Time’s Fun…

Well girls and boys, tomorrow marks another anniversary for me and my Beautiful Girlfriend. We still celebrate May 19th of every year; because it’s the Anniversary Of Our First Official Date. The acronym for that would be AOOFOD; which sounds really dumb so please disregard that idea. Maybe I should change the acronym to DOOOFA: Date Of Our Official First Anniversary? How about OFOAOD: Our First Official Anniversary Of Dating?

Never mind.

Anyway, on May 19, 1972, my Beautiful Girlfriend and I officially became a couple. For those who don’t know the story, when we starting having mutually sparkling eyeballs, we both had long distance relationships. She wrote a “Dear John” letter to her boyfriend who was in the Navy (his real name was Richard). I drove my 1970 Honda CB175 to the local resort where my soon-to-be-former sweetie from Chicago was due to visit for vacation.

So here we are now, and after a year, my Amazing Honey Pie let me marry her!! That was very nice indeed. We reflect on our blessings (and to a much lesser extent, our challenges) during both anniversaries every year. The other day, My Baby sighed and said, “where did all the time go??” A former boss of mine handed out an answer for just such a question many moons ago, and I embraced it. So when My Lovely Lady asked where all the time went, I quipped, “times fun when you’re having flies!!”

That’s what frogs say, or so I’m told.

After my smart aleck remark, we both started reminiscing aloud. We’ve been blessed beyond belief, really. I consider myself a very wealthy man. Please don’t confuse my concept of wealth with affluence; although money is very helpful at times. No, I’m referring to wealth in the form of a very nice life that’s filled with joy (or at least contentment) 99.99% of the time. Of course our relationship had some rocky times. I don’t know that it’s possible to intimately spend most of your life with someone without some degree of turbulence. But we worked through those times; and came out better than ever on the other side.

So where did all the time go? Well, let’s see… there was courtship, marriage, having fun, growing up, raising children, growing up, having more fun, marriage counseling, growing up some more; being blessed with grandchildren, and having more fun. Oh, and stuff like work and chores were sprinkled in there… oh and sleeping… eating… bathing… going to the bathroom… Anyway, when I first met My Beautiful Girlfriend Who Let Me Marry Her (MBGWLMMH), she’d say, “life is laughing and crying, shagging and dying.”

Well OK, she may have used a much stronger term than shagging…

There’s a lot of truth to that statement! I’m hoping to learn from the past and avoid projecting what the future will bring. Sometimes I can actually do that!! All I know is, rather than sigh about how quickly life has rolled along, I’m trying to treasure each moment of each day. And each day with The Most Beautiful Woman In The Universe is a very fine day indeed.

And now for the mooshy stuff…

Every Day Is Mothers Day

With Mothers Day on the horizon, I thought it important to yell a BIG GIANT THANK YOU to all the mothers in the universe. After all, without Mom, none of us would be where we are today. Actually, without Mom, none of us would be here at all!!

We have lots of “holidays” on the calendar that, in my professional opinion, should not be holidays at all. Sweetest Day? Ummm… no. Conversely, we have holidays like Earth Day, Mothers Day, and Fathers Day that exemplify principles we should embrace all year long. Nothing wrong with making a bigger fuss once a year, mind you. But let’s put the focus on this Sunday, which of course is Mothers Day. Considering the sacrifices our mothers made to raise us all the very best way they could; don’t you think Moms deserve to be special all year long?

God knows I could have done a better job appreciating Mom when I was a kid. Too soon old and too late smart seems to be bonking around inside my head bone a bit regularly these days. Hindsight is 20/20 though, as they say. I truly believe in my heart that every Mom does the very best they can; which of course is governed by their awareness. All Moms are human; and there’s no instruction manual. We all just need to take the good that Mom gave us and let it shine whenever we get the chance.

So for this week’s Happy Friday, I’m just going to be short and to the point:

Dear Mom,

Thank you for everything.

