Wednesday, October 05, 2005

It’s been a busy week…

But, due to the hours I’ve been logging, I’ll be getting a 3 day weekend! The client wants to keep my weekly hours around 40, and by taking Friday off I’ll still have 82 for the two week period… More dust, grease, welding and grinding this weekend for sure!

First, I think I might not have been clear in my last post. I’m still doing the same thing, at the same place, through the same broker. What changed is that I took a little less $$$ (about 5% net) to pick up paid holiday, sick and vacation time (21 days total) and health benefits. It’s true though, I’m an actual IRS certified... ‘employee’… Although, to the client, I'm still a contractor.

I did write a neat little piece of code today, that I think I’ll publish on one of my websites this weekend. The short of it is that it will automatically sync structure changes made to a ‘remote’ database whenever you are updating a local copy. This has been a real issue for the work I’ve been doing. Most of the data I am working with, originates as DB2 tables on a mainframe. For the most part, I pull it down to the network and perform analysis and reporting with it. In addition there are several applications that make use of this data via daily ‘updates’ and this takes a burden off the mainframe for local queries and so on.

The DB2 admins are regularly changing that table structures to meet the needs of the 1,000’s of users. Unfortunately, when they do that to one of ‘my’ tables, it means I’m not getting all the information in the file. This little dynamic ‘structure checker’ identifies that, and will automatically bring the two systems back in sync.

Ok… enough code talk…

I’ve talked, in the past, about a lot of my old friends. I’ve never really talked about my family though, outside of my Mom and Dad.

For whatever reason, today, I found myself thinking about my brother Jim.

I kept thinking back to something that occurred over 30 years ago.

It happened one weekend that I’d come home on leave from the service, possibly right before I shipped overseas.

The summer before I enlisted, 1971, I’d bought a brand new Honda 350SL MotoSport. A sweet, on/off road bike that wasn’t great at either, but fun riding either place, none the less! I’d ridden it all over that summer, and before I left, I’d stored it in my parent’s garage. I was 19 or 20 when this happened, so Jim had to be 15 or 16.

I never gave it a thought when I was storing it there, but, to a teenager, a motorcycle, just sitting there, begging to be ridden had to be an almost irresistible temptation. It turned out to be not an ‘almost’, but an impossible, temptation for Jim.

Unconcerned about the wrath that could (and most likely would) come his way from me, or my parents, he’d found the keys, figured out how to start and ride it, and was enjoying a daily ride in the ‘woods’ with his buddies.

All was going pretty well for Jim; his clandestine rides had gone undetected, up until this particular day.

It seems they’d been venturing further and further from home, exploring new and uncharted territory (to them), in short having the time of their young lives.

It all came to a screeching halt, on the day in question, when, as they were riding alongside the railroad tracks, they happened upon a railroad patrol officer, who had with him one of the local town cops.

Well, they put the fear of God into the young lads, and, when Jim gave the cop his name, it turned out he’d played basketball with our Dad. He told Jim that if he’d have Dad call him, he wouldn’t confiscate the bike, and there would be no formal charges for trespassing.

So here I am, drifting into town, on leave, planning a great time with the girlfriend… that my brother had been stealing my bike and riding it without my permission, was the furthest thing from my mind.

As I walked in the back door, Jim immediately grabs me and explains that he’s got something to tell me.

Now, you’ve got to know my brother Jim, he’s very hard to get, or stay, mad at. He’s always had a sort of ‘comic’ personality, where if you start off getting angry, you end up laughing.

Well, by the time he’s finished telling me this story, so nervous he’s close to hyperventilation (he’s breathing that fast), I don’t know whether I should be angry, or laugh at the dilemma he’s got himself into.

My Dad will absolutely come unglued, I have no doubt that Jim would ‘still’ be grounded… it would have been that bad, but, in telling me, he’s risked a huge ass kickin… and he knew it. The best part however, he saved for last…

His plan, to 'fix' all of this, is for me to call the officer, say I’m ‘Bill Coupe’ (which is true, just not ‘the’ Bill Coupe he’s expecting to be calling), and talk the matter over with him.

At first, I told him ‘No way’… that I wasn’t going to be a part of his ‘criminal career’… but, I knew all along I was going to do it… I just wanted him to suffer a little first!

So, long before ‘Dad’ would be home, I made the call. Got the officer on the phone, listened to the story, got an earful of tidbits on the pranks this cop and my Dad had pulled ‘back in the day’… explained that it was actually my oldest son’s bike that he’d left here while doing his tour of duty in the Navy… and had a good laugh with him about the ‘thrashing’ Jim was going to get.

In the end, it turned out that there never were any charges; the railroad guy was just worried the kids would get hurt, and didn’t want them near the tracks on their motorcycles. However, had Jim had to tell our Dad, knowing how much he hated motorcycles, Jim would surely have been in big trouble!

I don’t know if Jim ever rode the bike again, he said he didn’t, but I tend to think he did, just being more careful about ‘where’ and ‘when’ he rode it.

There are certainly a 1,000 or more other stories about my siblings, hopefully I’ll remember a few, and write them up before my memory fails me!

Anyway, thanks for stopping by… and as always, I love to know what you’re thinking… so leave a comment!


Jaxx said...

That was a really cool story. I don't have any brothers and my sisters are much much younger than I. I do however have friends much like your brother and it cracks me up to imagine them in the same predicament.

Bill said...

Thanks Jaxx... I'm glad it made you smile.

Ilene said...

Great story. I wish I had written down stories that my Dad told. He was born in 1899 in Oklahoma Indian Territory and he had some wild stories. Now they are gone forever. Keep up the good work!

Bill said...

Thanks Ilene! I seem to remember this stuff in a rather haphazard fashion, but, at least now they're written down!

Firehawk said...


It's amazing how much riding around in the dirt on some old, borrowed machine can mean to you when you're a kid. Your story brought some of those memories back, not only of that beautiful wind in my face, but if the little "adventures" I got myself into at that time. Good stuff.

Bill said...

Firehawk - Hell man... it *still* means a lot!! :) THose wild things we do as kids, prepare us for the wild things we'll have to do as adults... or so I've been told (personally, I don't intend to become an adult)

I'm glad you liked it!

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