Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Don't Think So

Shoveling five to six inches of snow off the driveway this morning, I was thinking about the weather person who predicted “a half inch or less.” My thoughts were not nice.

Then I was out on icy roads trying to avoid playing bumper cars with everyone else. I noticed several people who were playing, they didn’t look like they were having fun.

I decided rather than playing bumper cars a cup of coffee sounded good. That’s when I saw this sign. I had seen it last week with Char. I can see it now – stop in for a cup of coffee and leave with a tattoo on my arm. A heart and the words inside it read, “I Love Folgers Classic Roast.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


For the last few days, the wind has been whipping up around here. Not only does it keep you awake at night but the wind chill is down right brutal. I’ve walked around most the day muttering to myself, “I won’t be this cold at BLOGSTOCK ’08.” Right now July in Nebraska sounds pretty inviting.

Speaking of inviting. . .if you haven’t received your invite to Blogstock ’08 or are having trouble accessing the site please leave either Cliff or I a comment. We’ll try and help you out.

Make sure you read the post Cliff put up titled, Welcome to the Farm. I really appreciate the fact that he used the words "fertile brain cells" rather than other body parts which are often referred to when these types of idea surfaces. I also appreciate the fact he referred to us as “concept” people rather than just being lazy.

We are going to have some fun in July!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sunday Funnies

A truck driver was driving down the highway when he sees a priest hitchhiking on the road.

He stops to pick up the priest, but he has a few misgivings about giving him a ride. Usually when the driver sees a hippie on the road, he hits them -- with a priest in the truck, he'd have to swerve. But the driver decides to pick up the priest.

A little while later, he comes across a hippie hitchhiking. He decides to just swerve and let this one live when, all of a sudden he hears a "BOOM!"

The driver looks over at the priest, who says, "Don't worry -- I got him with the door."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Not Funny

A young lady at work walked into my office and started a conversation about my work car. She asked how I liked it because her husband and she were thinking of buying the same model.

“I hate that car,” I said. “It gets good gas mileage but that’s it. It’s cramped and there’s not much head room. If I drive across the state I need to get there early just so I have time to straighten up and don’t walk around like a little old man. It sets low to the ground so it’s hard to get in and out of. When you drive the visibility is terrible, there are a lot of blind spots . . .”

Just then, a “friend” my age walked into the office. “Excuse me Ralph but there’s a problem,” she said.

Those words have cleared people out of my office on more than one occasion. The young lady I was visiting with excused herself and left.

My “friend” handed me a folded piece of paper and immediately left my office. I heard her chuckling as I opened the paper. The note read, “Bad news Ralph. You are a little old man.”

Some things just aren’t funny – I wish her well in finding another job soon.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm in Trouble

I have many meetings in restaurants and coffee shops. Even thought I generally end up paying I am always happy to get out of the office.

Last week a meeting was scheduled at a small independently owned diner. I love those places they are generally a lot better than the national chains.

Reaching for the handle to the door, I knew I was in trouble when I saw the following:
All I’m going say is. . . .it’s pretty hard to screw up eggs, toast, and coffee.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sunday Funnies

As a teacher, Ms. Jones, was very curious about how each of her students celebrated Christmas.

She called on young Patrick Murphy. "Tell me Patrick what do you do at Christmas time?" she asked. Patrick addressed the class, "Well Ms.Jones, me & my twelve brothers and sisters go to the midnight Mass and we sing hymns, then we come home very late and we put mince pies by the back door and hang up our stockings. Then all excited we go to bed and wait for Father Christmas to come with all our toys." "Very nice Patrick," she said.

"Now Jimmy Brown what do you do at Christmas?" "Well, Ms. Jones, me and my sister also go to Church with Mum and Dad and we sing carols and we get home ever so late. We put cookies and milk by the chimney and we hang up our stockings. We hardly sleep, waiting for Santa Claus to bring our presents."

Realizing there was a Jewish boy in the class and not wanting to leave him out of the discussion, she asked, "Now, Isaac Cohen, what do you do at Christmas?" Isaac said, "Well, it's the same thing every year. Dad comes home from the office. We all pile into the Rolls Royce, then we drive to his toy factory. When we get inside, we look at all the empty shelves and begin to sing What a 'Friend We Have in Jesus.' Then we all go to the Bahamas."

Courtesy of Cliff

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Growing Up Ralph - On Wine and Love

The other night Char and I had a glass of wine with dinner. While that’s not an overly common thing, it’s not rare either. Sipping my wine, I started wondering why I like wine. Wine and I didn’t get off to very good start in junior high school.

Like many junior high students – I was more enthralled by things I couldn’t have rather than things I could. Wine was one of those things. My Dad had a bottle of wine stashed in his closet. One night, home alone, I decide, it was time. I took the bottle and ever so carefully poured some into a small jelly jar. Then using the greatest of care replaced the wine bottle exactly where it had been. I hid that jelly jar of wine in my room, anxiously anticipating the next day.

The following day I headed out to catch the bus with that jelly jar concealed in my jacket. All through the day, my friend and I kept talking about the wine. He never had wine either and we decided to taste it a soon as school was over.

