Thursday, April 17, 2014

Steven Murphy Struck Again

Who is this man called Murphy, with his laws of misfortune? I ask that as I sit here having been marinated in Diet Coke. The real thing. In Hillbilly Mom's neck of the woods they call him Even Steven. I suppose that could be his first name, as in Steven Murphy ........

Not too long ago I was inspired to create my own garden window. I took a 24" three tier covered wire shelf and attached it to my little kitchen window with cup hooks. I carefully drilled holes in the bottom of the ice cube trays for drainage and filled them with potting soil. Formulated for seed starting, the bag proclaimed. I searched, but found nothing that would act as a tray for the water under the trays so I just created one out of foil. I will admit to certain amount of bragging. I could water the top tray and it would drain down to next tray and then the next. I am so very clever. It worked great and I got a lot of seedlings going.

After transplanting some, I decided to set some little clay pots in place of the ice trays. As I sat in peaceful oblivion a couple nights ago, there was suddenly a crash in the kitchen. I rushed in to see that the entire contraption was in the floor surrounded by potting soil and broken pots. Too much weight, my own fault. The potting soil was wet. I had watered it just hours before and the pots were a tragedy. I salvaged nothing. The dogs were of two minds. The male ones hid, but Toni Louise has the curiosity of a cat and decided to romp in the mess. After a sorry job of cleaning it up I went to bed deciding to tackle it in the fresh light of day.

Upon arising, I swept and mopped and did a much better job of cleaning. I was inspired to tackle the laundry room and the work table of He Who once dabbled in stain glass. I had set it up several years ago for him  to have a place to work should he want to. It became a catch-all. It seems to grow daily. While doing this, I found a stash of bungee cords. In my new/used fridge the tray in the freezer door is lacking the part that holds the items on the shelf. I decided that a bungee cord might work and set about installing said cord. Took several tries to find one that fit it tightly enough.

I was determined. As I pulled it tight the door got away from me and slammed into a plate rack on the wall. Broke two plates. All this happened while I was dealing with a tooth ache, then having the tooth pulled. In utter frustration I just walked away from the broken plates in the floor and finished my original task. The day did not go well at all.

That was yesterday. It was fiercely windy and prevented me from working outside. I tried to discover an avenue of entry in the back yard. I did, but lacked the brute force to remove a steel door that was jammed in place.

This morning I was determined to break the spell of Steven Murphy. I convinced He Who Mows and Tows to remove the door. I gassed up my mower and raised the blade, the grass being tall enough to lose a dog in. I cleaned up the yard and then mowed it twice (blade up, blade down). Came in, showered and got myself presentable for  trip to town, Thursday being Senior discount day. I gathered all my deals and then headed home. I have two soda machines to fill and then I had big plans to mow my side yards and around my tender young tress. He who mows has been known to simply run them over.

Unloaded the car, came through the door, tripped over a dog, while another escaped into the store, dropped a bag ........ the bag had two 2 liter bottles of Diet Coke in it. It hit the floor and exploded. I was sprayed from head to toe with Diet Coke. In my ear! Inside my shoes! All over the floor, the table, the back of the recliner. It sprays quite a distance, that Diet Coke.

I sit here now, having had another quick shower, in different clothes. Afraid to attempt to mow, lest that pesky Steven Murphy still lurks close by. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

What A Difference A Day Makes

Saturday morning I took this picture of my peach tree. Tiny little buds adorn the limbs with the promise of peach cobblers to come. It was a beautiful day. Warm, almost 80 degrees. Balmy winds cooled my skin and deceived me into thinking my skin was nice and cool. I got a bit of a burn while chopping away at the soil in my garden beds.

Sunday morning ........ the buds were blooming! Overnight this happened! I was motivated to dig some more despite the forecast for rain and my aching muscles. I wanted to sow as many seeds as I could before the rain.

Rain we need. The snow lightly falling is a different story. Supposed to freeze tonight! This just wrong. I am snug under a blanket with dogs tucked around me, nursing a tooth ache. I have a date with the dentist tomorrow. I am not really looking forward to it, but will be happy to lose the pain.

Still no gate to the yard with the tall grass. You may place your bets and guess just how long it will take to get a gate installed, or a new door on the shed/carport that will allow me access to the yard. Still have to install the second gate to the dog park, scrub the pool and refill it, get all the plumbing working in the satellite bathhouse and clean it. The heavy rain last night left the roads in terrible shape. That will have to be addressed. All before Memorial Day. My gate is low on the list. Who wants to bet that I will be the one to fix this?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Daffodils and Mowers

Found my snow boots! They crush my toes, so I had them in the box to go to Goodwill ........ I bought them because they looked so happy and green and Spring-like. They are waterproof, so I decided to plant some daffodils.

