Showing posts from September, 2014

Another day, another dollar

Ever been to a dollar store? Dollar tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, etc? They are the new wave of discount chain that are becoming big business. I am a frequent dollar store customer myself, as there is one such retail establishment just up the street. Very convenient. And with their growing grocery sections and wide varieties, it makes my trips to the hated Morse Road Wal-Mart avoidable all together.

Now imagine a small fire in one of these dollar stores. Not a big, destroy the merchandise and tear the store down kind of thing. But a small fire, with a lot of smoke and soot. One where all of the product needs not to be disposed of, but rather to be cleaned. And that is where you will find The Mammoth right now.
It started about 2 weeks ago with a small fire in their cooler that holds the milk. They called me to take a look. I set an appointment and headed that way, only to be turned around because another company had beaten me to the punch. Fire Chasers. Hate them.

But then it o…

All I ever wanted to be was 13

Friday was Tiffany's 41st birthday. I know, one should never discuss a lady's age. But it has never bothered her. Actually, with her heart condition and other health concerns, she was quite proud to be 40 last year. So I asked her what she thought of turning another year with many more ahead of her. She simply smiled and said "It's funny, all I ever wanted to be was 13, so I could get my ears pierced". And I smiled. Because I know, through all of her travels and the up and down path she took, she still has a certain nativity to her. I find that so appealing, and it was one of the first things that drew her to me.

When I first met her, she was a wreck. She was back home after an ill fated move to California for a year. When her situation turned sour there, she was forced to leave with a backpack full of necessities and a small trash bag of clothes. She had to leave everything she held dear: family pictures, her Grandfathers coat, her guitar, and even her dog.

For …

Making the news and an '81 Cutty

Picture it. 1989. I was riding shotgun with my best friend Brad Stefanov A.K.A. Mr. Sparkle. We were out cruising in his 81 Cutlass Supreme just like we did every weekend. He always wanted to go drive up and down High Street on campus, but I  knew that I had to stay close to avoid getting grounded. So we would roam the streets of Northeast Columbus like a couple of rebels without a clue. The top of the airport parking garage became a local hang out.  Daddy'O's in Whitehall was the grub spot. And, as long as I was in by 10, we ruled the world around Gahanna, Ohio.

One particular Saturday an incredible thing happened. The girls we tried to flirt with in another car actually flirted back. It was amazing! We spotted them in the parking lot at Northland Mall, then drove beside them as we made our way down Morse Road. At every light we chatted them up, and they chatted us back. By the time we got to Sunbury Road, we were feeling like kings. And then they got into the left turn lane.

Pro-life protests and a Chilean smoke

On March 28, 2010, this blog was born. Originally I created it so people in the states could keep tabs on me when I was far from home. And I was a long way from home. See, Belfor had sent me to Santiago de Chile. And I needed the escape. At that time, I was finding all my comfort in a bottle, smoking light a freight train, and spending time with any girl who looked my way. Heartache and devastation had taken a toll. So when the chance to run 8000 miles away came up, I jumped on it.

A lot has changed in the over the course of 341 posts. Belfor and life on the road is a memory as I have found a home at The Mammoth. Alcohol has been replaced by lemonade and water. The revolving door of women are out, replaced by my Little Red. And I put the cigarettes down for good 15 months ago. . However, it was my former 2 pack a day habit and a little gas station about a mile from the middle of nowhere in Chile that are the inspiration for tonight's post.

On one of my first mornings there, my bos…

Shut up Sir Charles (at least about this)

I talk pretty openly about my life. From the relationship I had with my awesome mother to the man who chose to be my Father in 1986, from my Little Red and the boys to the job I love, I am an open book about most things. After all, when it is good to be you, you like to share the reasons why with the world, right? So I do. And I hope you enjoy. But this blog, as I have always stated, is a recording of my thoughts in the moment. I write them down so I can reflect back on where I have been, and see the path more clearly. And today, when I heard something on TV that sparked anger in me, I knew I had to write about it tonight.

When I was a little guy, and by little I mean 4 or 5, I can distinctly remember my being spanked with a switch by my Papaw. He had warned my sister, my uncle, and I not to make another peep at the dinner table. And I looked right at him and said "Peep." This mountain of a man took the switch my Mamaw always had in the window sill over the sink and let me h…

My 9/11 memory

Like all of you, I have a story. Burned into my memory like a bad dream, I remember precisely where I was 13 years ago this morning. I remember the phone ringing, listening to someone tell me about the first one, turning on the TV just in time to see the second. I remember the room I was in, the people who were there, the color of the TV. We lived in the flight path for Port Columbus, and I remember the eery silence of the rest of the day. I specifically recall the sadness on everyone's faces, and even the lady's face who told me I could not donate blood because of a previous transfusion. And I remember the look on our Presidents face.

