Springtime Plumber

Since February we called the plumber three times to fix leaky pipes, faucets, and toilets. We are lucky to have a very competent plumber who works evenings and weekends and doesn’t charge extra.  He even likes our cats, who try to help him as much as they can.

Tell about heroic repair people you have known.  Tell about when repairs haven’t worked so well. 

 

Anger Management

My husband is a gentle, scholarly person somewhat lacking in manual dexterity and mechanical know-how.  He married into a family of impatient, dexterous, mechanically inclined hot-heads. The Boomgaardens are famous for their tempers.  I have a farmer cousin noted for throwing tools. I have great aunts who had hair pulling fights in ditches. I have great uncles who shot at each other with rifles.  I manage to keep my temper pretty well, but last weekend was a challenge for me. I am thankful no one got hurt.

It was hot last weekend. We did a lot of outside work in the yard over a four day period. It involved planting seeds and shrubs, spreading mulch, laying out soaker hoses and sprinklers, digging holes, and maneuvering around piles of bagged topsoil, composted manure, and bales of peat moss with tools and wheel barrows. For each task I saw clearly how we had to do it, in what order, and what physical and mechanical actions had to be taken. I was pretty driven to get it done as fast as we could before the heat of the day made it unbearable to work outside.  When I get like that, I forget my theory of mind, and assume that everyone around me sees the tasks and the procedures that need to be accomplished exactly the same way I see it. I get impatient when the people I am working with don’t seem to get it the way I get it, when they fumble around and look ineffectual and dithering.  As Husband said “You do things and you don’t explain what you are doing until afterwards.”  Why should I have to explain what I am doing if it is plain what has to be done?!! Why can’t you think like I think?!!

A very alarming ear worm took hold last Friday as I became increasingly frustrated with Husband and his inability to read my mind.  I decided I had better sit down and have glass of water and reel in my temper. I have no idea from what odd recess of my brain I dredged this up:

The chorus from this went through my head all weekend.  It made me laugh at myself and my irrational assumptions, and forced me to see how unreasonable I can be.  Perhaps all anger management classes should include Broadway musical soundtracks.

How do you manage your temper? What is the angriest you have been? What is your favorite Broadway song at the moment?

Priorities

Today’s post comes from tim.

I watched a lot of Turner classic movies over memorial day weekend about World War II issues

when my dad was alive I used to wonder how he could sit and watch all that army stuff and cowboy stuff and get amazes me how today I love the cowboy stop in the army stuff

simple storyline and the bottom line solution to the issue of how to deal with the challenge seems to be the reoccurring theme that is the attraction

I think today about how different the kids in high school are that they were when I was in high school and I remember my dad thinking how different the kids were in high school that they were when he was in high school also

Tom Brokaw wrote the book the greatest generation and I read and enjoyed it but didn’t fully appreciate the big picture

today’s 80 and 90 something are from the pre-television era when you had to find a way to amuse yourself and occupy your brain

what a person came up with was all you needed to know about that person
engineer brain, artist? go tinker with stuff in the workshop? read a book and write a book
the way a chosen lifestyle came into being was different dad that it is today.
or is it?

and it was pointed out to me once that baby boomers  like to talk on the phone,generation X likes to work by email and the youngsters today like to work by text

my dad’s dad used to get the car and drive over to someone’s house and sit and have coffee with them

My dad booked someone for lunch every day to enjoy conversation I’m talking about life.
those mornings breakfast groups at the coffee shop with the old codgers solving the problems of the world were his greatest joy as his world came to an end.

the greatest generation is almost gone . 5 more years will whittle em down 10 more will finish it

each group has its own style. clyde and steve and margeret are between the greatest and the boomers

boomers are of course the best then they are followed by xyz millennial and my youngest daughters group who will be here for 2020 as young adults

the world had interesting as part of the deal going back a while but now feels different

do they really not get it?
can’t they see my way is right?
if you do you only had 48 hours to live how would you wrap it up?
what is the set of priorities that’s important to you?

Another Spring Planting in the Books

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

It went pretty well; no serious mechanical issues and, once I finally got going, wasn’t delayed by the weather for more than a day or two.

I planted oats on May 6 and 7th. Then it rained for a few days but that’s OK because I was dealing with commencement at the college anyway.

Then I did anhydrous fertilizer on the 17th. Had college events the 18th and 19th. Started to plant corn on the 20th and finished on the 23rd. (Well, really the 24th, but the field I planted on the 24th is at the neighbors and it’s for the deer so it doesn’t really count).

Started soybeans on the 24th, did get rained out for a day and finished on the 28th. Now all that’s left is cleaning up machinery and putting it away until next spring.

There was the one incident with the valve on an anhydrous tank but it was pretty minor. Spilled really very little. No one was in danger and no property was harmed.

There were 3 fire trucks, our local ‘CAT’ (Chemical Assessment Team) the Incident Command Vehicle, two sheriff deputies, Gold Cross Ambulance, The “Incident Commander” and his car, a call to the State Department of Agriculture, another call to the state Duty Officer, a visit from the local anhydrous dealer, six fully clad firemen, and, a few days later, an inspector from the State Department of Agriculture.

Everyone was very nice and very professional and the firemen gave me a Gatorade when it was over.

But really. It was just a little vapor from a valve that hadn’t sealed.

And no breeze so I couldn’t manage to get ‘up wind’ and just enough leakage that I wasn’t comfortable trying to get back up there and try to tighten the valve myself.

I thought if I could just get 1 guy with a respirator, they could close the valve tighter. It wasn’t supposed to turn into a big deal.

