Thursday, September 30, 2010

They Finally Agreed on Something!!!

The impossible has happened. Both Houses of Congress have passed similar bills (The Senate vote was
unanimous; I don't know the vote count of the House of Reps.) requiring TV stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as regular programming.


But did anyone see the pigs take wing? I missed it, darn it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Everything Turns into a BIG Production!

Last evening as Mr. Fixit and I were returning home from Grandparents’ Night at Bella’s school, we found the only way into our subdivision was blocked by a fire truck and other emergency vehicles. We were told by a firefighter that an electric line was down and the transformer had blown. (There was foul smelling smoke from the transformer, and the bushes in front of one house were burning.) She said she would guide us around the line so that we could get home. This was a few minutes before 8:00 pm. The electricity was on in the subdivision where the line had fallen and in ours. I remarked that I was surprised that we still had power.

About 9:30 the whole neighborhood plus the one up the hill went dark--completely dark. It seemed funny not seeing all those little colored lights on various electronic gizmos throughout our house. It was pitch black except for the light emanating from my laptop which was running a scan at the time of the power outage. It kicked over to the battery as soon as the power went out. Using it as a flashlight, I started looking for the real flashlight that is usually kept here by the computer so that Mr. Fixit can use it whenever he has to fiddle work on the computer tower. Of course, the flashlight wasn’t where it should have been.

Being Mrs. Fixit, I usually carry a small LED flashlight in my purse. As luck would have it, it wasn’t in the purse that I had used to go to Grandparents’ Night. The light from the laptop that I was carrying around like a flashlight was barely sufficient to go through other handbags for the little flashlight, but I found it in the third one I seached. Voila, light!

With the little light, I performed a house search for the large computer room flashlight. It wasn’t anywhere I looked.

The next course of action was to gather candles so that I wouldn’t waste the batteries in my little flashlight.

I could only find votive candles which give meager illumination and one pillar candle. The pillar candle was the decorative one in the bathroom. Next came the search for a means to light the candles. Since I stopped smoking, I no longer have matches or lighters close at hand. I found some fireplace matches exactly where they should be. Surprise! Surprise!

Okay! I was all set! Candles with a little flashlight as backup. I then went back to searching for the large misplaced flashlight. I found one in the garage, but it was an old one that won’t hold a charge. There was less light coming from that than from any of the votive candles. I finally found the “good” computer room flashlight, but, wouldn’t your know it? The halogen part needed to be recharged. The LED part was nice and bright though.

I used that to take my meds and my insulin. By that time, it was 11:00 so I decided to go to bed. I quickly realized that even the pillar candle doesn’t give enough light to read. First, NCIS LA was interrupted and now I can’t read! Talk about adding insult to injury! I decided to use the purse-sized light to read. I had just settled down when the power was restored. Yea!

All of this just goes to prove that every minor little problem in the Fixit household turns out to be a major pain in the derriere! And I know the reason for this one. If I were more organized, I would have known where the big flashlight was; I should have seen to the recharging of the battery BEFORE it was needed. I should have moved the handbag light into the currently used purse instead of leaving it in one I used days before. I should have tapers, not votive candles, stored conveniently and not in a box on the bottom of a stack of other boxes on the top shelf in the junk closet. I would have matches stored with the candles.

It’s situations like this that make me wish I were more organized. And if wishes were horses, the beggars would ride.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Best Ever Gift

Last month when I decided to stop blogging, I knew I had to save all the material I had written since November, 2004, especially the first blog that I started because of my late brother. I loved his sense of humor, his quick wit, his cleverness, and even his run-on sentences. I tried several methods of saving “Observations of an Ordinary Person” (November 30, 2004 - July 13, 2007) but all were unsatisfactory. Either they were too time consuming or the format wasn’t satisfactory. I asked Jason if he could offer any suggestions to save my posts along with the pictures and comments. He gave me a couple of suggestions that I had already tried.

He later found a wonderful way to preserve my memories. He gave me the result Friday, not as a birthday gift, but as a “Just Because” gift. I had requested that they not give me any more presents on the usual gift giving occasions. He found a company online to print and bind my whole first blog with comments and pictures in hardcover. He chose the colors and the photos of the wisteria on the front and back of the book.

11 ¼” by 8 ¾”
Length - 240 pages

First page

Table of contents (11 Pages)

Sample pages

The book has every post, picture, and comment. (It also has every typo and every example of my bad grammar since it's taken directly from my site. If I had known, I would have done a lot of editing.) The quality of the paper and the binding is excellent, and the color in the photos is true. My photography doesn't do justice to the book. There are no washed out areas in the printing as it appears in my poor pictures, and the glare on the flash on the front diminishes the quality of the cover.

