Thursday, May 17, 2012
I just allowed someone to enter my life and let him make me someone I don't want to be. The situation filled me with anger and disappointment and just cost me a night's sleep.
Here's the Reader's Digest Condensed version. We just purchased a tandem bike: something we've talked about doing for a long time and Gloria, my wife, decided that now would be a good time - my birthdays coming up soon. We were quite excited about the idea.
First we checked out Craigs List, came up with several, but none worked out for us. Then we did a little research on line comparing brands, decided on what we thought would be a good one and called a local bike shop. They had one that had not yet been assembled. Said they'd put it together and then we could come down and be sized for it. Turned out that it had a damaged wheel and they had to order a new one. In the meantime, we found another on Ebay that just happened to be available at a locale small independent bike shop. You know, one of those working out of someone's garage. (but in business a long time). Name of the shop was Rich's Bike Shop in Wellsville, PA. Supposedly, it was new, but a floor model with a couple of blemishes. The price seemed right and he offered me a discount if I'd purchase it directly through him (without Ebay) and paid cash. Yes I know - red flags everywhere and we ignored them.
Well to make a long angry story shorter, it became obvious that the bike was not new and on our second ride, the pedals, gears, I'm not sure what, locked up and we could no longer pedal the bike. We walked it back to the truck.
Now in the Ebay description it said there was a 14 day return policy and we decided to do just that. Rich wouldn't take it back. Said we didn't buy through Ebay; that we bought it through him for cash and therefore "as is". To say the least, we weren't happy and let it be known. Didn't matter, he didn't back down.
So threats were made and we ended up spending too much of the night figuring out what action to take.
A part that hurts is that I really liked Rich when we were dealing with him. He's an older guy still making a living with his bike shop. Problem seems to be that he now lets his grandson sell bikes for him on Ebay and I'm afraid it's the grandson who is putting his grandfather in a bad spot here. Rich originally said he'd give us our money back but then called his grandson who said "no way".
Okay, now we've both lost a night's sleep discussing the many things we might do - most of them things that would at a minimum cause Rich some discomfort and at the most damage his business. In other words, we were looking for revenge.
There's a problem with Revenge - it starts to make you act like one of the bad guys. I spend a lot of energy trying to live a life that doesn't make me one of these bad guys. So now what, roll over and play dead? That doesn't sit well either.
So now I'm thinking we'll take the hit, fix the bike and sell it for less than we paid for it. Maybe trade it in? I'm not sure. At this point I'm trying to come up with something that will make us feel good, not bad.
I've got a couple of ideas.
In the meantime, I'll go back to trying to live my motto of "Life is good" and accept that not everyone out there is going to make that easy for me.
Sunday, January 08, 2012
Okay, it finally looks like I might be back for more than just a day or two. Yes, it has been a rough couple of weeks for me, but I've got to tell you that along with the pain and sadness it was laced with companionship, good will, compassion, and love! I've been almost constantly enveloped by beautiful caring people who made Dad's transition into his next world as easy as it could be made as well as helping guide us gently into a world without him. I am ever so grateful for the gentle care of hospice nurses and aides - they are truly angels here on earth. They were never more than a phone call away and not only assisted my mother in the physical caring of my father, but sat by his bed near the end, held his hand and joined in our tears and grief as well. They even sent a harpist to play for him and mom on a weekly basis. How's that for an angelic activity?
Then there was Pastor Bill, a pastor from their church who visited Dad several times a week and would sit with him, share stories, laugh with him and of course pray with him. Yesterday, he presided over the service that honored Dad and he sounded more like a close friend than a minister. Bill personifies what I think a spiritual leader should look like.
Most importantly we've been surrounded by family and friends! Roughly 150 of them were present for yesterday's service. Many of them spoke publicly of how my father had influenced their lives and although much was said through the shroud of tears, just as much was accompanied by smiles and laughter. There was almost as much mirth as there was sadness. A fitting service for a man who enjoyed his life fully.
