burroughs B-1900 mini-computer. The disk drives at that time were removable and and could be removed, they were stacked 18 platters high and their circumference of a 12 inch cake holding about 500 meg. This computer was networked to other bakeries up and down the east coast owned by... let's talked about the cast of characters"

JP owner of "The Bakery", an edition of the Baltimore magazine in 1986 quoted him as the second most powerful man in the state next to the governor, ok the political light bulb should be going off. The politicians of that district would come to see him for meetings including Willie Don, Barbara Milkulski and the cast of city politicians at that time.

Now for the common folk:

Jerry G - a hebrew comptroller hired by JP to monitor the books. He had a bad toupee, dressed like the seventies - wide flower ties, slacks and boots. What a piece of work.

John C- a burly office manager, had the professional office presence of drunken stevedor.
Nick S - payroll manager, JP's brother-in-law nicest guy you ever, ever want to meet
Bananas - I don't know what he did, but he came into the office and sat at a desk with his feet and talked on the phone. His presence scared the shit out of me.
Sherman H - buyer, he had a van and said "you want to ride in this van it will cost you gas, grass or ass"
Charlie W- manager, a nice man his mother-in-law Mrs. C lived in the apartment behind us where Beth and I first lived when we got married. Let's say she had a big nose.

Now my favorite folks:
Joe G - Data Processing manager who was going through a serious mid-life crisis, I'm talking about buying the red sports car mid-life crisis
Lisa - computer programmer hired by Joe G right out of college, see where this is going??
Stu - brilliant young man, wrote software for Mcdonald's, but did serious drugs, had a girlfriend who was whacked (one day he came to work with bandages all over his upper body - she stabbed him) played in the local rock band "Lab Animals" a tight progressive rock band.

So everyday was an immersion in the culture of the Fells Point Bakery and my god what an eye opener. This was my transition job from warehouse worker to office worker and the expectation for me was that there should be a presence of professionalism. Man, was I wrong. I thought warehouse workers were over the top. These folks were unbelievable, they put the "fun" in dsy"fun"ctional.

Do you have jobs that were unusual or the people were unusual let me know. I still suffer PTSD from this one.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Slow this sled down!

I was hanging on to my Flexible Flyer sled for dear life as Suicide Hill was packed down with in layers of ice and powdery snow. I slowly got my breath back after finally slowing down after sailing down the hill, then cruising along the snow covered driveway behind the apartments and finally stopping on Biddison lane. It was so much fun I did again and again that winter of 1968 and again the winter of 1969 and 1970.

The alley on Bayonne Avenue was great in the winter too. After a heavy snow, cars would drive up and down the alley because many families had parking pads at the back of their house. The cars weight packed the snow down and so at night the alley was slick with ice and snow. There were always somebody to sleigh ride with, we could always make trains or play demolition derby on the way down the alley. My neighborhood was made up of semi-detached houses built for the men returning from WWII who could get mortgages through the GI Bill. It was a great neighborhood to grow up.

Such were the thoughts that ran through my mind tonight when I was shoveling out the parking pad behind my house and I noticed the snow packed alley. Isn't it amazing how memories of youth bubble up when you least expect it. Do you have favorite memories of sleigh riding or snowball fights, ice skating or playing in the snow?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

70 degrees in Baltimore

According to WBAL's weather website it was 70 degrees on this date ONE year ago. Who cares!!! I am freezing, I drink coffee, tea, wear flannel lined pants, wear 3 shirts. BTW, my Ravens shirt is on top. I expect the Ravens to beat the Patriots tomorrow. The average temperature for January is 31.8 degrees. Who cares!!! I am freezing.

Well even though the weather is nasty, here are things I enjoy to cope:
Food - Comfort food you know chili, homemade soups. Lately I have been going to a Vietnamese restaurant in Towson and getting Pho Ga' which is a soup with chicken, the broth is a light chicken flavor. It has rice noodles too, there is a side plate of bean sprouts, basil, lime and hot peppers. You are nice and warm after eating
Drink- Coffee and hot teas in the morning. Sometimes in the evenings a Porter or Stout a heavy beer.
Activities - Sitting by the fire, reading, my last book, Game Over, How To Prosper in a Shattered Economy. Stephen Leeb is the author. The author has a doctorate in mathematics and psychology. Great reading

Man is a creature of habit. Tell me what you like to do in the cold weather. Cold weather according to my definition is the temperature that you are aware of that makes you well cold. So it could be 10 degrees, 30 degrees, 40 degrees or 50 degrees

Friday, January 1, 2010

Brush your teeth - A resolution for the new decade

Maeve Welinsky towers over me. She has pointy metal objects probing my mouth while she chats about her children. She asks about my family. Isn't it funny how dentist ask you questions when you mouth is somewhat crowded with a suction hose, various metal instruments and their hands. I said "ga z om m schz" Translation: "Hannah is home from school". "Ahh" she says "that is great to have children home for the holidays". She continues to clean my teeth and we chat about the holidays. She finishes up and I proceed to the receptionist to make my next appointment.

I look up on the wall and a see a poster of human body from the waist up with lines drawn from the mouth to the various major organs of the body. I commented to Dr. Welinsky about the illustration. She said she was at a conference over the summer and the discussion was about the correlation of poor dental hygiene to major diseases , diabetes , various types of head and neck cancers. She said there was a high incidence of people who had major health issues and poor dental hygiene. Well, I know what I am doing for the next 10 years. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Story

It was just past six when we knocked on the door on 32 nd St. Little Bebe drew back the curtain and peered. I said we were from Saint Francis and we had foood and presents. 32nd St. A stones throw from Memorial Stadium where I spent many nights in believing in Oriole magic. Now I was here giving back. Little Bebe disappeared from the door I went back to the car to get more food and presents. When I returned, Beth was talking to Little Bebe and taking food and gifts into the house. Once inside, I heard a voice from the top of the stairs saying "I am going to try and make it downstairs". The voice was from Bebe the "mother" of Little Bebe, age 10 and David age 17, Malcom age 16 and Gary age 14. Bebe was 72, with arthritis and limited mobility but was the "mother" of these 4 children. Where was the bioligical mother of these 4 children I thought? It didn't matter, the family on the Saint Francis Family Christmas Giving Form had Bebe, Little Bebe and her siblings.

Bebe's house was a modest rowhouse, somewhat homey, but definately lacking any signs of the holiday season. But we brought the holiday season to them, with presents for each, clothes and CDs for the boys, a nice sweater for Bebe and clothes and a doll for Little Bebe.

Bebe thanked us and we told her that we and the people of Saint Francis Parish were glad to help.

Isn't that really the true meaning of Christmas is helping others? It's a great feeling to give.

Merry Christmas!