The Altima, Part Four: Turning Stone ’09

October 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Due to my spectacular 2nd year of classes, I would be returning to Delhi in the fall of 2009 to once again attempt to complete my degree. For the second straight year, I got shit for hours at Lowe’s again. With the Altima out of alignment, the tires being bald, and me being broke, the car sat for about 5 weeks until the bank decided to trust me enough to get a loan to fix it. While waiting for the loan to go through, Satchel was planning year two of the Turning Stone adventure, which was to be a week of drinking and gambling out in western NY. Since Hacker was flying in and Satch had no car, I was our only hope of getting out there. After 5 weeks of sitting, I fired up the Altima and drove it up to the garage, noticing an odd slight grinding of the brakes. A few days later, I was driving again, and this time there was a slight squeak of the brakes. After picking up Hack at the airport and being demoted to the backseat of my own car before we hit the highway due to stellar driving techniques, it was time for a good night of rest before our 8 hour drive the next day.

The next morning went off without too much of a hitch. Satchel was moderately groveling, as it is rare for him to wake before 11am during the summer if he isn’t going to work. Justin got us our bottles of Evan Williams and Zvenka (as 20 and 19 year olds are capable of liquor purchases) and we were off. The trip was rather uneventful, other than everyone screaming in my ear on I-90 as I played the gas mileage game again despite the fact that almost all the exits on this highway are 10-15 miles apart. That and Hack and Satchel being mad as all I had for the entire trip was 40 dollars and they would be footing the gas bill both ways.

Getting in wasnt bad, as we had a solid room and cable tv, good enough in my opinion. We immediately proceded to start cranking into the Zhenka and starting our 6 day assault on room service and eating chinese all three meals a day for the entire stay. The second day we convinced Rob to drive all the way out from Massachusetts in the Dog-Cage Volvo, and were skyping with Beckett to convince him to drive out as well when Hack decided to get crazy. While trying to show off by taking shots, he kicked the bottle of Evan Williams off the table which then proceeded to dump completely all over the floor and mostly into his sandals. This cut our alcohol supply in half. Lucky for us, The Hack is relatively good at Texas Hold ‘Em and a member of a poker forum where he then posted asking if anyone was staying at TS for the week. 10 minutes later he recieves a post from a guy who happens to be staying in a room- directly above us who happened to have enough beer for 10 people. 20 minutes later, I’m back in the room with this:

Yes, that is a suitcase with 61 beers in it. this managed to last us about 2.5 days, as we started playing beer pong as soon as Rob got there using our room service trays as the tables. During the time we did actually gamble downstairs, Satch and Hack broke about even, I lost my 40 dollars, and Rob set a record by losing 35o at the blackjack tables in 5 minutes.

The weirdest moment was right before Beckett arrived. We were all over by the slot machines and two dudes and some girl show up and almost managed to convince Satch to go with them by himself to the parking garage to buy weed (which we needed badly anyway). Me and Hack follow them out there (while Rob sobbed away at the other tables as if he was watching a Notre Dame game (a college he doesn’t even go to). As we’re walking to the dude’s vehicles to buy the weed, the three guys (there was now a third guy and another girl with them) reveal themselves to be “pimps” and attempt to sell the girls off to us for the night. After talking it over, hack decides that we (I) can’t afford it, along with the fact that Rob and Beckett would be unable to control themselves in this situation. We ended up never seeing these 5 again.

Once Beckett got there, things sucked in the room, as there were now 5 people in a 2 person room, with Satch and Hack in the bed, Rob in the chair, Beckett on the floor , and me on what seemed to be a combination of a footrest and a futon. Satch spent an entire night hugging the toilet, we chucked all the leftover marinara sauce from our mozzarella sticks at Hack as he was taking a shower. Of course, the TS cleaning ladies had 6 joyful days of cleaning our room (the Evan Williams smell never came out). Beckett managed to be rather good at the craps tables as he was there long enough for me to double fist two rootbeer & vodkas and refill them while I watched him. Of course it’s supposed to be illegal to just waltz around with an open beer in your hand but there I was just drinking away right out on the casino floor. After he finally got beat at craps, he went over to the slots where he managed to somehow win 50 bucks. Drunk Rob & Drunk Satch then made the best move of all-time by hitting max bet three times in a row and losing all 50 dollars in less than 30 seconds.

The last two days, Rob and Beckett drove home, Rob crying on the phone because he lost so much money he almost didn’t have enough to pay the tolls. Satch and Hack cashed out and then got the final hotel bill, where we found out that we managed to spend over $1,400 in room service over 6 days. We dropped Hack off at the airport and drove back to NH.

