Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Tim Knows Lowes.

 It irks me that Tim runs to Lowes multiple times a week. To me, that's a time waster. You decide what you're doing, you get what you need, and then you get it done, without interruptions. Not Tim. 

Last Friday, we needed to get flooring for the bathroom, so once again, we headed off. We selected what we wanted, and the girl who came knew nothing about linoleum. "Let me get someone for you," she said, and that was that. We waited for 10 or 15 minutes and then gave up. While we were waiting, though, we were looking around, and we found a special order flooring that looked like slate. It was probably part of a larger order, and two boxes had been returned. It was pricey stuff, on clearance for $23.00 a box. We snagged that in a hurry. We both liked it a lot, and the two boxes were plenty to do the bathroom. 

Walking to get a cart, I saw linoleum. It was clearanced out at 27 cents a square foot. We did some quick calculations and discovered that we could do the laundry room and the kitchen for about $40.00. It was pretty ordinary, but it matched with the color scheme. Tim said, "Well, we really can't go wrong with that," and so we went right with that, instead. For about $80 with my military discount (Tim will never leave me. He loves me for my discount), we had the flooring for three rooms. 

Yesterday, he found the window trim for the windows and doors in the living room. It was a good price and a perfect solution to a problem he'd been mulling. It was also prepainted. That saved a lot of time, there, and Tim happily trimmed the windows and doors in the livingroom. 

Today, we stopped into get a transition strip to go on the floor between the kitchen and the dining room. I saw a familiar yellow sticker and stopped. He stopped too. They had 14 foot sections of molding. We had not chosen the baseboard yet, and these were perfect. They were also prepainted. Unbelievably, we were able to get all the molding for the livingroom, one bedroom, the bathroom for $22. We have plenty left over even. 

I've stopped complaining about all those trips to Lowes. Today, the bathroom and the laundry room are completely done. The kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms are nearly done. We've begun hauling tools out and with all the clutter disappearing, it's begun to look...well...finished. 

Tim believes we can have everything done but the carpet by the end of the week. We had a deadline of June 15th, and we'll make that, easy. The very best part? It really turned out cute, and I think one white headed bearded fellow will be quite happy when he sees it. 

So that's my big excitement of the day. 

One unrelated story: I was pulling into the grocery store. I haven't had time to do a full shop, for a while, just quick trips. (I guess that Tim and I are not all that different after all. He's running to Lowes multiple times a week, and I'm running to Aldi's two or three times a week). 

Anyways, William was with me, and I saw a killdeer running across the parking lot. I wasn't sure that William had ever been introduced to one, so when I got out of the car, I headed off towards him. "Where are we going? What are you doing?" and I told him that I wanted to show him something very cool. 

Two killdeers rushed at us nervously. They are the stupidest damn birds. They build their nests on the ground and it doesn't seem to matter where. (I once cordoned off a nest and put a chair over it because they had made a nest right square in the middle of a busy parking lot!)

 Immediately, they began their posturing, dragging a wing in the saddest looking manner. 

William said, "Awwwww...they are injured." 

"Nope," I said, and I explained that there was a nest in the vicinity and that's how the parents protected it. When a predator comes near, they pretend to be injured, and the fox or the weasel follow them thinking that they've got an easy meal. When they are a distance from their nest, they simply fly away. 

William was amazed. We did not want to upset them, but William looked carefully from where we stood and he found the nest under some bushes. "The eggs look just like stones!" he exclaimed. 

So that was our 'moment' for the day. 

For the first day in probably five days, I saw that a cat had eaten the dry cat food. I haven't seen Mangey since the day he bolted from me, but I am hopeful he's still around. 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Grandma's Summer Reading Program

 Coming back from the grocery store, I made a quick stop into the Goodwill to look at their kids' books. William was suspicious. He's a good reader...he just doesn't do enough of it. 

I said, "I think it is a good idea with summer coming up that you have a few books tucked away to read." 

I found a ghost story, a deadly animal book, some mysteries, The Tale of Beedle the Bard, and a funny book. He agreed that they looked interesting and that he'd be willing to read them. If he had time. 

On the way to the register, I said, "Well, grandpa and I will pay you a dollar for every book that you read this summer." 

Wide eyed look. A woman passing by was very enthusiastic. "A dollar a book?!! That is a great deal! If you read a hundred books, you would earn a hundred dollars!" 

(God bless her!)

William stared at me. "What would happen if I read a hundred books?" 

"You'd make a hundred dollars." 

He was a bit dumbfounded by this. To be a 'hundred-aire' at the age of 11 was almost beyond his wildest dreams. 

He read on the way home from the store. He read while I was fixing lunch. By the next day, he had earned his first dollar. He's now three chapters into his next book. 

Sunday, May 29, 2022

The Biggest Butthead Award...

 ...goes to me. 

