Saturday, November 29, 2008

Together again!

In so many ways!

I couldn't really "see" what was wrong with Laura's car on Wednesday, only that there was a major coolant leak and I didn't have enough tools to be able to take it apart, a manual, or a light I could really see with. She had errands to run that afternoon, and as it turns out she and Bill were planning to surprise the family with his coming home for Thanksgiving. I ended up "in on it" as it was me that took her to the airport to pick him up.

Everyone else was completely surprised, though...Dottie, my sister, the grandkids...

When we picked them up for Thanksgiving dinner I copied down her VIN number and spent the afternoon deciphering it and reading up on 3800 Buick engines, then picked up a manual and a rechargeable "drop cord" yesterday. Bill and I (it took both of us to get it apart) managed to take it apart, put the $6 seal in and put it back together in about 4 hours in the rain/snow/sleet/drizzle, pressure test it and refill the coolant just before dark. I came home, and they drove it into KC for dinner last night, then left from here to have Thanksgiving with her family about 2 hours northeast of here this morning.

They are coming back through in a little while to say "goodbye" as Bill has to be at KCI at 5AM because they couldn't afford a later flight tomorrow.

Sorry about my lack of bloghopping of late! I promise to catch up starting Monday!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My secret garden...

My better half returned to work this morning, leaving her lesser behind in comtemplation...

Though she knows nothing of my life "here", she benefits in ways she could never dream of. She, still in horror that my youngest and his wife actually travelled last summer to go meet and stay with someone they met through their guild in "WoW". She refuses to believe the connections people can make "through the ether".

How truly lucky I am!

Here in this "garden" of my soul, each of you who visit me, and each of you I visit are constant sources of fuel for my soul; fire for my imagination; beauty; inspiration; striking awe into my heart with your words, thoughts and deeds. Knowing my weaknesses in life, that you think of me as "good" drives me to become "better", knowing that each of you is on a plane far beyond my own.

I have said many times before that when I take stock "Counting My Blessings" I count each of you...

Tomorrow, at our Thanksgiving table, when the question goes around the table "What are you thankful for?" my answer, as always these last few years, will be-

"Being here".

What it will mean, among all it's meanings, is

"Being here"!

I thank each of you, for every word, every thought, every smile, and every tear...

I am honored that you share your lives with me!

May those who share our holiday tomorrow enjoy and travel in safety!

May those who aren't so lucky still find joy and happiness in their day!

May the rest of the week be kind to each of you!

(My plans for bloghopping and visiting my dungeon changed a few minutes ago with a phone call that Laura's car "smells like it's burning", so I'm off to gather tools and make a trip to Lawrence. Hopefully Friday will be more cooperative, as I miss each of you very much right now! Saturday my nephew plays in a state championship game, and we don't know what Sunday has in store yet, but Dottie is off work, so I may be "in limbo" 'til Monday, especially if Laura's car doesn't decide to cooperate! I hope you will forgive me!)


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just a quick note...

while my keeper is in the shower to say all is well here...

I've gotten some of those things I needed to done; picking ones I needed help with from through the list, of course...changing the 56 year old "frostproof" outside faucet on the back of the house because it was too corroded to take apart to rebuild it...rearranging some more things downstairs.

Caleb came on Tuesday afternoon, and we traded him for Talia this evening to stay until Sunday.

Dottie's birthday was a good day yesterday, with phone calls and cards from the family, although there won't be a party until next weekend most likely. She goes back to work on Wednesday, has Thursday off, works Friday and then has the weekend off again.

I'll catch up with you all when I can!

May the weekend be kind, and the work week as well!


Monday, November 17, 2008

GM and rainy days...

Robin Andrea asked about my thoughts on "the bailout". No, I haven't heard from any coworkers; Dottie was upset enough when I was getting texts from some of them after I retired that I have cut off all of them...

Until October, GM's sales had held at half the loss of the other automakers including the Japanese and Korean ones. Led by the Malibu and the Cobalt, there was hope of them making it to 2010 when more of the new products hit the showroom floor and "holding the line" became "turning a corner".

For those who don't realize, part of financing themselves until 2010 was GM selling 51% of GMAC (General Motors Acceptance Corporation) several years ago. The company that bought that 51% bought DiTech and rolled it in with them. GMAC ended up dealing with it's share of "subprime" woes, and when all of that "hit the fan" they quit loaning money, just like so many other places.

So in October, if you wanted to buy a GM car, you either had to bring your own financing, or go to a dealership large enough to have banks backing it; GMAC lent no money for GM cars in October!

Sales dropped 47%...dealerships closed...thousands lost their jobs in support industries...this culminated in the assembly divisions cutting production, re-rating the assembly lines, and workers being cut in the plants.

