The Eight-Dollar Blog

The world looks pretty cool from 30,000 feet. Even in coach seating.

Cool enough, at least, to spend eight dollars for an Internet connection so I can tell you about it.

My initial observation is – West Virginia looks bumpy. Aaannd snowy. Remind me not to move there.

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I have realized I have been lying all these years. I’m not really from the mountains (plural) of North Alabama. I’m actually from the mountain (singular) of North Alabama. If, indeed, you consider 1500 feet a mountain. In West Virginia, that’s called a valley.

The cramped, yet comfy, seat on my cute blue, red and orange Southwest jet reminds me of when I once tried to sit in a first-grade desk when I was in high school. Jeeeest a touch on the tight side.

Phase two of the epic journey is going well, but my elbows are feeling the walls close in. In a little more than five hours, those elbows should flexing in the sunny confines of San Diego.

Eight dollars…. A shot bottle of Wild Turkey is only five, according to the menu.. I am not sure what to think of an airline that places more value on an Internet connection than on a shot of Kentucky spring water.

It’s the first of four flights in the next few days, two of which are scheduled to land on a ship at sea.

I’ll buy that for eight bucks… Anytime.

Final Epic Journey – Again – Probably

1092.

That is, give or take a few hours, the number of days I was assigned to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). For my less salty readers, Truman just happens to be the finest military ship in the world, and has won the prestigious Battle E award so many times, they are out of places to paint it on the ship.

She is also 1092 feet long. Coincidence? Hardly. Destiny? Probably.

Her hull number is 75. Just guess what year I was born. Truman himself became president in April. Take a guess what month I was born.

What happens when you subtract 75 from 1092? You get 1017. Guess how many days are left in the year on October 17th (10-17). Thats right… 75.

Creepy yet? Hang on. Truman was the 33rd President of these United States. On October 17th, 1933 (10-17-33) astronaut William Anders was born. He, along with Captain Jim Lovell and another astronaut were the first three Americans to orbit the moon. Guess who I am having breakfast with in the photo below in the month of OCTOBER??? (Actually October 12th, 2010, aboard Truman).

Having breakfast with Apollo 13 Commander Captain Jim Lovell. Photo By US Navy MC2(SW) David Giorda
Having breakfast with Apollo 13 Commander Captain Jim Lovell. Photo By US Navy MC2(SW) David Giorda

The assignment had to be fate. The ride, it was epic. At times. For short periods of time. With lots of time in between the epic… And I loved every minute of it.

In early spring of 2013, I went underway on her for my final 11 epic days. I earned my Aviation Warfare Specialist qualification during those 11 days (the normal process is several months). I also cried the first and only tears I would ever cry over the thought of leaving that ship and never stepping foot aboard anything that floated again.

The tears were short lived. They may have even been the result of the onions being prepared on the mess decks that day.

I swore off watercraft and water-related sports for good. I even ruled out visiting places near coastlines. I considered never getting in another bathtub.

Three months later, I was working the system at my shore duty trying to get a chance to get back on board a ship for just one day.

Experimental Unmanned Aerial Vehicle being tested on board Truman sometime in fall 2012.
Experimental Unmanned Aerial Vehicle being tested on board Truman sometime in fall 2012.

Well, it has taken me a solid year, but if things work out, my next seven days will include more than 700 miles of driving, more than 5000 miles of flying (five different flights), 24-36 hours on an aircraft carrier, and the bonus of landing on and flying off of the ship while it is at sea.

Epic. Probably.

All sorts of things can go wrong, the most likely of which is cancellation of the visit due to the ship getting busy and not having time to participate in the mission I am going there for. I saw it dozens of times on Truman. Visitors planned, visitors cancelled.

I will not be writing on the blog for the whole week. Probably.

But when I get back from this epic journey, I will have tales of airports in three states, military plane rides landing on boats, jet fuel in my skin, salt water on my boots, sea stories galore, adventure, excitement, fun, great beer on a coastline I have never visited, in a place I swore I would never go.

