Friday, June 29, 2007

Off To State Bowling

I haven't had much time to do any writing this week. I have been putting in a lot of overtime at work. I've been leaving the house just before seven each morning. Then getting home again around 7PM Often with just enough time for my oldest daughter to hop into the truck so I could take her to her evening volleyball camp.

The volleyball camp ran from 7:15 to 9:45 each night this week. I probably could have just dropped her off, but the coach of the camp had 21 girls spread across two courts and he was using me and another parent to toss balls, keep score and shag balls during the drills. Yesterday I didn't get a chance to eat dinner until almost 11 PM.

Besides I needed to be at this camp to finish my duties as a middle school volleyball coach. The high school assistant varsity and JV coach and the new freshman coach were hanging out watching the players at the camp. Both of them were just getting a look at many of the girls that are going to be trying out for their teams in the next two months. So I had a golden opportunity to chat up my eighth grade players to them. In the end, one of my eighth grade players got invited to start showing up to the summer weight training sessions next week because the coach thinks she might have some potential to make the junior varsity team as a freshman.

I would love to take some credit for this but in reality, she had become a great player on her own, she had a great camp and really didn't need me there talking her up to the coaches at all.

Now I'm leaving for Yuba City in about half an hour for the California State Bowling Tournament. This will be my eighth or ninth year of bowling state. Or as my doubles partner calls it - a chance to go golfing out of town.

So have a great weekend. I'll be spraying balls around a couple out of town golf courses and cursing the lane conditions in a couple out of town bowling alleys until sometime late sunday night. Then it's back to work again on monday morning.

Friday, June 22, 2007

NSTIW Story No. 1

NSTIW = "No Shit, there I was" stories. Everyone who has ever left thier home for more than a few hours probably has several that they enjoy telling to their friends. You know, the kind of story that starts up when a bunch a friends are sitting around sharing a beer and one of them says "No Shit, there I was, in south Peoria IL armed with nothing more than a hula hoop and a bubble machine when without warning I was attacked by a pack of rabid hamsters."

We all like to tell NSTIW stories. At least all of my friends do. Your mileage may vary. But the other day I was relating one of my NSTIW stories to some folks while my oldest daughter was listening. After I finished and everyone had laughed, cursed, or thrown their food at me my daughter who had heard this particular story several times asked "Do you tell that story to everyone?"

That is when it hit me. I have a blog. I CAN tell that story to everyone. Or at least to everyone who is bored or insane enough to be reading what I write here. Kind of like you are right now.

So I decided that when I get into a writing mood, but the day has been rather boring like most of mine are, so I have nothing current to write about I may occasionally throw in a NSTIW story. This will have the added benefit that as I get older I will have an archived copy of all my NSTIW stories so I won't forget to tell all of them to all my grandchildren - over and over again.

I promise that none of my NSTIW stories take place in South Peoria IL and none of them involve rabid hamsters. Yet!


In 1982 I was driving from South Dakota to my home in Cheyenne, WY. As today, back then I enjoyed driving at night. So I enjoyed my day in Rapid City and then headed for Cheyenne later in the evening. I was driving south on Wyoming State Hwy 85 about 12 miles south of Torrington. It was sometime around 1:30 in the morning. I was only about 60 miles from Cheyenne and figured I would be getting home by 2:30. Suddenly I heard a loud crack sound come from right front of the 63 Pontiac Tempest I was driving. Simultaneously the car lurched slightly to the right. As my foot was shifting from the gas to the brake I suddenly heard a series of impacts move along the underside of the car from the right front corner diagonally across the car. It sounded like a machine gun going off under the car. (I later learned it was probably the bearings bouncing off the pavement that were hitting the underside of the car.)

I slammed on the brakes as hard as I could and still maintain control of the car and swerved quickly onto the right shoulder of the road. As my car careened onto the shoulder of the road I managed to get slowed down to around 10 mph when the entire right front wheel and hub fell off the car. As the car thudded to a stop on the shoulder of the road I sat behind the steering wheel and stared as my right front wheel rolled about 30 feet down into the ditch where it slowed to a stop then toppled over onto it's side.

I did a quick survey and determined that I was undamaged and that I hadn't metaphorically or in reality soiled my underwear. Then I got out of the car, wandered down into the ditch and retrieved my wayward wheel. I rolled the wheel back up to the car and leaned it against the what was left of the axle and hub. Then I stood there and stared at the whole mess waiting for the car to say "April Fools" and put itself back together. Then I remembered that it wasn't April and I probably wasn't going to be able to fix this with my pocket knife.

