Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Don't click on my tornado

couple things:

first of all, I just got a note from adsense-support@google.com If you are a religious reader of this blog, you know that I have suggested you click on the advertisements cause I make a penny when you do.  Their note says this breaks the rules; and, I won't get to have advertisements anymore.

Now, I ask....have you ever clicked on one of these advs?  do you know anyone who has?  do you know anyone who would want to?  And, to make matters worse, they are taking my profits from the past and returning to the advertisers.  

I have been doing this about a year and have never seen a penny.   Life will go on and on....
on the back porch.

Ratz, & I was going to become a millionaire.

#2  Here in Corsicana we have had two days and nights of storms.  My backyard is a swamp.  It won't quit raining.  Tornados:   We had two skirt our house to the north yesterday.  Tonight, there have been several, several.  According the TV radar, two of them passed right over our house or close  without touching down.  Another was seen near the airport about 2 miles south of here.   I spent some moments with the wife and dogs in a closet.  

Even in that small space,  Oscar and I played ball.    I tossed in the air and he'd jump to grab it.  Good dog.  Helped to lighten the mood.

and as I close, don't click on any advertisements - cause there shouldn't be any.  Sigh.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Sunday Tire & Lesson

Easter Sunday.

Choir was to sing at early service (8:30) and late service (10:50). I gave my all and left about 7:45 in the Marauder.

As I entered Corsicana, I heard a "pop" from what I thought was under the hood. Just what I need. I continued to drive and watch all the gauges. There was this whapping noise. The noise went faster as I went faster. The noise went slower as I slowed. I watched my gauges. Nothing changed, the noise continued.

I turned left and crossed over the railroad track. There was a thump as I cleared the tracks. Then, silence. No more whapping noise. My brain said to me, "It was not an engine noise." Maybe I was dragging something like a tumbleweed - I have done that more than once in the Panhandle. That would not explain the rhythmic noise though.

I parked at church - went inside and did my Easter choir duty for the 8:30 session. Released around 9:30, I made my way back to the car to read the paper for an hour or so. I don't do Sunday School since that time the SS teacher spent the entire lesson rambling about death, dying, her experiences with family deaths, and everyone wanting to hug at the end. THAT is not for me.

My right rear tire was almost flat to the ground and I was parked on an incline. Quickly I moved to find a level parking space. I own a portable air compressor which is kept in the trunk. I whipped out that rascal and gave the tire 10 minutes of fresh, new air. The tire aired up. Plan: sing next service, if tire holds, re-air it up and head for home. If not, change the tire.

It held. I refilled it to the max & headed out; did I mention that I had found a nail in the tire. I drove about halfway home to the Chocolate Factory (a good place to visit). Tire was still up. Ran the car for home.

About a mile or so from the house, on a curve naturally, the tire gave up the Ghost, to use an Easter expression. I found a nice area beside the road, grass had been mowed (no bluebonnets left). It took a while to get the car jack right & up the car went. When the tire left the ground, I removed the lug nuts, pulled on the tire, and nothing happend. Huh?

Just at that moment I noticed the jack sinking into the ground at an angle. Back on went the lug nuts as fast as my fingers would work. Why wouldn't the tire come off? I called my wife to bring me a 2 by 6 to put under the jack. She did. I rejacked. Off with the lug nuts. Pull on the tire. It would not move. I kicked it, I hit it - no swearing though.The tire would not come off.

Now, I have an emergency road service policy with Good Sam because of the motorhome. By luck, I had the paperwork in the trunk. On the phone now. I got a nice guy who was quite formal - till I mentioned it. Then, he relaxed. I explained: Got the car jacked up and lug nuts removed - tire won't come off.

Well it took a spell to explain all and tell where I was located. He was in Ft. Worth, so that helped somewhat. Went on hold. He made contact with someone to come out. They had a question. Answered. Went on Hold. Nice elevator music on hold. Apparently someone was to be sent from a long way off. It is Easter Sunday as you may remember. I could see this guy driving about 100 miles to take care of me. Of course, there would be no cost to me - other than what I pay for the policy. On Hold.