You have to understand how bad this year has been for me. I planted using 'Jiffy' pods for the first time. You know those peat things that expand when they are in water, you plant your seeds and then you just put the whole thing in the ground. I got an unopened package of them at a yard sale for a buck (for 36 of them) and thought it was a great deal. I started my seeds and less than half of them germinated. The ones that did germinate, did poorly, most of them dying while I was in England.  By the time that I figured that out, well, it was kind of late to start new plants. 

My daughter-in-law had a batch of plants, tomatoes, 3 different pepper varieties. I was grateful to take her extras. My sister said, "I've got 26 extra bell peppers. How many do you want?" Between my sister and my daughter-in-law, my garden was saved. 

I thought so, until today. 

As reported, we got the garden tilled. We were due for two days of rain, and decided to come back today, and give the garden one more till, and then plant everything. I put the tomato and pepper plants in my greenhouse. I was hauling some equipment back into the garage as we were getting ready to leave. I was also carrying a box that held my seeds and my onion sets and my seed potatoes. I set that box on a table and we closed up the garage. 

Today, I was horrified to see that a chipmunk or a mouse got into the garage tipped over the box and ate every one of my seeds. Every one of the onion sets. I had some seeds that I'd saved in pill bottles so I still had my pumpkin, squashes and water melon seeds. I still had my well nibbled seed potatoes. 

I should have known better and I've been kicking myself all day. Hopefully it is not to late to replace them. 


Getting it done.



(And they are probably doing a renovation.)

The bathroom is completed and put back together with all new fixtures. Yay. This has been a big project, and we've been working hard and long on it. We replaced the big window with a more sensible small window, replaced the drywall. While I painted the laundry room, Tim painted the bathroom. The new flooring in the bathroom went down Friday. Everything else was taken care of on Saturday. 

Monday, I will lay the new flooring in the kitchen and newly repainted laundry room while Tim completes the trim work in the bedrooms and livingroom. After that, the only big thing on the agenda is laying the padding and berber carpets in the bedrooms and livingroom. 

It is hard not to get snappy when you're tired and trying to get things done. We did. 

It bugs me that we agree on a course of action and then Tim just arbitrarily decides to do things differently. So there is that. He also worries about making a mistake. His big worry today was cutting out the holes for the faucet and water controls in the surround. He fretted about it last night as he was falling asleep. I was dancing on ahead about the flooring. He snapped, "The surround is going to take awhile. I need to be careful there or I'll ruin it. Don't rush me!" 

I lay awake in the dark until I figured out how we were going to do it. 

First thing this morning, I set out his tube of Persian Blue machinist dye. To his credit, he knew exactly what the plan was as soon as he saw it. We dabbed just a dot on the pipe for the tub faucet, and the pins that the water controls will connect to, backed the surround against them, and a blue mark was made on the back of the surround. He centered his hole saw on those bright blue dots, It worked quick as a wink and everything fit perfectly. I was very glad that I was able to solve that problem. 

So, the inside will be finished, probably ahead of schedule (June 15th), and Jim can begin moving his furniture in to his new home. We can finish up the back deck while he's doing that. 


After this, we're having some R and R at our poor neglected retirement property, tending to the garden, brush hogging, and (once Tim fixes the dump truck) we'll be able to haul some scrap out. That project can be done on our own time frame, and we can finally work at a leisurely pace and unwind around a fire at night. 

Let summer begin!


Saturday, May 28, 2022

Clay Speaks

Ever hear of Clay Jones? His cartoon won an RFK award the morning of the Uvalde massacre.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Ms. Moon

She comes speaking words of wisdom

This important, and it is well said, and we owe it to the children to simply not let it be. 

Write. Call. Send e-mails. Hell. Send Mary Moon's post to every NRA owned politician you know.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Another Blessed Beast.

We took most of the day off from the renovation. We made great progress yesterday and decided that we really needed to get up to the retirement property. We have not yet gotten the garden tilled. The grass has yet to be mowed. We had a pile of scrap wood that needed to be burned up. I had my tomatoes and peppers (thanks to Brittani) to get in and a bunch of other planting to get done.  
I was looking very forward to being outside.  I needed a day in the garden. 

Getting out of the truck and heading to the garden, I was startled to see this little thing, curled up beside an ornamental shrub.  

 "Oh, Tim!" I whispered. We both stood watching him. He was wide eyed with terror, but he did not move a muscle. It made me think of terrified children, and I felt sick all over again. 

We backed away, leaving him alone. 

For all his irritation about Mangey, I must say, Tim was completely taken with this guy. He drove the tractor behind the camp, so as not to frighten the little fawn hidden in front of the camp. That knee high grass? Tim decided not to cut it, because he was afraid there might be more fawns hidden in it. We drove the tractor down over to my sister and brother in laws to get the 'community' tiller. We got a deal when we bought a brush hog some years back, and got the tiller as well. We leave it across the road in their equipment shed. Who ever needs a tiller can just bring their tractor over and hook it up, and then put it back when they are done. It's worked out well for everyone for the past 3 or 4 years. 