I love you with all my heart,


My Mom is in Heaven, but I send her loving prayers and I know in my heart they are heard. And to all of you other Moms out there, thanks to all of you also. You’ve blessed me with wonderful friends and loved ones who could never have been here without your help.

Take care, dear Moms, and Happy Mothers Day.

A lot of men are raising kids these days, but Gabby seemed to have a pretty tough time…

Black And White Stress Relief

I’m not afraid admit it: I’m an antique. When we were kids, Mom would literally tell us “go watch television” to get us out of her hair. Mind you this was mostly when it was too crummy to go outside; but we grew up spending some time in front of the TV.

When family life got stressful, I found myself clinging to the relief provided by good old black and white TV programs and movies. I mostly enjoyed black and white programs because, well, that’s all we had at our house until well into the ‘70s.

Abbott and Costello, The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, oh and of course there was Our Gang, the Bowery Boys, Bug Bunny, Felix the Cat, Betty Boop…

I could go on for a very long time.

I count myself as one a privileged generation who were blessed to be wowed by the old time greats, yet also blessed by newer talents of today.

But when life gets really icky, I find myself reaching for the Three Stooges or Marx Brothers DVDs. Or maybe Monty Python. OK, Monty Python episodes were not filmed in glorious black and white, but you get the idea.

So there I was, 10,000 feet in the air, no plane, no parachute… oh wait… different story.

So there I was, working my hiney off, being grumpy, not being very grateful. Silly me, a spoiled American, being grumpy because I am working harder than ever. Many, MANY people in this world would be very happy to have the high-class problems I have. However, I’m human and therefore I get grumpy from time to time.

For me, one of the best remedies for stress is laughter.

Therefore, I’m going to treat you to one of my favorite black and white stress relievers.

Please remember that it’s always better to be you than for you to be me; and although you can count to it, “eight” is a word.

OK… now to make with the video!

A Grandsons’ “Happy Friday!!!”

This week’s “Happy Friday!!!” is being tailored to the wishes of our grandsons. We went to pick them up for a weekend visit at our house, and on the way home I asked, “what should I write about this week?”

Ollie answered, “how about a cat that lives inside a vacuum cleaner?” Gabe quickly added, “yeah and he’s wearing a hat that got sucked in!!” Wasn’t really sure how I would approach this challenge, considering that it’s usually late outside when I start writing. That’s because of a tradition that began many moons ago: we watch very old cartoons until it’s very late. After a big day of chores and getting them settled into bed after several cartoons; my creative energy begins to dwindle.

Fortunately, though, they both got me off the hook. While lying in bed, Ollie said, “I changed my mind. I’d like a different story.” “OK,” I replied, “how about something like The Adventures Of Marble Face Moe?” “Yes!” Ollie returned; at which point Gabe quickly chimed in, “yes, and The Adventures Of Nonsense!!”

So here we go:

The Adventures Of Marble Face Moe And Other Adventures In Nonsense

by Ken Hansen

Marble Face Moe was often teased by the neighborhood kids. That’s because when he was very young, marbles got stuck to his face and wouldn’t come off. All the neighborhood kids thought that he looked pretty weird. Marble Face Moe’s appearance kind of scared them really; so they didn’t know how to react except to tease poor Moe.

It all started when Moe began collecting marbles. Many marbles. Many, MANY marbles. Moe collected so many marbles that he had to keep them in a big wash tub. He really liked looking at all his marbles, and was always trying to figure out how to get the best view. Moe thought maybe if he stuck his whole face inside the big pile of marbles, they would look really cool when seen up close. He began to push his face into the marbles when his mother walked by and noticed him.

“Moe, I think you have your face too close to all those marbles!!” she warned. “Be careful, you never know what can happen!! Back away a little bit please!!” “Ok Mom,” Moe replied. Then he waited for her to leave and rammed his face deep into the pile of marbles. Unfortunately, things didn’t go the way Moe was hoping. Not only did he find the marbles very uncomfortable on his eyes (because they were so close), but many of the marbles stuck to his skin. He tried to brush them off but that didn’t work.

