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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Have To Learn To Look At A Bloody Calander!

Not sure who to blame for this most recent flub!  Yesterdays homage to my lovely wife was both a sentimental and heart felt ode to a very special lady who has brought my little life meaning.
It was also the wrong freakin' date!!! 
ARRGH!  With all that is going on in our life right now, for some unknown reason neither Angi or I were paying attention to the date.  Her birthday is, in fact, today the 30th!  It being a milestone, I wish I could do so much more, but....
(here's where I go all maudlin again)
Our recent housing debacle is Omni present.  The landlords initial assertions that they were looking for an investor to buy the property and keep us as tenants was either Pollyannaish or a smoke screen.  A vein attempt to keep us there paying the mortgage while trying to find anyone to buy it.  Our own attempts to purchase it, while still ongoing, have yet to bear fruit.  Most all viewing the property are there to purchase for themselves so in all likelihood we will be forced to move.  To this end we have been searching ourselves for new digs, but as you can imagine, with seven children, pickings are slim.  More often we have found right house wrong neighborhood or vice versa.  I hold out hope, but the unfortunate collateral damage is a cessation of any and all expenditures not critical to survival.  There goes birthdays and Holidays.  A fact, that while absorbed and accepted, is none the less lamented by everyone.  Christmas isn't even the hard part, for me but the inability to do anything to mark the occasion of Angi's 40th.  She remains strong about it but there is no denying the disappointment. 
Well, in the end we all keep pressing on.  It's what we do.
I do appreciate all the wonderful folks taking time off in their busy shopping schedules to pay us a visit (no angry mobs, fights or gun play here!) and look forward to getting you through to the new year! 
Hope to see you all soon!

Friday, November 29, 2013

40 Something.

In the spring of 1991 I expanded the reach of my small comic book shop to the weekend hub bub of the Grandview Flea Market in Derry, NH.  A friend and business associate at  the time had convinced me it would be good exposer for my shop and a way to make some extra weekend cash.  I leased out six tables and utilizing my plethora of back stock gave it a whirl.  Mind you, flea market vendors are a lot like "Carney" folk.  There is a certain kind of familiarity bordering on "family" that arises from the association.  Oddly enough, however, it works out to be an odd microcosm.  As the establishment is set up in a series of warehouse style buildings, each one forms it's own community.  Visiting another building was akin to traveling to a different country.  And in the center of it all, the reigning diplomat patrolling all known lands was the owners daughter, Kathy.  Her and I became good friends and shortly after meeting her she learned I was unattached.  Thereafter she tried several times to "set me up" with her children's baby sitter.  Initially, it was a no go as I learned her babysitter was only seventeen, while I was the ripe old age of 24.  But she persisted.  Occasionally updating me on her goings on, informing me that she had become pregnant in a relationship that was less then good for her and that Kathy's hope was she would finally make a clean break from it.  Working as persistent match maker she employed a tenacious constant, obviously painting me the would be "Prince Valiant".  As I had, a year before, severed myself from an equally disastrous relationship, the thought of plunging into another commitment was less then appealing.  Oddly enough, however, it became an expectant part of my weekend, each Saturday morning to sit with Kathy over coffee and have my "Angela Update".   I felt myself slowly warming up to the idea of at least meeting the young lady, but as fate would have it, on a few occasions that tentative plans were made, they fell through.  Later to find out, that on more then a few occasions Angela had gotten cold feet, as her pregnancy was now starting to show, she felt very self conscience of the fact.  After a couple attempts, I took them as a sign of her disinterest and relegated it all to the back of my mind.
On February sixteenth, 1992 I was walking through the luncheonette that connected the front building to the back one that was my area.  I had taken my dog for her late morning potty break and was coming back in when I glanced over to the counter and noticed a very lovely young lady sitting with a young boy.  As she glanced back and caught my gaze she did a double take.  That was all the incentive I needed.  I returned Sasha to my helper and informed him I needed to "go see about a girl".  Returning to the cafe I plopped down in the seat next to her and in  a very uncharacteristically bold fashion introduced myself, striking up a conversation with this lovely young creature.  I complimented her on the good manners of her young son but she was quick to inform me that he was in fact her charge, as she was his babysitter.  As we continued to indulge in idle chit chat I became aware of the all too familiar plot device of many a romantic comedy. Chemistry.  It alighted like palpable energy between both of us!  Quite frankly, until that point in my life I never TRULY knew what attraction was.  Far more then a physical sensation, it went so much deeper.   At some point in the conversation I became dully aware of someone watching us.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw Kathy standing at the base of the stairs which led to the second story office.  The young man turned and smiled saying "Mommy".  Before I had a moment to put two and two together she walked over, smiling and said "I see you two have FINALLY met!"  At that point Angela and I stared in disbelief at one another and  mouthed the words "Oh my God!"
Now, I had never been a believer in kismet or fate up until that point but in retrospect there would be no better explanation.  The timing was just TOO perfect.  Angela had had her baby.  Shortly thereafter she left a very unhealthy and dangerous relationship, on her own!  Had I come in earlier I would have been her "savior" and quite frankly I don't think that would have allowed her to realize her own inner strength, something she would need to get through some very difficult times to come.  Also, had fate waited even a few hours more, I may never had gotten the chance.  For awhile, another young man was courting her affections and by her own admission, he was quite persistent to the point of a very romantic Valentines proposal that she had been mulling over and was prepared to respond to in the positive that very evening!  Lucky for me, as our morning spent together persuaded her to let the young man down gently instead.   Even something simple as walking my dog!  Every other weekend I would walk her out the back door to a small wooded patch to do her business, but on this day at that time something compelled me to use the front door! 
And to this day I am eternally grateful that I did!
As I took the time to walk her back to Kathy's house We made plans to spend that very evening together.  Once the flea market closed and I walked back over to pick her up she informed me that her young daughter was ill and brought to the hospital and her mother was taking her there.  We postponed with a promise we would try again and it was sealed with a hug and a kiss that I never realized could be so genuine.  Later that evening we spend several hours on the phone getting to know one another and a month later her and our daughter moved in with me for good.
Our 22 years together has been anything but easy.  We have suffered the loss of our second child, that disastrous misfortune alone has broken up more relationships then I can ever count.  But we not only survived it but went on to bore seven more beautiful lives.  We have endured abject poverty, homelessness (twice).  We have lived precariously with neither water nor electricity in the dead of winter and blistering heat of summer.  We have restarted our lives from square one more times then I wish to count!  But through it all she has shown me time and time again not only the strength of family but the importance of it.   She alone is responsible for our persistent survival.  Oh, it hasn't been all happy "Walton's" style bliss!  No, there have been  times where we both have wanted to kill each other (and a couple of times I think we have tried), and Lord knows, there were moments where she wanted me gone or I've wanted to walk out, but it would be Ying without it's Yang. 
Everyone at one time or another indulges in daydreaming flights of fancy, and I am no exception.  But I can truthfully say that there is no reality that my imagination can create that doesn't include her or our children.  She did that for me.  It is her tenacity and her stern temperament, along with a unperturbed maternal instinct that has bore this family through so much adversity only to surface on the other side, relatively unscathed and whole.  In short, SHE and she alone truly taught me what love really means.
She may lament her aging or be self conscious of her changing body but regardless of how much we may both sag, or expand or wrinkle, we will do it together.  And I won't stop loving her in spite of it.
I wish her the very best 40th birthday, on this, her day!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"It's quiet, sir.......TOO quiet."

OK, yesterday was probably partially my fault.  Didn't get a whole lot done as I was allowing our current predicament to much power over me.  I can be a worrier at times, and these are one of those times!  The perpetual mulling over the "could have beens" and "should of haves" while at the same time trying to concoct plan b-f and so forth.  In the end I hardly got a darn thing done!  Now mind you, not ALL my doing, oh no!  Had many folks in yesterday with their own interesting stories to tell and in turn they heard mine.  I do thank them for their words of support and in some cases pledges of assistance.  A very kind gesture in deed!  I know some folks like to help anonymously, but in this case (no names) I'd like to state that everyone needs to patronize "Flanagan's Pub" downtown Dunedin on Main Street because a certain gentleman you'll meet there is a very compassionate soul!  A tip O' the hat to you sir! 
Now most people think their kids are special, but I really have to take the spotlight here and give my kids some credit.  Obviously Angi and I are a little on edge over this whole situation and as much as we try and suppress it, they ain't no dummies!  Instead of whining and complaining about things last night they took it upon themselves to so their utmost to help divert our lamenting.  When I got home the house was in a slight disarray (although nowhere near as bad as usual, Angi has been diligently riding shotgun when it comes to keeping everything up lately.) and when I mentioned clean up, without complaint they shut off the TV, got up and within ten minuets everything was done.  Then to top it off, Rozy pulled out a game she got for her birthday "Headbandz" and insisted I sit down with them before dinner and play.  Honestly, it was the best medicine I could have asked for!  And they didn't fight ONCE during the game!  I think that was a first.  Of course, after dinner Rozy challenged me to a game "My Little Pony, Memory" and seriously trounced me.  "Memory" is NOT my forte.  Of course, once over and all little guys in bed, Angi, the older boys and I sat down to watch "Expendables 2" and see things get blown up and bad guys killed.  There's a certain level of satisfaction in that, too.  And Boy, did Jean Claude Van Damme miss his true calling!  He should always play villains! 
So today, I will try and shed all the bad Mojo and get some work done! 
See ya soon!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Snuck Right Up On ME! AGAIN!!

