An Ecliptical Anniversary

This coming Monday is a very important date. That’s right folks, if you’ve been listening to the news at all, you probably didn’t hear anything about why this Monday is important… to me. You see, way back on August 21 of 1973, when the internet was made of string and soup cans, The Most Beautiful Woman In The Universe allowed me to marry her. I had pestered her for many moons to allow me to become her hubby, and now this coming Monday we’ll celebrate 44 years of wedded bliss.

Oh, and I guess there’s some kind of eclipse going on that day also.

Well OK, that’s what many of you have been talking about lately. The eclipse I mean. Last one like it for the U.S. was way back in 1970. I’ve heard that lots of folks are traveling toward our nation’s heartlands to be in the path of the umbra, which is the shadow that’s cast from the moon completely blocking the sunlight’s path to Earth. You can see a map of where the umbra will be experienced here:

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/

My Beautiful Girlfriend (the Lovely Lady who let me marry her) and I will not be traveling, but will instead be bathing in the glory of the penumbra here at our house in Beautiful West Michigan. I’m taking a half day off to be with my sweetie. I’ve learned from the interwebs that around these parts, the eclipse will begin at 12:56 PM and last until about 3:41 PM Eastern Daylight time. Maximum darkness will happen at about 2:20 PM here. Plug in your zip code at this site for eclipse times at a city near you:

https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2017-august-21

And hopefully all of you know to please be a responsible viewer and DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN during the eclipse. You’ll fry your eyeballs out of your noggin. Eyeball goop will be all melty and run down your face like gooey mascara during a rain storm. Maybe not. But you’ll damage your sight, and there are plenty of safe ways to view the eclipse. Here are some tips:

https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/eclipse-tips-safety.html

Now one of the coolest things I remember from the 1970 event was the appearance of shadows during the eclipse. My favorite treat is to enjoy the shadows cast by leaves on trees. So if at all possible, try to find a nice shade tree that allows some sunlight to pass through it; and sit or stand underneath during the eclipse. The shadows cast on the ground give an almost surreal light show during this time… and it’s truly special if there’s a light breeze to move the leaves around a bit.

Yes my friends, this anniversary will be special indeed. The weather forecast is looking like partly sunny with a chance of showers after 2 PM. That figures… but doesn’t matter. It will still get crazy dark during the day and I’ll be with my soul mate. And you know what’s really cool?? Our marriage just keeps getting better every year!!

Who could ask for anything better than that?

In case you’re wondering how sunshine is made, check this out:

“Rocky” The Corn Thief

So there I was, minding my own business, harvesting the ripe tomatoes before the rain came. And we actually got a REAL rain for a change!! Almost an inch at our house. While other parts of Michigan have been getting some pretty good moisture over the summer, here in our little corner of Beautiful West Michigan it’s been pretty doggone dry. Because of that, if you don’t pick your ripe or nearly ripe tomatoes before it rains, the extra water makes them split open.

So there I was, minding my own business (oh wait, I said that…), and as I was picking the corn, I mean the TOMATOES, I noticed that two of the corn stalks were bent over in a most unnatural way. It only took a few milliseconds for me to know exactly what this was all about… the partially chewed ear of popcorn lying there, crying silently with little chompy marks all over its outer skin places… oh yes, I’ve seen this before, it makes me crazy and sad inside because I don’t plant very much popcorn and now this (or these?) stinkin’ THIEVES are making me so arooo and bipple-dee-bip that I can’t even snibble my fardaklob without flortening even more bold italic words to show how COMPLETELY ANNOYED I AM AT THOSE MASKED MONKEES GETTING INTO MY POPCORN WITHOUT ANY INVITATION OR EVEN A SLIGHT HINT THAT THEY MAY BE WELCOME and that’s quite enough superfluous emphasis for one run-on sentence; thank you very much.

Raccoons. Just like last year. Unlike last year, I may have some reprieve. I put out a live trap last night and this morning there was a corn thief, trapped in Corn Thief Jail. Ha ha on you, you stinkin’ cute little monkey headed brinklebork!! The cat food was excellent bait for your corn thievin’ nostrils!! I really hope you were the “Lone Ranger” in this popcorn raid. Just in case though, I put the trap out again with the hopes of catching other members of your family; if they are near.

A friend of mine has chickens… and he has trapped some thieving raccoons and a couple possums I guess. They are all in heaven now; he accelerated each of their journeys with a .22 calibre shell. Sorry, but I don’t have it in me to kill these thieves. I guess you’re supposed to get a permit to either kill or otherwise remove vermin from your property; but from what I’ve heard not many folks worry about such things. No, I think what happens at my house is they crawl into some kind of wire box and somehow mysteriously disappear. During this magical event, they venture off to an unknown raccoon friendly environment that’s about 10 miles and 2 rivers away from my yard. I’ve never actually trapped one you see. It was a dream. Don’t read the previous paragraph. Oh, you read it already?? Well fine. I’ll deny every word of it.  Besides, you have to catch me…

The most effective method to stop the garden raids is of course prevention. I’ve talked about an electric fence for a couple years now. This was the year it was supposed to happen… but as is often the case I forgot to quit procrastinating. Now the corn is well on its way to maturity. Although I dashed off to the Farm and Home store last night and went nuts buying electric fence surprise supplies, I’m embarking on a learn-as-I-go journey to put a row of ouchy-wawa wire (that’s technical talk for HOLY MACKEREL THAT’S A BIG SHOCKEROONY) on top of my existing 5 foot high wire fence. I think I have a nice design; so wish me luck.

