Sunday, June 26, 2016

Where Is It Written

Having nothing to do with the title or subject of my post ..... after mowing the dog park I stood looking over my work as a cool breeze swept over me.

It looks so peaceful and inviting, wish I had time to just sit there.

We kept the trees when we built the dog park, to offer shade to dogs and owners, as well.

Even if I did sit down, I would see some weeds to pull and then start thinking about edging the fence, or adding more seating, or plants to the area. That is just the way I am.

Okay, yesterday was hectic and after I took the glue from my lips and showered, I tucked myself and four dogs in bed. Oscar must have sensed my fatigue and he skipped our 1 am walk. This should be a good omen for the day. At least I thought so when I got up.

We had a man here with his 15 year old daughter and 4 of her friends. When he checked in, he argued about having to pay for extra people. My pricing covers 2 adults and up to 2 children under 14. Pretty standard everywhere you go. I know some places that charge extra for anybody other than 2 people. He paid, but reluctantly. Later that day he came into the office to tell me that two of the girls were only 14 and he wanted a refund .....

I pulled out his registration and we looked at it together. Three of the girls were not staying both nights and I had given him the extra person for the second night. I do try to be nice. So I concluded that I owed him $3 and was about to give him the $3, when he said he would just get 3 snocones later.

Later came and he bought $3 worth of ice cream for him and his daughter (the other girls were on their own if they wanted a treat). I told him we were square. "But, I thought we were going to do snocones," he says.  He had been in and out of the office all day long with bits of his own sage wisdom about how I should be running my business and this always annoys me. I was trying to paint the boards for another pool chair and he kept interrupting me for what amounted to nothing.

Early in the afternoon of his second day, more people showed up. One couple stayed all day and had to be told to get out of the pool, that it closed at 9 and chemicals were already in it to shock it. I alerted HeWho that I saw that the man appeared to be packing up to leave this morning and suggested he go collect the money for the extra guests.

He did go over and talk to the man, telling him he needed to check in at the office to pay the rest of his tab. He came in and nonchalantly announced that he was leaving and just came in to say goodbye. I asked if he had paid for the couple that spent the day here yesterday. "They didn't spend the night." Seriously, that was his defense.

A day pass to the park is $5, to just use the pool is $3.50. But I was only charging him $3 per person, a discounted rate because he was camping here. He came around the counter to my side of my desk, which I find to be intrusive and I toyed with thoughts of shooting some wasp spray in his face. He picks up a brochure, exactly like the one he was given upon arrival and asks me where it is written. It is written on my price list, which is posted for all the world to see. I did remind him that I had discussed the pricing structure with him when he arrived and that my prices covered 2 adults and up to 2 children under 14.

He was pushing all my buttons with his attitude, he did pay for the people that spent the entire day here and used the pool, although he insisted they were only here for 2 hours sitting around. I saw them come in and they were still here at 10 pm when HeWho was driving around the park on his trusty golf cart (the golf cart that was supposed to be mine, but that is another story). I think we may have lost a customer and I think I am not unhappy about it.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

You Might Be Tired .... If You Put Glue ON Your Lips

Got up with the sun today. I lay there watching the light peeping through the sides of the curtains, little dog's tail thumping my arm. I knew I would have to take at least two of the critters out, so I got up. It was cool and refreshing outside, after a hot day yesterday. I decided to stay up and do a little gardening.

I open the store at 9 am on Saturdays and find it hard to carve out time for things I want to do ..... like pull weeds. I walked around all my gardens, admiring them in the overcast light. I told the clouds it would be okay to let some water fall. I wouldn't be at all upset if it rained all day. As I started pulling the grass and weeds out of my row of green beans it was looking pretty promising. I managed to weed the entire row and started on another.
I had my ear buds in, listening to an audio book. So, when HeWho arrived with a surprise of iced coffee, I was so surprised, I screamed. For some reason, this seemed to annoy him. There I was, bent over with a wad of grass in my hand and deep into the book, when he tapped me on the back! What did he expect?

