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Posts Tagged ‘Denver’

It was like it was August, 1969 all over again. Nine years old, I was in the 4th grade; it was my first day at a new school, in a new home, in a new state, and I was nervous. My mother had been to K-Mart, probably spending my father’s whole paycheck on all of our school supplies. At the time she had three kids in school and three at home, she appeared to be a whole lot happier about me going to school than I was.

Who knew?

Three new pencils, a spiral notebook, an eraser, a 24 pack of Crayola crayons, and a small bottle of Elmer’s White glue. In three weeks I would be cursing the easy flow spout, helplessly plugged up with small pieces of red and blue crey paper that some genius had stuffed in the bottle as a dyeing agent; transforming it from it’s familiar white emulsion to a psychedelic tie dye purple. It was years later that I finally made the connection that the friendly looking little bull on the label, probably represented the hooves of the friendly little bulls processed inside. We had rehearsed the route with  several dry runs from our house to my new school before it went into session, so that when the first day of school arrived I was ready.

So it felt strange to feel a similar twinge when I got up yesterday morning. It had been a while since I’d set the alarm for 4:45 a.m. but I didn’t have any trouble getting out of bed. The night before I’d set out my work clothes; on the kitchen counter I had several piles of keys, my employee access card, one pen, a Sharpie, and my pocket screw driver. I was ready to roll.

As I made my way into the living room and flicked on the overhead light, the dog who was splashed out on the couch, gave me the same “What the H*ll?” look that my wife did when I turned on the lamp at my night stand. Begrudgingly she gave me some room on the couch as I laced up my work boots. It was not unlike the reaction I get from my wife when I climb into bed and she yields to me my small patch of memory foam real estate.

Stuffing my pockets with keys, a pocket knife, and choking down my blood pressure medicine with a pomegranate juice chaser I made my way out the door. A quick pat down to confirm that I had my pen and Sharpie, I glanced to the dog who had returned to the dream she was in before I interrupted her, I closed the door turned the dead bolt and I was off.

Driving in Denver morning traffic takes on a “24 Hours of Le Mans” feeling to it, and the month off had softened my reaction times. Having made the transition from the entrance ramp to the 70 mile per hour traffic successfully, I turned on my radio; it seems to help calm my nerves as some fricking ass**** is trying to drive up my tailpipe… I needed calming.

Lefthand at 11.30 on the wheel I settled in, instinctively I felt my shirt pocket a quick reassuring check to see that every thing was there… crap I had forgotten my Texas Instrument TI 35 XA Scientific Calculator!

Images of 1969 returned as I made the corner and walked into the school playground… crap I fogot my HotWheels Lunch Box and thermos! We were probably in for a long day.

Talk to you later.

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How’s the song go? “Signs Signs, everywhere there’s signs”. Denver has become the unofficial home of the celluloid billboard. You can’t drive through downtown Denver with out being  barraged by panahandlers waving their business cards, fashioned from discarded Pizza Hut Delivery boxes, and a mission statement scribbled out in black “Magic Marker”‘. Each declaring to the viewing public the calamity that has befallen them. Some of them showing a bit of imagination: “F.B.I.; Flat Broke Indian, needs money for beer.” Others mixing their honesty with a bit of humor; “Will Work For Food” (on the reverse side) “Will Work Even Harder For Beer”. Or the twenty something who appears to be Historically Challenged brandishing his sign; “Veitnam Veteran: down on his luck needs some help”. Hell that war was over 25 years before he was born. He must have got up that morning, grabbed the wrong sign from the sign pile, before setting off to “work.”

If He Was Rewarded For Wit He'd Be Rich!

If He Was Rewarded For Wit He'd Be Rich!

Recently the number of people at the curb seems to have increased, the competition for prime harvesting real estate is getting tough. I know I sound cynical, and I probably am, but it has gotten to a point, where you might have two or three “gentlemen” at a stoplight, cursing you because you didn’t contribute to the cause. It’s not that I don’t care, but I don’t think dumping a couple of bucks into the hat is going to change their situation. For many the craving for meth or booze is far more important than food or shelter, and as pious as it sounds I don’t want to aid in their slow descent into something worse than Hell. 

Talk to you later

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The weather has taken this opportunity to reminded the people of Denver that although it may be spring, winter can still strike the Rockies well into May. The ranchers and farmers welcome  the moisture and I enjoyed the early out from work, the two hour drive home I could have done without. Right now the dogs are driving me crazy running in and out of the house, reminding me of little children with a winters worth of pent up energy.  

Lily, enjoying the snow.

Lily, enjoying the snow.

Lily and Hazel, seem to get recharged when ever we get any kind of snow. They ask to be let out side every three minutes, attempting to chase down the squirrels. It appears to be some sort of elaborate game they play, which would come to a tragic end if either of those two dogs managed to catch one of those rats with fluffy tails.

 Hazel the smaller of the two, has a killer instinct and on more than one occasion has sampled birds, mice, and a young squirrel for lunch. Served with a nice Chianti I hear they are quite delicious.   Lily the larger of the two out weighs Hazel by about 60 pounds but is about as timid as a mouse, afraid of her own shadow. She is also a bit neurotic, for about three months straight she chewed on one of her toes. We tried about everything known to man and dog to treat it but she would not stop. It  got so bad that eventually we had to have the toe surgically removed. I know it sounds a bit rough but  the chewing has stopped and she seems much happier.

The schools are closed, the city seems to be in lock down and I think we got a total of 5 inches. The winds are what were causing the most concern blowing at about 15-20 miles per hour. That and the fact they never got the plows out! I still think they have overreacted. Denverites have several different names describing the weather phenomena responsible for our snow storms. The larger the snow fall the better the name. Buffalo, New York has their “Lake Affect Snow”. But try to top names like  “The Artic Express” and “Up Slope” with my favorite  “An Albuquerque Low.” Denver traditionally has never been very good with large amounts of snow fall. When the snow fall starts hitting 8 – 10 inches the city goes into panic mode. Natives blame it on too many people from Southern California or Texas, who don’t know how to drive in the snow. In part that is true, but the bigger problem is a city government that never gets the snow plows out in time to get ahead of the deepening  accumulations. Denver mayoral races have been won and lost over how well the incumbent handled the “blizzard of the century.” The year my wife and I were married December 1982,  Denver was hit by a truely large snow storm. The day before we were to be married Denver received about 26 inches of snow. The mayor’s solution to this crisis was to use garbage trucks to pack down the snow on the side streets. For weeks people were trying to navigate through 12 inch deep ice ruts, destroying wheel alignments and tie rods, even riping out the occasional oil pan. The joke around Denver was that mayor later became transportation secretary for the Clinton administration and the country.

So tomorrow maybe a bust depending what the snow depth is heading north. If the plows get out tonight it won’t be too bad. Be safe.

Talk to you later.

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