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february 2001

take me back


february 21

So the last couple of weeks have been bizarre.  It all started when we chased the bad guy from Sky Island. (See february 9 below)

Last Friday we got hit with the worst snow storm we've had here in about 5 years.  We only had 6 inches of snow at our house, but the snow totals ranged from 3 inches to over a foot throughout the Puget Sound area.  Now, I know that doesn't seem like much, but something like this just paralyzes this area -- mostly because people don't know how to drive in it.  I mean, with storms like this happening once every 5 years or so, we don't get much practice.  Personally, I decided that the whole mess wasn't worth risking my neck for and I stayed home, drank hot cocoa and watched all the other fools drive around on the news!!!

So last night, this 'odd' streak continued.  We went downtown to see Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Cinerama in 70mm.  The kids had fun and so did we.  After the movie we were walking down 4th avenue toward our car and this big dude kind of emerges from around the corner, yelling and screaming at everyone -- and no one.  We kind of pushed the kids ahead saying "Faster"!  We even crossed against a red light -- with about 6 other people -- to avoid this guy.  We made it to the car safely, but there were a few tense moments.

The weirdness did not stop there though.  On our way home we stopped at the Southcenter Mall food court for dinner.  When we were headed to our car after eating, 8 or so mall security guards ran past us and tackled this Hispanic kid on the side walk.  It took 5 of them to subdue and cuff the guy, while the other 3 grabbed his buddy.  Soon after lights and sirens whirred as the Tukwila police zoomed in to whisk the culprits away.  All of this happened in the time it took for us to walk from the food court to the car.  We were stunned.

I can't wait to see what happens next...


february 9

Do you remember in December when I was grousing about the rash of robberies in our neighborhood and the lack of action by the Pierce County sheriff’s department to stop them – including my outrage at the 4 hour response time for a neighbor’s 911 call to report that a man was trying to break into multiple homes while she was on the phone with them!?!?! Well, at that time, the sheriff deputies told us that they could do more for us if we actually caught someone in the act of swiping someone’s stuff. Well, guess what!?!? NO! The sheriff’s department hasn’t done any more to help us, but we did manage to ‘catch’ someone in the act!

The story you are about to read is true, the names have not been changed, but some of the action may have been embellished to make me look cooler than I actually am. Here goes…

About 4 PM Friday afternoon, February 9, 2001, my wife arrived home from work. I was busy catching up on ‘yesterday’s news’ in the morning News Tribune and watching Crockett and Tubbs chase criminals on TNN when Pam sat down beside me and asked what I thought we should have for dinner. After a brief conversation we decided that neither of us felt like cooking and that Chinese food was a really good idea. We also thought that it would be a good night to rent a movie, so we decided to stop off at Blockbuster while we waited for our Chinese food to be boxed. At about 4:20 PM we entered the garage to get in the Honda and head to the New Peking and, unbeknownst to us, toward a date with destiny.

Now, shortly before we started talking on the couch we’d given our youngest son, Colton, permission to ride his bike, but asked him to watch for cars and be careful. When we entered the garage a red, early 90s Toyota Camry was driving by and Colton commented that this was about the 4th time that he’d seen this particular car drive by, something that we’d asked the kids to watch for since the robberies began in early December 2000. I told him that he was doing a great job being observant, but not to read too much into it – boy was I wrong.

As we backed out of our driveway we spotted this same car right across the street, parked sideways in our neighbor’s driveway as if ready to make a quick get away. When I examined the car a little closer I noticed that the driver’s seat was empty. My eyes immediately started searching for him, and I quickly spotted him crawling across the driver seat of another car parked in the same driveway.

"That guy is stealing something from that car!" I yelled. My wife, who was sitting next to me, looked up and confirmed it. Just about that time the man sprinted from the car and headed toward his own with a dark object in his hand. I hit the gas just as he climbed into his car and sped off. I followed very closely behind. After passing a dump truck to stay close, we left the development at a high rate of speed. Soon after passing the development monument the culprit tried to shake us by cutting through parking lot of the Chevron Market and squeeze onto a tightly packed highway 410 – we stayed with him.

At this point I instructed Pam to pull our extra cell phone out of the glove box and immediately contact 911 to report the theft and to tell them we were still on his tail heading eastbound on highway 410 in rush hour traffic. She did so.

Thanks to great coincidence, we were able to make the lights with this guy and didn’t run into trouble until we reached a very busy intersection at the Market at Lake Tapps where the light was red and Friday afternoon commuters were backed up for about ¼ mile. This is when the crook decided to drive on the shoulder – we followed in the Honda with Pam still on the phone to 911, and the operator begging us to stop chasing the guy. Pam, just as pissed as I was at this point retorted with "Can’t we at least give you the license number and a description of the vehicle and driver so you can dispatch someone to continue the chase?" The 911 operator relented for the moment and took the description "a red, early 90s Toyota Camry, Washington plate 771 JFB. Driver is a male caucasian, short dark hair, about 5’ 10" or 6’ even. Early to mid 20s with pock marked complexion, wearing a dark jacket and blue jeans."

