5/21/2015

Still Needin' a Jacket

Strange weather here in the Heartland.  The papers are full of swimsuit ads and I will promise you that unless you can swim in a sweat suit no one will be at the beach much today.  I think the high is predicted to get into the very low 60's.  That means the overnight low was in the 40's.  The only good thing is you can hear the grass and vegetables growing the garden.   Barb has the trickle water system all set but she has had to go out and pour water out of the plants on the deck .  About every three days we have had at least an inch of rain.

While I am writing this, I am listening to some learning CD's for the Baritone part.  It is kind of distracting that I am also trying to sing along.  I at one time I was able to multitask well but now I have to concentrate to stay on task. 

I had a Doctor's appointment yesterday and he was quite forward about my condition and the possible treatment.  I want to get off the Xerelto as soon as possible so I can get back to the Aleve for the arthritis pain.  He said that the conventional wisdom is that I need to do everything to keep from having a repeat episode of the blood clots for at least a year.  He said that a repeat episode within a year is often a lot more severe.  He went to say even fatal results have been a lot more prevalent.  OK Doc, you had me at a year's worth.   Dang, I hate it when that happens.   He did give me a prescription for a medicine somewhere between aspirin and the Ascription with Codeine.  I will try it and see.

There is a 55-56-57 Chevy Facebook group I read often.  One guy said he has a 55 Chevy that he will sell for $26,000.  A few weeks back I asked what the group thought my 57 was worth.  The consensus was $25,000.  I asked the group why the 55's seem to bring as much for a sedan as the 57 2dt hardtop brings.  You would have thought that I had called the guy a bad name.  I guess it is true that every car is worth what someone will pay for it.  With our investment dollars not returning much in the market, any investment is a good one.  The weekend talk radio financial advisor thinks that the stock market is a good place to invest.  He will say out of one side of his mouth to buy low and sell high yet he wants me to spend my money now that the market is at almost an all time high. 

This morning the paper arrived in the proper place and it was chock full of Memorial day Ads.  Barb and I agree that we really don't need anything.  Well, nothing but a few staples and toilet paper.  I really hate to shop for toilet paper.  I can't remember what brand we really like.  I buy what looks good to me and I'll bet I wind up with some single ply sandpaper more often than not.  Even our Daughter-in-law commented to the wife about our low quality toilet paper. 

I will try to get the wife out some today and see if we can find a bread maker that will make her happy.  The one she picked up for $5 at a garage sale has finally stopped doing what it should and I really like her home made bread.  She makes a loaf with sunflower seeds that is about the best.  What kind of bread do you like?  I traveled in Germany and really like a bread that is crusty and has a lot of body.   What I really love is almost not found here in America.  There is a breakfast roll that is so crusty on the outside and yet nice inside.  It is just right for a little cheese or any of the meats they serve for a continental breakfast. 

I think that I have finally found a coffee at PT's coffee that I like.  It is fairly full bodied without that burnt after taste.  I could mask that with cream and sugar but I like good black coffee. I will talk to the local Dillon's store and see if they can bring it to the closest store.  The only place it is available is clear across town.  I know that the expansion of the local Dillon's was made to sell booze but I don't think the Legislature is ready to let the Grocery stores sell booze yet.  No real skin off my nose but it does seem that in another area Kansas is behind the rest of the States. 

Better go see what trouble I can get into.  When you are as dull and boring as I am you have to look for trouble.  Most of the time you couldn't raise hell her at Rabbit Run with a case of whisky and a crew of Artillerymen. 

MUD   

5/20/2015

It's My Day to Watch It!

A few  moments ago, I asked out loud if my Doctors appointment is at 10 or 11.  The response I got from the Master gardener was, "It's not my day to watch it."   Yep, snarky  before 10 AM is sometimes the way we both have gotten as we  get deeper in this marriage thing.   I guess 47 years is a long time unless you count the time I have been called away for Military Duty.   It started with a year in Vietnam about 3 weeks after we were married.  The for another 20+ years I was called away for 2 weeks for Summer Camps.  The first year was no vacation but the 2 week phases were kina, sort'a.  In the long haul that makes it really more like 45 years but who's counting.