When I get back, I am going to have an EPIC story to tell. Probably.

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Touchdown! Shot on a lazy Sunday at sea on Truman Oct 14, 2012. Shot from Vulture’s Row.

 Photos by the author (except photo of myself with Captain Lovell), shot with Nikon D-7000, D-700 and D-800 with Nikon 24-70 fixed 2.8 aperture lens. 

What the #### Did I Just Listen To?

I listen to music of all genres: Country, Rock, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Classical, etc. Today I heard a new genre: WT#DIJLT – a little acronym that can be defined by reading the title of this post.

Many songs today fit this genre, so today I am choosing the #1 Billboard Country song for this week. I am going to attempt to break it down for you, verse by verse, and see if I can figure out what it was that I just heard. Follow closely, we could easily get lost in this one…

“This is How We Roll” – Florida/Georgia Line (featuring Luke Bryan)

The mixtape’s got a little Hank, little Drake                                                              A little something bumping, thumb thumping on the wheel ride

 Ok, I know who Hank is, and I believe Drake is a hip-hop artist. Apparently these guys still listen to cassette tapes, and have one with a variety of music. They apparently also have hung on to the outdated concept of turning the bass all the way up on their car stereo (either that or they need a mechanic). Not sure what a “wheel ride” is.

The mix in our drink’s a little stronger than you think
So get a grip, take a sip of that feel right
The truck’s jacked up, flat bills flipped back
Yeah you can find us where the party’s at

 We can learn a lot from this verse. These guys drink girlie, fruity drinks with super strong vodka. Since they smell like Hawaiian punch, you can’t tell from the odor how strong they are. They have a tall truck, they have flat cap bills either flipped up or turned backward(?), and they end sentences with prepositions, indicating a lack of education. The strong insinuation of drunk driving seems to back up the lack of education.

This is how we roll
We hanging round singing out everything on the radio
We light it up with our hands up
This is how we roll
This is how we do
(This is how we do what?)
We’re burning down the night shooting bullets at the moon baby
This is how we roll

 From this chorus we can assume one thing for sure… This is how they roll.

Roll what? I do not know. At first I thought they might be making a veiled reference to rolling a joint, but they also seem to be referring to riding in a car. That, however, runs counter to the idea of lighting it up with their hands up, because that seems like a good way to start a fire in a car. But then again, who holds a joint up over their heads to light it? Since they claim to be burning down the night, we can assume they are doing something with fire, either way, as well as shooting some sort of firearm at a target more than 230,000 miles away. We have established they have little education though, so this is not surprising.

Yeah baby this is how we roll                                                                                           We rollin’ into town                                                                                                       With nothing else to do we take another lap around

 When I was a teen, this was known as “cruising”. I thought it was pretty lame when I was 17, and I find it sillier now. Of course, I had no idea this sort of thing still went on. If you had a JOB or a real girlfriend, you wouldn’t be this bored, pal.

Yeah holla at your boy if you need a ride
If you roll with me yeah you know we rollin’ high
Up on them 37 Nittos, windows tinted hard to see though

 An invitation, followed by a warning. At first, he seems to be warning his potential guest of the dangers of riding with an intoxicated driver, but then you see he is warning him that the vehicle is elevated, and has low visibility for the driver and passengers. It is no wonder he is forced to solicit for company, nobody wants to take a ride like that.

How fresh my baby is in the shotgun seat oh
Them kisses are for me though, automatic like a free throw
This life I live it might not be for you but it’s for me though
Let’s roll!

 His good-smelling girlfriend rides in the front seat, she is easy, he can apparently play a little basketball and gets fouled a lot, and he acknowledges his lifestyle may not be desirable to the listener, then invites them along anyway.

This is how we roll
We hanging round singing out everything on the radio
We light it up with our hands up
This is how we roll
This is how we do
When the world turns ugly I just turn and look at you baby
This is how we roll

 In the second chorus, we find out once again that this is how they roll, but we also are left wondering if he is blaming his girl for the world being ugly, or if he just likes to look at her when bad things happen.