So I did what any red blooded American boy would do. I stomped around for a few minutes using a lot of words that my parents and grandparents would not have approved of. After I settled down I started investigating my options. Cheyenne was 60 miles away and I didn't feel like walking that far. Torrington was 12 miles back behind me which was easily walkable, but not my idea of the best way to spend the rest of the evening. So I hopped up on top of the car and looked around. Off to the north west I could see some lights that looked to be a couple miles away. That is when I remembered seeing an intersection about a mile back and a sign that said "Yoder, 2 miles."

I had never been to Yoder Wyoming. In fact I had never even heard of Yoder Wyoming before. But right then and there I decided to take a short vacation in Yoder. So I hopped down off the car and turned off the engine and the headlights. Then walked around the car to make sure that it was far enough off the road so as not to get smacked by the next car to come along.

I was thinking about walking the mile or so back down the road to the intersection then the two miles to Yoder when I realized that the moon was about three quarters full and the cloudless night made for a sky full of stars and a pretty bright moon. Bright enough that I could see fairly well without a flashlight, which was good since I didn't have on with me anyway.

The bright starry night made my cross country trek pretty easy. I even managed to avoid running into three other barbed wire fences that were between me and town. Once I successfully navigated the fences and avoided the two small ponds I discovered I eventually managed to reach Yoder without incident.

Yoder is a small town. At 2:30 in the morning it looks even smaller than it probably really is. The main street of Yoder looked to be only about 2 blocks long. Everything was definitely closed up tight. I had walked past a couple dozen houses, all of them dark when I spotted a light at the end of the street. Right there under the neon sign that said "Bar" was the answer to my problems - a phone booth.

As I walked down the middle of the road, (why not? It's not like anyone was driving on it) I heard a sound behind me. Turning around I discovered that I had picked up a couple of shadows. There were three or four dogs following me down the street. They didn't look aggressive, and they weren't making any noise, so I ignored them and headed for the phone booth.

When I stepped into the phone booth and closed the door the lights turned on. Which was a pretty harsh thing to do to my night adjusted eyes. So waiting a moment for my eyes to adjust I dug the change I had taken from the ashtray of the car and called my Dad.

Dad wasn't too please to be getting a call this early in the morning. But once I explained what had happened he understood. Dad asked if I had a problem walking back to the car, and waiting there until morning. When I told him I was fine with that he told me that he would wait until the shops opened around 8 AM, then get what parts he thought he would need and then come get me and the car. Then he told me to get some sleep and that he would see me in the morning. He also recommended that it might be smarter for my to go back to the car via the road instead of cross country. I agreed and told him good night.

When I opened up the door to the phone booth it seemed very dark outside because my eyes had adjusted to the bright light inside the booth. When I stepped outside I felt as though I had stepped into a Steven King novel. Waiting for me there in the middle of the street were about 20 local dogs. They were spread out over about 50 feet of roadway. The really scary part is that the were all just sitting there watching me. Not one of the barked or raised any kind of a ruckus at all.

I stepped back into the phone booth. But I didn't close the door, I didn't want the light to come back on again. So I stood there watching the dogs while my eyes adjusted again. The dogs all just sat there watching me. No shit there I was having a staring contest with 20 strange dogs at 2:30 in the morning.

(bet you thought I was never going to get to that part didn't you?)

After several seconds I decided that none of the dogs looked particular threatening. Most of them were wearing collars and they all looked pretty well cared for. So I took a few cautious steps out of my 3 x 3 haven.

The dogs didn't bother me but as I moved towards the edge of town most of them did follow me for a while. As I left Yoder and headed towards the highway I lost most of my entourage. Eventually I was about a half mile out of town and my following had been reduced to just one determined pooch - a small brown spaniel mix of some sort, that just would not be shooed away or sent home. So I turned my back on him, picked up my pace and decided to get in a bit of a run. I jogged for a short distance to get warmed up and then picked up the pace to my normal running pace and in no time at all I had gotten back to the Hwy 85. I stopped there and looked around for that last mutt that had been following me. But apparently he hadn't liked running and had given up. So I turned south and headed back to my car at a brisk walk.

