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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Just a minute to vent.

My life is pretty cut and dried.  I do this and I do that and most of the time I am at home with the television on and it is always on channel 11.  It is on that channel for a reason.  Millionaire comes on in the morning, the news at noon, Jeopardy! at 3:00, and again at 6:30.  Well it seems that what I watch is not important, because for the past week I have been watching basketball.  Come on, people!

Now if I actually watched basketball, I would be thrilled, but I just gave you my list of what I watch.  If I wanted to watch basketball, I would buy into a cable company and do just that.  Now granted the little fellows hopping around out there on the court in their little shorts is a sight for these old eyes, but these eyes would much prefer to see Alex Trebec in his suit and tie!  I thrill to the intelligence shown in all those segment's and categories!  I am exposed to very little intelligent conversation here all alone, or at the grocery store, so Jeopardy! is my salvation.

Now if I were the only one who resents this, it might be different, but I am not.  Yesterday I set with my friends mom so he could do errands and I asked him if he watched basketball.  Nope.  I asked my friend Linda and she said nope.  It seems I do not have any friends in my circle who have to hurry home to watch basketball.  A few of them watch the Bronco's, but that is football and it is on Sunday afternoon usually.  I have been known to sleep through a few of those games.  Well, actually, I have been known to nap through Jeopardy! , but that is what I do.

So it is my television.  I bought it.  I pay the electric.  The waves come through the air to the little antennae in my window that I bought and taped up there, so why can't I just watch my little game show and not have to have hours of my time blocked off to basketball?  Or here is an idea.  The actual play time for a basketball game copied from a google site is...( 40 minutes of actual playing time, with 3 full time outs and 2-30 second time outs per team. This amounts to 48 minutes when added to playing time. most college games have 2 slated "tv timeouts" per half,...which can be several minutes each. that's another 8 minutes, totaling 56 minutes. )  I think they set aside 2 hours or more for each game.  Of course I realize that the sponsors need time to advertise the same thing over and over and over............

So if they would just cut to the meat of the game, I would not have to miss programs that I really like and I do not know if you have noticed or not, but you can always hear their shoes squeaking on the floor when they are running and stopping fast.  This makes napping a real pain in the ass as opposed to the sedate conversations on Jeopardy!

The point here is this, I am a consumer when I am awake.  I like to watch my game shows and resent having my day turned upside down because, well, just because.  Here is an idea.  Put the games on an alternate channel and leave my schedule alone.  I do not like basketball, nor football, and watching some guy whack a golf ball around for 3 or 4 hours is right up there with watching paint dry and definitely on my list of things not to do in this life.  

So there you go.  Fat chance I am going to see my Jeopardy! today and Lord only knows, I need that nap! 

Friday, March 16, 2018

A water pan? Are you kidding me?

A week or so I manage to disembowel the front of my car while driving down the road on my way home.  I had taken 20th Lane because the speed demons were on the highway I usually travel.  I suddenly found myself airborne and then slammed down onto the pavement.  I continued on my merry way home and when I parked, still wondering what in the hell that was all about.  A quick check of my car showed the front bottom part of my grill (I think it is a faring) was no longer attached.  So, it was not my imagination after all.  I looked up a number for a county office that I thought would perhaps tell me what that was I hit.  A very nice lady asked to help me.  I explained that I had no idea how she could, but this was the situation as I saw it.

"I do not know what in the hell I hit over on 20th and County Farm, but it caused me to become airborne and ripped the faring off my front end as well as scaring hell out of me. "  She took my contact information and apologized, but assured me someone would contact me.  Sure.  Been there, done that.

To my surprise, a very nice man named Dale called me the next day to say he found nothing and when I told him I was not on County Farm, but was crossing it, he went back to investigate that info.  Then to my surprise he called me back to explain that it was a water pan I had hit.  What?  A water pan is where there is a dip for the water that overflows the ditch to run across the intersection and into the ditch on the other side.  A culvert came to mind, but that was too simple.  Out here in the county where there is a big ditch and lots of watering of the produce in the fields, it is apparently easier then culverts.  The end result is we have lots of these "water pan dips" and they are not nice.  Some of them are called widow makers for a reason.  Having lived out here half of my life I have learned to slow down and I had crossed that particular dip many occasions with no problems.  So what had happened this time that made it different?  I did not know.

I had the car put back together.  Dale called a couple more times to just check in. (?)  I thanked him each time for his caring attitude.  Then came his final phone call.  They were not happy with that "water pan"  so they dug it up.  They found a broken pipe which had been leaking and patched several times creating a crater under the water pan, which I discovered quite by accident.  He assured me that it was now repaired and covered with gravel and that would be concreted in as soon as they could get a delivery.   He thanked me for calling it to his attention and I say "Thank you Pueblo County for actually listening to an old lady!"  He even asked about whether I had my car fixed or not.  A public servant with a heart!