 No matter what happened after, or how you feel about his term in office, on that night he did not look like a diplomatic President, ready to downplay the moment or tell us what lessons there were to be learned. No, President Bush looked ticked off, like a mad Texan looking for blood. And I was right there with him.

In those days, I was a restau…

Untitled - From October 12, 2010

Below is a an unpublished post I wrote almost 4 years ago. I was in the middle of my roller coaster ride, up one day and down the next. It was a bad time in my life, one full of bad decision after bad decision. But no regrets. Every stumble and every bad moment led me to where I am now. Maybe you won't even be interested in what this says. That's ok. Publishing this is cathartic. And reminds me that October 12, 2012 was just another step on the path. And so is today.

(Couple of foul words in here, sorry about that, really wasn't thinking right when I wrote it)

I have always said this blog is for me, and that while others are welcome to read it, I do this so that I can look back at my thoughts and see where I have been. For anyone who reads this, tonight's blog is different. And I will preface it by saying I don't need a thousand calls or comments about its content. It is what it is.

I am a guy who tries to treat others as they deserve. At work, I do what I am asked a…

It's better to be lazy than stupid

Looking back at high school, I have to think that one of my most influential teachers was Mr. Mueser. Kind of a cross between Sheldon Cooper, Steve Correll, and Mr. Spock, this math instructor always made the material fun and interactive. I loved going to his classes everyday. And while I always struggled getting the answer, his unique teaching methods left a lasting impression on me. To this day, I can still hear him explaining The Pythagorean Theorem in my head.

I am not a math guy like my son Tanner or my birth father. Don't get me wrong, I can add and multiply in my head, even measurements and fractions. But I never was able to wrap my head around logarithms and exponentiation. Even when I was in Mueser's 6th period classroom in "B" building, I knew I would not take any of what he was teaching with me. Except, maybe I did.

See I am an avid pool player. Not great, not bad, always loved shooting stick. Last weekend, at the family reunion, I was playing a game on my…

She was a Duck Hunt commando

I can still remember that morning like it was yesterday. Christmas morning. 1988. We had already opened our presents, and, to my dismay, what I really wanted wasn't there. I was expecting it. They owed it to us, after all. They had just moved us.....again. But this time, 2 hours from home, to a new city and metropolitan area all together.

This Columbus, this Gahanna, was a strange new world. A world where I had agreed to come to peacefully for the good of the family. And yet, the one thing I really wanted, the one thing that could make it all better, was not under the tree. I feigned cheerful smile but I imagine my disdain for this whole situation shone all over my face.I was not a happy camper. And then........

Mom was sitting on her bed. She called us in and explained that she knew we wanted this one big thing, but the expense of the new house and the move the spring before had made things tight. So we should really be grateful for this. At that moment, she pulled back the cover…

Pickin' maters

Not everything is bad in regards to my new, healthy diet. Turns out, granola bars are pretty good. And 4 or 5 of them can usually fill me up. Bananas have long been my favorite fruit, and Subway makes a bunch of subs that are pseudo-healthy, even with the provolone cheese I cannot say no too. And, of course, I can have all vegetables I want.

I have never been a picky eater, obviously. That's part of the problem today. But my Dad would tell you that, out of the three kids, I was the easiest to buy for. As long as we steered clear of cucumbers and watermelon, I would eat it. Or at least try it. I loved the fried okra my Mamaw made. I could put down a whole can of red beets at once. And I preferred broccoli to chocolate every day of the week. But one of my favorite snacks has always been a tomato sandwich. On wheat.

Yesterday, we had the Gilbert Reunion at my Aunt and Uncle's home in Fairlfield, Ohio. At dinner, I gathered the food on my plate and went to find a seat next to Papa…

Gilbert Reunion version 38.0

Every Sunday Morning, I have a standing breakfast date. I roll out of bed at 5 am, brush my teeth while still half asleep, and head off to the Bob Evans here in Gahanna, Ohio. My company at these way-too-early-for-a-weekend meals are my youngest son Tanner and Little Red. And we have all grown to love this tradition.

Typically, we arrive about 5:45, before the place even opens. A few minutes later the lights outside pop on and they let us in. Tanner always feels special that he gets to be let in early. The staff knows this and asks him if he will have his "usual", pancakes and hot chocolate. We laugh and and talk and have a wonderful time, and are back home before most of the rest of the world even begins to stir.

Yesterday was no different. We got up and went through the routine. But when we got to Bob Evans, the staff was waiting outside and the place was dark. As we parked we saw the manager come speeding up and let the team in. She was running late, and that would mean t…