Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday stuff


Given my blogpost from a few days ago, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I pulled the trigger on a two-pack of bifocal sunglasses at Sam’s Club. Only $19.88 for two pairs of bifocal sunglasses was just too good of a deal to pass up, even if they turned out to be junk.

And they’re not. The frames are sturdy and sufficiently flexible to slip onto my head after I’ve donned a full-face motorcycle helmet.

They don’t provide as much wind protection as my Wiley-X Jake sunglasses, but they do a reasonable job. And I like them because the lenses are free from scratches, unlike the Jakes.

Fusion Media has failed me again. We lost our Internet and phone service about 9:30 p.m. yesterday. I had to wait until they opened their office at 8 a.m. today to report the outage. It seems the rest of our neighborhood still has service, so they have to send someone out to troubleshoot my problem. And they probably can’t get to us until tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

Consequently, I’ve come in to town for lunch at Five Guys Burgers and Fries and coffee and Wifi across the street at Panera.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Flagler flashback


Here’s a nice photo that Maria shot at 2:31 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2012 of three kids and their shadows on the sand at Flagler Beach, Fla.

Flagler Beach is one of our favorite spots to photograph and just hang out when we’re in Florida.

I wouldn’t mind being there this afternoon.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bad craziness


Judi worked briefly at The Indianapolis News in the late 1960s.

She sent this note to City Editor Wendell Trogdon sometime in the 1970s.

I hope she didn’t get killed.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Four years later…


I perceived a need for bifocal sunglasses in 2010 while riding to the BMW MOA rally in Redmond, Ore.

I was tired of squinting to try to read my GPS display and during a layover at Sean’s place in Portland after the rally, ordered a pair of Dr. Dean Edell bifocal shades with a +2.00 magnification from

They were spot-on and I reveled in my ability to better use my GPS and SiriusXM radio.

But they only lasted about a month.

I was getting ready to ride home from Grass Roots BMW Motorcycles in Cape Girardeau, Mo. on Aug. 16 when the left temple cracked as I put them on under my helmet.

Happily, I soon found DeWalt makes bifocal safety glasses in clear and dark models and they have flexible rubber frames. I bought a pair of each and continue to use them – especially the clear ones – for working around the house and for night rides.

I also found some stick-on bifocal patches that work fine with the Wiley-X Jake sunglasses friend Charlie gave me that had been left for lost at his pharmacy some months earlier. I have them stuck to the insides of amber lenses, which gives me a very agreeable view.

Which brings us to this afternoon when I went to Sam’s Club for a couple of prescriptions. Wandering around the store, I came across the display pictured above. The price of $19.88 for a package of two pairs of bifocal sunglasses (they call them Sunglass Readers) looks like a pretty good deal if they don’t fall apart.

I may buy some as a backup to my DeWalts and Jakes to take with me to the BMW MOA rally in St. Paul, Minn., next month.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014



I tend to be a creature of habit, when the habit suits me anyway.

predictable01 I rode down to Panera this morning for my favorite late breakfast – dark roast coffee in a mug and a cheese Danish.

Before I could say anything, Jerry the cashier handed me a mug, saying, “Coffee in a mug and a cheese Danish?”

I smiled in acknowledgment and he handed me the plated Danish he put together when he saw me ride up on my 2003 BMW K1200GT. I parked in one of the three spaces just outside the restaurant, which I always do when space is available, because I can keep an eye on my bike that way. It also put me in view of the cashier stations.

I have become utterly predictable, which I guess isn’t hard to pick up on if you’re paying attention to what I do.

Kudos to Jerry for paying attention.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It still shoots straight after 30 years


I bought this Crosman Pumpmaster .177 caliber pellet gun back in the early 1980s to shoot pigeons that were crapping all over our cars.

My neighbors are having problems with squirrels and have taken to plinking them with what looks like an old Red Ryder Daisy BB rifle. I think the end result is the squirrels seeking sanctuary in our yard.