[Luke Bryan:]
Yeah we’re proud to be young
We stick to our guns
We love who we love and we wanna have fun
Yeah we cuss on them Mondays
And pray on them Sundays
Pass it around and we dream about one day

 Professor Bryan brings a little common, teenage angst message to the song, reminds me a little bit of Cindi Lauper from the 80’s. Hey, chill out, we just wanna have some fun. He declares that prayer is a Sunday thing, forgetting prayer is a Monday thing, and doesn’t really cover the rest of the week, which I assume is for passing it around and dreaming about one day. What is he passing around, and does he really mean one (1) day, or does he mean “someday”?

This is how we roll
We hanging round singing out everything on the radio
We light it up with our hands up
This is how we roll
This is how we ride
We slingin’ up the mud, cuttin’ through the countryside baby
This is how we roll

Yeah this is how we roll
This is how we roll
This is how we do
We’re burning down the night shooting bullets at the moon baby
This is how we roll
Yeah this is how we roll

 Two more rousing choruses and we fade out. The part about “slingin’ through the mud” is a nice touch. It might be the only reason this whole song made it to the country charts. Hip-hop is cool, but maybe it should be left to the experts. This just comes out embarrassing.

I heard it all the way through, twice. One question just kept nagging at me the whole time:

WHAT THE #### DID I JUST LISTEN TO?

Fresh Breath, Nervous Boots

Certain combinations in my life don’t work out well for me.

Lack of sleep and skipping coffee are two of those things. I once went more than four years without a drop of caffeine. How I survived that, quite frankly, is a mystery, one which I do not intend to solve with future testing.

But, on this, the first morning of Spring, I was sprung from my slumbers by an alarm clock that remembered I had a dental appointment. I sure was glad, or maybe I wasn’t, that it remembered.

I had stayed up later than planned, and was getting up an hour earlier than normal, so it was a little like starting 40 feet behind the other runners in a 100 yard dash.

No problem, Ill just have coffee, two cups this time instead of one.

That would have worked, but I am extremely self-conscious about my breath when I go to the dentist (my wife will roll her eyes because I will sometimes skip brushing on Sunday just because I can, and I know it bugs her). I decided that coffee would be a bad idea, and besides, it could get me into trouble.

You see, I love Bailey’s Irish Cream in my coffee. On work mornings, that’s a bad idea, and milk is a better choice. But with all the alcohol-based mouthwash I would need to hide the coffee, the dentist might very well think I had an Irish coffee before going to work. (Oddly it occurred to me that if you want to have a coffee that tastes like it has booze in it, just use heavy mouthwash before you drink it.)

I was so sleepy, and so pre-occupied with making sure I had fresh breath for the doc that I failed to realize I was applying deodorant to my toothbrush.

After recovering from that debacle, I decided that I had better floss my teeth because every time I go to the dentist I get scolded. New problem – the only dental floss we had was hanging out with my coat and windshield scraper in Alabama (Read ‘Legend of the Pink Pantser’ for background).

This is a good time to point out that those little toothpick things you can buy with floss on one end, well, the floss is a good bit thicker than regular floss, and they WILL get stuck between your teeth. I should also point out that putting on a Navy-issue tee-shirt with a plastic toothpick protruding from your face is difficult.

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When I finally made it out of the house, sans the new appendage on my face, I almost crashed the car backing out of my space, I missed a turn on the way to work, I handed the gate guard a credit card instead of my military ID card, and I found an outstanding parking space at the Army hospital on base. Not a single one of those things is likely on any normal day.

I was nervous. I hate mouth pain. Someday, I’ll blog about my experience getting braces, but for now, just know I have flashbacks. I would rather be tied to the train tracks than put in the dentist’s chair. Just the look of that tray of torture devices is enough to freak me completely out. (The random gallon jug by the window did not help matters a bit.)

