Sunday, February 10, 2019

Rambling On

Google Street View
As I'm on the road this fine day...

Now, now, you there in the back, settle down.

Yup, rerun time. But you get music as well as the "blast from the past."

Man I love that song, I can even sort of play it on the bass. Well, it's been a while but I think I remember it. Anyhoo, I'm traveling, so without further ado, here's a little thing I like to call -
The Jacket
Alright, I need to confess one thing right up front.

I didn't say "effing". I said that Anglo-Saxon epithet which (in the form I used) would rhyme with "trucking". While I'm not proud (per se) of my choice of words at times, I'm also not ashamed. Much. (Well, maybe a little...)

So with that being said, let me take you back to December of '08.

It was the Thursday before Christmas. Our plan was to spend the holiday with The Nuke and The WSO at their place in Virginia Beach. Both of the progeny were single back then. The Nuke was assigned to Norfolk, The WSO to Oceana. So they shared a place. A townhouse actually. Very nice it was.

The Nuke was visiting someone up in Saratoga Springs, she being on leave from her ship, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. (I know, that should be all caps, but like Tuna says, it's too much like shouting to use ALL CAPS. Unless you're talking about TOPGUN. Then it's not only cool but required. But I digress.)

The plan called for 
The Nuke to drive down from Saratoga Springs on that Thursday evening. We would then all get a good night's sleep and then head down to the Old Dominion bright and early the next day. A Friday.

But the weather along the East Coast had other ideas.

I came home from work round about 1700 local (that would be 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time for all the civvies out there. In other words, Mickey's big hand was on the 12 and Mickey's little hand was on the 5, and it was dark.) 
The Nuke has already arrived at Chez Sarge from upstate New York and proclaims (and yes, I'm paraphrasing for dramatic effect) "Oh. My. God. We need to leave RIGHT NOW! There is a storm bearing down upon us which is supposed to deposit enough snow to trigger a new Ice Age!"

I said, "It's not supposed to start snowing until..."

"Dad, we have to leave now. OMG. Alarm! Alarm!"

Or words to that effect...

So we ate, packed up Big Girl (back in those days she belonged to 
The Nuke) and approximately three hours later we were headed south on I-95.

So we've got 550-odd miles of driving ahead of us, neither 
The Nuke or I have had squat for sleep in the past 14 hours and we have a "Winter Storm Watch in effect" (that last bit said with a sonorous tone, of course).

But we figured, it's late, traffic should be light. And, God willing, we will get to Virginia Beach before it starts snowing.


(Before I continue, I need to remark on something. Something critical to our story. In the back of Big Girl is our luggage. Perched atop that luggage is a black jacket. Remember that. It's my primitive form of foreshadowing...)

Well, things went real smoothly through the wilds of western Rhode Island (I swear, no one actually lives there, it's miles and miles of nothing. Um, check that. Little Rhody is called little for a reason. Perhaps I should've said "it's yards and yards of nothing". A bit more accurate.) And oddly enough the stretch of I-95 which runs along the coast of Connecticut was very smooth. During daylight hours that highway can be a choked nightmare.

Things were going well.

Too well.

That's when we hit New York. First the state, then the environs of the metropolis which is the greater New York City area. Now this stretch of highway is often packed but it moves quickly enough during non-rush hour times.

Not this night.

Now this highway is like 80 lanes wide (no, that would be L.A.) okay, more like six. And some genius had decreed that construction was going to occur along this stretch of highway feeding into the Cross Bronx Expressway. In the "dead of winter". At Christmas. Et cetera, et cetera. 

Said construction would, of course, reduce this massive thoroughfare down to one lane.

Yes, that's right.

One. Lane.

It took three hours to get to New York and three MORE hours to get through New York. 

We rolled into the Vince Lombardi Rest Area on the New Jersey side to refuel Big Girl and fortify ourselves with caffeinated beverages before sailing forth to cross the Garden State. Known to all and sundry outside of the state as New Jersey. Some call it "Jersey". Which I was led believe was a small island belonging to the United Kingdom lying off the coast of France. Again, I digress.

After discovering that Big Girl had a leaky tire, oh boy, and getting that semi-repaired at the gas station at the rest area, we set forth.

Long and wearisome was that drive through the long, cold winter's night. Nary a soul was seen after we crossed into Delaware. We could see the campfires lights of the inhabitants in the far distance and felt rather alone. Until we would come to one of the numerous towns strategically placed along U.S. Route 13 which force one to average approximately 15 miles per hour while traveling through Delaware. Which makes driving the length of Delaware feel like the same amount of time it takes to drive across Kansas. I know. I've done both.

Delaware, by the way, is the second smallest state in the U.S. of A. Yup, Little Rhody is, indeed, the smallest.

At some point in Delaware, or perhaps it was the Eastern Shore of Virginia, The Nuke declared that she needed to catch 40 winks.

"Dad, you need to take over at the wheel."

Before I could start muttering about crew rest and such, The Missus Herself came over the 1MC*, "You will get behind that wheel, you will drive and you will let our daughter get some sleep! Are we clear?"

