Archive for July, 2004

I just like being busy

Saturday, July 31st, 2004

I don’t like being bored. I like to be mentally active. A good problem that somebody needs solved get’s my juices going. When I was a main-frame computer operator during college I found that it never really challenged me, yet it required just enough thought that I couldn’t do anything else – something I didn’t like. Instead computer programming, keeping the whole software system in my head, is more to my liking. The best is when the hours pass in the blink of any eye. For example tonight I told my wife that I’d be finished in 10 minutes and then I’d leave for dinner. I didn’t realize that when I thought 10 minutes was done it was actually 30 minutes – my kind of time warp. What can I say – I just like being busy.

Mouse in a christmas tree

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

I was reminded of this past event on my previous posting…

Just after my eldest son, Justin, was born in December I went out and purchased a Christmas tree for the holidays. When I got home I unloaded it by the garage. I found that it had a bird’s nest in it. Somewhere I remember someone telling me that this was a lucky omen. In addition there was a nest of milkweed seeds. It was a second lucky omen. As I looked at this softball-sized soft fluffy white bundle a field mouse popped out of it and ran into the grass. I told Kathy, but I paid it no further mention.

This was our first home. It was a raised ranch. The basement and garage were downstairs. The basement was unfinished and the insulation was exposed. The living areas, our bedroom, and Justin’s room were upstairs. It was very cold that winter in New York, and few weeks later I noticed droppings in the insulation downstairs. That little mouse had found its way into the house. I didn’t mention anything to Kathy.

Then one night when Kathy and I were carrying Justin down the hall to bed that little beast was scurrying ahead of us. Kathy shrieked and held Justin close to her. I chased after it, but lost sight of it, and it disappeared. In my typical sarcastic joking manner I said, “Don’t worry honey it won’t eat Justin’s eye’s out”. Well, Kathy burst into tears. All she could picture was that horror movie “Williard”. I felt terrible. That night Justin slept in our bedroom with towels sealing the crack under the door. I learned that there are some things that one shouldn’t joke about, and this was one of them.

New couch lizard

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

We just got two new couches (a sofa and a loveseat). The old stuff was broken down, falling apart, showing wear, and just plain ucky. We shopped around and found some nice ones at Norwalk Furniture. We choose a navy blue fabric. As we were choosing this fabric we also found another one that had a nice small pattern, but just not right for the couches. So we also had a wing chair that was showing a lot of wear, and we thought this pattern would look great on it. We asked the people at the furniture showroom for names of upholsterers, and had it done too.

Now everything has arrived and it looks swell. However, this morning as I was dressing Kathy yelled for me to come quickly because something was in the sofa. A small (2 1/2 inch) lizard had wedged itself in the back of the sofa. As Kathy trapped it with an empty peanut butter jar she accidentally caught its tail under the jar edge and cut it off. The detached tail continued to wiggle for seconds, which totally grossed out Kathy. I dumped the lizard out in the backyard. Now Kathy is spooked that there are more lizards in the new couch. And I’m not helping the situation either – like typing up this “de-tailed” account of what took place – giggle, giggle 🙂

Degrease/grease

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

I was surprised to get a call from Jane today. She wanted to know what solvent to use to clean her RollerBlade bearings. Justin told her I’ve done this before which I have. I’m sure there are better things to use – like a real degreaser. But I’ve used mineral spirits (AKA paint thinner) in the past. I have probably tried to use acetone, but it’s not as good. I hope this helps her.

Then there’s the issue of what sort of grease to use after they’re clean. I have some heavy duty automotive bearing grease in a big tub, and I also have some lighter SLX (Synthetic/Lithium Complex) oil in a tiny bottle. The former is cheap, and easy, and the latter I picked up at an inline skate shop, and was probably expensive (I can’t remember). My plan is to send her a small (1 tablespoon) packet of the cheap stuff.

Now I’ve gotta convince my wife that the postal service won’t confiscate it in shipment. She’s worried that this packet of dark brown goop is a national security risk. Geez, what has the world come to?

Interest atrophy

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

Over the years I’ve found that certain of my interests have atrophied. As I was growing up I was always making or doing something in our home basement workshop. I would spend hours lost in the construction of some mechanical thingamabob. Sawing, drilling, sanding, and painting stuff. The time would just disappear until my mother called down saying it was supper.

