Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day. 

It's a holiday that I can support....long time friends have heard/read my ranting on other holidays, I don't think I need to repeat it.  What am I doing on this warm windy day?  Sitting inside typing.  duh.  Those unfortunate enough to be on the Val update email list know all about my wheelbarrow project, but I think everyone should be tortured, so here you go.

11 years ago, I saw a wheelbarrow along the road with a "Free" sign on it.  I can't turn down something that is free, so I picked it up.  I didn't have  list of things to do that required a wheelbarrow, but....free is free and I didn't have one, so that is that.  I found a few uses for it, including using it as a fire pit.  Safety first....I kept the hose close and would occasionally hose down the handles and tire so that they wouldn't burn.  Trouble is....fire doesnt' really care what it burns...so it burned off all the paint, and the ashes combined with rain water created lye, so the bottom rusted out of the wheelbarrow rather quickly.  By 2008 when we were roofing the house, I had to be quite careful how I loaded the thing so the shingles wouldn't fall out! 

So one day this year, on a trip to Menards, I learned that they sell the parts for wheelbarrows 3 ways:  handles, tray and hardware.  I have a set of handles....a few years ago I attempted to make an ice chopper, which sort of worked, but not really...so I have a set of new red handles that will work, even though the holes are not exactly in the right places.  For example, the holes that hold the wheel brackets are a little far apart. 

I disassembled the old unit to recapture the hardware.  What a task!  Only one bolt unscrewed, I broke about 6 others, and had to torch the rest.  No, I will not be reusing the one "good" bolt, it is rather rusty.  It will be interesting to see if I have enough bolts in my collection to complete this project, or if I'll have to go buy more.  More about the "hardware"  I had welded a piece of steel above the tire to protect it from the heat, so I took that off, ground the pieces smooth, sprayed some black paint on them, no primer.  (It's an experiment.)  I cleaned up the rim a little bit, put some tape on the tire and sprayed the rim gray.  Or is it grey?  Is there a difference?  The handles are red....what to do??? The new tray, which was on clearance for $11 is green, so I think the handles need to become a different colour.  Suggest one....white, grey, black are the choices.  Yeah, I could leave them orange/red, or make them more red, or blue...I'm leaning towards white.

I intend to reuse the tray by making parts of it into a new bottom for an old barrel that I have, that'll be fun, welding rusty metal onto rusty metal.  Wish me luck.  Reduce, reuse, recycle. The old handles will go into a small stack of wood that I'll use to cook hot dogs or brats, the old bolts/broken bolts will go into a bucket of bits of metal to be recycled. 

Anyone watch those extreme coupon shows?  Why do these people need enough deoderant for 150 years?  What if in 2 years they hate the smell of it, or determine that they are allergic to it?  Why go to the store and buy 30 toothbrushes?  The dentist will give you as many as you want.

Laughed yet?  I never claimed every posting would be funny!  Here's an example of the stepmonster's brilliance:  One year, on homecoming day, we were being forced to "march" in the parade, everyone in band was in marching band and concert band, but I doubt that anyone liked marching band.  Hey, if I didn't like it, why should anyone else???  Anyway...we were trotting along and I saw a hubcap lying along the road.  I actually retained the memory long enough to drive back there and pick it up.  Jill saw it and wanted to know if I was going to put an ad in the paper so that whoever lost it could get it back, really raised hell about it....which was her style.  It only took about a minute to determine that it would not fit my car, but would fit "MaMa's" car, and when I hammered it on there, Jill shut up instantly!  So the lesson is this....it's not ok for me to have a hubcap, but it's ok for MaMa to have it. 

I don't have many funny stories about her, Angela, sorry.  Most of the things that she did were rather mean.  I've not seen her since Grandpa's funeral, March 1996, well, I haven't talked to her.  She might have been at Terry's funeral, but I didn't talk to her.  Suits me perfectly.  Of course, our experiences are what create us, makes us who we are.  Just think, w/o her influence I might have been a college graduate, an insurance salesman, an engineer, POTUS, or maybe I'd be in jail. 