Moe got pretty scared, so he ran to his Mom and she got pretty scared too. She tried to calm Moe down with her loving voice, all the while she was wondering how in the world all these marbles got stuck in Moe’s skin. Next, of course, she was thinking really hard about how to get them off. She tried just brushing them off with her hands; and of course just as Moe told her, that didn’t work. Then she tried smearing various household things on Moe’s face, hoping to wash the marbles off somehow. First, she tried soap and water. No luck. Then she tried butter, mayonnaise, peach jelly, cat food, and even cheese sticks. Finally she gave up and took Moe to the face doctor.

Once they got to Dr. Skinslimer’s office, he began to squint at the sight of Moe’s predicament. “Ah yes, the old marble face thing. You didn’t listen to your Mom, did you young man??” “No, sir,” Moe said sheepishly. “Well, I hate to tell both of you this, but those marbles are there to stay… at least for now. You’ll have to wait till you grow out of them.” “Oh no, Doctor!!” gasped Moe’s Mom. “How long will that take?” Doctor Skinslimer answered, “could be a week or two, could be a few months. Think of it as a bad case of pimples.”

Moe and his Mom hung their heads with sadness and left the doctor’s office. Soon after they got home, (note to the reader: this is where the Other Adventures In Nonsense begins) Moe tried to capture some eels with his pickle pencils. Both Moe and his Mom found out that telephones often like a gooey snack during TV crunching time. Once both onions were allowed outside to hunt for seagull boogers, the only crayons that learned how to shave were singing loudly during The Great Purple Goat Festival.

Ponk, ponk, ponk went the tiny truck wagons as they flew backwards during the cranberry storms. Evil weevils stole all the oatmeal, but then they figured out that if you try to paint your eyebrows with dark blue cupcake juice, all of your friends will laugh at the whipped cream tire tracks that never decorated the sidewalks. Actually, if you put cheese inside a computer screen, not only will you get enough paper to fry bananas, but you will also have itchy elbows for the rest of the movie.

Yes, yes, YES!!! I have tried sniffing toasted bookshelves and I still am not hungry for them today!!! Please, if you want to make me a nice meal, just get the bottle of frozen washing machine parts and shake it loudly. During the noise, the recipe for my favorite dish, Macaroni and Sneeze, will appear on the kitchen wall next to where all those ants have been making vacation cabins. Lucy likes licking licorice lamps lately. Steven says sauerkraut smells snergelly; so Santa sneaks sardines southward! Many more Martians mumble miggly-boo and foompa-dissnockey.

That is the way of my people.

So as you can see, more hammers are found in the ocean than any other pile of dried fly swatters. Do you want to taste this pair of headphones? Are you going to explode if you don’t ever chew bacon again? Will cars, trucks, trains and airplanes ever wear funny hats and go to parties together? Listen… do you smell anything? The answer to all these questions is, of course: tree shoes.

Thank you and please don’t forget to enjoy your cabbage bath. The ducks are waiting…

OK… here’s an example of the cartoons we enjoy until it’s too late to wash the frogs:

Car Thieves Are Not My Friends

If you’ve been reading this blog at all, perhaps you’ve noticed that I rarely mention politics. Believe me, I have plenty to say about the woes of the world; but my professional opinion is that if a person reads something like “Happy Friday!!!” they might appreciate a break from all the geopolitical falderol. Well tonight I’m gonna get on my soapbox a bit and complain about theft. I know that’s not political (well not in this case), but I’ve been feeling a smidgen victimized and I’m a gonna bark a little.

So there we were, my Beautiful Girlfriend and me, minding our own business on the way back from a funeral visitation when we heard this dreadful ker-whump!! coming from under the car hood; which was accompanied by a sudden loss of power and then the engine was running at way too many RPM but the car was slowing down so of course I hit the EJECT button and both of us were hurled out of the top of the car but luckily our parachutes got snarled in some pine trees so we were able to watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island on someone’s widescreen TV because they had their curtains open and “wow Honey look at how big their picture window is!! Even from up here in the top of the pine tree we can smell the Farmers Insurance commercials!!” and of course nothing after the words “ I hit the EJECT button” was real but it made for a pretty nice run-on sentence which I shall terminate… NOW.