The thing that really worries me is that on at least two things today we agreed on what was in the paper.   The thing we didn't agree on was the discussion about an Op Ed piece that has stirred up a lot of controversy.  I didn't even read the article because it was about an Op Ed piece.  Kind of like the debate about the Koch brothers spending money in the election cycle.   If I can't be bought, what makes people think that I can be swayed by some rich guy spreading lies about how well the Kansas economy is doing.  All you have to do is to sit back and watch as the legislature scrambles in an extended session to figure out how to plug the 400 million dollar shortfall.  We do agree that the social experiment to lower the taxes on businesses was an all out failure.

A couple of years back, I asked the tough question - "What are we going to do when we realize that it takes a guy like Sadam Hussein to keep Iraq running at all."  That question was along with, "if in well over 200 years, no one has been able to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, what makes us think we can."  The only thing that kept us from tucking our tails between our tails like the Russians that was we announced that we were leaving and for the most part left.  Barb and I both agree that we were wrong to ever hit that Tar Baby in the first place.   

I am probably one of the strongest supporters of a strong Military.   How on God's Green earth can the people expect the USA to do well over sea's when we have a border that is almost unguarded to the south?   Open your eyes and read about the flow of drugs coming into our country from Mexico on the backs of the undocumented people coming here.   Yes, I have said that the real drug problem is here where the usage is so high.  I would make it a lot harder to bring them in if it were up to me. 

That is probably three things we agreed on.  We still thing that Government is wrong to redistribute money by taking it away from one sector and giving it to the other.  Barb thinks we give too much to the Rich here in Kansas.  I think that's just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the Feds that gave that much to Detroit and Philadelphia. If people don't like it there, they can move.  No one plants their feet in the ground and forces them to stay in a place that most dogs would run away from. 

We are nearing a time when for about 18 months, we will hear from a bunch of educated people tell us how we can fix out Government.  If I thought that any one of them could honestly fix all the things wrong, I would listen.  For the most part I will not let uber rich white people tell me how to fix the relationships between the classes and races.   Hope and Change didn't get it done but we'll probably elect a woman to bring us together.  Oh well....

I got my mower back yesterday.  A nut came off on the top of the mower deck and the pulley was just wobbled off.  I expected them to put on a new pulley and a new nut but they replaced the entire housing.  Then to add insult to injury, they wanted me to pay $186.00 for that privilege.   I told them that after only 4.2 hours of mowing, I expected Cub Cadet to pay for that repair.  They said they would submit it to them but I'll bet they want me to pay it somewhere down the road.   For some reason, I expect a $3,000 mower work longer than 4.2 hours without a major failure.  Just say'n.  If the repair record doesn't get better and stay that way, I will probably lake a loss at the end of this year and sell that sucker. 

Last night when I got the mower home I mowed for about 45 minutes and things went fairly well.  The bad news is that during the night it rained again and now instead of looking like it needs mowed, the yard looks half assed because I mowed around the edge and the middle looks bad.

My solution to all that is to go to the Doctor and talk about what I can do to get to feeling better.  There has to be something that gives me some relief from the arthritis pain without further thinning my blood.  Even two of the approved meds just doesn't cut the fever or the pain.   I apologize that I have been so whiney today, it just reflects my mood.   Gotta run.

MUD

5/19/2015

Denny, the Singing Baritone

A few years back, I sang as a baritone with the Barbershop Chorus and when I rejoined them this last year I moved to Bass.  They had a great set of Baritones and didn't need me to go back to that section. While they have added a new singer, they lost two others.  I asked the director if he thought they needed a little help and he agreed that I would be a good addition to them.  Last night for the first time in a long time the director had to ask the baritones to back off a little as I sing a little loud.  I am learning the new part and just can't help it if I haven't learned the nuance yet.  Things will continue to get better.  I hope.  We practice on Monday's and decided to take Memorial Day off. 

This morning I woke up feeling about as well as I have been since February.  I can feel the strength coming back and now all I need to do is watch my weight.  I have stopped the loss and I am holding in the low 240's.  That is pretty good for me and perhaps when I get in better shape I can even take it a little lower. 

The other day, I went out to the PT's Coffee roasting facility just south of Topeka and found that they don't have any coffee to taste there.  The sent me downtown to the PT's coffee house and they only had one kind of coffee brewed there.  I went to Dillon's and smelled the coffee beans to see if I could find one that was full bodied and not over roasted.  They had a brand Cow Girl that smelled right but has a little lemon residual taste.  I bought some other coffee and I will give you a report on it when I brew the new brand.   The other day I had a great cuppa coffee at a restaurant and asked what they used.  Unfortunately they get their coffee from a wholesale house and unless I go into the business I can't buy it.  All I want is a simple full bodied cuppa joe that doesn't leave a burned taste in my mouth.  Every cup of Starbucks coffee I have ever tasted left that burned bitter taste in my mouth. If you put enough sugar and cream you can cover that taste but I like a simple black cup of coffee.

