Friday, February 29, 2008

And so it goes...

My bloggin' time has been reduced as of late with everything else that causes life to happen. C'est la vie, cousin. First and foremost, the back injury from pulling the calf in my last post has unfortunately become my focal point. Lord knows it's not the first time for a back injury, I've got a long history of ruptured discs, busted vertebrae, and other unsavory things... but this one, this one is a killer. It'll heal, but man it's hit me at a real wrong time, and it's a nasty one... that's what sucks.

Calving is progressing pretty good, with fairly few problems. Had one little guy that tumbled off into a ditch in the pasture and inhaled a little bit of ditch water. Just 'bout wrote that one off, but lots of TLC and drugs and he's on momma's teat like a fly on the wall. Pretty amazing, that's something that they seldom survive.

If there's anything that resembles a ditch, the momma cow will very often plant herself next to it to have the calf. Reason being, she eliminates 180 degrees of area that a predator would stalk up on her or the calf. Pretty clever, 'cept for the fact that babies learning to walk hippy hop around like a rat on a hot skillet, and pretty soon they've launched themselves into the ditch. That's why they've got me and Uncle Robert. :-)

I snapped a few pics and my girls are so darned photogenic, I know you'd love to see 'em. It's a Cowguy's version of showing off the grandkids. (I do that a lot too.)

Look at these guys... tell me those aren't beautiful cows.

This gal is always the first to stroll out of an open gate or find a hole in a fence. If she wasn't so darned good natured about going back in, I'd have found her a different home. But she's pretty much got a place on our farm as long as she lives probably. Excellent momma... and loves having her picture took.

This cow is antique, but she always has a good calf and is gentle as a kitten.

A few new babies laying in the sun on fresh hay with a nearby designated babysitter.

Thanks to those of you that expressed your concern... Mom is still in the hospital, but is progressing. The pneumonia was a tough one for her. If she continues to progress like she has already, I'm guessing they'll release her on Sunday or Monday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's never boring

Got the last coat of finish on the living room and dining room floor today, which was no small feat given that I managed to nearly give myself a backectomy yesterday afternoon in the barn... but I think I'm getting ahead of myself.

On Sunday I got the first coat of finish down after way too much prep work, it seemed. Sal had wisely escaped while she still had a soul and went to St. Louis, catching a ride with some friends and spending a few days with our daughter and her family. In process, she'll be driving back a new to me truck that I bought from my son in law. Anyway, I got that coat of finish on and it stunk so bad in here I had a couple of huffers that stopped and backed up and just wanted to stand outside a window here. I decided to run into town and grab a burger and did. Got back home and the phone was ringing, it was my Dad.

Dad: We're sick.

Me: Like how sick Dad?

Dad: Real sick... we need to go to the hospital.

Me: Be right there.

So I get up there and they're already loaded in the car waiting for a driver. Mom is in the back seat with a wastecan, sick sick sick. Dad is in the front seat, with a wastecan... sick sick sick. This ain't no Lincoln Towncar, this here is the vomit express! Yeee Haww! So after driving the 24 hours of LeMans to the hospital, I waltzed 'em both in the E.R.

Sunday night was a busy one in the ER. They got Dad all checked out and got an IV running on him and the same with Mom, but she was much sicker. 'Bout 11 pm they released Dad and decided they were keeping mom for awhile, so I took him home, got me in bed about 12:30 or 1 and ready to attack the next day.

We'll fast forward to yesterday. Mom is doing pretty good, she had the same flu that I had last week, but she's got about 30 years on me and it's pretty rough on her. They think she's got pneumonia and by yesterday evening, that's confirmed.

My uncle and I needed to get the cows up to the barn and take the herd bulls out, that were still running with the cows. That move went pretty well, just a 1/4 mile move but when we got 'em up to the lot it looked like we had all the bigger calves as well, with the bunch. So, the decision was made to sort them off. The frost has left the ground here and that means "mud". Lots and lots of mud. We got the whole mess sorted out about noon and decided to just haul the calves to the sale barn. Culled out 36 head and they sold today... did pretty good considering the market is a little stinky right now.

So then I get home to take a shower and end up sitting down for "a second" and fall asleep. :-) I wake up a couple hours later and give Dad a call to check up on Mom and everything is still like it was there. I put another coat of finish on the floor and the phone rings... it's Robert. Got a cow that can't have her calf, so off I go back to the farm.

We get the cow in the barn and everything seems to be all cool, just a really really big calf. I get the OB chains around it's front hooves and put the calf pullers up to her hips and start cranking... calf stops at it's hips and I gotta finish up by hand. So Robert and I are holding tension on the calf waiting for a contraction from the cow for that little extra ooompf and KABOOM... there it goes... and there I go. I hit the floor pretty badly and did something unsavory to my back, can't get up. I finish up with the calf while I'm down there and Robert helps me up. I pull off the shoulder length OB glove that I've got on my right hand and toss it on the floor, turn my back and my Aunt Charlotte is standing there and she yells, I turn just in time to see the cow swallowing the glove. Okay, that's a new one.

