"Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hmmmm, Then What Could It Be?

The insurance adjuster is coming out personally, tomorrow, to check out my tenant's apartment.  His boiler inspector came out last week.  The boiler guy checked the oil level, even though it read empty, it was not.  He re-fired the boiler and immediately shut it down, there is no water supply to do a pressure test.  I had to kill the water supply because of all the burst pipes.  The educated guess for the failure is gelling.  I know they are still looking for some type of loophole.  They wanted all my oil receipts and maintenance records for the past year for the boiler.  I rent this unit out cheap, tenant pays utilities (heat and hot water), he has no receipts, he says he doesn't save them.  He pays cheapest price, cash, and cannot claim it on his taxes so he doesn't save them.  His house # is 104 and mine is 106 so it is not owner occupied.  They have me jumping through hoops to get this done (feels like trying to get my Class A LTC all over again).  It's like I have to prove I'm innocent.

I am having a hard time getting any plumber or hvac company to come out and look at it.  It's one of those "catch 22's".  I need running water to see if the boiler and electric hot water heater are bad, but I need the insurance money to get the plumbing fixed.  The insurance company wont give me money until they have an estimate and I can't get an estimate without first paying to have stuff fixed!!  Insurance companies suck.

Just for an added kick in the nads, the insurance company say I need new shingles on the main house.  My insurance will be cancelled if I don't take care of this in 30 days.  Touche, "Hey Massachusetts, kiss my ass!"

Life can be pretty funny at times and not so funny other times.

Whats Wrong With This Picture

I just looked at the last picture I posted and was amazed at my carelessness.  Just to be fair, I was just giving Caitlain (my niece) a ride in the driveway.  To my credit, I did make her put on a helmet.

Now, I look back at this and think, she should have put on boots too, I cringe when I see the flip-flops.  Maybe longer pants and not capris, is capris right?  I raised two boys, we only had pants or shorts, if they were in between, it meant you outgrew them.  A long sleeve shirt would be nice, a real helmet and not that little atv one she's wearing, maybe some leather gloves and eye protection.

As for me, I really don't want to get into it.  Looks like I just came from a PETA meeting, no leathers at all,  sneakers, Massachusetts approved helmet, etc. etc. etc.  If I get hurt, it's my own damn fault, but I will pay much more attention to my little passengers next time.

My wife got her motorcycle license recently.  I had her go to a safety class rather than teach her myself.  I have been riding some type of motorcycle since the training wheels came off my bicycle, so I have developed some ugly, bad habits on  a bike.  My wife came home from the first day of class and asked if I knew how to turn a bike?  I have never eaten a guard rail, so I must.  She then went on to explain how to steer a bike to me, I have been screwed up ever since!!  Too much thinking!!  Push, pull, left, right, what the hell?  YOU JUST RIDE!  Our first ride together, I was a mess.  I let her lead, "go at your own pace, I'll just follow along, it's all good."  Yeah, not all good.  Maybe for her it was, but following behind was rough.  Good thing we didn't have those communicating head sets, "slow down, move over a little more, slow down, watch the car in the intersection, slow down, street light, slow down, pedestrian, slow down."   Did I mention my wife raced before I met her.  Not 2 wheels but 4 wheels, racing non the less.

From personal experience, I know what damage you can do to your body and how much pain you can have when you crash.  I guess I just don't want to see her have to go through the same things I did.  Do as I say, not as I do!!

Life can be pretty funny at times and not so funny other times.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Traded For A Player To Be Named Later

I don't know if I mentioned in my very first post, I was given the option of getting another dog after we had put Bailey Boy (the German Shorthaired Pointer) down.  I wasn't ready for another dog.  We had an old lab mix and the Bichon.  Well, when I didn't pick up the option, that left the door open for Mr. Winston, the Poodle.  With four dogs in the house, including my son's dog, any mention from my wife about getting another GSP was met with one of my instant brush offs.  I never even considered getting another dog.  Some quick math on the lifespan of these smaller dogs and how many more years I have of bird hunting, left me with the reality of the fact, I probably wouldn't own another pointer.  Not that I am old, but the little dogs can live up to 18 years old and I am 46, so an opening in the stable wouldn't occur until I was about 64.  I don't know if I will be trudging through the swamps chasing pheasant at 64, I know I will be in a tree stand hunting deer, just not sure about the birds.