I put my book on pause and thanked the man for the coffee, but did not apologize for being startled. I looked at the time and decided to use the energy from the rush of adrenalin to mow my side yard. I like to mow. I like to paint. Both things provide instant gratification. You can appreciate the work you are doing. Some times I will create a chevron design with my rows. I like to be creative. Today, I just mowed back and forth with straight lines. I did a little watering, still hoping for some rain.

It was time to open the store, but nobody was about. I planted some seedlings, weeded a flower bed and even raked up the weeds into the wagon. I was liking the day. Answered the phone a few times and picked some peas and beans before heading inside. Cleaned the kitchen, and got out some chops for supper. Still no customers.

I decided to re-pot a few hanging plants and then paint some more slats to make another pool chair. I was running out of energy and it was only noon. Some swimmers came in, since the sun decided to make a full blown appearance. Just as I decided to request a short nap and have HeWho tows take over the desk ...... HeWho tows left to tow.

He left and swimmers started swarming the place, crowding in to my tiny camp store with loud voices and swim noodles knocking around. The door was open more than it was closed. I tried to make the best of the situation and think about the revenue. I flipped the slats I had painted earlier and started painting the other sides.

That is when everybody wanted a snocone. "Are you out of snocones? I don't see any ready." Though I was sorely tempted to just say yes, I had sold all the ones just sitting there, I explained that they had to be made to order. Otherwise they would melt. This seemed to amaze the people standing there. It is crushed ice, people. Ice melts.

Twenty minutes left before I can lock up and go to bed. My lips are chapped, so I grab the tube of Blistex I keep at my desk and smear some on. Okay, I thought it was my Blistex. I also have craft stuff here at my desk, in case I want to do something fun and creative. What I smeared on my lips was a glue stick. Time to close, early or not. I need to sleep!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pool Seating

A few years back, well, more than a few, more like 5 or 6, a friend gifted us with two dozen Adirondack plastic pool chairs. Last year saw them broken daily. I knew they wouldn't last forever, but a little more delicacy on the part of our swimmers may have extended the life.

They were not meant to be set in the water front down for the back to be used as a diving board. Not only that, they should have come with a weight regulation. The rule being, if you need to purchase 2 seats in order to fly, then perhaps you should take your own sturdy chair to the pool. One without arms that would dig in between your waist and hips, thus not allowing you to rise from the chair.

No, not me, thank you very much. I have enough sense to look at something before I sit in it. How embarrassing would it be to have a plastic chair stuck to your derriere?? I fit into the chairs, as did most adults with little difficulty, other than the fact that they were low seated. I am speaking of morbidly obese. One such woman came to our pool and proceeded to get her self stuck in not one, but three chairs. She would then waddle into the water and bounce against the floor of the pool until the chair would break in two and release her.

Three times. Not once, once should have been the wake up call that let her know she shouldn't sit in the next chair. On her third water bouncing trick, HeWho is definitely lacking in diplomacy, had been alerted and was there to see the show. He asked her what she was doing and she informed him that our chairs were of inferior quality (not the words she used, she said something else entirely, like piece of $hi!).

HeWho has to be provoked to get angry. This did provoke him, as he was picking up pieces of chairs to dispose of. His answer started with "Lady ..." I always associate "lady" with a man about to enlighten me about something he thinks I am incapable of understanding. HeWho seldom uses that term and never to me. He proceeded to enlighten her about the size of her derriere and what it would and would not fit into. He used plain words, words easily understood by a child.

She has never returned to swim. I doubt it had anything to do with the humiliation of being stuck in a chair, but more to do with her venomous hatred of HeWho just told it like it was. Anyhoo, I have been searching for a chair solution since.

Being a big Pinterest fan I centered my search there, leaving HeWho is not a big DIY fan to do the retail search. I found a pallet design I liked and I e-mailed to my husband sitting mere inches from me. Since he refuses to wear his hearing aids, I have taken to texting and e-mail as a main form of communication.

He agreed that it was worth a try and I started my nagging campaign in February. Pallets, we needed pallets. There is a tractor supply place right down the road from us and they always have lots of pallets. It is a small independently owned place and HeWho sold an old tractor to them. He knows them. I, the prisoner held captive and tethered to a phone line rarely leave and when I do, I would not be frequenting a tractor supply place. I asked HeWho was familiar with the owner to inquire about the mound of pallets.

