28 April 2007

Destin, April 2007

Yeah, life's tough.
Somehow, someway, we'll find a way to cope.

The drive down went without a hitch, provided you don't count the flat tire that required the emptying of the trunk in order to get to the spare, or the driving another 6 hours knowing there was no spare should we encounter another "tire surprise".

No rain, no traffic... just a little fog as we got close to the coast. At that point we were smelling the sea, and nothing else really mattered anyway.

A single dolphin made it's way from West to East about 200 feet from the breakers this morning. The forecast is for 80 degree days and 60 degree nights for the next few. My High School classmates will begin to arrive tomorrow night... let the fun begin!

Last night it was blackened tuna.
Tonight, after the sunset ceremony, we're headed to a beachside bar for a Margarita, after which I think blackened Mahi-Mahi with red beans and rice and gumbo on the side will fill my empty spot.

Yes, it is a hardship. Thank God I have friends to help me make it through this trying experience!

26 April 2007


Today marks two years of Pitchpull, and I just don't have much to share.
Most of this week has been spent in preparation for a 10 day stay in Destin, Florida. It's been run here- run there, run back here, and even now, just hours from starting the 11 hour drive, we're not positive we have all the necessary chores done. This morning I still have to do a last-minute oil and filter change on the car, and a friend's lawn needs mowing. We'll be on the road just after Noon, so I'll probably be drivin' with my eyes closed for the last two hours of the trip.

To bring you up to date on my weight loss program-
On 1 January I was unhappy with my appearance and the way I felt. Weighing in at 205 pounds, I promised myself I would lose a pound a week until we made this trip South to meet several High School classmates for a mini-reunion. This morning I tipped the scale at 188 pounds, so I met my goal: 17 pounds gone in 17 weeks.
Last night I put on a pair of Levi's I haven't worn in over 10 years. Finding that they fit, into the suitcase they went!

To those that stop by here and actually take the time to comment now and then I say "Thanks SO much" for caring enough to let me know I've stimulated a thought or two. When we get to Destin and catch our breath, I'll let ya know.

So, more later...

23 April 2007

Neither Rain, Nor Snow...

Quickly now-
What's the cost of a first class stamp?
Is it 39 Cents? 41 Cents?
Funny... I can't tell ya. I have a sheet of stamps lying on my desk downstairs.
Still, If I had to wager, I couldn't be sure what each stamp cost me.

How long has it been since you sat down and wrote a letter to someone, put that letter in an envelope, attached first-class postage, and posted that letter? That's another question I cannot answer... but in my case I know it's been years, and I used to write a lot of letters.
There's another blog-post to be written about my frustration with trying to communicate with my male friends, but I'll save that for a later individual post.

How much damage has email done to first-class letters? My guess is that it has decimated them. Email is instant, convenient, and ya don't have to give your "from then to now" history in email... just state your immediate thought, then push "send."
So easy, even my macho "cavemen" friends aren't threatened by it!

How do you pay your bills?
For a while now I have resisted paying my bills online... fearful of the safety of sending my financial information over the "ether". But I finally got tired of the process... physically writing the check, tearing off the payment stub, putting both into an envelope and attaching first-class postage.
Now I simply type in the Dollar amount I want to pay on the bill, designate the date I want it paid, and push the "submit" button.

The U.S. Postal service still brings the statement for those bills to my mailbox, and MAN, do I ever get a pot-load of junk mail and catalogs on a daily basis! But I find myself raising the flag on that box to indicate there's a letter needing to be picked up less and less.

Personal letters via email...
Business bein' conducted online.
Strike one and strike two?

Fedex and UPS are already the preferred carriers for parcels. With the continuing loss of revenue from First-class postage, what's the future hold for the U.S. Postal Service?
It's gonna be interesting to watch.

16 April 2007


It was just a small tractor, perfect for a 12 year old.
Grandpa had taught him how to drive it so he could help with the chores.
The problem was the rain...

It had been raining for days.
Warm front stuff- low ceilings and visibilities had kept us from turning a rotor blade for several days.
This call came in-
"Can you fly to a scene just outside ****?"
Less than ten minutes from where the helicopter was parked...
I could hover there if necessary.

"I'll give it a shot. What's the situation?"

"Your patient is a 12 year old male, victim of a tractor rollover."

We took off and headed Southeast with 2 miles visibility in a slight drizzle... perfectly comfortable weather for me because having flown the area for 12 years I knew the terrain and obstructions like the back of my hand.

