Monday, April 30, 2007

We're OK...

they've finally announced names and Dottie and I don't know any of them...this time...

There's enough meaness to go around in this world between the "real" wars and the "gang" wars and the other forms of hatred and intolerance that abound. We really don't need anyone adding to the mix! We had already had an unusually high number of murders this year related to some kind of gang war, and last month they arrested one of the few women to ever make the F.B.I.'s "Ten Most Wanted" list in connection with those!

I usually try to stay on the "Kansas side" of the border when I can, whether shopping or whatever. The city on the Missouri side is larger and already has a larger tax base; if I can keep most of my money on this side I figure it helps with my property taxes and such. We had been to "Ward Parkway Shopping Center" for the first time in years a few months ago when we were shopping for something for one of the grandkids birthdays that we couldn't find elsewhere. We went on a weekday trying to avoid the crowds, not that that would have made a difference if this turns out to be another mental health incident as they seem to think.

As the noon news plays in the background, they are saying that the man had a history of mental illness, had been cited for the city for the expired tags on his vehicles and that the neighbor he killed had turned him in for not mowing his lawn. They think he killed her, stole a gun from her and her car, and then headed for the mall. He shot a cop at a gas station along the way, pulled into the mall and shot the people who were parking on either side of him, then walked into the mall and opened fire. Responding officers shot him...

Whenever things like this happen I remember a story I was told by an instructor I had 25 years ago in some automotive classes I took preparing myself in case I was laid off and had to go back to work as a mechanic. The teacher was a Korean War veteran, a survivor of the Chosin Reservoir campaign (called "The Frozen Chosin" by those who were there).

He and his buddies had been pinned down by enemy fire for most of a day, trapped in foxholes. The weather had been too bad for air support to come in and take out the sources. After eating the "k-rations" for so long, one of his buddies "had to go" and couldn't wait any longer. He also wasn't going to "go" in the foxhole they might be pinned down in for hours or even days longer. So he jumped out and ran for a rock to squat behind while he "went".

As he settled in behind the rock, an American aircraft came in to napalm the enemy position. For whatever reason, the bomb dropped short and hit the rock George's friend was squatting behind.

The bomb failed to ignite! His buddy came back covered in napalm (jellied gasoline for those who might not know) from head to toe, but alive.

George told us he was convinced then that when it's your time, it's your time, and nothing is going to change it. It won't matter where you are or what you are doing; skydiving or home asleep in your bed...

Of course, I always figured that with my luck, I'd have run back to the foxhole and someone would have been smoking a cigarette!

Yet, when times like this come, somehow that story helps...

Not the post I had planned to write when I got back here!

I'm laid off for a week this week. Dottie has vacation starting tomorrow. If the weather cooperates we plan to spend a lot of time on the water 5 of the next 6 days. In return for which, if the weather doesn't cooperate, Dottie plans on the basement being sorted and vacuumed (that could take a week on it's own). The party for Dillon's birthday is on Saturday...

As you know, Dottie doesn't know I blog so getting here for these next few days will be hard to do, so I hope you all forgive me if you don't hear from me for a bit!

With all that is going on in this world, I keep coming back to the words that Garry Moore used to close "I've Got A Secret" with so many years ago:

"Please be kind to each other!"


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kranki's meme

"Kranki" did this last week and posted it, and I was intrigued by it. I'm kind of glad I had a few days to mull the answers! :o)

These are the questions she sent me:

1. If you had to change your name what would you change it to and why?

I actually considered changing it a few years ago, for reasons I will save for the one post I have yet to screw up my courage to write. Perhaps for "Mother's Day"...anyway, though I considered changing it, I never considered to what!
Everyone listed to the right here is someone I admire; someone I wish I were more like. There are some very fine names there; names anyone would be proud of!
The one I keep coming back to, though, is Samuel Clemens. Enamored by his wit at an early age, if he would forgive me for borrowing it, I believe I would. My hope would be it would remind me to try to see the humor in things no matter how dark they seem!

2. What animal are you most like and in what ways?

My wife would say a pack rat, I have no doubt at all! Be it which animal or which of the "deadly sins", my mind says a sloth. For all the things that I should be doing, I will sleep, read, or sit in front of the TV or this magic window on the world as they pile up around me. I haven't been to the gym in ages, my weight is up, my energy is down, and I'm sleeping more. Always I say "tomorrow"; as always, tomorrow never comes!

3. What would you give up forever?
-driving- not until they pry the wheel from my cold dead hands! Too many places to go, too many things to do. Pulling the boat with my mountain bike wouldn't work well, either!

-eating meat- since I'm not giving up books until I can't see them anymore, I guess it's meat by default, though that name change might have to be to Cranky afterwards!

-reading books- I just couldn't! There are too many things I want to read; too many I'd like to re-read; too much to learn!