For every worker in an auto plant there are 10 people in support industries, be it the modular assemblies (instrument panels, heater and air conditioner assemblies, seats, headliners, door pads, facias...) shipped in for us to install; the truckers hauling in those parts and others, the railroad workers handling the boxcars that bring in more of our parts; the truckers and railroaders that ship our cars all over the country; the people to thread the bolts; the ones that make the glass.

For each of those jobs above there are at least 10 more affected, be it the grocer's, or the department stores, the farmer, the textile worker...

The largest taxpayer in my county is the assembly plant I worked in. They are also the largest customer of our utilities. A friend who was a bookeeper for the power company told me once that "when things are tight we ask GM to pay a month ahead to get us by"...

So when you've given $750 billion to support Wall Street that may or may not ever be seen again in light of the news last week that they've decided not to use it the way it was intended, re-routing $25 or even $50 billion of it for use not as a "bailout" but a loan that will be re-paid, to an industry that supports so many, seems like a no-brainer!

Besides the Malibu and Saturn I was building, besides the upcoming Volt electric; the first generation of hybrid full size trucks had just come out last spring, and the next generations would be on the street by 2010 if they don't have to halt development.

To those who think of Detroit as dinosaurs as I heard a Senator say yesterday, you haven't looked lately. Dottie's Malibu averages 29.7 city, and I've gotten 37 out of it on the highway at 80 with the trunk full and the air on. Yes, it's a 4 cylinder, and if you think it doesn't run I'll happily put you in the passenger seat at freeway speed and watch your eyes open wide as it pushes you back in the seat when I step on it...

A piece I caught on Speed channel last night spoke of the "Smart Car" as getting 36 mpg. If Dottie's Malibu averages 29.7 with room for 5 and trunk big enough for a couple of bodies, is GM really so far off the mark?

My full size Silverado pickup? The V-6 is averaging 18 in the city; the only time I've checked it on the highway I was pulling my boat two summers ago and it was getting 24...

Yes; I think that loaning the auto industry what it needs to weather the financial storm created by Wall Street is a no-brainer. Throwing "the big three" to the wolves at this point will create a loss of jobs that will send unemployment well past the 7.5% they are already predicting for next month, and into the double digits. The losses created by not doing so will affect each and every person you know somehow, be it the loss of jobs, or the loss of tax revenue or payroll.

I also have no doubt that this "lame duck session" of Congress will find many already licking their election-day wounds using it as another soapbox, never minding the backs of the people that the soapbox is perched on!

I've probably prattled on quite long enough here...I'll just say the weekend went well, and that things are OK here. Dottie starts a week's vacation on Wednesday, so if I leave this up for a day or two I may have a hard time updating until she goes back to work...

May the week be kind to each of you!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Week's end!

Shopping lists assembled along with the "cooler bags" I'm headed out to make the weekly shopping run. By the time I get back, put it away, and vacuum, Dillon will be here to spend the weekend.

After he picks a movie, I plan to slip downstairs to my "dungeon" until time to fix dinner for he and Dottie. Disappointed to find the shelf at the "front" of my basement wet again this morning, I discovered that the leak isn't in the cinder block wall as it appeared, but is the drain bucket in the dehumidifier leaking and running that direction! Lowe's has been added to my list...

May the weekend be wonderful for each of you, and may Monday be kind as well!


Thursday, November 13, 2008


it's hard to write something you're proud of, then follow it with the "drivel" of everyday life!

After my breakfast/bloghop of yesterday, I spent the afternoon scanning documents to prove that my wife is indeed eligible to remain on my health insurance for the 3rd time in 5 months and mailing them. In between I fielded a phone call from my buddy in Colorado, who was just east of Abilene, KS and headed eastbound. He had made arrangements with someone in Abilene to pick up a load of firewood at 11 yesterday morning, and got there only to find that the guy had decided to go to Wichita despite their appointment. He called me to Google up some phone numbers and when I talked to him last at 5:30 yesterday afternoon he was in Topeka waiting for someone so he could load up and make the drive back to "almost Denver".

This morning, I did the b&b thing again, then went out to try and caulk up the gap between my front foundation and the sidewalk that lies next to it. I had planned to replace a section before winter caught up with me, but it's not going to get done, and the last two heavy rains have found a bit of water leaking through the front wall of the basement from it.

My workout yesterday was the best/heaviest "chest day" I've ever done, though it was cut short with phone calls and John and the grandkids coming by at one point. I'm getting ready to go down and hold a shortened "leg day" now...

This link ties into my last post...if I am still around at over 100 years old may I still be so active both mentally and physically!

May Friday be kind to you all!


Monday, November 10, 2008



The 90th anniversary of the end of what was called by some "The Great War". Only 10 of her veterans survive. Their memories of the horrors of the hamburger-grinder that consumed not only 3 generations of so many families will soon be relegated to the pages of books and the oral histories they have recorded, and they will join those whom they knew so very long ago.