Me: *stunned*

Robert: *stunned*

Charlotte: Jace, that cow just ate that glove, now what?

Me: Beats me, I never had a cow eat a glove before. I ain't going after it.

Robert: Think she'll pass it?

Me: God I hope so... boy that's a weird one.

I'm guessing that the cow thought it was placenta and they normally eat that when they get rid of it. I'm sure it smelled like placenta and was an odd facsimile of what it might look like to a cow. Hell, I dunno... LOL

Anyway the calf is fine, Momma was licking on him after getting her fill of glove. I came home and finally got that shower and stood in there til the hot water stopped coming out. Got up this morning and could barely walk, but got the last coat of finish down on the floor, and then got in to see the doctor this afternoon and got smooshed out some.

So, gonna get chores done in the morning and then go up to see how Mom's doing. Dad says she "needs a talking to" so we'll see how that goes. :-)

Hoo Boy.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Death Pony

Growing up I played the part of "boy" real well. By that I mean that I engrossed myself with every single aspect of life that a boy finds interesting and wallowed in it. Accordingly, my mother and grandma (who shared about equal time with raising me) were saints.

You hear a lot today about parents doing this or that to keep their kids safe and sound and to make sure they don't get scuffed or their feelings hurt or any other of a myriad of life circumstances, and keeping a wide berth of protection around them. Mom and Grandma just kept plenty of Bandaids, rubbing alcohol, and Mercurochrome around, read the bible, prayed alot and when all that failed... just hoped for the best.

One of my boyhood pals was Doug. Doug was small for his age and I was big so we looked like a real pair when we were together, and all summer long we were together. His grandparents lived just down the road from us.

Doug had a Shetland pony named Flicka that was the most miserable piece of horseflesh that ever tumbled down the pike. The most ill tempered, hateful, spiteful flea bitten creature that God ever threw hooves on and gave Disneyland eyes to. If you walked behind this pony, there was a 100 percent chance that you were gonna get kicked. Pause for a second in front of it and it was gonna lay pony teeth to the back of your arm. And heaven forbid, get on top of it... 'cause it was just a matter of time before you were removed involuntarily from that position.

Flicka had 2 speeds. One was about double time for a snail and the other speed was "Oh My God!" When that ol' pony went into OMG mode, it was just a hang on for the ride. Scream a Hail Mary if you were Catholic or cuss like a madman if you were a Baptist. She'd purposely head for a low hanging limb and wipe you right off her back, or she'd go from twice the speed of light to feet locked up causing you to go off the front end onto the ground and then the psycho pony would bite you, as if to just finish you off.

When we were about 9 or 10, Doug and I had decided that we needed to hitch Flicka up to my Radio Flyer wagon. Having no knowledge whatsover in how to properly hook a pony up to anything, we of course just winged it. We tied up the finest hitch you ever saw in your life out of nothing more than a bunch of binder twine and a little bit of cotton rope. Next was inevitable fight about who gets to ride the pony and who gets to ride in the wagon and I think I made Doug cry and felt sorry for him so he got the first ride in the wagon.

This was also the only ride in the wagon.

We got her out in the road and tied everything all up, Doug got in the old metal wagon, I hopped on the back of Flicka and gave her a kick in the flanks and she went straight into OMG mode. We hurtled down the road to the old Store where all the bider twine started getting tangled up around her back feet and that wagon kept getting closer. I think that old pony thought Satan was gaining on her cause she just ran faster and whipping her butt end around every other step. Steering with the reins was a moot point... she was on auto pilot and there was a storm brewing captain.

When we got to the store, she cut left hard the wagon shot right, she caught it with a high flying hoof and propelled Doug ass over heels into the wall of the store, about 5 foot up. I bailed off and Flicka continued on with her battle with the wagon from hell, now up to her back feet and sounding like someone beating a washtub in the distance. I went over to Doug and he was just piled up in an oddly arranged pile of boy against the store building... motionless.

I had never seen a real live dead human being in my wee years and having watched a lot of TV, Doug looked just like someone blowed to kingdom come with a box of dynamite on Gunsmoke.

I panicked.

I ran down to his Grandma's house and went burning right in and I guess I looked pretty wild. She wanted to know if something was the matter. I stood there for a minute and said. "I think Doug's dead".

If there are words that'll get a grandma into high gear in 2 seconds, those are the ones. We ran up to the store, I think she actually outran me, and when we got there Doug was sitting up, very undead like. See, I'd never seen anyone with the wind knocked out of 'em before. She fanned him a little bit with her apron and off in the distance you could hear Flicka and the wagon, still going at it. His Grandma wanted to know what that noise was and I told her it was Doug's pony beating up my wagon and she said it'd probably be a good thing to go get the wagon while there was still something left of it.

