Category Archives: Prattlings

Blondie’s New Ride

truck
Towels and newspaper headed for an animal rescue.

Well, it’s time.  Time to replace my truck.  The 1999 Chevy S10 pick-up I’ve been driving has almost 200,000 miles on it and it’s just time to get something younger.

We were thinking about getting another Subaru: a car, and abandoning the pick-up idea all together.  At first thought, I couldn’t remember much of anything I’ve hauled in the truck since I stopped building furniture for a living.  Now, I mostly haul dogs.  Having an SUV or cross-over with room for a couple of crates inside would solve the problems of hauling a dog (who is too wild to ride inside the cab with me) on real hot days, or bitter cold days, or in the rain.  But then I started to remember:

  • Those times I hauled firewood home for winter heating
  • Those times I hauled trash for Humane Society of Jefferson County
  • Those times I hauled 20-some bags of kibble for Newport Animal Shelter
  • Hauling supplies for Steele Away Home when they moved
  • Hauling away a large live animal trap for Helen
  • … and a few other times of doing favors for friends

No, having a pick-up has proven quite useful on many occasions, and is likely to do so in the future, given new things I’ve gotten into.  Besides, it is rumored that if a mountain man gives up his truck, he ends up eating kale pancakes and playing ice hockey. Continue reading Blondie’s New Ride

Boggled by Language Abuse

language, words, meaningBeing a writer, I take language: the meanings and flow of words, seriously.  Words have power and precise meanings.  Effective communication means using words properly.  Throwing together a mish-mash of terms or making words up by splicing improper suffixes onto a good word breeds confusion.  Even newscasters are trying to sound hyper-intelligent by tossing out big words spliced together using parts of two legitimate words.

But common terms are abused as well.  Just now I was asked if my truck runs on diesel gasoline.  This was not an either-or question, it was a yes-no question.  Diesel fuel and gasoline are two different things.  Using them together caused a train crash in the switch yard of my brain and boggled me for a moment.

An acquaintance often used the word “empowerized”, a melding of empowered and energized to convey vitality and excitement.  But it sent a little shiver up my neck every time I heard it.

A few other language laughables I can think of include:

  • I’ll go convertsate with him
  • I’m so flustrated!
  • That’s supposably a great new product.
  • A CEO philanthropist was referred to as a philanthropreneur by a news anchor.
  • Sorry, I’m not sure where I am.  I need to get orientated.

I could go on, but you get the idea.  And this doesn’t even get into words like irregardless.  Regardless means without regard.  Sticking the “ir” on the front makes it mean “not without regard” which is the opposite of what they’re trying to say.  There are SO many of these in common use today that I could go on all day.  But I’ll spare you that.

Now to be fair, the English language that we have today was made up by sticking bits of words from many other languages together.  And it evolves as each generation rises up and squishes it into their own mold of preferred expression.  So I may have no right at all to complain about younger people making up or twisting words into new meanings.  Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky.  Maybe I should just suckupicate and deal with it.

Keeping Cool On July 4th

We cool our house with a small window air conditioner.  It’s actually rated to cool a single, 10 foot by 10 foot room, but it’s in our 12’ x 15’ bedroom (not counting the Master Bath and Marie’s walk-in closet) and we pull cool air out into the rest of the house with a fan that blows down the hallway toward the kitchen and living room.  One would think that this would not work at all.  But it does!

That one dinky window AC does keep our home comfortable (comfortable for US, maybe not for those accustomed to living in a meat locker) because when we built our house we prioritized strength and insulation over square footage.  Continue reading Keeping Cool On July 4th

tools

Wielding Unfamiliar Tools

I am something of a handyman.  I often make repairs around our house and property.  I am, by no means, an expert at plumbing, electrical, or concrete work but I understand the principles and can usually cobble my way through a repair project.  For small repairs I often employ the familiar tools and various glues, a staple gun, nails, screws, and yes: even duct tape.  But today I needed to make a repair for which none of these would help.  Today I needed to bring into service — a needle and thread!

One of the dogs got overly enthusiastic and tore a hole in the cover of a dog bed.  Discovering that there was “stuff” inside, she proceeded to pull what was inside, out.  Thus she tore the end off one of the fabric tubes full of fiberfill that makes a bolster around the dog bed.  She also pulled a basketball sized wad of fiberfill out.  I caught her at it, gathered the filler and put the bed up until it could be repaired.  Today, I tackle that. Continue reading Wielding Unfamiliar Tools

A “Poke” from God

If you are at all savvy with Facebook, you know that a “poke” from a friend is just a way of saying “hello” without saying anything.  Kinda a reminder that they are there.

