February 21, 2012
Once again the Grandkids humor me with their conversation. In their home the master
bathroom was built big enough and designed for a full sized hot tub. Smart move not
installing one but Rick & Salena have decided to use the space for a third bathroom. On
the other side of the wall is a bedroom so by cutting a hole in the wall and building a
couple walls adding the bathroom was fairly easy. The other day Salena made breakfast
and I was eating and enjoying the conversation with the kids (8 yr. old twins) and did what
all Grandparents do: adding my two cents. I spoke about how extravagant a third
bathroom for a family of four seemed and told them about growing up in a home with 5
people and a bath and a half and it seemed very adequate. Then I went on telling them
about families who had many, many more people with only a half bath, or only one
bathroom for three floors and finally described the outhouse we used until I was 5 or six
at the cottage up north. They weren't moved at all and in fact Nick told me matter of factly
what the situation was. "Grampa" he says, "it's all about Alex."
So I say "Oh, Alex doesn't like to share."
Nick responds "It's just that, you know, she's starting that 'awkward' time in her life."
I didn't have a response for that other than to laugh because the way he said it, so calm,
so sincere, so intelligent! Now Alex backs him up. "Grampa, I got a new book in school
that shows the difference between boys and girls and about growing up. Wanna see it?"
Grampa: "Absolutely not."
Alex: "It has real pictures."
Grampa once again: "Absolutely not!"
Nick: "Did you know girls don't have one of those thingys."
This old bird went from preaching like Grampa's do to acting like a juvenile with my hands
over my ears saying 'shut up, shut up, shut up'. Instead of inspiring my 'eager to learn'
Grandkids with the wisdom of 'when I was a kid' once again I learned to keep my mouth
shut and out of the business of others.........
February 6, 2012
You'd think at this time in life I'd learn to 'plan ahead' but I'm no better at it now than I
ever was. EXAMPLE: Don't make dentist appointments for 8:00am the day after
Superbowl. I'm not kidding, that's exactly what I did. About a week ago I had my upper
teeth removed (except for the front 6) and a bridge (one tooth, bottom front) installed.
Without thinking, I bit into a popsicle and broke loose the bridge. Wednesday I had the
rest of my upper teeth pulled and a set of dentures installed but the dentist had to
remove the bridge to get it etched so for Superbowl weekend I still had a hole in my
smile. You'd think the first couple days with the dentures would be the worst but I soon
learned that the pain would get worse as time went on. I couldn't/wouldn't go to work
without the teeth so leaving them out at intervals of pain was out of the question. After
three days I quit 'glueing' them in because taking them out was extremely painful. Sunday
was Michigan/Michigan State game at 1 then Superbowl that night so I was at the 'bar'
from 10:00am til 11:30 pm. I'm not ashamed to say that after suffering the upset stomach,
bouts of orneriness and 'listlessness' I opted to get off the pain meds (over-the-counter
stuff) and on the alcohol. I felt better and a lot jollier but by the time I got home my mouth
was killing me. And of course, even on a good day, the dentist @ 8:00am the day after
Superbowl was a critical mistake. Actually, it worked out very well. I got my new bridge
installed so I now have all my teeth and the best smile I've ever had. Doc made/installed
some type of liner or cushion for the dentures and that really helped with the pain. And I
have to give the wife a little credit because when I got home I told her "Doc removed my
falseys and took a look in my mouth. I don't know what he saw in there but apparently it
looked mighty sore because he wrote me a prescription for pain pills and he hadn't done
that even when he pulled my last 6 teeth." She then proceeded to tell me that's not what
happened. She said after I left she had called the dentist and told his wife "That guy has
been in terrible pain the last couple days. He won't complain or say a word but please
give him something." Now my question is was she being a good wife or has living with me
been hell for her?
January 21, 2012
This week I made plans to go to Tip Up Town and take my vintage snowmobile. I also
intended to take my current riding sled and if I ran into friends ride the trails. Sharlyn was
supposed to go watch my Grandson wrestle in Freeland and take my Granddaughter with
her. I went to the 'Bar & Grill and scraped snow off the parking lot. When I went home to
gather some clothes the girls announced they were going with me. Now I had to pack two
riding sleds and my vintage sled into the trailer and couldn't remember how to arrange
the snowmobiles to fit three. After loading and unloading two sleds 3 times I got it right.
By then I was out of breath and had a sore back. After filling the truck and snowmobiles
with gas and oil I was basically broke. Away we went and Sharlyn did not want to park at
the Houghton Lake High School because we would have to drive snowmachines across
M55 & the traffic was bumper to bumper. It would have been like crossing Eastman Rd. at
the Midland Mall so we went for a parking spot on the lake side. It appeared we'd really
lucked out and found a spot long enough for truck & trailer but as we pulled into it we
realized it was a drifted over ditch and soon the truck was leaning to the right badly. I
unloaded the machines but it was too late, the front end of the truck just would not pop
out of the ditch. I then unhooked the trailer but the truck had pretty much bottomed out.
Naturally I felt like an ass but was not going to let it ruin my day. The first vehicle that
came by offered help but neither of us had a strap. I remembered a yellow nylon rope in
the trailer. I tied it to my truck and the back of his and with a little effort and maneuvering
we were out. I hooked the safety chains to the hitch and pulled the tongue of the trailer
out to the road and we were back in business. The rest of the day I spent watching
people gather around my old Polaris and it was quite a crowd pleaser sitting amongst the
old sleds. But the biggest thrill was riding from the main grounds to the beer tent then
down to the Limberlost Bar. All these spots had hundreds of sleds parked in groups and I
would weave in and out of the rows acting as if i were lost or looking for someone and
heads were turning, hands were pointing, lots of smiles and plenty of cell phones pointed
at me while people took pictures. Now I'm telling you that was fun! There was a carnival
set up among the venders and food stands and your badge allowed you on the rides free
of charge. My Granddaughter took advantage of that, as did Sharlyn. Alex won a stuffed
animal throwing darts at a balloon thanks to a very kind vendor who gave her an extra
shot. All that was nice because, you know, it's hard to say how a seven year old kid is
going to take the cold but she loved every minute of it and wanted to know why Tip Up
Town didn't run every weekend till summer. For lunch, like an idiot, I got a 1/2 BBQ
chicken, and with most my teeth missing chicken is the worst food to devour. So I'm in the
'family fun tent' and I get a wad of that chicken stuck 1/2 way down my throat and I know
it's gonna be bad. I grab the can of pop we were drinking and head for the tent door and
I can hear my wife hollering 'hey, that's not your's, don't leave with that, get back here.' I
get outside and hit that soda with a vengeance but nothings going down. I look for a
'private' spot but there are none so I get a little cover from a van parked nearby and that
soda starts shooting out like a fire hose. There's no doubt onlookers are thinking
"There's some drunk puking his guts out." Honestly, I didn't have a drop due to the fact I
had my grand kid. Two or three episodes of that and the chicken won't budge so I just
walk around in pain for about 10 minutes. I finally feel it moving and try the fluid trick
again and down it goes. Now the only reason I mention that is because a lot of people
passed by me during the vintage snowmobile show and I can imagine a conversation
between them going something like this: "Did you see that old Polaris Charger. The guy
was actually driving it around." "Oh, you mean the drunk guy that drove in the ditch? Last
I saw him he was losing his cookies behind the Family Fun Tent." A good example of why
we are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
January 12, 2012
My first presidential election I could vote in was 1976. I was then, and to this day, a self
proclaimed 'Independant' and have voted many ways over the years. My ticket is always
split and while most of my friends insist I'm a Democrat I've voted for just as many
Republicans and issues promoted by both. I do listen to a lot of talk radio and that is
almost exclusively driven by the right. FOX is my news channel of choice and enjoy the
first half of O'Reilly (the second half usually sucks) but find Hannity a waste of time. After
four years of Obama it's not hard to believe a lot of people may be considering a
Republican president this time around. There's one problem: not one qualified
Republican is going for the job. You know why? Because it's much easier to be a FOX
News 'contributer', a FOX News host, write a book or spout off on the airwaves. There
appears to be plenty of right wingers capable of bringing their form of government to the
white house, and plenty that claim they have the answers but they're too damn lazy and,
for the most part, don't feel obligated to finish anything they start. I have a hard time
watching/listening/reading how smart they are yet won't step up to the plate. You know
who these people are: Palin, Huckabee, Trump (yeah, I'm reaching there), Coulter,
Hannity, Limbaugh, the list goes on and on. They act like patriots but if George
Washington were that soft he'd have stayed at Mt. Vernon distilling whiskey and you
know how that would have worked out. To me they are all like a doctor who has a cure for
cancer but just doesn't like the hours and the blood and all that stuff so we just have to
wait for someone else. Now today the Republican contenders are defending Romney's
record on buying/selling/bankrupting businesses knee deep in debt and yes, I do believe
in capitalism and what he did may have been the right way to handle the situation but -
people did lose jobs, jobs were shipped overseas and although he may have been a
fabulous businessman who made millions for himself and other investors is that really
presidential? I'd be more comfortable with him continuing to be the super business man
but constantly looking over his shoulder while a president with a slighty different motive
keeps a watcful eye out for the little guy. Might just make us all get along a little better.
Meanwhile, I feel sorry for hard core Republicans, right wingers and TEA party'ers
because they're blowing one hell of an opportunity due mainly to lack of interest or
sense of responsibility and as I mentioned earlier - I blame that on FOX.
December 29th, 2011
Getting old is something no one wants to do. Later in life it you find it hard to determine if
you are young, middle aged, getting old(er) or if you are just plain old. I have come up
with a simple guide to determine which age group you belong. It's a simple calculation
based on job benefits -
THESE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGING
- Discussing or having a pension means you're getting old. If you were young you'd
have to google the word 'pension' just to find out what it means.
- If you have a job that provides health care you certainly have lived beyond young
and on your way to old. If you are retired or near retirement and have a paid
healthcare plan your at the age where it's getting time to make sure your 'things'
are in order. If you work and your employer offers a healthcare plan that you pay
yourself be thankful because you are certainly a young whipper-snapper.
- If your benefits include eye and teeth care, you're either ancient or working for an
entity that's soon going under or being bought out, which means you're at least
- Getting old(er) are those whose every conversation eventually includes the 4%+
tax on pensions soon to take affect in Michigan. However, if you are discussing
your 4% raise over a period of 5 years you must be younger than middle age and
hopefully have a long and fruitful life ahead. (Talking about the 40% drop in
income simply means you're self employed and could be any age)
- If you are offered a paid vacation and eventually get it you obviously have a lot of
seniority.(Age group? Do the math oldtimer) If you get the time off when you
actually want it you're probably eligible for social security.
- If you make outlandish claims such as unlimited breaks, one hour lunches or paid
lunches people will not only wonder whether you actually have a job but will
question your maturity. The good news is this proves how young you are.
- If your job includes benefits such as autos or outings you're not only up there in
age but becoming extinct. It is your moral obligation to write a book detailing such
compensation so the next generation can read about the 'good old days'. This age
group means you're, well, you know ...............
December 22, 2011
When my Grandson was 7 years old I was going into the hospital for a belly button
reconstruction (hernia surgery). Apparently my wife or daughter had told him about it. I
stopped in for a visit and he very adult-like brought the subject up. He matter-of-factly
and calmly stated "I hear you're going into the hospital." I told him that was true, I'd be
going in the morning. Then he blew my mind as he asked "Are you scared?" I laughed
and told him not a bit and how common the surgery was and that I had to get over it quick
because Gramma would not give me any time off. (little did I know how true that
statement would prove to be). That moment sticks with me knowing how much he cared,
how concerned he was and how he could empathize at such a young age. Monday he
was getting his tonsils out so Sunday he was on my mind all day. That evening I called
him and asked him if he remembered when I went into the hospital. He vaguely
remembered so I asked "Do you remember what you asked me the day before my
surgery?" He couldn't remember anything specific so I reminded him how he'd asked if I
was scared, and that I was calling him to ask the same. If he was I'd calm his fears. Here's
what he told me: "Grampa, Green Bay is getting beat for the first time this season, I don't
have time to talk." Not exactly the answer I was expecting from an eight year old but I like
surprises so the response seemed amusing. I let him go and later was thankful for how
that conversation went. For some reason I thought getting tonsils removed was, in
today's world, a simple procedure where the benefits of missing school and eating ice
cream far outweighed any pain. I'd have given him such an incorrect description of what
he was about to go through he'd have never trusted me again. Not that anything went
seriously wrong but that poor kid is sick, miserable and in a lot of pain. That, of course,
has brought on a lot of sorrow in my life because, after all, he's my very best friend, just
as Alex is my very best-girlfriend.
December 18, 2011
I've really run the gambit this weekend, about a 14 hour day Friday then Saturday I spent
11 til 6 with guests at the tavern, went to a 'sweater party' Saturday night then to church
Sunday morning for a kids program my Grandchildren were in. Basically I worked, sinned
then opted for a little cleansing. I have to say the church I attended has some of the best
spiritual music I've heard - mainly due to the fact that the music is modern and the
band/orchestra is very talented. There is something to be said about a big, full set of
drums in a church. And this group certainly understands Christmas; at least that's my
opinion. Of course Jesus' birth is the main point but they make sure it's about kids. They
basically let the kids run the show.(today) An hour of spiritual uplifting brought on by a
big group of kids singing and performing was just what the doctor ordered this morning
and I am so glad I attended. There was one skit familiar to me that went like this:
Christian invites Jesus into his home, there's a knock on the door and a homeless person
in need stands in the doorway. The good man invites him/her in, warms them , feeds
them, and the thankful person goes on his way. Next, a similar situation, same hospitality,
once again the person goes on his way. This occurs a couple more times with people
that have various needs and finally the host asks Jesus why he hadn't shown up that day
to which Christ replies "I was here in the form of a ragged beggar, a homeless/shoeless
traveler, a lost child, etc. etc. and each time you gave of yourself. You're exactly the kind
of Christian I’m looking for, so to speak.” Now that type of story has been performed and
told for thousands of years but in today's world I wonder if God, Jesus or the rest of our
spiritual heroes would really recommend such behavior. For one thing, the Lord helps
those who help themselves and I'm not certain allowing strangers in your house then
feeding and providing them with whatever they need is all that smart. In today’s world
there's a damn good chance you wouldn't make it through dinner alive. Who wouldn't feel
good about themselves if you were able to take a truly needy child of God, brother of
Jesus into your warm home, provide them with comfort and nourishment when they are
down on their luck or suffering from circumstances beyond their control. But obviously
the downtrodden and grateful people in the bible are not the same as those of today.