I'm sure we got cookies and pop... we always did.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


After being flogged half to death with the crud, Sally and I are nearly ambulatory again. Just want y'all to know in case you hadn't seen the headlines on that yet. One of the oddest, yet strangely "medical predictable", things to take place during this lapse in perfect health, was a phone call to our doctor, who was coincidently out sick with the flu. We drew the next one in line which evidently was Dr. Hook.

So here's two grown up adult type persons, both pretty doggone responsible people... me and Sal. We're sick, we know it, no question about it. I hadn't been this sick for probably 20 years. We thought that instead of dragging our sorry asses 10 miles to the doctor's office we could just fill them in with all the gory details like temperatures, color of our snot and stuffed we hacked up, puke or the lack of it, projectile poop or the lack of it...etc. All those things that doctors are always so interested in. Anyway, tell 'em all that stuff and then they'd call in a couple of prescriptions and someone would pick 'em up for us and everyone would healthier and happier.

We were mistaken. Evidently protocol has changed. Sally's is doing the talking on the phone, sprawled on the couch in a crime scene death pose, I'm in my recliner with 2 sweatshirts on and a quilt over me... coaching my end of the one sided conversation... as all spouses do in times like these. Oh come on, you know you do it, even if it's under your breath.

There is a pause from Sally and she says to the phone phantom "You want him to go to the hospital and get tested for influenza?" I look over with a "what the hell?" look and say "Tell 'em I passed the test, I have it, it's true. I've got it. Right here it is. I am NOT going to the ever loving, freakin' meat market of a hospital there and get poked for something AND pay for something I know I've got."

I thought the whole medical world and CDC plan with this stuff was to NOT spread it if possible. Well shoot fire man, they want you to go out and spew your critters all over everyone in town.

Anyway Sally declined and we sat and ate common sundry over the counter drug items and drank Wal Mart bottled water and pulled through just fine in the end. We lulled around the house today and just moaned and creaked and stuff. Tomorrow, back into the world. Horrible stuff, wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Meanwhile, the weather's turned bitter cold and snowy and my uncle Robert has been taking care of the cattle by himself with some help from my aunt. 8 new calves so far, probably gonna have a few that looses the tips of their ears to cold. Can't be helped, that's the way it goes.

Here's a pic of the second calf that came this year, the last day I was out. Raining like torrents that day. He's doing just dandy. I sorta just poked the camera outta my coat and took it. Seems I caught the little guy all hunkered up in mid-poop-pose. Cute huh?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ode To The Flu

Ode To The Flu

Oh coughing and coughing it starts,
A tryst to expectorate from my lungs, what is not,
Then gloom, it falls all aroundeth me,
As my body succumbs to this wretched whore.

I fall into my bed and pile 5,
Nay 8 quilts upon my shivvering soul.
I sweat.
Gallons I sweat. And yet I shivver.
I puketh into the waste can besideth my bedeth.

I am struck immobile.
I shuffle throughest my home,
With the grace of an alcoholic baby.
The bathroom is so far far fareth away.

My gray sweatpants that once brought me comfort,
Now only bring me hopelessness.
Elastic long gone from the waist.
The crotch of them dangles betweeneth my knees.
I careth not...

My body,
Is distorted into a question marketh,
As if being prepared,
For the Final Round on Jeopardy.
I hateth Alex Trebek right now.

My dog snickers as I make my way past her.
No longer is she my best friend.
I get to the bathroom.
Door is shut. Sally is in there.
My soul weepeths.

Just in time,
She cometh out as I clinch and danceth.
Immodium AD, I love thee.

It's not so stupendza.

Jace 2-19-08

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Calving Season Starts

It's officially here, calving season. Had the first one yesterday, a nice little black heifer that came to be, unassisted and hungry. Just the way I like 'em. The weather is taking a pretty nasty turn for the worse tonite, with everything from flash flood warnings, to ice, to up to 6 inches of snow by tomorrow. Right now it's icing up pretty fast, and that's the worst kind of weather for a new calf. For those uninitiated in the ways of cows and the timeliness of calves being flung out of their wombs into the world... bad weather makes 'em hit the ground with a promise. If a cow is close to being ready to calve, the sudden swing in barometric pressure sends 'em right over the edge. The worst kind of weather to have a baby calf in? The kind that's happening right now, freezing rain. Yup. A calf has to get dry once after it's born for everything to work out right. It hits the ground wet and the first thing momma does, if she's a good mom and not dreaming of becoming a Happy Meal, is lick that baby dry. Once it's dry and gets a little colostrum in it's tummy... a little snow or rain usually isn't gonna kill it.