A lone daffodil makes the frog so happy! Soon the morning glory will fill the pot and overflow.

I borrowed the daffodils from this garden.

They dance in the wind and promise that Spring is really here. Spring is the busiest time of year. So many pipes burst with the wicked cold winter weather. My job is to constantly remind (nag) He Who plumbs which ones are a priority. He Who is single minded when faced with more than one task. Never occurs to him that you can initiate one task and then go do another. The pool can drain while you mow ........ just sayin' ........

The rebuilt fence still stands sturdy and strong. Just one little problem .......... the grass is growing. The grass is growing at an alarming rate. Why is this a problem?  Why don't I just mow it? Mower is working just fine. There is no gate. The only access to the back yard is the back door.

I asked for the fence to be sturdy. It is. I did not specify that a gate be installed. I mean, I wanted a gate, just not the big double wide one that was there before. The one wide enough to drive through. The one that allowed a tractor in to ruin the grass I so lovingly tended. Just a regular gate, wide enough to fit a mower through.

I suppose I could maneuver the mower through the house and out the door. This does not appeal to me. Maybe I should just go buy another mower. You know, for the back yard.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pet Cemetary

 The sun is shining, my fence is upright and sturdy, and I have soil under my nails. All is right in my world. I have laundry on the line, blowing gently in the wind. Five new trees are in the ground and cost nary a cent. I am determined to plant enough little seedlings to create a wind break for the newly restored fence.

I have been about my most un-favorite task. That would be poop patrol after a long winter. It always amazes me, the amount of poop that comes from such small dogs. I cover my right hand with a sturdy plastic bag that has been checked carefully for holes. I hold another bag in my left hand to hold what the right hand is picking up. It is better if you don't think about what it is that you are doing. He Who mows does not do this ....... ever. He would just mow over it and distribute it evenly throughout the yard. I am the Poop Scooper.

While patrolling my yard, I found a dead bird. This is the second one I have come upon this year. Last week I found my Cujo with the bottom half of a little rabbit in his mouth. He is a pretty smart little dog, but he does not know the command "SPIT!". He kept trying to come in the house with it, no doubt thinking to add it to his treasures he has hidden under the table by my chair. I am so thankful I saw it before he came in. Earlier this winter he tried to bring a frozen dead mouse in.

No rare disease has fallen upon the wildlife here, just Martha, the boy cat hunting. He does not eat what he kills. He brings it to Cujo. Martha and Cujo share a special bond. They attack each other and play endlessly. Martha allows Cujo to eat his cat food and at the end of the day, they groom each other.

I wish Martha would find another way to show his affection for Cujo!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why I Have a Mailbox

It was a beautiful day! The fence has been restored and I got started on my garden beds. I was outside all day long and had come in to make dinner. I am, shall we say, disheveled . I look like I have been working outside all day I have twigs in my hair, my clothes have smears of tree sap and dirt on them. But, I am quite pleased with all the progress I made and pleasantly tired.

A camper pulls in. Not a big one, maybe 24 feet. The couple come in and register and I apologize for my appearance while the wife fills out the registration. The transaction continues as we chat about the never ending winter and all the chores it brings. I tell them that we had to rebuild out fence from the winds that blew through. Just me blathering on, I can talk about anything.

But, the man is suddenly concerned about the safety of staying here, since those winds did so much damage. Huh? I am at a loss for words (this is rare). But he is really concerned. I mention that I have a lot of seasonal campers and they were just fine.

I then show him how to get to his site on the map. With my handy, dandy high lighter, I draw his path. I look out and note that he entered the exit drive and is facing the wrong direction. I tell him to simply turn around in the parking lot. People, it is huge, I have seen 40 footers towing cars turn around with ease. I assure him that it is indeed doable.

It was past closing time and I had some limbs in my back yard I wanted to toss over the fence, so I locked up, checked my pots on the stove and had just picked up the first limb when my dogs alerted me. There at the front door was the wife. I opened the door  and noted that they were now positioned to go down my private drive. I wonder to myself if anyone even knows how to read a map.

The woman is indignant. Her husband did not follow my instructions. Instead he went out the enter drive and came right back in the exit drive. She told me that he hit the mailbox post, but that they were not the ones who knocked the mailbox off the post ......... She wondered aloud why we had a mailbox "out there". Once again this duo have rendered me speechless. But, wait, it gets better.

