Monday, May 30, 2016

The Cost Of Freedom

Memorial Day. The day America remembers those who have died while serving in the armed forces. Those who died in war. Those who gave their life for freedom. And there have been a LOT—over 1.3 million to date. This includes all wars since the Revolutionary War but that is still a huge amount of people. That is the cost of freedom.

More than 1.3 million lives. And every single one of them had a family. They were someone’s son or daughter. Maybe a husband, a father, or brother; a wife, mother, or sister. An uncle or aunt, niece or nephew. The point is, the loss of these lives reaches even farther that the 1.3 million. A lot farther. The impact has been heartbreaking for many families who lost a love one. That is the cost of freedom.

1.3 million people who never reached their full potential in life. 1.3 million people who never got to pursue their dreams. Never got to watch their children grow up—or see their parents grow old. They never had a chance to experience all the world has to offer. And never had the opportunity to enjoy the freedom they fought for. That is the cost of freedom.

And that’s why we have Memorial Day. A day to remember those who sacrificed, those who gave their all—and then some. But one day doesn’t really come close to being adequate. It seems so insignificant in light of the price that has been paid by so many; especially since so many individuals these days do not appear to care. They take their freedom and life of ease for granted. As for me, I choose to remember the price that is the cost of freedom.

Just something to ponder as you go about your fun-filled holiday; that is, the cost of freedom. ~

Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, The Lana Denae Mysteries, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Sounds Like Work

I’ve never liked taking my vehicles to a shop to be fixed and most of the time, over the years, I’ve worked on them myself. However, a couple of weeks ago when my pickup started making an odd noise, and having a little vibration, I didn’t want to deal with it—for a lot of reasons; I’m getting older, it’s harder to work on vehicles these days, I never seem to have the right tools anymore, and it was raining. Besides, I just really didn’t want to work on it.

So, I took the pickup to a local shop. After telling them what it was doing and when it would occur, I went home to get some sleep, thinking the over-inflated cost of the mechanics might just be worth it this time. I’d sleep while they worked. An ingenious plan.

Well, things rarely work out so easily.

Later that afternoon, I called to see what they had found and was told they’d found nothing wrong. The truck made no noise and had no vibration, they said. “Probably just normal creaks and rough roads. Replace your shocks and it’ll be fine.”

I’d barely made it onto the street before the loud popping noise and the vibration returned. But since I was on my way to work, I didn’t take it back. I spent the next several days, looking for loose parts on the suspension—among other things. And on the weekend, I put new shocks on, front and back. It didn’t help. And the problem seemed to be growing worse. It now felt as if the left front wheel was going to fall right off.

After a few more days, the noise and grinding sound didn’t just come and go; it persisted. And the wheel became wobblier. So, I made a return trip to the shop, figuring this time they surely would be able to find something amiss. But no. Even though I was riding with the mechanic who drove it, and could feel and hear what I had described to him, he didn’t and said there was nothing wrong. We even took it back to the shop and raised it on a hoist. Examining underneath, I made sure things were tight—and they seemed to be. I mentioned the possibility of it being a hub but the guy dismissed my suggestion. Obviously, I had no idea what a hub going out sounds or feels like—at least that was what I got from our conversation. It had to be something on the suspension, he said. And then he sprayed some lubricant on all the bushings and connections, telling me that should fix it.

Well, I’m a little stubborn and since I had checked the suspension myself, I wasn’t convinced that was the problem. Still believing it was a hub going out, and not wanting my wheel to come flying off while driving down the highway at 70 mph, I checked some prices and found the cost would be around $500.00 to have a shop replace it.

Well, that was way too much, especially since I wasn’t sure if it would even fix my problem. So, purchasing a new hub, back home I went.

Thanks to the number miles on the pickup and stubborn parts that didn’t want to come off, working on it was a pain. But a few days and several new tools later, I finally put it all back together and... it works! No thumps and pops, no vibration and grinding noises! It’s a nice feeling when that happens. Even nicer when I have the opportunity to go tell a mechanic he was wrong! And after the looks I got when I suggested the hub might be the problem, you can bet I’ll be making a special trip down to tell them!

