Day 153

Art in the neighborhood

This is just part of the mural on the overpass. It stretches under the bridge and around, with more art on the other side of the street. I believe this was a student art project.

***

I went through the McDonald’s drive through this morning to get a cup of coffee. Let me clarify that statement. I started through the McDonald’s drive through this morning to get a cup of coffee, but pulled out of line before  ordering. The McDonald’s I was at had two lanes for ordering. I pulled in to the lane that had fewer cars, just as anyone else would do. I stayed in that lane and watched two cars that had been behind me use the other lane,m order, pay, and I assume get their order while I waited to move my car forward just one spot. It never happened. I could see the woman in the lead car talking to someone, not the person taking the orders, all the while gesturing with her hands and pointing at the pictures on the drive through menu. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t using sign language, because if that was her language of choice, she should not be using a drive through to order. I pulled out of the line and drove to a different McDonald’s a few miles away. I was in and out of there quickly.

That experience did remind me of a time when I was driving back to Auburn from the south side of Ft. Wayne. I was sitting at a stop light and noticed that when the light turned green, the woman driving the car ahead of me was carrying on a conversation with her passenger using sign language. I backed off from her car, not so much because she was using both hands, she wasn’t, but because she was looking at her passenger waiting for a response. I didn’t want to be behind her when the conversation became so interesting that she stopped looking at the road completely.

Day 152

Rural Indiana

It is something of a tradeoff; you don’t have to buy a lawn mower, but then, you have to be wary of cow pies when playing flag football in the front yard.

***

I spent some time this morning deciding if I was going to listen to Hot Tuna or The Alan Parsons Project. The Project won. Like ELO, I don’t listen to The Project often, but I enjoy their music when I hear it. Hot Tuna, specifically Jack Cassady and Jorma Kaukonen playing acoustically, are a relatively new group in my playlist. I’ll write more about them at a later date. The Alan Parsons Project started recording in the mid 70’s, and I first heard them a few years later.

I was introduced to The Project by John, a friend of mine when I lived in Auburn. John also started me listening to Randy Newman and Jerry Jeff Walker. Jerry Jeff is now a staple in my musical diet, and Randy Newman can be an occasional side dish that adds to the quality of the overall meal. I’m starting to get hungry.

I haven’t kept in touch with John, but he pops into my mind every once in a while. John once asked me to do a favor for him. He was, at that time, a juvenile probation officer who, while a county employee, served at the pleasure of a judge. The favor John asked of me was to go on a blind date with the judge’s daughter. I had sworn off blind dates many years before, but since it was John who asked me, and John implied his job security was tied to his success in finding a date for the lady, I said yes…as long as John and his girlfriend doubled with us.

Came the night of the date John and his girlfriend (later his wife) pulled up to my apartment. When I got in the car I found that they had already picked up my date. After exchanging names the first thing she asked me was, “Do you like children?” I pondered a moment and said, “It depends on whose they are.” She then told me she couldn’t have children and that was the cause of her divorce which led to her mental breakdown. If my eyes had been lasers, John would have holes burned into the back of his head at that moment. The things we do for our friends.

Day 151

A promise unkept

What does the caption to today’s photo mean? Well, I promised myself that I would start walking around this artificial pond every decent day, but I have yet to set foot on the path. This is the closest I’ve come; I took a picture of part of the path and pond, not to mention the big rock and some of the trees. Maybe I shall start when mom goes back to St. John. I’ve used many excuses, such as it is too hot, it is too cold, my back gets tired when I wear my rocker sole shoes, they took away my toe, I can’t spend that much time away from mom or Marlon, I have to compose my blog post, etc. So maybe next week, after the 4th and my dental appointment on the 5th, and anything else I can think of.

***

So far interaction with mom has been pretty uneventful today. Cindy took the broken hearing aid and popped it back together last night. It seems to be working now. Mom has a case for each one that we put them in at night. I’m told that the batteries recharge in the case overnight. When they are recharging, or whatever it is they are doing, they chirp like mechanical crickets. It is a good thing they aren’t mine because, unlike real crickets, they would keep me awake…except if they were mine I wouldn’t hear the chirping when they weren’t in my ears. It’s all good.

