Adventures In Car Repair

Once upon a time, in a brand new16 year old car, the air conditioning died and the Spoiled Americans who owned the car were very dismayed (especially the American Wife). Because the Spoiled American Husband really enjoyed staying happily married, after many hot summer days (and an upcoming family reunion on the east side of the state) he finally got off his hiney and got the brand new, 2001 Chrysler Town and Country to the Air Conditioning Fixing Guy.

The day of Air Conditioning Fixing came, and the Air Conditioning Fixing Guy called and spoke in very technical jargon: “I can’t fix your air conditioning unless your cooling fan works. Your cooling fan doesn’t work.” Well this sounded a bit fishy to the Spoiled American Husband. But being the (relatively) obedient person he is, he took the brand new 16 year old car to the Normal Car Fixing Guys (who don’t do air conditioning) and said, “the Air Conditioning Fixing Guy says he can’t fix the air conditioning because the cooling fan doesn’t work. Seems to me it’s OK, but would you please check for me?”

The Normal Car Fixing Guy called back: “there’s nothing wrong with your cooling fan. I kinda got into an argument with the Air Conditioning Fixing Guy when I called him, but I’m sure your cooling fan is OK.” So by now you all have probably guessed maybe that I am the Spoiled American Husband Guy so I will save my word count and herewith refer to myself in the first person. That is, of course, unless a second or third person comes to visit and claims to be me, in which case I’ll probably not be able to finish the story for many more minutes.

Anyway.

So I call the ACFG (Air Conditioning Fixing Guy) and say, “well I had my cooling fan checked, it’s OK. But you know, you serviced the air conditioning and replaced the compressor about a year ago, and now it is already broken. For why this is so quickly dead? Is there no warranty on the compressor?” There was some silence on the other end, and the ACFG basically gave the telephone equivalent of a shoulder shrug: “uhh… no… it’s been a year… ummm… no; no warranty.” I paused, and said, “well OK, when can you take another look?” “I’m booked till Monday,” he said. So I told him I would consult with my Beautiful American Wife Person regarding scheduling and get back with him.

Now I am knowing it’s time to do the Google search for a nice, shiny, New Air Conditioning Fixing Guy. I am also getting weary to the point of not with good grammar typing or word usage correct. And also even not caring about it really too!! So I look at the reviews and found that a neighbor of mine was indeed pleased with the service at the New Air Conditioning Fixing Place I found. Atsa nice. OK. So I go there and they check and find a bad compressor. I am now tell them “yes I know, the other Air Conditioning Fixing Guy replaced it about a year ago.” “Didn’t he give you a warranty??” “No,” I said with some harrumphing. “Well,” the Nice Office Lady says, “we give a warranty on all our repairs: 3 years or 36,000 miles.” “I like that warranty a lot,” I retorted. I schedule the repair, we drop the car off Sunday night for the Monday working time, and wonder how, oh HOW CAN WE SURVIVE WITH JUST ONE CAR??? OH GOD OH GOD!!!

Monday comes. More waiting. No call. Here comes the late afternoon. Oy yoy yoy…

Finally the New Air Conditioning Fixing Guy calls me and says, “your compressor is bad. Do you know you need to replace the expansion valve and the dryer unit? Ya, if you don’t do that the compressor won’t last very long.” “Pretty sure the other ACFG didn’t do that,” I replied with a sigh. “No worries, we’ll get you fixed up!!” said the NACFG (New ACFG). “When can you do that?” I asked. “Looks like Wednesday is open.” “OK thanks,” I said obediently. We drop off the car again. Again we are cry of our now having only one car, Oh God OH GOD.

Wednesday is almost gone now. Oh God. They call again… “there’s a part we can’t get till tomorrow morning.” I try hard to conceal my sadness. “OK… will it for sure be done tomorrow?” “Yes, no problem,” the Nice Office Lady replied.

Thursday. Tick tock, tick tock… afternoon arrives. Late afternoon.

Yay, I cheer with Great Impatience Now!!  (I cheer with sadness and worrisome sarcasm.)

The Nice Office Lady finally calls and tells me that the bill will be about $818. Well by now I am rolling in gooey, sticky happy sauce, because the first “fix it” job cost a bit over $600 about a year ago. No warranty. Now I get to enjoy a Brand New Bill from the NACFG for $818. Is that cool or what?? And this amount was prefaced with the following, when the Nice Office Lady at the NACFG place told me, “well, your air conditioning works great on the passenger side; but not so good on the driver’s side.” “I can live with that I think, my Beautiful Wife Person is the one who really needs the air conditioning to work.  But wait,” I hesitated, “can you fix the driver’s side? How much would that run?” She commenced to ciphering, and the new bill was looking like it was gonna exceed $1000.

For air conditioning.

In a 16 year old car.

No.

Uh uh.

Stop.

Please.

“OK,” they said. And when I came in to get the car, the Nice Office Lady went over the details of the VERY NICE WARRANTY (seriously, it was very nice) with me. I thanked them all with great exultation, and on the way home I fiddled intently with the temperature controls and I think… maybe… PERHAPS I may have noticed an improvement of air conditioning on the driver’s side.

