Monday, January 23, 2017

Toy Story

I remember as a kid, around age two or three, I used to think I couldn’t sleep through the night without a whole array of toys to keep me company. I’m not sure if it was not wanting to be without my toys all night long or if having them in bed with me made me feel not so alone. Whatever the reason, at that age, I was usually surrounded by stuffed animals, action figures, cars and trucks, and whatever else I could find before the dreaded bedtime arrived.

I thought I’d left that stage behind long ago but for the last several years, one of our dogs has been doing his best to take me back to my childhood. He seems to think I need as many chew toys as he can find, as well as anything else he can drag into bed. Since I work nights, my wife (and the dogs) are sleeping when I get home. And my side of the bed is usually piled high with various and sundry dog toys. I guess he feels sorry for me or something. And yes, I have tried taking them off the bed but that doesn’t work. He just waits until I’m asleep and them brings everything back.

And recently, my grandson is getting in on the act. He spends most Saturday nights at our house and lately has started piling his toys on the headboard. Last night, I counted thirteen different gadgets and gizmos (yes, times and kid’s toys have changed) lined up—on my side of the bed, of course. This is in addition to the dog’s toys.

Between the two of them, I’m well prepared, you know, just in case insomnia strikes. My grandson even told me one night that he put the toys there, so I could play with them if I  woke up before morning. I suspect his generosity may have been just to keep me happy—and make sure I didn’t move the toys.

Thing is, I’d be perfectly happy sleeping without things falling on my head during the night. Or, waking up with a sharp pain in my side after sleeping on a toy tractor. Or, having one of the electronic gizmos start buzzing in the middle of the night.

I guess they, the dog and the grandson, are just trying to keep me young. It’s working too, I think, because here I am thinking back to when I was two or three years old and reliving the past. ~

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, January 16, 2017

Out Past Curfew

When I was a teenager, the town we lived in had a ten o’clock curfew. No one under eighteen could be out past ten. And yes, they did enforce it. And they didn’t offer much leniency. One of my friends received a citation for working on his dad’s car one night—because it was on the street and that meant he wasn’t in his yard. And his dad was there! Even going to or from a job was not a legitimate excuse for breaking curfew.

As you may know, I was never good with restrictions, especially stupid ones, so this type of insanity was bound to create problems. When I asked my dad what I should do if I “had” to be out past ten, (hypothetically, of course) he gave me some wise advice: “Don’t get caught, I guess.”

At the time, I had a job working at a grocery store and sometimes didn’t get off until ten or later, which played right into my recalcitrant nature. Usually, I walked the few blocks to the house and most nights I made it without any problem. But there were a few occasions when I had to elude a police car or two.

One particular night, I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t notice the cop until he pulled alongside the curb. Before he had a chance to get out, I took off. Still a couple of blocks from my house, I ran up the nearest driveway, crossed through a row of bushes, and then cut through the neighbors’ yards until I reached my house.

Figuring I’d lost the cop, I calmly walked around to the front door (the only door my key fit). And surprise, there was the cop parked right in front of my house. Thinking I had been caught, I expected the car door to open at any second but I kept heading for my front door. Only after I’d unlocked the door did I look at the cop car again—and in the streetlight, noticed it was empty. Then, just as I was closing the door, I saw the officer come around the corner of my house. Apparently, he’d circled the block and not seeing me, had gotten out to search on foot.

Not able to resist having a little fun, I turned on the porch light, noisily opened the door, and stuck my head out. “Can I help you?” I asked.

I think he probably knew I was the guy he’d been chasing but there must have been at least a little doubt in his mind. With a perplexed frown, he asked if I’d seen anybody outside my house in the last few minutes.

I shrugged and said, “You.”

Nodding slowly, the cop said okay and after giving me a long stare headed to his car.

Smirking to myself, I closed the door, just as my dad came into the living room wanting to know what was going on. “Cops are looking for someone,” I told him. “They wanted to know if I’d seen anybody outside just now.”

“You were just outside,” my dad said with a look that said he knew I was up to something.

“Yep.”

I saw him look at the clock, so I’m pretty sure he figured out what was going on. But he didn’t ask any more questions so I didn’t offer any other explanation. However, I was fully prepared to tell him I was just following his advice when he’d said, “Don’t get caught.” ~

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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Sunday, January 8, 2017

That's Cold

I thought I’d left behind the sub-zero temperatures when I moved from Wisconsin back to Oregon nineteen years ago. And I had, until this year. Not that it doesn’t get cold in Oregon, it does—but not usually where I live. Cold here means the thermometer is hovering around 25-30 degrees. But this year...