It's that time of year again!  With everything going on right now we had all but forgotten about the impending Holiday season!  ARRGH!  Angi had to remind me Saturday evening just before leaving work that we had to, not only, go shopping for Rozy's 9th birthday party, but for Thanksgiving fixings as well!  And that's not the half of it.  After the late night foray into Wally World (not just for food but to do "People of Walmart" watching, my favorite spectator sport.  I have yet to top Angi's sighting of the elderly gentleman dressed head to toe in faux fur!) we pretty much used up our date night and just crashed when everything was put away.  Rozy's party had to be delayed (and her guest's cancelled on) because on Saturday the real estate agent showing the house, contacted us stating a interested buyer wanted to look at the house, but could only be there at the same time we scheduled Rozy's party.  See, we can't be IN the house when they show it.  Packing the kiddo's up we rode off in the cold to camp out at the park, staying out from under foot.  It was once Angi was sufficiently stiff from the cold that she announced it was time to return, whether they were done or not.  With the announcement that we had to do dinner and party before getting everyone prepared for school in the morning, we began preparing to leave.  At this point they all chimed up and informed us "But there's no school next week"! 
Sad, the things that escape one's notice when one is preoccupied with other woes!
Now here is where I get all maudlin and defeatist so if you don't want to hear me whine, skip to the next paragraph.  As our current situation unfolds we have been turned down by the first lender as we are 10 points away from their base credit score.  The real estate agents handling the property are working diligently, however, to help in any way they can and we do so greatly appreciate their efforts.  But in the end, our landlord is what they call a "motivated" seller.  Not wishing to divulge any of their financial woes they need quick capital and are selling the house at a much reduced rate, so it goes without saying there has been ALLOT of foot traffic and interest in the house. Mind you, I hold no malice to the landlord.  They are not Snidley Whiplash twisting their handlebar mustache while we lay squirming, tied to the tracks, but as events have unfolded it has become apparent that since our lease ran out in June their intention has been, possibly, to sell the home.  They converted our lease to month to month, obviously to keep us in the home paying the mortgage but with an eye on their own situation waiting to see how it unfolded.  By mid November it took a turn for the worst and they felt forced to sell.  If roles were reversed I quite possibly may have been compelled to do the same thing in consideration of my own family, I just wish they had given us more of a heads up. However,  hedging our bets that we will be lucky enough to get an investor, doesn't seem prudent at the moment.  It has become a race against the clock where we may eventually find a lender willing to work with us, which Theresa and Vanessa seem intent on trying to accomplish, it just requires time.   There are two realities we are forced to face.  One, that for all their good intention they are limited to the systems confines and that in the end, their job is to sell the house for the client.  And two, we more then likely will be forced to find a new home and soon.  With limited budget and no time given to save (we had 48 hours notice that they were selling)  it's quite possible we may be spending the Holidays in a weekly rental motel.  To this end, at dinner last night we had to gently inform the kiddos that this Christmas would be, most likely, very thin...if at all.  Now, I don't know if it is a sign of the strength of their character and survival instincts or the fact that this is the third time in seven years we have been burnt by a landlord and they're just getting used to it, but they all understood and no one whined or complained.  Either way, we have some pretty damn good kids!   That aside though, there is no hiding the disappointment and frustration in either Angela or myself.  Oh, we keep it pretty much to ourselves, any heated anger or negative words are uttered in the bedroom in muted tones but there is no hiding the dark cloud hanging over our heads at the moment.  I hold out hope that all will work out well in the end, but are preparing for the worst.
OK, maudlin time over.  Trying to change my mindset, I'll move on to work! 
Saturday was busy from the starting line (hence why no entry for the day) and had repairs a plenty, thank you very much!  Managed to put out three new sweeties, but only have pic's of the one, as the other two sold post haste!  The remainder is a real sweet looking 7 speed Mongoose hybrid...type....thing.  Enh.  Best to just show you the pic then try and describe it!  Today, we have a rare three wheel "DAILY BANGER SPECIAL!" in the rack!  She runs great, just needed a replacement front wheel and a thorough derustifying!  That will be out real quick!  Then on to a Raleigh men's 7 speed cruiser several folks have been drooling over!  From their?  Who knows!  So with that, I'd best get my butt in gear and get moving!
See ya soon!

ONLY $120.00!!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

I Jostled a Hornets Nest Apparently!

OK, I was fully content to let my recent rant on our cell phone woes be done but apparently I should add just a few more comments.
See, not only do I post here on our blog but I also forward it to Facebook and Dunedin Patch.  Obviously it helps the visibility of the store but also helps fuel my enormous ego! 
So, I was perusing the comments posted on Patch and realized that my recent tirade angered one reader. They first commented on the service provided by Metro as an inexpensive alternative with reliable phone service and convenience of several locations, sounding somewhat like an advertisement.   In her/his opinion I was unprofessional and as a business ourselves should not have ranted about the practices and policies of another business without allowing for the "other sides embellishments as well".  They went on to chastise me for "destroying another business's reputation" as well as pointing out a spelling error.  Well, thanks for that, spell check must have been sleeping. 
First and foremost let me make one thing clear, at no point in my rants did I comment or degrade the phone service, it's reliability or cost.  Nor did I lament over poor product, just the defective phone we bought.  We have been with Metro for over five years and have bought over a dozen phones in that time, and not because they were defective but because I can be a wee bit rough on them, and my wife upgrades each year.  Nor have we ever had a problem with dropped or lost calls, poor quality reception, hidden charges or anything of that nature.  No, what we were focused on was the one time we did have a problem we were treated so poorly.  I won't rehash that part, just re-read the last few days if you need a recap.  Yes, we are a business, but we are also consumers who shop and seek service within our own community and feel very strongly about the necessity of good customer service.  My blog is written in my opinion dealing with situations and occurrences in our lives, but from my perspective.  If one persons opinion can "destroy the reputation" of another business then that reputation might not have been that good to begin with.  As far as allowing for their side of the story?  Well, I have an easily accessible comment section that I do not block or edit or delete.  They are more then welcome to voice their opinions there, but I'm not writing a news article, nor am I "Point/Counterpoint".  This is one persons view on the world and is in no way gospel!  When you "tune in" to my blog you are reading an open diary, penned in a stream of consciousness with minimal regard for punctuation, grammar, sentence structure or yes, at times spelling.  I won't be winning a Pulitzer anytime soon, but this blog was never intended for that.  It was started over six years ago primarily to inform people of what was going on at the shop, but also as a way for our extended family to keep tabs with what was going on in our lives.  What was odd though, was our readership began to expand well beyond that of the totality of our family members, eventually reaching over 23 countries and provinces and over 900 hundred readers a week.  I now write primarily as entertainment, but do at times use it to therapeutically vent.  The reader is merely along for the ride. 
I not only respect every ones right to have their own opinions as I have my own , and welcome them to express it here.
Now I hope we are done.
Moving on! Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity, not only here but at the house as well!  WHEW!  Angela is running higgly piggly keeping the house up to snuff for viewing but also jumping through hoops in the process of finding approval for purchasing it!  As there are many options it's like starting from square one each time!  Trust me, with a toddler beginning to realize that any piece of furniture can double as a jungle gym, her attentions are split.  I came home last night to discover every chair in the house laid over and was quickly informed it was to keep Miranda off the table.  And she has become a quick little bugger too!  When taking the girls to bed I removed the hallway baby gate and before I could grab her she was off like a shot into Mommy and Daddy's bedroom careening around the corner into the bathroom!  I was in a "greased pig catching" contest once at the Kingston Fair that was easier! 
The shops day was blissfully busy as well, banging away on several more repairs while still managing to put out one sweet looking full rebuild on a classic ladies Schwinn 6 speed cruiser!  We also got the Suteki in the rack and stripped down, with new tires waiting!  We sent a few to happy homes as well!  The ladies three wheeler went with a gent who has been tenacious enough to visit us every few days until we could come up with something that he could ride considering his recent knee surgery.  The 24' MTB aluminum frame found an owner in a very sweet young lady who's Mom offered to buy her a "New" bike, but she opted for this one instead!  And....there were a couple more in there but my mind is completely blank at the moment, sorry.  And, as always we thank all the interested parties coming in to give us a looky loo and appreciate all the positive feed back!
So with that, and the folk currently test riding bikes, I need to put my working shoes on and get moving!
See ya real soon!

