Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Congratulations to Kathy Frederick, who along with her husband Dave welcomed a new addition to their family... A Wii Fit! Though I have to warn her, don't get the Wii Community Service, The Wii Obnoxious teenager, or the Wii Chain Gang! Not Fun!
For the many of you who have contacted me concerning the P.O.V. blog, please understand, it's not the end of the world, I will do Fairview Cemetery updates and stories here, but I'm abandoning the state and national political stuff, and focusing on the good stuff here out in Trexlertown and the immediate area. I'm going to write what makes me happy. I won't be linked to Blognet anymore, or caught up in any "gaming" of any systems. I'm just going to write what strikes my fancy, and let you enjoy yourselves.
Happy New Year!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Which brings me to a yearly ritual I witness annually every December at my gym: The Sign Up tours.
At this time of year, while I'm sweating away on the elliptical for 35 minutes, or pushing my respiratory system to the limit while doing 20 laps of breast stroke in the pool, I will witness a parade of wide eyed, out of shape hopefuls being escorted on numerous tours of the facility.
Many of these folks will fork over the joining fee, and sign up to have monthly debits taken from their bank accounts. In January, they will start attending regularly. In February, they will be consistent. In March, they will start missing a day or two. By the end of April, and beginning of May, they will have bagged it altogether. Really, the Gym does get crowded during the first two months of the year, but as soon as the Weather starts getting warm, the crowd thins out.
The thing is, these are two of the most entertaining months of the year at the gym, because folks unaccustomed to using things try and act like they have been doing it all their lives.
Okay, I know you aren't supposed to laugh at people dropping weights on their feet, or hurting themselves, but people, (myself included) sometimes do ignorant, stupid things.
My favorite is people who assume that all portable media devices (such as ipods) are waterproof. Then they get all bent out of shape because it got wet and stopped working. DUH!
Here's a Resolution just for them: Read the Instructions!
So, Faithful readers, what's your resolution? Or what have you seen at the gym that you find entertaining?
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sally Casey kept a list of all the kids she had through our house in Foster care, she kept it in an old family bible, along with pictures of most of the kids.
I could go on for hours writing about all the things she did for children in our neighborhood, but this being Christmas, I want to write about what Christmas was to her.
Christmas was making sure that every child that came to our house got a gift for Christmas.
She had a stash of gifts under the bed in the master bedroom, blue wrapping for a boy, green for a girl. On Christmas morning, after church, she made sure everybody staying in our house was covered. We took whatever was left over to St. Vincent's orphanage on Columbus' East Side, for their kids. She always seemed to have enough, and then some left over.
My Dad would put on a Santa suit, and pass them out. Jim Casey was barely 5'7" tall, and 140 pounds, but he would put on the Santa suit and give those kids their gifts.
I used to think my Mom was an honorary Nun, the friendships she had with all of them, who reminded me all the time how lucky I was to have her as a Mom (Of Course, she never took a belt to the nuns backsides like she did mine, so they had a different perspective.)
So Sally Casey would have been 92 today, and every time I hear that song with that verse bout kids from "2 to 92" I will think of her, and her Christmas attitude. Merry Christmas Mom.
Friday, December 19, 2008
(Suggestion: If you have dozens of people constantly waiting for flights to arrive, maybe you could keep the Subway open past 8 PM? Just a thought)
According to the fabulous Internet, Mrs C's flight from Charlotte would arrive at 9:35 PM.
Well the one TV I found that was working, and did list arriving flights, showed a flight from Chicago at 9:38 PM on time, and a flight from Jacksonville arriving at 9:35. However, there were no flights listed from Charlotte.
The Jacksonville Flight number matched Mrs C's, but I had talked to her on the cell during her plane change in Charlotte. I later learned that her plane had departed the gate on time, but was # 2,049 in line to take off, or so the pilot had claimed. so it didn't get into LVIA until after 10 PM. Other planes were arriving, but God knows what flight they were because there were no announcements, and the screen wasn't updating. You know it's bad when people are standing at the entryway asking disembarking passengers what flight they were on, to try and figure out if their loved ones plane had landed. For all I know Mrs C's plane had landed in Philly, or, God Forbid, flown into the Atlantic Ocean.
So I went up to the desk of a certain Airline, but there was no one there. Okay, I went back downstairs, and saw their baggage claim/complaint office was open. There was a line. That's not a good sign. I asked a badged employee standing outside if there was a flight from Charlotte tonight, because the board said Jacksonville. I tried to explain my confusion, but the (lets call them, U.S.AIRHELL!) Employee told me the board is right, what's on there is right, if it doesn't say Charlotte, there's no flight from Charlotte. So I found no help there!
I would have called Mrs C, but she was on the plane, hopefully in the air, and not somewhere else. So I decided to wait and see if the Jacksonville flight was the right one, which fortunately, it was.
There was one message on the Public Address system, that kept being played Over and over and over, concerning parking rules at the terminal, which I found a true waste of time. In the near two hours I was there, I saw the same cars parked outside the lower level doors the entire time. No one was enforcing the parking rules. That was a joke. So are the TSA people. One guy was sitting at the pass through gate, feet up on the scanner NAPPING. Makes you feel safe, doesn't it? I wish I'd had the digital camera, I would have captured the moment for history. I walked around the terminal to try and stay awake myself, and I could have pretty much gone anywhere I wanted.
Finally, about 10:15 a group came through the gate, and it was a happy reunion! We went to the baggage carousel, where Mrs C's bag was the next to last down the chute. They manage to break one of the legs off for standing it up, so thanks, U.S, Airhell baggage handlers!
It would probably have been useless to complain after all, the plane came from Charlotte, and the TV screen said there was no plane from Charlotte, only Jacksonville. So we would have been claiming something U.S. Airhell said was impossible, Right?! Seeing as Mrs C's flight didn't exist, you think she should get a refund?!
So that's my rant against innefficient government managed air transportation. I feel better now.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I also lugged the Christmas Tree and its Stand up from the basement, and set that up in the front dining/living room, where it can be seen from the street.
Do we really need to discuss the importance of an artificial tree when you have three curious dogs? I also fixed the outside Christmas lights, discovering which connection had become contaminated with moisture and grounded out, kicking the in wall circuit. I think having circuit breakers in an outlet is a great idea.
Anyway, It is always interesting to try and work in, out, or around the house with three dogs that want to help, either by sniffing the bag from Lowes for any possible food, and carrying it off, or just plain getting in the way. Lucy actually crapped on the sidewalk directly behind me as I checked connections, so when I stood up and took a step back, I slipped in nice fresh, warm, and did I mention slippery or fragrant, Lucy Poop?!
And as I uttered some not so nice words, and tried to clean off my shoe in the grass, I managed to step in a warm pile of Sally poop with the other foot. Ethel, of course, made her donation to the cause celebre' immediately in front of the porch, for all to see. God forbid she get left out of the fun. I kind of think it hurt her feelings that I managed not to step in hers.
So ended Sunday afternoon at 1 PM, as I took buckets of hot water mixed with a cup of bleach and cleaned our walkway. I did this before going to the gym, and then a family gathering.
Thanks girls, for all your help. I have other tasks to compete before the triumphant return of Mrs C. I better get cracking.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I love the Beatles version of that song. Today I turned 47. I figure I'm going to have to work, at a minimum, until I am 70 years old. Fortunately for me, that is about the time the 25 year warranty on my artificial hip wears out, so I'll be able to get another one, right?
This morning at 5:02 AM, I passed the KNBT bank on Hamilton Boulevard at Old Krocks road, and the temperature was 58 degrees. I passed it Monday at exactly the same time, and it said 13 degrees. Wow, 48 hours later, and it's 45 degrees warmer. Not only that, I was treated to what looked like Blue lightning in the clouds to the East over South Mountain in front of me.
