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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Dad Taught Me to Flash! (cartoon)

My Dad Taught Me to Flash

My Dad Taught Me to Flash

Long before I viewed a car as an extension of my personality (which would make me about eight) I was taking driving lessons from Dad. In, around and over the backseat of my Dads 1954 Ford I was eagerly learning the required levels of driving skills and verbal encouragement, or abuse, that was required in the piloting of the family truckster.
Hands were held at ten and two o'clock on the steering wheel, all the while constantly checking and rechecking the rear and side mirrors. Loud vocal encouragement to the driver in front of you ( and here use the term "ya bonehead" ) to make that left turn. And when someone blocks traffic to try to parallel park, you again use the term bonehead in your soliloquy of his or hers ineptness. And then on completion, or on the abort of linear parking ( window up or down doesn't matter here, it's more a personal reflection ) you state that you, although never done it, could have parked an 18 wheeler in that space.
My Dad talked more to the traffic than he did to me, my brothers or even my Mom, all put together! He was a react type of personality most of the time behind the wheel. Through vocalization, horns and hand gestures he let his fellow drivers know just how he felt about the kind of job that they were doing behind the wheel.
Lately its been my observation that we all trained from the same father! But we've all seem to have forgotten the one proactive thing he taught us. Flashing the headlights. The one thing that sets us apart from the animals, well that and thumbs. Remember when our dads would flash the headlights to warm the traffic coming toward him of trouble ahead. An accident, animal, pothole or fallen tree in the road ahead would warrant flicking the lights on and off or high to low beam. A radar trap, or "ya bonehead your brights are
on!" would also induce my Dad to offer visual stimulant to on coming traffic. And in turn they would respond by flashing back, a head nod or the ever popular four fingers raised off the steering wheel. This is how our dads (well mine anyway) helped their fellow man.
So when someone flashes their headlights at you, it's meant to help. Some people react like I'm shooting laser beams at them!
Don't display the one finger opinion or angrily mouth some words as you pass by me, cause I have no idea what you're saying ( unless it rhymes with bonehead ). I've just been where you're going, and I want you to exercise some caution is all I'm trying to convey.

Bob Niles



bobby did this

Thursday, July 17, 2014

How I spent my summer vacation (cartoon)

HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION AFTER GRADE 12

HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION AFTER AGE 12
AND THE REST OF MY LIFE

