Just rambling thoughts about anything that happens to be on my mind and that usually isn't much!
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Joe the Plumber

The Good Lord made me a feed salesman for one good reason: I can't do much else!  However, He didn't take the "I can fix that" statement out of my reparative thinking.
Hence, when the Warden discovered a leaking water heater Friday night, I said "No problem!  I can fix that.  I'll just run to Lowe's tomorrow morning and pick up what I need!"
She gave me the "over the glasses" look, "Don't you think we should just call a plumber?"
"Heavens no!  You'll never get one out on Labor Day weekend!" I said, "and if you did ... it would cost you and arm and leg!" 
Again I got the "over the glasses" look, "How long will this take?"
"After I get the water heater and stuff back from Lowe's ... couple hours MAX!"
Again I got the "over the glasses" look ... then a defeated shrug and sigh. 
So Saturday morning, with mental picture of the old heater in my mind ..... I headed to Lowe's.  I picked out the heater, grabbed the fittings needed to plumb it in, extra pipe ... I stood there for a few minuets, mentally assembling it in my mind.  Reassessing all the tools and procedures I would need.  Done.  I headed to the checkout .... used my trusty Discover Card .... and out the door I went.  Home by noon-thirty!  Plenty of time to finish.
The Warden had a nice lunch prepared when I got home so I could "get right to work".  But I convinced her that I had plenty of time and needed a little rest before starting.  "I need to let lunch settle" I said.
The over the glasses look, "OK" was her reply.
She woke me later with the question, "do you want me to help you with the heater?"
"Sure!  You can come watch."  And with that we headed out to the back porch to open the water heater compartment.  I stood there with fittings, pipe wrench and saws-all in hand looking at the defective appliance.  The fittings in my hand did indeed fit the NEW water heater, but would not match to the old plumbing.
Again I got the "over the glasses" look.  "Problem?"
It's time right here to say, the world would be a much easier place to live if there weren't different sizes!
So I'm still in hot water ... oops I mean cold!  Does anyone have the phone number of Joe the Plumber?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Perils of Store Bought Teeth

Well I'm just about 5 weeks into my quest of controlling my dentures .... and learning the do's and don'ts.  If some one had just told me .... back when I still had teeth ... to "practice" eating with two large marbles in my mouth ... the switch to dentures wouldn't have been a big deal!  The first meal I ate after getting my teeth was a total disaster ... tortilla chips are a "don't" at least at this time ... unless of course the person setting close to you doesn't mind you washing them off in the tea glass!
Another "don't" is candy ... especially caramel!  That stuff is like "anti-poly grip"!  Took me two days to get my dentures unstuck.
Getting your mouth used to the dentures is sort of like getting a new pair of boots.  They can fit good but your feet get "tired" and it feels good to take them off and just rub your feet. Same thing with dentures .... and thus at night they were put into the denture cup.  My dad, a denture veteran of nearly 50 years, suggested to me that keeping them in at night would hasten my quest of getting use to them ... so I left them in the other night.
Sometime in the middle of the night I got the bottom plate turned sideways.  This of course woke me when I bite down ... I took them out and laid them on my chest, letting my tongue massage the gum.  I was planning on putting them back in before going to sleep, but I dozed off.  When I awoke sometime later, my teeth were gone!
Well I felt all around in the dark between the covers, between the sheets, under the quilt, even felt off the side of the bed on the floor .... nothing!  So, not wanting to waken the Warden, I found a flash light and and begin looking in the same places.  Finally I woke the Warden thinking maybe she was laying on them ...  I won't repeat here the conversation that took place at this time because this is a family friendly site ... just suffice to say she wasn't pleased.
With the lights now turned on I was able to find my teeth ... in the next room!  I guess the cat, who normally sleeps at the foot of the bed, found her a new play toy.  I'm just glad she didn't take them to the litter box.  Needless to say, I don't sleep with them any more ... they stay in the denture cup at night!
Another thing to keep in mind ... never lay the tubes of poly-grip and preparation H close to each other on the bathroom counter ... no matter which one is improperly used ... it makes for a bad day!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sitting on the back porch.