4. If you trained to be a medical doctor what would your specialty be (surgeon, heart doc, pediatrics etc) and why?

Cancer; I've lost way too many family members and others I cared about to this horrid awful disease to not "go after it"!

5. a. What was the best gift you have ever given?

One of the first Father's Days after I went to work at GM I bought my Dad the nicest, most expensive bait casting reel he ever owned, and the first graphite rod he ever owned to put it on. A half week's pay at the time, he was stunned. He was even more stunned when he lost it the first time out...(a story I'll save for later)!

b. What is the best gift you have ever received?

I followed someone "home" from Rosie O'Donnell's blog once, because of something wonderful they said. I read their blog and commented, then followed some others home who commented there and was introduced to this wonderful world where despite how it seems "in the news" or "on TV", there are still people who care; there are people who are good; there are souls that are beautiful.

Like each and every one of you!

Though I'm a bit more wary now than I was when I started this, the rules stated I have to include the following:

This is how this meme works.

1. Leave me a comment saying that you would like to be interviewed. Include your email address if I can’t get it through your blog.

2. I will email you five questions that you HAVE to answer. I get to pick the questions. You don’t get to opt out if you don’t like the questions I give you so think twice before asking me for an interview. Don’t worry, I won’t ask you anything I wouldn’t be willing to answer myself.

3. You must post your answers to the questions on your blog. If you don’t have a blog I will post your answers on my blog under your name.

4. You have to include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When other commenters ask to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

And so on and so on…


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Life is a series of curves...

Curveballs, that is! (Somehow I hear Foghorn Leghorn's voice saying that...)

Tuesday. Noon. A hour or so later than I had planned on, but still happy to be at the lake, launching the boat for the first time in 10 or 11 years. Temp is in the mid 60's, the sun is in and out, the wind is light and south. It's an hour into the peak "fishing time" for the month (luck in picking a day off, not planned)!

When I had "her" running in the driveway the 1982 Mercury 50 horse had started easily enough after her long layoff. The rubber in the 25 year old fuel line was very dried out though, cracked and weeping from the fittings at both ends. While I was shopping in one of the big outdoors stores, I picked up a replacement with the ends already on so I didn't have to worry about leaks. I cut the ends off the original in case I needed them, routed the new line, and thought well done.

Back to the story. Hook up the new fuel line; vent the 6 gallon can. Unhitch the tie downs on the boat; loosen the winch a turn. Back her down the ramp; climb in. Tilt the motor down into the water; squeeze the primer bulb in the new gas line. It only squeezes once and stays collapsed..."hmmmm...that's odd, the old one didn't work that way..."

Hit the key, the motor starts. The boat has been on the trailer for so long she's "stuck" to the bunks and doesn't want to back off. Have Dottie back the trailer in further...the truck tires are to the water edge and the trailer is submerged, and she floats off and backs away! Hurray!

About 30 feet from the ramp, as Dottie pulls the truck and trailer up to the parking lot, the motor sputters and dies. Not unusual when they're cold and "on the choke"...squeeze the primer bulb again and she lights right off. Idle to the dock to pick Dottie up, back away, get another 20 feet or so...sputter and die.


Squeeze the bulb again, lights right off, makes another 30 feet.

Switch gas cans, open the vent on the 2nd can, squeeze the bulb one time and it stays collapsed like it did on the other can...30 feet and die. She's sucking the fuel line dry and running out of gas...

I really want to fish...I think about just pulling out of the boathouse cove on the electric trolling motor, but that's a ways and if the wind comes up that could make it really hard to get back, so I do the right thing...I go back to the dock on the trolling motor.

Get the truck and trailer, back them down the ramp. Squeeze the bulb, light the Mercury (the trolling motor is on the front so you aren't going to trailer it with that one down). Get almost to the trailer and it dies...while I pump the primer bulb to relight it the wind takes me past the trailer. Light it and make a circle and get it halfway on the trailer and we're out of gas again. Step over the bow and hook up the winch strap and winch it up...usually she goes all the way up on the outboard...a lot of weight to be cranking up by hand!

Pull her up in the parking lot, fasten all the tie downs and let the drain plugs out. Take a few pictures while I decide whether to drive straight to the retailer I bought the line from (10 minutes away) and have a fit (though I don't have my receipt with me or the packaging) or go home and find a Mercury dealer...

I opt for home. 20 minutes later I'm on the phone with a Mercury dealer, "yes he has a line that works for those years, if I have my original ends to thread onto it." 20 minutes there, while I'm putting my ends on on his counter he tells me how to check the water pump I haven't changed (they are rubber bladed and it's 25 years old as well) without tearing the motor down, and that he will sell me the pump for $26 if I need it (half the online price I found) or change it for $200 parts and labor.

By now it's almost 3, home is between the dealer and the lake, so back by the house one more time to grab sandwiches and throw the other line in the garage...

Finally! 2nd launch as "All Things Considered" is coming on the radio...4PM...