***

I’ve mentioned many times that I watch Morning Joe almost every morning. What I haven’t mentioned is that no matter how interesting the topic of conversation may be, I find myself reading the news blurbs that are crawled across the bottom of the screen. Sometimes they are very informative and I find myself googling for further information. I am not saying I plan to do further research on these three that caught my attention this morning:

1) A Cambridge study found that husbands who help with the household chores are happier. My thoughts…happier than what? Happier than those who are attacked by rabid raccoons?

2) Lab tests have concluded that there was marijuana, not bath salts, in the bloodstream of a Florida man who was chewing the face of another man. My thoughts…uncontrollable case of the munchies.

3) The tiger that once belonged to Michael Jackson has been diagnosed as having lung cancer. My thoughts…second-hand smoke? Are they easing his passing with massive doses of Jesus Juice?

***

Enjoy Thursday and the really hot weather.

Day 150

Almost hidden in the trees is a beautiful Victorian(?) house

I love this house and what they have done with the landscape. It is another example of a house we could never afford, and in which Cindy would never consent to live. Besides, I doubt if it has a finished basement.

***

Today is Mom’s first full day of visiting. We are already off to an eventful start. I came downstairs for my second cup of coffee, and to make a second pot, and found mom up and reading. I was glad I had put on clothes and wasn’t just wearing skivvies as I normally do. I followed my sister’s orders and prepared to give mom her first two pills of the day. She told me that she didn’t need both of them because one was a water pill and since she was going to eat watermelon at noon she didn’t need the water pill. I agreed that she didn’t need to take the water pill but I wasn’t sure that either of the first two pills were a water pill. I asked her how she knew, and she said because the water pill is a little round pill. I looked down at the pill bottles and noted that four different types were little round pills. When I mentioned that to mom she just gave me a sheepish grin. I told her that I would check the pills out on the Internet and be back in about five minutes.

In the meantime Cindy came into the room, looked at the array of pill bottles and told us that one of the pills in the next round of swallowing was the water pill. Cindy should know, her own mother, Flo, takes between two and three times the number of daily doses of different pills as my mother takes. I believed Cindy, but decided to check out the pills anyway. What are the Republicans always quoting Reagan as saying? “Trust, but verify,” I believe. It turns out the pill my mom wanted to skip was for people who have had a heart valve replacement. I fed it to her along with her morning Tylenol.

I decided to google what each her pills were for in case I was ever quizzed on the matter. As I was entering one of the meds, coreg, Google suggested that I was entering, and wanted to read about, Coregasm. Hmm, was coreg a shorter version of coregasm? After starting to read about coregasm I quickly decided it was something my mother had probably never experienced, nor did I want to think about her experiencing it. You can look it up yourself, but from what little I read it has something to do with sexual stimulation a woman can experience while doing an ab workout. My mom is in her 90’s, I don’t think she even wants a pill to help her with that.

Then I remembered that I hadn’t helped her put in her hearing aids, so I got them, and with a little visual imaging as to how they went in the ear, and a lot of trying to get her hair out of the way of the ear canal, I put in the aid for the right ear. Then I picked up the aid for the left ear. It looked as if the part that went in the ear canal was pointed slightly askew, so I tried to move it gently into alignment. That is when the hearing aid broke into two pieces. So, putting a positive spin on it in my mind, I decided that while we didn’t want a broken hearing aid, it would temporarily solve the problem of mom not being able to hear people on the telephone while wearing her hearing aid. Now if I can only convince her to hold her cell phone to her left ear.

And we aren’t even close to noon.

Day 149

Semi-rural America on another sunny day

I think that tomorrow I’ll go back into the residential area of Lafayette to find my photo. I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of structures that are painted shades of white and beige lately. I’m ready for a bit of a change.

***

The sharp-eyed among you probably noticed that Sunday’s and Monday’s posts were both titled Day 147. I just caught on to that this morning, so I’ve edited yesterday’s post title so that it is now Day 148. Just some truth in labelling for you. I also changed it so there would be no further confusion in the space/time continuum.

***

We went to watch Maely’s first T-ball tournament game yesterday evening. It was fun. I took along my new video recorder to try it on a subject other than Marlon. I am still learning how to use it. Unfortunately I didn’t get the most riveting part of the game, when Maely tripped on the pitching rubber while running, and buried her face in the pitcher’s mound. I was proud of Trina and Cindy for not running onto the field, and equally proud of Maely’s coach in helping her get through the trauma she probably felt…pain as well as embarrassment. The coach is also teaching them good sportsmanship and that the ends don’t always justify the means. He is really good with the kids. I hope all of the parents appreciate him and what he does.

