Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Friday, July 29, 2005


It was a pop. Not like a champagne bottle corking off, there was no fanfare or fizzle. It was not like a firecracker either, not explosive. More like squeezing a packing bubble sort of pop. There was not even a sound, just a feeling. It felt like a pop sounds. And then it hurt. Something in my leg popped and then I was dropping my heavy load and cursing in pain.

"Christ-o-fucking-damnit that hurts!"

Somehow I got my load stabilized on the ground and then proceeded to hop around on my other leg. "Whoa fuck! Fuck! Fuck! What the fuck?" It was a muscle down in my right calf that had disagreed with the heavy load and was letting me know its displeasure.

I put the foot down and put some test weight on it. It buckled under and shot more pain at me. I gave my calf a little massage and with a few more cautious tests I found the pain points. Just how far I could stretch or how much weight it would take before it hurt. Basically I could walk on my heel, but putting weight on the ball of my foot was off limits.

"Awww fuck, I need that leg."

I thought back to whatever sports medicine I had learned over the years. It was definitely the muscle that hurt, not the bone. There was no noticeable swelling or discoloration. Most likely a pulled muscle; perhaps a strain of some sort. But whoa did that hurt. I hobbled around a little more and tried to flex. The muscle did not agree with that either. There were still three more of the 75 pound buckets to pull out of the van. I somehow managed that taking only tiny baby steps and limping on my heel. What was worse was my plan for hiking tomorrow. A pain this bad couldn't possibly heal in a day.

Working the gas pedal of the van was thankfully painless. My day was not completely shot. I just had to spend the day sitting in the office, pick up the empty buckets in the evening and all would be well. I was toying with the idea of a day off due to injury. Without going on location there were many things I could get done with a free day. Look up stuff on the internet, actually return phone calls, clean the house and get to bed at a reasonable hour.

In the afternoon when I tried hobbling across the parking lot to the mail box I still had to take little limping baby steps. The pain was less than the morning, but the thought of hiking six miles sounded impossible. I put together a plan. The first part of the plan involved Ben Gay. I wasn't sure if hot pads or cold pads were the right treatment for a pulled muscle so I decided on rest. A dose of Ben Gay before bed, a good nights sleep, some stretching in the morning. If I felt like I was close to a normal walk I would buy a walking stick and try the trail. I even set a turn back point. If I was hurting by Crystal Ford I would give up and turn around.

I gotta say, that Ben Gay is some sweet stuff. I was feeling some stiffness the next morning. It hurt if I pushed too far or too fast, but I could walk. I dosed up with Ben again and went ahead with the boots. On my way out I stopped at the sporting goods store for a hiking pole.

The first couple miles were the worst. I leaned on the pole a lot, and on the steep parts I found myself using it to power up the hills better. The more I worked the leg and the more the muscle warmed up the better I felt. I blazed past the point of no return and finished off the hike in reasonable time. The pain was gone. A nasty painful muscle pull had healed up for me in only a day.

I still have a bad feeling about the episode. This is the first time in my life I have ever used a walking stick. I felt like those pansies I meet on the trail that use poles and bear bells and try to look cool, but I can tell from their gear and their midriff that they are not true hikers. All the same, I am keeping the pole. It did actually help with the burden of the steeper parts of the trail. Not saying I will use it again soon, just saying it helped.

This is also the first time in my life I have ever purchased Ben Gay. An old friend used to say, "you know when you go from kid to adult when you buy your first toilet brush." I can't help but think you go from adult to old when you buy your first tube of Ben Gay. I'm not old yet damnit. I'm only in my (late) thirties. I'm still in my prime. I work a job that has me lifting heavy objects and hoofing miles at a time and I handle it gracefully. I can still flirt with twenty something waitresses without getting the sympathy flirt in return. I can still party and listen to obnoxious music. And I have purchased my first tube of Ben Gay and my first walking stick.

