Welcome to our blog

Us at Arcadia Beach

Welcome all who have found their way to our family blog.

We have been working on this for about a week, testing links out, etc and now feel ready to make it available to everyone.  I’m sure there are going to be issues that we’ll work out as well as things we’ll add as the blog progresses.  I’ll probably add more links, pages and categories as things progress.  But for now, this should be fine.

Shelley and I hope to update the blog regularly, but not sure what that really means.  Daily?  Weekly?  At least weekly.  Maybe more often once we get into the swing of things.

Feel free to offer recommendations or things you would like to see added that Shelley and I may be missing.

Our Trip to Fruita, Colorado

Shelley and I made a short weekend stop in Fruita, Colorado a few weekends ago for some mountain biking.

We stayed at James M Robb – Colorado River State Park for three nights and four days.  The below photo was our camp spot.  We wanted to stay in North Fruita as there are tons of BLM spots up there, but with us coming into town on Friday night with a big mountain biking event that weekend, we didn’t think we’d find any spots.  So we just made reservations early for a spot.  This was a pretty nice camp ground.  On Monday, after we finished mountain biking up there, we drove the area around North Fruita marking all the camps spots for future trips back to this area.

Ripley seems to always find the best seat in the house.

We left Boise on Friday and made the drive in one day…..one long day.  11-1/2 hours with fuel and food stops.  We didn’t want to waste a day of vacation traveling by taking two days to drive there, so one long day was better.

The mountain biking area we really wanted to try out was in North Fruita, but a mountain biking event was taking place this same weekend.  So our first two days, Saturday and Sunday, was spent in the Kokopelli trail area and the Rabbit Valley trail area.  Both are south and southwest from Fruita.

Monday, after the mountain biking event was over in North Fruita, we drove up there and spent the day.

Here’s a map of the area so you can get an idea of where we were riding.

The riding was great on all the days.  It was so much harder and technical then what we typically ride on around Boise.  Plus, there are hundreds of miles of trails to choose from too.

This was our Kokopelli area ride.

The scenery around this ride was pretty spectacular.  As you can see from the map, a lot of the ride was right along the Colorado River.  We could see a lot of rafters cruising the Colorado too.

As I mentioned, there were places where we couldn’t ride and had to get off and walk the bikes.  Steep drop offs or just real technical climbs.  In this photo of Shelley, you can see her getting ready to climb down.  With her in the photo, you can see that’s about a 10′ drop.  There was one spot where the warning was regarding a 100 yard boulder field that dropped 60 feet or so and said that all the but the most technical riders should even try it.  We watched a couple guys from Germany try it, but only one of them even came within half way to making it.  Everyone was climbing up or down it.

This was our Rabbit Valley area ride.

Rabbit Valley was pretty nice, but not quite as spectacular as riding along the Colorado River.  This area was more wide open with some spots where you rode along cliff faces, but mostly it was pretty mild compared to the day before.

This was our North Fruita area ride.

Our rides in North Fruita were mostly long climbs to spectacular downhills.  On the map above, those long straight lines on the right hand side were 1-way trails where you climbed up one and then ripped it down hill on another.  Then we moved over to the west (left side of the map) and did a big loop.  That loop was pretty nice at the beginning, but around mile marker 13 on the map, it got pretty difficult with lots of climbing and areas where we had to walk our bikes.  Then, the down hill came along and it was miles of greatness back to the trail head.

Here you can see Shelley just beyond that first clump of trees along the trail working her way to those switch backs on the second ridge in the background.  That’s what we had to walk.

Here we are, finally at the top looking back down what we just rode/walked up.

Now that we are at the top, I’m getting ready to take in the miles of downhill ahead of us back to the trailhead.

On Sunday evening, my sister Laurene and her husband Roger both came to visit for the afternoon and join us for dinner.  They live just a few hours away and got some of their own biking in on Sunday before joining us.

It was great to see them again and catch up over beer and dinner.

You Were a Good Dog, Jake

As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.  Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other.  All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals.”  

Ecclesiastes 3:18-19

 

Jake, 2001 - 2017

Jake, 2001 – 2017

 

Yesterday, our 4-legged family member passed away.  Jake was 15-1/2 years old.

 

A happy dog

 

I don’t even know where to begin.

15 years makes for lots of memories and adventures.  I can’t include every story here but I hope you take the time to go down memory lane with us while we remember our faithful companion.

