Does everything have to be difficult?

I started the day by ducking my head in to say hello to Kimba, her husband, Feeky and our new grandson, Giddy.

I then grabbed a quick bite as I hit the road to pick my wife up at the Denver airport.

Her plane was supposed to arrive at 10:30. I got on the freeway at 9:30 and arrived right on time. She texted me that she had landed and was heading to baggage claim.

No problem…

I took my time and looped around again. I didn’t see her so I pulled as far forward as I could and parked at the curb for the arriving passengers. After about 10 minutes, I could see the airport police walking toward my car, so I headed out to loop around again.

As I pulled in to the pickup area, I drove as slowly as I could. Again, no sight of Bunch. I did my parking trick a second time and texted her…no response.

At about the 10 minute mark, I saw the policeman heading my way again. Back out and around the loop again and back in to my personal parking spot.

After watching what seemed like half of the state come out and leave, I sent another text.

No response…

I called…no answer.

As I was looping around for the fourth time, she called me and said that she had her luggage and was standing outside in the sun.

At the Denver International Airport, there are only two ways you can go. One road, which I had taken the three previous times, was down into the bottom of the parking structure to pick up the arrivals. The other road takes you up to the top level for the Departures. You can see the sky from the top level. That is where the sun usually resides.

I was smiling in anticipation as I drove up the ramp. I brought the car to a stop right under the Southwest sign and waited…and waited…and waited!

My phone rang…

“Lord, where are you?”

“I am sitting right underneath the Southwest sign! Where are you?”

“I’m standing outside in the sun waiting for you!”

“Honey, I am on the top floor. I can see the sun. I can’t see you. Where are you?”

Eventually, we figured out that there is another level that is specifically for buses and taxis that the general driving public cannot access. However, if you are not familiar with the airport, the signs from the baggage claim direct the passengers to that level! Whoever designed this airport ought to pay reparations to people of Colorado!

“A policeman is coming. I’m going to have to go around again! Go up to the top level…the Departures level.”

After an hour and five trips around the airport loop, I finally got to kiss my wife!

On the way back to the hotel, I called ABF. I gave them my card number and paid the bill.

I told them that I was on the road heading back to Fort Collins. We agreed to meet at the storage facility at 12:30 so they could drop the trailer off.

The manager of the storage facility was already talking to the driver when we pulled up. It turns out that they already knew each other pretty well. The manager then told the driver exactly where he wanted the trailer parked. He pulled in, backed up to our storage unit and, after the manager approved his location, unhooked it.

By now, it was 1:30 and my wife was eager to get to the hotel to see her grandson. Since I was still pretty tired from the last three days, I didn’t put up much of a fight.

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Dodging bullets in the Wild West

I am a tired puppy!

Is it possible to make a 10 hour drive without a little blog-worthy adventure?


After about six hours of driving, I was filling up the truck at a gas station in the middle of nowhere in the plains of western Kansas when my phone rang. ABF was calling to say that the trailer had arrived at their Loveland facility. They said that they would need payment before they delivered it to the storage facility.

“We can take a credit card over the phone.”

My mind started racing…

If I do that, my bank might put a hold on my card! Talk about a purchase in an unusual area! And if I have to call them, I could be on hold forever…my cell phone might die…I won’t be able to buy gas! I am not getting stuck out here!

“No, I can’t take that risk. Can I call you tomorrow after I arrive in town?”


Whew…bullet dodged!

At 5:30, I was about an hour east of Denver and it was raining very hard. Fort Collins is an hour north of Denver. The storage facility closes at 7:00. I called to them that there was no way that I was going to make it.

“Well, we will be open tomorrow at 7:00 A.M.”

“That won’t work. My daughter, son-in-law and grandson will be at the Denver airport at 10:00 tonight.  (Remember, the ABF fiasco caused me to leave a day later than planned!) I have to unload my car so I can pick them up ”

The woman put me on hold. When she came back, she said that she would put the keys and a card with my code to get into the gate in an envelope and leave it in their mailbox.

We pulled up to the storage facility at 7:15. I hopped out of the truck and opened up the mailbox. There was that beautiful envelope! There’s the key to open the lock…and there are the codes to get in. Perfect!

I hopped back in the truck, drove over to the keypad, entered the code…

The gate didn’t move.

I read the directions a second time…

That’s what I did.

I entered the codes again…a little slower, making sure that I mashed every button thoroughly…

The gate still didn’t move!

At this point, I was so tired that my mind couldn’t race anywhere. But the reality of the situation was slowly starting to form…

That means that I will have to take the stuff from the car and put it into the hotel room…

Before despair could set in, a man walked up to the gate from the inside and said, “You must be our late arrival.”