My sister was home, and we were glad. We needed an extra set of hands to hook up. 

Anyways, we got the garden tilled. It tickled me to see a pair of bluebirds sitting on the fence waiting for their chance to grab a juicy worm as the tiller went by. 

We spent a couple hours on the garden, and decided to let it sit for a couple days and then come back and till one more time before planting on Sunday afternoon. I unloaded my plants into the green house and gave them a good watering. 

The little fawn was still where his mama left him. 

We ate lunch and then went back out to unload the truck. Tim said, "We're not burning the wood. I don't want to scare him." We unloaded it into a neat pile ready to be burned the next time we don't have a fawn in the yard. 

So. 

We did not get nearly as much done as we had intended, but we didn't feel badly about it. 

There's always Sunday. 

When we got home, I saw Mangey. I was glad to see him and called to him, setting out a bowl of food as usual. He took one look at me and tore out of the yard like his tail was on fire. I went out later, and the food sat in the bowl, untouched. It's my fault. I rushed it. I should not have tried to touch him before he'd decided that he trusted me.  


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Heartsick

 having quite a time with blogger. I am not sure where my post went. 

I am heartsick today about the school shooting in Texas. 18 dead children. 

I had to turn off the news. The facts of the matter were sickening enough, but a father was shown, his eyes hidden by sunglasses. A reporter had a microphone thrust in his face. He said, "I just need to find my baby," and his face twitched. 

The reporter asked, "What is your worst fear?" 

What the actual fuck?

The news needs to be reported. I'm not disputing that. The facts must be relayed. It is not necessary to exploit the parents' anguish. It is not only unnecessary. It is unkind. It is cruel.

It was also a mind numbingly stupid question. 

So my heart breaks tonight, for what has happened, but also for what WILL happen, which is nothing. Nothing at all. We will be sickened and outraged and not one thing will change. 

We've made some great progress today on the renovation, and tomorrow, we are taking the day off. We are going to the retirement property to get the garden tilled and to get things planted. There is sanity to be found in the garden. 

PS: I want you to know that I'm commenting on your blogs, but the comments seem to have disappeared. 

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Cat

 Tim is not a fan of animals. He never really has been, so he gets a little...um...let's just say he gets crabby. So, anyways, he has been less than charmed about the feral cat situation. I ignore him, because really, even if I didn't feed them, we'd still have feral cats around. 

Since discovering that one of them has mange, Tim was even less charmed. For one thing, the poor thing looks pretty disgusting. For another thing, the medicine was pricey. I also bought the expensive cat food to insure that he'd greedily gobble down the medication. 

Once again, I ignored Tim, because, really, even if I didn't get the medication, that cat would still look pretty disgusting. Even worse, once a cat gets mange, it is something very contagious. We'd have a half dozen cats hanging around looking disgusting. He'd be way more upset. 

And let's get real here. The man paid way 7 times that amount for a bunch of old oil cans just a month ago, and he ignored my thoughts on it. 

Plus, it was my birthday, so hey, surprise! I got mange medication and expensive cat food for my birthday. I would say he got off light. 

So after some math work to figure out the proper dosage for a 5 lb animal using a product made for cattle, I got it all worked out that I needed .25 ml. 

The next day, on our way out to have supper for our anniversary, Tim took it pretty well when I told him I needed to make another stop at a store to pick up an infant dosage syringe. 

I was all set, and then I wound up medicating the wrong black cat. I only saw his behind, and he was a black cat, so I treated him. When I saw him licking his smackers in gratitude for his great meal. I realized that he was not the right cat. He saw me, he grabbed the plastic bowl and scooted off to lick it clean. 

When he was finally done, I retrieved the bowl, and waited. Mangey did not show. 

I looked around for him this morning, but saw no signs of him. I began to worry that I'd spent a wad of money on a cat I was never going to see again. I walked down to the renovation and mentioned that to Tim. 

Grumpily, he said that he'd see the cat that very morning and went back to mudding. 

"Why didn't you tell me??!!" I asked. 

"Why would I?" he asked.

He's a pain in the ass when it comes to animals, really. 

Anyways, I spent the day painting, and when I walked home, there was Mangey sitting on the side steps. Long story short, I called to him, cheerfully, and he got right up and followed me to the back door. I left the door open and talked to him while I was getting his supper. Usually, he sits patiently waiting, but when I went outside with his medicated supper, he was nowhere to be found. I was sitting in the driveway waiting for him to return when Tim got home. 

I explained, and Tim went into the house in a grumpy way. He came back out even grumpier. Evidently, while my back was turned, Mangey had walked right into the house. He has never done that before. 