In a perfect world, they'd always be in the barn to calve, but that just doesn't happen. We try to calve the heifers (cows that are having their first calf) in the barn. Makes it a much happier experience for me. A heifer will often need some help in getting the calf outta that awkward position, which is not the womb and not the open air. :-) If I've gotta go elbow to shoulder deep into a cowgina, fishing around for a soon to be born baby, whilst staring at beef rectum, I'd like it to be happening in place where everyone concerned is as comfortable as possible. When I'm staring at beef rectum I usually think of the Care Bears or Chocolate cake. It helps.

So, I'm hoping that nothing is happening right at this moment with the cows. There weren't any that looked eminent, but anything can happen. Yee haw.

One other thing that I remembered after posting the donkey pics the other day. Used to be a fellow just south of me that raised registered Simmental cattle and he always broke a bunch to lead for show stock and etc. First he'd catch them and put a halter on them and tie them in the barn for a few days with plenty to eat and drink but with a radio playing to get them used to noise. The next phase was to tie 'em up to an old donkey he had. It was kind of a silly sight to see, a big 700-800 pound calf tied up to a donkey, just walking around in the barnlot. Thing is, when that donkey wants to stop... EVERYBODY stops. When that donkey wants to walk... EVERYBODY walks. After a few days of donkey school, you could lead that calf anywhere he wanted to go.

Okay I'm done. :-)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Need Some Hot Stuff Baby Tonight

Sally and I had an opportunity today to do something that was kinda cool and a whole lotta fun. Some friends of ours own a florists shop and we volunteered to deliver for them, what a blast. We got there about 8 this morning and got started loading up the van for the first trip out. I don't think I've ever seen that many flowers and balloons in one spot in my whole life... you couldn't have wedged another dang balloon or bouquet of flowers in that van if you'd have tried.

I found out something important about the flower business today. It don't matter who you are when you're delivering flowers to someone, right at that moment you're their most favorite person on earth. I sincerely believe you could walk in to a place of business with a big ol bouquet of red roses and tell the person "Mornin'. I just backed into your car and ran over your grandma out on the interstate and you got a monster of a hanger there on the side of your nose. Here's some flowers." The response would be for the person to clasp their hands together and sigh and say "For ME?"

Pretty dang neat actually.

A good percentage of the deliveries, you never get to see the person that actually gets the flowers. They're buried deep in a cubicle somewhere in an office and a receptionist takes the flowers and hands 'em out. They ain't foolin' no one with that "authority thing". My momma didn't raise an idiot (no matter how much she'll argue that issue with you, but that's beside the point) Those receptionists just want the "FOR ME?" effect all to themselves.

Nowdays there's balloons that play music. I didn't know that before this morning, and we were entertained by that all morning long. Amongst the musical balloons was one that had a rather sensitive little sound sensing switch that made it play music. So sensitive that everytime the door shut on the van, it started playing... and let me tell you, there was a whole lotta door shutting today.

This particular balloon was an oversized cupid head with little devil horns on it, and a cartoon come hither look on it's face. The song? Donna Summmer's classic "Hot Stuff" Every single door slam...

I need some hot stuff baby tonight
I want some hot stuff baby this evenin'
gotta have some hot stuff
gotta have some lovin' tonight
I need hot stuff

We laughed every dang time it did it too. Just got to the point of stupid after about 5 times. Sal delivered that one. It went to a guy that worked at Home Depot. She said it garnered quite a bit of attention. :-)

Anyhow we finished up with our last load about 4 this afternoon and told our friends that we were game for it next year as well.

Okay now, driving all those miles today we saw some things we hadn't seen before, but none weirder than this.

So, you're thinking "what the???" A little closer...

I have no idea why a person would need that dang many donkeys, when most folks that have ever been around one would think that one is enough. Ah well, different strokes for different folks. :-)

Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Tale Of Valentines Day And Mexican Food.

Every husband and wife have stories to tell, it's inevitable, but there's always one or two that are standouts. This one goes down as one of the most memorable for Sal and I.

While the kids were still at home, Sally and I used to take off for special occasions for a night or two, sometimes at a bed and breakfast in some little town that we'd want to check out and on this particular Valentines Day, that was our venue.

We'd went to Hannibal, MO for the weekend, a cool little town on the Mississippi river about an hour or so from our place. We got a room at a Bed and Breakfast in one of the old restored and renovated mansions up on the hills above the town and the river. We hit the antique stores and did some shopping, had lunch at a favorite restaurant there of ours, Lulu Belle's, a restaurant that was at one time a turn of the century brothel. Excellent food and "interesting" decor. We shopped some more, went out to the river and watched it go by for awhile and decided to go eat dinner at a mexican restaurant that we'd seen earlier in the day.

Here is a point in the story that I'd like to just stop and make a recommendation to one and all... based on my experience. When you're out for a romantic getaway weekend with your sweetie, last choice for your evening meal should be any kind of mexican food.