“I am.”

“Well, we’re glad to have you. Just punch in the codes and come on in.”

“I did…They’re not working.”

“Are you sure?”

He came over and I entered them again while he watched.

“Hmmm. You did it right…Oh, she probably forgot to…”

I can’t tell you what he said because I was too tired to listen. All I know is that he brought out the forms that they needed me to sign and let me in the gate. We found our unit, unloaded the car as fast as we could and then headed for the hotel.

As we were checking in to the hotel, my son volunteered to go pick them up.

I was too tired to argue but still managed to squeeze out a VERY weak, “Are you sure?”

We entered the room at 8:00 P.M. He took an hour nap and then hopped in the car and headed back down to Denver.

As tired as I am, I have the satisfaction that I accomplished my goal. I felt like I needed to get to Fort Collins by July 1 and I made it!

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Escape from KC

I have had this feeling before…several times in fact!

I have put in 16 hours each of the last two days and had to wake up at 5:00 to finish loading the truck. As soon as I lifted up the back door, it began lightly raining.

That thing is packed so tight that I can barely close the door. But it is not because things are falling out of the back. The door is getting stuck at the top!

I have to say that I am proud of the fact that I was able to manage to make room for the fan palm tree and two English Ivy plants that I have managed to keep alive for the past year.

Anyway, I need to get on the road so I don’t have any problems with the landlord.

It’s Fort Collins or bust!

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Will I ever get on the road?

Today is D-Day. The lease on the apartment, the large storage unit, the small storage unit and the garage expire at midnight…

We finished loading everything from the garage at about 10:00.

We finished loading everything from the large storage unit at about 1:00

We finished loading everything from the small storage unit at about 2:00 and I was feeling good.

“We should be able to finish in time to get a good night’s sleep before hitting the road early tomorrow morning.”

We got to the apartment at about 2:30. My son started bringing things out of the apartment while I packed the truck. I told you yesterday that I would have to pack every nook and cranny in order to fit everything into the U-Haul. Well, I did just that. After about an hour and a half of non-stop work, Big A came out, looked at the truck, furrowed his brow and asked, “This looks the same as when we started. Where are you putting all of this stuff?”

He was perplexed but I was feeling good. We should be getting close to finishing and have plenty of room in the truck…

I went inside to take a short congratulatory break and see how much more remained to be done. As I walked through the apartment, I muttered to myself, “You have got to be kidding me! This is a furnished apartment…how is there all of this stuff?!”

We worked all evening and into the night…

Box after box… after box… after box… after box… after box!

…and didn’t finish.

But I can’t do any more. I’ll have to get up early and finish tomorrow morning. Sheesh!

I hate moving!

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Hey, I’m 5 feet short!

I picked the truck up at 5:00 P.M., drove over to the storage unit and began packing.

And that’s when I noticed something that might be a real problem…

The 15 foot truck that I rented…isn’t really 15 feet! It’s more like 12!

It turns out that they count that area above the cab in their measurement. So, I have gone from planning on a 17 foot truck to actually having 12 feet!

I am going have to pack this sucker so tight…

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Delays, delays

I was over at the garage at 5:45 this morning. The tow truck driver that saved my bacon the last time I moved was supposed to arrive at 7:30. I figured that should give me enough time the clean and sweep the garage.

At 7:15, he called to tell me that he had gotten a last minute call and would be delayed.

Not a problem…

Since I was giving my big parts bin to my mechanic, I used the extra time to transfer all of my nuts, bolts and screws into portable containers.

The tow truck arrived at 8:15. Then, because of the angle of the driveway, it took almost 45 minutes to get the T-Bird loaded on his flat-bed.

By the time he had towed and unloaded the car at my mechanics house, pushed it into place and covered it with a tarp, it was 10:00.

…about two hours behind schedule…

A guy at work had helped fabricate some parts and given me some really good advice for my T-Bird and had not asked for anything in return. Because I had said my goodbyes to everyone at work on Thursday, I know that he wasn’t expecting anything. That made it all the more important to me

So I headed over to my employer, quietly stepped into the shop, put $100 in his toolbox, told the guy who works next to him what I was doing and then slipped out the door and  headed back to the apartment to work on renting a U-Haul truck.

As I was sitting at a red light, I absent-mindedly looked around and took in my last view of the scenery and what do you think I saw?

A U-Haul rental place!

“I’d like to rent a 17 foot truck.”

“We don’t have any available right now.”

“Well, are you expecting any to be returned today?”

She asked the older woman in the office…


“Are you able to see if there is one available at another store?”

“Sure, we can do that.”

She checked her computer…

“There is one 17 footer available. It’s about 40 minutes away on the north side of the city.”