He conveniently "forgot"! Over and over again. I stayed with my reminding (aka nagging) and he would say he would do it that afternoon, or the next day. Februaury rolled into March, then April. He actually called me one day on his way somewhere and mentioned that the tractor place had a lot of pallets. I wanted to scream. Finally, I just gave up and told him we would have to buy some chairs.

This seemed to give him the impetus needed to stop at the tractor supply and find out that they wanted the pallets gone and we could take all we wanted!!!!!! I was in DIY heaven. Until I started trying to take one apart. The nails refused to succumb to my two hammered efforts. Kamper, Terry, suggested sawing through the nails. Off to Walmart for blades and HeWho is certain that I will cut my fingers off with power tools went to work on the pallet.

It was already June when he finally constructed one chair. I painted the chair and other than the fact that it was not a truly level chair, it turned out pretty good. He altered the pattern a bit and the chair seat is 4 feet long, the back about 30 inches high and tilted at a comfortable angle. It is not adjustable, but you can put your feet up. The seat is 30" wide and it has no arms to grab fat hips. Very sturdy.

No, the chair you see in the picture is not the pallet chair. HeWho is wise in such matters, decided to purchase the wood instead, citing the cost of the blades to be astronomical. I realize he just did not want to have to take those pallets apart, but what ever. That is chair number 4 you see on the work table. I found the lovely shade of pool blue paint on the "oops" rack and purchased it for cheap. White outdoor paint for the rest of the chair.

This is chair number 5 of the 6 pool chairs now residing poolside. We have it down now and are mass producing. A total of 9 chairs will be at the pool. I am searching for golf umbrellas (cheap) to hook to the sides. Each chair cost $11 in lumber. A lot cheaper than anything I saw retail.

I am quite pleased with the results! But .... why didn't I think of this before?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Few of my Favorite Sites #42

So this week I am featuring site 42. I moseyed down to take pictures this morning and got a little carried away! So many beautiful plants to see!

This is the home of DJ and Andrea. It was the luckiest day of my kamp owning life when DJ stopped in to inquire about setting up housekeeping here. We agreed on a site, but he was seeking lodgings on his own. Andrea was leaving this decision to DJ. Right before the arrival date, I had site 42 become available. This particular site has a concrete pad and on higher ground that the site we had agreed upon. I convinced DJ that his wife would like this site more, for no other reason than the concrete pad and patio. Less dirt and gravel will make it inside.

The previous tenants had done a good job with landscaping, but it cannot compare to what Andrea has done since. She definitely has a green thumb and excellent taste!

There is a stave mill close by and with a handful of cash and a heavy duty trailer you can purchase what is called the bolt ends. This would be the end of the tree that is chopped off to make a straight edge in order to make the staves to make the wine barrels. As you can see they are great for landscaping.

Neat and tidy rules the day on this site!

Shady in the trees, the plants seem to flourish under the tender care of Andrea.

I love all the little nooks and crannies that are decorated with special "finds".

Even the back side get special attention, with the sewer hook up hidden behind lattice. Painted to coordinate with the trailer.

The raised gardens are lovely. full of different colors.

You can see all the way to the back trail in the park ...... didn't used to be that way.

Weeds ...... what weeds?? You will find no weeds in this garden! Andrea will come up to one of my gardens when she feels the urge to weed! I never disappoint! I always have weeds somewhere!

  I love this site, nestled in the back row in the trees. Most weekends finds DJ smoking something delicious and folks just seem to gravitate to this spot.


I am tempted to call this the "before" picture, but this has been cleared of all the underbrush by DJ and Andrea. They planted some pumpkins in the mound of leaves for the deer to eat. They also feed the squirrels and the birds. Wish they would keep all the rabbits in the back and out of my vegetable garden!!

This looks desolate compared to the oases they have created!

Love the garden bed!

Home grown "leaf" there. They used an elephant ear they planted last year to make the big green leaf. The flamingo looks scared!