At this point, a pickup drove by with those Christmas Tree lights on top. Forgot to mention that a highway patrol car came by earlier and did not acknowledge me at all. This truck stopped in the middle of the two lane road, turned on his big lights, and backed up to me. With the phone glued to my better ear, I walked to his passenger side open window and relayed my problem and that I was on hold waiting for the auto club to come back on.

The guy - I'd put him in his 20s, climbed out followed by his mom and little bro. We all shook hands and he introduced himself as a member of the Mildred volunteer fire department. He pushed and pulled on that tire. I am on hold. Nothing. After a good bit of all that, he kicked the living daylights out of the tire (I had done this earlier when I was alone) - the tire gave. I suppose it was rusted on.

I am on hold. The tire is off. The fireman installed the spare, lowered the jack, put the bad tire in the trunk - shook hands - and off they went. I am still on hold.

Naturally, eventually, in time, now, over time,  the Good Sam guy came back on. I explained how the fire department came by and beat it loose. I thanked him a bunch & he quickly disconnected to call the tow people back and cancel. All in all, it was change of pace. I do have several chigger bites on my legs now.

The Marauder is parked outside, ready for a trip to the tire fixer in the A.M. The rest of the day was relaxed. No Migraines so far.

That's it.
See ya guys.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Heidi Stone

Nighttime will be a bit more quiet around here. Often late at night we can be aroused by Heidi and Sue, the next door neighbors black labs, barking pointlessly into the night. It can get our kids worked up and barking resounds throughout our house.

But, tonight will not be as noisy.

Heidi died today. You may remember that Heidi had been hit by heart worms. They had spent about $1000 with the doctor. The Vet said that if she could make it through this next week, she might make it.

She had spent the day walking slowly around our property - drinking water - and an occasional swim (wade) in the lake. She talked me out of two cookies today. Heidi was panting so very much today. It was obvious that she was having a bad time.

My wife stepped out on the back porch about 6:15 this evening and saw Heidi walking around the edge of her house after getting a big drink of water. She thought, "I wish the neighbors would hurry and come home tonight." Right at that time Steve drove up. He got out of his car, spoke to the wife, and discovered Heidi laying on their front walk. My wife may add some details here.

I came home about this time with my new water pump and 30 more pieces of St. Augustine.

Steve asked to borrow a shovel - apparently the last bunch of workers acquired his shovel. I took two over and helped dig a really big hole in their back yard. We laid Heidi to rest and covered her. Steve's wife Lelanie came home during the process.

I will miss Heidi and my dogs barking at her through the fence. Yesterday, she came into our back yard, invited, completely ignored by our dogs, stood on the back porch and watched us plant grass. She was quite a dog--so even tempered, big & black. Quite a dog.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lake Living Hassles

I see that I have 16 followerson my blog.  Not enough.  Y'all go find me more.  How am I going to get rich and famous without your charity.   Remember, if you click on an advertisement, I make about a penny.   They pay me after I have made about $100 dollars or so.  Me thinks this will be about year  2025.   Good inheritance for my children.   (All above said tongue-in-cheek).
We all have problems - some never imagined in advance... you can relate to that.   I've always said I was going to write a book called:   "Things School Administrators Never Mentioned Before I Took This Band Director's Job."   
Our lake has a wonderful feature.  Frankly there are several nice things about living on a lake.  Snakes are not one of those.   I digress.   A body pays a $50+  fee once, and from that day forward you can pump water out of the lake, no limit. We water the yard with that water.  When I get rich I plan to install a sprinkler system to go along with that free water.   When I get rich.

Our pump is on the dock in a little storage area.  The pump inlet goes out into the lake about 20 feet past the dock.   It can shove water 100 ft to shore and about 200+ feet to the front of the house.  This is all uphill.  I am a bit amazed at how well it works. The pump is a 2 HP (horsepower) pump, 220 V, etc. We can run at least two water hoses at a time.

Spring has arrived.  Yard needs a taste of the old wet.   I walked out on the dock and turned on my glorious pump.  No water.  Off and On and Off and On.   No water.   Getting down on my hands and knees looking into the area, I examined the pump more closely.  It has 2 parts: an electric motor and an attached cast iron pump. The pump part has a crack around a bolt - found a second crack around another bolt.  This pump is a gonner.

