Ticket Quota

A friend informed me they were pulled over today and given a ticket for going 20 miles over the limit.  On my evening walk, I had a sighting of a policeman pulling another someone over.  Is it a coincidence today is the end of the month and the end of the first half of the year?  I am guessing some men in blue were told to hit some numbers and reach their quota.  And, no, I was not one of the someone’s who played a part in forming this theory….

Package Pranks

As I pondering writing this post, I was not sure how to title it OR what stories could be cobbled together to make it work.  While they may not all be pranks, it may be better stated as being outside of the norm OR, in one case, the new norm.

Magazine defiling:  When I was growing up a few to many decades ago, I used to subscribe to a magazine that attempted to appeal to my teenage mind.  This magazine had comic strips, posters, and other things targeting my pubescent mind.  As my hand reached into my mailbox on that ancient day, I was excited to pull out a new edition of my magazine.  At the mailbox, I glanced over the magazine.  A couple of the pages seemed anxious to show me their offerings.  Unfortunately, the comics on the back were what my eyes lingered on.

I forget the exact setup of the comic strip.  I believe it has two brothers interacting.  In this particular one, the younger brother was getting the best of his older brother.  (In real life, I have a younger brother.)  Amazingly, written under the younger brother in the comic strip was my brother’s name, and under the older brother, my name was written.  It was handwritten.  I was bewildered how this might have occurred.

Fortunately, the post office employee who attended our church was so proud of himself he could not keep his mouth shut.  He admitted to seeing the magazine come through the post office.  Apparently, he could not control his mischievous side.  I don’t recall whether his desire to be ornery existed when the magazine was picked up OR if the cartoon made his Mr. Hyde emerge.  Regardless, he was quite proud of his prank.  If only “going postal” was as innocent as his little prank.

Package Delivery:  My son works at a popular fast food restaurant.  It is literally only a 15 minute walk from the house.  It appears this place is quite popular with the local delivery people as well.  As a package needed to be signed for the other day, I was working on scribbling out the scratches that constitute my signature.  The delivery guy then comments, “Your son told me he would not be home tonight.”  I must have given him quite an odd look because he felt compelled to explain. (My son backed up his claims as well.)

“I talk to your son almost every day.  When I was going through the drive thru today, I told your son I had a package for you.  Your son told me to tease you a little bit.  So, that is what I tried to do.”, he said.

My son got a kick out of it when next I talked to him.  While he and my relationship is not always perfect, it is a relief to know he puts into practice nearly everything Dale Carnegie taught in his book.

Amazon Delivery:  As I sat in my den with a window facing toward the front of the house, I was surprised to hear a car stop in front of our mailbox.  As a reluctantly unrepentant nosey person, I observed what was occurring.  A very casually dressed female emerged from the car and opened the trunk.  She grabbed a package from the trunk before setting back in her car.  She did something to the package before walking up the sidewalk and doing the knock/doorbell combo. I opened the door to find my package.  It was in one of those really flexible mail bags.

These particular items were ordered two days ago–I believe they were only stocked in Kentucky.  Previously, I ordered a computer cable in the morning, and it was delivered in the afternoon.  Having received items from Amazon from non-UPS or USPS sources, I became curious how they are doing this.  And, a little browsing did make it clear.  They have started an “Uber” for package delivery.  They call it Amazon Flex.    Here are what you can expect and need to work for them:

Why Amazon Flex?
– Flexible hours — Schedule ahead or pick up any available delivery block of time
– Great pay — Make $18/hr
– Available work — Delivery opportunities available 7 days a week

To get started you must be:
– 21 years old
– Have a car and a valid driver’s license
– Have an Android phone

I don’t see myself applying for this or any similar job soon.  (My phone is not an Android.)  But, it does give options to a variety of people who might not otherwise generate a reliable income.  Having watched both of the Amazon Flex deliveries come to my house,  I can safely say the individuals did not look like they gave up their business casual jobs just the other day.  Their dress indicated they had been building their casual wardrobe for possibly a number of years.

**********

Okay, I admit the three stories got worse as you read through them.  I probably could have organized them better or thrown in a couple of completely fictitious stories.  This blog has not graduated to heavy fiction yet.  With strong encouragement, dementia, or some other activity that either degrades mental capacity OR releases ideas that have been sent via extra-dimensional brain transfer, I hope to achieve a level of reading pleasure far exceeding what is presently produced by my unpredictable finger spasms.  If this goal goes unrealized, it is better to set a goal and fail to meet it then to never set a goal at all, right?