We found Jake at the Idaho Humane Society in March of 2002.  He was the third dog we visited that spring.  In 2002, Bev’s dog Cody helped us in picking out just the right dog for us.  You see, Cody was going to be our new family member’s camping and hiking buddy and the two had to get along.  So we brought Cody to the shelter to visit possible recruits.  I found Jake in a group kennel and he was the first of the dogs Cody didn’t attack.  So we all hung out together in the shelter’s yard for awhile and got along.

After making arrangements to have Jake neutered, on March 20, 2002 we brought Jake home.  We paid $65.00 for the honor of having him join our family that day.  The records from back then state he was 9-1/2 months old, putting his birth around June 2001.

Shelley, Jake and Rich, 2002

Shelley and Jake, 2002

There are many things one can say about their canine companion.  “He was a good bird dog.”  Or maybe, “He was a great hunting dog.”  Even, “She was a great camping dog.”

Jake was our companion, our security, our road trip partner, our hiking partner and an international traveler.  He traveled all over Idaho camping and hiking.  He swam in 4th of July Lake, Hell Roaring Lake, Kane Lake, Red Fish Lodge/Lake, Lake Stanley and hiked throughout The Seven Devils, the Sawtooth Range and the Smoky Mountains just to name a few of his adventures.

Red Fish Lake, 2007

Lake Stanley, 2014

Lake Stanley, 2014

Kane Lake

Kane Lake, 2004

Cascade Lake, McCall 2011

Cascade Lake, McCall 2011

Upper Bernard Lake, 2005

Hiking up to Dry Diggins Overlook, The Seven Devils, 2005

Proper camp site leash maintenance was not Jake’s thing, Sedona AZ, 2016

Then there were numerous summer and winter Yurt trips to the Idaho City area.

Shelley and the dogs, Rocky Ridge Yurt, 2003

Shelley and the dogs, Rocky Ridge Yurt, 2003

Our attempt at a family photo. Jake didn’t like things pointed at him, 2003

Jake on a winter camping trip, 2003

In his years of traveling he visited Washington, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Alberta, Canada.  He drank salt water out of the Pacific Ocean on his trips to the Washington and Oregon coasts.  He hiked in the Cascades and the Olympics.  He got to meet mountaineers at the Rainier Mountain Festival in 2010.  He went on treks around Bend and Leavenworth and he even walked on the Athabasca Glacer in Canada.

Cannon Beach, 2008

Cannon Beach, 2008

Banff, Canada, 2005

­

You were a good outdoor dog, Jake.

Smelling a vacation, 2016

When we went on trips to the outdoors, he would run off into the woods to find whatever he could find.  Chipmunks and squirrels were his lifetime nemesis.  They would taunt him on camping trips and then run one way, while he looked another.  But he had perseverance.  He would wait at the base of a tree for hours, just hoping they might slip and fall back to him.  Ah, the ever elusive chipmunk.

Jake and the chipmunk, 2007

Whispering Pines Yurt, 2007

You were a good exploring dog, Jake.

The weather never bothered Jake.  Rain, wind or snow.  Hot or cold.  He seemed to enjoy every season and every climate.  He really did act like every day he woke up was a miracle and he wasn’t going to waste it.  I don’t think he ever wasted a single minute.

Snowshoeing in McCall, 2014

Snowshoeing in McCall, 2014

Jake never barked in anger or attacked another human.  He would never bite food from your hand, always being careful and gentle when you offered him up a treat.  And after we brought Ripley into the house in September of 2002, he became her protector as well as Shelley’s.  He never seemed afraid to come to either of their defense when necessary.

Jake and Ripley in our garden, 2002

Jake and Ripley in our garden, 2002

You were a sweet dog, Jake.

Jake had a routine around the house.  I’m sure he was more OCD than I am.  He liked to see the world as his domain.  Keeping an eye on things from a top the hill behind our house, looking out over the city.  What he was watching for all these times, we don’t really know.  Maybe the local fox or the deer that would stroll by on occasion.

Jake overlooking his "Kingdom"

Jake overlooking his “Kingdom”

At night, he would walk the perimeter of the fence line one last time before coming into the house to go to bed.  He even would walk a perimeter on camping trips.  Just keeping an eye on things, I guess.

Jake "listening" to his "Kingdom"

Jake “listening” to his “Kingdom”

While I worked nights, Shelley felt safer knowing he would alert to any intruder.  Even if it was just a fox walking around on the deck.

You were a good security dog, Jake.

As anyone who knew him from 2002, he was not very fond of men being around the house.  Including me.  And he hated men in beards and hats.  This issue with men did not apply to our good friend, Skip, however.  No, he loved Skip from minute one.  Go figure.

Jake even was one of the star attractions on our wedding cake in 2003.