"Just look at our trailer! It is brand new and now it is all messed up!" she announced. "You can go look at your mailbox, we did not knock it down but we hit that post it was on. I don't know what you are going to do about it. It looks like somebody just sat it on the ground, but we didn't do it. That post damaged our trailer and I don't know what you are going to do about it."

After she told me to "just look at our trailer" again, I calmly told her that despite their efforts at turning around, they were still going the wrong way. I told her once again how to turn around and pointed to the correct road that is clearly labeled with signage from my very own hand. I did not suggest that perhaps her husband needed to remember that he was dragging a trailer behind his pick-up.

I watched as he turned around the way I had initially told him to and then walked to the mail box, that was upside down in the ditch. Still usable, but dinged up, the post loose and not usable. He simply took the turn too sharp and the trailer took out my mailbox. It is there so that I can receive mail .... I forgot to tell her that when she was wondering why I would have a mailbox there.

So, lets recap. They paid me $28 to stay. I now have to replace the post ($15) and reset it and put my dented box back up .... if I want my mail tomorrow. And she thinks I should pay for the damage to her trailer. All because her husband is a bad driver and refuses to take directions from a woman.

I sent He Who was in a foul mood when he saw the mailbox to talk about damages. He didn't go.
I am going to bed now.

Recommendations To Dine

I don't often get the opportunity to eat out. Not that I cook all of our food, we do get take-out, but I am held captive to the front desk. My own fault, I suppose. He Who Mows and Tows and Plumbs is not allowed to take reservations. He tends to make promises that I can't keep. He will give the same site to two or more campers for the same time frame. This causes me great stress. It is easier to just do it myself.

I do get out during the "off " season. Sometimes with He Who pays for dinner and sometimes with other friends. We tend to try  all the eateries close by, so that when someone asks what is available, I can answer. I never recommend a place unless I have eaten their food. Since I eat take-out, I miss out on the ambiance ..........

One such adventure took me and my buddy, Deb to a "steak house" in town. It was in an old building on the main street. We walked in and the very first thing to catch my eye was the fly paper hanging near the entry, causing me to ask her if we absolutely had to eat there. She insisted that we were hungry and that I, as a local business owner should patronize other local business ....... I succumbed to her reasoning and took a seat. We were allowed to choose, since only one other table was occupied. I tried to reason with Deb, telling her that since it was prime time for eating, the fact that only one other diner was there did not bode well for the food.

We stayed. Deb thought it would be impolite to get up and leave. Our server was a young guy. Must have been family. We chose our entrees and he left to put our order in. He delivered our beverages and then literally ran out the front door.

Soon, the same guy ran back in, grocery bag in hand and rushed to the kitchen. We started giggling, then. That was our salad in the bag. Next thing we heard was someone in the kitchen saying, "This is not a cucumber, it's a zucchini!"

The food was okay. I never went back and not long after, they closed. It is hard to keep an eatery open in a small town. Last season, on a slow night, I was kidnapped by sweet kamper Nan and her daughter Barb (master of eyeglass repair ..... Here's 2 Eyes, Troy, MO). They wanted to take me to a place called Liquid. The food was good and the place was clean. Maybe the choice of name wasn't such a good idea, since the place is now "Oliver's ..... a unique dining experience. 

I was intrigued with the "unique dining experience" and wanted to try it out. The chill temp kept most kampers at home, but Crazy Tom and Miss Martha (love her so much I gave her name to my cat) were here, so we set out on a big adventure last night, all heddy with anticipation.

When we arrived, there were a lot of cars, at least a dozen (yes, that is a crowd in these parts). I always take that as a good omen. Tiki torches were burning and flower leis adorned the entrance. But, as we were about to mount the steps to go in, a woman at the door asked, "Are you here for Paddle Palooza?" Before we answered, she told us that were not serving from the menu, dismissing us. Really. No apologies, no "please try us again soon".

There we were, four hungry people wondering what Paddle Palooza was and where we were to go from there. Not a lot of choices. Not even a lot of fast food here. Subway, Dairy Queen, Dominoes, and the ever present McDonald's. Chinese, Mexican ......... nobody wanted that.

We ended up at the Pit Stop Bar and Grill. It was on the edge of the city, so it took a good 5 minutes to get there. Although the building was old and a little seedy looking, it was clean and boasted a large (for here) dining area, a dozen or more tables. They had a rib special that appealed to He Who loves BBQ and Crazy Tom. Martha and I chose from the dinner menu and were surprised at the amount of food we got. It was quite tasty and we all left with full stomachs. I will recommend this to those kampers looking for a meal. I can't say it was unique, but it was good food.

