Friday, August 30, 2019

Random

It's a blustery sort of day today, and I was driving home from work, happy in my heart because it is a long weekend, etc.

I was waiting at a stop light when I saw something spinning and rolling in the street. I thought at first it was a mouse, the way it was flipping around, but you know what it was? A CHILE pepper. I'm not sure why it was leaping all around like that, or how it got there or anything really, but there it was spinning in the street.

The sight was funny enough on it's own, but when I immediately thought, "Oh, look, it's doing a litte salsa dance...." I burst out laughing right there in the car.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

History

William and I are reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. We are on the second book, Little House on the Prairie.

The family has settled in Indian country. (a place where "there are no people, only Indians.") There is an Indian camp nearby. At several points in the book, there are hints of the danger.

Ma hushes a distant neighbor who has come to visit and begins to speak of a massacre.

Jack the bulldog has to be chained up because if he bites an Indian "there will be trouble". When Indians come to the house, the girls are so afraid that for a moment they consider loosing the dog. Pa's stern talking about what would have happened if they'd have done that made William sit straight up, wide eyed.

Laura has a question: "What's a stockade, Ma?" (Answer: it is something to make little girls ask questions.)

Pa spends one night using all the lead he has to make bullets as the Indians group, and the jamboree lasts for many nights with screaming war cries that wake the girls up in the night in terror. Soldat du Chene speaks against killing the white people and convinces his people, the Osage to side with him. They tell the other tribes that they will fight the Osage if they decide to kill. In the end, the Indians decide not to fight them and go away in their different directions.

William had an awful lot of questions about these anecdotes. In one of the chapters, Laura begins to ask the same questions.

You know, I loved these books as a child, and every fall, I would go to our school library and get them out, one at a time, and re-read them. Now, all these years later, I am reading them again.

They are a lot more controversial than they were when I was a child. Some school districts have banned them. I'm not a fan of banning books. When my own kids were growing up, I simply read the books along with them and anything that bore discussion got discussed.

Now there's William and we are discussing what needs to be discussed.

He can talk quite knowledgeably about our western states being opened to settlers. He can tell you how the Indians got moved farther and farther west, or settled on reservations. He also knows that what happened to the Indians was wrong, and that they fought injustice sometimes in truly awful ways (although he knows no details, just that anger begets anger, that cruelty begets cruelty, and that when people don't treat each other with respect, terrible things happen.)

I don't understand banning books. It seems far wiser to me that our children be fully aware of the mistakes we have made as a nation, in an effort to prevent those mistakes from happening again.

William's First Day.

William's first day of school was today. I've been blessed to have a lot of time off work recently, so we've really been able to make the last weeks of summer pretty special.

Yesterday, when I got off work, I delivered some plants that I'd gotten for a young lady who has just begun to be interested in house plants. I bought a birthday gift and card and I took William to get his hair cut.

For whatever reason, the boy wanted red tips on his hair. He wanted them pretty badly. He has a lot of things that he is anxious about and so I thought maybe the red tips would give him an extra jolt of confidence. Armed with his mother's permission, we went in to get his hair cut. I talked to the woman about those tips. William was very disappointed to find out that her schedule was way too crowded for a color job.

We did a little school shopping. I've been picking him up stuff all summer, as has his mother, so  there wasn't a whole lot to be done, but there was a sale, and...well... In any case, while he was picking out the four shirts he wanted, I got to thinking along the lines of 'just how hard can it be to tip hair? I dye my own hair...'

That dangerous thinking led me down the aisle to hair color and William immediately found just the shade of red that he wanted.

How hard can it be? Let me tell you: my bathroom looked like a slaughter house. The sink. The tub. The shower curtain. The floor. 8 year old boys lack a capacity to sit still while the dye takes. He was bored, he wanted to watch television, and couldn't he sit VERY CAREFULLY on the sofa? (NNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Long story short. The hair is done, and it is interesting. It looks normal until he gets in the light and then it has a red sheen to it. The bathroom is clean. (The bathroom sink was scary. It stayed pink for several scrubbings.)