Our wedding cake

Our wedding cake

Shortly after bringing him home, I traveled to Seattle for a weekend trip and when I came home, Shelley and Jake had bonded.

I was out of the picture.

It took years, close to a decade, before he would start to trust me more.  He always tolerated me, but never really trusted me.  The odd thing was this behavior was only in our own house.  On walks or on trips, he was a totally different dog.  But not at home.  Over the last 5 – 6 years, something changed in him and he became more relaxed and trusting around me.

As an explorer, Jake had a tendency to get himself into trouble.  We had some landscaping work done in the back yard and had trenches dug to run electrical wires to our patio and the trees out back.  Yep, he got stuck in that 4 foot deep trench.  Wedged in like a cork.

Back in Seattle we had a massive hole dug in the back yard of our house to repair a sewage pipe.  The hole was about 12 feet deep and 6 feet wide and long.  The top was covered, but that didn’t stop him from falling in that one either.

Jake in a hole, May 2014

Sometimes he would be the victim of his sister’s malfeasance.  When Ripley decided to get into Shelley’s luggage and eat an entire bottle medicine, we had no way of knowing if Jake partook in the pill popping party.  So, along with Ripley, he had his stomach pumped.  Of course, he didn’t eat any pills.

Ripley, Jake and the pill bottle, July 2010

You were a tough dog, Jake.

His love of fast food french fries and cheese got curtailed sometime around 2010 when he was diagnosed with canine pancreatitis. I guess that was good for us too as we had to stop eating fast food fries on road trips too because we felt so guilty not being able to give him any in the car.

We started noticing an obvious decline with Jake in the spring of 2016 while visiting Seattle.  He was having trouble standing up on the hardwood floors at my sister’s house.  Later at home, in the early summer, his back left leg started getting worse and he became trapped on our hardwoods (he couldn’t stand himself up) one day while we were out.  He probably had been down for a number of hours and couldn’t stand on his own when Shelley came home.  It took hours for him to get the use of his leg back.  By the next morning, he was walking like normal again.  We made the house more “friendly” to him by using throw rugs in strategic places in the house.  During this time he was fine on rugs, grass and outside.  Just not on hardwoods.

When we took him to the vet, Jake was diagnosed with canine degenerative myelopathy which has no treatment and no cure.  This is a progressive disease similar to ALS in humans.

In watching his behavior decline over the last year, we suspect he was also suffering from undiagnosed Cushing’s Syndrome and dementia.  But we cared for him as best we could.  We still included in him in all our trips when it was physically possible.  He loved going on walks, even if we could only walk down the street to the stop sign in our neighborhood and back.

In July of 2016, we went on a camping trip to Stanley Lake.  Jake really struggled on that trip.  He was very slow and the waves at Stanley Lake and Redfish Lake would knock him over when he tried to wade into the water.  When we made one last trip down to the lake before leaving, it would be his last visit to a mountain lake.

Stanley Lake, 2016

Stanley Lake, July 2016

Stanley Lake, July 2016

Chilling to the music at Red Fish Lodge, July 2016

Our final trip was just a few weekends ago when we took a long weekend up to McCall.  Jake got to be out among the trees and snow one last time as we hiked up a service road.  His spunk was visible even if his body wouldn’t allow him to do all the exploring he’s been used to over the years.

McCall, February 2017

McCall, February 2017

Jake was sweet dog.  Yes, he was neurotic dog.  He was a protecting dog.  He was an exploring and an adventurous dog.  And, yes, he gave us many sleepless nights as well.

Having tea at the Plain of the Six Glaciers, Banff, Canada, 2005

But you were a great companion, Jake.  Thank you for those 16 years, buddy.

Jake playing fetch in the backyard

Sometimes, the biggest compliment one can bestow on another is the most modest and humble of compliments……………………………..

Snowshoeing out of a yurt

Snowshoeing out of a yurt

♥ 

 

You were a good dog, Jake.

 

♥ 

 

Posted in Family news. Tags: . 4 Comments »

