Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm on a trip to Vietnam to see my son for the month of December. I left yesterday, I think. I'm so messed up with time at this point, I don't know what day it is anywhere. And I'm not even there yet. Here's the story of my trip so far: Vietnam Christmas - the ride there.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A story about a man and a tattoo

On December 23rd, we lost a good man. I know that many people have many stories about Webb. If you want to write one and post it here, let me know. This is mine.

A long time ago, when I was 19, I was a wicked drunk and made a lot of really stupid decisions. One of those was to get tattooed by some guy at someone's house. And it wasn't a little butterfly in an inconspicuous place. It was a big set of Harley wings in the middle of my back with my husband's name in a banner that descended below the main part of the tattoo. It looked like crap from day 1, and a do-over at Big Joe's in Mt. Vernon, NY didn't help much. Not that guy's fault. There's just so much you can do with a big blue-green blob. Several years later another modification was attempted, this time successfully covering up my now ex-husband's name with a dragon that rested between the wings with his tail extending through the banner below. The name was gone, but I still hated it. And hated it. And hated it.

Finally, in 2008 (almost 30 years later), I started laser treatments to get enough of it gone that I could get a decent cover-up and be done with it. Damn! That's painful. Seriously painful. The guy I was dating at the time, who was sure he knew everything there is to know, kept explaining to people that it was like someone snapping a rubber band on the affected area. That would have been tolerable. There is no way to describe the pain. And beyond the pain, there's the blistering and oozing that goes on for weeks afterward. Perhaps it's not as bad for that tiny little butterfly in an inconspicuous place, but for a tattoo about 6 inches square in the middle of your back, it's torture followed by the extreme difficulty of trying to bandage a part of your body that you cannot see or reach with blood and puss staining every shirt you wear for a month. I don't think I'm capable of describing just how bad it was.

In 2009, I was a vendor at the Joker's Wild Realities Ride. I was set up near the stage for the tattoo contest. I'd heard that they were having a category for the worst tattoo, with a $100 gift certificate for a cover-up going to the winner. The contest was being run by Joker's Wild Tattoo Studio, and I spoke with the owner's wife about it briefly. With three laser treatments and about 8 months of ink dispersion after the last one, it was clear that I'd tried to kill it and still awful enough that I didn't feel like showing it to a bunch of complete strangers. Vicki, the owner's wife, kept coming by my booth and encouraging me to enter. I finally did. As expected, everyone was thoroughly disgusted, and I won. Yay! The only problem now was that $100 wasn't nearly enough to take care of the problem, and I didn't have the cash to make up the difference. I took my certificate and the plaque with the fake dog turd and went on my way.

After the first session
The following spring I had enough money to get the cover-up. I gave Webb a call and went down there with a printout of what I wanted done. As I settled in for the next two hours, we got to talking about motorcycles and riding and God and riding and seeing as how he was an old biker and I was an old biker chick, we talked about riding and partying back in the day. And riding and spirituality and bikers and God. Webb said more than once, "A pretty girl shouldn't have an ugly tattoo."

I was leaving for a cross-country trip on my bike the next day to go see my newborn granddaughter in Vermont. Webb said it would be fine as long as I could keep my new tattoo dry on the trip. Of course I completely forgot about that when I went to jump in the hot tub in Illinois or Indiana or Iowa or wherever that was, but I jumped out as soon as I remembered. Vicki and I became friends on Facebook before the trip, so she followed my month-long journey online. I came back for another session on that tattoo and stopped by to chat from time to time. I visited Webb where he was tattooing in Sturgis that year, my first year in Sturgis, and crossed the street to chat with Vicki at a job she was doing there on Main Street during the rally.

Webb ended up getting injured at a hotel in Deadwood that year, and tattooing became extremely difficult for him. I went to Webb and Vicki's 25th anniversary party in April, and just before I went to my writer's workshop in Aspen in June, I asked Webb to enhance a tattoo I've had on my upper arm for 20 years. He whipped out some gorgeous cherry blossoms with an amazing depth that weaves between the Phoenix on my shoulder and the Pyong Ahn symbol on my upper arm. It was one of the last tattoos Webb did. His injuries and subsequent treatments sapped the life out of him. He'd been tested for cancer and was fine, and in the blink of an eye he had cancer everywhere. From the time he was diagnosed to the time he passed was less than three months.