Next time, a professional does this.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

InTent

As I was leaving work today, a young man darted across the hall in front of me. He waved in a friendly way and kept on going.

I thought, "Gees...do I KNOW him from somewhere?" but the more I thought about it, the more sure I was that I didn't. I decided he was just a friendly fellow. 

I walked across the parking lot to my car and then headed towards the highway. I saw that same young man walking the way that I was headed.

It was a hot and humid day and the skies looked as if they might open up any minute, so I pulled alongside and rolled down the window. "Hey, do you need a ride? It's a miserable day for walking."  He replied, "It's not as bad today as it was yesterday. Yesterday was AWFUL."

He asked where I was going, and I asked him where HE was headed. He said "Irvine," a little map dot probably a mile down the road. 

I told him I would take him home.

He hopped in and lord, but he was a talker. He'd gotten himself into a financial jam. He went to truck driving school, got a job driving truck for a company. They offered him a deal to buy a semi and take the payments out of his check. He took that deal. 

Long story short, he worked for them for 8 months. He paid them $13,000 during that time. He made a total of $109. He ended up losing the truck when they cut his workload and he couldn't make the payments. They took the truck back. 

I listened. I'm old enough to know that you can't believe everything you hear. If it was true, the company got a truck driver for 8 months paying him virtually nothing. 

He said that the company had done that to enough people that there was a class action lawsuit. He was hoping to get something out it, but until then, he had to do something, so he took a job where I work. He'd been there two weeks. 

He was cheerful and talkative and we covered quite a bit of verbal territory. His family comes from the same area as Tim's family, so he recognized my name. I recognized his.

Suddenly, he said, "Right here's good. Just pull over here. That's my tent."

The guy is living in a tent at the side of the road. 

"Thanks for the ride!" he said, grinning broadly and sticking out his hand. I shook it and told him good luck. 




Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Smurfs

My friend collects, of all things, Smurf figurines. When her mother died, she inherited the whole collection. She got some mushroom shaped shelves and displays part of her collection. It's just something that makes her remember her mom, a Polish woman who, for whatever reason, loved that cartoon.

Anyways, the last time we were at Dylan and Brittani's house, we hit up the antique barn near them. We usually do. This time we found a very cool lamp post for our retirement property. Tim found a huge chrome grill to a 1929 Chevrolet sedan. It has the radiator and the hole where the crank went. It's shiiiiiiiny, and he wanted it something awful, but talked himself out of it. And then into it. And then out of it. I went up to the front and told the people at the desk that we'd take it, and to hold it at the counter. We'd be up when we were finished shopping. (With all the breakables in that crowded barn, I wasn't taking the chance of breaking them). We ambled through and found some sort of emergency lantern made in England Tim wanted. William was looking through the toys and said, "Look! Smurfs!"

There they were. A whole bag of them. We bought them for Mary, and told William she had first dibs on any of the figures that she didn't already have. I hoped that she'd find one or two out of the bag of about 20.

Tim dropped them off Sunday night. I had a meeting, and I had to wash and deliver some eggs before that.

Mary called. Out of the 20 figures in that bag, there were 6 of them that she had never seen before. She's tickled pink and so am I!

Monday, August 19, 2019

When the Moon Hits your Eye

It's a funny old world that we live in, isn't it. Small dramas play out before our very eyes, so small that sometimes they are missed. Take the story of the 'card board guy'. He comes around to collect recyclable cardboard twice a day. A good fellow, extremely polite. Quiet. He scarcely spoke when he first started work but now he does. He even asked me my name last month. I think he's pretty shy.

I was working in front of a girl who has a terrible crush on him. She even asked him out. I know this, because I heard another girl who works beside her saying, "I give you a lot of credit. You found the nerve, and you asked him out. Kudos to you!"