I drove over that way today and checked it out.  Yep, it is something I can cross now without losing the front of my car.  Usually when a problem comes up out here and I report it, there is no action and I am sure my complaint goes in a big pile with a whole lot of other ones, but I have to say a big Thank You to Pueblo County Roads and a guy named Dale for following through on my concerns.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Well, hello guardian angel.

Yesterday about noon I was on my way home from town and decided to pop into Lagree's for a few items.  I had cataract surgery planned for this morning so I was a little preoccupied.  I got my groceries and came home.  I finished up a sewing job and thought I would just deliver it right quick.  The car keys were in my pocket and I began the search for the purse.  Nowhere to be found.  I checked the car.  Downstairs.  Trash can.  Back porch.  By this time I was in a panic.  I knew I had it at Lagrees and hoped I had left it there.  I called and sure enough it was in their office and I could come pick it up.  So off I flew.  It is just a mile up the road so it did not take long.

Upon my arrival they determined that it was indeed mine and handed it to me.  Seems I had left it in the cart in the parking lot when I loaded my groceries into the car.  Some person had seen it forgotten there and contacted them so they could go retrieve it which they did straightaway.  And there it set in the office for 3 hours waiting for someone to miss it.  Now this tells me how honest the workers at that store are.  They could have gone through it and found some identification, but they chose not to violate the privacy of the owner.  I can not tell you how stupid I felt, but they were very understanding.  The consoled me with words that I was not the first, nor would I be the last to do something like this.  I came away from that store feeling like I really was a worthwhile being who had just gotten careless.

I knew without even looking that the money I had in that purse when I deserted it would still be there and it was.  I love the mesa out here and I love the fact that we have honest people in our neighborhood store.  Sometimes the stores in town have sales that make my little Lagree's look pricey, but when it is all said and done I love to shop there.  I love the people who work there and run the store.  Kenneth was always a firm believer that we needed to support our local businesses because if we did not they would fail.  The store had already failed once when it was Chet's and we had been without a store until Lagree's opened it.

So I want you all to know that Lagree's is located at 27050 US Hwy 50 out here in Blende.  The hours are 7-9 and you can always find a bargain.  For sure you can find honest hard working people here who want to help you find just what you need at a reasonable price.  And best of all, if you need help they are all over that.  And if you leave your purse in the shopping cart in the parking lot, damn good chance it will still be there!  And tell the cashier Lou Mercer said "hey".  You may just find one who knows me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

My medical portal lacks a door!

I spent most of yesterday afternoon trying to get a message from the eye center.  The message popped up on my email, "You have a very important message from @#%^&*(*& Eye Center!"  Now I had already been through this with my doctors office and their little portal means of communication, so I cringed inwardly.  Since I have surgery scheduled for tomorrow, I thought I better try to retrieve it.  I am so friggin' na├»ve it amazes me most of the time.  The episode with the doctors portal, had taken me 3 days to complete and it was after they sent me the correct link that I was able to retrieve my message there.

So when I received this one, I had my usual sinking feeling when I know I am on a dead end trail and a cliff awaits me at the end.  But it had 2 pages very detailed telling me how to reach the portal door and all the secret codes I needed to step through.  HA!  But nonetheless, I persevered.  User name.  User password.  Incorrect user name or password.  Try again.  Ok.  Put on my glasses and make sure I am doing it right.  Check every letter and number.  Incorrect user name or password.  Try again. Ok.  Once more with feeling!  Incorrect user name or password.  Your computer is now locked for your safety.  It will automatically unlock in 20 minutes. Try again then.

20 minutes later I tried again.  Once more I was wrong 3 times was locked out.  So I called the office.  Of course by this time I was in tears.  The automatic man that answered told me all circuits were busy and to stay on the line.  After several more minutes I heard a human voice.!  Name.  Birthday.  I know this.  Oh, ok, she will transfer me to the surgery center nurse.  This is going good!
Oh, she is not in, but will return my call in just few minutes.  It is now the next day!

Here is my question, why do I have to fight this system to get a message from the medical profession?  She is going to ask me if I started my eye drops.  It would have been much simpler to pick up the phone and dial my number and ask me.  30 second job at the most.  As it is, she had to look up my info for the portal, type in the question, hit the send button,  hit the button to send me a notice that I have a message (that I am not going to get), back out of my file and go to the next one.  All that is going to take way more than 30 seconds.