I will try the unique Oliver's again. Small towns tend to be closed to outsiders (I am, after all, outside the city limits). The mid west is different. Southern charm is not to be found in these parts, nor is Minnesota nice. Good thing I have tough skin ....... and a wicked sharp tongue.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Who Let The Dogs Out?

He who procrastinates has picked another project to procrastinate upon. Last fall we had a magnificent wind blow part of the privacy fence down, popping the posts off at ground level. This fence is the fence that keeps our dogs inside the yard and safe. Makes my life livable. Just open the back door and let the canine children out to do their business.

Without this, I have to attach leads to harnesses or collars, then take 4 dogs out to weave the leads through my legs (ouch) and generally make me crazy. This fence is a necessity. With that in mind, He Who spends more money attempting to "fix" something with his imaginative solutions that he would if he simply did it right the first time, made a repair. 

His wife (that would be me) saw the problem and said, "Don't you need the auger to dig new holes and reset new posts?" Yes, but no. He had a better idea. He purchased those spiky metal posts that would be used to support a wire fence. He drove these into the ground next to the existing broken posts and attached them to the broken posts and put the panels back up. His wife (me) looked at this "solution" with raised eyebrow. "Will this hold the weight of the fence?" He Who did not want to dig new holes was full of assurances.

Those green metal posts are now twisted and convoluted. The wife (once again, me) had also suggested that the gate be moved to the north side of the fence, since the wind usually blows east and west. The gate has been a problem for the entire 10 years. A simple latch will not hold it. Despite the fact that I did not want a gate big enough to allow a vehicle to enter, the gate is double wide. To secure the gate, I was forced to use cement blocks on both sides.

The wind has knocked this section of fence down more times than I can count since the initial blow down. For five months ...... I have to look before I open the door. Sometimes I am lured into a sense of false security and I will open the door and discover that the fence is down too late to stop Toni Louise from escape.

Since Spring is toying with us and giving a hint of warm days to come, He Who finally recognizes defeat has been talking about the fence. He Who is wise in such matters (or, so he claims), has decided that he should relocate the gate to the north side and dig new holes for posts. Wonder how he came up with that? He dug the holes and there they sat for a week. He finally set the new posts in cement. They stand proud and strong, those new posts. The fence is still rigged up in a temporary state, a gaping hole has some old fence wire stretched across and another route of escape has a piece of lattice. So lovely, my non-privacy fence.

Yesterday, while holding a load of wet laundry in my arms, I opened the back door. On my way to hang the laundry in the warmish wind blowing, I called out to my dogs. They like to accompany me outside ........ I did not check first, since the last time He Who had to rush home to help catch a dog and fix a fence, proclaimed, "This won't blow down!!!". I beg to differ, as I see it laying there.  Toni Louise gained access to freedom. Wall-E, the wonder dog followed, ignoring my command to "STOP". Oscar, the blind dog was still clueless and Cujo fell to the ground and rolled over, waiting for me to come get him.

The wet laundry fell to the floor and as I rushed to get the one dog that obeyed me when I yelled "STOP", I tripped on one of the many dog toys littering the yard. I did not fall, no, I did not. But I caught myself with bad shoulder arm. I heard a "pop" and I felt the now familiar burn.

No time to waste, I grab an ice pack and put it one the shoulder and head to the front door. Hoping that my escapees have simply come to the front to surprise me. I text the fence fixer. The dogs are not at my front door, so I go out and call for them.

"Mommy has treats" I call over and over. They know me too well. They also know they ignored me when I told them to stop and that will not result in a reward. Nowhere to be seen, my two naughty dogs. I get in my Jeep and drive slowly through the park. Toni thinks it is a lark to hop into my car. Wall-E is a follower and will jump in with her. No sign of my dogs.

A big bobcat was seen sauntering through the park not long ago, so my fear for my dogs made me forget about the pain in my shoulder. I made a full circle and arrived back to the front and guess who was waiting at the front door? Toni Louise greets me and jumps around, wagging her tail. Wall-E is subdued and trying to be as far in the background as possible.

The fence is back up again and promises have been made. The wind is downright scary today and hail is expected. It will be interesting to see the fence fall again. The ice seemed to do the trick on the shoulder, a good thing, in case I need to chase dogs today.