Because my work is very slow in the winter time, and I don't have family around here or any other holiday commitments, I've been able to help Vicki out quite a bit. It's been heartbreaking, but I'm glad I've been able to be there for her. I've been praying a lot for her, and I hope she'll be able to see the light, the good in life, before too long. If you'd say a prayer as well, I'd appreciate it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Joe16 - truth is stranger than fiction

I wasn't going to write about Joe16. I hadn't even considered him Joe16. But when he asked me today during lunch if I was going to write the story, he became Joe 16. I'm pretty sure he doesn't even know about this blog (he will). Not because I was hiding it but because I was so over it. However, even though it turned out to be a fail, it's a good story that should be told.

We met in a way that is how people should meet. In other words, it wasn't some lame online dating site. My most excellent friend FINALLY got a motorcycle after going through the training and getting her endorsement a year or two before. Yay! She wanted to ride her Buell Firebolt to church, but she has three kids, and she didn't feel confident taking one on her bike. I don't blame her. Her husband was taking the little one, I got the middle child, and they called another guy in for child #3 (or #1 really - he's the oldest).

I had recently published my book (Shovelhead Redemption), and the guy and I talked a bit about it, mostly about the fact that we both have a couple of decades of sobriety. We went to church, and while the guys were sitting along the wall, my girlfriend and I sat at a nearby table. At one point she leans over and says, "Ya know, Joe's a really nice guy."

"Just sayin?" I ask.

A smile. So the gears start turning. I hadn't considered going out with the guy up to that point, but there was no good reason not to consider the possibility. The day went on, a couple of weeks went by, and eventually we ran into each other at church again. This time we exchanged phone numbers, and I texted him the next day to see if he wanted to go for a ride.

Things took off pretty quickly. Too quickly. He said that his life was in a strange place and he wasn't going to be in top form for a relationship. I felt that was Ok. I wasn't going anywhere. He could take his time and get into whatever place he needed to be when he got there. So we continued on. He brought up his hesitation once again, and I asked why he considered me to be a roadblock to where his life was going rather than a positive force to help him get there. He didn't deny it, but I could tell he wasn't buying it either.

We were seeing a lot of each other, and he was being far more thoughtful than just about any guy I'd ever dated, been engaged to, or married. Then almost overnight, everything changed. He came in and made a statement that hurt me. Logically I felt like it shouldn't have hurt me, but the way it came out didn't sit well with me. Long story short, it ended with him telling me that he didn't like me as much as I liked him and me telling him to make sure the door didn't hit him in the ass on the way out - or something like that. I was really hurt. Yes, he'd said he was in a bad place, but he hadn't said he just wasn't into me. He didn't act like he wasn't into me. I was angry. He wanted to be friends. I wanted him to suffer. There was no way I was going to let him off that easily and be friends. That may have worked for every other woman he dated or married, but it wasn't going to fly with me.

While we had been dating, Joe16 had spoken many times about wanting to get a commercial drivers license (CDL) and get a job with an energy company. He'd picked up the book to study for the permit, and I'd downloaded another copy of the book onto his computer. After we split up, I started thinking that maybe a CDL would be a good thing for me since I'm really sick of being totally broke every winter. I don't want to go back into an office, so getting a CDL seemed like a great idea. When Monday rolled around, I talked to some folks, got a book, went to the DMV, studied while I waited in line, and took and passed the test. The next day I went for my physical and got my permit. I couldn't wait to rub his nose in my good fortune. Take that jackass!

Within a week, an incident with a different friend of mine got me very upset. Joe16 was the best person to talk to about what had happened, and I broke down and spoke with him. I hadn't planned on discussing my latest career move, but I had to say how funny it was that I had thought I was put in his life to help him, when it was actually the other way around. How ironic.

I went to the school to find out when I could start the CDL training, and I was told we needed another student. I thought I was getting in on the training grant because I am a woman, but it was actually for anyone who wasn't working. I immediately called Joe16 and told him to haul his butt down to the urgent care for his physical and over to DMV to test for his permit. In addition to the CDL training, they also put us in backhoe training, which is where we were today when he asked if I had written about this.

So I thought I was put in his life to help him, then realized he was there to help me, and then I ended up helping him. I've enjoyed spending time with him today at training. I like him. He's a good man. I'm OK that we aren't in love. It's a little bittersweet, but it's OK. Tomorrow we actually get to dig up some dirt with the backhoe. Wicked cool!

