Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Today was an extremely pleasant day, all day long. When I got back from walking the dogs this morning the thermometer said 76, and this evening after supper we looked at a fence post in the back yard, and the BW commented on what a pleasant day it was. The sun was bright and it was hot in the sun during the day, but a cloud would shade us once in a while, and thereís always shade for a lazy guy.
I am constantly surprised that people read the stuff that I write for an extra three points, and grateful that no one points out the lack of substance. I was thinking today (while my mind wandered to keep me walking) that I probably never did anything that is memorable. Thereís a difference between earning a living and being famous for the ages. The priests in early Egypt (more than 5,000 years ago) are still remembered, at least by some historians. Iím pretty sure that in a hundred years no one will remember that I ever existed. I understood how a noise radar worked, built spread spectrum data links that were extremely hard to jam, and did other things, but that doesnít make you memorable.
Be that as it may, I checked the air pressure in all 10 tires this morning and put some in the one slow leaker on the left front of the Dodge. Maybe Iíll just buy tires for the car because theyíre getting old and the tire store canít find the problem.
Then I put the quick disconnect on the air hose and the nozzle. After checking if it leaked, I added a male quick disconnect to the gauge fitting and collected all the tools that Iíll take with me to Burnhamís on Saturday.
The BW was having a number of bad reactions to the cortisone shot so I drove her to her doctorís appointment this afternoon. After that I looked at all our stops and made out a route that doesnít have any backtracking and lets us visit four cities in 12 days. We agreed on when and how long to stay where, so now all I have to do is find motels that the BW approves and make the reservations.
And just now I went to Sweetbay for some 96 per cent lean ground beef, tomato sauce, and ice cream (for her) that I need to make stuffed peppers tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
At the Kiwanis meeting today we agreed to do another pancake breakfast at the Lutheran Church of the Palms for the Palm Harbor High School band. This is a service event, not a fund raiser for us, and it is for September 25. I also agreed to bring my air compressor and a few other tools to Burnhamís house at 10 Saturday morning, so we determine our ability to use the second mounted grill. We really need two grills one way or another, but I think we used the church oven last year. There were only 8 of us at the meeting, and the meeting that moved us out of the back room had 10 people.
After I came home I put the 95 gallon trash container on the curb, then got out the chain saw and took the camphor tree down in four pieces. They were pretty heavy, but there was still room in the can, so I decided to dig the stump out then, even though thatís not my favorite chore. It took a round point shovel, a square long handled shovel, a mattock, and a chain saw. With a lot of digging and chopping I got the stump loose, but not free. Finally, through the magic of a chain saw, I took the stump out in six pieces, and a lot more pieces of root. It took several trips to get all the roots in the trash can, but when I was done the entire small tree was in the can, which was pretty hard to tip. The lift on the truck didnít have any trouble, however.
I had a cheese sandwich for lunch, then tried to find the new, closer Harbor Freight Tools store. After I gave up, I went down to E. Bay Drive, near Belcher, in Largo. I got quick disconnect fittings and an Air Blow Gun Set that is just a pistol grip valve with three tips: one is blunt, one is six inches long, and one is 12 inches long. All three have the same diameter opening, so the fastest air will come out of the blunt tip, but I donít know where we will be blowing in the burners. I also found some welding rods and two gauges of steel wire that I have which will make long drill rods if we have to try to drill scale out of the assembly.
We called and visited with my youngest brother, who is 66, and found out that he had a stroke last Saturday, and has had a total of four mild strokes since then. The ER doctors did a CAT scan of his head, and found no permanent damage and just doubled his blood pressure medicine. If he recovers within a day he isnít supposed to worry. The BW told him we were coming by in October and he reminded us that Frank, the in-between brother who had retired, sold his condo, and bought another in Mansfield, was worried that Ev would die before Frank got there. Instead Frank came down with sepsis and died nearly nine years ago.
The BW was going on, and I had to explain Evís meaning to her. He plans to outlast us all, or alternatively, itís a crap shoot. He has friends that are passing on too. We need to just pick some dates and plan the trip so people will stop nagging us about ďwhen?Ē
Monday, August 30, 2010
I went to bed a little late last night, and got up late this morning. As I was about to leave, the BW got up, and it was just 7:30, so I stayed and had a bowl of cereal. She wanted me to go along with her to Oldsmar, to get her shots in the hip, so I was just going to take the dogs for a quick walk. Then she wanted to start an hour and a half before the appointment, which was only another 45 minutes away, so I decided to take the dogs when we got back.
After the appointment, she wanted some groceries from Sweetbay, so I dropped her off and put yesterday's tips in the Kiwanis service savings account, then looked around the store and couldn't find her. After trying the car again, I found her and we finally got home at noon, so I took the dogs out then, as it was still only 85 degrees.
We got a half mile (by my pedometer) and Ralphy wanted to lie down in the shade again, so I got to carry him home. He weighs 15 pounds, which is a pound over the standard for the breed, and Dr. Lynch wanted him to weigh 11 1/2 pounds. He was down to 13, but last week the BW had both dogs at the vet's and he was supposed to lose a pound, so I guess he's not really terribly fat, just not good in the heat. I checked his fur tonight, and it's about 5/8 of an inch, so maybe I'll give them haircuts pretty soon.
