Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Too early for this:

Remember this one? How do you get down off an elephant?

While you're pondering the answer, consider this:

Two old friends were sitting in rocking chairs on the porch of the retirement home.
First friend says, "You know, we've been friends for a long time, but I cannot remember your name!"
Second friend thinks a long time, and finally responds, "How soon do you need to know?"

Ah yes, the Golden Years are sometimes fraught with glitches...memories abound, and sometimes surface at the most unlikely and inappropriate times. Aches and pains seem to multiply in direct relationship and proportion to the length of waiting time at the doctors' offices.

But on the other hand, think of all those who are denied the privilege of 'getting old'. Sorta brings you up short, doesn't it?

Okay, give up? Elephants don't have down... down comes from geese!

So much for today's philosophical musings....

Have a nice day while the temperature is less than 90+ !

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Adventure in Retail

Oh my what an adventure just buying a new dryer turned out to be ! Our old Name-Brand died(their repairmen are so bored from lack of work they just sleep, they're so Un-busy... you know the brand). That one was Only 9 years old... so it should have lasted a whole lot longer.

SO we ventured out in the heat, to see what the local branch of a Nationally advertized store had to offer. Found a wide variety, several different makes, all geared to serve well and 'do the job'. Chose one, got ready to finish the sale. UH oh... the System is down. THAT info took about 20-25 minutes to learn. The very nice saleslady tried hard to satisfy our request.... Finally we were asked to 'come back when the computer's working', so we came home. Only to get a call within the hour to return.. the System is up now.

Okay, so we go back, select, order, and learn that the particular model is Not in the Warehouse. We'll take the floor model, and it's okay to not be in a box. THEN we find that the Vent material is a separate item.. extra, of course. UGH. Then we go through the credit card process, set up a delivery date and think we're done. NOT.

Next day the call comes, delivery between 12 and 3. Yes, we'll be at home.
At 12:30 two energetic, brawny types arrive to deliver. Uh, Ma'am, we're not allowed to use the existing cord. You'll have to go back to the store and get one. And we're not allowed to wait for you to do that...but YOU can attach the cord, the guy says, it's no big deal. HA !

The brawnies hauled off the old dead dryer, as contracted (for an extra fee, of course). I drive back to the store and get the cord... but didn't take the sales slip with me, so a phone call home finally talked hubby through the listings on the ticket until the right return code was found... so they could credit those 'new' vent pipes - which we didn't need after all. The new cord cost a lot more than we'd been told... but you can't run an electric dryer without electricity... so another purchase process. The Nice young man at the store realized that this old couple would Never be able to figure out the intricacies of attaching the new cord to the back of the machine (which was left in the middle of the floor for that purpose) so he offered to and did come to our house and did the attaching, leveling the unit and shoving the thing into it's rightful position (which this old couple would not have been able to do either).

NOW everything's copasetic (I'll bet you haven't heard That term in a while !) and I've dried one load - twice, to get it completely dry. It'll take some practice to learn the settings that suit my needs, but at least I don't have to hang the laundry out to dry on the fence row now ! WHEW !

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another week....

The aftermath of last week's storms is still being felt in some areas of the City, where folks are suffering in the extreme heat and deprivation. We were fortunate to have no real 'damage' to the property, and were without power for 'only' 14 hours.

The extreme heat is real and dangerous. Even sitting on our normally cool front porch in the afternoon is not much fun in mid-90 temps.

The other shoe finally dropped yesterday for daughter-in-law and many of her co-workers at their company. After 16 years of working there, this job elimination is devastating for her - and for all of us. Referred to in a previous posting, the word had gone out in February that downsizing would be taking place. This has been a long and stressful time for Debby and John, as well as for both of their families - waiting and wondering.

The newspapers report that the unemployment rate for our state has reached 'double digits'..i.e. 10%. Surely some relief will be forthcoming from somewhere - whether it be Washington (unlikely) or the state capital (doubtful) or the private sector. And the talk just goes on and on.... "Full of Sound and Fury signifying nothing..."
What can I say? We hardly know what to hope for any more.