When winter comes, you must drain all the water lines - no freezie pleasie.  We have never had an instruction book for the system - blind leading the blind - and the pump is buried in a dark corner. I did not know the actual pump had a drain on the bottom - it does, and the water wasn't.  That pump broke.  Now I am looking for a new pump; it looks like this may be a $300 to $400 bill with me doing the labor.

What I have discovered in my search is:   nobody but nobody understands what kind of pump is needed. These people in stores just look at you.  Home Depot hired hands helped by using their computer before they just looked at me.  They say, "We don't sell a 2 HP."   Yet the original came from Home Depot.   Looks like I will have to order one from Gilfillans (local hardware store of great importance).  Sigh.  Even at that, only one gent in there seems to have a working knowledge .... suppose he must be a boss.

When it rains, it pours.

The intake and output lines to the pump were glued on by the installer.  You screw a PVC thing into the Pump part - then connect to the inny and outy PVC pipes.   Now you just might think they would do this properly in order to take it apart in the future months.  Well No.  They didn't even try to make it screw together.  GLUE GLUE.   Therefore, I had to cut the PVC lines with a saw.  In the future I must create new PVC lines to re-hook it up....after I find another suitable motor. 

Doesn't it make sense that a 3 HP motor would be better than a 2 HP?

Rain Rain Go Away

A nice feature of our dock is a fresh water line from the house to the dock.  You can actually get a drink of water from the house - out on the dock... if you follow that improper wording.   This water line runs from the back of the house, underground to the dock, hangin under the walkway, and into the faucets. good idea.  My neighbor has the same with a shower installed for dirty/grimy grandkids.

This water line has a drain valve on the lower end.  I opened it last fall and let it stay open all winter.  It drained just fine?  Nope.  Of course not.  We turned on that faucet last week and the fresh water line is split.  I will have to replace some of these lines. Which means, I must cllimb  UNDER the walkway and replace some PVC pipe. How much is broken? Won't know till I fix the first leak - then pressure it up to find other leaks....if any.

I learned this week that PVC pipe comes in different thicknesses.  Let's say for argument 20W, 40W, and 80Weight.  No, what I really learned is - cheapskate installation people will use the 20W instead of the higher priced 80W no matter what.

All of this is minor - no problem.  All will be fixed in a day or two.  Oh, no, do I hear another storm cloud advancing?

Bought 50 pieces of St. Augustine grass the past 2 days and have planted them. My wife was out there "Sweatin' With The Oldie." 

more later.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Corsicana stuff

America wants to know.  I think I've whupped my virus - unless it was an alergy, in which case, it shall return just as McArthur did.  I did get an hour and a half restless nap this afternoon.  It was restless for the first couple of minutes, then, I knew nothing until nature called and work me up ruthlessley.  I had an aunt named Ruth.  That is another blog.

Corsicana is a nice place.  It has lots of interesting things but is still laid back.  If it had a Best Buy, might be a perfect place.  One of the features is a small little theater type  place  called the Warehouse Living Arts Center  (Theatre).  Tonight we watched their latest production:  Grandest Canyon.  

These folks do a good job.  Sure, some actors (tresses) are less than Hollywood, but some do a pretty terrific  job.    I enjoy making the trip up there.

One of their bits is playing music through the house speaker system as scenes are changed.  The songs seem to always echo the subject of the play.  Me thinks they think about this a long time.  The audience sits quietly watching through the blackness as the stage hand move stuff around - listening a toe tapping depending upon the selection. 

Tonight I giggled inwardly once.  The guy on stage was approaching a divorce with his New Jersey wife.  He was in Texas on the phone to his soon-to-be ex-wife, when the scene ended and the music began.  The audience started humming along with the song:   "All my exes live in Texas."

I giggled.

looking forward to the next session.
Before I close - a little Methodist bit.  I have never seen this before.   It should catch on.  The Corsicana FUMC is having a real Last Supper.  13 costumed actors are recreating the Last Supper from Divinci's painting.  What a novel idea.    I am anxious to see how it plays out.  Of course, I'll be there warbling in the choir.