Just the kind of thing I needed to see on my Birthday. So I get home from work, and the Christmas lights I spent hours working on are off. Timer has no power to it. Outside outlet is dead. So I check breaker box. No Breakers tripped. Hmmmmmmm?
About this time, Mrs C tells me digital cable box isn't working. That's plugged in to a outside outlet in the garage, on the same circuit as the Christmas lights. I start checking the outlets, and the one for the digital box is kicked. I reset it, and voila!, we have lights! Poof! we don't!
To make a long story short, I believe there's a ground issue somewhere by the tree. I disconnected the lights, and I am leaving them off for tonight. I wrapped all the connections and insulated them to protect against them getting wet, but that doesn't mean something didn't happen somewhere. We had some pretty high winds, so until I get out there and spend some time looking it over, the lights stay off. The 10 miniature Santa's and Snowmen lining the driveway are out until further notice. Good thing we aren't on any body's light tour!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I was working at a place called the Salesian Center Boys and Girls club, a one man work force that cared for and operated an 8 lane bowling alley on the 2nd floor at 45 south 6th street in Columbus Ohio. It was the home of the Downtown Boys and Girls Club, and was operated by the Brothers of a Religious order founded by St. Don Bosco.
When you walked by on the downtown City Streets next door to what was then Grant Medical Center, you could look up, into the windows, and see the back of the Bowling machines, as well as hear them when people were Bowling.
They operated a summer camp during the day, which consisted of 8 hours of me teaching kids between the ages of 7 -14 the fine art of bowling.
Yes, you read that right. Every hour, 24 kids, 8 lanes, one coach, and I had a helper, 18 year old blue eyed, blond haired, fresh out of Bishop Watterson high school Emily. Emily was about 5 feet tall, and 100 pounds soaking wet on a good day. It was the two of us and Twenty Four inner city minority children, many of whom had never picked up a bowling ball before.
Just so you know, it was by far the most rewarding summer of my life.
Anyway, at that time, I lived in my house with a roommate by the name of Fred the Dog, a Buff colored purebred Cocker Spaniel. Fred liked to chew things, especially shoes, and it came to pass that Fred ate a pair of my high top Nike shoes.
Fortunately, I had two pairs I had purchased at a two for one sale.
Unfortunately, Fred ate one from each pair.
Fortunately, he ate one right foot shoe, and one left foot shoe.
Now I could have been mad, but my reasoning was this: I still had one good pair!
Who cares if they are different colors? I didn't! So it came to pass that I wore them as a pair, and was openly mocked (in a fun way) by other Center Employees.
I did have a casual lady friend at this time, who had graduated from Ohio State with a degree in Social work, and was a practicing Catholic like myself. I introduced her to her future husband, by the way, and all you need to know about her is that she enjoyed instigating water balloon fights on the playground. She was aghast that I would wear those mismatched shoes everyday, and secretly took up a collection to buy me a new pair, which were presented to me on the last day of camp in August. After that, I felt obligated to wear the new shoes, so I retired the others for when I was doing things around the house, like Lawn mowing.
Mrs C will tell you, that to this day, I do not throw out old pairs of shoes. They are in the garage, waiting for that moment that they can be used again. You never know when I might need them. as for that pair of mismatched Blue/White Shoes? eventually Fred the Dog ate those as well. It was one of many indulgences I granted my wife's "Bow Bud."
How did he get that name? That's another story, another day.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
So I spent my Thursday being Mr. Domestic, looking after a sick spouse and preparing a makeshift Thanksgiving dinner. I started cooking at 12:30 PM, and I served dinner at 3:15 PM.
I cleared the kitchen Table and set it. I did all the laundry, and I took the dogs out for some exercise and playtime. Mrs C spent most of the day in bed, suffering, but she made it up and out to shower, dress, and come to dinner. Just the two of us.
It was the best Thanksgiving meal I ever had.
Yeah, I missed the rest of the family, but it was nice to have just the two of us, in our home, with the fireplace a blazing. Mrs C took some of the turkey and gravy, and made up three Thanksgiving bowls, one for each dog, stirring the Turkey stuff in with their regular food.
They were very happy puppies, and slept well afterwards.
So our plans changed, and I think in hindsight, they changed for the better. I accomplished a lot in the yard this Saturday, and Friday was fun, because I chaperoned my wife around the valley, to shopping locales. She was a little unsteady and weak, but I kept her warm and made her take a break as needed. She would do the same for me, I'm sure.
Though she admitted Friday night that she might have overdone it, and spent the day Saturday resting at home until evening, when I took her out for a late dinner. I worked from early morning until dark on the yard, doing numerous tasks, including the Christmas decorations.
We have a 15 foot tall Christmas tree in our yard, and I managed to decorate about about 12 feet of it. Maybe tomorrow I'll get a picture and post it. That's all for today. May all of you out there have wonderful Holiday seasons.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
It's a Poulan gas powered Leaf Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher that comes with a bag!
There's nothing that gets the testosterone flowing for a guy, like holding a small engine in his hands, that is subtly vibrating with Horsepower! There's something about pulling the choke halfway out, and yanking on that starter chain a half dozen times, that puts a guy in the mood to do something manly. (Don't worry folks, I'll explain why you shouldn't "Yank someone else's chain" is a future post.)
Now before you start asking, "Chris, what the hell do you need a leaf blower for, don't you have a rake?" Let me explain. You ever tried raking a cemetery? Fairview is 16 sections comprising 26 acres, you see, and I can't get to them all. Or how about walking around from marker to marker with a broom, knocking all the cut grass off? That takes time. With the gas powered leaf blower, I just aim and FIRE! Blows them markers clean in one pass!
So now I can walk the graves with my weed whacker, and then come back by with the leaf blower. Bool Yah! It will look like a professional is taking care of the place!
And who do we have to thank for this new gas powered Tool of Terror to yard waste?
The beloved Mrs C.
She asked me what I wanted for my impending 47th Birthday. I thought long and hard, before saying "A new 25' measuring tape."
But that wasn't enough for her. As we walked the aisles at Lowes, she tried to convince me I needed the $200 Leaf blower that came in a back pack that made it easy to carry, and boy was I tempted. With that baby strapped on, I would be the envy of men at work in yards everywhere.
But my rational thought center in my head took control. The Backpack version was a WANT, not a NEED. There was a cheap-O gas powered version, but it didn't vacuum or mulch. So I ended up suggesting the best value, which was the Poulan. Mrs. C was happy, I was happy, and I'm sure all the souls at Fairview are happy I keep their final resting place as tidy as I can.
Everybody wins! Now I just have to watch out and make sure I don't stumble into any more of those portals to Hell out there!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Heeeeere's Lucy! Sunning herself on a warm Summer day!
So that's what I did this weekend. I understand that the people who install carpet have to use a lot of tacks, but damn, getting them out is tedious and time consuming. The Hallway is a high traffic area in any house, and when you have dogs, keeping the carpet clean is an exponentially trying task, especially on carpet. I steam cleaned the hallway regularly, as often as every weekend, because of all the hair, and assorted dirt the dogs drag in on their happy little paws.
I put about 16 hours of labor into the hallway, and that's not counting the trip to Lowes to buy all the supplies ($309.44). Thankfully, Flooring was 15% off this weekend, so I saved a few bucks. I had to buy 5 boxes of flooring, (I had one left over from the Family Room), and two 78" transition pieces that I cut as needed. When I do work for other people, I charge $25 an hour.
So I look at the expense of this as around $700. When we looked into having an local floor company come in and do our family room, they came back with an estimate in excess of $3500, which I thought was kind of steep. The wood and supplies for the Family room ran me around $850, and I did that in 18 hours,, at a self labor cost of $450. So I look at that as an expenditure of $1300. So I think I can reasonably say I saved myself a few bucks by doing all my own work.
Hey, I already owned all the required tools, why not?
