A small part of my day

Mosey

I took this picture about a month ago. Once a month during the summer, Lafayette has what they call Mosey Down Main street. People set up stalls to sell wares; there are food stands; there is some live music; and some of the merchants are open after their regular store hours. While this has been going on for a number of years, this was only the second time that we attended. The first time we went, it started pouring down rain and we left. This time was OK. But I think that attending once every two or three years will be good enough for me.

***

I decided to do some ironing this morning. It is something that I have been putting off for quite a while now. When I told Cindy what I was about to do, she said something along the lines of, “Oh, really?’ I believe I detected a hint of sarcasm in her voice. I had to admit that I had been talking about ironing for a month or more, but had never gotten around to actually doing any ironing. Well, today was the day.

I prepared for the task by setting up the ironing board, getting out the iron and filling it with distilled water, plugging the iron into the wall socket, and turning on the iron. Standard stuff that everybody does. Unless you are one of those devil-may-care types who use tap water rather than distilled. If you are one of those people, I can’t imagine what the innards of your iron looks like. Oh, and I put on some music to iron by.

I started out with the shirts. I had four that were so badly wrinkled that even I didn’t want to be seen in public wearing them. I need to tell you now that shirts are the garment that I least enjoy ironing. I don’t dislike all aspects of the shirt. The collar, the box plate, and the lower body of the shirt are easy to iron. But I always have trouble with the yoke, the arm holes, and the sleeves. They all have puckered areas that I cannot flatten with an iron without ironing in a crease somewhere else. It didn’t help that I started out with the iron on the wrong setting and found myself trying to muscle the fabric flat. I rectified that before I started in on the second shirt.

The second shirt went a little faster and caused fewer problems because it was a short-sleeved shirt. Still, It seemed to me that it took a long time to finish the second shirt. I thought about that. Maybe it was because I was listening to the wrong type of music. I popped out the Pink Floyd CD and put in one by Jerry Jeff Walker. That seemed to work. I defy anyone to do a slow job of ironing when Jerry Jeff is singing Hill Country Rain. It can’t be done.

The third shirt went quickly. The fourth also went at a similar pace. Of course with speed you tend to give up on other smaller things like the four-inch long wrinkle I ironed into the right sleeve of the third shirt. Or skipping the yoke entirely on the fourth shirt. Nobody will notice.

I also realized that I could put off ironing the two pair of pants that needed it. After all, I wouldn’t be needing them any time soon. I’ll get them the next time I iron. I’m sure that will be soon.

Various things

Another view

This is the third time I’ve used a picture of this structure in one of my posts. The first time was a color photo on July 23, 2012, and then again as a black and white picture on March 11, 2014. This picture was taken from a different angle.

***

It was one of those times when I wished I had a camera handy. I glanced out of our second-story bedroom window, moved on, and then went back to take a closer look. On the other side of our backyard fence I saw a shirtless young man standing in an apartment complex’ dumpster. He was staring down at his cell phone. I can only imagine he was reading a text message that said “You couldn’t be faithful, Kenny, so I tossed you out like the trash you are.” I went to get my phone to take the picture, but he was gone when I got back to the window. Or perhaps he just sat down, out of sight, waiting for the trash to be picked up.

***

I noticed the other day that when a famous person dies and it is announced in the newspaper or on television, that I start listening to how old the person was. I then mentally tick off a) older than me, or b) younger than me. I also pay attention to what the cause of death was. Was it natural or was it preventable? I know that their death has no connection to me, but I can’t help wondering if there is a lesson to be learned about how to live a better, more healthy life. There is also, probably, a smidgen of fear built into my thoughts. I feel that I still have a long life ahead; but still, there are those niggling thoughts in the back of my mind.

***

Coloring books for adults are very popular. I don’t understand why, but that’s probably because I didn’t do a lot of coloring as a child. Or f I did do a lot, I don’t remember it. I can’t believe that it would be a suppressed memory. I am guessing that I didn’t do a lot of coloring because my mother didn’t buy us many coloring books or crayons. Having grown up during the depression she didn’t like to buy things that couldn’t be reused. But I could be wrong about this whole topic.

The one about the bookcase

Bookcases in the basement

I mentioned in my previous post that there would be a new post about our most recent acquisition, another bookcase. This is it.