Well, never mind about the handle paint, turns out they were too short, so I went all the way to Menards, it's at least 20 blocks away, and got the last set they had.  Brown, clearance for $7.50.  I have bolts in sufficient quantity, but in 5/16, not 3/8 which the handle is drilled.  I think the strength of 5/16 will be sufficient...don't you?  Here is a linky that shows how strong the 5/16 bolts are, odd that the 3/8 column is blank...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

yep, I drive a pretty old vehicle...a 94 Ford pickup.  Oh sure, it's not as old as a lot of them out there, but a lot older than a lot of folks will consider.  An older vehicle has a lot of advantages...it's been paid off for 8 years, which is about how old the tires are.  It's got 126,000 miles on it, just barely broken in, right?  Wrong.  Since it is as old as my marriage, it's had to have some repairs....2 or 3 starters, front brakes, ball joints, tie rod ends, 2 alternators, throttle body gasket, clutch, Ujoints, license plate lights, washer fluid pump, water pump, one headlight, right mirror, speakers, window motor repair, front shock absorbers, probably a few more. The water pump wasn't bad, but I was taking out the radiator for repair anyway, so....since I was there...

I've done most of these repairs, for a couple reasons....I derive a great deal of satisfaction from it, hate paying someone to do what I can do at home.  For example, the mirror that that dumbass broke for me would have cost $500 at a repair facility, but only cost $35 for me to change. 

This vehicle business is not as fun as I thought it'd be, so let me tell you about one time way back when I was young and asked the step-monster what was in beans that made them so gassy.  Of course, since she's stupid, she said "methane".  There's no methane in beans....if there were...no one would eat them.  Everyone with half a brain knows that the gas is caused by the bacteria in yer guts eating the beans, digesting them, breaking them down into the little parts causing new chemical compounds to form......which equals farts galore for some people.  I'm somewhat curious how "Beano" works, or is supposed to work, must integrate some chemical into the system to prevent the gasses from forming, or maybe it prevents the bacteria from breaking down the food.  Hmmmmmmmm  In depth discovery and inspection does not interest me in the slightest.  And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Went on a motorcycle ride yesterday, here are a few things that I saw and smelled...

In no particular order....oak tree, pine tree, corn stalk, rotten hay, horse, Farmall, pull type corn picker, Mississippi river, dirt, clouds, retarded squirrel, baby cow, bobcat, diesel exhaust, gator, nursery, dead deer, church, motorcycle falling down, walnut tree, red cow, elm tree, goat, gravel, hills, pothole, silage, cow manure, motorcycle exhaust, slice of whole grain toast slathered with strawberry-rhubarb preserves, dead raccoon, locust tree, tulip, lawn mower, sleeping dog, dead skunk, maple tree, JohnDeere, purple bus, willow tree, boats, boots, daffodils, pink trees, purple trees, white trees,

I saw multiples of some of these items, trees, for example.  I saw 2 pull type corn pickers, and at least 2 dead coons.

The intersting thing about some of these items is that you can experience them multiple ways.  For example, you can see and sometimes feel gravel or sand.  You can see and smell diesel exhaust.  Often--you can see, smell and taste a dead skunk, without even trying. 

I sure hope that dog was sleeping...if not....those little kids are going to be sad.

I reserve the right to add more to this list if I remember something.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Advertising in restrooms.  Who thought that was a good idea?

I got this idea from our expedition to a Mexican restaurant, had to visit the restroom, so I'm at the urinal, ready to do my business when I hear voices from over there <--------, can just barely hear them over the bad music that is way too loud.  Over there <---------is the sink, and by looking at just the right angle, I can see that a tv is mounted in the mirror.  So...........when I wash, (I do that, you know) (this brings up a memory that my Mom would love to tell about me (I was less than 5) visiting the restroom in the Junction Cafe, having to wait for some dude, then telling him "next time......flush")

Anyway....so this Mexican joint has a tv mounted in the mirror and it's playing advertisements.  I don't know how many of you folks have spent a lot of time in the men's room, but the one place/thing we men don't spend  a LOT of time doing is washing our hands.  Some dumbasses don't wash at all, which is one reason to avoid buffets. 