You stop today to help a thirsty, hungry, barefoot traveler and most likely you'll end up
with your photo on a milk carton, your car on a secondary road in another state and your
wallet and contents spent. Therefore, I believe that when we give to the United Way,
Salvation Army or donate to a benefit for a needy family we can assume we are acting
like the Christian in the story. Of course, if you physically donate time at a soup kitchen,
volunteer at a hospital, become a Big Brother/Sister or raise a Foster Child you’re
probably even more similar to that dude than by sharing your wealth. On the other hand,
who the hell am I to preach ..........?
December 15th, 2011
When you talk schools the first thing that comes to mind is taxes. And when you think of
taxes you think of waste. I'm not sure where you are on the subject and I'm not here to
argue schools, taxes or politics. What I want to remind people that for every problem
schools have, or we perceive that they have, there are hundreds of things going on in
the background that are performed for free - no, actually they are performed at a cost
paid mainly by the many, many wonderful citizens who give of themselves to local
schools. Set aside all the problems of operating a school system for a moment and
realize what we are getting for FREE! Actually, the kind of stuff money can't buy. My
daughter has been out of school for years and like many, I've forgotten that it takes 'a
village' to operate a school. Currently I have two Grandkids in school and I attend the
plays, the Grandparent's days and now that they are in sports I attend those as well.
After a few football games and a few wrestling practices you are again reminded of how
many people, who have no more free time than the rest of us, DEDICATE AND WORK
THEIR ASSES OFF FOR NOTHING! Well, they do get something that many of us are
bankrupt of, the satisfaction of stepping up to the plate. I am amazed how people, most
who have never run a business, can not only run the sports programs but are remarkably
clever in financing and fund-raising said programs. Sure, they often rely on local
residents and businesses large and small but those who've come to me seem to realize
that they are the 8,576th person to ask for a donation this year and I can do only so
much. We give what we can and they deserve more. Besides their money they put up
their time and many other resources volunteering everything from coaching to
concession stands. Here's my take on these heroes: While the rest of the world tries to
figure out how to restore order in this world we've all created, they cover a very important
aspect of the American Education System, the KIDS, and get the job done proving that
sometimes more can be accomplished giving of yourself that the almighty buck! And they
do their damnest to ensure no child is left behind.
Thanks to all who do that ...........
Every once in a while you come across an object that makes you sentimental, brings
back wonderful memories. Two years ago, on a 'color-tour' I came across a vintage
Polaris snowmobile. It was almost exactly the same sled as the first one my Dad bought
us. I stopped, sat on it, and when I left I had a feeling I'd be back. Two years later while in
Traverse City attending a convention I snuck off while Sharlyn was in a meeting and
drove to Karlin where the sled had been. The owner still had old snowmobiles out back
and I asked him if he still had the 1970 Polaris Charger, and he did. (Now I'm thinking it
was meant to be, right?) He also told me it wasn't in the same shape as it was two years
ago because as he put it, "I've rode the hell out of it the last two years." I talked him down
to $500.00 (he'd wanted $1200.00 during the last stop) and we walked out back where it
sat covered. When he pulled the cover off there was a sign on the windshiels that said
$425.00. He grabbed the sign as I said "What happened, did I miss the big sale?". He
went into a story how in the spring the bank was taking his home and foreclosing so he
was liquidating whatever he could but there was no way he'd let it go for less and so I just
agreed to the $500.00. A couple weeks later I picked it up and had fun showing off my
prize and was generally happy with it, planning on a few vintage snowmobile rides. I knew
it had a broken spring so one day I hoisted it up in my shop and removed that axle. It was
very rusty, as were all the axles and bogey wheels so I pulled them off to clean them up.
Then I saw some cracks in the chassis that needed welding and tore some more parts
off. Soon the engine was in the way so out that came and in order to remove the seat the
gas tank had to come off. I figured seeing how I was this far into it I should replace the
bearings and that job would be a lot easier if the track was off. After sandblasting every
part underneath I realized the ski's would look better if sandblasted so off they came.
Soon, no matter who it was that walked in the shop would immediately stop in their tracks
and say "What in the hell are you doing?" If you ever get into a project and start telling
yourself 'you can't stop now' you should probably stop right then and there. I now know
the snowmobile salvage yards in Mt. Pleasant and Midland like the back of my hand. I
know that old snowmobiles are much harder to work on due to the fact that under the
track lies 5 axles, two sprockets, 4 idler wheels and 12 bogey wheels. (my Dad knew all
that, why hadn't he warned me?) I know that automotive paint costs around $130.00 a
quart and the primers, cleaners and thinners and other B.S. are expensive as well. I
make 3 trips a day to the hardware buying stainless nuts & bolts. There are roughly 20
decals on one of these things. The Dennis Kirk Snowmobile Parts Catalog company sent
me a Christmas card. My close relatives are already telling me "No, I'm not buying you
more junk for that snowmobile for Christmas." I could go on but I'm sure you get the point.
Actually, I'm real close to being finished but now I have a new problem - it's looking so
nice I wouldn't dare take it out in nasty, salty winter weather nor would I ride alongside the
crazies I normally ride with for fear of scratching it or worse ........ And I certainly can't sell
it - it's worth less than half what I have into it. (not counting my labor)
December 6, 2011
Quite often someone will ask me why I haven't been blogging. It's become so easy to type
a couple of lines on Facebook I got out of the habit of blogging. I use the excuse 'I
haven't the time' but today I'm home recovering from a visit to the dentist and
have/cannot do nothing else so I may as well type a few lines. Ever since I can
remember I've had 'bad' teeth. Never have I heard from a Dentist that things were looking
ok, it's always been "You're going to have to make some decisions soon." Six years ago I
finally agreed to have some teeth removed and some partials installed. Dr. Bowen took
the time to make a cast of my 'war-zone mouth' and referred me to a specialist. The night
before, I was playing horseshoes in a league not short of dentures and brought up the
subject. The advice I got from the gents with the fake choppers was this: Don't ever let
anyone pull a tooth you can still utilize, you'll regret it. I talked to Doc about it and he
agreed there is nothing like original teeth but that the benefits went beyond chewing - my
teeth were becoming unhealthy to my 'system' and there would be a big improvement in
my appearance. Well, I didn't feel unhealthy, and my appearance? Anyone who knows
me knows I don't worry much about my appearance so I cancelled the appointments and
got 6 more years out of my teeth, sort of. For the last few months I haven't been able to
chew so swallowing has been a real issue. The other day my daughter called and asked
what I was doing around 3:30. I told her I had no plans because I was sure she was
asking me to pick her kids up off the school bus. She told me to be at the Dentist office
around 3:15. Great - she was fed up with me ignoring the problem, my wife giving up
trying and decided to take matters into her own hands. So now here I sit with most of my
upper teeth and a couple of my lower teeth missing and some very sore gums. Next
appointment/fitting is December 27th so I'm fairly toothless for Christmas but should ring
in the New Year with a new grin. Sharlyn had meetings in Lansing today for the Beverage
Association so my buddy Mike picked me up at 8:15 this morning and dropped me off at
the Dentist office. Of course after being swabbed with some numby stuff and several,
actually it seemed like MANY shots to the mouth, you get a decent buzz going and
shouldn't drive. So I called Mike and he came to pick me up. I grabbed what I thought was
my black jacket but when I couldn't zip it up realized I had someone's jacket - more than
likely a small women's and more than likely she was sitting there watching me try it on. I
looked over to the coat rack and there was a bigger jacket so I pulled a switch-er-oo and
got a laugh from the office girls. I couldn't explain nor apologize to the coat's owner due
to the fact my mouth was numb, full of gauze and red-saliva was oozing from within so I
just got the hell out of there. Mike took me to the pharmacy and filled a prescription for
pain then drove me home and left immediately. Soon my phone rang and it was Linda
from the Dentist's office. "Dick, there's a guy here and he cannot find his black leather
coat. Do you have it?" Holy shit, two jackets I tried on and still came home with the wrong
one. "Do you have anyone there who can bring back his jacket?" "Yes", I lied. "We'll be
right there. " I jumped in my vehicle and carefully drove back to town. On the way I
remembered feeling a pair of my favorite gloves, brown jerseys, in the pocket earlier that
morning so when I got back I made sure the coat I was leaving with had the gloves in the
pocket. Again, of course, I could not speak, apologize nor laugh because my mouth was
not functioning and I could tell a river had developed and was busting over the 'dam'. I
could not help but feel guilty as I rushed out the door because people were apologizing
to me for a situation only I had created -TWICE! Funny stuff ..........
March 2, 2011
Four guys are being interviewed for Greeter at Walmart. The manager asked them
'What's the fastest thing you know of?"
The first man replied 'A THOUGHT, it just pops in your head without any warning'.
The second man said 'A BLINK, it comes and goes and you never know it happened.'
The third said TURNING ON A LIGHT, 'I step out of my Dad's house and on the porch
there's a light switch. When you flip the switch, way out across the pasture the light on
the barn comes on in less than an instant.'
The fourth guy says 'After hearing the previous three answers, it's obvious to me that the
fastest thing known is diarrhea. The other day I wasn't feeling so good, and I ran for the
bathroom, but before I could THINK, BLINK, or TURN ON THE LIGHT, I had already shit
Guess who got the job!
March 1, 2011
The roller coaster ride - part two (for part 1, scroll down)
Dan & Bud had parked at the Trail Head in Meredith so they loaded up and headed for
our next meeting at Juicy Bones. Kevin and I were parked in Harrison so we headed there
via the Meredith Grade to Long Lake Rd. then to Harrison Trail Head known as the Fur
Farm. Amazingly, after all the snow we'd gotten the counties you'd think had the least
recources to plow the roads had them scraped right down to the gravel. My paved
subdivision didn't get plowed for two more days, and I'm not complaining, but these back
roads up north were scraped clean. We joked about that after loading and on the way
home. We arrived at Juicy Bone and stayed a little longer than we should have but Jim &
Jesse were great hosts and that's all it takes to keep people around. By now I'm coughing
more and more but don't really feel all that bad. Tuesday morning I'd have given anything
to stay home but had made arrangements to work so I could take Wednesday off for
Crappie Fest. By Tuesday afternoon I was in bad shape and didn't go to work that night.
Wednesday morning I couldn't move. Sharlyn headed off to the Crappie Fest alone.
Around 11am she text me to say she'd caught a fish and wondered if I was coming there
for lunch. I answered 'maybe' and rolled over. At 3pm she text me to say she may need a
ride home which I answered I could not drive - no way. In the last couple months I'd had
hernia surgery and broke my left foot and that seemed nothing compared to what I was
going through. Oddly, the phone rang and a recorded message wanted confirmation I
was going to make a doctor appointment the following morning. All I could guess was
Sharlyn had called so I agreed to go. Turns out she hadn't made the appointment but I
was so sick I opted to go. So Thursday morning I arrive at the Doctor's office and find out
the appointment was for a physical I'd made in August. While prepping me the Nurse
realized how sick I was and asked me if I wanted to convert the visit to a sick call and
reschedule the physical - seems the insurance would only pay for one or the other.
Naturally that pissed me off, seemed so foolish, but I deal with the government on a daily
basis and understand that the government taught insurance companies everything they
know so knew there was no logic involved. I figured I had the flu, like so many others, and
it would go away in a couple days so I opted for the physical so I wouldn't have to come
back. But soon the Doctor overrode my decision, informed me I had pneumonia,
prescribed some stuff and scheduled my physical in two weeks. So now I know about
pneumonia and know what an ass kicking it is. Little did I know it was contagious and he
told me to stay home for two days. So I did, much to my wife's dismay. I went to work in
sweats two days after my hernia surgery, worked the very next day after breaking 3 toes
but by Saturday Sharlyn thought I was milking the pneumonia thing and started throwing
innuendos about my absence. I said "My, your not used to me not being able to bounce
back in a day or two, eh?" to which she replied "It's been since Tuesday." I didn't argue
back but started to realize I'd better start taking better care of myself or old age is going
to be rough - no sympathy coming from that woman. The frills, thrills and scary parts of
my coaster ride has ended and life goes on ..........
February 25, 2011
This week I've been on a roller coaster ride. Sunday is one of my favorite days to work
because a lot of people stop in for a lot of different reasons and I have time to be a good
host to them. Some just stop to eat, some for sports on TV, many just to relax and enjoy
the final hours of their weekend. The younger one's often have a good story about the
bullshit they encountered or caused Friday & Saturday nights. I get a kick out of listening,
especially when I can relate from my own experiences years ago. Sunday it started
snowing and by 7:00 I decided to go snowmobiling the next day and had a partner lined
up. With the Bar & Grill closed on Monday things couldn't have worked out better. And as
we drove toward Harrison to unload at the trail head two more guys called and agreed to
meet us at either Elbow Lake Bar or the Meredith Bar. It was cold when we unloaded and
I soon realized I'd forgotten my ski mask, which is not a good thing. We headed out and I
immediately felt the affects of my error as my cheeks cooled down fast. I had peeked the
first hill of the coaster ride. We rode fast through the fresh powder and stopped only
once before arriving at Elbow Lake where we found out closing Mondays is fast becoming
the norm for out of the way taverns. I didn't think I'd last all day without that mask so I
called Dan (one of the others coming to meet us) and asked if he'd stop by my barn and
grab it. Unfortunately the door was locked so he called Shar and she drove down in her
PJ's with a key and retrieved it. Meanwhile, I rummaged through the seat compartment of
my sled and found a spare. I pulled it over my face, donned my helmet and headed for
the next stop - Meredith Bar. The roller coaster had bottomed out and we were headed
for the next hill & thrill. On the way my throat began to tickle like it does during an allergic
reaction and by the time I got to Meredith was coughing as well. I complained to my
partner Kevin that I must have gotten something on or in that mask that I was reacting to
and was getting more uncomfortable by the minute, though I wasn't gonna let it ruin my
day. Our buddies met up with us and we rode the roads from Meredith to Long Lake
where we stopped at Red's which also joined the group of 'taverns closed on Mondays'.