We grabbed a bottle of wine on our way back to the B and B, went to our room, complete with a spa, set up the ambiance for the evening with some candles around the room... basically the whole nine yards.

Now this being a very very old house, the walls were thin, and particularly the walls in our bathroom, which was more of an afterthought than an actual bathroom. I honestly think it was originally a closet and they just threw in the appropriate porcelain and called her good.

Throw into this little fracas the fact that the guests in the next room were separated only by this thin wall, and the door that went between their room and ours was blocked by a huge armoire thing, that was shoved up against it unmovable.

Being brand new newlyweds of less than a year, "things" weren't as open as say a couple that had been together a number of years, in the area of (I'm trying to be polite here) normal body sounds. The kind of normal body sounds that happen to a man after a big mexican dinner. Oh yes.... those sounds.

Here is where I learn that we ate the wrong dinner, Cousin. Wrong wrong wrong, oh so very wrong. The wrongest. I excused myself to the paper wall bathroom to gain some relief and trying my damnedest to be discreet and not reduce an evening of romance to what a group of 5th grade boys would find to be the highest form of entertainment and humor.

See... now, still here I thought that I was being quiet. No, I was not. Sally can do the best interpretation of what took place behind that bathroom door, she's had years of practicing it when telling this story. It started out high pitched, much like a baby crying down a long hallway, then switching off to the quacking of a nervous duck, with interjections of a backfiring Model A, interspersed with polite breaks in the cacophony to pause and regroup, only to start all over again.

My beautiful bride of less than a year, just on the other side of this door, had her face buried in a pillow, almost to the point of self suffocation, trying to muffle her laughter... knowing full well what I was dealing with.

Then my friends, I had a realization. A harsh and cruel one to a man in my dire predicament... I heard the couple in the next room bust out in what can only be described as gut wrenching laughter.

I froze in mid squeak. And then, just to cinch the deal, I heard Sally come completely unhinged. I sat there in the darkness trying to think of some way to explain this whole thing off, but there was no way to explain it... other than what had actually just happened. I slowly opened the door, Sally was crying with laughter. The people in the next room were completely undone. I was had.

We laughed about it and I got over my embarrassment but told Sally that when we left the next morning that I wanted to bail outta there at the crack of dawn just so we didn't run into the people in the next room.

You can guess what happened next... as I was carrying our luggage out to the car, I rapidly greeted our neighbors good morning as I met them in the common living room of the B and B and heard them snicker as they walked on past.

We've had lots of wonderful weekends together since then, but none that go down the way that one did.

Home renovations

I've been a little lax on my Blog the past couple of days... I've been renovating you know. It's true. We've been hitting it pretty hard and by the end of the day I'm wasted and just hit the recliner and in a few minutes, zzzzzzzzzzz.

What started out as a new ceiling in our living room and dining room turned into a lot more. It always does. Living in a 100 year old farm house, sometimes it's real hard to draw a line of demarcation of where you're gonna stop with the renovation that often times more resembles "search and destroy" more than anything else.

My buddy Gary came over and helped me wreck out the monstrosity of an old ceiling that someone had hung in here probably 20 years ago. That went pretty well and fairly fast thankfully, but then there was this little partition thing between the two rooms where there at one time had been a complete wall. This included a double 2x12 beam overhead that I always just assumed did something spectacular structurally, and a set of built in shelves with a built in base cabinet.

Sally said "Sure would be nice to be rid of that." And low... it came to be. The beam did nothing, not sure why it was there other than to fill a hole where the original wall was torn out. As a side trip on that removal we nearly lost half a room's worth of plaster when we pulled it out. A couple of tense moments and a big ol' plywood patch to temporarily hold that whole nitemare up there and we marched on.

Our daughter came up and painted the walls for us, getting rid of the plain ol' white that we looked at for 10 years. The color takes a bit of getting used to for me, but I like it. Sally loves it and is thrilled with it and I always say "When momma's happy... everyone is happy."

Painting the walls really made the Southern Yellow Pine floors look like crap. You probably already have the next step of this saga figured out. Called the floor guy and he came and sanded out the 2 rooms. *sigh* I'll put the finish down on them sometime this week.

Next came the process of putting up the new ceiling... this almost done us in. Martin my son in law, and I started putting 1x3's up on the ceiling to put the new ceiling on. This was Armstrong 12x12 tiles, I can't say enough bad things about this product. Don't get me wrong it looks absolutely awesome up there now. Looks like a turn of the century stamped tin ceiling, but these things are a nitemare.

There were tons of damaged tiles in the 13 cartons of these that we bought, probably averaging 15% of every box. But the worst was the way they were cut, which was "not precisely". Lots of parallelogram shaped tiles that had to be tossed out, uneven borders, you name it. On a ceiling tile like this it's real important to have 'em all line up, unlike a blank tile where it matters not so much. We fought 'em from begining to end and actually had got enough to do a bedroom with them as well. Nope, ain't gonna happen. They're gonna get returned. (along with the box and a half of crappy ones.