I'm not old yet, but Ben Gay and a walking stick? I think I may be closer to old than I am to young.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

On blogging anonymously

My work is everything these days. The other day I started work at 4:30 AM and didn't wrap up until 8:30 PM. Not trying to brag or martyr myself, just saying, summer is my busy time that balances those leisurely 20-30 hour work weeks in the off season. So naturally when I conjure up a half hour at the computer for blogging there is one topic that comes to mind most. Work. The sad fact is that I can't go there.

I started this blog for a variety of reasons. I was new in town, didn't know anybody and was bored. I wanted to improve my writing skills through practice. I decided on a pseudonym to give me the freedom to dig deeply into my psyche and talk about things that are perhaps not socially acceptable. Wants, desires, fears, mistakes and sex. The things that are part of all our lives but do not normally come out in public. Things that can weaken you in business relationships.

I have talked about a few of my sexcapades, and possibly mentioned not being perfect. All for the entertainment of my blog reading minions. But it has become painfully obvious to me that these things are not appropriate to my business. The web is available to anyone and everyone including the people I have to work with and for. They could even be reading my words right now without my knowledge. It would put me in a poor position, business wise, to confess my insecurities here and then face these people tomorrow.

I do not fear getting fired. I am my own boss, operate my own business, have a lengthy contract and cannot lose my position over embarrassing secrets on the internet. But that does not mean that my life should be an open book. Even though I can't be fired, I can be prejudiced against. My work can be made more difficult. I could lose clients. As much as I want to believe that the universe will balance in favor of openness and honesty I have to live in the reality that most people don't care to know the fears, insecurities and sex lives of the people they do business with.

Because of the tone I have set in the first six months of my blog I believe I must remain anonymous indefinitely

Damn shame too; I would love to tell you about some of the things I have encountered in my work. I would love to tell about the full moon setting over the lake at 5:30 in the morning. I would love to tell you about why my job requires hiking boots. I would love to tell you about the buck doing 15mph down the highway and not letting me pass. I would love to tell you about the mules and the propane and the problems I work to solve every day. I'm sorry but I can't. I fear my very livelihood is at stake.

There are choices with this and any blog. I could have chosen not to blog anonymously. I could have chosen to focus my blog more on my public life than my private life. That would have afforded me the ability to talk more openly about my very cool job; tell more of some of the people around me. But the flip side is that I would be denied speaking about some of the interesting bits of my personal life. The things that make us human and fragile.

I have read the blogs of others where they have alluded to some strife or trouble but could not go into detail. As much as I yearn for the juicy bits of their lives and humanity I know they cannot indulge me. They do not blog anonymously and could implicate or slander their peers by speaking their minds in a public forum. I can only conclude that blogging is imperfect as a journaling medium. There is no way for me to speak to all the aspects of my life and personality. When made public some of my actions can be misconstrued at best and held against me at worst. There have been times when I have been tempted to turn back to the old pen and notebook journal as a way around this conundrum.

I am not ready to abandon this blog. I feel like it is just getting warmed up. I just feel sad that this is a medium that will always deny me in some way or other.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Lifestyle changes of the ultra busy.

The curtains are never opened anymore. It's twilight when I get home (if I get home, I've gotten awful cozy with that office couch) and twilight when I leave in the morning. Opening and closing curtains is a waste of time.

Laundry basket in the middle of the living room. A convenient crossroads between front door, bed, bath, kitchen, and computer. I can just strip and chuck my dirties at whatever convenient point or time. Results in slightly eccentric half naked home attire. Good thing those curtains are closed.

The living room is a mess. The pile of 'I wore it once but I don't think it is too stinky yet' clothes have sprawled out of the bedroom and are trying to join the dirties in the living room. Not to mention the piles of shoes, backpacks, and week old Emails that never got tossed.

I've got nothing clean to wear. The time it takes to do laundry conflicts with the time I could be fixing lunches, or answering Emails, or sleeping, or eating, or bathing or...