ONLY $95.00!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Constant Reaffirmation Of Faith!

I firmly believe that for every storm of bovine fecal matter we must endure there is an equally strong wave of blessings that will follow.  How much depends on how well you weather the initial storm.  "All adversity is an opportunity in disguise",  Well the events of the last 24 hours has only renewed my faith in humanity. 
Only sad part is,  I am prone to approach good fortune with a reserved sense of skepticism. 
SO, the matter of the great cell phone massacre was resolved, in our favor!  But it really was taxing, let me tell you.  At the behest of the corporate offices I returned to the cell phone store on North Highland.  Apparently the irritated sales girl was half expecting my arrival, for when I stated I was there for my refund she began her condescending mantra of "As I told your wife yesterday, Upgrades are non refundable..." I cut her off, but before I could get to the fact that I was SENT here to get one, she said snidely "That's fine, I'll call the store manager".  Well, 45 minuets later and after her boss called his boss that then called her boss who had to call her boss who then had to confer with his boss, the defeated sales girl reluctantly handed me my full refund.  Apparently both Angela and my tirade of the night before with their corporate offices left an impression, but she was not willing to acquiesce defeat gracefully.  She handed me my receipt with a "here's your receipt (thrown on counter) DON'T leave it here!"  Then with a lemon face sneer stated "Just understand that this goes against OUR policy of NO refunds, and should it ever happen again DO NOT expect another refund!"  Then she turned her back on me, picked up her phone and started talking to someone, angrily, in Spanish
Petty much?
It's like I was taking HER money? As if this were some heated battle that she failed to win, and was lesser for it.  It was just a bloody refund for a defective piece of equipment that took two days to secure!
However!  NO SOONER had I left the cell phone store and set forth on my arduous journey back up the Highland hill (I hate that hill!  I'm Old, and I'm fat and I'm out of shape!) did my phone ring.  On the other line was my dear Angela with some rather intriguing news.
Remember, two weeks ago we were informed that our landlords were selling the house (YET AGAIN!) and in the interim we have met with both the real estate agent and her boss.  Here's where my faith in humanity kicks in.  These are two WONDERFUL ladies!!  I have not had the pleasure of meeting Theresa but did in fact finally meet Vanessa in person last night (I'll get to that in a second) They came to the house on Tuesday to take pictures and meet the family, and even though at the get go of our phone conversations Vanessa had assured us they wanted to help keep us in the house, I was skeptical.  Not so much of their sincerity but of their ability to do so.  Well, apparently after the visit, and meeting Angi and the kids, their resolve to help was fortified.  According to Vanessa, once back to the office Theresa put everyone to work getting US help!  She has set us up with lender contacts, had Vanessa come out last night, pick up Angi and bring her to the shop so we could all sit down and do the initial application on line.  But the most intriguing bit of news that Angi had called me with was that they had contacted the Pinellas County Housing Authority and told them a little about our story and our situation.  Shortly thereafter the DIRECTOR contacted them and said that yes, they would love to help us obtain what we need (a home for us) and not only that, but they would like us to pen a testimonial about all we have been through and overcome in the last decade.  AMAZING!  These two ladies, themselves having overcome and still enduring their own trials and tribulations would have the where to all to extend themselves so much for our benefit is overwhelming!  They have ALL our gratitude!  God bless them! 
Now, if THAT wasn't enough!  Amongst my morning chores today was the regrettable "Paying of the bills"  A weekly event, not gleefully anticipated but not lacking in a certain sense of achievement either. On today's agenda, House electric, house water and Angi's phone bill.  The water bill went off without a hitch but when I got to the electric (I pay by phone) the automated voice gave me one amount, however when it transferred me to the speed pay it gave me an entirely different and less then half of the previous one! Perplexed, I called back a real person only to find that a credit of unknown origin had been applied to my account and I only owed the second, much lower amount!  HUZZAH!  It was like finding a twenty dollar bill in the laundry!  On to Angi's phone bill, due today.  This one is paid online, but when I accessed  the "Amount Due" it read $0.00?  Double and triple checked, still $0.00?  Perhaps  they are giving us a freebie for all the trouble we have had.  I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth mind you! 
ANYWHO.  I'm taking it all I stride, for to quote Dr Victor Von Frank-en-STEEN! "If science teaches us one thing it is to accept both our success and failure's with quiet dignity and grace" 
 Then you start choking a corpse.
On to my daily routine!  Got in a simply GORGEOUS Suteki touring bike yesterday!  BEAUTIFUL lugged frame!  As soon as I am done with the Schwinn cruiser in my rack, she's going in!  THEN I have a sweet looking men's Raleigh Cruiser wanting to get fixed!  So, here I jump!
See ya soon!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

May My Worst Enemy NEVER Have To Go Through This!

And the end result of the last 48 hours?  Don't EVER use METRO PCS!!!
All because THEY sold US a defective phone!!!!
I'm not gonna rant to much about this, but suffice to say Angela, Elijah and myself went through abject HELL and were treated in the most RUDEST and profoundly unprofessional manor from a variety of employees at not only TWO of their local outlet stores but by an ill informed and completely disorganized call center ALL because they sold us a defective phone and WOULD NOT  replace it or refund our money!!!
I'll break it down briefly.
Bought phone yesterday in late afternoon.
Had minimal charge on battery, plugged it in at shop to charge.
Came in morning, would not hold charge or maintain phone call EVEN when remaining plugged in.
Contacted store we bought it from (North Highland Ave store in Clearwater)
They said they don't service or refund, have to contact corporate store but they didn't have the number.
went online to get number, turns out to be number for pornographic phone service.
call five other local stores until FINALLY get the corporate number which turns out to be call center overseas.
unable to contact corporate store (S. Missouri Ave in Clearwater) as they have NO listed store number, Elijah volunteered to take the 10 mile trip (via my bike) to return the phone.
once there, having the phone, all original packaging and receipt (remember, just bought it yesterday) proved NOT to be enough!  RUDE sales clerk sniffed at him and said she needed our eight digit pin number.  Having been with metro for over five years and over a dozen phones we NEVER had been asked to set a pin!
spent another hour on phone with overseas trying to find pin number, which they agreed to text to my wife, then I called it in to store only to find it was THE WRONG PIN!
Angi got on the phone with the sales girl (who's demeanor rhymes with "Witch") and was trying to rectify problem when sales girl stated "We can't do anything WITHOUT pin number or your ID"  then THREW the phone at Elijah while my wife was trying to ask a question!
Frustrated, she told Elijah to come home and SHE would go in and deal with it!
a $45.00 round trip cab ride later and Angi was in the corporate store.  At LEAST the wench of a sales girl had enough sense to cower in the back room while Angi was there (I cower as well when Angi has THAT look in her eyes!) She approached the manager who, at first, greeted her anger with a dismissive disdain until she got to the part about the sales girl throwing the phone at our son, which was confirmed by another employee in the store.  At this point the manager changed his approach, somewhat.  Once cleared through their vetting process and discovering her pin number (which as it turns out was a number set by the original sales clerk who sold us our first phone to us YEARS ago but never bothered to tell us!)  they took the phone in the back and tested it, thus finding out that the battery was IN FACT defective, and fried the phones innards.  HENCE why it worked AT FIRST!  The manager then stated that they would provide a 7 to ten business days!?!?  Angi was QUICK to point out that the phone was OUR business phone!  Thankfully, we have  a couple spare phones kicking around the house, and the manager was good enough to give her a code to switch our service to it for the time being.
HOWEVER, now that they determined the phone IN FACT was defective they told her she had to GO BACK to the store she bought it from for a refund or replacement.
BACK in the cab she went! 
Once arriving she had to deal with the surly, rude, and unrelenting sales girl (who's nickname, oddly enough, ALSO rhymes with "Witch"!) who snidely stated "The phone ws working when you BOUGHT IT" and just kept repeating the same mantra "There are NO refunds on "Upgrades"!  She refused the refund or exchange regardless of the fact that their CORPORATE OFFICES sent her there!
Needless to say, after all this mistreatment Angi was close to tears!
Here's where I came in! 
Knowing that talking to the idiots employed in these pathetic excuse for businesses was fruitless I called back the call center and after a TYRANNICAL rant of epic proportions above and beyond any I have executed in YEARS, they connected me to someone in charge.  At this point they were ALL apologies and wanted to know what I wanted in recompense.  Simple.  Three things.  My money back for the POS phone and two letters of apology, from BOTH stores, addressed to my wife and son for their woeful disregard and wretched treatment of them both!  But now I STILL have to bring the phone in to get our money back!
We will see what happens.
But if you hear sirens in the direction of Sunset and North Highland....steer clear.
Now you're all up to speed and know NEVER do business with these.........people!
So now it's time for MY apologies!  To any and all who tried to contact us yesterday, I am VERY sorry for not being able to attend to your calls in a timely fashion.  A few left messages, which I was able to retrieve and respond to this AM, but for anymore who did not, I have no record of the call, so please try again.  And to anyone who came in yesterday while I was attending to the aforementioned debacle, I heartily extend my most sincere apologies if I appeared anything less then attentive or short in my answers or temperament.  I am greatly sorry!
I did manage to get a LITTLE work done (when I was sans phone) primarily on repairs, but also put out one newbie as well!  This one is a GORGEOUS, LIKE NEW GMC Denali Road Bike (OK, OK....don't laugh, you'll hurt her feelings)  Not the BEST road bike in the world, but has a FEW good characteristics!   And she really does look SMART!
Today, I do SO hope I can get on to some rebuilds as it is getting REAL hard to move in here!  I had hope to motivate myself with a DVD Owen, Logan and I got this weekend at the Blockbusters up the street that is going out of business, a compilation of the newest incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, but Izzy, after watching it once will NOT let it leave the house! 
*sad face*
Maybe I can sneak it out when she's sleeping.
See ya all REAL soon folks!!

