Today’s word

Never enough barns
Never enough barns

I could have shot a better picture of this barn and horse, but I honestly didn’t think I would be using the photo. I’ll have to go bask later this year and get a better picture. I hope the horse is still there when I do.

***

Glum. It’s how I feel today, but I don’t know why. I would say it is about a half step above morose. I feel that you must have a solid reason to be morose, but not so with glum.

The weather (overcast and chilly with a wind) could be making me feel glum. Or perhaps, the fact that we now have hot water again, but the repair tech found another problem with the heater and has ordered another part to be delivered next week; that could be a cause for glumness. Maybe it’s because today turned into a bill paying day that I hadn’t planned on, but felt that I had to do. Or maybe it is because I would like to get an email from a friend, but none have turned up in my in box (little things mean a lot). Any of those, on the right day, could cause me to feel glum, not blah, but glum.

Having said that, on most days none of those reasons would bring on glumness. Tomorrow I’ll probably be smiling and laughing, skipping and jumping, and breaking out in a chorus of I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing. But that would be tomorrow, not today. Today I’m just feeling glum. I don’t feel dejected or despondent, or downhearted, or crestfallen. I just feel glum.

Glum is a good word. It is almost onomatopoetic. I don’t think that feelings can be onomatopoetic; but if they could be, glum would fit the bill.

I hope you’re having a non-glum day.

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Female singers and customer service

Spring is coming
Spring is coming

The trees are still bare. The grass hasn’t started to get green yet. But you can tell spring is coming from the angle of the sun in the sky and the types of birds that are now coming to our back yard. I’m ready.

***

As I was waking up this morning, I heard (in my head, not for real) a woman’s voice singing “We’ve got nothing but time, we’ve got plenty of time,” over and over. She was singing it to the tune of Old Devil Moon. I don’t have a clue as to what it means. What is my subconscious mind (if there is such a thing) trying to tell me. Your input would be appreciated.

More interesting to me is the fact that I haven’t yet identified the singer. I know for sure that it isn’t Diana Krall, Nancy Wilson, Linda Ronstadt, Melody Gardot, Judy Garland or Sarah Vaughan. I’ve also ruled out all of the folk music singers like Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Mary Travers. It isn’t Diana Ross, Rosemary Clooney, Joni James or Sade. I haven’t ruled out Joanie Sommers, but now that I think about it, it might well be June Christy. Hmmm. Yes, I would say there is an 85% chance that it is June Christy. I feel better now. Except, why was June Christy in my dream? Now, that’s a puzzler.

If some of those names aren’t familiar to you, check them out on YouTube. You might like what you hear. And, no, that isn’t an exhaustive list of names that I went through in my mind, but rather, a representative sample.

***

Yesterday I received an automated phone call from Sears, telling me that I had to call them to reschedule having a repair person come to fix our water heater. It stopped working, for good, a week ago. (In case you are worried for us, we’ve been heating water in a jumbo soup pot to get by.) I was upset that I had to call to reschedule, but I got right on it and called the number they provided.

When I called in, an automated voice told me that all of the customer representatives were busy, but that my call was important to them, so would I please wait for the next available representative. Sure. While I waited, another recorded voice kept trying to sell me coverage plans that I didn’t want. After about five minutes, another automated voice came on and asked me if I wanted to have them call me back when someone was free to talk to me. Finally, a sensible way to handle their calls. I pushed 1 for yes, and hung up.

About five minutes later the phone rang, and a young man identified himself as working for Sears and asked how he could help me. I explained about the automated call I had received, and he told me that he would transfer me to the right person.

Of course I was put on hold where another recorded voice kept telling me that all of their reps were busy, that my call was important, a rep would be with me shortly, and in the meantime did I know… That went on for about fifteen minutes. About half way through that wait I started having visions of a group of reps sitting around in a break area, drinking coffee and eating doughnuts.

Finally a real person came on the line. He asked for my telephone number so he could pull up my information on his computer. I complied, but wondered why their phone system software didn’t supply that information. He said, “Yes Mr. Houseman, I see that a repair technician is scheduled to come to your home between 8 a.m. and noon on Wednesday the 19th. ” I told him he was correct. He asked if the part for the repair had arrived. I told him that it had, but didn’t snidely go on to tell him that he should have been able to track that through the USPS website. Then it got a little weird when he asked me for my name. Had their system crashed so that my name was no longer on his screen? Did he think I was just pretending to be me? But, I complied and gave him my name. He verified my address. Then we got to the nitty-gritty, rescheduling the repair. I asked him if, since the part was already here, the repair visit could be moved forward. He said no, that the first time available was Wednesday the 19th. Did I prefer morning or afternoon. Morning, of course. “Alright,” said he, “the technician will be at your home between 8 a.m. and noon on Wednesday 19th. Can I help me in any other way?”

