Friday, April 22, 2011

Mom, my sister and I, about 1941.
We are standing on the corner of a lot that mom bought when we moved back to Idaho.
She had a house built. It was a single car garage, divided into two spaces. A small bedroom in the back and an everything room in front. The bathroom did not exist but at the end of the path was an outhouse. We had inside water, but cold only. Hot water was heated on the wood stove.

more about my mother

I want to talk about my mom a bit more.

There are not many left who knew her. My daughters remember mom well, but none of the grandkids did.

So I tell them stories about mom and what a classy lady she was.

Mom was 21 when I was born. Dad died 4 years later. In between my birth and dad’s death mom bore 3 more full term babies. Two died of complications that would not have even been routine now days. One baby was born when they were living 65 miles from the hospital. The road was and remains truly awful. Mom went into labor and delivered along the way. Dad was probably useless I’d guess!

My daughter who is a nurse and delivers babies tells me that if Mom had known a bit more about what to do that baby could have been saved. But imagine the anger and grief she must have felt. She was angry with her husband (my father) for living so far from medical help when she was full term.

I cannot imagine anything but her mother begging mom to stay in town the last few weeks, but it did not happen.

Then above the anger she had to feel was the absolute grief of losing a beautiful baby. Lots of couples split after those kind of events, but my parents went through it twice.

Mom was was supremely kind. She laughed a lot and really enjoyed life.

When the cancer thing raised it’s ugly head, she took the news with dignity and fortitude. That was in January. She lived down the street from us and I spent a lot of time with her that spring. Both my sister and brother came to visit. Sister was in Africa teaching English. Brother was a state away. Diagnosed in January Mom died in early June.

Mom was a fairly uncomplicated women. She was defiantly low maintenance! She wanted to be an Accountant, something she was totally suited for. College was not affordable, so she took classes from International Correspondence School. She landed a job with the State of Idaho, Health and Welfare department as payroll clerk. Her boss gave her an achievement award, and came to her memorial service.

As you can see I was and am, very proud of my mother and so thankful I was her son. After my father died it was 4 years before she married. There was just the three of us: Mom, my sister who was born a few months before dad died, and me.

It would have been good to have had her a lot longer, but that is not how it worked.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

spendy wire nuts

I needed 3 larger wire nuts.

I was working on the wiring in the new closet. I am not an electrician, but with a bit of help from my friends I get by.

But here I had 3 wires coming into a box with a place to screw two on receptacle. I figured I need some new larger wire nuts.

Loading Miriam into the car we headed for the Bank first to get some cash from the ATM. That done we went to the shoe shop to pick up my best dress shoes which were being resoled. ($49, ouch).

But the brake felt a bit different as we stopped before crossing the street. The next stop they were worse, so rather than a left turn to the hardware store, I turned right, heading for the tire/brake shop.

One of the brake hydraulic hoses had broken, it turned out, and was spraying brake fluid. “Should I replace the other hose too?” they asked. Yes was my answer. “Purge the lines?” Same answer.

We were there for an hour or so, and $225 later, the brakes work fine.

On one hand I should have stayed home. On the other that was an original line and it could have broken a long way from anyone, rather than just a few blocks away from my favorite brake shop.

But that did make a dent in my getting-close-to-the-end-of-the-month budget, but it is done now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

There was rain for the first three camp trips we took last year.
This is getting on to the end of April and we have had an extraordinary amount of rain and cold.
My camping method is pretty basic, not too many places to go and hide in the rain.
But, last year, we learned a LOT about camping in bad weather.


I have been doing a small remodel project in our house.

OK it is not real small and it has gone on for quite a while.

This week I was working on the electrical. I shoudl have double checked everythig before I put the sheetrock on, but I did not.

So there is a light that is powered, but not by the switch as well as a place for more lights (old fixtures that still have power.

But when I hooked up a line to a pair of 10/2 wires, which looked innocent enough, I suddely had 210 volts. My test light seemed to be burning a bit brighter, but it is hard to measure. I hooked up a lamp and the bulb went off like a flash bulb. I tried another bulb, same results.

That is when I borrowed a better tester and found the higher voltage.