“There is only one in the whole city?”

“Right now…yes. The biggest one that we have is 15 feet.”

I decided to go with the 15′ truck. She then gave me an extra day and an extra 100 miles at no charge.

I gave her my card to pay for it.

“It’s being declined.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s being declined. It’s not going through.”

I was in disbelief. I mean we just sold our house so I KNOW that we have PLENTY of money to rent this truck!

“That’s impossible. I’ve got $***** in that account!”

As soon as the words escaped my mouth, I thought, “That was a dumb thing to say! I just gave her a really good reason to help herself to my account.”

She tried again…”It’s not going through.”

It is amazing how quickly the circumstances can change and make you feel like you have just entered “The Twilight Zone”!

I called my bank…

Fifteen minutes later, I actually talked to a human being.

“I am trying to rent a moving van and the girl behind the counter is saying that my card is being declined. How is that possible since I have plenty of money in the account?”

“Ummm…yes…We put a hold on your account because this purchase is being made in an unusual area.”

“What do you mean an unusual area? I have worked about a mile away from here for the past 5 years!”

“Well, it’s a big purchase.”


“I’m sorry sir. Let me put you on hold because I don’t have the authority to override it.”

Ten minutes later, he came back on…

“Have her try it again.”

She did…

“It still being declined.”

It turned out that the problem was now her computer system.

I kept the bank guy on the line with while she entered the entire transaction in her computer a second time.

She tried again…

“It went through.”

I thanked the bank guy and hung up.

It was now 1:30…and I was about 3 1/2 hours behind schedule.

She then informed me that if I took the truck now, the clock would start today. If I picked it up at 5:00, it would start tomorrow.

Even though it would mean a thirty minute drive to come back to pick the truck up, I decided to take the extra day.

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A great recovery

At 2:30 yesterday afternoon, we closed up the trailer and called ABF for pickup. We ended up using only 15′ of the trailer. And it was packed from floor to ceiling.

We have worked really hard the last two days so we are taking the rest of the afternoon off.

Tomorrow, I will tow the T-Bird to my mechanics place, rent a U-Haul truck and resume packing.


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An inspired idea!

We made a great recovery today.

We got started at 8:00 this morning.

In order to get to the stuff I want I wanted to load on the trailer first, we had to move everything out of the storage unit. We had stuff everywhere…underneath the trailer, on the grass across the driveway, covering the doors to both units on either side of our unit…

very productive day

By 4:30, we had packed 10′ of the trailer from floor to ceiling and things were looking good. But I had to call it quits because I was starting to get a headache from the heat.

When my son finally agreed, we looked around and saw all of the stuff that had to be put  back into the unit!

It took us an hour to shove it all back in.

After we ate dinner, we were sitting and talking in my apartment with that fresh in our memories. We were both in agreement that there was no way that all of that stuff would fit in the trailer’s remaining 16′.

The way I figured it, we were going to be about 3′ short.

It then dawned on me that I was going to have to rent a truck in addition to the trailer.

We went online and started looking at pricing.

A 10′ truck was going to cost $578. A 17′ truck would cost $629.

Then I had a thought, “Wait a minute…Why should I rent a truck for that final 3 feet? I should pack the truck full and save money on the trailer (they charge by the foot).”

We then figured that a 17′ U-Haul truck should hold about 10 feet worth of space on the trailer. 10′ of trailer space at $92/foot…the difference should more than cover the gas to get there.

I am so smart!…

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ABF drops the ball

Well, my move to Colorado is not off to a very good start!

The day started off well. I was up at 5:30 to resume packing up stuff in my apartment.

At 8:30, I headed to the KCI airport to pick my son up. He had decided to take a week’s vacation to help me move! We dropped his luggage off at my apartment, ate a quick breakfast and headed over to my mechanic’s shop. He had agreed to lend me his pickup truck for the weekend.

When we got there, he was unloading it so we hopped out to help him. 20 minutes later, I got into the truck and realized that I had left my phone in my car. No big, right…


I picked it up and saw that I had missed a call. The ABF driver had called and left a message telling me that he was already at the storage facility ready to drop off the trailer!

What??? No warning call to let me know that he was on the way! Even if I had answered the call, I was still 20 minutes away.


I called the number back. It was the driver’s personal cell phone…

No answer…

I left a message and headed straight for the storage facility. By the time we got there, he was gone.

But, he had told the facility manager that he was going to get a bite to eat and be right back…

OK. That’s fine. That’s why I like this company.

An hour later, we were still waiting.

How long does it take to “get a bite to eat”?

I called ABF. I was connected to dispatch. When I asked  where the trailer was, I was told, “I told him to bring the trailer back.”