This is not all the photos I took. I had to cut some. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this post is a book!!

DJ and Andrea are just about the nicest people I have ever met. Always willing to lend a helping hand, DJ has offered his considerable building skills to remake the pavilion. Andrea spends her days spreading her gardening skills to her neighbors. I always have good intentions when I want to start a new garden bed. I kind of know that if I can get the plants back there, she will tend them in my absence. Yes, that is a little sneaky on my part!!

I Am Rude

It is raining!! Great joy in the kampground. The flowers in my garden have their faces lifted to the heavens, so happy for the nice cool drink.

Me, I am ecstatic! No swimmers, a day off. I can clean my house and lounge in front of the TV with a dog or two nestled close. I can read blogs uninterrupted, I can cook a decent meal. Lest I get carried away with all the possibilities, I must remind myself that I am still open for business and will still need to answer the phone. Can't have everything, you know.

Yesterday was grueling. The heat was stifling and I could not seem to catch a minute for myself. As the day was coming to an end, I had an RV come in and as I was checking them in, a group of swimmers arrived. I asked if I could help them (just like I always do) and they expressed a desire to swim. I reminded them that the pool would be closing in just an hour, in case they wanted to wait for another day, but they were intent on paying to swim.

I left my overnight guests filling out the registration and turned my full attention to the swimmers. The first girl reached out with a handful of change. I counted it and found $2.50 in dimes and 2 quarters. I told her it added up to $3. She insisted it was $3.50. I showed her that it was only $3, but she would not look at the handful of change, just maintained eye contact with me.

I wanted to finish this transaction and be on to my campers, so I told her that $3 would be fine, since they had such a short time to swim. I extended the discount to the entire group, they all paid and I assigned a site to my campers. Did not give it another thought. One of the group came in and got snocones and I divided myself between the office and my kitchen in order to put together a meal.

I called HeWho in to eat and we were able to finish a meal almost uninterrupted. Phone rang while we were clearing the table and HeWho hates to answer the phone took it ....... I was cleaning up the kitchen.

It was the mother of the group of young people who had come out to swim. She wanted to complain about my rudeness. She said I was very rude to her children and indicated to HeWho that we were rude to these young people because they are racially mixed. When he asked for details about my rudeness, none were forthcoming. He then asked her why she had blocked her phone number ( like the rest of the world, we have caller ID) and she insisted that she NEVER blocked her number and would give him her name and number.

I gave the incident some thought and could not think of any rudeness on my part. Don't get me wrong, I can be the master of rudeness when the situation calls for it. I was busy, handling two transactions at once, but I do that all the time. I admit that I did think the change givers were hoping I would not actually count it. Maybe the first one really did think that her change added up to $3.50. I have found the young people here lacking in basic math skills. I tried to recall any slight on my part and honestly cannot think of a thing.

So, I called the mother back. I started out by apologizing that they felt I had been rude. I asked what exactly I had done to give the impression of rudeness. She said that I was mad because they used change and that I did not want to count it. This made no sense at all, since I did count it. Why would I not count it? Counting change does not bother me. If I had not wanted to count the change, I would have blindly accepted what was handed to me. She did not bring up her racial issue, since HeWho handled that. She asked him if he had a problem with "mixed" children, so he asked her if she had a problem with our 3 black granddaughters.

Beyond saying I did not want to count change, she had nothing. She told me that her family would never be here to swim again and that she had heard things about me being rude to others. I told her that I was sorry she felt that way and that, once again, I apologized for anything that her children may have construed as rude behavior on my part. I was hoping to end with that, but she was vicious, kept saying what a bad person I was, that she had heard about me. I hung up.

I hate phone calls like that. I am not at all worried about her family boycotting my pool. I am pleased that she will be staying away. But, I wondered what she had heard about me and my rude ways. The only thing I can come up with is the incident with the not paying tenant. You will recall that I pulled the plug and evicted the woman who was not a registered guest. She had expressed that she could not believe what I was doing and I encouraged her to believe and spread the word.

If this woman and her offspring are friends with the squatter, well, let me just say this is an element of local society that I really do not want in my park anyway.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Play Ball!