First Reactions

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Early in the evening, shortly after Kentucky closed, I saw a report that Rand Paul won his re-election.  He was the guy I wanted on the GOP ticket.  At that time, I really felt that was going to be the only good news I would see all night.
Not that Trump as President is good news.
An “R” in the White House is good news.
But holy cow…….I never thought the White House, the House, the Senate and 30 Governors?  Talk about a complete and total rejection of the current DNC policies.  It’s like 2008 but with a Republican version.  And that’s exactly what it was…..a rejection of those policies.  Just think how bad it would have been for the Democrats if women, blacks, asians and Latinos had voted for Trump and the Republicans.  Thank God for the uneducated white man!
I’m not happy with the GOP.  I haven’t been for some time.  In fact, I’m down right cynical and jaded.  I admit it.  I’m not happy with Paul Ryan (there was a time when I really thought he might be the one to make a difference) as I don’t think he’s the same Ryan that was the VP candidate in 2012 or the fiscally conservative Representative from 2009.  Our fiscal house, for me, is the 2nd biggest issue our country faces and nothing in this election result changes this course.  I don’t think a Trump Presidency will stop the bleeding of our national debt.  Hillary wasn’t going to change it either.  No one has a guts to change it.  Not Trump, not Hillary and not Bernie.
But I am happy the 2nd Amendment is safe.  Specifically, I’m happy that an individual right to carry a gun, possess a gun and use a gun for one’s personal, self defense is safe and free from future “reasonable” Federal Government over-regulation.  Dammit, and I bought all those guns, spare parts, tanks, drones and booby traps too.  Should have used that money to buy TSLA!
I’m glad that Heller, Graham and Garner are all safe.
I doubt the Federal Government will change its policy towards the 4th Amendment, however.  That does makes me sad.
I could say that I’m happy that the rule of law is better protected, but I’m not sure that will be the case.  Not because Trump is some sort of corrupted law breaker.  I think he’ll just be a pawn in the GOP Legislative sprocket.  That is till he gets pissed off at that sprocket and switches parties mid-term.  I just don’t think, in the upper tiers of our current party system, the rule of law really has that much meaning any more.  Hell, the DNC screwed over their own constituents to get a corrupted, unindicted felon on the Presidential ballot for God’s sake.  Say what you want about Bernie, but I’d rather be an admitted socialist then be a unindicted felon.  Give the man some credit.  There are DNC activists on video talking about how to rig elections through voter fraud and plant moles in campaign stops.  When will you Democrats learn that the DNC doesn’t care about you any more than the GOP cares about me?  Even this uneducated white man figured that out 10 years ago.
I liked what a commenter said last night…..The people voted for the repugnant outsider instead of the repugnant insider.  That he’s an outsider……I hope beyond hope…….that it makes some type of difference.  But because of the way these two parties are structured, I doubt it will have much “change” at all.  See what I did there!
So, my guy lost last night.  He never had a chance, I knew that when I filled in that bubble.  Did I waste my vote?  No, I don’t think so.  My vote had a purpose and a “hope” behind it.  Ha!  Did it again!
I haven’t seen the national numbers yet but I can always hope that one day another option between two terrible options is given to all 50 states with the same gusto as these two screwed up parties.  But alas, I’m sad because I doubt that will be the case.  The media doesn’t want that, the GOP doesn’t want that, the DNC doesn’t want that and 118,723,655 (and counting) people don’t want that.  So, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing and we’ll keep getting what we’re getting.

My Big 5-Oh

Trying to get back into writing on my blog. I have to admit that posting little snippets to Facebook is much easier and it has taken me away from the blog for some time.  So I thought I’d come back with a recap to my 50th Birthday week.

It’s kind of fitting, in a way, as Shelley and I spent three days and four nights on Mt Rainier this past week for our 2nd and 3rd summit, respectively.  We are now a multi-summit of Mt Rainier family.  Not too shabby.

IMG_4590

The Summit of Mt Rainier

Rainier wasn’t a blue bird trip, but it was pretty close.

The forecast was calling for rain and storms on our approach days, but the storm waited us out for about 12 hours so we got above it on our way to Camp Schurman.  We did get some precipitation but we were well above the 7,500 ft freezing level by that time and just got some light dusting of snow.

IMG_4601

Camp Schurman

The wind, however, was a bit more of an issue.

The wind started on day two as we set our tents at Camp Schurman and didn’t stop till the following late morning as we made our way up the last snow field to the summit.  The wind also made us start a bit later than we would have liked.

We woke at about 4:00 am and started climbing around 5:30 am.  It was easier to stay warm during our breaks with the sun up than it would have been had we left in the dark at 1:00 am.  It was pretty cold, but nothing like we’ve experienced in other places.

IMG_4574

10,500 feet. An hour out of Camp Schurman.

We made it up and back in about 10 hours.

Although the summit wasn’t right on my birthday, it was still pretty cool to be back in the mountains again.

IMG_4579

Around 13,500 feet on Mt Rainier.

IMG_1827

Moving up to Camp Schruman from our camp 1 on day 2.

My sister, Sylvia, was putting us up in Seattle for this trip and she and her husband, Bruce, picked us up when we got back.