There is a place I have long thought would be a great place to work, and I heard they were hiring.  I picked up an employment application the other day, took it home and filled it out.  On my way to turn it in today I found myself asking, “Why am I seeking a job?”

Officially, I am now retired, but it’s not like I’m bored and need something to occupy my time.  What with yard work and a herd of dogs to train and heal so they can find forever homes, I have plenty to do.  It’s not as though we’re hard up financially, we could use a little extra; there are some projects I’d like to get done but God provides, and they will get done.  So why do I need a job again?

Just at that moment the SERVICE ENGINE light lit up in the truck’s dashboard. ‘Oh yeah, now I remember.’  Thanks for the poke, God!

If…

This poem by Rudyard Kipling was what the pastor at the church we attended this morning opened with.  I’ve heard the first part re-done many ways, but I’d forgotten what an excellent poem it is.  Enjoy!

If…

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: Continue reading If…

Cochise Is Declared “Unusual” Once Again

Cochise wasn't expecting anything unusualLast week Cochise went to Cedarwood for his annual inspection — I mean examination, shots, blood tests, and a good, thorough poking all over.  He had an unusual lump on his leg that raised some concerns.

In the end, what they found was described as “the most unusual thing we’ve ever seen.” – which is becoming a recurring theme with Cochise. Continue reading Cochise Is Declared “Unusual” Once Again

Making Dog Bed Repairs

Every once in a while, the dogs get revved up because something exciting is going on outside and I’m not in the house to calm them down (because I’m part of what’s going on outside).  When they get all wild-eyed they sometimes decide they need to “kill” a dog bed. The damage is not intentional.  If they flap a blanket, damage is minimal.  Flap a dog bed and it tends to tear the cover.  Once the cover is torn, stuffing pops out.  Once stuffing pops out, everyone *needs* to help pull it out.  There is just something about dogs and fiberfill!

Callie earns bedroom sleeping privileges.

This is mostly Callie, but Blondie sometimes gets into it too.  Callie is usually very good to her bedding, but when The Beagles get nusto and run through the house Barroorooing, that gets Callie excited too — if she’s loose.  When crated she sits calmly and watches them.  So if I have to leave the house for more than a couple of minutes, and can’t take them out with me, I crate Callie and Buddy.  The rest will be fine.

When a bed gets torn, the proper thing to do would be to put the stuffing back inside and sew a patch over the hole.  But I don’t even know where the needles and thread are kept, much less claim to be adept at using them.  So I use the skills and materials I do have: Continue reading Making Dog Bed Repairs

Was There A Mustang Wagon?

What could be more cool than a Mustang Sport Wagon?  Unfortunately a factory built Mustang wagon is, like the popularized vision of a unicorn, a myth.  But that does not stop some people from owning one!

Mustang WagonThe first one came about when Barney Clark; an executive with J. Walter Thompson, Ford’s advertising agency, along with designer Robert Cumberford, and car enthusiast Jim Licata, envisioned a station wagon version of the brand new Mustang.   They sent a 1965 289-powered hardtop Mustang across the Atlantic to Turin, Italy: home of Construzione Automobili Intermeccanica.   It took 11 months to build. Continue reading Was There A Mustang Wagon?

Going Deep With a Driveway Dilemma

It has been a busy 9 days here on Piney Mountain – little of which included normal life activities.

It started the evening of Saturday, Jan 27th when Marie went to take a shower and found we had no water.  No water at all.  Our water comes from a well over by my workshop.  It was not cold enough for a line to have frozen, so I checked the  breaker switch — that was fine.  So it was not something easy.  Little did I know how “not easy” this was going to get.

I called Newport Ace Hardware, which is owned by a good well service guy: Keith Williams.  But it was late and he was gone.  I would not be able to get hold of him until Monday.

We keep gallon jugs of drinking water on hand in case of power failure (which means no well pump, which means no water) and several 3 gallon jugs of water to be used for washing dishes and flushing toilets.  We filled up some extra jugs when we went to church on Sunday, in case this turned out to be not a simple fix.  Since they almost never are. Continue reading Going Deep With a Driveway Dilemma