Friday, April 29, 2011

Flashback Friday #134

The Pink Jacket

Greetings one & all (I hope there's more than one). Today's post covers a subject that is near & dear to all shoppers. Are you the type of person that scans the aisles for a clearance rack? Sure, I knew you were.

During my Jr High years, I was in need of a lightweight jacket ( I honestly don't remember if this was 7th or 8th grade, spring or fall). While we were in Westerville, we stopped at Gold Circle department store to see if we could find me a jacket.

Denim jackets were the rage at the time (late 70's), but they were also pricey. In our search through the jackets, we came across some corduroy jackets that were marked 75% off. There was a problem, however. The colors available at 75% off were atrocious. They were coral & baby poop green.

I would chosen the nasty green, but there was a problem there too. At the present time, I was between sizes. The largest green jacket was snug. I could button it, but it left 0% room for growth. The largest coral jacket was a wee bit too big, but you know the saying "You'll grow into it". Needless to say, Mom couldn't turn down a dynamite deal like that.

If I had a dollar for every snide comment & every snarky remark about the "pink jacket" that I was wearing, I would have never had to work another day of my life. "It's coral", I kept telling people. It's not good when a young man is just entering manhood to have his manhood question because of the wardrobe he has. It would have been better to be cold than to be mocked, but you know how Moms can be, "Don't forget your jacket".

I was fortunate in that I didn't have to wear the jacket for long. I went into a growth spurt and grew out of the jacket in a few months. I made sure that it was in a bag of clothes that were headed for hand-me-downs.

Did you ever have to wear something that you really didn't want to?

Sunday, April 24, 2011


On Friday, since there was no school, and both Lady Nottaguy-TYG and I had the day off, We made a trip to COSI (the Center Of Science & Industry). We weren't the only ones who had that idea. After a 30 minute wait to purchase tickets to get in, we went to see what all we could find.

When "Lady Lemon" & "The Ogre" were kids, we took them quite a bit. That was at the old location. They moved about 10 years or so ago, and I have been there only once since. Lady Nottaguy-TYG had never been to the new location.

Anyone who had ever been there before knows that are many hands-on activities for those of all ages. When it is crowded like it was Friday, you have to wait your turn to do the activity before you. In the Space exploration area, "The Boy" landed a lunar module on the moon, captured the Hubble telescope in the space shuttle, and flew a space ship using the expelled fuel to direct it.

We then went to the "Life & Body" exhibits. There were many hands-on displays about the body and how it works. "The Boy" seeing an empty kiosk, made a beeline for it, seeing that he didn't have to wait for it.

I was a few steps behind him, so I was able to see the name on the exhibit. I chuckled to myself, a thought "This is a place for learning. I'm going to keep my mouth shut." When I got to the kiosk, "The Boy" was already seated and had his hand on what appeared to be a rather large computer mouse. His hands were twitching in anticipation of beginning this learning activity. He touched the screen where it said "Touch screen here to begin". The instruction then came up on the screen on how to self examine yourself for breast cancer.

It took a moment for the idea to sink into his head just what this activity was. Then there was the moment of revelation. His eyes got as big as saucers. He jumped back from the screen and let go of "the computer mouse" when he realized what it was like it was on fire. "EWW YUCK", he exclaimed. I nearly busted a gut in laughter.

We also went on an adventure where you had to go through mazes and "perilous" situations (ala Indiana Jones") to find statues and inscriptions & clues to solve an archaeological puzzle. There were a few moments of frustration, but with the help of the COSI guides, we were able to find all the clues. Finding the clues was more fun that solving the puzzle at the end. I won't ruin it for you, you'll have to experience it yourself.

After lunch ($$$$), We checked out the gecko exhibit. I never knew there were as many types of geckos as there are. "The Girl" had to look in every display to find them. If you picked her up to see them, she wanted "DOWN". If you didn't pick her up, she fussed because she couldn't see.

We then went to the oceans exhibit. It was a plethora of hands-on water activities. I tried to keep "The Girl" interested in the grated sidewalk that randomly squirted water out different openings. There was opportunity for her to be absolutely drenched by the time we left there.