So I dug the Crosman out of the closet, dusted it off a little, and stepped into the driveway to see if the seals are still good enough to shoot.

I spied a squirrel right on our south property line – maybe 120 feet distant – gave the gun the maximum of 10 pumps, aimed about a foot over his head to compensate for the distance and squeezed the trigger.

To my amazement, he jumped straight up and then began flopping around.

My hope is that I just stung him because I’m not really comfortable with the idea of murdering squirrels that haven’t done anything to me or my property. But it was obvious to me that the lead pellet found its target, which I think is amazing for a 30-year-old air rifle.

I bought it around 1984 when I was living at 5009 N. College Avenue in Indianapolis. The house two doors north of us was in bad repair and the soffit had fallen off, resulting in pigeons roosting and breeding in the attic. This, in turn, resulted in an unusually abundant amount of pigeon poop in the neighborhood.

I solved the problem by going to the Glendale Service Merchandise and buying a Crossman Pumpmaster pellet gun and a Tasco 4x15 scope. The 15mm objective lens doesn’t gather much light, but it’s perfectly adequate on a sunny day.

Our upstairs windows, especially the one in Steve’s room, offered a perfect vantage point for sniping. I set the drapes so there was maybe a 2-inch opening and set up well back in the room. I had one of my sons go outside and listen for the pop of the air rifle and he confirmed it was absolutely silent.

I figure I must have killed 50 or 60 pigeons, leaving the 15 or so residents of Queen Rose’s house (yes, that really was her name) to wonder who was shooting those pigeons and from where.

47 years ago today

J&D wedding 01

I married Diane Kroon of Lafayette, Ind. J&D wedding 0247 years ago today.

The marriage lasted 26 years and produced two sons who have grown into supremely talented and genuinely good men, so we got a few things right.

It was an insanely hot Saturday afternoon and it was before air conditioning came to the Lafayette Christian Church.

The wedding wasn’t very well photographed because the photographer – whose name I have mercifully forgotten – shot all of the wedding party setups with no film in his camera. It’s a shame because that’s the last time I ever wore a white dinner jacket.

We left immediately for a honeymoon on Table Rock Reservoir near Branson, Mo., driving my parents’ un-air conditioned 1964 Mustang, stopping the first night at the Holiday Inn in Champaign, Ill.

We came from dissimilar families and modeled on parents who played vastly different roles in the home. We were too na├»ve to realize that might be why we had trouble living up to each other’s expectations in the relationship.

Happily, we each chose more wisely the second time around and are settled in more harmonious and happy relationships.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Unexpected blogging inspiration


I’ve been uninspired about blogging for the past couple of days.

I didn’t post anything yesterday. I rode down to Panera this morning and set up my netbook in hopes that something would pop into my head worth posting.

But nothing came, so I packed up my stuff, rendezvoused with Morgan to get reimbursed for a payment we made for her to a rug cleaning firm yesterday, put the money in the bank and rode home.

We bought a couple of rose bushes at Lowe’s on Saturday and I parked them on the front porch where they would be out of direct sunlight until we can plant them. Maria suggested I soak them in buckets of water, so I figured that would be a good thing to do about 20 minutes ago.

But as I approached the front porch, I noticed a telltale tail curved around the base of one of the porch columns.


I went back into the house via the garage and shot this photo through a dining room window with my iPhone. Then I opened and slammed the front door to create a vibration the snake could sense, since they don’t have ears.

He started flicking his tongue and did a U-turn, slithering off the front edge of the porch into the bushes. I estimate he was about 3 feet long, which according to what I found on the Internet, is about right for an adult Western Rat Snake. (Black with a white belly.) They’re non-venomous, but from my perspective they are definitely not non-creepy.