Maybe.

I dunno.

So, the moral of the story is: we are spoiled rotten. The brand new, 2001 Chrysler Town And Country will now be cooler inside than it is outside when the summer heat returns. Otherwise, it’s in pretty good shape; comfortable to ride in; and runs great. Nice radio… it even gets AM!! I really love AM radio (but that’s another story). And it’s paid for… no car payments at our house.

Spoiled Americans. That’s what we are.

I think next time I go for the deliciously expensive car repair, I will help them to cipher the bill like Mr. Lou Costello did with his landlord…

Leaf Me Alone, I’m Dusting

Ahhh vacation. I love it!! I’ve been looking forward to working my hiney off during my time off from work. Say wha?? Well yes, I’m working my hiney off… well OK not literally, because then it would hurt to sit down and stuff. But you see, I love to grow food, and when a vegetable gardener has grandchildren, sometimes the garden chores don’t get done as consistently as one would like. This is just fine with me, because I’m very aware that although we currently enjoy “rock star” status with them, we are very aware that this will fade as they grow older. That of course means we spend as much time with them as we can.

I’ve been known to complain about how weedy the garden is; and my Beautiful Girlfriend Wife Lady is very tolerant of my whining. She just says, “oh well!!” Then of course I reply, “well work greatly interferes with my free time.” I don’t think she’s gonna let me quit work for a while yet; and I know all too well that it would economically hurt our ability to retire with any peace of mind. The garden, then, becomes a balancing act between normal chores and family stuff.

Fortunately, my Amazing Honey Pie has been kind enough to refrain from making any plans for me this weekend. Well, we both had grandiose plans for our deck. A wonderful fellow cleaned it professionally and we were hoping to stain it. This has been in the works for some time now; but of course Mother Nature doesn’t really care about our plans. We’re hoping the rain quits for a few days in a row so we can get the job done while I’m off (the stain company says the deck should be rain free for at least two days).

So you know what I’m doing, right? Yes!! I’m staying very busy with the Leaf Brigade! What? Never heard of the Leaf Brigade? Well neither have I, because I just made it up. I’ve been busy weeding… chopping many weeds with my hoe, and pulling many others by hand. Some weeds will die after being uprooted. Those I just lay down on the soil. Others, like quack grass, are more stubborn, and go in a bucket so I can let them be sunburned to death on top of the compost pile. After weeding, I water where the weeds were removed and cover with a nice thick layer of leaves for mulch. Those I mentioned earlier, the weeds that die when uprooted, will feed the worms after I lay the mulch down. And of course the worms will poop in the soil and that feeds the plants.

Yep, the plants really love worm poop. How do I know this? I ask them of course. “How ya doin’ today, Corn?” “Doin’ good Ken… had a nice bowl of worm poop for breakfast.” Well OK maybe they don’t really say that.

Well I got the corn and the potatoes weeded and mulched; now it’s time to attack the beds in the middle of the garden. There I foolishly let the weeds get at least as big as the plants. These are beds that have somewhat thick plantings of strange things like radishes and carrots. Another bed has kale, turnips, and lettuce. And yet another has lettuce brussel sprouts and pak choi. Anyway, they all look like a miniature forest of weeds and food plants. Rather than replant everything (although some of it may be), I water first, then carefully remove the weeds. After the weeds are pulled, it’s time to sprinkle the leaf dust for mulch.

Do what now??

Yes friends, I made leaf dust today. Wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last. You see, I’m one of those weirdos who uses leaves all over the place in the garden. I literally take a lawn mower and mow the leaf pile to grind them up. Then I sift the chopped leaves dust through a sifter I made that sits on top of the wheelbarrow.  I like to share pictures of this stuff, so click each picture for a better view if you’re so inclined.

Sifter I build all by myself!

Leaf Dust!

The end result: Leaf Dust! Delicious with milk and sugar and a few slices of banana on top. NO!! It’s for the plants; where it’s too crazy to try to place mulch between the many tiny food plants. If I don’t weed, I ain’t a gonna get no food. And if I don’t mulch, same as it is now, I’ll get lots and LOTS of weeds.

Weeds are OK, but all those veggie plants are a bit more delicious. Don’t you agree?

Well, at least I don’t have the same garden problems as Porky Pig…

Oil And Mowers Don’t Mix

Once upon a time, like this evening, I thought it would be really cool to replace the belts on the mower deck of our brand new 2002 Cub Cadet lawn tractor. Seemed simple enough… “Oh and while I’m at it I might as well change the oil,” I said to myself. Another seemingly simple task.

Well, a mechanic I’m not; and in the realm of garden tractors I’m thinking I have the know-how of a choo choo truck with no interior antibodies. Huh?? Let’s put it this way: I seem to have an affinity for learning things the hard way when it comes to anything with an internal combustion engine.

OK, I’m shaming myself. As you may have guessed by now, things didn’t turn out quite like I planned. I got the mower belts changed without too much difficulty; although it was a whole lot easier getting the deck off the tractor than it was to put it back on. Then for the oil. I looked here and there, and found no evidence of where the oil drain might be. “Oh wait,” I thought, “there’s a thingy with a cap off of it that might be a drainer doodad. Looks like the cap’s been off for a loooong time…

So being the thoroughly modern ignoramus I am, I got on the interwebs and found that the thingy with the cap off was indeed the drainer doodad (please forgive my technical jargon). I tried to follow the instructions: push in slightly and turn counterclockwise to drain the oil.