About a day and a half later we finally got 300 square feet of these tiles from hell up on the ceiling, and it does look awesome. I still have the crown molding to put up, and the floor finish to put down and hopefully that will give me my days and evenings back. I'm gonna build a nice Arts and Crafts style entertainment center out of Quartersawn White Oak, it'll go kinda where the ugly built shelving/cabinet was. Oughta looks awesome, but that's gonna have to wait just a bit for some paying work to take place. :-)

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I've had a few comments on my picture to the right here, and the apparent Alfalfa hairdo that I seem to be hung with in it. Just had an email about it a couple days ago, and got me to thinking about haircuts and who's gave em to me over the years.

When I was little the first haircut that I remember was given to me by my Mom and it was your basic "mow 'em down slick" job. When I was with my Grandpa and he was getting a haircut, it was old Johnny Brammer in town that did the deed. Had a barber shop right on the corner, one chair, and the main thing I remember is when he turned on the clippers they always started off with a "bang"... and I kinda liked that, so he'd flip em off and on a bunch just for me.

Laverne was next, he had a drinking problem and always reeked while you were getting cut, that's about all I remember about him other than he took over the shop on the corner when Johnny Brammer quit.

Then time marched on, and my hair was a little longer to go with the times and I went to a barber in town that had a 2 chair shop AND a gunshop in the back. Pretty cool place but crappy haircuts. One of the barbers was real outspoken 'bout young men with longer hair and had a few "accidents" while cutting their hair. As much as I loved the whole barbershop/gunshop ambiance... I moved on to Susie's Salon.

Susie was cool, cute and made sure my coif was just like I wanted it and that when I left, I looked groovy. I don't remember why I quit going there. Must have been a good reason at the time, but I sure can't come up with it now.

Then there was a whole series of haircuts, most were pretty bad deals, but none worse than a haircut I got once at a Walmart. I know I shoulda known better than get a haircut at Walmart, but... I did it anyhow. A rather largish gal with too much makeup and a wad of bubblegum going that would have choked a goat was practicing her Edward Scissorhands stance. About halfway thru that one, I stood up, took off the drape, told her that was enough of that nonsense, laid my money on her counter and left. She was crying... Hell I shoulda been the one crying, walking outta there with that kind of a half haircut on my punkin. Sheesh.

Haircuts in strange cities are the best for entertainment. I was in Florida once and had a haircut in a place that turned out to be the haircut spot for "non hetrosexuals" I didn't know this going in, and don't get me wrong, I'm not a homophobe, I'd just have been a whole lot more comfortable in a more masculine place. The guy that was cutting my hair used the tiniest little dainty scissors I've ever seen anyone try to cut hair with. I don't know why he chose those, maybe he was gonna move up in size as he improved. Beats me. Anyway he jabbed me in the ear with 'em, while he was Nancin' around me, I ignored it. Then about 10 seconds later he jabbed me again. I told him that the next time he poked me with those cuticle trimmers there was gonna be a whole lot of unpleasantness and he clipped about 3 more hairs off and quit. Just like that.

I got a haircut in Oklahoma City once and I swear I think it was Winona Judd that gave me the haircut. I've even got pictures of this...

Check that out... now tell me that ain't Winona during one of her off stage stints, doing a little haircutting for extra pocket money.

Actual known pic of Winona..

See? I'm tellin' ya!

Eh well... the kid that's cutting my hair now is a ultimate challenge cage fighter on weekends. Yeah, he's entertaining too.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sore toe? Call a toe truck.

Okay, the weather turned to absolute crap here today and I had to take Dad (and Mom) to an appointment for a little procedure down at the hospital in Columbia. There's so many events that took place today, but one had me reduced to a pile of mirth at one point.

Just a refresher, my Dad is 80, sharp as a tack and a whole lot of fun to be with. He puts up with me real well and suffers being subjected to my experiments in "wit" like an old pro.

They had to put Pop under for 'bout 15 minutes today to do this little thing to him and while we're waiting in the communal pre-op ward for about an hour and a half, boredom set in eventually.

Dad's got a bad big toe on him, all knotted up with arthritis (this is not why he was there, this is just... eh, just read) and he's laying there on his gurney bed thing all covered up except his foot. He wanted it sticking out cause the sheet laying on it hurt it. So, if you're a nurse/anesthesiologist/ or doctor, that old wrinkly foot was like a bullseye target to walk in and squeeze reassuringly with a verbal greeting. Well, every time that happened Dad would just about butt walk right outta that bed. It happened so many times it became a comedy routine. And then... Dad just started blurting out to anyone that walked into his little curtain room. "DON'T TOUCH MY BIG TOE!". Started sounding like the old guy was a psycho of some sort, like that guy standing beside you on the street mumbling "Don't touch my eyes... I'm warning you, don't touch my eyes". Everytime he said it, I started laughing and he'd tell me again "Well I don't want 'em grabbing my damned toe!" And THAT would make me laugh.

