Neighborly Confrontation

I had a run-in yesterday with the neighbor formerly known as “a**hole motorcycle guy.” I had just gotten back from a customer’s office when I get a knock on the door. It’s “motorcycle guy” saying “Can we talk a minute? I know you’ve got a problem with me.” About a year ago I had gotten in his face about him riding his motorcycle (a dirt bike) on the street, popping wheelies, spinning donuts, acting like your basic juvenile. The only problem is that this guy is in his 40’s.

So, when he knocks on my door I realize we’d better step outside away from Elizabeth. Of course, Elizabeth sticks her head out the door, “Who is it, Dad?” I told her to get back inside while I spoke to this “gentleman” who, by the way, had brought another neighbor and that neighbor’s ex-con son with him, apparently for backup.

When this sort of thing happens, I get real calm and very alert to everyone’s body language and movements. Standing out on my driveway now, “motorcycle guy” explained that his friends were there at his wife’s insistence in case his temper got out of hand and he “went crazy.” He even somehow worked into the conversation that he used to do “ultimate fighting,” though he hadn’t done it in four years.

I replied with a smile as if I was impressed, “Oh yeah?” If he was trying to scare me, it wasn’t working. I’m half a foot taller, outweigh him by 75-80 pounds, and still in decent shape physically (when my back’s not bothering me, which it wasn’t). I wasn’t afraid for my own safety, but you never know what an idiot/jerk like this might do to your wife, daughter, pets or belongings. So, I was keeping my cool.

Anyway, he accused me of “calling Codes” on him for running the auto repair shop he’s been running in his driveway for at least a year. They had done two pop-up inspections that morning, apparently, and were threatening him with a thousand dollar fine, according to him, if you can believe anything he says. “They’re telling me that you are the one who called them!” He was bluffing, because he then started to say, “If I find out you’re the one who called them… ”

I looked him right in the eye and warned, “Don’t threaten me.” He changed tack, saying, “I’m not threatening you. I’m just saying, if you’ve got a problem with me, be a man and talk to me. Don’t be calling Codes on me.” I’m thinking, “As if you would honor my wishes?”

I laughed and said, “Don’t give me that. I did talk to you face to face about your motorcycle hot-dogging. You stopped for a while, then started up again.” I have no problem with motorcycles normally, but this guy is constantly disturbing the peace, waking us up from naps. I value being in a nice quiet neighborhood, which ours normally is. I should have told him, “You’re the one who needs to be a man, be a mature and considerate neighbor and move your ‘repair shop’ out of the neighborhood, and keep your dirt bike on the dirt not on these otherwise quiet neighborhood streets.”

Once the confrontation evolved into an actual conversation, his friends left, saying, “You don’t need us, do you?” “Motorcycle guy” let them go then told me how he had lost his auto repair business when his partner put all of their profits up his nose and left him with the bill; and that both he and his wife were unemployed (which I can sympathize with); and he’s trying to get a new repair shop built south of here. I was genuinely sympathetic to his plight. Like me, he’s just trying to stay afloat. I even complimented his work ethic, noting how he was always out there working. I assured him I’m not the one who called Codes on him. I did admit to complaining to the homeowners association several months ago, and maybe they called Codes. But several times I said, “I’m not your problem. I’m not the one calling Codes.” I don’t want him burning down my house in “retaliation” if/when he loses his to foreclosure, which these days is a real possibility.

We ended up shaking hands, with him offering to help me with any car problems I might have. Oh, by the way, the guy’s name is Steve. I wished him good luck getting his shop together (NOT on his driveway). And I hope that’s the end of it. I still don’t like him, but at least he was able to blow off some steam, so maybe he won’t blow a gasket.

Decent breakfast place?

Calling all breakfast eaters: Does anyone know of a decent place for breakfast near Nashville‘s (BNA) airport? My sister is passing through town next weekend and wants to have breakfast with Elizabeth (everyone else is secondary). We have a short time frame ( or 3 hours) for breakfast before her flight leaves. The only breakfast places near the airport we can find are Shoney’s and Waffle House. Tara hates Shoney’s, and as for Waffle House, well, Tara and I have a long-running joke ever since we started dating that if one of us ever took the other to Waffle House, it meant we were breaking up. 🙂 So, that’s out.

There has GOT to be something better than these crappy chains! So, I repeat: Does anyone know of a decent breakfast place near the airport? Thanks!