I gathered that he said no. I kind of get it. The girl is pretty immature. I pegged her for someone in her 20s, but she's in her 40s. She used up her vacation very early in the year and now takes a lot of days without pay, because her parents give her money. Her efficiencies are low because she talks too much, and she's generally talking about how she can't make the efficiencies and it's not fair. I tried to help her long ago, but I quickly saw that she doesn't want help so much as she wants someone to step in there and simply do it for her. Sounds harsh, I know. She's nice, but she's never quite learned to stand on her own two feet.

So she watches the cardboard guy go by with big moon-y eyes.

The thing is the cardboard guy has a terrible crush on another girl. That one is bold and brash and flashy. She talks quite nicely to the cardboard guy, but as soon as he's gone, she begins to make terrible fun of him to everyone around her. He's asked her out multiple times, and she's turned him down every time. making sure that everyone knows how indignant she is that cardboard man would ask HER out.

So every day, the cardboard guy goes by her with big moon-y eyes.

No one tells the cardboard man, "I give you a lot of credit. You found the nerve and you asked her out. Kudos to you."

It's a funny old world we live in, isn't it?

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Grandma

I skyped with Cara again. It's always so nice to hear from her. They're in Georgia now after a stay in Turkey. I asked about their lodging, and she showed me their small and neat BnB. They've got it for a couple weeks and don't know where they're headed next. 

She noted that the living quarters came with a Georgian grandma next door who brings her cookies and fruit and special coffee, kisses her on both cheeks and was currently in the garden with Mack the cat settled comfortably on her lap. 

That's a quite a nice feature for a BnB. I hope they feature it in their advertising.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Cast Iron Memory

The property that came we bought 3 years ago to build our retirement home came with a ramshackle little house chockablock full of contents. The woman walked out and sold it to her grandson. He walked out and we bought it.

I knew the owner, and I contacted her to let her know that she was certainly welcome to come and go through the house and take anything that she wanted. I also contacted her son, a kid that I'd graduated with and offered the same thing to him and his siblings. Both Mary and Dave thanked me, but never came to clear out. 

Out of the blue, I received a message on facebook. The person asked if we were the ones who had bought the property. I advised her that we were. She said "I know it's a long shot, but there's a cast iron frying pan...." I read the message to Tim and he immediately said, "Yeah. That's in the stove." 

Now her aunt and uncle live across the road, so when we went to camp yesterday, I ducked across the road with that frying pan. Pat didn't recognize me at first, and her eyes went wide as they went from my face to the frying pan in my hand. I said, "It's me, Debby, Anna's sister. I heard Junior was giving you lip and so I brought you something to straighten him out with." She recognized me then, and laughed out loud. 

I told her the story of the frying pan and told her that she had a niece who would be stopping by for it. She studied it a bit incredulously. "Why would she want this old thing?" 

Funny, isn't it? The things that evoke the most powerful memories can be the most ordinary things. 






Something that makes me smile!

Iris in the rocking chair her great-great grandparents bought for her grandma nearly 60 years back.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Not Tired

Tim made an early appointment to have the new tires put on the car. (TireS because the tires on it were very expensive ~ they came on the car when we bought it ~ and Tim didn't want to replace the one expensive tire with another expensive tire, so he bought two new front tires).

Anyhoo.

Tim made the appointment at 7, which meant that he and William had to be up and moving much earlier than usual. When he told William about the appointment, and what time they would be getting up,

William looked at him and said, "That's WAY early."

Tim said, "Yes. That's why you're going to bed early."

William was not happy about this and protested. Tim stood firm.

William headed to the bathroom to brush his teeth with one last parting shot. "You're a barbarian."

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Flat Tire, revisited

When we went back and found the wire, something else we noticed is that where they had 'skimmed' the road, they had laid that wire grid work open, torn some of it free. In one place, there was even a foot long section standing loose and facing into oncoming traffic. 

The more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that the situation needed to be addressed. So I went to the court house with my piece of wire. They sent me to the municipal building. The folks at the municipal building in turn called PennDot who said that it was a contractor doing the road work there.