There is little in life more enjoyable than "sittin' on the back porch" just enjoying life. The hot temperatures of the day are dwindling; the frustrations of the day are gone; all that's left is the cool southern breeze and the humming bird feeder to watch.

That's what caused me to realize a "fact of life". Humming birds are territorial, meaning that certain ones think that the feeder is their own and no one else can "feed" from it. I have sit for the last two hours watching a (presumably) male humming bird run off any other humming bird from this feeder. This makes me realize how "territorial" some humans are. Although I KNOW that I won't let the feeder go dry, he doesn't. We, as humans, are much the same way.

This humming bird sits on a high line about 25 feet from the feeder. If any other humming bird comes close he will dart in and chase it away! It has been hilarious to watch and the humming bird has had little time to rest.

Sound familiar?

We as "humans" spend most of our lives worried about things that never happen or never come true. We chase after anything that comes close to our space and complain about anything that even looks our way.

Maybe it would be best, if at times, we would just sit back and enjoy life.
Sent from my Blackberry

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weight Watching With The Warden

Several weeks back, the Warden and a teacher friend of hers decided it was time to get serious about losing the extra pounds.  Now the Warden wasn't a BIG woman, but she wasn't the 106 pound bride I married either.  (She looked a little anorexic back then!)  But none the less, with the current size dresses beginning to stretch to the limit .... she vowed to get back into the smaller size dresses she had in the back of the closet.

She and her friend have been diligent in attending the meetings, counting the points on a daily basis and increasing the exercise routine.  And, I must say, the results are becoming noticeable ... even to the casual observer.  Even some of the other staff members have joined in with diet plans of their own and "weight loss fever" has spread through out the community.

The subject has even become the main topic at the Stockman now ... although not in the same light.  As Clem took his first sip the other day, he said "Pass me one of those donuts.  I have got to have something sweet."

"Claire got you on a diet too?" asked Clyde.  "Cleta came home the other day and announced 'WE are going to loose weight'.  And she hasn't cooked anything edible since!"

"I was checking the fridge for a snack yesterday," Clem continued, "you'd think it was ole mother Hubbard's cupboard!  Nothing there but carrot sticks!"

"Yeah, it's getting pretty bad," Clyde said as he passed the last donut to Clem, "when a week old donut is considered a delicacy!"

Then they both looked at me, seriousness written in their expression.  Clem stated, "I'll buy your gas if you'll run up to Peoria and bring us a box of the danishes from Carl's!"

Clyde added, "And I'll kick in another $50 if you'll get back here by tomorrow morning's coffee!"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Store bought teeth

Yesterday was the culmination of a seven month ordeal.  It started back in January when I had two front teeth on the lower jaw abscess on me.  As usual, the pain begin to increase to the unbearable category by late Friday evening. Our daughter, who works for a dentist, was able to get ahold of her boss and get some prescription antibiotics before the pharmacy closed.  And she set me up with a dental appointment for the following Tuesday.  

Saturday I set all day in pain, vowing I would pull the teeth myself if I had a good set of pliers.  Sunday morning the abscess begin to drain, greatly relieving the pain.  By Monday, with pain and swelling all gone I decided there was no use going to the dentist ... however I was out voted by the Warden... and the teeth were extracted.

Now, with my smile looking like a picket fence, options were examined to remedy the problem, procedures explained, processes discussed and alternatives analyzed.  It came down to two reasonable solutions:
option 1) over the next 2 years, insert some bridges, crown some molars and a root canal or two.
option 2) Store bought teeth by August 1.

I took option number two and on May 20 (the Warden and I's 38th anniversary) I had the left side teeth extracted.  We vowed to put off the steak supper to another time.  Two weeks later the right side was extracted and I had exactly 6 upper front teeth left.  Eating anything with a "crunch" was becoming impossible.  If it didn't fit through a straw it would be an all day job getting it munched up enough to swallow. 

I went in the last of June to have a "molding" made.  Then a dry run to check out the trial model and pick out the color.  Everything was ready to go ... so yesterday doc pulled the remaining 6 top front teeth and put in my nice white store boughts!!  Now when I smile, they are white and even!  Only time in my life I have looked in the mirror and seen an even smile.