Over the scene in 6 minutes, we landed near the ambulance on sloping ground, near a small pond. The Ford 8N tractor, now on its side, was adjacent to the ambulance. While my crew prepared the young man for the flight, I chatted with one of the EMT's...

Grandpa was walking alongside as our patient drove the tractor around the sloping ground next to the pond when the tractor started to slide sideways down the slope. Something abruptly stopped the slide, and the tractor rolled over on the young man "dying cockroach" style, the steering wheel crushing his left eye, the bridge of his nose, and popping the right eye out of its orbit onto his right cheek. When the emergency personnel arrived and tried to roll the tractor off our patient, the steering wheel was embedded in his face, and the youngster's head rolled along with the rolling of the tractor.
Fearful of doing further injury, after they had called to get the helicopter on the way, the first responders had procured a hack saw and cut a section of the steering wheel away to free the young man.

They roll the stretcher toward me and he's an interesting sight...
A 12-inch section of the arc of the steering wheel protrudes from his face. His right eye hangs to his face by a thread.

We load him, bring the rotor to operating RPM, and lift.
The Scene Commander, who I later find out is a personal friend of this family, collapses to his knees and buries his face in his hands, sobbing.

I did a follow-up on this case-
Two weeks later I went to the Children's Hospital to meet this youngster.
He smiled as I entered the room in my uniform. Left eye covered with a patch, his right eye was back in its proper place. There was still a little swelling from the trauma and his head was shaved, but otherwise he looked pretty much like any other twelve year old kid.
He was released from the hospital two days later.

That was 18 years ago, so "Tommy" would now be a 30 year old man.
I still remember his last name.
Should I call him and find out how he has done since?

11 April 2007

The Reverend Al

This guy is a buffoon.

Considering his history,
why does anyone give him the spotlight he so rabidly pursues?

What right does he have to
throw stones at anyone?

09 April 2007


Yeah, it's sold, and that fact has nothing whatever to do with my post. I was looking for a pic with a Saguaro cactus in front of a home, and this one struck my fancy-

We took Desi on a 3 mile walk yesterday, and during the walk we passed several homes with yards similar to this one.

I've commented before about flying helicopters home from California... bein' amazed that within a couple miles of crossing the California/Arizona State line, you begin to see these magnificent Saguaro cactuses (cacti?). There are NONE on the California side of that line, yet the climate and soil have to be nearly exactly the same in that short distance. Why do I not see them West of the Colorado River?

During our conversation yesterday, Tame may have provided the answer to my question:
In Arizona, the Saguaros are protected by State law. That may not be true in California.

Development here in the Phoenix area is amazing. New homes and businesses are going up everywhere. Someone said yesterday
(I haven't researched this), that the physical size of the Metropolitan Phoenix area has quadrupled in the last ten years. Looking at all the construction going on in the area, I tend to believe the statement.

Having a beautiful, tall Saguaro in your front yard would be a "Desert" statement. Seems to me I read some time ago that landscapers were going out into the desert with all the necessary equipment to steal the stately cactuses, then charging a pretty good fee for transplanting them in the front yard of a new home. Now State laws provide a hefty fine if you do that on the Arizona side of the Colorado... maybe those on the West side of the river are still bein' stolen?
Anyone know for sure?

07 April 2007

Perfect Mommy

I almost laughed out loud-
I needed a picture to illustrate my post for today, and I found this one listed under the title,
"Terrific Parenting"!
Well, good parenting is certainly in the eye of the beholder.

We are safely in Mesa, Arizona... tired, but warmer than most of you reading this.
Getting here was exhausting. I may tell that story later.
Today we went to Wally World to stock up on supplies that Big Bubba doesn't keep on hand-
Coffee, sweetener, Diet Soda, beer.
I'm sortofa a picky beer drinker. I want beer that tastes good, but you know me... I don't want to pay much for it. It was the first place
I stopped on my shopping sojourn. Since we're only gonna be here four days, I bought a six-pack... that's enough to cover this visit.

So picture this-
I'm tired and cranky from our marathon day getting here yesterday. I'm pushing a cart that is totally empty with the exception of this six-pack of brew in it. I walk to the end of the aisle to turn and start down the aisle for the Diet Soda when I encounter "Terrific Mom" and her approximately four year old daughter.
"TM" takes a look at my cart, then stops short and says, "Uh-oh sweetheart! That's the aisle with ALCOHOL! We don't drink ALCOHOL! We need to go find the aisle with soda in it!"
At first I thought it was just odd, and a little funny.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had just received a sermon. I accepted the challenge. I decided it was time for a counter-sermon!