This has all changed!  My wife, who doesn't listen to me anyway, decided I did need another bird dog.  I can't say I'm not excited about the future prospect, because I am.  The puppy was born on 12/6, so I wont be bringing him home until the end of January, but I will be going to meet him very soon.  A new puppy with all these other dogs is going to be crazy.  Potty training, basic commands, advanced commands, bumper training, live bird training, crate and household rules, all while maintaining and building the relationships I have with the other dogs sounds a little overwhelming.

I guess you can say that I traded my sanity for a puppy to be named later.  Sanity is way over rated anyway, a puppy is much more fun.

Life can be pretty funny at times and not so funny other times.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Must Not Have Stocked Yet

I just walked, yes walked for 5 hours without cutting a single track.  It wasn't hunting, it was more like taking "the black powder" for a walk.  I wanted to find a fresh track and hunt that deer so I just started walking to look for a good track.  Not a single deer track.  Saw a couple of coyote tracks, squirrels, rabbits, maybe a fisher, and a couple of human tracks.  Best I can come up with is "must not have stocked yet".  I have run into this before, striper fishing in the canal, I think I need to contact Fisheries and Wildlife and complain.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fresh Blanket of Snow

There is a fresh blanket of snow on the ground.  What to do, meet with a roofer?  A plumber for the apartment?  Last minute Christmas shopping?  Food store for Christmas dinner?  Didn't you hear what I said?  A fresh blanket of snow!!  That means deer hunting!!  A great morning for getting on a fresh track and following like a hound dog!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nice Day

It was an early morning for Saturday, 4:30 am is early for me.  If I was to try and get up for work at that time, I would be late for work every day.  There is something about getting up for hunting.  I know everyone has their thing, my wife for a craft fair, my mother to watch the sunrise from the beach, my sister can get up early for dance, a buddy for golf, fishing, the races, four wheeling, snowmobiling, skiing, some people even love their job that much, but for me it's hunting.

I enjoy many different styles of hunting for different reasons.  Early season bow hunting, sitting in a tree stand 20' above the forest floor.  The leaves still green and the deer unsuspecting after a nine month layoff of intruders in their domain.  The first year deer acting like fools, showing their youth and inexperience.  Much like a school aged child, the young deer seem to have ants in their pants and the urge to explore all the new things in their world.  Pre rut, when the leaves are falling, bucks are becoming more territorial, rubbing trees and scraping the ground.  You can almost feel the tensions building in the forest, can feel something is coming.  The rut, when all rules and patterns of bucks are thrown out.  The male deer are following and chasing the females.  The anticipation of "The Buck of a Lifetime" could come crashing through the thickets at any moment or he could sneak silently through the wall of low pines.  He could appear from the morning fog and mysteriously disappear just a quick.

I am not a trophy horn hunter.  I believe any deer, taken in an ethical and legal way,  to be a trophy and something to be proud of.  One of my very first deer brought home was a small deer.  I proudly placed it on a tarp in the garage and proceeded to call my two sons.  "Bryan, Bob, come see what we got."  Wait til they see we got a deer, I can't wait to see the expressions.  They come out to the second floor landing and look down.
"Awe, who shot the dog?"  This is still a story that is shared every year between our hunting group, while having coffee before heading out to make a new story.

The camaraderie of a Saturday deer drive.  The back and forth banter between friends.  My oldest hunting buddy shot a deer last year after a 3 year dry spell.  Not that he hadn't shot the  previous years, because he did, he was on a 3 year miss spell.  I was about 200 yards away when I heard his 12 ga. sound off.  One shot.  I gave it about 5 minutes, I was waiting for a follow up shot, I figured that deer should come by me at about 60 mph.  I head over to see if maybe it was an accidental discharge (more banter).  He is standing there smiling from ear to ear filling out his antlerless deer tag.  I give a "what's up nod" and he gives me an "over there" nod.  Sure enough, deer down.  That got me smiling ear to ear.  I walk up to his deer to inspect the kill shot, beautiful placement, broadside double lung.  Good size deer, kind of skinny, guesstimate 110 lbs dressed. I grab a rear leg to flip it over and see the exit side.  The rear leg is floppy and bloody and the deer has male parts!!  There is arcing in my brain, can not compute, can not compute, no antlers, big male deer, one shot, two wounds at different ends of the body.  "Hey Donny, what was this deer doing when you shot it?"
"It was laying down when I saw it, it got up real slow and was trying to sneak off."
"Dude, this deer had been hit by a car and was a step away from dying!!  Is that the only way you can hit one, already wounded?"
"Oh, so you are calling this a mercy killings?"
"Wait til everyone hears about this one."

