Friday, December 30, 2005

The Basement Part I

The Basement Part I

The year was 1953: it cost 3 cents to mail a letter and 3 cents to mail a postcard, including the postcard; Gasoline was 29 cents a gallon with an attendant pumping gas for you and washing your windshield; air and water were still free at a filling station; Miss America was Heva Langley from Macon Georgia; and I was 10 years old, fully appreciating the benefits and exploring a new world. I had recently got a new baby brother and by the summer I came to the conclusion that he was going to be OK to have around. No one called me the baby of the family anymore and most people stopped calling me “Little Teddy Ray”. I remember going to the Post Office with my Mother and when we exited the car, a lady that my Mom had not seen for some time, came by shouting “Ruby, Ruby how are you”. I quickly moved to an invisible position behind my Mothers skirt. She carried on for some time and then turned her attention to me. It required her to reach behind my Mother and grab me by the arm pulling me out front. “My goodness, is this Little Teddy Ray”? “No it is not” My body strained to hold the words inside. “My name is Ted” I wanted to scream at this ridiculous, fat, old woman. When she reached over and pinched my cheek, my little body shook with spasms as I fought back the desire to chomp her fingers off and watch her scream in horror, as she would clutch her fingers dripping with blood and realize the error of her ways. God, I hated that name. I had just became Ted when Baby Gary came around but his coming also created a problem for me because I was evicted from my bedroom for him. There was no room for me. I never held that against him because I knew my time was up in “The Nursery” as I was just finishing up 10 years of really good pampering and it was time to pass the torch to “Little Gary Lee” the new baby of the family.

My parents decided that in the summer months I should take up residence in our basement because it was cool and in the winter I could move into the laundry room, as it would be warm. They made it sound like everyone was looking out for me but I didn’t think so. The basement was my first residence and I really didn’t like it. They had provided me with a roll-a-way bed and I didn’t find it very comfortable plus if you didn’t sit on it just right it would fold up on you. The root cellar that was behind my head, had a dirt floor and was responsible for all sorts of crawling things that invaded during the night. The basement was windowless but there was a light, with a pull string over my head. My Mother was a bit of a stickler when it came to conserving electricity and water so the stair light was off and all of the other lights in the house were extinguished when bedtime rolled around. I was not allowed to keep any light on to chase away the creepy, crawly, things. The furnace was located in the other end of the basement and was a converted coal furnace. It was an octopus looking device with arms stretching out everywhere and at night there were two opening into the firebox that glowed like eyes. My imagination conjured up all sorts of different monsters and beings. When the furnace fired, an explosion rattled all of the pipes and fittings while flames escaped around the doors and from other parts appearing like a fire breathing dragon coming alive, belching fire from its eyes, mouth and ears. I would lay in bed motionless expecting all sorts of catastrophe to occur. My bed sheets and the bed would shake to my rhythm that was quickly accelerating knowing that the furnace fan was about to start. The loud click of the switch would signal the start of the event as the basement filled with a high pitch scream, as the fan belt slipped on the pulley, that I could only imagine was some type of shrieking bird trying to escape the confines of the furnace. The shrieking would get higher and higher, almost deafening but also getting quieter and quieter as the great bird accelerated and got further and further from the cage that confined it, leaving only me to battle the furnace ogre. Then as suddenly as it started the shrieking went away leaving only a dull rumbling, like a distant thunderstorm in the pipes, causing them to shake and flex. Shortly the flames would subside, the dragon would go away, the rumbling would stop with only the two eyes glowing dimly as I prayed as hard as I could and tried to convince myself that it was only a furnace. I whimpered and usually fell sound asleep knowing that a monster was sharing my room.

A major problem I had was trying to negotiate the basement and the stairs in the pitch black as I searched for a way out, to go pee. One of my first nights I had to get up but was half asleep and couldn’t find my way out and ended up peeing on a wall. That panicked me and the next morning when I realized what I had done, I rigged up all sorts of strings to my pull light so that no matter how I swung my arm I could turn the light on. Shortly after being banned to the bowels of the house, the heat was turned off for the summer. What a relief as the monsters and birds went away and all I had to contend with were the creepy crawly things attacking from the root cellar. I didn’t mind that as most of the lizards and spiders I had already discovered and considered pretty good friends.

Part of the reason I was so scared of the furnace was from the trauma of trying to light the furnace for the previous heating season. My Dad was away on a business trip and only my Mom and I were home. The house was extremely cold with the first cold snap of the season but my Mother didn’t know how to light the furnace. Finally she called Mr. Katon, our next-door neighbor, and he agreed to come over and give it a try. I remember peeking out from around my mother, at Mr. Katon with a flashlight in his hand and his head pressed up against an opening in the furnace, surveyed the situation. Then he open a valve and I could hear a hissing noise coming from inside the furnace as Mr. Katon put a lighted match to a rolled up newspaper in his hand and then shoved the lighted newspaper into the furnace. Nothing happened and Mr. Katon would remove the burned newspaper with only black, crumbly, ashes falling off to the basement floor. Mr. Katon would shut the valve off, curse and grab another newspaper to try again. Each time my Mother would say “Mr. Katon, please be careful” and I would squeeze up tighter to her. Finally Mr. Katon succeeded. The furnace gave out a great explosion and flames exited every crack and all around Mr. Katon’s head. My Mother and I stared anxiously until Mr. Katon turned to face us and all of the whiskers were gone from his face, it was black and what was left of hair was all curly and singed. Mr. Katon said “there you go Mrs. Dickson, call me if you have any more problems with it”. When he put his hat on to leave, most of his hair fell on the floor. As soon as he left my Mother and I roared endlessly at the plight of poor Mr. Kayton but from that moment on I was scared of the furnace because it had eaten most of Mr. Katon.

Little did I know that the basement would become my sanctuary and my friend. I would learn to box down there, throw knives, hone my marksmanship skills with first my BB gun and then my .22, build bombs [or so we thought], explore the worlds of chemistry and photography and get banned from the basement after I was accused of causing lightning to strike our house.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Medicine man

At 62 one tends to start having a few ailments. I didn’t have any that were very serious except some hypertension and I thought I had a going problem but my Dr said I had a growing problem. He told me to forget about it and we could worry about it later. Easy for him to say. He’s young. Then my little brother Gary’s wife Nancy called me to say he was in the hospital in Iowa undergoing a quadruple bypass following his last heart attack. “His last heart attack”. What the hell is she talking about. Gary is 10 years younger than I am and the perfect picture of health, when last I saw him, about 2 years ago in the Black Hills with his wife. They ate healthy, exercised, were trim, didn’t smoke. He and Nancy were climbing mountains and mountain biking for kicks. We were driving from place to place to meet them. It was true but Gary survived and is now doing just excellent. All of this sent me into a depression as I realized that My Grandfather had died of a heart attack, my father died of a heart attack as did my mother. Not good signs especially since I had hypertension and was now experiencing chest pains when I pushed myself very hard. Time to see the Doc. Its funny but when you call your Dr’s office for an appointment and say that you are experiencing chest pains, they get you right in. Gary the Dr. [he is really a PA] took my blood pressure, had the nurse give me an EKG and sent me home with Nitroglycerine pills, copies of my EKG and an appointment with a Cardiologists for the next day. The Cardiologists had his Nurse take my blood pressure, listened to me with his stethoscope, had another Nurse type give me an EKG [EKG #2]. He sent me on my way but with appointments at the local hospital for more tests. At the hospital I was to undergo “Nuclear Stress Tests”. This was a brand new procedure for this hospital and it was all going to be done in brand, new, sparkling facilities deep in the bowels of the hospital. Also know as the basement. I must say, upfront, that all of the people I came into contact with were extremely nice and polite. The service was 1st class. First I had my blood pressure taken and they left the cuff on for future use. Next came another EKG and then Nurse #1 attempted to find a vein and start an IV. The reader must remember that at this time I have already heard about stress tests from all of my, so called friends, have already assumed that I was soon to have a heart attack and this “stress” test was going to give it to me, and the room was cold. I think that everything on my body had shrunk as far as it could and there were no veins to be had. Nurse #1 tried hard to find a vein three times but to no avail. She hurt me each time which was further causing me stress. In came Nurse #2 to give it a go. Nurse #2 took away the bottle of Nitroglycerine pills that I was clutching in my hand and replaced them with a rubber ball, hung my arm over the table and stuck the needle in with success and no pain. Now it is time for the dreaded stress test. I now have an EKG machine hooked up to me, an IV and a blood pressure cuff and I start off walking on the treadmill. My Cardiologists puts down the magazine he had been reading and comes over to observe and as the walking gets harder and harder, I say to myself, in a sing songie type of voice “Nurses to the left of me, Nurses to the right of me and a Cardiologists right behind”. I go and go and I can’t go any further and holler “Uncle” [see note] and everyone panics. No one had remembered to tell me that I was to go as hard as I could and then tell them I couldn’t go anymore but I still had to go for one more minute and it was Very Important that I keep going for that extra minute [sounds really confusing]. Being I am the trooper that I am, I summoned up my superhuman residual strength and completed the test. During the last minute they were squirting some type of radioactive fluid in my veins via the IV and reading my blood pressure. Everyone was shouting “keep it up” “Don’t quit” “ only 35 more seconds” and I felt someone trying to rip my fingers loose from the handle grip but I was having a balance problem. I had a death grip on the bars but the Nurse taking my blood pressure needed for me to loosen up my grip so she could take my blood pressure. My death grip on the bars included the tube from my blood pressure cuff to her gauge. I relaxed and she pumped and all was well. Anyway the test was over and I reveled in the fact that I was still alive. Nurse #2 then helped me back to the table where everyone removed the electronics and tubes that were hooked up. She then announced that I was to leave and go have a greasy lunch [something to do with my gall bladder I think]. I immediately said “ a double quarter pounder with cheese OK”? When I came back I was put into some type of photo machine and then sent on my way. I quizzed the photographer [also know as Nurse #2] as to what was happening and she stated that the machine was recording the x-rays, I believe, that were given off by the radioactive liquid that had been given to me via the IV and moved forward into my veins and heart through the action of me eating a double quarter-pounder and cheese with fries. See those things are not always bad for your heart. The next day I went back and had more radioactive stuff put in my veins and then was sent out to have a greasy breakfast. 2 eggs, sausage, home fries and toast. Upon return I had more pictures taken. 2 days later I returned to my Cardiologist’s office and had another EKG [#4or #5] and a heart ultrasound. I was then asked where the results of all the tests were to be sent. I didn't have the foggiest idea so I just said “my regular doctor”. Apparently they didn't find anything bad because no one was interested anymore. No more money to be made I guess. My Cardiologist called me in last week and told me that I was OK and I should lose some weight and exercise more. Dr Phil told me that, on TV and it didn’t cost me anything. Wonder what an EKG costs now days? My test didn’t cost me anything except the cost of the two meals. The Dr. and the Nurses all got paid I’m sure but then so does Dr. Phil. I wonder who pays these people. God I’m almost dead, or so it seems sometimes, and I have still got all these questions about life. I really don’t think I am going to live long enough to get them all answered. I’m sending in the receipts for my meals to Blue Cross as they were a necessary part of the testing. Good luck you say?

