Thursday, April 29, 2010

Man tires

About a year ago I was in need of some new tires for my truck.   I called CP since he and I have the same model truck.  I wanted to know where he got his tires, did he get good service, did he feel like he got a good price.  Things you want to ask to see if you can find a good deal without having to the research yourself.  CP was very helpful.  "I do not remember when or where I got my tires."

The next step was to call a few tire stores and compare prices.  I called three tire stores in the area.  Turns out they were having trouble matching the tire specs I was giving them for the model truck I drove.  They would explain they did not mind selling me the bigger tire as long as I understood it was not the original tire.  I would tell them I understood. I preferred the bigger tire. They would explain that by going to the bigger tire I would lose gas mileage and possibly, in a small truck, have issues with hydroplaning during heavy rain.  Where is your sense of adventure boys!?  I explained that I did not want my truck looking like a red rider wagon with those skinny wheels.  I wanted raised white letter tires, fat tires, 60 series tires, MAN tires!   

Of the three stores there was about a $30 difference from the lowest to highest price.  The store that won the bid happened to be the closest.  They offered the lowest price and included a 10% discount for employees of my company.  They also happened to be within walking distance.  The only hesitation in picking them came from a punk that worked there a few years ago.  He was a true used car salesman.  You could take your car in for an oil change and by the time he was finished you needed a new transmission.  But they got rid of him from all the bad press and found a real down to earth lady that, according to the word on the street, was all about customer service.  

When I called her back I wanted to double check the price and any add-ons (tire disposal, new stems, lug nut removal, etc).  She verified I was the one that had called earlier, "Yes ma'am."  She tells me how glad she was I called back.  She found me a set of tires from a new brand that had a higher road wear rating for a cheaper price.  She explained this new brand was trying to get their foot in the market.  She called out the name but my hearing is not what it used to be or maybe I was just not paying attention.  "The ones we have sold we have not seen them back in, so they must be pretty good" was her pitch.  She went on to tell me about the other perks. Free rotation and balance, free nail hole or puncture repair, on and on as long as I have the tires.  I told her I would think about it.  "No problem I can have them delivered here today and they will be on your truck this afternoon" she promised.  It was 3:30.  I called her back at 3:35; "Let's do it."

I take my truck down to the shop.  I see who turned out to be Billy Sue.  She looks like she has been...I will be nice...through some rough times.  She may have weighed 95 pounds.  You know those people that look nice enough but you know if they get mad they could really do you some damage?  She smiled politely when I drove up then put her cigarette out in her palm when I parked.  "Hey ma'am, I am the guy that called about the tires you said you put on today." 
"Honey, I will put my boy on it right now.  Sweetheart, can I give you a ride back to your office?" 
"No ma'am I will walk its not that far." 
"Are you sure I would not mind at all." 
"I will be fine, I need the exercise." 
"Not a young man like you.  Let me get your number and I will call you when its ready."  
I gave her the number to the front desk at the office.

Sure enough I got a call about an hour later that my truck was ready.  I walked back down the the tire shop and see my truck sitting in the parking lot with a new set of tires.  As I walked up on it from the front I could see the wide 60 series squatty tires.  I could see the raised lettering. I even said out loud "Um hmm MAN tires".  Then I get closer and walk up beside my truck and see the brand.  What is THAT!?

Billy Sue meets me out by the truck.  "Told you we could get it done!" 
"Billy Sue what is the name brand of tire on my truck?"
"MAXXIS."  (she pronounced it max-ee's)
"Maxxees?" I asked
"Yep, no complaints from anybody that I have sold them too."

I looked at my truck looked back at her smiling face and asked with a straight face, "So when it rains are those tires going to swell up real big?" She looked at me for about 3/4th of a second like I had shot her.  Then I winked.  She started laughing so hard it started a coughing spell.  It took her a few minutes to recover enough for me to follow her back in the shop to pay.  She never really recovered before I left. 