So What's next? The reasonably easy dining room, which is 22'6" by 11' 8 ". It is a perfect square, and won't require the jigsaw at all, only straight cuts. Now I round up for my supplies, and I'm figuring I'm going to need 16 boxes of flooring to do the Dining room, and I have enough of a transition piece left over to do the entryway from the kitchen to the dining room. I also have half a box left over from the hallway, so I've got spares.
I'm figuring 16 boxes at $52.20 a box equals $835.20 + tax = $ 885.31 throw in 16 hours of labor ($400.00) and I'm thinking I might get the entire first floor finished by March. I've got a couple of odd jobs lined up in the meantime, (like putting a second coat of paint on our 20 foot ceiling in the foyer) but I'm feeling pretty accomplished right now. Yeah, I like writing, but sometimes I get the best inspiration on what to write about while working with my hands, and that's what happened here, as you will eventually find out.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Click Here my friends to see a simple Tutorial. There you go Volvo Driving Soccer Mom! You don't have to ask me anymore! As if I knew to begin with.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I went out this afternoon for about an hour to try and rake some leaves. I swear to God, no matter what direction I tried to rake them in, they blew back at me. The dogs didn't seem to mind. Lucy and Ethel sat on the porch for the most part, staring at me as I raked futilely away.
But Sally? Ah, Sally, she of the big floppy, ever wagging tail. Sally ran back and forth through the leaves, having a damn good time.
Casey's Laws of Yard work # 5: Whatever you are doing, let the dogs help. It will make it seem like a much easier task. (and it will go faster)
I'm not suggesting you let the dog operate the Chainsaw, though I wouldn't be surprised if a dog could drive a riding mower. If only I could train them to rake leaves.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Lumberjack Love: Why you don't wear loose hanging clothes while operating a gas powered 20" Poulan Chain Saw
So here we are, early November, and another tree is leaning precariously towards the house.
I call this as being proactive. Thursday afternoon, when I get home from
work, I'm saddling up and heading out back with Mr. Chainsaw. Just thinking about it, my Testosterone levels start rising. I put a new blade on the Chainsaw, filled the chain oil, and mixed the fuel.
I'm ready. I'll be evicting several families of Squirrels today. Too Bad!
5;30 PM update:
Things didn't go so well. The tree is down, and I got a bruise, or two. Things never seem to go exactly the way you plan, you know? You cut all these specific notches, to make the tree fall a certain way, then you grab the axe, make a couple of swings, and the damn thing looks like it is going down perfectly.
I had to climb up on the roof
With the Chainsaw.
then it started raining.
and it got windy
Then the Chainsaw jammed.
I said a lot of very, very, very, bad words.
I accidentally got my insulated, hooded, outdoors work shirt caught in the Chain.
Man Was I pissed!
I didn't take before and after pictures for posting. GRRRRRR! Now I'm heading to the gym for a swim, and some jacuzzi time.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Naked pumpkin runners ticketed in Colorado
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BOULDER, Colo. -- Boulder police have ticketed about a dozen people running naked on the street while sporting freshly gutted pumpkins on their heads as part of an annual Halloween event.
The citations for indecent exposure Friday night came as dozens of other costumed revelers, including a man with a red cape and a sword, chanted to police officers to let go of the streakers and "find real criminals."
The event known in Boulder as the Naked Pumpkin Run has been held for 10 years. This year it drew a huge crowd, prompting concern from police.
Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner says officers "wanted to do something before (the event) got out of hand."
Can you imagine if we had this event in the Lehigh Valley? Bethlehem, Easton? Maybe in the Canal. But Allentown?
Thursday, October 30, 2008
There is one trade off though. I have the damnedset dreams. I was composing last night as the Phillies won the World Series, and as soon as the final out was recorded, I hit the sack. When my alarm went off at 4:15 AM, I was awakened from one of the most vivid dreams I've ever had.
Some might consider it a nightmare, but in my dream, were all these bloggers. Bill White and John Micek were in my dream. Kathy Frederick and her husband Dave, 2 people I have never met, were in my dream, as was Bernie O'Hare and Bill and Angie Villa.
The dream involved cats, dogs being rescued from a kennel, and my wife and Kathy Frederick were on roller skates serving alcohol to everyone there. The Villas were up on a stage playing music, while Micek, White, O'Hare and myself were on a Channel 69 Sound stage arguing over whether people should be allowed to claim their pets as dependents on their tax return.
As I showered, I kept replaying the dream in my head. I swear I saw John Micek playing guitar with the Villas, and at one point Bill White was pitching for the Iron Pigs in a game.
I didn't eat anything out of the ordinary last night, I had a Blue Bunny classis drumstick Ice Cream about 7:30 PM, and drank two 7 ounce Coors lights while watching the game. Nothing exotic at all. What do you think Freud would say about this?
Sunday, October 26, 2008
This is how I spent my weekend. I have a couple of pieces of trim to refinish and replace, but otherwise, it is done. Mrs C is ecstatic. I'm tired. Dogs look like cartoon dogs trying to get their footing to run. I have all the power tools required to make these projects work. I also still have all my limbs and fingers. Frickin' amazing, isn't it?!
Friday, October 24, 2008
This is Sally at our home. Sally blows thru the Invisible Fence, ignoring the shocks, so we reluctantly had to put a 35 foot tie out line on her. Wednesday I took it to the Cemetery with me, clicked the hook on the tailgate latch of my car, after judiciously parking where she could see me at all times, but not get herself tangled up anywhere to easily.
It's pretty quiet there, despite all the surrounding city sounds, and I would stop every few minutes and call to her, just to keep her calm. She was really giving the nearby wildlife hell, and when a groundhog scooted nearby, I really thought she might drag the car down the road after it. Then about 5 Pm I saw something happen that gave me chills. It might have been the sun going behind the clouds, and the wind picking up, but I'm pretty sure it was what I was seeing that chilled me.
Sally was sitting up as if she was being petted, wagging her tail, and jumping up as if to climb on someones leg.
But There was Nobody there.
Okay, I'm at a Cemetery. That comes with a bit of spookiness to begin with. But Sally was doing this over by my Mother in Law's grave. Dogs have superior senses to we humans, in ways we don't understand. When I finished mowing, I walked over to find Sally laying in front of my Wife's family plot, at my Mother in law's marker. Her tie out could reach dozens of markers, but that's the one she decided to lay in front of. The Squirrels were across the road, and knowing her, I would have thought that was where her attention would be.
Coincidence? happenstance? I don't think so.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So tonight I'm going to tell you about how I tortured a guy 20 years ago.
I used to bowl a lot, I worked in the business, and I competed in a Traveling league, that bowled in a different center every Saturday afternoon at 2 PM. We usually finished between 4;30 and 5 PM. One of my best friends owned and operated his own 32 lane center, and as a 210 average player, I was the anchorman on his team. Bill, my buddy, bowled lead off.
We had friendly rivalries with several of our competitors, but there were a couple who took bowling way too seriously. One of them was a guy I will call Ray, who was a pretty good player, but as a night manager at another center, thought he was God's gift to Bowling.
Nobody really liked Ray, he had smacked his girlfriend around in front of us during league, he drank a bit much, and had a bad temper. He was a bully, and him and I had tangled a couple of times because of it.
Ray was the kind of guy who purchased the newest technology as soon as it hit the market. and never blamed a bad game on his own failings, it was always the "Balls" fault.
The prank came about right after Christmas, and continued for a couple of weeks. It was 1988/89, I had just turned 27, old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway.
We bowled in centers throughout several Central Ohio Counties, and my buddy, Bill and I always shared a ride to our destination. We cared about winning, we were always near the top of the standings but we also had a good time no matter what happened. We often joked about things when we were getting our butts whipped, but we were prone to laughing at the guys who took bowling league as life and death. We didn't. We always had a good time. It's where I got my Bowling nickname, "Taz" as Tasmanian Devil, as in the Warner Brothers Cartoon Character, which I will explain some other time. Maybe.