"Here's your cat," he snapped, and went back in the house, closing the door harder than he needed to, in my humble opinion, because heaven knows, I wasn't exactly delighted to have a mangey cat in the house either. 

Anyways, Mangey ate his entire supper, every bite of it. He was so sociable that I got the idea to get vinyl gloves on and try to get some anti itch cream on him. It was too soon. He bolted. 

But...the good news is that I managed to get a full dose of medication in him. Fingers crossed. 

I'll keep feeding him the good cat food so that he returns and I can continue to keep track of how he's doing. (Tim will be delighted.) 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Drat that cat!

It was a big weekend. A birthday. An anniversary. 

It was also a working weekend. 

Today, before starting work, I took a run to Tractor Supply to buy some medicine for that cat. I also bought some of the fancy cat food. I figured that would guarantee that he got the whole dose. Tim flinched a little at the register, but I reminded him that it was a special weekend. 

I looked for that cat when I got home. Tim said, "Well, he's around here somewhere. The robins are all riled up." 

Not much later, I saw a black cat sitting under the truck. I went in and mixed up the medication into his food and set it outside for him, and ducked back into the house so as not to scare him off. 

That cat so loved the fancy cat food that he carried the dish away to lick it clean. 

I'd have been thrilled about this, except for one thing: It seems that I've been feeding more than one black cat, and the cat that got dosed was not the right black cat. 

Nothing is ever as easy as you think it's going to be, is it? 

We worked at the apartment. It's a good feeling to be at the 'putting it all back together' stage. 


Saturday, May 21, 2022

Bless the Beasts

The black feral cat that comes around regularly to be fed has developed mange, poor thing. 

Glad to have vet people in the family. I hope that there is a treatment for him. He's been keeping a distance. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Friends

 I have a friend, an old friend. We met on the first day of seventh grade when we were both lost and looking for the same classroom in the huge (well, it seemed like it at the time) highschool. 

We have been through a lot together, but we have drifted apart. One of the big divisions, to be honest, is her religious convictions. Even when I believed, my faith took a far different path than hers. I don't debate faith. To each their own and I'm fine with it, but she kept trying to pin me down on various points of faith, things that she felt were unarguable points. 

Like, you must believe that Jesus Christ is the only way. 

I didn't. 

She got quite emotional and told me then that my beliefs made her see me differently and that there were things that she could not discuss with me. Broke my heart to hear it, really, because I really felt that if she would stop discussing those things, we'd be fine, and we had plenty of other things that we did agree on. 

The presidency of he who shall not be named drove an even deeper wedge. There were plenty of things that she didn't believe in that her president was fighting against. 

So here we are. I think about her a lot, and I miss her a lot, but now I am turning 65 in a couple days and I have no faith at all. I could use a friend, but I know that she would be appalled. 

I tell this old, old story because I know a batch of elders. They all are approaching 80 and they are childhood friends. Their roots go way back to a small town that no longer even exists. 

They are as diverse a group as you'd ever want to meet. Two of them are tenants in two different houses on the bank of the river, and the third one is upriver just a little. The three women are the key members. There is a couple of ex-husbands thrown into the mix. They garden. They kayak, They migrate from deck to deck in the summer, to watch the river go by and to talk and laugh together on their comfortable back decks. 

I envy them, really. Sometimes walking past their homes, I'll hear laughter from out back, and I'll go to the gate and call 'Halloooooooo the house!' and they'll invite me back and my voice joins theirs for a while. When I leave, they always say, "We need to do this more often."

What I like about this group the most is that they know each other, really know each other.  They know that one of them is impractical, but they love her anyway. One of them follows no faith. One has (like me) recently fallen away from her church. Two are readers. One is vegan. One wants to catch one of the bass that lives under an old log 'snag' outside her back door. Their differences go on and on. 

If you throw ex-husbands in the mix, well,..they acknowledge their flaws too. The one with a temper. The needy one who left to travel, telling his wife that she was not invited. He's back now. He got tired of traveling. By the time he had decided that, she'd decided that she really liked living alone. Despite all the baggage, those ex's are still part of the circle too. 

I envy them, really. Their roots bind them together. As much as they have in common, they are all remarkably different, but the differences are acknowledged and accepted with grace. 

It's a rare thing in these days. 

I think of my own old friend, and feel sad. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Home Again

What a wonderful five days I have had! Well. Other than the cold. It seemed like a minor cold. It hit hard the night I got there. I  also managed to give that cold to my grandaughter. My daughter-in-law was coming down with it when I left. It is only a matter of time, I expect, before poor Dylan gets it too, and he is traveling next week.

So. I do feel badly about that. All I could offer was a weak "well...it's not covid. I checked." And buy the good tissues...the ones with lotion. Those two things. (Before I am chastised, let me be clear that I had dutifully notified them that I had the cold to give them the option of rescheduling. I also tested for covid.)