So, by the time I went to bed last night, I was wound up tight enough to rip the throat out of a charging Rhino.  If I have one more place making my life easier, I am going to go completely nuts!
I have 2 telephones.  One hangs on the wall and has a home number.  The other rides in my purse wherever I go, so I am always within easy reach of every telemarketer in India and beyond, but not able to be reached by the medical community who in in charge of my health and well being.  I do not have a smart phone, because the word "smart" denotes to me that it is smarter than me.

I can remember the time when I had a doctor and he had a nurse.  They both knew my name.  If I went in for a problem, one of them would call me the next day to ask how I was feeling.  A human voice!  Not a damn portal that I can not open.  I am going to remove my email address from all my medical records.  I may even close my email, so no one knows I have a computer.  I got this thing for my convenience, but I am beginning to hate the damn thing because other people do not respect the fact that I do not want them in my world.  This goes for all the yahoos who try to send me Viagra because my name is Lou.  I do not want to go on a cruise.  I do not need vitamins or wrinkle remover and I sure as hell do not want to lose 22 pounds overnight.  If I needed that stuff, I would google it.  I know how to do that.

I know my medical providers will not read this and if they did they would think I was nuts.  I may very well be, but I am happy  to inform them, that my contact information is about to change and they can either pick up the phone, or not.  Their choice.  As for me, I know how to dial!

Friday, March 2, 2018

A cow named Bossy.

I am not sure her name was Bossy, but I think it was and that is what counts.  She was brown, but back in those days most of the milk cows were.  I want to say she was a Guernsey, but you are not going to catch me lying at this stage of the game.  She was brown.  A soft brown.  We had several cows when we left the Ailmore place, along with the horses dad used for plowing. We also had Star, the Shetland from hell that no one could ride.  You would have thought he was a sweetheart if you just looked at him, but try to get on his back and that was not happening.  He is the one that left the scar on my brothers face.  But back to the cow.

 The reason I am telling you about Bossy is because that cow knew how to give milk.  But the best part of the milk was the cream.  We had a separator which separated the milk from the cream (hence the name separator).  We would toast a piece of bread and then put cream on it and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar and put it under the broiler for just a few seconds.  That was heaven!  The cream was so thick it stayed standing on the toast.  I go to the store now and buy "heavy whipping cream" and it pours out of the carton.  I have not even seen cream like we used to eat.

The same cream was churned into butter.  The butter was bright yellow when it was rinsed and put in the refrigerator.  It was also very delicious.  After Bossy died in cowbirth, (the baby also died) we were without a cow and thus without butter.  The neighbor girls lived with their father right next door.  Their mother had passed many years before and he raised the girls  alone.  They also had a cow and made butter.  With no cow we had to resort to eating margarine.  Now in those days margarine was white.  I think it was actually lard, but it came with a little yellow dye button that you could work into the white mass so it looked like butter.  We used to trade margarine for butter because the neighbor girls did not like butter. 

Another thing was they made doughnuts every Saturday morning.  Their father was diabetic, but he sure liked those doughnuts and he thought if he only ate them once a week he would be alright.  Another daughter came from Plevna to visit them every Sunday so they managed to eat all the doughnuts.  None for me!

One time mother had fried up a bunch of small carp that she had seined and Dorothy got a bone caught in her throat.  Mother had picked the meat off, but apparently missed a small bone.  As she was choking one of us ran next door and told Mr. Reinke.  He had experience at such things, you know.  He grabbed a piece of bread from the cupboard (in case we didn't have any and of course we didn't).  He made Dorothy eat the bread, which dislodged the bone and sent it into her stomach where the acids would dissolve it.  He was a hero!

Mostly Mr. Reinke just did handy man work around town and then did his chores when he came home.  We could here him singing songs in German while he did his chores.  Since he sang in German, my dad was sure he was a Nazi, but we never knew that for sure.  I just thought he was a very nice man to save my sisters life. 

I was always envious of their "outhouse" because it had a concrete floor and a lid on the potty part.  Ours had a floor that was pretty well shot and a bench with 2 holes.  I never understood that part, because we never went in there with anyone.  I just could not picture that!  Thiers also had a door and a latch from the inside for privacy.  Ours had a door at one time, but not by the time we inherited it.

The point of this entry when I started it was about cream.  The point I wanted to make was, back in those days we ate thick cream.  We used real butter.  We ate potatoes, and bacon, and gravy and we were all skinny.  When I married my first husband I stood 5'1" and weighed 92 pounds.  I am convinced that all the additives in our food are still in our bodies.  I have given up trying to read the ingredient list on anything I pull off the shelf or out of the freezer.

And I am sure I will never live long enough to ever be able to toast a piece of bread and pile cream on it with cinnamon and sugar.  Sure would like to see old Bossy again, but those days are long gone.  I would not eat a Carp now if I was starving.  I am beginning to look forward to the day when I can once more run barefooted down Strong Street see all my family and friends.  Seems like that list gets
shorter every day.