note: In my youth, growing up in South Dakota, “Uncle” meant “I give up”.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Black Hills

I am a 62 year old, white male, living in New England and I have a lot to say. This appears to be a great medium for that task and I thank Google for this free opportunity to express myself. I have found that I am a pretty good storyteller and I have 62 years worth of experiences to draw on. Harking back to my sea-going days, these tales were called “sea stories” and always were prefaced with the statement “This aint no shit”. The one thing that sailors have is a lot of free time on their hands, especially in the Submarine Service, and the free time is spent reading, eating, playing acey duecy and weaving elaborate stories with other sailors. Every one of those stories always started out “This ain’t no shit” and I intend on filling these pages with lots of “Sea Stories” in the coming weeks. I will change the names to protect the innocent whenever possible and keep the tales as true as recollection and 62 years of failing memory allows, however I may take a bit of “artistic liberty” from time to time.

. I grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota and my first work was at my fathers sawmill and in the woods. That was all I knew, except for a brief stint pumping gas at a ‘Standard’ station when gas was .35 cents a gallon, Standard was a brand of Gas, Ethyl and Regular were types of gas and they were called Filling Stations. When you pulled in we gave you gas, checked your oil and water levels, checked your fan belt for cracks, washed your windows and if you wished we checked the tire pressure. Then I was off to the Navy for six years on Diesel and Nuclear Submarines, Vietnam and the Cold War. Since then I have been a Father, Fireman, Ambulance Attendant, Police Officer, Chief of Police, Deputy Sheriff, State Criminal Investigator, Builder, General Manager of a Gift Products company, General Contractor, Grandfather and now I am a Cemeterian. I also hold 3 college degree’s. WOW! No wonder I never made any money.

For those of you that have visited before and wondered where I went I must report “nowhere” except for a brief visit to The Black Hills of South Dakota for our Daughter’s wedding to Michael . We joined them, our Grandson Sam, The Grooms parents, who were our old friends Dale and Sig and a whole host of wedding guests, most of whom were also old friends. Ellen, Sam and Michael all joined together in blessed matrimony, on the South Dakota prairie, under an afternoon sun with Bear Butte as the backdrop. The South Dakota prairie was on Michaels Grandfathers ranch and Bear Butte is also called Mato Paha in the Lakota language and is a place of high religious significance. It couldn’t have been nicer to make a Mother and Father prouder.

My last attempts at blogging, with this blog title, taught me a lot and I am now ready to go on with newer and better things. According to the AARP Bulletin for Dec 05, “Only 0.3 percent of the Internet's estimated 53.4 million bloggers are age 50 or older, according to a recent study by Perseus, a Web survey firm, but their ranks—160,000 or so—are growing.” I am one of those 0.3 percent. Stay Tuned!

Mike and Ellen about 1 yr old

Saturday, May 07, 2005

My name is Ted, not Dick

Congratulations are certainly in order for Dayna because she guessed my Name, on her second try. Thanks to Denise for not blowing the game because she knew my name from past emails. My email address is at the end of my profile thing “about me” and it starts out Ted8233. When I started this blog I wanted to remain anonymous so I went by Dick and then I told you my life history in my profile including my email address. Some anonymous.
I chose Dick because so many people call me Dick and those that don’t call me John and a few even call me Tom. Even in the Navy they called me Dick or John???? It got so bad that when I bought new Dungaree Uniforms I had them stencil Dick on the Pocket instead of Ted. The first time I came home on leave and my Mom washed my clothes, I heard her yell out “Who is Dick!!”. It was kinda tough to really explain to her. To my Mom I was either Theodore or Teddy Ray. Boy did I ever hate Teddy Ray. All of her friends called me Little Teddy Ray, isn’t he the baby of the family? I finally got rid of that moniker when I was 16, 6’2,” 205# and Tackle [offense and defense] on the football team. Then when I got married my wife picked it up using it only in mixed company, at social occasions, when she is introducing me. Then her sister picked it up. They both think they are so clever. So my name is TED

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Who is Dick Dickson

Observations from 2 bloggers about my last posting.
hokkaidoabbey said...
P.S. Doesn't that signature read "T. Dickson"? Even though Dick starts with a D?
7:13 AM

dayna said...
*gasp* You're right Hokkaido, I totally missed that. I bet his wife painted it and he's hogging the credit for it.
2:31 PM
I did paint it myself and without my wife’s help but “Who is Dick Dickson?” I have decided to hold a little contest to see if anyone can figure out my name. I want to give out prizes for those that guess correctly. It is to bad that the “Man-purse” company closed down, as those would have been perfect prizes. So, I have decided to give .jpegs of that beautiful painting titled “Fishing Boat”. The winners can use it as wallpaper on their computers. Of course it will be .jpegs of a limited run of the “Fishing Boat” painting and will not be placed up for sale elsewhere. The artist, Mr. T. Dickson will retain all copy write protection and publication rights. Winners will be allowed to use this .jpeg only on their own computer. Participants will be limited to one guess per day and the contest is not open to family members.

My wife just read this posting, over my shoulder, and wanted everyone to know that the reason she does not participate in this blog is because she has to listen to the musings of an old man all day long. She also had a derogatory remark about the name “Dick Dickson” and She also said she does not paint.

So all you bloggers get busy guessing my name. There is even a hint in my blog.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Fishing Boat

Fishing Boat on sea wall Posted by Hello This is a real milestone for me as it represents my 1st painting that really looks like it is suppose to. Kinda! This is a tough challenge as it requires so much practice to learn the techniques. I painted a tree and it looked like a tree without having to use too much imagination so long as you realized it was a winter tree. So I called it "Winter Tree" so the viewer wouldn't be misled. Notice that I threw in the words "on sea wall" so you wouldn't get confused and think it was the sky or something and that was the ladder to heaven.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Spring flowers on a Plumb Tree Posted by Hello

They are 2 and 0

Happily the Mundale River Rats won another game. Sam made a run his second at-Bat. First at-bat he was beaned and died at third. Watched #14 on the other team who was a right fielder, spin himself around until he got dizzy and fell down, get up and stagger all over the place, during the game. His coach just held his hand up to shield himself from seeing #14 and prayed no one hit a ball to him. The 1st kid on Sam's team to get home went to the dugout instead of touching home plate and they called him out. It's a laugh a minute . I'll think up something for my next blog instead of baseball. Just thought you would like to know.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The 1st game