My experience wasn’t totally without reward, however. I did get some new tools out of the deal—and had the chance to spend quite a few hours lying on the hard concrete, in the rain! You can’t beat that! Well, I could have I guess, if the shop had fixed it in the beginning, like I’d intended. But it turns out my dad was right—again—if you want something done right, do it yourself! It’s usually cheaper. Even with buying the new tools, I didn’t spend the $500.00 they wanted to charge. I think they just wanted to make a few extra bucks off of me. Then again, maybe the mechanics suffered from the same symptoms I had—and they really just didn’t want to work on it. ~

Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, The Lana Denae Mysteries, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Walking The Line

As a truck driver who covers thousands of miles per week, I’m treated to all sorts of scenes on the road. Some are pretty, like snow-covered mountains, cascading waterfalls, and slow-moving rivers. Some are funny, such as the time I saw a Volkswagen Bug pulling a huge U-Haul trailer. Others are puzzling; a tire perched precariously atop an exit sign—yes, I have seen that. But a few are downright creepy. Morbid.

For instance, a couple of weeks ago, I was traveling down the freeway, minding my own business—sort of—when I got passed by a State Patrol. He was following right behind another car and I kept waiting for him to pull them over but the lights didn’t come on.

Both cars soon disappeared into the night but then a ways ahead; I saw the red and blue lights start flashing. I watched as the lights came to a stop on the side of the road and assumed he had stopped the car he’d been following. But as I neared the location, I noticed there was no other vehicle in front of the cop. I had only a brief moment to wonder why the officer had made a stop of himself before his spotlight came on. And there, fully illuminated on the shoulder of the road, was a body! Yes, we’re talking a human body, a male. He was lying facedown on the side of the road, just off the fog line. (The white line on the right for you non-professional drivers).

Later, I learned the man had been struck while walking; a hit and run. Obviously, he had not survived.

I know sometimes walking down a freeway is necessary but why anyone would do it when there is no reason, especially at night is beyond me—I’ve seen the way people drive! Actually, when traveling at freeway speeds, it is extremely difficult to see people on the road at night. Yet, quite frequently, somebody is out there walking down the line. In fact, as I was thinking about writing this blog post, I saw one who must have had a death wish of his own.

I was traveling through a construction zone, a single lane with concrete barriers on either side. And there he was, a man who acted as if he had not a care in the world, slowly ambling along, reading a newspaper. He didn’t seem to flinch as multiple trucks and cars flew past barely a foot away.

Like I said, I know walking down the freeway may, at times, be necessary, but please, do me a favor. If you find yourself in a situation that requires hoofing it on the highway, walk on the other side of the guardrail—or at least far enough away from where my trailer could clip you if the wind happens to be blowing. I could do without all the extra paperwork! Thanks.

Oh, and the fool who was calmly standing in the lane mere inches from death? I heard from another driver that the police had showed up soon after I’d gone by and they’d apparently “explained” the situation to him and then escorted him out of the construction area. But, about five hours later, when I made my return trip, there he was again, strolling down the road, halfway in my lane. As I passed him, I’m sure I saw his lips moving, and his body was swaying back and forth rhythmically, almost as if he were singing. And maybe he was—his death song, I presume! ~

Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

A Driving Hunger

While making my rounds of 700+ miles per day in the big truck—semi for those who may think a “big truck” refers to a monster truck—I occasionally get hungry. Actually, I pretty much STAY hungry these days. That’s because I’ve decided I probably shouldn’t eat anything and everything in sight all night long as I drive. (Not if I do not want to look like the typical truck driver anyway). But a guy can only take so much hunger, and once in a while, I treat myself to a meal.

Truck stop food being what it is—overpriced bland sustenance that leaves you feeling half sick—I try to go to an actual restaurant when possible. Not a sit-down restaurant; there’s no time for that since I need to keep moving. (No miles equals no pay and I haven’t yet figured out how to live without money)! So, I visit the fast food places like McDonald’s. Some would suggest that McDonald’s food is no better than truck stop food but I beg to differ—I happen to LIKE McDonald’s!

But I also like a little variety and there’s a very good chicken place on my run—southern style fried chicken with all of the fixin’s! The food is delicious, the service is good—well, the people are friendly anyway. The service WOULD be good if I could ever get what I ordered. That, is sometimes a chore.

I prefer white meat and I always specify ALL white meat. The person taking my order acknowledges my request, it’s even printed on my receipt. But somewhere between taking my order and filling it, there is a disconnect. Out of the nearly ten years I’ve been stopping there, I think I’ve gotten only white meat about three times. Usually, I end up with a breast and a thigh. Sometimes, a breast and a leg. And once in a while, no white meat at all.

I’ve decided this has more to do with ignorance than incompetence—no one has bothered to teach the younger employees which pieces are white and which are dark. At least that WAS my theory.

I stopped in for some chicken the other day and was glad when the manager, an older and seemingly competent woman, took my order—and then worked on filling it herself. Maybe this time, they’ll get it right, I thought. But my hope was short-lived. I opened my box to find two thighs.