But we had a nice weekend. Dad and mom got date nights. Grandma got date nights with a little charmer. 

It's late. I made good time coming home. I got home in time to eat, run out and vote, get a haircut, and fix our hacked netflix account, but I will leave you with grand daughter stories. 

Story 1: 

One of her favorite things is getting ready with me in the morning. She picks out my earrings, and she likes to watch me put whipped cream in my hair. I give her the tiniest dab for her hair too. We brush our teeth together. The little pipsqueak got a mischievous look on her face as she was playing with the door knob. She turned the lock and then walked out into the hall and shut the door, thinking she had locked me in the bathroom. I laughed out loud and waited for her to figure out that I was not locked in the bathroom...she was locked out of it. There was a 30 second pause. The door knob wiggled a bit. Then came a polite knock. "Ama? Could you let me in?"

Story 2:

This morning, she was snuffling and cantankerous. She disassembled something and then gave it to her mother to fix. Unfortunately, it was not a fixable disassembly. 

She was upset by this. Her mother explained it to her in a very patient voice, that she had broken it and now she must throw it in the garbage. 

Whining ensued. She is not normally a whiner, so I listened to this exchange. 

Her poor mother was coming down with the cold, so I took the liberty of saying, "Hey, can you pick that up and throw it away in the garbage, and while you're at it, could you throw away your bad mood?" She pondered this with a delighted look on her face, and immediately went to the trash can to throw away the damaged toy. She put a little hand to her face, made a grabbing motion and tossed that invisible bad mood into the trash.

 "Quick!" I said. "Shut the lid! We don't need that getting loose again." 

I am happy to report that the bad mood stayed right in the trash where it belonged. 


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

This and That

 Well, we've had William for a couple days now. We'll pick him up from school one more day and then he'll be picked up and taken home tonight.

We got the bathtub installed. What a struggle that was! It was a tight fit, and it actually got stuck a couple times. It is a steel tub and so it didn't have any flex to it at all. We both are so very glad we didn't try to stuff that 350 pound cast iron one in there. Either the tub would have killed us, or we would have killed each other. Frustrations were high. 

Tim is a great one for just muscling something into a place until he gets it into that place. Which is all well and good, but when you are muscling something in, getting it stuck and then muscling it back out again (x2) it makes me grumpy. "Tim, stop, stop. Let's just think about this a little first." It was a combination of brawn and brain that got that tub where it belonged. 

Jim, the new tenant, stopped by with a tablet to take some measurements for curtains and furniture. I was relieved to see that he fits through the door frames to the bedrooms. It was also good that he arrived within minutes after the tub was set. Any earlier, and he would have heard two people really snapping at each other. 

When we stopped for lunch, I saw an unexpected message from a familiar face with an unfamiliar name. She is a beautiful girl, hard worker, has a good job. She and her husband rented from us for a while after they got out of the military. They had one son and a baby on the way. We couldn't help but be happy for them when they got their own place. 

Anyway, she wanted to know if we had any rentals. We don't. I asked, a little cautiously, how she'd been doing. "Not good," she said. She had just found out that her husband of 13+ years was having an affair. I was surprised by that. I mean, she is really a beautiful girl, and she is so very nice. He's got three beautiful kids. Why on earth would a man just toss that all up to the four winds? 

(And yes...I understand that there are plenty of women who are no different.)

Yesterday, I had a sore throat, and I began to get a little uneasy about it. Last night, I woke up with a headache and chills. I am supposed to head east tomorrow morning for time with my son and his family. Today, Tim took William to school and stopped to pick up a covid test. 

While I waited, I messaged my daughter in law that I seemed to have picked up a cold, and that out an abundance of caution, I was taking a covid test. We all held our collective breath. It was negative. I told them my symptoms and they decided that the scheduled visit was still a 'go'. 

*whew!*

Tim's been talking about a little motorcycle he's found for William, a little 50cc for him to putter around the retirement property on. He had a honda atv that he was going to swap for it. (We don't need two of them). I tend to stay out of the world of Tim and his wheeling and dealing, but I was being regularly updated. 

Anyway, I was on the computer when a question came in from the man who owned the dirt bike. He had a question about the ATV. I told him that Tim had taken our grandson out for ice cream and provided his cell number. A reply came in: "Do you know if he is buying this bike for a kid?" I answered that he was buying it for an 11 year old boy. He told me that it was a 125cc motorcycle with a clutch that went 60 mph and it was not a kid's machine. I took the liberty of calling the deal off on the spot. 

Tim and William came in with their ice cream and one of them got jerked aside for a very stern talking to. (Hint: it was the tall kid.)  

Anyways, I'm all packed and ready to leave tomorrow. However, before I can do that, I've got another day of work in front of me. 