This year, things are a bit on the frigid side. The past week I saw a minus sign on the temperature WAY too much. Every day, I think. The coldest was -8, which for a lot of people, that might not be too bad but when I’m working outside, it’s COLD! Yes, I’ve been in much colder temps, even worked outside in them, but now that I’ve acclimated to a warmer climate, my body doesn’t deal well with weather that refuses to go above zero. Or, maybe I’m just older than I used to be.

If you saw last week’s post, you may remember I had a lingering cold, and I still do. It’s hard to get better with all the time I spend outside in this weather. Even when I get home from work, there’s shoveling to do.

But then, there is a bright side to all of my woes. My grandson loves to help grandpa shovel. Sometimes that means dumping a shovel full of snow on my head, or putting the snow back on the sidewalk I’ve just cleaned but the look on his face while he is “helping” makes it all worth it.

A few weeks ago, he was helping clear off the deck and behind me, I hear his sweet three-year-old voice say, “Grandpa, I’m really sorry. But, I love you.”

When I turned around to see what had happened, I was met by a huge snowball to the face. The light fluffy snow easily broke apart and found its way inside my coat and the filtered down my neck. I let out a gasp and after catching my breath, went inside to dry off and warm up. My grandson thought it was a slap-the-leg hilarious moment.

Yesterday, we were again shoveling off the deck and having learned my lesson, I didn’t turn my back to him. Of course, that didn’t deter the child. With no warning this time, he scooped up a shovel of snow and, as I’d taught him, threw it. Except it’s supposed to go over the deck railing. This particular shovel full came right at my head.

As I was trying to clean the snow off my hat and face and yes, down my neck again, I hear the little voice say, “Grandpa, do you remember that I love you?”

Yes, I did, I told him. In fact, I think I’ll remember he loves me for quite a while, probably every time I’m cold. And this year, that will be often. ~

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.




Monday, January 2, 2017

What's New?

Recently, I heard some guys on the radio discussing how much life had changed in the last twenty years. To make their point, one of the guys asked the listening audience to take a moment to reflect on where they, the audience, were and what they, the audience, were doing twenty years ago. “I think you’ll see your life has changed dramatically.”

So, I did what they suggested.

Twenty years ago today, I was driving a semi across northern Wisconsin, in freezing rain, pulling an empty trailer. It was the first time I’d driven a semi in freezing rain and I was moving pretty slowly. But no other trucks passed me so; I guess I wasn’t overdoing it on the slowness.

To make things worse, I had a horrible cold; eyes watering, sneezing, and coughing. So, not feeling well, I just plodded along. Eventually, I got to where I was going—only to be sent back the other way, over the same road. But at least I then had a load, which did help a little. Still, it wasn’t exactly a fun day. I remember thinking “I wish summer would hurry up and get here.”

And now, twenty years later, what am I doing? Well, at this very moment, I’m typing this blog post, but soon, I shall be heading to work. Work will consist of driving a semi across northern Oregon, in what is expected to be freezing rain, pulling an empty trailer. Then, once I get my load, I’ll head back the way I came. I currently have a horrible cold with all the debilitating symptoms along the ultimately lousy feeling that goes with winter. I keep thinking, “I wish summer would hurry up and get here.”

So, not much has changed. So far, not much “new” is happening for this new year.

I couldn’t very well tell my story to the guys on the radio, so I told you! Happy New Year! ~

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, December 26, 2016

Christmas Break

This is just a short note to say that I will not be writing a blog post this week. After the busy Christmas weekend, I think I’m too tired to think, let alone write anything. And even if I did, I’m not sure it would make any sense.

But it was a good holiday. My wife and I were blessed to have all of our children and grandkids at our house to celebrate. And we were joined by my aunt, who helped keep us all entertained!

As usual, we had tons of food and yes, I ate way too much. But hey, it’s Christmas. And that’s part of the deal—eat anything you want and as much as you want all day long. Of course, then you have to put up with that sick bloated feeling but I think that’s part of the deal too.

I guess I’m not really sure if it was the grandkids that tired me out or all the food I ate. Or maybe it was the games we played (my wife’s idea): Funny Bones, Pictionary, and Taboo. Okay, these games aren’t exactly exhausting to play but you have to remember, I’m getting old. In fact, this is the oldest I’ve ever been at Christmas! I suppose I ought to thank my wife for trying to keep me young, but I fear her efforts are not working.

Seriously though, we did have a good time, and whatever the reason, I am a little tired as I write this. So, I hope everyone understands why I won’t be posting anything this week—or the rest of the year for that matter. Yes, I’m taking a little break. But don’t worry, I will return next year with new installments of this blog. Until then...  Hmm. Wait a minute!

I think something has gone awry. Somehow, this turned into a blog post. Guess I wasn’t thinking straight, but then, I did say that I was tired. ~



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.