We climbed on the school bus and sat down. Then the most amazing thing happened. A girl in my class sat down behind us. It wasn’t just any girl; it was my ‘true love”. Does it get any better? I’m heading home from school, talking with my best friend, a jar of wine in my pocket, and my “true love” is right behind me. It was time to celebrate! I took the wine jar out of my pocket, carefully unscrewed the lid and took a small sip. I really didn’t care for the taste but turned to my friend and said in a voice loud enough for my “true love” to hear, “This is really good stuff”. I handed him the jar and he too took a small sip.

Replacing the lid, I had a moment of brilliance. Now, was the time to make my big move. I turned to my “true love”, told her what it was, and asked if she would like a sip. She said sure. I had scored a homerun! I carefully handed her the jar knowing once she took a sip our “love” would be sealed forever and ever.

That moment will be burnt forever in my mind. At that moment I learned - sometimes “love” sucks. My “true love” got up, walked to the front of the bus, and gave the jar to the bus driver!

Our bus stop was approaching. I took a deep breath and proceeded toward the door ready to meet my fate. To my surprise, the bus driver just smiled as we got off the bus.

The next morning I met my friend ready for another day of school. I was a little nervous when the bus approached because I didn’t want to face the bus driver. When the door opened, it was quite a relieved to see a substitute driver. Life is good – or at least it was for the next twenty minutes or so.

As I stepped off the bus, my heart sank. There was our regular bus driver, the school Principal, the Vice Principal, and my “true love.” I could go into all the gory details but I’ll summarize them for you. My friend and I were suspended for two days and banned from riding the bus for a month. This was back in the days when parents were part of the plot. They made sure I walked to and from school every day.

I took a sip of wine and looked at Char, who is my true love, and decided I still like wine. I can’t help but wonder – if that had been Char on the school bus would she have turned me in?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sunday Funnies

Hillary Clinton died and went to Heaven. St. Peter was giving her a tour of Heaven when she noticed that there were dozens of clocks on the wall. Each clock displayed a different time of day.

When she asked St. Peter about the clocks, he replied, ''We have a clock for each person on earth and every time they tell a lie the hands move. The clock ticks off one second each time a lie is told.''

Special attention was given to two clocks. The clock belonging to Mother Teresa has never moved, indicating that she never told a lie. The clock for Abraham Lincoln has only moved twice. He only told two lies in his life.

Hillary asked ''Where is Bill's clock?''

St. Peter replied, ''Jesus has it in his office... he's using it as a ceiling fan.'''

Thursday, January 10, 2008

All Quiet

“So, tell me about All Quiet on the Western Front.” Most phone calls don’t start that way but a recent one with SORSO (Son of Ralph’s Significant Other) did.

When SOR (Son of Ralph) was a senior in high school, he announced if he completed one more book report, he would pass his English class and graduate.

I asked the obvious question, “When is it due?’

“Tomorrow,” he replied.

That’s bad, but to make matters even worse he didn’t even have the book! We went to the library, it was checked out. We went to a few bookstores they were sold out. Things were not looking good when one of us had an idea - maybe it’s on video. The video store had one copy of ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ left. We rented it and headed home.

Okay, I’ll admit it starts a little slow but that’s no excuse. Twenty minutes into the movie, SOR was sound asleep. I woke him up and told him to stay awake.

A few minutes later not only was he asleep but he was snoring. I woke him again and reminded him that book report was needed to graduate.

The next thing I know, I woke up. The movie was over and SOR was asleep on the sofa. Covering him with a blanket, I shook my head and resided myself to the fact that summer school was in his future.

A few days later, we were talking about graduation. Finally, I said, “Well, you’ll be able to walk across the stage with your class but you won’t get your diploma until you make up that English class.”

SOR replied, “I don’t need to make it up. I got an A on that report.”

“How? How did you get A? You didn’t read the book, you didn’t watch the movie, how could you have gotten an A on that report?” I mean really, inquiring minds want to know.

It seems like SOR had copied almost word for word what was on the back of the video box. His book report started, ‘An epic tale of one man’s journey. . . .

Monday, January 07, 2008

Ralph On Fire - Shower Tents

I saw it coming and ducked. It barely missed my head. Not everyone was as lucky. I heard the thud followed by the words, “Ah, crap!” It was happening again. . .

Our fire crew sat in the back of a military truck returning to camp, another long day on the fire line had ended. The dirt road we were on was heavily rutted and the driver was going just fast enough we were being bounced around. To make matters worse, dust from the military truck ahead of us was starting to cling to our sweaty bodies. Not that it mattered; we were filthy and had been for several days.

Pulling into fire camp, one of the crewmembers let out a yell followed by the words “We got a shower tent!” Hopping out of the truck everyone was smiling and staring at the tent setting majestically out in the field. Forest fires have a way of bringing you back to the basic elements of life – food and water. On any given fire if you had a good caterer and a shower tent that was all you could hope for.

I had to go to a debriefing so Alan went to see what hours the shower tent was available. Shower tents had a schedule. Certain hours were set aside for women, certain hours for men, not that they were always followed.