Well because the drainer doodad was totally gunkified, I couldn’t push in, so I turned counterclockwise and the whole darn thing came off. Now the oil is draining into the tub I have waiting below. Cool, so far. I thought. Then… OH PEEGLESNURGE!! IT’S RUNNING ALL OVER THE POWER TAKE OFF!! I made quick with the rags, but to no avail. Big mess. I did get the gunk out of the drainer doodad so I can use the thingy with the cap next time. But this was this time, and I tried to clean up everything the best I could.

OK… after much weeping and gnashing of teeth, but without throwing any tools or biting my wife’s head off, although I did ask her to quit asking me questions, like “will it start now? Did you get it? Is it going to run?” because after she asked me several of these I would run around the house screaming and crying because of the mess I made and I’m feeling pretty dumb and I didn’t want to make my Beautiful Honey Pie sad by barking at her when she was just wondering how things were coming but holy gazzamoopa I was getting really frustrated and I finally, FINALLY after much finger ouch and crawly grunty times I got it all back together and now it’s time to try the mower and wow by golly it works great but something’s wrong besides this run-on sentence you see because the tractor ain’t cruising so good so WHAT THE HECK IS THE DEAL NOW??

“Oh poop,” I recalled, “I must have oiled the pulleys.”

So now the belt thingy that runs the hydrostatic transmission whatchamahinger is oiled nicely; which of course means it ain’t gonna have much power because it be a-slippin’ all the stinkin’ time. Is that cool or what?? NO!! THAT IS NOT COOL!! So what did I do? I did what any almost-a-mechanic-guy would do: I got out my floor jack and jacked up the hiney of the tractor so I could see what the deal was and A) yes there was oil where it shouldn’t be and 34) the belt should probably have been replaced many moons ago which I think needs to happen at the dealer. Otherwise, I’m a gonna need me a tractor tutor.

I could have avoided all this cockamamie flerping around by not trying to do stuff for which I’m not really well trained. The folks at the Cub Cadet service house would have made some grocery money from me and my tractor would actually do what it’s supposed to do. As it stands now, we should be able to mow… works OK on a flat surface. Gets a little wimpy trying to go up hill though… The old Cub Cadet needs to go to the doctor soon. A real doctor that is… And of course, you probably know what I told my Most Wonderfully Attractive Wife person after all this, right??

“I want ice cream.”

Guess I could take it to these guys…

How Now, Chocolate Cow??

My Beautiful Girlfriend and I were talking about Cousin John today, and how we miss the guy. He was Brooklyn (NY) born and raised, and he and his mom (Aunt Joyce) would come visit with us when we were kids on Long Island. Many moons and a couple moves later, John and I reconnected in a very big way; and the same became true for Aunt Joyce. So what does all this have to do with a chocolate cow? Well I think both of them would react to the next part of this story would be an emphatic, yet puzzled “Oh my Gawd!!”

I was both amused and saddened this past week when I heard of the following story. Apparently, a thousand people were surveyed recently and 7 % of the people believed that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Oh my Gawd!! I wish I was fooling you!! This of course has spread across the pond via the interwebs and now much of the world probably thinks we are a nation of noodleheads.

Now I don’t know what sample of our population was surveyed; but you can bet it wasn’t anyone involved in agriculture. Unfortunately, however, there appears to be an increasing disconnect between the knowledge of what foods are at the store in various packages and how they are produced. Perhaps this is due to the declining number of people directly involved with agriculture.

I’ve actually had some interesting (saddening?) first-hand experiences with this. I’ve been an organic gardener for over 40 years now; and I often grow more than I need. I often grow more than I need, and like to share some of my harvests with friends when I get a good surplus. One time I remember vividly was when I asked a friend if they’d like some of my heirloom, organically grown popcorn. “Sure,” they said, “where did you get it?” “From my garden,” I explained. “Oh,” they answered, wide-eyed, “I didn’t know you could grow popcorn!! How did you grow it??” “Well,” I replied, trying not to giggle, “I stick the seeds in the ground and they grow popcorn plants.” Then I couldn’t help but ask, “where did you think popcorn came from?”

Anyway, when I was trying to figure what to write about for this week’s Happy Friday!!! I thought that would be a good place to start.

Now, to finish off, here are some fun facts of my very own which may or may not be true but I’ll put them here anyway for the fun of it and you know it’s been a very long time since I composed a run-on sentence but I figured it was long past due and I didn’t even use any commas or semi-colons and if you can read all this in one big breath I’ll give you a quarter!!

So here we are… some spillages from my brain area:

1: At least 50% of all ladybugs are not ladies. However, I think it’s good to keep calling all of them ladybugs, because one might be accused of sectional harshment if you said something like, “hey everyone!! Look at this cool manbug!!”