Anyway… the nasty ker-whump!! was an audible warning that the end was very near for the transmission of our brand new, 2001 Chrysler Town and Country racing van. Thinking maybe our trusted service people on the other side of town could help, I drove the ailing minivan over there and the nice man shook his head and said, “nope… you need a tranny shop.” Gack. So I started to go to the closest one but then I remembered our other trusted service people right near our house. Drove over there and the nice man said, “we’re running about a week and a half behind.”


OK… back to the other side of town we go but uh oh… not much reverse. Not much forward neither. Got it to limp to our house and was hoping to back it into the driveway. Nope. Reverse go bye-bye. OK… let’s see if I can get it up to the intersection and do a U-turn; come back and park. After several startings and stoppings, that worked. By that time I believe I successfully converted what was once an automatic transmission into a metal box filled with tranny fluid and metal shavings. Borrowed my Beautiful Honey Pie’s car to go to work, stopped at the tranny shop on the way home and asked if it was OK to have the beast towed over to his place after hours. “Sure,” he said, “we can have it for you in 3 or 4 days.” “Great,” I replied, “any guess on how much?” “Oh… around $2200, maybe a bit more.”


I figured, hey, we want the car to work… engine works fine, body a tiny bit rusty but pretty good… pretty much everything works; so I signed on the dotted line. Silly me, after I heard all this nice news, I thought maybe I’d check the interwebs for how much this old animal was worth. Stopped at good ol’ Kelley’s Blue Book… what??? $1200 to $2800??? What the heck did I do??? Oy yoy yoy!! It’s highway robbery I tell ya!! This car is stealing from me!!! I must now run outside to eat bark and poop at the moon!!

OK, maybe I won’t go barking at moon poop.

So then I started looking around the interwebs again, this time for a nice, used, certified Toyota Sienna. No more Chryslers for this kid, thank you very much. Sure, they’re affordable… but stuff goes wrong that really shouldn’t. Never had a transmission go bad on a Toyota. I know others have; but from what I’ve learned over the years it’s rare. Chryslers, on the other hand, seem to have a reputation of eating at least one transmission during their life span. But now I’m learning a different form of highway robbery: almost new car prices.


Looks like $25,000 or so will get me a nice used minivan with low enough miles to still be under warranty. $25,000!!! We bought a house with 5 acres of land for $36,900!!! Well OK, that was a couple of weeks ago in 1982. But still…!!!

Just gotta face the facts. Unless some rich benefactor surprises me with the gift of an antique Maserati or something; cars are always gonna take my money. They are thieves.

And car thieves are not my friends.

I’m unreasonably certain that my car hunt will go exactly like this:


Tips For Travel

Well, Spring Break has already broken, but the weather here in Beautiful West Michigan is not very Springy; and some folks are still running away screaming for warmer skin zones that are far away from here; so that of course means they’ll likely need input from me, the person, who offers the following tips on how to travel in this short but long (by Kakahead standards) run-on sentence I hereby bestow upon you all with great instability.

Therefore, I strongly urge every living thing to embrace the following travel tips with great enthusiasm:

1 – Please, for the 328th time, please do NOT tape paperclips to your fingernails just before passing through airport security. This causes very loud brooping alarms and the security people will wiggle their eyebrows at you for at least 13 milliseconds.

R – Always ensure you keep your optical nerves unclogged and free of compost flavored radio components.

5 – Be vigilant of germ bearing strangers. Does anyone appear to be drooling? For all you know, they may be infected with Wasabi Olfactory Ouchy Disorder (WOOD). This is easily transmitted in close quarters; so if you see someone drooling, avoid helping them with blowing the WOOD snot out of their nostrils.