The irony is that the BW made me quit taking them with me because Gracie was laying around all day, and she thought it was too much for Gracie. Her stomach tucks up a little, and Ralphy's is nearly straight. He needs to lose a pound.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I set my alarm for five this morning, and pushed the snooze alarm to get an extra three minutes. Then I got up, dressed and shaved, collected the paper and fed the dogs. After breakfast I made it to Nelsonís by 6:25, but Burnham was there before me and the storage facility was open. He had connected the hose, and we didnít bring the sausage grill because he was confident he had two working grills on the trailer. I asked him if he had lit the second, and he said no. I had serious reservations abut that, but kept my mouth shut. We gave the second grill to the Senior Center several years ago, and it just sat outside until he finally asked them if we could have it back. I think they were happy to get rid of a big hunk of iron that was in their way.
Jack showed up shortly later, and I passed my key through the fence so he could get in, and we loaded everything in three cars and the trailer. Tom showed up and helped load, but he had left his car outside and walked in somehow. We were all on the road by 6:45, and got to the Y in time to drive back to our serving location, which make life a lot easier.
We unloaded, unhitched and leveled the trailer, and tried to get both grills in operation. The new (old) grill never did fire up, so we heated frozen sausage on part of the working one, and cooked pancakes on the other. This wasnít a good solution because it takes a lot longer to get frozen sausage up to hot than it does to turn out 18 to 20 pancakes. We normally do up to 36 at a time, but Tom was making them bigger on a smaller surface, and there wasnít much need to make them faster because only a few people didnít want sausage, but we would run out of pancakes when we had sausage.
It was still a good day, and we served from about 7:45 to about 11. By the time we cleaned up and packed up everything it was past 11:30, and then we had to take most things back to Nelsonís for storage. Tom and I followed Berhnam home and helped push the trailer up the hill for storage, but Jack, Marty, and Papuga went home. We wound up with $208 in tips, and expect another $100 from the organizer for their volunteers, so we should show about a $200 profit on the event, which will more than pay for a school event where we provide everything and the school keeps all the money.
I brought all the sausage and pancake tools and utensils home for cleaning. The first thing I did was to turn the hose on in the back yard and wash as much pancake batter off as possible, then I ran what I could through the dishwasher and washed the rest by hand. The two big bowls fit the big side of the sink just fine, and the BW gets credit for insisting on that configuration when we got a new kitchen. I finished up by counting the money again, and found that we have 93 one dollar bills, not 92, so Iím still OK as the treasurer. Iíll walk over to the bank and deposit it tomorrow.
Then I tried to satisfy Brenhamís request that I combine two of the chafing dish fuel containers, and couldnít figure out how to do it, so I just took everything back to Nelsonís and put it in storage until the next event. That was a little after three, and the BW went along with me because she wanted to find a grocery store she had read about Ė in Oldsmar. We poked around and finally found it after some difficulty because my first impression was that the address was vacant. Then we saw the marquee, and it turns out that it was that address, #8. I never heard of stores having unit numbers, and the ad didnít mention it, but the marking on the window said ď1530Ē and ďNo. 8Ē under the address number.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Yesterday I looked up ďgoat headsĒ on the internet because when I got home I found two of them stuck to the sole of my right shoe. For any easterners who have never heard of goat heads, they are a nasty seed with sharp, strong thorns that stick out in either two or three directions. They surprised me in Yakima when I first encountered them by causing a flat tire on my bicycle. I was a sheltered Ohio and Indiana guy who had been to Barcelona, Naples, Genoa, Berne, Paris, and all over the US many times on business, and even as far south as Mazatlan in an RV, but the only natural world observation that I recall was to think that the weeds in Barcelona look a lot like the weeds in Indianapolis.
Goat heads are a pest that certainly matches sand burrs for irritation. They are much stronger, and will puncture your shoe and stick you from the outside. Prior to yesterday I had assumed that they were a western problem. One of my oldest daughterís fiancťes (before they had premarital counseling and she called it off) was a bug man for the agricultural station in Yakima. He had never seen a lightning bug, and was astounded when he came to visit us in Indianapolis. I have been told that there are no flying insects in Hawaii, which I still feel hard to believe. So I assumed that we were safe here from goat heads, but when I looked them up in Wikipedia the article said they were annuals in the north, perennials in the south, and they were found in the southeast US. They are a world wide problem, found on every continent except Antarctica, because they prefer warm weather. One thing that gives me a little hope is that they are broad leaf plants, so weed killers will help control them (while also killing the weedelia I planted). Iím not sure if we have any goat head weeds in our yard, but I know I have seen them flowering somewhere locally. One good thing is that tall cover, St. Augustine grass was mentioned specifically, helps to control them.
I remember fondly bluegrass, and worrying only about dandelions and plantains. If you didnít want a pristine lawn, you could still run around barefoot without worrying. Here the seeds of some plants in your yard can be a real irritation. I couldnít believe a builder who told me the way to get a lawn was to soak the lot in roundup, wait until everything was dead (a couple of months) then sod the whole thing. Iím finally beginning to believe him.
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