Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The last day of August

Unless something unfortunate happens, always a possibility, in a few hours I will have made it to the end of another month.

There's a last time for everything.  Earlier today I was wondering when he last time I used a permanent working out house.  Not a porto-potty or stuff they stick up at work sites and large gatherings, but a structure used because the house did not have indoor plumbing.  This wasn't an out of the blue rumination......I was listing some comic postcards on eBay where outhouses were the theme, and it got me to thinking.

I don't know the exact date, but it was probably in my late teens, at my grandparents house on Montgomery Creek in Knott County, Ky.  I'm pretty sure I didn't realize it was my last time and even if I had I have no idea what I would have done differently.  No type of ceremony comes to mind.

I assume this is not my last August, but we'll have to wait a year to find out.  If I knew for a fact it was my last August, I doubt I'd change anything.   I could light a candle, I guess, but why bother.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday afternoon thoughts.

Lazy day in Valdese land.  This post is just some things I'm thinking about.

When I was in the Army, one of my duty assignments was at Augsburg Germany.  Recently a person who was stationed there at the same time I was started a Facebook page for the particular unit I was stationed with.  Suddenly all these people I knew intimately, worked with closely, some of whom were very good friends, are popping up and saying hello.  In one way it's very nice.  But my problem is I don't like Facebook that much.  I check in every now and then, and that's all I do with it.  But I need to respond to them, they were my friends.

Its a warm day here, but not terrible.  As I write this it is 82 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 28 degrees Celsius.  82=28, easy to remember.  And it's not quite as humid as it has been, so it's much more comfortable.

Our eBay sales have set a monthly record for 2010, for us anyway.  I'd still like to double it, but I'm actually a bit surprised and pleased about it.  I believe I've written before, the money we generate is significant enough that we'd miss it if we didn't have it.

I find that I like Twitter.  Short, concise, out of context - it's a good fit.  Also, and this is a Kodak moment, I finally understand how it can be used & how people use it.  I don't use it to it's full potential, but now I realize how it can be done.

I'm just coming to terms with the fact that the little red Mustang we bought is much, much smaller, and much, much, more agile than our big ol' truck.

Until recently, I had forgotten how big Labrador Retrievers are.  I had a Black Lab for 14 years, but he died several years ago now.  Now I've gotten used to Pickles the Dog, and I'd forgotten just how big Labs can be. 

I need to get a book to read.

This is my 9th post in the month of August.  I think I've had 9 posts each in the 4 previous months.  I don't know what that means, and I'm not sure I want to keep that pattern going.

I think I'll take part in Wordless Wednesday.  But I can't talk about it on Wednesday, because that would involve using words.  So there'll be no words on wordless Wednesday, unless the picture itself has words in it.   Don't expect a Musical Monday from me anytime soon.  And of course I'm doing Thursday Thoughts on Saturday, so you can see where this is going.

Speaking of which, I need to listen to more music.  Or any music.

That's all for now.  If I think of anything else, I'll add it to the list.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The wallpaper on my computer.

This is the image I'm currently using as the desktop on my computer.  I change it ever so often.  I've had this for awhile, maybe it's time to move on.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A year ago today

It was a year ago today that my mother died in a room on the 3rd floor of the Appalachian Regional Hospital in Hazard, Kentucky.  She was old, in poor health, and too frail to fight off infections after an emergency & life saving operation a couple of weeks earlier.   Her last 2 weeks of life were miserable.

I had been to see her a week earlier, but had returned.  When I saw her she was in bad shape, but was apparently doing better than she had been a few days before.

My brother called me late in the afternoon on the 23rd  & told me she wasn't going to make it.   The medicine was not working, her body would not heal.  My father and the doctors had made the decision to make her as comfortable as possible, to keep her from any more suffering.  It had become obvious that she was not going to recover.  No one had any idea of how long she might live.  They moved her out of intensive care and waited. 