Monday, December 19, 2016

It's The Thought That Counts

Zero degrees. And there I am, lying under a semi trailer in a foot of snow, rapping on brakes with a hammer. And with every tap of the hammer, more ice, frozen mud, and snow is falling into my hair and face. Oh, the joys of trucking in the winter!

The driver next to me was loudly cursing as he attempted to deal with his own frozen equipment. He said he’d tried to find a trailer that wasn’t frozen but hadn’t had any luck. “Yeah, at zero degrees, I think they’re all pretty well frozen by now,” I said.

After freeing all four brakes on my trailer, I went to help the guy and in just a few minutes, he was ready to roll. “How do you do that so fast?” he wanted to know.

There is a bit of a trick to it, but instead of sharing my “secret” information, I simply said, “Think warm thoughts.”

The driver gave me a dubious look, probably thinking I’d been out in the cold too long and lost my mind. I repeated my advice and then added something about tomorrow things would be better. The guy didn’t argue but I could tell he thought the chances of the weather warming up were nil. (I must admit, at that point, I agreed with him).

The next day, when I showed up at work, it was still cold. I saw the same guy out in the yard, again struggling to get his trailer rolling. After a trip into the office for some coffee, I figured I’d be joining him and was prepared to hear his profanity-laced tirade about how I’d been wrong—things hadn’t gotten any warmer. But...

When I went into the office, the dispatcher said I needed to pick up a certain trailer and take it to another terminal for repairs. One of the mechanics had just parked it outside, I was told. I did my best to not laugh but did smile a little to myself. If the mechanic had just parked it that likely meant the trailer had been in the shop for several hours, which meant it would be clean, dry, and warm—with no frozen brakes!

Pretending it was summer; I went out and hooked up—just in time to see the other driver pulling up beside me. Apparently, he’d seen the mechanic bring the trailer out and had enviously watched as I by-passed all the usual winter rigmarole of hooking up a trailer.

“How’d you get so lucky?” he grumbled.

I shrugged. “By thinking warm thoughts!”

Merry Christmas! ~

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.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Just A Few Days Off

Yay! I finally hit it right! Oh, maybe I should let you in on why I am so excited. Well, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I drive a truck for a living. A semi. And every year, I take a weeklong winter vacation. I try to predict when the bad weather will come and take my vacation that week. And almost always, I’m wrong. It will come the week before or the week after my vacation. This is my twentieth winter at this job and out of the previous nineteen years, I have been right only once—and that year I took my wife to a meeting for her job amid the ice and snow. And down the same road I drive in my truck too. Wasn’t exactly a win.

But this year... This year, I got lucky! I had last week off and nowhere to go when the winter weather hit dumping a foot of snow on us. Roads were closed (including the road I drive in the truck) schools closed, and a lot of events cancelled. And it didn’t affect me one iota! I drove around town looking at all the snow, seeing all the parked trucks, and watching people TRY to drive. It was actually kind of fun.

But now the vacation is over. Time to go back to work. Trouble is, winter isn’t over. Technically, it hasn’t even started. And looking at this week’s forecast, and that of the next week, I’m starting to wonder if I picked the right time for vacation or not. Looks like my few days off might have been a few days off—again! Most days are forecasted to have 3-5 inches of snow and/or freezing rain. That freezing rain thing is what has me concerned. 700 miles per day gets a little hard to do on ice! So, my celebrating mood might have been a little premature. Hmm, maybe next year, I’ll just take all of December and January off. But then, we’d probably get a big storm in November! ~

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.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Don't Jump!

It seems the older I get, the more stories I have about aging. Odd, isn’t it? Well, okay, maybe not. Anyway, here’s another of those “When I was younger” stories.

I think I may have mentioned the first part off this in a prior post but in a little different context. So, if you find it a bit familiar, read on.

Several years ago, around sixteen years or so I think, my wife and I were standing in the front yard when we heard a piercing scream come from the back yard. A blood curdling scream as they say. Our son and the dog were back there and from the sound of things, something horrific had happened. Not wasting time going through the house, I ran full speed and leapt over the fence—The 5ft fence. Keep in mind that I’m a short guy and stand only a little taller than that yet, I easily cleared the fence. (Funny what a guy can do when he thinks his kid may be in trouble, huh?)

My wife later wondered why I didn’t just use the gate. It was right there after all, but apparently, I was in hurry or something.

I’d like to claim the feat was accomplished due to some great agility and athleticism, or describe exactly how I was able to accomplish it but I have no idea. All I remember is hearing the scream, taking off running, and then landing beside my son. Who, as it turns out was quite fine. He’d just been playing. Testing his ability to convincingly unleash a terrifying scream. Or, perhaps he was testing his father, to see what sort of response to expect in the future.

Well, this is now the future. I’m pretty convinced that I won’t be jumping any fences. But just because I’m older doesn’t mean I can’t get to other side—even at a place where there is no gate.