But anhydrous is dangerous and can’t be taken lightly. Just today I talked with a guy whose brother got a burst of anhydrous and inhaled just a little. He’s got a couple small, minor burns (freeze burns) and was hospitalized for a couple days because of issues with his throat from inhaling that bit. He’s lucky too.

I pushed my luck a couple times this year. And I wasn’t even trying! But that’s a story for another day.

 Had any experience with the fire department?

A Special Gift

Today’s post comes to us from Steve.

Robert was a painter whose wife, Donna, was his agent. Donna contacted me when I was editing a regional outdoors magazine. Robert hoped my magazine would publish a painting that he would create to my specifications. Although Robert had never painted wildlife before, the February, 1978, issue of Fins and Feathers featured a bobcat painted by Robert.

I later asked Robert to paint the cover for my first book, Modern Pheasant Hunting, which was just about to be published. Because Robert didn’t know what pheasants looked like, I invited him and his family for dinner so I could give him a pheasant taxidermy mount to use as a model. That dinner happened in September of 1979. My wife and I were in our third year of living in a pink bungalow in Saint Paul. Our daughter, a chatty toddler, had just turned two.

Robert and Donna were then living in a dinky rental home in South Minneapolis. Although Donna was ferociously romantic about Christmas, their home didn’t offer enough room to put up a scrawny Christmas tree. Robert, a freelance painter, had a meager and erratic income. He and Donna had not felt secure enough to take on a home mortgage.

In some ways, our dinner was “typical,” typical for how we entertained in those days. We served wine—not a “good” wine, for that would have been beyond our means, but a frisky dry white from Napa. I cooked the pheasant casserole that had become one of my signature dishes when guests dined with us. My wife prepared a side dish of wild rice with mushrooms and sliced almonds sautéed in butter.

Because we dined on a crisp night in September, we set a fire in the big fireplace. The old bungalow glowed and filled with the fragrance of burning oak. Robert described his experiences as a combat artist in Vietnam. I probably talked too much about pheasants. Brandy and Brinka, our dogs at the time, wriggled in next to us when we sat on the soft carpets before the fire.

Our dinner happened on a Friday evening. On Monday morning, quite unexpectedly, Robert appeared at my office with an object wrapped in paper. He thrust it in my hands, mumbled something and disappeared.

The gift—for that is what it was—was a watercolor Robert had made of my taxidermy rooster. Robert had painted it in one long, passionate session over the weekend. The painting included squiggly lines on the lower right side where Robert had cleaned his brush when going from one color to another.

On the lower left side Robert had written a message, a note to our daughter. He described the magic meal we shared when she was very young. Robert said he and Donna would never forget that special evening.

 

I later learned more about that. Robert and Donna were bowled over by the feel of our shared evening. It all blended together—the wine, the talk, the food, the charm of a 75-year-old bungalow, the dancing fire. By the time Robert and Donna got home they had decided to buy a home.

We had dreams, or at least the adults present that evening did. The dreams did not fare well, although Robert and Donna did buy an old Victorian home in South Minneapolis. My wife was going to get her PhD and teach English, but she never did. Robert anticipated a satisfying career as an artist, although that never happened as he pictured it. While I was thrilled by my work as an editor, that dream died in a long, sorry struggle. Worse, both marriages eventually failed. I don’t know what became of Robert and Donna’s children. I don’t know what will happen to the little girl to whom the painting was dedicated, although a splendid outcome is still entirely possible for her.

That’s how it goes. I could dwell on the ways our dreams unraveled, but I don’t. I remember a lovely aromatic evening when everything seemed possible. This is easy to remember because Robert’s pheasant and its heartfelt message are on my wall, and I smile to see them every day.

Do you remember a special gift?

 

Pack Rat Cat

We have a large throw rug in our entry way  that is soon to be replaced.  The rubber backing has disintegrated and it crumples up easily.  I shook out the throw rug on Saturday and was surprised to find a number of things that had gone missing  under the rug crumples.  I found the stylus for Husband’s cell phone, several twist ties for bread bags that had disappeared from the counter, and a couple of pens.  How did they get there?

Millie, our Tortie cat, loves to knock things off of tables and counters and bat them on the laminate floor.  They spin so wonderfully, and if you bat them to the throw rugs you can hide them under the rugs and then stick your paws under the rugs and fish them out again.  Since Mom and Dad are tired of smoothing out the throw rug,  treasures can stay there for quite a while.

We have a jar of twist ties in the kitchen that I used to keep on the counter. Millie loved to fish them out of the jar and bat them all over the house. Now they are in the cupboard.  Once, in the middle of the night, I heard her sliding something in the hall, and found her trying to put Husband’s glasses under the rug.  What a great kitty game! She is never bored.

What games do your animals play? What games did you like as a child?

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar Loaf in the Cool of the Morning

To stay cool this Sunday, we got up early to explore the trail up to the base of  Sugar Loaf ,  Winona’s major landmark rock. Nice woodsy switchbacks on the way up, well groomed trails esp. at the base of the rock, and of course, the higher up we got, the more spectacular the views. Besides seeing downtown and East End Winona, we could (once we got high enough) see West Burns Valley, and some of Pleasant Valley. There are lots of valleys around here, and I still have trouble keeping them straight. We even saw the barn and silo of the “hippie farm” Husband live at in the 70s.

Here are some of the sights:

On the way down (9:30-ish) we met several people headed up, and thought “You’re going to be warm up there”.

How have you been staying cool this weekend in the 90 Plus temperatures?

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