A casual conversation with an 'old' friend at the grocery store yesterday compared the probable cost of what was in our baskets then to what we would have paid even a few years ago. Prices on Everything have escalated rapidly, so a thinking shopper must stay alert and make hard choices on just about every need.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thunderstorms and things

Thunderstorms and things that lightning and wind damage…..Musings and memories

All these thunderstorms, tornados, straight-line winds and rain that we’ve experienced the last few days have been frightening, to say the very least. While our area was not hit as hard as neighboring communities, we did lose electric power on Friday, June 12, 2009 at about 5 p.m. Repeated calls to the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division (MLGW) were inadequate in information, being one of those hated ‘menus’ where you keep punching in numbers until you finally get “information”… “A crew has been assigned” and “your area has a circuit failure”. Big help. HA.

Power was restored to our neighborhood by 7 a.m. on Saturday, June 13, but the storms and resulting damages effected the cancellation of a big DAR Flag Day Luncheon since the Colonial Country Club had no power – and no way to prepare the meal for 150 reservation-holders.
Multiple phone calls and emails were made and sent to those members of our DAR Chapter who had power restored and could receive the messages. I hope all the 150 ladies did not go to the country club anyway, thinking the show would go on.

Seeing on TV all the storm damages to mid-town Memphis, Cordova and particularly Olive Branch and Byhalia in Mississippi, made us realize how very fortunate we were to have lost power and nothing else. Updates from MLGW show that there are still almost 70,000 homes without power on Sunday, but of the total 130,000 who lost power, the utility company is working ‘round the clock to get everyone back up and running again. Even so, it’s extremely frustrating to realize how totally dependent we are on electricity. We sat on the front porch – after the rain subsided – and read until it was too dark to see. Then candles and flashlights had to serve their purposes. No TV, computer, microwave – anything electricity-dependent – was not available.

Now on Sunday, June 14th, another storm system is moving through the area with a lot of lightning and thunder and some rain. Thankfully there seems to be no ‘Wind’ connected to this storm front.

All these storms remind me of bygone days and other storms that we experienced since we’ve lived in this house.

One incident in particular stands out: I was in the one bathroom that we had then, and sitting in front of the east window, when a huge bolt of lightning struck the elm tree near the house at that spot. The strength of that bolt literally shook the house. After that storm subsided and the rain ceased, we went out to survey the damage… and found that the elm tree had sustained a killing strike. When the lightning went down the trunk and hit the ground, mud splashed across the yard onto the side of the house! THAT was some kind of big strike, believe me. We all felt very fortunate that the elm tree took the hit instead of the house next to it! The elm had to be taken down, and the stump that was left eventually rotted out – but it took years!

Another storm produced lightning sufficient to strike the ancient pecan tree on the west side of the back yard. A scar was visible from the top of the 100-year-old tree all the way to the ground, and mud was kicked up into a wheelbarrow that rested on the trunk. I made pictures of that scar, since I figured nobody would believe what I was describing. The old tree still lives and produces pecans! I find that to be amazing in itself.

Farther back in time, one April about 1974, a storm blew the massive oak tree down in the middle of the night. I had gone to the kitchen at about 4 a.m. to get a drink of water, when I heard a ‘whoosh’ sound outside. It was too dark to see anything, so I went back to bed. Next morning when we looked out the kitchen window on the north side, all we could see was leaves!
That oak tree was uprooted and lay across our yard from the west property line to the east line…about 100 feet. The root section was at least 9 feet across – maybe even more. Our three sons were delighted to have such a wonderful ‘jungle gym’ to climb and play on, and were disappointed when the crew came to cut up that gigantic old tree and haul away the debris.

The tree had smashed the front end of the shed we used for storage, which had been Grandfather’s garage for his Terraplane automobile. Instead of demolishing the rest of the little building, I suggested that the workmen pull the outside walls together and build a new ‘front’ for what was left. The resulting shed/garage has served us well ever since, storing all kinds of yard tools, lawn mowers, boxes and paint cans.

