Friday, May 29, 2009

Flashback Friday #40

I'm going to school, but not on the bus.
Hello to my faithful reader(s), welcome to another installment of Flashback Friday. In today's installment, we will see how my Mother trusted me in a way she never did with my brother. She let me ride my bike to school. He never got to do this, because she didn't trust him to arrive at school.

I know some of you city dwellers are thinking,"What's the big deal in that?". The big deal is that I didn't live in the city. I lived three miles from the burgeoning metropolis called Marengo, where my school was at. And I was all of 12 years old.
Near the end of my sixth grade year, one of my best friends, Jim, asked me if I could ride to school with him. He was planning on riding nearby to pick up a mutual friend, Dave, and ride to school.I told him that I would have to ask my mom first. I was sure that she would say "NO" because I hadn't ridden much further than the creek about a half mile away. When I asked her, and she said yes, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

Well, the big day finally arrived, and I was ready to go. Jim & Dave stopped by and we were on our way. Both of them had 10 speeds, while I had my BMX. There were times that they had to slow down for me to catch up. Dave had your run-of-the-mill 10 speed. Jim had a bike that was like no other.

Jim called his bike "The Ghetto Machine". It was a 10 speed bike with a banana seat and a huge sissy bar.The handlebars were from a 20 inch bike. It had two baskets, one on each side of the back tire. In one basket was a car battery, in the other, a CB radio, and a car radio that was rigged to the battery. A large "whip" CB antenna was attached to the back of his bike in which a raccoon tail had been tied to the top of. He also had a basket on the front of his bike to carry his pop & snacks. Jim was a big fella, and always had pop & snacks around. A large squeeze bulb horn on the handlebars completed the ensemble. It was quite the sight.

We made it to school without incident, but then it dawned on me, I still had to ride back home. Dave's dad worked in town, so he rode over to meet his dad there, that left me & Jim to ride home together. Since Jim rode to my house to pick me up, he suggested that we ride to his house first to drop him off, so that's what we did. I rode three miles to school. I rode six miles home. The school was three miles north of me. I found out that Jim lived three miles west of me. Up to that point, I had no idea where he lived since I only saw him at school.

That was just the beginning of riding into town on my bike. Once I got my 10 speed, I made it into town at least once a week. When the Butcher boys moved from beside us into Marengo, I knew that I could always stop in there for a cold drink and some good conversation. I even did stupid things like ride to Marengo and then turn right around and ride home just to see how fast I could do it. I rode to Marengo a lot, but never again to school because my seventh grade school building was about 12 miles away.

Did you live close enough to ride your bike to school?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Really now, just figured that out?

A mother of a little boy was changing her sister's little girl's diaper. It was one of those nasty diapers that we have all seen, and are very frightened of. As she was wiping poo out of all the crevices she exclaimed,' Girls sure are built different than boys". The title of this post says it all.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Demolition Man, Bob the Builder & Landscaper all rolled into one

What a day I had yesterday. I went over to my parents house to repair a hole in their living room floor. The floor had become weak due to moisture from the air conditioner above it. Dad had actually stepped through the weakened floor, leaving said hole.

When I got there, I recommended that we replace the entire section of plywood around the area due to there being several more spongy spots. I've always been told, when you are tearing out the bad, keep tearing out until it isn't bad anymore. Some of the removal was easy because the flooring crumbled in my hands (don't get me started about using particle board for flooring applications, I hate it). Some of the other had to be chiseled out where the construction adhesive was stronger than the plywood it was holding.

We then had to cut a piece to fit the larger size hole that we had created. We needed a piece 8 foot by 44 inches, so a normal 4 x 8 sheet was too big. We cut the 4 inches off and laid it in the hole. It didn't fit. Then we measured the sheet it was 8 foot and a quarter inch long. Normally I'm the kind of guy who doesn't mind getting something extra for free. This wasn't one of the cases. After cutting off the quarter inch, it fit quite nicely.

After I finished the floor, Dad asked me if I could plant some vegetables that a friend had given him. He had a small area tilled up to put in a garden and needed these tomato and pepper plants put in. I got them in and watered, and spent a while talking to him, then I needed to head home, where more work awaited me.

When I got home, I dug up the daffodils, tulips and hyacinths that we had planted at the front of our house. Since they didn't get a lot of direct sunlight, they had never flourished. I dug new homes for them out back near the side fence where the perennials there do very well. I then removed the sod in two areas in front of the house and planted perennials that do well in shady areas there. By the time I was finished, I looked like the little boy who had been making mud pies all day. I told my wife that at least it was honest dirt.

