Sunday, November 29, 2009


Our house was built in 1957.  I don't think any kind of remodeling has been done since that day, except sometime in the 70s when a blasphemy occured.  Some infidel put shag carpet in two rooms over oak hardwood floors.  I know.  It burned my fingertips to even write it.  The sum total of my work since the day we moved in is the removal of said disgrace, and Sisters and I put wallpaper in the front bedroom.  I loved it.  I know I wouldn't have with dirty, worn out, bright blue shag carpet in it.

The outside of the house is a thing of beauty.  It is neat as a pin and looks lovely.  The inside doesn't.  Worse, it has not only cosmetic, but electrical and plumbing problems.  The toilet in the upstairs bathroom is scabbed together with mismatched pieces, and the downstairs throne isn't even attached to the floor.  If you hit it running, it will rock from side to side.

Son-in-law didn't have enough to keep himself occupied with working full time, pampering his wife, helping take care of the four children, cooking and cleaning, so he agreed to replace the toilets.  He took Grandpa with him to the home store and they bought two toilets extrordinaire. They are extra tall to help us old farts who don't go down and back up as easily as we once did.  

They are crappers from heaven.  The only problem is that now when I sit down on inferior crappers I feel like I'm falling into doom and flail about like a baby bird on it's first flight.  Thank goodness for booths. They are the only thing that preserves my dignity.

Having achieved success with the toilet replacements, and not having any  more time on his hands, Son-in-law agreed to do a complete makeover on the downstairs bathroom.  Around the new toilet, of course.  He knocked out the old shower to make room for a new one.  Keep in mind here that the bathrooms in this house are approximately 16 square feet.  

After much work, more cursing, lots of hammering, outright swearing, and a tad bit of throwing things, he was ready for the tub.  Voting cancelled a shower in favor of a Jacuzi tub. It only seemed logical.

The tub was in, but not hooked up.  Naturally, Son-in-law had to make sure there were no leaks in the plumbing, so he hauled buckets of water to fill it.  Who's going to pass up a chance like that?  Since the wall is out, and there was sure to be onlookers, the swim suits seemed appropriate.  After these two got out, the other two got in to play for a while in the bubbles.  Success! So far.

Like I said earlier, there are still problems with the electric, and much work to be done, but I'm feeling pretty good about this.  We'll have to count our shekels and see what he can do next -- in his spare time. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brain Toot

 November reminds me of Aunt Leona.  She stopped by our house one gloomy, gray, blustery day after she got off work at Sonoma's, kicked off her shoes, and ran into the front room onto Mom's brand new bright blue carpet. Her coat flapped open and she danced around the room, singing, "The north wind doth blow and we shall have snow! What shall the robin do then, poor thing?"

I have loved gloomy, gray, blustery days ever since that one.

Do you suppose the people who have died know when we think of them?  Do they even care?  They know what we don't, after all. 


Do you know who this person looks like?  Think carefully.  Look at the hair, the face shape, the whole package.  Did you figure it out?  She looks just like . . . . . Missy!

I'm having some serious writer's block going on here.  Could you tell?  Sometimes I post something on here, and an hour later I think of something else.  Most times that is not the case.  This must be an exercise to ward off Old Timer's Disease, because it makes me think.  Correction -- it makes me try to think.

That is the reason for the random pictures. I didn't know what to write, and considering all the thousand or so pictures I've taken, there aren't any that are particularly usable for the blog.  The barn/house is in Mantua, like so many pictures I've taken lately, and I really liked it.

I'll put us all out of our misery now, and say good night.

Peace, man.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Granny and the Pooch

Mom liked dogs. Sisters have, or have had, dogs for 30+ years. I don't like dogs. I don't like any animals to speak of. They are . . . .well, they are animals. I have always liked Sisters' dogs. I play with them, pet them, and then I go home. I have never allowed animals in my home. We tried cockatoos for a while, but it didn't work out.

Two years ago, Son-in-law was deployed, Daughter had had surgery that didn't go well, so she and the four children came home. The cat and the dog did not. She was lucky enough to have neighbors that took care of the animals for quite a while. Son-in-law came home to their house, but worked most of the day. Daughter and children went home to spend the summer there before they all came back.

Long story short - Daughter wanted to bring the animals back with her, because they were moving home. Dood Dod! NO cat will live in my house. I'm allergic to the little beasts, although truth to be known, I like them better than dogs.

The dog. She is AKC registered, Duchess Margaret something or another. She cost them $2,500. She's a huge English bull dog. Semper Fi. She's a dog. Dogs gross me out. I hate dogs.

Uh . . . she saved my little girl's life. She took two hits from a copperhead snake that got her instead of my baby. Damn! We have a dog.