But at least it got me un-stuck for blogging.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dog abusers

We went to the Farmers' Market this morning.
We left Dora at home. She was fine when we were able to carry her, but when we put her on a leash she freaked out at little kids darting around and grabbing at her.
One of the things we like about the Farmers' Market is that lots of people do bring their dogs and we always enjoy meeting nice dogs and dog people.
There was a family there today who had a happy little border collie on a leash. We stopped to chat and the dad said she was a rescue from the Humane Society that they paid $150 for, but were looking to get rid of because they live in town and don't have room for her to play outside safely.
The little girl, probably 10 or 11 years old, said the dog used to sleep with her, but the dog tore up her stuffed toys.
"We beat her with a belt and now she don't go in my bedroom," she announced proudly.
The dad said he wants to get $150 for the dog so he can "rescue" another, less troublesome dog.
Maria offered to take her off his hands for free on the spot, but he declined.
She told him we'll be at the Farmers' Market next Saturday if he doesn't find a buyer by then.
I don't think this family needs another $150 so they can abuse another dog.

I think it’s a Misumena vatia

Misumena vatia

While I was topping off the gas tank in my Lexus RX330 this morning at Sam’s Club, I noticed this spider clinging to the side of the car.

I was able to shoot a surprisingly sharp photo of it with my iPhone and have determined it’s a white crab spider, aka Misumena vatia.

Wikipedia says: These spiders may be yellow or white, depending on the flower in which they are hunting. Especially younger females, which may hunt on a variety of flowers such as daisies and sunflowers, may change color "at will."

If I’ve ever seen one before, I sure don’t recall it.

Friday, June 20, 2014

We need a vacation


Here I am, hunkered down on a rock on the Big Sur coast of California in the summer of 2002, drawing a bead on a seagull with my Nikon F5.

It was, at one time, Nikon’s premiere film camera. You can buy one on Ebay these days for under $250 thanks to digital photography obsoleting film. (The fastest and most rugged 35mm SLR Nikon ever made, the F5 cost about $2,300 when it was introduced in 1996. I bought mine used for considerably less. It weighed more than 3 pounds and, with a heavy telephoto lens mounted, was a lot to carry around.)

We bought our first Nikon digital SLR, a D100, in late 2002 and retired our film SLRs for good.

But I digress.

We have been hemorrhaging money since Maria left the Sun a year ago this month and she has been working hard for little pay since December when the fall semester ended at Black River Technical College and she started being a substitute teacher.

Our last vacation was in December, 2012 when we spent a week at a posh resort in Orlando, Fla. for $250 and a commitment to endure a timeshare sales pitch.

Things are looking up now that she has a job as office manager for a dental practice. It makes better use of her considerable skills as a manager and her 20 years’ experience as a dental assistant in an earlier life in Indiana. And it pays better than substitute teaching with the added benefit that she doesn’t have to spend all day with little germbag kids crawling all over her.

I haven’t been back to my beloved Big Sur since July, 2010 and I’m hankering to sit on my favorite rock just south of the Big Creek Bridge on Calif. 1 and smell the salty sea air, perfumed by dill and other coastal wildflowers.

I don’t expect to make it this year, but maybe in 2015 when the BMW MOA rally is in Missoula, Mont. – a good excuse to keep going west to visit my son Sean in his new digs on Sauvie Island northwest of Portland, Ore. and ride down the Oregon and California coasts.

In the meantime, we have a trip to Indiana planned for the near future to visit Maria’s folks.


Here I am during that 2002 trip, adding cream to my coffee on the deck of the Rocky Point Restaurant south of Monterey. As you can see, there was a brisk ocean breeze complicating the pouring process.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

One less snake

Maria has insisted on driving the Subaru with the non-functioning air conditioning to work the last couple of days.

Not so bad when the temperature is in the 70s and low 80s at 7 a.m., but it’s been in the 90s by the time she heads home.

So both days, I’ve driven in to town, taken her to lunch and left the Lexus for her to drive home in air conditioned comfort after a long day of managing the office of a Jonesboro dentist.

While driving home yesterday after lunch, a bird caught my eye as it winged east to west across U.S. 49 at Brookland, trailing what looked like a piece of rope.