At one point the tweens around the block were into anything with wheels on it. We made wooden cars that we’d push each other around in. They started with 2x4s frames, and bolts through cheap wheels into the end of the 2×4. Next we learned about axles held in by u-bolts, and rope steering. Then one of us got an old engine, a few pullys, and a belt mounted on an old wooded door. In time we graduated to mini-bikes with 4 cycle Briggs and Stratton engines, and go-karts with 2-cycle West Bend engines, centrifigal clutches, and chain-drive. Yet we never graduated to cars, instead the group grew older and went their own ways.

After university graduation and getting my first job (that is, I was no longer poor) I bought and raced a Margay go-kart with 125cc McCulloch engine at Cuddebackville, New York. I ran gas, but I’ll never forget the sweet exhaust smell of an engine running alcohol and caster oil. Yet slowly my interest changed, and I finally sold everything a few years later.

That was about 30 years ago. Now I don’t putter in the workshop. My kids never really showed any interest in karting. Recently I went to a local go-kart track and was surpised how much has changed and how little has changed. But somehow this interest has atrophied – or has it?

Antsy kid

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

I was an antsy kid growing up. It’s not that I couldn’t sit still, but anything that suggested waiting patiently I didn’t want to do. For example, each year my family would take vacations to a nearby state park, Letchworth State Park. We would rent a cabin and stay there for two weeks each summer. Sometime during that week, my father and possibly my brother would go fishing at Silver Lake. I never wanted to. Sitting still in a boat for hours was not my idea of fun. I had to see things, explore around the cabin, do anything else than sit still. Oh, and there was lots to do around Letchwork, because of the deep gorges to climb – yet it made my mother a nervous wreck. I found what most people consider a relaxing vacation to be pure boredom for me. Instead I wanted vacations that would make me think, show me new things, and teach me stuff. I now wonder if I maybe have had a mild case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But then again, I could have been just be a kid, a normal, but slightly antsy kid.

Hair where ya don’t want it

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

The aging process is sometimes so strange. After the age of 50 your hair begins to grow in new places. Twisty, curly, out of control filaments sprouts when and where they’re unexpected. Not just thin, light, well-formed hairs, but thicker, black, deformed ones. I need to know just what genes are playing this joke on me. My eyebrows have become exploding bursts of hair. My shaver’s auxiliary cutter and my scissors work regularly to make them behave. Yet it’s not just external surfaces, but one’s little cranial orifices. Nose hair needs to be constantly controlled. I need a “Roto-Rooter” for those despised hard-to-reach bristles. And my ears, oh God why my ears, erupt with new sporatic growth. My new best friend is the tweezer – a perfectly wonderful tool.

Simple pleasures

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

I’m sorry, I like simple reality programs. I followed American Idol. I’m now into Big Brother 5 and Amazing Race. What is wrong with me?

She Gently Holds My Heart

Sunday, July 18th, 2004

She Gently Holds My Heart

by Brian Watt

 

she gently holds my heart as none have done

her smell, her glance, her touch, her soft caress

she knows so well how to delight my soul

a smile, a laugh does bring a joy to me

 

yet does she truly know how much I care

so deep and broad my love for her endures

a thousand thousand years will come and go

before another love the same could be

 

but these such words cannot describe my thoughts

nor written paper feel all things I hold

why must I struggle always to express

the feelings I do hold for her inside

 

for as I try in vain to put them down

the pen but draws pale shadows of the truth

Conflict and caring

Saturday, July 17th, 2004

p1: “You can’t just stand there and let them do it”

p2: “Who says I can’t”

p1: “The law for one, it’s just not right”

p2: “Aww, give it a rest, don’t whimp out on me.”

p1: “I’m not, I’m on your side”

p2: “You’re such a dork”

p1: “Now look I don’t deserve that”

p2: “But you are, you know it”

p1: “Regardless, don’t shove it in my face”

p2: “OK, OK, relax, calm down”

p1: “I’m calm, I’m calm, you’re the one whose gotta go stop ’em”

p2: “I’ll do it, but they’re not gonna like it”

p1: “Then do it”

p2: “Alright, geez, you’re pushy”

p1: “Yeah, but that’s what you love about me”

p2: “Shush, they might hear”