Jericho, the Car

Wow, it's been a while since I posted here. What's interesting is that Joe - I think he's probably 16 - asked if I'd written about this really strange thing that's happened between us. I'm not sure he even knows about 50 first dates or where he thought I'd write about it, but this would be the appropriate place. However, before I do that, I have to post this story about Jericho.

I wrote this story in June when I was at a workshop led by Erica Jong in Aspen. It was an awesome week with some really incredible women. This story was an assignment to write about anger. As with everything else I wrote, everyone ended up laughing a lot, and Erica said that Jericho was a metaphor for me. Ouch. Maybe my love life. Definitely my love life. After this, I'll post the "truth is stranger than fiction" story of Joe16.

Jericho, the Car

Even though I've vowed not to borrow the car again, I'm picking it up. It isn't really clear whose car it is. Joe put the title in my name so he wouldn't have to pay the fee for late registration. I'm not sure how the state can justify charging a late registration fee when it's 2010 and the last time the car was running was in 1994, but they do. So I had the title to this big brown piece of garbage, but I signed it back over to Joe when I left him in January. It didn’t seem right to keep the car. Besides, Joe is a hoarder of anything that runs, and I know that if I kept it, it would be like kidnapping a beloved child.
I’ve named the 1980 Dodge Aspen station wagon Jericho. Jericho is the name of a television series about a small town in Kansas that has survived 23 (plus or minus) atomic bombs detonated throughout the United States. I think this car, that runs without computers or electronics and is large enough to live in, would be extremely valuable in a post-apocalyptic world. Until then, it just sucks.
The car has been nothing but trouble. Sometimes the gauges work. When they don't, I usually run out of gas, hence the gallon can of gas in the back of the wagon. Sometimes the turn signals work. When they don't, I'm flailing my arms out the window trying to get people to figure out what my directional intentions are. I have a toothbrush in the glove compartment that I stick in the carburetor if the car won't start. I've finally learned that if I want to be on time while driving this car, I need to start 15 minutes earlier than I would have if I hadn't sold my perfectly reliable Toyota Corolla at Joe's insistence. No car payment seemed like a great idea at the time. Now I'm just mad.
Joe is a great mechanic, but it seems he doesn't want to fix the car completely. I've determined it's his way of getting me to keep coming back. I want to buy another car, but my credit sucks, and since I have my motorcycle, I refuse to be raped by the "Buy Here, Pay Here" jackals. It's six months until winter. I'll have my finances straightened out before then. But summer has been slow in coming during this crazy Colorado spring, and I need a car. It's raining. It's going to be raining for probably the next week, so I'm going back over to Joe's to pick up Jericho.
I get the car and even pay to have the oil changed since Joe couldn't get around to it. As I'm heading back to the high plains on county road whatever, the windshield wipers quit working. I break the law and text my friend Amy while I'm driving to tell her about the latest failure. Amy doesn't speak poorly of anyone, but she's become fed up that Joe can't manage to fix the stupid car so that I'm not risking my life every time I drive it.
I keep heading toward my home, the ranch-hand's house wedged between the crops and the cows. About the time I reach the field of Longhorns on the north side of 34, I notice that the heater isn't working any more. Rolling up to an intersection frequented by fast moving semis, steam is flowing from under the hood. Ahh, that’s why the heater quit working. I ignore it. I've got two miles to go. If I pull over here, I'll die.
I’m approaching the intersection a half a mile from my house. I’m almost there. Oh come on! The car has quit running. There’s a spot next to the stop sign where there's a wide spot in the road, and I manage to get the car in that space. I jump out, not bothering to put on the emergency brake since, well, it doesn't work. Just as I reach for the hood of the car, it starts rolling backward in a large, perfect arc. The tractor-trailer that was turning down the road I was on stops to view the scene while I throw my hands up in the air. I’m done with this car. I’m just done. Executing the perfect parallel parking maneuver, all on its own, the car gets wedged alongside a barbed wire fence, a good ten feet below the road surface. I call my landlord.
“Hey Brad, it’s Abby. I managed to get this piece of junk off in the ditch. Can you come down with the tractor so we can roll it, end over end, back to the house?”
“Are you all right?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I wasn’t in the car.”
“How’d it get in the ditch?”
“Ummm... I’m going to call a tow truck too.”
As I’m calling roadside assistance, Brad shows up with Junior in the flatbed. Junior’s driving because Brad’s had a few cocktails by this point. Despite my extreme frustration with the car and anger with Joe, I appreciate Brad’s tipsy sense of humor.
“Hey Abby, I’ll go get the tractor and dig a hole and we can just bury it right there.” He doesn’t realize that I would love to do just that. The tow truck comes and with considerable maneuvering, the car is out of the ditch.
I finally get Joe on the phone and tell him to come get the pile of scrap metal. I'm angry. He doesn't get it. I've tried to tell him I don't want the car anymore, but you'd think I'm telling him that his son is a loser.
"Don't condemn the car!" He yells when I tell him it belongs in a junkyard. "It's not the car's fault."
Of course my deductive reasoning kicks in, and since it's not the car's fault, and I'm the only one driving it, he must feel it's my fault. He keeps saying it's my fault that I run out of gas in it, that I have some aversion to buying gasoline, despite the fact there’s a leak in the gas tank and no gauge. Somehow it's my fault that the thermostat failed, causing the hose to explode. Apparently it's my fault that the stiff clutch and lack of power steering makes my body hurt, I have to put water in the radiator every time I drive it, and I can't get the monstrosity to start without popping the hood and shoving a toothbrush in the carburetor.
            A month later, it’s back. He says he’s really fixed it this time, but for me, that statement has joined the other list of great lies that include, “The check is in the mail.” Once it’s parked, I never manage to get it started again. A month later, Joe shows up and tells me I flooded it. I find it hard to believe that the gas I pumped into the carb a month before is still in there, but I refuse to discuss it, because I know I’ll blow a gasket of my own.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bigger and better things