Lady Nottaguy-TYG rewarded me with a supper of grilled barbecue chicken, potatoes, salad and ice cream. We then watched an old movie and retired for the night. I was tired, to say the least.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Flashback Friday #39

Fire in (or firing in) the outhouse isn't a good idea

Hello, and welcome to another stroll with me down memory lane. Today we stroll to the back of our property to the old outhouse. Ever since we got indoor plumbing, the outhouse had only been used in cases of dire emergency. Since it wasn't used for it's primary function, we decided to make a clubhouse out of it.

All of the groups of kids that you saw on TV, or read about in books, had a club house. The Mickey Mouse club, The Mad Scientist club, The He-Man Women Haters club all had club houses. We were only kids, but we figured that we could do the remodeling needed to make the old outhouse our "home away from home".

The first thing we did was to lay planks across the three holes that served as the "depository". We didn't nail these down, just in case we needed to use said depository. We then hauled in some cement blocks and created a fireplace ( in case we wanted to cook out or we got cold). We then set up a "booby trap" to keep intruders out. We set up a trip line at the door that led to the handle of an old cast iron skillet that we had placed in the rafters. We didn't realize at the time that the skillet could have killed someone who tripped the wire. It never happened like that on TV.

One day during our "meeting" it was a bit nippy, so we decided to light a fire in our fireplace to warm things up. A few scraps of lumber and some small sticks got to burning pretty good. One problem that we hadn't thought of was that there was no chimney. Smoke began to fill the clubhouse. We were exiting as Dad entered. "What is going on!" he demanded. I told him that we were trying out the fireplace that we built. He went in and put out the fire. Another thing that we hadn't thought of was that it's not a good idea to start a fire on a wood floor. We were lucky that we didn't burn the outhouse down with us in it. We were told point blank NO MORE FIRES!!! The fireplace became a table with the addition of a few more cement blocks and some planks.

One of the things that we liked to do around the outhouse/clubhouse was to shoot flies. Doug had a BB gun. I wasn't allowed to have one because my older brother, Sir Gattabout, shot the neighbors window with his, therefore negating my chances of ever owning one. We would stand outside the clubhouse and wait for flies to light on the wall. We would then slowly inch the barrel close to them, and then blast them into oblivion. Usually the BB would embed itself into the siding with legs & wings sticking out. For a young boy, this was a great pastime.

One day we were relaxing inside with kool-ade & cookies when a large bumble bee crashed our party. He buzzed and swooped and made himself a general nuisance. Finally he landed on the wall opposite of where we were sitting. I had Doug hand me his BB gun and I took aim, and squeezed off my shot. To this day I don't know if I hit that bumble bee. Instead of burying itself in the siding like outside, the BB ricochet around the inside. We huddled up and covered our heads. Ping, ping, ping ping, back wall side wall, front wall, side wall that BB screamed around while we sat frozen in fear of getting hit. Finally it hit the edge of an empty chamber pot that we had sitting on the "table" I think this was going to be our stew pot (ew). The BB zipped around inside that pot about 20 times before coming to rest at the bottom. From that day on, no more discharging weapons inside the clubhouse was allowed.

Did you have a clubhouse?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An Evening With Gateway

Last night Gateway College of Evangelism ministered to us (can I hear a shout out Lady Lemon?). A great time of music and worship was had by all. When they had finished ministering to us, we got a chance to minister to them by taking four of the young men home with us to spend the night. My wife and I figure that someone took our daughter into their house and ministered to her while she was touring, so it is only right and proper the same for someone else's child who has felt the call of ministry in their life and has traveled for two weeks in close proximity with 40 or so of their peers. May God bless them all.

Here's a picture of the guys who stayed with us. From left: Dustin, Bruce, Craig & Hugh.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Advanced Cat Yodeling

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. I love warped humor.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Flashback Friday #38

Large things in small packages

Hello, one and all, welcome to another edition of Flashback Friday. In today's edition, we deal with the old adage, "big things come in small packages". What does this have to do with your child hood, you ask?

I have always been big (aka fat). As long as I can remember, I was one of those "big boned" kids you hear about. My clothes came from the "husky" department at Sears.