By this time the perp had made a U-turn against the red light at the Market intersection to try to allude my pursuit. Despite the considerable volume of traffic, I managed to stick with him without causing an accident. People were frozen in their tracks and watched as we completed our maneuvers in the intersection. The whole thing was so surreal, but I noticed that I wasn’t shaking, wasn’t breathing heavy, and was as calm as could be – always checking first before making any sudden moves or turns.

Pam reported to the 911 operator that we were now heading westbound on 410, still in pursuit of the culprit’s vehicle. Once again the 911 operator begged us to break off the chase and to return to the scene of the crime to meet a deputy that she had dispatched to the scene. I screamed back for her to get someone to track this guy down before I stopped because we were sick and tired of being robbed with nothing being done! She promised, but – of course -- didn’t deliver.

At Pam’s considerable urging, I slowed to break off the chase. I was very frustrated as I watched the criminal’s tail lights disappear in the distance, as he continued westbound on 410 at a high rate of speed. As soon as she got off the phone with the 911 operator I asked her to call my brother – the police lieutenant in Bonney Lake – the town we were chasing the criminal through. She did and related the story to him. He assured her that we’d done everything right, although I was pissed that I had to stop the chase, and was even angrier after talking with the victim and hearing what the deputy planned to do about it – but I am getting ahead of myself.

When we returned to Sky Island we pulled into our neighbor’s driveway and the victim’s car was still there with the door ajar. Shortly after exiting the vehicle our neighbor Shari came out of the front door of the Taylor’s home with Tom and Monica – whose driveway she had parked in briefly to drop something off. We gave her the story and when she checked the car, and found that her purse was missing. My ire rose at this point because the guy was so brazen as to steal in broad daylight, with people – and kids – all over the place.

Shari was very grateful for what we’d done, but also was a bit angry that her purse was gone. As we related the story to Tom and Monica the sheriff’s deputy showed up – in no particular hurry. He had already run the plate and found that the car was not stolen. He even had an address for the culprit, but hadn’t sent a car to his house yet. After we related the full story to the deputy, Shari provided a description of her purse and its contents. The deputy took our information as well because we could easily identify this clown if they ever catch him. He promised to ‘check it out’ but seemed WAY too nonchalant about the whole thing. My ire raised even further at this point because after what happened in December the deputies told us that if we could catch them in the act they could do more, but I wasn’t getting that feeling from the deputy that I’d just spoken with. What do we have to do now??? Catch the idiot ourselves??? If that’s the case I probably shouldn’t have stopped chasing the guy!!!!

By the time the deputy left there was a considerable collection of folks gathered in the driveway wondering what the hell was going on. So while Shari called her credit card companies to cancel her cards, we related our story a few more times before we could resume our dinner quest. We also told Colton that his observation skills were excellent and gave him full credit for spotting the suspicious person. He was very pleased with himself.

As the adrenaline level tapered off a bit I started to notice that it was cold outside. Although throughout the entire event I was never nervous, never ‘hyper’ or hysterical and never once panicked, the adrenaline was definitely flowing. The whole experience was very surreal and was over almost as quickly as it started. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when the guy was running from Shari’s car with her purse and now I couldn’t believe that any of it had happened at all.

Anyway, after a few more "thank yous" and some hugs, we left for the New Peking feeling good about what we’d been able to do, but disappointed that we didn’t get to nab the guy and take our frustration out on him. We decided not to rent a movie in case we didn’t get a chance to watch it – and that was a good call. After we got home we got a ton of phone calls from people that heard what happened and wanted details. I let Pam handle those – which she did very well.

Now I’m not expecting much from the deputies. In fact, they probably haven’t even assigned a detective yet. And after what has happened the last couple months, and the lack of any resolution despite two eye witness accounts, 3 vehicle plates, 3 excellent vehicle descriptions and 2 very detailed suspect descriptions I’m not expecting much. Sure, this guy knows where I live, but he also knows I’m not about to back down from him to protect my neighborhood. Perhaps he’ll have this in mind, as well as the fact that we’ll know who did it, if he considers any sort of retaliation.

Hopefully this time the Pierce County Sheriff’s department has enough evidence to snag this freak. I’ll be waiting for that call to ID this guy in a line up in the near future, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I strongly suspect that the same pattern of inadequate response will be repeated in the weeks to come. Although I do hope they prove me wrong, I doubt that they actually will.

Now that we’ve done everything that the deputies have recommended to catch the guy – short of grabbing him ourselves -- and still no arrests have been made for the crimes, there is only one question remaining in my mind. Do I get a discount on my taxes because of the sub-par police protection that we have in Sky Island??? I think we all know the answer to that one.