Picture from the Daytona trip - no, it's not Daytona
I know I've said I'm done before, but I really am now. If all the old sages are right, that means I'll fall in love now and live happily ever after. I don't want it though. Everything's just starting to get good. The plan is coming together, and the plan does not include a love life.

I left the corporate world almost exactly two years ago, within a day or two. I was planning on leaving the job a month or two later, but I wanted to ride to Daytona for the women's MDA ride, and I didn't have any vacation time left. The only logical thing to do was to quit my job. That trip will go down in history as "The Daytona Trip" although Daytona never made it into the picture. My write-up glosses over some truly Hellish relationship experiences. Why I ever chose to talk to that man or date anyone again after that trip is a mystery. Ever the optimist I guess.

It's been a sparse two years. The settlement I got last year after getting run over on my bike in '08 helped pay for the last two years of limited earnings. My left hand will bother me forever, but at least I got a sweet new paint job on the bike and haven't had to find full time employment. I am now managing a training site for ABATE of Colorado, which allows me to schedule myself for whatever classes I want to teach. It's one of the perks. I'm busy taking care of business, which includes promoting the site so I have classes to teach.

Last summer I put together a swap meet at a local biker bar, The Hideout. It was very successful. That's if you count success by the number of people who showed up and not by how much money I made. I have a whole series planned for this year - Third Sunday Swapmeets, and the owner of The Hideout has agreed to invest in promotion since I did manage to get a good crowd there. Some of the promotional materials have come in, and I'm getting ready to send out packages to vendors. They start in May and go through September, but the extra big one will be in July when the ABATE District 3 event will be held there.

Through my work as a District Representative for ABATE in northern Colorado, I met Linda McCartney. She is the owner/editor of Thunder Roads Colorado. Motorcycles, writing... I'm all over that. In fact, if you follow the link, you'll find one of my articles on the front page of the website. I'm writing and selling advertising for the Fort Collins area. In addition to that, Linda and I are collaborating on a non-profit with a very exciting project in the works. Once I get the website up and running, there'll be an announcement. Stay tuned!

The undercurrent running through all of this is the book I've been working on forever. I thought that being self-employed would give me more time to write, but I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make money. I took a week this fall and locked myself in a hotel room in Salida to do some writing. OK, I went horseback riding one day, wrote at the riverside park another day, headed up to the Coyote Cantina near Buena Vista and wrote another day, and made an afternoon trip to the top of Monarch Pass a couple of times. It wasn't quite as monastic as I made it sound. I did get a lot done, and I've recently found a place to post a portion of the book for comments and criticism. I've had some great reviews, so I'm very excited. Shovelhead Redemption is what I plan on calling the book. Of course if a publisher wants to buy it and call it something else... I guess I'll have to consider that.