The solitude of still hunting or stalking is equally enjoyable.  The sights and sounds of the forest.  The woods changing with each week, sometimes days, in the season.  The other residents of the forest, bobcats, fishers, foxes, coyotes, all with natures instinct to survive.  You go into their realm, try to disappear or at least blend into the surroundings.  It just puts me at ease in the woods, it is awe inspiring.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Insurance Companies Suck

Well, I've come to the conclusion that ALL insurance companies suck huge!  One of my tenants let the apartment run out of oil (oil heat) and had electric heaters plugged in for warmth.  He left for a couple of weeks, work related.  I believe a friend or someone entered the apartment and shut off the heaters upon departure.  Well I mentioned the wind and temperature the last few days and nights, nighttime temps 5 degrees with 15 mph winds, daytime 25 degrees with 20 mph winds.  Not a good mixture.  The apartment is frozen solid, water pipes, boiler, toilet, forced hot water pipes, everything! 

I called my insurance company, Massachusetts Fair Plan, to inquired if this is a coverable incident.  I explained the situation to 3 different people to no avail.  "We would have to send out an adjuster."
"Can't you just tell me if things like this are covered?"
"No, I don't have your policy."
"Can you look at my policy and tell me?"
"No, there are so many variables."
Variables!  She said variables which I have determined means loopholes!  So I asked her "Do you mean loopholes?"
"Ummmm, ummmm, no, no variables."
Ding, something snapped in my little mind!!  Listen ass eyes, before I let one of your henchmen come to my house looking for loopholes, I want to know if something like this is even covered!  After a long delay of silence, I finally answer, "Ummm, Ummm, I guess I just don't understand why I can't get an answer.  I guess I will just call my agent and see what he says."
"Thank you for calling, is there anything else we can help you with today?"  What kind of stupid question is that?  You didn't help me with anything, how can you help with anything else?!

So now I'm sitting here contemplating how I know when to stop beating the tenant (is he still breathing?), how far up the ass of the insurance co. I should tell them to stick their policy (until you choke?) and how I'm going to pay for this damage if it's not covered (sell my sperm to the fertility clinic?).  With steam coming out of every orifice of my body right now, I'm wondering why I ever gave up drinking.  Ohhhh yeah, that's right, the alcohol destroys the filter on my mouth and actions.

Life can be pretty funny at times and not so funny other times.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Deer Sightings

Monday night I brought the dogs out to take care of business.  Clover immediately leaped the fence and headed towards the garden.  At about 50 yards, just inside the shadows left by the rear light, a deer blew at deafening volume.  She crashed through the briars at the back of the garden.  The other dogs were staring intently in the direction of the sound.  Not a sound out of the Beagle/mix, just tear-assing after that doe.  I called to the dog and she came right back, I think she was a little surprised by the size of the intruder.  I shined the flashlight out into the woods and the eyes were aglow.  Two deer standing about 100 yards deep in the woods looking back at the house. 

On Tuesday night I decided to hit them with the flashlight before bringing out the dogs.  The two doe where standing 35 yards from the back steps.  One was very, very big just standing broadside, head turned towards me.  What a sight.  Yet, they have not been around during the daylight.  They must be bedding down a pretty good distance from the homestead because they are not coming around until 10 or 10:30 at night.  Then I read a neighbor's face book page (probably 1/4 down street) and she reports an 8 pointer (a 4x4 for you muley chasers) munching on the shrubs in her side yard in the middle of the day.  I thought the rut and late rut were past but maybe one of these does is still going.  Hope to get in the woods very soon and try hunting him.

Massachusetts weather is saying "maybe" some snow coming on Sunday!!  I feel a sickness coming on for Monday!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Little Chilly Today

Was it really 20 degrees this afternoon?  I couldn't feel the cold, after my fingers went numb!  I was way under dressed.  I had on a pair of jeans, work boots, and light coat.  I was on my way from work and just happened to drive by one of my spots and just happened to have the black powder gun in the truck.  I put in a quick hour to hour and fifteen.  Man it was cold when that wind blew.  I had to take a stand because the leaves had a layer of ice over them, yeah, like walking through corn flakes.  I have not seen a deer during legal shooting hours since before bow opened!!  I keep telling the wife, if every season was like this I wouldn't be hunting.  Still have a couple of weeks to get it done with the black powder.