The bookcase on the left is the new one. Cindy found it in one of those shops that sells used furniture. We already had the one on the right. I bought and assembled it while we recovering from the flood last year. Both are merely pressed board with a veneer finish.

The one I had previously purchased has a black finish, while the newer (used) one had an oak finish. Cindy said, and I agreed, that we could paint the oak veneer black. Simple enough, right?

We bought the bookcase for 10 or 15 dollars less than I spent on the black bookcase, loaded it into the back of Cindy’s SUV, took it home, and unloaded it into the garage where I would paint it. I figured that the bookcase would be ready to go into the basement in two or three days.

The next morning I drove to a home improvement store and bought a quart of paint that boasted that it was a combination of primer and finish paint. Only one coat was needed. I had the helpful clerk mix the black tint into the base paint, and took it home.

I figured that it would only take about an hour to paint the bookcase. I was wrong. As started to apply the paint it immediately started to bead on the surface of the veneer. There was no way that one coat, let alone two or three coats would be sufficient. Rather than waste my time, I went back to the store to explain the situation and ask fr assistance.  I approached the friendly young man who was working in the paint section and told him that the paint I had purchased was beading on the veneer finish. He said, “Veneer? What’s veneer?” I sensed that there was going to be a problem. I explained to him what veneer was. He nodded wisely and said, “Hmm” turned to another young man, obviously his superior, and said, “He needs paint that won’t bead on veneer.” 

His superior said, “What’s veneer?” Yes.There was definitely a problem.

After much discussion they brought in a third helpful young man who thankfully didn’t ask what veneer was, and they decided that I needed to put on a coat of primer before using the black paint. One of the young men took me in tow and we wandered the aisles of paint looking for the appropriate primer.

At last he found what he felt was the correct paint. I paid for it, went home, and started to paint. The gray primer started to bead on the veneer, but not as badly as the black paint had. It was going to take more than one coat of primer.

When all was said and done, and done again, and again, It took two coats of primer and three coats of black paint to get an acceptable black finish. I say acceptable, but if you look at it and don’t smile, it starts to peel. I can live with it. The basement is kind of dark.

In case you’re wondering bout the books, the top three shelved of the painted bookcase hold biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs arranged alphabetically bu author. The next shelf is mainly graphic novels.

The other bookcase holds books on historical subjects, also alphabetical by author. The third shelf holds books and magazines with reprints of newspaper comic strips.

Neither case is full yet, but I have plenty of books on those subjects in my to-be-read bookcase. Someday they will be full. Oh, and the silver box holds DVDs of old movies.

We are not aging well

Grand Canyon, September 2016

Here is a picture from our vacation last year. I love the Grand Canyon. It has aged well.

***

A couple of days ago I went in to get my quarterly blood draw to keep my Doctor (sorry, Primary Care Provider) happy for another three months. While I was waiting my turn to be stuck and have my precious bodily fluids taken from my body, I started looking around the waiting area at the other folks who were patiently marking time. Hey! Did I use patiently as a pun? I don’t know if it qualifies.

There were about half a dozen people there. Most appeared to be around my age. That age thing makes sense. Older people who have adequate insurance are more likely to see a doctor on a regular basis. We no longer feel that we are immortal. We know better.

I noticed that most of the men didn’t appear to care how they looked when out in public. Two of them were wearing shorts. One had on a particularly ugly pair of plaid Bermudas and the other guy wore a pair of denim cargo shorts. Both were wearing T-shirts, trainers, and baseball caps. Don’t get me started on men who wear caps indoors. There are a few places where it is acceptable, but I don’t believe our setting was one of them.

Along with those two were two more fellows in T-shirts, trainers, and baseball caps; but they were wearing faded jeans. That was OK except for the cap indoors. Who raised those people?

In case you are wondering, I was wearing a pair of gray denim jeans, a button-down short-sleeved shirt, and brown shoes. I failed to wear a baseball cap that morning.

There were three of us with beards. Two were scraggly, mine was neatly trimmed. Modesty prevents me from stating that I was the standard for excellence in that room.

There was another person waiting, but I honestly couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. Brown slacks, baggy T-shirt, dark slip-on sneakers, with a short haircut. Your guess would be as good as mine.