Just got back from the very 1st ever game for Sam and what a hoot! A friend of mine was the coach on the other team that was whupped by Sam’s team 15 to 2. Can’t wait to see him. One of the kids on the other team ran out on the field and up to the base umpire and said “where is left field?” Had us all rolling in the isles. This was the good game field and not just a practice field and don’t you just know it the outfield had holes where the outfielders stand because they “kick the dirt”. The infield was OK but they actually drag the infield with a tractor before the game and that fills in the other holes where everyone else “kicks the dirt”. Got to get a check list for my daughter because we got an emergency phone call that they had forgotten his hat. Remembered the jock strap and cup but forgot the hat. Also she forgot the gum. Had to borrow some from another mom. I watched and all of the kids chewed gum and “kicked the dirt”. Even the girls that played chewed gum and “kicked the dirt”. Here I thought it was just a guy thing. One of Sam’s teammates, who played left field, started running off the field just as the game started, running towards the parents area. The coach ran out of the dugout shouting “Huston what are you doing, the game has started” and Huston replied “I have to talk to my Mom.” Apparently the coach was aware that when and 8 year old has to talk to his Mom he has to talk to his Mom. Coach called Time. So both teams waited while Huston talked to his Mom and in front of all of the other Mom’s and Dad’s Huston said “Mom I can’t wear this cup as it pinches me!” Poor Mom was mortified as we all burst into uncontrollable laughter and she replied “go on back out and we will talk about it at the end of the inning.” I replied to her that “it’s easier raising daughters” and she agreed. At the end of every inning there was always a group of mothers at the end of the dugout saying things like “OK Billy it time to go back out on the field so find your glove”, “Brian find your hat, you have to have a hat, what did you do with it? Look inside your batting helmet.” “Justin your not playing this inning so sit down and behave yourself. You’ll play next inning. Next inning is when the other team gets three outs and it is your teams turn to bat again. When your team gets three outs on them then you’ll go back on 2nd base. Justin! Stop throwing rocks at him.” My daughter was over there a couple of times explaining things to Sam. The next inning, Huston had closed up on the 3rd baseman and was throwing dirt on him. The coach was furious. Not only do they kick dirt but they also throw dirt? I was really proud of Sam because he actually paid attention to what was happening and what the coach was saying. Progress is sometimes measured in little tiny steps. Sam and most of the others all chewed their gum like they had 10 sticks instead of just one. Helps them to spit more. The really nice thing about the afternoon was there wasn’t one parent that was mad at their kid, mortified yes, mad no. No one shouted and threatened the umpires and no parents were fighting. Every parent there had a big grin the entire time. I love little league baseball!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

It's Baseball season

I had an interesting week when my wife and daughter headed for Ashville NC to the Billy Graham evangelical conference. We are Methodists but our church sent them as they figure it is something our church can use more of. They left Monday and came back Friday leaving me with my Grandson Sam for that amount of time also. You see, Sam didn’t have school this past week and I had to work. My wife is the Superintendent of the cemetery and I work for her so when she is gone, I also take over Superintendent duties. Needless to say, for an old man I was way over my head and there was nothing amusing about it. Perhaps I should change the name of my Blog to ………? Sam is 8 and baseball little League’s are in full swing so every chance we had we practiced in addition to the organized practiced sessions. Playing catch with him has taught me how to jump again. In normal life I don’t have much occasion to jump except in such situations as “Jumping out of the way” saves my life from some wild, woman driver trying to multi-task by smoking a cigarette, talking on a cell phone and trying to negotiate the parking lot and position in the drive-up line, all at the same time. Happened twice this past week at McDonalds. The jumps with Sam are straight up in the air or madly to the side to keep the ball from rolling under a vehicle. He lacks a little in his ball throwing control. On our first practice day, I figured I could catch him bare handed because I’m good and he doesn’t throw very hard. After 15 minutes I was looking for a glove. Dumb! This has been the first I have put on a glove in about 45 years and I have not forgot very much except the value of a good jock strap. 20 minutes into the third day and he threw me a hard grounder. The rest is history. No more kids for me. On our first practice session that I went to, with the team, the coach sent home a letter of regulations, rules and expectations. They were all to remember to bring a hat and gloves to each practice session and especially games. At the last session, 4 kids forgot to bring their gloves. They are not allowed to say “you suck” or they are sent home. One of the earlier practices, one of Sam’s teammates repeatedly kicked a mother, from another team, in the shin and didn’t even apologize. I’m not making this stuff up as it is verbatim from the coaches letter. He said jock straps are required and cups are recommended so we went out and bought Sam a jockstrap with a cup mounted into it. The thought of turning around in the seat and seeing him with the jockstrap around his head and the cup over his nose throws me into hysterics. Sam’s 1st time at bat, that I saw, he hit it and ran to first after some difficulty locating the base. [I have since found out that the reason for that is that the boys all tend to kick dirt wherever they are and they dig such a deep hole that they have to move the bases out in the tall grass to keep the runners from breaking their legs and no one can find them. Yup, kicking dirt and spitting are big. Sam has now taken up chewing bubble gum] The next batter got a little hit and as it was rolling out to right field, Sam, who is now running from 1st to 2nd stops, picks up the ball and fires it to 2nd for an out.? Some of them can catch but not throw, some can throw and not catch and some can do neither. In their simulated practice games the pitcher pitches the ball and the catcher misses the ball and runs back to the back stop to get it and fires it back to the pitcher who doesn’t catch it and being the 2nd and short stop are busy kicking dirt the ball rolls by them to the outfielder who picks it up and fires it back but once again 2nd and SS are kicking dirt so no one can catch it. It makes for long practices. I’ve noticed that, now one of the coaches is behind the catcher, with a glove on, calling balls and strikes and another one is out by centerfield to catch the balls that roll by everyone else. God bless the coaches. I can’t wait for the 1st game. In our spare time we laid around watching the Red Sox kick butt on TV.

After any type of practice Sam and I go to McDonalds for supper. Sam is in another growing streak and has moved passed the Kids Meals only so far as I have to buy the kids meal for the stupid toy and supplement this with extra hamburger or chicken. Meals tend to be quite expensive. Hopefully his new baseball spikes will last the season before he grows out of them. We managed to eat all of our meals out, for the week. This made for less dishes to wash on Friday but didn’t help with the laundry and the overall dirt that had managed to accumulate in the week they were gone. Friday was a little bit tough as the plane landed at 11:00am. Oh and by the way we had to paint the master bedroom, lay new carpet and have a new bed installed [one of those numbers things]. It was a busy, hectic,week but Sam and I, two dogs and the guinea pig all managed to survive and be stronger for it. Overall it was a really cool guy’s week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I have been a bit remiss as-of-late with my postings but then so have a bunch of my friends in the blogosphere including my little brother. The only one that has posted has been English Peace Frog. Check him out as his postings are really good. This one is great as he discusses Bill Clinton's Penis. He really knows a lot of things but his knowledge about this subject puzzles me??? While you are there read "Slime & Punishment" about his early life in Mudpie Neb. Really worth the read.

Randy got sick again so back to the vets for a complete checkup. He can't stand up without help. Vet found nothing and we figure our daughter did it with some marathon walks they took. I think it is from the, now, 4 pair of my glasses he has eaten, large amounts of wood in the fence, my grandson's plastic toys and three beds. The last one is still holding up good. $87 to find out he is healthy and doesn't have Lime disease. Not to be outdone by a dog, I headed for my Dr. To find out that: the pain in my side [I am right now passing on a great lead in for the sake of holding my marriage together] is due to unloading a 200# bin of sand that I used for weight, this winter; Way to much coffee has created my urinary track problem; I don't have cancer like I thought; my weight loss of 12# is excellent; my cholesterol level [without drugs] is 160. My charge for all of these services was $5.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


I have been trying to get Hokkaidoabbey's blog on my links list for some time now. I tried 3 times and got kicked off because of a "technical error". Tonight I tried again and success! Probably was due to operator error. I don't have a whole lot of faith in my computing skills. I thought his last posting about Mudpie Nebraska was tops. Take a look!! Try my new links posting. Interestingly he was posting on this blog about the same time I was posting on his Blog. Amazing, all those miles across the ocean and we talk to each other at the same time. I thought there would be a time delay or something. Maybe crossing the International Dateline would speed things up or slow them down, depending on which way you were going or am I in the wrong ocean?

Friday, April 01, 2005

Randy lost his eyes!

Poor guy, just couldn't see anymore. 10 months old and blind, or so it seemed. Kept running into things and when we played fetch, I had to go fetch, because he could never find anything I threw for him. Seems to like the new doo judging by the way he is prancing around. Now he sees everything.

Here is the latest Weight Watchers update. Lost 0.2 #'s this past week. Not as bad as my wife because she put on 2 #'s. It is her fault because she cooked to much food over the weekend. Too many leftovers and everyone knows you can't throw leftovers away but you must eat them until they are gone. Why else would you save them??Duh! When you walk into this place, they have a bunch of tables set up that you have to walk by to get to the weigh in table and the line is always backed up so it it slow going. Plenty of time to study the various food, books and merchandise, on the tables, available for purchase. Lots of low point snack bars [good for you and the kids], special deals on scales so that you can weigh your food [?????], books on slow cooking, soups, low calorie cooking etc. Titles such as: "How to loose weight and have fun doing it"; "The skinny person inside of you"; How to loose weight and train for the Boston marathon"; "Bicycle repairs made easy". Stripping was held to a minimum, this time, except for my wife who was desperately trying to get into the minus column but she stopped when I started clapping and whistling. She came up with a new saying about me this week.. She told some friends "When he gets like this, I just let him ramble on and not pay attention." She thinks I should change the title of my blog to "the ramblings of an old man". The thin man never showed but I know he has lost 10#'s so far.

Help me I can't see! Posted by Hello

Randy after haircut Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 31, 2005

My 1st Landscape Water Color - It is really beautiful, isn't it? Posted by Hello

Friday, March 25, 2005

Photo by Tedd 04 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Man-purse; a rebuttal.