I’ve considered offering all their employees classes on white meat vs. dark meat. Or maybe making up a little chart for them, with pictures—for all the Facebook conditioned people who NEED a visual aid. But they probably aren’t interested in my input. And even if I managed to educate one or two of them, with a fairly high turnover rate, I’d never be able to keep up and still would probably not get what I ordered. So, I guess I’ll just stick to driving a truck. And stay hungry! ~

Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Loads Of Fun

I really should be folding laundry right now... but I had a blog to write. There are several loads, four I think, just waiting. They’ve been waiting a while so a little longer won’t matter, right? Hope not, ’cause I have a blog to write.

So, why do I have laundry waiting? Well, because my wife didn’t do it. Seriously. But then again, neither did I. (I’m not really that mean of a guy). While my wife does do most of the laundry, she is a busy woman. Very busy. Sometimes, (a lot of the time, actually) other things are more pressing than the laundry. So, I try to help. Not just with the laundry but other chores as well. Not nearly as often as I should, but occasionally—when I think of it anyway. Hey, I’m a busy person too!

This past weekend was busier than usual for us; we had three parties to attend, birthdays and retirement, as well as other things to do, so not all of the household chores got done. So, here it is Sunday night, it’s just the two of us, she’s sleeping and I’m the only one up. Well, me and the dogs but so far, they haven’t offered to help. So, I decided I would fold the laundry, all four loads. But first, I needed to write a blog.

But then, now that I think about it, perhaps I shouldn’t fold any of it at all. Because my wife did have some time that she could have spent doing it. Instead, she chose to, well, play games apparently.

My son was visiting this weekend and he brought along some laundry. He does his own, he just takes advantage of the opportunity to use our washer and dryer when he visits because Laundromats are expensive. He had a few loads that were done but not folded—being a normal guy, he doesn’t see any reason to fold the laundry—and while he was out visiting friends, my wife “helped” him out. Now, I mentioned he does his own laundry. That is by choice; he doesn’t really want his mother to do it. In fact, he would actually prefer she NOT do it. So, just to bug him a little, and being a typical mom, she folded his clothes.

Yes, he was duly agitated when he returned and saw his basket with the neatly folded clothes. “Mom folded my laundry,” he said with a shake of his head and just a hint of disgust. “Why would she do that?”

“She’s your mom,” I said.

That didn’t satisfy him and seeing our overflowing baskets, I could almost read his mind as he wondered why she would fold his clothes and not hers and mine. For a minute, I thought he might dump the clothes and unfold them but I’m sure he realized that would be pointless. Although, he did make sure to tell her what he thought about it.

Of course, his complaints fell on deaf ears. Well, not entirely deaf ears. She did smile and laugh. I think it made her happy to fold his clothes again, even if it did irk him.

I considered telling him he would understand when he was a mom but somehow I don’t see that happening. I think it’s more likely my dogs will start helping with the chores.

Okay, blog’s done. I’m off to fold the laundry now. ~


Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Going For A Ride

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a kid again? Just forget about the daily grind, the concerns and responsibilities that go along with being an adult. To laugh, to play, and relax. To just have fun.        

Had the opportunity to join my two-year-old grandson at a carnival this past weekend. My family, me included, love the rides. Even after I got older and the bumpy, jarring effects punish my body, I still like them. I just don’t get to go on them as much anymore. But, back to the grandkid.

His mother and I took him to ride the rides. He was so excited; he could hardly stand to wait in line. And when we got on the first ride, the Berry-Go-Round, he sat waiting for it to start with a serene look of happy anticipation. “This is going to be SO fun!” he said. And it was. As were the rest of the rides. We went on several. And no, he didn’t want to leave. Truth be told, neither did I, but with the high cost of amusement these days, we couldn’t afford to stay all day and night. See, there I am being an adult again; worried about paying for our adventure!

On our way back to the car, we saw, or actually, the grandkid saw, they were giving pony rides. Of course, he wanted to ride and yes, we let him—with grandpa walking alongside in case he forgot to hold on or suddenly decided something on the ground was more interesting. He was fine but you never know, the kid is only two after all.

It has been a few years since I’ve been to a carnival—my kids are no longer small and thus, I lost my excuse to go—and I’d forgotten how much fun it is. I’m not sure who had a better time, the grandkid, or me. (His Mom may just have been in the running too). But more than being fun, it was relaxing—and exhilerating at the same time. Rejuvenating. And, rather refreshing to forget about everything else and just have a good time. In a way, I guess I was a kid again—for an hour or two anyway! ~

Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Fire Starter

I think I’m going to have to quit my job—so I can stay home and keep an eye on my wife. It may be the only way to keep my house intact. I might be only half serious but that half is what concerns me.