Seattle may be beautiful and all (during the summer) and it has great food and places to see, but it also has traffic.  Really, really……….really bad traffic.  Sylvia and Bruce live about 6-1/2 miles from Alpine Ascent’s office and that round trip too 1:34 minutes.  Yep, 13-mile round trip in 1 hour and 34 minutes.  I even took a photo of Bruce’s car’s trip computer to prove it.  Man alive.

We planned this Rainier trip last fall/winter and then in January or so we learned that Ken Griffey Jr was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame and the weekend we came down off the mountain was going to be Ken Griffey Jr Weekend at SafeCo Field.  So we bought tickets for two of those games, Friday and Saturday, to watch all those festivities.

IMG_1984

The Hall of Fame Kid.

Both games were great.  Both games were Mariner come-from-behind wins in the late innings.  Saturday was like a playoff game with a sold out crowd and lots of pomp and circumstance with the retirement of Griffey’s number and all.

What a lot of fun.

Saturday, Sylvia organized a birthday brunch for me with those family members living in Seattle.  My other, wiser, sister Barbara and my brother Bob and their family all came by for the brunch.  Sylvia really knows how to put on a spread and celebration.

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Thanks, Sylvia for doing all that.  It was really great.

I got some good cigars (one of which I am smoking now as I write this post) and some other cool stuff.  Barbara got me a Roman numeral “L” shirt that she said stands for “50” but I have other ideas about her true intention.

IMG_2042

Birthday loot.

barbara and the %22L%22 shirt

Shelley and I drove back to Boise on Sunday and on Monday I had a low key birthday get together here in town.

We met some family and friends at Payette Brewery, had some beers and caught up with some people I hadn’t seen in some time.  Then Shelley took me to a nice dinner and chocolate fondue dessert.

Pretty nice day over all.  And a pretty awesome week.

shelley and I at dessert

Shelley and I at dessert

I stood on top of Rainier for the 3rd time, saw two great ball games, had a great family brunch and hung out with friends and my beautiful wife.

I’m a pretty lucky 5-0.

Some shout outs now.

Thanks to my sister Carol and my niece Sierra for house sitting and baby sitting our dogs while we were gone.  Without them doing that, climbing Rainier and having such a great week would never have been possible.  Thank you two so much.

Thanks to Sylvia and Bruce for putting us up in their house and for the great hospitality….like always.

Thanks to everyone for coming by for brunch, Barbara/Jim, Monica/Joe and Bob/Jennifer.  The gifts and vices I received were very thoughtful.

Thanks to everyone who came by for a beer at Payette and the cards and gifts, Andy, Sue/Hawk, Travis, Ty, Dean, Noah/Amy and Bev/Greg.

And of course to my lovely, beautiful wife Shelley.  After 9-ish years of climbing, she still enjoys going up mountains with me and sharing in those hardships.  She’s so strong, smart, fit and thoughtful.  It was her idea to climb Rainier the week of my 50th birthday and it was her planning that brought everyone together in Boise.  It was a great week and I’m glad I shared it with you.

A Lack of Customer Service at The Market Arms

I’ve gotten use to a certain lack in customer service over the last few years, but what happened to us on Sunday, September 27 at The Market Arms in Ballard, Seattle tops all expectations of poor customer service.

As most who read this blog know, we live in Boise. We lived in Seattle for a number of years and spend 3 – 6 weeks of time coming back to visit every year. In July of 2010 we found a new soccer pub in Ballard called The Market Arms. Great soccer atmosphere for games. We’ve watched a number of out of town Sounders games there, UEFA games and Championship games. Their food has always been good and the wait staff have always been nice and efficient.

But on Sunday, we got to meet the owner, John Bayliss.

In order to explain things in context, I need to set the stage a bit.

This Sunday there were two sporting events taking place, nearly simultaneously. The SoundersFC were playing a key game against Kansas City on the road at 2:00 pm and the Seahawks were playing at home against Chicago at 1:25 pm.

Shelley had more interest in the Sounders game and I just wanted to be able to keep track of both. In the big scheme of things, the Sounders game was more important in the playoff run, so I had a bit more interest there as well.

So we needed a place that would have both games on. Having been going to The Market Arms since 2010, we knew they would find a way to have the Sounders. So we left my sister’s house early to go there first and check it out.

When we arrived, we found they had their five inside televisions labeled with which game would be on which TV. They split their restaurant into half with 2 TVs showing the Sounders and 3 TVs showing the Seahawks. Having got there a little before noon, we had our choice of tables and we picked a good one that had perfect views of two TVs. One was labeled “Sounders” and the other one was currently playing the Dallas/Atlanta game and was labeled “Seahawks.” The two TVs labeled “Sounders” were turned off. We found out later there was a WNBA Championship game taking place on ESPN (the channel showing the Sounders game).