As I set here this morning, I can think of only one draw back to this new set ... I ain't had a dip of snuff since yesterday noon!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Perlows

I've had the pleasure of knowing Arno and Cherie for several years now via the Internet.  Actually I think I can blame my being on Facebook specifically on Arno ... I should have known not to trust a weatherman!

Arno is a retired weatherman from NOAA and has taken my joking about weathermen very well.  Since his retirement he has pursued his "hobby" (or at least that is what he used to call it) of web page development.  His own home page is full of interesting family facts and pictures.

Cherie spent most of her career days as a stewardess ... I guess they are flight attendants now days.  Arno says she was a "natural" for that job since she's always up in the air over something!!  Cherie is also a therapeutic masseuse now and works part time somewhere in STL.  (And after eating breakfast there last week, she could be a chef!)

Actually, with their picturesque home, their genuine hospitality and the good eats ... they need to start a bed and breakfast!!

In their spar time Cherie pursues stage acting and art; Arno plays soccer and runs marathons.  Actually our friendship is a little strange when you get to thinking about it, they're city people who have traveled the world and current in the arts and culture.  I'm a country boy who has never traveled out of the Midwest and counts drinking coffee at the Stockman as a cultural experience.

We do have one BIG thing in common .... a love for our family and grand kids.

Thanks again Arno and Cherie for the hospitality and the very delicious breakfast.  Your turn to come to KS!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Carl's Bakery

If you ever travel through the East Peoria, IL area ... and it's sometime between 5:30 AM and 2:00 PM ... it would behoove you to stop in at Carl's Bakery. Just ask directions to "The Rooster".
They make excellent donuts there ... but ordering a donut there is like ordering a hamburger at a steak house! They have every type of roll, pastry and sweet bread known to man. As a matter of fact, that's the tough part ... figuring out which to buy when they all look and are ... delicious! So do as I do ... ask for a box and take one of each!
As a matter of fact ... part of the fun of eating there is watching people approach the counter and select the "one" they want!

"Give me a cinnamon twist .. no no, make it a cream cheese danish ..... wait is that apricot? What's that over there? Cream filled long john ... yeah that's what I want. No. Wait .... just get me a box and put one of each in there. Oh and one donut to eat on my way to work!"

And while you're setting there savouring your sweet selected morsel (assuming you were able to make a single selection) ... here comes Carla with another tray ... fresh from the oven!
So if you're planning on just eating one ... best get it to go!

Carla's dad (Carl) opened the place over 50 years ago. She told me she started helping her dad there when she was 8 years old. Her and her husband have operated the bakery for several years. They're up every morning around 2:30 AM ... start cooking at 3:00 AM so they have things ready by 5:30.
Their bakery will be featured sometime in the next few weeks on the Food Channel.

Oh ... and if you have to make only ONE selection ... let me offer MY choice ... it's the cream cheese danish ... no wait, the apple fritter ..... or maybe the ....


Friday, July 2, 2010

Riverside Hunting Bait & Tackle

Yesterday morning, Ruth and I were again fishing at Powerton Lake, when as fate would have it, we ran out of worms for fish bait. (OK Sandra, I could have used the fish we were catching as bait, but just wouldn't be the same.) Anyway, I decided to make a fast trip to Riverside Hunting Bait and Tackle which was just down the road. I had already mentioned, as we drove past it that morning, we should stop in there just to see what he had.

The man has everything a guy would need! Live bait, artificial lures, bobbers, sinkers, poles - - you name it! And he's an interesting sort of a guy - - pleasant, large framed, fairly young (35+/-) and a gift of gab.

I picked up a couple "necessary" fishing items and made my way to counter, knowing that the worms I came for would be in the refrigerated case behind him. I looked him over and figured he was "once removed" from the hills or swamps.

"I need a couple dozen of those worms you got there." I said pointing to the case behind him, "Nice place you have here."

"Thanks" was his reply, "I'm third generation. My grandad opened it. My dad ran it for 30 years and now me."

OK, so my "once removed" had now turned into "twice removed" - - but I knew I was still pretty close.

