Monthly Archives: May 2005


 Do you ever have those times when you have a lot of pressure built up and you have to let things vent? No, I don’t mean after a Double Stuft Burrito at Taco Bell! I mean like when you go to bed with too many things swimming around in your head. So I’m venting!

I attended my fourth in a series of seven continuing education seminars today. I need 40 hours per year to keep my CPA license active and need to report my hours every two years. Last year I didn’t attend any classes since I couldn’t remember anything longer than 5 minutes, so I’m doubling up this year.

I got there (Grand Rapids) at 7AM for a 7:30 start. There were 7 different sessions and, coincidentally, the first four were all in the same room. At the end of the third session, my butt was so tired of sitting, I started to stand up just to stretch my legs. Before I could move, the guy in front of me spilled his coffee, which he had placed under his seat. I knew it before I could see it because it all went into my left shoe. How could that happen? Has that ever happened to any of you?

It reminded me of the first day of school when we moved from St. Joe in town to St. Joe in the country. That was back in the days that we actually rode the bus and our parents didn’t take us to school every day. Anyway, we went to the bus stop and one of the kids (one of the dorks trying to impress the girls) found a chocolate milk carton. He stomped on it trying to make a popping sound like a firecracker, but it still had milk in it and it went all over my new school pants. The milk had soured and all day I smelled like puke with brown stains all over me.

O.K. So that kept my mind rolling for a while and passed the time in a somewhat boring seminar. The fourth session was presented by two people (they acted like robots, but I think they were alive) from the Securities and Exchange Commission talking about what’s new there. In unison, let’s all say WHO CARES!!!

In the fifth session one of the presenters talked about Sarbanes-Oxley, which is slightly more boring than watching paint dry. About half way through he made a reference to Mountain View, California in the heart of Silicone Valley. When he said that, I almost laughed out loud. Silicone Valley refers to strippers in Las Vegas. Silicon Valley refers to the tech centers near San Francisco. I know it doesn’t seem funny to you, but at that point, I would have laughed at anything including Roseanne Barr (she isn’t one of my favorite people).

This last Sunday, I had a good run in my Yo-Yo run series. I call it that because every time I have a good run, It’s followed by a bad one. Anyway, I caught up with a couple of runners and drifted into a conversation that Patti and Nancy were having. They run all the time together, so I assume it’s a soap opera conversation that has no beginning and no end. It just continues. I talked about wearing a heart rate monitor or Garmin GPS when Patti quipped that she was running naked. I’ll have to confess that I looked at her right away (even though it was Sunday), and it appeared she had clothes on to me. I guess she meant she was running without a heart rate monitor. A couple of minutes later she said she would be stripping all afternoon. I was going to offer to help, but Tom is a friend of mine and he probably should have first chance to help if he could. I later found out she would be stripping off old wallpaper.

The real reason to write this is to wish all the Trilanders who are doing the Bayshore Marathon this weekend, good race. I would say good luck, but at this point it isn’t luck. You’ve all spent countless hours and endured much pain to train for the race. So have fun. No matter what your time is, HAVE FUN!!! We’re all proud of you and will be there cheering for you.

Just (Bummed I Had A Sore Ankle) Jack

Pontoon Fiasco

 I’m back from Florida and we are now officially Florida trailer trash. We closed on the place on the 5th, moved everything from Mom’s den on the 5th, unpacked boxes on the 6th and 7th, and I came home on the 9th to rest.

I could have closed the deal through the mail, but flew down to combine the closing with being with Mom on Mother’s Day. I probably gained a few points vying for “Son of the Year” but may have lost a few since then. Mom helped with all of the above, plus drove me around to get insurance, drove me to buy a mattress and box springs, drove me to buy shelf liner, and drove me to Withlacoochie River Electric to transfer the utilities to my name. We (brother Bob and I) talked about taking Mom out to eat, but she had to settle for a bucket of chicken cooked by the Colonel (popcorn chicken, original recipe and chicken strips), cole slaw and mashed potatoes on plastic plates at the kitchen counter of the mobile home while a guy was cleaning the carpets.