Kitchen foods are now on the counter instead of in cupboards. When the cereal is sitting out I don't have to look for it. Plus the crackers, the granola bars, raisins, Doritos and sandwich baggies. I would leave the meats, cheeses and milk sitting out too but I tried that back when I was nine and it didn't work out so well.

The kitchen is a mess. Along with all the foodstuffs my dirty dishes are piling up. The time it takes to run the washer now conflicts with the time I could be doing laundry or sleeping or bathing or eating or...

Alarm clock permanently set to 3:15 AM. I only need that time twice a week, the other days I just turn it off 'cause I am waking up at 5:30 on my own.

Post-it notes freakin' everywhere. Don't forget to call so-and-so. Don't forget to stop and pick up some stuff on your way in this morning. Here's one that says "Don't forget your lunch." Thanks genius. It's probably a waste of time to smack myself.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

That's my brother


To all who shall see these presents, greeting: This is to certify that the President of the United States of America authorized by executive order, 24 August 1962 has awarded the Bronze Star Medal to Major M_, ~ ~, for exceptionally meritorious service during combat operations while deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. In spite of continuous dangers and hardship, Major M_ honorably contributed to the insurgents' defeat and the protection of his comrades. While assigned to the "B&" Brigade, his dedication to duty and commitment to excellence enabled the unit to succeed in its mission and provide a safer, more secure Iraq. Major M_'s leadership and professionalism are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the * Division and the United States Army.

From 08 April 2004 to 15 October 2004

Given under my hand in the city of Washington this 27th day of December 2004

Peter W. Chiarelli
Major General, USA

R.L. Brownlee
Acting Secretary of the Army

(You can tell that I'm not a Republican because I have family in the military.)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The people you meet in Montana

I've been thinking 'bout retirin'.
I've heard you say that before.
Well, it's my 60th birthday this month and this work is getting too hard. Too much heavy lifting.
Happy Birthday B_. You look like you are still going strong.
Well, I ain't what I used to be.
Maybe you just need a different job. Quit packing and just handle the trail rides.
I'm not even interested in ridin' much anymore. I've been working with horses since I was seven years old. You know, when I was exercising race horses I put on enough miles to go around the world four times. That's over ten thousand miles of just riding around the track.
That's impressive. Did you ever race? Were you a jockey?
Oh yes. Back when I was nineteen I was the tallest jockey in the United States. I weighed in at 110 dressed. I did that for about four years and then I went to New York and raced in the steeple chases. I did that until I got hurt. After that I spent a lot of years training the race horses. I've trained race horses in Japan and all over the U.S. and in Chili. Put on a lot of miles just going around the track.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Hey Jones, how is the office working out you?
It's working out great, I couldn't be happier.
That's great, I know I still need to replace that window.
Sure, when you get to it. I'm too busy to notice it much.
So did you do the websites for your business? You used to do websites right?
No, it was L_ that did the websites. But yeah, I did do web development in a past life.
I was just curious. I thought you might have gotten into this job by doing the web part.
Not quite. L_ is my uncle you know, so I got in through family.
I knew that.
I don't have much time for web work anymore.
Well you have a pretty seasonal operation. You have the off season right?
True. I may try to do some side work over the winter. I'm working too hard right now to even think about it.
That's how it is for most of us around here. Even this place. We run like crazy for three months in the summer. Then over the winter we plow snow and wait for the thaw.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Have a drink on you

It was two in the afternoon and the men without shirts were completely ripping drunk. "Hi guys, how's business?" I asked.

"Well, things are good, things are picking up a little." Said the older one with the potbelly and the deep tan and graying chest hairs. He was the only one doing any work, measuring out popcorn kernels. The other fellow was kicking back in his lawn chair drinking. They had set up a roadside stand selling popcorn to the tourists, A couple plastic bags of popcorn were on their card table under a sun awning and they had a kettle in the back sitting on a propane burner.