But at the same time, I've always enjoyed squeezing into places where you would never expect to find me. I was a killer "hide & seek" player because people would overlook certain places because they thought I could never fit there. One such place was the dog house that Dad built for Trixie (she was the outhouse cheek kisser of Flashback Friday #2). If I laid on my stomach, and entered feet-first, I could squeeze into her dog house. There was even room for her, if she didn't want to stretch out.
Nobody ever thought to look for me there until Dad saw me exiting one time. To this day he is amazed that I fit into that dog house.

Another place I liked to hide and play by myself was in an old storage tank that grandma had at the back of her lot in Westerville. This tank was steel, and had a hatch that opened on top like an army tank. I would climb into that tank and pretend that I was chasing Rommel through Africa.

One afternoon, I squeezed into the tank to begin my search for enemy tanks. When I finished, about an hour later, I went to squeeze out through the hatch and something terrible happened, I couldn't make it back out. I was stuck inside this steel tank. That hatch was the ONLY way in or out. It was summer, and I had been in it for about an hour, so it was getting mighty hot inside. I couldn't yell for help because the house was too far away. There was a sheep pasture behind and to the sides of the lot, and sheep are too stupid to play Lassie and go fetch help. They probably laughed at the stupid fat kid who got himself stuck in a steel tank.

I wanted to panic, but I told myself that it would do any good. I was the only one who could help me now, so I had to stay calm and think of a way out of this predicament. After several failed attempts to escape, it dawned on me what I needed to do. I bent my knees, raised my hands over my hear and put my palms together. I looked like Jeanie from I Dream Of Jeanie in that pose. I slowly raised up and got my shoulders through the hatch. I was then able to pull myself the rest of the way out.

I never again got back into that tank. In fact, I never told anybody about getting stuck until about a year ago when we were telling old stories at a family get together. I thought Dad was going to fall over when he hear the story. Did you ever do anything that you told you parents (much) later that they found hard to believe?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

There IS a wrong way to eat a Reese's

This blog post is dedicated to my co-worker KQ .

Here is the proper procedure to eat a Reese's peanut butter cup.

Step 1: Procure the delicious morsel. We normally only have the small cups that come in a bag at work. There is candy to be had, but most of it is hard candy. When chocolate shows up, it doesn't last long.

This is an authentic mini Reese cup. Yum.

Step 2: Remove the outer wrapper. On the small cups, it is foil, on the larger ones, orange cello paper. This is not edible.

Step 3: Remove the black paper wrapper from the PB cup. I'm sure the paper wrapper is non-toxic, but I'm also sure that it doesn't taste very good. Failure to remove this wrapper can cause choking, but I guess I don't have to tell you that, do I KQ?

Step 4: Consume the tasty morsel before someone else beats you to it. I say again, YUM.
As I have stated, the only wrong way to eat a Reese's peanut butter cup is with the wrapper still affixed. I hope you have learned something today.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Technologically Amish No More

Jeremy:My parents haven't upgraded their cell phones for like, two years.

Jeremy: My dad's computer monitor is the size of a dishwasher. And don't get me started on the speed of our internet connection.

Viral: Jeremy, I had no idea.
Jeremy: Technologically we're almost Amish.

Sorry we haven't been around for a while. The Internet has been down because (drum roll please): We no longer have dial-up! We have jumped into the world of DSL. Plus we BOTH got a present for Mother's Day:

We got a GREAT deal on new phones, so we both got one (my wife's phone is maroon).

I still have many technical things I can't figure out, but I am no longer technologically Amish. Technologically Mennonite perhaps, but not technologically Amish.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Flashback Friday #37

Straight as an Arrow

One of the things that Doug, Billy & I liked to do down at the creek was hunting for treasures. Now the treasures we looked for weren't gold, silver & jewels. They were stuff that people upstream had lost, and it had floated to our little corner of the world. Some of the things we found were fishing bobbers, a life vest and a pair of women's underpants/bikini bottoms (we never figured out which).

One of the better things we found after a severe storm went through was a fiberglass bow. This bow had no string, but it was a real bow, not a branch that we tied a string to during cowboys & indians. We now owned a real weapon. A bow that had no string, no arrows and nobody with common sense to use it.

We decided to make some arrows out of reeds that grew in a little tributary. We sharpened them, and notched them with my pocket knife. We used some sturdy string that I had to make a bowstring. We had fun shooting at milk jugs with the "bow & arrows".

We then made a discovery that changed our game. In the little tributary where we got the reeds, we found a real arrow. It was blue with orange feathers. It was a thing of beauty. The only problem was that the shaft was cracked. We figured that it was nothing that some scotch tape couldn't take care of. After the shaft was taped, we took the bow and arrow outside to shoot at the jugs.