I hate to admit that she is a good dog. She doesn't chew, bark, or relieve herself in the house. She doesn't slobber, either. Unless she and Grandpa are harrassing each other, she's usually asleep. OK, she doesn't sleep when Little Man rides her like a horse either. She mostly likes to sleep in her sunbeam that comes through the front door.

She's figured out how to get the best out of her sunbeam. She can sleep sitting up facing her sunbeam to get full toasting action for the best quality nap.

If she gets disturbed or her sunbeam moves, she has to rearrange. Strangely enough, I think I get this view more often than anyone else in the house. She loves to stretch. She does it every time she wakes up and before she goes outside.

One can only take so much sun in one's face without damaging delicate skin. Sunbeam is getting smaller though, and every particle must be enjoyed.

One day she sat at the end of the china closet, leaned up against the side, and went sound asleep. It must have been 85 degrees out! She gets so hot in her sunbeam that she pants, but refuses to move.

Sunbeam goes away every afternoon about this time. Maggie does everything possible to keep that from happening. She wrings every moment of Sunbeam contact out of the day that she can, even if it means sticking her paw clear up to the doors and smooshing her flat nose in it.

She sheds, she snores, she snuffles, grunts and farts. She stares at me while I eat. She lays on the floor by my chair in the evenings and waits. She waits to move over to lay under the table. She waits for Grandpa to come play tug-o-war. She's surprisingly gentle, but goes idiotic when company comes. She never nips or bites and she is so mild that the little one can take food away from her and she will just walk away.

Look at that face! I'm still not an animal person, but she isn't a half bad pooch.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Day in the Life

Today was the day the two restrooms were set at the Mantua Trail project. I was supposed to be there bright and early to get pictures. I was there bright enough, but not early enough to watch the first crapper placed. Luckily, they had two of them. Two flatbed semis were carrying the pieces. One had two concrete poopie catchers and the second one had the whole concrete bathroom. Interesting.

I followed behind them in my little Jeep, watching how they eased around some of the tighter corners. When they reached the second gate, the truck with the poopie catchers wiggled and squiggled through the gate posts. The second truck wiggled and squiggled. It went back and forward. It tried sneaking and creeping. Nothing worked. While they were doing all this, I sat in the earliest morning sunlight and looked around me. It was pretty boring.

Then I noticed something interesting. I rolled down my filthy passenger side window to get a better look.

The baby teasels got old! With the morning sun bright behind them, they looked like they were surrounded in light. The sun shone on the spider webs between this little bunch and it looked neat.

The sun shone behind a larger group of the teasels looking cooler and cooler. The truck was not making any progress at this point to get through the gate and make the curve at the same time. No problem. Teasels are good entertainment.

Just about the time they brought in a little skid loader and knocked the gate posts over, I leaned way over to the passenger window and got a picture of the sun shining on the whole teasel family reunion. They were dancing and swaying and having a good old time.

The posts went over, the truck went through, the poopie containers and building were put up, and I went back to town. I had another assignment.

It was pretty nervy of me, but the guys were cutting down trees again. These trees were just around the corner from home. I missed the first one, got pictures of the second, and went back to work.

The third tree has had a huge burl on it for about a million years. A burl is basically a tree wart. I've been watching it for the 18 years we've lived here. I always wonder about burls, if you could carve a bowl out of them like that Hawiian one on the Antiques Road Show. Well, before they cut down the second tree, they lopped off the burl. It was gone before I could even get a look at it. That was18 years shot right in the arse!

What was left after the burlectomy was fascinating. It doesn't look like it would have made much of a bowl, but I still wish I'd had a chance to get a look at it. They chopped the second tree down. I got pictures of it going over and yellow leaves fluffing up in the air as it toppled. Then I went back to work.

At about 10 minutes to lunch, I got another call to come back with the camera. Boss wasn't happy about it, so I waited for lunch and did it on my own time. The third tree was 90% hollow (it seems they all are lately) but not hollow at all. It was a 20 foot high bee hive!

By the time I got there, they had opened it up pretty good. The bees were working away like mad still. They were flying around, but not aggressive in the least. A lot of them landed on me while I was taking pictures, and I never got stung.

There was new hive and old hive and bees! The honey was dripping out all over the ground. Mitch Cochran was there, but he said there really wasn't anything he could do about moving the bees.

This is a slice of the trunk the guys cut out, going the long way. Click on it and you can see the bees working like nothing ever happened.

This chunk of trunk was FULL of new honeycomb, soft and drippy with honey. Naturally Scott had to dig a stick into it.

Not bad, huh? We'd drawn a crowd by then. People were coming from all over the neighborhood to see what everyone was getting goofy about.

Lots of honeycomb, huh?

This part didn't have any honey or bees in it. It was the same kind of dirt we saw in the tree trunk at the old house by the park. I just thought it looked really cool.

What photo op would be complete without the ham? It was a very entertaining day, and now I'm tired.

Good night.