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By the time I was finally face-to-fingers with the doc, my boots were banging together and I had nearly ripped the arm rest clean off the chair.

Then comes the biggest surprise of the day. I had been thinking the biggest surprise was seeing 39 people in line at the dental clinic at 7:15a.m. and not a single one of them was Army (at an Army clinic you have to say to yourself, “What do THEY know that I don’t know?”)

But the real surprise: Nothing hurt. Not the X-rays, not the poking, not even the lame discussion he tried to have with me.

“So, what duty station you coming from Sailor?”

“Der ewe eh eh hay ehs tunan,” I replied.

“Oh, the Truman huh, she’s out of Norfolk, right?”

“U uh.”

“How long you been in the Navy?”

“Goon ah guy herss,” I wondered if he was actually going to keep this up. He wasn’t hurting my face, but I wasn’t feeling the small talk.

“Five years huh, what do you do here?”

By the time the twenty questions were over, I was expecting anything but what he said next.

“Well, it’s pretty boring in there, so you are good to go. I was in the Navy too, and for a Sailor, you take good care of your teeth. Floss a little bit more. Have a fine Navy day.”

Navy day??? This is an Army clinic. Well, at least that explained his outstanding, pain-free performance.

As my still-nervous boots took me out front to get an appointment for a future cleaning (something tells me that one is going to hurt), I am not sure, but I think I heard the doc say to the dental tech:

“Was it just me, or did that Sailor’s breath smell like Speed Stick?”

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Born Lucky

(All photos in this post taken by the author with a variety of camera gear, primarily Nikon DSLR bodies ranging from D-200 on the low end, to D-3 on the high end.)

I was born lucky. It was a matter of timing and era, but I was born lucky.

The 1800’s would have been cool, for a day or two. Wooden bridges that lead into vast stretches of forest. Everybody has a horse and they all know how to ride it. I would have worn my gun outside my pants for all the honest world to fear, just like Poncho did, according to the legend. I have a feeling I would start missing electricity and antiperspirant after about three August days in Alabama, but man I would have rocked the scene for a day or two.

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I could pick a century out of a hat and find a reason to want to be there – for a few days. Try to deny your desire to spend a week in ancient Egypt. Ok, maybe 24 hours. Pyramid building is hard work, unless, of course, you have alien help, but that’s another blog.

I have to confess though, I can’t imagine being born and living in a better era than the one I find myself stuck in. Assuming Marty and Doc don’t show up at my door needing plutonium any minute, it is likely I will stay right where I am on the time line, and I guess I have a lot to be thankful for. I guess I was just born lucky.

Clearly, the idea for my birth came about sometime in the late summer, or early fall of 1974. I was born in the late spring of ’75. I like to think I was the result of a substantial amount of Budweiser following a fight over the checkbook or the amount of gas in the car. I like to think this because it is the only way I can explain how Budweiser, the checkbook, and gas in the car have been recurring themes in my life for 39 years.

It put me in a very lucky spot though, for too many reasons to count. I don’t give up easily though, thus humor me as I count a few.

For starters, I grew up in the 80s. If that isn’t reason enough to claim victory over life, I don’t know what is. Still close enough to the 60s to live them through your parents without actually having to take LSD and deal with the risks therein.

I was born at a time that allowed me to have a grandfather who was part of World War II. I have met many of the men who fought in that war and I find it a blessing to share this period of time with them. We lose a few of these national treasures every day and I feel so fortunate to have known so many and had the chance to hear, and help tell, their stories through my work in the Navy.

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My three-year-old son was born right into the most recent boom of technology. He can use an electronic tablet or smartphone as well as many adults, and better than some. While that is fun to see as a dad, I feel so lucky to have been born at a time when I could witness, first hand, the evolution of these technologies and experience the awe of each one as they came into existence. It is so easy to take technology for granted, when much of it is such an amazing feat of human ingenuity.

