Wednesday, May 4, 2011


On a road trip to the Big'Un yesterday, we drive through snow squalls. It's May 3rd, for cripes sake.  The eagle that built a huge stick nest in the trees along a shabby and twisted river littered with dead-fall from grazing cattle between the little burgs of Leon and  Melvina isn't in sight.  Behind us, a long line of cars are itchin' to pass Jorge who drives like he did on patrol.  The totally overcast, pale gray, bone chilling weather is good enough reason for hitting the road.  We invent a fairly long list of supplies needed for survival.  Chief on the list are 1X6's.

It's too bad that we have to travel 130 miles to buy lumber.  The local Amish lumber company is closed.  Rumor has it that another local lumber company " turned them in"  for unspecified violations.  Since it's a rumor, I can't comment. The name will be withheld (it's not Home Depot) but from experience I can relate buying a cement saw blade from this company soured me forever from doing business with them.  Twenty minutes into a building project and Mountain Man Johann says the new blade is so dull, it turns red from the heat created cutting siding.  I call the owner who sold me the blade.  He admits that the $13  spent is wasted, but tells me there's no guarantee.  I don't want another defective blade, just my money back.

"Return it to the company. Tell them it's defective," I angrily respond.  He refuses.  I pull a wild card out of my pocket.

"Well, if that the case, the $250 I planned on spending for the rest of the project will go elsewhere,"  I say.

He grudgingly relents.  "Bring it back," he tells me, "But I won't sell you another one."

He must think I am inbred.

I hustle to the agri-center/hardware store and buy a diamond-tipped cement saw blade that costs $6 more.  It lasts the rest of the three day project. I never returned to the ____ lumber store.

Jorge and I discuss the limits of principles.  

As a former Wal-Mart employee, I wrote a full account of Wal-Mart practices.  True tales of deception, lies, deceit, brow beating and back biting I list under the catchy title Working For Star Market appropriately subtitled, "A Tang For a Whore."  I haven't amassed enough $ in my bank account to get a retainer for the local attorney.  Unfortunately, his wife works for Wal-Mart and she retains him exclusively to redress her grievances, like the smell from the floor wax which makes her ill.

The reason for applying for work with Wal-Mart is the story of my life.

Up against the wall, looking a starved wolf in the puss, I choose food on the table over poverty.  Thus, in my youth I worked for Pressed Steel Tank Company where the main object of fun is finding ways to kill or injure the "new guy".  Lifers at the company resented my squeaky clean, collegiate look.

Lining up at 6 am with winos and derelicts for a temp job paying $1.50/hour, I crawled through and cleaned the air ducts of the AO Smith company and rolled asbestos tubes down catwalks at Jones Island which were  to be used to monitor leaks from  the huge oil tanks next to the Milwaukee harbor.

Tired of working for a penny pinching local businessman selling pills and cotton puffs, I join the ranks of the teaching profession with a degree in Political Science.  My young wife just gave birth to our first born, deciding that a career as a mother and housewife looked a lot easier than working for the Hilton Hotel Corporation. We argued about that decision through births number two( are you sure you can handle another kid after ten years) and birth number three (but my biological clock is ticking) in which the doctor standing in for our "on vacation" doctor tells her the child has a prolapsed cord.

I point out to Jorge that the Kwik Trip convenience stores and The Home Depot are contributors to Governor Skippy Walker's campaign.  Cross gasoline and building supplies off my list. Cross a major drug store chain off the list after they fire my step-sister for taking a discount on bath towels the day after the sale expires.  It is a small oversight on her part. She's a reliable, capable employee.  Another employee from a foreign country where beheading and stoning is a popular form of punishment turns her in for the illegal discount, thinking that sniping and back biting are helpful ways of career advancement.

Whoa. I have digressed.  The sun's out. The kids are sunning themselves on the deck.I'm outahere. 

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