Got a call from her the other day and she told me she’d started another fire. Now, we don’t have a fireplace or a wood stove. The fire she started was in the oven. Problem is, we don’t have a wood cook stove either—just a normal electric range. And this was an actual fire. Another problem is, this isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. Over the years, she’s had a habit of creating some of the most unusual fires; for instance, the time she caught a pot of water on fire. Yep, water.

It had been a while since her last episode and I thought perhaps her firebug tendencies had abated. But, no. The bug had apparently just been lying dormant. Until the other day.

The fire in the oven was the element. That’s not good. Elements are, by design, not supposed to burn. The makers of our stove obviously haven’t met my wife. This one was definitely burning, she said—with flames.

At first, I thought it was probably only grease or food that had collected on the element and then burned off. But no, the element burned up and no longer works. So, I spent a few minutes finding the model number and then ordered a new one. In a few days, the stove will be good as new—and all ready for my wife!

I shouldn’t really be surprised, at her preclevity for burning things I suppose. After all, her name is Brenda, which means “firebrand.” I always assumed that was figurative and referred to her demeanor or readiness to “discuss” things passionately. But obviously, with her it is quite literal!

To be fair, she didn’t burn anything else and she got the fire out but, well, I’d still feel better if I could find a way to make money from home. It may not be safe to leave her alone! ~

Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Overweight, Again

As regular readers of this blog know, I am a truck driver in my “real” life. I haul bulk garbage from the city to the desert in a semi, usually around 70,000 pounds per trip. And just in case anyone is wondering, that is a LOT of garbage. Fortunately, I do not dump it, or load it for that matter. All I do is drive the truck, drop the trailer, and then go get another load.

Due to sudden braking or other driving-related causes, the wet garbage can sometimes shift, and over the years, I’ve had my share of overweight fines. Normally, the loads are pre-weighed and legal—we don’t have to scale the truck, we just drive. If there is a problem, the company pays the ticket, since the driver has no way of knowing if the weight is legal or not. Because the company pays and the ticket doesn’t go on the driver’s record, we don’t really get too excited about it. The only thing I don’t like is that it costs me time. For some reason, the DOT is never concerned with my time, though.

About a week ago, I was thinking that it had been a while since I’d had a ticket. I shouldn’t have been thinking, I guess, because last Friday, I had the privilege of getting pulled into the scales on the freeway and then told to park and bring my papers—like I was in a foreign country or something. Once inside the building, I got to chat with the guy about how I was (apparently, single-handedly) responsible for the rutted condition of the roads. Nevermind the fact that if my company, or any company, wanted to haul more weight all they have to do is pay a little more money and the extended weight permit is amended to allow for whatever weight they want or need. So, it’s not really about the roads, but as most things with government are, it’s the money.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox and back to the story... Turns out, my entire truck was not overweight, just the drivers—the wheels on the tractor—they were 2,300 pounds over the limit. The trailer was about 3000 pounds underweight, which meant the load had obviously shifted. I was given a citation and instructed to legalize my load before leaving. Great! There was just one problem with that.

Most semis have the ability to move the weight around using sliding tandems or fifth wheels. The trucks at my job have neither. Which meant the only way for me to legalize my load was to back up as fast as I could get going and then slam on the brakes. This technique is sort of frowned upon by the DOT. Not that they care about the truck or the load, they are only concerned with the damage it may do to their lot! That didn’t concern me much; what I was concerned with is getting home on a Friday night. But as you can imagine, this method of moving the weight around is far from a scientific approach. It took several re-weighs before I was legal. Finally, an hour after pulling into the scale I was on my way.

But then, just before hitting the freeway, I HAD to hit my brakes—pretty hard too. And I felt the load come rushing back to the front of the trailer. So after an hour, and a citation, nothing had changed; I was right back to being overweight on the drivers! But I wouldn’t have done that on purpose—would I? ~

Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Monday, April 4, 2016

My Happy Birthday

By the time anyone reads this it’ll be over but as I’m writing, it’s my birthday. My 49th birthday to be exact. Not that the number is too important. It’s not like a big milestone or anything.

I should preface this with clarifying that I had a good day and I really didn’t mind the events as much as this post might make it sound...  It started with being awakened by my two-year-old grandson. When he learned it was my birthday, he was ready for a party and extremely disappointed when we told him I wasn’t having one. “I will give you a party,” he said. I explained that after people get older they really don’t get gifts and have a party; that we do that for kids. The look he gave me said he thought that was not a very good plan but he went with it.

