ATVs and PTSD

Just things, Travel

Yesterday was both fun and interesting.

Wednesday night Dave and I headed out for a 4+ hour drive to Portland, OR for certification on ATVs. The government requires certification for various things to make sure you know what you are doing, do not get hurt, and equipment does not get torn up. Chain saw operation requires the training and certification or you cannot operate one – even if you were a lumberjack for 20 years. Use of ATVS is the same, and in my position I need to use ATVs and UTVs.

We stopped for wood-fired pizza at one of his favorite places in Olympia, WA on the way. Farelli’s knows how to make a mighty good pizza, and the wood-fired ovens really add something to the taste (as well as the roasted garlic cloves on the top). I always wanted to try a wood-fired pizza and I now know what I was missing. I would recommend it as a great place – from one foodie to another! We got done and headed to Portland to our hotel. Portland sure looks beautiful at night.

Thursday morning we got up, got ready, and went to the training site. It was a rainy morning, and the forecast was for this all the live long day. We had some class work to do indoors, and then it was off to do some riding!

We had a Polaris UTV (much like my trusty Mule), a Honda 400 ATV manual, and a Polaris 500 ATV with an auto (my favorite one). The three of us students took turns with all three of them, doing various maneuvers, turns, and obstacles. We went over many things about these vehicles. It was a good course and I learned some things that I did not know.

We finished up with the outdoors part and then had to take a written test. Aced it! WOOT! WOOT!

After a late lunch we left to come back home. We were fat and happy and ready to spend the 4+ hours to get back.

We get back and I was getting settled in for a relaxing evening. The cabin phone rang about 8:00, and I thought “Now who in the hell is calling me THIS late?”. It was Dave. He had just gotten home, and not two minutes went by and he had gotten a call that there was someone on the Spit at the lighthouse with a dog with some story. He calls me up and says “Hey Shawn… ready to go back to work?”. He told me what was going on, so I said “Let’s go!” and the night was suddenly not relaxing.

This guy had said he was kicked out of his house and had no place to go so he was going to camp on the Spit for now. Well, that wasn’t going to happen since it is not allowed. Fast forward a bit…

Dave showed up and we utilized our new ATV training. He got on an ATV and said to give him 20 minutes then come down after him. It was a bit weird not really knowing what was going to happen, and I was a little on edge about it. It is dark, you do not know what mental state the guy is in, if he has anything on him, etc. Dave is Law Enforcement so I trust his judgement completely and just do what he says I do so I should be fine.

I went to the lower overlook on the trail and looked out over the Spit to see if I see anything. The brake lights on the ATV light up and I did not know what was going on – perhaps he was stuck. I went and grabbed some rope just in case, hopped in the Mule, and went down the trail to the beach without any headlights on. The moon was lighting things up just enough to see and the tide was out. Plenty of beach!

I got out there, and it was this skinny kid with a dog. Turns out he was about 29 years old, had gotten kicked out of his house, and had a dog that was a Pit Bull/Boxer mix that was given to him to help him with PTSD. I asked him if he was hungry and he said he sure was. I had quickly thought to put two Snickers bars in my coat in case he needed something to eat since I knew a bit about the situation before we left, plus I thought it might help relieve any tensions if there were any. I gave him the candy and he thanked me a lot and ate one down fast. Dave asked if I would take him up to the front gate and he would follow us. I said “sure” so we got his stuff and his dog in the back and he hopped up front.

This kid was really a nice guy but down on his luck as can happen to us all from time to time. He was cold, tired of walking (it is 10 miles round trip to the lighthouse), and seemed a bit freaked out by all that had happened. He does have a job so he has that going for him. I tried to encourage him best I could.

We got to the front gate. I told him to eat that other Snickers to get some fuel for the furnace to keep him warm while he slept… wherever that would be. Dave then remembered some chips and Coke leftover from our trip so he got those and gave them to him. He was grateful and we parted ways. I hope he can get his ducks in a row and get back to a more normal life – well, at least more normal for him.

I sincerely wish you the best, Josh.

