Extra Day?

What will you do with your Leap Day?  Is it really an extra day or just another one thrown in to make the calendar people happy?  I for one will go downtown and visit with a friend who is in town.  He is a teacher in Kingman and here for an event that the Kingman students are attending.  He is a licensed bus driver and they love to have him sponsor an event so he can drive the bus.  'Cides he is a really nice guy.   I  have known Ron Sawyer since I was 4 and he was 5. I remember that when he moved in he still hade a trike.  Ron was fresh off the farm in Morril, Kansas when he and his family moved to Wichita.

Ron lived across the street from me on Byrd Street.  His mother was a teacher at Minneha and his Dad was one of the custodians.  As I look back on my life, I find Ron in a lot of the stories that were fun.  Like most of us, we are lucky that some of the events we participated in didn't kill us.  I wouldn't change a thing.   Well, there was one thing I might change.   Ron had a 56 Chevy that he was really proud of.   I had a little dog that I would let out in the morning and I would tell him to go over and pee on Ron's car tires.   I swear that little dog would do that on a regular basis. I swear he understood what I was saying. 

I wish there was a way that an illness of a good friend could get published.  I would have driven to Wamego to visit Mark Jensen when he was sick.  Now I have to go visit his funeral.  65 is way too young to die.  There was a time that Mark and I would stop on the way home from work on Friday night and have a beer.  It was unfortunate that one of those Friday's he didn't go home after one or two.  That was the night that I took the pledge to stop drinking.  First and last time I ever had to bail a friend out of jail. I wish you could have been there when we got to his house.  His wife met us at the door.  She had one child hugging her leg and another in her arms and she said, "Mark, you didn't call."   It was better than any soap opera.  I think at least for a while he stopped drinking also.  I don't know if that lesson lasted to the end.

Mark lived in Wamego, Kansas.  It is my wish that everyone get to spend one 4th of July in Wamego. They have a car show in the park, a parade and that night a fire works display.   It is what America was years ago and I wish it was again.  The parade has children on bikes and tricycles.  The is always a wagon or two with a toddler in it.  The next to last thing is the tractors and then the horses.  Well, I think there is always a city worker that scoops up the road apples the horses leave. 

Oh well, I hope you all get out and take advantage of the great weather.  I think it will be in the 70's and a very light breeze.  Should be a great day.



Can we say 12 Boys and Girls?

It was a pleasure to watch the hawks beat Texas Tech yesterday.  We were in a hurry to get to a Birthday party at 2 so we didn't stick around for the festivities at the end of the game.  Did see a short review of them on TV.  I am glad to see the team proud of their win.  When they were 5 and 3, it was in doubt.  They have won the rest of their games and clearly have the title in hand even if they lose a game or two, they can't do worse than share it. Oklahoma lost to Texas yesterday so they are out of the running and West Virginia is two games behind with two to play.

Everyone in the Chorus was saying that we should not have practice tomorrow night for various reasons.  I said that we should practice with those that show up.  I didn't realize the Texas game was on Monday or I might have voted different.  Oh well, I will get to see the Iowa State game next weekend at the Phog.

It is warm here and I am noticing that a lot of the plants don't realize that there be freezing weather out there in the coming month.  In fact our last frost free day is mid-April.  Oh well, it will be what it will be.

Today will be in the 70's so I will probably have to find something fun to do that includes my better half.  She gets cranky when the weather is nice and I sit around the house all day.  Not so much if there is college basketball on TV but she does nee me to get out and "Blow the stink off."  That's the old saying my dad brought home from the Navy.  One time I was a substitute teacher for the pre schoolers and I said that to them and one of the kids replied,  "But Teacho, we don't stink."  They really didn't for the most part.

I think I have shared the wash machine problem Barb had and her efforts to replace the one that died. She found a model in Kansas city at the Sear's Outlet store in KC, MO.  I drove the 53 pickup over to get it and I won't drive up I-35 across KC, KS and KC, MO again.  Coming home I took I-70 and bailed out of  Missouri as fast as I could and it made the drive much easier.  I think the lighter traffic and the fact I knew the way better helped.  I try to leave a gap in the traffic ahead of me and everyone in the cities think it is just a place for them to slip their car in.  Oh well...