My grandiose plan for all things like this is to quit procrastinating either tomorrow or the day after that. No need to rush into things you know. Everything falls into place, especially change out of your pockets when you sit on the couch. Did you ever look under the driver’s seat in your car?? There’s treasure under there I tell you!! This is all from things falling into place. OK, maybe I’ll actually have to work to finish the electric fence surprise. That will take some effort.

Maybe tomorrow…

Today’s video has nothing to do with corn theft; rather it is a rendition of one of my favorite Beatle songs. Not sure if my little corn thief’s name was Rocky… might have been a girl. But then a friend of ours named Richelle actually is known to us as Rocky.

I’m guessing many of you have heard The Beatles version of Rocky Raccoon.  If not, you can find it on the YouTubeThing.  I knew there would be no Beatles video of it; but I rather like Richie Havens’ version of Rocky Raccoon.

Perseid Meteor Showers: Snap, Crackle, KABOOM!!

Please do not be frightened, for what I am about to relate is merely cosmic truth that has occurred annually for at least 12 and maybe even 47,000. I just don’t know. But it’s true and that’s all there is to it. OK?? So don’t bother me about this ever again or I’ll start up that dead bug over there. You see that dead bug? Well, to the untrained eye, that bug is dead. But all I need to do is insert these tiny little electrodes in his vinkabules, apply the 3,047 volts from my electric fingernail removal tool, and he’ll be making zucchini bread in no time. And it will be on your conscience for bugging me about all this cosmic truth business. I hope you’re happy now.

So are you ready to receive this information without interrupting the camouflage now? I should hope so.

Just sit back and relax, and be aware that everything you hold dear is in danger of exploding and being zoofled to smithereens. “Of course,” some of you are probably yelling, “he must be talking about the Perseid meteor showers!!” Oh… none of you were yelling that?? Well, maybe you are instead quietly saying, “what’s the deal with this guy… does he eat Legos or something??” Well, for those of you who are saying that, the answer is yes, and my Lower Jaw Lego Chewing Machine is very tired so please be nice.

OK. Back to this horrible cosmic truth I’ve been ranting about. The Perseid meteor shower is an annual occurrence, and this year the best times to look for shooting stars is after midnight on August 11 and 12. Seriously. It happens every year around this time… and some meteors will be visible before and after those days but according to what I’ve read on the interwebs, the peak times are next Friday and Saturday. Look for them to come out of the northeastern sky. You may see as many as two per minute, depending on how many Burger Kings or other light pollution sources you have in your neighborhood. You could always ask them to turn the lights off, but they may not care about any stinking shooting stars. Gotta waste energy to make money, you know. Gotta get that global warming furnace stoked up so my next pair of tennies burst into flames as I stroll down the sidewalk during a heat wave. Thank you very much Mr. Businessman Energy Wasting People Who Leave The Lights On All Stinking Night Long!!

Alright, I’m sorry. I digress. Something I normally never do…

I must now take this time to please ask you to protect yourselves during the meteor showers. Always, always wear a fireproof bathrobe while you’re outside viewing meteor showers. You may also want to flip on the force field to protect your house from the snap, crackle, KABOOM always never happens when an 85 ton meteorite lands on your chimney.  What??  You don’t have a force field???  Ah HAH!  You sold it at the flea market didn’t you??  Have you no science brains?  You won’t catch me out there with no fireproof clothing… And although we don’t have a force field, I have this aluminum bat right here.  Yup, I’m gonna be up on the roof with my modified 55 gallon steel drum overalls, bat in hand, always at the ready.  For a helmet, I modified a nice Revere Ware pot with a pillow stuffed inside. Fireproof Noggin Protection Device. When one of those fireballs puts a bead on my house, I’m gonna take that bat and smack it back into Who Knows Where.  

 I also have a heat resistant meteorite gauge mounted on the fence, right next to my rain gauge.  I want to make sure I know exactly how many inches of meteors we got during the meteor showers.  Actually the meteorite gauge is there for a selfish motive… my Honey Pie didn’t want me to get a force field because she says it’s too expensive.  I guess I’ll have the last laugh when that meteorite gauge is full of smoldering bits in the morning. Right??  Somebody say yes….

Well, hopefully you will all have clear skies and be able to see one of nature’s wonders.  There have been some years when the Perseids have been a very awesome show.  At any rate, I’ll be up on the roof, aluminum bat in hand, hoping to God that we don’t have any lightning.  

Might mess up my hair.

Perhaps a nice trip to Mars after the meteor shower…

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…