We had little time left, so Lady Nottaguy-TYG went to check out membership while I took the young'uns to places we hadn't been to yet. I had to hoist "The Girl" onto my shoulders. She was none too happy. When we got to the street of yesteryear (it's a lot like the old one but the similarities are different) "The Boy" was fascinated. The 1868 street was fun for him, but when we turned the corner into 1962, he flipped out.

There were things he was vaguely familiar with, but now he was able to see in real life. The dial telephones were a riot to him. Each one spoke to you when you picked it up. There was a working pinball machine that cost 10 cents to play. "The Girl" had to get down to sit in the spaceship ride. Both were fascinated with the old phone booth like the one Superman used to change in. They loved the Hula hoops.

We had a few minutes before closing, so we went over to Gadgets. We watched two robots doing a disco dance. "The Boy" found a catapult that lobbed balls onto a wall that looked liked a configuration of mazes, whirligigs & sprockets. The all moved when hit. "The girl" busied herself chasing down the balls. I got a text from my wife saying that it was closing time and we needed to leave.

Before we even made it out of the parking lot, "The Girl" was asleep. She was plumb wore out.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Flashback Friday #133

Making Panels

Welcome back to my faithful reader(s?).

Today we discuss a family activity that was was also a way to bring in some extra cash. Everyone in the family was involved. This activity was making panel for the tile company that Mom worked for.

A panel is like a picture frame that had no glass. They were used to display tile at the various outlets that sold the tile that Mom's factory made. They were about 18" wide, 24" long and 1" deep. These were filled with the various tile, so it was like a section of floor in a frame. Since there were many different colors and many different styles, we needed to make LOTS of these.

We would make about 50 every time we made them. Dad would take the wood and cut it to size. This involved using a circular saw for the backs and a table saw and miter box for notching the framing wood and cutting the angled wood for the frames. Once all the wood was cut it was easy to assemble them quickly. I was used to tote lumber and carry away the cut pieces and scrap.

All the lumber was arranged on & around a large table. Dad then used his air nailer to put them together. He could assemble a panel in less than three minutes. He then slid them to the end of the table. Mom & I were at another table staining them. Mom stained non-stop, while I stacked the panels that Dad slid down and took the stained panel from Mom and laid them in the yard to dry. When Dad was finished assembling them, he would grab a rag and help stain. Once the stain was dry. They were stacked in the trunk and back seat of the car. Everyone had dark brown hands when we were finished.

At the tile factory, they remodeled the offices and were planning to leave a section unfinished to show the difference. The boss was planning to leave a corner unfinished to show the contrast. To me, this didn't make much sense. I simply asked why they couldn't they take one of the panels we made, and use it to frame the unfinished section. The bosses looked at each other like they had just been handed a revelation. They thought it was a great idea.

We made these panel for years.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring Has Sprung

Thursday I picked "The Boy" up from school. I had a surprise waiting for him. He came out of the building, and his eyes got real big when he saw the bikes in the back of my truck. "Cool", he shouted, "Were going biking". I had promised him that when the weather was warmer an the weather nice, I would take him to the nearby bike trail. It was sunny & 68. Our bike trail used to be railroad tracks. It is nestled between rolling hills and a small river.

Although it looks barren in these pictures, there was proof of Spring all around us.

Here is a picture of "The Boy" at a bridge that was about 1 1/2 miles up the trail.

From this vantage point, you could see how high the flood waters were earlier this year. We were under flood warnings quite a bit. If you can look closely at the next picture, you will see leaves, grass & other vegetation in the upper parts of the trees on the banks of the river below us. From my estimation, the water was only about 5 feet below the bottom of the bridge. It's about 20-25 feet from the bottom of the bridge and the water currently.

Looking at this picture, I would estimate that the water was near the top block in the center support beam. That's a lot of water.

We rode up the trail for about 2 1/4 miles and "The Boy wanted to go even further. He wanted to venture to the next town, which is a college town about another 4 1/2 miles up. I looked at my watch and told him we need to get back because it was near 5 o'clock and supper would be soon. He sighed and reluctantly headed back down the trail for the truck.