As I approached the car, unbeknowst to me, that last stubborn pooch hadn't really given up. He had just fallen behind a bit. But since I was walking now he closed the gap. And because I was absorbed in thought, mostly trying to figure out why none of those dogs had barked at me the whole time I was in their town, that I didn't hear him come up behind me.

When I got to the car I fished my keys out of pocket. I put the key in the door and as I turned it to unlock the car that last dog, that I didn't even know was behind me let out one, loud, sharp


I don't know who was the most scared - me or the dog. I jumped all the way up onto the roof of the car. There with my heart beating about 300 beats per minute and being completely incapable of breathing I looked for the instigator of my terror. But all could see was this shadow, with it's tail between its legs scurrying away back up the highway.

Apparently he wasn't expecting that kind of reaction out of me.

Eventually I calmed down enough to get down off the car. I moved some stuff out of the back seat, drank some of the melted ice out of my cooler and finally drifted off to sleep until my Dad showed up around 9:15.

I never saw the dog again. I've never been back to Yoder again either.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Weblog of the Week

Cap'n Bob and the Damsel have selected RidgecrestBlog as their weblog of the week.

My reward for this distinct honor is
"No huge prizes, no discount coupons and no elaborate resort accommodations.- only that your blog link will ride along with the Never Forget" tribute this week."

I really like the Never Forget tribute that they offer. I have had it up and running near the top of the right column of my blog for quite some time now. So having a link to my blog connected with the tribute for a week is pretty cool.

Sure I would rather have resort accomodations, huge prizes and international fame and fortune. Then again, after the resort vacation is over you have nothing left but the sunburn. You need space to store the huge prizes and our house is pretty full already. What would a simple South Dakota boy like me do with international fame and fortune except make a fool of myself. So I think I'll just settle for a blog link for a week.

Since I am the weblog of the week I figure its time to exercise my newfound fictious authority a little bit. So I order you all the add the Never Forget Tribute to your own blog. If you don't have a blog, then start one and then add the Never Forget Tribute to your new blog. Then write something funny for the rest of us to read.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


On Wednesday June 6, Vice Mayor Tom Wiknich suggested at a City Council Meeting that The City of Ridgecrest should investigate the possibility of seceding from Kern County and joining Inyo County.

Boy Howdy, you should hear the fur flying around town these days. Based on letters to the editor of the Daily Independent you would think that Vice Mayor Wiknich suggested that we all give up eating beef and start eating babies. Anyone who can get their name in the paper is letting us all know what a dumb idea this is.

"The Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors believes that the concept of realigning Kern County boundaries has no serious support or interest in our community. We further believe that the City's pursuit of the subject is a waste of resources and that the idea is ill conceived."

Janis Bottorff, President, Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce

"I see no sense in Ridgecrest leaving Kern County. Secession didn't work in the 1860's. It is unlikely that it will now."

Name omitted by me to protect the ignorant.

“The gut feeling on my part is the move to Inyo County, which for many reasons has been misstated, is not practical in any way, shape or form, for this debate to be relevant and get some of the attention we want it to get, we got to get that off the table...we make a statement that we're not looking to secede.”

Mayor Chip Holloway

Honorary Mayor Howard Auld said secession was “ridiculous” and “makes no sense.”

“I don't think it's a good business decision and I don't think it's a good political decision either,” said First District Supervisor Jon McQuiston

Secession talk must end now - Daily Independent editorial headline

From all these comments and many more it would seem that the secession idea will be shot down before it is even launched. So why was it even suggested? The one thing that all these folks seem to have missed is that Vice mayor Wiknich didn't propose that Ridgecrest secede from Kern County. What he proposed was that city council do some fact finding about how much tax money Ridgecrest sends to Bakersfield and what do we get back in return. Then weigh the services we get from Kern County and what we might expect to get from Inyo County. Vice Mayor Wiknich is looking for information. Unfortunately he asked for that information in such a manner that most folks just started jumping to conclusions and spewing opinions.

The only person posting a comment in the paper that seems to get what is going on was Nathan Ahle the Managing Editor:

To me, the most important part of the issue isn’t whether or not Ridgecrest should leave Kern County or become part of Inyo County. The primary issue is how much Ridgecrest receives in county services in relation to what it pays in property taxes.

It concerns me that we don’t seem to know what we receive, or even what we pay. It’s hard to consider voting for another tax increase, no matter how needed it is, when we don’t even know what happens to the tax money we’re already paying. The most important thing that comes out of this has to be the information we’ll receive by examining secession.