One thing we all (except for the androgynous one) had in common was that we were overweight. Some showed it more than others. A tight T-shirts is not the friend of the weight conscious. Did I fail to mention that my shirt was overly large and hid my excess blubber?

As I looked around the waiting area and remembered how I looked in the mirror that morning I had to admit that we are not aging well.

Some things that I think about

Love the clouds

I took this picture while driving home from one of my granddaughter’s baseball games last month. It was, as you can see, a beautiful day.

***

This is another one of my posts where I gather ideas that either don’t merit a full blog post, or that I’ve forgotten the thread of my thinking. Rather than let them set and never use them, I like to toss out these nuggets so that you can think about them.

  1. Recently a commercial has appeared on television where a faceless voice proclaims that we “literally can’t live without WiFi.” Really? I admit that WiFi is a handy tool that usually makes life easier for us techno-dependent urban dwellers. But we can live without it. I can remember  time when WiFi didn’t exist, and we survived. Really, we did! We could again…literally.
  2. Little things on television and movies bother me. For instance, have you ever noticed when watching a murder mystery/thriller how the hero, when surreptitiously entering a home or business, will turn off a television or CD player or radio that is playing. The place goes from loud noise to silence. How is that helpful if you don’t want an occupant to know you are there? Why do they do that? Are they being critical of the (often dead) occupant’s taste in entertainment?
  3. Here is a phrase that I came up with for use in one of my more philosophical thought trips. “I am not one of those people who see life as a series of metaphors.” I had planned to use this to explain why I will never be a great writer. I don’t have that vision. Maybe some day I’ll pick it up and finish the whole treatise. But I doubt if many people would be interested in reading it since I’m not a great writer.

I have a few more, but I haven’t given up on expanding them enough to use. Time will tell.

***

Here’s a reminder about the next N-N-1. If you want t participate, take a picture at 4 p.m. your local time, on Sunday, July 16th. Send the picture  to me along with a short, 50 to 250 word writeup (prose or poetry) and your blog address, no later than 6 p.m. your local time on Friday, July 21st. I hope you will participate. My emaii address is houseman@comcast.net.

We had a National Holiday

A serious conversation

In case you didn’t notice it, we in the U.S. celebrated Independence Day yesterday, as well as on the previous three or four days. If you don’t live in the U.S.,you probably couldn’t help but hear about it from one or more of our ever-boastful citizenry.

I took the picture above while waiting for the fireworks display that we attended yesterday. That was the culmination our long holiday weekend. Let me tell you a little about what happened previously.

On Saturday and Sunday our granddaughter, Maely, played in a baseball tournament. Cindy and I were there for all four games. Maely was the only girl in the entire tournament and she played well. Though her team, The Bombers, did not win the tournament, the team that knocked them out voted Maely as her team’s Most Valuable Player. That took some of the sting out of the loss.

From the fourth game we rushed north to Monticello, Indiana to take a ride on the Madame Carroll paddlewheel boat on Lake Freeman. We would be gently cruising around the lake until the fireworks display would take place. While we waited for the fireworks we would be entertained by the exuberant DJ and the antics of those who chose to start their heavy drinking early.  What fun!

We started out in the enclosed lower deck, but soon moved up to the next higher deck which was not enclosed. It was still hot, but there was fresh air. Unfortunately most of the serious drinkers were also on that deck. For quite a while they were constantly moving around, searching for an attractive person with a compliant attitude. As the evening wore on they appeared to become less concerned with the attractiveness of the people; just so long as they were compliant.

By the time the fireworks were ready to start, most of the crowd was highly intoxicated. There is nothing quite like watching a large group of drunk patriots squealing and laughing as fiery aerial bombs explode overhead. Near the end of the display it started to rain. At that point the fair weather patriots rushed for cover.

After the (fireworks) display, and after the rain ended, the drinking and the search for bedmates picked up tempo. One fellow sat a laughing girl on a chair and proceeded to give her a lap dance. All of his friends used their phones to video the event. Perhaps you can find it on Facebook. The fellow with whom she had arrived, not the dancer, finally came out of his stupor and staggered over to reclaim her. She stumbled away with him.

Another fellow, who appeared to be drunk before he got on the boat, had been attempting to chat up every woman he came across. At one point he saw Cindy and sloped his way towards her; no doubt to slur sweet nothings in her ear. But then he saw me frowning and decided to move on.

