Things you always wanted to say but were afraid

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Holiday is over

Home Sweet Home

After a long weekend all alone with the hubby and not much excitement except a knock down drag out about the proper way for him to take his medicine, today was the “you just thought you didn’t work anymore” day.  Not much sleep; the mister was restless.  He had taken a muscle relaxer to help his pain, but he gets so loopy on them that I can’t sleep well knowing that he may go the wrong way to the bathroom.  He also talks in his sleep when he takes a muscle relaxer.  Last night he told me to go hang the clothes on the line about ten times.  I guess I wasn’t going cause he kept telling me.

He got up at 7 am.  I wasn’t sure if he was sleep walking or awake so I jumped up (woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head) and went to the kitchen with him.  I had to go to the store today and pick up prescriptions and go to the bank.  I got my bags to take to the store, got the post office box key, cell phone, bottle of water, and purse and headed out to the car.  By this time, the Mister was throwing up sick and barely able to walk.  I went back to check on him, got him situated on the couch and went back to the car to hurry to get my stuff done.  The car wouldn’t start.  Battery so dead there was only one click, not even a series of clicks. I knew I had two options – jump it off or get out the battery charger.  I decided on the first and began to see how best to get the truck in to the front of my car.  My car was in the carport.  In front of it was two battery-powered ride on grandkid toys, a patio then a turn to the left has my compost bin, two lawn chairs, two saw horses, various pieces of lumber and a few other things that were not in their proper place of course.  Thinking I would not be able to get the truck through that obstacle course, I opted to push my car back out of the carport just enough to get the truck close enough for the jumper cable to reach.  I had hell getting the car into neutral so I could push it, but finally did and began to push.  There is just enough of a hump at the end of the carport to keep rolling it back the wrong way when it got to it.  I thought about getting out and going to the front to push it over the hump, but if it went over the hump there was an incline  that it would roll right down, and I had visions of me chasing my own car down the driveway right out into the street.  About that time, the mister came outside on the walker with one sock on and one barefoot.  It’s bad enough that he needs the walker to steady himself, but he can’t walk barefoot at all.  Hell, he couldn’t go barefoot when he was a young buck, so his possibility of falling had increased about 200%.  When he saw what was going on, he said the words that changed the world (as usual), “I believe your battery is in the trunk.”  Of course, I had never owned a car with a battery in the trunk, and granted it did make it much easier to get the truck to it, but damn it would have been nice to have had sense enough to know that before I tried to move a car on my own.    Moved the truck; jumped the car and off I go to the mechanic.  I guess the mister has known this mechanic for 50 years, and his parting word to me were, “Go straight to Bill Mechanic’s and tell him to get out there and help you now.”  I don’t have the same force that the mister has so I decided to wait to tell him until after he looked at my car.

I went straight to the mechanic and he checked the alternator – it was fine – then he checked the battery and said it was dead.  He didn’t think that it had ever been changed and it was a 2006 model.  Of course he couldn’t get the battery until the next morning so I will have to go back.  He assured me I could drive it and do my errands as long as I didn’t kill the car.

Off I went to the drugstore, and on the way out ran into an old friend and his wife.  We had a good long talk.  Next to the store, went through quite quick, forgot several things because of the hurry I was in.  Got the unfriendliest checker, and had to sack my own groceries and load the the car.  I like the checker, but I really have to work to get her to talk or smile, and today I was not successful.  Went through the drive thru at the bank to get some change to send all the grandkids a little summer spending money and headed the 10 miles to home. About a mile down the road every electrical thing on my car started doing weird things just like the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  I decided I best hurry, and I put the pedal to the metal to the tune of 90 miles per hours and raced the next nine miles to the house.  I kept thinking a policeman would stop me so at least I would have some help if I got stranded, but of course I could have robbed a bank and had Bonnie and Clyde in the backseat getting it on, and there would have been no police today.  So I made it the 10 miles with aliens having taken over my car.  As soon as I got home the mister was coming to the bed with his “cough up” can. (Kids called it that long ago; you know a nickname for everything, even the can you vomit in.)  “Get me a 7up,” was his first feeble request.  Then he wanted to go back to the couch; then decided not to; then decided to.  Got to the couch and moved all the vomit paraphernalia.  Got the groceries put up.  Mowed the lot across the road from us. Came in with “oh, my aching back.”