Oscar continued his reign as the alpha dog after his special surgery. His lack of testosterone seemed not to bother him in the least. Emmy was a wonderful little mother and Oscar acted like he had three new subjects in his kingdom. Louise was particularly fond of the puppies, we were just worried that she would accidentally swallow one. They only weighed 5 ounces and fit easily in the palm of my hand.

Oscar still accompanied me to work, along with Emmy and the puppies. We would leave the big dogs at home. They probably enjoyed the quiet time. Oscar and Emmy took to going to Home Depot with HeWho loves attention. They were given their very own aprons to wear when they went with HeWho builds (sort of).

HeWho lavished the Oscar with gifts. He bought doggles and hats and toys. He bought for Emmy, as well, and she graciously accepted them and showered him with kisses. Oscar remained aloof, not one to be bought with silly trinkets. Toss a ball, though, and he was your friend for life.

He loved a certain ball that was available at Walmart in a package of three chew toys. Smaller than a tennis ball, he could fit this in his mouth. It had a little bell in it. I suppose the bell was to help the dog track the ball. No problem for Oscar to track a ball. When a ball was in play, he always knew exactly where that ball was. He had focus, my Oscar.

He loved these balls so much that he could smell one inside the package, inside the Walmart bag. No matter how many bags I was carrying, he knew which bag contained his ball. He would remove the package and then tear it open. Not interested in any item, save that ball. He gave the bone or the pretzel or whatever other toys accompanied his ball to the rest of his pack.

This is when the real work would begin. Oscar liked to "season" his ball. Much like a catcher will season his mitt. He would gnaw intently until he was able to remove the little noise maker inside. Now, he would stop this at a moments notice if someone would throw the ball for him to fetch. He always brought it back and would even put the ball into your hand. Every evening he would hop into HeWho longed to be his master's lap, ball in his mouth. He dropped the ball and then hopped down and waited for it to be thrown. He became quite vocal if the ball did not fly into the air as soon as he thought it should.

One by one he would offer the ball to every human in the house until he had annoyed us all. He knew that when I said I was done for the night that I meant it. He would still make noisy objections, though. One night he was doing just that when my sweet Collie picked the ball up in his mouth and tossed it for him.

This is how Oscar and Sarge became the best of friends. Sarge would bide his time until all the people were tired of playing ball with Oscar, then he would take over. Being a Collie, Sarge needed a job. Oscar provided one.

This was not Sarge's only job. Louise, the Saint Bernard, was an escape artist. Being very social, Louise set out to meet and visit with as many other people and dogs as possible. We had a 6' privacy fence, preventing any notions of jumping on her part. She was a digger. She would make a nice little hollow under a fence piece, then head butt the piece until she could squeeze through. She had always been prone to visiting, but when the little dogs came to live with us, she decided they should accompany her on the special walks.

I would look outside and see my faithful Sarge standing next to the opening she created in the fence. He was always sympathetic with my plight, but he would not leave the yard until he was instructed to "go find them and bring them back". He would help me locate them, then start herding them in my direction. Like I said, best dog EVER!

Louise was never contrite about taking the others on an adventure. I suppose she thought they all deserved to go. Oscar was never contrite about anything. Emmy would offer her sweet attentions and try to "make-up" for her disobedience. It was hard to stay mad at Emmy. Oscar cared not if you were mad at him. He just continued with his life of being pampered and fed and gnawed his ever present ball. No matter how ragged the ball got, if you could still toss it, he would fetch it.

Oscar's ball was always wet with slobber. I remember once when granddaughter Layla was about three, Oscar offered his well gnawed slippery ball to her. She took it and looked at it with great distaste and pronounced the ball to be "broked". She immediately washed her hands. Layla has always been a lady.

None of the rest of my dogs have ever loved a ball like Oscar. Just this weekend I found one when I was weeding the fence in the back yard. I took the ball to him and let him smell it. He showed no interest at all. How I would love to be annoyed with a game of fetch with my Oscar!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Oscar Gets A Wife

Oscar's first day in my house was trying, to say the least. My Himalayan cat, Gremlin, was quite insulted at the prospect of another canine in his midst. Gremlin was my anniversary gift one year. I forget which anniversary, other than the fact that it was the year I was tested for allergies ..... and found to be allergic to cat dander. HeWho never fails to astonish me with thought provoking gifts. Maybe he was trying to tell me something??