Damn! We then headed to Leota where the Riverside Bar had at least 30 snowmobiles
parked and if you've been there in the last 50 years you know who was working - yes,
that little old lady who is ALWAYS there - working alone, and doing the cooking as well.
That woman is an inspiration and a story in herself, but for another day. By now I'd
changed ski masks but the tickle and coughing persisted. The drinks during our stops
helped a lot but we were riding a lot more than drinking and after leaving Leota we rode
north to Higgins Lake Rd, jumped on Houghton Lake and went to the Holiday On The
Lake where happy hour consisted of $1.00 long necks. I verbally mentioned how I'd been
in the business for 25yrs. and still haven't figured out how anyone can sell a longneck
beer for $1.00. Of course one in the group does the math quickly in his head and can't
understand why anyone couldn't make money selling beer for a buck but I know better
than to even try to explain. I just let that pass. Dan joked about how great the pizza was
last year at Meredith Bar and we laughed trying to figure out if it was really that good or,
well, you know, maybe we were just that buzzed. We dressed and headed along the lake
trying to find patches of snow for traction on the glare ice and stopped once again in
Meredethto find out how good that pizza really was. I say it's great pizza, but in the end
we were in the same shape as last year. Next time we're gonna try that pizza at lunch.
TOMORROW - Part 2 of the ROLLER COASTER RIDE
09/09/10 We complain about the government all the time so like a restaurant,
government appreciates hearing something they got right. A customer recently told me
that before tearing down the old Pinecrest facility they were going to auction off the
kitchen equipment. I've never really liked going to auctions because the few items I'm
interested in are always sold last and there is always someone there who wants it more
than me. I usually go home empty-handed and a day behind at work. Even so, I decided
today to go & take a look at what was for sale. My wife used to be on the board that runs
Pinecrest and thought there would be some 'nice' stuff. When I toured the kitchen I found
it almost empty. Most of the equipment was gone and basically the only items left were
were either bolted down or not worth saving. I was a little tee'd off at first and figured
someone had looted the good 'stuff' ahead of me but an employee explained anything
valuable had been hauled away by the county, mainly parks & rec for use in concession
stands and government buildings. For the first time in years I felt a little bit good about
local government. Sure, this kind of recycling expensive equipment is directly related to
the economy but it is a start. Not too many years ago the same government wouldn't
have even had an auction, they'd have just thrown the stuff out. But this economy has
forced them to sell whatever they can on a fair playing field, put to use whatever
equipment they already own and the logistics are all handled by employees they already
employ. I wonder if they feel as good about doing this as taxpayers appreciate them
playing it smart.
09-08-10 A couple weeks ago my wife was watching the food channel and learned
about deep fried twinkies. She bought some and I went to the website for the recipe and
cooked a box up. Everyone that tried them liked them so we decided to put them on
special. That was two weeks ago and we've since sold 108 of them. Now this has not
been an easy sell. Over and over the reaction to the staff's sales pitch has been "That
sounds disgusting!" It must be the frying part because there's nothing disgusting about a
Twinkie. But the part that baffles me is do people really think I would, after 24 years in the
business, serve something disgusting? Do they think I'm playing a trick on them?
Perhaps they imagine business has been so slow I'm willing to throw anything on a plate
to make a buck. Fortunately, no one who's eaten one found it disgusting. That's not to
say all sales will be followed by repeat business but over the years I've come to realize
when something is a hit and, percentage-wise, profitable. And there is nothing like the
feeling you get when you turn a frown into a smile with something like a deep fried
twinkie. It's the shock effect - people talk about it and the word spreads. I could be wrong
but I can see us selling 200 Deep Fried Twinkies before the month's end. And over half
order them alamode so we're keeping a cow employed besides. And that, folks, is what
makes the world go round!
08-16-10 Folks, I haven't written a blog in almost three months and people keep asking
why. You may find this hard to believe but I'm going to level with you on what's been
going on during my absence. I made a personal pact that I wouldn't drink alcohol until I
lowered my weight to 200lbs. The first twenty was not so hard, the last five took WEEKS! I
actually did not drink for over 14 weeks. And I found it wasn't that hard. Not eating was
another story. During that time I lost not only the desire but the ability to write. My
imagination and my sense of humor went on vacation. Last week I attended a bachelor
party on Put In Bay Island and did some drinking, had a great time but don't really have a
desire to drink like I used to but I miss writing this blog. The way I remember it I tried
either to educate, entertain or inspire with this site so today I figure I owe you one of
each. Read on and you can decide for yourself which category each falls into.
#1 In the 16th. and 17th. centuries everything had to be transported by ship and it was
also before commercial fertilizers, so large shipments of manure were common. It was
shipped after it was dried to reduce the weight but at sea it became damp and heavier
and often fermentation would begin again which produced a lot of methane gas. The stuff
was stored below deck in bundles and the first time someone came below with a lantern,
BOOM! Several ships were destroyed in this matter before it was determined what was
happening. After that the bundles were always stamped with the term: "Ship High In
Transit" on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks
so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the
production of methane. Thus evolved the term "S.H.I.T" , (Ship High In Transit) which has
come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day. Wouldn't this make great
conversation when the talk & drinking gets heavy at your next family reunion?
#2 An old Italian man is dying. He calls his Grandson to his bedside...."Guido, I 'wan you
lissina me. I wan' you to take-a my pistol so you will always remember me.
"But Grandpa, I really don't like guns. How about you leave me your Rolex watch instead?
"You lissina-me boy. Somma day you gonna be runnin da business, you gonna have a
beautiful wife, lotsa money, a big-a home and maybe a couple bambinos. Somma day
you gonna come-a home and maybe finda you wife inna bed with another man. Whatta
you gonna do then? Pointa to your watch and say 'Times up'?"
#3 New free public service offered at the 'Bar & Grill: Tell us what you need and we'll
tell you how to get along without it!
05-10-10 O.K.. One full week of non smoking and the results are in - Yes, business is
up - WAY UP! Friday was more than we anticipated but our hard working crew pulled
together and we handled the crowd very well. Lot's of new faces and I hope they come
again. I give credit to our regulars for all the newcomers because word of mouth is our
main form of advertisement. For that I thank you. Saturday was pretty much a replay of
Friday but we had no entertainment due to the 7:30pm NASCAR Race and the 10:00pm
Red Wings play-off game. I apologize to people who showed up looking for a band or DJ.
Early Saturday we realized we had a dilemma - they'd eaten everything in the place,
including the food we'd ordered for Mother's Day. So Shar spun into action and shopped
everywhere there is quality food including LaLonde's Market where she picked up an
additional 5 raw 15lb. prime ribs. Her, Ray and the entire kitchen staff then prepped
enough food for Mother's Day. We had lots of reservations and the walk-ins throughout
the afternoon and early evening turned Sunday into another Friday. That's the good
news. There's also some bad. I realize many who passed through our doors were first
timers and when you're as busy as we were (and eventually burned out) there were
longer waits for tables than usual, longer waits for food than usual, and sometimes things
aren't up to par when rushed. I recall maybe three minor complaints all weekend and I
credit our staff for that. We'll see how many returns and how long the upswing lasts.
Another fact is keno sales have TANKED since the smoking ban. And I mean TANKED.
There is very little profit margin for us in Keno sales so that means little to us (a lot to
schools). The other big drop was in beer/wine/liquor sales. Not necessarily in dollars and
cents but in percentage. I'm sure no one would be surprised to learn that smokers are
also big on gambling and 'drinking' (I mean that in a good sense of the word). And to
their credit they are normally big tippers. And I'm sure most people realize that the bread
and butter in a 'licensed' establishment comes from the sales of spirits. This is due mainly
to the fact that it takes very few employees to serve very many people a profitable
amount of alcoholic beverages. And those beverages need not be prepped, heated,
cooked, nor do they ever spoil or become outdated before they sell. No matter how you
handle them or store them there is no fear of illness or disease and you never worry
about ordering too much. So with the ban comes change and as much as people despise
or fail to cope with change, I find it a little exciting and, hopefully, just maybe, a little
profitable. Come see us, PLEASE?
5-04-10 I'm sitting in Lansing, MI in a vacant conference room waiting to go to my next
legislative appointment. I'm one of many from the Michigan Licensed Beverage
Association lobbying for our businesses, actually for our survival. I realize when people
speak of their lawmakers being 'out of touch' to many that's just an old cliché but let me
give you a few examples of what I'm talking about. Of course for many tavern owners the
smoking ban is scary and couldn't come at a worse time. And I'm a believer that in the
long run businesses such as mine will actually do well. But back to 'out of touch'. A bill is
pending to allow earlier Sunday sales. I support this not so bars can serve alcohol earlier
but so golf courses, bowling alleys with tournaments, places having benefits, party stores
in fishing/hunting resort areas, hotels or grocery stores can be more convenient to sell
provisions. We suggested this added license fee as an alternative to raising the current
license. We already pay a $90.00 fee annually just for Sunday sales. So the bill gets
sponsored by someone and what is the fee? $1500.00. Now how out of touch is that?
What, do these people think there are 1500 weeks in a year or something? You could
never, ever make that up. Then there is a bill that would allow local governments to tax
bars/restaurants up to 50 cents per drink. That adds $12.00 to a case of beer. $15.00 to
a fifth of vodka. And all this comes after a minimum wage hike and the smoking ban. I
could go on but you get the point. I also found out who lobbied hard enough to ban
smoking on outside patios or decks - the Michigan Restaurant Association. Their wealthy
members, the big chains, wanted no part in changing their floor plans to accommodate
smokers but didn't want to lose their business so lobbied no smoking across the board
ANYWHERE! Non smokers can delight in this but smokers, remember this next time you
go out to eat. I remembered you while I was lobbying and tried to compromise on an open
air exemption but you weren't worth it to them.
04-26-10 Every once in a while everything seems to pile up on 1 day. This Saturday is
one of those days. The smoking ban begins. My niece is getting married. I'm supplying
the beer - and the CO2 - last night she reminded me I agreed to video tape the
ceremony. The Kentucky Derby is that day. The Nascar race is in Richmond that night.
Tigers play in the afternoon. Red Wings? We'll know Tuesday. Then Sunday I'm going to
Lansing for three days to lobby for the Licensed Beverage Association. I'm still trying to
figure out if it's a good thing I'll be gone the first few days of the ban or a bad. One thing
nice - I'll be with a lot of tavern/restaurant owners and get a lot of ideas and reactions. I
hope the rumors are true - that a lot of people who normally don't eat in establishments
with smokers will now come out in droves and spend money in places like ours. I will say
this, those people have some big shoes to fill. Many taverns have their 'regulars' and
they are people 'regularly' sitting at the bar spending money and, you guessed it,
smoking. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the scary part is how much control
the government has, even over private businesses. I laugh when I hear members of
'clubs' thinking their rights are being violated - they are simply that, 'members'. I own this
place. I bought and paid for it. If the government can make a rule for my private, solely
owned business they damned well better make it stick in the clubs. As much I'm amazed
the power that the government has over private business I'm equally amazed it took this
long to pass the bill. I thought it would be law several years ago. For us it was time to
eliminate smoking, according to my customers. The other funny part is how the law is
disguised to be a health issue for bar/restaurant employees. For a while my thoughts
were how to accommodate our smoking customers and retain their business, then one
day it occurred to me - how am I gonna accommodate my employees, 90% of whom
smoke, and supposedly who this law was made to protect. Only in America...........
04-19-10 A woman goes into Wal-Mart to buy a rod and reel. She doesn't know which
one to get so she just grabs one and heads for the register. There is a Wal-Mart
associate standing there with dark shades on. She asks him about the rod and reel. He
says "Ma'am, I'm blind, but if you drop it on the counter I can tell you everything about it
just from the sound it makes. She didn't believe him but drops it anyway.
He said "That's a 6 foot graphite rod with a Zebco 202 reel and 10 pound test. It's a great
rod & reel and it's only $20.00. Of course she's amazed and deciding to buy it, bends
down to get her purse and farts. At first she was embarrassed but then realizes there was
no way to tell it was she.
He rings up the sale and says 'That will be $25.50."
She says, "But didn't you say it was $20.00?"
"Yes Ma'am, the rod and reel is $20.00, the duck call's $3.00, and the catfish stink bait is
04-13-10 The other day an IRS official made a surprise visit and said I was being
investigated for not paying proper wages. He wanted a list of employees and their
compensation. "Well," I told him, "Theres the cook who's been with me three years, I pay
him $300.00 a week and provide him room and board. The bartender's been here 20
years and I pay her $200.00 a week plus tips plus free room and board. Then there's the
half-wit who works about 18 hours every day and does 90% of the work around here. He
makes $10.00 a week and pays his own room and board, and I buy him all the draft beer
he can drink. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally."
"That's the guy I need to talk to, the half-wit," the agent said.
To which I replied, "That'd be me."
04-05-10 If I were to do it all over and have a real job I'd like one of those that you
can't really explain to people. Most of us can discuss or relate to one another about the
basics of our jobs but everyone knows that one guy or gal that, when asked, only
confuses you when talking 'work'. The conversation might go like this -
"So what do you do for a living?"
"I work for Dow."
"What do you do?" (be careful what you ask, you may be getting over your head)
"I'm a senior operations consulting analyst....."
"Do you have an office?"
"I work in the twelve fifty seven building, I see you ex-wife every day."
"So, hows business?"
"Oh, they keep me busy."
"Right now we're working on a project."
"And how's that going?"
"It's on hold right now, we had meetings with our engineering department this morning.
