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.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

He Who Celebrates a Birthday

Tiny bunnies. Made from infant socks. Hard to see their little faces and French knot eyes. These are my favorites.

Toddler socks turned out cute, too. This little guy is disabled, born without eyes. Cruel? No. As a little girl I would always choose the dolls with imperfections .... they needed me.

Another toddler sock and a big girl sock. They have button eyes. This is what I do when I can no longer brush paint on the wall. I have made over 2 dozen and I was going through my button stash looking for just the right sets when it occurred to me that buttons were choking hazards .....

Since my grands are all past that stage, I don't think about it as much. But I decided to do the rest with French knot eyes. Safer. I didn't use buttons on my sock monkeys either. They have "X" eyes.

No sewing today. No painting today. Today marks 61 years of life for He Who is loved by me. There will be cake, for sure. I haven't decided what kind yet. I was leaning towards a chocolate concoction, but I just found some recipes for peanut butter cakes. If he loves anything more than chocolate, it is peanut butter. I should buy it in those giant containers, but that would deprive his favorite pup of her favorite treat/toy (empty peanut butter jars). No waste.

I am off to the grocery. We are out of peanut butter!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I Hear It Is Spring ....

Wondering what I have been up to? Not wondering? I am going to share anyway. Spring is here (on the calendar anyway). Even though it might freeze again this week, I know it is here.

How do I know? Well, Friday was wonderful, balmy and warm. I was in my favorite flip flops, one brown and one black, thanks to Toni Louise and her chewing stage. I am just thankful to have a right and a left. But, I digress. I know it is Spring because a car full of people clad in swimsuit attire pulled into my parking lot and stared longingly at the pool. I was outside examining the tiny green shoots and tree buds. They put down the window and asked "When will the pool be open?"

I even have a witness, in case you think I may be exaggerating. Yes, let the season begin. My blood pressure remains higher than it should be and I wonder what the coming season will bring .....

Never mind that. I decided to give the store/office a face lift. Sherry, the taxidermist, obtained a gallon of "oops" paint for me and helped me burlap the front of the registration desk. I was still not very mobile with the shoulder, but boredom took over and I tackled the painting one wall at a time. The previously black trim boards are now a nice beige and the walls in between are white-washed.

The cute little book shelf unit was given (forced upon me) to me. Martha knew I would find a good use. And, we all know that Martha is one savvy lady!

After painting one set of windows and cleaning them, I wanted to cry about the next set ....... but ..... they are not functional. I never open or close them, nor do I look out from them. So, I enlarged my retail display area by covering them with peg board!! Of course, now I wonder why this thought never occurred to me before. Probably because I was not about to paint them.

I have totally justified my actions! More space and I insulated the area before I covered it. I really, really did not want to paint those windows! Still a fan of Coke, I am still able to display all the junk I have collected over the years. The wall at the coffee station got burlap to cover the old map theme.

I was told by someone that I should de-clutter. No way. I like my "clutter". Just the other day my buddy Barb brought this to me. She knows me well! Barb is one of a very few people that my Cujo will allow to pick him up. He is very discerning, my Cujo.

So, that is what I have been up to. I paint awhile, then rest awhile. It has taken nearly 3 weeks to complete, but, other than another burlap wall behind my desk and a few touch up areas on the walls, I am so close to done!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kenmore, Rest In Peace

My old Kenmore refrigerator finally bit the dust this weekend and has been laid to rest. It still cools and freezes, just fine. It was a side by side with ice maker and water dispenser and was top of the line 22 years ago. It served me well until He Who loves all things new and electronic bought for me a brand new Samsung brushed nickel (I wanted stainless .....) bottom freezer, mammoth taker of space for my 50th birthday. Such a romantic, my guy. There are so many things wrong with this idea as a gift. I won't go into that right now.

Samsung displaced Kenmore, delegating it to the 3 car garage that only one vehicle managed to park in. There it sat until we moved to the campground.
Filled with cans of soda (pop) and whatever didn't fit in Samsung. We moved Samsung into our new abode and it dwarfed the tiny kitchen space. Kenmore sat unplugged and unloved in the barn.

Samsung was only two years old when the internal thermometer failed. No amount of cajoling could make Samsung obey my commands. I could turn the temp down, but the thermometer would override me and reset. Much food spoiled and had to tossed. He Who bought the mammoth Samsung was loathe to give it up, though and would tinker away and announce it to be "fixed". When looking for the necessary part needed to fix it, he decided it would be cheaper to "just go buy a new one".

I insisted that he go fetch Kenmore. Poor Kenmore was in sad cosmetic shape, so I bought appliance paint and gave her a makeover. That was 8 years ago. The only thing wrong was that the pins in the wall of the fridge that held the veggie crispers had come out. One of them. I made it work. It was a matter of placement of heavier items on one side. Occasionally someone besides me would come along and redistribute the weight and things would happen, but I could always fix it. Not long ago, two mores pins failed and I could no longer balance it. I couldn't even shut the door unless I removed the crisper drawers. I could only have one drawer with no cover.