We have always had cats and dogs. Other pets, too. Ferrets and a squirrel, a duck and a guinea pig. We like animals. I once has pet pigs and some pet chickens, but that is another story. Gremlin was my high maintenance pet. He was plagued with gum disease and bladder stones. His long hair needed constant grooming and he had an attitude. He thought himself to be the superior of the animal kingdom in my house, but even Gremlin succumbed to the alpha-ness of Oscar.

The very first night in my house, Oscar cried pitifully until he was ensconced in our bed, between me and HeWho is a big sucker for tiny animals. Over time I have come to realize that the crying was probably just a means to an end for Oscar. He wanted to claim the middle space of my bed ...... and he did.

Despite the entreaties of HeWho wanted to be the master of Oscar, Oscar chose to sleep next to me. Very close, next to my thigh. I was at once repulsed and enchanted with this little bully. I loved that he chose me, but I already had a dog who chose me over all others. Sarge was my dog. We did everything together. I always took Sarge on my walks. He was so obedient we could have ditched the leash. He loved me over everybody else in our household. He loved children, too. He disdained those who would raise their hand or voice to a little one. If HeWho would pretend to hit me, he would attack him. Better than that, if I actually smacked my husband, he would attack him!! Never me. He loved me. I still miss that dog. He lived 14 wonderful years.

Now that I had two dogs who loved me best, I had to divide my time with them. Sarge got my undivided attention on walks and Oscar had my undivided attention all the time in between. I took him to work with me. I even bought a baby carrier and put him in it while I went about my duties at work. To say the dog was spoiled would be an understatement. I fell madly in love with my tiny dog, so much so, that upon his 6 month birthday, I bought for him a wife-dog.

We drove to get her, Oscar nestled in my arms, me assuring him that he would always be the top-dog. Oscar weighed in at 10 lbs. and was considered to be miniature. We looked for a female with his coloring, black with tan markings. He was such a handsome little devil, we wanted to reproduce him. We found a litter of black and tan silkies (long hair) mini-doxies and I let my rejected (by Oscar) husband choose. We named her Emmy. Oscar was not a weenie, he was an award! This meant Emmy would be another award.

Back in the car, I still held my Oscar. He needed to know he was loved, after all. Emmy fit in the shirt pocket of her new master. Her cute little head sticking out. She would look over at me and my Oscar from time to time, but Oscar was having none of this new puppy! I conceded that she was cute enough, but I declared Oscar to be the best looking dog ever to live.

Emmy grew to whopping 6 lbs. Emmy possessed a wonderful disposition. She loved every one she met and every one she met fell in love with her. She became Oscar's best buddy, but she was also Louise's best buddy. Louise loved Emmy and thought her to be her very own puppy. Emmy allowed Louise the pleasure of flipping her over and back and over again as Louise administered to her new charge. The few times Emmy was scolded, she would run to Louise and hide under neck in her fur. Sarge loved Emmy, as well. Even my daughter Jill liked Emmy. Never Oscar, though, even though he was found innocent of her nausea. Baby Layla would turn out to be the culprit and worth every bit of misery!

Oscar and Emmy parented one litter of excellent puppies. Three little girls and they all looked exactly like Oscar. We sold them for the outrageous sum that Jill had paid for their father-dog. We had one that kept returning and we called her Toni. I secretly thought of her as Adrienne. My baby girl that would move out, only to return numerous times.

After the birth of the three look a-likes, we had  Oscar neutered in attempt to tone down his outrageous ways. We were still struggling to potty train this dog. He was a smug little tyrant and would look at me defiantly and pee on the wall. Our vet thought the surgery would help. It didn't. He still pees on the floor. He is no longer defiant, just matter of fact. He is so sure of my love for him.

My daughters have proclaimed me to be a crazy dog lady. That's okay I embrace my title. It is true. I love my dogs.