I don't know for sure but I suspect that Vice Mayor Wiknich will agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Ahle. This started out as a request to get information and is turning into a crucification.

I applaud Vice Mayor Wiknich for asking the questions he is asking and Mr Ahle for paying attention and not jumping to conclusions.

For me, I'm not going to worry about it. Most of the folks that I have talked to feel the same way. Its a non-issue. It is going to take some time to get all the information that the Vice Mayor wants to collect. I think that once he does he will see that secession is probably not a good idea and the whole issue will just pass quietly away. But in the unlikely case that we find out that Ridgecrest is not getting a fair shake from Kern County I suspect that things will get pretty lively around here, right quick.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Out of Gas

I have been driving since I was a junior in high school. Until I graduated from college I never owned a new car. Most of my vehicles were old and tended to break down a lot. In addition of less than reliable vehicles I never had a lot of disposable income so I seldom filled up my gas tank. This combination meant that several times I was left with a car that wasn't doing a very good job of getting me where I wanted to go.

To the best of my memory I have run out of gas while driving four times in my life. None of them in the last 25 years. The furthest from home that I ever ran out of gas was about 2 miles. Three of those times I ran out of gas on my way to the gas station.

The last few days I have needed to put gas in my truck. But I just hadn't gotten around to stopping by the gas station. Unknown to me, my dear wife was driving around with her van in the same condition.

Last night my wife topped all my experiences with running out of gas. She ran out of gas in our garage.

She came home last night and just knew she was low on gas. But she got home and parked in the garage without incident. This morning she and my son were leaving to take Destruction to Cub Scout camp. The van would not start. After a couple tries my dear wife gave up and took my truck. That is when she discovered that my truck was running on fumes. Fortunately it had enough gas in it to get her to the fairgrounds and then the gas station.

Later in the morning when I finally dragged my lazy butt out of bed she told me that the van was not working. It was morning and I was tired but I none the less resisted the urge to shoot the van to take it out of its misery. So after sitting around for a little while hoping the problem would go away on its own I finally went out and took a look at the van.

I assumed that the problem was probably a bad battery. Here in the desert, if your car won't start, a heat damaged battery is the most common culprit. But the van turned over easily and quickly. My second fear was that the timing belt was broken. So I did what any guy would do. I opened the hood and stood there looking at the engine waiting for it to tell me what was wrong. After several minutes of poking around and pretending that I knew what I was doing no neon signs appeared to tell me what was wrong I gave up and shut the hood.

At this point my dear wife mentioned that she had been low on gas for a couple days. I figured that it probably wasn't a lack of gas since the van had worked just fine getting into the garage. But since I was out of ideas I decided it wouldn't hurt to try adding gasoline. Since I needed a new gas can and gas for the lawn mower I took my newly fueled truck to the store and picked up a new gas can and a funnel. Then I put three gallons of gas in my new can and headed home.

My dear wife operated the brakes in the car so I could push it farther into the garage so I could get to the gas cap. Then I poured about two thirds of my gas into the car.

Then I had my dear wife give it a try. After two pumps on the accelerator to prime the fuel pump and a couple tries the old van started up.

Amazing. I have never known anyone before who ran out of gas with the car sitting in the garage.

My dear wife is a little embarrassed, mostly because I keep teasing her about it. But I pointed out that this was a cheap problem to fix. Any of my other fears would have been much more expensive.

So until my children start driving I have to award my dear wife the championship running out of gas situation in our family.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


LALOLKFATYK = (Learn A Lot Of Little Known Facts About Those You Know)

I sat down this evening determined to write a blog entry. I spent the day working at the antenna range with no air conditioner and is trying to get by with a portable swamp cooler which is barely cutting it. It was about 107 outside and around 90 inside. I'm hot, tired and my brain is not in a long writing mode. So I decided to try this meme that has been floating around for a while. I think I can handle short answers this evening.

Maybe, the lady my Mom shared a room with at the hospital and my Mom both named their sons the same first and middle names. One of us is named after the other one. Neither woman would fess up to who came first.

Sunday evening. Watching my oldest daughter sit with some of her classmates while trying to deal with the sudden death of her friend and knowing that there was little I could do to help her understand why this happened or to reduce the pain she was feeling.

Sometimes, if I take my time I do OK. If I don't its like a secret code that sometimes I can't even read. Which is embarrassing because I paid for two years of college working as a draftsman. There was a time when I could print so well that I could freehand corrections to notes that were made with a Leroy mechanical lettering template.