I heard last fall of a book being written by a woman in Britain who had found her grandmother's journals and realized that her grandmother had lost her grandfather, her father and his brothers, her own brothers, all of her cousins and all of her 2nd cousins. The maelstrom created by modern weaponry combined with century old tactics sucked down the lifeblood of all the families in all the countries that were touched by it without regard!

When I first started reading history many years ago I was amazed to hear this conflict called not only "the Great War", but by another name even more confusing to my young mind.

"The War to End All Wars"!

Surely, if such a war had been fought then man wouldn't desecrate the service of those who died in it by shedding even more blood!

Yet, later that year in my 7th grade history class, while even more lives were being fed into yet another conflict in Southeast Asia, our teacher pointed out that since the "War to End All Wars" there had been over 500 wars fought in various parts of the world!

I am sure that now, these 41 years later, that number is probably over 1,000!

So tomorrow, on what is "Veteran's Day" here in the U.S., instead of reflecting on my own service and that of my wife as I am prone to do, instead of mourning "my" ship upon her passage into "the mothball fleet", I plan to spend some time thinking of those who gave their lives so long ago in the noble thought that no one would ever have to do so again!

Tomorrow, if you can, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, please take a moment and remember these survivors of that terrible war; those who fought and died; and those who were forever changed by it!



Sunday, November 09, 2008


My "Election Night Jitters" when the electoral count hung at 200 turned out to be the beginnings of a nice bout of influenza. Since Dottie had gotten her shot, she's remained just fine through my continuing battle. Of course, many in her nursing home are sick, and she's brought home a cold to go with my current predicament...

So this is just a short, quick "I'm alive" for those who might be curious.

Anyone you'd like me to go breathe on?

May your Sundays be wonderful and Monday be kind!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Today we awaken as a better nation!

A better people!

We have thrown off the shackles of Empire and reinvented our Republic!

With our pennies, our dimes and our dollars we have wrested the levers of Government from an aristocracy that sought to reduce us to serfdom and told them that we will not accept their crusts when we make the bread! They may own 7 houses if they like, as long as we are allowed one!

That those who jammed the governors and bypassed the safety valves in their melting down of the engine of our economy along with those who have looted the Treasury should be held responsible will be debated. Yet it is a time for forgiveness and unity; not a time for a "reign of terror".

They should, however, be held under continued scrutiny if only to guarantee that their hands are in their own pockets instead of finding their way back into ours!

As we take our first tentative steps on the path out of the wilderness where we have wandered for 40 years, we look around us to see the graves of so many beloved; so many more wounded, maimed and injured both physically and mentally and we must remember that with each step we take into the bright sunlight of a new day, that we must bring each of them with us! There is no "i" in "we"!

We the people!

Yes, we can!

May the day, the week, and the future be kind to each of you!


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sunrise? Sunset?

Our money is spent...

Their money is spent...

The race is run...

Our votes are cast...

Now we await the results!

When the election of 2000 was (in my view) hijacked, for the first time in my life I knew I had to do something, so taking the "easy" way out I signed up for a payroll deduction to the UAW's V-CAP fund. (It is a fund that helps educate the electorate and funds get-out-the-vote drives among other things.)

At each turn as the Constitution was (again, in my opinion)ignored, along with the ideas that the "Founding Fathers" held dear, I increased that deduction. There was enough going to it that it became a bone of contention between Dottie and I as things grew "tight" financially at different times. In 8 years, enough went that direction that put "half-down" on a new Cobalt...

This year for the first time ever, we both agreed that we needed to contribute to some of the candidates as well, and though it wasn't as much as it might have been if I hadn't retired this past summer, we still gave to my Congressman; the one who answers each and every petition, letter and e-mail he's gotten from me for the last 6years as I have grown more and more active (my wife says a pain) in things. (Unlike my two Senators who, if they reply, send out a form letter quoting their party's line. One of whom, a member of the Intelligence Committee, I just took great joy in voting against.)

Besides giving to Obama/Biden and Dennis Moore, I also kicked in to the DSCC and DCCC funds, knowing that as long as things can be filibustered or tabled in committee we aren't going to get anywhere, ever.

I talked, I pleaded, I cajoled...I think/hope that some votes were swayed.

I came home after I voted and called and offered to keep Caleb so John and Noel could go vote before the older two get out of school and people start getting off work.

I know there are many who did more, so very much more than I did.

I'm hoping that there are so many who have done more than they ever had before that perhaps tomorrow will bring a very brilliant sunrise, despite the storms that are in my weather forecast.

Because I'm not sure I can deal with sunset!

Now I'm going to fix a bit of breakfast, then go out and clean my gutters before the deluge comes and try and rebank a place along my foundation that has leaked in the last two storms.

Surviving all of that, I'll be off to my dungeon for shoulders, arms and neck. Then it will be time to fix dinner and cross my fingers...

May the week be kind to each of you!