Thursday, May 28, 2009

family night finally

We finally got it together for a family night. It is rather difficult at times with so many things being done by so many of us. Tonight, it came together.

We had pizza and pasta from Pizza Hut. We had some old school games. We played Loaded Questions and Password. Chella was downstairs watching Bones while we finished eating. When we called her upstairs, Tj had coordinated a surprise. Once she was fully into the sitting room, adjoining our bedroom, she was attacked by three manics bearing cans of silly string. She had her own can and the war was on. There was string everywhere. It was a blast.

Then we cleaned up and settled down to play the games. We played until about 10 PM. We had fun. we laughed. We laughed. Then, we laughed some more. It was a great night.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial

Freedom

It has been well said that freedom is never free. It is easy sometimes, born into freedom, to consider it a birthright. We might lose sight of the price, being so far from it. I have never fought on any foreign shore. I have never spilled my blood defending this glorious nation. Far removed from the smoke of the battlefield, it is easy to lose the cries of freedoms battle.

The sound of freedom is not the big brass band. That is the celebration of freedom. The roar of the crowd is not the sound of freedom. That is the triumph of freedom. Summer dogs and burgers are not the taste of freedom. Sparklers and fireworks are not the fire of freedom. They are just the glitter.


The sound of freedom is the last gasp of a soldier. It is the soft sob of a mother clutching the folded flag. The taste of freedom is the acrid mix of gunpowder and blood. The fires of freedom burn in the hearts of men and women, not in the burning metal rods we wave. The band, the roar, the dogs and burgers, the sparklers and the fireworks, are all good if we don't lose sight of the price of freedom.


Sometime in the middle of your reverie, take time to remember. Take time see the flash of freedom. Take time to taste the coppery taste of freedom. Take time to hear the gasp and sob of real freedom. Find a way to feel free.


Ron

Friday, May 22, 2009

the plague

I have the plague. I am sniffling, sneezing, wheezing and dripping. This morning I got a nosebleed. I liked to never got it to stop. I have had it on a milder level for the better part of the week. I haven't done much this week.

I did do this drawing recently. It is Dad. The lower right is him at 19 years old and in the US Air Force. The upper left is his 50th year wedding anniversary. I still miss him so.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Plumbing, Germany, Carpet, and TJ

Yes, it has been 5 days.

It has been a busy few days for me. There has been errands, and family, and driving, and drawing. Mom called me Sunday morning to let me know her brother-in-law (my uncle) Joe had passed away in Germany. I had to make arrangements for international calling on her cell phone as she was flying out on Monday. She was planning a trip to Germany in July. This moved her plans drastically.

I was in Church Sunday morning/afternoon in Flemingsburg (home church) which is 33 miles one way. When I got home, I had enough time to sit down and then drive to be in church with Mom in Lexington (42 miles one way.) So, it was a busy Sunday. While I was driving and churching (I am sure this should be a word. Active church going must be churching,) TJ and Kyle pulled up the carpet in the downstairs foyer. It is hardwood floors underneath. We will be sanding, varnishing, and shellacking. We intend to also remove the carpeting from Kyles room. there will be more sanding, varnishing and shellacking there.

Thursday, I dropped of the necessary metal for the welding shop to make my meter key. It was done on Friday. I now can turn of my water whenever I need to do so. I have several pending plumbing jobs to do. This gives me much more flexibility in doing them. We plan on replacing the stand alone pedestal sink in the bathroom. I am not sure if it came with the house when it was built about 100 years ago or not. However, it is old. It might be worth something once it is removed and cleaned up well.

We are also working on coming up with a workable plan to rework the bathtub faucets without having to put out the $1500 to $1700 estimates to replace it. I got some great ideas form the guy the runs the plumbing shop in Winchester when I was there looking for replacement parts (which seem not to exist.) We are looking to incorporate a shower of some sort into the deal.

About mom: She arrived safe and sound in Munich. She met Brother Horst Krauss, a missionary in Germany, at the airport. We have been in contact with him for some time. I spoke to him yesterday on the phone to let him know about mom's change of plans. He had intended to see her while she was in Germany in July. He had to be at the airport to meet a friend about the time mom was arriving. I spoke to mom after her arrival. She made contact at the airport.

TJ is still overdoing it routinely. However, she is recovering more quickly. trips still wear her out, but a shorter rest is required after each one. I will accept this as a good sign.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

wowser

Close Call.