We never hooked up the ice maker, our water is too hard and scaly, so why even bother. I always felt that the ice maker and ice bin took up valuable real estate in my freezer anyway, so I had been trolling Craigslist for a replacement. I just wanted a reliable replacement, no ice maker, or anything extra.

Without the top of the crisper drawer my lettuce and celery froze ..... not good. We found one this weekend. There is an ice maker, but not like the huge one that dispensed through the door. And ...... it just happens to be another Kenmore, only two years old!

I tried to convince He Who Hoards that we should bury old Kenmore in the ground to use as a root cellar. He didn't like my idea .... or maybe he did, but didn't want to dig the hole ....

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I Must Be An Idiot

The good news is that my tear in my rotator cuff is small enough to not need surgery. The bad news is that my blood pressure was way too high.

I had been taking meds, but my blood pressure bottomed out and I felt crappy. So, the meds were discontinued. I was instructed to monitor my blood pressure daily to determine if I needed medication at all. I am old school. I prefer to use a stethoscope and actually listen to determine the blood pressure. So, that is the type monitor I have. I dutifully checked it daily for 4 weeks. While it is possible to take your own blood pressure, it can be difficult to get the cuff on correctly and you end up pinching yourself. So, He Who loves me and knows how to take a blood pressure took on the task. As long as he was putting the cuff on, he might as well complete the task, right?

It was determined that I no longer needed the medication and I felt much better for a time. But lately, I have had a nagging headache that will not go away and I could feel my pulse in my fingertips. I could hear my blood rushing in my ears. I would take my blood pressure and it would be high. Instead of depending on my own determination, I would ask He Who mows, tows and plumbs to recheck when ever he happened in. He would always look at me funny and say, "It's fine, even a little low." I rarely doubt myself, and don't know why I did then ........

So, yesterday, when my blood pressure was routinely taken, the nurse looked at me and asked if I felt okay. Then she took me into an exam room and took it again, using a stethoscope. Old school, for a more accurate reading. It was 160/108. Too high. I am on new meds, of course.

As I drove home, I pondered how I could have missed this. Every time I felt bad, my blood pressure would be taken ........... Every time He Who has taken thousands of blood pressure readings as an EMT it was low, even when I had found it to be high. Hello! He is hearing impaired and would have to remove his hearing aids to take it! And I entrusted my blood pressure health to a deaf man! Am I an idiot, or what?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lucky Penny

I found a lucky penny first thing this morning. In my laundry room, there is was shining up at me from the bottom of the washer. I snatched it up and pocketed it. Then, as I was walking back into the kitchen, I found another penny, heads up on the floor!

 I took this as a sign of the day to come. I was sorely disappointed.

The fence fell, and although I suppose I should be thankful there were no escapees, I was still highly annoyed.
I told He Who tows that we need to reset the posts yesterday. The weather had warmed and since the first hefty gust of wind that took it out popped the posts and it has been leaning there, waiting there for another opportunity to fall. Not that it doesn't fall regularly and He Who Procrastinates will heave it back up and prop it with whatever he can find.

It is almost Spring and it is definitely time to fix it permanently. There are escape holes and while Oscar is no longer interested in adventures, the other three are. Toni Louise is notorious for her antics and swift legs. She is hard to catch, that one. Wall-E is a slinker and will slither down to the ground and wait to be hauled in ....... after he has first finds something truly disgusting to smear on his white body. He always requires a bath after an adventure.

It is true that the escape avenue has to be fairly large to accommodate them, but Cujo is small and rides low to the ground. He is able to manipulate the smallest and most convoluted exits. He is fearless as he maneuvers his long low self out into the world. He has an agenda. He goes in search of Martha, the boy cat. Martha does not sleep at night. He hunts. He does not eat his prey, preferring to leave corpses for me to find in my various gardens. He believes them to be gifts of affection, despite the many conversations we have had about this habit of his. I do not find it charming in the least to come upon Peter Cottontail's body in my bed of zinnias.

Martha and Cujo are buddies and after a reunion, Cujo will lead Martha to the hole he escaped through and they will nonchalantly re-enter the yard when they hear me call. It is hard to scold Cujo. He comes when I call him. He runs to me, Martha in tow, wagging his tail ...... so proud of his little self. He thinks he has rescued Martha. Little does he know that Martha would abandon him if not for the food that awaits him in the house.

But, ........ the main problem with the three panels of wooden privacy fence falling over is not the dogs escaping or my modicum of privacy being invaded. The most compelling reason to address this issue is that this section of fence is falling on my garden. My asparagus bed. While I saw no tiny green shoots of anything, anywhere when I strolled my gardens yesterday; should that fence fall on my asparagus and destroy it, He Who likes to eat might find his plate empty!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Waking Early

"Make sure I get up when the alarm goes off, I have to take my truck in early ....." says He Who Tows. He uses his cell phone as an alarm. Every day it rings, only to have him turn it off and go back to sleep. Not me. After being pulled from warm slumber by a jangling bell, I find it hard to retrieve my dream and continue sleeping. I can, but only if silence ensues.