One of the stars in the little theater production is organizing this event.   Understand there will be free bread and grape juice for all.

O'er & out

Monday, April 11, 2011


Sitting here sipping a large glass of ice cold raspberyy tea, courtesy of Mr. Instant Lipton, Chicago playing on TV, my illness (see previous bluggy) lingers and lingers.  Just when I think it is gone, I exert myself in some mindless manner, and I get tired suddenly.  This all sounds worse than it is.  Exert?  Y'know like doing some minor project around the house.

The front of our house has this bare spot.  You can see them on many a house.  So those folks go out and buy a big star to decorate.   We've been looking for something a bit different and found it this past weekend at Waxahachie's  trade days.  The guy took metal and framed it in wood.  The Texas flag was crudely painted on the metal slab.   Looks pretty good on the front of the house. 

They are doing the tap dance scene from Chicago right now.  Love that bit.

Let's talk about the weather.   No, that's not it.   Let's talk about weather announcements.  We have one of those machines that automatically beeps (loudly) whenever the govt issues another weather alert.  It went off 4 billion times last night.   Everytime it blows off, you sit straight up in bed and think the world has exploded.  Being south of Dallas, we get announcement for north of Dallas too. 

At 3:30 plus a.m., my wife got up and took the machine to another room.  Wives can be so considerate.  The storm came through about 5 this morn.  one-half inch rain and a lot of noise.  Our poor little Liesl had another bad night with thunder.  You must feel for dogs who are so afraid of thunder.  If only they had reasoning skills.  Someday should talk about my puppies.  I would like to read it.

okay, time for bed.  Hopefully, the nose quits dripping tomorrow. 
see ya,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Not much

a short note:
On TV  watching Las Vegas Jail  show.   Can't really say if the people being arrested are more dysfunctional or I am more for watching the show.  Something could be said for both thoughts.

Heard from  friend Bailey, band director.  He says they go to contest in Caldwell on Tuesday.  As hard as it might be to believe, I do so miss those days.  Would I return to that life - sure - except, I am too old to have time to remodel any band program to my way of thinking.  The sidelines are where I belong, throwing the ball for my boy Oscar.  He does appreciate me no matter what the UIL rating are, will be, or have been.  Shoot.  I don't even have to throw the ball good.

On the way to church this morning, ran over a 4 foot copperhead.  Got him with both left tires.    He coiled up after the hit.   Returning a couple of hours later, no snake in the roadway.  Either he limped off on his own or the big birds finished him off.  Knock on wood.  I have not seen any big snakes in my yard this year.  I know they are out there cause the little mice have not been coming up to the house this year.   I dislike snakes.

This is to be a short blug.  one last bit.
ate at a Ryans in Waxahachie recently.  the young girl taking my credit card asked the following question:

"Do you want cash back for a tip?"

I had never heard anyone make that type of request.   I turned her down.  She was young.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Medical Times

A pot pouring of not much:

I awoke this morn feeling  bad - 3rd day in a row - sore throat.  In the past these throats have been from "drainage."  Sure, talking about drainage is not the coolest thing.   I figure:  Today is Friday.  Next comes the weekend.  What doctor is gonna help me on weekends?  The throat might only get worse, worst, worser.  To the phone, got an appointment for 1:45.

I was early.  Didn't make any difference, they called me back at 1:45, and the doc didn't see me till about 2:00.  And that is okay.  I like my doctor,  Dr. Merrill.   He has a pleasant bedside manner and always seems interested and pleased to see you.  The doc has a new nurse.  His old nurse retired on Jan. 15th and the new one came in. 

This part I like the best.  She opened the door to the waiting room and called my name.  She even pronounced it correctly.  As we trudged down the hallway, she said - and I do paraphrase here - "You are much younger looking than I expected.  I was looking for a much older man."   This lady gets an "A."   No, make that an "A+."   I look much younger than my age?  What does an 70 year old guy look like?   She probably thought I looked closer to 68.   Still, that nurse knows how to get my blood pressure down.