Braunschweiger - the best I ever had was from The Sausage Shop in New Ulm, MN.


That would depend on whether or not I would laugh at my dumb jokes.

Too much, too often and sometimes at totally inappropriate times and circumstances.

Not since I was 3.

The problem with bungee jumping is the splat at the bottom.

Cap't Crunch. But I try not to eat much of it these days.

Golf, Bowling, Running and Court Shoes - yes, all others are tied loose enough to slip off.

Smelling? I'm getting to that age where the older I get the stronger I used to be.

Baskin Robbins Winter White Chocolate

Do they smile?

My dear wife won't let me wear pink so red I guess.

My worn out knees.

My Dad's Dad. My Grandfather died when I was still to young and stupid to really appreciate the things he did for me.

Gray Shorts and bare feet.

Sausage and Chicken Jambalya

The US Open.

The one that breaks off in the sharpener and ruins the day for everyone else.

Fresh sawn walnut. sauteing onions and peppers. Unlit pipe tobacco. But not at the same time.

My dear wife.

NFL Football, The tour de france, women's court volleyball, PGA majors golf.




Cheeseburgers. Specifically In-n-out Double Double with grilled onions.

I like them both, but not in the same movie.

In the theater - Spiderman 3, At home - Die Hard with my oldest daughter last night.

An old faded white In-n-out tee shirt complete with holes.

Winter, it's too damned hot here in the summer.

From my dear wifeand kids? Both! From anyone else I'll settle for hugs.

My dear wife's homemade carrot cake.

Since I didn't send this to anyone and readership of my blog is very low - probably no one.

Nancy Pelosi

The Phoenix Guards by Steven Brust

My mouse pad is the padded arm rest of my rocker recliner so my arm is on my mouse pad.

Die Hard with my daughter.

Coyotes yelping at night. The creek behind the cabin, my kids laughing.

As I get older I have started appreciating both a lot more than I used to but I was always a Motown guy. I'll take the Supremes, Temptations, Four Tops, Vandellas or the Miracles over any group from England.

In raw miles it would be Hawaii. I have always felt at home almost anywhere I have ever been, except for my last job. There, I could sit in the crowded meeting room, just 7 miles from my house and feel like I was on another planet. The group there was a very tight knit family type group and I never really felt like they accepted me as part of their family. Groups like that are great to work with if you are one of the family but if you are an outsider trying to become part of that family they are very hard to break into.

Procrastination? Is being a smart aleck a talent? I can spend hours with a gym full of giggling silly middle school age girls and not feel the urge to strangle any of them.

Madison, South Dakota

Since I didn't send this to anyone I look forward to anyone who answers at all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Paris Acting?

"I'm not the same person I was," she said. "I used to act dumb. It was an act. I am 26 years old, and that act is no longer cute."

Paris Hilton

She was acting?

Wow that girl was good. They should give her an Oscar, after all if Al Gore and Michael Moore can get one why can't Paris Hilton? I can see it now, Nicole Richie announces

"The Oscar for best excuse for getting a bathroom pass from jail goes to:"

Then she tears open the envelope, cuts her finger on the paper, turns sideways to the camera and disappears.

Monday, June 11, 2007

New Flag

The other day my dear wife noticed that the American Flag that we have for the front of the house was getting a little ragged. So when she was out shopping she picked up a new flag. She picked out the one she wanted because it was the same size and had a picture on the front of the package that looked like it would mount onto the pole we already have.

My dear wife was careful to get a flag that was manufactured in the United States. As the front label on the package shows, the Annin Company is very proud of their history of making flags here in the United States. The mentioned it twice on the front label alone.

Flag front label

Once she got home she was going to put the new flag on our existing pole. But when she couldn't figure out how the get the old flag off the pole she asked for help. I mentioned that she should look on the back of the package to see if there were any instructions there. This is what she found:

flag back label

I don't speak or read spanish, but I think that the writing here is essentially a repeat of the words on the front of the package.

But I have to ask, does the Annin Co. really sell so many flags to Latin Americans who cannot read English in this country that they need to label their flags in both languages?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Star Trek Character Quiz

OK, these types of quizes are silly and meaningless, but they are still fun.

Your results:
You are Geordi LaForge

Geordi LaForge
Jean-Luc Picard
Mr. Scott
Will Riker
James T. Kirk (Captain)
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
Deanna Troi
Beverly Crusher
Mr. Sulu
You work well with others and often
fix problems quickly. Your romantic
relationships are often bungled.