Not long ago, my grandson lost a toy over the fence into the neighbor’s yard. Yes, the same fence. No, I didn’t even consider jumping it. Instead, I went and got a stepladder, set it up and then got a second ladder and put it on the other side. Then, it was just a matter of climbing up one ladder, crossing to the second one, and climbing down to get the toy. Much easier than jumping. Of course, in an actual emergency, that method would get me there too late but that’s the price of growing old, I guess.

The good part about that is, I doubt my grandkids would even expect grandpa to respond quickly to anything. To them, I’ve always been old. My son, on the other hand, is likely to still be testing my reflexes at any given time. I just hope he doesn’t actually ever need anything; he might be out of luck. ~

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.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Déja Flu

It’s said that history repeats itself and I’m starting to think that may be true.

Several years ago, when I was a kid, I remember getting extremely sick the week of Thanksgiving. It started about Tuesday and quickly got worse. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I was sicker than a dog. (Obviously a sick dog). I didn’t feel like doing much of anything that day, especially eating a big meal. But, as anyone who’s tasted my mother’s cooking knows, turning down a meal she has prepared is difficult, nearly impossible—even for a sick guy. So, I forced myself out of bed and managed to eat a sizable portion of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, etc. The traditional Thanksgiving meal made to perfection! By the end of the last dessert, not only was I still sick, but quite miserable as well.

But the very next day, I was feeling a little better. A few more days and I was fine.
I think it might have had something to do with the healthy qualities of my mother’s cooking.

And now...

Here I am all these years later and the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I start getting sick. It quickly got worse and by the time Thanksgiving arrived, I was sicker than I’d been in a long time. I didn’t feel like doing much of anything that day, especially eating a big meal. But, as anyone who’s tasted my wife’s cooking knows, turning down a meal she has prepared is difficult, nearly impossible—even for a sick guy. So, I forced myself out of bed and managed to eat a hefty portion of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, etc. The traditional Thanksgiving meal made to perfection! By the end of the last dessert, not only was I still sick, but quite miserable as well.

But the very next day, I was feeling a little better. As I write this I’m feeling pretty good.
I think it might have something to do with the healthy qualities of my wife’s cooking. ~



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.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Time For Thanksgiving

A rare occurrence should happen for me this week. Should. There are no guarantees but as it stands currently, it appears I will get to celebrate the holiday at home. Yes, a day off work! I know, most of you probably get all the holidays off but I’m not that lucky.

It’s not like I have a super-important job or something—I drive a truck. And no, I don’t haul hot loads of time-sensitive goods, I haul garbage. You’d think garbage wouldn’t be that critical. I mean, it’s not going to spoil if we wait a day or two to haul it. But, the powers that be think we should work holidays.

So, most holidays I’m driving down the road in my semi, while seemingly everyone else is enjoying the day off with their friends and family. Until the last few years, I’ve spent Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day, along with all the rest of the notable holidays, just driving. Of course, I do get paid extra, which is nice but I’d rather be home.

Just wanted to say how thankful I am to be able to spend the upcoming holiday with my family. With the upcoming holiday being Thanksgiving, I think being thankful is sort of like required. Well, maybe not required but definitely appropriate—or who knows, next year, I might be stuck driving again.

Happy Thanksgiving! ~

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.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Suggested Plan

A few years ago, when I built the deck behind my house, I built it right over the under-the-house access. My son, who wasn’t very old at the time, was a bit concerned about the wisdom of such a move and suggested I locate the deck elsewhere. He may have had a point.

Actually, I did put in a trapdoor so I could still get under the house if necessary. That worked well—in the summer when it’s hot and dry. The problem is, in the fall and winter months the boards on the deck swell up, and no amount of tugging or prying will open the trapdoor. I did anticipate this when I built the deck but the half-inch space I left between the boards wasn’t nearly enough. Once the wet weather begins, I’m locked out from under my house.

So, for the last 16 years, I’ve just hoped I didn’t have to go under the house for anything during those months. The last thing I usually need to do is turn off the sprinkler system and blow the lines out so they do not freeze and bust. Normally, I do this in early October—once I’ve decided my lawn doesn’t need watering. It has never been a problem, until this year.

This year, we had an early rainy season, thanks to a typhoon in the South Pacific. The prevailing winds carried the remnants of the typhoon bringing a lot of water. And it rained, and rained. By the end of the first week of October, the deck was sealed shut.

I waited; thinking there was still enough time for things to dry out but sadly, there was not. Although the rain subsided, the cool damp air didn’t allow the boards to shrink down. My son, jokingly suggested I build a fire under the deck—to dry it out, of course. And that’s what I did, kind of. It was more of a modern day controlled fire, though—known as a heat lamp and a fan.