Then broke for lunch and played 18 holes at the country club."
"So tomorrow is catch-up day?"
"Actually, tomorrow we have visitors from Brazil coming and after a morning conference
we're taking them to Dow Gardens then a dinner reception at the "H".
"So you don't really have a job, in conventional terms."
"Bullshit, all I do is work. That place couldn't operate without me!"
"Oh, I see. Well, keep it up. Don't 'work' too hard!"
03-25-10 Everybody likes to pull a good prank but some just don't go as planned.
They are especially foiled by people who are polite and appreciative and don't
understand a good prank, especially if they are the brunt of it. Remember the good old
days of beer specials when actual 'beer' was on sale? I'm not talking the 30 packs of 'Lite
Light' you get today. They do nothing but keep you close to the urinal. I'm talking full
fledged, normal alcohol content beers like Boyne Falls, Falstaff, Wiedeman's ,Goebels,
etc.. One time a Midland Party store was running a special on quarts of a previously
unknown beer from Texas. I can't recall the name but it had 3 red x's on the neck so we
just called it 'Triple X'. It was warm when sold, was in clear bottles, (not a good thing) and
apparently aged because it had become the epitomy of skunky beer. Naturally, there is
no return on beer but it was elegantly packaged so we decided to have some fun. We
chilled the hell out of it and went about giving it to friends as a gift. The problem was our
timing was bad and no one wanted to crack open a quart bottle of beer but we had
ranted and raved about it so much recipients wanted to keep it for a special occasion. So
we'd go on our way and laugh like hell hoping we'd hear all about it. Later that day we
were driving down a two track in the woods and we came across several trucks 4-wheelin
and one was buried. They didn't have the trucks nor the necessary equipment capable of
extracting it and we had both. Not only that but it was in August, it was hot & humid and
they'd been there ALL AFTERNOON. So what do you do? These guys had had an awful
day and maybe it wouldn't be wise to serve them god-awful skunky beer. Are you kidding
me, we popped open that cooler of triple x quarts and handed one to the heaviest,
sweatiest guy there. He tipped that quart up and never quit sucking on the bottle till it was
gone, which sorta backfired on us because it made us sick watching him drink it. We
gave them the styrofoam cooler and all, pulled their truck out of the swamp and left. We
didn't want to be there when their taste buds kicked in or one of them died from some
yeast poisoning. As for the rest of the guys we gave it to not one ever said a word,
knowing full well, I imagine, that they'd been had. Warning: do not try this at home!
03-21-10 My birthday was yesterday, and I thank the family, friends & customers who
wished me a happy birthday. It couldn't have fallen on a better day. Our pool league
banquet was yesterday and we had the pleasure of hosting it. That drew around 70
people and I got to pretend they were there to celebrate my birthday. The Bristol race
was good as usual and the 'free wings with beer' NASCAR special was introduced to a lot
of fans. The highlight of the day was that last second victory by Michigan State which
drew every ass in the place out of it's seat and sports fans screaming in unison - every
bar owners dream! There are 40 more days til the smoking ban and I've got to start
putting a plan together. I've heard over and over about companies working overtime
making canopies and shelters that bars can purchase for their smoking friends. I think I'll
take the wait & see approach on this. Other than rainy days I don't see this as a problem
until fall and may not worry about it until then. My biggest worry is filling the back area.
Once smoking is banned customers are going to want to sit up front. And let's face it, due
to the awkward design and poor planned additions over the years the bar has 3 sections
- the lounge area, the center, and the back. Will anyone want to sit in the back? For
logistical reasons we'll have to have names for these areas. Will customers feel welcome
or rejected when we say 'Ive got a table in the back'? We're going to have to give clever
names to these areas that make customers feel comfortable with. How about the
swearing or non swearing section? Or the loud section and quiet section? Dining
area/party area? Certainly no one would want to sit in the booger-picker section. A shirts
section vs. skins section would be interesting but health codes require shirts to get
service. I've always figured that's why the gals at DeJaVue are so thin. Or we could have
foolish country club names like The Dow Area or the Tittabawasse Room. We could have
the Junkyard Section but where would it start and where would it end? If you have any
ideas for names for our sections submit them by e-mail and we'll consider your ideas.
Have a good day, friends! firstname.lastname@example.org
03-20-10 It's dawned on me, lately, that if I were to refrain from using a common word I
could save lots of money. The word, though simple, is powerful, more powerful than I
previously imagined. The word is "only". Yes, the simple word "only" has recently caused
me grief. I could go back in time for years but in order to make my point quickly lets start
at the beginning of the year. A salesman who for months had been trying to sell me a
new computer system for the bar called in January and whined he had no sales for the
month. The system that he'd given me a quote on previously he now could part with for
"only" a fraction of it's original cost. Couldn't turn it down. But now I needed internet
service at the bar to operate it and for "only" ten dollars a month extra I could have a
secure network. Then for "only" a small investment I could have a wifi hotspot for
customers to use. It seemed stupid not to spend "only" a few more dollars on software so
I could monitor the new system at home so for "only" a few more bucks I got wireless
capabilities at my house. It was "only" 25 bucks to make my printer at home wireless,
"only" another 25 bucks for the wireless mouse which worked so well I "only" spent
another $25 on one for the new computer at the bar. Now I'm carrying a laptop back &
forth to work to utilize the high tech stuff. And I can really promote business, "only" I have
to buy a lot of paper and ink cartridges. Why transport the laptop when I can buy a new
internet capable phone for "only" $79 and carry it on my hip. On top of the monthly
phone bill I can use the phone online for "only" $9.99/month but that "only" gives me 25
megabites. No problem cause for "only" $20 more dollars a month I can get unlimited
access & texting. And after all, I'm "only" paying (on top of my two cable bills) $35/month
for internet at the house, "only" $55 at the bar, and "only" $12/month for my website. Now
I could have gotten the 2 wireless routers for "only" $5/month each but they were "only"
$124 each at best buy to own so I went that route. And when you buy all that stuff it
"only" costs another 30% to get the cables, surge protectors and the other bullshit you
don't consider when you start such a project. I'm sure you get my point. The "only"
consolation I have is after observing employees and customers I realize I'm not the "only"
person caught up in this craze. "Only" now I'm a slave to technology!
03-15-10 This year St. Patrick's day is on a Wednesday which means it's really St
Patrick's week. We always have our annual party the Saturday before St. Pat's. At the
risk of sounding vain, last night we served up the best corned beef and cabbage dinner
money can buy topped with carrots, potatoes and a scoop of green mint ice cream for
dessert. Most customers take about half of the huge portion home with them. Serving so
many satisfied customers and getting so many compliments is a real treat. The boys in
the band 'Triple Play' kept the dance floor full as three people celebrated birthdays and
one couple (with the help of 25 relatives) celebrated their 50th anniversary. A great
night, and St. Pat's day hasn't even happened yet. Some people showed up today
hoping for leftovers-on-special but we're saving the rest for Wednesday. They said
they'd be back and I'm taking their word for it. So for any of you readers who missed out
Saturday, come see us Wednesday and experience this huge, delicious meal. Today I
had the good fortune of seeing a friend who, years ago, was wrongly accused of a minor
crime. False testimony against her, a lawyer who robbed her of a small fortune and
incompetent representation and overzealous federal marshals robbed her of a piece of
her life by sentencing her to some time in a federal prison. It was awful and unjust. One
day I flew out of state to visit her. My intent was to spend the night and do some
sightseeing the following day so I acquired a map of the area and slipped it in my back
pocket. At the facility I was padded down and frisked and had to empty my pockets and
leave everything at the lobby. She had other visitors that day and later on I was talking to
them about directions and such as they had become familiar with the area. Then I got
stupid. The map in my back pocket had not been detected so I pulled it out, unfolded it
across a table and all of us began studying it. Now what do you think happens when a
guard spots an inmate and several visitors planning travel on a map. Actually, Im sure I
don't have to tell you. Basically, all hell breaks loose and your visit comes to an abrupt
end. I'm sure no one thought they'd foiled a prison break as much as they feared for their
job. Looking back on that incident and remembering how easily she'd been railroaded I'm
surprised I wasn't convicted of plotting an escape. I must admit that was a move so stupid
it's funny, yet this may be the first time I've laughed about it!
03-09-10 Last weekend we had live music Friday and Saturday. The band did a great
job and I enjoyed their music but when you have entertainment on a hit-and-miss basis
like us few people know about it and the crowd was light. Consumer's Power had sent
post cards out notifying our area that they were shutting the power off from 2am till 8am
so we cut one 'set' from the band and did last call early. I have a big generator but didn't
want to use it for the short period. The power never went off. The card said if they didn't
shut off as planned they would do it the next night. So the next night we followed the
same routine and again the power never went off. So much for that. I'm sure there will be
plenty of unscheduled power outages in the future to test the battery back-ups on our
new POS system. As we have in the past, this year our St. Pat's party will be the
Saturday before the actual day, which means we are having a big bash this Saturday.
(make sense?) Shar will be cooking up lots of corned beef briskets and boiling potatoes,
cabbage and carrots for the best Irish dinner around so please stop by. Fabiano
Brothers are doing a Bud promotion from 8 til 9 then the local boys who call themselves
Triple Play will entertain into the wee hours. It's usually the biggest night of the year so
come party with us. Yes, we'll have green beer but again, Shar's dinner is to die for! If
you can't make it Saturday we'll be serving the same dinner Wednesday, the actual St.
Pat's day, also. Last year it was so popular we sold out but we won't make that mistake
again. If we cook too much we'll be pushing Reubens for the rest of spring. I'll never
forget our first St. Pat's party 22 years ago. The only people here were my employees,
myself, Sharlyn, and Butch and Kellie Smith. The place was decorated, we dressed in
green but no-one showed up. Butch, Kellie, Shar & I each sat at different tables to make
the place look a little busy in case someone walked in. It was a lesson well learned and
prepared me for failed promotions in the future. Sometimes they just happen. I'd had a
similar experience before that. Before I bought the bar I lived in Merrill across the street
from the Jonesfield township hall. The local J.C.'s were hosting a Halloween party. About
10 of us met at our house to 'pre-party' and get into our costumes. We kept looking
across the street, waiting for the parking lot to fill up so we could make a grand entrance.
We waited and waited. Finally several J.C.'s walked over and asked us why we weren't at
the party. We told them we were waiting for a crowd so we weren't the first one's there.
They told us we were the only people who had tickets so we headed for the party and
ended up being the only guests. I don't really recall what happened the rest of that night
but we left with a lot of prizes! Hope to see you this week-end. Happy St. Patrick's day!
03-02-01 Everyone has character traits or habits and often they go unnoticed only by
the person displaying them. We've all accused someone or been accused of a particular
behavior that totally shocks the accused. Not long ago I had dinner with an individual who
grunted, groaned and moaned with each mouthful. When I confronted him about it he
was taken completely by surprise and denied he'd made any sounds. Yesterday I was not
well and helping someone on a brake job when he asked "are you gonna be O.K.?".
Obviously I was making enough "noise" to concern him yet didn't realize it. Now what's
really amusing is when two people with the same trait meet and compete without knowing
it. I had two dear, dear friends who thoroughly enjoyed conversation. When you met up
with them you had better have some listening time available. I knew them both but they
had never met each other. They had a hobby in common - woodworking. One afternoon I
convinced one of them to visit the other at his woodshop so they could become
acquaintances, swap ideas, talk tools, etc. etc.. The next morning I ran into one of them
and asked how the meeting went. He said he'd been impressed with the guy's shop and
knowledge, enjoyed the tour but may not return for a while. "I couldn't get out of there,"
he said. "Every time I'd go to leave he'd stop me and show me something else or start in
on another conversation". I agreed the fella like to talk and had felt that way before. Later
the same day the other guy caught me in my front yard, (we were neighbors), and without
mentioning I'd seen his new buddy, asked him how the encounter went. His answer?
"Wow, what a talker. I wasn't sure he'd ever leave. Just about the time I thought he'd said
everything there was to say he'd start in on something else. Nice guy but.......". I loved
that story. And I bet I know the only thing that finally parted them was a daily ritual that
seems to exist only with older, married people today. Dinner. They were from a time when
everything stopped at a specific time known as dinner, and you were never late. Today
dinner just means food with no designated time or place. "these times, they are a
02-25-10 Yesterday was the 20 or 21st annual Crappie Fest and it was as fun as
ever. We were up at 6:00 so we could be fishing by 7:00. Neither Shar nor I had a
fishing license so we stopped at J.P.'s to get a 1-dayer and her faithful employee Al
reminded us we couldn't buy beer til 7:00. and he wouldn't sell a minute early
because the cash register prints the time on the receipt. What a faithful employee!
So after enjoying Jill's 'free Crappie Fest coffee & doughnuts' we were a little late
getting on the ice but that didn't matter cause we caught no fish. The only
excitement (fishing-wise) was when Shar insisted I put a new minnow on her hook.
As I knelt down and grabbed a minnow my bobber went out of sight and by the time
I got to my pole the fish was gone. The awards ceremony and lunch at Rumors was
great. I don't know how Rose and Roy put on such a nice feed for $6.00. On top of
that Busch & Busch Light was only $2.00 a bottle. Nice of them to have recession
type prices for the fisherman during a recession. The highlight of the day was the
crowning of the Crappie Queen - the beautiful and always cheerful Sarah Mose.