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz

Monday, June 04, 2007

Still Smoking

The wind shifted and now all the smoke is blowing north. Which is good for us but bad for Olancha and Lone Pine. Of course any wind at all is bad for the fire fighters.

An anonymous commenter to my last posting has a picture online of the Goldledge Fire shortly after it broke out. The commenter evacuated themselves out of the area when they saw the fire. Obviously some smart folks seeing as how the fire is now over 3000 acres and only 10% contained.

Smoke Update

The wind has subsided and there is not as much smoke blowing into the valley this morning. However all the high level smoke that blew into the area is settling lower into the valley now so the entire valley smells like wood smoke. It is going to be a bad couple days for people with sensitive sinuses. My nose can't decide if it is going to itch and hurt or just run - a lot. My eyes are burning and irritated and I'm seriously thinking about not putting my contact lenses in this morning.

I still haven't found out which fire is causing the smoke but at least I know both their names. The most likely culprit is the Goldledge Fire which is burning about 10 miles north of Lake Isabella. The other fire in the mountains west of us is the Shannon Fire which is burning about 10 miles southeast of Porterville.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


The wind has picked up quite a bit this afternoon. Then suddenly about 30 minutes ago we started smelling smoke. When I walked outside the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west of our little valley are out of sight. The entire mountain range is obscured by smoke.

According to the MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program there are currently two fires burning in the area. One of them is just north of Lake Isabella and the other is across the mountains from us, just south of Porterville. With the way the wind is blowing out there this smoke could be from either of them, or even both. But my money is on the fire north of Isabella.

The cloud layer in this picture is not clouds it is smoke and it spreading out over the entire valley.


Between the trees and the red sun, which is not normal for this area, there is supposed to be a mountain range.

red sun

A couple minutes later our new red sun had started dropping below the mountains and we were able to see a little bit of the mountain's profile through the smoke.

more red sun

Friday, June 01, 2007

A Fun Day

This week has been busy. I took the week off work and have been working around the house. I have taken three heaping truck loads of branches, leaves, and junk to the dump that I cleaned out of the back yard. There were oleander bushes in my back yard that I haven't trimmed in five years and they really needed it.

I have shampooed the carpet in the living room and helped my dear wife rearrange things in the living room in preparation for some new furniture that is arriving tomorrow. I have spent my evenings helping out at the high school varsity volleyball tryouts by keeping score during their workouts. All in all it has been a busy and tiring week. But all that changed this afternoon.

I was over at Saint Ann School where I coach the girls volleyball team. I noticed a few weeks ago that I will be a couple players short of three full teams next year. So I have been bugging the Principal to allow me to invite a couple of next years fifth grade girls to play on my sixth grade team. Today she finally gave me permission to do so.

I already knew which two girls I wanted so I hung around until class got out and asked to speak to the two of them when they came out of class. I told them that I was going to need some help with the volleyball teams next year and wanted the two of them to play with my sixth grade team.

Both their eyes got really big, saucer big, bigger than beach balls big. Suddenly I was bombarded with a rapid fire series of repeat questions. The first girl asked "Really?" The second one asked "Are you kidding?" back and forth several times. When I confirmed that I was not kidding I started to explain that they would need to talk to their parents and get their permission to do this. As I said that these two little girls suddenly sprouted smiles that made their eyes look small.

Seeing the pure joy and excitement on their faces was the funnest thing I have done in weeks. Now I almost feel like I cheated my assistant coaches out of the joy of being there when I asked. But since they both work at the school they get a lot more opportunities to see these kids than I do so I'm not too concerned.

I know that the one little girl already has permission since her mother walked up during our talk and gave her the okay right then and there. I just hope the other little girl's parents don't tell her no. She was so excited it would be a shame to ruin that. Plus, I really do need two more players, and these two are easily the best two volleyball players in this year's fourth grade.

So if you find yourself having a kind of slow dreary day I have a way to spice things up a bit. Find yourself a couple of ten year old fourth grade girls and surprise them by asking them to do you the favor of doing something they love doing, that they didn't think they were going to be able to do until over a year from now.

It will make your day. It certainly made mine.

Except, now I have to be the one to tell my own daughter that two of the girls in her class get to play volleyball a year early, and she is not one of them. But I feel so good today that I am going to wait on that until tomorrow.