R: Eggplants do not produce eggs. Heck, the fruit doesn’t even look like eggs. And it sure doesn’t taste like eggs neither. So, like, what’s up with the name? Anyhow??

27: Now we come to another totally silly name for a food: grapefruit. Does anyone seriously think those look like grapes? Or taste anything like grapes?? Last I knew, they didn’t grow on grapefruit vines neither. Sheesh!! So if we ship many of them to market at the same time, is that considered grapefruit group freight?

OK, that’s probably enough for now. Oh wait… an old favorite:

I’ve never seen a purple cow,

I never hope to see one.

But from the milk we’re getting now,

There must quite surely be one.

Maybe we should all go hang out at Betty Boop’s farm for a “reality” check!

A Crappy Conversation

I’ve come to a terribly harsh conclusion: my Beautiful Girlfriend and I are getting older. This of course may seem like a no brainer… I mean I’ve already enjoyed 63 trips around the sun; and next week my Lovely Bride will be able to boast the same thing. So yeah, we’re getting older.

Remember how Grandma and Grandpa used to gross you out when you were a kid? No, not them personally (I hope), I mean some of their conversations. Many of you have probably endured the dubious privilege of overhearing them discussing all the really neat things that come with an aging body: wrinkles, hair loss (men especially), false teeth, and the worst conversation topic of all: bodily functions.

Well, I never thought I’d hear myself say it, but my wife and I have stepped up to the plate with this old people stereotype and discussed poop and pee today. And it didn’t even gross us out! In fact, we were laughing through much of it. Some of the discourse involved “anomalies…” you know, cool things like constipation. Next was the need to pee 145 times a day… or maybe thinking you need to but can’t.

The intrigue shifted gears a bit when something came to mind. I told my Sweet Honey Pie, “you know I haven’t gotten a bill for my Cologuard yet.” For those who are unaware, Cologuard is a test for colon cancer. You see (I’m talking to youse kids now…) when you turn 50, your doctor will recommend you get a colonoscopy to make sure you don’t have colon cancer. It’s a very enjoyable procedure where they knock you on your hiney (so to speak) with a big dose of demerol and then they shove a gigantic garden hose with a TV camera on the end into your nether regions. Actually, the most enjoyable part of the procedure is the prep you have to do before you go to the Garden Hose Hiney House. Oh yes, it’s great fun. You drink a special tonic that makes you wish you never had intestines. Have some, then be very close to the toilet because you’re gonna need it!! All this so the medical folks can look at your colon without any crappy obstructions.

Oh wait… Cologuard… right, we didn’t get a bill. Well you see, it’s like this: I was 52 when I got my colonoscopy, and I was really glad my Lovely Lady was with me. That’s because after the procedure was done; I wouldn’t wake up. In fact, I decided not to breathe very much. Seven times a minute is not enough for good health really. She yelled to the nurses, “um… he’s not breathing.” They shrugged it off at first, saying the demerol would wear off soon. At that point my Baby Cakes (who also happens to be a nurse) spoke a bit more assertively. “He’s not breathing!! His lips are turning blue!!” “Oh,” they said, and gave me some narcan; which has been in the news a bit lately. Narcan reverses the effects of narcotics, and its role in news reports has been the use of it to help junkies survive an overdose. So, it turns out I’m allergic to demerol; or at least the amount they gave me. My Dear Darling had some other complications that resulted in her colonoscopy being stopped before they could determine anything. Then, unfortunately, she had to undergo a barium enema; which is even MORE fun that the colonoscopy. Neither of us wanted to enjoy those happy crappy times ever again.

So yeah, OK, Cologuard!! Time to talk more about poop!! Yay!! Both of us had negative results for colon cancer, which was a very good thing. Another very good thing is Cologuard, which is a test that involves sending a stool sample to a lab for testing. Just to be clear, in case youse kids (youngsters) aren’t aware, a stool sample is not a hunk lopped off of a chair with no back. No no, you get to poop in a bucket and ship it via UPS to the lab. Is that crappy or what?? It’s very effective, and much less invasive than a colonoscopy or barium enema. Way cheaper too. But our insurance company, to which we affectionately refer as the Blue (I Don’t) Care Network, is too stinkin’ cheap to pay more than a pittance for the test; which leaves us holding the bag for the rest. Even though Medicare and lots of other private insurance companies pay, BCN does not. Is that awesome or what? Doesn’t’ matter, we’re blessed with the ability to pay our share. We’d much rather pay than have those crappy barium garden hose TV enema cameras shoved up our poopenheimers. Cologuard is recommended every 3 years; by which time Medicare will be our insurance provider.

I know this all sounds like a pretty crappy conversation, but if you’re near the same age as us, you’ve probably had a similar discussion at one time or other. If you’re near my age and try to tell me you haven’t; well, I’m not sure I’d believe you. And if you are younger than us and are absolutely sure you won’t talk about such things when you get old, I laugh to you.

You’ll find out.