Not Just My Dogs

It's not just my dogs that are the problem.  My older son, Bryan, brought home a puppy.  He is an OTR (over the road) trucker and was in need of some companionship for those long drives.  Memory loss can be a good thing, I don't recall if he changed jobs, the dog hated the truck or his company said no dogs.  It started off with Clover, some sort of beagle mix, just staying with us for a couple of weeks until he could find a good home for her.  Fast forward 1 1/2 years, and it is now "Clover, Clover, Clover, come, come, Clover, Clooovvveeerrrrrrr, I'm gonna kick your ass as soon as I'm done with kickin' Missy's."  I had put up a 3' enclosure for the Poodle and Bichon, which worked great for them.  This beagle/mix can leap it easily, I'm not sure a 5' fence could contain her.  She looks like a gazelle going over the top.  This dog has a beagle bark, have you ever heard a beagle bark/howl.  That sound they make when they are on a rabbit!  It may be music to some people, but that wail goes right through me.  We had actually found people who wanted to take her but my son said no.  I guess our house was the only approved, good home he could find.

Number 2 son comes for a visit every couple of months or so.  He and his girlfriend bring their dogs Bubbles, a Jack Russell momma puppy mill rescue, and Boozer, some kind of bulldog mix slob.  I'm going to start charging admission to view the friggin' zoo that becomes of my house.  "Look Dad, Bubbles is smiling at you."

"Bob, if that dog bites me, it's going in the beating line right behind Clover!  Jesus Christ!  Missy is fixed, get that damn Boozer slob off her!!"

"What are they doing Uncle Scott?  Are they playing?" asks the 8 yr old niece.

"Yeah, well I guess they are Baby Girl.  Bob, Bob, BOB get that............ where are you going?  Out where?  Are we watching your dogs?  What the hell!?"

"Look Uncle Scott, Boozer is now playing with Mr. Winston".

"That's it!!!!  Crate up, crate up, crate up, CRAAAATTTEEE UUPPPPP, Missy I'm gonna beat your ass, crate up!"  The matinee is at noon so step right up to see the greatest show on earth. 

Life can be pretty funny at times and not so funny other times.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hunting Dogs

Meet Mr. Winston (Poodle) and Missy (Bichon Frise).

My wife says these are now my hunting dogs.  Non shedding and much smaller than my previous dogs.  Remington was my 75 lb. Golden Retriever that I had for 18 years and Bailey was my 100 lb. German Shorthair Pointer.  I know what your thinking about Bailey-Boy, but he was a GSP (on PED's).  My wife looked up the poodle on the internet and found them to be water dogs and the Bichon is a "sturdy breed", hence it must be a hunting dog.   Hmmm, tough to argue with that logic.

Training has been, how do I put it nicely, a challenge.  Neither dog obeys basic commands.  "Missy, Come.  Come.  Come.  Missy.  Missy.  Missy.  Hey dog I'm gonna kick your ass"!  If she had a middle finger, I think she would use it on me.  "Winston, Winston, Winston, Winston!!  Ahhhh what the hell!  I hate the French!".  Remington, the Golden and Bailey, the GSP, would kill themselves or anyone standing in their way, to get into heel-up.

Lets talk about maintenance.  After a long day hunting, swamps, mud, manure, or whatever, I would turn on the spiket for the garden hose.  November duck hunting, 25 degrees out, the dog still needs to be hosed off.  Now as far as Mr. Winston and Missy, let me put it this way, a groomer is way overpaid!!  These dogs have cost me more in 2 years of grooming than I have spent on my own haircuts for the past 15 years.  What the hell is that all about?  It almost ended last trip to the groomer.  Mr Winston came out with a pom-pom on his tail, my wife loved it.  I stand 6'1" and go 215, I felt emasculated walking across the parking lot with a toy poodle with a pom-pom.

"Fetch it up Remmy, duck down, duck down."  That dog would crash through ice to pick up a dead bird, and swim back to crash through another section of ice to get ashore.  Mr. Winston needs to put on a sweater to take a pee if its under 40 degrees.  Retrieve is another "challenge", that we have not mastered.  Most times they will not even pick up a ball.  If the bichon does pick up the ball then she proceeds to do something called a Bichon Blitz.  I really cant describe it without clenching my teeth and feeling as though my temples are about to explode.  YouTube "Bichon Blitz".

I would not recommend either of these breeds, toy poodle or bichon, for hunting.  But on a cold New England night it is nice to have one or two of these little mini heaters curled up in the crook of your knee.