Saturday, August 24, 2013

I've Still Got It Baby!

I woke up Saturday, turned on the radio and what was playing? Hot Rod Lincoln. Yeah baby! It's my 60th birthday and most of the time I feel like a hot rod Lincoln. I can still remember when I thought about my parents or my grandparents in their 50's and thought to myself "that's old". But that's not how I feel as I turn 60. Joan and I are blessed with good health and positive attitudes that contribute to feeling 'younger'. Maybe not younger, but I certainly don't feel as old as I used to think 60 was. I opened some presents and Joan stated she was going to keep me for another 10 years! Yahoo!

Last week we had a young man, Scott, pedal into the campground for 1 night's stay. As I escorted him to his site I asked where he was from and found out he lived about 5 miles from where we lived in Florida. He had just graduated from FSU (GO NOLES!) and was helping his sister move from Atlanta to Denver. He had traveled from Denver to Buena Vista before renting a bike to explore the local area. His plans included horseback riding and white water rafting before he had to head back home. He was also considering his future career plans.....a great desire to become a Fish & Game officer or Park Ranger; or use his degree in environmental engineering to develop/build habitat-friendly communities. Good Luck Scott.

A couple of weeks ago Joan stayed home while I drove to one of my softball games. When the game finished I walked out to the car only to remember I'd left the key in my ball bag inside the car. OH NO! Maybe just maybe it's not locked. I don't remember locking it. So I tried the door. BEEP BEEP BEEP. Dang! It is locked. BEEP BEEP BEEP. And the car alarm is going off. BEEP BEEP BEEP. And I'm 9 miles from another key. BEEP BEEP BEEP. So I made a command decision. BEEP BEEP BEEP. I quickly walked away from the car. BEEP BEEP BEEP. To the other side of the ball field. BEEP BEEP BEEP. Way far away from the car. BEEP BEEP BEEP. "Hey guys, anybody got a cell phone I can borrow?" BEEP BEEP BEEP. I quickly called Joan and requested that she bring me a key to the car. "How am I going to get there? Ride the motorcycle?" she said. BEEP BEEP BEEP. "I don't know. I just need a key" I replied. BEEP BEEP BEEP. So for the next 15 minutes.....BEEP BEEP BEEP.....I talked with my buddies......BEEP BEEP BEEP...."would the owner of the white Grand Cherokee please turn off the car alarm" someone announced over the PA system...BEEP BEEP BEEP......well you get the picture. Joan hitched a ride from our neighbor and showed up about 5 minutes after the alarm finally reset itself. I casually and inconspicuously meandered back to the car and quickly left the scene. We both pledged we would be going to the hardware store to have a hide-a-key made and hidden on the car the next day.

The scenery is great...
But the situation sucks!
Fast forward to yesterday, 8am. We get a page from our boss stating we didn't have to start work until 1pm. Hey Joan, we've got 5 hours to explore. Where should we go? "Let's go towards Leadville, I love that drive" she replied. So off we go north to a little turnoff towards Clear Creek Reservoir. We drove about 4 miles until we saw a sign indicating 8 miles to the abandoned historic mining town of Winfield. Let's Go! Up the mountain we go until we arrive at Winfield . Numerous late 1800/early 1900 cabins on both sides of the road with small information signs. Looks like a neat place to explore. Out of the car, lock the door. "I need the camera from the back seat" says Joan. "You've got the keys" says I. "No I put them in the cup holder" says Joan. "We are so screwed" says I. No....we had not gotten the hide-a-key yet. So....12 miles up the mountain, no cell signal, with no signs of civilization......we are so screwed. About that time a 4-wheel drive drives past us up the hill, travels about another 100 yards before turning off road and into a small cabin set back into the woods. Maybe just maybe they’ve got a coat hanger or hacksaw blade that I can use to try and open the door lock. I walk up to the cabin and yes, they have a coat hanger. After 30 minutes of pushing the wire through the gap between the door and door frame; and trying to push the unlock button, we scrap that idea. If I had a longer wire maybe I could hook the keys in the center console cup holder. So it’s back to the cabin and would you have another hanger and pair of pliers I could borrow? Sure, no problem. 
Emergency Key...or
Hide A Key
Which would you prefer?
So I twist the hangers together to get a 5’ length of wire, bend a small hook in one end and start fishing for keys. Joan’s laying on the hood and across the windshield so she can see the keys in the bottom of the cup holder which I can’t see from the door; directing me “little to the left, turn the hook, up, down, missed it. More to the front, down, forward, more to the right. Right there….you’ve got it……easy…..up……don’t drop it…….yeah!” So now I’ve got the keys on the end of a 5’ piece of wire that we’ve got to pull through the door gaskets. We used the handle of the pliers to pry the door open about a ½ inch from the door jam and slipped the keys out. “We are so not screwed anymore” 2 hours after we arrived we’re on our way home. YEAH! And I’m proud to announce that as of today we have a spare hide-a-key on the jeep. Who says you can’t teach an old dog a new trick. Not as dumb as I look am I? Wait, don’t answer that.

 Back to my birthday. Before we head out to Denver to pick up Joan’s niece who is flying in from Raleigh, NC to spend a couple days with us, we go out for breakfast. After breakfast we’re walking to the car when Joan says she’ll drive because I have one more present to open and it will take a while. ????? That’s curious. She hands me the gift and I open the box to find 62 birthday cards….from friends and family across the country that Joan had been secretly collecting for over a month. What a surprise. I spend the next hour opening cards and reading them. What fun. Thanks everyone. What a great surprise.

 Well, that's it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come!


  1. Happy birthday!! Glad you got the hide-a-key. We have one too. You never know when a senior moment will make it necessary :)

  2. Happy Birthday Steve!

    That was a big OOPS! And you were still speaking. I am impressed! Now if you can just remember where you hid the key...just kidding! We have done the same thing several times...

  3. Back in my LEO days I carried a "Slim Jim" to unlock cars for old guys, I mean "people" who locked their keys inside. LOL
    Glad it all worked out for you guys. I'm right behind you reaching that age milestone, I better p/u one of those hide a key thingy's only problem is I left the alarm key fob for the Harley in my jeans that went through the washer, now when I try to move the bike ..... BEEP, BEEP, BEEP! LOL

  4. OMG -- this post is hilarious! Happy Birthday!! But don't you just hate those senior moments that remind us of our true age?

  5. This gives me a good idea for your Christmas gift.. one of those Janitor Key rings with the chain so the keys are on your hips at all times!

  6. Happy birthday. What a way to ring in your new year...BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. Glad you were able retrieve your keys both times without calling a locksmith.

    Nice idea that Joan had to collect over birthday cards. She's a keeper, that one.

  7. Happy Birthday Steve! Very funny about the key's now that you are out of the situation. I think I would see about an aftermarket keypad for the drivers door.