And then it snapped into focus and I realized it was a hawk with about a 12-inch-long snake in its talons. Good day for the hawk, bad day for the snake. I hope it was a copperhead or a timber rattler.

I’ll take it as a good omen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Yes, that’s what they call themselves


The meddling morons in the White House and Congress who are hell-bent on making the Washington Redskins football team change its name have obviously never heard of Red Mesa High School in Teec Nos Pos, Ariz. in the heart of Navajo country.

The Red Mesa kids don't seem to mind the name. On the contrary, they're proud of it.

I noticed the sign several years ago while riding from California to Mesa Verde.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Landlord stuff

I dropped by our commercial property this morning to look into a concern by the city over weeds and found that one of our tenants was having air conditioning problems. Again.

One of the three units serving their side of the building stopped working last week, but was put back online Friday afternoon after it was determined a short circuit was at the root of the problem.

This morning’s problem had to do with that same unit running constantly but not generating enough cool air.

It turns out that all three units need to be set to the same temperature to avoid an imbalance in which one works too hard to take up the slack for the others.

The tenants were instructed to keep all three thermostats set at the same temperature, so the problem is supposedly solved.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The girls at play


Ginger avoids Jack and Dora when they’re playing because they’re bigger and rougher than she is.

But when it’s just Dora it’s a different story.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The other D-Day


Today is the first anniversary of D-for-Dora Day.

It was June 15, 2013 when we got the word from breeder Joleen Marple that Dora was ready to go to her Forever Home.

We wasted no time picking her up and she slept on Maria’s shoulder almost all of the way home.

Aussies are a joy to have around, especially as puppies. If I thought we could handle the food and vet bills, I’d be looking for another puppy right now just to grow the pack.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Clown Motel


You may recall that I blogged the other day about how clowns creep me out – an observation prompted by the presence of the Ringling Bros. circus in town this weekend.

Coincidentally, blogger and Facebook friend Laura Ledford posted this photo yesterday afternoon. Curious about where it is, I Googled it and was surprised to see it’s on the main highway that runs through Tonopah, Nev.

I’ve ridden through Tonopah at least twice and never noticed it. How the hell could I miss something this bizarre. reviewers give it 3½ stars out of 5, which is also astonishing, considering the photos of dumpy rooms and decaying facilities.

Collette from Northfield, Calif., wrote:

It's not overly fancy but the rooms are large and very clean. The place was packed but it was still surprisingly quiet. The owners were friendly and helpful with any questions that we had about the area. They directed us to a historic cemetery right off their property that was fascinating. Check out wasn't until 11 which allowed a bit of extra time too. As a bonus, our kids thought it was cool that we got an actual room key instead of a card. They haven't experienced that novelty too often.

Joe B. from Florence, Ariz. wrote:

If you stay here and don't like it you must make a lot of bad choices. The sign out front says "Clown Motel, $35 per night, motorcycles welcome". The construction workers trucks are already there by 4 PM. How much more warning would you need?
We found the rooms clean and the place was quiet. The staff was a hoot. If you are afraid of clowns you'll find yourself out cold lying on the floor of the office. My wife still chides me because I checked in and did not notice hundreds of clown items.
If you decide to stay elsewhere at least pop your head in the door, say hello, so you can look around at the clown collection. There is a small price to pay for that as, although most rooms are non smoking, the office reeks of it.
Redneck adventure at its best!

Room Tip: Sleep tight, don't worry, your car will still be there in the morning.

Mark A. from England said:

Clowns on each door and hundreds of them in the office. I guess some would say that there are some in the guest rooms too.
Very cheap and therefore just what I needed at the time.
Yes there were quite a lot of energy workers staying here at close to the time of the previous review, but they didn't bother me and i was up at the same time as them anyway.

Room Tip: I was downstairs and the guy in the room above me walked around a lot - and the floor creaked a lot...