We now owe her the honor of referring to her as Your Majesty for the rest of the
year. Right in the middle of the party I got a call from the Bar & Grill saying we had
an emergency - the pizza oven had made a loud noise and quit. The problem was
guests for a funeral dinner were arriving (we opened early for them). To me it
wasn't an emergency due to the fact that the ovens we cooked in for 18 years are
still in the kitchen and operational. But you know human nature, and a last minute
change like that using equipment that doesn't do the work automatically and
requires some concentration and monitoring had everyone in a tizzy. So I left the
party and came back and fixed the oven while they started the food the old
fashioned way. I didn't really say it because I knew they didn't want to hear it but I
was thinking "if you only knew the food we used to put out in those old ovens, and
thought nothing of it". But I was able to empathize with them thinking how people
would react after using indoor plumbing for years and years and suddenly having
to use the old outhouse out back on a 10 degree morning. Same difference,
02-21-10 Sunday night. Winding down. Friday, of course, was the first Friday of
Lent and people were looking for fish. Sharlyn put the walleye on special and the
filets have been awesome the last few weeks. Although perch was still a big seller
we sold 70 walleye dinners that night. That's a record. Saturday was a real test for
me. The alarm company woke me up @ 5 in the morning (still not sure what set it
off) and when I got home from that I couldn't sleep. Sharlyn and I packed up and
went snowmobiling with some friends/neighbors dropping off in Meredith. From
there we went to Leota for lunch, up to Higgens, got on Houghton Lake & sledded to
Holiday On The Lake where Daughter, Son-In-Law and Grandkids were staying and
visited them. Then off to the Limberlost, then Elbow Lake and finally the Meredith
Bar. We had Pizza there and it was real good. (not as good as your's J.P.) Then
someone said the Juicy Bone had reopened (formerly Yackey's) so we stopped in
there on the way home. The place looks great and I wish them well. The new
owners have a lot of combined experience in the business and I predict will do well.
Back at our bar we were crazy-busy and stayed until 2:30 a.m.. That meant I had
been awake 21 1/2 hours - then slept 6 hours and back to work. Draggin butt
tonight. The kitchen magician Ray came back to work this weekend after a
vacation in Jamaica. One year Sharlyn, Salena and I went to Jamaica and I proved
what an idiot I am when traveling. Two examples: When we landed in Jamaica I
noticed no-one was in line at the money exchange. I figured I'd hustle right over
there and beat the crowd only to find out why there was no crowd. I exchanged
several hundred American dollars for their currency and received what seemed
like a grocery bag full of money. And try and get rid of it. No one wants it. A
hamburg, for instance, would be $5.00 American but some ridiculous sum like
$321.00 Jamaican. Then we picked up our rental car. Steering wheel on the right
and drive in the left lane. The roads are as wide as one of our lanes. After a few
miles I turned the car around and took it back before we were killed or killed
someone else. But that turned out to be a good thing. The first taxi ride we took
was operated by a great guy and we ended up paying him as our personal chauffer,
tour guide, translator, and bodyguard for $25 per day. He made the trip wonderful
and showed us lots of things we'd have never seen. He kept us from getting ripped
off by souvenir salesmen, got our laundry done and took generally good care of us.
He also helped us unload the bag of money at a fair exchange rate. But, as with
almost all my trips I found Jamaica a good place to visit but have no desire to go
again. Thanks to everyone who supports us and don't forget the Crappie-Fest this
Wednesday on Wixom at the DNR boat launch, then at Rumors. See you there!!!!
(I'm not looking forward to pool that night - Crappy Fest can wear you down!!!)
02-16-08 Again, than-you for your support. This weekend's DJ crowd was up
despite two great bands at Northern and Red Oak. Valentine's day was sort of split
into two days due to it falling on Sunday and we sold lots of specials, especially
crab legs. The longest NASCAR race ever held was a bonus as people stayed and
stayed for the race result. Mark your calendars for March 5th and 6th and come on
in for some good music provided by THE LEVI ROSE BAND. (the full band)
Yesterday I gave up a generous offer to go snowmobiling so I could finalize the
insurance settlement on my truck. My son-in-law and I then worked on it and then
took it for a test drive. We met Uncle Dougly at Frick's for lunch because once
again he could not log onto the internet and for some odd reason everyone else
could. I love the look on his face when in seconds it's up and running knowing he's
tried for hours. There is a vibration in the front end which I'm sure is a wheel
bearing (on the truck) so I'm going to replace both front hubs and the serpantine
belt idler, all bearings that were never designed to be under water for several
hours. Other than that the truck runs great. I changed the engine oil 4 times and
its clear, power steering fluid 3 times, front end oil, rear end oil and transfer case
each once. The transmission was made easy by making a fitting that I installed in
the outlet of the radiater and just poured fresh fluid into the trans until the fluid
running out of the cooler cleared up like new. That took about 5 gallons. Of course
I then changed the trans filter. Meanwhile there have been window fans running
non-stop inside the truck for two weeks. Everything seems to work, for now
anyway, with the exception of the door locks. They act very lazy and a couple of
them don't have enough power to actuate the locks. So I'm making progress and
still getting a lot of guff about it. Here's something I'll share with you which I found
funny being raised on a farm in Merrill. Hope you can relate. It's a letter from a
redneck farm kid who joined the Marines.
Dear Ma and Pa,
I am well. Tell brothers Walt and Elmer The Marine Corps beats working for the old
man by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all the places are filled. I was
restless at first because you get to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. but I'm getting so I
like to sleep late. Tell them all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot and shine
some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to start.
Practically nothing. Men got to shave but it's not so bad, there's warm water.
Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind
of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, pie and other regular food, but tell the
boys you can always sit by two city boys that live on coffee. Their food, plus yours,
holds you till noon when you get fed again. It's no wonder these city boys can't walk
much. We go on route marches, which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to
harden us. If he thinks so, it's not my place to tell him different. A 'route march' is
about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all
ride back in trucks. The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The
Captain is like the school board. Majors and Colonels just ride around and frown.
They don't bother you none. This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep
getting medals for shooting. I don't know why... The bulls-eye is near as big as a
chipmunk head and don't move, and it ain't shooting at you like the Higgett boys at
home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don't even load
your own cartridges. They come in boxes. Then we have what is called hand-to-
hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real
careful though, they break real easy. It ain't like fighting with that ole bull at home.
I'm about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver
Lake...I only beat him once... He joined up the same time as me, but I'm only 5'6 and
130 pounds and he's 6'8 and nearly 300 pounds dry. Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer
to hurry and join before other fellas get onto this setup and come stampeding in.
Your loving daughter,
02-08-10 Today I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who attended
our Superbowl Party. Things went soooo smooth and everyone seemed to have a
great time. The free hors d'oeuvres were a big hit and I think most people were able
to make a tasty meal of them. We discounted the draft beer prices and they were
the best sellers. When this big event comes around again next year we will do
things the same, as everyone seemed more than happy. Next Tuesday is Fat
Tuesday and we will be serving the traditional saurkraut & polish sausage, pierogi,
and paczki. The cooks always do a great job with this special. D.J. Randon claims to
have a big group coming in Saturday for a going away party and we are all
(customers and employees) looking forward to March 5th & 6th when Levi Rose will
be appearing live. This Wednesday is Mike Wood and Nate Lawton's birthdays and
we will be shooting pool at the Red Oak Lounge so stop by and wish the boys a
happy birthday. We've hired a new bartender/server and her name is Melissa.
Hopefully she and our customers will be happy with the addition. A lot of family and
friends have been retiring lately. With all the trouble I get into while still working I
can't imagine what would happen to me if I had any free time on my hands. After
reading the following letter I think I'll hang on to my job for now.
Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown in the economy,
Congress has decided to implement a scheme to put workers 50 years of age
and above on early retirement. This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged
Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to Congress to be considered for the
SHAFT program. (Special Help After Forced Termination).
Persons who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW
program (Scheme Covering Retired-Early Workers).
A person may be RAPED and SHAFTED twice and SCREWED as many times as
Congress deems appropriate.
Persons who have been RAPED could get AIDS (Additional Income for Dependants
& Spouse) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severence).
Obviously persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or
SCREWED any further by Congress.
Persons who are not RAPED and are staying on will recieve as much SHIT
(Special High Intensity Training) as possible. Congress has always prided
themselves on the amount of SHIT they give our citizens.
Should you feel that you do not recieve enough SHIT, please bring this to the
attention of your Congressman, who has been trained to give you all the SHIT
you can handle.
The Committee for Economic Value of Individual Lives (E.V.I.L)
02-01-10 O.K - here's the story you've been waiting for since Saturday.
Yes, I was the idiot whose truck went through the ice on Sanford Lake. Now
I'd like to explain how I accidentally ended up in a spot with thin ice and I'd
like you to know that most the area I drove on was fine with 12in. or more of
ice but none of that detracts from the fact that I was a total idiot. After the
constant questions and deserving ribbing at least now I know what people really
want to know. Here goes:
- The water was about 3 ft. deep where the truck sank. Problem was the water
got deeper and the ice much thicker as we sawed toward shore, flooding the
truck worse that it originally was.
- There was nothing frightening about it. I knew the water was shallow and
even when I got out of the truck and saw the rear tires had broken through
there was no cracking noise and I walked away feeling it would be a cinch to
pull out. I never dreamed, even then, it was going down.
- We live in a world where friends are more than willing to give a hand and the
help kept coming and coming. I harbor no bad feelings toward those who had
a good time at my expense. It's always funny when it happens to someone
else and no one gets hurt.
- It's nice to know people can trust me - I still haven't got the wrecker bill.
- Yes, at least with Auto Owner's insurance and full coverage, a vehicle is still
covered regardless where you drive and how stupid you are.
- Yes, a cell phone can sit under freezing water for 5 hours and still work if you
disassemble it and set it on a furnace register for 3 days before turning it on.
- No, you don't get a ticket for being a dumb-ass
- Yes, a small ravine with a small amount of water flowing can create a very
large area of unsafe ice.
- Yes, chainsaws can cut a remarkable amount of ice at a fairly rapid rate.
- And finally, when taking risks always do it alone so you can make up a good
story that covers your ass and makes you seem like a victim or you'll regret it
for a good long time!
01-28-10 One more computer story and then I'll never bring up the subject again.
Having a laptop, Doug, of course, wants wireless in his condo. I purchase the stuff
he needs, hook it up and get on the web. In order to activate his Charter account
and set up a Charter e-mail he needs a pin number off his cable bill and the
account number. He has an envelope with the bottom "pay portion" ready to send
out in the mail but the number needed is on the top of the bill. I tell him we need
the upper portion of the invoice which he says is in the garbage. He claims he
hasn't taken the garbage out since detaching the stub so it has to be close by. He
digs through one of those plastic bags from a grocery store through lots of junk
mail, empty envelopes, newspapers and lots of that type of dry paper stuff. I go to
his closet and pull out his garbage can but it has lots of trash in it so I hold off
hoping he hits the jackpot. I soon become impatient and start digging through
lunch scraps, down through bits of breakfast, lots of coffee grounds and whatever
rotted before he devoured it. Now I'm swearing and telling that this was way beyond
what I had agreed to. Luckily, about 2/3rds. of the way to the bottom of the barrel
the document we needed appeared, soggy but readable. The number was where
they had described it and we entered it and now he is a bona-fied, totally
discouraged computer user. He is in that stage where he not only wishing he'd
never bought the thing but also wonders if he does learn it what possible good will
come of it. We all went through that. Like the rest of us, in a year he will not be
able to live without it but there is no way of explaining that to him right now.
01-23-10 Yesterday I told you about helping Doug buy a computer, setting it up
during cocktail hour @ Frick's and then him calling me that night saying his
password wouldn't work. Well, it was just his brain that wouldn't work. Then he
said he didn't know he had to hit enter once he did remember it. That's what we're
working with. Friday he showed up at lunch, I easily logged on his laptop then
hooked him up to our wi-fi so he could surf the net. Then Mike Wood proceeded to
give him a 2 hr. lesson which included playing solitaire to improve his computer &
mouse skills. He still hasn't got through his head why he needs an internet provider
at home to log on but is becoming aware the high cost of technology. He has gotten
several e-mails (all from the same person) and has no idea what he is in-for in the
future, you know, the hundreds of e-mail jokes, porn and unwanted solicitors. We
are going to get him hooked up at his house Monday, I've given several people his
address so soon the fun will begin - if he can figure out how to turn it on!!
01-22-10 Kohlschmidt/Corbat Smooth Move #12,456 occurred yesterday. Uncle
Dougly, (Kohlschmidt) decides it's time he owns a computer. He's seen me on one
before so thinks I must be an expert. He cons me into surfing the web for a deal
and we head to Best Buy shopping. Fortunately while there we were waited on by a
nice young gal with a great sense of humor and just enough smarts about
computers to seal a deal on one, I insisted he get a wireless mouse due to my
inability to use the mouse pad on my laptop. We then discuss what tavern with wi-fi
we are going to go set this up and try it out. We ended up at Frick's and the fun
began. We initially booted up the computer and getting Doug to think of a password
he could remember took an hour. I thought I set it up like mine, where no password
is needed to log on. I made him start entering the info after a long bout of
frustration (for both of us) and after several cocktails and a burger both of us were
blaming each other for "the fine mess we were into". Apparently typing and
spelling are not like riding a bike. He claimed he was the best speller and fastest
typer in his class. It was comical watching him lay his fingers across the keyboard
like a typewriter then realize that was the full extent of his typing abilities. I tried to
show him the one finger method that I have mastered but he was too bull headed to
follow suite. Anyway, time went on, he sent a couple e-mails, surfed the web a
little, then I showed him how to shut down and boot up. Everything worked fine, we
parted ways and I assumed he would head home for that first night of computer
frustration where you lose your soul regret your purchase. I realized hoe right I was
when he called at 8:30 that night and couldn't log on. He couldn't remember the
password. I blew about 50 ideas at him and finally told him to bring the damn thing
up in the morning and I would help him. I know it is case sensitive and needs a
symbol or something but I don't get why it asks, I'm sure I set it up to boot without
one. This could be bad. I'll let you know what happens.
01-13-10 Hey, I got the date right. You know, 2010 instead of 2009. A lot of
changes ahead this year. Everyday someone comes in the Bar and asks me "What
do you think of the Smoking ban?" That's a loaded question. In the 22 years I've
been in business I've seen a lot of bars come & go. Some were doomed from the
start, many did well, others seemed like they'd found a niche in the bar scene then
abruptly went out of business. One thing for certain, times are nowhere as good as
they once were. Of course drunk driving laws put the biggest bite in business but
there are hundreds of other things that made making a buck REALLY TOUGH!