I'm easily entertained.

So there was a break in the line of people wanting to come and squeeze Pop's toe and I said, for no reason in particular.

"I wish I had a ping pong ball to toss at your toe"

Dad "Why on earth would you want to do that?"

Me "I dunno, just something to do."

Dad "You Honyock"

I've been asked what the heck a Honyock is, I don't know. My Dad's called me one since I was little when I was being a bonehead... so I guess I'm one.

Me "Okay, I wanna try something with your toe"

Dad "Just don't touch it, I'm warning you!"

Me "I ain't gonna touch it, I wanna throw an imaginary ping pong ball at it"

Dad "You need to go get something to read"

Me "Nope, I'm gonna throw an imaginary ping pong ball at your big toe"

Dad "Shirley, make him stop it"

Mom *sitting there giggling*

So I hold my thumb and index finger apart, just about the right distance to be holding a ping pong ball and I move my hand back and forth real slow, one eye squeezed shut, like I'm taking careful aim. Dad is laying there trying to stare straight ahead.... and then... I throw the imaginary ping pong ball right at his big toe.

Dad flinches like someone just took a swing at him with a pole ax, and tries to get his foot under the sheet. My mom is cackling out loud now and I'm cracking up.

Dad "You crazy dang honyock... what's the matter with you anyhow?"

Me "I can't believe you jumped like that!" (but I kinda figured he would LOL)

At this point a nurse stuck her head in the curtain room, "Is everything all right in here?"

Dad *pointing at me* "He's not right"

Mom and I are both in tears and then the nurse tries to pat Dad on the foot! I almost slid outta my chair into the floor. LOL

Ah well, he had his procedure done and it looks like everything is alright with him, we'll get the results in about a week, but it looks like he's fine. We came home, he was still a little stoned from the anesthesia and pleasant to be with. :-)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tomorrow should be a fun day.

We've kinda flew into some home renovations. It's so tore up in here right now... the room echos. New ceilings with the acoustic tile that looks like stamped tin... oughta be pretty cool. Some wide crown under that, fresh paint in the dining room and living room that now is just one big room. Got carried away and tore out a room division thing, some built in shelves, etc. Floor guy is coming on Friday morning to sand down the southern yellow pine floors in these two rooms.

I dunno what got into us. We're getting older, maybe it's something to do with that, if it is, our daughter is assisting us in our madness by showing up to paint.

So I'm hauling my Dad (and Mom) down to Columbia tomorrow. Dad's having a little procedure done, but shouldn't be anything too serious. I'll be bringing them both back home at the end of the day. Yeah, mom too. Anyway, these little trips are usually good for a story or three.

Resilvered a load of mirrors yesterday and had one re-do this morning, got that outta the way and hit the polls to vote for the most dismal selection of candidates that I've ever seen in my life. What a mess of comedians, dolts and gyps we've been dealt this time. It's like voting not necessarily for who you think would be a good president, but more like voting against who you sure as hell don't want for president. Sad state of affairs.

I can name a half dozen of my friends and neighbors that I'd rather see run for president.

Ah well.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A weird, but cool interconnection of time.

In our quest to become millionaires in the junk trade, Gary and I went up to the farm on Sunday and loaded up a trailer load of crap. A quite impressive load too!

What is a little odd with this particular load is the main "object de junque" that occupies the trailer in that picture. That piece of Detroit glory there is a 1958 Ford 4 door. And why does that car hold a place in my heart? It was mine when I was 13 and 14 years old.

While other boys had go-carts or a mini bike or less, I was cruising the backroads and pastures in high style. A couple of tons + of American iron, powered by a 292 cubic inch V8 with a "3 speed on the tree". I was Mario Andretti, Evil Knievel, and Elroy Jetson all wrapped up in one in that car, and needless to say, the envy of all my buddies.

So how does a young man of 13 come to have command of a car? Honestly I think it was because my Dad was tired of me tearing up the riding lawnmower. Hottroddin' that poor ol' Sears and Roebuck rider until it wouldn't go anymore was making the old man crazy. Him and my Grandpa went to a farm auction and came home with this old Ford for $50... because it was cheap. It sat in the lot with our farm machinery for awhile and one day Dad sat a used battery in it, handed me the keys with fatherly advice "Don't kill yourself in it, and don't get on the highway with it."

Yessir, that was a whole different time. If you were to turn a 13 year old boy loose on the farm with a car now, they'd drag you into court for child endangerment or some silly thing.