"Well hey, I'm looking for someone who can do me a favor for five minutes. I'm working at those storage units over there and I need some help with some heavy lifting."

The older one points to the younger one and says "He'll do it."

"Oh heck yea." Says the younger one. "I may not look like much but I'm strong. I can bench press 300 pounds." He is grinning and slurring and looks like picking up a heavy object appeals to him.

"I'll bet you can." Says I.

"So what is it that you need?"

"Well, I need help moving a big freezer out of my van."

"Oh yeah. Lemme get my shit kickers." He pulls himself to his feet and staggers a little towards their truck. "Hey man, you know where my shit kickers are?" His partner points out the boots lying on the ground and he does a little swaying dance pulling cowboy boots onto his bare feet. Somehow propping himself against his trunk, balancing a drink and pulling the boots on all at the same time. I figured he must be an experienced drunk to pull that off without falling over. "Awright. Now where we going?" I lead him back across the parking lot.

"So am I lookin' good or what? I mean, I know I ain't meant to be working around people right now with just my tattoos on but hey. This is great." He flashes a huge grin.

"You look great man, you look Montanan." The man looks like a sorry state of looser. He is wearing black cowboy boots, long black shorts, sunglasses, a bandana, and tattoos. His long stringy hair is held back into a pseudo pony tail with what looks like a binder clip. There is a nasty black gap where a tooth once was and I can't help but stare at it every time he smiles at me. The tattoo on his left shoulder is an eagle, the blue ink smudged and faded. It has been a long time since the lines were crisp and new. His other tattoos, right shoulder and chest, are just blue smudges. He has scars across his belly. I decide to give him the benefit of the doubt and decide they are from some sort of surgery.

"My 'ol lady, she gave me a release to come out here and do this. See I used to be in the Hells Angels but I quit that and now my 'ol lady, I gotta get a release from her to do anything. See, I'm a bitch magnet is what I am. I know I don't look like much, but as soon as I get out to the bar all these bitches, well they are all just 'hey how are you.' My 'ol lady, she don't let me go anywhere 'cause I am this bitch magnet. I gotta get a release to do anything."

"It's the heart." I say. "It doesn't matter what you look like, It's your confidence and your heart that they like. Girls can see that."

"My 'ol lady, she looks just like Catherine Zeta-Jones. That's why I stay with her. I mean, she ain't even all that great in the sack, but she looks just like Catherine Zeta-Jones. I mean that's worth it, right?" I silently paint a mental picture of Catherine Zeta-Jones on the arm of this scarred, dentaly impaired, drunk with the faded tattoos. I imagine what his Catherine Zeta-Jones Montana girl looks like without his two in the afternoon beer goggles and I just smile and agree with him.

"So what is it we are doing here?"

"I've got this chest freezer here in this van, and we need to move it over to there in that storage unit."

"Aww, awright. How heavy is it?"

"It's not so bad, It's just way to big for me to handle myself."

"Aww, okay. Here you push that sonnabich out here, yeah, that's it. Push it, lemme get a grip here, yeah, I got it."

"Careful, don't pull it all the way, let me get a grip, don't drop it."

"I ain't gonna drop it. I'm a Hells Angel. Now where you want it?"

"Right here, just put it down."

"Got it. Aww, sweet man. Nothing to it."

"Thank you sir, I appreciate the help." I fish a five dollar bill out of my pocket and pass it to him.

"What's this?"

"It's for helping me out."

"Aww, well that's, well… Awright." He smiles and holds the bill up like a trophy. "You know what I'm gonna do with this man? I'm gonna have a drink on you."

"That's great, that's what you should do. Thanks for the help."

"I'm gonna have a drink on you man."

"That's as it should be. Thanks. Have a great day."

"Yeah, as it should be. You have a good day too. I'm gonna have a drink on you." And he cheerfully sauntered back across the parking lot to his popcorn stand.