In the meantime, Betty Boop will sell you some tonic that will cure all ills…

The Aheader I Go, The Behinder I Get

What the HECK is going on here?? I mean, the day before yesterday it was snowing; and now it’s almost June awreddy and I’m just now getting ready to put seeds in the garden!! I’m sorry but time seems to be flying faster than ever, and I really don’t think it’s fair!  I’m thinking there must be some type of time warp going on…

Our daughter will be 40 this year!! And our son will be 35!!  Sheesh!! And our daughter and her awesome husband have two boys who are 8 and 4 years old. They were babies just a few days ago!! WHAT IS GOING ON??? Very soon after our daughter and son-in-law had their first kid, I warned them that they will soon notice something very strange: time will vanish much more quickly with each passing day.

Or at least it sure seems to go fast. As a friend of mine once told me, “you know what the frogs say… ‘time’s fun when you’re having flies!!’ “

Well this time zooming stuff is exactly what happening to me and my lovely bride. Don’t get me wrong, we know we’re getting older; and for that very reason we treasure each day we are on the planet. We kinda like it here! We’re not worried about what comes next; we’re both convinced that cool stuff awaits us in the Great Beyond. But hey, let’s not rush things. We’re here now and loving life. And Holy Cow, we’re grandparents!! We were just dating a couple years ago!!

I mean hey, I remember vividly when the Beatles first came to America on the Mayflower like 5 or 6 years ago! Or something… Anyway, I really do remember sitting in my grandparents’ apartment in Brooklyn, NY when I was just short of 10 years old. My 8 transistor radio was glued to my ear while the Fab Four disembarked at JFK airport; with all the media of the day interviewing them every step of the way through the crowd of screaming fans. I even jokingly mentioned, “Hey Dad!! The Beatles just landed at JFK! We could go over there to see ‘em!!” “Yeah right!!” he retorted.

I’m not 10 anymore. I’m 63!! How is this possible?? And I really want to retire when I’m 66. When you were a kid, do you ever remember wanting to be 66? Well I’m there, man!! I want to be done with this working stuff. Oh well, only 2 years, 9 months, and 5 days to go (I have a countdown thingy on my work computer). But being an old fart isn’t so bad… I get to be a grandpa!

One cool thing about being a grandpa is that you get to reflect on all the changes that have happened over the years. Any of you who are old like me understand that life is exactly the same as when we were younger, only completely different. With technology alone, things have changed just a wee bit.

Picture this, kiddies. When I was born in 1954, commercial TV had only been rockin’ for about 13 years. Most stuff on TV was live broadcasts. If you had the TV on too early, you’d see a test pattern. If you had it on too late, you’d see a flag waving in the breeze while the national anthem was playing just prior to the station shutting down for the night. Although TV was on the rise, there were still dramas and comedies being made for and played on the radio. And when you turned on either a radio or a TV, you had to wait a few minutes for them to warm up. That’s because the tubes and their associated circuits had to stabilize. Tubes?? Say what?? Yes, tubes. And even after the radio or TV warmed up you often had to mess with the fine tuning to keep your signals coming in clearly. When you dialed a phone, you literally used a dial on the phone. None of the phones took batteries in those days. No fancy ring tones, just a bell. I know that some of you readers out there can outdo me on the dinosaur technology memories; but you get my drift.

Now back to the present day. I’ve noticed some “black holes” where a time warp knocks me in the head when I least expect it. For example: I scurry to get ready for work in the morning. Most of this zaniness is self inflicted, because I sleep till the last minute and then play fireman to get ready for the ride to work. We heat with sticks (we have wood heat), so in the colder months it’s my job to get the fires going. One is downstairs in the old part of the house, one upstairs in the addition. I start the furnace downstairs and then grab an armload of wood to offer the wood eater upstairs of course.

Next, I yank open the fridge and grab my lunch; shove it into the fancy Igloo cooler my friend Jeff got me for two bucks at a yard sale.

Pour the coffee into the travel mug, grab the cell phone, and head for the garage at precisely 6:54 a.m.

Situate my lunch on the passenger seat, stick my coffee mug into the cup holder, come around to the driver’s seat and turn on the car.

THE CLOCK NOW SAYS 7:03 A.M. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!! There is NO WAY it takes me 9 minutes to walk from my back door to the garage. And yes, the car’s clock is correct; just like the clock inside. I’m pretty anal about that.

Time warp I tell ya!!

If you are old enough to remember the Rocky Horror Picture Show… I mean really remember, meaning you were old enough to enjoy it when it first came on the scene… well then you and I really are in a time warp. Aren’t we?

Don’t believe any of this time warp nonsense? Well all I can say is: I bet you don’t have kids. Even if you don’t, you’re gonna get old like me some day.

You’ll see…

It’s Friday, I’m In Love

Happy Friday!!! to all you readers out there. And Happy Anniversary to my Beautiful Girlfriend and me. You may notice that I’m posting this earlier in the day than normal. Well, you can’t see me, but I’m here on a Thursday night, smacking keys on this keyboard thing to write a Happy Friday!!! a day early so I can celebrate a special day with my Soulmate.

It’s like this, OK: way back on May 19, 1972, we officially became a couple. That’s like 45 years ago!! How can this be possible??? I mean, I know it’s been awhile, but 45 years?? Sheesh!! As a friend of mine once said, “you know what the frogs say, ‘time’s fun when you’re having flies!!’ “

Boy ain’t that the truth ( I think…).