What does Memorial Day mean to your household?   I can remember as kids going to Eldorado, KS and putting flowers on the graves of my Grandfathers.   There is a little cemetery near one of the gates to the Refinery and from the grave of one, you can see the grave of the other.  Now days, many people feel that memorial day is a chance to spend the first days of summer doing fun things.  I will go over to the cemetery here in Topeka and put some flowers on Mom and dad's grave.  When they moved here to Topeka, they looked at the options and found that one cemetery had an option of putting two coffins in one grave.  Mom put dib's on the top bunk and it worked out that way.  There is an additional cost of reopening the grave to put the last person buried there but it all worked out.  There was the small matter that mom remarried Wilbur Schawo and we had to add a little brass plate to show that but it really was no big deal.   They make them to show the dates of death all the time.

What are your goals for the summer?   I am not sure that I will take any long car trips this year but you never know.  I do have a new guide that each hour I spend behind the wheel I will spent at least 10 minutes out walking.  Be just my luck I'll get hit by a speeding car...  Perhaps the doctor will let me start riding my bike after my visit tomorrow.  Perhaps not.

MUD

5/18/2015

Cool Clear Water

The sun is out here in the heartland but it is way on the cool side.  There is about a 20 MPH north wind blowing and if a guy wants to get out and try to mow, he would need a jacket.  That was put in there to remind me that I should need a jacket.  OR for short - DUH Dennis!

Well, looks like the Hawks are reloading again.  They signed a shooting guard to fill in the slot lost with the moving on of Kelley Obre and the injury to Brannen Greene.   They will need some scoring help as they play in the World Games this year in Korea.  Their hotshot SVI, is not from the USA so he is not eligible to play for the Jay Hawks.  Bummer.

I don't understand why Waco is allowing a restaurant to stay open if they attract gangs on the weekend.  Shut them down and move on smartly.   Next thing you'll be hearing that they need to call out the guard to quell the shootings.  Or, is it a good thing that 8 gang members killed each other?   Nah, the justice side of me is showing and I need to show a little mercy now and then.  I think that is an Ad Hominem attack as it attacks the people directly and doesn't give any credence to their abilities.  However, someone showed up with guns and that escalation was a bit much.  And I thought Waco was such a great place to visit.

This morning I was reminded that our friend Kendra who turns 12 today is what Barb calls a Graduation Baby.  She was born on the day when a lot of kids get to go out in this world and see if what they learned mounts to more than a hill of beans.  Kind of makes me wonder how my parents could go out in the world with a high school education and make it all work?  Kind of makes me wonder where are all the public schools that are training our children to make a living by learning a trade.  

Speaking of trades, there was a time when I could rebuild a generator or a starter on my car and do my own brakes.   Now, all I do is replace parts and I am fairly willing to pay someone to do that.  The idea that I could get under a car in the driveway to change the oil is just not in my wheel house anymore.  Makes me wonder why we have to pay a shop $80.00 an hour to swap parts.  They also buy the parts wholesale and make me pay retail when they put them on the car.  The final insult is that they make me pay a small percentage to restock their bench stock even if they don't use much more than a grease rag or two.  

Oh well, I had better get ready and escape this joint, the Master gardener is starting to ask questions about my agenda for the day.  

MUD



5/17/2015

Sunday Mornings

There was really little in the paper that grabbed me today and the Master Gardener was busy reading the paper so we didn't have one of our rousing discussions.   I did read an article about bears in Yellowstone that was interesting but one point it should have made was barely (Get it?) mentioned.  When we were in Yellowstone, anytime there was an animal near the road, the cars would jam up and make large car lots out of the road.  One time our bus stopped right in the middle of the road and there were buffalo all around the bus.  I for one would not get off the bus but many of the less smart people got right out there amongst the wildlife.  If a 150 lb. black bear can hurt you, why do people think a 1000 lb. buffalo won't.  