Later, one of my daughters, and an “adopted” daughter, announced their plans to take me to lunch. But first, my wife wanted to make a quick trip to the store. Everyone—except me—went with her; I stayed home to wait. That was taking quite a chance, women and shopping, you know!

But true to their word, they returned just a few minutes later. It was then I learned how my day was going to go.

In the back of the vehicle was a big box. Apparently, my wife had found a deal—a motorized kid’s car. The price tag said it was regularly $149.99 but it had been on sale. And at just $37.00, my wife couldn’t pass it up. She was happy she’d been able to make the purchase.

But me, I saw immediately what was printed on the box: “Contains 71 parts. Requires assembly.” The reason it was so cheap because the rest of the husbands had gone with their wives to the store and said, “Don’t buy that.” But I wasn’t there to issue the words of caution.

So, after a nice meal, we returned home and I set to work. The task went about as expected for a Made in China product; deciphering directions, figuring out what they meant by phrases like “the fastener,” and then figuring out how to really put it together when what they had didn’t work.

The process took about two and a half hours! But I did get it done and yes, it runs! Unfortunately, my grandson had to leave before it was finished. He’ll be back Monday evening and I’m sure he’ll be running the battery dead—about four hours according to the specifications. The bad part is, I’ll be at work. The good news is, my wife will be home and it will fall to her to chase the kid driving the car, until the battery gives out—in an estimated four hours! But maybe then she’ll reconsider next time she sees something to buy that requires assembly!

Oh, before my grandson left he felt compelled to inform me that even though I’d said I wouldn’t be getting presents, I DID get one—the car! I said the car was his. He so sweetly replied, “But YOU get to put it together!” Yeah. Happy Birthday to me! ~



Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Not That Bright?

I think I might be getting old. Some days, my brain doesn’t seem to be what it used to be. And apparently, light fixtures ain’t what they used to be either. Yes, the two are related. I promise.

For the second time in a month, I had to buy a new light fixture. (No, not because I blew it up or anything). First, it was the outside porch light. The wires were so corroded and badly deteriorated that the light would not work. Since one of my self-assigned trades is that of electrician, I fixed it myself. And yes, it is still working!

Then, this past week, the living room light went out. Thinking it was just a blown bulb, I started to change it. But the moment I touched the fixture, the light made a sizzling pop and then came on. So, since I do not relish the idea of loose wires shorting out and burning down my house, I made another trip to Home Depot on Saturday.

I was planning to replace the fixture Sunday afternoon. I had everything ready and started to go turn off the electricity—not too keen on wiring live wires—when I realized my wife was busy sewing. The plug she was using, as well as any others in the room, was on the same circuit as the light. No big deal, I thought, I’d just wait until Sunday night.

Only one little problem with that idea. Not only was the plug my wife was using on the same circuit as the light, ALL the lights and plugs on that end of the house are on the same circuit. That would seem to make it difficult to see while re-wiring a fixture—at night. I did realize this before actually turning the electricity off, and said something to my wife about her husband not being too brilliant. The bad part is, she agreed. After having a good chuckle at my expense, she gave me a rolling-of-the-eyes look, and then her fitting words were, “Lights are on, nobody’s home.”

Yeah. Sometimes she has a dark side. Maybe I’ll have to start relying more on her brain to help me out, since mine evidently isn’t what it used to be. ~

Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Lights Out

I’ve never been a fan of the “lights out” rule. Church camps and other places I went as a kid always seemed to have this rule, as well as at my dad’s house. It’s not that I was afraid of the dark, but the fact that the real intent of this rule was to force me to go to sleep. Not a fan of sleep either and for the same reason I don’t like the “lights out” rule, I can’t get much done.

When I lived at home, I solved the problem by using a flashlight to read, or as I did once, by wiring about six night-lights to a switch near my bed. If I heard my dad coming up the steps, one flick of the switch and I was in compliance! Of course, that meant trying to convince him that I was asleep when he came to check and that was not always too successful.

When I was a teenager, I attended a church youth camp where, once again, they had a lights out rule. The Camp Counselor, who stayed in the dorm with us, was of the persuasion that “lights out” actually meant lights out, and shared his opinion with us in the form of a lecture. There were no exceptions, he said. He’d turn the switch off and after waiting a few minutes for things to cool down, took the bulb out of the ceiling—the only bulb—and didn’t replace it until the next day. With no other lights in the dorm and without a flashlight, the first night, I had no choice but to lay there in the dark.

By the next night though, I had a plan.