The trip back to the dock seemed to take forever, but we eventually got there. Those of us who were sober were scrambling to get off as soon as we could.

I hope that all of the drunken seekers of companionship found what they were looking for, whether in a warm bed or a drunk tank. There were probably a few new friendships started and a number of STDs exchanged. Happy Independence Day!

Here’s what has been happening

Decrepit silo and barn

It isn’t often that I can get both a rundown barn and silo in the same shot. I came across this duo on the way home from one of my granddaughter’s baseball games recently.

***

Life hasn’t been all dreary, humdrum days and nights in my personal life lately. It seldom is. But then, I try to look for things to amuse me. You’ll probably think that I’m easily amused when you read the following.

I know that many of us are addicted to our smart phones. I know that I spend too much time staring at the screen as I scroll through the twitter feeds that I follow, or check out the Instagram postings, or read my email, or even play solitaire. So far, however, I have not started texting or taking calls as I drive or walk around town.

A few days ago I was driving home from the library and saw a young man in a wheelchair who was crossing a reasonably busy intersection. He was slightly more than half way across when he stopped and answered his phone. He sat there talking rather than first reaching the safety of the sidewalk. I hope that it was a very important call.

***

I had an exciting afternoon late last week. I happened to look out of a second floor window that overlooks our pool. It appeared that the pump wasn’t causing the water to circulate. That was odd. Now I hadn’t looked at the pool for a couple of days so I decided that I needed to investigate what the problem might be.

Once I arrived at the pool the problem was immediately apparent. Something was blocking the entrance to the skimmer. A closer inspection revealed that the blockage was a drowned squirrel. Oh my.

Over the years I have had to remove a few dead birds from the skimmer basket, but this squirrel was too big to even get into the basket. I was going to have to reach into the pool and lift it out. That was not something I wanted to do. But it was my duty. I could have used the net we use to fish out leaves and twigs, but I knew that if I did so I would not be able to resist the temptation to then fling the squirrel over the fence into out neighbor’s back yard. I like them too much to do that. So I went inside and fetched two plastic bags that I had planned on recycling. I put my right , dominant, hand in one bag and used it to reach into the pool to firmly grasp the waterlogged tail and deposit the squirrel in the other bag. Both bags went into the trash bin.

When I told Cindy about my adventure she asked me if I knew how long he had been in the pool. I told her that I didn’t know that it was a he because I didn’t take time to inspected the slightly bloated body for that type information, and what is more, I didn’t close the staring eyes.

***

Finally, yesterday a dead man called my phone. I was too late getting to the phone before it went to voicemail. It must not have been an important call, because there was no message.

I didn’t recognize the caller’s number, so how do I know it was a dead man? The Internet told me so. I Googled the phone number and it told me that the number belonged to a man who lived in an adjoining county. Not recognizing the name, I performed a further Google and came across an obituary for the man which dated back to 2003. Perhaps he had a son with the same name? He did! But it appears that the son died in 2010. So, one way or the other, I was called by a dead man who was too busy to leave me a voicemail message. I wonder if perhaps he realized that he had reached the wrong number.

Quite the evening

Morning on the deck. looking at our open bedroom window.

I took this picture from our deck around 7:30 this morning. It was quiet and peaceful, just me and the birds and a stalking cat. I scared the cat away. May it never return.

***

Yesterday evening, sometime between 5:30 and 6 a friend, part of Cindy’s expanded family, called Cindy to say that she thought she had broken her arm. She had gone to her daughter’s volleyball practice and since she had been a star volleyball player in high school, she was helping her daughter warm up. Well, she was not as agile and her footwork wasn’t quite as good as when she had been in high school. To make a longish story shorter, she fell backwards and injured her arm. She called Cindy to ask her to come and pick her up to take her to Urgent Care. Cindy was, at the time, cooking dinner for guests and asked me to pick our friend up. So I did.

I drove to the high school where I found our friend in her car in the parking lot. She asked me to drive her car since she had her toddler son in his car seat. I agreed and we set out to Urgent Care. When we got there we unloaded the toddler, assembled his stroller, put him in it and went inside. She was told that it would be at least 1 1/2 hours before she could see a doctor (let’s take the urgent out of Urgent Care) and they did not have the facilities to cast her arm if that was needed. So we went back to the parking lot where we put the toddler back in his car seat, disassembled the stroller, and loaded it into the car. We set off for the emergency room of one of our local hospitals. But first we stopped at our house and left the toddler with Cindy and our dinner guests.