I wish I could properly convey how wonderful my family is. My sons shared the reading of the psalms, my wife and daughter-in-laws spent hours upon hours creating a collage of pictures and memorbalia that properly summarized Dad's life with his family, friends and my mother. My granddaughters, ages 7 and 8 handed out the pamphlets to all who came to join us and they brought smiles to everyone. My mother is this tiny petite woman who conveys more strength than any man I know. My one year old grandson stood with me in the greeting line gently playing with my beard, laying his head on my shoulder and smiling to all those whose hands I shook, making a very difficult task so much easier. And then of course, there's Gloria, my wife, who talks me through all of my frustrations, worries and emotional meltdowns.
Yes, it has been a difficult time, but now, my friends, I am happy. Yes happy. I am happy that my father had such a life filled with adventure and an amazing woman that he spent most of his life with. I am happy that I am more blessed than anyone that I know. I am happy that even now that I can honestly tell you that "Life is good!"
Below is a copy of my presentation that I made at Dad's service. I included it here because I believe it will give you a little idea of who my father was.
I’ve got to say that I’ve had a lot of time to prepare this little presentation – We were pretty certain about 18 months ago that Dad wasn’t going to be with us much longer, but somehow he became the energizer bunny and kept going and going and going and we were given a substantial extension on the time we had to spend with him. Perhaps the thing that impressed me the most over this past year was his attitude that he had taken about his situation. Repeatedly, he would tell me that he was a lucky man to be given this extra time to spend with us. Repeatedly, he would talk about his many blessings, which always included his family. Seldom did he complain about his life. Most importantly, he appeared comfortable with his relationship with his God and what God had in store for him after his departure from his earthly body.
Like my father, I wear my emotions on my sleeve, so I apologize ahead of time for choking up as I stand here in front of you.
Dad was a good man who worked hard and played just as hard. His working years were mostly years spent in the service station business partnered up with his dad, Pop Moyer, briefly followed by a time with his brothers Ernie and Stan and then for the majority of years with just my uncle Stan. These businesses did well mostly, in my opinion, because Dad like his father and brothers were friendly and caring people. They treated their customers, as well as their workers as friends. As a result, many of these customers and workers became exactly that – friends. In fact, one of the things that always impressed me was just how many friends Dad and Mom had.
Although, Dad worked long hours for most of the time I lived at home, he always seemed to find the time for the things he loved to do. I’m sure that many of you will remember that Dad was enough of a baseball fanatic that he built his own softball diamond in our back yard – equipped not only with a backstop, but with lights as well. For many summers, double headers were played weekly in our back yard. Bob and I were the only kids I knew with a real baseball diamond for a back yard!
Then of course there were his other interests: fishing, hunting, golf and bluegrass music! Summer after summer found us bass fishing in Canada along with Stan and Ernie’s families. We’d be up a dawn for the early top water fishing, back out in the afternoon with live bait and then again out in the evening to find those bass that were ready to strike right before dark. I think he barely had time to eat. Then after he retired he simply wasn’t getting his fill of fishing with his annual trips to Ontario, so he and Mom started spending winters in Florida where he could chase bass and crappies all winter long.
His deer hunting was something that he was able to drive Mom nuts with right up to the very end. Long after he was having difficulty getting around he was still finding ways to get to his deerstand down in the meadow behind their house. When he was no longer able to walk that far he drove his lawnmower to the stand. He spent hours in that deerstand and harvested quite a few deer from it after most men would have given up the effort.
I was probably 9 or 10 when he started to play guitar and like Dad always did when he decided he like to do something he jumped into it with both feet. Before long he was playing in a bluegrass band, had a collection on guitars, basses, mandies, and I’m not sure what else. Festivals became another summertime requirement.
Dad had a good life and he knew it. Maybe most importantly Dad had a good wife and he knew that too. Mom provided him with the opportunity to spend his hospice care at home with her taking care of him. It was a big job and he knew it and I know that he was very grateful for her. Mom – dad and I both thank you.
I learned a lot from my father. I learned that a good work ethic is important to a happy life and I hope I passed that on from him to my boys. I learned that marriages can work in today’s world, and I hope to be as happily married as long as he and Mom were. I learned that work is only part of life and that the rest of life has to be filled with adventure and fun as well. Glor and I have learned that lesson pretty well. I learned that if you treat others with respect, you get treated with respect as well. I learned that if you’re at peace with your God, death is not nearly as scary, nor is it the end. And to all of you, I say, that learned that the world is a better place because Dad was in it.