But today I finally have all of the outlets in place. They all work and no more flash bulbs.

I may be slow, but I am all I have!

cancer update

My friend went back to the Urologist to get the update on his bladder cancer.

The report from the Pathologist was in. The word was good. His cancer is a very slow growing variety and should take to treatment well.

About the time he is all healed from the last surgery they are going to do it again and do more. Being totally non medical the terms mean little!

All of this surgery is done without an incision by going up the urethra. That sounds better on one level and is totally scary on another. Luckily the surgery is done with robotics and not the doctor’s hands!

Oh the miracles of modern medicine.

For all of the computer geeks in my life!
No, I didn't work there either.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mom not too long before we lost her.

My Mother and Father and me, about 1938.
There aren't many pictures of Mom and Dad together.

Happy Birthday Mother

Today is my mother's birthday.

She would be 95. She was a super good woman. My birth father's birthday is in three days and he would be 98.

My father was cut down by a logging accident when he was 28, mom died at 65, way too young for each of them.

I did not know my father well. I was 4 when we lost him, but I knew my mother well and she was a champ.

My daughters knew her well as well. She died when most were in high school. Now I tell my grandkids what a wonderful mother I had and how much they would have enjoyed her company.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The newest Beetle, available from your friendly dealer fairly soon!
Photo from Volkswagen.

the new new Beetle

Volkswagen is introducing another “new” Beetle.

Except for the slant nose, it looks pretty much like a lot of other small cars and not too much like the old Beetle.

But it misses the point, I think. Why was the original Beetle so popular? It wasn’t the fabulous drive train. Engine failure was routine. That little air cooled engine just was not made for these long stretches of highways that the American west was known for.

Truthfully, there were better imports of the day, but they went away, yet the Beetle gained a cult following. I drove several VWs for a good while. I would still drive one if I could keep it alive, but I gave up.

The parts were cheap and while it needed work often, one could learn to be their own mechanic. There was a fabulous book called the “idiot’s book” that would walk you step by step through almost any repair. They were a real bucket of fun to drive. Compared to the monstrosities that came out of Detroit in that era, they were like a motorized skate board.

I am afraid that the era of simple but fun cars is over. For a few minutes we will mourn it’s passing.

On the other hand, I have a daughter who has a moderate aged Toyota minivan that is getting close to 300,000 miles on the clock. I sold my 92 Chevy pickup after 240,000 miles, and Miriam’s 92 Cavalier has 160,000 on it and we are still driving it.

In spite of the romance of the idea of the old VW’s I don’t want to go back!

President Goodluck

Goodluck Jonathan became acting president of Nigeria when the president was out of the country then president when the president died.

With a name like that, how could he not survive and do well?

Looks like he is headed to a full term on his own. I have only a basic idea of the politics of Nigeria. I do know there is a lot of problems with governance in Africa. Some how the retreating colonials did not do a very good job of mentoring, but that is another issue.

I am just chuckling that a politician with the name of Goodluck could thrive and survive. He is an academic (PhD in Zoology) and is married to a woman named Patience.

The head of any country needs both Patience and Goodluck. I wish him well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My favorite garden tool

Some years ago I was browsing the tool section of an upscale nursery in the next town over.

A trowel caught my eye. The price was high, but it looked like a superb tool and long ago I learned that quality tools always pay off. The more I studied it the better it looked.

It was made in England by Wilkinson Sword company, who also makes razor blades. The tool was solid stainless steel with a wood handle. I inquired of the sales people and the said that tool had been on their shelves for a number of years and the price was the original price, and at that price no one had bought it.

So I did! I brought it home and put it to work.

Since I spent most of my life on my knees, I garden that way too, and a quality hand trowel makes the work go better. It is stainless so it does not rust, smooth so it cuts into the dirt easily.

It is not imported any longer. There does not seem to be any available. I think it just cost more than anyone was willing to pay.

This spring I could not find it. I knew it was here on the place somewhere, but it was not where tools are supposed to be.

This weekend I was walking through the potato patch and there, covered with dirt and mud was my trowel! Of course there was no rust. It was dirty and the wood handle showed a check or two, but all of that is fixable.

So I am a happy gardner. Now if we could just get some sunshine.