Mark from Schaumburg, Ill. wrote:

I've stayed at the Clown many times from the early 90s to just a few months ago. The rooms have always been clean, a great value and a great view. And management and the help have been the greatest.
Unfortunately, now they are taking in the workers at the energy plants outside of town. Such obnoxious folks and I don't need to hear them yell all over the motel after hours. And they threatened to punch me out when I told them to quiet down at midnight. Management's answer is to shift me to another room. Well, I'm going to Tonopah Motel or someplace else when I'm in town. I really regret this as I miss the Clown as it used to be.

Some guy from Seattle said:

Just passing through and needed a bed and a shower. Smelly A/C, found the linens scary and smelly had to sleep on top of the bed with my own spare blanket. Don't stay here.

Tom B. from Laverne, Calif. wrote:

On a recent trip to Carson City my wife and I had a night in Tonopah and after looking at the reviews decided to use the Clown. BAD CHOICE, not eclectic-rundown, dirty and shopworn. Let me illuminate. Dirty bedspreads, 2 chairs in the room both unusable-broken legs, blankets had burn holes, carpet badly stained, refrigerator propped up with a bar of soap, night stand ripped off the wall between the beds and even the Gideon Society didn't leave a bible. Walked out, ate the $43 and got a room at the Mizpah.

I’ve sheltered in some dumps over the the years. The Empire Motel in St. Francis, Kans., comes to mind. If I’m ever in Tonopah again, I might take a chance on the Clown just for the experience.

Friday, June 13, 2014

An affectionate daschund! Who knew?


I think Ginger has decided I’m her BFF, or at least her BF until her family gets back from vacation.

She resists going outside with the Aussies and is quite content to hop up onto Maria’s desk chair and snooze for hours while I work at my desk in our upstairs office.

The dogs got restless about 2:30 a.m. today, so I put all three of them out.

When they came back in, Ginger flew up onto the bed and plopped down next to Maria.

We decided to give her a chance and let her stay. The next thing I knew, she was burrowing down under the covers between Maria and me.

“They’re burrowing dogs,” Maria offered.

She slept quietly with a minimal amount of fuss, so I guess she can sleep on the bed with us occasionally over the next week.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Throwback Thursday

news id

Here’s my Indianapolis News company ID badge from the 1980s.

My Social Security Number is, of course, redacted.

We all thought ID badges were stupid. Some security company convinced upper management that our open door policy – anyone could walk in off the street and take the elevator up to the second floor and The Indianapolis News City Room – put us in serious peril.

Never mind that we never had a serious incident in all the time I worked there.

Whatever. Now they have the rather expensive illusion of security.

Happy Birthday, Maria!


Today is Maria’s birthday.

This is the first photo I ever shot of her. It was in 1996 and we were seated in a booth at what is now the Lebanon, Ind., Denny’s.

There are not enough superlatives to describe this wonderful Force of Nature who showed me that a relationship can be joyous, life affirming and free of hurt and misery.

I love her more than I can say.



We had a change of boarders last night when Deb and Charlie came back from Little Rock to claim Liese, their Weimaraner, and Susan and Maggie dropped off Ginger, a sweet little dachshund.

Ginger will be with us for a week while her family vacations. She’s very shy and doesn’t seem to enjoy the rough-and-tumble style of our Aussies, so I’m keeping her in the house with me this morning.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Hollow


I lived the first eight years of my life at 609 E. Franklin St. in Delphi, Ind. (1 on this map) There was one more house to the east – a big brick double – and beyond that was a wooded ravine known locally as the Hollow.

My mother, who was extremely protective, warned me not to venture into the Hollow, which of course guaranteed that I did. I explored it thoroughly as did many of my friends.

The Hollow was bisected by Monroe Street and there were 20-30-foot high limestone cliffs on the east side of the north half of the Hollow, which is where Tom Goff and I practiced our mountaineering skills. Tom, who died a few years ago, lived in a big stone house on the west edge of the north half of the Hollow and was intimately familiar with its features. There was also an abandoned lime kiln in the north half that we explored.