The remainder of the day went 7up, chicken noodle soup, answer the telephone, get me a blanket, turn up the air, turn on the fan, more 7up, medicine for upset stomach.  I finally convinced him that if he could find something on TV that would get him interested, it might take his mind off his ailments.  Rockford Files and Heat of the Night did the trick.

Went outside and fed the horse and rubbed him down with fly spray.  He was nicer to me.

Came in and got the mister bathed and tucked into bed.  He is so weak, but sleeping peacefully and now I will to.  And so ends a day of Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges and Abbott and Costello come to the Back Alley Stables of the McCoys.


And I’m trying to put in my own toilet

Automobile Lift

“The nice thing about this is that at the grade level it looks like a regular garage floor,” said Cheryl Nauman, an employee at American Custom Lifts. “When you hit a button, another comes up.”

Brad Davies created the sophisticated car elevator. His shop, American Custom Lifts, is located in downtown Escondido, but he has installed the lifts in homes around the world.”

We just recently installed one in London,” Davies said. “We have one in New Zealand [and] Norway. We have quite a few in Canada.”

Clients include actor Harrison Ford and singer Britney Spears. Now, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney wants to install a Phantom Park in his La Jolla home. First, Romney will bulldoze the current 3,000-square-foot home and build one that is 11,000 square feet. The basement alone will be 3,600 square feet and is planned to have a Phantom Park in it to store his cars.

“For the cost of the lift, delivery and installed… it’s about $55,000,” Davies said.

Romney’s car elevator cost $55,000

5/25/12 2:46 PM EDT

I’m ticked off all over again about teachers being second guessed


What is wrong with people?  Mr. Romney, in a school, says that he checked to see if smaller class sizes had anything to do with standardized test scores, and it didn’t.  A perfect case of a person that doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.  After retiring from 22 years in public education I can tell you that if you were a smart person you would defer to the experts on this one.  Yes, the superficial correlation do not appear to show that, but it only applies to the upper half of students.  In other words, for the politicians that can’t read above an 8th grade level, for students that make good grades, they can survive in a larger class, but it is the student that struggles who need the smaller groups.  To be exact, for those students behind grade level the most important thing for them is small group instruction with qualified teachers.  I have seen it; the statistics are there to find if you care to; Mr. Romney you are just another in a long line of second guessers that have never taught a group of students already behind usually through no fault of their own.  It is often because of societal issues they are born into.  They get into PK and K with groups of 20 to 30 and don’t get the small group instruction they need, and it is downhill from there.  No one at home is reading to them and with them.  No one is working with them on their homework. No one is enhancing their natural curiosity with proper time and questioning.


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Last Flag – I’m sad

Just an update on our VFW.  The last Field of Flags will be posted on Monday at 8:00 am.  If anyone that has purchased the flag wants to pick it up, they can come around 10:00 am to pick them up.

Encouragement from Texas for Chicago

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Although it’s not my state, it is my country

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I really did not know much about Wisconsin before I encountered a professor in college that had graduated from the University of Wisconsin and then moved to small town Texas to begin her college teaching profession.  She was an excellent teacher and tried to begin an AIDS outreach program in the small college town much like the one she had volunteered at while she was in college.  She never saw it as anything to do with sexual preference, but you guessed it, the rest of the town did.  She was the first person I saw with the bright pink hair, and I was just so glad to breathe some of that fresh air on occasion.

Then, my son moved to Wisconsin and the schools were so much more progressive with so many more options than we had here in Texas.  I am a retired Texas educator, and I know backwards when I experience it.  So, it does concern me than my admiration for the state of Wisconsin is under siege by money.

Please check out this blog from a person in Michigan that follows politics in that area closely.  I think we all need to take this as our fight.  It’s not just Wisconsin.  Texas has fallen. Virginia has fallen.  Michigan is on the way.  The technique is simple.  The far right gave up trying to get the highest offices and began to work on the small ones (school boards, county commissioners, county clerks, etc.) and conquered them one at a time until they reached that one more person that made them the majority.  Then, one step at a time, they dismantled what did not suit them, and that could mean anything with any diversity or innovation.

So, although it’s not my state, it is my country.