So we thought we had the perfect set up. We arrived early enough to get a good seat to watch both games. We ordered a couple beers and an appetizer of potato skins and hunkered down till kickoff.

Just before the Seahawks kickoff we ordered another round of drinks and lunch.

Things got silly around 2:00.

The restaurant started filling up with Seahawk fans around 1:00, with many of them overflowing into the Sounders half of the restaurant. The two TVs over there were still off. Many of these people were asking about the TV situation and our waitress was telling them that the TVs tagged with “Sounders” would be showing that game at 2:00. When the Seahawk game started, on of the TVs labeled “Sounders” (the one we were going to watch) was changed to the Seahawk game. The other Sounders TV was still off. Needless to say, there was no where to sit over by the other “Sounders” TV now as that area of the restaurant was full of Sounders fans. Our perfect seat was in jeopardy. We asked our waitress if the game would be switched and we were told if it said “Sounders,” it would show the Sounders.

The Sounders kickoff was delayed 15-ish minutes to accommodate the end of the WNBA game. When the only indoor Sounders TV was turned on, the one at the other end of the restaurant away from us, the WNBA game was just wrapping up. The Sounders then kicked off and the TV closest to us that was supposed to show the Sounders, still had the Seahawks game on.

So, we did what anyone in our position would do. We asked our waitress if the TV could be switched to the Sounders. I watched her walk over to the owner, John, who mouthed “no” to her. Their conversation went on for a few moments and she came back to us and told us she was told there were technical reasons the channel couldn’t be switched. Something about switching this TV would affect the other three TVs showing the Seahawks game. I suspected this was BS, but I couldn’t say anything about it.

A few moments later the waitress brought the owner over to explain what was going on, but he went to the wrong table. There was a group of Sounders fans sitting next to us and he went up to them and said, “You want to watch the Sounders? There’s a table on the patio. You can go out back.” They didn’t move. I don’t even recall them saying anything to him.

Our waitress was standing behind him and told him he was at the wrong table and he came over to us and, leaning on the table in front of me, asked us “You want to watch the game?” I’ve been around long enough to know this was a “gotcha” question that had no correct answer. If I said yes, he would tell me to go out to the patio, if I said, no, the conversation would be over.

So I thought I’d try to explain our situation. How we got here at noon, picked out seat specifically for it’s location to both TVs, etc. When I tried to talk, he interrupted me with, “Do you want to watch the game?” I tried to talk again and he interrupted me a second time, “Do you want to watch the game?” I tried to explain things again, and he interrupted me a third time, “Do you want to watch the game?” This time, exasperated, I said, “Dude, you gonna let me talk and finish a sentence or you just gonna keep interrupting me?” He said, “There’s a table on the patio out back if you want to watch the game.” He then waved his hand at my face, giving me the “brush off,” and turned his back and started walking off.

So, I called him a jerk.

Now, did I say “fucking jerk”? Or “you’re a jerk”? Or “Way to be a jerk”? Honestly, I don’t know. And it doesn’t matter. His arrogant attitude, condescending behavior….his lack of concern for a customer’s complaint and his indifference made him a jerk. He was a jerk.

He heard me and turned back around and got right in my space. Up close and personal. Stuck his finger in my face and started yelling at me for calling him a jerk. He told me how he wasn’t gonna stand for being called names and how I wouldn’t answer his question. I tried to explain again that he wouldn’t let me talk or finish a sentence, and he interrupted me again, over and over. I couldn’t even get four words out. Having to talk over him I said, “You’re doing it again. You keep interrupting me and won’t let me speak.”

His reply? He sticks his middle finger in my face and says, “Fuck off!”

At this point, the only negative thing I said to him was calling him a jerk. I never swore at him, never disparaged his mother, family or staff. I was just trying to explain our position and he didn’t care and refused to listen to me. When I called him on it, he tells me to “Fuck off.”

Yeah, real professional. Real good customer service.

Now he storms away. Evidently, the Seahawk game is staying on the TV we, and those Sounders fans around us, thought was going to show the Sounders.

Our waitress came back over and apologized. She said she thought the Sounders would be on that TV, etc. She was very nice. Very embarrassed. When she left, the Sounders game was now on the TV that the Seahawks game was on. The TV that was labeled “Sounders.”

But wait a second….didn’t the owner tell our waitress there were technical reasons it couldn’t be switched? Yeah, he did.

So now he’s a liar too. He lies to his own staff, so they can pass the lie on to his customers.