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The Altima, Part Three: The T-Bone

October 21, 2011 Leave a comment

As the end of August 2008 approached, it was time to head back to Delhi for what was supposed to be my 2nd and final year to complete my Associate’s. Around the last week or so, my only pair of sandals broke, leaving me with no “shower shoes” for the dreaded college showers. I made it my point to attempt to pick up a pair on the way to school. That Sunday, I stopped in Oneonta, the only form of retail stores within an hour’s drive of the school. Looking to pick up a pair of good Adidas’, I stopped at JC Penney’s only to find out they had none. My last resort was to head to Walmart across the mall parking lot. between the two stores there is an access road that runs next to a Burger King and into the road that goes into Walmart’s parking lot. As I pulled up to the stop sign, I saw a long line of cars coming out from the other way. Once again, like the windshield incident, I was in a hurry to go nowhere since I would be unpacking for two hours anyway. Seeing an opening, I floored it to make it across the two lanes. I looked again to the right as I went, just to see some African guy paying way too much attention to the inside of his car/on his cell phone. He decides to look up while less than 100 feet away from me, still with plenty of time to hit the brakes at only 20 or so mph. This required way too much coordination as he promptly slammed into the side of me which did nothing other than make a loud bang. After 40 minutes of waiting for a cop, finding out it was his sister’s car, and making sure his 1 year old little girl was fine, I really had no one to blame but myself. The worst part was at classes the next day when everyone thought that i stuck rims on a junker.

So basically for the rest of the school year, i had to drive around with this, the left front fender dinged in, anyone riding who couldnt open the right rear door, and the drivers seat back that Shiloh managed to rip out on the way to a Fisher Cats game. Not to mention the fact that due to being t-boned, the altima would be out of alignment the next 9 months. causing me to drive on bald tires all spring. On one trip up to Rochester, I hit a patch of rain that was bad enough on the tires, I started sliding bad enough to make me think one of my tires had gone flat. Having managed to fail two of my classes during the school year while compiling solid gpa’s of 1.26 and 1.29, I was forced to come back for a 5th semester with the Altima…

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Body Hair

October 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Before I get back to the tale of the Altima, this is a topic I’d like to cover first. It sucks, and I know firsthand how bad it is as a dude to grow it everywhere. However, there’s one thing that drives me nuts. Every morning out here, I get up around 530-540 to get ready to go on shift. And every morning, at about the same time I’m shaving/brushing my teeth, this fat guy who works for the State Department comes waddling/limping around the corner from the showers. It would be one thing if the guy was dressed, but he always decides to shave/brush his teeth with shorts and no shirt on. Its one thing to be fat, and its one thing to have a good amount of body hair, but when you mix the two, its a recipe for disaster. I have to look in the mirror to shave, and this guy always decides to take the sink directly behind me. Its already hard enough trying to get the hairs on the corner of my face, but when I have to do it with a view of this guy’s afro hair back looking back at me, I almost lose it. I guess what it is, is apparently this guy is just proud of looking like a gorilla. Its like that one summer after high school when Chan was so proud of his 10 chest hairs, that he played every sport with no shirt on, I guess in an attempt to move his chances with Katie Boivin out of the friend zone. But like Adam Brammer and drinking beer at a college party, that was never gonna happen. This guy apparently just comes in thinking 7’s wherever he goes. Like  escorting Afghans through my office while eating food as if he’s Starvin Marvin. I guess as one of my coworkers said, when you work for a government agency like the State Department, I guess you don’t really give a fuck about anyone but yourself and your job.

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The Altima, Part Two

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment

As mentioned before, heading off to college was a big step for me, as i would be making a 300 mile drive 6 hours each time i went between there and home, which was going to be a brand new experience for me. Staying awake was a challenge for trips like these, but that’s what loud music and rest stops are for. I was somehow able to cram all of my shit from my room into the trunk and other three seats, basically limiting my abilties to use anything besides my side mirrors. I made the trip alright and for the first couple months of school, had no issues driving around the Delhi campus and around town. The first two major incidents with the Jarmobile occurred while coming home on two of my school breaks.

When Thanksgiving break started, I said “fuck Wednesday classes” and took off bright and early in order to be home by the afternoon. I drove about 7-8 mph over the speed limit as I usually do without any repercussions. As I approached the NY/VT border, things took a turn. As I reached the last town before the border, I got stuck behind a line of cars all going about 2 below the speed limit. as we rounded a corner, the car in front of me decided to be slow enough to leave a space in front of him big enough for a car to pull out then slow both of us down even more. As I was already in a big enough hurry to go nowhere, this pissed me off pretty good. As we hit the straightaway, I decided “fuck this guy” and pulled out to pass him. I flew by, pulled back in, then noticed the two cop cars (including a K-9 officer and his dog in the second car) sitting at the end of the straightaway. Somehow, before he even pulled out, I managed to pull  over to the side of the road, now pissing off the guy i just passed. As I had managed to stop on a bridge, i look in my mirror and see the cop frantically waving his arms. I pull maybe 3/4 of the way across, decide im not gonna worry about this guy and turn the car off. Guy comes to my window and the first cool thing he can say is “What the fuck is your problem?”.. after about 30 minutes of bullshit (including them searching my car, threatening to tow my car and put me in jail because i had insurance but not an updated card) they let me go with not one but three tickets which later came out to $515 in fines.