So far my MAXXIS are the best tires I have ever had.  Provide me with a quiet smooth ride.  I have not yet needed to rotate them.  And best of all, living in the thunderstorm belt of the south, I have yet to hydroplane.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poem of the Unknown Confederate Soldier

I am reading a book on the apostle Paul.  The book is called "Paul A Man of Grace and Grit" by Charles R. Swindoll.  In one of the chapters he is discussing suffering and how to try to find contentment in grace.  He recites a famous poem from and unknown Georgia Confederate Soldier.  It goes like this:

I asked God for strength so that I may achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked God for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might endure all things.
I got nothing I asked for...
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.

I do not believe in reincarnation but I must say, this poem sounds very very familiar.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reality TV

I am one of the few people I know that no longer watches a lot of TV.  All the good shows are gone.  Shows like Perry Mason, Magnum, P.I., Scooby Doo, Simon and Simon, The Rifleman and The Avengers.  Who dunnit's are my favorite.  

NCIS would be something I would probably watch now, but I cannot watch it in front my kids (the autopsy's, shootings, etc.).  I am not a fan of reality shows at all.  OK maybe the Big Break on the Golf Channel.  But even it was scripted drama.  As soon something interesting happened they either went to commercial or ended that weeks show.  Annoying.

I recently had an hour to watch some TV.  I thought I would try my hand at puzzle solving via Wheel of Fortune.  The show starts with a quick puzzle.  After this puzzle is won Pat Sajak, the host, meets the contestants.   The first contestant was a 20 something year old photographer.  She was attractive and quite civil.  The next contestant was a 30 something male.  Let's say he was metro-sexual.  He seemed to be excited to be on the show with Mr. Sajak.  The last contestant was a chubby 20 something school teacher.  She claimed to be from La Jolla.  I could not help but think, "I know who is going to win this show."

The hottie spins the wheel, lands on a $ amount and picks a letter.   Her second spins lands on a $ amount but she fails to select a correct letter.  Ruppert spins and hits BANKRUPT.  Pudge spins and hits BANKRUPT.  It was like the wheel had a brake.  Hottie spins and racks up the Wild card, an exotic trip and finally solves the puzzle. 

When they come back from commercial Ruppert wins a speed puzzle.  Ruppert then spins and hits BANKRUPT.  Pudge spins and hits BANKRUPT.  Hottie spins several times and solves another puzzle.  Next round Ruppert hits BANKRUPT.  Pudge is allowed to pick a few letters.  She gets a few letters and tries to solve the puzzle.  She gets over zealous and leaves out a word.  Sorry chubs.  Hottie picks up the trash and wins a trip to Cabo.  It was like watching a high school play directed by the stuck up crowd. 

The last puzzle was in the hands of Pudge.  As she spins and lands on $100 (the lowest amount on the wheel) she chooses a letter, looks at the puzzle and as dry as she can says "I would like to solve the puzzle."  I say "O no they didn't."  The puzzle reads "A Hearty Appetite".

Ruppert and Pudge leave the show with the minimum dollar amount, $1000.  Hottie of course ends with the largest dollar amount which means she goes to the bonus round.  After the letters are chosen for the bonus puzzle, my 7 year old daughter could have solved the puzzle.  She wins $35,000 more.  Her final take on the show was over $52,000.    

Game shows...original reality TV.


A few days later, still shaking my head over the Wheel, I read about an episode of Southpark on Yahoo.  I have never watched an epsiode of Southpark.  From what I understand, it takes pride in making fun of religion, politics, the mentally challenged; nobody is off limits.  Or at least until this week.  

Usually the worst you hear Southpark takes from their latest controversial show is a tongue lashing from the offended group.  This week it was different.  They were threatened by the group before the show aired.  So serious was the threat, for the first time in their controversial history their show was censored.   

...TV meets oncoming reality?  

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"I got it figured out."

My once a month golf league round started off with some bad news.  As I stood at the back of the golf cart getting ready to pull a few clubs to take with me to the driving range, I find out my 8 iron is missing.  I checked, double checked, then succumb to the realization it was gone. 

Before giving up completely, I called Paw-in-law to see if maybe it had been put in his bag from the recent round we had played.  He was on his way over to the course and would check when he got to the parking lot.  Then I remembered using it after that round.  So I called two of the three guys (did not have the number for the third) I had played golf with just two days ago.  "Sorry I do not have it."  I called the course we had played.  "Sorry I do not see it.  Keeping trying though they may turn it in later."