What a jerk. What a fucking jerk.

After our waitress left, another woman approached and we had a conversation with her. She tried to explain that, “He’s really not a jerk.” Okay, maybe he’s not. Maybe he is Mother Theresa during the other 99.99999% of his life. I get it. People have bad days. But right then, right at that moment when he’s interrupting me, arrogant, condescending and waving me off like a fly…..he was a jerk. This woman really did try to explain things, but there really isn’t much she could say. I felt she was in a very difficult position and I was polite with her.

At one point the John Bayliss came back over, interjected himself into our conversation and said something about being at work since 5:00 am, working hard and, “I’m not going to be called names!” Then he looked at me and told me to, “Fuck off!” again before walking away. Oh, yeah, none of us (including his employee) could get a word in edgewise. She was even trying to shoo him away and he would have none of it.

I finished my conversation with this second woman and things were over.

We were asked if we needed anything as the second half of both games were still left to play, but we were done. I had no intention of ordering another beer or any more food. We couldn’t really leave as we had no where we could get to in order to watch either of the games. Being from out of town, we couldn’t go home and my sister was watching the Seahawks at their house.

So we stayed and drank water till the Sounders were over.

In the end, our waitress gave us our bill and she took two beers off our tab, leaving us with a $41 bill, before her tip. Yes, I did tip her. She was great. Plus, I assume the owner doesn’t get any of the tip money.
So, after being lied to by the owner, being treated like garbage by the owner, being waved off like a fly by the owner and being told to “Fuck off” by the owner, they took two beers off my tab.

That was pretty disappointing, too.

Needless to say, we are never going back to that place.

Bittersweet

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I am sitting here in the kitchen of our Seattle house writing this post. I figured this would be the best place to talk about this decision, as it did not come lightly. Shelley and I have talked about it for a few years, since the spring of 2012, but events over the last 12 months are really what brought us the decision to sell our Seattle house. Last Tuesday, March 3rd, we accepted an offer on it and this week we came back here for one last visit to the house as well as bring home some of the belongings we have here.

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Our agent did a great job getting the house ready and playing the market. There is no inventory here in Seattle and so it’s a sellers market right now. So he put it on the market on a Wednesday with a 5-day hold on offers. The open house was the following Sunday. He wanted to hold all offers till after the open house. As you can see, we had a lot of traffic. In the end, we had 6 offers and three were $60k+ over asking. The house was on the market for 6 days. Maybe the house was priced a bit low, but our agent warned us going in he wanted to do that in order to get multiple offers. It worked. We’re not disappointed.

This is a bittersweet moment because of the memories in this house over the last 27 years coupled with the price we accepted.

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My parents bought this house in 1988 with the help of my sister, Sylvia and her husband Bruce. My parents, never a wealthy pair and renters for the previous 12 years, couldn’t swing the financing at the time to buy the place for $86k-ish. I was stationed at Fort Polk at the time, so I didn’t grow up here. I didn’t see the house until I came home on leave prior to shipping out to Korea in 1989.

My dad soon turned family barbecues into a regular event here. He usually barbecued a turkey on a rotisserie. He planted some shrubs, built an arbor and planted grapes, planted some fruit trees and started a flower garden in the back yard and along the front of the house.  I only have one photo of these flower gardens he planted.

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When my dad poured the concrete to have a nice spot for the barbecue in the back, my niece drew out here name in the wet cement. It’s still there.

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I came home from the Army in 1990 and moved into the unfinished basement. I spent the next couple years trying to get my act together, go back to school and get out of my parents house. My parents were okay with me staying here. They had no issues and I could have stayed here as long as I wanted. The free rent for me was great too. But when you’re 25, the last place you want to be living is in your parent’s basement.

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As I got ready to move out, my dad’s health turned worse and he passed away in August of 1993. He was fortunate enough to be able to choose for himself that he wanted to come home, to this house. He passed away in the master bedroom with my mom at his side. It was the middle of the night. Most of my family was in town, staying with other family and friends, and I made the phone call to my sister to let her know and she in turn called everyone else.

When everyone got here, I was sitting on the couch in the living room holding my mom. Well, we were holding each other. We all gathered here in the living room for the next few hours. There might have been some beers involved.

My dad’s death changed a lot of things. Primarily, it changed my mom’s finances. She was going to lose the house now with half the income gone. So I decided to stay here, in the basement, and help out with the mortgage until she figured things out. That lasted till 1998. I didn’t mind. I just had to tell the girls I met that I lived in my mother’s basement.

I was single for a long time.