Ray was one of those guys prone to tantrums. And we would laugh at him. The Saturday after Christmas had been ugly for him. He had bowled badly, his team had lost all three games and totals, and he was storming around, screaming that the particular host center that day was a dump, and should be burned to the ground. It just so happened that Bill and I were on the road following him back to Columbus when we saw him turn off into a Pizza Hut parking lot, get out of his car, and throw his Bowling bag into a dumpster. We pulled off into a gas station, and waited until he drove away. Then we went back and I climbed in to look into the bag.
Yes, he had thrown away some prime equipment. Hmmmmm.
I dug it out, and Bill asked what I had planned. When I explained, he cracked up. He was all for it. We drove to the Center that Ray's Dad owned, and went in to talk to him. Ray's dad was cool with it. He knew what a hot head his son was, and loved the idea I came up with. I took Ray's bowling bag and put it in his locker, with his Dad's help. We couldn't wait to hear what would happen when Ray saw the balls he had tossed in the dumpster were back in his locker.
So Tuesday night Ray's Dad calls Bill and tells him that Ray is going off, that he swears he threw that bag away, and he knows someone is messing with him, because he knows there are people laughing at him behind his back. (At this time, only Bill, Ray's Dad, and I were in on it, but that was about to change). Ray's Dad tells Bill that Ray threw the equipment in the dumpster behind his center, and he wouldn't put the trash out until the AM, if we wanted to come by and dig them out. Are you kidding? I was on it.
But this required some public torture, and at the time I had a buddy at UPS I enlisted for help. We put the bowling bag, and the two balls, in a cardboard box, and addressed it to Ray, but my friend would deliver it during traveling league play on Saturday at that weeks bowling center location.
By 2 PM the Saturday after New Years, everybody in the league knew what was coming, but Ray was oblivious. My UPS buddy came in the side door, and nonchalantly wheeled the box through our league, right past an oblivious Ray, and up to the Front desk, where he had Ray paged, to sign for his package.
People were losing it as Ray was incredulous about getting a package 30 miles from home, at a center he'd only been to twice in his life. My buddy shrugged as he Ray kept asking if he knew what was in the box, but Ray eventually signed for it, and my pal walked out while he was bowling, before he could open it, making a clean getaway.
When Ray saw it was the balls he had tossed, he went batshit. He was going to find out who did it, and they would be sorry. After Bowling, Bill and I laid back to watch what he might do.
To our amazement, Ray tossed the balls and bag out the window while driving down interstate 71. We played it cool, noted the mile marker,and waited about an hour to go back and get them.
Yep, they were there! We knew from his Dad that Ray was going to work Saturday at Midnight at his family center, so we packed the balls up, and took them over, putting them behind the control desk. But this time I added a note. I got my lady friend at the time to write it, and it said: "You can't get rid of us Ray, we will always come back!"
By now, Ray's Mom and sister were in on it too, and everybody was loving it. I was working that night myself, and I got a call at about ten after 12 that Ray had gone ballistic. He had no idea who was doing it, but he had told his Mom he would shoot them if he found out, and she thought it best to warn Bill and I.
Now you would think, I would let it go. For a couple of weeks, I did. Then the week of the Super Bowl, Ray sucker punched one of my friends after bowling. Cooler heads prevailed, but Ray was 6'2''250+, and the guy he hit was 5'6 150, if that.
So what did I do? You guys know what Epoxy is? It's used to coat wooden bowling lanes, repair wood, etc. It is like concrete. If you pour it in a bucket, and let it sit, it will harden just like that. I did freelance equipment maintenance on the side for several small 4 to 8 lane bowling centers in the area, and I had access to mass amounts of Epoxy. I waited until the week Traveling league was bowling at Ray's home center, and then I struck. I only told Bill what I was doing, and he shook his head. But he also couldn't stop giggling. I went to Ray's center on Friday night, and it was packed with league bowlers. I went in the locker room, and using a Brunswick locker master key, I opened his locker. It was just after Valentine's day, I remember it well, because my Buddy Bill had proposed to his 2nd wife that day.
I carefully filled the two bowling bags in the locker with as much Epoxy as I could, and zipped them up. I got away clean, and unseen.
The next day, I kept a perfectly straight face when Ray exploded. But I cracked up along with everyone else when the results of my action became known. the Epoxy had slowly seeped out of the bags, and half filled up the locker. It hardened in such a way he couldn't get the locker door open. He had to use a sawzall to cut the door off, and then when he saw the insides, his face was so red, and he was cursing so much we couldn't help but roar in laughter. The whole league, including his teammates. were losing it. No one had any idea, (other than Bill) that I had done it.
Now before you go feeling sorry for him, the guy ran a pro shop, he owned a zillion bowling balls, and could drill one up, right there on site in 5 minutes, if need be. Four bowling balls epoxied together in a locker is nothing to him. But it did piss him off, and I felt I gained a bit of retribution, and some justice for those he had inflicted aggravation on at the time.
I'm a lot more mature now, I no longer do such things, but I still think of them. It was funny, even if it was wrong
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
I'm not a nosy neighbor. I pretty much ignore all the screams from the neighborhood kids as they play, and there were plenty of power tools echoing in the 'hood yesterday. I can tell between a scream of real pain, and one of real agony. With all the Chain saws, weed whackers, leaf Blowers, and Mowers running yesterday, I think it was surprising to me that there was enough of a lull that I heard a neighborhood Mom make that threat.
I was tempted to put down the clippers and walk a few doors down and see the flaming pumpkin that was being used by one child to bludgeon another sibling. I really wanted to ask, is it okay if she is hit with a non flaming pumpkin? Is that an offense that doesn't get a child grounded?
This afternoon was the kind of Fall day that a child remembers forever. Not too hot, not too cold, and plenty of leaves to jump in. The Jack 'o lanterns are freshly carved, newly lit, and the sweet smell of burning leaves is rising into the air, a sure sign of the season, a harbinger of the Holidays to come.
How can you ever forget the day you were grounded for hitting your sister with a Flaming pumpkin? I know I wouldn't.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
But Allentown? And to find out the Lehigh Valley is number one per capita for portals on Earth?! That was completely unexpected.
So how did I learn all this?
I stumbled into it by accident, while weed whacking. I stepped backwards from a grave marker I had cleared and fell down into it. That's how I came to meet the late, long ago departed Ebediah Belsnickel. I won't give you too much of his story right away, but you need to know right off he claims he has been kicked out of first Heaven and then Hell, at least that's his story, and he has stuck to it. Ebediah, or "Eb" as he asked me to call him, roams the afterlife, eking out a meaningful otherworldly existence as an "escort" of sorts, for those who die unexpectedly in the Lehigh Valley.
He also claims to be picking up some occasional change in the mortal world, popping up at night to offer political consulting advice to both the Sam Bennett and Charlie Dent Congressional campaigns. "I give them both conflicting advice," he said with a snicker. "It helps to have references from both Karl Rove and James Carville on your resume."
Eb looks a lot like the late actor Bob Denver of Gilligan's island fame, only he wears a 70's era white polyester leisure suit, and has the "Maynard" of the Dobie Gillis show facial hair. I asked him about that, if he wasn't really Bob Denver incognito in some kind of netherworld witness protection program, but he got all irate, so I changed the subject. The idea of Bob Denver as a sort of hall Monitor for the Lehigh Valley's portals to Hell may seem strange, but you have to consider the circumstances. We are talking a mortal, (me) roaming the underworld without being dead. At Least I hope I'm not dead, and the fall into the Portal itself didn't kill me. I'd hate to think everything since September 20th is like that hokey dream season on "Dallas" back in the early 80's. You know? Hey, why am I referring to everything by Classic TV culture?
BTW, Allentown Liker, please remember that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Yeah, your madness inspired me, but at least I'm giving you props. C'mon, a portal to Hell In Allentown? You know there couldn't be just one!
