Tag Archives: Featured

Wheels

On this day in 1896, Henry Ford drove his first Ford through the streets of Detroit. I can only imagine what people thought when they saw it. I wonder what the horses in the city did and thought when they saw it.

My first car after I got my license was a little Nash Rambler that was missing the pedal on the foot feed, so I had to press my foot on the metal bar the foot feed would have been attached to had it been there. My first real car was a Chevy Chevette that my parents got for me when I was in college.  Now we drive a Honda van and a Toyota pickup.  My father loved to buy and sell cars, and the last car he bought was a Subaru when he was 93.  He said it was the nicest car he ever had. I am glad he got a chance to drive it.

What was your first vehicle? Do you have any vehicular prejudices?

Boob Tube

Today’s post comes to us from Steve Grooms.

Can we talk about television? Since I live under conditions I call “house arrest,” almost never setting foot outside my apartment, I get to watch a lot of TV.

It wasn’t always like that. When broadcast television first entered my family’s home, programming was limited and boring. By “limited” I mean we had one channel at first, and it ran programs only up until midnight. By “boring” I mean amateurish. Most of those early programs were forgettable. We had better things to do than sitting around looking at that stuff.

In the 70s it was fashionable to call that appliance the “boob tube.” People pretended they never watched it, but if you mentioned a particular show, they suddenly could describe plot developments with loving detail. They obviously watched more than they cared to admit.

Even so, I watched very little in the 60s and 70s except newscasts and a handful of weekly shows. When we bought our first home, the TV sat in the basement. It wasn’t important enough to occupy space upstairs.

Now, between the limits imposed by old age and the new limits imposed by COVID-19, I watch a lot. Some critics claim we are living in a golden age of wonderful programming. Maybe they have access to channels I can’t afford to watch. I’m a Netflix subscriber. They sure have many offerings, but I have to start a dozen Netflix shows before finding one I can commit to. Cable television seems a wasteland of so-called “reality shows.” PBS has some good programs (when it isn’t running pledge drives).

How about you? Watching much these days? Any shows you want to recommend? Any shows that are so disgusting you want to call them out? There are commercials, quite a few, actually, that send me rushing to push the Mute button. Are there any commercials you hope to never see again?

Making Friends

The wooden frame in the header photo is one of three that Husband and I constructed on Sunday.  They will have poultry netting stapled to them and then will be connected  to posts in the garden and will serve as pea fences.  They are 12 X 5 feet and we constructed them with cedar slats, bolts, washers, and nuts. I got a new Dewalt battery operated drill out of the deal.

It took us somewhat longer to construct them than we anticipated, as we had the invaluable help of a 4 year old boy and his 6 year old sister, our next door neighbors.  (Their dad was constructing wooden planters in his garage, and I think he was glad the kids were with us.) They find whatever we do to be absolutely fascinating, and they were so excited to help us. They fitted the bolts with washers, put the bolts through the holes, waited impatiently as Husband and I fitted the slats together, and then they secured the bolts with another washer and nuts.  It took some patience on our part to make our instructions clear and wait while those little fingers got everything connected and screwed down, but they were having so much fun!

The 4 year old is quite a conversationalist, and asked lots of questions about all sorts of things, each question beginning “Mrs. Dr. Boomgaarden, what is . . . .?”  His sister assured me that they would help us when ever we needed them, and would we be home working outside tomorrow, and then her brother cemented our friendship by asking when we were going to have a sleepover at our house?   He seemed to think that it was a very reasonable thing to do. I told him we couldn’t because Husband snored and no one would be able to sleep, but I was very touched.  We must be friends!

Tell about some of your friends and what makes them special.  Who were your favorite adults when you were a child?

Whew!

We were asked to go fishing on Lake Sakakawea on Saturday with a colleague and his sweetie.  He is in his 70’s, still works at my agency as a psychologist, and loves to fish. He has a rather nice boat, about 20 feet long,  with a live well, windshield, and comfortable seating.  It had been a couple of years since we had gone fishing with him, and he was excited to spend some time with us. He has been working from home since the virus struck, and has felt rather isolated.  It is a two hour drive up to the lake on oilfield highways, and we planned to leave about 6:00 am. We were in charge of the lunch, and I had prepared Baboon Joanne’s Southwest Salad, rhubarb muffins, banana bread, and ham and beef sandwiches.

At 5:00 AM, our friend phoned and said he was in too much pain from bone spurs in his neck, and he had to cancel the trip. I felt sorry for him,  but I was so happy we didn’t have to go. I don’t like boats, I especially don’t like boats on big lakes, and I find fishing unutterably boring. Husband likes to fish, and I didn’t want to disappoint him or our friend, so I was prepared to go along and do my best to have a good time.  I may not have had any siblings, but I don’t want to act like the stereotypical spoiled only child. (Only children aren’t any more spoiled and self centered than any other children, as a rule, but we have to combat these inaccurate stereotypes.)

We spent the day in the garden Saturday and got a lot of things done around the house. We had lots of good food already prepared.  It was a good day.

When have you been relieved lately?  What do you put up with out of love and affection?

Irises!

It’s been cold the last couple of mornings.  The sweatpants are back and for those morning walks with Guinevere, I’ve even reverted to adding a sweatshirt to my sweatpants/t-shirt ensemble.  And socks – quelle sacrilege!  It’s almost like we need a word for this transition season… not quite summer yet, although it should be.  Maybe “sprummer”?