Blogging and the world

Just things

Irish Prayer

Irish Prayer

This whole blog thing is still new to me in some ways – I am still trying to learn a few more things, but I can pretty much do what I need to do with it and make it look okay. It is rather fascinating that I can post something and someone halfway around the globe can read it, and then comment, like, and even follow it if they want to.

It is all so cool when you think about it. I have had 1015 page views so far, and have been visited by people in the U.S., U.K., Poland, Malaysia, Philippines, Israel, and Argentina. A big shout out to all who have stopped by to look, to those who have “liked” a post, and those that have followed me. I really appreciate it!

You know… it would really be cool if I could get a visit from at least one person from ALL of the countries on the planet – there are approximately 196. Perhaps you know someone in another land… just send them my link and have them read a post. Sure, it may seem silly to some people, but I think it might be an interesting goal to achieve. A “Like” or a “Follow” would be really nice, but a visit will be fine; we can work on the other later!

Thanks in advance for your help!

Shawn

Damn You, Wal-Mart

Just things

What the hell has happened to you, Walmart (or, Wal-Mart, as you used to be called)?

Not only have you infiltrated every small town and destroyed local business, you treat your employees like slaves. I guess that has given the okay for the rest of the corporate scumbag CEOs and their douchebag little lapdog managers who are now starting to follow your lead in how employees are manipulated, disrespected, and taken for granted. For several years I refused to shop there, knowing that they treated employees like shit and threw their clout around to get what they wanted regardless of the collateral damage inflicted around them.

After a few years they APPEARED to have started doing the right thing, so I started to shop there agin and spent many of my hard-earned dollars there as so many others have done, except you will never see me disgracing the human race on the “People of Wal-Mart” website.

Apparently, they have never stopped doing the wrong thing and had me fooled. With the recent labor issues at Wal-Mart coming to light I have once again decided to try my best to boycott that damn place, and I hope everyone else does too. American corporations need to start treating people like humans and we, as consumers, need to let Corporate America know that we support our fellow workers and not the greed that has become so commonplace in this country.

I saw this at the front door of the local Wal-mart and I had to laugh, yet I wonder WHO the brain surgeon was in the Legal Department is that thought THIS up:

Apparently, my money is not welcomed here

Apparently, my money is not welcomed here

I was talking with someone a few days ago and we were discussing Wal-Mart and the crap that they pull. We also were discussing shopping habits. He said that he shops at Safeway by what is only on sale and NOT by a grocery list – very little, if anything at all, in his cart is full-price. He shops very little at Wally World, and the next thing he said made even more sense. Sure, Wally World may have cheaper everyday prices, but when Safeway has a sale you save far and above the prices at Wally’s so it becomes a lot cheaper.

I was shopping there to SAVE money, yet with his logic it actually ends up costing me MORE money to continue to do what I was doing. I thought that made great sense so I will start doing that myself and I perhaps you will consider this and do the same.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!

Just things

My new iMac arrived today. Remember how when we were little our parents told us to not sit so close to the TV? Well, that is gonna be a problem with this one. It is huge – 27″ worth of Apple computing beauty sitting on my desk. I could probably tan with it.

I do not own a TV, so this will suffice when I want to watch a movie and will also come in very handy when I want to edit songs that I am working on. First I have to get all my info over from the old one to the new one and that is gonna take some time. I want to sift through a few things and not copy everything over. After I get that info off I will scrub the drive and sell the old Mac (in case any of my readers are wanting a Mac. It is a good one!).

Someone gave me a bottle of wine today. I have never really been a connoisseur of wine – it just did not seem like something I wanted to do much of since alcohol, to me, was usually not a daily beverage; it was something to get a buzz on with. It is a screw-top bottle, which, I have found, tastes pretty good and really compliments a can of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee ravioli quite well.

Glad to have my new Strat back – I picked it up tonight. New light strings and a set-up and it sounds better and plays easier. Now, if I could just sell the other three I want to get rid of…

Back to the gym tomorrow afternoon. I need to work off my extra calories from the feasting this past week. I did do pretty good, though. For my Thanksgiving I grilled a chicken breast and had it with a little dressing and gravy. It was pretty good, healthy, and it cleaned out the freezer!

Well, better start on swapping my Mac info over. Gotta get to bed and work in the morning.

Good night, Earth.