The old girl was pretty loose in the motor department, but I could wind her up pretty tight in 2nd and drop her into 3rd and get her rolling 60 or 70 mph across the pasture on what could only be described as "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride". Devoid of shock absorbers, nearly treadless tires on the front and mud tires on the back, I could make anyone grab the dashboard and not turn loose, that chose to ride with me. My Grandma rode with me........ 1 time. That was it. She got outta the car, called me by all 3 of my names, slammed the door and told me to never ask her to ride with me ever again.

Having a loose old motor, it got rid of quite a bit of oil. Dad caught me pouring oil in the motor one day and asked me where I got that oil. I told him "outta the barrel in the shop" He informed me that THAT oil was for the tractors and trucks and things that mattered. He then led me to the corner of the shop where there were a few 5 gallon buckets of used oil that had been drained out of the tractors. "That is the oil that you use." he said. And I did. Didn't seem to matter much. LOL

I got a couple of summers out of that old 58 Ford, and I discovered one day that I could wind it up to the point just before she'd blow, turn the switch off, pump the gas pedal a few times and turn her back on and get the most awesome backfire you ever heard in your life. It'd shake the whole car and sounded like a cannon going off. I did this about 5 or 6 times and then... "KABOOOOOOM! Chunka chunka chunka chunka....screeeee" Seems the pistons caught up with the valves on the last backfire and that was the end of it.

I was nearly in tears I was so grief stricken.

I moved on to my next career in my Grandpa's 59 Willy's jeep and then, much to my Mother's chagrin... motorcycles. A pastime that I barely escaped from with my teeth, arms and life.

Anyway, Gary and I pulled the old Ford outta the ditch in the pasture that it'd been unceremoniously shoved into years and years ago, we drug it onto the trailer and I told Gary the story of the car.

Then I walked over to the drivers side, looked in and right there was one of the best things I've found in years. I reached in, pulled it out and just stood there holding it in my hand and for a couple of minutes I was 13 again.

I think I'm going to frame it with a picture of the car. I don't think I've got any pics of it from childhood... I wish I did. The key is good enough.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Amazingly... size DOES matter.

So let's just recap a bit. My folk's old ginormous TV blew it's guts out with very little drama and a wee bit of humor. I replaced it with a big new flat screen TV that should be large enough to please anyone.

Let's not get hasty.

A couple of weeks went by and I'd stopped in at my parent's house one morning like I do several times each week. There's usually 2 separate conversations taking place coming from my folks, both are almost always directed at me simultaneously. It's like juggling cats and looking up things in the encyclopedia all at once. It can be done, but you can look foolish pretty darn quickly too.

Mom is telling me about getting her haircut at the place where she gets it done and a conversation that took place when she was there the last time. A story about 2 people that I didn't know, but I was listening and nodding my head in the correct places. Meanwhile my Dad is sitting in his chair by the table checking his blood sugar and telling me what the readings were for the past 4 days and why it had spiked and it WASN'T because of that cinnamon bun that he ate, no matter what Shirley says. And I'm nodding in the appropriate spots for that as well. Mom moves on to telling me about something that the dog has drug up in the front yard that looks just awful... and I'm starting to get dizzy from it all.

So, in my "not so best" judgement I change the direction of the conversation in mid stream.

Me: So... how do you guys like your new television?

Dad: *sudden silence*

Mom: *not a peep*

Me: *regretting I had asked*

And then Mom started, but you gotta adjust this for the tone of her voice. It was her "sad and lilting, I'm okay, but not really, but if I use this tone I can answer it anyway I want and my point will be made because I'm using my sad tone" If you've got aging parents, I guarantee you know that tone.

Mom: Oh............ *sigh*...... it's okay.

Dad: Shirley!

Me: Man it smells like bacon in here! Did you guys have bacon for breakfast? I love bacon! Did you get that hickory smoked kind that HyVee sells? Man that is THE BEST bacon around. Yup I love bacon!

The clever ploy failed.

Mom: It's smaller.

Me: *giving in* Smaller than what?

Dad: Shirley!

Everytime Dad says "Shirley" I supress a giggle, 'cause I know she's not gonna stop no matter how bad Dad wants her to. LOL

Mom: I't smaller than the other TV, our old one.

Me: Mom, it's only 2 inches narrower.

Mom: It's smaller. It's shorter too.

Dad: Shirley!


Me some more: Mom, it's called letterbox, that's the new format for all the new tv's now.

Mom: I don't think I like it.

Me: Didn't you notice how much nicer the picture is?

Mom: *doing this answer in 2 syllables* Ye...sss. But it's smaller.

Dad: Yeah we had bacon this morning. I sure like that HyVee bacon.

Me: Yup, that's some dandy bacon Pop.

Mom: *Leaves the room*

Dad: It's fine, I like the TV just fine... but it IS smaller.

LOL Eh boy...

I love my folks, but some days it's just real interesting anymore.