Of course, I cried when I saw it. Jason said when he was reading one of the posts about my brother to two of his friends in his office, his eyes became a little misty. When he looked up at them, they both were in tears.

Jason and Alisa, there are no words to convey my gratitude for this gift. It’s the best gift ever!!!

(Click on photos for detail.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fun Things To Do Besides Being Rude to Telemarketers

It’s bad enough that you feel just awful; it’s bad enough that you are bored out of your mind but you don’t even feel like reading a book or passing the time online. That paranoia that usually hits you in the middle of the night hits at 3:00 in the afternoon. You do feel like eating but not well enough to go to the kitchen to heat up a can of soup so you eat a slice of plain white bread. After the second day the guilt begins. You see the dishes that need to be loaded into the dishwasher, the laundry hamper is overflowing, and your local Wal-Mart is in financial difficulty because you haven’t visited in several days.

However, during my recent illness, I found a few fun things to do;

While lying on your back (It’s a little uncomfortable lying on your side or even turning you head because if you do, the nasal discharge flows freely down your cheek and onto your pillow. Who knew snot could feel so cold on a pillow case?) you can watch the ceiling fan turn and try to predict when that glob of dust will fly off the lazily turning blades.

After the decongestant has dried you sinuses a bit and you can once again turn your head, you can fire up the DVD player and watch nine “Midsomer Murders” episodes in a row. (I may never watch Inspector Barnaby again.) You can also listen to umpteen old time radio detective shows on your mp3 player. Warning: After the about the third hour, the charming naiviete (imagine the accent mark on the last “e” in “naivete) will wane and your mind will turn to mush.

There is also a chance that you could get your name into the Guinness Book of World Records if you keep count of your consecutive sneezes. My best was 11 in a row. How exciting!

You can compose scathing, cogent blog posts in your head about Newt Gingrich, Sara Palin, the purveyors of fiction on Fox News, and the effect of witchcraft in the political arena. You can write imaginary pithy comments on the posts of tea baggers that will miraculously change their points of views to your way of thinking. Fever makes fantasy even more fun.

For a really good time, your spouse might simply enter the room and thoughts of homicide will pass through your mind. That could be a side effect of a “Midsomer Murders” overdose, but planning the perfect murder kills another quarter of an hour.

My cold is getting a little better, and as you can tell, I’m not as grumpy as I was before.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sniffle, Sniffle; Cough, Cough; Sneeze, Sneeze

The last week or so hasn’t been pleasant. To say I feel like death warmed over would be painting a rosy picture of how I actually feel.

I suppose it started with my six months’ checkup. Things are a bit out of kilter. What I don’t understand is, why do I always get sick after a doctor’s appointment. It would be nice if I could get sick the day before my visit and kill two birds with one stone so to speak.

Cole has started baseball tournaments with one team that he’s on. Saturday was cool, cloudy, with just a hint of rain. They played at a local college field that was nice. Most of the seating is shaded by large trees.

Sunday’s game was played about an hour and a quarter away. They played four games altogether. He did very well.

My problem began with no lunch on Sunday. My glucose level dropped very low by late afternoon, and after the game, we stopped to get a real coke to bring it up a quickly. It shot up way too high leaving me feeling awful. To complicate matters I had used my last dose of insulin the night before. We didn’t get back in time to refill the prescription. I had to try to balance lowering the high glucose and not having the insulin to help with needing to eat.

Monday when I woke (thank heavens, I woke) I had a cold which continued to get worse as the week went on. I was in bed most of the day Wednesday after we had lunch with Bella at school. Thursday I was in bed all day. Friday I had to venture out to buy more OTC cold remedies and go to the grocery. There was laundry to sort, meals to cook, and dishes to wash. I cheated on the meals. I made a huge pot of pasta so it would last Mr. Fixit for a few days.

Today I’m going to spend one more day lying around like a giant slug since Mr. Fixit has gone to Charlotte, NC, to the drag races.

I hate feeling like this! It doesn’t do nice things for my personality. I actually told off three telemarketers. They were with the same company by the way. Why do companies hire such rude people when they are trying to sell a product? It merely ensures that I will purchase nothing from them even if I could use their product/service. And why are so many telemarketing jobs outsourced to foreign countries? US citizens could use these jobs. Surely, Americans have the same qualifications since the only qualifications seem to be the ability to speak broken English and  to be rude. We Americans mangle the English language and can be as rude as the rest of the world. Of course, we expect to be paid well for being so qualified.

See how grumpy I am?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tip of the Day

Be sure to check the label of the aerosol can twice to be sure that you have spray starch instead of bug spray before ironing. If you don’t check twice, the result could be limp curtains. On the positive side, bugs won’t come near your windows.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

WABAC trip - Part III

I don’t know how long we lived the little shack. We stayed until a better house was available. The new house was within walking distance to the school with the bad water. I found the house easily because it was on the main road. The road to the school ran beside the house and the little grocery store across the way, Elliott’s, was still there. At least, the building was there, but it appeared to be empty.