This will be the third attempt to get this post out. Blogger has failed to save the previous ones with the exception of the 1st 100 words or so. I write this post in response to a comment left by Dayna on one of my past purse blogs where she stated that I should get a man purse. I think it was because I was poking fun at women’s purses and the things they carry within. Perhaps she is guilty of carrying the large array of items I mentioned. I also mentioned that I had searched the internet and was unable to come up with any such items as a man-purse. Dayna found a web site and offered it up for me to check out. Interesting site to check out as the author gives a bit of commentary about the selection of man-purses such as "Many of the ones I've found also have a waist strap so you can use it as a fanny pack; I thought this would make it look less like a purse, but my wife insists that a fanny pack looks even dorkier than a shoulder bag. Go figure." Ya, go figure. I offer my photo entitled “Man-purse large”. I have been carrying this purse for 30 + years and I use it mainly to carry my camera and all of the supplies I need when touristing it up or out for a little photo session in the wild. Lots and lots of pockets for extra film, light meters and lens cleaners as well as an extra lens or two. The large, zippered top makes for fast retrieval of my camera in case I see a “cute” chipmunk sitting on a log or something. It actually holds 2 cameras and is quiet heavy so I use it in the “over your head” mode most of the time. This also provides extra protection from rogue bears and pickpockets. There is even room for a water bottle, a fingernail file, teabags and super glue in case the unthinkable happens. The woman’s jacket in the background is from a social gathering or something, my wife recently attended and brought home with her. She thought it belonged to a friend who is famous for leaving jackets places, but it’s not. She has been diligently looking for the true owner ever since. Every time a police car comes by she hides behind the drapes. If you know who the owner is please let me know. It is upsetting the household and not a very good example for our grandson. The second photo is of my man-purse that I use to carry my digital camera. I would have shown the digital camera in the photo but I used it to take the photo. It is of a nice black color, which is more fitting with my football player, submarine sailor, cop, contractor persona. It has a nice auxiliary belt loop on the back I can use when I want to be more personal with my camera such as the recent, now famous, Pinewood Derby that I covered for my blog. Carrying it that way kept me from laying it down somewhere and some, good intentioned, Cub Scout mom coming along and picking it up because she thought it might belong to a friend. Using it that way kind or resembles a fanny purse which would make this an oxymoron. I noticed that in the man-purse web site that they offer an Easpak Zippy man-purse that resembles the one I use. Mine is a little more compact at 6x6 but I still can fit in fingernail files, teabags and super glue in the front compartment. Well, there isn’t too many more things I can say about man-purses Dayna so “stick this in your pipe and smoke it”!

Large man-purse Posted by Hello

Small man-purse Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Hooray, I need some help!

Having a tough time coming up with a blog subject. Too busy I guess. Been very depressed since the Pinewood Derby as we didn't win. Sam didn't seem to mind as much as I did. There is always next year. Dayna chastised me for not going to my weigh-in at Weight Watchers, last week, just because I didn't lose any weight. I guess that is what it is supposed to be all about. My daughter told me that a different gal stripped last week and I missed it. What's a good strip without someone whistling and shouting encouragements. Think I just heard my wife saying something about "an old fool" again. This afternoon is art class day again. Hooray, as I need some help. Been practicing all week. If only weight watchers was going as well.

1st day of Water Painting Classes-I need a couple of more days of classes, I think Posted by Hello

My Buddy with his Freedom Racer Posted by Hello

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Big Dig

Just read my brothers blog Gary Writes. Didn't realize that he was so weird! He is starting a new service club called Densa, or something like that, and it is right down my alley and I signed up. Starting my own chapter here in Western MA [you know the part of Mass. That doesn't have the Big Dig in it that is now leaking quite profusely].

For those of you that have not been following the progress of the most expensive [13 Billion US Dollars] construction project in US history aka "The Big Dig"... it leaks! Not a little but a lot and they are making the contractors go back and try to fix it while all of the commuters are zooming through. "Why are they zooming through if the thing leaks", you ask? Because there is nowhere else to go. It seems that the Bostonian politicians were in such as hurry to get everything looking spiffy for the Democratic National Convention that they quickly had all of the bypass roads removed and made into parks and opened the tunnel. There is absolutely no where else to drive. Now an independent group of engineers have looked at the problem and say the tunnel is dangerous and should be closed. What to do, oh what to do? This could be the greatest boondoggle in history. The "fix" could easily cost 7 billion more. Do you know how many people 7 Billion dollars feeds? Do you suppose it could wipe out the Aids epidemic in the world? At least we can seek some solace and say "but we live in Western MA!". I think I smell a new Blog coming.

Had to stop the last subject on purses as I was starting to fear for my life. I searched the internet to find a "man purse", which was to be the subject of my next posting, but to no avail so I could not continue with my posting because I didn't know what I was talking about [more so than usual]. My wife sums it up nicely "There is no fool like an old fool". Got that one from her mother I think.

Didn't go to the weigh-in yesterday because I didn't want to see the results. I was bad last week. Even the though of being able to watch the young lady strip, to reach her goal, was not enough to make me want to go.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Purse toolboxes and much more!

Taking on The Purses is risky business, at best, but they are such easy targets because the users of these things keep giving you more and more ammunition. Keys and purses go together because you can always have a good story when the two get together. My wife reminds me, when I get to pointing out organizational problems as we stand in the rain waiting for the keys to appear, that “you have pockets and women don’t”. “That is only part of the problem” I respond. Granted pockets are a great thing as it allows me to carry my essentials: Keys; billfold or money clip; change; handkerchief [if necessary as the back of a sleeve works well also and doesn’t require use of a pocket]; pocket knife or clippers or both; comb [if hair is present]; box of breath mints; cell phone, maybe; pencil. Whereas with a woman the pocket requirements would be: keys; change; [and this is where the differences show up] package of Kleenex; Hair Brush; cell phone; address book; personal telephone directory; lots of money everywhere; enough change to keep as small restaurant in business; pens and pencils and notepads; makeup; lipstick [numerous colors]; large can of hair spray; teabags; scissors; fingernail file; super glue; nail polish; dozens of general credit cards [I carry one]; dozens of store credit cards [Penny’s, sears, Kohls, TJ Max, and I carry none of these]; inside the purse sub organizational items such as wallets, change purse, credit card organizers, cell phone holders [sans a cell phone] check book [without checks]; The list is endless. If even 1/3 of these items were carried in pockets there would be a bulge problem. Shirts with pockets, with things in them [such as a cell phone] just wouldn’t look right. Pants with wallet w/numerous credit cards in a rear pocket would certainly be unacceptable. It isn’t only the women that wouldn’t want it, neither would the men. Pockets are out for women.
We were at supper with friends, several years ago, at our favorite neighborhood tavern. Our friends had their daughter Lorie with them. At some point her Mom reported that she had a broken fingernail. It was rather nasty looking, as it was broken and tore. Lorie said, “I can take care of that”. She reached into her purse and out came a fingernail file, which she used to clean up the rough edges and remove nail polish. Next, out of the purse, came a teabag??? The bag was cut open and dumped and the bag was spread out. An appropriate sized piece was cut out with the scissors from the bag. This piece was glued to the nail, after a tube of “Super Glue” [???] was removed from the tool bag, and a generous amount was applied to the nail and tea bag. A lot of hand waving took place [told our waitress that we didn’t need her] and then the nail file was used to smooth everything back out. A tube of nail polish was the next item liberated from the tool apron[more hand waving and the wait staff was going nuts]. It was the wrong color but no problem as all nails would receive a fresh coat of paint before this rebuilding project was completed. Several coats were dried and filed to get the smoothest coat possible[wait staff all quit]. All of this was accomplished with hardly a break in conversation except by me saying dumb things like “why would anyone carry super glue and tea bags in their purse?” Duh!!! When the job was completed, there was absolutely no evidence that the nail had been ever broken. Testimony to the worth of a well stocked purse. For those of you that have not seen this trick before, you may want to clip this article and put it in your purse for future reference. Oh and don’t forget the tools in case you don’t carry them already. Next: dealing with an unruly, Canadian, blogger who thinks I need a mans purse!!!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Sheriff had to come and take him away

I start this blog with much trepidation, even fearing for my life as one of the consequences of this blog. These next few posting may even attract a stalker or two. I hope not. The subject that is causing such fear in me is PURSES. There I have said it. I have foretold my future. While trying to decide upon doing this, my wife and I took a trip to BJ’s Wholesale club. We purchased a few misc. items and a table. I was carrying my table around the place, out the checkout line to the security guard line. For those of you who have never been to a buying club: everyone must stop at the guard station; show your Members ID; have the guard inventory your cart against your receipt. If something is amiss I think the real police come and lock you up. Anyway, That is when it happened. The guard inventoried my wife’s cart against the receipt and checked it OK but when it came to my table she could not find the receipt as she paid for the tablet separately. Now we are only 50 feet from the checkout and have not gone anywhere since leaving the checkout. You know what happened to the receipt don’t you? THE PURSE ATE IT!!!!!! Now we are destined to stay there because she must show the guard the receipt before we can advance and everyone else behind us can advance. I only looked back once and saw about 8 carts behind us. Needless to say these are all New Englanders [except for the odd New Yorker and maybe a Canadian or two] and New Englanders grow impatient quickly. I was getting nervous as I sensed a riot mentality quickly developing. The lady behind me had her cart planted in my back and every few seconds I could feel her pushing it trying to get me to move. Her husband had a US Marine Corps jacket on and had a patch on his shoulder that said Marine Sniper , whatever that means. I had sized him up earlier and he didn’t intimidate me because I am a Submarine Vet and Marines know better than to mess with sailors. Finally after about 20 minutes, with about 200 people behind us, all booing and yelling, I heard her say “there it is” and I looked. She had a handful of receipts in her hand and on top was the table receipt. Hooray we are free. Right there and then I decided to broach the subject, take the risk and write the purse blog.