We moved to 917 E. Columbia St. in April of 1954 (2 on the map), which meant my east end friends and I walked along Monroe Street through the Hollow every day to school (3 on the map). The original school building housed grades 1-12 and I spent my entire elementary, junior high and high school career there. It was razed in the 1980s and only the gym/cafeteria/band room structure remains.

The letter B represents a big buckeye tree that stood at the entrance to the City Park. Every fall for several years, my friends and I would spend an after-school hour or more throwing sticks into the tree to knock down buckeyes for our collections. I had a cigar box full of buckeyes that my mother eventually threw out.

Keeping the beard at bay in style

prorasoI’ve worn a beard for the better part of 38 years, dating from an early summer 1975 backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior.

I’ve shaved it off a few times just to see what my face looks like without it. I’ve been mostly beardless since June 19, 2012 when my skin became dry and irritated and I decided to air it out.

When I did use a razor to shape and groom my beard over the years, I preferred to use shaving soap with a brush and a mug. I found a nice shaving mug on Ebay with the Alpha Tau Omega coat of arms dating from 1964 and still use the brush I bought at the long-gone Kittle’s Other Side gift shop in Indianapolis back around 1978.

I bought a cake of Edwin Jagger sandalwood shaving soap in November, 2011 that served me well until early this year when it stopped making lather. There was still plenty of soap left in the mug, but no matter how much I swirled the brush around, it refused to give up any lather.

So I surveyed my choices and settled on the Italian made Proraso soap with menthol and eucalyptus and the UPS guy delivered it to my door on Feb. 25.

The only downside is that it lives in its own little lidded cup, so it won’t fit into my shaving mug.

But, coupled with my 5-edged Gillette Fusion Proglide razor, it gives me the closest, most comfortable shave I’ve ever experienced. I like the aroma of eucalyptus and menthol and so does Maria, so Proraso will be my shaving soap of choice for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The circus is coming


The circus, specifically Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Super Circus Heroes, is coming to Jonesboro this weekend.

I will not attend.

The last time I went to a circus was the Shrine Circus in Indianapolis back in the 1970s. I was bored stupid.

Also, I think clowns are creepy and will go far out of my way to avoid seeing one. I felt that way long before serial killer John Wayne Gayce’s penchant for painting clowns – including this self-portrait – became known.

Given the choice of a root canal or a circus, I’ll take the root canal every time.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Monday dog news

liesewindow Deb and Charlie have gone to Little Rock for Charlie’s multiple myeloma treatment, so their Weimaraner Liese is visiting Jack and Dora.

Liese is an emotional girl and she cried a lot last night. I think she wanted to sleep in the bed with us. We let her do that once during a thunderstorm several months ago, but she took up too much space, even in a kingsize bed.

After Liese’s parents retrieve her, another friend plans to drop off her dachshund for a week. Jack and Dora are getting lots of playdates and socializing this month.

I’m at Panera this afternoon, having driven in to town to deposit a rent check from one of the tenants of our downtown commercial property. I need to top off the tank on the Lexus at Sam’s Club and maybe cruise by Goodwill to see if I can find a gently used pair of jeans that fit me.

Just for the record, it’s raining again today. That’s five days in a row and the forecast calls for an 80% chance of rain tomorrow. I can almost hear the grass growing.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Strange Days


Seems appropriate to use a Doors reference for a headline today because the past week has, indeed, been a string of strange days and a door was involved.

This is the door on our downtown commercial building that was damaged in Thursday afternoon’s hellacious windstorm. It broke the hinge pins at the top and bottom of the door (red circles), but my fixit guy got it repaired for $200 on Friday.

The tenant also pointed out evidence of a roof leak that I supposed was a consequence of several tons of ice accumulating there during the ice/sleet storm in early March. I figured we might have an insurance claim that would exceed the $2,500 deductible, but it turns out it’s only a $150 sealing job.

Another line of storms swept through yesterday afternoon, but did no damage while it dumped about a half-inch of rain. The power stayed on and seems to be stable enough to consider sending the borrowed generators back home.

