Mountainstroh Rules of the “Road”

You never know where the inspiration for a post will come from. This one came from my friend Sarah at the Honoring My Compass blog. She is currently at the end of a bike tour from the Mexican border to Canada, traveling along the Sierras and Cascades. They are visiting all the national parks along the way.

At one campsite they had to deal with a couple of inconsiderate people who kept them up all night talking loudly. I told her what my rule for people like this is…

In general, I am one who goes to bed earlier than the rest of the world, but then I also wake up earlier than most as well. So when dealing with inconsiderate people like this, I get even. When I get up early (either camping or in a hotel room) I make a point to be as noisy as possible. Seems fitting to me. Keep me up late, I will wake your butts up early! (I will say here this does NOT apply to people with little babies, babies cry, we all did, so I try to be extra quiet once the little falls asleep).

After telling her this, Sarah replied “I bet you could do a whole blog post on your ‘rules’ ” This started me thinking and we will see how it goes!

I do have a few that I like to use. They work for me, and may not for others, but I am happy to share as a public service. (And YES, if these get you in trouble you may blame me!)

First rule: If you are going on a trip, and the trip is NOT for the express reason of visiting relatives, it is perfectly OK, in fact recommended in my opinion, to NOT tell the relatives you are in town!

Two years ago Michelle and I went to Boston.


I am pretty sure I am related to half the town (if you count 1st 2nd and 3rd cousins). I knew if they knew a west coast family member was there for the first time in over 2 decades, our entire vacation would be taken up by visiting! So I didn’t tell them and we had a fantastic vacation!

Now I am pretty sure that if I ever visit England I would let my kid sis know…. (Just kidding Annie! Michelle would MAKE me tell you!)

Second rule: It is perfectly OK to say NO if you don’t want to go somewhere or do something. I hate weddings. Except for mine, I have always found them to be boring as all hell. So more than once I have declined to go. It’s not that I don’t care about people, I am always very happy for them, but its their day, one less person won’t make a difference.

I was really bummed I couldn’t go to my kid sisters wedding though, new job, no vacation days, kinda shot my chance on that one. I ALMOST got out of going to my kid brother’s wedding! But then he cheated and went and made me Best Man! Bastard!

Third Rule: If you have a question ask it. (EXCEPT for the one question that could end your life where you stand.  NEVER ask a lady if she is pregnant. EVER! Even if she is being wheeled into the delivery room!)

At work or outside, if there is a question bouncing around inside my head, I am going to ask it. In fact, people at work count on me to do so. I have always found that if you are respectful, and simply curious, people are happy to answer. Plus if it’s in your head, others have the same question. The person being asked can always choose not to answer, but it never hurts to try.

Fourth Rule: Go out of your way to help out people. I have gotten off my bike to hold a door for a lady with a stroller. I have carried out a box of heavy wine for older folks when I am there tasting. If I am heading into a store, I will take the cart from someone who just loaded their car. I may be cold and callous in general, but common courtesy seems to be declining. Its fun to see the surprise and smiles when you do it!

Fifth Rule: Never be embarrassed around good friends or people you flat don’t know. For those you don’t know, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, you will probably never see them again. Own the event, and take pride! (Someday I will tell you about the fart heard around the parking lot!) Later, you will laugh about whatever it was, so you might as well start early.

If you are with friends, hell you’ve done stupid stuff in front of them before and they in front of you. That’s part of being friends. The guys and I bring up any and every embarrassing moment when we get together, and no matter how many times we tell the stories we already know, we still laugh!

Rule six: ALWAYS repay a round that someone else has bought. There is no worse karma than to drink someones round and not reciprocate. Now, drinking responsibly might mean it doesn’t happen that night, but make sure to remember and to buy the first round next time. It may never be shown, but not doing so is always remembered! (Yep I know people who are mooches…)

Rule seven:  Tip well!  If you have a good server, he or she makes you smile, the food is there quickly, the drinks refilled without asking, attentive without being annoying, and (most importantly to me) the check is there when you are ready to leave, reward that person.  I have never worked in a restaurant, but I see how hard they work.  A great tip will make their day.

That being said, if service sucks, I am very willing to NOT tip at all.  It’s got to be BAD for me to do this, but when it is, I make it well known with the lack of a tip, and follow it up with an email to the manager.  Our server tonight was great, and the food excellent, I tipped over 20%!

The most important rule though? The one I live everyday. Have fun! I don’t care what is going on, how stressful things are, how sad (yes even funerals), or how stuffy or formal an event. There is ALWAYS a way to find something funny, and to help others smile. It is not disrespectful, it’s a way to stay healthy, happy and to enjoy life SO much more.

Case in point, my final email to the Mighty P the day I was laid off. People were sad to see me go, and I was seeing long faces everywhere I went. So I quoted Keano Reeves from the movie the Replacements. “I could say something meaningful and inspiring here, but that just isn’t my style, so I will just say this: Pain don’t hurt; chicks dig scars, glory is forever!”

I heard from more than one person they flat laughed out loud and knew that was a classic Tony! They were still sorry to see me go, maybe even more so, but I left them the same way I worked with them, smiling!

I am sure there are MANY more rules that I just haven’t remembered for this post. These may not work for all, but they do for me! Thanks Sarah for a great idea!

2 thoughts on “Mountainstroh Rules of the “Road”

  1. Awesome post, Tony! What a great set of rules! I particularly like the second rule. For most of my life, I was a “yes” person. And for most of my life, I felt as though I wasn’t being true to myself. Once I learned how to say “no,” life became far more enjoyable. I have no problem dishing out “no”s now. 🙂
    Oh, and thanks for writing up your rules in a post. You’ve spoiled me into thinking that whatever post I request, I shall receive. 🙂

    1. Only certain people are allowed to make requests :). Or maybe only certain do I lists to,

      And that is exactly where #2 came from. For too long I didn’t use that little word and I was NOT happy 🙂

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