In 1998, Bruce’s company consolidated their business and moved their headquarters to Boise, Idaho. They offered my mom the chance to move there with them. She was about 78 and the house was just too much for her and she wanted to sell it. By this time I had my affairs figured out and, with some convincing from my siblings, my mom sold me the house. I didn’t rate the financing, just like my mom and dad didn’t in 1988, but with some “creative financing” we got the deal done and the house was mine.

A few weeks later I met Shelley and I wasn’t living in my mom’s basement anymore. Whew, that was close.

After moving to Boise in 2001 the house was a rental till 2008. I went through some really, really crappy tenants. By 2008, the house was a mess. I had a property management company running things, but still, the house got trashed.

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Shelley and I decided to make the house a vacation home for ourselves. We also talked a friend of mine, Robert, into moving in to keep the place lived in while we were gone. All he had to do was pay $600 a month, all the utilities and mow the yard. By 2012 he had screwed that simple, little deal up. I had to evict him in January of 2015.

When the house became a rental in 2001, I had to take out some of the fruit trees my dad planted. The tenants simply didn’t care about them and it was expensive to maintain them from Boise. I couldn’t bring myself to cut them all down, so I left one apple tree. I also left the plum tree, that is really a sucker, but has always been quite nice. You can see it in full bloom in the photo.

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I had to take out the flower gardens, of course, but left the front hedge my dad planted. My dad’s grape vines didn’t survive the rental period either.

After Robert moved into the house in July of 2008, Shelley and remodeled the basement to make it a nice, vacation spot for us to come visit Seattle. My mom never got to see it finished as she passed away in July of 2009 and it wasn’t completed until January of 2010.

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Shelley and I used the house a lot over the last 5 years. We had first talked about selling in 2012. We were debating whether to remodel the upstairs and patio or sell and buy something finished in Seattle. Ultimately, we chose not to sell and didn’t want to remodel since the house was just a vacation stop for us at the time. You have to understand, the basement is really nicely done. Shelley and I made an agreement in 2008 that if we remodeled the basement we would never turn the house back into a rental only to have more tenants trash the house again.

It has never ceased to amaze me how many people simply don’t care about other people’s property. They didn’t care if their dog peed on the rug and the rug sat on the hardwood floor and ruined the finish. They didn’t care if the sewer backed up and there was human waste on the floor for four days and ruined the hardwoods.

Mow the yard? Why mow the yard?

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Grease splatters on the kitchen ceiling? No reason to clean that up.

I could go on and on. Maybe it was just bad luck, I don’t know. I know it’s a small sample size of tenants, but my sample size sucked. Ultimately, we didn’t want to spend that much money on a new basement, or go further with a new kitchen and remodel the upstairs, only to have someone trash it again. I didn’t want to see the house in that condition again.

So here I am, sitting in the kitchen having accepted an offer. The same kitchen where I helped my mom and dad make dinners. Where another one of my nephews celebrated his 1st birthday. This is the house where I kissed Shelley for the first time….okay, she’ll say she kissed me. This is the house where my family celebrated my dad’s life with a turkey I barbecued on the rotisserie…..having learned how do that from the lessons he taught me in this backyard.

Financially, this house was always going to be another form of investment for us. Something for us to hang on to and use as a place to park some money for our retirement. Someday we would need to sell it. If we held on to it for another 15 years, I’d feel the same way then as I do now. I’d just be writing this later than sooner. I’ve tried to look at this transaction like any other transaction I’ve done over the years, but the history and emotions are just inescapable.

Shelley has asked me a dozen times over the last few months, “Are you okay with this?”  I’m okay with it.

It sucks, but I’m okay.

Today’s Thought on Capitalism and Freedom

This quote has been making the rounds lately and I wanted to take some time to post it and spread it around a bit myself.

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“No citizen can be secure while our peace forces are subject to murderous attacks in the street.  No officer can be expected to perform his duty at a high level which the public properly expects of him if he must be continually apprehensive that even his most routine activities will bring him face-to-face with senseless and unprovoked gunfire.  This deadly violence is wholly indiscriminate.  Any policeman, at any time, has become a target for a killer, and this is plainly intolerable.  Any person who commits an armed assault on a police officer will be hunted with every resource available to this Department.  We will not conduct business as usual while a would-be cop killer is loose.  I call upon all citizens to consider clearly what effect impassioned rhetoric condemning all policemen may have on the desperate or deranged.  A climate of hostility that equates policemen with animals is unquestionably in my view encourages the possibility of lethal violence against the men who are sworn to provide safety and justice for all our citizens and who, with very few exceptions, live up to this duty.”

NYPD Commissioner Patrick Murphy, 1970-1973

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