"Ma'am! Yes Ma'am! Getting behind the wheel aye! Driving aye!"

Or words to that effect.

About thirty or so minutes, hours, days (I forget) we came to the rest area just before getting onto the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel complex. I pulled in for a call of nature and to smoke a cigarette (for back in those days I did smoke, I don't now).

The Nuke woke up and asked, "Are we there already?" Looking around, she quickly realized that that was not the case. She also noticed that I was standing beside the passenger's door and not the driver's door.

"What? That's it? You're done?"

"Yes, dearest daughter of mine. We are now within 20 miles of your domicile and rather than take direction from you, I thought it best if you drove the rest of the way. We're almost there and there's no other place to pull over and swap drivers."

"Dad. There are plenty of places..."

On this particular occasion I won. She drove. I would like to think that this was due to my superior powers of reasoning and use of logical arguments.


The Missus Herself was asleep. Or semi-so. She just mumbled, "Nuke, you drive. I'll deal with Your Father later." (Whenever she said "Your Father" like that, I knew I would pay the price. But not right at that moment. Much could happen before she...  Oops. Digressed again, didn't I?)

So we rolled into Virginia Beach with the sunrise. Well, it was lighter out. Overcast and cold. I'm sure the sun "rose" that morning, we just couldn't see it. But we were at the dwelling of the two sisters: The Nuke and The WSO.

Of course, The WSO was sound asleep on the couch. Awaiting our arrival. We woke her and while The Missus Herself crashed on the couch to continue her wandering through Dreamland the rest of us unpacked the car. Now, remember that jacket?

I picked that jacket up to bring into the house and realized that it was not my jacket! It belonged to The Missus Herself. Where is my jacket? Dammit. I am frantic. Where is my jacket. It was then that the following ensued...

"What's wrong Dad?" The WSO asked.

"Somebody stole my effing jacket!" I answered.

"No one is going to steal your crappy-ass jacket Dad. You probably misplaced it." said The Nuke.

"Really? Somebody stole your jacket? Those bastards!" sayeth The WSO. Who promptly began to pace up and down the sidewalk glaring at everyone who drove by. Accusing them, with her eyes, of being the perpetrator of The Great Jacket Heist of 2008.

I am livid. The WSO appears ready to do bodily harm to someone, anyone, when inside the house I hear -

"What is Your Father ranting about?" Oh dear Lord. We have awakened The Missus Herself.

"Dad claims that someone stole his jacket." The Nuke explained.

"Yeah, can you believe this crap? You guys drive all the way down here and some low-life steals Dad's jacket!" proclaimed The WSO.

"Tell Your Father to look in his suitcase. I told him to bring a light jacket just before we left the house. I saw him put it in the suitcase." said The Missus Herself.

Muttering dark imprecations I stalked into the house, tore into my suitcase and...

...found my jacket...

The Nuke "Dad. You're an idiot."

The Missus Herself "No. That's an insult to idiots everywhere..."

The WSO "Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Geez Dad. You worry me."

Yours Truly "Hey! Who wants some coffee?"

To this very day,

from time to time,

when I least expect it...

one of my daughters will look at me and say...

"Dad, remember that time when someone stole your effing jacket?"

Okay. So I'm excitable.

But seriously,

I really like that jacket.

*1MC = 1 Main Circuit, is the term for the shipboard public address circuits on United States Navy warships.

Yessir, I'm on the road again.

Hey, two tunes at no extra charge! Quit yer whinging.


  1. Seems your Good Lady Wife would be on the 21MC.

    1. Well truth be told...

      Yes, yes she would.

    2. Every woman I have been involved with has made it clear that the 21MC is for her use only.

      My married make friends tell me life is much simpler if you let her have the circut.

  2. Caffeine and nicotine accelerated by stress = short term memory loss. Now that you've retired short term memory loss is par for the course, ask me how I know. Also you've given a good example of "best let sleeping dragons slumber" saying, learnt that the hard way in D&D, a friend's rogue made bad saving throws, repeatedly.......REPEATEDLY during one session.

    1. Thank you Nylon, I thought that my recent inability to remember squat (even to the point of something I discussed with Mrs J 15 minutes ago), was an early onset something or another. Glad I'm not alone in this predicament....Or at least I can point to this comment and respond "See?.....". Not that that will make any difference what so effing ever!

    2. Nylon12 - Not quite retired yet, maybe in a year. So this short term memory loss isn't just me?

    3. juvat - If you need to point out someone far worse than you, have Mrs. juvat read this post.

    4. and here I am on a Sunday evening thinking about what's on the work calendar tomorrow, when I remember I retired on 21 January .... what's that about short term memory loss?? and why did I walk into the office??

    5. At least you remembered on Sunday evening, and not Monday morning!

    6. I actually have a plan of the day notebook in my back pocket. I add the things I need, then should get done the next day, along with shopping lists and plan ahead sections for important things in the near term future. Still trying to keep on top.

    7. Wow. That's organized.

      Me? I'd probably misplace the notebook.

  3. Someone stole my effing money!

  4. Lol!! Been there, done excuse is my memory is clogged up with other more important items of travels Sarge. We will be here when you get back.