Even now, I need to get working on the logo and website for the new project. I have a class to teach this weekend. I want to finish the book. Where does dating fit into this? Nowhere. And that's fine by me. Besides, when speaking with Linda about this blog yesterday, she mentioned that it was funny. It was funny, but around Joe10, I lost my sense of humor. I will keep up the blog, and if a date or two finds its way in here, then so be it.

The Internet is a great place to get numbers, but blind dating is unnatural, be it Internet or through friends. I know a lot of people have been successful, but I don't like the immediate unspoken assessment that's going on at first meeting. I think it was Joe6 who started telling me all the reasons why we shouldn't date as soon as we met in person. He had his checklist, and I wasn't passing. Had we met at an event in person, we might have become friends and valued each other, even if we never ended up dating. It ended badly, which was disappointing. I know I've been quick to judgment myself. It certainly hasn't brought out my best qualities.

I better get to work.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Joe15 - I'm done

Horsetooth Reservoir - a much needed breath of fresh air
I'm really over Internet dating. I hate the interview process. I hate the false hopes. I hate how people can totally misrepresent themselves. If I'd met Joe15 in person, I probably would have thought he was a nice guy. No. Let me be perfectly honest. I never would have spoken to him.

I haven't gone back to look at his profile again, but I should. It would be helpful to know if I... I just did. No, I didn't read anything into it. He looks at least 10 years younger in his picture. It also clearly states that he loves to ride and goes to Sturgis all the time. Riding is one of three interests of his. Despite the fact that he said he's a good ex-husband and supports his ex-wife (because that's what he committed to), I gave it a shot. We decided to meet on Saturday morning for a cup of coffee. I picked 11:00, because I was hoping that the driveway would be cleared of snow and ice by then. He wasn't sure if his bike would start.

It turned out that he was walking over because his son borrowed his truck. That was fine. I thought I was going to have to drive, but about an hour before I needed to leave, I went out into the road and picked a path that would get me safely out to the main road. I was going to ride. Yay! I left early because I still hadn't washed the bike since getting caught in the snow. I rode over to JJs and gave it a quick rinse, then I pulled it over to dry it. I texted Joe15 to let him know I was early and took off for the restaurant.

I never would have picked this guy out as the guy in the picture. He was wearing expensive Harley jewelry. I don't want to eliminate someone altogether because of jewelry, but other than a wedding ring or a watch or maybe a cool bracelet (thinking of Dana's chrome chain bracelet or William's tire-looking bracelet), I'm not crazy about jewelry on guys. Not big gaudy stuff anyway. It looks like the guy is trying to show that he has money in an incredibly tasteless way.

The money. He told me about all his successful business ventures and properties he owns around town - and how his ex-wife owns half of everything. He talked about motorcycle trips. He seemed surprised that I'd only been to Sturgis once, like that was the mark of a real biker. He rarely looked me in the eye. He's looking for a long term relationship, but he doesn't want to get married. There's a big surprise.

We got through it, but nothing clicked. When we walked out, he came over to my bike. He said he had an '04 Springer Softail. He asked if mine was a Wide Glide. How does one mistake a Softail for a Dyna? How? I get not being able to nail the modifiers, as in "Heritage" or "Custom" or "Fat Boy", but how do you not see that there are no visible rear shocks and the frame tapers down to the rear axle.

He proceeded to say that he was thinking about trading his bike in, but he'd be lucky to get $12,000 for it after putting $25,000 into it. I commiserated, saying I'd be lucky to get $5,000 with all the miles I have on mine. I asked him how many miles were on his. 6,000. Yes, this biker has 6,000 miles on his '04 that he bought new. He mumbled something about trailering the bike to Sturgis with the RV while looking away. I got on my bike and left.

I know that some people don't ride as much as others. Jobs, family, health issues... stuff happens. But 6,000 miles in over 6 years? Again, that's OK if you aren't into riding as much as I am, but for goodness sake, do not try to pass yourself off as a biker on a dating site. I supposed there are women out there that would love to dress up in their biker best and drive up to Sturgis to play pretend badass for a week. It isn't me.

I'm done with Internet dating. I want to meet friends in places I normally go, doing things I normally do. I'm sick of the posing, the interviews, all of it.