It took a while (about ten hours) but eventually, the door did come open! I was able to get the water turned off and the lines cleared so next summer, my sprinklers will actually work! But... It seems there’s always a “but” to my stories, doesn’t it?

Before I could put the trapdoor back in place, the rain started again. The rain has caused the adjacent boards to swell up and now the trapdoor won’t fit. So now, it is sitting inside the house. With any luck it will dry a little more and shrink enough to match how much the outside boards have swollen. At least that’s the plan.

My son suggested as long as the trapdoor is open, and dry, that I trim a little off the sides to make it fit better all year long! (He seems to be brimming with useful suggestions)! I suppose I should probably follow his advice but where’s the fun in that? Besides, if I had listened to him to begin with, I wouldn’t have had anything to write about this week. Maybe. Now that I think about it, he would perhaps have a suggestion—or two. ~


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.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Trashy Reputation

So, I had a shorter weekend than normal thanks to my job—specifically, the DOT, the Department of Transportation. They are the government agency tasked with harassing truck drivers. Apparently, they don’t take too kindly to a guy (me) driving a truck that’s 2,400 lbs. over weight. And they felt compelled to tell me all about it in lengthy detail.

This was not news to me. After nearly two decades on this job, I’ve heard it all before. And in fact, the scenario that ensued has happened before—right down to how it ends.

The officer was fairly new to the job, I guess because he didn’t seem to know much about the company I drive for. He seemed to think it was necessary to covey how abhorrent it was that I was hauling all that weight illegally and how harmful it was for the road. The highway just isn’t designed to handle that much weight, he claimed. (Never mind that all a guy has to do is purchase an extended weight permit and then it’s perfectly acceptable to drive the same truck down the same road). He also informed me that anything more than 2000 lbs. over weight had to be legalized before allowing the driver to proceed. It’s not discretionary.

That meant I’d be sitting there until someone could come and fix my load, which would be several hours. That wasn’t at all appealing to me; Friday night, the weekend coming up, and by the time the load was legalized, I would be out of hours. That meant an additional 10 hours before I could leave. All this because I was, “just simply hauling too much weight.”

I didn’t argue, not much point in that, although I may have mentioned something to the effect that I didn’t care.

I think the guy was prepared to continue the lecture when the other officer on duty came over to see what was going on. After having the first guy explain the situation, he gave the man a perplexed look. “Do you know what he’s hauling?” he asked. Then, he answered his own question. “Garbage. He’s hauling garbage. Issue a citation and let him go.”

I got the feeling they didn’t want me around for some reason! Apparently, they don’t think much of having a full semi load of raw garbage sitting around smelling up the place. And the thought of having someone come to dig out part of the load right there on their lot isn’t appealing either. I guess that rule that was not discretionary actually wasn’t all that ironclad after all.

Soon I was on my way—with a citation, of course. But the company takes care of those so all the little episode cost me was a little time—­about an hour. I think somebody owes me an extra weekend hour! Maybe I’ll go to work a little late today and call it even. ~

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, October 24, 2016

A Chilling Scene

Regular readers of this blog may remember a few past posts where I lamented the fact that my house is notoriously cold. Frigid, actually—and year ’round too. (My wife thinks the air conditioner was invented for those balmy December days).

Long ago, my kids and I learned to endure the icy temperatures and deal with the artic blasts that routinely blow through the so-called shelter we refer to as a house. Sometimes this is accomplished by wearing a coat or multiple layers of clothing and sometimes, get this, by turning up the heat! That only works until my wife realizes the climate has moderated to a more normal, and livable, level. Then, with the flip of a switch, she plunges us back into the ice age.

I may have exaggerated some of this (slightly) but one thing is certain, it is always cold at my house. Spring, summer, fall, and winter, it’s cold. Sometimes, I think I live in Siberia! Although... there are a few benefits to such conditions, for instance: we do not need to refrigerate our pop, and there’s never any rush to put away leftovers—it’s not like they’re going to spoil!

My children have all moved on to warmer surroundings, but now, there is a new generation feeling the effects of my wife’s strange aversion to anything resembling heat. My daughter was putting away her laundry the other day and started to put her son’s fleece pajamas in his drawer. “No,” he said. “Those are for Grandma’s house.”

Poor kid. I know exactly how he feels. But it is nice to see the survival instinct kicking in! ~

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, October 17, 2016

Seal Of Disapproval

I learned something last week; seals are rather vindictive creatures!

While at the coast last weekend, my wife and I, along with our daughter and grandson, visited an aquarium. One of the features of this aquarium is they allow visitors to feed the seals. The food they provide is authentic seal food—otherwise known as fish.