We had set up the jugs between our houses, firing toward the back yard. I got to shoot first, since I was oldest, and technically it was my string. I notched the arrow, took aim, and pulled back with all my might. I let fly the arrow and it left the bow with a twang, but instead of flying true to course and impaling the jug that I had aimed at, the cracked shaft caused the arrow to fly awry. The arrow curved around the corner of of the Butcher's house and very nearly hit a goat that their outlaw biker neighbor had tied up near the property line. If that goat hadn't moved quickly, we would had a dead goat on our hands.

I made the suggestion that we throw away our "real arrow" and go back to using our home made ones. The vote was unanimous. A pierced milk jug is better than a pierced goat any day.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Adoption Day? What's That?

In my last post, I wished my daughters a Happy Adoption Day. Here is how that began:

When I met the future Lady Nottaguy-TYG, she was a single mom in college. She had two small children,both girls,, ages three and 18 months. By the time we got married, they were 4 1/2 and three.

We decided that I would adopt the girls as soon as the court would let us. We had to wait a year after we were married to even approach the court. We then had to notify their father, file legal briefs, and set court dates. By the time we had jumped through all the hoops, we had a court date of May 5th, 1986.

The judge warned me that if anything was to happen to our marriage, I would have to pay child support for the girls. He gave me every opportunity to back out. We proceeded on. When we got the girls new birth certificates, they stated"Father's age at birth": On one it said 16, the other, 18.

When the girls were in school, we would send them flowers to them at school on Adoption Day. Usually this was the happy face mum. Their classmates thought it was cool that they got flowers at school. I think they liked it too.

I still get them a card and a small gift to celebrate. I asked them a couple years ago if they thought that they were too old to continue the Adoption Day celebration. They told me that they were never too old, plus they liked getting gifts (who doesn't).

I've told them that I was lucky, because I got to pick who my children would be. I think I pick a couple of good ones. They've grown to be fine, godly ladies.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Adoption Day

Here's a shout out to Lady Lemon & the Ogre. You're grown now, but you'll always be my babies. Most of the gray in my hair has one of your names on it, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love you both.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

Flashback Friday #36

When the bough breaks

Hello, and welcome to this week's edition of Flashback Friday. In today's offering, we leave the small town where I grew up to travel to the sprawling metropolis of Westerville, OH. Why Westerville, you ask? That is where my paternal grandparents lived. With both Mom & Dad working in Westerville, I spent the majority of my summers there during the 70's .

Grandpa died when I was 7, and Grandma wasn't into playing unless it was cards. Every card game I know how to play, she taught me. But as a child, you could only play cards (and get beat) for so long before you got bored with it. There was a small box of toys there, but nothing like the (to quote my grandson) "cool toys that Papa has". What do you do when there is nothing to do? You turn your imagination loose.

There was a wrought iron swing in the tree nearest the house. That swing became an airplane, a roller coaster, and car, but my favorite thing was when it would become a boat. Not just any boat, mind you, the S.S. Minnow to be exact. I loved to pretend that I was Gilligan or the Skipper trying to keep the Minnow afloat during the storm that eventually beached her. By grabbing the chains at the sides and pushing one with your left arm while pulling the other with your right, then alternating, made the swing pitch and sway. It was better if you could get someone else on the other set of chains.

One day the neighbor's grandson, Ray, came over to visit. He was two years younger than me, and had a sister who was my age. I convinced Ray to play "Gilligan's Island" with me. I grabbed one set of chains, and he grabbed the other. That swing was swaying like a hula dancer with a snake in her skirt. We were having a great time. Then suddenly I heard a crack, then a loud groan. Then I realized the tree is falling!

I hollered to Ray to jump. We both jumped as the tree fell toward us. Fortunately, neither of us were hurt. Grandma and Ray's dad came running out of the house to find out what all that racket was. Neither had expected to find a tree laying in the yard. When they asked what happened, we told them that we were playing on the swing, and the tree fell over. The tree had rotted at the roots, and probably would have come down in a good wind. We had just sped up the process of bringing it down. It missed the house by only a few feet.

The tree was cut up, and the swing was moved to a large maple that was farther away from the house. Life imitates art. Like on TV, our Gilligan's Island was cancelled. Even though this activity was no longer played with the vigor it once was, Ray and I found other ways to entertain ourselves. More "Tales from Grandma's backyard" in future Flashback Friday posts.

To this day, I am amazed that I survived my childhood.