Friday, May 27, 2011

Here comes the long weekend...

And not a moment too soon, if you ask me.

Big week in our family....our fourth grandchild, a boy, was born Monday morning.  Big boy, too, ten pounds eight ounces, 21.5 inches long.  Mother and baby are both doing very well indeed!

My wife and I kept our granddaughter for a good part of that day Monday and I believe I acquired what was making her sick, a respiratory deal that seems quite a lot like a cold.  So I'm a little under the weather, but not seriously so.

Business travel by car on Tuesday and Wednesday, this time with my boss, who drove to my home city from her base location up north and accompanied me to Nashville.  Good trip, productive meetings, and always good to spend time with her, which doesn't happen nearly enough.

And I picked up a new briefcase while on the trip, thanks to some prodding by my wonderful wife.  $100 cheaper than at a similar store here in Lexington, so that's something.  I'm actually kind of famous for buying my own presents, but I certainly don't mind.  So I'm no longer in manbag search mode, to the relief of most who know me.

But the best part of today is that we head into a three-day weekend after today, and we have the following planned:

No baby who's about to arrive
No garage sales
No home or lawn improvement projects
No furniture to move
No relatives to travel to visit

OK, enough of what we're NOT doing.  What we ARE doing stands to include

Cooking out
Drinking beer
Golf
Baseball
Shopping

As I write this, I have about seven official work hours left before this weekend starts, so I'm not feeling terribly motivated.  But after 5:00 PM today, look out.  Hope you have the weekend off and the chance to enjoy it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

There went another week....

Lots happening, as always....

First and foremost, our daughter-in-law will have a baby between now and Monday.  Thinking good thoughts, and hoping for a healthy mother and baby when all is said and done!

Traveled again this week, this time by car to Nashville (and will be going back next week).  Nashville is a pretty good place to visit, particularly the southern end of the city, where our offices and many of our clients are located.  Good hotel selection, lots of restaurants, a nice mall where a fella can stretch his legs, etc.  Didn't notice anything really out of the ordinary on this trip, as I often do.  That in itself is a little strange.

Since my last post concerned our upcoming garage sale extravaganza, permit me to report that the Smiths cleared around $150 for their collective efforts, while our son and his family walked away with around $220 and some extra space in their soon-to-be-more crowded house!  We cleared out a lot of stuff on this go-round, and successfully let go of a few items that we had tried, and failed, to sell in the past through one means or another.

And the folks who visited us on our rainy Saturday morning and afternoon were the usual mixture of folks looking for stuff and others looking for a deal.  And we sold stuff to both categories, thankfully.  Donated the remainder to a local charity, as is our custom.

We finally saw the sun yesterday for the first time in a while.  Was talking to a man yesterday who said it had rained 36 of the last 41 days in our home area.  I am just about to go out and buy the raw materials so that I can begin construction on my very own ark.

Have a good weekend, and try to stay out of trouble.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Everything must go!

We're having a garage sale tomorrow.  Rain or shine.  Come early, stay late, bring your cash and an empty pickup truck.

Actually, our entire neighborhood is having a sale, and I simply piggyback on with the rest of the group.  They advertise it pretty liberally (we're not members of the association, so I'm REALLY riding their coattails, as I usually do with these events) and there's strength in numbers.

And those who like to visit garage sales never cease to amaze me with what they'll buy or what they show up seeking.  Here are some anecdotes I hope you'll find amusing:

*   In one garage sale, as soon as I opened the garage door to go out and move our cars into the street, a guy pulled up driving a battered pickup with racks on the sides.  He asked if I was open, and I told him I would be as soon as I repositioned the cars.  He then proceeded to buy about 75 percent of what I had on display, for a tidy sum.  Seems he was (and probably still is) a flea marketer, and he was looking for stock for his own display.  Bought the damnedest combination of items I ever saw--dishes, glassware, an old thermos bottle, videotapes, some books, and an old paint-spattered ladder.

*   A grandmother bought everything that she could think of that her grandchildren might like.  Of course, my knowledge of kid culture being limited, I was no help, except to encourage her a little.  She filled her trunk and a good part of her backseat, too.

*   Last sale, two different people showed up wanting to know if we were selling any slot-car racing sets.  Didn't know they were in such high demand.

*   Commonplace requests for merchandise include guns, knives, baby clothes and jewelry, of which we usually have none.

The neighborhood sale is slated to begin at 8:00 AM and last until 2:00 PM.  I plan to be open at 7:00, just to catch the early birds.  Those are often the ones who buy the most stuff, for fear it won't be there later.

Come one, come all.  And, in case I didn't mention it earlier, cash only, please.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bob or Not Bob

Big doings in the Smith family are right around the corner, as our son and daughter-in-law are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their second child (and our fourth grandchild).  Mommy and Daddy decided a while back not to find out the gender of the baby (we knew what their first would be, as well as our daughter's two, well before any were born), so this has been a little different compared to the other pregnancies in the family in recent years.

But I have to confess a running joke in our family that I inadvertently started some years ago when we began talking about getting a dog.  I kept kidding that we should name the dog Bob, so that I could say, "that's my dog Bob."  The phrase "my dog Bob" must come from some children's book or something, as that has always sounded very natural to me.  And in the interests of full disclosure, I should mention here that my father's name was Bob (Robert, formally), but nearly everyone called him Smitty (remember, up until a certain time, everyone named Smith was called "Smitty"), but it's not because of that that this came up.  I honestly don't know where it came from.