My grandson was okay with handling the fish (much to his mother’s dismay) but after touching a particularly slimy one, he decided it would be best to let grandpa do the feeding. And that’s how I came to be standing beside a pool of ocean-like salt water tossing fish to a group of seals.

As one can imagine, the seals have discovered that performing tricks tends to get them more fish and they are quite active in this regard. They clap, stand on their tail fin, swim sideways and wave—anything to get attention.

I appreciated their efforts and felt compelled to reward them but I also wanted to distribute the food fairly. I didn’t want any of them left out, they might feel bad! So, after “paying” the most outgoing ones, I began concentrating on the few timid ones in the back. But one of the more active and agile seals thought he’d show me how well he could jump—and catch. As I lobbed a fish to the rear of the pool, he shot out of the water, snatching the fish out of the air, nearly out of the mouth of the seal I’d thrown it to.

Since I like to talk to animals as if they are people, I started scolding the fish thief. I told him he wasn’t very nice and taking another seal’s food wasn’t being fair. “You already had yours,” I said. “You’re a seal, not a pig.” And then I added, “You really need to learn to share.”

With one fish remaining, I stepped a little closer to the tank and, telling Mr. Fish Bandit it wasn’t for him, after a fake throw to the side, I threw it directly to the seal in the back. He caught it and then clapped for me.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself (yes, for outsmarting a seal—but hey, I’ve heard they are one of the most intelligent creatures) when I saw the fin on the seal who felt he’d been slighted come out of the water. Saw it go back. And then I saw it start moving forward. I knew what was coming but not soon enough to move out of the way of the big spray of water that shot toward me. And soaked me! Apparently, he hadn’t appreciated my lecture, or the fact that I hadn’t given him the last fish. I don’t know if seals can actually smirk or not but I’m fairly sure this one was!

Of course, my grandson thought it all was hilarious, as did his mother, along with my wife and a few other visitors who had been watching. Amid the laughter, I heard a little boy tell his dad, “You can feed them, I don’t want to get splashed.”

As we were leaving, people were still smiling when they saw the water dripping off of me. Yeah, I’m glad that getting drenched by a spiteful seal helped make everyone’s day! On the bright side, I didn’t have to add any salt to my food when we went out to eat later! ~

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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Sunday, October 9, 2016

To See The Sea

Well, in case anyone is wondering, the ocean is still there! This I know, I just went and checked. And there it was briny foam and all, just like it has been for thousands of years. Not that I had any doubts, but my grandson, who is turning three today, thought we needed to make sure.

His mother had planned a seaside visit for his birthday and after learning I would be going along, he said, “Yeah, you need to go. We need to make sure the ocean is still there.” When I asked where he thought it might be, he gave me an incredulous look and said matter-of-factly, “At the beach.” I’m sure he was thinking his grandpa needed more schooling.

October though, is not really the best time to visit the beach—at least in Oregon. Both days we were there, it was rainy, cold, and windy. Very windy—enough to blow the wet sand around. But none of that mattered to a little boy celebrating his birthday. For some reason, he seemed to be able to ignore the inclement weather better than the rest of us.

Actually, even for the adults it wasn’t all that bad. We chose a lot of indoor activities but we did manage to make it down to the beach too, right down to where the water was coming up to greet us, washing up crabs, sand dollars, and other creatures.

We spent some time exploring and then playing in the sand: building a sand castle, making things, and just digging. Oh yeah, and throwing sand into the air. Okay, only my grandson threw the sand, I just happened to be the one who was the recipient of his antics, thanks to gravity. Good thing I wear a hat, I guess!

Watching him was quite entertaining and made for an enjoyable trip—despite the weather. Somewhere, amid all the fun my grandson looks at me and says, “I told you this is where the ocean is.”

Yeah, like I’m the one who was wondering! ~

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, October 3, 2016

Hounded By The Vet

I was informed by my dogs’ veterinarian this week that I was not authorized to make medical decisions regarding my dogs. This is the same vet my wife and I have taken our dogs to for the past 8 or 9 years. And I have made many medical decisions for the dogs during that time. None of his seemed to matter; my name was not listed as an authorized person.

It’s funny though, they had no problem taking money from me. Apparently, I am authorized to pay. And I’m sure they would not have any qualms about starting collections proceedings against me if I failed to pay either.

Since I rarely refrain from saying what I’m thinking, I mentioned this to the lady. She said that since I was listed as the owner of the dogs, I was responsible for any payments that may be due.

My voice was heavily steeped in cynical sarcasm as I answered. “So you have me listed as the owner, but I can’t make any decisions for them? You realize how stupid that sounds, right? What is this, Obamacare for dogs?”