(After thought) I do need to tell you, that when the separator quit working at one point and mother strained the milk it was not the same.  She would leave it set and the cream would raise to the top.  I could not stand the bits of cream that were floating in the milk  to touch my lips.  I would try to pick them all out with my finger, but it was an exercise in futility.  I could eat straight cream, but not swallow a fleck.  I was so happy when we had to buy milk from town because it was homogenized.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Inside my head is a scary place.

Some times I wake up in the middle of the night and just wonder what is going on anyway.  You should know that in the middle of the night I come up with some brilliant ideas.  I even amaze myself at the simple solutions I find to the world problems.  I have written several best seller books in the wee wee hours and blog ideas are so easy at 2:30 in the morning.  My mind is clear and alert and my fingers itch to start typing, but I control myself.  I know if I start my day at 2:30 AM I am going to be dozing off at 1:30 PM and I will be headed for bed about 6 which is not acceptable to the real world.

And isn't it then amazing that when I do click on the writing page, my mind is just as blank as that sheet of paper.  What happened to all the things I came up with when I should have been sleeping?  Now I know that I am supposed to jot down notes when I wake up like that, but I have tried that.  The next morning I read something I have written and wonder what in the hell I was smoking.  "Rodeo, mules, ostrich, breakfast."  I am sure in my sleep induced stupor that made good sense, but in the clear light of morning, it is sheer jibberish.  I even tried the voice activated tape recorder, but by the time I had a brilliant thought, the batteries were dead.  So I have come to this conclusion:  My batteries may be dead.

If I could be the witty, animated person that I am in the middle of the night in the cold hard light of day, I would be a millionaire and everything I wrote would fly off the shelves.  I have come to one conclusion;  there is someone else living in my head along with me.  I know this because I can be talking to someone and looking them right in the eye and listen as they reply, but my mind has gone off to what I need to get at the store, or something that needs done across town.  This scares me.  Today I was reading the Bible reading at church and at the same time I was trimming the tree by the goose house.  Planned every cut, ended the reading, went and set down and baked banana bread in my head.

Before you laugh, I want to tell you that it is scary being me.  I just wonder if any one else has this problem.  You can tell me, because I won't remember it when I blink my eyes.  

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A place for every plant and every plant in its place.

Living with Grandma Haas and Great Grandma Hatfield was definitely challenging.  They had a place for everything and everything was in it's place, especially in the summer.  All year long the little house plants set in there place in the house where ever it was they belonged.  The Oleandars lived in the basement and were not watered from fall until they were brought out in the spring.  Always surprised me that they survived.  One was white and one was pink.  They had the sweetest aroma rather like vanilla only sweeter.  Maybe with a tinge of almond.  What ever.  It was hard to believe that they were deadly poison.  But I digress.

When Spring arrived which was usually late April in Kansas, the basement door was opened and the Oleandars were drug up the steps by what ever hapless  cousin was around.  It was usually cousin Carl.  He was the farmer boy and lived just outside of Plevna so he was handy.  And Aunt Lola usually came and picked up the laundry to take it home and wash and return.  We did not go through the clothes back then like we do now.  Now I wear something a day and throw it in the hamper.  Back then the same outfit was good for a week.  Back to the house plants.

The Oleandars were placed on either side of the steps in the front of the house.  We never used that door.  It was the front door and that was its job.  We used the side door which opened into the dining room for most of our comings and goings.  The only exception was when one of us needed to make a trip to the "outhouse" or the trash needed carried to the burning barrel.  Then we used the back door.  The trash was kept in a wooden hamper by the back door and there was a damn good chance that there was a mouse in it when I dumped it so I would carry it very carefully, slowly to the barrel.  I would gently place the edge on top of the barrel and then quickly push it over and wait for the mouse and the trash to empty and then grab it and run for the house.

After the Oleandars were in place the other house plants were carried out one by one and the first was placed by the front sidewalk and then each next one got a little closer to the house until all of them were setting outside and then I could begin watering.  And I watered them every day because the Kansas sun is very hot and dry.  This ritual continued until Grandma Hatfield saw signs  of  an  early frost.  Then the whole process was reversed.  I often wondered what happened to the Oleandars when Grandma Haas passed and Great Grandma moved to Coldwater.  Sadly there is no one to ask.

I have a few houseplants but they are all big.  I do move them out to the patio in the Spring, but sometimes I have to carry them all back in, because Colorado weather can not be trusted.  Oh, and spiders build homes in the stems so that sucks.  But mostly I got to have green stuff around me for one reason or another.  I have a pink Oleandar if anyone wants to come by for tea.