I don't know if guys don't spend a lot of time washing because they don't want the other guys to wonder how they got their fingers so dirty?

I spent a lot of time washing one time....it was at home after a mishap with some soft fresh JB Weld.  It says on the package "washes off with soap and water"  WRONG!  I got it off with citrus based hand cleaner, but it took a while.  There's  a spot of JBWeld on the bathroom sink, I wonder how long it will last.  Bet it will outlast the sink! 

There's a sign at KwikTrip says that employees must wash for 30 seconds with soap and warm water before going back to work.  I've never seen an employee in there, so I have not timed them.  But when I was at the Mexican joint, with the water turned on, I couldn't hear the ad.  But I could still see it when I wasn't looking at what I was doing;  this may be why they don't have the TV's over the urinals.  Isn't it funny that we look at our hands while washing them, but it isn't really necessary.  I'll admit that I only turn on the light when I go into the bathroom so I can read the Readers Digest.  Don't you think it's interesting the number of constipation drugs that are advertised in RD?  Must be a correlation.

I know that these ads are nothing new, AllOverMedia wanted me to advertise with them several years ago...tell me...have you ever called a business because of an ad you saw in a restroom or at a gas station?  I never have, and doubt I ever will.  Certainly I won't schedule a massage from a guy that advertises in restrooms. 

There are some products that would be appropriate in a restroom:  TP, tampons/pads, condoms, escorts, and cleaning supplies.  If I weren't so anxious to get to my dumbly named ebook reader to read about Jack Reacher, I'd make up a tag line for each of those products.  Feel free to leave a tag line in a comment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Trees, trees, everywhere there are trees....hug one!

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there lived a tree.  It was a magnificent tree, planted in a little hole just last year by a volunteer do-gooder rNeighbor feeling fine sort of person/team.  It was magnificent all year, all of 2010, at least until the do-gooder did his thing, digging a small hole, stuffing the sad little roots into the hole, stomping down the dirt, covering up the evidence with 100 tons of wood chip mulch crap.  Finally....2 stakes were pounded down alongside the tree and tied to the tree so no one could steal it.  Not sure if it is to protect the tree or the stakes...it doesn't matter much, the stakes don't do what people think they do...it's just a feel good gesture.....a total waste of time. (unless they are bare root trees) Stake? 

Clearly, the stakes are helping

These are working to keep the tree short.

If you read the linky, you'll understand how I liken not staking trees to people/animals doing weight bearing exercise.  Let the wind blow the tree around, it will grow wider and stronger faster to better resist the effects of wind.  Weight bearing exercise for us creates bigger stronger bones, negating the effects of oseteoporosis.

This year, the rNeighbors again planted 1000 trees, but instead of 2000 stakes, they used 3000 stakes.  Each stake is quite a bit bigger than the tree that they're supporting.  But they forgot to tie some of them, which I think is funny.  I drive around the neighborhood where they planted last years batch, a bunch of them died, and I think that they should have replaced them.  450+ people showed up to plant 1000 trees....but there was a crew that went around before, up to 2 weeks before cutting away sod, a 4x6 rectangle of sod gone...someone else came along and filled in that area with dirt, then someone else came along and hauled away the sod after leaving it sit around for several days.

I think that if people want trees in their yards, they should put them there on their own.  If they don't want them, too bad....you just got a tree or 6.  Deal with it.  I planted a maple tree once, in fact, I've planted a total of 4 of them.  One died, and was replaced with an ash tree.  Two of the maples started as seeds blown in from somewhere.  The ash must have come from a seed from the neighbor's tree, and the elm came from my elm tree, which is at least 60 years old.  I did stake one maple tree, after Val mowed it off.  When I saw that it was going to come back, I put a stake next to it so she'd know to not mow it again.  One of the others was eaten by a rabbit it's first year, and came back from that; they have a will to live, and you're welcome to come hug them.