Four days before Christmas, I took off a few hours early on school break because there was a major storm coming to snow the town in. Getting across NY was rather brutal but cleared up going east through VT until i got back to I-91. About 80 or so minutes from home, I have a death grip on the wheel, still going 60 through driving snow while trying to pass a pack of cars. While following a guy in the passing lane, I suddenly hear a loud crack, like a bit of ice hitting the windshield. About 20 minutes later, I look up to see a good sized crack at the top. Already pissed off, i kept driving on. When i got to Woodsville, I had the option of taking 302, a 40 minute straight shot, back to Littleton. My grandmother had recently gotten in a car accident and i decided to take Route 135 to see her. not even a mile out of town, i hit the sharp, narrow right hand turn that carries the narrow part of the road along this section of the Connecticut River. Being “safe”, i TAP the brake heading into the corner. Big mistake. I try turning the wheel to no avail, which sends me straight into the guardrail. Had I gone any faster, I wouldve been through and down 20 or so feet through the ice into the water. Seeing as there was only fender damage, I decided not to risk any more chances and drove home instead (pointless, I know).

Lucky for me, I made it through the rest of the school year without any damage or accidents, and my plans were to replace the fender and headlight from the next summer’s work earnings. The rims from my previous post were purchased that summer, however, due to the fact that my hours were cut down to nothing, most of the profits i made were spent either on gas or travelling down to manchester for Fisher Cats games. I was hoping to replace the fender at some point during the next school year, since I had enough connections in NY to get a cheaper deal on the fender.

Then came the return trip for my 2nd year..

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The Altima, Part One

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment

A memory that shares both triumphant moments and pitiful defeats. The Jarmobile. The first vehicle I ever owned. The Altima was given to me by my grandparents as a graduation/we love you/good job for being 18 and not a bum present. It was a free vehicle with initial insurance agreed to be paid for by my dad, leaving me with only maintenance and gas costs. As I had also gotten my first job the week of graduating, at Mac’s Market (somehow legally able to call itself a grocery store), I also needed a car with which to get me there. This is where the Altima stepped in. It was nice having a vehicle of my own instead of having to ask one of my parents to drive their car everywhere just to bring it back. It was the coolest feeling in the world to be able to not worry about how hard I drove this car, since it wasnt my dad’s $30,000 Grand Cherokee. Of course within the first month, I made sure to test how fast it could go (I couldnt get any extra speed once I hit 123, between exit 40 and 38 on I-93 south), where I could drive (low sedans aren’t fond of the massive rocks on Oregon Rd. in Lisbon), and how long I could drive (going past a “next exit: 15 miles sign” with the gas tank indicator hovering on the E line with Satchel and Shiloh screaming in my ear).

Besides getting to work, I now had a means with which to go on trips during my rare off days from a $6.50/hr, 40 hour a week job. At least every other Wednesday and Friday, funds permitting, mornings meant gassing up the Jarmobile, picking up the Summers Bros. and heading on one of two trips: the 45 minute drive down 302 through Crawford notch to Above The Stairs Card Shop, or the 2+ hour drive down I-93 to Collector’s Heaven,

just so we could hang out in there for half an hour and spend maybe 50 bucks a piece on any good cards we could get our hands on. Once we discovered Collectors Heaven and Above The Stairs, Strike Zone, the local “card” shop, pretty much had its days numbered. By 2007, Merril was going to have a tough time trying to sell all his 1991 Donruss Nascar cards and single cards like 1993 Craig Grebecks. A visit to either of these two shops was usually followed by lunch at either DQ in Glen after a trip to ATS, or Wendell’s in Concord after going to CH. the most exciting part was sitting in the car after our purchases and opening up all the packs of cards. This made for a pretty exciting summer, as the Jarmobile was totally capable of getting us anywhere we wanted. Once summer was over, all the fun ended and it was time for me to head off to college, a new experience, and the first time i’d be driving more than 3 hours  one-way by myself.

Below is the Jarmobile with relatively no issues at the time.