Tuesday, May 10, 2022

I Screw Up Big Time

 William has been staying with us for the past couple days. His mother's S.O. had a death in the family and it was felt that it would probably be better if William just spent a couple days here with us. We are never going to turn down time with a grandson.  Since William goes to school right around the corner from where we live, I just walk over to the school to pick him up, waiting for him at the end of the bridge. 

Yesterday we walked home and William decided to just go to our house rather than accompany me to the renovation, so he went one way, and I continued down the street. I noticed a boy about William's age, 11 or 12, walking alone. The thing about him was that he noticed me and gave a friendly wave and said hello. As he continued down the street, he greeted Tim and our tenant Paula who were visiting in front of one of the rentals as well. 

I thought to myself, "He seems like an awfully nice kid, and he's probably new to the area." 

Today, I saw him again, and once again, he said hi and waved. So I talked with him, asking him if he were new. He said he was, and gave his name as 'Dante'.  I said, "I have a grandson named William. He's not always at our house but" - and I told him where we live - "you're welcome to stop by and see if he's there. He likes to bike ride, and the bike trail is a fun ride." He said "Okay," in a cheerful voice and continued on. 

I waited for William who takes his time. When we finally met up, I told him about the new kid. 

Later, I saw Dante walking as I was pulling into the renovation. William was in the passenger seat of the car, and I thought to introduce the two boys. 

"Dante," I called.

He looked back, broke into a dead run, and disappeared around the corner. 

In these days of stranger-danger, you cannot call to a kid from a car. Big no-no. I probably scared him to death. 

I feel awful. I wish that I knew where he lived so I could explain to his parents. 

Monday, May 9, 2022

Horrifying

 A friend posted this horrifying story

A missing family member would be tough to deal with, but the back story is even tougher. 

I need help Facebook! This is my cousins fianc├ęs son. LE and detective’s are treating this as a missing persons case when there’s been possible evidence that he fell into the machine. The detective called the family this morning and they were told that HR is responsible for inspecting the machine. No one is wanting to help.
A missing 20 year old male named Duncan Alexander Burrell Gordon, works night shift at a warehouse in the Greer/Duncan area. His father also works at the same place on the same shift. He was last seen at 2am on May 5th on top of a machine that his father believes he fell into. The machine is capable of shredding metal. They found a substance shortly after that looked like grounded up flesh/meat. Law enforcement and detectives have been notified but the machine hasn’t been tested with luminol or any confirmation that that’s what happened. The machine was still used on Thursday and Friday.
His bank card hasn’t been used since 11pm on May 4th when he went on lunch break and his phone hasn’t been used since around the same time as well. It’s going straight to voicemail now. His hat was found near the area he was last seen. Cameras have been checked and no evidence of him ever leaving the building. He was still clocked in. His family is broken for answers. I just feel no evidence will be left if they continue to wait around. The machine currently runs fabric through it, the father believes the machine could’ve instantly dried any blood due to high temperatures or the fabric could’ve soaked up any blood.
UPDATE as of 9:10am today - the investigation is ongoing at the company now. The father is assisting. Please pray for the family until we hear their findings.
Please share and please keep this family in your prayers as they search for answers.

End of post.

Now, I know that you cannot believe everything you read on facebook. One thing that I am suspicious of is that they were told 'by a detective' that "HR is responsible for inspecting the machine". That is absolutely not within the scope of HR responsibilities.

But I know that as soon as someone said, "I think he fell in," the machine should have stopped, and an investigation done. The people responsible for tear down of the machine would be the maintenance crew with a OSHA team attending.

The company is Industrial Recovery and Recycling in Greer, SC. As of right now, there is no mention of the company or any possible connection to the missing man in the news.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Happy Day

 I keep a bag of cat food in the mudroom. From time to time, I'll see one of the strays outside, and I like to set food out with a friendly word. But they are very wary creatures, and will watch until I go back inside before they slowly make their way to the bowl to eat. 

I feel sorry for them. 

I came home from working down the street, and one of my 'regulars' a sleek black cat was in the driveway.

"Hello," I said. "Would you like something to eat?" I went inside to get the bowl and to fill it. Much to my surprise, he came right to the door and sat down to wait for me. When I walked back outside, he was still sitting there although he backed away while I set the dish down. "There you go," I said, and he came over slowly. When I reached out my hand, he came in to be petted. 

For such a small thing, that made me happy. 

Something else that is making me happy is that after some warm days, and a good rain, suddenly everything is bursting into bloom. It smells like spring, finally. 

In just five more days, I am headed out to see my son and his family. It will give Dylan and Brittani a chance to celebrate her birthday, while I celebrate my grand daughter. We're going to make and mold stepping stones. Brittani and I will be building tomato cages. 

Three happies is quite a lot, and I am lucky. 