Back in 83?  84?  my stepmonster saved up her green stamps (ha! those were gone by then) and bought a peach tree.  I don't know if she checked to see if it was hardy for southern IA, kinda doubt it.  I'm sure that she thought her thumbs were green enough to overcome the freezing cold winters and burning hot summers....not that the tree would care too much about the summers after the first winter.  She did everything she was "supposed to do" with this tree.  She hired the concord to fly it to our farm, which meant she had to rent a bulldozer and plow out a runway for it, that probably cost more than a lifetime of peaches could ever cost.  She dug a hole 27 times larger than the root ball, added all the best fertilizer, mulch, hummus and cream cheese.  She filled in the hole with her best silver spoon, one teaspoon at a time.  She used a forest of stakes, all around it, it was kind of like a fence around this tree to support it.  She carried water to it, hundreds of trips to this peach tree with her finest china tea pot, nothing could be too good for this special tree.  Then it died.

Autumn is the proper time to plant trees.  autumn  Jill planted it in the summer, during a drought.  A LONG ways from the nearest hydrant...we didn't have long enough hoses for watering that tree, which is why she had to carry the water.

About this same time, Dad got a stick in the mail, the card with it stated:  This is a locust tree.  Plant it somewhere that you want a tree to be. This happens once every 823 years. This is called money bags. So, copy this to your status and money will arrive within 4 days...based on Chinese Feng Shui.  I recall that he looked at the stick, and we discussed which end was which.  It went something like this.  "Which end is the root end?" "don't know" "Ok.  what the hell, it's money bags."

Dad took the stick out to the yard, found a crack in the ground (remember...summer + drought = cracks wide enough to insert a stick into), requested we not mow it off.  The stick sprouted, grew....a lot.....even though it was shaded by mature ash, walnut and catalpa trees.  It grew into a wonderful tree....surprised all of us.

Pretty sure that these trees didn't get staked.
Couple things that are not good:  dutch elm disease, emerald elm borers, bureaucrats that say that the city needs more boulevard trees at the same time they're cutting down boulevard trees. 

Sunday, May 08, 2011

"Water, water, everywhere
And all the boards did shrink
Water, water everywhere
Nor any drop to drink."

Of course, that is the quote by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  Does it mean that we're mad at him because we're using all 3 names?  Why is it that some people use all their names, but others don't?  Guess that's another posting, remind me later, huh? 

"Come over for drinks."  "Let's meet for coffee."  "Tea's at 2"  "Give me a gatorade"  "Hold my beer and watch this."  Our world revolves around drinking, doesn't it?  "Can I get you something to drink?"  "What would you like to drink while you look at the menu?"  "I need something cold/hot to drink"  "GOD I NEED A DRINK?"  "I don't drink" (to which I reply....don't you get thirsty?)  "How about a nice glass of warm milk?"  (YUCK!)  "Coffee, milk or tea?"  "I'd like a coke.  Pepsi ok?" (No...if I wanted Pepsi, I'd have asked for one)  "Do you have Dr Pepper?  We have root beer and orange.  Is it Dr Pepper flavored root beer?" 

Often, when I go to a place like Perkins, I'll just want water...maybe it's too late for coffee, I try to stay away from pop, and I just don't feel like paying $2.29 for iced tea that won't taste good.  They know that everyone is supposed to be drinking a gallon of water each and every day, depending on size...which means I should drink 2 gallons.  But they bring an 8 ounce glass, which I can gulp down in about 10 seconds.  So I make them bring another, and if they're smart, they bring a big glass. 

All this brings up another peeve....I rather dislike when the seating hostess engineer says "just one" "just 2"  What the hell do you mean by "JUST"???  If I said that Osama bin Laden was an asshole but oBama Bin Laden is just an asshole, what would be the difference?

