Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Hiking In Little Cottonwood

It has been a long winter here in Salt Lake, followed by a spring that can be best described as fickle and schizophrenic. One day I'm getting a burnt neck whilst working and getting the crap from the wife that that entails, next I'm rushing off home trying to avoid the snow and hail. I'm almost missing the weather from Scotland, at least that is predictably bad.

Anyway our two year anniversary is fast approaching and despite the weather we need to get in hiking shape for our trip to Moab at the end of May. So on Sunday we took the opportunity to enjoy a couple of hours worth of blue skies and went for a hike right here in Salt Lake.

Predictably the snow still lying on the ground steadily got worse the higher we got, which ultimately prevented us from reaching our goal.

However I have to admit to being a very proud man when I saw my wife pick up a small rock and throw it away in a moment of frustration. It might not exactly be good mountain etiquette but no one was hurt from the act and its progress indeed from someone who not so long ago didn't want to climb over immovable gates, or who would shy away from the noise of barking animals in the distance when enjoying the great outdoors. (We Scots are a strange breed and take pride in the strangest of things)

By the time she picked up her third, I was trying so hard to suppress my laugh that I wasn't at all confident that I could avoid it if I found it come flying in my direction.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Best Laid Plans .... And The Universe

Do you ever feel that your life is at the mercy of other peoples cock ups?

Generally I don't, but sometimes I wonder.

It was just under 3 years ago that I met somechileanwoman and with getting to know one another we realised we had something special and so we made plans to be together. A short few months after we did so the world was coming to terms with the fact the bankers of the world turned out to be members of the union of greedy wankers and that everyone was pretty much screwed. It was then that we realised we had to readjust our plans, dreams and expectations downward.

This we did, it took us time but eventually with hard work we came out the other end. Forgetting the trip that never was, due to car trouble, last year was a good year. It was a year we got our crap together. In the space of a year we made some real improvements in our life. Debts were paid, we moved into a new home and though the winter was a long one we had our tax refund to look forward to.

Ah the tax refund.We dared not dream too high but we waited for our tax specialist to submit it with eager anticipation. After waiting since the end of January, 2 weeks ago we got the result - a nice check of $3921 deposited into our account courtesy of Uncle Sam.

We put some aside into the savings account and celebrated with the rest by buying that much needed new bed and mattress that we had been longing for for sometime. Only now it turns out that our tax 'specialist' might have got it wrong and we might have to give some of it back.

I'm not too worried, winter is finally releasing its grip and my clients are starting to get me back to work on their gardens but I am getting mightily pissed off at money people taking shortcuts.

Friday, 8 April 2011

The Blame Game

It seems every where you look today in the US there is division. The Republicans and Democrats can't agree on a budget for the country and so are pushing the country to an enforced shutdown. The NBA league could shut down for next season because the players union can't find an agreement with the franchise owners regarding profitability of teams (or lack thereof) and players wages. Likewise a similar shutdown could happen in the NFL.

What the hell is going on? No one seems to know how to talk anymore. They can't even agree about what they are disagreeing about.

I am not going to feel sorry about the Lebron James or Kobe Bryant type players if the NBA was to shut down next season but is anyone thinking about the young college kids who have worked so hard over the past couple of years to get a shot at the NBA or NFL? How are those kids going to cope if they make themselves available for the draft, find themselves picked and then not play for a year, sitting in the sidelines while waiting for a new crop of young players to come in the following season. That second crop of kids will probably have a better chance of establishing themselves that year because they will have been playing in competitive action for a year, instead of pumping weights in the gym. The answer for some of the players is not to declare themselves for the draft and stay on in college for a year longer. For the senior players though this is their make or break time they don't have the option of leaving it for another year. Some of the younger players don't want to miss out either. This might be their only shot, a bad injury in college next year may mean they get overlooked next year, or a bad run by their college team could affect their chances of being forgotten.

As serious a situation this might be for the lesser players in the sport or for those sportsmen trying to establish themselves, it is just sport. The Government and the Republicans should know better. A shutdown of the government because both sides can't reach agreement on the US budget will mean 800,000 people won't be able to go to work, or get paid, until an agreement is reached. That will be a lot of families struggling to pay mortgages or put food on the table. Now how does that help a country that is supposed to be on its knees?

And why was that law ever agreed in the first place? And why would any opposition want to hold a government to ransom in this way? Is no one thinking of the children that might affected here?

Talk, listen, talk again, compromise, its easy, or maybe not.