Of course all of this leads up to the fact that Maely’s team lost last night, and that there will not be a second tournament game to go to. For me, that is just as well because I’ll be here with Mom. Getting her to go to a T-ball game that is being played in another county would be a difficult sell. Still, I would have enjoyed another opportunity to play with the video recorder. Does that make me sound like the typical grandfather?

Day 148

Who needs a warehouse?

And here we have WalMart on a Monday morning in the summer. I was not buying garden stuff, but rather food stuff. I picked up the last of the groceries (I hope) for my mother’s visit. Who am I kidding? Cindy and/or I will remember something after she gets here. It always happens that way.

***

Installing the pool ladder has turned into a bloggable event. We have an above-ground pool, and since we live in the midwest the ladder is removed and stored in our shed through the winter. Removing the ladder allows us to more easily cover the pool. The ladder is secured by 2 four-inch carriage bolts. each year when I remove the ladder I loosely twist on a nut on each bolt and so leave it the bolts attached to the ladder. Last year when I removed the ladder I only found one nut for the two bolts; no big deal. When I took the ladder out of the shed this year, my one remaining nut was missing…do rats eat galvanized nuts…or could it be a squirrel with steel teeth (I watched Moonraker the other night so you probably know where that image came from). I decided to put the ladder in and secure it with two new nuts later.

Before I got around to securing the ladder, I removed it from the pool to make waterproofing the deck easier. Twenty-four hours after applying the waterproofing I went to reinstall the ladder. Imagine my surprise when both of the bolts were gone. I looked on the ground where the ladder had been laying, but couldn’t find the carriage bolts. Pesky steel toothed squirrel!

I went to Menard’s this morning to buy two new carriage bolts and four nuts. While at Menard’s I realized that I didn’t know what size carriage bolt I needed, so after looking at their selection I decided that the 3/8″ bol;ts looked the right size, so I bought them. Of course when I got home and went to install the ladder, the bolts didn’t fit in the holes in the ladder. They were too large.

I decided to eat lunch before going out for the right size bolts. I was embarrassed to go back to Menard’s, so I went to Henry Poor Lumber which is actually closer to our home. The kindly clerk took me to the carriage bolts and found some that were 5/16″ and four in. long. These had to be the right size, so I purchased them along with the proper size nuts and washers. I came back home and went to install the ladder. Wrong size. Still too large. Tomorrow I’m going to Von Tobel Lumber to see if they have 1/4″ by 4 in. That has to be the right size…right?

Day 147

A quiet Sunday morning

You have no idea how tempted I was to skip posting anything today. If I hadn’t taken this photo and two others this morning, I might have missed my first post since I started on this blog. Could I have lived with myself if I had missed blogging today. Frankly, yes. My life priorities aren’t such that I think blogging is so important. And yet, having added this structure to my life, it is important. I have pretty much given up writing letters to people because I seldom get a response. (I can’t keep the postal service in business by myself.) This is one form of communications that gets to an audience, even if it isn’t necessarily my targeted group.

***

While I was out getting the paper this morning I had a cd of Miles Davis playing. It was music that has been around for more than fifty years. One of the songs, Solar, was the first Miles Davis songs that I remember hearing. That happened when I was a student, and I use the term loosely, at IU, either in 1967 or 1968. I remember that I was up late, working on a paper. The paper was probably due the following morning because that was the kind of student I was. I was listening to a campus radio station that was playing jazz. On came Solar and for some reason I remembered it was by Miles Davis, though I didn’t remember the name of the album. It was a number of years before I found the album, Walkin’, and bought it. I found and purchased the cs version two or three years ago. I read somewhere that the tune was based on the chords to How High The Moon, and now when I listen to the song I hear that. I didn’t hear it until after I read about it. My ear isn’t all that great. I am surprised that I had that memory this morning because I first heard the song late at night in a dorm room, yet today I was driving my car on a hot sunny morning. Still, for a little while I was back in Bloomington in the sixties.

Day 146

I hope the photo speaks for itself

I couldn’t think of a caption, so feel free to make up your own. My first thought was to zoom in on the rubble, because that is what caught my attention initially. I found, however, that when I zoomed in I lost too much of the bridge, the weeds, and the bad road. They are all part of the total picture, so I left it as is.