Another big loss was the old oak tree in our east-side neighbor’s yard at the street. That tree was blown down during another storm and lay down across the street and onto the railroad tracks that parallel the street. The Town crews came quickly to clear the tracks and the street, but the neighbor’s yard was full of debris for a long time after the storm.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Another week has gone, and it's getting to be real summer now, with the typical 'scattered afternoon thundershowers' almost every day and high humidity readings. A clap of thunder and a lightning bolt woke me from a sound sleep in the early morning hour, but paying it no heed, I was able to get another full hour in before rising for the day.

Yard work progresses, with more hedge cutting and hauling the debris to the street. Our town's trash collectors must think Every citizen is out with pruning shears this month, since so many curbs have huge piles set out for pickup...ours included.

The Mayor's Action Center on the Town website is going to be very helpful. My 'complaint' yesterday produced the auto-response as well as emails from the department head to which the complaint was directed. Way to go, guys! Now lets see if you can get the County to spray more often for mosquitoes in our area ! Mosquito control was handled far more efficiently when the Town was in full charge... no more, since the County took over, and has responsibility for the whole of the County. Totally poor planning !

We're waiting, on the edge of our collective seats, to hear whether or not the company that our daughter-in-law works for will recognize the value of her contribution to their overall success and keep her employed as they 'slash and burn' their employee list.

Today is Book Store Day, and I was hoping to get to the Library before the next rain shower started. I hear the raindrops now, hitting on the magnolia tree leaves...oh well. Guess I'll need that third hand for an umbrella, since I'll also be carrying my tote bag full of books to donate and the ubiquitous purse and insulated mug of iced tea.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Son John came yesterday to see if he could do whatever was needed to make our riding mower workable again. In spite of a hot, sunny morning he was able to inflate the three flat tires and start the engine on the first attempt ! That sentence doesn't nearly describe the effort that went in to accomplishing what took about two hours of physical labor! Hubby and I are so pleased to have the mower operable again - having figured that there were be more than tire problems to overcome. Not so. The engine chugged a couple of times and then caught - and away he went...finishing the front yard mowing in a half-hour that would have taken Much much longer with the push-mower!

When Hubby and son went to buy a new blade for the push-mower, Cocker spaniel Lucy and I sat on the front porch enjoying the breezes that kicked up while clouds built and thunder rumbled in the southern sky. Lucy is a daddy's-dog, and anxiously awaited his return, even tho she's a beautifully behaved young lady. She perked up considerably when the 'right car' came into our driveway.

John got that blade changed just as a few drops of rain started falling - and I was afraid he'd be driving back to his home in a storm. Watching the radar on the weatherbug site, I guess he missed a lot of the rain that was traveling the opposite direction. We certainly did not get enough in our neighborhood to do much more than wet the sidewalks.

Thanks to John's efforts and know-how yesterday, we can look forward to 'yardwork' now, instead of dreading it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Whoever wrote the song about the 'lazy, hazy days of summer' must not have had a yard to tend. Summer in our part of the world means Growth, and growth means Mow, clip, trim, prune - the whole schmear. So for the past several days, since the monsoons ceased - that is, hubby and I have spent considerable time in the yard.
Our efforts are almost beginning to show, too, at least in the huge pile of brush that's sitting at the curb awaiting pickup by the Town trucks.

Our half-acre was not nearly so overwhelming when the riding mower was working. But with flat tires, and maybe even more 'trouble', it isn't useable....so back to the gas 'push mower' style of lawn care. By the time the farthest back section of the yard has been mowed, the front is ready again... so goes the summer.

While we were taking five yesterday, in the shade of the magnolia tree, I watched a pair of young men on Two riding mowers,and with gas-powered weed-eaters and blowers, completely service the huge yard next door and drive away - in less than an hour's time. Ah Youth... and equipment that works.

But in spite of the 90+ temps we've had these past several days, we have managed to cut hedge, mow grass and weeds, and rid the edges of sections of the front yard of vines - honeysuckle, vinca and ivy. It IS beginning to look better!

The down side to all this physical labor is the short-lived sessions that require the rest of the day in recuperation - rest, naps and reading inside where it's cool. Even the front porch swing is too warm nowadays in the mid-afternoon.