Somebody Upstairs had to be stirring some sort of Cosmic Cauldron to put us together. We were “introduced” to each other during the last half of our senior year in high school. God Bless Mr. Patana… he was the Spanish teacher who was saddled with overseeing the study hall to which my Future Honey Pie and I were assigned. He was adamant that we should enjoy assigned seats: boy / girl, boy / girl in alphabetical order (probably for his ease of taking attendance). I am a Hansen, she was a Hilliard, so we got “stuck” sitting next to each other.

Why is this so “Cosmic?” I thought you’d never ask… even if you didn’t. Here I was, a transplant from Long Island, Noo Yawk, getting seated next to a truly lovely female person transplanted from Ferndale, Michigan. Both of us were uprooted from our perfectly comfortable lives in the suburbs and blasted waaaay up north to Rhinelander High School in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin!! WisCONsin???!!!

Oh yeah.

My transplanting preceded hers by almost 6 years; so by the time this lovely young woman came to Podunk (my cousin’s nickname for a small town), I was fortunate enough to have been converted into a country boy. However, I certainly understood the pain of being uprooted with little or no notice; and that’s exactly what she endured.

Fortunately (for me), we became very good friends pretty much instantly. Study hall became my favorite part of the school day; even though I already had a “girlfriend.” I put “girlfriend” in quotes because she lived near Chicago and only came up north with her family for vacations. We wrote gooshy letters to each other and stuff but this awesomely attractive young lady from Ferndale really captured my heart. She also mentioned she had a “boyfriend;” he was in the Navy (also good… for me). Neither of us spoke much about these long distance relationships much though. Our friendship was blooming into something much more amazing.

I was really enjoying what seemed like a strictly platonic (albeit powerful) bond when she pulled a dirty trick: she abandoned her normal attire of bell bottom blue jeans and smock tops for dresses and sparkly makeup. It was very effective… similar to how effective it would be if she clunked me on the noggin with a large 2 X 4. Needless to say, my relationship priorities shifted drastically from that point. I found my soulmate!!

Along came May 19, 1972; when my long distance “sweetie” was due to arrive at the resort where her family loved to spend the beautiful Northwoods summers. I rode my 1970 Honda CB175 (which we still own) over there and broke the news.  Although she wasn’t very happy about it, this really wasn’t a complete surprise; because I had mentioned my “new friend’s” name in several letters. My new Beautiful Girlfriend did her part with a “Dear John” letter to her beau in the Navy.

So here we are now. I’m still head over heels in love with this woman. Actually, it’s much stronger and deeper than ever. We are still best friends, and she still causes my blood to flow very warmly. And I do mean VERY warmly. And that’s all the detail youse kids are gonna get on that stuff!! So I’m writing on a Thursday night because I have a date tomorrow with the Most Beautiful Woman in the Universe. That’s not meant to be anything derogatory against other women, mind you. My professional opinion is that ALL other women in the world are the 2nd Most Beautiful.

Hope all of you have a Happy Friday!!! I know I will, because it’s Friday, and I’m In Love. All the while I’ve been writing this, that song by The Cure has been banging around in my head (along with others), so here we go…

The Beatles’ Strawberry Fields is “one of our songs…”  but you just can’t find a full video of it on the YouTubes.  So, The Ladders did a pretty decent job…

God Bless Mom

Can you believe this Sunday is Mothers Day already?? Sheesh!! Seems like just a few weeks ago it was 17 degrees outside. Well, as frogs say, “time’s fun when you’re having flies!!” Those of you who read my silly rants are aware that I took a little break. Wasn’t sure when to get “back in the saddle” with the Happy Friday!!! thing; but I figured a tribute to all the Mothers of the World could be a nice idea.

When writing about something as important as Mother’s Day, the task pretty much mandates a little research. Alright, maybe it’s not a mandate. But as I sat staring at the title that jumped out of my keyboard and onto the page, I couldn’t help being curious about where all this Mother’s Day stuff originated. Turns out there have been several holidays over the eons devoted to mothers; dating back perhaps thousands of years.

Here in the US, the holiday as we now know it was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908. Her efforts resulted in President Woodrow Wilson proclaiming it a national holiday in 1914. Unfortunately, the occasion quickly became commercially “interesting” to merchandisers; to the chagrin of Ms. Jarvis. Even she reportedly began to refer to Mother’s Day as a “Hallmark Holiday.”

Even so, God knows there is no more deserving soul to be honored than Mom. Your Mom, my Mom, Mother Nature, and so on. In the case of me and my siblings; I’m amazed that our mother made it through the ordeal of raising the four of us without completely going bonkers. Our parents started our family with me in 1954; and raised us through the 60s, and into the 70s. Early on, social norms meant that Dad was “king of the castle” and Mom was the keeper of the household. In other words, Dad earned the money and Mom did the best she could to keep us fed and clothed. Considering some of the “challenges” my Dad introduced into that equation she did a remarkable job.