They took the information for me and filed a 430 claim.

In the meantime, I told each stop about the wires poking up in the road at the intersection of North Parker and Pennsylvania Ave. At each telling, people seemed shocked to hear this, and acted as if they personally were going to rectify the situation.

Long story short: they haven't. But I am grateful that it appears that we will recoup at least part of the cost.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

It Finally Happened

So...you all know how I have a cell phone but I never remember to take it with me. I mean, I can't have it at work. I worry about leaving it in a hot car all the time, so I think, well, I'll carry it with me when I travel, just in case of emergency....except that I never remember to grab it. 

I've often said that I have a cell phone in case of emergencies, and I don't carry it because I'm afraid if I do, I'll have one of those emergencies. 

I crack myself up. 

Anyways, William and I went to RimRock to do some hiking today. He did some rock climbing. We went down into tunnels. It was all very exciting, especially for a grandma with a bum knee. At one point, we did get in to a spot that I did not think I was going to be able to get out of, but I struggled my way out of that, climbed through the tunnel, and clambered up the other side. That could have been an emergency, but it wasn't. 

Driving home, we came through a construction zone. There was a mild thump from the front of the car, nothing alarming at all. I was watching the flagman and following the cars in front of me. Suddenly, the idiot light that shows a tire with an exclamation mark, lit up. At precisely the same moment, from the rear seat, a little voice says, "You got a flat tire." 

I was a bit astonished that the car and the boy realized this great news at the exact same moment. "How do you know?" I asked, and he said, "Can't you hear it?" and he demonstrated, "PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS" from the back seat. 

Now, William and I had been talking, and I'd shut the radio off to hear him better, so I couldn't even use that as an excuse. "No. I can't hear that," I said, guiding the car through the construction and looking for a place to pull off. William offered the comforting observation that 'young hearing is better than old hearing'. 

I could tell it was bad, because that tire went from a flashing light to the 'flubbity flubbity flubbity" stage in a matter of seconds. I pulled into the first parking lot, a graveled lot next to a tattoo parlor.

Wunnerful.

I locked the car and William and I began the trek home. William offered up, helpfully, "Grandma, if you had your cell phone, we could call grandpa." 

Yes. Yes, we could. 




Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Planning

Tim wanted me to help him plan out the bathroom at the Wayne St. house. It had been my idea to turn a large closet in the bathroom into a designated shower area so that we could keep the clawfoot tub. Our bathroom has a shower head and a wrap around shower curtain for our clawfoot tub, and I'm not a fan of that set up.

After thinking about it, Tim decided I was right about the separate shower. I suggested putting a glass block window vertically to make the area brighter. Tim decided to put another glass block window the same size, but horizontally over the clawfoot tub. It has made the whole area amazingly bright, and he's happy with our decision.

He wants to keep the old fashioned sink as well as the clawfoot tub. They are both in great shape. We decided to tile in the old fashioned white tile with black trim, something that would be true to the fixtures in the bathroom.

We walked around figuring the layout, came up with a plan that both of us liked a lot, and then closed up the house and headed home.

As we headed down a little alley to the main road, we saw a white haired, bearded soul struggling with a cast iron parlor stove. He had part of it set at the end of his driveway. It was such a beautiful thing that both of us went, "Ohhhhhhhh...." at the same time.

We stopped the car and walked back. The guy had bought it at an auction, but never got around to hooking it up. Now he was getting his house ready for market and just wanted it gone. If we wanted it, it was free.

I didn't even have to look at Tim to know that we DID want it, and we wanted it something awful.
It's heavy as heck, but it will be a fine little stove 
for our enclosed porch on our retirement home. 

Iris is one

Sometimes, you gotta pick yourself up....
Give your tutu a fluff

and keep right on going!