Instead of responding to my somewhat rhetorical questions, the lady just said I needed to have my wife call and okay adding my name as an authorized party. Which I did. But I was still incredulous and a little annoyed by the whole thing. I’m pretty sure the lady could tell too. Trying to mollify me she said, “The policy is really for your and your dogs’ protection. You don’t want just anybody making medical decisions for your dogs.”

“Right,” I said. “First, I’m not just anybody. As you have already said, you know I’m the owner of the dog. And second, “Is this really a problem? Do complete strangers routinely bring my dogs in for veterinarian care? Or anybody’s dogs for that matter?”

The lady admitted she didn’t know of anything like that actually happening. “But it could and that’s what we’re trying to prevent.”

“And you’ve done a remarkable job of it too,” I said, hoping their level of medical knowledge exceeded that of their common sense.

The good news is, my wife did call them and I’m now a certified, authorized, and responsible party! Yes, I’m allowed to request my dogs’ nails get clipped! And anything else, I suppose. So my dogs are safe! Except for one thing: even after all of that, they never asked for my ID. So, apparently all anyone has to do is SAY they are Bruce A. Borders and everything is okay. In light of that, if anyone wants to take my dogs to the vet for a checkup, feel free. It would save me a LOT of hassle! ~

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, September 26, 2016

Checks And Balances

Sometimes I miss writing checks. Or, at least some aspects of writing checks such as having a ready record of my purchases and being able to know how much I’m paying. With a card, you’re always at their mercy. I definitely do NOT miss waiting in line while some little old lady, or man, takes ten minutes to meticulously script their check and then another five minutes to record it in their register. Check writing was never intended to be an art form.

As you may be able to tell, waiting is most assuredly not my thing. So, years ago, when debit cards made their debut, the time saving factor is what got me on board because, as I’ve said before, I’m not that fond of change either. But when there is a purpose or a benefit to the change, I’m a little more accepting of change. And in this case, debit cards were much faster and more convenient.

Obviously, the banking industry did not transition from checks to debit cards solely for my convenience. As with any technological advancement, the driving force is to make things cheaper, easier, or faster for the business and not necessarily for the consumer. Since processing checks is extremely expensive, debit cards dramatically reduced the cost per transaction. The fact the cards saved me (and everyone else) time was just an added bonus.

But now, the powers that be have made another change; a change that a lot of us find very frustrating. If you haven’t guessed, I’m referring to the chip that has been added to debit and credit cards. It’s not that I’m against an added layer of safety, which is how the chipped cards are being billed. Anything that keeps thieves away from my money is fine with me. (Although, I wonder how much protection a chip actually provides. Anyone who steals my card is going to get the chip too. The two sort of go together). My complaint, and that of many consumers, pertains to the added hassle of WAITING for the card reader to recognize, read, and then verify the card before completing the sale. This has easily added 1 to 2 minutes to EVERY SINGLE transaction. Multiply that by a few million transactions per day and you have several thousand hours of lost time every day.

Okay, it hasn’t affected any of us quite that drastically—yet. But not everyone has a card with the chip in it—yet. And not every store has a chip reader—yet. For now, I tend to use and old card that doesn’t cause me any delay. But as fast as they are replacing everyone’s cards, it won’t be long before that won’t work. Then, I’ll be waiting with the rest of the world’s population.

The credit card companies do not seem at all concerned with our wasted time or our annoyance. They are saving money and the fact we, the customers, are negatively affected doesn’t matter. So, what to do? I guess we could all just put up with it; just figure it’s one of those things we can’t do anything about. Eventually, we’ll get used to the idea of our purchases taking three times as long as they should. After all, we’re saving the credit card companies millions and all it’s costing us is a little time.

Or, we could go back to writing checks! ~

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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Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Better Way

Electric car windows are great. Except when they’re not. And that would be when they stop working. Then they are very much a pain. And a little expensive to repair.

There have been a rash of electric windows breaking lately—at least in my limited world. First, it was my wife’s vehicle, then my parents’, and then my pickup. This past weekend, the window on my daughter’s vehicle stopped working. And of course, the window was down. And then to make things worse, it started raining!

As many of you may know, I find working on vehicles these days to be quite annoying. There is no room to do what I need to do, nothing is ever a simple fix, things tend to not come apart (or go back together) the way they are supposed to, etc. As a result, the job takes way too long. Also, it seems every time I work on a vehicle, I need to purchase a new tool, or two.

Unfortunately, this summer I’ve had more than my share of opportunities to play mechanic. In fact, most weekends have been spent fixing something on one car or another. That’s because even though I detest working on them, I really don’t like taking cars into a shop. So, like most things that need done around my house, I do it myself.

Except this one. This time there was a silver lining to my black cloud of repairs that’s been hanging out all summer—my son was visiting. No, I didn’t tell him he had to fix the window, didn’t even ask him, he actually volunteered for the job. I was more than willing to allow him the privilege, while I watched. I wasn’t entirely useless though and did help a little. I handed him tools as he needed them and held things now and then as he took the door apart, replaced the electric motor, and then reassembled everything. And yes, it did work when got finished!