Yesterday morning I was on my way to church and told her I would start her car as we were taking 2 cars. She said “Great” and headed for her purse where she has two car keys. The smaller one is used when someone wants to warm up the car. Don’t you know, the keys are not where they are supposed to be. She checks all of the outside pockets and then all of the inside pockets. No key. She then proceeds to dismantle the purse checking after every handful of contents, to feel for the key. The key is absent. Suddenly I hear “there it is” and she hands me her key, like nothing happened. The purse material, for this blog, just keeps happening as I write. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 11, 2005

No guts - No glory

Things didn't go as well as I planned last night. I only lost 6 #'s, not 24 as I had hoped for. 6#/week is really going to drag this weight loss thing out a long time. I was hoping for better. My wife says that 24 is impossible. "Yeaaa, weeell, how about those people that have liposuction. Bet they loose more that 24#'s". "Doesn't sound so impossible now does it?" I told her "put that in your pipe and smoke it". Really told her, huh. The only enjoyable thing about this is that some of the girls get all upset about the weigh-in and start stripping to get something positive on the scale. One of the girls last night took her shoes off, then her warmup outfit and as she was standing on the scale, with only her underwear, sobbing until it showed she had lost .5 #'s. I in the meantime I was shouting and whistling, standing on my chair hollaring "take it off baby, take it all off!" My wife said I am an old fool a rebate or maby it was retrobate, when I told her about it because she was out of the room. She also said "In your dreams". She never believes me. Our speaker told us about things we could keep in our purse for emergencies. Last week I learned how I could buy this little clutch bag type thing that would fit into my purse so I could carry my calculator for points, a book on dining out and a book that tells me point values for common foods. No wonder I can't lift my wife's purse. I believe her personal best was a couple of years ago when she had 21$ worth of change in it. More than enough to buy snacks for the entire football team at half time. Her mother used to carry all of her bills, morgage papers, car loan etc. in her purse. Even pull out file folders sometimes. This has given me a great idea for some future blogging. This would carry forward with the theme of my last blog, "Rubbish". My wife refuses to read my blogs for some reason or other, refering to them as "Rubbish". She would never know but my daughter would probably rat me out. I already sense myself getting very deep here, in a real hurry. Perhaps over my head. Perhaps I am going where no man has ever tread before.......and lived. Hell I could do 3 or 4 postings just on the subject of lost keys. The time spent on that part of the subject would be infatisimile compared to the wait time I have suffered through as she searched for lost keys. Then when I am all done I could say [from my new apartment] "put that in your pipe and smoke it". Clever, huh?...............Naaaaa

Thursday, March 10, 2005

D Day plus 1 week

Well here it is "Weigh-in Day" at Weight Watchers again. I have been fairly good on watching what I eat. Right now my temptation level is pretty low but I think in the coming weeks it will be harder and harder to stay on track but we'll see. Makes it much easier to keep focused when everyone in the family is on the same program. Everyone, that is, except my grandson. Pretty tough to see him munching on a bowl of chips, after school, and not want one. I am getting very skilled at walking up and diverting his attention and ripping him off for a few but I can usually only get a couple. Very savy young man, when I am around, at guarding his food.

I am figuring that I have lost at least 24#'s this week. In three or four weeks I should be at my goal and can leave this nonsense behind. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A legacy?

It was not, this authors intentions to become flip with a very serious subject. The intention of this blog is to poke fun at the way our system works. It would be impossible to have a conscience and not be aware of the consequences of what we have done to our earth. The acid rain, the global warming, corporations operating without a conscience, wars, all lead to a very bad legacy that we leave to our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. My generation didn’t create the problem but we have done a lot to try and fix it. Hopefully, as a generation, we have not added to the overall problems. It will take many more generations of hard work to turn the damage around. For all that have worked on the solution, I tip my hat. For those of you that aren’t working on the solution, you must be part of the problem. Get with it! Recycling makes you part of the solution. ...“I’ll be watching out for ya” R/G 05 Thanks Dick Dickson 3/05

New England Garbage

I now leave South Dakota and move to Western Massachusetts with this story. In the intervening years, since I packed up the wagon and headed east with the wife and baby, 2 dogs and a hamster the world of trash, contamination, acid rain, corporate and government greed. definitely has grown. The nay Sayers and whistleblowers were right and we were killing our children and ourselves. It was a time of much needed change. The year is about 1980. I am now a contractor and have to haul things to the town dump, now and then. This one is not called the town dump but rather it has a real name being named after an adjoining road and is called “A Landfill” not a dump. “ The Senator Edward Kennedy Landfill” is the new name. Those New Englanders!! Right away I find that the landfill is full but it is being extended by the state so that it can grow higher and higher and because of new state and federal regulations there are few dumpsites oops landfill sites available. The problem being, our site sits right on the edge of Interstate 90, a.k.a. The Massachusetts Turnpike, a.k.a. The Main street of Massachusetts. Imagine how those government people felt when they drove by and saw all the papers blowing around and dirtying up Main Street. Of course you must remember that these will be the same people that will bring you, something called, “The Big Dig” in the future. “ The infamous Massachusetts Turnpike Authority”. [to be a source of material for thousands of more bloggers, including this author] I can’t stop now as my fingers are trying to explode. I will try and contain myself but I must tell you that the MTA will come to have its own little dumpsite problems and right here in our neighborhood. A dumpsite where thousands of animal carcasses, from hit-and-run accidents on the turnpike, are dumped without even a final word or and earthen covering. Others, where all manner of construction debris, including hazardous waste, are hidden from the public view. Enough about that as I move forward….. Finally the town oops City finds a good location and pays about 3 million for the big ravine. Now you can no longer just dump on the ground but you need to be dumping on a liner and you must collect all of the runoff because it is now hazardous waste and will head for the aquifer it you don’t. The City lines its new 3 million dollar “Landfill” which is now a 5 million dollar “landfill,” with water retention, testing wells, etc. etc. etc. The state says, “sorry but were not going to approve your new landfill and you can’t use It.” and what is more, they acknowledge that they never will approve it. It’s gone and it never even had a proper name. Back at the old landfill it is business as usual, growing taller and taller. Now it is made into a residential refuse landfill only, no commercial dumping, unless you happen to have a six-pack of beer in your truck. Well eventually the state shuts the old, ever growing, landfill down. Orders the City to cap it over and to take care of the now, rapidly expanding methane, bubbling out of the earth and to take their garbage to commercial dumpsites. I think Dr. Suess, who was our neighbor, wrote about all of this sometime ago. Reminds me of the Larax. Now all rubbish is trucked out of the city and we have developed into recycling fools. We have green bins for glass and cans and blue bins for paper, or is it blue for glass and green for paper? Every week the garbage trucks come and every 2 weeks the recycling trucks come. We have special pickup days for leaves where everything is in special digestible paper bags, special days to pickup Christmas Trees [if you can get them out of the snow banks], special days to haul your oil, batteries, and other household waste to collection points. $10 buys you a sticker to put on your refrigerator for pickup and I think computers cost $5 each. A few months age we all got issued our very own wheeled and serialized rubbish container. Every week a special truck comes around and dumps these wheeled containers so long as they are placed properly along the road. If you have too much garbage and leave a bag or two along side no one will pick those up and someone writes you a ticket [a big yellow one] and hangs it on your new dumpster. It all has to be in the big, new, serialized container. If you don’t like your container you can get a smaller one or a bigger one but you still have to put all of your rubbish in the new, serialized container and the container has to be exactly where the hydraulic arm can reach it or else you get a big, yellow ticket. What happens to all of the tires, tree stumps and tickets? I don’t think they sell stickers for those. There is just no one to leave a six-pack of beer with anymore. Maybe if I leave a six-pack or two with the secretary for the Health Department Director, she will ask the Director to have the driver of the new truck, with the hydraulic arm, to pickup up my tree stumps and tires. You Think? God I miss Shorty and his brother and the white rack with the three beat up silver cans.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Another, sad, garbage story

Damn! I missed the recycling pickup this morning. Spent to much time on the blog last night and decided to put everything out this morning. Were the 1st block picked up on recycling day and I forgot that they started 30 minutes earlier on the 1st of March. Summer working hours I guess. I had refused to put my trash out the night before because it attracted dogs, cats and professional garbage pickers. Professional garbage pickers, you wonder? Why those are the people that hid their new Cadillac's and mini vans on the side streets, dress in ugly clothes and pull a little red wagon around going through your trash and making a small fortune doing it. Probably are related to Shorty and his brother. I really shouldn't worry because the new serialized rubbish bins have secure lids and the skunks can't make it up, at least I don't think they can. There is nothing you can do about the pro's because your garbage, oops rubbish, bin is on public property. In the past, I have even tried to chase them away with a stick but that doesn't work either because they also have sticks that they use to dig through your rubbish and to chase away dogs. I still have a nasty three inch scare over my right eye from a little old lady I tried to chase away. Cops came and gave both of us the option of filling a complaint against each other and called me an ambulance and reprimanded me for threatening a little old lady. Called it the "Free Enterprise System". Told me if I didn't like the system then I should move to Canada where they still let you put tires in plastic bags and the garbage guys still pick it up. Said two brothers moved up from the islands and took over the entire garbage collection system for Canada. [If your laughing or crying it means you have been paying attention] Sorry but there is at least one more post coming on this subject. Dick