Mom was the cook, bottle washer, laundry attendant and mending master. She knew how to comfort us when we were sad; and she knew how to put us in our place when we acted up. We were raised on Long Island, New York during a time when shows like “The Honeymooners” were still on TV. Even if you didn’t live in Brooklyn, people were not afraid to yell to get their point across. I once had a fond remembrance of when the four of us were driving her nuts; and Mom shouted, “YOUSE GODDAMN KIDS!!” Needless to say, she got our attention. When I mentioned it to my mother many years later, she quickly replied, “I never said that!!”

Of course not.

Anyway, she raised us the best she knew how. Did a darn good job of it too. Although her generation was not really the touchy-feely type; we knew that she loved us and would do anything in her power to make life better for us.

She must have been heart broken when I ran off with “that girl.” At the time, that was how Dad referred to my beautiful girlfriend. Relations between Dad and me were usually tense (to put it mildly), so leaving home at the ripe old age of 18 seemed like the natural next step for me. I joined the Air Force and was married to my sweetie all in the course of a year after graduation from high school. Things between Dad and me never really improved so we settled about 500 miles away and would visit maybe once or twice a year. It would be many years before I would really understand how difficult that must have been for my parents. My lovely wife and I raised a daughter and son; and now that they are grown and out of the house we get restless if we don’t see them for a week, much less a year or more.

Mom did the best she knew how. She was the product of a generation where the woman bowed to the husband, regardless of how deep the BS puddle became. Under Dad and Mom’s roof, we didn’t tell each other “I love you.” There was very little hugging, and if Dad was around, whatever you do, don’t cry “or I’ll give you something to cry about.” Deep down, however, we knew we were loved, albeit some of the the methods were a bit harsh.

Just like any new parents, my beautiful wife and I were determined to “do a better job than our parents did.” We raised our kids in a home where the words “I love you” were uttered every day, often multiple times. We had plenty of hugs to go around, plenty of time spent. And when I would get up on my high horse, my lovely wife would get a stick and knock me down from there. Well OK not literally, but you get the idea. I probably presented the same “challenges” into our new family that my Dad interjected into family life when we were being raised. One thing for sure, if you are interested in growing up, try having kids! I’m sure we made our mistakes, but we did some things right, also.

My Mom and Dad have both been gone for several years. Dad and I managed to patch things up before he left this life, thank God. And Mom did her best to cope with losing the love of her life until she finally left also. Funny how things evolve… as of this writing I can honestly say that I’ve flushed the bad memories and I’m cherishing the good ones.

So to my Mom, and to my lovely Wife Mom, and now to our daughter who’s also a Mom, and to all the Mothers in the Universe:

THANK YOU. GOD BLESS YOU. I LOVE YOU.

So there.

Well Mom, wherever you are, I hope you and Dad are having a Perfect Day.

Two Weeks Off

Dear Friends,

This is to inform you that Happy Friday!!! will not be installed next week or the week after. I’m taking a couple weeks off you see. And no it has nothing to do with Spring Break. I mean, who wants to walk around with a bunch of broken springs? My brand new 2001 Chrysler Town and Country has very creaky springs, but they are not broken. They just make noise. Because of this, I took it to my friendly neighborhood mechanic to have these noises checked out. He told me that for $800 I could have very quiet springs and shocks. He also told me that the old springs were not a safety hazard or anything, they just have the creakies.

They still have the creakies. I see no point in putting $800 into a very old car that will probably have something much more costly go wrong before all is said and done. My friendly neighborhood mechanic did offer two absolutely free solutions: 1) always choose smooth roads and R) turn the volume up on the radio. So I do at least one of those things every day and all is well.

So what does this have to do with the price of ballpoint pen refills? I have no idea. But circling back to the initial premise that there will be no Happy Friday!!! for two weeks, I hope all of you can forgive me but I just need to take a break. Maybe, for example, I’ll take my Beautiful Girlfriend on a road trip. She mentioned that it’s not wise to chronicle your trip with that social media BookFace thing; because “people come and rob your house when they know you’re gone.”

Well let’s put it this way: perhaps, just perhaps, we are going on a road trip. But if you are a thief, please don’t read this, or at least forget you ever saw it. Please do that right now. Also, if you are a thief (or are fixin’ to tell a friend or relative who is a thief) please be aware that I will be employing various security measures while we are gone.

For example, we have our friend Freddy the Freeloader. He is a cat. A VERY BIG cat. I’ve been subliminally conditioning him for months now. Whenever he greets me at the bottom of our deck when I get home from work, which is pretty much every day, I look into his beautiful yellow-green eyes and say, “Fred, remember to use your razor sharp toenails on the strangers at all times.” I figure his razornails are the best weapon, because he lost one of his canine teeth before he came to live with us so he doesn’t have a full compliment of tooth ouchers. Oh but my oh my his claws work very well!! I’m confident he won’t let me down. He’s a black cat, so he can be very stealthy in many Cat Ninja slashy ouchy maneuvers.

Also, I’ve finally perfected my themo-electronic 9 dimensional force field. It surrounds the house and garage, and also the outbuildings. Pretty gruesome… whenever someone tries to pass through the thermo-electronic barrier, they get a severe hankering for Speedway hotdogs. It’s not unusual for someone to slide a finger (or even the tip of their nose) into the force field, then abruptly dash for the nearest Speedway gas station. For some reason, once they walk in the door they are compelled to eat ALL the hotdogs on those greasy little roller thingies. Even the ones that have turned a very dark color and are all wrinkly!! The result of this compulsion is, of course, projectile vomiting. In the store. In front of God and everybody. They they completely forget they were going to rob me.