    1. I have returned to the friendly confines of Chez Sarge. It was a quick trip to Mom's, a good time was had by all.

  5. I drive or we don't go. I HATE riding.

    1. Dwight - I used to be that way, The Nuke is probably better at driving than me. So now when I visit the progeny, I expect to be chauffeured everywhere. Like some Oriental potentate I am. (Or wish to be...)

    2. juvat - Riding the backseat is "fun." I don't mind being a WSO. Pilot gets blamed for everything. DAMHIK.

    3. Not at that point in my life yet, Sarge. I’m PIC or not going. Sorry Guys.

    4. I am a lousy passenger, probably because I spend so much time every day in the driver's seat. It is a much more peaceful journey if I drive, except then Hubbie spends the time telling me how to drive. So, traveling together is a huge exercise in patience. I am working on being more patient. :)

    5. juvat @6:07 - I get it. but when I'm playing an away game, I let the progeny drive.

    6. Suz - Patience is not my strong suit.


  6. Ah, due to certain... issues, I was gifted with great vision, able to see into the future, see the true hearts of Man, and not be able to see what is two feet in front of my face.

    One day, to surprise my lady wife, I cleaned the family room. I detailed the fan, cleaned the faux rafter beams, dusted the faux bricks on the fireplace, cleaned the fireplace, dusted and polished the wooden furniture, washed the windows, the blinds, the French Door (single pane of glass, but had two deadbolts in it - previous occupants were... weird,) vacuumed under, over, around, in and out of the two sofas, even vacuumed and dusted the lampshades, and vacuumed the carpet 3 times total (lots of cat fur...) I also cleaned the rest of the house, too.

    So, there I was, ready to surprise my lady wife when she came home from a long 28 hours at the office (she was a contract employee in charge of the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire in its infancy and often pulled 20 hours or more at work, totally unpaid, when she left they replaced her with 5 people, no, really, 5 people.) She came in to a clean smelling house, saw the kitchen was clean, the hallways were clean, the dining room was clean, the bedroom was clean, the Family Room was bright and shiny and what did she say?

    Mrs. A, "Why didn't you pick up the pizza box?"

    Me, "What pizza box?

    Mrs. A, "Quit playing with me, the PIZZA BOX."

    Perplexed Me, "What are you talking about?"

    The Empress of my Universe from her dias, "THAT PIZZA BOx!" (using the voice that can shake sense into the heads of idiot husbands, I think many out there know That Voice...)

    The lowly street churl, "Aw, G(taking the Lord's name in vain) da(word that sounds like the wall or barrier that holds water back) IT!"

    Yes, a large, vibrantly colored pizza box, on the floor of the family room, carefully vacuumed around, lying in plain sight.

    I can pick out continuity fu.. foul-ups on tv shows and movies (like the levels in glasses, burning cigarettes and candles, food eaten, even little things like slight changes in costume or jewelry. But I can Not See a friggin pizza box doing it's best imitation of a communist guerilla directly in front of me, and that was even before my belly somewhat eclipsed the view of my feet (I have really big feet...)

    So... Yes, we are idiots.

    1. Been there, done that, Beans. Got the T-Shirt (and Scars) to prove it.

    2. Beans - Now that is a tale for the ages. And don't ask me why I could not find a container of chili in the fridge Friday last. She put it right in front of everything else, to taunt me I suppose.

      Idiots Anonymous, it's really a thing. Or should be. "Hi, I'm Sarge, and I'm an idiot..."

    3. juvat - We are all brothers in idiocy. So our better halves think, and sometimes actually believe.

      It's why early man did not take the women hunting.

      "Ugh, Grog. You miss easy shot at mammoth. Ugh, watch..."

      At which point Missus Grog picks up a rock, flings it and kills the mammoth.

      "Ugh, Missus Grog, lucky shot."

      "Ugh, Grog, you idiot."

  7. I, upon deciding to head outside on a cool Autumn day, have spent ten minutes looking for the hoodie I was already wearing.

    She was impressed that you Simonized the cat right? women are impressed by clean, glossy cats. You did remember to Simonize the cat, right?

    1. Spend 20 minutes one morning looking for my glasses....til I walked into the bathroom and saw they were already on my face...mental face palm...

    2. The sun was out the other day, so I was looking for my sunglasses - then asked myself why it was kinda dark inside ... until I realized I had them on!! ain't getting older wonderful??

    3. Suz - Been there, done that. I was once talking with my daughter on my phone, she said I sounded distracted. I said I was looking for my phone, she said, "Look in your hand."


    4. Tom - I don't know how many times I've done that.

  8. Great story,,, maybe LUSH shoulda wrote it....
    She can write, can't she?

  9. Everything is all correct here. Men, responding to the Chain of Command - wife, then brain.

  10. I recently read that the US Navy Style Guide has eliminated the supposedly required capitalization of ship names. We don't have to worry about shouting or grammar now!

    1. I picked up a copy of that a couple of years ago, that new convention has been around for a while. (Except guys like ScottTheBadger insist on the "old ways.")

      I never did like the shouting thing.

      Thanks Chuck, er, I mean Tuna.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...