Wed, 29 Oct 2003

Coats aren’t cool

We had our first snow, today. Not much, just a brief flurry in a fierce wind that looked eerily like a snow globe scene.

On a brief afternoon walk from the office down the street for a coke, we saw the middle school kids headed home. Many were without coats. Coats aren't cool. I remember that all too well. My boys never wanted to wear their coats.

Here's my sure fire, guaranteed method to get your teenager to wear his or her coat.

Let them go to school without it. Shortly after school starts, show up at the class room with your teen's coat. Interrupt the teacher. Excuse me… Oh, dear. There you are. You forgot your coat!

NOTE: If your teen still refuses to wear a coat to school, have him tested, immediately. It may be a sign of a severe learning disability.

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Blonde Coffee

I'm going to lobby for a name change. I'd like to see white coffee called blonde coffee. That way, Jenny's favorite coffee drink would sound even more like a personal ad that it does already.

Give me a hot, single, tall, skinny, blonde coffee mocha, please.

While we were vacationing, the farther south we travelled, the more difficult it became to find an espresso stand. And nowhere, after leaving Spokane, did we find white coffee.

Jenny made a point of requesting white coffee wherever she went, knowing full well they wouldn't have it. Then she gave them her sales pitch touting the benefits (as she sees them) of white coffee: no coffee flavor and 30% more caffeine.

Thomas Hammer, our local supplier of white coffee, may be getting inquiries from several western states wondering why the sudden interest in white coffee.

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Tue, 28 Oct 2003

Final Goodbye to Dad

On October 18, 2003 my father, Powell O. Mims, passed away after a long struggle with heart disease.

Dad was the brightest light in my life. He illuminated a fascinating world for me with his incredible intellect and zeal for life. He shared his fascination for math and science with me, lead me on many inward journeys of discovery, and helped shape my character and interests.

Dad achieved much in his life. He was an inventor, with at least two patents to his name. He served in the US Navy as a pilot. He worked for Martin-Marietta on the Titan missile system and other cold war era defense projects. He worked as a surveyor for PG&E in California before returning to Colorado to finish his education at the Colorado School of Mines, receiving his Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics.

In 1971, Dad moved us to Hotchkiss then Paonia, Colorado. He opened a self service gasoline station on Roger's Mesa (near Hotchkiss), then another in Paonia. The station in Paonia was also a fast food restaurant known, then, as the Huskyburger. Mom and Dad ran the businesses together. They became jobbers (distributors) for Husky Oil, then for Chevron Oil. They opened several more self service stations and supplied others. They had gasoline transport trucks and smaller farm delivery trucks. They provided many Western Colorado communities with fast, friendly service and low prices.

In 1977, Dad suffered a major heart attack. His doctors were not optimistic. They prepared us for the worst and performed bypass surgery in an effort to prolong Dad's life and improve its quality. He recovered from that first surgery remarkably fast, but continued to suffer from heart disease and several more heart attacks.

In 1982, Dad underwent another bypass surgery. His recovery from this one was anguishingly difficult. Heart disease continued to progress, and in 1991, he moved in with me and my family in Orem, Utah and was put on the waiting list for a donor heart at the University of Utah Medical Center.

Dad received a heart transplant in 1991. Unfortunately, the donor had Hepatitis C. That fact went unnoticed until 1994 when Dad was diagnosed with the disease and had already begun to suffer from some of the rarest and most brutal conditions associated with it.

Despite the difficulties, Dad spent many happy years with us — many more than his doctors predicted and many more than anyone with less determination, courage, and strength would have.

I am proud to have had not only a father-son relationship with this great man, but a strong, close friendship with him. Dad and I talked frequently on the phone, corresponded on-line, and spent as much time as we could together, even though it was much less time than either of us wished.

For about the last 18 or 20 months of his life, it was a struggle to just make it from one day to the next. Dad lost the ability to pursue many of the interest that had kept him so alive previously. He also lost most of his hearing. During the last weeks of his life, he was unable to converse on the phone, too frustrated with his inability to hear. I missed our normal telephone conversations terribly.

Jenny and I planned a vacation — our first two week vacation, ever. We traveled first to Colorado to visit with Mom and Dad, then to Arizona to spend time with Jenny's family. I spent some precious hours with Dad. He was tired and struggling, but he had not lost his whit, charm, and sense of humor. We parted with a warm hand shake and wave that I will remember forever.

On our return trip home from Arizona, we got word from my brother, Brian, that Dad had passed away. He died at home while Mom was away at work. Apparently, his heart finally failed. As much time as Dad had to endure in hospitals, I'm happy that he spent his last days at home with Mom instead of in a hospital bed.

Dad was absolutely devoted to my mother. Anyone of less courage and strength would not have been able to endure his daily routine. Dad fought through each day for the pleasure of spending one more day with the love of his life. She will miss him profoundly as will everyone that knew and loved him.

The world will be a much different place for me without the bright light that has guided and mentored me all these years. I will cherish his memory and hold dear the knowledge, skills, and love of life he gave me.

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Thu, 02 Oct 2003

Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap

Last week, I received a wonderful surprise in the mail. The Rivendell Bicycle catalog. The catalogue is a better read than most magazines. It's packed with explanations, advice, and anecdotes. These guys clearly love what they do.

And it's not just information about bicycles and accessories — this issue even had a bit of advice on personal hygiene. They plugged a product called Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap, billed as a soap, shampoo and deodorant, all in one.

Now, I love simplicity and efficiency. That's one of the reasons I enjoy cycling so much. What mode of transportation is so simple and efficient? And what could be more efficient than a soap, shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream, all in one bar?

I need to place an order with Rivendell, if for no other reason than to support the fine literary work they call a catalogue. But I didn't want to spend a shipping charge to try a bar of soap. So, before placing a bulk order, I found a local store that carried Grandpa's soap and Jenny picked up a couple bars for me to try.

Unfortunately, the experiment failed. The soap has a fragrance that would be pleasant if not so strong. It was overpoweringly strong. I showered before bed, using the Pine Tar Soap as both soap and shampoo. The soap rinsed clean, and I couldn't smell it on my body so much, but the smell of the soap in the bathroom soon filled the bedroom.

In the middle of the night, Jenny just couldn't take it any longer. So, I got up, put both bars of soap in a zip lock bag and hauled them out to the garage. I opened the bathroom window and shut the door. The order was still heavy in the bathroom in the morning.

I love the concept, but the product just didn't work out for me. Maybe I'm just plain nuts; even though the experiment ended in failure, I found the experience rewarding.

Two bars of Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap (one slightly used <g>) to a good home.

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About this weblog

This site is the personal weblog of Marc Mims. You can contact Marc by sending e-mail to:
marc@questright.com.

Marc writes here about cycling, programming, Linux, and other items of personal interest.

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