After three days in her new job as office manager for a Jonesboro dental practice, Maria is all smiles.

And it looks like Morgan will end up with a much nicer house as a consequence of Thursday’s water pipe flood/windstorm disaster. She’s bearing up admirably as she soldiers on to empty the house so repairs can begin.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Power’s on, generator’s quiet


When our generator failed to start yesterday, one of our neighbors lent us a spare. (Yes, some Arkansans have spare generators.)

I lived 62 years in Indiana and never needed a generator. This is the second time in our 6½-year sojourn here that we’ve been without power long enough to need one.

The power went out shortly after midnight Friday morning and finally was restored at 8:47 a.m. today. Judging from Facebook posts by the Craighead Electric Co-op, we were some of the last people in the county to get power back.

This all stemmed from a spectacularly destructive windstorm on Thursday, followed by another damaging storm yesterday. Who’s to say we won’t get more of the same in the next few days or weeks?

It’s amazing how much we rely on electricity.

Friday, June 06, 2014


Jim Martin, 93, who jumped into Normandy on D-Day with the 101st Airborne, did it again today, parachuting onto Omaha Beach,

Insurance report

Our power went out again about midnight last night and is still out as of 9 a.m.

I’m wrapping up my breakfast and Wifi work at Panera and will head home to fire up the generator and see if I can save the refrigerator contents.

I inspected the damage at our building with our fixit guy this morning and just got off the phone with the adjuster who pointed out that our wind and hail deductible is a percentage of the total insured value of the building, which means the door repair would have to amount to more than $46,000 before insurance kicks in. Fortunately, we have a contingency fund that will handle the door repair.

There also appears to be some roof leakage stemming from the ice storm earlier this year which may exceed the $2,500 deductible. I hope to get a roof guy up there to check it out today or Monday.

Never a dull moment, eh?

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Interesting day


It’s been an interesting day, as in the Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

Morgan spent the night away from home last night and returned this morning to find the PVC pipe that supplies water to her master bathroom toilet fractured sometime during her absence and flooded her house with about 6” of water.

She called her insurance carrier and a ServiceMaster crew was on the scene in short order, but their work was interrupted by a spectacular once-in-a-decade windstorm that swept through the area doing millions of dollars worth of damage and knocking out power pretty much everywhere.

The straight-line winds, which had the force of an EF1 tornado, in the opinion of one TV weatherman, shredded Morgan’s privacy fence and damaged her roof.

Our power went out at 1:11 p.m. during a torrential downpour. Fortunately for us, we had no wind damage other than a yard littered with small branches and leaves.

It wasn’t until about 6 p.m. that I discovered a voicemail from one of the tenants of our downtown office building saying they had storm damage. I called her and learned the wind ripped their front door off of its hinges. They managed to secure it for the night and I have a crew scheduled to meet them when they open at 7:30 a.m. to make repairs.

Likewise, I filed a claim with the insurance carrier to send an adjuster to document this and any other storm damage to the building.

Happily, none of us is injured, but thousands of trees are down and traffic was hideously snarled for hours because the traffic signals in town were knocked out. The winds were strong enough to derail a train south of town and blew over several semitrailer trucks and utility poles.

I was about to fire up the generator – our neighbors had their generator running when I came back from my dinner at Subway – when the power came back on about 7:30 p.m.

I suppose I should be there when the repair crew arrives at our office building, just in case there is more damage to deal with.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Monument Circle, Indianapolis




Maria and I went to downtown Indianapolis in August, 2002, and shot a few rolls of film on Monument Circle.

Those were some of the last rolls of film we shot before we transitioned to digital.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is about the nicest centerpiece I’ve ever seen in a city of any size.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014


Here’s a sample of the bizarre stuff that shows up on the site. This scrap of paper turned up in Santa Monica, Calif.

SorryAnd this was in a shoebox full of shelf brackets at a garage sale in Tacoma, Wash.

