Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The end of the Year. Hurray! and some blogger shout outs!

Hey, I want to give a shout out to Cooking with Anne for her first anniversary! May you have many more!
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

What's your Resolution?

Aah, the New Year. Out with the old bad habits, in with the new.

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?

Sunday in a Suburb full of Eagles Fans

(Santa is excited as well, but I'm not sure if he's an Eagles Fan!)

There's been screaming. There's been wailing. There's even a neighbor with a big inflatable Eagles Football player in his Christmas decorations. I have been told that while many agree that Coach Andy Reid is a dope at times, they still want to beat Dallas. I understand completely.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Today's Sick puppy Tale

Ethel is a Senior Dog. She's 12 and a half years old. She had an appointment at the Vet today for
4 PM. Her left ear is so infected that when I tried to clean it, I got a bloody goop out of it. She's a cocker spaniel, and they are susceptible to ear infections.
She also likes to rub herself in whatever scat the native creatures leave in the yard. This is why she gets so many baths. But it is also why she gets ear infections.
So the Vet's staff took her in the back and thoroughly cleaned out both her ears, gave her a couple of shots, and I have two weeks worth of medications to administer over the next couple of weeks, stretching into the new year.
Otherwise, at 24.8 pounds, he thinks she is in pretty good shape for a dog her age.
All three dogs are getting presents from Santa, but Ethel being around for another Christmas with her happy attitude is a present we never get tired of getting, and hope to get at least a few more times

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mom would have been 92 today

I was adopted by my great Aunt and Uncle, Jim and Sally (Sarah Ella Thornton) Casey. Even though I have a younger half brother and sister, I was the youngest of all the kids they formally adopted. I called Jim and Sally Mom and Dad, because that is what they were to me, and several hundred other Children in the Columbus Ohio area between 1947 and 1985.

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

Lehigh Valley International Air(Hell)Port

Lehigh Valley International Airport isn't exactly the busiest airport. I've seen rural yard sales on a rainy day with more activity. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to arrive there at 9 PM on Wednesday night and see that the TV's that list the flights were blank.
(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

Yep, I stepped in what I thought I did.

My wife is away, so I'm trying to get some painting done. This time it is the stairwell. I'm also trying to knock out several little tasks, like the trim at floor level, and around the fireplace.
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

"They say it's your Birthday...." and out go the lights!

"So happy Birthday To you..."

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

White Right Shoe, Blue Left Shoe

I'm Cheap. My lovely wife, the wonderful Mrs C, will attest to this. I am a bit on the frugal side, but today's trip down memory lane took place back in the summer of 1993, when I was a wee lad of 31.
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.