John Hardy's is the really smart place, bringing a pitcher right away.  I wonder if they (all restaurants) would lower the price of pop/coffee/tea/beverages if people would buy more of them.  Drop the price to $1.25 or less and I'll buy one every time.  I've said the same thing about beer and other drinks, but an evening spent in a bar will indicate that most people will buy it regardless of the price.  Not me...just can't do it.  Won't do it.  I've been to the beer store, I know how much it costs retail.  Wholesale is probably half the price....so when they want $3 for a bottle of beer that I can buy for $.75....I get annoyed, but will usually play along for awhile.

Ah hell, I've forgotten what the point of all this was, so I'm done.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A short list of things that I have seen recently that I like.

  • Large patch of daffodils
  • blurple motorcycle
  • A lovely woman in a "Twins" shirt always makes me smile
  • sunshine
  • red and white baby cow
  • sleeping dog
  • tom turkey
  • suv in the ditch
  • a hunting cat
  • dog playing in the sun
  • running deer
  • soaring eagle
Check back to see if I've added to the list...

Monday, May 02, 2011

Been reading a lot,
as you know if you've been my friend on FB or are a recipient of the email updates that I've been sending out following Val's sugery.  I bought a dumbly named ebook reader from B&N, and found a website where I can download lots of free books.  You could too, if you knew of the website.  If you're nice to me, maybe I'll tell you what site it is.  So anyway...

In some of these books, I find myself getting a bit annoyed with the authors use of brand names.  How am I supposed to know what a Tag Huer is?  Good thing the author was so desperate for words to fill up his book he used proper/good context.  Let me give you an example:

Before Bill set out for the ring necked pheasant hunt scheduled for 8:00am, he felt he should get dressed, so he pulled on his Fruit of the Looms, a Hanes t-shirt and socks, his Under Armour thermal underwear, a LLBean long sleeved flannel shirt, quilted Levi jeans, using his custom made jeans installation device...which allows a person to put on jeans both legs at the same time.  He then sat down to lace up his waterproofed coldproof snakebiteproof thornproof mudproof wearproof Red Wing boots.  He bounces once on his sleep number bed, failed to knock over the Waterford crystal glass full of Boone's Farm wine and knew it'd be a good day.  He skipped across the parquet wood floor, slipped through the door using the silent Kwikset door knob.  He opens his Tappen refridgerator, pulls out some Eggland's best eggs, some JimmyDean sausage, throws a HyVee English muffin in the BlackNDecker toaster, scrambles the eggs on the Hotpoint stove in the Wearever skillet that he so prefers over the Calphalon.  Some Plochman's mustard and BlueBonnet butter are the only condiments that he needs for his sandwich.  He finishes eating, grabs his Winchester, his Remington, his Browning, his Mossberg and his Berretta shotguns, thinking at the time that it's a very good thing that he had those 3 bionic arms installed last spring.  Now, he only shoots shells that he has hand loaded himself in the basement, and grabs up a box of duckshot, gooseshot, buckshot, turkeyshot, pigeonshot, quailshot, doveshot, pigshot, elkshot, squirrelshot, and finally a box of fishshot.  (Just in case)  He loads all his crap into his Ford pickup, jumps in, starts it up (happy that the Diehard didn't, yet) and backed it out through the Chamberlain door.  Damn!  Forgot to push the button to engage the Liftmaster door opener.  He hauls ass down the road, also forgetting his coffee, the dog, and his coats. 

Ok, so that is a slight exaggeration, and I know....he didn't even make coffee, which brings up another annoyance I find in books.  Just the other day I was reading, this book is set in NewEngland, it was August, they met at the house at 6:00pm.  Here is what made me mad:  As she walked up to the house, the fireflies were still flitting about the yard, the contractor was waiting on the steps.  Ok....midsummer....doesn't get dark till 9:00.  Fireflies don't come out until dark.  6 is not dark.

In other news....on the Secret Life show, isn't it interesting that they picked the Asians to be the smart kids.

I dunno if other people that post blogs welcome comments...but I do.