So, after half an hour to forty-five minutes on the phone; a call that they said I must make; nothing changed on the appointment. I can’t wait for the customer satisfaction survey.

This feels like filler

Just sittin' around
Just sittin’ around

I hadn’t planned on taking this picture. I was hoping to get one of a bird or two on the feeder. Since I was on the other side of the yard, I zoomed in as much as I could, but the birds took off just as I was taking the picture. Still, thought I, there may be something worthy in a picture of a deserted bird feeder. When I downloaded the picture to PC and pulled it up in the software, I saw the turtle-dove sitting on the fence behind the feeder. So I enlarged the picture some more, and sharpened the image a bit. I kinda like the result.

***

I’ve been reading a lot of new (for me) blogs recently. It has been a somewhat random selection on my part. I have been going to the blogs of people who follow my posts and reading what they are posting. If I like it, I follow them, or at least bookmark the site for future consideration. Then I check out the people who “like” or comment on the posts of the first group. I’ve come across some interesting blogs in that way. Some of them I’ve started to follow, and some of them give me hives. Just know that if I follow your blog, I truly enjoy what you post. If I don’t follow your blog, it doesn’t mean that I’m not checking it out from time to time, and that I may follow it in the future.

***

I was half watching a political talking heads program a few days ago, when I heard one of the wise men say the phrase “Japanese mainland.” Where would that be? The last time I looked on a map, Japan was just a series of islands. Of course, I’m not smart enough to know when an island becomes big enough to have a mainland. Perhaps someone who is reading this could tell me. I really would like to know. It could be that I have been wrong all of my thinking life. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Early morning musings

Our shed
Our shed

It isn’t the nicest shed I’ve ever seen, but I’m using this picture for a reason. In just a few paragraphs you’ll understand why I took this picture.

***

I was planning on posting another Music Memories piece today. It was going to start out in the Auburn, Indiana Pizza King, and move on from there. But I woke up around 1 a.m. this morning, and didn’t fall back into sleep right away. That meant I needed to think about something that would take my mind off of being awake, so I started composing the post in my mind. I had good intentions, but my mind started wandering.

I started thinking about the other pizza places in Auburn. There was the Pizza Hut. It was like all other Pizza Huts, OK but nothing write home about. That was really about it, except for frozen pizzas at some bars that I didn’t frequent. Then I remembered looking in the yellow pages one night, looking for a place that delivered. I found an ad for a place I had never noticed in town. I don’t remember the name of the place now, but I think t was something like the Pizza Spot, or something similar. I took a chance, called the place, and ordered a pizza for delivery.

When the pizza arrived I was pleasantly surprised because it was delivered by an attractive young woman. I was even more surprised when I started eating the pizza, because it was very good. It was better than either the Pizza Hut or the Pizza King offerings. This place became my favorite of the three. The pizzas were great, and the stombolis…oh, the strombolis…wonderful!

The place had one problem. They only had one delivery person working for them. So, if someone quit, which happened often, there was no one available to deliver the pizza. You had to go get it. That happened shortly after I started eating their food. The attractive woman quit, so I went to pick up the strom I had ordered. I drove past the place at least twice before I realized that the owner was operating out of a building not much larger than the shed pictured at the top of this post. There was only room for a couple of ovens, a cooler for soft drinks, a counter, and a couple of kitchen chairs for people who were waiting for their food. It sufficed.

I was a regular customer and I got to know the owner on a first name basis after a few months. After a year or two he told me that he had sold his shop to another person. That person had bought not only the property, but also the name and the recipes. Then he told me that in the contract was a non-compete clause. the old owner could not open a new pizza and sandwich establishment in Auburn for a period of five years. It was the first time I had ever heard of that type of contract. Now they are common.

So that’s where my mind went early this morning, from a plan to write about a song – to pizza establishments in Auburn – to an attractive woman delivering a pizza – to strombolis – to a pizza place not much bigger than a shed – to a non-compete clause in a business contract.

I eventually got back to sleep. I will get around to writing about the music some day.

Music Memories 10: Herbie Mann

Herbie Mann: At The Village Gate

At The Village Gate
At The Village Gate

I first heard this album when I was either a sophomore or junior in college at IU. I borrowed it from a guy who lived down the hall in our dorm. He had a pretty good selection of jazz albums, and after I started buying more jazz albums, we started loaning them to each other. I particularly liked this album. and Donald Byrd’s A New Perspective. I enjoyed them so much that I bought copies for myself. I have owned more than one copy of each of these album; buying a new copy as I wore out the others through multiple playing. Now I own them on CD, and have copied them to a flash drive for backup.