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Just five years either side of my birth and the likelihood of ever knowing and marrying my wife would have been roughly zero. This is perhaps the luckiest thing that has happened to me as a result of my birth date. Going on 19 years of marriage, the coins just keep falling in the tray, my triple sevens still flashing on the slots after all this time. Adding to the pot, she makes a terrific mother, which means my luck is already being passed on to my son, the three-year-old computer geek.

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I had the good fortune of being born just in time to get into the Navy, or I suppose you could look at it that way. Waiting until I was 33 to decide to start the process of enlisting might have been a bad idea, but luck was on my side and I finished boot camp and A-school  10 days prior to my 35th birthday (the age cutoff without a waiver), unlocking tremendous adventure and opportunity for me.

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As a Navy photographer serving in the golden age of photographic technology, I have had the chance to witness, and photograph, things that would make your heart race, make your heart warm, and make your heart break. I have witnessed the beginning of life and the end of it as a member of the U.S. Navy.

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I photographed my biggest childhood fear, the Russian military, landing on my ship at sea. Later, I reassured close friends who were deployed and worried that new disagreements with that same Russia would prevent them from coming home from deployment on time. I know that luck is on my side, and I will see the pendulum swing again, but I don’t know when.

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I was born at a time when medical technology would allow my son to not only know three out of four of my own grandparents, but also would allow him to know and love a great grandmother and great grandfather who both survived cancer. Indeed, my luck is already rubbing off on him.

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Although I live in a world where all of my old dirt roads are turning into super speedways, I can still find those places of refuge where a nail and a chain make a sufficient lock.

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I still have the opportunity to learn to drive, and use, the same tractor my grandfather plowed his field with, and my son will have that opportunity as well.

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Despite what you hear on television by people who know the value of selling controversy, I know I still live in a time where nature is thriving and beautiful. I feel so fortunate to have the chance to photograph, and just be near so many beautiful natural settings. I want to pass that love of nature down to my son, and with any luck, he will accept it.

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Right now, he is content to build a train station with Legos and show me he can count to ten. I am so lucky to have him, and I want him to be lucky too. He will never understand how great it was to be alive in the 80s. That is just how it is supposed to be.

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But if he someday feels about his era the way I feel about mine, I’ll consider that a win. The odds look pretty good. Like I said, I was born lucky.

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Facing the Cold

As a photographer, you don’t always get to choose your moments, or your subjects. Things happen, and you just shoot, on instinct.

My problem as a heavy thinker is that not only do things just happen, but I start thinking about them as soon as they do, and by the time I am through thinking, I miss the shot.

Or, as in my most recent case, I think it is a good idea to leave all of my camera gear in Alabama to avoid traveling with it on a plane, and then a beautiful snowstorm hits Maryland and all I have is an iPhone.

Walking home from a local sushi place this afternoon (the only place open within walking distance and there is NO way the wine or the ice will let me drive), I got into that old deep-thinking routine again.

I started thinking about all of those people I have seen in my life, and turned my head, when I saw them cold, hungry, and probably homeless. Just faces. Faces in the cold.

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I am not ready to make a political statement about their plight. Other than to say I came from humble origins, stealing candy bars as a pre-teen to survive, and I understand desperation. I simply mean to acknowledge their existence, and want to discuss them in terms of a photograph.

I do not have photos of any of them here, intentionally. I want the reader, instead, to try to remember the face of the last one they met. The last one they saw, or spoke to. Just a nameless face in the cold.

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Too often we look the other way when we see something we wish we didn’t see. That is nature. Just as I turn away when there is something gruesome happening on the television. I just can’t look.

But just because you can’t look doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Sometimes, you should look on the frightening, or the ugly, not to change it, but to learn from it. To learn what makes it, and to teach others to avoid those things.

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Photography is our chance to record, for generations to follow, the things we see in our lives. It is a tool to record history, and to present a record of events to those who care. When we train our lens on the unsightly and the depressing, we plant a seed of inspiration in a viewer somewhere down the line.