Have I mentioned how much I hate getting old?  I just went to plug in a CD of my Barbershop music and shut off the computer.  Crap... The only good part is the computer has an automatic update on the blog and I didn't lose much but my place and a few minutes.

Well better get on the road.



Why Best Buy is Enroute to Failure

For my birthday this past summer, we went to best buy to buy a travel computer.  Our Bank had moved and we started a new account with a local credit union.  We are also trying to use cash as much as possible per the Dave Ramsey program so the majority of our checks go to the utility companies not places like Wal*Mart or Best Buy.  I would bet we spend about the same as most people in our income range.

If you knew the Petty's we are really in a good place financially and I think the account we were going to buy the computer out of had well over $20,000 in it.  Of all the consumers in Topeka you would want in your store, we should be on the list of the invited. 

For some unknown reason, the Tele Check approval company used by Best Buy thought we do not write enough checks and said we were not approved.  We still had an account in the bank that moved, and it had well over $5,000 in it.  Because the first check was disapproved, Tele Check would not let us use the account we had used for over 25 years.  We just left the store shaking our head and moved on.

We went to Nebraska Furniture Mart a couple of days later and they didn't even hesitate to take our check.  I am the proud owner of a HP notebook and am very happy with it. 

Now let me tell you why I think Best Buy is on the road to failure.  Once a salesman has a problem, the store manager or assistant manager should have been able to just call the bank and verify the check was good.  Instead, even the corporate guys claim that Tele Check is their go to guys and they have the utmost faith in their services.  No flexibility, no authority no ability to approve a small check.  If they had the ability to check their computer, they would find me somewhere in there for the Microwave and many other items. 

I would challenge anyone to check any or all of my credit history and find anything lacking.  In fact, I would challenge any of the corporate guys to try to match my balance sheet with theirs.

Here is really why I think Best Buy is in trouble.  Barb and I are pretty typical consumers and about every year one or two of our old major appliances will need replaced.  Where do you think we are going to shop?  Yep, you can bet that it won't be Best Buy.  There is just nothing I can't buy elsewhere in a store in Topeka.  What do you think my comments are if someone asks us about Best Buy? 

I hope you have a lot better experience if you Shop at Best Buy, but remember that they do not allow their store personnel to sell a $600 computer without the approval of Tele Check.  There is not a check cashing store in Topeka or anywhere that would not cash a check for that amount anytime, any day. Every store I walk into will give me a credit card on the spot.  Not Best Buy...



Great Day

Yesterday was a day that will go down in my book as good food and great visit with family.  Amy, my niece from Alabama is in KC for a Golf Show.  She works for the Trent Green Golf Tour and they had a booth at the show. She brought her son Ryan and it was great to see everyone.  It was great to get to see her again.

Did I mention the great food?  My niece, Carrie had a new "Spiralizer" that cuts veggies into spirals and she made a salad that was just great.  It had zucchini, olives, yellow squash, some meat, artichokes with a oil and vinegar dressing.  Her brisket was pretty darned good also.  Throw in  all the other dishes and Ray's brownies and it was all good. 

It is kind of funny how children of the same families can be so different.  Both Amy and Carrie's first children were kind of quiet and the second boys seem almost like "Wild Childs" in comparison.  If you look at them without the contrast of the older brother, they both are pretty normal little guys and Carrie's son Joe is doing well in Law School at Berkley.  His fiancĂ© is also with him out west and she was accepted into the PA school out there.  They both will complete their education at the same time.  Now to see if they can afford to pay back all the debt from the education(s).  Oh well, life is short and there is time to do as much as will be needed. 

The Hawks are 2 games out in the lead of the BIG XII with 4 games to go.  Even if the lose the road games they will remain in a tie for the Conference Championship.  They play tomorrow night on the road and it will be interesting to see if Perry Ellis has recovered.  It might be that Coach Self will hold him out of the game so he can really heal.  Perhaps he might consider holding Carlton Bragg out to keep Perry from getting any more injuries.  

How can I stress to all my friends that the majority of the basketball players are just students attending school and hopefully working on their education.  No one should be mad at their players if they don't win a game.  It is after all a game played by students.  If you expect a win all the time, go watch a pro team.

Oh well, I went to sleep so early last night that I find myself up and att'em early.  I will go see if I can find something to do.