***

It occurred to me last night that when I became an adult I had thought that one of the benefits of not being a child was that you could eat and drink whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. Now I know better. So many people are on restricted diets that my original supposition is wrong. Granted, you don’t have to abide by your restricted diet, but since most of us want to live long lives, the mature people stick to their diet. My idea was wrong for the most part, but a small tweak makes me believe that many of us upon reaching adulthood can say that it means we no longer have to eat what we don’t like. I can live with that difference.

***

Flo has been having more medical problems since she saw the doctor yesterday. Specifically she has been experiencing a lot of pain. To shorten the story, Cindy took her to the emergency room today and after a number of hours Flo went home with a prescription for stronger pain meds.It is a relief that it wasn’t something worse. It reminded me, however, of just about every trip that Flo has taken when I was driving. Each time she gets in the car I say to her, “Watch your head.” **THUNK** “Ow, that hurt.” I’ve driven Flo to appointments a few times in the past six months, and each time it is, “Watch your head.” **THUNK** She seems to be developing a sense of humor about it because yesterday When we were leaving for the doctor’s office I said, “Watch your head.” **THUNK** and she said, “It’s good that I don’t have much up there.” Yep, she is developing a sense of humor, but I wish she would develop an avoidance reflex.

Day 145

Don’t you love ramshackle structures?

Do you ever wonder why a structure like this one is allowed to fall into disrepair? What is the story behind it? Did the farmer sell the land and the new owner have no use for the building? Was the farm lost to the bank? Is it cheaper to build a new structure than to repair the old? I don’t know. I do know that the old wooden buildings speak to me when the newer metal buildings seem cold and lifeless. Yes, in this respect I am a romantic. So sue me.

***

Today’s mail brought my hospital bill. After looking it over and appreciating the fact that Cindy’s group insurance paid more than 90% of the total, I got on the phone to talk to the hospital group’s customer service department. I made arrangements to make monthly payments rather than the “on receipt” that was stated on th bill. The person I talked to, Hilda, was very pleasant and didn’t ask to hear my hard luck story, she just got on her computer and accepted the payment plan I suggested. That was wonderful. Than you, Franciscan St. Elizabeth! With the plan I arranged we should have the local anesthetic paid off in time for Thanksgiving. OK, that isn’t really accurate, but it helps me to think that Cindy and I are paying for the anesthetic, the pathological lab work and “other diagnostic services” in full and that the insurance picked up everything else. It is easier for me to picture it that way, and not give in to despair.

***

Cindy and stopped to have lunch today after taking her mother, Flo, to an appointment with a nephrologist. While we were waiting for our food to arrive Cindy was scanning the room for people she knew, but my attention was caught by a couple a couple of tables away from us. I would guess they were about our age and seemed to having as lively, yet friendly discussion. As I eavesdropped I realized that they were discussing Jesus’ parable of the sower and the three types of soil. The man seemed excited because, as he put it, he had never understood the parable before, but the meaning just came clear to him in a flash. I have no comment on that, but the incident struck me as a little strange. It seemed strange because they were discussing a bible parable in a room where the bar took up between 1/4 and 1/3 of the room. I wonder if the environment had anything to do with his revelation.

Day 144

This house is for sale, but I’m pretty sure we can’t afford it.

The only reason I even noticed this house was for sale is that Cindy wants to move. Well, she doesn’t want the physical act of moving, but she is acting like she is tired of our house, or maybe that the house is tiring her. I’m not sure, but I think we have lived in our house longer than anyplace else Cindy has been. If so, it may be that her subconscious memories are cueing her to move. Or perhaps she is looking at houses because some of her friends have recently moved or plan to move. Cindy likes to keep up with the Joneses. When her friends buy new vehicles, she wants to buy one as well, usually the same make and model as the vehicles her friends’ buy. Oh, the other reason we wouldn’t want the pictured house is that Cindy wants a ranch style house…with city water. I would insist on a house with a finished basement…and not in a flood plain. Since Cindy doesn’t want steps up or down, that would make the basement my man-cave. I could live with that.

My mother will be coming to stay with us next Tuesday. I don’t know yet if she will be with us for a week or two. She will be welcome. For some reason she seems to think that I have lost my ability to function since I got out of the hospital. She calls me every few days to ask if I’m having any problems walking…I don’t. She was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to give her the proper medication at the proper time even though I have never had a problem doing it before. There are times when I want to remind her that I didn’t have brain surgery. I can’t say that to my mother because she doesn’t recognize sarcasm. It’s almost like being back at work.