Outside the cabin was a security light. The fixture directed the light away from the dorm but I saw that could easily be changed. So, waiting until everyone was involved with other activities, I “wandered” off and returned to the dorm. It was a simple matter to climb the short pole and bend the fixture, aiming it right at the big window on the side of the building. Then, inside the dorm, I took down the curtain and hid it.

No one seemed to notice anything until the call came for lights out. The Counselor turned off the switch, but the whole place remained lit up. Not as bright as before but enough. Well, all the other campers thought it was great but the Counselor wasn’t so easily impressed. He demanded to know who had done that to the light. Me, being unassuming, and not liking to make my presence known, I said nothing.

Then came the fun part. In order to look for the curtain, or something to cover the window, the Counselor felt he needed more light and turned the switch on. And I promptly turned it back off; reminding him that lights out meant lights out—no exceptions. Several of the other campers echoed my “friendly” reminder, which was nice because it then wasn’t so obvious that I had been the guilty party!

Eventually, the guy found the curtain and covered up the window. But by this time, everyone was riled up and it was a few hours past our lights out curfew when we finally went to sleep. The next day, someone had fixed the security light and, once again, at lights out, we were plunged into darkness.

Figuring I had won—at least a small battle—and made my point, I was content to leave things alone the rest of the week. And for the rest of the week no one said a word about the incident to me. However, when it came time to leave, the Counselor pulled me aside and handed me a flashlight. “This will save you some trouble the next time you need some light.” That was all he said. But it was enough to let me know my little prank hadn’t left him in the dark! ~

Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Social Studies

No, this post has nothing to do with school, and it’s not about social media either. But instead of continuing the list of subjects that I didn’t write about, maybe I should just tell my story. Okay, here goes.

My wife and I dined at a Chinese restaurant the other day and as is the custom, received our fortune cookies at the end of our meal. Though it’s tradition, fortune cookies are pretty much pointless. While some may actually believe in such things, I’m certainly not one of them. What’s printed on a little piece of paper inside a cookie obviously has no validity nor any ability to predict or control my fortune. It’s just a cookie. I don’t even like eating them. But it is kind of fun to see what they say, sometimes—usually, to see how wrong they are.

After smashing the cookie, I retrieved the little slip of paper and read: “You have great social charm and grace.”

Really? Me? Anyone who knows me is probably laughing while reading this. I may be a lot of things but possessing social charm and grace is most assuredly NOT on the list. Perhaps the cookie was meant for my wife!

I’m NOT a sociable person. It’s not that I mind talking to people. In fact, I love to talk. But a social function, and interacting with everyone? That’s not me. But, I have a wife who seems to enjoy it. And, she knows that while I do love to talk, there are some people I just want to avoid. So, she runs interference for me! She talks, and I escape.

This past weekend, we had a retirement party to attend. As usual, my wife was making her rounds, visiting with everyone. Me, I just ate some food, talked briefly to a couple of people I knew and was ready to leave. I learned a long time ago to drive my own vehicle to these things. That way when I’m ready to go home, I can.

On my way to the door, I saw another person who I knew didn’t really enjoy social gatherings. She was wishing she could leave but “protocol’ dictated that she stay. I told her I felt her pain but not enough to stay and suffer with her. And then I remembered what she’d told me at the previous function we’d attended. She’d said, “You may say you don’t like these events but you’re so good at being social. You have a certain charm and that helps.”

Has this woman has gone into business writing fortune cookies, I wondered? That’s not likely so apparently, my wife and I just have everyone buffaloed—I attend these get-togethers, she talks, and everyone thinks I’m sociable. Hey, works for me. I knew I married her for some reason! Give the lady a cookie! ~

Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Faster Is Better, Isn't It?

I drive a lot. And see a lot of things. And having a dedicated run, I see mostly the same things every day. Every week, month, and year, I’m looking at the same scene that I’ve seen many times before. But, this past week I saw something I hadn’t seen in years. Since 1974 in fact.

What did I see? A 70 mph speed limit sign in Oregon!

I know, for some of you—a lot of you, actually—this is no big deal. Most states raised their speed limits to 70 mph and higher long ago. But not Oregon. Oregon has been stuck at 65 mph (55 mph for trucks) for what seems like forever.

Back in 1974, when the national speed limit was set at 55 mph due to the supposed gas shortage—we still haven’t run out, by the way, and we’re driving more vehicles a lot more miles—Oregon took down all the 70 mph signs. And disposed of them, I’m sure. They should have kept them because here we are a “short” 42 years later, and the signs, or rather, new signs, are going back up. And the truck speed limit has been raised to 65 mph! That’s the first change for trucks since 1974!