5n- Other nasty diseases that are readily spreadily are: Tingly Or Otherwise Twittering Hairs (TOOTH) that seem to take on a life of their own when they leave your neighbor’s scalp; Funky Armpit Stinky Times (FAST) which disable your sniffing glands after causing brief fainting spells, and Belly Area Regurgitation Flicks (BARF) which… well… urrrp… occckkk…. arrrggghhh get away!! Get AWAY!!

Q – When traveling to other lands, please try to learn at least a few phrases of the native language. For example, in Germany, one might stand on a busy street corner and shout: “Mein Onkel hat noch mal sein Klavier gegessen!!” English translation: “My uncle has eaten his piano again!!” Now if you are in a Spanish speaking country, a proper introduction to new friends could come in the form of: “Mi casa es muy apestoso!!” English: “My house is very stinky!!” The most enjoyable part of these cultural experiences, I’m sure, will be the reactions of those to whom you are speaking.

I have many other artificially flavored travel suggestions, but I don’t want to overload your noggins with such vital information right now. You may e-mail me at u.r.stinky@wuttagoof.com; or of course you can call Snern, my pet wombat; who screens all my calls with the diligence of someone who has never existed.

In the meantime, I would like to leave you with this parting thought: don’t try to build your own plane like Mickey Mouse did. Might cause problems…

An Important Letter To All Frames and Camelstands

Dear Frames and Camelstands,

I understand that none of you have been lifting corduroy. Well I’m here to tell you, that if you don’t begin doing something soon you won’t be able to do anything very soon. Soon you will know that something was done before egg time, and are you even are aware that the thing you ate last night had absolutely nothing nutritionally resembling paint chips??

You better know something. I’ll let you know when to know it. Do you know what I mean? You had BETTER know. Don’t look at ME in that tone of voice!! You often remind me of lentils floating in a small garage. What the HECK have you been slurping during nap time??

The weather was completely perfectly wintry during these past 42 yodelwhompers. That’s because I forgot to throw coat hangers at the sun all last week. I threatened the sun within an inch of its life, and as you can see it paid off backwards. Now we can all cry and roll on the floor because we are very aware that the sun won’t listen to me when I shout. This of course increases the likelihood of macaroni storms.

Cheese is applied during the evening hours.

My beautiful girlfriend, Zonikula, and I went walking the other day with our legs and feet. During our walk, we decided to crawl on our bellies for 13 miles to see if rain deer really know how to fly. Rain deer are absolutely nothing like Santa’s reindeer. No. Rain deer are made of water and they sing greeble songs when the geese run backwards through the tomato forest. This gives them magical flavor crystals that can only glow in the earlobes during The Great Nickel Tossing Festival.

Last time we were never there, the noises of our crawlings were completely different than klick, klick, clomp as we sniggled down along the Mosquito Ribber near the old Cobb plant (where Cornn is Kingg). Suckers were busy catching humans that

were running up the river. Very remarkable. Garter snakes tried to trim our fingernails as we invaded “their space;” and as they wriggled gently over our eyebrows all 13 of them kept whining about how they were missing their favorite Applesauce Program. Why They Capitalized These Strange TV Program Words With Their Nostrils Remains A Mystery To All Of Us Who Enjoy A Complete Breakfast Of Oats Coated With Bullet Proof Mustard.

Please, don’t ever describe this to me again.

There was probably a time when we could have stood up and used our foot things to walk like regular snork monsters, but that never occurred to us until we got back in our car and noticed that our belly mud had hardened into very attractive pajama sandwiches that looked and tasted very much like those old fashioned salami burgers we never had when we were kids.


Now you have been klempered.

Please resume your taddle-brickling.

My chair eats frogs,

Hyram C. Pooflestench

A.K.A. Peeper Fling Muskellunge

Well, if you’ve read this far, you may have found all of that a bit weird. With that in mind, check this weirdness out:

No News Is (Sometimes) Good News

Once Upon A Time, there was so much information floating around on the TV and Radio (remember Radio?) and the Newspapers (remember newspapers?) and the interwebs that when I tried to absorb all of it, I began to turn very pale and then I began to exhale stinky puffs of sauerkraut flavored nasty air because the amount of reported nasty news far outgrew any reports of good news; so I began to shake wildly and flail my hands about as if I were being shocked by 123,874 electric eels and perhaps you can tell that maybe all this news had some effect on me so maybe I better put a period at the end of this ridiculously huge sentence and come up for air awreddy.