Can You Get Too Much Basketball?

Yesterday I started early and finished late watching the BIG XII teams play each other.  What a day.  Some of the best basketball I have watched.  The only thing I didn't get was the fouls at the end of the KU  vs KSU game.  When you are down two or four, it makes sense to foul so you can get the ball back.  When you are down 8 with 8 seconds left, let the game play on.  Oh well, other a little damage to Perry Ellis, things ended like I thought they would.

We bought a new wash machine a week or so back and are totally frustrated that Maytag would put their name on such a piece of crap.  In addition to being the loudest machine ever in our house, it didn't even get the clothes wet let alone get them clean.  It had a tub that would hold 8 elephants but wouldn't have gotten one wet or clean.  Once the repairman opened the top, it was clear to me why it didn't work.  Anything that would have made the machine quieter was left off this machine.  A little foam and insulation would have made a big difference.  No matter what setting the wife tried, the EPA standards just left out the water.   According to the repairman, if we are unhappy with a top loader, stay away from the front loaders.  He said that almost 100% of his calls are to fix front loaders.  We will stop at Nebraska Furniture Mart on our way to KC.

Barba and I are looking at cars to see if we can find a solution to the dilemma we are having with the one we have that is not running.  To add to that problem, Barb's old Buick is what Dave is driving back and forth between here and Lawrence.  One day it may not run any better.  That may be we will have to buy two cars this year. 

Today we are going to Kansas City to have lunch with the family.  I am going to make a crock pot of hot German potato salad.  It has been a while since I made it but with such good things as cheddar cheese and bacon how could it not be great.  Speaking of that, I had better get started.



The Big XII Title will go through Lawrence - Again

I am not sure what the goal of the rest of you is, but I really want the Big XII to put 6 teams in the "Big Dance" and for a final to be with Oklahoma and Kansas.  But realistically, I want the teams to all to play well and for the end of the season to come to a close with out any major injuries.  I don't care about wounded pride, hurt feelings or any of that, just want the kids to be able to finish their educations.   For the first time in a long time, KU has a lot (5)of seniors on this team.  I hope they can replace these guys with good players ready to play for more than "One and Done." 

Oh well, I am off to make a dump run this morning sometime.  I need to work on the trailer tail lights first but that's no big deal.  The good news is that I have a set of taillights that will plug into the wiring of either the truck or the Ford.  Just will take a little time.  I have time to spend.

We had lunch yesterday with Amy and Ryan.  Yes, there was a lot of other people there too.  Shock, Dave and his wife Barb made it.  Barb took pictures and guess who was not in the photos?  Yep, Barb and I didn't make it.  The good news is we look like we always did except that I needed a Haircut.  Probably need a shoe shine but that would not have shown anyway. 

Yesterday we had a long talk about dogs and the effect they have had on our lives.  My first dog was a brindle Manchester Terrier I called Rex.  I can tell stories about that dog for hours.  He did not know he was small and got in some great dog fights.  Most of which he did not win and he had to have some horrible wounds fixed by Dr Gump.  The thing I will remember is the fierce loyalty he had for me.  I guess he returned the love I shared with him.  The one Rex story that stands out is the time someone said dogs won't eat sauerkraut.  I said Rex would if I gave it to him.  After small wager, I fed some to him and sure enough he ate it.  He even came back for seconds.  The bad news is that that night he passed some of the worst farts ever.  So the moral of this story is don't feed Kraut to anyone you plan on sleeping with. 

Oh well, better move on.



Did Someone say Basketball?

One of the worst losses this year was the KU loss to OSU at Stillwater.  They stunk up the joint and went home with their tails between their legs.  Last night at the Phog, they avenged that loss and won going away.  Seems to me that the coach has been substituting more players into the game and the entire group plays hard for their time on the floor.  Rock Chalk,  Jayhawk.

The only shortcoming about last night was I had to miss the Barbershop Chorus practice but after spending many hours on Fri and Saturday singing, I don't feel too bad.  I will listen to the music at least an hour a day for the next couple of months.

Well, we have the bigger rental house rented to a nice guy and I hope he will be happy there.  I saw that he is a BBQ chef and I told him that I might want to bring my hickory to a cook out and watch the master work. 