I can count the number of times I have ridden on a bike in the last five years on both hands. 4 1/2 miles did a number on my seat. What added insult to injury was Friday at work, the job I did required me to sit 6 1/2 hours.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Flashback Friday # 132

Saturday Night Fever

Greetings one & all. Put on your polyester, blow-dry your hair & crank up the tunes. Today's post is about a movie that affected my early teen year, Saturday Night Fever. I was in the 8th grade when it came out. Disco had taken the USA by storm and this movie only added fuel to the fire. We had all watched John Travolta as a teen in Welcome Back Kotter. We watched that show every week. Vinnie Barbarino, Juan Epstein, Freddie (Boom Boom) Washington, and Arnold Horshack made us all laugh. Travolta's character in Saturday Night Fever was no "sweat hog". ere is a picture of the Original Soundtrack album (which I also owned).

Our Jr. High music teacher taught us a couple of disco steps. Looking back at it, some of them remind me a lot of country line dancing, but with different music(especially the dance to the song "Night Fever"). Denny Tarrio (Travolta's dance teacher, funny how I can remember that) came out with a book that he hawked by saying "I taught John Travolta how to dance, now I can teach you". We used to say, "If I can teach John Travolta how to dance, a schmuck like you should be a piece of cake". This was before VHS. If there had been such a thing back then, they wouldn't have been able to make them fast enough. Disco was that hot.

I don't intend to blow my own horn, but I was a pretty good dancer myself. I didn't buy the book, but I had seen the movie a dozen times. This was one of the few movies that cleaned itself up a bit and re-submitted itself to the ratings board. Originally it was rated R. Because they wanted everyone to see Travolta's dancing, some scenes were removed, others darkened, it came back out as PG. There are some clips at YouTube if you dare.

Since I had the album, I was able to practice whenever I pleased. That was usually right after school, since neither of my parents cared for the music. If it wasn't Country & Western, they weren't interested.

The one problem that presented itself was that there was no place to dance. I lived in the middle of nowhere, unlike Travolta's character, who lived in New York. Then I heard something exciting on the radio. A large skating rink in Columbus was transforming the middle of the skating rink into a dance floor. The grand opening was soon. I asked my parents if I could go. I was all of 14 years old. What do you think they told me? They said if I could find someone to who would go with me. That was easy. I knew if I asked Kelly Stump, she would jump at the chance. I asked, she jumped. Off to Columbus we went.

Dad dropped us off and told us that he would be back at 9 PM. The dance floor was quite unusual. A staircase took you up & over the skaters onto a landing, then descended to the middle, where the dance floor was located. We danced the night away. At one point I was surrounded by several older teens of a different skin tone. They were fascinated at some of the moves that I had created, and wanted to learn them. I taught them until my sides literally ached.

Dad showed up at 9, and we loaded up and headed off to home. For one night, I was a regular "John Revolta".

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Playing With Your Food

I ran across this video on the Cheezburger Network and my grandson, "The Boy", loved it so much that I have seen it countless times over the last few days. I hope you enjoy it as much as he did. Click here to see it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Sounds You Hear At Night

Last night, as bedtime was nearing, I heard what sounded like a lawn mower running. Who would be running a lawn mower at 10:15 PM? When I let Sparky out the final time before bed, he started barking frantically. The neighbor, who had moved in over the winter, was trying to get his mower running. He had worked on it for several hours without success. He finally got it running at 10:15 PM. He said while it was running, he was going to mow the grass in fear that it wouldn't start again. He duct taped a flashlight to the motor head and commenced to mow his lawn. I wish I had a camera with night vision to have taken pictures of it. Watching that beam of light moving around the lawn was hysterical.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Flashback Friday #131

Going Bowling

Greetings one and all. Pull up a chair (unless you're the type who likes to stand while they are on the computer) and join me on another look into the past.

Bowling. The very word conjures images of heavy objects and ugly shoes. During my early teens, I did quite a bit of bowling. Both of my parents were in a league at one time or another, so it was just natural that I pick the sport up too.