You guessed it…I argued, but to no avail. In fact, he even threatened that they could charge me an extra fee! 

He said they would deliver the trailer between 1:00-5:00 P.M.

“Are you going to call me when the truck is on the way this time or am I supposed to sit at the facility all afternoon waiting?”

“We’ll call you. But if you don’t answer, we’re going to turn around and come back.”

At 4:15, I started to get nervous. I checked my phone…No, I had not missed another call.

I called the ABF dispatch…

“It’s going to be between 5:00-5:30.”

We arrived at the storage facility at 4:55. There was no way I was going to let this greased pig escape again.

At 5:35, I called the ABF dispatch…

“I called at 4:15 and was told  5:00-5:30. I have been at the facility since 4:55 and the truck isn’t here.”

Now it was going to be 6:30.

We went and got a “quick bite to eat.”

At 6:15, I still had not received a call…

Now it was going to be 7:30!

We headed back to the storage facility at 7:15.

At 7:35, I called the ABF dispatch…

It was a new guy. I let him have it. He apologized profusely and told me that the truck was in fact on the way.

It arrived at 8:05.

At 8:15 P.M., we headed home having loaded exactly nothing!

Not quite the way that I had planned it!

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How to find a great realtor

As a public service, I thought it would be good to share with you the steps that I took to find a good realtor.

Step 1: Lose weight

My wife has been in California since last August taking care of her parents. That means that I have had to fend for myself in the kitchen. Since I still have all of my own responsibilities, and I now have to do my own laundry and all of the housework, I have had to apply Lean Manufacturing principles in the kitchen. That means that I am eating just the basics.

Breakfast consists of eggs in one form or another or my proprietary greek yoghurt concoction. Lunch is either a ham and cheese sandwich, a tuna sandwich or leftovers. For dinner I rotate between homemade chili (using Carroll Shelby’s ingredients!), a loaded baked potato (with steamed broccoli covered in chili), sirloin burgers, beef and bean burritos or Costco’s rotisserie chicken and pre-packaged salads.

The unintended consequence of this is that I have lost a decent amount of fat around my mid-section. I am actually starting to see the first signs that I actually have abdominal muscles!

Step 2:  Buy new underwear

For quite some time now, I had been growing increasingly frustrated with my old underwear. They were no longer doing a very good job of keeping everything in its proper place. But, like any red blooded male, I continued to stick with them.

But, my recent fat loss, gave me a whole new perspective on this ongoing problem…

Since I need new underwear anyway…and my wife had been telling me to get new ones…I think I can now fit into a medium size! Ummm…just so no one misunderstands, I’m referring to the waist!

Needless to say, I was excited when I headed off to the store. I mean how often does a middle aged man buy smaller size pants? I was no longer just “thinking outside of the box”. I was ready to actually jump out of it!

Once I got to the store, I thought, “Wow! Things have surely changed since the last time that I bought…”

Boxers (which I never understood), briefs, boxer/briefs (mid-thigh & knee length), thongs, etc.

After looking in several stores, I had begun to settle on the mid-thigh boxer/brief style. My final stop was the local Target store. As I was analyzing their various offerings, a guy from church literally bumped into me. We began talking. When I told him that I was ready to put my house up for sale, he encouraged me to talk to his realtor. She had just helped him sell two rental homes and “was a real go-getter.”

Step 3:  Put two and two together

About a week later, my brother called. He has been in the mortgage business for quite awhile. I told him that we were getting ready to put our house up for sale.

“Lord (he used my real name instead), you’ve got to get a good realtor. It makes all of the difference.”

I really didn’t want to hear this because I was already less than thrilled with the realtor I was talking with. She was our realtor when we bought the house. But when I told her what we wanted to net out of the sale, she basically told us that we were dreaming. She would reluctantly be willing to list the house at the price! Nothing impressed her…the hardwood floors, the built-in bookcases, the insulated attic over the master bedroom… When I told her how energy efficient the home was, she said that no one really cares about that!

“You need someone who will really work. You need a real go-getter.”


wait a minute…

I’ve heard that before…

the guy from church…

in the underwear department at Target.…

That Sunday after church, he gave me her number. I called and scheduled an appointment.

Well, Bunch and I met with her today. When she walked in, she was completely taken with the house. She seemed to genuinely appreciate every improvement that we had made and wrote it all down. She was especially impressed by the steps I had taken to make it more energy efficient!

“You know, people are really looking for that.”

I told her what we hoped to net out of the sale.

“That shouldn’t be a problem.”

She then suggested that we list the house higher than we were originally thinking and 8% higher than the price that our realtor would reluctantly list it for!

Where do I sign?

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