He Who can sleep through a tornado knows this. He knows I have been having trouble sleeping lately. He knows that I am disturbed by the tiniest of sounds. The slide of the wire clothes hanger on the closet rod, the sound of his socks rasping across his dry heels after I hear the sock drawer open, the rustle of his work pants as they shimmy up his legs ........ I hear everything. I feel the dogs raise their sleepy heads, watching him.

"Go away, leave me in peace." I think as I try to return to sleep. I rub my foot rhythmically on the sheet and hold my eyes shut tight. I feel little Cujo stretch along my spine and snuggle in for a longer nap. I feel Toni lay her head down and Oscar rearrange himself. I hold my breath, lest they sense my awareness. Then, Wall-E jumps down to follow He Who is bumbling around the bedroom, dressing. Tap, tap, tap, his toenails click on the floor. He jumps back in bed, then out again. Confused, are we sleeping or are we getting up?

The dogs have become accustomed to He Who leaving on a middle of the night call. They settle back easily and finish the night now. But , He Who dresses loudly will remove himself from the bedroom quickly and dress in another room. Wonder why he did not do that today? He knew he had to be up early, why didn't he put his clothes in the living room? Did he think I wanted to be up early, too?

Aha! He is preparing me for the daylight savings time change! He Who is thoughtful.

Monday, March 3, 2014


Sleep eludes me lately. I am tired, I am sleepy, but I cannot seem to fall to sleep. I had no trouble while I was taking the muscle relaxer .......

So, last night, as the sleet hit the window and He Who tows was pulling cars out of ditches, I turned to the TV. By now I am so very familiar with the remote. My best friend, the remote, continues to open new horizons for me. As everyone knows I love HGTV and DIY. These shows are not conducive to sleep. It makes me want to get up and paint a wall, or take it down.

I had already seen the Lifetime Movie and so I discovered UP in my search. This network is supposed to promote Christian values and "uplift" you. So I start watching a movie.  I don't remember the title, but it was about two southern families, one white, one black. It was set in the 70's in rural Florida. I get all settled in bed with the canines and think this should soothe my mind and I will sleep soundly.

There is a little boy and a little dog and we all know I am partial to the relationship of boys and dogs (I recall writing a whole book about it ....). The little boy needs a hair cut and has the worst southern accent ever. His big brother and sister are in charge of him while the mom is off at the dairy farm milking cows. They stroll down to the big irrigation ditch to throw rocks at the alligators. 

I knew the dog would follow, like you know something scary is about to happen in those old movies. But, this is on "UP", so you figure everything will be okay. It is rated "G". Imagine my horror as the little dog tried to cross the canal to get to the little boy while the alligator (mad from the rock attack) is swimming to the dog. The little boy is screaming for his dog to "go back, go back" and the I SEE THE ALLIGATOR GRAB THE DOG AND EAT HIM.

I am traumatized. It was worse than Old Yeller. I was not to be consoled after Old Yeller was shot by his master when I saw it at a drive-in movie as a child. It was not nearly as graphic as this dog being snatched up into the mouth of the gator as the little boy is screaming.

I cried as I watched the rest of the movie. It would have been a heartwarming movie about the friendship that formed between the neighbors, but all I took away was the fact that the gator ate the dog while the little boy screamed as his siblings held him, to keep him from going into the water for his pet. I supposed it could be classified as uplifting, but I had nightmares when I finally went to sleep.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Old Man Winter Refuses to Leave

I am so tired of this ....... the snow, the sleet, the frigid wind.

The icicles cling to the gutter. Okay, I didn't take these pictures today, but, it is still as cold outside. I have not seen He Who tows today. He came home around 3 AM, but was called out again before sunrise. Busy pulling cars out of the median on the interstate. I heard on the news this morning that a 70 mile section of Interstate 70 had been closed. We are in that section. Black ice and single digit temperatures make for a treacherous drive. I am staying put.

I ran out of pain meds last Thursday. Can't get anything done until Wednesday.  I am managing with Tylenol and ice packs. Have to admit I do enjoy having all my mental faculties working at 100%. Good thing I have a high pain tolerance. I have decided to tough it out until we close the pool in September if surgery is an option. At the rate we are going with the insurance specifications I know I wouldn't be recovered before pool season.

More important than pool season ........ my gardens. I cannot bear the thought of being unable to play in the dirt. I did some research on my injury and I was right. The only way to repair it is surgery. But, like arthritis, it is manageable. The article I read warned against immobilization, which could result in a "frozen shoulder". This is said to be even more painful. Don't want that! So looks like gardening might be good therapy. I will leave all the heavy lifting to He Who needs me to be able to do his laundry and cook his meals.