Tuesday stuff

pharmacyrunI made a morning run into town for a prescription at the Sam’s Club pharmacy which, by the way, is the friendliest pharmacy I’ve found in Arkansas.

Since there has been no rain to speak of this morning, I’m going to clear the back yard of dog toys and do some much needed mowing after I throw together a sandwich for lunch.

Freezer update

Our 15.8 cubic foot Maytag freezer is back in service this morning, having been defrosted for the first time in 19 months.
The Lacrosse wireless temperature monitor I got from the Amazon Vine Program quit working several months ago, so I didn’t realize just how much the freezer’s performance was being compromised by the build-up of ice on its back wall until Maria went to the garage to retrieve some hamburger and found it cool, but far short of properly frozen.
I unplugged the freezer and let it thaw with the door open for a few hours while I tinkered with the temperature monitor transmitter. Turns out the humidity in the garage caused corrosion on the battery contacts. Once they were scraped clean, the device came back to life.
Although it continues to relay ambient temperature in the garage, humidity in the garage and freezer internal temperature via a probe, the one-year subscription that came with it has lapsed and it no longer sends alerts to my cell phone if the probe temperature rises above the freezing point. Consequently, I logged into the Lacrosse website and gave them $11.88 to renew the subscription for another 12 months.
But now, almost 24 hours after the transaction was completed, the Lacrosse people haven’t done the upgrade to my account and aren’t answering my calls.
It can never be easy, can it?
I left a voicemail with Lacrosse and when I returned from errands in town, found a message that the upgrade was now working. And it is.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Back after a day off from the blog

Sorry about yesterday’s lapse. I was busy doing things and then busy enjoying not doing things.

The month of June began yesterday, so Maria and I decided to welcome it with a clean back porch.

Our screened back porch was one of the features that sold us on this house almost seven years ago. It affords an unobstructed view of the fenced dog zone and beyond to the woods that bound our little 1.23 acres on two sides.

If I can’t have a view of a lake or the ocean or mountains, a view of dense woods full of deer, coyotes, armadillos, raccoons, possums, turkeys, owls and other critters is a damn fine substitute.

Even though we live in mosquito country, one rarely makes it onto the porch, so we can sit at our glass-top table sipping iced tea or whatever and enjoy the Arkansas outdoors unmolested.

We started by collecting all of the sticks and tree branches the dogs dragged onto the porch and pitching them onto the fire pit. Then, after collecting the dog toys, we swept the porch floor and I ShopVaced the creases and crannies.

Maria went off to clean our 2½ bathrooms while I fired up the pressure washer and blasted a year’s worth of accumulated pollen, dust and dirt from the siding and screens before turning my attention to the porch furniture.

The trick now is to stay ahead of the dogs and their penchant for littering the porch with sticks and toys and tumbleweeds of dog fur.

I noticed later than Dora continues to use the chairs to access the table top, where she naps and surveys her domain.

Now that we’re eating on that table, I guess we’ll have to pull the chairs out far enough that she won’t be able to take her usual route to the table top.

I got in a little motorcycle ride in the afternoon, cruising down to Kroger to restock my supply of Starbucks Italian Roast coffee and Campbell’s tomato juice.

On the way down to Kroger, I found myself remembering how my high school band director Dick Laughlin would occasionally sit in as organist at the First Presbyterian Church of Delphi. It was customary for the organist to play some kind of hymn or churchy sounding background music while the collection plates were passed around and I remember seeing him grinning as he played a well disguised version of the Kroger jingle, “Let’s go Krogering, Krogering, Krogering…”

I capped the evening by sniping a set of the Catholic Encyclopedia on Ebay for my father-in-law. I waited until the last 30 seconds of the auction and stuck like the sword of St. Michael, getting the books for the minimum bid.

Maria had today off because she wasn’t needed to substitute teach, so she’s busy reverse engineering some scrubs to wear in her new job as office manager for a Jonesboro dentist. She starts on Wednesday and the prospect of a steady paycheck has us both sleeping better and being more relaxed and optimistic.