~* Whew!! *~ That was fluffy!! And not in a good way.

Yes, Girls and Boys, there is simply not enough good news being flashed in front of our 3.4 millisecond attention spans any more. Now I know there’s good stuff happening out there, because I see it all the time. And thankfully I live in an area where the really bad news isn’t happening. By that I mean nobody is lobbing mortar shells in anyone’s homes; and by and large folks have enough to eat… stuff like that there.

My professional opinion is: 1) yes, we all should stay informed; but R) it’s probably good to at least occasionally unplug from all the news outlets for awhile. One could argue against such a flatulent (or would that be mucilaginous?) tactic, citing they’d miss stories like the Florida woman who married a 100 year old tree to try to save it from being removed to make way for development. Or maybe one wouldn’t hear about the 18 year old who bought her very first lottery ticket on her birthday and won $1000 for life.

OK so maybe you might miss out on that stuff. But I’m thinking that what may be missing in our Technical Universe is contact with Nature. Nature is big you know. From microscopic critters all the way up to elephants… then our solar system, stars, planets, galaxies… well you know. Nature. Stuff you can see, hear, smell, and taste. And no, I’m not asking anyone to go around sniffing elephants or trying to hear what an earthworm is saying. I’m just imparting what I have found to be true: some of my most peaceful moments come when I have no devices anywhere near me.

I love to listen to the waves of Lake Michigan crashing into light poles as they whiz down the freeway. I love staring at the moon while lying on an ant hill… and when the ants come to visit, I often shake wildly with delight until they are gone. I love watching animals and birds while they have squirt gun fights during marshmallow eating contests. And of course I enjoy visiting with friends; and when they pull out their smellphones in the middle of a conversation, I casually blow my nose very loudly without the use of a tissue and then give them a nice pat on the back.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also very aware that technology can bring joy to a person’s life. I’ve worked as a techno-nerd for over 40 years now; and I admit I do derive some funzies out of watching cat videos and bopping around on the BookFace to see what my friends are doing. I also have an ancient artifact in my living room called a Stereo (remember stereo?) that I use to kick out the jams (remember “Kick Out The Jams” ? ) from time to time. You know what they say: “music makes the toenails pop!!” Or maybe I just say that.

Anyhoo, I’m working on not reading so much news on the radio and listening to fewer newspapers. Sometimes I can smell the news on the TV and I run backwards to get away; but then I clunk the wall and all the knick knacks fall down and I burp German words before fainting. I do tune in occasionally to see what Donald Rump and King Jon Loon are doing, but then I barf and decide maybe I should give it a rest for a couple milliseconds. This manic media monstrosity mishmash can make my head bone crackle; then the brain fluids leak out, that that in turn causes my writing to disintegrate into magnetic lag bolt compost droppings.

No news can indeed be good news.

Please pass the marshmallows.

In the future, technology will take care of EVERYTHING. We’ll see it at the World’s Fair!

Cashes To Ashes

When we were quite young, my Beautiful Girlfriend and I were plucked from suburban lifestyles and thrown into the Northern Wisconsin Dingleweeds. Strangely enough, both of us ended up in the same small town called Rhinelander; which slapped each of us in the brainplace with some heavy duty culture shock. However, we met and then fell in love in that quaint little town. And if we make it to August, our marriage will have lasted a miraculous 45 years.

Pretty sure we’ll make it. Not sure how I lucked out, but somehow the Most Beautiful Woman In The Universe became my best friend. And then she let me marry her!!