Last night was kind of like old home week at the KU game.  I invited Walt Frederick to go with me and we saw two other old Guardsmen there.  On top of that, we saw a great game.  great times.

This week I lost one of my mentors in the guard.  Brigadier General Harold Sommers passed away and the world will miss him.  He had a calm way of helping others teach their lessons to share the growth of the units.  One year I was the commander of a Firing Battery of 105 Howitzers.  I had 5 brand new Lieutenants that had graduated from OCS the year before.  When we went to Annual training, Then Lieutenant Colonel Sommers told me to focus on the future and rotate all of them through each leadership position.  I did and it was one of the best Annual trainings we had.  Later on, I was able to see that group of officers all grow in the guard and be the best kind of people. 

I guess that Leadership is a different thing to a lot of people.  If you focus on the present, you might get better but only to the current capability of the people.  If you focus on teaching each person to learn new things, you have the potential they have and in my opinion that is always better than what you have.   Kind of the saying - Do what you did and you will get what you had.(got)  I guess the word training in the term Annual training means a lot if you focus on getting better. 

We bought a Maytag washer and it is the noisiest washer I have ever heard.  It goes clunk, buzz and bangs more than Barb can stand.  They will get it back.  As the repairman opened the machine, it was clear that they had skipped the sound deadening and used a lot of plastic where the old parts were metal.  I would insulate it some and put some foam where it bangs if we were going to keep it.

OH what a great month.  Get out there and enjoy life some.




Our Barbershop Quartet delivers Valentines songs each year.  This year I drove a quartet to deliver ma rose, a box of candy and two songs all over NE Kansas.  It is a fun couple of days.  I will admit that we were able to squeeze in time to watch the KU vs OU game so all in all it was a great weekend.
With Barb at the lawn and Garden Show.  I didn't realize I was standing so far forward of the group

It is my wish for you all not to have all the money in the world, but that you will find something in your life that makes you smile all the way into your heart.  This is my way.  Oh by the way, that 's the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.

OK, buckle up, this might get a little political.  If the system really works the way it should, the President should nominate the new member of the Supreme Court and the Senate should either approve or not, that nomination.  There have been great people nominated and great people not selected.   If the Senate wants to show it's true colors, they will really look into the heart of the nominee and see if that person can look at the laws and really make the kind of rulings we need, not just political choices.  I want the law to be evolving some but basically hold to the principles we are founded on.  For the strict constitutionalists, remember that if we were not to change, we would still have slavery and the women could not vote.  Neither one is my choice for a way to live.

One question that hit me is the talk about income inequality.  There was a time when the Vanderbilt's, Rockefellers and Getty's had a lot of the nation's wealth .  As we were building as a Nation, that had to be that the rich were wealthy and the poor very poor.  I don't remember that the history books are filled with the discussion about the rich being detrimental to the grown of our nation. I laugh when I hear people say that the rich have too much money and then say they are influencing our politics by giving money to candidates.  One way or the other boys and girls. 

OK, enough of that, I have a lot to do so I need to get on with the game.



Busy Times

You might think that the winter months would give me a lot of time to sit and contemplate.  Wrong!  My rental house became vacant at the end of December and because I was not able to work hard or long, I has taken most of January to get it ready.  I even had to hire help to paint and do floors.

With the Valentine season upon us, our throw together quartet will be busy singing between now and Monday.  It will be a lot of fun but now that Barb and I are down to one car, It does throw things into a crimp. I will try to go out in the garage and see if I can fix Dave's car so Barb can get her's back.  We'll see if perhaps I don't need to rent a van for the weekend or not.

The cleaning at the rental house has made me a lot more aware of the need to do some spring cleaning here at home.  As soon as I can find a way to play CD's while I work, I will get started at that. Perhaps next week.

Right now, KU is in control of their own destiny for the BIG XII Championship.  They are in a 3 way tie for the lead in the conference and Saturday they will get to play Oklahoma for the tie breaker.  To shop you how slow my mind is, I could not spell breaker and spell checker was little help.  I finally through the process of elimination found something it approved of.  As long as it doesn't have that squiggly red line underneath, it is what you will get.

My present to Barb is on the left
Can you tell which one I wrapped and which one Barb wrapped? 

Batter get moving if I am going to get everything done today.