Maybe I am dead! Or I have seen way too much Nick at Nite Classic TV. I better check this out! I'll have to get back to you blog readers later, but before I forget, I want to say that one of my blogging peers was right. There is a portal to Hell under Mayor Pawlowski's desk, but he doesn't know about it. YET. Can you imagine what might happen if the wrong people figure out how to use it? Makes me shudder!
Former Mayor Bill Heydt had it installed as part of the Deal that gave us Lights in the Parkway. Roy Afflerbach accidentally sealed it up with his laser pointer in January 2002 when he first started practicing his power point presentations.
It only works one way, you can get in there from hell, but you can't get back to hell, it's a one way route. (Though I'm sure some will argue I'm wrong) There's dozens of them around the Valley, there's even three, yep, count'em, THREE in the Lehigh County Courthouse. There's one in one of the Judges Chambers, one in the District Attorney's office, and another in the Public Defender's consultation room. That Devil's got all the bases covered, doesn't he?
Eb says there's one over in Northampton County in the new judges chambers that he calls the "Taj Mahal" of Portals, but he hasn't been back there since some guy the newly dead refer to as a "blogger from Nazareth" took it over, and started charging fees to use it.
I've pretty much toured the Lehigh Valley portals to and from hell system as it works in the Valley over the last couple of weeks, and now I'm going to relay my experiences to my readers, all two dozen of them. There was some excitement over the last couple of days, as Cerberus didn't get his regular weekly grooming at "Almost Heaven" kennels, so he got a little surly, broke his chain, and made his way through the portals up to the grounds of Fairview. That's where I got involved.
The good news was he chomped a couple of Ground hogs. The bad news was, well, we can't go into that now, but thank God for the talking tombstone and the lady in black who visits the graves of the stillborn infants. If it weren't for her and her otherworldly puppy "treats' We'd never have gotten old Cerberus back where he belonged. He's really not a bad dog once he gets to know you. He even let me scratch one of his heads, and we played fetch with a piece of broken tombstone, until he chewed it up and spit it out as gravel. For Future reference: Don't play tug of war with a three headed pit Bull. You can't win.
So tune in again soon, where I'll tell you more about my adventures traveling the Valley's Portals to hell. I learned you never know who you are going to cross paths with down there, especially with the main transfer station being located under Lehigh County Government Center!
Monday, October 6, 2008
It took 2 and a half hours, but it is done, and it is done right. Most importantly, it works, and I didn't get electrocuted once while installing it. That in itself is amazing, isn't it?
But as usual, it wasn't without aggravation. First off, the instructions tell you to make sure the electrical box needs to be able to support 35 lbs of weight, or when you turn the fan on, it might vibrate a bit much. So that was a wee bit of extra work, making sure that the box I mounted it too was secure. I didn't mind, one of my rules it is always better to do it right, rather than have to do it over. Turning it on, and having it fall out of the ceiling after only being on for a few minutes would be a bad thing, don't you agree?
But I also have new rule concerning products at the Home improvement store. If the product says MADE IN CHINA, and the Instructions ARE IN SPANISH, you are asking for trouble.
Fortunately, I am mechanically inclined enough to figure this all out, and despite several discrepancies in what the directions and parts inventory said should be in the box, and what was actually IN THE BOX, I muddled through. When I finished, The fan ran extremely well, and very quietly. The importance of being fastened securely was evident.
There were a few moments of frustration during the process, but I took a deep breath, and chanted my Mantra, and found my focus. Now all I have to do is go buy the specific bulbs that light it up, because if you are spending a hundred bucks on a light fixture, you must be joking to think the bulbs are included! Hah!
It says so right on the box: "Bulbs not included" So I'll be stopping at Lowe's next chance I get.
Now I was emboldened by my success with the light fixture, and decided Tonight, (Sunday) I should take on a more formidable task: Hooking up Mrs C's Wiifit!
Yes, Mrs C has a Wiifit!
I have come to the conclusion on more than one occasion that engineers in other countries know they are tormenting Americans, and are doing it willingly.
It took me a few minutes, but I was able to successfully synchronize the Wii Console and the Wiifit pad. If you ever have to do this, and start getting frustrated, email me, and I'll tell you the secret, but in the meantime, I'll let you try and figure it out for yourselves, as I did. Good Luck!
When you first fire up the Wiifit, It asks you a whole bunch of questions, and does an assessment of your physical condition. Now it assessed my Wii age at 60! How it reached this conclusion goes to show how inexact a science these gizmos can be. It tested my balance, and agility, but doesn't take into consideration that I have an artificial right hip, artificial left elbow, and presently a very arthritic right Achilles heel. I also swim at the gym 4 times a week, for more than a half hour, and have a resting pulse in the low 60s, with a BP of 110 over 70.
It put my weight at 230, which, considering I was fully dressed, is right on the money. I usually weigh in at the gym in only my shorts, which is why I have 227 as my present weight.
It's impressive, all the things the Wii fit can do. When you first fire it up, you only have access to a certain number of exercises, until it judges you ready for tougher stuff. I checked out the 4 activities to help you with your balance/posture, and found the one where you pretend to be doing Winter Olympic Ski Jumping the coolest! My first time it showed me crashing on take off and rolling down the hill, so, just for grins and laughs, I encourage you to do that first, to set your bar low, and give yourself a good giggle.
So the Wii fit is all set to go for Mrs C, but I don't want to be anywhere around when it gives her a Wii age. I don't want to know. Some things are just better left unknown, and unsaid, you get my drift?
Friday, October 3, 2008
In reflection, I'm glad it was on the outside of the bag, because if the damned thing had gotten inside, there's no telling how much therapy I would still need now, or who might have been wounded as I blasted away at the damn thing with my rifle. (yes, I slept with my loaded rifle in me hands, for reasons I'd rather not have to explain.)
Anyway, that was decades ago in a place far away, but yesterday (Wednesday) as I was mowing the lawn, I caught sight of a mouse squeezing its' fat useless self under the garage door on my side. Damn. the garage is connected to the kitchen. if I don't take immediate action, it won't be long until they are in the pantry, and I'm having none of that. Granted, I understand why the mice moved, the Hawk that lives in the treeline out back has decimated the Squirrel/Chipmunk population into near extinction. It isn't safe for nature's smaller critters in the food chain back there. Sometimes when I'm out in the yard, I hear the Hawk's cry, and I swear that it's almost like a bald eagle. It is a beautiful creature, and you can see the humongous nest from our bathroom window. Hell, maybe it is an Eagle, I'll have to try and get a picture one of these times.
So I have to address the Mouse problem. There's no evidence along the garage walls that Mickey, or Minnie, or any other Mouseketeers have come any further than just inside the overhead door, and I think they might be building a future home inside the Red metal paint cabinet. So I'm cleaning that out Saturday, and I'm going to check my old wooden Army footlocker in the corner to see if they have infiltrated that. I'm not George Bush after Osama bin Laden, I'm Chris Casey, and that damned Al Queda mouse is dead meat, him, his family, and all his lieutenants! I'm not waiting for Mr. Hawk, eagle, or whatever, I'm doing it myself. And screw using humane traps. It's glue traps, because they are cheap! So the Mouseketeers are on Notice!
In other news, sometimes I get hard lessons on why I should take my own advice.
So here it is, Wednesday afternoon, and I fire up the weed whacker to take care of some trim work. Shoot, I forgot to change into my steel toed shoes. Oh well, I don't have that much to do. I hit my toe last week, surely I won't do that again, right?
Same toe, same shoes, and this time it hurt like hell. Note to self: Always wear the Steel Toed Shoes when working with Weed whacker/ Lawn Mower.
It's bad enough that the cooler, damp weather is making my titanium hip throb at night while I'm laying in bed, But now I'm aggravated that my right knee is aching from recent sprains and swelling, and to accompany that my right Achilles heel is getting all arthritic from having stepped backwards into a groundhog hole while mowing. (Groundhogs, now there's another Vermin I would like to use firearms on). So I've got pain, and it makes me cranky, but Mrs. C, she a blessed Saint, she is, putting up with me.