Besides our relationship, a marvelous benefit arose from small town life: we both acquired a deep fondness of Nature and natural living. And no, by natural living I don’t mean residing in the bush with stone tools and strange, handcrafted clothing. I’m talking about farm life. Our huge (well, maybe not so huge) plot of 5 acres has given our children and us much joy and lots of delicious homegrown veggies over the years. A couple of creeks traverse the property; which provide an amazing playground for kids of all ages, and of course a unique environment for all types of living things. We very much enjoy seeing and hearing all the creatures with whom we share our small chunk of Paradise.

Another part of country living of which we’ve grown rather fond is the bone-warming feeling of wood heat. At first, burning wood was an economic necessity. Our home was built in 1940, and no thought was given toward any insulation at all. Consequently, the Oil Guzzling Furnace Monster in the basement was sucking money right out of our wallets. Thankfully, the chimney was originally built to withstand the burning of coal; so it was ideal for burning wood.

When we were kids, my brother and I were total wood slaves. Dad loved his fire, and we cut, chopped, stacked, and toted many tons of firewood to keep it going. Believe it or not, I actually began to enjoy all this manual labor. It was a great way for a frustrated teen to blow off steam without being destructive. Kept me pretty fit too. And little did I know that all those wood slave skills would one day ease the economic burden of keeping an old, uninsulated house warm.

Since I work full time, I buy most of our wood. Hauling it from outside to inside still helps me stay fit, and believe it or not, I’m still pretty OK with being a wood slave. We’ve greatly improved both the the wood burning appliances over the years and have remedied much of the insulation woes. This place is pretty darn cozy, even when it’s well below zero outside. The Oil Guzzling Furnace Monster has been replace with a high efficiency natural gas furnace; and it might actually be cheaper to heat with gas. But we are hooked on the wood because it warms the body much better.

When you’re a firewood customer; you run into some very interesting folks who cut wood for profit. To be honest, I’m not sure how they can make a profit after putting in all the work of cutting, hauling, and then delivering it to me for $180 a cord. We go through about 6 cords a year; so we have to find someone who works with large quantities of firewood. We’ll look through the newspaper, or maybe on Craig’s List, and give them a try with a cord or two. If we like what we see, we buy more. Always with cash… they gotta have cash. And who could blame them? However, we’ve learned that if a firewood guy says he’s coming on Saturday at 4 PM, that means he’ll probably be there on Saturday… but who knows what time. “Oh, I was on a different run so I thought I’d come early” one might say while we’re eating breakfast. Or perhaps they don’t show until 9:30 PM. And some of the trucks these guys own look like they’ve been in a demolition derby. Regardless of all that, I’ve never met a firewood guy I didn’t like.

Our current firewood folks are real weirdos. They wear clean clothes. They show up on time. They have a truck that’s older but it’s obvious they keep it in very good shape. They have all their teeth. They’re really, REALLY nice. And they have very nice wood.

We got pretty low, so I ordered 2 cords the other day. Most of it will still be with us in the fall. I went to the drive up ATM the other night to get the cash. Dunno about you, but this country boy don’t see $360 in $20 bills very often. Kinda dazzled me I guess. Anyway, the following morning I stopped at the gas station to get an orange juice; and I noticed my debit card was missing. Went back inside, but nobody found my card there. Started retracing my steps… Family Farm & Home. Called them. Nope, no debit card. Then I called Family Financial Credit Union where the ATM is. “Yes, it was shredded,” said the nice lady; and then she explained, “if you forget your card in the slot, it’s automatically shredded.” “Good!!” I said. Not because I was happy my card was destroyed, but I was relieved that it wasn’t lying about somewhere.

Oh well. As the old saying goes, “cashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

Or something.

Medical Transformations

The medical profession is a wondrous field with many modern marvels; but at our house we’ve had some big changes slap us in the face lately. For example, I had my very first stress test. The whole idea scared me to pieces for some reason. Maybe I was afraid of a bad result; but one thing’s for sure, I feel a run-on sentence approaching.