Monday, March 07, 2005

Town Fathers to the rescue

I left you with the picture of the town residents slowly being poisoned by the burning rubbish. Choking and gasping they begged the “Town Fathers” for relief. Relief came quickly as the Councilmen, reacting in a standard manner over 15 years, passed a town ordinance banning open burning of garbage. Hooray! Much of the reason everyone was choking was from burning tires. At our local skating rink, when I was a kid, someone would come down from the DPW and bring a tire and light it to keep everyone warm. It would burn for hours and if you stood on the upwind side it was ok. What else were you going to do with tires? I continue……
The Town Dump was full and a newer one was built in a bigger ravine even further from town. The Garbage Brothers were getting old and no one else was forthcoming about wanting to take over their business. When we stopped burning there was more garbage and the town moved into weekly pickups because no burning meant really smelly garbage cans in our alleys, all crawling with maggots and cats. The people wanted more and got more. The Garbage Brothers had their workload double overnight but refused to put on another crew or buy more equipment. They held firm that their success laid in the fact that they directly controlled their entire company. Come to think of it, I don’t think they ever had a company name except the Garbage Brothers. No stationary, no business cards, no secretary, no taxes or at least very little as all of their business transpired in the garbage areas of the alleys. They resolved any money collection problems they might encounter by simply not picking up the offenders garbage. Most delinquents quickly repented their ways. Their monthly fee was collected in little white envelopes attached with thumbtacks to the white racks with the three beat up silver cans in them. Occasionally you would see a son or nephew help out, as “Shorty” wasn’t getting any taller [in fact he was shrinking a little] and needed to be spelled on occasion. Remembering that they were now working a double shift and had been for years. When the Garbage Brothers did retire, the town decided, as all towns evidentially do, to take over the garbage business and make money. The Garbage brothers left town and moved somewhere else. We later heard that they moved to some island in the South Pacific with their wives. Worried about taxes I think. Well the new dump went high on a ravine, so high that the new dump road had 3 switch backs on it [for real]. They built a little shack for the DPW guard, and a fence with a gate and they called this “The New Town Dump”. The guard was there to insure that hot ashes were not dumped and everything was orderly. You could still dump there, yourself, but you had to pay the guard a fee or leave him a six pack of beer occasionally. Later we all found out that the guard was not suppose to be collecting a fee and our town fathers solved that problem by sending him out to work on another part of the DPW. The last that I was around the garbage collection trials was after my release from the Navy and I was now Chief of Police. The dump was a place for us to go shooting. Lot’s of Rats provided moving targets. One Easter Morning my dispatcher called and notified me that the dump was on fire and needed checking. I quickly climbed the three switchbacks and as I cleared the top I saw that we had a problem. The dump was burning and wind had taken it into a nearby stand of timber. The woods were tinder dry and the fire had immediately crowned moving across the ridge at 50 MPH and was surrounding my town below. As I looked back at where the fire had started and jumped to the crowns, two lumbermen [skidders] with their skidding teams ahead were racing their teams to safety, below the crown fire and as the fire started dropping down. I stood mesmerized by the life and death struggle taking place before me. Whoa…this is a whole different story, for another time in this blog. Leave it suffice to say that was my last contact with the towns rubbish problems. I now leave and move to Western Massachusetts with this story. [we leave the fortunes of Shorty behind us and move across the country to learn more about the adventures of fire starter, who has changed his name to Dick]

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Town Dump

Last week I was reading Dayna's blog, and I thought "garbage" was a great idea to expand upon. Not that Dayna's blog is garbage because it certainly is not. She blogged about putting garbage out and the terrible social pressure it put her under. Well worth reading. So I said to myself "you’re an old man dick and you know a lot about garbage so you should write about it." "You have 61 years of garbage in your background and someone might be interested". Not to many old people write about garbage, when they get old, rather they just contribute more and more to the subject. If I may be so forward as to steal a quote from Dayna's blog........poopie said..."Dayum've got garbage pickup? What a luxury!! I pack mine in the trunk of my car once a week and haul it to an undisclosed location :) Tires. I just burn." That is exactly where I am coming from. When I became 10 years of age I also became official garbage "fire starter" for my family. Back then [1953], in South Dakota, we had only a city dump supplied by the city. It was a pretty rudimentary dump as our city fathers had gone out and found a nice little valley in the hillside, that could not bee seen from the town or the surrounding farms and ranches, built a road to it and named it The Town Dump. That was about all the City Fathers wanted to be involved with. You could take anything there that you wanted. Tires, stumps, construction debris, washers and refrigerators were allowed. I always thought that the city burned all of the debris because it was always on fire but I later found out that was because people were always dumping live ashes from their fireplaces in the dump and catching it on fire. Back to becoming "fire starter". Anyone that thinks that I am a self-confessing pyromaniac would be better served by reading something else at this point. Being declared, "fire starter" was better than being family "garbage man" in my opinion. Being a "garbage man" required daily trips out back, lugging a stinky garbage can and then further sorting it outside, while being named "fire starter only required me to light the garbage on fire. Those of you who have carefully followed my blogging will right away realize that at 10 years of age I was seriously traumatized by my little brother Gary's birth and my subsequent banishment to the basement. Being declared, "fire starter" was probably appeasement onmy parents part to compensate for the psychological damage that had occurred to me. Back to my store as I digress too much. My main point is to explain to you, the vigilant reader, what garbage collection and disposal was like in my youth. In those days, houses had alleys and that is where rubbish duties took place. We had a big white garbage can rack, back there. The rack held 3 very beat up garbage cans. In front of the rack was an old 55-gallon metal drum, without a cover that was our incinerator. My next oldest brother [16 years old] was the "Garbage Man" and he would, upon my Mother's orders haul all of the trash to the alley. He would sort the trash, putting paper, boxes, etc into the incinerator. On top of all of that he dumped the gushy stuff [food scraps were given to the dog but what he wouldn't eat were put in the incinerator]. Cans with food still in them were also put in. Now it was my turn to start the fire. The purpose of all of this was to burn up the smelly food remnants and the labels and contents of food cans. When the incinerator got full, the family "garbage man" would tip it upside down putting the contents into the beat up metal cans in the racks. About once every 2 weeks, a private garbage man came around, with his brother shorty, and dumped the silver cans on his truck and took the contents with him to The Town Dump. I remember that his truck had 2x6 around the edges, to stop the garbage from falling out, but when the truck was full he left us about the same amount as he picked up. You are probably asking yourself "why not put higher sides on the truck so the garbage didn't fall out?" The answer to that and many other intriguing questions can be gleaned by rereading this posting. [Hint: Find the name of the drivers brother]. Hey this is a true story so let's not be falling asleep. In 1960 we moved to a nice home, on the edge of town, but we still had an alley, the garbage rack w/3 beat up cans, but no incinerator. The Fathers had outlawed the burning of trash because "It stunk" and people were tired of breathing it. There weren’t any ecological considerations being used, the burning garbage stunk and that was that. Sometime prior to this the garbage brothers had gotten a new truck. This one had a big white cylinder for a dump box and you could push a lever and all of the contents got compressed. Shorty was still dumping the trash and the brothers were now rich. {more about the exciting adventures of "Fire Starter" and "Shorty" in the next post}

Friday, March 04, 2005

I was tricked!!!!!

As I feared, Wife and Daughter deceived me. There was one other man. Some teacher that has to have some kinda disease because loss of weight was not his problem. Maby he was there to meet women as there were certainly a lot there. Big, tall, short, fat, young and old. My two gals are trying to explain this away as there were a lot of guys there last week. Riiiight! The trickery didn't stop there. My wife said she would pay my weekly dues for me, to help get me started. She paid for the next 10 weeks, so I have to go at least that long now. As part of the whole thing you are expected to sit through a weekly "pump up speech" of 45 minute duration [which was really 1 hour because of the dumb questions]. As a new member, you are expected to sit through a "Get Acquainted" speech of 45 minutes duration [which was really 1 hour because of really dumb questions]. I paid attention and learned how to work my scale, to count points, how to keep track and resisted all of the pitches for extra things such as a special holder to keep your daily points sheet, point guide, etc and fits right in your purse, snack foods, magazines, books, online "help aids" at $12.00/month, etc. etc. It wasn't a terrible experience as I've been to weddings worse than that. I knew I was in trouble when I got out of my truck infront of the "Womens Club" building. I had 6 points for breakfast today but I havn't lost any weight yet. Maby tomorrow. I'll let you know if I do. "I'll be watching out for ya"

Thursday, March 03, 2005

D-Day has arrived!