Probably one of the most interesting parts of our trip was the elk at our hotel.  Each evening the elk would come into the nice grassy area around the hotel to munch on what had to be the greenest and most tasty part of the park.  There were Park Rangers out there to keep the people away from the elk, especially the mother elk with young one's.   The were pretty large animals and I'll bet those sharp hooves  could slash you up pretty bad.  Telephoto lens. 

The other day I went upstairs and Barbara was out on the south deck with her camera.  She had opened the window and climbed through to catch a deer that was just strolling down the hill.  The wildlife here at Rabbit Run is not afraid of us much anymore.  Yesterday I went out to put a couple of suet blocks in the feeder down by the back door and a pair of young squirrels just sat there and looked at me.   Talk about bold.  I guess with Barb home all the time the wildlife doesn't fear Bowana the great hunter.  Even if I can get spell checker to find a spelling close enough to publish.

The new mower is a 46 inch deck on a zero turn mower.  I guess I got lucky that it isn't any wider as my trailer is only 48 inches wide.  I now have officially have 4.5 hours on it and I think it burns about a gallon an hour.  According to the tag it is a fairly low consumption mower as it rates a 2 on a scale of 5.   Oh well, it cuts the grass well and is a blast to drive.  I will have to wait a day or two to get it back out again as the ground just isn't up to a zero turn in the wet grass.  I don't even want to think about getting the big tractor and mower out.  The lugs on the tractor ties makes the ground into corduroy when the ground is just damp not soggy. 

Oh well, enough of this, moving on to bigger and better things.  Can't dance, and it's too wet to plow.

MUD

5/16/2015

Saturday Morning Musings

This morning, after breakfast, the Master Gardener and I had a discussion about some items in the paper.   Seems like the legislature is again worrying about small things and not focusing on the fact they will be 3 or 4 hundred million short in revenue next year.  They spent time trying to decide if strong beer could be sold in Grocery stores and Quick Shops.  I can't imagine the reactions of the drunks if they can start to really get hammered from the beer at the convenience stores.  The stores get robbed and people shot there enough without the additional alcohol.  (Can you tell I have stopped drinking? - You can spot the holy rollers from a couple of hundred yards) 

The next article we discussed was the move by the Kansas Legislature to remove the Lesser Prairie Chicken from the endangered species list.  The argument that their being on the list can endanger the Military and Energy Production.  Those sneaky Prairie Chickens must sneak up and ambush those soldiers at Fort Riley.   To tell the truth, in all the hundreds of times I trained at Fort Riley, I don't recall ever seeing a Prairie Chicken.   I am pretty sure they don't like soldiers anymore than the soldiers like them.  Throw in a Howitzer or two and I'm pretty sure they are far, far away.  I did see the Prairie Chickens on the other side of Manhattan at the Konza Prairie.

Back to the legislature.  They saw that a .03% raise in the sales tax would fix their problem for next year. They nixed the idea.  I guess that is just too hard to understand.  Either they have to cut spending or raise taxes.  DUH!

The other day there was a long discussion about the term Political Correctness.  In the method of PC, there are a lot of people out there that want to cut the discussion of what the real problems are.   No one wants to discuss that the cities are for the most part falling apart and most of them have leadership from the Democratic Party.  In spite of how much money is thrown at the cities, they remain the hot bed for riots and unhappy people.  Hint - If you don't like what you got, stop doing what you did.   Second hint -  If you don't get up and go vote, you will continue to have the same old kind of people in charge of your Government.   Hint 3 - If you think that looting a 7-11 will solve your problems, where are you going to buy your beer when they don't reopen? 

From my perch on top of the mountain, the real way to save the cities is to give tax incentives to businesses that will move to provide jobs to the people out of work.  Not to Mexico idiots, the cities like Detroit and Baltimore.  Think about how happy you were when you got a good job and made a wage that you could live on.  Welfare doesn't fix problems, it only feeds the people with problems.  How about all those homes out there in the rest of the USA that the Government has repossessed.  Is there a way to teach people in the cities how to fix them up and get them to live in them?  Baltimore has 16,000 vacant homes and that number is going up by about 3% per year.  Is that a problem we can talk about or will the PC police shut me down....

MUD

5/15/2015

Rainy Day Sayings


Sayings -

Can't dance and it's too wet to plow.  Not sure where this came from but I imagine it is something from the rural area.

You kids quit piddlin' around and get some work done.  - This is a quote from Grandmother Bessie who didn't like kids very much.  (Or at least me as an example)

If the going is easy it is probably an ambush.  - I am not sure if this was Robert's Rules of Order or Kilroy's Rules of Warfare.  Either way, it is relevant.