Speaking of Groundhogs, if you happen to go to Fairview Cemetery, and happen to see a groundhog with a big splatch of red paint on his ass, his name is Bernie, If you see one with yellow paint on her head, her name is Joan. I hope to get pictures of the happy couple, but in the meantime, should they get captured in one of the traps beforehand, that would be okay too.
I have no idea how the hell they got paint on them, but it makes it easier for me to tell who is who. If it was up to me, I'd send the fat furry rodent bastards down to the Homeless shelter to turn into stew, but that's probably politically incorrect, so that's out of the question.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I was pleasantly surprised that we never lost power, and I count my blessings on that one.
This much I know for sure: I am going to have to bring down that 60 foot plus Walnut tree behind the house before it comes down ON THE HOUSE. I had one come down and do damage and destroy a rain gutter back in February during the Ice Storm, and unless I want a repeat, and want to spend several hundred more dollars on more rain gutters, I better get to it before Thanksgiving.
There wasn't only one nearby lightning strike last night, though, I think there may have been at least two more over the space of 40 minutes between 9:22 and 10 PM. I fell into a deep sleep shortly after the last, and didn't wake until Mr. Alarm started its damnable beeping.
If I get a chance before the weekend I'll head over the Railroad tracks and take a glance at the swamp for any sign of where any of them hit. Earlier this summer there was a tree split in 3 pieces, and dozens of dead birds on the ground, thereby proving that nature is indiscriminate in unleashing her fury.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
artwork while lounging in the yard.
Mrs. C has been away in Dallas for a conference since last Saturday, and returns tomorrow. While she was gone, I took the opportunity to paint the foyer and stairwell, which has a 20 foot ceiling and walls. Mrs. C had already picked out the color she wanted, and last Saturday, after I dropped her at the airport, I stopped by Lowes and picked up the paint and other supplies.
But I still had three dogs in the house to help me.
So I've got this big blue tarp covering the foyer's tile floor. I happen to spill a small spot of the mostly white paint on the tarp. no big deal, right? Guess where both of the all black dogs managed to step? Guess what they tracked all over the carpets? And just when I get that all cleaned up, Fat black little Lucy decides she should get around the gate and rub her fat black side against the freshly painted wall. If I was planning to paint the floor, I'd just dip her in the paint and roll her around! Kidding!
Monday, September 22, 2008
So my eyes are protected.
For the longest time, I used an electric weed whacker at home (and I still do). Every once in a great while, I'd accidentally nudge my own foot while whacking, but there was no harm, because the electric weed whacker, while getting the job done, wasn't all that powerful. whacks grass, but doesn't hurt feet in shoes.
But a three speed gas powered Weed whacker? That baby reeks of testosterone! If you squeeze the throttle to full power, and aim it into an area where the grass is a couple of feet high between some grave markers, it annihilates the grass. Grrrrrr! There's just one thing. When you are maneuvering it between markers, make sure you keep it clear of your feet. In my case, your left foot, to be specific.
Weed whacking grass is good. Weed whacking foot/toes is bad.
Funny thing is, I didn't feel a thing. It wasn't until I went to shower that I saw what I had done. Then after I cleaned out around my big toe, that's when it started to hurt. Oh, well, that's why they make neosporin, and I have an industrial sized tube at home, because I'm always using it on something.
I do own a pair of steel toed tennis shoes, believe it or not, and I have moved them to the garage to have them handy. I'll be wearing them each and every time for now on. After reflection I think I didn't feel it, because I had already tweaked my right Achilles heel, having stepped backwards into a gopher hole, and aggravated it. Probably a strange kind of "Casey" version of acupuncture, you know? I didn't feel pain from my left toe because my right Achilles hurt more.
So that's my yard tool safety tip for now. Always wear steel toed shoes when working with a gas powered weed whacker, and watch where you are stepping, because you never know where those gopher holes are hidden in the high grass.
And for all you viewers of the Secret Spy satellite cable network in China who were waiting for a new episode of "Chris Casey, Home Improvement Moron." Your long nightmare is over. Enjoy!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I would like to think that the companionship, the unconditional love and devotion that a dog shares with its human masters, give us a glimpse of what God's true love for his children is.
"In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind"
- Book of Job, Chapter 12, verse 10.
In recent weeks, two of my neighbors had to put down their beloved pets, as did a blog acquantaince have to put down a friend who wasn't all that old, yet had congenital painful conditions. Then yesterday I read another blogger's post concerning the loss of a canine friend.
In May 2003, I took the best friend I ever had, Fred the dog, to the vet. He was 16 years and 5 months old. He had deteriorated quickly in a matter of days. He couldn't control his bowels, and when I tried to bathe him, I found a large purple lump on his belly, that I hadn't noticed only two weeks earlier when I had last bathed him.
Fred had been fighting various illnesses for over 3 years. I knew what was coming, but I still hoped it wasn't. My buddy dog was in a great deal of pain, barely able to stand and whimpering incessantly. The vet told me there wasn't much to be done. Pain medication was an option, but his time was extremely limited.
I looked my buddy in the eyes and told the Vet I knew it was time. They gave me a few minutes, while I held him, talked to him, told him what a good friend he had been. I held him firm while they inserted the intravenous line, and I nodded when the Vet asked if I was ready. Fred didn't struggle, but he seemed to stare at me in gratitude that I was doing what I thought best to ease his suffering. After all the love he had given me, it was the least I could do.
I was still looking into his eyes as he went limp and the light of love that had shown so brightly for so long flickered out and dimmed to nothingness.
I believe that Dogs go to heaven, they are part of God's creation, and they await us there as much as any other friend or relative. With that in mind, I can't help but wonder if there are more dogs in heaven than people. I don't believe that God plays favorites, but with the wonderful relationship that exists between humans and dogs, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that God was a "dog person."
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Using the Jacuzzi is also great therapy after a couple of hours of pushing a lawn mower around on the hills of Fairview Cemetery. It is great for soothing joint pain. I've belonged to that gym for a couple of years now, but last month I made my first complaint. Why?
I was sitting in the jacuzzi with a couple of the other regular members, talking baseball, when a guy I will only describe as a "JERK" comes in, his face fully lathered with Shaving cream. He takes a seat, and calmly starts shaving, flicking his razor in the very water in which we were sitting.
We protested, but he shrugged, saying, "hey, it's got filters." Well, we all climbed out, and I went to the check in desk after showering and dressing, and informed them of the miscreant's behavior. One of the things I like about this gym is that they regularly clean everything. It's not uncommon to go there Sunday afternoon and find the jacuzzi closed, because they are cleaning it.
Anyway, upon reporting the disgusting behavior, I learned that there was a similar problem in the ladies locker room, with women shaving their legs in the jacuzzi there. Amazing, isn't it? Now there are signs, saying please don't shave in the jacuzzi, and there was a write up in the Club's Monthly newsletter.
So you think that is disgusting? Guess again. Sunday Afternoon I come out of the shower, and am heading back over to my locker, when I see a guy using the hand held hair dryer on his CROTCH. Yep, he was combing and drying his pubic hair with the electric hair dryer.
Now I'm bald, I'm never using that appliance anyway, but the mere thought of using a the same hair dryer everyone else uses (with comb attachment) on one's groin area is horrifying to consider, at least for me. I guess I could understand some women using it that way, in the privacy of their own home, but a guy, in PUBLIC?! As a guy, I have never, and would NEVER, have thought of doing such a thing. (I don't want anything electrically powered anywhere near me, if you get my hint.)
So here is my gym etiquette lesson for today:
Please don't use the common hair dryer on your private area, EVER! It's just not nice, and you never know who used it before you, or what they might have used it on. Plus you never know what can happen with electricity, and that should be considered as well.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
It was a 50 lane super center, and has since closed. I've had some pretty detailed dreams involving this place, but the latest was a doozy.