 

Interview With A Vampire

Okay, suggestive titles aside, there really is some truth here–just let me explain!  If you can’t stand the wait, she would be an “associate of vampires”, but that is  all you are getting from me.  You have to read for the rest.

As I was completing my walk today, I walked thru a park that has ball fields, a playground, a dog park, and lots of trees along the edges.  As I noted a “new” city vehicle at the park near the trail, I noticed its likely owner emerging from the foliage rolling a grocery cart type thing.  I was prepared to pass her without putting my deductive reasoning to the test.  Fortunately, I was willing to break my train of thought and begin the interview.

“Collecting this weeks mosquitoes?”, I asked after observing her cart with some netting and articles that seemed to be allowing people to check in but NOT check out.

She seemed to enjoy the interested and lit up.  And, then she went into a bit of an explanation.  “I drop the traps on Thursday and pick them up on Friday.  I don’t know what kind of mosquitoes I have in the basket.  I take them to the health department for them to determine that.  I do this from the end of March until about Thanksgiving.”

As you are now clearly aware, I was interviewing a vampire handler and NOT the vampire, but if we pretend she is a mosquito whisperer, I am not completely crazy for going down this pathway.

Knowing mosquitoes were being collected in a little white net “basket” within a 1/2 mile of my home, did cause the next few questions.  (I did ask in a conversational way, but a summary seems to make the whole thing more concise and readable.  She was not a quick talker…)

  • Have they found any Zika? No
  • What about West Nile?  Just last week they found some West Nile in a stagnant creek behind a trailer park.  It was a couple miles south of here.
  • Do you get bit often?

The biting issue is where I was most intrigued by the conversation.  To my question, she answered, “Not to much, but I go through quite a bit of OFF. And, I often use the cheap baby oil/creme from the Dollar Store.”

Knowing there is something that is cheap AND smells better than garlic (trying to keep the vampire theme relevant), did get my attention.  I asked, “Do you always use them both OR do you believe the baby creme can work by itself?”

Although her answer took longer to sort out then I had the patience to recapture here, her boiled down reply was, “I have used them both separately and together.  Sometimes I forget one of the other.  Either one seems to work pretty well by itself.”

So, if you have a fear of mosquitoes and don’t like the smell of OFF or have any tastier humans nearby, consider spending a dollar at the Dollar Store and getting yourself some of this bane to vampire everywhere.  I “think” this is the anti-vampire product, but she didn’t have it to show to me.  It fits the price point she told me and the packaging description.  Good Luck!!

This is what the mosquito gathering apparatus looks like when collecting.

This is what the mosquito gathering apparatus looks like when collecting.

Tragedies

I seem to be in slow motion today.  I ate my breakfast.  I attended church, and I even got a haircut.  But, underneath it all, I just seem to have an underlying moping feeling.  I think it is today’s tragedy.  Should we mourn their loss?  Yes.  Should we pray for the families?  Yes.  As an evangelical Christian, my prayers may not follow the same path as those who are secular Christians.   I believe God weeps at times like this as well.  He has a plan B….but he only developed plan B because human kind failed to abide by the conditions of plan A.

When people who are American die (regardless of what sexuality they may claim), we should be angry.  When red-blooded Americans see senseless murders, they want to be the ones who have concealed carry licenses to try and help stop these things.  When blue-blooded American see these type of tragedies, they want to blame the guns and make it more difficult to be a gun owner.  The important thing is both sides of the political aisle are going to demand action.

When I look at the situation, I think of what might have motivated this individual to want to commit this tragedy.  If he witnessed a gay couple kissing and was driven to this (I read this this morning), then he obviously overreacted.  But, if he is someone who follows the Muslim faith and claims the kiss was the catalyst, then maybe this type of possibility should force us to screen for radical Muslims when guns are sold.  This is not denying them their right as citizens to buy guns.  But, maybe we should be more willing to use words that have been banished from our vernacular, like Islamic terrorist.  It is clear they are in our country and willing to die to execute their plans.

Taking away the rights of the innocent is not the way to protect this country.  Taking away the rights of the those who have chosen to consider Anti-American activities needs to get more focus.  If Washington DC was a place that made sense, then we would look for solutions that inconvenienced the fewest number of people possible.  We would attempt to resolve the issue without adding additional hurdles to further complicating a small businessman wanted to make an honest living.