Time to go to bed and get some rest for a Valentines ride tomorrow. Whoopee!

Back to it - Joe14: Ape Hanger Hater

This is exactly why I was doing this. Joe13 has a lot of great qualities. He's an amazing mechanic. I'm leery about some of the aspects of Joe13's lifestyle, even though I'm confident that if/when our country descends into anarchy and/or complete financial collapse, Joe13 will be just fine. The positives about Joe13 well outweigh the negatives, but I can't live with the negatives. (edited to add - while they are negative to me, they may not be to others. I want to stress that he's an awesome guy. Love him, just don't want to live with him) I thought it was my lack of trust -  no, my total fear of trust - that caused the doubts, and I didn't want to lose such a great guy. So I crossed the line from dating to long term relationship. Exactly what I didn't want to do. Or not that I didn't want to do it, but I knew I shouldn't. I don't know why it's so easy to see looming pitfalls in someone else's life but not in your own. If you figure it out, let me know.

So here I am again. I wasn't planning on dating so soon, or ever again really, but an e-mail came through on Plenty of Fish, and I clicked. I initiated contact with one guy, and I heard from a few others. Then I turned my profile back off. I managed to date a couple more Joes before getting totally disgusted with online dating once again. Here they are.

I'm not positive of the time line, but will run with what I've got. Joe14 and I IM'd for a bit one night and spoke for quite a while the next. While he was easy to talk to, there was a conversation about my handlebars that gave me great insight into the man. I can't remember how we got onto the subject, but I told him I had ape hangers. He was quite opinionated about them. I told him that I too once ridiculed ape hangers, but after a short conversation with Charley Barnes, I decided to give it a try. I don't write a lot of dialogue, so bear with me while I recreate the conversation...

When I took my bike over to Charley's, he was thinking about a photo on Facebook when he said, "I thought you had ape hangers."

"No. That picture was taken by a guy with ape hangers. I'm riding in front of him."

"That would be really badass."

"Yeah, it would."

So thanks to Willie at Righteous Ride in Greeley, I got a smoking deal on the bars and cables I'd need and gave the ape hangers a try. Not too long after, I took off on my 6,000 mile trip around the country. LOVE them. Love them, and I look badass.

Well number 14 couldn't handle that. He threw up several reasons why ape hangers were bad. I had an answer for all of it. I told him that I had felt the same way before I tried them, but at a reasonable height, they really were comfortable and completely safe. He could not give it up. He was trying to tell me that I was wrong about how I felt about my handlebars. Whatever.

We were going to meet at his business the next day, but I had other things to do. I made it over the day after. He has a successful business, and it's a cool one. In the hour or so that we talked, he repaired several items. He clearly knows what he's doing and is well respected in his field. He was easy to talk to. By the end of the conversation, we were speaking pretty openly about what we were looking for in our relationships.

My profile says I want to date. He said he doesn't need another friend. He also said he isn't interested in getting married again. This led me to the conclusion that when a guy in an online dating forum says he wants a long term relationship, that means he wants sex without commitment. Dating would be hanging out. Marriage is a commitment. Long term relationship means you've gotten past the intro and are now sleeping together. 

I like friends. I love my friends. I enjoy riding and playing games and eating out with my friends. I definitely want to be friends with a guy before going "long term." Wink, wink. But you know what? I don't want to cook meals, sacrifice my valuable time, be concerned with someone else's welfare, maybe even help out with kids or grand kids, and give a guy a piece of ass without a freaking commitment. Sure the idea of a live-in housekeeper who meets all of your needs is great. I'm not selling that feature. We can hang out and become friends and see where it goes from there, or you can kiss my ass - figuratively, of course.

Anyway, we had a lot to talk about, but I felt like he saw himself as the ultimate keeper of all information in the universe. He also has two sons who aren't even teens yet, one of whom was at the business that day because he was "home" sick. When Joe14 called me the next day on his way to work, his son was still with him. He said that the school wouldn't allow him to send his son back. Really? I know things have changed since I was a parent of a school-age child, but since when does the school determine if the child is well enough to go to school. This is on the heels of a couple of days off because it was too cold (0 for a high). I started to say that schools are really going overboard on protecting kids when the phone went dead.

I was busy. I know he was busy. I didn't bother calling back. Neither did he. I texted him a few hours later and said if he wanted to call later, that would be fine. I guess he didn't. That's OK. Actually, that's good.