I left the next morning.  I got the call just after noon, moments after I had pulled into a service station in Gate City, Virginia.  She died less than 24 hrs after my brother called, surrounded by family members, but I was still almost 100 miles away.  

So it's been a year.  I haven't forgotten.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I decided to write a poem about Franz Kafka, my nemesis

I call it Kafka Oh Kafka and it's pretty stupid.  Here goes.

Kafka Oh Kafka

Kafka, oh Kafka
was it your design,
to throw in my face
the limits of my mind.

The Great Wall of China
and Metamorphosis,
and those stupid parables
where everything's amiss.

Everything in your world
is just a tad askew,
from airborne dogs to lost time
I tell you I am through!

Ah, but that's an idle threat.
Like a rat drawn to sewage
I'll chew on you again.
But Kafka, dear Kafka,
you'll never be my friend.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

How it came about that we waterproofed our deck today.

I must come clean.  This is not our deck - it is some random picture of a deck I found on google, and just uploaded it to represent our deck.  And rest assured, oh random owner of said random picture, I did not steal bandwidth.  I downloaded it to my computer, scanning it along the way, then uploaded it here.  Good, now that's settled. 

We waterproofed our deck this afternoon.  Hadn't planned to, stuff just started happening and before you know it things were out of control.

The first thing that happened is we went to Lowe's in Morganton to get some deck type sealant.  I must let you in on a secret - I hate going to Lowe's (or Home Depot etc), for pretty much any reason whatsoever.  It is not a place of comfort for me.  Anyway, we bought some the stuff for the deck, a pump sprayer, 'cause we were told it would be a lot quicker & easier to waterproof the deck that way,  some furnace filters, a case of bottled water, a weed whacker (something else I'm not fond of), a flea collar, and some other random stuff.  I do not like Lowe's.

The reason we had to waterproof the deck was because it was recently completely cleaned with a power washer.  This took everything off the wood - including any sealant.  It looked great, very clean,  but its protection from the elements was no more.

Our deck was power washed as part of a bartering arrangement with the person replacing our roof.   The bartering came about because we had an old car which we felt was undependable, we had bought a new vehicle, so we thought we'd try to sell the old one, figuring we might get more for it that way than by trading it in.   So my wife asked our head roofer guy if he knew anyone who would be interested, and the head roofer guy said, "Tell ya what I'll do".  So he did some extra work on the house, work that I would have never done, in return for us signing over the car to him.  A part of that extra work included power washing the deck.  

I really like bartering.  I have no idea if we made a good deal or not, and really don't care.  One less car to keep up with, and some good work done for the house.

But anyway, there is a direct link between that barter arrangement, and us heading out to a large, scary and (to me) extremely unappealing home improvement store, buying a bunch of stuff, coming back, me sweeping off all the acorns (pronounced "A-kerns" by me and everybody else in Knott County) that had fallen on our deck, said exertion causing me to be completely covered with sweat, because it is indeed summer time in North Carolina and just being hot is not enough, no sir, it has to be HUMID as well, and then spraying our deck with a chemical that I didn't really like all that much - my eyes are stinging right now, hours later, but did it to keep the wood from rotting,  because it's hot, humid, & wet in North Carolina & stuff rots here.

How was that for a 19th century sentence?

It's all done now.  Next on my agenda, probably tomorrow sometime, is figuring out that stupid weed eater.

P.S.  I read over this post and realized I made it look as if I sealed the deck single handedly.  Not so.  Actually our very own Patti Anne did the vast majority of the spraying, and was the driving force behind this little project today.  I just provided the muscle, so to speak.  I swept off the deck, moved the furniture & plants, struggled to open the cans, figured out the pump on the sprayer, and sprayed parts of the outside railings that were too high for her to reach.  I'm tall, she's not, so I have my uses.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How did Pickles the Dog become so well behaved?

It has come as something as a shock to me that Pickles has become a moderately well behaved dog, and by that I mean better behaved than most.  I don't know how it happened.