Vent the can, squeeze the primer bulb and it comes right back up, squeeze it twice more (just like the original) and there is a drip from the carbueretors! Hurray!

Launch, pick up Dottie, idle out of the boathouse cove, and run down the main lake a bit, then turn and go back towards the dam to warm the engine like the dealer told me to, then idle her down and see if the stream from the water pump stays steady and it does! Thank you Mr. Dealer! One less thing to worry about for a while!!!

The old lake has changed some since I fished it last, moss growing places it didn't used to, etc.. Tie something on for Dottie, tie something on for our way across the face of the dam with the geese who are nesting on it yelling at us the whole time (they didn't used to live there, either). I get a bite, and since I'm playing with one of those new "super" no stretch lines, I rip it right out of the fish's mouth. Two casts later same thing...

By this time there are already lots of bank fisherman scattered around the edges of the lake, and as people get off work there are lots of boats starting to show up as well. The kind ones swing in behind you to fish where you've already been; the others cut you off in the direction you were headed. That's why we were supposed to be here at noon.

Still, we hang out 'til around 7 and then figuring that by the time we get back to the ramp and get the boat on the trailer it will be almost dark, we head back.

As we run down the lake trying not to "wake" anyone who is fishing, my cell phone rings...never ever thought I'd have a telephone in a boat the last time I was fishing! Life is amazing sometimes!

Still, though it didn't go as planned, it felt pretty damn good!


The family party for both my sons birthdays (John's 28th was April 16, Bill's 29th is April 30, so we always split the difference on Dottie's off weekend) is this weekend. Some of you might remember photos from last year. Anyway, I'm not going to be around much until Monday. May the Friday be wonderful and the weekend kind to all of you!


Monday, April 16, 2007

Photo Sunday on Monday again...

but a week late...sorry!

When we had our Easter party at John's last week it was decided he wanted his birthday dinner this last Saturday, so I lost most of my week in a mad dash of spring cleaning. I finally uploaded the Easter photos on Thursday; we shopped on Friday while Dottie was off. After I left for work Friday evening, John called and added some things to the menu, so instead of having a leisurely Saturday to cook, I ended up with 4 more hours of shopping.

Dinner went well, with more than we ate left over for them to take home for yesterday. Sunday I slept in 'til noon, and was sitting here with a latte and getting ready to write a post when the phone rang: it was Laura asking if Bill was here yet...he was coming to hang out for the afternoon and evening with us. That being a big hint to go get some clothes on, I did and then went and mowed and never made it back here again 'til now.

Noel tried posing the kids on their front steps to get a traditional Easter photo, and finally did, but since it was "almost warm" outside and sunny for the first time in days, they had other things on their minds!

The Easter egg hunt went on a bit longer than planned as one egg refused to be found. Talia got a bit bored and decided other things were more fun, good clothes or not!

Uncle Bill was busy helping Caleb:

I didn't realize until I was trying to upload things and turn them all the right way I had over 400 frames between the two!

Tomorrow Dottie is off, I have a vacation day, and it's supposed to be partly cloudy, 68 degrees with the wind out of the south at 5-10 mph. So if everything goes according to plan, finally, we'll be...

Gone Fishin'!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Weather or not...

Though I don't mind not sailing into the 90's like we do some years, these last few days of 20's is really wreaking havoc. Farmers are adding up the losses to their crops, some at over 50%. After two days of covering the tulips, we cut them and brought them in. The tulip tree I have written about before seems to have really borne the brunt of this.

It had leafed out starting about the same time the flowers bloomed, and it's leaves were about half grown when the first freeze came. After the second night they wilted; after the 3rd night they've turned brownish and I'm finding some on the ground. If it wasn't pouring I'd slip out and take a photo...I don't know whether it will recover or not.

I know my fate is not tied to it, but after 51 years I'd hate to lose it! Something about my grandfather bringing it and he and my Dad planting it the spring after my arrival makes it very sentimental to me.

Easter went well; when I upload memory cards I'll see what I can put together of the egg hunt from Sunday.

Hope you all had lovely weekends and that the work week is kind!


Friday, April 06, 2007

Everything I've learned...

in my 51 years (along with everything I haven't) wrapped up in 7 minutes!

A friend in Argentina sent me this; it would be an awesome piece just written, let alone spoken with the video added! (Make sure to watch at least until the music starts...)

Happy Easter to all of you; may the Bunny be kind!


Monday, April 02, 2007

Harbingers of Spring

Lori mentioned all the rain we had last week; on Friday, between the pre-April showers and the warmth, I found these when I woke up:

Saturday when I got home from running my errands, Dottie had beaten me home (I slept later than I should have, but it was the weekend!) and I called her outside to see another visitor:

I grabbed the little camera and after I shot this one, it was like this beautiful creature had decided it was time for her close-up:

The tulips always go by too quickly; this time it might be a blessing as they say we're going back down into the 20's later in the week. I hope that butterfly finds somewhere much warmer to hang out by then!