During my years in Jr. High, a bus from Charger Lanes (in the neighboring county seat) came to the school every Friday to pick up a bunch of us. We were divided into teams and bowled against each other in league action. At the end of the year, we had an awards banquet that was held in the bowling alley's bar (the bar wasn't open at the time we were in it). My first year I received a trophy for high team series. It was due to some teammates of mine having a great day on the same day.

Near the middle of my 8th grade year, the number of bowlers had dwindled. Charger Lanes contacted the school and told them it was no longer profitable to come and pick us up. I can use the real name of the bowling alley because it is no longer in business. The building is gone as well. Where it used to be now sits a donut/ice cream shop and an auto parts store (they are two separate stores. They don't sell ice cream, donuts & spark plugs at the same place).

During the summer between 8th & 9th grade, Dad asked me if I would like to join a father/son league he had heard of in Westerville. I said sure. We got there and filled out the registration and were teamed up with another father/son combo. The dad was older than my dad and the son was older than me. The first week, we bowled to set our handicap.

I must admit, I am somewhat handicapped in my bowling knowledge. I didn't have a clue what handicap was or how it pertained to the game. All I know is that I did lousy that night, therefore obtaining the highest handicap in the league. I can recall one individual commenting "Jeez, They'll beat us in handicap alone".

Due to mechanical issues with our car, and some health issues, we didn't get to finish that league. We missed the final three weeks. It was just as well. I probably would have received a trophy for the worst bowler. Dad got a similar trophy from a league he was in. He also got a trophy for being on the last place team. Here is a picture of what his last place trophy looked like:
Lousy bowling. It must run the the bloodlines.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Springtime in Ohio

Yesterday when I woke up it was 67 degrees. This morning it was 37 degrees. They say if you don't like the weather in Ohio, stick around for a bit. It will change. UPDATE: At 3:15, while waiting to pick up "The Boy" from school, it started spitting snow. Now re-read the first sentance of this post.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dental Hygiene 101

Last night, after I went to bed, this LOL of mine made front page on "Up Next In Sports" (one of the Cheezburger sites). I found it this morning. You know how much hockey players are concerned about how their teeth look.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Flashback Friday #130


A cheery welcome to all who have stopped by this way. I'm off to meander down memory lane again. Care to come along?

Today's post is about that bane to womanhood. Pantyhose. I can see the wheels turning in your head right now. "Why on Earth would HE be writing about pantyhose? The answer is quite simple. I got to play with the toy that came with them.

Now you're saying "A toy in pantyhose?" I'm sure I've lost a few of you already. Not all brands came with a toy. Only one. L'eggs.

Many moons ago, L'eggs pantyhose actually came in a large plastic egg. It was similar to the plastic Easter eggs you see all over at this time of year. Mom bought only L'eggs, so I got all the plastic eggs that they came in.

What can one do with large plastic eggs? I had a fertile imagination, so I had lots of uses for them. I would use the halves to create crash helmets for my multitude of sock monkeys. I would use them for storing small things in. Perhaps the most bizarre use I had for them was I would fill them with as many toy soldiers as would fit in them. I would then fill the sink up with water. Then I submerged the egg & cracked it open slightly, so that it would fill with water. I then took the eggs filled with water & soldiers and put it in the freezer. The next day I would pop out a frozen soldier filled egg. It was like aliens had captured them or something.

There is, however, one pantyhose story that I must tell. When opening the package, the nylons were rather small before use. Mom wore queen size, so when Dad saw that little pair of hose come out of that egg, he couldn't believe his eyes. They were about six inches across and about a foot long. He took one look at them and told Mom, "There's no way in the world you're going to be able to get your fat butt in those!" "Want to make a bet?" was Mom's reply. She then promptly stretched them onto her. Dad stood there in slack jawed amazement. "Never in a million years would I have thought you could put those on." he said. Mom just laughed at him.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. L'eggs changed their packaging. They stopped putting them in eggs and started putting them in packages like the other hosiery. The eggs was seen as an example of wasteful packaging.