So it started that way, and then when our daughter was expecting her first child, I began joshing her that she should name the child Roberta, so that I could call her "Bob."  Obviously, and wisely, she declined, yet I have kidded that grandchild (our first) by calling her Bob.  And she always looks at me kind of oddly, and puts her hands on her hips and proclaims, "Poppy, I'm NOT Bob."  End of discussion.

Did that a little when our son and daughter-in-law were expecting their first, also a girl, but to no avail.  And I really stepped it up when our daughter announced that she and her hubby were expecting their second, and this one was gonna be a boy!  Never in a million years, of course, would they actually name this child "Bob."  I knew that.  We still kidded about it.

But until last night I had not mentioned "Bob" to my son and his wife.  They just smiled and said, no, we've got a few names in mind, but that's not one of them.  So we don't know what gender this child will be, and we don't know what his or her name will be, but we know one thing.

Not Bob.

Perhaps I should simply call this child Not Bob.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Entry number 100

For those who know me, it's probably no surprise or secret that this is the 100th posting in the "history" of this blog, me being such a notorious windbag and all.  But for those who don't know me personally but spend their time here occasionally, it's something of a milestone, I suppose.  Regardless, I thank you for visiting and reading about my thoughts, experiences and endless opinions.  It's been a lot of fun, and I hope to continue this little venture for a few hundred more turns.

First and most seriously, let's take just a moment to recognize our armed forces and intelligence communities for finally ridding the world of Osama Bin Ladin over the weekend.  I didn't know this until this morning, as we weren't watching any news or network programming last night where this was mentioned, and I certainly didn't see the President's announcement about this accomplishment.  I don't know nearly enough about Al Qaida to comment intelligently about what Bin Ladin's death means to that movement, but one would have to think and hope that it means something worthwhile to our military personnel and their families, both those soldiers and other personnel who were lost in the effort against terrorism and those who have served and continue to serve.

Peace be with all of you.

Now, not so serious.....my wife and I just completed the majority of some work in our backyard.  We decided last fall that we had had enough of the variety of plants and shrubs out there, having bought them a little at a time at grocery stores and home improvement warehouses.  In most cases we no longer knew what the plants were or how big they would (or should) grow, and many had gotten way out of hand.  Others were so overgrown that my efforts to trim and reshape them resulted in some monstrosities that looked more like an upright collection of twigs than an actual ornamental plant or shrub.  So, I cut just about all of them down to near-ground-level last fall.  That left ugly stumps and fragments of plans, but at least we were able to see what we had to work with.

Starting in the early spring, I began the process of resurrecting our backyard.  First order of business was to clean out what was left in these planting beds, so I raked and shoveled until I had filled fifteen or so of the lawn waste bags (you know, the big paper bags that look like enlarged versions of the grocery bags your food used to be bagged in) PLUS our rolling trash can. That took care of the bark and what I could cut off the remaining roots.

Then, in a fit of inspiration, I acquired what is now among my favorite lawn tools....a mattock, also known as a pickaxe.  My wife and I laughed at the prospect of me swinging this thing in our backyard, singing chain-gang songs and such, but damned if it didn't work to uproot what remained of these unwanted plants.  More crap in the trash can, but now the beds were pretty much clear.

For the sake of brevity, I'll just mention that the entire project required me to move a stone birdbath and for my wife and me to select, purchase and plant a total of twenty-seven plants and forty bags of mulch (a small amount of which was used to refresh what I placed in our front yard last year).  Oh, and a word about mulch....we invested in the shredded rubber mulch, which is made from recycled tires and is guaranteed to remain colorfast for years.  Quite a bit more expensive than even the best cypress or pine mulch, but it stays in place well, does not rot or absorb water and gives a nice appearance to any ornamental garden space.

Of course, all of this hard work took place in multiple installments, bookended around intervals where I was helping our son with some renovation projects at his house (he and his wife will be welcoming their second child later this month, so their timetable was a bit more defined than mine) and traveling for business.  And the effort was not without some humorous points.

Many years ago, when I first entered my current profession, my job included making site visits to various types of employers, so I invested in a pair of coveralls to wear over my clothes in dirty or dusty situations.  I never wore them much for their original purpose, but have found them handy to have in instances where I'm doing some particularly messy work at our house or our son's, like cleaning gutters or doing this recent planting project.  And because I don't think very hard about how dirty I'm getting while I'm in the midst of a project like we just completed, they've been especially good to have around.

The single funniest thing that happened during the course of this latest round of work was when my wife told me that my "jumpsuit" was clean and ready for me to wear again.

Jumpsuit.

Conjures images of Elvis.  Early '70's Elvis, after he made his "comeback" and wore something that looked a bit like a spangled one-piece suit.  Or, in my case, bloated, mid-'70's, near-death Elvis, as I'm sure I don't exactly cut a smashing figure while wearing this functional garment.

"Jumpsuit."

That's all I have to say now, and my wife and I both laugh maniacally.

So, if you know me, feel free to use the new password whenever the opportunity presents.

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