While I know this issue has two sides, I find the need to further limit gun rights as an issue the will end badly because the media and the loudest mouths in the room will keep blinders on.  They don’t care about the truth. They care about the concentration of power.  As Christians and as Americans who honor the Constitution, we need to make a decision–how are we going to vote and how are we going to mute the noise of the those who make decisions based on the minority being served rather than the majority?  And, maybe sprinkle into that question a bit of, “What is their motivation?”

You God-Fearing?

I heard the light tap on the door.  Since I was expecting a UPS delivery today, I was probably more obliging than normal.  I still peeked out the side window before opening it. The knocker was a safe 6-8 feet away from the door.  He did the normal “buttering” up before letting me know he and his “crew” would like to help me trim my trees up.  Not being much for butter, I asked him to “cut to the mustard.” We walked around the trees as he told me how he might beautify my yard should he and his basketball team (yes, there was 5 of them) get the opportunity to trim my trees.

As we walked into the backyard and the elm whose middle name is “shade”, I stressed to him the need to make sure he watched out for the existing plants.  He assured me he would .  Still reluctant to give me a price, he would choose a branch and say, “Yeah, we need to get that one off of the roof.” or “Your neighbor will be grateful if you take out that branch.”   As I neared impatience, I finally asked him again for the price.  After he provided it, I let him know I was considering it but would like to pay a little less.  As he hesitated to respond, I apparently had a wave of conscious overtake me.  I simply asked him, “Are you a God-fearing man?”  When he said “yes”, I told him to go ahead.

Was it the best trim my little trees have had?  Probably not.  Was I really impressed with his sales skill and his incredible knowledge of trees?  Not really.  I guess I was just pulling myself out of the equation and having his Christian confession be the decider….sorta.  Should he have said “yes” just to get the business, then maybe there is the chance he will feel a twinge of guilt.  I have used trade people in the past who claimed they were Christian on their website or yellow pages ad.  The work product did not give evidence of their commitment to fully using their God-given abilities.

If he said “no”, I still might have let him do the work.  I think I liked the quickness of his answer rather than the specific answer he gave.  Whether his answer was truthful or not, the rest of his basketball team heard his answer as well as I.  He is either a committed liar OR he was speaking from strong conviction. His team knows and a God who is much more discerning and knowing then I will hold his conscious accountable to the answer he provided me…..I am trusting Him to do so.

 

Three White Vehicles

As I was driving my daughters on one of those plentiful summer activities this morning, I noticed 3 white cars in one of our neighbors driveways.  (To be more accurate there was a truck, mini-van, and a Camary-ish car)  Always one to invite my brain to wander, I tried to think thru the benefits of having 3 white (or any of the same color) vehicles in the family.  This is the list I got:

  • Vow:  Although contrived, there may have been a vow of some type taken in the past.  Maybe the vow went something like this, “Because I was so horrible to our goldfish, I will only buy white vehicles the rest of my driving career.”  Of course, the vow is likely to have been far more convicting than this one.  I erred on the side of humor rather than hitting any nerves.
  • Color Blind:  Why have lots of colored cars if you can’t distinguish them anyway?  Just go with one that your defective eyes can reliable detect every day of the year and twice on Sundays!!
  • Family joke:  This one might have potential.  I had friends once who had two identical cars.  One was named “Spot” and one “Stripe”.  I could never tell them apart, but the game worked for them.  (They also have 4 boys.  Back in the day when boys/mens white socks had stripes on them, the mom used this to her advantage.  Each boy had socks with a different stripe.  If the wrong color stripes showed up in the wrong drawer, it was a sorting error or out right theft.)  A son might ask the question, “Which car can I take tonight?”  The dad will just say, “Take the white one.”  (In Texas, this is probably foolish.  Most kids seem to think they deserve their own cars.)  It might just be one of those corny jokes that prevents other color cars from being considered.
  • Perceived Goodness:  Some may want a white car just because it looks more innocent than a red car.  The Lone Ranger rode a white horse.  So, maybe dad’s Mustang convertible is just part of his lifelong quest to fine a good friend named “Tonto” out there on the range.
  • ….most realistic: White cars don’t show dirt as quickly as a dark car.  And, for those who don’t like to visit the care watch too frequently, a white car is an excellent addition to your families portfolio of vehicles.