Well here it is 8 hours from weigh-in. I was so nervous that I couldn't even sleep last night because of the nightmares. You know the ones, where the beautiful maidens in filmy gowns chase you round and round until you drop from exhaustion. While your there on the ground pleading for your life, the barefoot maidens gambol about holding their gowns outstretched giggling and laughing at you. You know the ones I'm talking about.......... Don't you? I figure that this is, just like the picture below shows, because I have, once again, become suave and debonair because of my weight loss and the young ladies will be crowding around me, congratulating me.
The funny thing is that I weighed myself this morning and I have lost 6 pounds. It is probably due to the fact that there is so much broccoli and cauliflower in the fridge. Either that or it is because I was sick Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon. Probably the broccoli as I have heard it wears off on you. I have, in the past, tasted both of these vegetables and found them....not so bad and I could eat them "if I have to", but you'll notice I have never, ever, uttered the dreaded "A" word lest it start showing up, on the dinner plate, also. Wife and daughter went, with the little guy, to "The Christmas Tree Shops" last night leaving me and Randy in charge, responsible for a, acceptable points, meal. 4 delicious Fillet Mignons [6 points] were left for me and I poured over the Weight Watcher books to come up with a dandy tossed salad [0 points], special whole grain "Wonder" bread [1 point per slice] bread, and a "Cajun Style", long grain, brown rice dish. Water was available for a beverage[I have already polished off two, hearty, glasses of a fine, single-malt, scotch and water by this time, and if that's what it takes to get me through this, so be it]. About an eight point supper. Pretty good for my first attempt.

I have read my wife's books and most of it I understand except I don't do very good with the calculator especially when the caloric value of the food item is over 300 calories. I can't keep the points straight in my either. I'm old you know, and shouldn't have to go through this. See you tonight!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

This must be me after completing course Posted by Hello

Thursday is D Day

The count down is on. Thursday afternoon at 4 pm I am expected to present myself for a weigh- in at our local chapter of Weight Watchers. My weight is to be recorded, I pay my $10.50, get my books, be properly repremanded for letting my weight go, listen to a lecture about weight loss and pray that there is at least one other man in the building that I can visit with. I will be properly shamed and be expected to be fired up about the new diet plan at the same time [an oxymoronical statement, I believe]. I managed to elude last weeks weigh-in by being really busy at the last moment so I couldn't go. Actually I think my wife was feeling a little bit sorry for me and let me off the hook. My ace-in-the-hole was to be to sick to go but last week I got sick with a cold for real and it lasted 4 days. No one would buy another illiness in one week. Her and my daughter went and came back to report that there were lots of guys present and I wouldn't feel out of place at all. I wouldn't trust those two no matter what. I have lots of stories of them out and out lying to me about things just to get me involved. Pretend trips to get lunch end up with lunch being at the mall. Pleadings based on the deterioated condition of my knees and my bad back fall on deaf ears. Not to be trusted at all!
This has all happened because I have let myself get fat. The last 6 years have been especially bad because I have faithfully put on 10 #'s per year. A mere 1 # per month. 6 years ago I quit smoking and the food really started tasting good. Not that its an excuse because I certainly could have started losing 1 #/month, six years ago instead of putting it on. I am agreeing to this because my wife and daughter have asked me to. I have already had to start eating the diet because that is all that is in the house to eat. Broccoli and cauliflower are everywhere. My mother never made me eat those things so why should I have to now. George Bush #1 didn't eat them because his mother never made him eat them also. This will be a sad day for mankind on Thursday. I hope I escape with my manhood intact. Pray for me.

The latest on Randy. He ate my Sturgis Fire Dept baseball cap from Sturgis Motorclassics 2004. He managed to escape with his life somehow. He also ate a pair of my wife's glasses but that not my problem, if she wants to leave things laying around.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Hot Bunking

[Hot Bunking]
There were a lot of “cultural shock” things that I was introduced to in the next few weeks. That first night I had a very nice supper and met another 15 or so shipmates (I could use that term now) who were all very nice but about five of them insisted on calling me Puke. My next shock item was the term “Hot Bunk”. That term came into my lexicon when I asked where I could stow my sea bag and where my rack was. The COB gave me a brand new, small bag that I could use to hold some of my personal things, whenever I got my own bunk but until I got qualified, I would probably not have my own bunk. In silence I screamed “WHAT NO BED OF MY OWN!!! What kind of place is this? In sub school I got my own Bunk. In Machinest Mate School I got my own bunk. Even in Boot Camp I had my own bunk and now they are telling me I don’t have a bunk to call my own. This sub thing is small and cramped. I’ve already knocked my head half a dozen times and the place literally stinks. Everything, including the people smell like diesel fuel. I wonder if my Congressman knows about this?” What would take place, instead of sleeping in my own bunk, would be that I would hot bunk, which meant I would go look for an empty rack (which was usually someone’s bunk that had just got up to go on watch and the bed was still warm, hence the term “Hot Bunk”). It seems that all of this was caused because there were more sailors than bunks. The bunks were mattresses enclosed in a Naugahyde “flash cover” which was meant to keep the bunk clean when not in use or to keep us non-qual Pukes off the bedding. Before crawling in you were to pull the flash cover closed and sleep on top of it. This would mean that we would wake up in a pool of sweat, which resulted in lots of pimples. My mother never would have approved. As the COB went on about “the glory and tradition of Diesel Submarines, I drifted back to when I was 10 years old and my little brother Gary was born. I was unceremonsily removed from my bedroom, as that was now the Nursery. We lived in a three bedroom house and there was no longer any room for me. My two older brothers had a bedroom and threw a fit when Dad suggested I move in with them. So, it was off to the basement with me. The basement was big and had no natural light. Off the basement was the root cellar where Mom kept potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables and it had a dirt floor that allowed for strange little animals to join me in bed. The basement gave me a lot of complexes and nightmares. I hoped that this submarine thing would not do the same. This was all Gary’s fault! Eventually I got use to the basement so I guess I could get use to this “Hot Bunking” thing. After all there wasn’t any dirt floors to worry about.

I spent the rest of the evening sitting at a table in the mess decks getting use to diesel tasting, coffee. About 10 sailors joined me, off and on, welcoming me and offering advice. Some were qualified and others weren’t. I found out that the COB really was my Mom and would hold all sorts of things over my head such as liberty. We were allowed “Cinderella Liberty”. which meant that we would get to go “ashore”, “on the beach” but we had to be back on base by Midnight. The catch to all of this was that the COB held all of the Liberty Cards and you couldn’t get off the base without one. Marine Guards were at the gates and they would shoot you if you tried to get off base without a card or were late coming back. It was simple, if you were not up to date on your qualification schedule, no card, no women to chase. When you got qualified you got a permanent liberty card, which let you stay out after midnight drinking, carousing, chasing women and your own bunk verses “I would be kicked off the ship, a disgrace to the Navy”. What an incentive to get qualified. I headed for the berthing area and looked for a “Hot Bunk” to rest my confused bones.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Thursday, February 24, 2005

A Family Affair

This blogging thing really catches on rather quickly. My little brother just posted his blog which is . G-G-G-Gary is a former professional writer [newspaper editor type] but manages to get hiself into trouble with his writing. Our 1st amendment right and Freedom of the press you know. Should be interesting.
My wife and daughter are, right now, joining Weight Watchers. I was supposed to join but decided not to. Joining would be right up there on my list next to elective surgery and following having a tooth pulled. I'll loose the weight somehow. It is one of my New Years Resolutions but I just haven't started yet. I probably should go back and revisit those resolutions and see what I haven't fulfilled yet. I do remember that taking up painting, was one of the resolutions. I have found a class, for free, but it requires me to take a couple of hours off every Tuesday and every Tuesday it seems that I have been so swamped that I can't take the time off.........Or is that just another excuse? While I am visiting my past, I reported to you on Jan 19th about this new wonder bed made by the "Deluth" company that, hopefully, Randy would not be able to eat. He had eaten 3 beds prior to the purchase of this bed. I am happy to announce that he still has been unable to penetrate the bed. Pulls it out, drags it around, chews on it regularly and sleeps on it but not tear it apart. He, accidently, managed to open it up once but has been unable to repeat. It has a velcro fastener on one end which allows you to clean the inside filling if necessary [how thoughtful]. He got it open and pulled out a small amound to spread around the kitchen but it must have closed up on him . This is, without a doubt, the single most important invention of the 21st century. They cater to the Tradesman and dogs, with clothing and tools Check it out.