So, what did he look like? The last cold and lonesome face you saw? Was he smiling? Did he grimace in the wind? Was he deep in thought and holding no expression?

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I do not pretend to know the answer to these faces in the cold. I like to think that their plight is not a matter of economic or social injustice, rather it is a matter of missed opportunities, but I can’t be sure. That is for the politicians and the sociologists and the folks who like to debate such things.

To me, they are more important than a point of argument. They are a face in the cold. A beautiful subject, and an important topic, if you can understand the distinction.

Do not fear them. Embrace them. Capture them, and remember them.

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All images in this post captured on iPhone 5 and edited in Adobe Photoshop CS6. Mostly natural lighting with on-device flash here and there. No color correction in post editing. No human faces were harmed in this shoot, although one was nearly frozen off, and now his neighbors are certain he has lost his mind. 

The Legend of the Pink Pantser

Three weeks of great sleep and a quiet apartment, that was the way I was hearing the plan. It sounded like a great idea – Momma and the boy in Alabama working on our post-military business plans and operations and visiting family while I did the bachelor thing from the comfortable confines of our semi-sub-near-luxury apartment near Baltimore.

What could go wrong?

I was 10,000 feet above Maryland when I found out the first, of many, answers to that question.

I found myself sitting there wedged between a large, smelly man who wouldn’t stop telling the guy across the aisle about his horrendous medical problems (never mentioning his most obvious one, which was severe body odor) and a stingy young lady with window seat. Turns out she did not care for other people looking out of her window. Each time I tried to sneak a peek at the terrain below, she would cover her crossed legs with her sweater and cut her eyes at me as if I was checking her out.

“Ten years ago, maybe, sweetheart,” I thought to myself. “Nowadays I’m way more interested in what’s under my feet, or in this case, under this plane, than what’s under that sweater.”

I did get a look though, and realized the whole state of Maryland, much like a map of the U.S. that a first-grade teacher gives you to fill in the names, was totally white, and blank. I thought I could make out the “D” in “Maryland” for a second, but it turned out the young lady was just switching up her the way her legs were crossed.

“Snow,” I sighed to the smelly, dying man to my left who, from the gaudy decorations all over everything he owned, had to be the biggest Texas A&M fan on the planet. “It was 72 degrees in Alabama before I left.”

“I’m from Texas,” He said, gruffly. That’s it. That’s all he said. As if being from Texas meant that’s all he had to say. Guess I should have told him I had high blood pressure if I wanted a conversation.

Then it hit me. My coat. The only coat I own was somewhere between Huntsville and Crossville, Alabama traveling at around 60 mph, while I was in Maryland falling out of the sky at somewhere around 300 mph. Only in terms of altitude was I getting any closer to my coat, and I was landing at what looked like the North Pole, minus the candy-cane pole.

Fortunately I had already arranged travel from the airport to home, so all I had to do was get off the plane and run. I left all of my luggage in Alabama, meaning the pair of jeans I had on and a closet full of tee-shirts were all of the civilian outerwear I would have for three weeks. It was a risk worth taking, as I hate checking bags and claiming luggage.

The snow, of course, snarled traffic in one of the nation’s worst traffic areas, and I stood outside the airport waiting for my ride for more than half an hour. Fortunately, the temperature had warmed to a balmy 23 degrees, up from a historic BWI Airport low of 3 degrees only hours earlier.

Thus began my three-week bachelorhood.

They say you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. It’s fairly cliché, and I suppose that is because it is so true. I never realized all of the conveniences my wife brings to my life. Not just in terms of keeping things neat and tidy, which she does, but in terms of keeping me from screwing up almost everything I touch by constantly reminding me how to do things or not to forget something.

Even having her car around is convenient, and would have been even more so on my first morning back, when my car had a dead battery from sitting in freezing temps for a week. No worries though,  a friendly neighbor (roughly the 30th one to pass by) stopped to check on the freezing Navy guy holding jumper cables and helped me get my car started. She also let me use her windshield scraper to remove four inches of ice. My scraper was in Alabama, enjoying 65 degree temps and sunny skies.  Did I mention I ALSO don’t have the proper coat for my uniform?