As we were cleaning up, I decided that working on vehicles wasn’t so bad after all. Not as long as I had someone else to do all the work! Think I’ll keep his number handy. Never know when those power windows will stop rolling up and down! ~

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, September 12, 2016

The Death Of A Legend

Everybody needs a hero. And by hero, I don’t necessarily mean someone who has done heroic things, just someone who can be admired and respected. Someone who can be inspiring. Someone who seems larger than life.

For me, that person was Johnny Cash. I was more than just a fan. From as far back as I can remember I was mesmerized by the voice, the music, and the entire persona. In my mind, Johnny Cash stood the tallest of any celebrity.

Now, I’m not going to insist that he was the best singer, or the best musician. That is, and probably always will be, an on-going argument. Tastes in music vary considerably. Everyone has their own idea of what makes a great singer, songwriter, musician, song, entertainer, or personality. Speaking only for myself, Johnny Cash was the epitome of all those things. So, in my opinion, he was indeed the best.

Today, September 12, 2016, marks the thirteenth anniversary of his death. Although, I never had the chance to meet him, it was event that took me a little by surprise and did have an odd effect on me.

In an effort to pay my respects, soon after his passing, I wrote a song called There’ll Never Be Another Johnny Cash—my tribute to the Man In Black. With the help of my brother, Carl Borders, who provided the Cash sounding guitar, I recorded the song—a personal memorial to the man who I’d watched, listened to, and learned from since my childhood.

Anyone who knows me, or has read this blog for very long, already knows all of this, I’m sure. But it never hurts to repeat things once in a while. So, that’s what I’ve done. If you haven’t heard the song, you can listen here. I don’t think I really sound that much like the great Johnny Cash—I just sang the song in his style. My brother’s guitar playing is what helps the most, I think. But as the song says, There’ll Never Be Another Johnny Cash. ~

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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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Raining Dirt

So, a few of my sprinklers in the yard needed to be replaced. After several years, the pop-ups no longer wanted to pop up. I finally made the trip to the store, purchased some new ones, and returned home to start digging. And digging. Okay, it wasn’t THAT much digging. The holes were small—about 6 inches wide and maybe a foot deep. Even with six of them to do, the job didn’t take long.

Rather than do them one at a time, I opted to dig all the holes, replace the sprinklers, and then put the dirt back. That seemed to be the most efficient approach. But, it also led to a problem.

There’s this weird phenomenon that occurs when digging holes and then filling them back in; there’s never quite enough dirt it seems. (Perhaps because I pack it harder than it was originally, I doubt any of the dirt actually disappears). Now, with a small hole, this would hardly be noticeable. But with six holes, the small discrepancy of each starts to add up.

I had put all the dirt in a bucket and filled each hole out of my stockpile. That worked fine until I came to the last hole. The bucket ran out of dirt before the hole was filled.

Great, I thought, not wanting to walk the measly few feet to rob the garden area of such a piddly amount of dirt. Not that I’m lazy or anything! In my defense, the temperature was over 100 degrees and digging holes wasn’t all I’d done that day.

If I just had a little more dirt, I wouldn’t have to worry about it. Figuring that was no more than wishful thinking, I started to get up and head toward the garden. Just then, a sizeable dirt clod fell to the ground right beside me. By “sizeable,” I mean, as big as a softball. And by “fell to the ground,” I mean, literally dropped out of the sky.

“Well, that was simple,” I mumbled to myself as I reached for the dirt clod. I crumbled it between my fingers and spread it around the sprinkler head; I was quite pleased to see it was exactly enough dirt to fill the hole.

So, where did the dirt clod come from? I hear you ask. Well, I guess I could say that God heard my prayer and dropped the answer right in my lap, but it hadn’t really been a prayer, so that may be misleading. But what other explanation could there be? It’s not like anyone was excavating in the stratosphere directly over my house! And even though one of Earth’s elements, water, occasionally falls from the sky, I seriously doubt the same can be said for dirt.

And again, I hear you asking, “So, where did it come from?” Okay, okay. I’ll tell you, as I did discover its origin. Actually, the moment the clump of dirt landed in the grass, I had a pretty good idea. A peek through a crack in the fence confirmed my suspicion.

The neighbor’s grandson was visiting again. He likes to throw toys, rocks, and apparently now, dirt clods over the fence into my yard. I know, hearing how it happened takes away some of the suspense and intrigue. Still, it was rather amazing to have the right amount of dirt fall at just the right time, right out of the sky—mere moments after I’d wished it! Awesome really.

Next, I think I shall wish for a million dollars! ~

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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