"Fish biting?" he asked.

"Just the little ones," I replied. "I'm here visiting my daughter and we both like to fish. Not real sure where to go."

"Fishing is usually good on Powerton, but with the high water, might be sort of slow. Where you from?" he asked.


"That's where my brother is. He's in the Air Force" he replied. I nodded in acquiescence and he continued, "he's a weapons specialist. A double PHD in Bio-Chemistry and Propulsion something or other."

I now looked at him a little wide-eyed and my head cocked somewhat - - an obvious question showing on my face.

He continued, "He took after the brainy side of the family. My mom's a cancer doctor in Peoria."

The question could no longer be contained, "What happened to you?"

He laughed, "Well I was a US Marshall for 12 years and loved it to start, but after 911 the travel got horrendous. Dad said he was going to retire so I came back to run this."

So, goes to show you, you can't judge a book by looking at it's cover.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Gateway to the West - Repeated (almost)

To understand the title of this blog, one must be familiar with a former blog ... actually there are several blogs concerning my travels through STL ... but the similarities to Gateway to the West are astounding! However there are four major differences:
  1. I now know where the MLK Bridge is.
  2. The River Front Road being flooded by the Mississippi
  3. My TomTom doesn't do well with detour signs and flooded roads.
  4. The Warden spotted the sign to "The Arch parking garage"
Each year the Warden and I look forward to visiting Baby Ruth, (our youngest daughter ... not the candy bar) and traveling the 600 miles to see her.  The only dreaded obstacle is ST. Louis!  I think the MDOT and STL city fathers even plan for my July trip by figuring new places for construction and detour signs to highten my summer excursion experience.  I figure they look at it much as a scientist does who puts a lab rat in a changeable maze to see how long it takes for the rat to get the cheese!  And (there is no doubt in my mind) had the STL city council and the MDOT been around, in 1803, there wouldn't have been any way Lewis and Clark could have found their way up the Missouri River! 

The Warden has said ... without exception each year as we crossed "the bridge" ... someday we need to stop and see the Arch.  This has been easily brushed off each trip because of the blaring horns, screeching tires and my audible praying as I weed my way through the STL traffic.  I just say I can't get to the exit or that I didn't hear her in time.  But as fate would have it ..... yesterday, having taken the route laid out by my trusty TomTom ..... we sit staring at the flooded road ahead of us and just to our right was the entrance to the parking garage ... there was no getting out of this one!

As we made our way down the walkway to the Arch, I read a sign that said over 2,000,000 people visit the Arch every year.... this really wasn't news to me ... I figure most were just asking directions of how to get across the bridge!  But it was a well manicured park with LOTS of people there .... and the Park Ranger even knows the fastest way to get to the MLK bridge!

While there we did get to take a few pictures of the Warden.  I posted them on my facebook mobile page.  And a picture of me with some people who wanted to promote green energy and opposed more drilling for oil.  They seemed pleased that I wanted a picture with them holding up their signs.  Their mannerism changed however when I told them I was against ethanol, windmills and wanted to drill on the Anwar tundra!  (I made a fast get-a-way when they started yelling for the Park Ranger!)

But I figure the picture will make some good discussion at the Stockman next week when I get home.

And Arno ... someday I am gonna stop in your hometown for a visit with you and Cherie ... heck, if you lived close to "the bridge" .... I'd probably see you every year!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The older we get

Back as a young man, (not too many years ago) I used to drink a big glass of water around 9 PM each evening.  This was like setting an alarm clock for 5 AM or even better because it didn't have snooze settings!  As you well know how habits work and still to this day I do the same thing.
However things have changed.  Last night as we "retired" the Warden asked, "Did you have your Dr. Pepper yet"?
"I don't drink Dr. Pepper!"  I remitted.
"You have most every night of our married life" she retorted.
"What in the world are you talking about?"  I was beginning to think she had lost the last of her mind.
"Well, I guess you're right," she explained.  "When we were younger you drank water, now it's Dr. Pepper because you're up at 10 PM, 2 AM and 4 AM!"
Then if that wasn't degrading enough .... SHE LAUGHED!