You know, this whole thing makes me want to go buy a gun…


february 6

So Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman have split.  On one hand it's pretty sad because of the kids.  On the other hand, I think it was only a matter of time given the historical success of most Show-Biz marriages.  Their official statement concluded that their split was caused because of  "Two people with very busy careers."

Now, I realize that the only life that we can control is our own, but all this selfish behavior makes may very angry.  Are you telling me that millions of dollars weren't enough to raise a family???  Did they actually feel compelled to go after more???  NO!  Of COURSE it wasn't about the money!  It was all about feeding their ego's and staying in the lime light!  Pretty sick!

HEY!  Tom and Nicole!  In case you didn't realize, marriage is a 'give and take' thing -- especially when you have kids involved, you know?  If both of you were unwilling to give up some of your career for the sake of the marriage and family, then it was never much of a 'family' or a 'relationship' was it???  And now the kids are the victims of your selfishness!!!

If the writing was on the wall here, why were they allowed to adopt in the first place??  Because they had money???  You know, a lot of people can 'afford' to have kids, but that doesn't mean that they are fit to be parents!   In my opinion, economic status should NEVER be the primary consideration when you are considering whether folks are worthy to adopt a child.  Yes, money is important, but I think this whole thing proves that the potential for a 'stable' family situation throughout the developmental years of a child should be THE most important consideration.  I mean, if neither parent has -- or is willing to devote -- the time to ensure that the child is provided for emotionally, then these people shouldn't have kids, nor should they be approved to adopt.

Many years ago I realized that I didn't want to die knowing that I didn't do my utmost to be there for my family when they needed me!  It's very true what they say -- few people go to there deaths wishing that they'd spent more time at the office.  Realizing this in time saved my marriage and benefited my family a great deal.  Yes, I may not be at the top of the ladder career wise or at the top of the earning scale, but I can say that I've been married for 17 years to the same wonderful woman, and have 3 healthy, responsible children that don't have to wait for their Dad to get home from work on a Saturday or Sunday to do spend time with them!  If God is willing, my wife and I will have plenty of time for our own endeavors after the kids have grown and left our home to establish lives of their own.  And even if we pass on before they leave the house, they will know that we did my utmost to be there for them and we will be content with that.

Now, ask yourself this.  If you died today, would you have any regrets???  

If you think you might have a few, why aren't you doing something RIGHT NOW to guarantee that you'll be able to pass on with peace of mind, knowing that you did all you could to make your life, as well as the lives of those around you, better???

Remember, the only 'goods' you can take with you when you die are those of a spiritual nature.  Are you spending more time building your spiritual wealth or your material wealth???

Give it some thought.


february 2

So I totally bagged on January 2001.  It wasn't because I wasn't thinking about you -- I was! -- it's just that I was so damned busy!  REALLY!!!

Here's a couple of highlights.

The holidays were fun, but much busier than usual.  Out of 19 days off, I basically had 2 days that I had no commitments.  Yes, some of those commitments were parties and the annual Sky Island New Year's Eve bash was one of the best yet.  I was totally fine until just after midnight when we started playing Catch Phrase, but instead of using a game board, we used the kitchen counter and shot glasses full of a various types of 'fun lubricant!'  For a while there it seemed like that damned buzzer went off EVERY time it was my turn.  Shortly after we started the game I was more than full of 'fun' and ended up getting home about 3:00 AM -- or so, I think...

Needless to say, I got sick, but right afterward I felt great, slept like a baby and felt like a million bucks the next day!  Shocking huh? 

Since returning to work I've been kept busy with my duties and even went to Mesa for a couple days to deliver a workshop.  While in Mesa I got to meet Ariana for the first time ever!!!  What a thrill!  We got along great -- as expected -- and spent two days getting to know each other. The highlight for me was a tour of her 'life' in her swell S-10 Pickup.   I'm not sure what the highlight was for her.  Why don't you ask her???  Anyway, as Humphrey Bogart said at the end of Casablanca "... I think this is the start of wonderful friendship" --  or something like that.  I am thinking about going back to Mesa in the Spring so we can spend some more time together.  Perhaps she will visit Washington soon????  Who knows...

The last couple months have been filled with surprises for yours truly!  Not all have been pleasant -- like my car breaking down a couple times.  But no matter how terrible some of the surprises have been, there has always been a silver lining and plenty of nice surprises to give it all a wonderful balance.   One of the nicer surprises was hearing from a couple folks that I hadn't thought about in years.  The most recent was a person I went to junior high with.  His name is John "Trent" Mier.  He and I used to hang out in Junior High until he moved to Oregon in 1978.  Since then his life has taken him to Paris, New York and now Washington DC.  He has his own graphics business now and seems to be doing very well.  Good for him!!!  It was really great to hear from him.

Well,  I'll try to do better at updating this month -- OK???  Until next time...



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