Friday, May 6, 2022

On Fire


What a strange picture. 

But if you notice the sign to the left, it says 'Pudding Lane'. 

Pudding Lane was the site of Thomas Farynor's bakery where the Great Fire of London supposedly began September 2nd, 1666, burning until September 4th and totally destroying most of 'old' London. There were rumors that 'foreigners' had started the fire, which resulted in street violence against this population. If you care to read more about it, here's a link


 This is the memorial to the disaster. 



This is another short post. We are still hard at work. 

Thank you 'Anonymous/Paranormal John'. After reading some links in your comments, I bought the book 'The Lives They Left Behind'. Heartbreaking and engrossing. While I am not familiar with Willard, I have worked with former residents of Willowbrook, It really is heartbreaking to consider how few options these people had. 




Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Tower Bridge

This is the Tower Bridge.

In the late 1800s, ship traffic up and down the Thames was very heavy. The population had grown to such an extent that a bridge was required in the area. A regular bridge could not be used, because it would impede the tall ships traveling up and down the river. Designers were encouraged to submit their plans for a bridge that would allow for the ship traffic but also allow for uninterrupted foot traffic back and forth. After 8 years, a design was finally picked that suited everyone. The tower in the foreground was a house for the Bridge Master and his family. There was also a kitchen there to feed the men who worked in the lower levels of the bridge, operating the massive coal fired steam engines that that raised the bascules of drawbridge, an operation that took five minutes. 


A glimpse of some of that machinery. It was kept spic and span by the team of men who worked there under the direction of the Bridge Master. When they weren't raising and lowering the bridge and keeping the coal ovens stoked, they were polishing and cleaning. 


This is a glimpse of the approach on the bottom level. 

When the drawbridge is raised, people have the option of walking up the stairs in both the towers... 



...to access the sky bridge, which now has transparent panels to walk across and look at the traffic below. 


It also gave an amazing view of the city.


The bridge took 8 years to build by a team of 432 men. The two piers that the 60 foot tall towers are built on contain 70,000 cubic yards of cement and go 21 feet into the river bed of the Thames.  In the eight years of construction, 10 men died, which was amazing considering they were climbing all over the high girders with no safety gear.

The construction of it was an amazing feat for its time. 
I bought a book, but if you wish to learn more about it, here's a link.

Sorry so short. There are probably a million errors in this which I'll discover after I hit publish but we are quite busy here. We're knocking out some big projects at the renovation because next week I'm headed east to behold my darling grand-daughter and my son and pregnant daughter in law. It will be the first time that I've seen them since January. 

Accomplishing some of the big projects before I go provides Tim with plenty of small work to keep him occupied while I'm occupied somewhere else. We look to be finished by the end of May. 

Tim said, "When we are done with this, we're taking some time off." 

I said, "We've still got the garden..." 

He laughed, but he didn't sound like he thought it was funny. 
We both agree, however. With this inflation, a garden is mandatory.


 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Tower of London, Part 2

 Remember the elephant, shown in my last batch of pictures from the Tower of London? It used to be a custom of kings to have a royal menagerie as far back as the 1200s. So there was at least one elephant kept there. Because these animals were 'exotic', they often did not live long due to the ignorance of the people who were caring for them. The elephant, for instance, lived only two years before dying. Later reading explained that his keepers thought he was a carnivore and were offering him only meat. 


The lions were rather an exception to the rule, breeding well in captivity. 
There was a tragedy when two tigers were accidently released into a cage with a lion. 
They killed the lion. 


There was a polar bear, a gift from the king of Norway, who lived on the outer wall of the fortress and fished in the Thames. There was a sculpture of him as well, and I thought that I had taken a picture of it. If I did, I cannot find it. 

There were also baboons. They roamed freely and sometimes attacked people, even killing them sometimes. 

A later elephant attacked a guard and was killed by cannonfire.

The public was admitted to view the menagerie for a fee, but if they came with a cat or dog, they were given free entrance, and the animal fed to the carnivores. 

Now there are only the ravens. 

Thank heavens.



Legend has it that if the ravens ever leave the Tower of London, Britain and the monarchy will fall, so one of the Yeoman Warders is appointed 'Raven Master', and tends to the birds. The flight feathers on    one wing are clipped to prevent them from flying away, but they are well tended birds who did not complain within my earshot. 

(Funny note: Some of the ravens do talk and in 2003, Vladimir Putin was said to have been very uneasy when one of them wished him 'good morning!')

This is the building that houses the crown jewels. Photography is not permitted inside, so you will have to content yourself with a photo of the outside. We bought the book, but you can view a partial collection here. One of the duties of the yeoman warders is to guard these jewels. 


 As befitting a castle, there are knights. There was a little suit of armor made for a prince. That made me sad to see, actually. Such a tiny little thing, and it must have been horribly uncomfortable for a toddler. I found myself hoping that it had never actually been worn. 