When asked about the ban I reply "That occurs in May, I'm gonna get thru January,
February, March & April before I worry about May." And that's partially true. I
believe our food business will increase after the ban. I know many people who
don't frequent my place due to the smoking issue. Or one member of a family or
people with kids may avoid us due to smoke policy. The problem is when you enter
our tavern you walk through the smoking section to get to the non-smoking - not
smart. However the non-smoking section is clear of smoke due to the fact the
building has 3 separate heating/air conditioning systems and the return air does
not mix as in most establishments. Not of that will matter soon. What I don't like
about the ban is TOO MUCH GOVERNMENT! What the hell is next? American's
have to be careful what we wish for when it comes to laws. That's all I'm saying.
Now the good part? Well, I should be remodeling the bathrooms, painting a lot of
areas, replacing a lot of carpet and replacing a lot of ceiling tiles but now I can say
"I'm gonna wait till the ban so my new stuff doesn't smell like a bar. (although it is a
bar, but I guess now it's not cool to smell like a bar) So basically I get to
procrastinate and look smart. And smoke does do nasty things to nice stuff. So
cleaning will be easier. Also, it will be a good time to enforce employee "break
rules." No longer will I pay people to smoke. Maybe some will be able to quit
smoking. I'm not sure how they afford it now. I've been looking into how the law will
work and I've found some surprising things. The patio/deck rules took me by
surprise and caused me to scrap thoughts of building one. Here are some basic
questions and answers.
Q. What do I need to do when the Smoking Ban goes into effect?
A. The Smoking Ban requires you to:
Clearly and conspicuously post "no smoking" signs or the international "no smoking"
symbol at the entrances to and in every building or other area where smoking is
Remove all ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia from anywhere smoking is
Inform individuals who are smoking that they are in violation of state law and subject to
If applicable, refuse to serve an individual smoking in violation of the law.
Ask an individual smoking in violation of the law to refrain from smoking and, if the
individual continues to smoke, ask him or her to leave the establishment.
You are not required to call law enforcement to report violations of this law, though it is
your right to do so if you wish.
Q. Can customers smoke on my patio or outdoor seating area?
A. The MLBA is currently examining all aspects of the new law to determine the legality of
outdoor service. Due to conflicting interpretations, we are awaiting more information
regarding whether or not smoking will be allowed on patios and outdoor areas that are
licensed for foodservice.
There is agreement that a patio that DOES NOT have a food license extension would
able to allow smoking, but no food or alcohol service can be allowed (this includes
prohibiting individuals from bringing alcohol onto said patio). Please note that the
determining factor is where your business is licensed to serve, so simply deciding not to
serve food on your patio does not mean your patrons may smoke there.
We are working around the clock with different state departments, attorneys, and other
interested parties to ensure we are giving our members correct information regarding all
aspects of the new smoking ban, and we will update members as soon as a final
determination regarding outdoor service has been made.
Q. Does my business qualify for an exemption?
A. The only exemption for liquor-licensed establishments (besides the three privately-
owned casinos in Detroit) is for "Cigar Bars." To qualify as a cigar bar, you must make
application for an exemption before the ban goes into effect, and meet at least the
You must have a built-in Humidor on the premises for inventory and rental space.
10% of gross revenue must come from the sale of cigars or rental of Humidor space.
Cigarette smoking must not be allowed; Only cigar smoking can be permitted.
The exact guidelines and process for obtaining a "Cigar Bar" designation have not yet
been defined. Please check this space often, as soon as more detailed information is
available, it will be posted here.
Q. Since a golf course is "the licensed premise for food & beverage" in it's entirety, is
smoking banned on the whole course?
A. As with patio and outdoor service, there seems to be conflicting messages in the
legislation on this issue. The MLBA is working to develop a final interpretation of the law
with regards to all outdoor areas, including golf courses.
Q. Are Private Clubs and Country Clubs exempt?
A. Private clubs, Fraternal organizations, Veterans clubs, Country Clubs and other
establishments with Club Licenses are subject to the same restrictions as all other
licensees. Smoking is not allowed at these establishments.
Q. Is smokeless tobacco allowed?
A. Yes. Smoking is defined as the buring of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or any other
matter or substance that contains a tobacco product. You are free to set your own policy
regarding smokeless tobacco products.
Q. If they go outside, do smokers have to be a certain distance from the door?
A. There is currently no regulation that dictates how far from the door smokers need to
be. It is possible that a guideline will be put in place as enforcement rules are determined
by the Department of Community Health.
Q. Will people be able to smoke in their hotel rooms?
A. Smoking is prohibited in all hotels, including bars, dining areas, common areas and
Q. What about casinos?
A. The gaming floors of Detroit's three casinos were specifically exempted from the ban,
however bar areas and restaurants will be smoke-free. The smoking ban has no effect
on the many Native American casinos in the state -- as sovreign tribal entities, they are
not subject to this law and can continue to determine their own smoking policies.
As I said earlier, I'm going to get through the next few months before I start worrying
about the ban. I'll keep you posted.
12-21-09 Merry Christmas to All. I'm one of those type that wouldn't want anyone I'm
responsible for to do some of the holiday stunts I did yet I don't regret most of what I
pulled when I was younger. The reason I say I don't regret is because one would think
that every time I see a Christmas tree I'd recall the time I knocked over the Schoenherrs
tree in 1975, but only think of it when my wife reminds me. I, not single handedly, am the
perfect example of why the drinking age went back to 21 and probably should be 25.
What can I say, I graduated in 1974 which was after the sixties at a time there were only
two categories of kids - Straight and Normal. Straight was not used to describe your
sexuality. Straight kids didn't drink or smoke pot or tobacco and did well in school. Every
once in a while a straight kid, due to peer pressure, would do a night-out with the normal
kids and the normal kids were always reminded why you don't let straight kids in your
element. By midnight a small amount of smoke combined with a mix of beer and liquor
and they were either puking or passed out. Of course we cared, cared enough to put our
own life on the line when we took them home to some angry/shocked/vengeful parents.
I'm also partly responsible for closed school campus. At 18 I was a senior in high school
and as soon as the lunch bell rang we would climb in a car and head for the Downtowner
Saloon. We'd order a pitcher of beer and a burger to go, pound down the beer then
return to school and eat the burger in study hall. Why? BECAUSE WE COULD! That's
what was so cool about it. That type of behavior brought me to what I was initially writing
about. One day I spent the entire afternoon at Chris's Bar and we were celebrating the
holidays and enjoying shots. I caught a ride to Sanford where Sharlyn was home waiting
for me. When you walked into their house you immediately turned right and went down
two steps into the living room. I was thoroughly wasted. Did not negotiate the steps. Body
slammed the Christmas Tree. Couldn't get up, hell, they wouldn't let me up. I'd already
destroyed enough. Anyway, a few hours later I awoke. Still on the floor. Bucket next to
me. Very few clothes on. No one in the house except a very angry future Father-in law.
The rest of the family went on to obligations and left him stuck there with me. It wasn't
that he cared, he just wanted to make sure I died of natural causes. There was no 911.
Would I want a kid of mine to act like that? NEVER! Would I be impressed or amused if
my Son-in-law did that? NEVER! Would I think my Grand-kids would behave in such a
fashion? I PRAY NEVER! Yet I seem to have no regrets and can almost chuckle thinking
about it. That ain't right.
12-20-09 Christmas is this week. That means we made it another year and still in
business. Up until two years ago I never really worried that we'd still be in business, just
regrets I didn't work a little harder and a little smarter so the rewards would be better.
That was called operating a business, seemed like the sky was the limit. Now we don't
operate, we survive. Over and over people ask me about the smoking ban. It takes affect
in May. My answer is simple - I'm going to put all my efforts and thoughts into getting
through January, February and March. Then in April I'll starts planning for May. The
affects of our economy are far from over and more fat has to be cut to stay in business.
To put it plainly, I predict it will take two more years to be back to the "success" I enjoyed
5 years ago. But that's O.K.. I no longer feel the need to have so much or spend so
much. And I understand the two basic ways our economy works -
I learned right from the get-go the most important path to success is location, location,
- You want more, you work more. You work less, you gotta settle for less. Taking on
a little responsibility goes a lonnnggg way and gives you leverage.
- How you spend your time between punching in and punching out is directly
related to your take-home. Treat a job as an education for maximum rewards.
Remember, if you skip school, you flunk!!
location. I have none of those. But I've also learned that size matters and downsizing is
the way to go - currently. Barring layoffs, few employees I have would argue that less and
leaner will be better for us and our customers. Hmmmm, now how do we get there.............
11-23-09 The most amazing thing happened yesterday - The Lions, for one game,
were resurrected. If you saw the game you know why I use the term resurrected. They
were down, out, no pulse. Then, with no time on the clock they won. I watched 50 grown
men and 10 women jump out of their seats and for a brief moment relish in the rare
victory. The dozen or so who left with minutes to go are probably still in shock, still regret
leaving and missing the final countdown. I wonder what those who'd given up at the
stadium and were escaping through entrance ways thought when they heard the crowd
erupt in celebration. Hopefully this bit of luck will help sell enough tickets to keep
Thursdays game from being blacked out. And wouldn't it be cool if they beat Green Bay?
Whoops, there go my human instincts taking control - the Lion's give me an inch and now
I want a mile. Happy Thanksgiving everyone - and thank you for your interest in our
website and your continued support - we've much to be thankful for. God bless those
serving and protecting us worldwide.
11-17-09 I'm feeling relieved today after passing my flight physical and now know I
can legally fly my plane for two more years. It's a relief because when I look in the mirror
I see a dozen reasons I might flunk a physical but thank goodness the doctor doesn't
see it that way. Another reason I feel some relief is because Last week I had Al & Joe cut
up 50lbs. of top round beef for jerky (on top of a few pounds already processed) and
hoped it would sell. Well, thanks to deer hunting and the effort of my good employees I
had only 3 10 oz. bags left this morning. FANTASTIC! Just made a fresh batch for
tonight and now I'm killing a little time waiting for the Grandkids to get out of school and
come visit. Have you ever read the U.P. Magazine? If not you don't know what your
missing. I'm only on page four and must stop to share a couple stories. This is a section
titled THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK - there are 6 testimonials showing why this is so
important - I'll share two with you.
- Have you ever asked your child a question too many times? My three year old son
had a lot of problems with potty training and I was on him constantly. One day we
stopped at Taco Bell for a quick lunch, in between errands it was very busy, with a
full dining room. While eating I smelled something funny and checked my 7 month
old daughter, she was clean. Then i realized Danny had not gone potty in a while
so I asked him if he needed to go and he answered "No." I kept thinking 'Oh Lord,
that child has had an accident and I have no change of clothes. Then I said
"Danny, are you sure you didn't have an accident?" "No!" he replied. I just KNEW
that he must have had an accident because the smell was getting worse. Sooooo, I
asked one more time, "Danny, did you have an accident?" This time he jumped up,
yanked down his pants, bent over, spread his cheeks and yelled "SEE MOM, ITS
JUST FARTS!!" While thirty people nearly choked to death on their tacos
laughing, he calmly pulled up his pants and sat down. An old couple made me feel
better, thanking me for the best laugh they'd ever had.
- This had most of the state of Michigan laughing for two days and a very
embarrassed female news anchor who will, in the future, likely think before she
speaks. What happens when you predict snow but don't get any? We had a
female news anchor that, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't,
turned to the weatherman and asked: "So Bob, where's that 8 inches you
promised me last night?" Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew
did too they were laughing so hard! - - - remember, think before you speak!
10-24-09 This week we are gearing up for a fun filled weekend. Friday Meridian will
host Sutton's Bay and we're betting on victory. That would make for some proud
Mustangs and a great post game celebration at the Bar & Grill. We'll have to get some
extra tv's out in case the coaches show up. Then Saturday is our Halloween Party and
that, hopefully, will be as popular and busy as ever. Now I'm thinking there is a good
chance of a blacked out Lion's game this week which, if there is, we'll be busy Sunday
broadcasting the game. Yes, there are still loyal fans. Next month I need to get my bi-
annual physical for my pilot's license so I scheduled an eye exam, making sure I can at
least pass the sight requirement. I left for my exam early and stopped in a computer
shop, bought fuel, had the oil changed in my truck, stopped and made an appointment at
Dr. Woodruff's, then went to the Midland Eye Clinic. (a payback for their Christmas Party
at our place last year) I entered the office and knew practically everyone in the waiting
room and recognized most of the employees, including Dr. Johnson. When I left I opted
to take Eastman to U.S. 10 due to road construction on Saginaw Rd. Just before the x-
way I decided to turn right and stop at the Old Holiday Inn (Midland Inn) for a beer. As I
exited my truck I caught my image in the large, tinted windows lining the hallway and
couldn't help but notice my fly was wide, I'm talking WIDE - open! Of course I panicked at
first and tried to think of the last time I had used the john. Actually, I hadn't since I left the
house. In the last two hours I'd come in contact, some face to face, with, I would guess,
25 people. Men & women. Not one said a word. Now I assume most of the people in the
eye clinic had pretty good vision yet made no comments. Which is o.k. because now I got
something funny to write about.