When I returned, Alan was waiting with a shaving kit, towel, and a semi clean change of clothes. On a fire like this one, semi clean clothes were all you could hope for. I grabbed my gear and we headed off to be clean for the first time in days.

Shower tents were functional not stylish. They were army tents with PCV pipe running overhead fitted with make shift showerheads. The floor consisted of wooden pallets, which after the first day always sank into the mud. These tents could hold thirty or so people at any one time. Modesty has no place in fire camp.

Entering the tent, we heard whooping and hollering, everybody was happy to finally be clean. I found an open showerhead and got under it. Even lukewarm, the water felt great. I was washing my hair (yeah, I had hair back then) when it started. I sped up my shower thinking I might be able to avoid it, but that was not to be.

It narrowly missed me. Then there was the distinct thud followed by the words, “Ah crap!” Turning around I saw it was a direct hit. He stood there with a freshly moistened cow pie clinging to his chest. For those not familiar with cow pies, they are irregular shaped objects four inches to over twelve inches in size. Colors ranged from a dull green to a dingy brown depending on how long they aged. They are commonly referred to as cow turds.

Alan saw the same thing. Acting in self-defense, Alan flicked a cow pie back across the tent with his foot. A flurry of pies started crisscrossing the tent. Another fire - another cow pie battle.

Finally, I heard Alan say, “I’ve had enough of this crap.” Yeah, he was right, time to rinse off and go.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Sunday Funnies

One Sunday morning, a minister wakes up and decided he would rather play golf than preach his sermon. He calls the Chairperson on the church board and says that he feels very sick, and will not be at church.

Way up in heaven, Saint Peter sees all this and asks God, ''Are you really going to let him get away with this?''

''No, I guess not,'' says God.

The priest drives to a town three hours away, where he doesn’t know anyone. The golf course is empty when he gets there. Out on the golf course he takes his first swing, drives the ball 495 yards and gets a hole in one.

Saint Peter is watching this in total disbelief and says to God, ''I do not believe it! I cannot believe You let him get a hole in one!''

God just smiled and said, “'So what? Who's he going to tell?''

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

If. . .

The sentences started the same way but the endings varied. Throughout 2007, I made a lot of statements that started, “If a year ago, someone would have told me. . .”

. . .DOR (Daughter of Ralph) and SILOR (Son in Law of Ralph) would be engaged and then married - I would have been shocked then happy. I’m not sure any father is ever ready for that day.

. . .SOR (Son of Ralph) would move to the Midwest - I would have been sad then happy. Sad because I didn’t want him to move (I was starting to get where I could almost beat him at golf) and I didn’t want him to be out there by himself. But, happy about the move to the Midwest because SORSO entered our lives.

. . .I would be playing golf with SOR and SILOR in Illinois - I would have hoped to beat them. That didn’t happen.

. . .Char would be right about having the basement finished and how much I would like it when it was done - that wouldn’t have surprised me. She is usually right about things like that.

. . .I would show a seven year old how super hero’s jump - I would not have believed it. The jump was made off a coffee table in my living room. It gave us all a good laugh.

. . . I would use one of my magical Komacalli (pronounced kom-a – call - i) bandages on a seven year old to make it magically quit hurting - I wouldn’t have been surprised. After all that is what magical Band-Aids are suppose to do.

. . .Cliff and Marilyn would make two trips to Denver to help us with celebrations - I wouldn't have been surprised. That is just like Cliff and Marilyn.

. . .the only time I would ever see Cliff sweat was when he had just finished cooking breakfast for a basketball team, only to realize lunch was rapidly approaching - that made me laugh.

. . .how hard I would laugh at SILOR when he saw an elk in the center of a town - I would have believed it.

. . .Char and I would take a 2,200-mile road trip to the Midwest - I’m not sure I would have believed it. But, I’m ready to do it again.

. . .the amount of time I would spend laughing with and at SORSO - I would have believed it. She really likes to laugh.

. . I would jump on a trampoline with a teenager and a seven year old and do so without breaking anything - I would have been grateful.

. . .that mastering guitar hero is a piece of cake - I’d know that was a lie. I never did get very good at it.

. . . how much we would smile when entering DOR’s classroom for the first time – I would have believed it.

. . .Char and I would celebrate Thanksgiving in Chicago and DOR would prepare a great meal - I’m not sure I would have believed that. It was just a year ago, her idea of gourmet food was boxed macaroni and cheese.

. . .how hard I would laugh as I watched SOR and SORSO walk into McDonalds on Thanksgiving morning all dressed up – I’d believed that.

. . .DOR and SILOR, SOR and SORSO, and Char and I would be on top the Sears Tower - I might not have believed that. That was great day of sight seeing in Chicago.

. . .I would be a little sad when Christmas got here - I wouldn’t have believed that. I had to stop being Santa to a couple of special kids a few hundred miles away and some kids in the neighborhood. But, Valentines Day and Easter are just around the corner.

. . .that Char and I would have Christmas with all the kids via a web cam - I wouldn’t have believed it. Fortunately, Char knew how to hook it all up.

2007 will go down as a year of change and great memories.