ONLY $125.00!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Having A Good Laugh, Mr Cosmos?

Perhaps it's a Tuesday thing.
Or perhaps we are all wrong and their is not one great deity but billions of lesser Imps who just take great pride in manipulating the slender strings of fate, making us dance like stupid hairless monkeys.
Yea, I'm in a mood.
So, after yesterday's debacle of a time with the whole "Stolen phone" thing, and Angi running out and spending money we can't afford to get a cheapie phone for the shop (thank you so much love) I endeavored to subdue my righteously vengeful feeling's for the complete waste of flesh who stole it in the first place by popping in my new copy of "A Christmas Carol".  Yes, I know, a little premature seasonally, but I needed the positive boost.  On top of that, Angi hung out for the remainder f the day and I got the rare treat of being able to sit down and have lunch with her and engage in a hearty debate over the true function of dreams.  Yes, completely off topic but I needed it.  After staying a wee later then usual as we were blessed to have a surge of repairs come in later in the day (each one desiring to have them completed before closing) I opted to plug the new phone in here and just leave it for fear of loosing this one too.  Upon returning today, I unplugged it from the charger...and it died.  Yes folks THIS is the level of technological advancement and height of quality we as a nation have come to expect! 
At what point did we except the wholesale desecration of durability? Growing up we had the same TV, the same Fridge, the same stove, the same washer and dryer, the same phone and they worked every time you went to use them, they RARELY needed service and you gave it little thought because THAT was what they were meant to do!!!  Nowadays, every time you buy something it's a crap shoot.  Take it out of the package, cross your fingers, wave a dead cat under a full moon and hope for the best!!  All I know is there's a bunch of  Billionaires rubbing their hands together and giggling incessantly saying " I can't believe stupid Americans bought that crap!"
Alright, alright....I'll stop.
Just makes me so....I wannna....wrap my hands around their scrawny little.....oooooo if I could just......
Alright, alright...
AT LEAST we were blessed with some real nice folk coming in yesterday making the whole thing worth getting out of bed!  Thanks for all the referrals from so many astute individuals who KNOW that at least there is SOME quality left in the world!  We appreciate all the trust they put in us!
And a special shout out to our "nightowl" friend Daniel.  Being in interior design he ends up with a lot of change outs, discards and leftovers and what he doesn't use for himself he hands off to friends.  Knowing we have been wanting to replace our media room furniture (we have to do this every couple of years...nine kids....go figure) and about eleven O'clock last night he showed up with the perfect dark brown reclining sofa!  EXACTLY the color we were looking for! Less then two years old the middle springs had popped loose so the owner was replacing it!? All it took were six eye hooks to reattach it and we got us a perfect NEW sofa! 
Yes, now's the time to say goodbye to all our com-pa-nee!  Have repairs a plenty and a couple newbies I'm dying to sink my teeth into, so we will see ya REAL soon!

OK, OK, OK....Now this is just entering the surreal realm of ridiculous.
So, wanting to rectify my phone situation had to have Elijah come down with HIS phone so I can call the Metro store where Angi bought the thing.  Turns out they are a satellite store, and don't DO repairs or replacements.   The lady, snootily stated that "Well, all our phones ARE new" implying that the fault lie in the user and I would need to contact the "Corporate" store on Missouri Ave in Clearwater.  "Do you have their number" I asked.  "No" was her response.  I had to inquire if in fact the number may be listed online, to which she responded in  a "No Duh!" tone "I assume so".  Hanging up abruptly I got the number on line, (888) 573-3876, dialed it, waited a couple rings and QUICKLY realized it WAS NOT Metro PCS, as the prerecorded message was that of a sultry woman beginning to describe conceptual uses for her body parts!!!  OK!  Three more phone calls to local stores resulted in one person telling me the number was (888) 57-Metro.  Now, seeing as they sell CELL phones you think they would KNOW that the numbers on the keypad DON'T have the letters over them!  So WHAT were the numbers!?  He didn't know!  TWO more phone calls and I FINALLY got the number ONLY to call and after THREE attempts got through!  At this point, one hearing the distinct click of being transferred overseas I blatantly asked "are you ACTUALLY sitting in the Missouri ave location in Clearwater or is it about ten at night where you are!?" He had to pause for a moment not knowing what to say.  In the end there was NO way to actually TALK to the service people at the Missouri location, so depending on blind luck I had to send Elijah down there and PRAY (for their sake) they don't try and screw us on this! 
Or I'm gonna write a MEMO.....
and personally staple it to their forehead!

Monday, November 18, 2013

I need a Horse, a Tall Tree and a Noose....

OK, now that I've gotten THAT out of my system!
First, I have to apologize to anyone who may have tried or be trying to contact us via phone today.  I like to consider myself a easy tempered, mild mannered subdued man, not prone to thought of vengeance or physical harm.  I'm a live and let live sort of person. 
As is my routine, came in this morning, parked my bike by the front of the shop, locked her up, unlocked the door and set about my opening chores.  Once everything was put out, set down at the computer to do the Craigslist update, check email and do the blog.  About 15 minuets into it, realized I forgot my cell phone in my bike bag.  No big deal, I do that a lot, but concerned I may miss a call and inconvenience a customer (or irritate my wife) I went out to grab it, only to realize it wasn't there.  Again, no big deal.  As my mind is slowly slipping away from me as I age I figured I must have brought it in and set it down someplace different.  After  a thorough search of the shop, still no phone.  Then I IM Elijah and have him call it.  Nothing.  Now getting slightly peeved, I had to lock up, put in a sign and then retrace my steps back to the house checking all the way (while at the same time Elijah kept calling it repeatedly.  Still Nothing.  Once back to the shop I strained what few brain cells I had left trying to remember what I did with it.  It was then it dawned on me that while I was setting up the clown bike outside I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a man had been walking down the side walk in front of the shop and had bumped my bike, pausing briefly.  I assumed he was just being courteous, making sure to steady the bike so it would not fall.  Perhaps I was wrong.  As it appears to be nowhere else, and one potential cell phone track shows it currently off of Gulf To Bay, methinks it was pilfered!  I know, it's na├»ve of me to think the whole of humanity is descent, but to take sch a necessary tool in our business just makes me have thoughts all to foreign, BUT, I will try very hard not to succumb to the desire for the thief to die a miserable death of festering boils!
I'm gonna get off that!
Sunday was more family fun of frivolity!  That is to say, if your definition of frivolity is house work!  EYUCH!  Twas the boys quarterly haircut day!  YAY! we were inspired to do so a little early this time, as Izabella discovered that scissors don't just cut paper!  Oh yes.  She severed a good six inches of it before Momma caught her but the damage was done!   As hairstylists charge WAY to much for a kids head, Angi did a great job cleaning it up and giving her a real cute "Dora" bobby top!  SO, as hair was now on the agenda, Dad did his part with the boys and got out the electric razor!  After the three younger boys got shaved, Elijah, surprisingly ponied up to the chair!  We recently lopped of his long dark locks, preparing him for a lifetime of menial labor, but whether as a show of solidarity with his brothers or a desire for something different, he went under the blades.  The end result, surprisingly wasn't half bad and as he stated "makes me look older and more menacing!"  Of course, I couldn't help but make with a couple of "Curly Joe" jokes, but he took it all in stride!  Here's his own selfie.....
  He seems content with it. 
Also, Angi, always having my back, took a trip to Wally World the other day to pick up the flick for Movie night (Man of Steel) and happened to be picking through the five dollar bin.  As she truly loves me, she stumbled across the one flick I have been searching YEARS for!  Every Christmas the only other film I want to watch (OK, aside from "It's a Wonderful Life", "The Grinch", Charlie Brown" and "The Ref") is George C Scott's version of "A Christmas Carol".  In my opinion, the best one to date (with all due respect to Henry Winkler and Patrick Stewart)  I just have never been able to find it, and they hardly ever run it! So my undying gratitude to my lovely bride!
Now, as a few repairs came in on Sunday and a few more today, I need to do my best to get a handle on 'em, so I will get to it and wish you all a good day!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lee Nails Aint' The ONLY Thing That "Presses On"!!

