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Archive for March, 2015

I’ve been thinking about fire departments for awhile.  Here in the small towns of Pennsylvania most are local volunteer departments all sporting the name of ‘Alpha Fire’ something.  Watching television I noticed every station was also an ‘Alpha’ something which got me to thinking.  Is there a beta fire company?  Maybe the beta guys have to test all the new equipment and like everything these days the new stuff has bugs so it fails and the firefighters don’t last long.  Perhaps that is a secret that the fire administration people don’t want us to know about and that’s why we don’t hear about the beta fire company.  It’s only logical that if there is an alpha then there has to be a beta.  What about delta, is there a delta fire company?  Maybe if you have a small fire, say a toaster fire you can call 911 emergency and explain that you have a little fire so you don’t need the quickness and efficiency of alpha co.  Just send in the epsilon team.  There is no rush it’s just a toaster fire.  They can finish up their coffee, the scrabble game then if they are so inclined they can walk down the stairs, (I imagine only alpha and beta get fire poles) and mosey on over with the ole’ fashion truck and bucket brigade to deal with my toaster fire.  It’s all good.

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In the 70’s there was Starsky and Hutch. In 1985 we had Bo and Luke Duke from the ‘Dukes of Hazard’.  In 1987 there was Brian and Richard.  What do all three have in common?  Quite a bit my friends, oh yes quite a bit.  First there were the cars.  Starsky and Hutch had the stripped tomato a fiery red Gran Torino with white stripes down the sides.   Bo and Luke had the ever popular General lee, a bright orange Dodge Charger.  Richard and Brian had the red Ford Tempo.  

 Bo, Hutch and Richard were taller than their counter parts and were all blond.  Luke, Starsky and Brian were all slightly shorter much better looking and all had dark hair.   Now all six are old grey and balding and have sensible cars,  well I imagine we all have sensible cars. 

 Starsky, Hutch, Bo and Luke Duke entered their cars by running full tilt, slide across the hood and graceful as gazelles slip into the front seats through side windows and put the pedal to the metal. Bo and Luke would be running from the law while Starsky and Hutch were the law.

 Brian and Richard?  Well we had a different experience.  Thirty years ago Rich calls me and informs me that we are building a deck for his parents house.  I said okay but thought it was a little odd because we have no experience in such things. It wasn’t like we had the internet where you can learn how to do everything.  There were only two DIY television shows.  One of which was Mary Bellows. I once saw Mary put up a hole in the wall trying to install a towel rack. She fixed the wall by putting a nail above the hole and hung the towel on the nail thereby using the towel to cover the hole.

When I arrived at Richards house he was already in the back yard figuring out where to dig the holes for the supports which would hold up the entire deck.  Richard is one of those go big or go home type of guys.  He wasn’t building a little rectangular deck.  He had his heart set on the mother of all decks with all kinds of fancy angles and steps.  As he was describing his vision to me I asked to see the plans.  He looked at me like I was some sort of alien.  He had no plans but we did have a lot of fun.  I’d be at the saw and Richard would call out the board length we would need, He would be standing with the measuring tape yelling, “Bri, we need one board four feet and a half and two little lines long”

When we first figured out what we needed Richards father ordered everything and had it delivered. Of course when you have no actual knowledge of what you are doing and have no plans to follow, you are pretty much assured what you buy is not going to be right.  As we were finishing up framing the deck we realized that we were going to be short some wood.  So we hoped into the ole’ Ford Tempo through the doors like civilized people and drove to the lumber yard and picked out a few prime 8 foot boards. We didn’t want them delivered because we wanted them now.  So there we stood in the parking lot of the lumber yard staring at the Ford Tempo, the eight foot boards tightly in our grasp and deep in out 17yr old hearts we knew that those boards were not going to fit inside the car.

After assessing the situation we decided our best course of action was to tie the boards to the roof.  The good people at the lumber yard gave us some rope and seeing as we didn’t have a roof rack they gave us cardboard to protect the roof.  Without truly understanding the predicament we were about to put ourselves in we started wrapping the rope around the boards and the roof.  When we were done the boards were not going anywhere. Unfortunately nor were the car doors as we wrapped the rope around the boards by going through the windows.  

The moral of the story?  Sliding into a car through the windows and landing smoothly into the seats may look easy when you watch stunt men do it on tv.  And in ones mind, one may look cool doing it, but judging from the fits of laughter from those around us, the reality is much different.

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