I was driving on the interstate this morning driving to Lexington. A Nissan Xterra passed me at one point. I had my cruise set on 80mph, so he was going 85mph or better. About a minute after he passed me, I came upon the Xterra on it's hood against the median wall divider. I pulled over immediately and back up to see if there was anything I could do. Several others stopped as well. As I was backing up, the drivers door opened and the man driving crawled out. There was not a scratch on him.



He was passing on the three lane highway when someone cut over in front of him, cutting him off. He locked up the brakes and flipped. The cut man kept on going as the Xterra flipped in his rear view mirror. Tadpole. One of the guys that stopped told us what happened as it happened right in front of him. He is in the light blue jeans in the pic.

After making sure he was okay, I left to go on to town to run my errands. On my way back, about 2 hours later, the wreckers were just starting to try to get the Extera up.

Someone was watching out for that guy.

And for me.

Monday, May 11, 2009

small town minus / small town plus

I lived in big towns most of my life. Lexington population was nearly 650, 000. It is the second largest city in Kentucky and the 66th largest city in the United States. It ranks 10th in college education with 39.5% of the residents having at least a Bachelors Degree. I was born there some 51 years ago and lived there for about 45 of my 51 years. Anything and everything, wanted or otherwise, can be found there and at anytime, day or night.

Just over 2 years ago, TJ and I moved out of that sprawling, traffic infested, 24 hour-a-day city and to a small town called
Mt Sterling. Our sprawling population is 5,876 according to the 2000 census. It is a small town. The old adage about rolling the streets up at 8 o'clock is nearly true here. We live inside the city. We are just about 3 blocks from the courthouse. It is 0.27 miles from our house to the main intersection of downtown. It is 0.25 miles from my house to the police station. It is 0.15 miles from my house to the water company, which brings me to my point.

Last night, around 11:15, I went to fill up a water bottle to put in the mini-fridge beside the bed. I noticed the floor was wet, but Chella had just taken a bath and I thought she had been a little messy and had not cleaned up after herself. However, this seemed to be more than it should be. Further investigation revealed that the connection of the waterline to the faucet was leaking. This presented a problem which would lead to other problems.

Problem #1: There is no water shut off at the sink. There is no water shut off anywhere in the house. The only water shut off is the main shut off at the street at the water meter. In spite of my best efforts, that shut off would not budge.

Problem #2: It was the upstairs bathroom. The water would leak through the floor, ruining the floor in the bathroom, through the ceiling below, ruining the ceiling, and on to the hardwood floors in the dining room, ruining them.

I called a guy I knew that was a plumber and had done work for me in the past. He said he could come by in the morning and turn off the water for me. WHAT ? In the morning ?? Hello ! Water leaking NOW !

I called the water company. They have no emergency number. If it is a water main break, you can call the water treatment facility, but anything short a a water main, and you are on your own. "Hello, insurance company, I need to report some water damage."

I went to the internet. I found three plumbing outfits listed for this town. I called number one. his response: "I cant come out there now at this time of night (it was now about 11:45.)" I called number two. It was a residence of a plumber and I got their recording. the recording included all kinds of helpful information, including cell phone numbers of every family member, but no way to get hold of anyone to turn off my water.

I gave TJ a number to call while I was trying another number. She woke up an older lady who woke up her husband, who agreed to come to turn the water off. He came within 30 minutes and turned our water off.

Here are the small town minuses:

NOTHING is available 24 hours a day.

There is a reason they roll up the streets. It is because everyone goes to bed at 8:30.

On call service simply means the phone rings at the house. If we are asleep, we are asleep.

Here is the small town plus:

He didn't charge me to come out at midnight to turn of my water in an emergency.

I talked to him about installing a shut off inside the house. There waterline passes through the basement, so there is access. He said his son could do that. He gave me his sons name and number and told me that if they did the work, he could just add the service call to that bill.

The shutoff addition I can do myself now that the water is off. With the shut off installed I can fix a few other problems as well. However, if I do the shut off myself, I will still call the son to settle up with our Sunday night midnight call.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

the crash

My computer crashed ..

Let me clarify .. the computer I mostly use crashed. There is still the laptop and the computer downstairs. However, the one in my sitting room at my desk crashed. I was on it. It was working fine. I had some difficulty opening a web site. The computer told me my Internet connection was severed (I paraphrase.) I checked my network settings and it seemed that the receiver was not allowing Internet signal to get to the web. There was a signal from the router, but it was stopping at my PC. I restarted as this usually clears up any momentary glitch.