UPDATE: We couldn’t find anything. 🙁

FURTHER UPDATE: The only one of these anywhere close to the airport is the Pfunky Griddle, and it is good.

Cool Feature Just Discovered on Google Translate

I got an error in a program that was in some foreign language I didn't even recognize, let alone understand. I went to and typed in one of the words and chose “Detect language” in the “Translate from…” box. It told me the word was Danish.

Look here:

Amazing! I thought so, anyway. 🙂

Selling Insurance

I got a call today about a job with American Income. They said they found my résumé on Careerbuilder. When I get emails like that, I instantly recognize them and mark them as spam and block them from sending any more. But getting a phone call is apparently more effective on me.

I agreed to an interview (because she never mentioned anything about selling anything). I figured I might just be doing some sort of generic office / customer service work. After reading the following link, however, I think I’ll just blow off that interview I’d scheduled for next week. Here’s the article:

A warning to pet owners with kids

I had to take our dog Chandler (my “best puppy”, the “big man”) to the vet Thursday after I discovered, while giving him a bath, what looked like a bloody gash on his throat. I was horrified. I literally gasped in shock (I’m such a girl sometimes, I know) 🙂 as drops of blood dripped into the bathwater. It looked like someone had cut his throat. How was that possible when he never leaves the house or yard except when I walk him every night? He wasn’t bleeding profusely and the folds in his skin on his neck seemed to keep the wound from being exposed (which is why I never saw it before).

I pulled him out of the bath, dried him off (mostly), and called the vet. This was around 1:30, and she had a 3:00 slot available. I gathered up Chandler and Elizabeth and drove from Antioch to Franklin. We really need to get a closer vet. 🙂 Anyway, when we got there, the vet assistant says, “Let’s take a look at his neck.” She starts feeling around and comes up with a large rubber band. “How’d this get here?” she asked.

The rubber band, just like an embedded chain or collar you see on animal abuse documentaries, had not only rubbed his neck raw, but had cut into it. They took Chandler to a back room and told us to come back in a couple hours while they cleaned and dressed the wound. Elizabeth swore up and down she didn’t do it, but I didn’t believe her. That’s her first impulse now: blame someone else, even when you see her doing it. It then occurred to me one of her little friends might have put that rubber band around Chandler’s neck. I could tell she was upset thinking she might have hurt Chandler, so I dropped it.

To make her feel better, I then told her she probably actually helped save his life because she was the one who kept insisting we give the pugs a bath. If it wasn’t for that, there’s no telling how bad it would have gotten. When we picked Chandler up, the wound was raw and scary-looking, just like someone had slit his throat. They told us to go out and buy Telfa pads (we bought something comparable by Curad), put regular old honey on them, and wrapped his neck with a bandanna. And that’s what we’ve been treating him with, successfully, for the past four or five days. He’s finally bandanna-free, and it looks like he’s going to be fine. I just need to give him another bath to get all that dried honey off his chest.

Our Adoption Story

My wife Tara has written up our adoption story in response to that
woman (living not too far from here, unfortunately) who returned that
boy to Russia a couple weeks ago.

Here’s the local link (our_russian_adoption_story), and here’s the original link (Tara's FavesTara’s Favorites)

This article/post is copyrighted. Please do not reprint, reproduce or distribute it (or its images) in whole or in part (other than to “share” a brief excerpt with a link to the original) in any form without our consent. Thanks!

Petition in favor of Russian adoption

Please sign the petition (at the bottom of this post) in favor of Russian adoption. I did. My wife and I adopted from Russia in 2007. You can watch the videos here and here.

Of course it has been difficult at times — she’s a child, after all — but it never once occurred to us to “return” our daughter to Russia. The moment an adopted child touches down on American soil, they are an American citizen. If there are problems after that — even if the child is “psychotic” or violent — it has to be dealt with by the parents and American organizations (and authorities, if necessary). An adopted child has no business going back to Russia except to visit.


I almost stepped on a snake as Elizabeth and I came out of the creek. Yes, we were in the creek. Anyway, I yelled, “Aaaah” when he slithered past me toward Elizabeth and into the water.

Elizabeth wanted to get a better look at him as he lay there half in the water, half out. It was only three feet long, but I didn't know if it was poisonous or not, so I said, “no way.” Anyway, none of us, including the snake, was injured. I think it was one of these: