Free is just another word….

I have a mantle clock. It is just a small little thing. I received it as a going away gift when I left my position as a Shipper / Lead Hand at a small manufacturing company back in the winter of ’99.

The curious part of this was that I did not receive the going away gift from my employer, but from a supplier who took me out for breakfast and gave me a catalogue from Amway. I was allowed to pick anything I wanted from that catalogue, it was already paid for.
I’m never good at picking a ‘free’ prize. It’s like some kind of test that I ultimately end up failing.
In my senior year of High School I won a writing award. the prize, donated by the local historical Society, was a $10 gift certificate at ‘Sam the Record Man’. This is back in 1986 and $10 would have gotten you any album in the store.
So there I was, standing in the store and looking at all of the cassettes. Anything I wanted! I must have looked for over an hour!
Def Leppard? Dire Straits? How about some Men Without Hats?
All the choices in the world and what do I walk out of there with?
ABBA, The Album.
Yep.
The last time I remember listening to it all the way through was on a mini vacation, driving across Manitoulin island right around Midnight back in ’93. I still have the cassette though….
Years later, I was at a Fork Lift Rodeo (there used to be such a thing). It was a skills competition. I was pretty good at it, but truth be told I liked it just for the chance to be able to drive the nbice new Toyota propane Fork Lifts. At the end of it all, there was a prize table and you got to pick a prize from the table based on your standing. Being that the competition was put on by the Industrial Accident Prevention Association, most of the prizes were safety related. I found the one that wasn’t.
A propane torch.
Realistically, I did not own a house. But I knew that I would….someday.
Three years later I bought a house. Now I would finally be able to put that torch to use!
Interestingly enough, home ownership does not guarantee the need for a propane torch.
So I waited. I was patient.
In 2004 my patience was finally rewarded! In a cold snap of over -40, the pipes in the crawlspace under my house froze solid! No problem! I had just the tool to tackle that task! A brand new, nerve been used propane torch! I knew right where it was not just a little bit of smugness that I retrieved it from its safe storage in the garage and eagerly prepared to save the day! I turned on the propane and flicked my bic and…..
Nothing happened.
Apparently if you leave something like a propane torch sitting for 13 years, it may or may not work. My model came down decidedly on the ‘may not’ side of things.
Which brings me back to my clock.
My clock and I lost tough for a few years. Many things happened in my life, much change. Some change the clock was around for, some it was not. At some point though, the clock stopped working. I knew it awhile back, but had always assumed that it was a dead battery type issue. So the other day I ‘found’ the clock again and happily put a new battery in it.
Nothing happened.
The clock hands remained immobile.
Well, there goes another ‘pick your own prize’ down the tubes!
No worries though. It really is a good looking little clock, and it still tells the right time, if only twice a day!
 clock

Just some thoughts…

Free write…

She had said that we needed to write more often.

Not to each other, but to write.

I couldn’t have agreed more, although to type that makes it sound just silly. Like a sliding scale of ‘do not agree, somewhat agree, strongly agree….and COULD NOT AGREE MORE!’

Still, I took what she said to heart and I realized that while it may never amount to much, there is something to be said for getting ones thoughts out of your head and onto ‘paper’. If I were a more talented mortal, perhaps I would draw. Art class was not something that I ever exceled at, and truth be known, in my very early days I was probably the kid who if he wasn’t eating the play dough, was at least contemplating it off in a quiet corner.

In fact, to illustrate the point, one of my memories from an actual art class was doing Paper Mache masks. We were cutting the newspaper into strips prior to dipping it and I can still remember the ¼ page ad for “Smokey and the Bandit” with a picture of Burt Reynolds and a very cute Sally Fields (before everyone really liked her). So that’s what I took away from art class.

Still, as I grow older (at an increasingly alarming rate of acceleration), I find that I appreciate art more and more. Sometimes, I even get to be part of the art. One of my favorite pieces involved a pencil sketch that involved, among other things,  a version of myself and a rubber chicken.

True story, I’m not even kiddin’ ya!

A cliché it may be, but you don’t always find art hidden away in a gallery of faces with no names.

Hold, please?

Life can be oh so very interesting sometimes. Now and zen something happens to illustrate just that! I will explain….

Shortly before Christmas, while at work one morning, I had to make a phone call to a courier company. I was, of course, immediately placed on hold “due to the high volume of calls”.  The music being played while on hold was a piano piece, and while I certainly did not recognize it, it spoke to me without hesitation! All too soon I was off hold and placing my order with the Customer Service Rep. At the end of our dealing, I asked her to please put me back on hold.

She did so, and I was once again listening to this absolutely beautiful piece of contemporary piano music. But then, less than 30 seconds later, the CSR was back on the line.

“Are you finished sir?” she asked.

“No! Please just put me back on hold!” I snapped.

“But sir, you are tieing up my line.” She did not sound pleased.

“I realize that”, I told her, “But I need to finish listening to the piece of music that is playing!!!”

She put me back on hold. By this time I had attracted the attention of my co-worker in the next cubicle.

“Seriously?” I heard him say.

“YES!” I hit the hands free button so that everyone in the office could hear the soft sounds of one of the most beautiful piano pieces I had heard. Strangely enough, no one else seemed to share my enthusiasm for this music. I felt a bit dejected as I hung up the line, The music was gone, and I knew that I would never hear it again. It was a fleeting moment in time….and now it was over.

I tried to remember the tune, but within an hour it was gone from my head. Too late, I was kicking my butt for not having recorded some of the music on my smart phone. That afternoon I downloaded the “app” Shazam. This app is supposed to take a few seconds of a song or music and idnetify it for you. I knew that I had lost out on this piece of music, but I was determined to be ready for the next piece that caught my interest.

Fast forward if you will….a couple of days later. It is morning, the Saturday before Christmas. I am trying to locate a 15 gallon aquarium that I wish to give to someone special as a Christmas gift. I had tried getting one at Petsmart, but they had none in stock when I visited their local store. By chance, I ended up on their website and they showed one in stock, which I promptly ordered. But, not wanting to drive into town for nothing, I decided to call the local store to confirm the availability.

I dialed the number and as soon as it was answered I was put on hold.

You guessed it.

The mystery piano piece was playing!!!

All too soon I was taken off hold by a young sounding man. I quickly asked him to put me back on hold.

“Really?” he asked. Apparently this just isn’t a common request!

I assured him I was serious and he put me back on hold.

I put the house phone on ‘speaker’ and got my smart phone out and opened up Shazam.

I’ll be damned.

In less than five second it had identified the music. I was still skeptical, and loaded up Youtube to try it out.

Shazam had nailed it!!!

The music in question:

Lavender Skies, by Gary Lamb.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebIACH5_0Mw

Life is good. Life is an awesome journey…..

Cheers everyone!!!

While you see a chance….

My understanding of the Steve Windwood song by the above name, which was released in 1981, is that it had a remarkable lineup of musicians playing the instruments.
If you count Steve Windwood that is.
He played all of the instruments, recording them one by one until all was done. Very patient…very talented!

The end result is a pretty good song, with a pretty good message.

So, the other day I found myself in a situation where I saw a chance….and I took it.
I have had a motorcycle license for over 30 years, but sadly, my own motorcycle has become a permanent fixture of my garage since 2001.
As luck would have it, I tripped over a 2008 Suzuki GS500F at a used car dealer. It had been there quite awhile, and they were apparently very eager to get it off their showroom fllor. I offered them $900 less than they were asking for it and they accepted!
It had just over 1000 miles on it!!!!

If you want to see happiness, picture me on a motorcycle for the first time in well over a decade. That night, I went for a nice drive with the woman I LoVe holding on behind me.
Life….is good!

Cheers!

bike