She probably would not win a dog obedience contest, but she knows the basic commands.  Sit, down, stay, guess which hand & get away from the cat. When we're in walking mode, she walks at my speed, speeding up when I do, stopping when I do and so on.  When she's in her groove, I barely have to hold the leash.   I didn't do anything special, just lots and lots of walking, every day(over 2 miles this morning), and somehow I managed to let her know my expectations.  She stays at my side now, and it's pretty nice.  I have no idea when this happened, but it's been going on for a while now. 

When we walk past dogs that are going crazy barking at her, she normally does not respond.  That is a different story if we are in what she considers her territory, but out in the wilds of Valdese, she pretty much ignores the other dogs. 

When she was younger, if you let her off the leash there was no telling where she would end up, and it was not easy to get her to come back - she had a great time.  Now, most of the time she'll run around for awhile and then come right up to you. 

She changed. She's calmer. She's more socialized to other dogs and people. She's turned into a pretty good dog.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Check out my bad ride!

A few years ago I was riding down I-97 in Maryland just zooming past Millersville, when I was passed by someone driving a Ford Taurus station wagon.  And that got me thinking. 

Frequently there is a story behind how people end up with the vehicles they have. Many times it isnt as cut and dry as just going somewhere and buying one.  Lots of times for whatever reason, people just end up with whatever it is they're driving.  And I have to belive this person just ended up with a Ford Taurus station wagon.

No one as a child says that when they grow up they want to own a Ford Taurus station wagon.  That is no one's dream.  It is hard to believe that someone walked into a car lot, stood there with their hands on their hips, looked the car up and down and said, "Man, that is one fine automobile".  What would someone have to go through in their life that would get them to the point that a Ford Taurus station wagon would be their dream car?  I have a hard time believing that it is anybody's dream car.   I think it just happens.  I think it is the type of car that someone just ends up with.

We're in the process of buying a new car.  Not sure what it will end up being, but it will not be a Ford Taurus station wagon, or hopefully, it's equivalent.  That's what got me thinking about this.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I did it again

I don't know why I do this to myself, but once again I read a short story by Franz Kafka.

This one was called "A Country Doctor", or maybe The Country Doctor, I can't remember and I don't feel like trudging upstairs to look.

Here's what I think happened in the story.

A doctor has somehow gotten word that there someone is ill.  It's night, it is snowing, and it is about 10 miles away.  He needs to get there, but his horse has just died, so he sends his servant girl to go around the village and ask people if he can borrow a horse.  None of them will lend him one.  He opens the door to his own stables and finds someone there who he has never seen before - a brutish sort of person who immediately attacks the servant girl, but who has two fine horses.  The doctor gets this person's attention, the servant girl runs into the house and barricades herself in her room (we presume), and the brutish man (who is there without any explanation) hooks the horse up to the doctor's carriage.  The doctor is worried about his servant, and wants the man to come with him, but the man refuses, and begins breaking down the door to the doctor's house. 

Now this is where it gets weird.

The doctor suddenly finds himself at his patients house.  He's confused, because it is as if no time has passed.  So he looks at the patient, who is a young boy, listens to his breathing, and decides nothing is seriously wrong with him.  But the family is expecting there to be something wrong, and the doctor has some thoughts about how people have switched their supernatural expectations from religion to doctors.  So he looks again, closer, and this time he finds a horrible worm infested wound on the boy's hip. The horses have gotten loose from the rig, managed to open the windows and stick their head inside the room & watch.  No one seems to care.  The people in the room take the doctor's clothes off & he lays down next to the sick boy. 

Next thing I remember the doctor is on his way home, worried about his servant girl, and the horses, unlike the trip out, are barely moving.  Moving at a snail's pace. 

This is all I remember, and I don't have a clue what it means or if it has any deeper meaning than what I read.  I'm not sure I like reading Kafka, but it'd be really neat to be able to write something like that.