You’d think that being a truck driver, and driving 700 miles a day, this would perhaps save me some time. But it doesn’t. My truck is governed at 62 mph just like it was before. Unlike old governors, which could be bumped, the computerized version actually limits the vehicle speed. The only way to make the truck go any faster is to let it roll down the hills. I do this of course, but it only works when I’m loaded. And for exactly half of my day I’m empty.

There is another reason the new posted speed doesn’t save any time. And that is, typical of a government venture, the new speed limit doesn’t apply in all of the state, only the eastern portion. The dividing line is about the half way point of my run. And of course, most of the hills are in the western part of my drive!

So, this past week, I’ve been getting passed a lot. Cars, pickups, and other trucks go zooming by. I even thought a bicycle was going to overtake me the other day! We were already known as the slow guys. Wonder what they’ll start calling us now? Oh well, I really don’t need to save time I guess. After all, what’s 13 hours out of my day? And what could I possibly do with an extra hour or two? Well, it’s just a thought but maybe have time to go see something I haven’t seen before? ~


Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook and paperback on iTunes, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.  Amazon Profile - www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Road To Somewhere

Today is a unique day that doesn’t happen often. No, I don’t mean leap year. After nearly five years of asking my wife to write a guest post, she has finally agreed! Yay! Take it away, Brenda.

The Road To Somewhere

Recently my husband wrote a blog about taking a drive, but here is the rest of the story.

I was to attend a meeting for my job. The location of the meeting was Young Life Ranch located in Central Oregon. Due to prior commitments, I was unable to travel to the destination with my co-workers on Monday. I was a little apprehensive about traveling to the middle of nowhere, but I figured if I asked my husband he would be willing to take a Sunday drive and I could become familiar with where I will be traveling alone in the days to come. Unfortunately, he was not willing. 

His unwillingness was not a problem. My friend and co-worker had given me a book with the phone number to the ranch and had written out specific directions; and my deferred departure would benefit the group, as I would be responsible for purchasing and delivering lunch for Tuesday.

Late Monday evening before my departure, I was browsing through Facebook and received a few messages from my boss. The first message said the road was very muddy and I should probably drive a company car instead of my own. I had already decided to use the company car as I thought it would have a radio. Later, I would realize it did not. The second message said there was no cell phone service.

Tuesday morning came. The lunchmeat was purchased. I made my way to my place of work and transferred the lunchmeat and my personal items to the company car. I started the car and noticed the low tire indicator was illuminated. My first stop was the tire shop. After all tires were aired to the recommended psi, I hit the road. 

After driving a little over two hours, I reached the small town of Shaniko, Oregon. I pulled out the directions and followed them exactly. Except I misread a preposition. I read the word “to” instead of “through.” I was supposed to go through the town of Antelope; instead, I started tracking miles when the sign indicated to Antelope. This is where things began to go south.

The sign on Highway 218 says Antelope/Fossil. My directions said go 3.7 miles and turn right. Go 4 miles, and then turn left. So, I drove 3.7 miles and saw a muddy road to the right. I thought this couldn’t be the correct road. There was no road sign. So, I went past the road. I reached mile marker six and thought, “I have missed my turn.” I waved down a car headed in the opposite direction and asked them where Young Life was. They were new to the area and did not know. But they informed me there was another turn-off a ways down the road. Since I thought I was already past my turn, I turned around and headed back to the muddy road.

There were fresh tire tracks in the mud, so I assumed others had recently traveled this road. The road was horrible. I was unfamiliar with the vehicle and could not find how to engage the four-wheel drive but basically, I was four wheeling. I am not a fan! One puddle completely covered my car in mud. The windshield wipers smeared mud, making it hard to see. After four miles, I saw what appeared to be a marker ahead to the left. However, the road between the marker and me was in worse condition than what I had already driven. I realized there was no way I was going to make it any further down this road. I needed to turn around. My conundrum was how to turn around. If I went off either side of this narrow ranch road, I would be stuck. I backed down the road, but realized I could not see and did not have control of the vehicle. I succeeded in getting the vehicle facing the right way, but then I was stuck—in the middle of nowhere.

I did not know where I was going, but I did know where I was. Remembering the message my boss sent to me regarding no cell phone service, I didn’t even look at my phone. I just threw it, my purse, and notebook in my backpack and grabbed the lunchmeat. I knew I was four miles out this muddy road and 3.7 miles out of Shaniko on Hwy 218. I could walk back to Shaniko, make a call and someone could come to get me and lunch would still be delivered.