Recently I got caught up in "The Pinewood Derby" craze, thanks to my daughter the Den Mother. She invited her Denparents, that didn't have the proper woodworking facilities in their homes to ours because her father has a woodworking shop and they could use his tools and instruction to help build their son's car. This is probably a lot like inviting the ladies over for tea. Heaven forbid that the house might be dirty. Wellll.............My shop looks like a tornado went through it. My construction activities, as of late, have been outside projects and the shop became only: a holding area for tools overnight; the workbenches convient spots to clean out nail aprons; shelving a good place to store ebay boxes; the floor a convient place for the Christmas decorations and patio furniture. Needless to say I could not let the Den fathers and mothers view, much less use, my shop in it's present state of dishovel. Sooo.......I took Friday off from work and after a hearty breakfast at my favorite restaurant [incentive from my wife] I started the job of cleaning and properly arranging my shop. It took all day and until noon the following day, the day the parents arrived. It looked rather spiffy I must say. The parents came, and their "little blocks of wood" in hand and with their children in tow. My Daughter, the consumate Den Mother, met them with special design sheets she had prepared to ease them through the design process and which was transferred to the "little blocks of wood" for cutting. I then took those "little blocks of wood", and with the parents watching, converted these "little blocks of wood"into future racing cars for the Pine Wood Derby circuit. The children who were thoroughly bored by now, were being led by my Grandson in outside in play [a blessing]. An afternoon of cutting, sanding and Derby Car strategy was spent by all. Soon everyone left, with all of their fingers intact, and I was happy to see them go. Last night was an evening spent painting cars, now that the routing and sanding is over. We still have to install wheels and weights but the hardwork is done. I turned to the internet for advice and don't you know their were thousands of sites to chose from. Some sites even had detailed discussions about the aerodynamic considerations and the physics involved. Others offered to sell things such as special designs and special insights into having a winning car. This turned into such a craze for the adults that they even have a racing class for them. My daughter has built her own car and drew flowers all over calling it "Flower Power". Who would have thought? When I was a Cub Scout, all we ever did was make crafts for our Mothers and wore stupid little blue hats with shorts bills.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Welcome to the Submarine Service

It was July of 1963. John F Kennedy was President and the Cuban Missile Crisis was 10 months ago. I had just arrived at the Submarine Base in Key West Florida and was standing on the pier, with my sea bag, waiting for my “boat” to arrive from daily op’s. I watched in amazement as my new ship rounded the sea wall and was maneuvering to line up with the dock. Black smoke was coming out of both sides of the gray ship rumbling the presence of powerful diesel engines, as an office was barking commands, “All ahead one third, right full rudder”, then “Back full, rudder amidships”. I stood there in awe, taking everything in when suddenly a “Monkeys fist” [A round knot and weight attached to a heaving line] narrowly missed my head; but a large coil of thin line hit me in the head and knocked my hat off. Trying to figure out what was happening, some sailor on the bow hollered at me “Hey puke pull out the line”. I didn’t know what a “Puke” meant but I kinda remembered from Boot Camp that line meant rope. About this time, two sailors rode up on bikes, a truck pulled up and these sailors tied the ship up, pushed over a gangplank and started hooking up shore power, which I would later learn connected the sub to the real world with; electricity, telephone, freshwater. I hoisted up my sea bag and headed for the gangplank and was promptly met, by what appeared to be, the entire crew charging over the gangplank heading for liberty. I waited until all had left and then headed up the gangplank myself. I saluted the aft end of the boat, where a flag was flying, and then saluted the bridge where two officers were standing and talking. “Permission to come aboard Sir” I shouted still saluting. I patiently awaited the return salute that would allow me to terminate my salute. It never came. The two officers glanced at me and returned to their conversation. About this time a young sailor, who was strapping a Colt .45 on his hip, walked up holding out his hand and said, “You must be Dickson, welcome aboard the Picuda.” He had a small, Stainless steel, desk on a post that he now stuck into a hole in the deck. He then pulled a green book out of the desk and wrote my name in it with the time of my arrival. I waited until he finished his duty, pulling out his .45, releasing the clip, pulling the receiver looking for a round in the chamber, pointed the weapon skyward and pulled the trigger. The look in his face was that he expected the weapon to fire. When it didn’t, he calmly put the clip of live ammunition back in the pistol and holstered it. I then said, “What is a Puke”. “That’s what we are, non-quals or not qualified on submarines!” he replied, “welcome to the Submarine Service!”
I laid below, met the Yeoman who checked me in, then the Executive Officer, then the Captain who took me to the mess decks and turned me over to the “Chief of the Boat” “This is your new mother” the Captain said as he turned and left. What a strange place this, I thought, where officers don’t salute, seamen run around with loaded pistols, Commanding officers introduce you to enlisted men who are pretending to be my mom and every one I meet now calls me a Puke. The COB informed me that “Puke” was a term of endearment used by qualified sailors when they referred to nonqualified sailors. It wasn’t a term that he especially liked or used but what could you do. I tried to keep that in mind, over the next few months, when he used the term as I was being reprimanded for falling behind on his schedule of qualifications. I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by it. The COB handed me my Qualification card, told me the rules, told me never to loose the card, told me I had 6 months to get it filled out, and if I didn’t get it done I would be kicked off the ship, a disgrace to the Navy. The COB informed me that besides being a “Puke” I was also a “Nukie Poo”, another term of endearment and I should try and not take it very seriously. He said it came from the fact that I was eventually headed for a nuclear powered sub but I was now in the middle of a bunch of “Smoke Boat Sailors” and most of them didn’t like “Nuckie Poo’s”. The Topside Watches words were ringing in my ears, “Welcome to the Submarine Service”. Think I’ll go find a phone and give Mom a call. I think she will be worried if I made it or not.

Monday, February 14, 2005

And Randy ate the birthday cake!!!

Yesterday we went to a birthday party for my daughter, her friend and the Pastors wife. Great time as it turned into a story telling time. One couple, our Pastor and wife are from Korea, another couple, she a Jew and he a Methodist, spent 12 years in New York City and my family who has lived all over the country. Funny stories. Our Hostess, it seems, is a collector of Disney Pins. They go almost every year and she showed us her extensive collections. Apparently you have a lanyard to wear, around your neck, and it contains the pins your willing to trade. The best to trade with are the actual Disney employees. There is a whole world out there that I do not even know about yet. There was Birthday Cake left over and we brought home two pieces, putting it in a place that Randy can't reach, or so we thought. This morning, all that was left was some of the paper plate it came on and some plastic wrap. Bad Dog!

The submarine photo is my old diesel sub surfacing [1964]. I have been fooling around with writing a book entitled "From Submarines to Cemeteries" and that is the opening salvo. My daughter has been urging me to continue writing the book. I'm just not sure I have 50,000 words in me.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Self portrait

Sam's self portrait in magic marker Posted by Hello
I am going to try and make Thursday's special with a little something about my Grandson.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

My Wife's favorite party.

Hi Friends. Another great dog story. This one is about Abbey and is about my wife’s favorite party. To bring you up to date, Abbey [I mistakenly called her Mitsie in an earlier post] was a small Shih Tzu that my daughter brought into our house to become a playmate for Cody who was a small Rat Terrier and whatever crawled under the fence. Mommy kitty [who came to us in a blizzard with a load of kittens in her belly] was between litters and had adopted Abbey as one of her own, regularly bathing her and trying to feed her by bringing small dead animals and bugs into our house. Well, we held a big family party [my wife’s family] in our backyard one Saturday. Very well attended and some of her Aunts and older Cousins were a bit of the stuffed shirt variety. The party was a little weak with a lot of polite visiting and we felt we were under a microscope. Some relations were hiding in a back corner under the tent and others had grabbed the best chairs and were up front by the food. Cody and Abbey were allowed to run loose and visited everyone. Abbey was standing in the middle of the group and suddenly gave out with a loud “huh---Urk”, which garnered everyone’s attention, and she coughed up a dead, slime covered, whole, mouse. It was a present from Momma Kitty. Well everyone started screaming. They apparently thought Abbey was possessed and had spit up an alien life form. I was disgusted and hollered at my wife or daughter to get it picked up but my wife was in a fit of hysterics, Uncontrollable laughing hysterics and holding her side unable to speak or breath [she did that once at a wake but that’s another story]. After everyone regained their composure the party went on and my wife was sent away to laugh in private. When able to speak she just said “The sight of that mouse coming out and those old ladies screaming was to much”. No one wanted to hold cute, little, Abbey after that. My Wife's favorite party??

Friday, February 04, 2005

Morning with the Dicksons

You were probably wondering how a day at our house starts, weren't you? Well I'm going to tell you. It always gets hairy when My wife, Daughter, Big Dog, Little dog and Guinea Pig all get in the same area at one time, first thing in the morning. No Grandson to add to the confusion because he was warmly snuggled back in bed because of a 2 hour snow delay. It started when I wrote on the blackboard, going out the door, a checklist for Daughter as she heads out the door for her teaching job "1] Don't forget your lunch, 2] Don't forget special bag for school 3] Don't forget to pick up medicine." All a thinly veiled reference to her action of yesterday morning. Meanwhile wife says to me "Did you feed Simon [little Dog]? I counter "Yes but maybe not enough " implying that I had given him food but not enough to make him get sick and throw up [which he sometimes does]. Wife says"You feed him what was left in the can and didn't want to open another can. didn't you? " Daughter responds "Yea". I strategically exit and go upstairs to get my belt and suspenders. When I come back down, I have gathered my reserves and had time to think things out. "Not only did I feed Simon[little dog] first, out of that can, but I fed Randy [Big Dog] out of the can also. Note: We feed Randy [big dog] by mixing 1/2 can of canned food with huge amounts of dried food thereby fooling him into thinking he is getting same food as Simon [Little Dog]. It works. And besides I was the one that opened that can last night and fed Simon[little Dog]" "Oh and by the way, no one has to go back upstairs and turn off the lights because I got them all" [a personal pet peeve of mine] I smugly add. My wife then calmly says "I don't know anything about any of this but I am going to go back upstairs and continue washing some more of your clothes." I quickly realized that I had left yesterdays clothes in a big pile on the bedroom floor instead of in the hamper. A big Pet Peeve of hers. Check and Check Mate.