Urban Art - Military Cat
Urban Art – Military Cat

I took this picture when I was in downtown Lafayette today. I ran my errand and then walked into an alley in search of a mural that I had noticed a few weeks before. I must have been in the wrong alley because the mural wasn’t there. I did find, however, this work. I haven’t labelled it wall art, as I usually do, because it really isn’t on a wall. The surface is more like a combination of fence and wall. Oh, and it is a black and white photo because I am submitting it to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Monday. I haven’t submitted anything in recent months because I didn’t feel that I had anything worth showing, but I kind of like this picture. You can get a better look at the photo by left clicking on the image.


The other morning we lost our Internet connection and WiFi. I found out when Cindy told me she wasn’t able to send an email. I got right on it, after I climbed out of bed and had my first cup of coffee. I was hoping that it would fix itself, but it didn’t. I walked into the office/library/computer room and looked at the cable modem. The only light that was lit on it was the Power light; all of the others were dark. I did what I always try first, I unplugged the modem, waited a bit, and then plugged it back in. That didn’t work, so I tried it again; and again it didn’t work.

That’s when I decided to call the cable company’s tech support. I got a recording that asked questions, and based upon the (limited) responses, offered a course of action. The recording told me to unplug the modem, wait a bit, and then plug it back in. The recording then asked me if the problem was solved. When I responded with a firm “No,” I was put on hold to wait for a human being.

The kind technician who spoke to me suggested that I unplug the modem, wait a bit, and then plug it back in. When I told the tech that I had tried that three times and that it didn’t work, she asked me to try it again. I humored her and did so. When, once again, it didn’t work, she tried rebooting the modem from her end. That didn’t work either. She then said that she would schedule someone to come out and look at the modem (perhaps a good stare would cure it). I knew that I didn’t want to wait for hours, perhaps days, for a tech to show up, so I asked if I could just take the modem into the local Comcast office and trade it in. “Oh,” said she, “You can do that. Just let me see if they have any in stock. Yes, they do.” She then thanked me for calling and said a few more canned things that would reflect well upon her when they later surveyed me.

So, I unplugged the modem for a final time, and headed to the office. When I got there I saw that there was a man and a woman standing in front of the door. They were talking, so I thought nothing of it. However when I got to the door I realized that the office wasn’t open. I read the sign and saw that they didn’t open until 10 a.m. I checked the time. It was 9:35. Aloud I said, “They don’t open for another 25 minutes?”

The woman turned to me and said, “They don’t open until 10.” I thought that was just a different way of saying what I had just uttered, but let it go. There was no reason to be unpleasant.

I said, “I guess I’ll come back later.”

She said, “You should wait because there might be a long line later.”

I turned and left. I drove to our Doctor’s office to have some blood removed from my body so that lab work could be done before my appointment next week. Accomplishing that I drove back to the Comcast office. I arrived a 10:05 and found no line of people standing outside the door. I walked in and took a number. I had #90. An electric sign on the wall showed me that they were serving #87. Since there were three customer service reps working the counter, I didn’t expect to wait long. I was right. In just a few minutes I was headed home with a new cable modem.

I hooked it up, called a toll-free number where they activated the new modem, and all was right with our Internet world. Isn’t it nice to hear something good about a cable company? Except that they do open their doors way too late in the day.

Wounded birds

Dead tree supporting life
Dead tree supporting life

I almost drove past this dead tree without stopping to take a picture. I have been down that road many times, but I suppose it was the first time I was driving west rather than east. In the past I must have gone past it and never saw it. I’m glad that I saw it this time.


Wounded birds is my new private name for many of the people with whom my wife Cindy associates. I suppose that it isn’t a private name since I’ve shared it here, but anyway I chose that name because they are all damaged in some way (who among us isn’t), and because they often flock around her. To be sure, the wounded birds have sub-species. There are the magpies, the ravens, and the cuckoos among others. There have been a few peacocks and peahens, but not many. There are also the oxpeckers (you’re on the Internet, look it up).

Cindy often brings an oxpecker into our life when she wants some form of labor done around the house. They almost always finish the project, and occasionally they do a good job. With the exception of plumbing, Cindy will always prefer to hire one of these wounded birds rather than a professional. She feels good about it, and they earn some money.

One of the first she brought in was there to wallpaper our bedroom. We bought the wallpaper and all of the supplies. He only had to come to the house and ply his skill. At the end of the first day he hadn’t completed the job, but wanted to be paid. Rather than take a chance on him not returning, Cindy only gave him a partial payment in cash. Oh yes, the oxpeckers only work for cash. They don’t want any kind of paper trail that might give the government the idea that they have had taxable income, or that their benefits will be compromised. Anyway, he proceeded to take the money and get drunk. When he returned the next day he was so hung over that he could hardly work. But he completed the job and left with the rest of his pay. We were glad that the job was done, though the design on the paper wasn’t always lined up properly with the adjoining sheet. That didn’t matter the next morning, because when we woke up, the wallpaper was drooping off of the walls.