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Thirsty Thursday

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Or at least it would be back in the states… instead its just another day in the office out in the ‘Stan. 4 months in, there have been rough patches, but i feel like i could do this for a good while without getting bored. Having to deal with around 400+ locals, contractors, and military personnel a day means I’m usually always on my toes, even for an entire 12 hour shift. Most people back home like to complain how bad their 8 hour a day, 5 day a week job is and how tough they have it. While working up here isn’t necessarily physically demanding, I’ve been at it 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for the last four months. This is what it’s probably like being a single parent who has to work two jobs to pay all the bills, never any off time… However, at least in my case, there’s an end in sight. At some point in December, in about 7 weeks or so, I’ll be boarding the plane to send me back to Colorado to finish the last 22 months of this enlistment. While I’m fortunate enough to go home early, most of the rest of my unit gets to be stuck here for another 6 months of bullshit.

At this point, what I look forward to most, is to be able to go back and get things in order for the next 2 years. When i got there back in October, i had the obvious distraction of knowing i was confirmed to deploy in 8 months, and to spend most of the time leading up to it training and readying personal equipment/gear. This time around, I’ll have plenty of time to get personal things done and focus on my needs along with the army’s. Also, much of my unit is either retiring, leaving the army, or changing duty stations within a year of getting back, so I’ll be seeing a lot of new faces by the time i get out. But for now, all I can do is go to work, hit the gym an hour a night, and make sure my fantasy team is near the top of the league in our company.

For Today, 7’s across the board

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The Summers Bros.

October 19, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m an hour into this process, and still a bit frustrated. Something as simple as picking out a background and layout take ages. But who the fuck cares… that’s not what this blog is about. As suggested by a certain Shiloh Summers, i have plenty of past material to cover in terms of life up until now. The Summers brothers, who have influenced much of who I am today, were the first dudes who didn’t know me as just the new kid in Littleton who I hung out with. My first memory starts back during the summer after 5th grade, when i particpated in one of only two summers (thankfully it wasn’t more) Littleton Park Program. They had just moved from Bath, about 30 minutes away, where there isnt really shit to do other than run a general store (which their parents did). Satchel was the first family member I met and i remember thinking that he was cooler than any kid id met through 6 years of school. I set to know what made Satch the kid he was and why he was cooler than any kid in Littleton or Bethlehem I’d met to this point.

The entire summer consisted of Satch beating everyone at most sports we played while Ben Murtiff reminded everyone of how big he was by being fully developed at 12 years old.  Once we got into middle school, one thing I remember best was 7th grade English taught by Mrs. Carbonneau, possibly the best teacher/class combination of the year. Our teamwork of storywriting skills in the freestyle writing portion of class was completely unmatched by any other kid in the class. Epic novels such as Satch’s The Beef Avengers and my Barney, Bush, And Bin Laden were far over any other attempts such as Ben Murtiff”s or Jon Lafitte’s repetitive tales about midgets and being lost in the woods. My low point was when i got stuck in Emily Clark’s reading group “Envoy” which i could never figure out why was named after a GMC Sport-Utility-Vehicle.

For most of 7th grade, I made attempts to visit the Summers house which I couldnt locate for a year and a half despite the fact that it was a block from the high school.Most of middle school consisted of  endless hours of wiffleball and Halo, and me eating almost everything that Big Poop (Paul “Big Dad” Summers) could buy or cook up, referenced many a time by said Big Poop during his late night drunken summer rants. The best quote ever was probably when he rolled back in from the bar at about 1 in the morning and Satch and DJ wanted to test his drunkenness. Satch blurts out that DJ scored 200 points that night in basketball to which Poop responds, “what does that mean to me, is that good or bad?”.

At this time, all Shiloh was good at was appearing in the TV room  in the middle of a big baseball/basketball game, sitting directly in front of the T.V. with a plate of food, and then managing to be as annoying as possible in a span of ten minutes to include tattling on everyone in the room. When it came to baseball cards, however, Shiloh was much more willing, as he was an easy trader of people i wanted for people he wanted. All Satchel was good for was sapping all my Griffey’s while trying to offload any other Reds players such as Adam Dunn or Austin Kearns, who Shiloh will always quote me “if he can stay healthy, it would be easy for him to hit 50 Homers at some point”. 13 years into his professional career, he has failed to ever hit more than 27.

Over the span of 10 years, I have gotten to know the Summers bro’s quite well including being nearly arrested (at least a dozen times), arrested (once), and being chased by anyone (including a town plow truck driver in the dead of winter). These two, along with the combination of Justin and Travis Miller have remained my friends through the highs and lows, and are some of the people I would never hesitate to find when “trouble” is about to go down. The amount of shit we’ve been through is endless, and is something I’m sure to revisit over the course of my story telling here.

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