My son, the genius

Now, I know that is what everyone thinks when their child is small, but hey this kid is pushing 40, and he still gets a vote from me.  I am referring to a column he wrote in the last newspaper I got from him.  For those that don’t know, he owns a small weekly newspaper in Wisconsin Rapids (which would obviously be in Wisconsin – you think?).  I get my paper in the mail so I am sure I am behind a week, maybe more but I finally dug around and found it.  It is in the May 11, 2012 issue and is titled, “Future rests within ourselves, not fantasies of new large employer.”  Without repeating the entire column let me paraphrase his thesis.  Jeff says that too many people in the area are waiting for some “big” employer to sweep into the area and open some “turn of the century” factory to offer employment to most of the residents.  However, those same people want all the struggle and fight that came out of those factories to give the workers adequate pay and benefits should come with it.  Jeff goes on to say that those days are gone and all the wishing in the world are not going to bring them back.  It is now up to each small community to fight back and the most important part of that is for people to SUPPORT THEIR LOCAL BUSINESSES.  Those other towns that are 15 or 20 miles away are just thrilled with the money you go and give to them, but there is not any of them that care about your local animal shelter, or Kiwanas Club, or any other local non-profit trying desperately to stay alive for your benefit.

And yes, I live in the same type of small town in Texas (although it is much, much, much more conservative) and does not have as many local business so I understand that it can cost more.  A little inconvenience to you can mean the difference in your child’s school having 20 students in a classroom or 40 students in a classroom.  And if you think any large corporation is going to come in and save you or anyone else other than their CEOs you are just living in a dream world.

The most impressive thing about the column (in addition to the foresight) is that at the end he challenges anyone that has bought something outside the area to call him and he will find it in Wisconsin Rapids or he will give them a reward. (It’s some kind of discount to some local place and remember I’m in Texas so I’m not sure what it is.)

Of course the “stump the editor” prize if you do stump him is not large, but hey it’s a SMALL TOWN WEEKLY NEWSPAPER THAT HE STARTED WITH HIS FAMILY.

Future rests within ourselves, not large employer fantasies

So, “wake up ‘merica.” Let’s poor people help each other instead of helping rich people get richer.

Traffic, traffic…you don’t know what traffic is till you’ve been overseas

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This is an old story, but one worth preserving.  It is complex, so I hope I can keep everything understandable.  When I left for Iran with my three-year old son in tow, I had absolutely no clue what to expect.  There were no culture classes.  I never thought to get any books to read.  I knew not one Iranian person, so needless to say I was in total ignorance, and I’m sure I showed it daily while I lived there.  Fortunately, I was so young (in my 20s) that I never noticed how stupid I was and have been able to push most of it out of my mind.  All except a few things that just can’t be compared to anything else.  As Larry the Cable Guy so aptly puts it, ” I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there.

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Imagine if you can, living in the 1970s in a foreign country.  There are no TV shows after 6 pm – just call to prayer music.  No movie theaters except the one on the military base that was quite a trip to get to.  A bowling alley, and it was a fun place to be but not a very good place for a toddler.  With that in mind, maybe we were just easily amused, but we use to go out after supper and walk about half a block down the street to a very beautiful mosque that sat on the corner of two of the busiest streets in the capital of Tehran.  There were about 50 steps going up to the door, and the farthest we ever came to going inside was about half way up to get a good seat for the traffic show that started around 6pm each evening.

I will try my best to give you a description and a diagram of what it looked like.  Now, as you can see by my map, it is just confusing when no cars at all are moving through the intersection. I will confess that I have forgotten the street names, so those on the map are made up, but I figured I might need them to help with the explanation.