On my latest, I had died, and my job in the afterlife is to work there, and keep the incoming deceased who want to bowl while waiting to get into line for their "entrance interview" for Heaven happy.
My first thoughts about this are that I am damned.
Because nobody at the Purgatory Bowl (and that's what I've decided to call it) is happy with the lane conditions. The waiting customers seem to think that they should be able to throw a strike every time, just because they're dead. They also want their beer cold, and to be able to smoke all they want.
I hate to break it to them, but it's purgatory, or limbo, or wherever the hell I am (Maybe it is hell, I grew to hate working nights at that lanes) and not Heaven.
Anyway, that's my dream, except last night it had a twist. I had made it out of the Bowling Alley and was playing golf with my Dad. It was great! We were about down to the 12th hole, (I specifically remember it to be the 12th) when some guy showed up and said I had to go to a meeting.
Next thing I know, I'm standing at this table, and my wife and some of her friends (all still living) are sitting on the other side, and they are crying, and there's this psychic lady asking me questions. I'm giving her answers, but she's smirking and telling my wife exactly the opposite. Then the guy who dragged me to the meeting says I have to stay on earth as a spirit until I get it all worked out.
Then I woke up.
Is that not a fouled up dream, or what?
A couple of other notes... all my dogs from my life are regularly in my dream, and they are all happy to see me. This makes me think that I'm in a good place, but I had cats too, and I don't remember seeing any of them. I'm wondering of maybe I should lay off the coffee before bed?
Coming up Next: What I saw a guy do with a blow dryer at the gym today. And I thought the idiot who shaved in the jacuzzi was bad, wait until you read what this guy did.
Friday, September 12, 2008
The possible circumstances are numerous, but I let the tears flow as I got back in the car and continued on to work. I know how I would feel if that happened to one of my dogs. Sure it could have been a stray, but you don't see many Golden's running wild. It's been bugging me all morning, so I sat down at my break and wrote about it. If I hadn't seen it, and that big wagging tail seconds before the life was ended, I probably would have thought nothing of another animal dead on the road. But I did see it, and it was so senseless, so heartless. The Trucker didn't even slow down. Maybe he didn't even notice at all that he hit her.
Maybe that's the analogy I'm trying to find, that we are running things over in our lives, and don't realize the consequences of what we don't see, and what we have lost. What a crappy way to end what had been a pretty productive week.
10 PM update: When I drove home from work in the PM, the body was gone. I hope that it was retrieved by her family, but I don't know.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
We also have skunks. They live, for the most part, in the area surrounding the retention pond/swamp behind our house, on the other side of the railroad tracks. Sometimes, the dogs and the skunk(s) cross paths. Those are very bad times.
Those times involve me giving very stinky dogs baths in the garage, usually between 9 PM and 5 AM, when I'd rather be sleeping.
Today's short tale involves a skunk. Fortunately, the dogs were not involved, Unfortunately, I was. Fortunately, the Skunk was dead. Unfortunately, It still stunk, like a Skunk.
So what happened?
One of my neighbors, a nice woman, has hired me to undertake a great deal of yard work and landscaping on her property. I work 5 or 6 hours a week, and among other things, I have been reconstituting several defined areas of bushes and plants, weeding them and putting in fresh mulch. Late last Friday, before taking the beloved Mrs C to dinner at Outback, per her wishes for our wedding anniversary, and I was out on the aforementioned property, working near some underbrush close to the railroad tracks.
I kept smelling skunk spray, but I didn't see it any where. I was on my knees, working my way around the flower bed. I grabbed a hold of a weed, and worked my hand down through the surrounding grasses, to try and grab the 4 + foot tall weed as close to the ground as possible and pull it out. It felt soft near the ground, and I let go, pulled the grasses back, and peered in to take a curious look.
I damn near jumped out of my shoes to see the face of a skunk staring back at me. It took a couple of seconds, but I realized it wasn't moving. The smell was bad, but not too bad. It was dead, and the evidence behind it suggested a battle of the food chain of epic proportions. It wasn't all that big of a skunk, it was probably not all that mature, but there were a great deal of very large feathers on the ground behind the body and around it. We do have a very large hawk living in those trees, and he has been seen snagging squirrels and such to eat.
I have never heard of a hawk or bird of prey snagging a skunk, or maybe it was one of the owls that lives back there, I couldn't tell you what the feathers were from, other than it must have been big.
I didn't touch the skunk again, and I didn't tell the nice lady who owns the place about it. No need freaking her out, was my thinking. I took my shovel and scooped it up. I took the corpse to the rear of the property and buried it. It's only 4 doors down from me, so Wednesday night, when I was out in the yard with Sally at dusk, and I saw Sally start heading for the black and white striped critter waddling along our property line below the railroad, I quickly grabbed Sally dog and dragged her into the house.
I wonder if the skunk was looking for a departed friend? I know it's a skunk, but I feel bad for it. Hey, they're one of God's creatures too. I wonder if we smell as bad to them as they do to us?
Think about that for awhile.
Monday, September 8, 2008
That's right! I purchased a brand spankin' new, Bolens' 17 inch gas powered weed whacker! Can you not feel the Testosterone that is being released just by my writing about it?!
Now I didn't just purchase this for use at Casa de Casey, no, no, no. This baby is going to get some heavy duty use around the Veteran's graves and a few others over at Fairview Cemetery. Beware, Groundhogs! I might not be allowed to blast you bastards with a shotgun within city limits, but there's nothing to stop me from going all "Leatherface Texas Chainsaw Massacre" on you with my weed whacker, with the throttle wide open, it will do some damage, you oversized rodents! Take that! Ha!
Sunday night I took my new weed Whacker out of the box, assembled it, mixed the fuel, and gave it a try. That baby fired right up! Boolyah! I took it for a test run on a couple of my neighbor customer yards, trimming the curbs.
The best thing was, it had all the parts! You know why? It was made in GOD BLESS AMERICA! not that damnable China! Ha! You people at the Secret Chinese Cable Satellite Spy network thought sending me all those Lowe's gift cards would get me to buy more of your products! Ha! Sure, you will probably get a few new episodes of "Chris Casey, Home improvement Moron", out of it for your viewers, and God knows, I might end up accidentally amputating something yet, but I'm doing something every god fearing, respectable, true blooded American would do, cleaning Vet's graves, so there!
Roar!!!! I'm going to need to use earplugs! I can't wait for Tuesday afternoon at Fairview. Beware weeds,I'm coming, and I'm bring the serious heavy artillery!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Isn't she cute? She is a very happy dog. She likes to chase bunnies, stroll in the swamp, and roll around in the various poop of our indigenous neighbors, like the deer, the foxes, and even the possums.
Apparently, according to someones database out there, she likes to shop! So today in the mail, she gets the following:
Inviting her to participate in a shoppers survey. Now we have had our suspicions about Ethel, what with the wireless system somehow getting turned on, the mysterious credit card charges to Orvis, and the miscellaneous toys, treats, and padded beds that keep showing on the porch, but now this confirms it!
On Top of all this, for serving as an OFFICIAL PENNSYLVANIA PARTICIPANT in OUR 2008 Consumer Product Survey of America, Ethel , aka "Snuffy" could win a lot of money. What is sad is we still get credit card offers for her all the time. I toss them in the shredder. That's where this is headed now. But I'm going to give her and the other two dogs a treat first. They deserve it. It's hard work being the subject of a blog, for a dog.
But the best part is the great friendship I have with my soul mate, the one and only Mrs C.
I have plans for the weekend, but last night we sat on our deck, with darkness falling, we sat in the light of burning candles and tiki torches and reflected on the last 12 years, with three furry children at our feet. We were also hoping to see another moth fly into the flames of the torches and incinerate itself, something they have been doing quite a bit of lately. Now there's a hobby, watching Moths commit suicide!