Then, when my Windows Explorer (the system that runs your windows) tried to come up, it said it was missing a file and restart. Then it said it was missing a file and would restart. Then it said it was missing a file and would restart. You get the picture, I am sure.

The PC suggested turning the computer completely off and starting again. Then it said it was missing a file and would restart. Then it said it was missing a file and would restart. UGH !

So, I did a System Recovery. I could not do a System Restore as the computer needed to open Windows Explorer to get to the place where I could tell it to do so. I copied my programs onto DVD's (4 of them.) I stayed up until 3:30 AM making the Recovery Disks. I started the Recovery part and went to bed.

Eventually, I got the computer up and running. Then I had to update all my Virus Protection, and my players, and my Internet explorer, and my wireless driver, and all my other drivers.

I still have much to do, but, I can get online and blog so I can slow down. I can
Facebook and Twitter (which I could do from my phone which as WiFi.)

How is your Mother's Day weekend going ?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

disappointed

My life is all about the disappointment. I was at the grocery shopping with TJ a couple days ago, when I spotted some store made banana pudding. It said it right there on the label. Banana Pudding. It was the size of two moderate serving or one large serving. I bought it. When I finally got to the best part of banana pudding, (the eating part) I was sorely disappointed. In the clear container I could see the vanilla wafers on the bottom. I could see the pale yellow pudding. I guess i should have explored the ingredients more closely. Here is how to make Banana Pudding:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large pkg instant vanilla pudding, (6 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk, (14 ounces)
  • 1 container whipped topping, (16 ounces)
  • sliced bananas
  • vanilla wafer cookies

Preparation:

Mix pudding and milk; add condensed milk. Blend well; fold in half the whipped topping.

Alternate layers of pudding, bananas and vanilla wafers; top with remaining whipped topping and a few banana slices.

Refrigerate overnight before serving.

The stores idea of Banana Pudding: Vanilla wafers and Banana flavored Pudding.

Not vanilla pudding !

No bananas !

I just don't know what the world is coming to when we shortcut the banana pudding!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

hoopty

TJ got her hoopty.

She couldn't drive her Camaro because of her back. So we sold it. She couldn't drive the Cadillac because the transmission went out. She drives her Crown Victoria but it is more car than she wants. She drives the Trailblazer, but, again, the same thing, it is too big. She feels like she has to fight with them to keep them under control.

Yesterday, we went to Richmond and bought her a little hoopty, as she calls it. We got her a '97 Ford Escort 5-speed. It is small but not a sub-compact. It is a 4 door. It isn't white (she hates white cars .. the Camaro was white, the Caddy is white, the Crown Vic is white.) She drove it home yesterday (about 45 miles) and it didn't wear her out. She is very happy with her little hoopty.

While we were in the process, we needed a notary to notarize the transfer of title. The guy from whom we bought the car called a notary he knew. It turned out the notary he knew was TJ's cousin. She knew he was a notary, but couldnt find his number. It was old home reunion. We met at his car lot and his son was there. It was a good visit.

I will post pics of the hoopty eventaully. It will look better under the sun. It has been hard to find some sunshine the last few days around here.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Kindred


Kindred


His caring hands very gently worked,
Endless strands of interwoven thread,
Creating a cloth of beauty to behold;

Taking only a moment of His eternity,
He surveys the work of His hands,
A blanket covering time new and old;

With great loving kindness,
He begins to tear this magnificent tapestry,
Into small tattered souls;

Each possessing it’s own beauty,
Fiercely independent even,
but feeling the want of the whole;

With deliberate intent,
He sets about scattering,
Covering the earth with the common thread;

“Let them feel the need,
Let them search through the land,
For the cloths, born of the kindred;”

With joy and sorrow,
We travel through this land,
So rich and so vast;

We touch lightly together,
Sensing the Tapestry,
Threads of our past;

Wandering scraps of cloth,
Always seeking and pursuing,
Weathered and worn;

Living a lifetime together,
Finding and loving those,
From the tapestry torn;

Throughout the journey of friendship,
Our life becomes quite the patchwork,
Discovering common threads;

Flowing behind as we walk,
A stunning legacy of deeds,
Sewn with experience’s threads;

A lifetime of finding and losing,
Of holding and letting go,
Of soul companions and Kindreds;

And the Master,
weaving still,
Smiles.

Ron Simpson, Jr.