I think I beat it!  The creeping crud only got me down for a scant two hours of my working day yesterday!  HOO-RAY!!  Even at deaths door I managed to crawl in and force myself to work!  A good thing too, 'cause we got in some SAH-WEET rides yesterday!!!  A like NEW Ladies Columbia 26" MTB, a B...E...A...UTIFUL Raleigh MTB Hybrid, Finished up the full rebuild on the classic Schwinn Frontier AND got a FLAWLESS 20" frame Trek 7300 Hybrid that looks like it hasn't seen a DAY of road time!!!  Yes, they're all pic'd below!  ALSO picked up another gimme!  Gent was passing by a neighbors house as he was wheeling a three wheeler out to the garbage and thought of us!  Said he couldn't stand to see her go to scrap and was hoping we'd give her a new life.  Why YES SIR!  We sure enough will!  Sad part is, it won't need much aside from a good clean and oil and new tubes to make her a ride able project bike for someone (or just ride able!) 
As far as business? 
Yesterday was rain.  And once that icky wet stuff starts falling from the sky everyone runs for shelter, so it was by far the DEADEST Friday we have had in some time!  Sad.  BUT even though today is overcast DO NOT let that deter you from enjoying your weekend!  Get ready for salvaging it as tomorrow is set to be sunny and in the 80's, so if you don't have a bike, get one today, or if you need yours tuned-up, bring it 
Hint, hint, nudge, nudge, say no more, say no more!!!
Let me tell you, once word got out on Facebook (yes, I leaked the story) that our family was possibly up for a reality show old friends came out of the woodwork's with a slew of "I remember when..." stories.  OY!  I thought with the passage of time my "youthful indiscretions" would have faded in memory.  Silly me.  Apparently I underestimated the strength of Nostalgia!  Youthful dalliances with less then orthodox methods of raising capital (NO, not illegal just...."unorthodox") , clumsy boyish attempts to win the favors of young ladies, classroom antics resulting in my own special "seating arrangements", a variety of vehicle mishaps and questionable "driving practices" (apparently my "Boston Maneuver" was utilized as an example of what NOT to do in drivers ed for many years AFTER I left school) abound!  I appreciate all my school age chums for reminding me of my less then stellar youth!
Have a plethora of rides to make ready so I best get off my keister and do so!  Remember, IT'S ONLY WATER!  You may be sweet, but you ain't made a sugar!  See ya soon!

ONLY $180.00!!!

ONLY $330.00!!!

ONLY $110.00!!!

ONLY $120.00!!!

Teenge Philosophy: If I say "It's not my fault" enough times, it beomes so.

So, the epidemic ravaging our household took me down last night, and I slept until eleven this morning.  Not wanting to give in whole heartily I dragged myself out of bed took a bath and came in.  Elijah was minding the shop from opening, and as is always his way, hit the computer as soon as he came in.  Once stumbling in, I sat to check the Blog and email, and found I couldn't access any of it.  Seems his foray into the music share sites he has been told NEVER to visit, infected the system with 23 viruses.  Of course he stammered on about how he WASN'T on the net (odd, considering the net was on when I came in?) therefore the viruses were NOT his fault.
Hmmmm?  Computer fine yesterday, he uses it...viruses!
Oh twer I so lucky to live in fantasy land!  Well, thanks to Pat down at Zone Red, he had me up and clean in just under 90 seconds! 
SO, with all that delay today's entry will be short a I have SOOO many projects to work on, and did manage to put out one REALLY SHARP looking Schwinn Frontier yesterday as well as a GORGEOUS Raleigh Comfort Bike!  Check 'em out below!  Now, I've got three stripped down that I really hope to finish up, and with the bloody rain outside, I'll probably have the time!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

SO...Nyquils Not Good For Daytime Use? Ah SHUCKS!

Well, I had no misconceptions about the likelihood of escaping it, but I had hoped!
The creeping crawling crud careening chaotically cross or casa clamped it's calamitous claws carnivorously into my carcass.  Angi was in a BAD way yesterday, sleeping the whole day until after seven pm, unable to get out of bed with shakes and high fever.  I started feeling it in the back of my sinuses mid afternoon, by the time I made it home had some chicken soup and joined her in bed, to pass out watching "A Few Good Men".  Yes I was THAT cruddy!  To actually fall asleep watching one of the best court room dramas of all time! 
Trying to just keep my distance and work on bikes today.  Have help at the shop just in case I go south.  That's the beauty of a back room, if it gets to much I'll just lay down and take a nap!
Yesterday we had a cold front run through making it necessary for everyone to run to the winter clothes closet, or just avoid going out all together!  Guess most folks didn't think of cycling though, as it was D...E...A....D around here!  Sad part is, it gives me nothing fun to write about! 
Uncle Chippie came by with the GOMBA'S earlier so that provided a brief respite in my day.  He was gracing us with his wishes of good fortune on the possible show, which we greatly appreciate, however as stated, if it happens it happens.  The conversation I had (sadly due to her illness Angi was NOT able to attend) with Emily at the production company was a good one.  Her opinion being we would be a good fit for the DIY network.   All I can say is, I hope it' not me doing a "how to" segment as I am (and any past employee can tell you) a LOUSY teacher!  Remember the old saying "those who can't do, teach"  Well the reverse is true "Those who CAN do have NO time to teach!"  and trying to narrate what I'm doing?  Oh well, time will tell! 
Did manage to finish one yesterday.  Yes, I know you're asking yourself, "why only one sir if you had all that quiet time?"  Well, this one is an older Jamis Big Boy, with a bad set of forks and a variety of other quirks.  Trying to find all the right parts took some digging.  Then once that was done started on three others, only to come to stumbling blocks, forcing me to put one aside and start on another!  ARRGH!  Then, of course, two of the little ones came here instead of home (Owen and Rozy) as their school appointed bully was waiting for them at the cross walk. Rozy got her new glasses yesterday and it was just grist for the hoodlums mill.   As I have instructed them to keep their distance, for the punk has been harassing Rozy, and Owen is out for blood!  He may be small but he is fearless, relentless, and vicious when it comes to protecting girls, and quite frankly I don't want the paperwork hassle.  The thought of the delinquent laying bloody at the feet of Owen, while gratifying, may not look to good.  Logan, started Math club yesterday and was under the impression that Elijah was coming to pick him up, so of course I had to make the after hours call and track down someone at the school to get him the message to come here after.  All that took a good hour out of my day, not to mention trying to reach Elijah on his phone to let him know what's going on.  Apparently he is unaware that a cell phones PRIMARY function is that of a phone!  NOT an MP3 player/video game/TV/computer!  He neglects to recognize when the phone rings! So that was another half hour!  Actually had to go on Facebook and IM him!  THAT he responded to in 10 seconds!
So today I will hobble about and try and get some more of these goodies out! 
We will see you soon!!