I will miss him terribly.
Monday, October 24, 2011
I'm one of the lucky ones!!! My life has been filled with activity, adventure and some really great people! My younger years were filled with speed! I was brought up in my dad's "service center" where I learned a love of cars and motors. By the time I was 16 I was building hot rods and getting high on the power of V-8's (motors not drinks). I loved the roar of the modified power plants unrestricted by standard eshaust systems. I was into motorcycles - the feel of the wind rushing by unhelmeted head. (or maybe it was through my head as I now look back at it.) I slalom skiied at high speeds and was quick to take stupid dares. Although my friends were much like me, always looking for excitement, I want to mention that believe it or not, we were not into alcohol for our kicks. Simply didn't need it. Life was good!
Got married when I was 21 to the girl you all know as "Luv" and settled down some, but not much. We still loved adventure, but sought it out in different places. We were never idle! Got started on a lifetime of camping, hiking, and outdoor pleasures. We made new friends who too loved to play. Volleyball was a big deal to us at the time and we played almost every weekend at least 8 months out of the year and even built a volleyball court in our back yard which was used for volleyball parties on a regular basis. Life was good!
During this stage of our life, all of a sudden we found ourselves to be parents! Whoa! Wait a minute, we weren't mature enough yet for that role! But we learned how to play the parts. The boys grew up moving from being carried in backpacks and sitting in bike seats to carrying backpacks and racing down rocky mountain trails on their own bikes. Volleyball got to be a family sport with the teens vs. the dinosaurs and the dinosaurs were good! The calendar was scribbled so full of events that you could hardly read the dates: sporting events, musical events, drama and working out at the gym kept us all in a very hectic mode! Life was good!
And then....empty nest!!! How did that happen? Our kids were grown up and we still weren't! So we filled the newly formed gaps in our calendar with travel and yet more adventures. When we got home from school on Fridays our pop-up camper was already hooked up to our vehicle that was already loaded with all of our gear and we were off for the weekend. Destination - all over the place - wherever there were festivals, or trails or moving water. Oh! ...and by this time we had taken on the new challenge of country dancing that we literally jumped into with both feet! In fact we got so fanatical about it that it became our part-time job! We taught beginner line-dancing at campgrounds all over PA! We had a blast! Life was good!
Suddenly, we're retired! Again, how did that happen? We still haven't matured! It's a whole new era, but the calendar is still full just about every day. Many of the activites are the same: hiking, biking, kayaking, etc. but today we have the freedom of traveling wherever and whenever we decide to do it. So instead of kayaking just in PA streams all of a sudden we find ourselves doing it in places like Kauai and Alaska! Wow! Who would have thought. And making new friends has become an even bigger adventure by forming friendships from all over the world on the internet and then actually traveling to them and sharing real life adventures with them. Life is good!
(Now for the really BIG "Life is Good" - these two immature fun seekers somehow became GRANDPARENTS! Just how amazing is that!!! Two granddaughters and three grandsons from 9 months old to 8 years old! Everyone beautiful and everyone amazing! It seems like Luv and I are always babysitting and we love it. Our house is again cluttered with a house made out of a cardboard box, kid size chairs, a rocking horse in the living room that was actually mine when I was a toddler (imagine that). There's artwork on the refrigerator and pictures hanging everywhere! Again I find myself with a kid in a backback and it might even feel greater this time. All of them have already been introduced to a love of the out of doors! I am almost overwhelmed by the experience of them. Life is amazing!