When we arrived at the emergency room I noticed that they had a large sign on the wall that said “Emergency Room Welcome Center.” I think the Welcome Center part was supposed to take some of the sting out of the Emergency part. There didn’t appear to be many people waiting, so we were encouraged to think that the wait would not be too long.

Sitting beside us was a woman in a wheelchair accompanied by her husband and three adult daughters. Before long another four members of her family arrived. Our little part of the waiting area was getting crowded.

Did I say our wait wouldn’t be long? We sat there, chatting, for about an hour before our friend was taken into an examining room. I decide to stay in the waiting room. No sooner had our friend disappeared behind a door than one of the daughters marched to the desk and asked why our friend had been taken before her mother. The woman at the desk explained that while the mother may have checked in first, they took patients in order of severity of the injury. The daughter scowled and went back to her chair. One of her sisters asked what the counter person had said. The first sister said that she didn’t know. What?

About another hour passed and the woman in the wheelchair was still sitting and waiting. At that point another of the sisters marched to the desk and asked why her mother hadn’t been seen by a doctor yet, after all they had been waiting for two hours. The counter attendant looked at her computer screen and said, “No, you have been here one hour and forty-five minutes and we see people based on the severity of their…” never making eye contact with the daughter. The daughter said, “HOW CAN YOU…” And at that point her father said, “Come over here and sit down!” never looking up from his smart phone.

She grumbled but meekly returned to her chair. Then she started talking to her sisters, loud enough for all of the people in the waiting area to hear, “How can they tell if one injury is worse than another?” One of her sisters who was dressed in pink opined that her sister was just upset due to pregnancy hormones.

Then the pink sister started talking about her upcoming wedding. I tried to tune her out. It was difficult since she was standing directly in front of me. By the way, I had offered her my seat, but she had turned down my offer. At one point I heard her telling her family that she got nervous when she thought about sex and started twirling her hair. At that point I looked at her and thought she looked as if she had been around the block at least a few times, but that’s just between you and me.

Finally they called the mother’s name and told her she could take two people back with her. Pink sister took control of the wheelchair but her father stood up, put away his smart phone, and told pink sister to sit down. He was taking his wife back by himself. And he did. At that point, five of the seven remaining family members left to eat dinner.

I waited around another half hour and finally approached the counter attendant and said that my friend had gone back around an hour ago and… At that point the attendant looked at her computer screen and said, “No, it has only been forty-five minutes…” I broke in said that I just wanted an update on her condition. The woman never regained eye contact with me but said that I could go back and see my friend.

So I did. I got there in time to see her wheeled away for X-rays. When she returned she had a cloth on her forehead because she had passed out from pain when they were moving her arm around for the X-rays. We were sure that there was at least one break.

After a while a nurse came in and confirmed our speculation. It was a broken radius near her elbow. They gave her some pain meds, waited a bit and then started splinting her arm. After that they put her arm in a sling and sent us on our way. That was around 10:15 p.m.

I have to say that for an Emergency Room, nobody who worked there seemed to treat anything as an emergency. There was no hustle, no bustle, no sense of urgency. Maybe they need to rename that part of the hospital.

Another day in paradise

The water is going down

Yes, I am being facetious. This morning has been very bad. The last few days leading up to today haven’t been all that great either, but this morning was the topper. Let me fill you in from the beginning.

About a week ago I went to the basement and found a small pool of water on the floor. Cindy came down and determined that we had a small leak in a pipe above our washer. It didn’t look too bad, so I called a plumber whom I trusted, rather than use one of Cindy’s wounded birds (click here if you want to know more about wounded birds).

The plumber came, repaired the pipe, and he also fixed another small leak while he was at it. He did the job quickly and efficiently. He also charged less than I had expected. It was a good result.