Anyway, back to 9/6/96. Our wedding was scheduled for sunset. The deck was to be lined with candles, the minister standing at the corner, with us entering from opposite ends. Our friends and family gathered around and below. It was a beautiful concept. On the off chance that it might rain, a tent was rented. In hindsight, that was a brilliant move.
At 6 PM, it was overcast, and guests were arriving, including an uninvited one, the remnants of Hurricane Fran. When we started the ceremony, it started raining so hard that you couldn't see outside the tent. But we pulled it off, tears and all. I actually think my wife's Dad cried more than anyone else.
Anyway, by 8:30, the rain had stopped, and the beer kegs were still going strong. That's when our next uninvited guest showed up. The Wet Skunk. Yep, that'll clear a party! That's what happens when you have a swamp behind the house, critters tend to visit at the worst possible time, and still unfortunately do. (Just ask our Sally dog, who still thinks that Skunks should be chased, despite numerous spraying)
Finally, everybody was exhausted, and wanted to go to bed, but my wife's Mom insisted we open all the presents before we leave. She wanted to see who gave what.
Now here's a funny note: We registered at J.C. Penney at the Lehigh Valley Mall. For some reason, we received 9, yes that is NINE CLOCKS. I quickly learned that my wife's family might have been trying to tell me that she had a bit of a problem with being on time. Oh, well.
Out of my years of wedded Bliss, and experience, I have devised the following nuggets of advice.
First, when it comes to wedding gifts, give cash. it's always appreciated, and usually goes for something that is needed. We did get a teapot that is shaped like a cat that I still use, but other than the damn clocks, I can't think of anything else we got off hand.
Second: The Wife is always right. Never doubt here. She might be wrong, but don't tell her. It's better that way, trust me.
Third: When it comes to surprise gifts, Roses = Good, Diet Books = Bad. Don't ever go there. I've been there, and it is a bad place to be.
I could go on and on, but these three pretty much sum up my rules for living a happy marriage. It also helps to keep all the dog poop cleaned up in the yard without being asked, because if she steps in it in those shoes she wears to work, they're ruined, and that means she has to buy at least 5 pairs to replace them. Some day I'll write about the Mrs C Shoe closet and museum, but because it is our anniversary week and I like my wife happy and content, I won't be doing that any time soon, like possibly in the next millennium.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Chris Casey: Home Improvement Moron
That pretty much sums me up in a nutshell!
My left and right Brains have been disagreeing all day, and the Voices in my head told me I should paint the Foyer Blue, then said yellow. I wish they would make up their mind! Doesn't matter, Mrs C will have the final word. I'm color blind, so I'll take her word for it, whatever color it is!
Kathy over at the Junk Drawer Blog got me to thinkin' with her post about a random act of kindness. So if you saw smoke wafting up around the Lehigh Berks county border the last few days, that was just me thinkin'. and nothing to worry about.
Sometimes we humans lose our way. We do it all the time, we get off track in life and forget about what is important. I've done it, I've addressed my mistakes and moved on, knowing that while I am attempting to learn from them, I will make new ones, no matter how hard I try not to.
Lately I've been asking myself what is the purpose of my blog posts? Am I venting, am I serving any higher purpose, am I contributing to the betterment of the lives around me?
It is something to ponder. I've used this platform on other blogs, to criticize others, especially in the political forum, knowing full well that the house I dwell in has just as many windows as those I would cast stones at.
Here on this blog I write the stories of my everyday life that cause me to pause and laugh at myself, but is it fair for me to write what makes me laugh at others? That's something to consider, isn't it? It is all in the context, and I never stop learning.
Last weekend I knew one of my neighbors a few doors down would be away until Tuesday, yet Friday I saw packages piling up at their door, so I took the packages into my garage and secured them. I called my neighbor and left a message on their machine telling them what I had done. When they came home this week, they were most thankful. I didn't do it for the praise, or to make them think they "owed" me, I did it because it was the right thing to do.
And that brings me now to the 180 degree opposite of random Acts of kindness, the random Acts of hate, like the random Comments I keep getting from someone who wishes me harm.
I think it is sad, and while I am not naive enough to completely disregard the veiled threat, I have decided that I am going to remove all of them from publication, but save them to a file.
All I know from the Trackback is that they are coming from a server over in Northampton County, and I could follow in the steps of another blogger and make wild, unsubstantiated allegations about who I think it might be, but I won't.
It's not worth the bother. And ignoring it is the right thing to do. For Now.
Monday, August 25, 2008
I live in a urban castle that has a two car garage. Not only that, but there are separate doors for each car! That, in the eyes of my dear deceased Dad, was a statement that you were well off.
We had a two car garage when I was growing up, but it was one big door, and you had to pull one of the cars out to get in the passenger side. It was tight in there. Only rich people had "Real" two car garages. It was a big old wooden door, and we didn't have automatic garage door openers back then. Well, we did, it was me, I had to physically lift it to open it, and close, lower and lock it when we left. It wasn't light, believe you me, it wasn't until a month after I joined the Army and 2 weeks before I went away to basic training that Dad had me install a motorized door opener.
Well, we Casey's aren't rich, but I am a bit on the frugal side, just ask my wife. We have power automatic garage doors, just as now most everybody in McMansion land has a two car garage, not all, but many do. It's become a standard norm, and no longer a sign of grandiosity, if it ever really was one at all.
In the garage attached to the Casey Castle of Trexlertown, there's room to get in on all sides. That wasn't always the case, we had quite a bit of "stuff" stored in there for a while. When we first moved in, I was six months clearing out stuff so I could park in there. Mrs C got the preferred spot right away. She's the lady of the House, and that's the way it works. That's how it worked when I was a kid in our house, Dad always gave Mom the better spot.
Now I'm sure the people over at the secret Chinese Spy satellite cable network have been watching the outtakes of "Chris Casey, Home Improvement Moron" that they are shooting by satellite with interest. They are probably wondering, "Why is he so good to his wife? Why does he always give her the best of everything? Why does he pack her lunch, wash her car, do her laundry, and all these other things? Is he what many American men refer to as "Pussy whipped?"
No you communist ninnies, I'm not whipped! I'm what a real American guy is supposed to be! Decent, caring, and attentive to his mate! Real American men aren't afraid of doing the laundry! Real men get so dirty doing real jobs that sometimes we just climb in the washer with our clothes on and close the door! We call that conserving fresh water!
Sunday night I would have done that, if I could, but even my new, leaner, meaner, not as much to be seener' body can fit in our 6 month old energy efficient Whirlpool washer. (I know "seener" is not a word, but it rhymes nicely, okay?)
I started cleaning the garage after I returned from the gym shortly after 3 PM, and when I finished at 7:30, you could walk up and down on the sides of both cars, and freely open all doors!
(The Truth: I'm trying to make room for a Riding Lawn Mower or Snow Blower, I could care less if you can get in the car from either side!)
Was I dirty? Yes!! Did I suffer a few cuts and bruises? Uh yeah, and that splinter from that old four by four really hurt, and luckily I did get it out right away! The point is, The garage is cleaner, the trash and summer's worth of debris have been removed, and I, the American man, have finished another mission, once again thwarting the schemes of those damned Communist Chinese! Yeah!!!! I wonder what they are titling the next episode of Chris Casey, Home Improvement Moron, now? They probably focus on the two car garage, the gas powered lawn mower, the many different pieces of power yard hardware, and decided to call it: Wasteful American Fuel habits!
But who cares what those communist pansies watching on their spy satellites think. They have to be impressed at an average American man's CAN DO! attitude!
Though I think the cut on my finger might be infected. I had a Tetanus shot last October, and I didn't need another one in February when I got the stitches in my hand. We'll see.
Tune in later this week when I give you a report on my next adventure with electricity! I'm going to install a new light fixture/ceiling fan in one of the upstairs bedrooms. I'm putting the over/under on the number of times I electrocute myself at two! Oh, and one more thing, our new fixture? Guess where it was manufactured? You Know it! CHINA! So you know what that means! We are going to be missing something!