Iris' actual birthday is not until tomorrow, but there was a swell party this weekend, and we all enjoyed ourselves very much. Happy birthday, sweet girl!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

There but for the grace of God

I was in the church office doing the bulletins for our churches. We have a Wednesday night service at 5:30 and I heard the people coming in, but to be perfectly frank, I was hungry. I had come straight from work at 3:30 and was just finishing up at 5:30. I hadn't had supper yet, and I've been known to get 'hangry' from time to time, so I figured to finish up and head for home and supper.

A friend's husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer today. They are no older than Tim and I.  The awful news flew through the church and straight into the church office where I was closing up. By the time that I got to the lobby, the doors to the church were closed, the service had started, and through the glass, I could see her sitting quietly with a bowed head.

Indecisively, I stood at the door a moment. The service is for contemplatives, and although I consider myself to be one, I felt it was not wise to interrupt it.

I headed outside, and headed for the car. Quite suddenly, the last thing on my mind was my empty stomach.

No Posts Because...

10 hour work days for the foreseeable future.

Fair week.

Part time office work. 

Leaving for Iris' first birthday celebration in two days. 


Saturday, August 3, 2019

Rocking Chair

A long time ago, when I was three, I had gone to my grandparents' house, and they had a big rocking chair that I fell in love with. I rocked and rocked in that chair. I rocked so contentedly, people remarked on it.

When we returned home, to the house of no rocking chairs, I must have missed it something awful. I don't remember being put down for my nap, creeping out of bed to my bank, getting two pennies, and heading off down the middle of a busy street to look for a store where I could buy a rocking chair.

I don't remember being picked up by the police who were trying to figure out what to do with me when my frantic mother came around the corner to claim me. She marched me back home, spanking me every step of the way.

What I do remember is a huge box arriving at our house. It contained two child sized rockers, one for me and one for my sister.

I've had that chair for nearly 60 years now. All my children rocked in it. William rocked in it. He would have had first dibs on it, but he and his mother lived with us for a while, and by the time they left, he'd outgrown it.

But now we have Iris. Her first birthday is coming up next weekend, and we were hardpressed on what to get her. She has about every toy known to mankind and if she collects too much more, Dylan and Brittani will have to move out. We decided that the most practical thing was to just give money for her college fund.

But. It's her first birthday.

I wanted to do something special. Last night, laying in bed pondering things, I thought about that rocker. She lives across the state and traveling with her is hard. I know how quickly children grow.

I also know that as much as I love my old things, my children do NOT love my old things. I sent a cautious message to see if it would okay for Iris to have that little rocking chair. I sent a picture. I waited.

They said yes, I could give her the chair.

I'm so happy.

So I made sure that Brittani knew the story, so that Iris will know the story too. Next week, I will give her a chair that was bought by her great-great-grandparents. I will give her the chair that her grandmother loved, and that her father rocked in when he was a little boy.

Who knows? Maybe she'll grow up to love the marble topped dresser and the high victorian bed upstairs too.


Friday, August 2, 2019

Waking up.

I get up at 4 in the morning. That is because I don't fall out of bed all wide awake and bright-eyed and ready to take on the world. I am bleary eyed, I head for the coffee pot, pack my lunch, a sit down at the computer to wake up slowly. By the time that my cup of coffee is finished, I'm usually perked up enough to head to the shower. By the time that I leave the house at 5:30, I'm pretty much awake, but I'm not sure the phrase 'bright eyed' will ever actually apply to me. Open-eyed will have to do. 

Anyways, just a little thing that I noticed: I am rarely asleep when the alarm goes off. I tend to wake up about 10 minutes before. I lay in the dark for a few minutes waiting for the alarm. On the days that I don't go to work, I often (but not always) wake up at 4. 

We are in the middle of a big project at work. I got pulled from my regular department to QC about a month ago, and we are working 10 hour days at this point. This is something that will go on for weeks. I now have to be to work at 5 am, so I set the alarm for 3. What I noticed is right from the beginning, I began to wake up a few minutes before 3. 

The only thing that I can think of is that I have a bunch of weighted or keywound clocks that chime. I wonder if subconsciously I'm hearing and registering that? I just think it's interesting. Anybody else like that?