In Iran, when the line at the red light gets longer than those in line think is necessary, they move over to the left and start a new line.  The lines that divide the lanes going the same way (the dotted lines) mean nothing.  They can squeeze three lines into two lanes.  So imagine you are sitting at the light going north on Merabad.  The line begins normally in the far right lane until someone decides it is getting too long, and they begin another one right next to the first.  The same thing happens again, so now you have three lines in a two lane area. Oh but it doesn’t end there.  If that light stays red longer than those people pulling up like they begin to move over into the other lanes that cause them to be making their new lines on the wrong side of the road. Now during this time the light is green heading south on Merabad, but only for those turning onto Karim street, so that leaves those that are just creating line after line while they are sitting at the red light with all the room they want and often before you know it the entire road is full of cars heading north at that light.  Now, the tricky part starts when that light that has been holding the drivers on Karim street changes to green and they want to head south on Merabad, but all the lanes, plus some are stacked with cars facing north and there is no way to get through.  The next attack comes when those cars just turn anyway and get as close to the front bumper as possible and honk, honk, honk, and honk some more.  By this time, those cars that are on the wrong side of the street can see the error of their ways and start trying to wiggle over just enough to make yet another line so the folks can head south and suddenly the light changes again for the drivers to head north on Merabad and the race is on.  That turns about 12 lines of cars loose while those that have been trying to squeeze through are now just being bullied nearly off the road.  This creates pretty much a deadlock and at this time bets are flying on the mosque steps by the foreigners as to how it will be resolved, but the best part at this point is how the policeman keeps from being completely squished (one of my granddaughters words). He blows his whistle incessantly, while moving his arms, but only from the elbow up so they don’t get knocked off.  It’s almost a wooden ventriloquist sort of doll without the person to work the strings.

It’s by far one of the most entertaining things we found to do while we were there.  It seems to work itself out most of the time.  They do have one particular law that helps it along and that is if your car is facing one way then you can go backward as long as the car faces forward.  In other words, you can be driving forward down a street when some idiot comes barreling toward you backwards and as long as his car is facing forward he is legal.

Ah, to be back in the good ole days when traffic was the form of entertainment for the day.

Sometime I’ll tell you the story of my wreck with the Iranian Army Colonel.  It’s a doozy.

Cheating – – but not by kids?

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This is one of the hardest stories to tell, but it has been on my mind since 1984.  These are secrets that are normally carried to the grave, and but for one little student teacher that has had her conscience troubling her ever since so would this one.

I was doing my student teaching.  It was the end of the year in May and cheerleading tryouts were underway for the year.  One of the most intense ones was the competition of the 6th graders to make the Jr. Hi team.  Only two 6th graders would make that team and there was around 20 girls trying out for those two positions.  It appeared to be above-board.  A jury of college cheerleaders made the decision after a tryout that included several different ways to show their stuff.  In the end the two girls that won were the two that were expected to win.  They were definitely the most popular girls in the 6th grade.

Within a week tragedy stuck.  One of the girl’s father was transferred unexpectedly out-of-town, so she would be unable to serve. Thinking that the easiest way to remedy the situation, and without having to go through the entire process again, it appeared that to take the next person down would be the simplest explanation.  The files were pulled out in the teachers’ lounge to check on the third place person.  Low and behold it was a student that some of the teachers found a little less than desirable.  You know, family problems, druggie older brother, poor white wrong side of the track sort of thing.  No matter that she was  a beautiful, striking, athletic, intelligent girl who may have needed this more than any other of the girls.  Then, much to their surprise, the fourth place girls was a teacher’s kid – really good kid, straight As, conservative dresser, good family, etc. They justified their decision by the fact that it was the “right” thing to do.

I sat in the corner ignoring the entire process.  I was just taking a class and happen to be there, and I really had no say.  I’m having it now.  After very little discussion, the decision was made to skip the third place, go to the fourth place, shred all the paperwork and who would ever know the difference.  They know, and I know.

It still makes me sick, but doesn’t it remind you of our government? And al those good people wonder what is wrong with our society.  They never believe they have anything to do with its corruption.

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A small town VFW


I heard a sad story today.  Our local VFW is going out of business.  I guess that’s the proper terminology.  They have offered to donate their building to the city because they cannot find enough Veterans of Foreign Wars to fill the officers positions to run the show.  I guess the entire process had been held up by those WWII veterans.(What else is new?)  Now remember, it can’t just be any veteran.  It has to be a veteran that served overseas.  That sort of points to Korean War Veterans and Viet Nam War Veterans.  Maybe there just aren’t as many of them, I don’t know.  Anyway, if it goes, it will be sad, but I’m not quite sure how to help it.  I’m not going to Irag or wherever I can assure you.  They do many things around the area to supporting any parades we have, support a democracy essay contest for the county, but the most astounding thing is the field of flags they put our each memorial day.  I found a few pictures – could be the last one.


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