A day later Cindy told me that the electricity had gone out in our guest bedroom. Upon closer inspection I determined that the problem only affected the wall sockets. The overhead light and ceiling fan worked fine. But the problem extended to the wall sockets in another spare bedroom, and to the lights in the garage. Strange wiring, no? I found the proper circuit in the box and reset the circuit breaker. All was well…for a few hours; then the circuit breaker shut down. I reset the breaker again, and again the electricity was back on. Until the next morning. This went on for a few more times until we gave up. I asked Cindy to call an electrician in the phone book rather than one of her oxpeckers (if you didn’t click on the ink above last time, you might want to do so now). She complied with my wish. The electrician was scheduled to come yesterday, Monday morning.

When the electrician arrived I explained the situation to him; I showed him the affected rooms; and I showed him the circuit box. He asked me questions about the things we had tried. I told him that I had reset the breaker a number of times. I told him that Cindy had replaced a power strip that she thought might be faulty. I told him that nothing had worked. He reset the circuit breaker and we waited to see if anything would happen. After a few minutes the breaker shut down.

He reset the breaker and then went around checking the connected wiring. Nothing seemed to be to have problems, and then the breaker shut down again. He asked me to unplug everything that was connected to the circuit, and then he reset the breaker. A few minutes later the breaker shut down again.

At that point he decided to replace the circuit breaker. He did so, We were talking about the problem when the breaker popped again. He told me to call him if we had any further problems. He left. An hour later I was calling the electrician to say that the circuit breaker had popped again. He came back to the house. He said the next thing he would do is check the wiring in the attic, but that he couldn’t do it until the next morning. I said that was fine because I would need time to clear things away from the access points.

I spent time that evening and again this morning moving things around. As the sun came up I looked out the window and saw that there had been a heavy rain during the night. Part of the back yard that I had mowed the previous afternoon was now under water. I decided to check if everything was OK in the basement and found that part of the floor was covered with water.

We have just been getting the basement back in order since the flooding that occurred last year when we were on vacation. Now this. Cindy went down to start cleaning it up as the electrician returned. I showed him the access points to the attic and told him that he was on his own while I worked in the basement.

Cindy and I were able to get up most of the water. She went to get cleaned up for a lunch meeting and I sat down at the laptop to start this post. I watched the electrician come downstairs and go to the circuit box in the garage a couple of times. After the second time he asked me about a wire he had found leading outside from the garage. Gosh! I hadn’t thought about that wire. I told him that I wasn’t sure, but it might have been connected to a yard light that we no longer had. The light hadn’t worked for years. Over time the lamp-post had been hit by children in battery operated cars, vandals, and an automobile or two. Finally Cindy’s favorite oxpecker (I told you that you should have checked the link) disconnected the remains of the post from the electrical wires and had buried the wires.

The electrician removed the remaining wiring from the circuit in a last ditch attempt to fix our problem. It has been about seven hours now, and the circuit breaker hasn’t shut down. I still have my fingers crossed.

Thought streaming

A graveyard

This another photo that I took last month when I was driving around Linden. I really need to go out and get some new shots. Perhaps I’ll do that this afternoon.

***

I started this post with one definite idea that I wanted to state. But my mind wandered and my thoughts started drifting. I think that there is something of a logical sequence, but I may be wrong. I leave it to you. Oh, and I hope I don’t offend anyone…too much.

***

I was reading a short story last night, and in it there was a reference to people out for an evening jog. This story was published in the 1990’s, and it occurred to me that running and jogging was more than a passing fad. I guess that until there is definite scientific proof that taking a nap is better for your health than strenuous activity, I shall forever be clucked at sympathetically by those who bow at the altar of physical fitness.

Save your sympathy. I don’t need it; neither do I want it. Another thing that I don’t want is spending money on special shoes and clothing. I’m old and often grumpy and cheap. I am not going to wear a spandex track suit or sweat pants. Sweat pants are probably the ugliest fashion statement perpetuated upon the public. Not even a supermodel or leading man actor can make them look good.

I don’t feel that I am overly vain, but I refuse to be seen in public or, even in the privacy of my home, wearing them. Plus, I think they are uncomfortable. “What?” you say. “You don’t think looking and being slovenly is comfortable?” Well, maybe slovenly is a bit of a stretch. I’ll narrow that to just looking slovenly. Does that satisfy you?

I suppose I have been a tad too nasty today.I am sorry. I’ll try to end on an upbeat thought. May the unicorn in your garden fertilize your tomato plants.