So there I was, minding my own business, huffing and puffing on the treadmill, really eager for my very first ever stress to be done, being completely frightened by the radioactive isotope they injected into my body for imaging, and I’m thinking yes OK Doc you can please tell me to stop now, holy moly I’m starting to get a bit winded here… no big deal but you can turn this stupid thing off any time now, and enough with the slanting of the treadmill awreddy, and yes I’m fine, we can be finished now, OK wow thank you for ending the test because I was lusting for my clobber hand to whomp the big red button that they never told me what it was for but it seemed rather obvious it was the EMERGENCY STOP; but I didn’t clobber it because I wanted to go through the whole test; and when I asked how I did they said, “you’ll find out later, go lay down in the imaging machine thing.”

So I did.

You see, after many years of an upper chest pain that seems to come and go with stress; my doctor finally decided I should have an EKG. She was a bit concerned about the waveform, so she sent me off for a stress test. About a week afterward, I received an e-mail that “the first part of the test was within the normal range.” Then I asked about the second (imaging) part, and they basically said, “we’ll tell you someday when we feel like it.”

I’m guessing this is an unspoken, extra stress part of the test?

Anyway, tried to get an appointment to have my physical exam; which needed to be done before the end of March to comply with the Blue (I don’t) Care Network (a cheapskate version of Blue Cross Blue Shield) requirements. The doctor was booked solid so I settled for a Physician’s Assistant. Now it’s been many years since I’ve seen a male doctor. I dunno, I just prefer females in that profession. However, this guy was very thorough.

For example, he had me do the “pole jumping maneuver;” during which I had to balance a fishing pole on my chin while jumping on one foot. Some kind of coordination test I suppose. Then there was the blindfolded “taste this and tell test,” which involves sardines, Tabasco, Swiss cheese, broccoli, and maple syrup. Why those all needed to be mixed together I’ll never know… but I think I have a great idea for a new sandwich. Lastly he had me bark loudly into an empty metal waste basket. That was my favorite part.

Well OK, maybe none of that really happened.

Seriously though, he was a great guy and really went the extra mile with me. Don’t tell my doctor but I think I’d rather have him give me an exam next time. Of course, I pestered him about the final results of the stress test, and he said, “let’s pull it up and see. Hmm… you aced it. You aced it.” So these chest pains are part muscular, part psychological. Nothing life threatening.

Very nice news indeed.

The second really big, pretty ocky and unexpected medical change thing came in the form of my Beautiful Girlfriend’s job. Unfortunately, the wonderful man she’s been taking care of for 33 years was informed that his insurance company would no longer pay for LPN care. Mind you, he is regarded by us as more of a family member than My Honey’s client. Sadly, his doctor made a huge goof on some paperwork; giving the insurance company the shark bait they’ve probably been wanting for years. In their infinite wisdom, the insurance scoundrels made the determination that our friend needed only the help of nurse aides; not full-fledged nurses. When My Sweet Honey Pie called her nursing agency, they informed her that she could continue to work for our dear friend; but for nurse aide wages. In other words, she’d lose almost half her pay.

Ummm… she said no. Well OK, she said lots of other things for which she called back and apologized. But hey, that’s just plain unacceptable and she stood her ground.

There’s an old saying that “when God shuts a door He opens a window.” But after devoting 33 years to care for a person and the door closes abruptly, it makes very big ouchies in the heart. Very sad business. Our friend got his doctor to send the corrections to the insurance company, but only time will tell whether this will get corrected. In the meantime things are a bit different at our house (and I’m sure at our friend’s house too). I’ve also mentioned that insurance (and many other) companies treat their employees like the mob treats its members. Case in point: if the mob puts a hit out on your brother; it’s nothing personal, just business.

Might be that the window those God People are opening is in the form of Social Security. Weird to be able to say it, but it’s actually good that we’re both old enough to start receiving benefits now. I’ve told her not to worry, but to grieve all this and make whatever decision she feels is right. I’m being as supportive as I can.

However, I think I’m changing my mind about something I mentioned earlier. Don’t think I’m gonna go for that sardines / Tabasco / Swiss cheese / broccoli / maple syrup sandwich after all.