I don’t suppose, as another example of her convenient nature, that my wife ever would have allowed me to leave the key in the mailbox out in our breezeway for two whole days. Nope, wouldn’t happen with her here.

I know for certain that she wouldn’t let me forget it’s not a good idea to have too much bourbon on a work night. This is a good time to point out how nice it is to have someone to bring you water and ibuprofen to the bed at 4 a.m.

After ten days of calamity, Mother Nature decided it was time to turn up the heat, or maybe turn up the cold in this case. What had been a forecast for a dusting of snow overnight turned into ten inches of dust all over everything, and work was cancelled for the day. Not as joyous as you would imagine, as there was no food in the apartment, unless you count expired yogurt, and frankly it’s also pretty boring without Momma and the boy around.

A text message to my phone at 4:30 a.m. let me know I could sleep in, yet it woke me up in the process, so I suppose you call that a win/lose situation. While reading the message I also discovered the battery was nearly dead on my phone.

Hmmmm…. I went somewhere in the car yesterday….. did I leave the charging cable in the …. DAMN!

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Somewhere out there, in the frozen tundra, in a car covered with nearly a foot of snow (okay, six inches, but whatever), is the cable I need to charge the phone. Thirty years ago, the phone never left the wall. Not a bad thing to consider bringing back, in my opinion. Making matters worse, the ONLY pair of jeans and ALL of the long-sleeved shirts I have in Maryland were in the washing machine, wet. I decided after ten days of wear, I’d better wash them before someone mistook me for one of those zombies on that show everyone watches. (Then again, do zombies smell bad?)

That’s just another thing that would never happen with Momma around. She would never allow me to leave clothes in the washer all night.

To recap: Need phone charging cable, have no pants.

I got up, looked around the room and found her pink kitty-cat pajama bottoms. I checked over my shoulder to make sure no one was looking, even though I was in the apartment alone, and grabbed the PJs.

After donning pink pants and a tee-shirt from what I think was the clean pile, I strapped on my new running shoes. Yes, my “wear in the mud and snow” shoes are with my coat and windshield scraper.

No big deal, the car is parked close, I’ll just run out there, open the car, grab the cord, scoot back in. Thirty seconds, tops.

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They say timing is everything. Another one of those cliché statements that just happens to be true. In this case, the coordination of the snow-plow truck and the guy with the snow-blower couldn’t have been more perfect. Since they are bound to be the most entertaining thing the geriatrics in my building will see all day, every balcony was filled with wrinkles, thick glasses and hot coffee just in time for the show.

Enter stage left – Guy in pink pajamas and a Popeye tee-shirt who, for some unknown reason, no longer has a wife living with him and who never wears a coat, even in blizzard conditions. They looked amused.

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I tried to smile and wave at the first-floor audience, but the smile was met with disgust. I quickly went for the door handle, thinking that if I got back inside fast enough, maybe they would forget they even saw me before time for their noon naps.

You know how car doors will stick in the winter? No? Well, they will. They will stick and you will yank and then they will suddenly fly open and you will slip backward, sometimes in pink pants, into the car owned by your geriatric neighbor, and get covered in snow. It CAN happen to you.

A neighbor took a sip of his coffee, put it on the table, and adjusted his Depends undergarment. Without so much as a grin, he shook his head and went inside.

Oh well, that’s the life of a swinging bachelor with a quiet apartment and all the sleep he can stand. I have it all: Mac desktop, Windows laptop, iPhone, iPad, cable TV, spoiled yogurt and, for the moment, electricity, although the way this week is going I’m not planning any long-term projects that require alternating current.

The crazy part of it all is the charging cable. When Momma is home, I always use hers and leave mine in the car. I hate to sound cliché, but you never know what you’ve got, ‘till its riding around in a blue car, somewhere in Alabama.snow3