Along with the passage of time came new activities. A big one in our life I already mentioned - our country dancing. But there have been many many more. Both of us have learned many new skills. Luv has become a very talented and creative quilter. I learned a lot of new skills by assisting a carpenter in building my garage w/ 2nd floor wood shop and also building a large addition on our little house. (totally new experiences for a teacher of 35 years!) I've learned that I love to work in my woodshop, something I never had the opportunity to do for the first 56 years of my life. ....and now recently, I have learned that I really enjoy singing!!! I had done the teenage thing of being in a rock band, but we weren't very good (BIG understatement) and I never considered myself as to having any real aptitude for the activity. Then somehow about a year ago, we got talked into joining the church choir and for the first time in my life I find that not only can I sing in harmony, I love doing it. Just like speed (fast things, not drugs) made me high back when I was a teen, I have now learned that singing brings out that same great feeling! (BTW, I still like fast things! LOL) So, you know, I've still got to say: Life is good!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Let's just start off by saying that if you're the type of traveler that likes all the luxuries of the finest hotels and B&B's, then the "Get Up and Go tours" is probably not for you. No room service (unless you include your partner), no jetted tubs, no huge living/dining areas, most had no AC (this is Alaska), and most had no TV!!! Those kinds of places do exist in the touristy parts of the state, but this was after all an adventure tour not a luxury tour.
Now that being said, every place we did stay was clean, quiet, and had everything we needed to be comfortable (hot water and a comfortable bed!) A couple of the places were basically nice motels with nice amenities - one even had an indoor pool and a hot tub which we got back too late and were too tired to even think about using! A couple were cabins, again basic, but very nice. One set of cabins was along side of a fast running stream and each had it's own deck, (Yes a deck!) where our group would congregate for our "happy hour". (see Life is Good!)
My personal favorite was an OLD hotel named "Ma Johnson's Hotel" in a LITTLE town called McCarthy, which by the way is pretty much a ghost town. I loved McCarthy!!! But first a little description of our experiences leading up to this town. We arrived at McCarthy via 2 small bush planes that flew over some of Alaska's most beautiful landscapes - rugged mountains, with goats clinging to the jagged rocks and low lying glacier ponds, several that had moose feeding in them. Upon approaching our destination, our pilot flew us past deserted copper mines - structures built where only the goats should have been and the ghost mining town of Kennicott, 5 miles from McCarthy. McCarthy actually came into existence because the mine owners didn't allow alcoholic beverages and partying. So McCarthy sprang up out of need for saloons and women! Anyway, back to our introduction to this little town.
When we set down at the airport, a grass strip just long enough to land a small plane and a shack where mail was brought to to be flown out 2x a week. The pilot told us we'd find an ATV trail at the end of the runway and to follow it to town. He assured us we couldn't miss it. Roughly a mile later we came upon a couple of very rustic cabins (I'm being nice here) with junk sitting around everywhere and dogs that wandered out to greet us. Oh! Oh! What have we gotten ourselves into. (BTW, our guide was not with us at this point. He was driving our van in across 60+ miles of very rough dirt "road".) With nervous laughter and jokes about our situation we reached town. Two dirt roads with roughly a two dozen buildings most which looked long deserted. However, a couple of the buildings had been restored: Ma Johnson's Hotel and the saloon across the street!!! Yeah!!! What a surprise they turned out to be!!!! The hotel had few amenities including no outlets in the rooms and we needed to share baths, but the place was fantastic! It was like stepping back a hundred years (except that we had running water in our shared baths) and everything was beautifully restored. The innkeeper and the women who worked at the front desk were extremely friendly and helpful. It was perfect!!!
We stayed at Ma Johnson's 3 nights. Each night our group sat out on the hotel porch, drank our wine and brandy, and laughed and told stories under a beautiful stary night, truly out in the middle of nowhere!!! The one night Glor and I even gave line dance instructions out on the dirt road in front of the hotel! lol! OH! and it was here that we also got to experience our first Aurora Borelis - a living maganificent spiritual display that just filled us with awe!
In addition to the hotel being perfect, so was the saloon. The saloon is the hangout for the guides and the locals that somehow appear out of nowhere! It's always a party there and the food was outstanding!!!
I need to quickly finish this up and I have yet to mention the food other than the saloons. Lunches were supplied by "Get Up and Go" and consisted of packed lunches that we packed ourselves. The selection of food was very adequate and even included items liked smoked salmon. Breakfasts and Suppers were eaten at the saloons, restaurants and in 2 cases in the motels themselves. Everywhere we went we had outstanding meals. My favorites included the local fare of salmon, halibut and reindeer sausage. Is it any wonder that I didn't lose weight on this adventure!!!
Yep, Life was good in Alaska!
to be continued
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