ONLY $90.00!!!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

24 Hours!

Ever watch the brilliant film "The Paper" by director Ron Howard?  Wonderful film about a small New York Newspaper (remember those things?) starring Micheal Keaton and others that depicts one day in the life of a reporter seeking out an exclusive and the impact it, and his pregnant wife have on his life, proving that things can change dramatically in no time.
Such has been our lives.  OK, maybe not SO dramatic, but with the impending Skype call with the production company and the realtor coming in on Friday we have been running around like little headless chickens trying to get our ducks in a row!  Wow!  Now that's a "foul" string of metaphors!  (AH, HA!) Anyway.  Once we got the call about the house going up on the block, we took a look around the house to ensure that it would show well (and make us look good) and it was with that fresh perspective we came to realize just how much "grubby" kids can do.  On Sunday we initially set out to wash grimy hand prints, and sticky off the walls but quickly realized soap, water and Mr Cleans STRONGEST Magic Eraser wasn't gonna cut it!  So break out the touch up paint!  Well, in the boys room "touch-up" meant a full repaint!  Once the kid's rooms were done, dry and the little ones in bed for the evening, I tackled the main living areas.  Unfortunately half way through, I realized the color I THOUGHT was the LR color was in fact Mom and Dad's Bedroom color.  Very similar in shade but JUST far enough off to make it appear I was knitting a quilt!  ARRGH!!! 
SOOOO, after Elijah took a trip to the hardware store, with paint chip in hand, we had a fresh gallon in hand and repainted the entirety of the main room last night, not to mention the front hallway which was originally a darker yellow then the touch up can of yellow we had, which honestly I have NO idea where that one came from!  The upside is, the house looks better now then when we moved in!  Just have to fix a couple things in the kitchen and a strip of border trim on the sunken media room and we are done!  Oh, wait, theirs the exterior face of the front of the house as well!  The kids play ALOT in the front yard and have no qualms about using it as a "base" or "backdrop" or "target" and it shows! 
After all was said and done, and having taken a shower AND a bath, Angi and I retired, tuckered out, to bed.  Only, a scant few hours after that it seems that the stomach virus that struck the kids on Sunday and Monday lingered and lashed out a Angi.  I was awoken by her plaintive cries from the bathroom a little after 4 am, and.....well, I'll save you the details.  Suffice to say, she is in rough shape and HOPEFULLY resting as we speak.  Unfortunately this means she will not be joining me today on the Skype, so I am going to have to wing it without the one thing that actually makes me look GOOD! 
On to business!  Yesterday was more of the same sweet saccharine goodness!  Repairs a plenty!  And thankfully we were able to get most in and out same day.  The only hold out was an unfortunate young mans road bike.  He was rammed by a truck and did some serious damage to the classic Free Spirit he bought from us a few months back.  Fortunately, though the driver of the vehicle was VERY kind and apologetic and brought him and his bike here (she knew the way as, it turns out, she is one of our regulars too!) paid for the entirety of the repairs then brought him home.  Thankfully he wasn't too badly injured, more road rash then anything else!  We had to order a new set of rims for it, and they should be in today.  Manged to get through only one of the new builds (I know, scold me if you will) as we were blessed with MANY new faces yesterday and some returning familiar ones!  The wonderful lady with the GREAT sense of humor (not to mention brain surgery and short term memory loss) unfortunately had to return the ride she picked up a few days ago.  Seems the aforementioned afflictions were not her ONLY problem as her sense of balance is gone as well!  Very sad, as I applaud her desire to get out and exercise.  We had a good talk, however, and I think I got her sold on the idea of visiting her local community center and getting on a stationary bike to stretch her legs! So, with all that schmoozing my attentions were split.  How today goes, is any ones guess!  After 72 hours of little sleep, and more work then I have done in a coon's age, I be a wee bit draggin'!
I will, however, PRESS ON!
So with that, as the butterfly's start dancing in my tummy, I must prepare for my brush with stardom (at least my prerequisite fifteen minuets!)
See ya soon!

UPDATE!!  OK, seeing as my internet is going wonky on me it has taken half my morning just to get the blog finished.  In the interim I did the Skype call.  As it turned out, due to my moody internet, it was interrupted three times and we had to end it in the traditional way, via a phone call.  Not a problem though, as Emily (now identified as a developer) feels we are a good fit for what they do.  REAL people doing REAL jobs, NOT drama-induced Kardashians or the like.  She's taking the info she gathered to her team and plans on doing a soft pitch to the folks at the DIY network, pending their approval.  From there, if they are interested they'll come down, do a follow around for a day, and come up with a three minuet pitch piece.  We'll keep y'all posted when and if things progress!
ONLY $75.00!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It All Comes Out In The Wash!

Well, I'm happy to announce I was able to lay my head down last night with a clear conscience.  The gentleman who had a bad experience Sunday did in fact read my response to his comments and sent back a very nice response revealing the fact that he did NOT realize there was a warranty, and he'd be more then happy to bring it in and let us make it right!  Thankfully, now it would seem, once again, my only detractors are some of the other bike shops in town.  And I'm OK with that.  The fact that their customers choose to come here means we're doing SOMETHING right!
In fairness to my lovely wife, who's turn it happened to be to choose the movie for last night, I actually acquiesced to her pick, hearkening back to her impressionable teenage years where the slasher/horror genre was her "border fare".  She had been dying to see the recent remake of "Evil Dead".  Her recollection of the original did in fact NOT live up to the new one!  The original (according to her) was slasher slapstick, tongue in cheek stuff.  This new film was SERIOUS slasher!  I of course, sat dutifully next to her through the film, all the while only witnessing about 90 seconds of the films totality.  With one hand I held hers, the other played "Candy Crush" and poked on Facebook.  Those kind of films are NOT for me! 
But WAS a film for me (and in extension the lovely Angela as well) was THOR 2!!!!
Marvel/Disney keeps amping up the AWESOMENESS!!!
There is SOOO much I want to say about this flick.....but I can't!
Too much chance of spoiling the experience for anyone not having seen it yet, and there are SOOOO many opportunities to be Wowed, so much humor and Loki STEALS the show in this one!  TRULY the God of Mirth! EVEN Mjolnir (Thor's hammer) supplies comedy relief!!!  One VERY important hint, DON"T LEAVE THE THEATRE UNTIL THE CREDITS ARE OVER AND THE LIGHTS COME UP!!! 
Marvel has made it traditional to throw in TWO teasers in their films and you HAVE to see them!!  They have thought out the whole franchise for at least the next decade, each one more tightly entwining the expanse of their universe! 
Seriously.  $10.50 for a seat at Cobb Theatres, show times on line....GET DOWN THERE AND SEE THIS FILM!!!
OK, my job here is done! 
NOW, I have a bevy of new repairs that came in yesterday (thank you SO much for your faith and trust) and I have an even LARGER pile of goodies to start putting out! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Mid Aftrenoon "Thanks For That"!

First, gotta thank my lovely wife for her blunt Irish words and I paraphrase "Don't let it get you down".  That, of course is the clean version as she becomes very steadfast whenever I let things get me moody.
Also thanks to Chip for a timely visit this morning as it gave me a chance to vent my self loathing and frustration.
You can read about the cause of my disappointment on our blog entry for 11/5/13 in the comments section.  Seems a young man, through a series of crossed wires and miscommunication left out of here after a visit yesterday feeling a little "Schtupped".  Now I KNOW I'm not supposed to let things like that get me down, I've always been told that in retail or the service industry you can never make EVERYONE happy.  Unfortunately that mantra doesn't make me feel any less disappointed when I am unable too.  In the end, I do hope the young man reads my response and get' in touch with me so I ca solve the problem, or this is gonna gnaw at me!
But, as is always the case I can always count on Angi and/or Chip to bring me up as well as all the great people I get to meet, or reconnect with each day!  Yea, I know it's a little corny, but hearing the positive remarks about what we do is a healing balm that always works!
And that is just what I have had in spades today!  Not only from the wonderful Snow Bird who found us last week and came in four times until she finally found  ride suited for her!  She walked away happy with one of the Schwinn Fold-ups we had.  Then  new friend Mike came buy, having been following the blog and dropped off a bevy of COOL parts he had kicking around the garage, as a gimme!  SAH-WEET!  We LOVE that price!!  Also, as always, a special thank you to our friend (and first ever repair customer WAY back in the garage days) David for all his tireless effort promoting our little shop to all his friends and acquaintances!  Had three repairs, today alone, come in on his recommendation!  Also, another wonderful pair of Snow Birds came by on his say-so and snagged the "DBS" for their son! 
Also, always a source of great titillation and pride for me (and please, I don't me to gloat or project any holier then thou, self aggrandizing attitude...OK,,,maybe a little) is when I have a repair in my rack and notice, emblazoned on the bike sits the "Sold at" sticker for another local bikes shop!  And with all the repairs we have had of late, I've seen ALOT of them!  Just makes me feel good that folks would choose to bring their bikes to us for repair, rather then return to where they bought them for service!  Thanks for all the trust folks!
All right, now I best get back to work! 

It Must Be A Florida Thing...