That is only one part of the reason this album was so important to my memories. Back inCensored 2

she said. And that’s the reason that this album means so much to me.

From where do these thoughts come?

What a difference a daymakes
What a difference a day makes

Yesterday the high temperature here was around seventy degrees F. I took this picture this morning. As You can see, there is a light snow cover. The temperature right now is around thirty degrees F. There were predictions of two to six inches of snow for this area, but unless a blizzard descends upon us, that isn’t going to happen.

***

For those who don’t know me, my father died in January of 2003. About a year later my mother had open heart surgery and started living with my sister. So, imagine my surprise, when for no reason, while I was walking down the hallway in the hospital one day last week, their old telephone number popped into my mind. I was tempted to call the number to see if it was now being used by anyone that I knew, or perhaps an escort service, or a farm implement store. Except for a few visits to the graveyard, I haven’t been back to Rolling Prairie since mom had a garage sale to empty out the house before she sold it. I’m pretty much completely out of touch with the folks back there. Still, maybe some day I’ll call the number.

***

I woke up this morning around 2:30. I was wide awake. As I lay there, not dying, out of nowhere the name Uncle Bulgy popped into my mind. Some of you may know that Major Amos B. Hoople of the Our Boarding House comic strip was called Uncle Bulgy by his nephew Alvin. OK, I had to look up Alvin’s name because I didn’t remember what it was.

I used to read that strip in the LaPorte Herald-Argus (http://www.heraldargus.com/) when I was a kid. It is the only one panel daily strip that I remember reading when I was that young. Three things stand out in my memory of that strip. 1) The Major often wore a fez when he was at home. 2) The sound of his snoring as he dozed in his easy chair was, I believe, Wrack Sploot. 3) His wife’s name was Martha. Looking back, he wasn’t all that likeable a character, but he was good for a laugh. maybe that’s where my sophisticated sense of humor was born.

***

In this day of cable TV and satellite TV, how many people remember VHF and UHF television? When I was young, very young, we were able to watch VHF stations broadcast from Chicago, using an outside TV antenna. Later, there were UHF stations being broadcast from South Bend and Elkhart. Dad, always a TV fan, bought a second antenna to capture those broadcasts. Who needed cable? We were able to watch network TV as well as more local news and sports. Those were the days.

Bits & Pieces from last week

B&W version of July 012 photo
B&W version of July 2012 photo

I forgot to add a photo to today’s post, so I’m adding this after the fact. I used a color version of this picture back in July 23rd of 2012. I didn’t feel like going out and searching for a fresh photo today. Just call me lazy.

***

A few parts of Cindy’s stay in the hospital and follow-up were not as serious as the two-parter I posted earlier this week. I probably found some things more amusing than she did, she was in a lot of pain, and I have a much broader take on what is humorous than she does…or most what people do for that matter. If you don’t even grin, I’ll understand.

I was paying attention in the waiting area of the emergency room (hoping for something amusing, one of my favorite “wait here” pastimes) while Cindy kept moving, trying to find a comfortable position. It wasn’t to be. Despite the actual ER being SRO, there were only two teen-aged girls and two twenty or thirty something guys in there. There was nothing special going on with them. One of the girls seldom raised her eyes from her cell phone while the other nattered on about boys. The guys were talking about high school sports. The only break in the inaction came when a woman came out of the ER carrying a pair of size 13, lime green tennis shoes. I know they were size 13 because one of the guys said, “My God. What size shoe does he wear?” She told him. She didn’t say why she was carrying them around.

Then there was the day that Flo, Cindy’s mom, called and told Cindy she needed for Cindy to go buy her some “Ward Bond.” She means, of course, Gold Bond, but you will never convince her of that. Cindy said, “Mom, I can’t go, I’m in the hospital.” Flo must have known that, because she had called the hospital room rather than Cindy’s cell phone. Flo called again yesterday asking for Ward Bond, and for Cindy to come over and cut her hair. Trina had arranged for the nursing home beautician to do Flo’s hair, but I guess Flo prefers to have Cindy do it. By the way, she is still waiting for Ward.

I wasn’t at the hospital when Cindy was released. She had sent me home because she had friends there who wanted to ferry her home. Cindy tells me that she was given no follow-up instructions, such as if she can shower, does she need to change her dressings, little things like that. The hospitaler (Really, that is a title? I thought they were crusaders.) just told her not to lift more than 20 lbs. for 2 weeks (which we already knew), and that she shouldn’t wash dishes because the motion in her midsection could pop stitches. Where did she get off telling Cindy not to perform domestic duties? I mean, REALLY!

They didn’t bring a wheelchair to take Cindy to the entrance. When Cindy tried to get the attention of the nurses, they thought she was waving goodbye, and they waved back.

So ended Cindy’s stay at the hospital. And so ends my tale.