10-05-09 Yesterday on my facebook page I whined (which is my way of bragging) of
how many hours I put in this weekend. Friday was Meridian Schools Homecoming and 50
year anniversary of the school district. After the football game many fans, a few past
Homecoming Queens and the coaching staff came in and I'm always honored by that due
to the state of the economy and the fact there are many choices in today's world for after-
parties. So I 'worked' a little over 16hrs. Saturday was unusual because not only was the
football game excellent but our crowd was huge and energetic. The free snacks and hors
'douvres went over really well. Then that evening we had birthday parties for a 90 year
old gentleman, an 80 year old gentleman and a 69 year old gentleman. I can safely say
we had every age from infants to 90 year olds throughout the course of the day. Try
catering to a spectrum like that! Anyway, I was there for 14 hrs. Sunday I was off to a
slow start and so was the crowd. I promoted a new type of cheeseburger and between
myself, a server and a cook we screwed the first order of them up so I put that idea aside
until another day. Slowly more and more showed up for the Lion's game (nowhere near a
crowd) and at the end of the day found myself hanging with some good-time customers. I
stayed until 7:00. Gotta be home for the Simpson's. So that made for a 9 hour day and I
admit I was tired: actually exhausted. So was my liver. As I lay back on the couch I
couldn't help but remember some of the jobs I had earlier in life: one in particular I did
not have the smarts for was Wrecker Driver. I did a short stint when I was employed at a
garage. There was an IGA Grocery across the street and they owned a garbage truck
they used for refuse and when it got full an employee would drive it to the landfill and
empty it. One night the manager, whom I worked for in my teens, took a woman out after
the bar closed and went parking in a cornfield. I don't recall if he got lucky that night but I
do know his luck ran out because when he went to leave he was stuck. He called one of
his employees (bear in mind this is long before cell phones, remember knocking on
neighbors doors in the wee hours?) and got him to drive that garbage truck out there to
pull him out. Soon they had a car and a huge truck stuck. So he calls me, the go-to guy.
Four in the morning I get out there with a big wrecker and he agrees to hook to the
truck, which is a long way in the field, because he was already muddy and soaked. He
hollers ready and I engage the winch. It looks like it's working because the cable is filling
the spool but after about 3 minutes and a lot of cable they scream for me to stop. I walk
out to the scene and find that the drunken ass has hooked the cable to the big back
door of the garbage truck and most of the contents, which had been packed under
pressure as they loaded it daily, rolled out onto the ground. Now this is real garbage -
paper, cardboard, sour milk, rotten meat and lots and lots of stinking produce. I crawled
under the truck and hooked on a spring shackle and pulled the truck out, told them
goodnight and have fun cleaning the mess up. Well, they didn't and the next day the
cops showed up where I worked (we were the only place in town with a wrecker) followed
soon by the farmer who used the term lawsuit over and over. Never did get paid for that
call. Not long after that a so called "buddy" woke me up at 3 in the morning and had
rolled his car in a ditch. He'd already been busted for drunk driving and pleaded and
begged me to extract his car, haul it to his house and not call the cops. You can get in a
lot of trouble for that but what are you gonna do, I did as he asked. Naturally he'd spent
all his money in the bar but said he get with me first thing in the morning. Well, about a
month later I ran into him in the local watering hole(he was drunk as hell). He ran up to
me and slobbered out "how's my hero, I ain't forgot you bro" and all that kind of bullshit.
So he says to the bartender "get this guy a 6 pack of whatever he wants and put it on my
bill." Wow, a six pack! I took the beer and got the hell out of there. Frankly, I'm glad that
was all he gave me because those incidences made me realize I wasn't cut out for that
work. I still chuckle every time I think about it, though.
09-29-09 Sunday proved that miracles do happen. I don't like benefiting from others
misery but I also believe in making lemonade when given lemons. Case in point was
Sunday. The Lions were blacked out and it didn't matter if you had cable, Dish Network
or Direct TV you couldn't get the game unless you pirated it. Bars don't do that because
if caught the fines are heavy duty. I still have an old Weingard
antenna on the peak of the bar which I purchased (hell, he probably gave it to me) from
Roy Thompson many years ago. Roy was one of our "original" customers who was quick
to comment, bent over backwards to help, promoted us better than any advertisement
and remained loyal until his passing. Back when the Lions couldn't fill the Silverdome he
suggested I try one of his super antennas. I never made so much money off such a small
piece of equipment, drawing blacked out airwaves from Cadillac. We were packed every
blacked out game for several years. So this week when it was announced the game
would not be broadcast locally I immediately thought of Roy and wondered if that
antenna had any life left. You can't always believe what you hear. People told me that the
new digital technology made reception much clearer but decreased the distance so I
would not receive the signal. After several trips on the roof to make adjustments and
many runs through the attic changing the coax configuration I finally got a signal. I'm sure
it was running on a thread but it was there and it was crystal clear. I was a nervous wreck
until the game actually started due in part of the saying 'if something seems to good to
be true it probably is'. The phone rang over and over and soon we were full. So that was
the first miracle. Then the Lions played well and won. Two miracles in one day. And on a
Sunday, no less!!
09-23-09 I'm in rough shape today. Mainly because I'm a slow learner. For the 22nd.
year in a row I attended the fall convention of the Michigan Licensed Beverage
Association. This year it was held in Detroit. The most fascinating thing about Detroit, to
me is the fact that they don't give up. When you talk to a small business owner downtown
Detroit you hear from people who've plugged along, some for forty or more years, and
still continue! They somehow survive in a setting that few people would. No matter how
many times you experience it you never get over the surprise of walking down a filthy
street, stopping in front of a shabby, worn down building which you more often than not
enter to find a clean, unique, comfortable atmosphere with good food and drink. So
COOL! Apparently too cool because I soon lose myself in the moment. Before long I've
eaten and drank too much. And I do this for three days. Every year. At the convention.
This behavior always leads to a major dumb-ass move on my part. This year it was during
the silent auction where gifts and products from beer/wine/liquor industries are 'silently
auctioned off'. I recall walking by the tables the first time and placing bids on a few items.
It seemed innocent enough, I've done it year after year and never ended up with
anything. There was nothing I really wanted and experience told me that the booty went
to those with last minute bids at 11:00 p.m.. So what was I thinking when I circled the
tables late that night? Obviously I wasn't thinking. The next morning as I programmed the
GPS for our first stop on our long journey home a staff member stopped my wife in the
lobby and asked when I was going to pick up the items I won in the bidding. What? I was
the highest bidder on something? No, not something, SOME THINGS. Over $600.00 of
THINGS. I felt sick, well actually, sicker! My wife handled it real well, pulling out our
personal checkbook and bailing me out. Then they started loading my truck. I did like
the neon Mobil Oil sign but the wooden Guiness sign, everybody has one. I now have
duplicate Miller Lite Red Wings mirrors and what the hell am I going to do with the 'home
Heinekin draft beer dispensing system'? There is one justification for the whole debacle
I'm clinging to. We had planned on donating $500.00 to the P.A.C fund and Shar hadn't
done that yet. So the association got a little extra and I did get something to show for my
money spent to lobby for the rights of tavern owners state wide. My name is Dick and I'm
09-15-09 There are many laws that pertain to everyone simply because we are all
human. There's no getting around them and sooner or later in life we cross them. For
instance, when preparing food that requires mixing with your bare hands it won't be long
until your nose itches and you have to pee. Likewise, when you drop something it will roll
to the least accessible corner. Ever notice how the probability of being watched is directly
proportional to the stupidity of your actions? I bet you've never dialed a wrong number
and got a busy signal - someone always answers. It is no accident that after a long
period of no interruptions as soon as you sit on the can the phone will ring. The
probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with
someone you don't want to be seen with. Pertaining to biology, the severity of the itch is
inversely proportional to the reach. Studying my wardrobe recently I found that any
clothes that fit are ugly. When replacing flooring or carpeting remember the chances of
an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down is directly correlated to the newness and
cost of the material. It was back in school as it is today: if two people are alone in a
locker room, they'll have adjacent lockers. If I've forgotten any, please let me know.
09-08-09 Labor day has come and gone. It was without question the nicest holiday
(weather-wise) this summer. People are gearing for the fall. Although I have nothing to do
with the boat storage business, several people called and stopped by looking for Rick
(my son-in-law in charge of boat storage). I've also gotten several on line applications
from kids looking for jobs. The annual soup party our neighborhood has was a big
success and I don't remember the soup being any better. Uncle Dougly's septic backed
up during the party which put a strain on the women but as usual the boys were able to
improvise. The big question was is there actually a tank and drainfield on the premise or
a lesser system from many years ago? This morning I went over there with a probe and
poked around and, surprisingly, found a tank & field. I dug up the lid and called Kevin
Burns who promptly came and fixed him up. Should be alright for years to come. You'd
think with the end of summer things would slow down but actually I've got more going this
month than the last six. Jodie Sasse will be here entertaining on the 19th. (details coming
soon), Sharlyn heads the pancake breakfast this Saturday at the Museum for Founder's
Day, I've gotta prep the old 64 Chevy for the parade, Parkapalooza is Sunday, I have to
re-new my pilots license before September 30th., the Fall Convention for the Michigan
Licensed Beverage Association is this month, we supply chili for the bicycle race at Pine
Haven, and I'm anxious to get my personal dock & pontoon on dry land for winter. Thank
goodness my Grand Kids are too young to participate in school events or my plate would
09-01-09 September already! Now it's time to think about putting things in storage.
Every year I ask myself how many more years will I continue to put in a dock I rarely use,
launch a pontoon I ride twice during the summer, store, maintain and insure toys and
equipment that rarely moves. Of course the answer is simple - as long as my wife asks
me to. From now until Halloween the most common phrase at the Bar will be, "I'd like to
put the boat/pontoon away but we want to do a lake color tour." Lake color tours are
'fantasies for big people'. The problem is, too many things have to occur at the same time
to pull one off. First, the trees have to cooperate and that can be a big problem. Then
the sun. You know how reliable she's been lately when it comes to weekends. And lake
color tours work only on weekends. Temperature is important. No boat ride was ever fun
in cold weather. Even a moderate wind can ruin a cruise down the river in the fall. Well,
you get the point. But this is one of those lessons you can only learn for yourself. I, to,
for years thought that anyone who pulled the toys off the lake around labor day was old,
dull, a real party pooper. The first 15 years I lived on the lake I held out for this great
event - but it never happened. Now I love the feeling when, in the end of September or
the middle of October and there's frost on the ground or a cold steady rain falling, my
dock is on shore and my pontoon is neatly tucked in storage. Damn, I AM OLD!
08-17-09 We are all a little superstitious at times. My family has been involved with the
Midland County Fair for over 40 years and have camped at the fair and participated in
events or volunteered time each of those years. In the last 10 or so many events have
occurred that prompt me to believe the fair (at least for me) has become cursed. Back
when I had an older motorhome, which drove fine to the fairgrounds, would not start
when we went to leave. Another year our golfcart, which had never failed before, stopped
running after one day at the fair. Our fifth-wheel horse trailer, which the girls had hauled
thousands of miles disconnected from the truck & smashed the hell out of the pick-up
box. The list goes on and on and this year was no different. Sharlyn had left for the
fairgrounds earlier in the day and Uncle Dougly and I loaded up the golfcart. As we were
leaving I noticed the sky growing spooky looking. I wheeled into the Bar & Grill parking
lot and went to the back door of the kitchen. I asked an employee, Mike, if he was
familiar with operation of the generator and transfer switches in case a storm took out the
power. I then briefed him on the procedures and headed for Midland. We got to the
fairgrounds, no sooner unloaded the cart when my phone rang. It was Laura at the bar.
She told me the power was out, the generator was running but the computers would not
boot up. Now you know what happens in todays world when computers won't boot up.
CHAOS - EVERYBODY FREAKS OUT! I was only 10 miles away so I headed right back.
The weather in Midland was fine and hadn't rained a drop. Hmmmm, odd. As we headed
west on U.S.10 the road became wet at the bridge over the lake. When we turned to go
north on West River Rd. the pavement was littered with leaves, pine cones and small
branches. Obvious a storm had passed. As soon as I returned the computers booted
back up. We were back in business with the generator humming smoothly the next four
hours. But consider this - I head for the fairgrounds and within minutes a storm rolls in.
The only area blacked out was around the Bar & Grill. The damaged pole was in Uncle
Dougly's yard (my passenger) and the wires downed were laying along his house and
car. The employee whom I had instructed in case of a power outage had left shortly after
me due to complications of an ear infection. Coincidence, or curse? Still a doubter? All
right, let's eliminate the employee punching out early from this series of events and we
got us a bona-fide phenomenon!!
08-11-09 We're camping again. Another 3 day vacation. We reserved a site and
decided to try one next to the bathroom. The women's john is adjacent to our site. The
view is great, that's my only comment. Anything else I say can and will be held against
me. Another advantage is we have no neighbors to irritate so we can be up late and loud
and no one cares. Yesterday we met a neighbor from Sanford and he took us on a tour
of Black Lake and introduced us to the Dirty Duck Inn. I highly recommend the place but
you need a GPS to find it. Shar and I toured Onaway and it's watering holes. There is a
steel works place that makes huge sculptures. Greg grilled a pork loin and it was out of
this world. The best I've ever had. Once again we are trying to pack a weeks vacation in
3 days which means we are packing a week of partying in 3 days and the old bod says
slooooow down boy. And so I am. I'll give the mind and brain a rest and then maybe I can
find something humorous, educational or entertaining to blog about. Later, folks!
07-28-09 If you're into Readers Digest you know each month there is a story about a
hero/heroes who saved someone in distress. I'm proud to announce we may be featured
soon as we helped saved the life of a lost camper. It was late at night, everyone else had
gone to bed but the four of us were still up enjoying cocktails and carrying on.
Remember, Shar & I have to squeeze a weeks vacation in three days. So this poor,
scared lost soul (in her early 20's) approaches our site and probably soon wishes she
hadn't. Imagine four loud drunk good Samaritans talking loud and all at once. Without
any specifics as to who said or did what (names withheld to protect the innocent) I will say
that within a few moments of telling us her situation one of us spilled a drink, one broke
wind and, well just a lot of bad behavior. She was able to keep her composure even after
being asked over and over what her lot number was, which she obviously didn't know. I
think she realized just how bad off we were when one of us laid out a map of the
campground then said "Look at this map and point out where you started." This was
done repeatedly. Finally when we gave her a few moments to get a word in edgewise she
explained that she walked to the bathroom, remembered walking near a sign that said
"stairway" and became disoriented. Well, there are only so many bathrooms and I knew
where the sign marking the stairway was so Shar & I grabbed a flashlight and somehow
convinced her it was safe to let us accompany her in her search. We finally arrived at a
bathroom where a worried member of her party was looking for her and the search had a
happy ending. So any of you who subscribe to Readers Digest pay special attention to
the heroes section in upcoming issues as I'm sure she can't wait to have her harrowing
07-27-09 We've all heard the saying 'nice guys finish last' and there is a note of truth
to that. I'd rather be nice and anyone who knows me will vouch that I don't have a
competitive bone in my body and don't care where I finish. But being nice can have it's
drawbacks and not being nice can at times be beneficial. Case in point. My wife bought a
wrecked camper trailer and I fixed it up so naturally she has been excited to go camping.