I began my trek in the mud. As I walked I was thankful that it was not raining, it was not too cold, I was wearing boots and not shoes, I was not hurt, etc. Then I saw what appeared to be dog-doo. I realized at my location this excrement was more likely from coyotes than dogs. Oh, the places one’s mind can wander. 

After walking awhile, I finally decided to stop and check my phone to see if perhaps I did have service. Amazing! I had five bars of service. I made a phone call to the ranch and asked for my friend. They did not recognize the name. Eventually, they understood which group I was with. I told them I was out of Shaniko stuck on a muddy road. They assured me it happened all the time, and they would send someone to rescue me.   

After 10 minutes, someone called me back. During the course of the conversation, they realized I was not where they sent people to look for me. I was on a totally different road, at least 40 minutes drive time from them. But, someone was on their way.

I walked around a corner of Hwy 218 and saw the sagebrush mountainside and the long road ahead of me. I was carrying six pounds of lunchmeat and could smell it. My mind wandered to cougars. I was walking unarmed in their natural habitat and carrying meat!

Fifty minutes passed and still I had seen no one in my “nature walk.” Finally, a car drove by. Once the driver assessed I was not a threat, he backed up to where I was. He offered me a ride. It was a kind gesture, but I was taught not to take ride from strangers. And my mind was thinking if Search and Rescue had to come looking for me, at least if I stayed on the road they will have a reference point. If I got in a car, they would have no way to track me. I declined, but asked if he could tell me how far I was from Antelope. I was about three miles. As I neared this town carrying meat, my mind began to imagine guard dogs at residences in this community. This did not look promising.

After about ten minutes, another vehicle slowed down as it came toward me. I could see there were two men occupying the vehicle. I was apprehensive as it pulled to the side. The occupants were from Young Life Ranch and they had arrived to help me. Side note... the customer service of the Young Life staff is phenomenal!

My task was to deliver the lunchmeat for lunch that day. I wanted to make that happen. They assured me that lunch was covered and they were going to take me back to my vehicle to see if they could help pull it out. So, we returned to the muddy road. 

These two individuals were two young men. One was twenty-three and the other was in his late twenties. They wanted to drive down the muddy road; I did not want another vehicle stuck in the mud. Eventually, we decided to walk the four miles down the muddy road to where the vehicle was located to see if we could get it out. They appeared to be delighted with the adventure of traipsing through the mud. One even found a wild boar’s skull. We finally reached the Durango and they tried various ways to remove the vehicle from the predicament of being high entered. We were unsuccessful. You guessed it. We had to walk the four miles back to Hwy 218 where we had parked their truck.

The young men were confident they could pull my rig out with their four-wheel drive. It was decided once they got it pulled out they would drive it back to the ranch and should be there around 3:00 pm. Things do not go as planned.

My boss came to give me a ride while they tried what they could. Around 3:00 pm, I inquired as to whether or not the vehicle had arrived at the ranch. I learned the young men were not successful in their endeavor and a tow truck was called. The vehicle was towed to Maupin, Oregon, which is not near Antelope.

Hmmm... my suitcase was in the vehicle. The only clothes I had were the ones I had worn all day. I made a comment to my friend that I would just wash my clothes out in the sink and let them dry overnight. She let me know we had access to a laundry facility and she had an extra pair of pajamas that I could borrow. Great, but I am not comfortable walking in front of a dozen or more people in pajamas. She understood and graciously offered to wash my clothes and return them before morning.

Early the next morning, 4:30 to be exact, I was wide awake. I noticed my backpack sitting right inside the door. Might as well get ready for the day. Took the clothes out and noticed the underwear were missing! I guess I was going commando for the day. This was going to be one long, uncomfortable day for me. My prior supervisor would have said, “pull up your big girl panties, and move on.” Unfortunately for me, they were missing!

I made my way downstairs and waited for my friend as I didn’t know where the laundry facility was. When she came out of her room, I thanked her for her kindness in doing my laundry, but asked if she realized the bare essentials were missing. We made our way to the laundry room to locate the missing drawers in the washing machine—still wet.

At the end of the meeting, one of my co-workers kindly gave me a ride back to Maupin to pick up the company car. My bosses stopped at the tow company to thank them and to view first hand how filthy the car was. One told me to take it to the car wash in the morning. When I got back to town that evening the car wash was still open, but I was told I could not go through it, as the rig was too muddy. But, if I sprayed the vehicle down thoroughly I could receive a $2.00 discount, which I did. And after that adventure, I am completely washed-out.

Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook and paperback on iTunes, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.  Amazon Profile - www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

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