Anyway, even if it’s cold, the walks are glorious because my favorite flower is starting to bloom, not just in my yard but all over the neighborhood – the irises have arrived!  I’m not sure why the iris is my favorite.  My mom wasn’t an iris fan, but I do remember going to the Missouri Botanical Garden growing up and seeing bed after bed of glorious blooms.  In my yard I have pretty much every color, including an orange variety called “orange crush”, although not all the colors have bloomed yet.

This morning looking at a garden full of pale yellow beauties in a yard around the corner, it made me think of a pretty haiku I found a few years ago by a Japanese woman who lived in the 17th century:

Waking from my dream:

what a color

were the iris flowers

Shushiki

Do you have a favorite flower?  Or a favorite haiku about a flower?

The Plumber

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

I finally broke down and called a plumber. It didn’t hurt my pride as much as I might have expected.

There were two things; The dripping sink in the mudroom and the kitchen faucet that had very low water pressure.

My ‘Vintage’ mudroom sink started dripping a few months ago and heck, I can change a washer. Except, when evidently, I can’t. I made it worse. A lot worse. Like it wouldn’t even shut off worse. I bought whole new valve bodies. Nope, didn’t help. But they came with replacement seats. Except this sink is so old I didn’t figure it even had replaceable seats. And even taking it apart 14 times and putting it back together didn’t help. So. I turned off the cold water to let it “Think about what it’s done” for a while. That didn’t appear to be helping. Then even the hot side started to drip. Because the mudroom is directly above the utility room and hot water heater, I get hot water real quick. I learned to rinse my toothbrush REALLY FAST.

And then the kitchen sink. It has had low water pressure for a few years. Like you’d put a pot under it to fill then “go do something else for 10 minutes” kinda slow. I know it wasn’t always that way. It’s one of those where you can pull the nozzle and hose out the end. I had cleaned the aerator multiple times, I had changed the Moen cartridge, I changed the supply lines, and I even tried snaking a wire up the hose. Nothing helped. Kelly thought the tub/shower diverter valve thingy wasn’t working well either, so we thought maybe it was the pressure coming from the well house. But I thought my bathroom pressure was OK. I checked the pressure in the water tank and turned up the regulator and water pressure and thought maybe it helped a tad? But really not much.

And that meant the only thing left was the shut off valves under the sink. And I bought some from Menards. And I left them sit on the counter for a few weeks. The plumbing elves didn’t show up. I really didn’t want to try putting them in. I used to do “plumbing” down in the barn. (Notice I used that word in quotes). Cutting threads on a piece of black pipe and spilling water in the barn is a whole lot different than messing up the kitchen sink.  I really didn’t want to try replacing those valves.

Hence, the plumber.

He started with the mudroom sink. Turns out the seats CAN be replaced! I thought it was too old for that but no, the plumber could do that!  Joy! He changed both and it doesn’t drip anymore!

Up to the kitchen sink. Turns out the valves I bought were the wrong ones. Whew! I’m already glad I didn’t start this project. He replaced the first valve, then pulled off the second and there’s all sorts of white gunk in the pipe. Hmmm, odd. Kinda looks like calcium but not sure what it is. Maybe it’s from a few years ago when the old water softener quit working. Using a hose and bucket we flush the lines out. He installs the valves, I turn the water back on, and we get a good burst and then back to nothing. Hmmm. OK, working his way up, he pulls out the Moen cartridge. Except getting the handle off first was a bit of an issue. I was right in there helping. “Helping”.  I sort of expected at some point he was going to add the “Homeowner ‘helps’ surcharge” but he was a nice guy and he let me hold the flashlight for him. I offered helpful advice for the times I’ve pulled the handle off. While telling him at the same time he was the professional and I wasn’t trying to tell him how to do his job. But I was really afraid he was going to break something! At one point I tentatively suggested if he broke it, he had to buy a new one. Thankfully it didn’t come to that.

He got the valve out, it looked clean so then he moved on to the hose and nozzle. Aha! The bottom end of the hose is plugged up with this same white crud that was in the pipe earlier! A few more tricks to get the hose apart and we took it out to the shed and used the air compressor to blow it clean. He hooked the hose back up but re-assembling the faucet handle was still an issue. He knew stuff I didn’t know, and he made the assembly a little easier.

Turned the water back on and WOWZER! WE HAVE WATER! It’s fun, for a few days we giggle every time we turn on the water. I would never have gotten this fixed on my own.

After he left, I found a can of pipe dope that he left behind. We had joked that I get to keep anything he left.

And he had put the handle back on sideways. But I knew how to fix that.

What do you avoid doing?

Got a favorite sink? Appliance?  

Grass Grass Everywhere

Guinevere is enjoying her walk every morning.  We range through Tangletown, along the Minnehaha Creek Parkway, up and down the streets near our house.  Now that we’ve had some rain and warm weather, we have walking by LOTS of greenery.  Hostas, wild grape vine, irises, ferns, trillium, lilies, peonies, even creeping charley.  But what does Guinevere like?  Tall grass.  Not short grass, not even a long lawn, but tall grass that occasionally shows up in an untended garden, or in a spot that no one seems to be claiming (like the corner of an alleyway).  Whenever we come across tall grass, she always wants to take a chomp.  And she never mistakes any of the other abundant greenery for her favorite snack.  How does she do this?  Is it just the visual cue or does tall grass smell differently?  I can’t figure it out.

What item on a buffet can’t YOU resist?