The house was four rooms with an indoor bathroom and great hardwood floors. Mother would wax and buff them, and Gary and I would slide across the living room in our socks. It was like ice skating. We had to be really careful or one could fall and break her, hmm, neck. It was a bit of a letdown to see that the house had been allowed to run down so badly. It appears that it has been vacant for a long time. It was also a lot larger in my memory.
Side View

I actually had a girl to play with, Patricia Elliot. (It’s strange I remember a name from 60 years ago, but the names of my grandchildren are difficult to bring to mind sometimes.) Her grandparents owned the little store.

Patricia (Standing) and Me
Circa 1951

Sixty years ago the road leading to the school had only one or two houses on it. Now there are houses built on very small lots all the way to where the school was.

The school is no long there. A church now sits in its place. The pump with the terrible water is also gone. I was so disappointed.

Dad was transferred when I was in the second grade. We had finished our first six weeks grading period of the school year. We then moved to Rogersville, Tennessee. Mother must have been thrilled. The house they found had all the modern conveniences including a bathroom and running water. We lived there from my second grade year until the summer before I was going into fifth grade. We lived in a total of four different houses during that short time.

Maybe a trip to Rogersville will be next on the agenda, but that’s a bit further away. It may be too far away to be a day trip.

(I had a terrible time inserting the picture of my friend and me. Darn, Mr. Microsoft and my lack of foresight. I saved a lot of pictures in Power Point Format, but Power Point is not installed on this computer. (It's far too expensive.) I had to perform several feats of computer wizardry using two computers just to include this picture. It also looks as if I have another gigantic project to "undo" and save the hundred of photos I saved using PP. Damn, damn, double damn!)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

WABAC Trip - Part II

Since we were given very little time to move, Mother and Dad had to take whatever housing was available. That turned out to be a shack. As I remember, it was only three rooms with no running water or bathroom. Gary and I slept in the living room; he had a single bed and I slept on the couch. Mother and Dad’s bedroom had no ceiling. When you looked up you saw the rafters and the tin roof. The sound of rain hitting that tin roof was so loud that it scared me.

The water supply came from a spring in a nearby river and was piped to a spigot in the front yard. When there was a heavy rain and the river ran more swiftly, the concrete slab covering the spring would slide and the water from the spigot would be muddy. Mother strained it through cheesecloth and boiled it before using it.

The house was heated by a coal stove, but I think there must have been an electric stove for cooking because I don’t remember the house being extremely hot as would have been the case if she had used a wood stove. The house had never been painted. It was that weathered gray color. Next door was a barn that stabled a mule. It’s funny, but I don’t remember ever seeing anyone taking care of the mule.

The house was located on a dirt road that intersected with a blacktopped highway. I also don’t remember any other houses on our little road. A bit past our house was the river with an old grist mill and dam. Behind the house was an open field where Gary and I found lots of arrowheads. There was also a pond where we could fish. This was where we had a UFO sighting.

 I have mostly fun memories of living there. I don’t imagine my mother had such great memories. She was a city girl and probably a bit spoiled. I know that my grandmother always had “help” for the housework, and she did all the cooking. (Like me, my mother hated housework and cooking.) Can you imagine how hard it must have been for her just carrying the water into the house for cooking, cleaning, and bathing? Doing laundry must have been a major undertaking. I don’t know if I could have coped with the primitive conditions. She even made jelly for the first time in her life. There were blackberries and muscadines growing along the road. She would send Gary and I out with buckets to pick whatever was ripe at the time with the warning to watch for snakes. I hated that! I can remember the fear, the heat of the summer days, and the feel of the silky dust of the road on my bare feet. I hated picking berries, but I never said anything.

The lady who sold us milk and hand-churned butter gave me a chicken for a pet. I always thought that chicken was as dumb as stump because it would never some when I called it. I thought it would be like a dog.

Gary had a bb gun. I almost cut my finger off trying it out. I begged for days for a chance to shoot it. At last, Dad said I could try it. He showed me how to use the lever to cock it and how to aim it. The first time I tried to cock it, somehow my finger got between the gun and lever. When I released the lever, it cut my finger almost to the bone. My dad put a popsicle stick splint on it and bandaged it. I never asked to shoot again.

 We had to walk out to the highway to catch the bus. Dad also waited there for his ride to work. He carpooled. At the intersection was a turkey farm. Those darned turkeys hated Dad and I. As soon as they saw us, they would come running up to the fence gobbling like crazy. I thought if they ever made it across the fence, I would be pecked to death. They did the same to Dad. Gary was completely ignored by the turkeys, but he took great delight with my fear.