In addition, Mom has the responsibility of sitting there with no running water (I turned it off before I came to Michigan) waiting for the bedroom set and dining room table to be delivered and “Holy Ground” to pick up the twin beds that came with the place but I didn’t want. I’ve also asked if she would make arrangements to get the carpet stretched, have new rollers put on the slider screen, have the place bug proofed and make arrangements for someone to trim and edge the lawn. Mothers like to do those things, don’t they?

I saw a pontoon in the Reminder (local advertising paper) on Tuesday, went and looked at it, took Jean to see it, and told the guy I would buy it by that night. He called on Wednesday at noon saying he had the paperwork all ready and I had a cashier’s check, so we were all set to do the deal. He was going to deliver the boat, but couldn’t get hold of the guy where he rents the pontoon trailer. He called at 5:10 PM and said he was about to pick up the trailer, and would probably be over at the landing at 7:15 or so.

After I hung up, I realized I was here at the cottage alone and the boat landing is a half mile by water and 2.4 miles by road. If I drove over, I would have to walk from the house to the landing to pick up the car. I decided to walk over and called the guy at 6, telling him to call me on my cell, not on the cottage phone, when he was ready. He said things were going better than planned and he would be there in half an hour. I couldn’t walk there that quickly so I decided to drive downtown, leave my car at Felpausch, and walk from there to the landing (1.1 miles).

I got to the landing just as the guy was pulling in from the Gun Lake area (Shaw Road off Gun Lake Road). He launched the boat and drove it to the shore while we finished the paperwork. I hopped on, he showed me how to operate the controls, and away I went. I have a sandy beach so I thought I would run it up on shore (my dock isn’t in yet) and tie it to an anchor. As I landed on the beach, the wind picked up to about 20 mph from the northeast. One pontoon came loose and the boat swung parallel to the beach, the other pontoon pulled loose and the entire contraption was headed for the neighbor’s dock.

I jumped off and pulled the one pontoon back to shore, but the boat was still swung over. I was up to my knees in the water with my pants, shoes, and socks on, wrestling with a boat that weighed a heck of a lot more than I could lift and pull. I know I looked ridiculous, but it would have been worse if I had taken my pants off to keep them dry. I finally got the boat to the point where it would hold there while I rushed up to the boat house, flubbed around with the lock (while in panic, you forget combinations), got two anchors and ran back down to the shore just as it broke loose again.

I wrestled it back to shore and got it stable. I knew the anchors wouldn’t hold it there, so I went to the seawall and got six concrete blocks, ran the anchor rope through the holes on three of them, and hooked the whole mess to the pontoon that was on shore. I pulled the other pontoon as close as I could get it, and tied it off to the other three blocks. It held! I went inside, took off my pants, shoes and socks, put on my jogging tights, dry socks and running shoes, and set off for Felpausch (1.3 miles) to pick up the car. I finally ate around 8:30.

I’ve been swimming at the pool at Pennock, and, as many of you know, my skin reacts to the chlorine. I usually go through 24 hours of intense itching before it’s tolerable. I had been swimming that morning and had welts under both arms, on both shins, on the backs of both legs (hamstring area) and in the middle of my back about two inches above my butt crack (I guess I could have said the small of my back instead of being crude…sorry!). I also had individual itch spots at various places, but let’s not go there.

The next day I was attending an all day conference at the Lansing Center that started at 7:30 AM, so I went to bed at 9:30. Between worrying about the boat breaking loose (I got it so late I didn’t have a chance to get it insured) and the intense itching, I didn’t sleep much. I finally awoke for good at 4 AM. I must have gotten out of bed, put on my glasses, and looked out the window a dozen times to see if the boat was still there.

I had an awful time staying awake during the seminar (can you imagine having no sleep and sitting in a classroom listening to a CPA talk about “The Financial Accounting Standards Board Update”, “Outsourcing’s Impact on Internal Controls – An Auditor’s Perspective”, and “Accounting Issues for Contingent Environmental Liabilities” …my three afternoon breakout sessions?). I drove home thinking that I would pull in the driveway and the boat would be gone. It wasn’t!

So again I ask the question. Why does all this happen to me? Does everyone go through these ordeals and are to embarrassed to tell anyone?

As soon as I get the dock in, the boat cleaned up, and my Captain’s hat, you are all invited to a ride around Crooked Lake on “Floating Margaritaville”.

Just (Dodged Another Bullet) Jack