I followed TM to the soda aisle, located the Diet Soda and put it in the cart next to the evil brew. As I passed TM I looked at the innocent daughter, smiled my "Mr. Rogers" smile and said, "Hi, I drink alcohol" in the kindest Greybeard voice I could manage.
TM looked like I had slapped her, but thought she was up to the assault-
"Well, we know that's not good for you, don't we honey?"
But facts were on my side-
"Actually honey, studies have shown that a couple beers a day lower blood pressure, reducing the chance of heart attack and stroke. Those are the facts. Your Mommy might need to do a little more studying!"

Obviously the daughter couldn't have cared less what I was saying, but being faced with facts, TM finally realized she needed to shut her mis-information hole and move on.
No, I don't think TM will immediately go back to the ALCOHOL aisle to buy a liter of wine so she can lower her blood pressure...
My hope is that she'll teach her daughter the pleasures of walking the aisles of Wally World quietly, keeping sermons to yourself.

05 April 2007

Doggy Bloggy

As in real life, Desi and Lucy have separated.

Those of you new to Pitchpull need to catch up on our doggy news so you're up to speed.

When we got Desi, our miniature Dachshund, he was supposed to be Big Bubba's dog, AND his responsibility. Complications of family life meant those duties frequently became his Mom and Dad's... he'd be too busy with outside activities to make it home and take care of his dog, so Sara Jean and I would pick up the slack. If I sat down, Desi was in my lap. Of course, Sara Jean and I were both quite attached to him.

Big Bubba graduated college. He immediately accepted a job in Mesa, Arizona. When we moved him there, after much discussion, he took Desi with him. Our melancholy "empty nest" feelings included not only missing our son, but losing half of the "Desi and Lucy" team.
Lucy felt it too. Whenever we would come back from being outside, immediately upon entering the house she would run to Big Bubba's bedroom. I can only assume she was looking for Desi.

Now two months have passed, and the dust has settled. Big Bubba loves his new job and is enjoying rubbing it in that it is 85 degrees and Sunny in Mesa while it is 45 degrees and raining here in the Midwest. We check in on him via webcam about once a week. He looks great, and with Destin jumping up on our son's lap, we can see that he also has made a satisfactory transition.

We're leaving tomorrow (Friday) morning to fly out to Mesa for a few days. It seems silly... we're looking forward to visiting with our son, but we're also happily anticipating visting with Desi for a few days. Lucy is not a concern... she's such a well-behaved little gal, friends look forward to keeping her while we're gone. It's comforting that we don't have to leave her in a kennel, in the care of strangers.

A cold front whisked through here two days ago dropping our temperatures more than twenty degrees. There is a "hard freeze" warning here tonight. The forecast for tomorrow is typical Phoenix: Sunny and 90 degrees. We'll be in shorts and short-sleeves as we walk Desi.

I'll update you from Mesa.

04 April 2007

Just A Question of Time, Guvna!, Part III

Not quite a runaway train yet...

... Not quite.

What's that in your bath water, froggy? Bubbles beginning to form?
Tip 'O the hat to QandO

02 April 2007

Heavy Lifter?

You may not have friends that are, (or were), "Hook" pilots.
Well, I do!
But if you do, and they ever get all puffed up and begin to act like they are God's gift to any part of aviation at all, show them

this photograph.

They'll quiet down... pretty quick like.

Thanks to Aerospaceweb.org

Drive Electric, Continued

In my "Drive Electric" post, referring to the "Stallion" I asked:
"Why doesn't someone produce something similar with an enclosed cabin?"

Well, take a look here.

With a 40-mile electric-only range, it may be just what I need.
Now, is it affordable?

H/T Instapundit

Less Weight/Drag... Almost There!

A quickie to bring ya up to speed on my weight loss program.
I'm now in my 13th week and I've lost 14 pounds.
Yesterday I revelled in the fact that my jeans were almost falling off my hips, revealing a pretty good "Greybeard butt-crack"!
(Ooooh, yuck!)

Fourteen down and 4 to go.
A pound a week... so if I'm successful, I'll reach my goal in a month.

Keep positive thoughts comin' my way, please!