Day one,.............. okay, okay before we begin let's go back to the front of the start of this whole thing. I was born to Gordon and Myrtle Niles ( maybe not that far). let's try first job.
My first paying job was was a paper route for the 'Vancouver Sun Newspaper'. At the seasoned age of twelve, it was my responsibility to make sure that 'Joe Homeowner', was daily kept current to world events in printed news.
I learned at an early age, that no matter the weather, rain, snow or storm, the daily news, just like the mail, must get through. No matter what it took, I had to plop that two pound block of newsprint at the front door in a pristine condition. Which wasn't easy! I had to jump ditches, squeeze through overgrown shrubs encasing the walkway, climb slippery treacherous stairs, and then, beat off the family dog that was trying to stop the very thing his master swatted him with from being dropped at his door. What happened after that?.............not my problem. But, in my defense, of my 'don't care' attitude did feel bad when the paper blew out of the driveway before I could.
My after school paper route in grade seven, soon gave way to a grade eight education and girls, but not in that order. But, I too soon found out that if you want to be with girls, they want you to have money. And if money wasn't coming in.......you were staying in.....alone.
So because of my God given desires (it can't be all my fault) and a need for currency with which to purchase a date (sounds dirty doesn't it?) I got a summer job. I sat out on an open sun drenched God forsaken (here He is again) empty lot, with no running water or toilet at the corner of Fourth and Burrard in Vancouver cleaning used bricks for a penny and a half a piece.
IF,....IF you worked hard you could make 18-20$ a day! Drinking water from an old bleach bottle from home, and eating warm baloney sandwiches Mom had put together the night before. Thanks Mom! Bathroom breaks? I don't think I went to the bathroom that summer. When you're young you can do stuff like that.
During those long hot days of tedious labour, what got me through the day was thinking of all the money you're making and the girls you're going to spend it on. But as it turned out, the times thought about spending your money, lasted longer than the money it's self.
The summer after Grade 9 was probably a mirrored reflection of the previous summer. Work work work work work, "Hi girls!," work work work work! To sum it up in one word, 'I wish I knew then what I know now' If you say it fast it's one word to the Chinese.
The summer after Grade 10 turned out to be the start of a job that would become a career for me. Plumbing! That's right, pooh flows downhill, don't bite your fingernails and paydays Friday! The End. Well not quite. Mr. Wagar, the best boss in the whole world said I had to finish school. So I did, but with an additude. I mean who needs school, I'm already promised a job. How is 'History 12' gonna help? Eyes awl red smarte. Well good enough for for being a plumber I figured.
So I floated through grades 11-12, armed with the knowledge that I would never again be able tot bite my fingernails after school was finished.
Half way through Grade 12 I was offered a job at a steak house, the 'Keg and Cleaver'. I was Broiler Assistant. The dirtiest, hottest job there. Behind the grill all night helping the cook throw out sometimes over a thousand meals. Then, at the end of all the fun and free time, you got to clean up the grill, all by your self. I would roll into bed at two in the morning and then make it into school the next day all bright eyed and bushy tailed. Ya right! After a month there, I was offered the job of cook. All it was was steaks and baked potatoes back then with mushrooms on the side. In the month I had worked there I knew already how to do it, so I did it. I took it.
The 'Keg', as it later became known by, was growing leaps and bounds, and believe me, not because of my cooking. A career in the restaurant business was offered to me because.....?..well,..I don't really know. Probably it was one of them 'Better the devil you know than the one you don't' kinda things. But hey! I'm gonna have long fingernails and be a plumber. So after six months at the 'Gag and Heave-er' as we who worked there affectionately referred to her as, I put down the meat, threw away the books (oh ya I was going to school sometime in that stretch) and picked up a shovel and never looked back.
The End? Not yet oh dreary eyed one.
After four years of watching water flow downhill, and having everything you wear covered in glue I was thinking of maybe a less physical type of way to pass the day.
Sales! ......That's it I'll be a Salesman! And so it was, and I did, I was a Salesman. I worked for a business that had the Canadian Rights to the Hurst Hatch Roof. The answer to 'How to have an open roof on your car, and not be a convertible'. You know the roof, the one on the Trans Am that Burt Reynolds drove around in, in the movie 'Smokey and the Bandit' sales were great! I was selling an after market sun-roof system for Trans Ams, Cameros, Montey Carlos..........I was soon transferred to Toronto to set up an office there. And when I say transfer I mean drive. I drove to Toronto and sold product along the way. After three months in Toronto I flew back home. Lonely. Met up with my old girlfriend, got engaged and decided to quit that job and transfer back to Vancouver. Or was it she that decided? But my car is back in Toronto. So because of poor timing (should of quit after I'd flown back to Toronto on the company credit card) and the cost of air travel, I took a bus back to my car.
Back home and soon to be married, for the first time, as it worked out, I went back to not biting my fingernails and the quest of having ones body waste, flow out of ones abode in an orderly downhill fashion. The End Right!!!!
Well....I mean I loved plumbing, Bill Wagar was the best boss one could ever hope to work for. And, we did jobs all over this great Province of British Columbia. Fort Nelson, Fort St. John, Queen Charlotte Islands, Cassiar, Osyoose, Tumbler Ridge, Taylor Flats, Mile 101, Nacusp and many more. All in need of a waste system with a downhill flow. And that's what we gave them......that is until the worlds best boss past away. Heart attack! I still miss him to this day.
Somewhere in all this before Bill died I got divorced . Working out of town was hard on a marriage with a new born child. This was followed of years walking in the wilderness with little or no direction. Then I met a wonderful woman with two children and settled into a mixed family filled with challenges and rewards. Now 31 and on my own, I started doing my own plumbing jobs. I did a lot of three -plexs with a coach house at the back all around City Hall in Vancouver. This lasted several years, with down time filled by helping other plumbers when they were too busy. It was while there, doing a commercial building for another plumber that I fell off a ten foot step ladder on to the concrete that I smashed my left hand and crack my elbow that made it possible to bite my fingernails again, and for the rest of my life. The fall left me with an external framework of stainless steel held together with pins, nuts and bolts protruding from my left wrist for six weeks. After three more operations and eight months of physical therapy I was left with a life of pills for pain and nerve damage and a wrist, though normal in appearance, but lacking in dexterity and feeling. There's a Country Music song somewhere in here. 'It's my Wrist Thats Left and the Pain Stayed On' Boo Hoo!
The End

Ya but what did you do after that?
Okay.....since you asked,
I started work for the worlds new best boss, Ron Rubuliak. We install water piping for fire suppression systems in home and business. It's kind of like plumbing but without the need for finger dexterity in finicky little places.
But now I'm sort of done that after 18 years. I'm available two days a week for work with him, because I daycare my granddaughters three days a week. I run 'Grandpas Dont Care Daycare'. Got a runny nose? Don't care, use your sleeve. Gotta owie? Don't care, run some cold water on it! Got a dirty diaper? Don't care your Moms back at five! You get the idea. At my prices I can't afford to care. I talk tough but it's the best job I've ever had and am truly blessed to have the opportunity to take care of my grandchildren. If money bought happiness.....I'm richer than Bill Gates. Okay maybe not Bill but some other rich guy.
So it's here where I find myself in life, six years from what most people consider retirement age, babysitting a five and eight year old girl, with twin boys on the side, all so the kids don't have to pay the high cost of daycare. The Good Lord has blessed my wife with a good paying job to support both of us. We've no mortgage or car payments and are debt free. How this all happened I have no idea. But it's great and life is good!