When I was fourteen my mother moved my sister and I from the rural locale of Brentwood NH to the hustle and bustle of the big city of Exeter, NH.  She found a wonderful old Colonial house that had been renovated into two apartments.  We rented the upper two floors. with a comfortable nine rooms (only with just ONE bathroom) and she lived there for a total of 22 years and never a rent increase!  Many of my friends there were in the same situation, long term renters.  I had one friend who, from first grade on, who was born and brought home to the a double wide trailer his folks rented, he grew up there, and when his folks retired and moved south HE took over the rent!
Down here, it's a different animal.
Now, working as I have in the construction industry for many years in the South, I've down MANY a clean out and make ready of rentals, and discovered that their are MANY transient renters not staying for very long in the same residence.  Sad part is, seems that landlords are the same way!
Saturday night, showered and dressed I sat waiting for Angi to get home for work so I could whisk her away as we were both looking forward to going and see Thor 2.  Watching the clock (as she was running a wee bit late) I absent mindedly was watching "the Croods" (again) with the kids when I got a call.
From our landlord. see where this is going.
Seems that they have decided to sell the house.
(um, hmmm,  YET AGAIN!)
Anyone new to the blog should know, in the last five years we have moved THREE times for JUST the same bloody reason!  First time, because the landlord hadn't paid the mortgage in a year and a half, second time because the landlord decided to sell the house (under the false assertions that he was selling it as an investment property with tenants included) and now this!
They assure us that their intentions is to sell it as an investment property, but in the case of someone wanting to buy it for themselves they will assist us in locating and moving into another property.
(long string of expletive and deletives) 
Of course, the real estate agent was quick to call me first thing this morning to begin the random intrusions into our personal lives, all with the reassertion that their desire was to keep us there or help us in any way they could.  I really want to believe that.  All I want is stability and security for Angi and the kids.  Knowing that they can grow comfortable and safe in  place they can call home.  I know that may sound corny, but the kids refer to wherever they have lived the last five years as their "house" NOT their "home".  Is that so much to ask?
Sorry.  Hate sounding all maudlin, jut been a HELL of a weekend!  Doing my best to shift gears and get with the program, as we have a SLEW of repairs that came in on Sunday, not to mention what has already come in today, so I need to get on it!
Maybe I can bang my head a few times and it'll all go away!
See ya soon.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Breif Lay Over!

Gonna try and make this a quick one (a trying task for one as long winded as I) as I've got "Heavy Chores to do!" (Sheriff Bart "Blazing Saddles")
It is official!  We have entered the "Busy Season"!  Had to spend some time rearranging the shop to enable us to have a walking path for the sake of all the repairs coming in!  A blesses happenstance I assure you! And our deepest levels of appreciation for all the faith and trust you folks have extended us!  Put out two GORGEOUS gems yesterday!  A classic Raleigh Road bike and a new 2013 Giant Escape!  Then spent the better part of yesterday keeping up with repairs.  Sent the beautiful Giant Cypress DX home with a very happy gent yesterday and got two Schwinn folding bike in on trade for the deal!  Theses two are twins and in perfect condition!  Just need some wheel work (manufacturer defects) and they'll be on the floor! 
A very special shout out and HUGE thanks to Uncle Chippie!  He completed the loving re purposing of my classic Puch into an equally classic three wheeled shop trike!  And yes, it is authentically vintage, as the components for the rear end came off a vintage trike as well!  Check out the finished project below, pictured with it's proud owner and equally proud creator! 
hint; the creator is the svelte fellow standing next to the gelatinous, scruffy looking blob.
Alright!  I need to be off!  See ya soon!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wow! NO Impact?

's funny when you realize just how easy going your kids are, completely adaptable to any and all change or news.
After our mystery call yesterday, and talking to Angela about it all, her and I were both in swimming headed disbelief.  Of course,  NO conversation, whether in person or on phone, is secret from a household of busy bodies constantly posing probing inquiry's "Who's that" and "what are you talking about" et all.  Once she and I discussed the news, she of course had to relay the entire conversation to all children present, as the nagging questions would not cease until she did.  However, once news of a possible "reality show" based on and featuring our family was revealed, it was met with an underwhelming "oh".  Quickly replaced with requests for TV time and musings on that nights dinner menu. 
I don't think they dabble in hypothetical.
There was some discussion with the older boys, but as mom and dad are "Keeping it real" there was only a modicum of conjecture.
Our reserved titillation was only further compounded when we did a reverse look up on the phone number the young producer had called from and discovered that it was, in fact, a genuine production company in NC that does reality based shows, syndicated to HGTV, Discovery and the like.  Granted, as Uncle Chippie pointed out, it's more then likely a search for pilot material and all bets are speculative on the crap shoot.  But who knows, could be fun.  As long as they keep the "Real" in reality TV, we just may give it a shot!
(although, according to Angela, I best make sure her nails are done!)
On to the meat and potatoes!
OK I lost track!  Was jumpin' and jivin' yesterday working on getting repairs done!  Didn't get started on any new builds until later in the day.
 It has begun! 
This time of year we start getting the "Straight off the rack" sales!  A fellow Yankee and her son, who have visited us twice before, in their quest for the perfect bike for him (they unfortunately have had to waste FAR to much time visiting the local "boutique bike shops" and endure the traumatic suffering of "STICKER SHOCK!!!") happened in as I was placing a sweet looking Schwinn "Midtown" in the rack for rebuild.  Quickly falling in love with the curves of this stylish bike, they paid right off the rack to ensure it was not snagged up by someone else.  A VERY real concern, as during the process of refurbing her, we had three more people see it and want to snag it up!  Also sent the sweet 24" Schwinn MTB home to a VERY nice lady (also from up North) who had me in stitches regarding her humorous outlook on the recent  brain surgery she had to endure and the resulting effect it had on her short term memory!  OH MAN!  To have THAT happen in your life and be able to laugh about it?!  What a gem!  Thank you SO much for the day brightener!  The Honda racer found a home right before close to two wonderful ladies, quite secure in the knowledge of what they wanted! 
ALSO, got some SAH-WEEEEET new goodies in (soon to be up and running) and a special thanks to our buddy Lee, for bringing in ANOTHER gem of a road bike!  This one a CLASSIC Raleigh, already in the rack, dressed up with new tires and tubes and almost ready to show!  Not to mention another awesome consignment piece, a 2013 Giant Escape Commuter!  GORGEOUS!!
OKEY DOKEY FOLKEE'S, I NEED to get my hinney moving as we have already amassed another collection of repairs this morning and I really don't want to fall behind!  See ya REAL soon!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

OK.....Color Me Weirded out....

This is surreal.
No, not the fact that I am writing this late in the afternoon, but my day was quite oddly interrupted by a phone call just a few minuets ago.  After hanging up, I just sat spellbound and in shock.  Mustering my composer I had to call Angela and discuss the conversation with her.  Now SHE is "weirded out" and in giddy shock as well.
Like most phones, when a call comes in either a name or address is emblazoned across the tiny screen.   Most of the time, any out of state calls are telemarketers trying to hock their goods, but this time of year when we get one it MAY be a Snowbird, so we use our pleasant voices.  Twas a good thing.
Anyone visiting the shop is sure to have noticed the cool family portrait we have hanging by the front door.  Anyone who looks at it comments on it looking like either a rock album cover or art for a reality TV show.
Well....the phone call wasn't asking our family to do a gig in Nashville.
Only a preliminary call, but one to request setting up a Skype call to discuss the possibility of developing a reality show around our shop and our family.
Let THAT sink in for a moment.
Now, the skeptical side of me (and not to mention that of the lovely Angela) wonder if this isn't some sort of elaborate scam attempt who's diabolical machinations shall soon disclose themselves, forth with.  That not withstanding, neither of us are sure exactly HOW to react to this possibility.  First, I really don't think there is enough of anything interesting going on in our lives to carry a show (we may talk like 'em but we ain't the Osbournes!  SHARRON!) and would we really want the intrusion into our everyday lives?  How would it help or worse, effect business? 
I don't know folks.  It's all speculative at the moment, so I'm just gonna try my best to get my head out of the Hollywood clouds and get back to the Bread and Butter of things around here.
Just needed to get that out.
Now, go on with your day.
thank you.

Even The Biggest Man Can Fall!

Recently a friend of Angela's, involved in a network of  Mom's helping Mom's, came to the house to pick up all Miranda's baby stuff to be handed down to an expecting mother.  While visiting she brought a couple of boxes of assorted goodies, hand-me-down clothes and shoes for the baby girls.  Amongst them were a smattering of toys and a collection of girlchild related DVD'S.  Now, the most SHOCKING part of that is the fact that someone out there actually has kids, respectful enough, to allow a DVD to survive their early childhood!  Even locked up in our house, they still have a tendency to be re-purposed as a coaster, chair shim, Frisbee or shiny jewelry!  But no, these were unscratched and playable.
Seriously considering requesting Angela sever her relationship with whomever GAVE her these movies, I am just thankful that for the most part, I'm not home in the daytime when they get airtime.  Angela is MUCH more patient and accommodating then I in that respect!  She allows the girls to have full run of the TV during the day, when they so wish it, and relegates herself to household duties and her Ipad. 
Well, this streak of good luck was broken for me last night, but I don't care how big or how bad you may think you are.  How tough or rigid a demeanor you may project to the outside world, for when your adorable little three year old girl climbs up into your lap to seek comfort in your hefty hide, you melt.  And anything in the world that her angelic little face my request becomes your sole purpose in being!
Even if that desire is to watch a Strawberry Shortcake Movie.
A decision that apparently has lingering repercussions, as this morning, while opening up and mopping the floor I gradually became aware of the fact I was singing the films "Springtime" tune.
But it's OK.  She lay on me the whole film, content and happy.  That made the sacrifice of my sanity worth it.
This week is gonna be an interesting one!  Angela's new vocation is really starting to kick into high gear for the Holidays!  As more and more people are seeing the work that her and Daniel expertly do and are impressed greatly, they are getting more and more requests for bids.  Apparently their is a big Christmas Shindig at a resort down South of here and they will be working out this weekend, so it's me and the kiddo's holding down the homestead.  More so Elijah holding down the house, me the money maker (as usual).  It's good that her creative skills have found an outlet to shine!
As far as around here!  Well, yesterday was an unusual Tuesday as things were WAY busy!!  The Classic Schwinn Cross didn't last to long, as expected.  Once again a revisited friend gave her a new home!    It was the flood of repairs that REALLY kept us jumping!  Thanks to everyone for extending their trust!  It does our hearts good to see more and more people getting two wheels on the pavement!  Put out two SWEET new goodies!  A 24' Honda racer AND an exquisite Ladies Giant DX!  WOW!  She is a PEACH!! 
Have even more to work on, as well as today's influx of repairs, so I'd best get my ol' keister in gear!  See ya all soon!