A few deep breaths, a few range balls, a few putts later and I was on the first tee.  I hit a good drive.  I needed to lay up on this par five hole.  I use my range finder to see how far it is to the corner.  "148 yards" Usually my 8 iron.  I hit a hard 9 iron.  My third shot to the par 5 also calls for "146 yards".  I hit a soft 7 iron.  The ball goes about 30 feet past the hole.  I put the putt about 3 feet past the cup.  My par putt does what we call "a lip out".  A lip out is when the ball dips in the cup where the entire golf ball is in the hole but the centrifugal force carries the ball around the cup and slings it out from where it entered.  This usually is followed by the golfer shouting, "You have got to be kidding me!"

The next hole is not much better.  I kid you not the range finder shows "146 yards".  I make a double bogey.  The third hole I have another lip out.  The fourth hole another lip out.  The guys in my group are looking at me with their mouths open, but they do not say a word.  The fifth hole, a 167 yard par 3, my tee shot is right on target.  I raise up from picking my tee to see the ball hit the rake that has been left just short of the green and ricochet backwards into the sand trap.  This is where it hits me.  I start explaining to my group that about a week ago I played golf after work.  "I was striking the golf ball better than I had in years.  The next day at work I tell my buddy CP, 'I got it figured out' (referring to my golf swing).  Since that day and including today, I have not played well." 

Today's mishap's must be the golf god's showing me who is in charge.  I bogey number 7.  Needed my 8-iron again on 8.  At this point, I am thinking about leaving the course after 9 holes.  I birdied number 9.  The guy riding with me says "Maybe the golf gods have finally let you off the hook."  Hole 10 I use a 3 metal-wood off the tee.  I make a good swing and even hold the pose for a extra second or two.  Then..."CLANK!" my tee shot hits the steel 150 yard marker in the middle of the fairway and ricochets to the nearby driving range.  At this point I am no longer angry; I am entertained.  What else is going to happen?  Finished 10 with a triple bogey.  My tee shot at the par 5 11th hits an unseen to the naked eye tree limb and drops straight down about 100 yards from the tee.  Walk off 11 with a bogey.  Birdied 12, "Maybe NOW the golf gods have had their fun." Parred 13. 

I crack open a Kashi trail mix bar my wife had told me would make a really good snack while on the course.  Although I needed my 8-iron on 14 I used my 9 and made a par.  On 15 tee I feel a sharp pain in my stomach.  On the 15th green the Kashi bar has stirred up some trouble.  "Guys I need to step into the men's room."  Thank the Lord the bathroom station was on the way to the 16th tee box.  I have played golf for more than 20 years and have never had to stop during a round of golf to take care of business. 

My tee shot on 16 stops about a foot from a protective guard rail on the left side of the fairway.  My second shot that I was trying to thread between two tree limbs, hits the higher one and dives straight down behind the guard rail out of bounds.  Triple bogey 16.  Par 17.  On 18 I am thinking about my wife and the Kashi bar she said would be a good snack.  I quickly concluded "Kashi" must be Japanese for "8 minute turbo laxative".  My tee ball again finds an unseen limb.  My second shot finds the left bunker (the hole is on the far right of the green).  I blast out of the bunker and make a 15 footer for par.  In relief I shout, "It is finally over!" 

We total the scores.  I shot 88.  I had a flash of 8.  As I reflected on the events of the day I figured with the lack of an 8 iron, the lip outs, the bounce off the 150 yard marker, the out of bounds penalty would all add up to about 8 extra strokes.  The Kashi incident could even be seen as an 8; number 2 on 16 (16 divided by 2 = 8).  I thought the 88 was a sign the golf god's were letting me off the hook.  

I tell my buddies, "Nobody will ever hear the words 'I have got it figured out' come out of my mouth again.  Losing a golf club is like losing your dog."

About three hours after I get home from the course CP calls and says "I was calling to give you Big Daves phone number, but guess what I found in my golf bag?"  I excitedly ask "For real?!"  CP says, "Why do I have two 8 irons? I can't use two 8 irons."