There was armor for the horses. 


Probably had to fight dragons. (I joke, I joke)


This lance was about 16 feet long, if memory serves me. I always wondered how a knight managed to hold on to one of these, let alone knock someone off their horse with it. 
I found the answer. They're hollow. 


There were cannons all over the place as well. This was an especially ornate one. 


Also inside the 'white tower' as the castle proper is known, 

you viewed the bedchamber of King Richard I


and the chapel just off his bedroom.


For every story that I can tell you, there are scores more that I don't know.  

Two that I do know:

Two little boys, heirs to a kingdom, were taken by their uncle to the Tower of London where they were never seen alive again. In the room where they were held, they have piped in very soft whispering, almost inaudible. Walking into the rude and empty stone room and hearing that whispering gave me the shivers. Although it is assumed that they were murdered, there is no direct evidence to prove this, but we do know their uncle ascended the throne as King Richard III.

Sir Walter Raleigh was also imprisoned there for years before he was finally executed. His head was presented to his wife in a velvet bag and she kept it at her side for all her days. After her death it went to a cupboard under the stairs at his son's home. It was finally buried with the bodies of three of his grandchildren who died in an epidemic. 

Standing there in the middle of hundreds of years of history and mystery, where a chapel stood watch over the site where hundreds were brutally murdered by rulers who prayed devoutly in little antechambers off their grand bedrooms, where ravens stand watch to preserve that monarchy and guards stand watch over its treasures, I have to admit to awed goosebumps. 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Tomatoes

 You know that tomato that I bought last week? The one I paid 53 cents for and was shocked?

Well, as previously noted, I quit cooking at lunch time. It's just too rushed to come home, clean up, cook lunch, eat, clean up and then head back out the door. So now we have sandwiches. Last week, it was roast beef with swiss cheese, and a good crunchy layer of lettuce. Tim hates tomatoes, I love them, so I top my sandwich with a slice of tomato. He puts catsup on his sandwich. I use mayo liberally coated with fresh black pepper. 

Last week's sandwiches were good enough that Tim wanted roast beef and swiss cheese again. I picked up the makings, some nice wheat bread, and found myself standing in front of the tomatoes once again.

 You know my 53 cent tomato from last week? Using a slice a day on my sandwich, that tomato did last me a week. A dime a day. That's not such a big deal, is it? 

Except they've gone up 40 cents a pound. IN ONE WEEK. This week's tomato cost $1.01. 

It was a bit of a jolt, but in the end, I decided that I'm worth it. 

I cannot wait for tomatoes from the garden.


Sunday, May 1, 2022

Fishing

 A nice weekend. I went to a community yard sale with an Amish friend. Probably 3 times, she said, "I really like this. I don't suppose we can fit it in your car." 

Yes. Yes we can. 

It did get to the point where I had to call Tim to bring the truck, before it was all said and done, but that was okay too, because I had found some barnboard sheeting that I knew that he'd want. (I was right, too.) The sheeting is normally nearly $30 a sheet, and this person was selling 3 sheets of it for $30. I called Tim on to tell him. He was dropping William off at an activity, but came right over in the truck. 

While I was waiting, I listened to two old guys talking about the price of lumber. It IS high, and it has been high for months now. The pandemic squeezed production at the same time that storms and natural disasters ramped up demand. It hasn't evened out yet, and it looks like demand is going to continue to be high this summer. The two old experts blamed it all on "Biden's war". 

It's the first time that I heard anyone calling it that

He and William spent the day fishing. They had gone Friday night to a fishing hole that Tim suddenly remembered from when he was a kid. They hiked out to it and discovered that no one else had discovered it. What a hot spot it was! 

They went to the same place Saturday, and it was even hotter. They caught a half dozen rainbow trout, which were released, but what an exciting day! All of them were at least 12 inches long. and put up some amount of resistance. Tim snagged one that jumped out of the water twice, which tickled William to bits. 

It is more fun for Tim this year, because William baits his own hook now, and casts without help. One of William's fishing stories from last night: "I casted my line out, but it wasn't a good cast, so I started to reel it in, but there was a tug on my line. I caught another fish! I couldn't even believe it. It was not a good cast!" 

This means that Tim is actually able to get some fishing time in himself instead of babysitting an up-and-coming fisherman. Neither one of them could stop talking about their three fishing trips. Later that night in bed, Tim was still talking about how excited William got. I listened in the dark and smiled, because I know that William was not the only excited one. 

"Could you ever have imagined bringing your grandson to your childhood fishing hole after all these years?" 

"Nope," he said, contentedly. 

It felt good to take the weekend off. We've been hitting it hard, but making good progress. Tomorrow we will get back to it, but tonight there is a thunderstorm and I'm sitting in the dark listening to the rumbling thunder. 

Nice.