ONLY $45.00!!!

ONLY $240.00!!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Secret Admirer? Or Stalker?

Now THAT was a Monday! 
With all due respects to Garfield's disdain for the first day of the week (although, to my confusion, Sunday is supposed to be the ACTUAL first day of the week?) for us, it's usually a good one.  Folks, having dedicated the weekend to their Veloist lifestyle, come in first of the week to fix everything that when wrong with their rides, or to pick up new ones.  We sent home the Schwinn Ranger conversion with a VERY nice gentleman who has visited us twice before,  pledging on his honor, that he would ONLY buy a bike from us!  He kept his word!  And I love the style with which he did it!  Came in, happy to find something to his liking, asked to take it for a test drive, left his key as collateral and took her for a test drive.  Five minuets later he came back in, sans bike, and stated "I took the liberty of just loading it on my car" and slapped the money down!
Another real sign of dedication and desire was a young man who came down from New Port Richey.  Now by dedication I mean he had a friend peg him all the way on his BMX just so he could purchase a bike from us!  WOW!  That's 19.4 miles! (the real kicker being, they traveled down Alt 19 to Main, passing FIVE other bike shops on their way to us!!)  Standing on the back pegs of a 20" BMX!  For almost 20 MILES!!!  He has been following us on Craigslist and by extension this blog and stated he wouldn't buy a bike anywhere else!! He'd been saving his money and when he felt he had enough he solicited the assistance of his friend and planned a day to come visit us, leaving very happily with the modified Roadmaster MTB we had!  I mean color me HONORED!!!
And that was not the end of the blessings we had yesterday!  Had a mother bring in her young daughter with her 24" cruiser.  Seems a friend of her sisters maliciously punctured her rear tire and they needed a replacement.  Single Mom, limited income, they had been to two other local bike shops (all the while walking the bike) attempting to get the bike repaired.  The two quotes she had received were, respectfully, $39.00 and $45.00 (plus this place said she should just get rid of the old Walmart cruiser and buy a new one from them).  When I informed her that a new tube and decent used tire would only cost her $19.00 plus tax, she was taken aback, and a wee bit teary eyed to boot.  Even doubly so when I informed her it would only take five minutes to perform the repair (another of the shops said they would have to leave it for the day?!) Once done, she was very thankful and left a promised future repeat customer!
Now all that wonderful grace is only magnified by the surprise that awaited me in the morning when I went to get my cup of coffee at the Wren's Nest. 
My routine in the AM is to meander in, open up, turn the lights on (prop open the doors now that fall is here!) take out the sign and clown bike, sweep up, turn on the 'puter then go and get my COFFEE!!  When  ordered up at the counter, the regular waitress came back inside and informed the owner that the day before (Sunday) a gentleman had come in and informed her that I had really helped him out recently on his bike, and that HE would be paying my coffee tab for this week! 
WOW!  I am very humbled, and in no uncertain terms perplexed.  How did he KNOW I got my coffee there?
(insert Twilight Zone theme here)
I send all my gratitude to my mysterious benefactor!
Well, that's about all I have time for today!  But check out the new goodies we put out yesterday, including a gorgeous pink three wheeler (of who's origins are a wee but of a humorous story I can share with those of interest) and ANOTHER recumbent!!!  WA-HOO!
See y'all soon!

ONLY $420.00!!!

ONLY $160.00!!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Family Circus!

No, not the ambiguously boring one panel strip BUT the first day out for the clan in some time!  As Elijah is now running the shop on Sundays, I opted (in retrospect not one of my BEST ideas) to take the remaining family on a ride!  Sans Kaleb (he took option B, to take off on his own) Angi and I packed up the remaining kiddos and ventured forth for a trip north on the Pinellas trail.  With no destination in mind, I just wanted to get out, stretch our legs and enjoy the beautiful weather at a leisurely pace.
'Twas not soon after departing the house that the fun began.  Less then a mile out the "My legs are tired" started with Rozy.  Then came Owens inability to ride in formation or in a straight line.  Of course the girls in the carriage whom are normally no problem,  discovered that if enough pressure is applied to the lower half of the screen, the snaps and Velcro will give way.  Unimpeded by the restraints it made for a new and exciting twist to the pick up game!  Anything they could grab from the cart became a projectile for Daddy to have to retrieve!  Of course, once on the trail headed North, attempting to get the children to comprehend the necessity for not only staying to the middle/right of the path but also LOOKING FORWARD when they rode, quickly proved a lesson in futility!  Angela and Logan, both prone to speed would jet ahead and await us at the next cross walk.  This alone led to the inconvenience of having to recap just WHY it took me so long to get there!  At one point taking quite sometime to untangle Rozy's rear derailleur from one of the concrete posts that border the intersections!  To top it off, as it has been sometime since any of us has rode so far on the trail, I was unaware that it had been descended upon and overtaken by such a large group of excessively RUDE people!!!  Out of all the people we encountered, only ONE knew the proper etiquette when approaching a slower moving rider was to announce "On Your Left".  No, apparently that has been replaced with the more direct statements such as "GET OUT OF THE WAY!' and/or "MOVE IT!  YOUR HOLDING EVERYONE UP!"
Look, I realize we are not spandex clad, middle aged marathon wanna-be's but we have JUST as much right to be there as anyone else!  If you want to ride your overpriced carbon fiber, mortgage defaulter fast, go to a bloody track! We came up on an intersection (clearly marked with a strange hexagonal, red and white sign with the letters S...T...O...P on it) and quick wittingly realized that perhaps it was signifying the necessity of pausing.   Just then  a gentleman was crossing over from the other side.  He was riding a very unique two seater , three wheeler.  We commented on how interesting it was and initiated a pleasant conversation.  Mind you, we were all clustered to the right center and he was to the far left with a gap of about 10 feet between us.  As we were chatting, an aspiring  Lance Armstrongish gentlemen came flying up behind us, decelerating to a drastic halt, expressing his displeasure with our presence impeding his progression and loudly expressed it with a "Get out of the F$%#ing way!"  Apparently the constriction of the ill fitting spandex limited his range of movement, or perhaps it was all the sponsor emblems emblazoned about the width and breadth of his attire that made him to important to partake in the ample space we had provided for other riders!  He wanted to proceed in  straight line, and we were shamefully blocking his path!  How DARE we!
NEEDLESS TO SAY!  If I ever have the bright idea of taking a long, leisurely ride down the trail....I'm putting in a movie! 
As mentioned, Elijah had the helm yesterday, and did a surprisingly good job.  To his credit, a customer we had serviced a couple days of go, apparently came in, rather ticked off, expressing dissatisfaction with the fact that after having it tuned up, the front derailleur was making a LOT of noise.  As it turns out, the bike in question was one he bought used, and was unfamiliar with.  Elijah had to explain, as it was a grip shift, he would have to readjust the front derailleur either back and forth a lick, depending upon which gear the rear was in, in order for the chain not to hit the front cage.  Also, that the setting on the brakes was set tight, purposefully but should he prefer we could loosen them up.  This gent went from disgruntled to a repeat customer because of Elijah's patience and professionalism, as he informed me when I called on a QC this morning, that he would be bringing two other bikes to us for service! 
We did manage to put out a few new rides on Saturday, even got ourselves ANOTHER recumbent!!  SO check 'em out below, and now I gotta get my Daylight Savings Time befuddled but to work!
See ya soon!

Classic Schwinn Cross! 
Converted to 5 Speed!
ONLY $85.00!!

ONLY $80.00!!!

ONLY $160.00!!!