 I don’t know how long we lived there, but it couldn’t have been long because we had moved to a nicer house before the start of the next school year, The new house had an indoor bathroom! Yea!!

Mr. Fixit and I found the road where the house was. The house and barn is gone, the road has been paved, but is almost one lane in places, and there are several houses there now. I was surprised that I found that little road--60 years is a long time.

Front View of the Mill
The wooden structure was not there originally. It looks like a gazebo-like
structure for picnics.
Back View of Mill
The waterwheel is gone, but the dam remains.
To see young man walking across, click to enlarge
The old swimming hole
This looks as it did when I was a child. The water appears to
be low, making the "beach" area much bigger. The fall of the
dead trees and brush wasn't there either.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Trip in Mr. Peabody's WABAC Machine

Mr. Fixit and I decided to take a daytrip to explore a little of my history. The trip took us to Whitwell, Marion County, Tennessee where I lived for about a year and a half when I was five years old. Forty years ago when we were visiting my family in Kentucky, we took a trip to see the Whitwell area. I wasn’t driving during that trip so I had no clue now how to find the houses where we had lived. On this trip all we had to rely on my 60 year old memories to find the little community, Sulfur Springs Crossroads, where we lived. It wasn’t on the map.

I don’t know where my dad worked immediately after WW II. I know that he managed a small grocery store in Paducah, Kentucky, when I was three or four. At the time, TVA was building power generating plants in Kentucky and Tennessee, and I suppose that he wanted to make more money so he applied at TVA. He was hired and sent to the southeastern corner of Tennessee. I don’t know for sure the name of the plant in Tennessee, but I think it was probably Hale’s Bar Dam. We moved there the summer when I was 5.

The house we found to rent was very nice. It was furnished and had a nicely appointed kitchen with running water, a “cow patch” across the road, and a mountain in our backyard. There was no indoor bathroom or its own outhouse. We had to use the outhouse of the landlord’s house which was next door. Another drawback was the coal mine trucks and the lumber trucks that raced up and down the road.

Gary, my older brother, learned to milk cows and to trap mink and muskrat. I learned to trap minnows. I also discovered whittling. I traded my cap gun and holster for a pearl handled pocket knife and spent many hours sitting on the porch whittling blocks of wood and sticks down to nothing. We also learned to run into the house when the bobcat who lived on the mountain came to visit. I learned to walk on stilts that my dad made, and I learned to ride my bike. We played cowboys and Indians with the boys across the road and explored the woods. Dad checked us for ticks on a daily basis.

The school we attended had two classrooms which served six grades taught by two teachers. It also had an outhouse and the water was from a pump fed by a sulfur spring. The water was almost undrinkable. And the smell! Horrible!! Miss Wilma, my teacher, wasn’t great, but I learned to read and spell above my grade level. My math, however, was terrible. My dad took over teaching me to add and subtract.

We lived there until after Christmas. I remember the presents I received that year. We had to move when the landlord’s son was unexpectedly discharged from the army.

The house was no longer there when we looked for it on that trip 40 years ago; there was only an empty lot. I was a bit disappointed that Mr. Fixit and I couldn’t locate where the house had been. I remember details about the location, but I had no idea where to start looking.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's the Little Things

Sometimes it the little things that give me pleasure:

The smell of freshly mown grass.
Getting into a bed with fresh, crisp sheets on a hot, summer night.
Walking into the air conditioned house when the outdoor temperature and humidity are almost

Friday, September 3, 2010

Follow-up Pics

These photos are a follow-up to my post of August 2, 2010, in which I showed the neighbor's tree after the yard guys had merely clipped the muscadine vines climbing it. I also included some pictures of our cats.

A few days after clipping the vines the young men came back and pulled down some of the dead vines making it look a little better. You can see how the vines killed the foliage on the lower half of the tree.
Little Girl
Little Girl, our inside cat, takes my afternoon nap time reading time as her time to have her tummy
rubbed. Mr. Fixit says she is the spoiled. Nah, not a bit.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I'm back! I've tried over the past couple of weeks to leave blogging behind, but here I am again. I discovered something rather alarming. Blogging has become one of my few conversational outlets; it's also a little sad. Even if no one ever comments, it feels like I'm a little more connected to world, and I don't feel so lonely.

While taking this short leave, every day I would see or experience something and  think, "Wow, that would be a good subject to blog about." (Are the grammar police out there? I ended that sentence with a preposition.) Now that I'm sitting at the keyboard, I only have a few ideas. Also, I have a bunch of chores to do today so they will have to wait.

The weather has cooled a bit; the forecast calls for a high of 95 degrees today. The humidity is down a bit. It has been possible to sit on the deck in the late afternoon without sweat pouring and gasping for breath. I'm so glad.