Sunday, March 09, 2014

I've Been Through The Desert In A Van With No Name

I have never owned a mini-van and this Dodge Caravan hasn't changed my mind.  After forty hours in it  (ten hours of this with a screaming Giovanna) I was ready to stick a fork in my eye.  The seats reminded me of public transportation.  It did handle well and at 85 mph it didn't rattle or seem unsettled, but it was just butt uncomfortable.  It was a rental so perhaps it was the Bowling-Shoe Edtion minus the big number eight on the back.  It just didn't seem state of the art and it had that dated Obama Motors ambience to it.  I shouldn't pass judgment  on all mini-vans untill I drive a Honda or Toyota, but this one was just begging to be filled up with fast-food trash, soccer balls and dirty diapers.  It did have a rear video camera that made me want to get on I-5 and drive backwards for an exit just for some excitement.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

It Warmed My Heart

When the the temperature plummets to break  hundred year records , we head north. Since Marianne's pipes were frozen on the third and fourth floor of her house, we were in a real pickle. You see, the baths and toilets are all up there.  It's a sinking feeling when the furnace is constantly going and the house temperature is falling.  It wasn't your usual cold snap, it was the Witch Of January come early.  Ten degrees below zero and gale winds are a bit much even for that tropical paradise known as Western Pennsylvania.

I gave them an extra Kero Sun I had when we moved to a place more compatible with civilization.  They had the Omni 105 which is the big brother to the Omni 15 we had in Utah and Maryland (23,000 BTUs vs 1,100 BTUs).  After about 12 hours it warmed the house up like the Reptile Exhibit and the pipes finally thawed.  It didn't help that the pipes ran along an exterior wall facing the wind.  I sold my little Kero Sun when we moved to N.C. I should have kept it, because the hot water pipes on the water heater that's above the garage at our house froze.  It would have taken nothing less that a kerosene heater to heat up a well ventilated attic at minus five degrees.  So I turned up the house heat and and shut off the water and fled to the minus 15 degrees of Mercer County PA, knowing that the only severe winter weather plan in NC is to pray for sunshine.  The government won"t mind if you freeze to death.

That smell of kerosene heat in the morning brought back more memories than a lasagna in the oven.  I know people think they are dangerous and perhaps people are too stupid now to use them safely but for emergencies they can't be beat.  Somehow we survived using them in the era prior to carbon monoxide detectors.  I found a used Omni 15 on Ebay and feel like getting it just for sentimental reasons, or to have people say "what's that?" when they visit.  I know one thing, not taking a shower for three days and having to carry a bucket of water up the stairs to flush the toilet is no way to live.

I can't believe I sold this little beauty.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Plumber's Helper

The Christmas Parade has been canceled because of rain.  That means CP doesn't have to play her fiddle on the Feed and Seed float and I don't have to keep the coffee coming for the public.

Which is great because our kitchen sink started leaking and jobs like this are always easier when it's cold and rainy.  I knew how to replace the drain, but I went to You-Tube just to see how easy it will be. Anyway, I had a half gallon of Plumbers Putty left over from installing the faucet and I thought all I needed was the special wrench.  I went to Lowes and got the spanner for ten bucks.  I noticed the wrench had a cutout to insert a socket wrench.  It came to me that I could actually use it in its plastic package and then return it.  Unfortunately, removing the old drain wasn't at all like the You-Tube video.  First, I told CP I needed her for a minute to keep the drain from spinning while I removed the locking ring without removing the wrench from the package.  I showed CP how to insert the plier handle into the drain and place the hammer handle through the slot for leverage.  That's when we went off the You-Tube script.

Around here we measure DIY projects on the "Your Sister's @#%" scale.  CP estimates how many times I will mumble "Your Sister's @#%" before we are done.  I thought this job wouldn't even rise to that occasion.  It seems that ten years of crud had sort of welded the locking ring to the drain. I tried WD-40, then I gave up on that and used a hammer and punch on the ring and got it to budge about a half inch. All this time CP is up top with the pliers and a stick trying to hold the drain from turning. At one point I think her feet were coming off the floor.  That's when I heard her mumble "Your Sister's @#%."  That's when I knew I was finally rubbing off on her.

I told CP I needed a torch to heat up the ring. Since I'm now living the dream of condo life I no longer have my propane torch. However, I did have Marianne's creme brulee butane torch she left here ten years ago.  After about thirty seconds of torch the ring broke free.  After all this I just couldn't put that corroded drain back in, so I went back to Lowes and bought a new one. 

Without You-Tube who knows how many "YSA's" it would have taken.  After thirty-two years CP has learned how to use my stress relieving mantras.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Saturday, November 02, 2013

More Gin Pop?

Gin Raisins have been recommended by one of my students for my crippling arthritis.  This mountain cure consists of golden raisins soaked in gin for two weeks.  One takes nine of these raisins a day and in a few weeks one should be doing back bends.  Being that Obama has just filleted  my health insurance  I need to step up and take of myself.  Besides, the 82 year old lady who recommended this home remedy seems pretty fit.


In North Carolina liquor is sold in state run stores called ABC Stores.  I have seen these stores around, but thought they were an Office Supply chain.  I thought they were the southern Piggly Wiggly version of Staples.  So I asked CP where the nearest ABC store is and she told me it was about a mile from our house.  We go there and the counter guy says "hello Carol " as we walk in.  It seems that all the gourmet cooks have staked out a section of the store.  The Cooking Channel has been the best thing to hit the liquor store business since the invention of corn liquor.  I've been relatively sober since 1979 and I was amazed at the ambience and selections in this liquor boutique.  I'm more familiar with the privately owned liquor store with the shotgun under the counter and the Rottweiler sleeping in the corner.  
Well according to my friend, in a few weeks I should be ready to start yoga.  In the meantime I have to look for my Snaffler so I can open my jar of Gin Raisins.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

You Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog

Bo is doing well with his allergies. However, he has a new problem called coprophagia. Let's just say he is taking recycling to its extreme. I always thought it was a sign of schizophrenia in dogs. I work with schizophrenics all week so I thought this could Bo's ticket to the Welsh Terrier Rescue website.  
Well I researched it and it has a few causes and schizophrenia is not one of them. Basically, it comes down to dogs like to eat pooh and sniff butt. It might be his new hypoallergenic dog food that looks that looks the same coming out as going in. No dog would ever do this after eating Old Roy from Wal-Mart.

The Vet sort of pooh-poohed it and said try putting meat tenderizer on his food and that should stop the little salad-shooter from recycling. I bought a big container from Adolph's Meat Tenderizer at Sam's and he continued to recycle. I think it just gave it a mellow piquant after dinner taste. This morning I mentioned it to his groomer. We both agreed that Bo just has a borderline personality disorder and not schizophrenia. She suggested I try the PetSmart medicine called "For-Bid". As I usually do I came home to order it on Amazon-Prime and found out the active ingredient is MSG. Now the reason the Adolph's didn't work was because the fun-suckers and the food-police got the MSG taken out of the meat tenderizer (they replaced it with salt). To the rest of the world MSG is to food what DDT was to Malaria; it saves lives. Here some yuppie gets a headache after going to the Chinese Buffet and we create a health crisis. We blame everything from cold sores to lombago on it.

I've ordered a pound of pure MSG right from China on Amazon. It cost less than 1% of what it cost in PetSMart. I read that after a month he should be cured. If he's not though, I have enough MSG to last until he starts barking in Mandarin.

Well he's not very handsome to look at 
Oh he's shaggy and he eats like a hog 
And he's always killin' my chickens 
That dirty old egg-suckin' dog 

Johnny Cash