Since then we have had oxpeckers do yard work, painting, clean the gutters and most recently shingle the covering to part of our deck. Sometimes they do things they make me shake my head in wonder. Last autumn Cindy had one come to help clear the leaves from our yard. I thought that I was doing an adequate job with the nifty new leaf blower that I had purchased, but evidently not. This fellow, like some of the others, brought his girlfriend/wife along to help with the work. I let him use my new toy, and they did a good job. As most of you know, all of the leaves don’t come down at once, so clearing the yard is an ongoing process, not a one-off. When it got near the end of the leaf clearing season, I changed the attachments on my toy and turned it into a leaf sucker so that I could chop and bag the leafs to be set on the curb for pickup. Well, the oxpecker came back with his significant other to do one last yard clearing sweep. They changed the implement back into a blower and blew the remaining leaves into the gutter for the city to pick up. The only trouble with doing that is they blew the leaves five days before the sweeper was due to come through, and the leaves had blown back into our yard long before sweeping day. Plus they just stuck the blower in a corner of our garage when they were finished. I shook my head.

Just a few more things about male oxpeckers. 1) They have trouble with the first name of another male. Cindy always introduces me by name, but they invariable think it is more proper to call me Bub, Buddy, or Man. Whatever happened to Sir or Mr. Houseman. Occasionally one will use my first name, and that is OK, if rare.

2) Arriving on time, if at all, and working until the job is complete almost never happens. For people who don’t have a steady job, they are quite cavalier about punctuality and stick-to-itiveness. This might well explain one reason why they don’t have a steady job.

3) They come in two varieties, those who are silent and those who like to talk…and talk…and talk. I prefer the silent type. The talkers make me want to hide in the basement. It is actually quite cozy down there. I speak from experience.

Packing Essentials – Things You Should Never Leave Home Without

This a great post from one of my favorite writers. I felt like I had to share it.

This Labyrinth I Roam

I am a great advocate of packing light and making do with bare necessities because let’s face it, if you wanted to travel to another country to experience all the things you love at home (re: McDonalds), then you might as well stay home. To be fair, I make it a point to try the local KFC meal just because. This is what it looks like in Bangkok.

KFC Thailand (Expert’s note: When they say spicy, they really, really, really MEAN IT!)

Jokes aside (but seriously, the word ‘Spicy’ in a meal is a warning, not a description!), there are somethings that you should carry with you no matter how large or small your luggage space is. It has helped turn travels into journeys into unforgettable adventures and the best part of it all is that they are ABSOLUTELY FREE!

In no particular order, I give you my packing essential list.


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Early morning musings

More work to be done
More work to be done

This is a picture that I took yesterday afternoon and put on Instagram. After all, what can be more exciting than watching paint dry? I certainly had to share it. I thought about straightening out the picture, but I kind of like the angled look. For me, it adds verisimilitude.


As you can tell, we are in the midst of painting our deck. We should have the first and second coat completed in another couple of days, if the weather holds. I find that things that I used to be able to do in a day or two are now taking three or four days. I probably can’t blame that on Daylight Savings Time, though I would like to.

While I was painting yesterday morning, a cat strolled through our back yard. I am not fond of cats. We have two birds feeders in the yard and cats are murderous animals. I had an urge to try to spatter paint from my brush onto the moving target, but settled for a curse under my breath (there are often young children in our neighbor’s yard).

For some reason the old military saying “If it moves salute it. If it doesn’t move pick it up. If you can’t pick it up paint it.” came into my mind. I wasn’t about to salute a cat, nor was I willing to pick it up unless I could chuck it over the fence. I guessed I would have to let it be.

So I was laying in bed at 3:30 this morning, thinking about the military saying, and chuckling to myself as only a person who has been in the military can. And I started thinking about how some things are humorous for what seems forever, and some things would only draw blank stares. Hmmm. Maybe I should write a post about the anatomy of a joke that young people are not likely to quite understand.

I would take as my text the joke about the person so mean that he would give a poisoned dime to a blind beggar. To truly understand that joke you would need to know that in the days of gold coinage people would often bite a coin to determine if the coin was true (soft) gold or a (hard) metal counterfeit. How many young people would have that background? Would they care?

But then my mind drifted off to something else and I dozed for about half an hour. I decided that it was alright to get out of bed at that point, and to get on the PC. In a couple of hours I’ll be back slathering on more paint.