Thirdly, our son will be watching over the place; and you know what that means, right? Yep, he’s very adept at smearing the outer door handles with fresh Tootsie Rolls that are found in Freddy the Freeloader’s litter box. Very special gloves are required to prevent becoming infected with PooperOhNo; a quickly spreading disease that causes facial features to be almost instantly rearranged. You like having one eye under your chin and your nose sticking out the side of your cheek?? Well by all means, c’mon over and grab a door handle!!

OK, so I’m gonna take a break from Happy Friday!!! for two weeks. Maybe we go away, maybe we don’t… we’re gonna keep you guessing.

So there.

Peace, Love, and Don’t Even Think About It,

Kenny “I’mSoTired” Fluffnozzle

“And now,” as Mr. Cleese used to say, “for something completely different.”

Every Day Is (not) April Fools

So there I was, at the Egg Roll House Wonderful Chinese Restaurant Which Has The Best Chinese In Muskegon Michigan And It’s Been That Way For Many Years, waiting for my take out order (which would have been ready but I asked, “how long to add Shrimp With Vegetable?” and the nice lady said “Five Minutes!!” so I looked at the stack of Time magazines and the copy on top had, in big letters, “Is Truth Dead?” written on it and it made me think of all the total crap that finds its way into the media these days and some people actually believe it and so I thought “what the heck do I write about on the day before April Fools?” and this seemed like a good topic to go with so now it’s time to STOP WITH THE HUGE RUN-ON SENTENCE AWREDDY and tell everyone that I’m going to write about this here:

FAKE NEWS.

Now, I’m old enough to remember when The Beatles came to America on The Mayflower; so I’ve observed a few cultural changes over the years. When I was a kid, if you said something that wasn’t true, it was called a lie. Very simple. Everyone knew what that meant. Then, somewhere along the line, a word by the name of “misinformation” was introduced into our spoken and written language. It still meant that someone was telling a lie, but extenuating circumstances would often surround whatever the “misinformation” might be; and these circumstances were offered to create a smokescreen about the plain reality of it all: it was a stinkin’ lie.

The latest euphemism for a lie is the term “fake news.” Well the use of that term really bugs me. It’s kinda like someone offering me “turkey bacon.” Sorry friends, there is no way you can make bacon from turkey. There are companies who make something that looks like bacon, and maybe sorta kinda tastes like bacon, but it ain’t bacon. Bacon comes from dead pigs. Period. So when someone starts babbling about fake news; they really aren’t talking about news at all. They are calling someone a liar.

So quit with the euphemisms already!! A lie is a lie! Somehow, though, the printed word and the internet seem to give lies a life of their own; to the point that people who would rather not bother with checking facts will believe almost anything they see in print, online, or hear and see on TV and radio. And if a person is very important, and doesn’t like what they see or hear, and call it fake news, well guess what?? Because that person is very important (at least in their own mind), people will believe something that simply isn’t true!

What a world!!

So here I offer you some absolutely true facts that will hopefully help you in your search for the truth. I can vouch for all that follows, because you are reading it on the internet; and everyone knows that whatever is on the internet is absolutely true stuff.

True Fact #1: Russia is e-mailing 45 rpm records to unsuspecting music lovers; and these records contain secret DNA altering messages embedded in the grooves. So when you think you’re listening to an old Chuck Berry tune (God rest his soul); you’re actually absorbing molecular sound waves that will cause your eyebrows to grow completely together (Holy Unibrow, Batman!!).

True Fact #2: A new version of radical Atheism has sprung up in rural Minnesota. Harsh winters have produced fertile ground for these factions to adopt terrorist tactics that involve dumping large quantities of Cracker Jacks in ice fishing shanties. This of course confuses unsuspecting ice fishermen; who upon returning to their shanty, veer away from their faiths and compulsively gorge themselves on the tasty snack food. These fishermen disappoint their families when they come home with no fish but a very sticky face and huge sugar buzz.

True Fact #3: Honeybees are being forced into slave labor by the Air Force. Instead of using normal methods of jet engines for propulsion, bees will be harnessed to fighter jets to lift them off the ground in a very stealthy manner. This method, called “beezooming,” is difficult to detect by even the most sensitive monitoring equipment.

I could produce many more True Facts but I don’t want to bore you all with my amazing knowledge of things I just made up in my mind. You may never have heard of any of the previous 3 True Facts. That’s because although they are all true, those who have this information have been sworn to secrecy. All those “in the know” about these things are very aware that if they don’t keep their mouths shut about all this, I will send trained slime spiders to their homes at unpredictable hours.

Nobody likes slime spiders.

OK… hope you all have a nice April Fools Day. And please, know that just like those X-Files kids used to say, “the truth is out there.” Really it is… you just gotta dig for it sometimes.

Speaking of lies, though, here are a few fun lying thingies…