The race doesn't always go to the swiftest, but that's a good way to bet. - Not sure who said this but in my family someone would say "Duh!"

Did you wonder why we drive on a parkway and park in the driveway? - I have no clue what genius giant thought that one up. 

We have Freedom of Religion or Freedom from Religion - How you act on this makes a world of difference in the meaning. 

Freedom of Speech makes no difference if you silence your critics because you don't like what they say. - I for one don't ever want to start down that slippery slope because I could be at the top of the list to silence.

One of the rules for individuals is that income must be greater or equal to outgo. - How come the Government isn't held to these standards.

Never ask a man how much something costs if you don't intend to buy it.  -  This is especially true of cars that have been restored by a guy who's wife doesn't watch the outgo.  Most people see the shinny chrome at car shows and all I see is Green.

If people didn't die, we would be up to our armpits in really old people. - Not a really big motto, but food for thought. 

I wish I could duplicate the exact saying but Hilliel the Elder, a Rabbi form years ago said something that went:

Be careful of what you say, it may become your thoughts.
Be careful of your thoughts as they may become your actions.
Be careful of your actions as they may become your character.  

 
So, if you don't want to go places where you don't want to go, don't say things you don't really mean.

 
Lastly, don't squat if you are wearing spurs. - Quoted by a guy that never wore spurs

Kid, while you are up would you get me another beer? - Grandma Erma from her lounger on the front porch in Arkansas.  You would have loved her too.

MUD

Friday, Ah Friday!

OK, I realize as an old retired dude, there is really nothing special about Friday.   We try to get all our shopping done today so we don't have to get out and about with the crowds over the weekend.  I do have to wake up a little early on Friday to get the trash cans out before the truck comes to pick it up.  This is not recycle day so I don't have to take the tractor out to take the bin to the street.  I can just throw the small cans in the trunk and drive out to the court.  Yep, such is the life of ORAG, the Old Retired Army Guy.   Or as he has come to be known MUD, short for Mean Uncle Denny. 

I guess it is about time to go seek out a new insurance man.  USAA didn't like the electrical box in the rental house after 15 years of carrying it on their roles.  The only reason they looked at it at all was the fact that I put a new roof on it this last year.  Their loss.  Hopefully my gain.   I have two houses, and four cars insured with them and I'll be glad to share my business and money with someone who appreciates me. 

Have I shared with you that there is one hassle about owning your home that none of the money programs mention.  Once you own your home, you have to pay the taxes and insurance out of your own checking account.  When you are making payments, you pay escrow each money and they pay the bills.  Once it is yours free of a mortgage, you pay an amount that is like renting your home from the county and the insurance companies.   Oh well, better than the whole nut including the payment on a note as well. 

I have been seeing an ad on TV that asks the question, can you live on your retirement money when you do retire?   I will say that it is different when you start out but once all the retirement money really arrives and you adjust your lifestyle it can be done.  I guess when you get as dull and boring as we are you too can live cheaply.   I will admit that there is one hole in our budget that I just can't seem to plug.  I cannot get out of Sam's club for less than $100.00.   That's true even when we stop in just to walk around.  Just seems like their bargains, that come in jumbo size, just drag the budget through the dirt.   Oh well, everyone has to have some kind of weakness.  

Officially we are on the rainy side of spring here in the Heartland and even Texas is out of the drought.  Now if California can figure out how to wring some moisture out of all this we can all be on the good side.  Right now the flow of moisture up from the gulf is being blocked by a high to the north and west of here and it is just leaking all over us.  I really don't mind so much so long as the strong storms don't form right over Kansas.  So far they have been over Oklahoma and Texas. 

Have I mentioned that due to the loss of a Baritone or two I may have to swing back out of the Bass section and into a slot as a baritone?  I love the good bass sounds but they aren't having any problem recruiting new people for the Bass sections.  When everyone shows up for practice, they can have as many as seven.  Right now there is only one or two Baritones that show up regularly.   We could have four if we could get Mike back in the fold.  OH well, can't have everything and sound good too.

I am still experimenting with different coffees.  I have decided to go upstairs and throw away the Gevalia I purchased.  It is so burnt in flavor that I either have flavored water or plain mud in a cup.  Oh well,  life is hard then you die. 

MUD