Camping isn't exactly my idea of a good time so she literally had to bribe me to skip our
annual juvenile trip to Put-In-Bay and spend precious time off at Interlochen State Park.
Now a 'nice guy' would have agreed immediately but my reluctance put her in the
offensive mode and she did all the preparation mainly so I wouldn't bitch. And now that
we're here (my brother Greg and sister-in-law Joanne camped next to us) there are
subtle efforts to make my stay very pleasant so future camping may be in order. So now
the 'nice guys' are cooking, mixing drinks, cleaning up, etc., etc. while the not so nice guy
is enjoying the reaking the benefits. I'm no dummy and realize this can last only so long.
I'm chuckling to myself imagining the rest of them either getting a buzz on and unloading
their distaste for my behavior or holding it in until they get home then telling other people
"that lazy ass Dick never did a damn thing." So today I plan to loosen up a little, (can't
make it obvious) and play the other side of the coin. By that i mean I become the 'nice
guy' and bank a few favors and then drop plan B on them. Plan B is to do some bar
hopping this afternoon and they'll have to oblige me because I've been so nice. So the
trick to coming out on top is to know when to be nice and when not to be nice and
enjoying the benefits of both. You have my permission to use this philosophy at home,
work or play. Advice on the subject can be gotten at Sanford Lake Bar & Grill.
07-21-09 They say we live in a world run by plastic. You know, credit cards.
Remember the Visa ad that warned "Don't leave home without it." Well today I learned a
lesson about leaving home without cash. I got up early this morning, went to work and
took care of some stuff that had to be done so I could go for a plane ride while there was
cool and smooth air. It was Steve Bile's birthday so I called him and offered to fly him to
Harrison (the Airport Restaurant is right next to the runway and the food is delicious) and
buy breakfast. He accepted my offer and said he'd meet me at the hangar. During the
last minute of preparation I decided to trade my blue jeans for shorts then headed out.
The flight was great as was the breakfast but when I went to pay I realized I left my cash
in my shorts. How embarrassing. Thank God for plastic, right? They don't accept credit
cards. Steve was stuck with the bill and the tip. So we fly back to Midland and I apologize
several times. I offer to take him to the old Holiday Inn for a couple cocktails but he
declines (probably figures he can't afford any more of my invitations) and leaves. Soon I
get a phone call and offer to meet someone else for a drink, agree on the old Holiday Inn
and head there. I have one drink, the second guest declines and doesn't show so now I
owe $2.75 and have no cash. I have a second drink, figuring two drinks and a tip would
make for a reasonable transaction. I ask for the check and whip out the plastic. "I'm
sorry" said the bartender. "Our system is down and cannot process credit cards at this
time." Today is the first time in 40 years I've left home with no cash and am amazed by
the trauma it has bestowed me. I had no cash, they had to accept plastic. The gal
disappeared for what seemed like an eternity and came back with a receipt on which she
had hand-written my credit card info. She got my permission for the transaction, had me
sign the receipt and away I went - STRAIGHT HOME. Once there I found my meager
stash of cash I'd left behind and shoved it into my pocket. CASH - DON'T LEAVE HOME
07-19-09 I've never been good with dates. If it were my job to keep track of
anniversaries or birthdays and such they'd all be lost. July 1st. was the 22nd anniversary
of our owning the Bar & Grill and the thought never occurred to me until Sharlyn
reminded me the next day. Maybe the 25th. year will be special enough for me to
remember. There is a date I'll remember for a long time, though. July 17th., 2009. Why?
Because in the middle of this recession for one day everything came together and made
for the biggest day we've ever had. There was not any one thing in itself that made this
day what it was, rather it was a combination of reputation, hard work by all employees,
cool weather (always good for bar business) and a lot of luck. All that topped off by a late
night rehearsal dinner of 100+ that was bussed in from Bay City on Mitchel Coaches.
That's where the reputation paid off. The guests were staying at the Double Tree in Bay
City, the reception was at Bintz Apple Mountain and we were chosen for the rehearsal
dinner. We were honored. The weather was chilly so the regular dinner crowd came early
but the logistics of seating everyone and having room for 100 people all at once was
played out perfectly by Paul and Mark. The bartenders, somehow, kept up with
beverages. Remarkable. The servers were overwhelmed the entire evening but I received
no complaints and their moods stayed cheerful. Fantastic. The Bussers worked hard and
late into the evening. Great kids!The mens toilet plugged when someone used a half a
roll of toilet paper. I fixed that. And I was damned good at it. The kitchen. How did they
do that? How did they satisfy the palettes of all those dinner guests then dazzle the
rehearsal guests with a menu uncommonly served here? That was the part I most worried
about but went the smoothest. Awsome! I know they had a good, calm leader in Sharlyn
but the conditions in the kitchen that night with the added responsibilities could have only
been accomplished due to their willingness to go the extra mile. I know very few people
willing to work that hard under that amount of stress and not complain. Afterwords I'm
sure they all knew what they had accomplished and were rightfully proud. And all of us
were relieved. Before that night the previous highs were all set on holidays or special
occasions (Halloween, St. Pat's, etc.) and were accompanied by live music and a lot of
promotion. Next year I'm sure I'll forget the 23rd. anniversary but I won't soon forget July
17th., 2009 and the amazing results of a great staff commandeered by an outstanding,
hands on leader commonly known as Shar.
07-14-09 My New Year's resolution for the past few years has been to take more time
away from business and relax a little. Each year this resolution has been foiled by things
beyond my control. When I quit brewing beer two years ago I thought I would have more
free time. Now I don't know how I found the time to brew it. This year it's the economy.
Currently it doesn't matter if you work for someone or own a business, if you want to
survive you've gotta work harder than normal. And longer than normal. Money is tight
and costs are up. The weather has cooperated very well for anyone running a lot of
cooling, freezing and ice making equipment and thank goodness because utilities are
eating everyone alive. People seem to be adjusting to declining incomes. I've taken a big
hit and have adjusted my lifestyle accordingly. I see the same attitude in many
employees. This summer fewer people are taking extended vacations (which we have to
limit in July) and many find it not so important to take days off for birthdays,
anniversaries, etc. Even wedding guests work a 1/2 day rather than asking for a full day
off. I canceled one camping trip so far this year and my annual three day party on Puy-In-
Bay Island will have to wait until next year. The best part of that trip always was the flight
there and back. Yesterday I dug the old '64 Chevy convertible out of the hangar and a
few hours a week cruising in that will make for some good relaxation. And whenever I get
some time with the Grandkids I feel like I'm on vacation. If you can relate to some of this
it means we're in the same boat. My philosophy is hang in there, work hard and hopefully
within 5 years we'll be back to making the same money we did 5 years ago and convince
ourselves we're gaining ground!!
06-29-09 They did it to me again. Have you ever gone to a party and then
unexpectedly gotten corralled into doing something you're not prepared for? Mike Wood
retired last week and had a great party. A retirement party. When I think of a retirement
party I think of a crowd comprised mostly of co-workers. The rest sit in the background
while they talk shop and roast him about things that happened at work. That makes it
fun, entertaining, no pressure. There was a moderate amount of drinking going on and I
suppose moderate doesn't really describe my drinking but anyway, various people were
hinting around that I should get up and speak along with his co-workers. I felt it was not
my place to speak and in my condition I learned years ago not to speak if I haven't
thought about what I might say. But then his sister in law came to me and I was forced to
submit a speech or receive a ranting in front of a group of peers. I mounted the stage
and only spoke the truth. For instance, I declared I'd never seen Mike work a day in his
life. True. I rambled on about a few other things regarding work habits and dedication.
Feeling desperate I told them the story about the candle. Thirty years ago we were
roommates and had quite the bachelor pad. Animal House had nothing on us. We'd had
some beers so Mike was feeling smarter than normal. I decided to see just how smart he
was. We had a huge scented candle on a table in the living room and burned it often.
When he wasn't looking I sprayed a large amount of lighter fluid in the "bowl" where the
flame was and soon had a 2 foot blaze going. I'm yelling "Mike, what the hell is causing
that?" We kept staring at it and slowly the flame calmed down and then it was back to
just the wick burning. We sat in amazement for a moment then shrugged it of. Several
more times I did this when he left the room or looked away, each time asking him what
could possibly cause that. About the fourth time and a twelve pack later Mike claimed he
knew exactly what was going on. He'd decided that the candle was scented and the scent
was an alcohol based liquid that was flammable. He explained that because of some
manufacturing flaw there were pockets of this liquid throughout the candle and when the
wax melted in certain areas the wick ignited the scent. I acted skeptical but he assured
me he'd figured it out. I should have left it alone but was having too much fun, especially
listening to his logic. I finally pushed my luck too far and he caught me. Now you'd think
that little incident would have made him a little gun shy about jumping in on conversations
unless he knows what he's talking about but to this day, after a twelve pack, he'll attempt
to educate anyone who will listen. JUST LIKE ME!!
06-22-09 I enjoy watching King of the Hill and Hank has become a favorite character of
mine. He sells propane and propane accessories and is a self proclaimed expert at BBQ.
Everyone knows men who are great party hosts and good with the grill but there is more
to it than meets the eye. When a man puts on a BBQ it goes like this:
That, ladies and gentlemen, is called a bar-b-que.
- A woman (better half, wife, girlfriend) shops for the food
- A woman makes a salad, prepares vegetables and makes a dessert
- A woman places meat, necessary cooking utensils, sauces and seasonings and
takes it to the man who has prepared a beer cooler alongside the grill
- The woman stays away from the grill and his acquaintances surrounding the grill
where there is a lot of talk but nothing really said
- Then the tough part - - the man places the meat on the grill
- The woman is inside getting plates, silverware, napkins, etc.
- The woman steps outside to say the meat smells great, he smiles, then asks her to
get another 6 pack out of the garage fridge.
- Tough part two - - The man takes the meat off the grill, puts it on the large
platter and hands it to the woman (exchanging it for the six pack)
- Woman sets the table, brings out bread, utensils, sauces, everything to make the
- After eating the woman clears the table and does the dishes
- Victory - everyone praises the man and thanks him for his cooking efforts
- later, the man asks the woman how she enjoyed his meal and her night off. Her
annoyed reaction is proof to him that there's just no pleasing some women.
06-07-08 While flying yesterday the sky grew dark and it began to rain so the horizon,
very important during VFR flight, became less apparent. This reminded me of a time
when I used the horizon to calm my wife on one of our many foolish adventures. We were
in Cancun vacationing and decided to go parasailing, i.e. strapping ourselves to a
parachute tied to a boat. The whole event was unusual from the start. There was a small
tent on the corner of the beach where you purchased a ride. Business was nil, so an
employee began wandering around trying to solicit customers. I was the fish he was
looking for. They wanted $40.00 dollars or so per person. I told him I had $50.00 dollars
on me and wanted to take my wife along. He told me he'd wait while i went to the room to
get more money. I shrugged him off and soon he accepted the 50 bucks and we headed
for the tent. The boat that towed the parachute was anchored quite a ways out in the
ocean while the tow rope ran to shore and the parachute lay on the beach. They
strapped us onto the chute and we sat in the sand waiting. They called the driver of the
boat on a two way radio. No answer, no sign of the driver. They called and called. They
screamed and screamed. They blew whistles over and over. I began to hope he wouldn't
"come to" from what we now believed was an alcohol induced coma. They started to pull
the boat in with the rope (it took a lot of them, the boat was a long way out and it was
anchored. Suddenly the driver popped up over the bow and grabbed his radio. No idea
what they were saying, I don't speak Spanish. He fired up the boat and soon we were
climbing high above the water. Sharlyn immediately freaked out. She was grabbing
anything within reach, including me. About this time I noticed the rope was attached to
the chute with just a knot - no clasp, nothing "safety" about it. I had to calm Sharlyn down
so I told her over and over, "Look at the horizon and get your bearings!" It worked. Once
she stopped looking down and looked forward to where the horizon met the water she
calmed down. Then she began enjoying the ride. Everything went real well until heading
back toward shore. They land you back on the beach but you've got to control the chute
with a couple straps. They had told me to pull one or the other depending on how they
whistled on shore but I had forgotten the procedure. I pulled one and they whistled loudly
so I pulled on the other but the whistling kept getting louder and faster and the chute
kept going further into shore until we were above the hotel. I tried again and realized
they meant PULL as in PULL HARD. I was able to maneuver the chute once I realized
how hard you had to pull on the cords and we landed safely, although not in the correct
vicinity, of the beach. We were glad we had experienced it but will probably never try
anything like that again, especially in a country where there appears to be no rules
concerning public safety. The next night I won a dance contest on a dinner boat. The
prize was a free ride for two on what I would describe as a porch swing attached to a
giant sling shot. But that's another story for another time.
06-06-09 This week was unusual in the fact that June is usually a slow month but
business has been booming. Normally the weather is nicer and with people enjoying the
lake and bar-b-queing and weddings and graduation parties the bar business suffers.
Haven't seen that this year - - so far. Of course having the Red Wings in the playoffs has
helped. Friday was a usual boomer (better than normal for June) and Saturday - - sweet
Saturday!! We were the first stop for the Timberwolf motorcycle poker run and had well
over 200 bikers in for lunch. When that got over I went for a plane ride to relax a little.
When I returned to the Bar & Grill the place was packed. The night finished off nicely
with hockey fans. I am so lucky for things to have gone so well this weekend. Let me
remind you this was all possible due in part to the many, many allied soldiers who made
so many sacrifices, many the ultimate sacrifice, 65 years ago when they stormed the
beaches of Normandy. Please take time out today to remember why we have it so good.
Blah blah blah blah!
Yada yada yada yada