Which reminds me, bp was 122 / 70.   Sounds good to me.
The doc thinks I either have a virus or allergies from being outside lately.  The Oak trees are really acting up right now.  I  t'was sent on my way with a RX for bacteria infection  IF MY  drainage starts getting major coloring.  Yep.  He says don't use it unless I really need to.  The prescription rests comfortably in my billfold.


enough for now - bed time - my head is just singing away - ringing away.   Been told this is my ears ringing.   Continuous singing.   It will never go away.  All of my young readers should be cautioned about loud music.  Being a band director forever put me in front of some pretty loud groups.   Just sayin..........


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Birthday Boy

I realize that I led a sheltered life.  I can think of several things over the years in which I had NO CLUE what was going on at the time.  Many of these things will remain a secret forever.  Surely I am not alone in this, surely.

When I was a little tyke, we lived in several towns in Oklahoma, Kansas, One town in Nebraska ( Crete, Neb ), and finally made it to Texas during my 5th grade year, Odessa to be exact.   My father worked for Standard Oil back in those days; he was a logger for the oil company - I'd guess they were searching for oil at the time.  I was somewhat young (see above paragraph) and really didn't know much.  I did know that he put a device inside of a hole in the ground and, then, had readings come out on a  piece of paper.  He had his own logging truck - black in color I believe.  It was sorta like an old panel truck, but of course at the time, it was a new one.

Side Bar cause I know you care:  Standard Oil of Indiana, became Amoco and was bought by BP.   So, in spite of BP's bad press - in reality, they put me through college.

They would work an area of the country, and we would move to the next town.   In Kansas we stayed in Syracuse, Meade, and Dodge City (twice).  One Dodge City was when I got my first cornet, affectionately called a "clunker." I was 5 years old; you must figure I was quite cute at the time.  My memories of those days are scattered.

We had a two story house in Meade.  We three boys slept on the 2nd floor.   You'd walk down the stairs into a formal living room.  That's all I remember about that house.

Which brings me to the purpose of this rambling.  On April 6, 1949, we got up and went down stairs.  Where my mom would have been was this lady.  I suppose I knew her - whatta I know?  She parked us and explained that our Mom had gone to the hospital in Fowler, KS.  Meade had no hospital.   The lady told us that Mom was in Fowler having a baby.

BABY!!!!   I think I was surprised...you'd think a 3rd grader would have noticed that Mom had put on some weight.  You'd think.  I don't have the slightest idea if my other 2 brothers knew anything.   The word "pregnant" was not an overly used expression  in my life.  I am not sure I actually used that word until my own kids were in their 30s.  I still flinch at times in its presence.

But she was having a baby.   I do not think we were allowed to go to Fowler and see the new baby at all.  Back then, children were not allowed to visit in hospitals ever and new moms were kept for several days.   You want to go inside a hospital??  Well, go get sick!!   I am not sure that I even remember the Baby coming home.  I know that he did.   Little brother Patrick joined his older 3 brothers.   Suppose he cried, pooped, ate, etc.  Just no memory of those days.  A 3rd grader of my class, forgets those things.

Apparently we moved back to Dodge City soon after that - I'd guess at the end of the school year.  Mom taught school - so it makes sense that she finished the year.  This brings me to one more short baby stone.

In Dodge, we lived in a big ole house on the main drag of Dodge.  We had a front porch on a busy street.  In the 40s people walked down the sidewalks regularly.  It was a normal activity.

Follow this now:   In them thar days, baby bottles had rubber nipples, really tough rubber.   Brand new ones were hard for babies to use.   To soften up these nipples, Mom had my brother Jim (he was 10) and I  (9) fill baby bottles with Coke, put on the nipple, and we would drown our sorrows.  We thought it was extremely funny to sit on the front porch and drain baby bottles.  I'd be curious what Jim remembers.  I don't think Pat had any idea of our sacrifices.

So So So Happy Birthday to little brother Pat.  He became a lawyer and is on the Texas Tech Law School faculty.  I'm sure I could add more, but won't.