So......July 15th. 2014 The End. (for now)

Bob Niles



bobby did this

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Blackberries, Morning Glory and my Lawn More...(cartoon)

Blackberries, Morning Glory and my Lawn Mower

Blackberries, Morning Glory and my Lawn Mower for $100 Alex
What are three things stuck to my fence

Last week I was cutting the heads off the clover with my poor excuse for a gas lawn mower when it hit me. No it caught me. The Morning glory vine from the neighbours yard reached out and grabbed me. I responded as I do when any one touches me by screaming and swatting at them. I have issues, so says my bruised doctor.
The vine from hell (VFH) scratched me! This is new I screamed as I tried to lift the lawn mower high enough to sever its spindly arm. Contact!
I don't know how many times the lawn mower spun around before it stalled, but it was enough to knock several boards off the fence and and me to the ground. My poor excuse for a lawn mower was now five feet in the air and wound tight to the fence.
"Well I can break my glasses and throw them away. I've seen everything now!" I shout out at the neighbour in her bathroom window.
I got up to free my lawn mower off the fence that I borrowed from my brother three years ago. He's probably given up thinking I'd ever return it, but come Friday I was going to prove him wrong. That's if I could unwind this piece of junk off the fence.
I blindly reached through the fence to pull at the VFH when it bit me again. Then it grabbed hold of my arm with kitten like claws and said 'Wait right there!' I'm arm deep into the neighbours yard,... stuck. Now both the lawn mower and myself look like some weird fridge magnets stuck on the fence.
I cowboy up and just pull on my arm as needle points etch bloody linear roads down the length of my arm. I haven't been this scratched up since I tried to baptize the cat.
"Boy that doesn't look good!" I yell at the top of my voice. "Probably looks worse than it really is though!" But still she stands in the window.
I reach in my pocket for my pocket knife and take solace they never named it a underwear knife. I start to cut at the kitten claw vine that's hanging onto my brothers soon to be returned piece of junk lawn mower. I discover my VFH is made up of two vines. This is Morning glory wrapped around blackberry runners. The perfect weed! A weed you can't kill or pull.
I don't have to tell you how hard it is to kill a blackberry bush. Just like I don't have to tell you what I saw in the open bathroom window. Just know that one of them needs a lot of cutting with a razor sharp blade. There'll be a lot of scratches, some blood and pain, and so will the other.
These two vines are one of these symbiotic relationships you see on the science channel. Like the oxpecker bird and the rhino, remoras and sharks and panda bears and kangaroos both living in harmony together. The weak but very efficient growing vine of the morning glory with its large white trumpeting flowers attract bees that pollinate both vine and bush. Wrapping itself around the thorny runners of the blackberry bush discourages anyone from trying to find a source to the morning glory to pull. Golllly a perfect marriage made in hell. It can't be stopped! The whole world is going to be taken over by the black morning glory berry bush. "I can see it all now, it's horrible, shut the curtains!"
I walk, no run to the hardware store wondering why I didn't drive. They'll have some poison to do away with my little friend. I make it to the end of the driveway, winded, and change my mind. I will drive!
Two minutes later I'm back in the house on the computer wondering where it was I was going to go in the car. I type in 'hoe to kill black betty bush' and because of my poor typing skills and George Bush having a relative named Betty I'm now on some list. So then I change the wording from hoe to how and kill to poison....again with the police!
If this bush from hell were in my yard I'd have a fighting chance of hacking away at it but it hides between the neighbours garage and my fence. It strikes out into my yard by the Morning glory vine pulling the blackberry bush along at speeds equal to a pensioner heading to Denny's on his birthday.
I can't go in the neighbours yard to attack this beast as their beast and dog both hate me. They want to annoy me. Can I help it if I'm a peeping Tom with Tourettes syndrome. Talk about a bad symbiotic relationship! Quietly climbing the tree for a peek only to yell a rude insult at my victim. Just for once I'd like to report that I'm seeing somebody new and that they haven't seen me yet.
Well it's Friday and the lawn mower is still looking like a fridge magnet on a fence. I'll have to borrow my brothers other mower or my other brothers mower to cut the heads off the clover and the three dandelions poking through my dead lawn.
The neighbour bought new boards and fixed the fence. Said it was too easy for me to criticize his wife from the apple tree since their dog got out of the yard and ran away.
He's now watering and fertilizing that bush from hell. I think he's feeding it meat! I cut at it, hack at it and try to set it on fire but with little success. It's a daily fight at this time of year.
Blackberries are now in season and the wife has taken a real liking to them. But I've got so much 'Weedkill' on the bush I'd never eat them for fear of...........?!!
"Honey I'm going out to pick more berries! Could you make a pie for Pete and Betty? Kind of a piece offering to make up for my critique of Betty. What's that? Sure I'll pick a pail for you. No problem.
I may have lost this battle but this war's not over.

Bob Niles