Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Well, That's That

I know blogging has been slow lately.  There is a physiological reason for it, though.  See, I've been filling in for another coworker who is off on maternity leave.  It's not a hard job, but it uses a completely different set of muscles.  Said muscles are now quite sore.

Particularly sore are my right wrist and forearm, which kind of puts a damper on writing.

The bad news is, she had a C-section, so she won't be back for a full 8 weeks.  I'm already four weeks into it, and you'd think by now my muscles would be over being sore, but they aren't.  Therefore, posts will be brief for a while.

Not to mention, nothing interesting is happening.  Unless you count the beginning of tornado season.  Which apparently starts tonight.  

Yep, we're anticipating some severe weather tonight and into tomorrow.  Seems like it's going to be pretty bad, because the dogs are already getting nervous.  In anticipation of said anticipated bad weather, I brought my flag inside.  Don't want a repeat of what happened last time. 

Especially since I just got my flag pole fixed. 

The other interesting thing that happened was that Sunday, Cody and his roommate Dejuan came for a visit.

When they got here, they wanted to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron, since neither of them had seen it.  After that, Cody wanted Dejuan to see Guardians of the Galaxy, so we rented that and watched it, too. 

They enjoyed the movies, but Rylea was quite distressed by their presence.  "There's people on my couch,"  she said. 

Along about 7:00, they left to go visit Cody's friend Chad for a bit before heading back to Jackson.  Rylea was very relieved to have her couch back.

"Ahhh, I wuvs you, couch," she said. 

The bad news is, remember all those paintings with which I was going to decorate his bedroom?  He decided he needed to take them with him, with which to decorate his house.  "Our walls are bare," he said. 

I guess I can start with a clean slate, then. 

Time to do a bit of shopping. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Not A Good Day

I had a post for you yesterday.  Oh, it was going to be a good, good post.  There I was at work, just a working away, mentally composing the good, good post I was planning on posting yesterday, when my friend came up to me and said, "You know that lady that works at the end of our line?  Her boyfriend killed her this morning."

Wow, that really took the shine off my day.  I didn't even know her name.

About an hour later, that same friend came back with an update and said, "Her boyfriend shot her then killed himself.  She's in the hospital."  That brightened my day back up a bit.  According to the local paper, she's in stable condition, despite being shot in the head.  Hopefully, she'll be OK. 

But then, that same friend told me that another coworker -- a fellow brazer -- had had a massive heart attack and wasn't doing well.  That bummed me out again.  Another coworker said that they'd had to defibrillate her several times to bring her back, and when they went to do whatever surgical procedure they did on her, one of her arteries was completely blocked.  She is still in very serious condition.

As if that weren't enough, I got home and found out that another man who had worked at the plant, and had retired a few years ago, had passed away last night.  Overall, yesterday was not a good day.

After all that, telling you about weeds and wheelbarrows just didn't seem right.

What I would have told you is how when I go to work, every day, I say to myself, "When I get home..."  I'm going to do this, and I'm going to get that done, and I'm going to be so busy taking care of stuff.  But when I get home in reality, I end up just sitting.  I tell myself I'm going to sit down and rest for a moment, then do the stuff.  Next thing I know, it's bedtime and none of the stuff has gotten done.

This time, however, I had a bit of an impetus.  You remember all those weeds I had in my front yard?  I'd put down some weed killer, but apparently, didn't git it on there quickly enough, and the weeds had already seeded.  All the rain we've had recently made my yard explode with weeds.  My impetus was that I wanted to get something done about them before they seeded again.  So, Wednesday, I got my trusty lawn mower out,  put it on the lowest setting and scalped my yard.

I hope I got them cut in time this time.  In a couple of weeks, I'm going to spread some Scott's Turf Builder Weed & Feed in the yard.  Maybe that will kill them off for good. 

I was going to cut the weeds in the ditch, too, but it was too muddy.  Thursday, I got the weed killer out and sprayed the ditch really well. 

I was also going to tell you about my wheelbarrow.  I'd been wanting one for a while now, and so I finally broke down and ordered one.  Last Friday, it greeted me when I arrived home from work.

As is typical, I was going to put it together after work, but I was too tired.  I put it in the shed, and said I'd do it Saturday.  Again, I was too tired.  It was Sunday afternoon before I got out and got it put together.  It wasn't too hard, and I've already used it a couple of times.  It will definitely be a boon when it comes time to put my flower beds in. 

Speaking of, I bought some more bulbs.

So, all that rambling was going to be what I talked about yesterday, but didn't after all that bad news.  I did get some good news, though.  Cody texted me and he is coming for a visit Sunday. 

Today I was going to tell you that the last of the five fountain pens I ordered finally arrived.  It's the blue one on the far left.

It's got a much bigger nib than the others, but writes about the same. 

That's what I was going to talk about today, but I'm too tired. 

I think instead, I'm just going to go to bed.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Blown Chucks and Dog Sneezes

If you've been reading my blog for a while, or if by chance you know me personally, then you know that I work in a facility that manufactures evaporator coils for air conditioners.  This is similar to what we make. 

Note that this is not one of our coils.  It's just a random picture I snagged off the internet.  But it's the same type of unit that we manufacture at our plant-- just a little different design.  That copper tube on the front with all the little copper tubes sticking out of it is called the header or manifold assembly.  That's what I make.  Well, the tubing department makes all the little tubes, and I braze them together.  Again, not exactly like that, but similar.  That has no bearing on this story.  I just thought you'd like to know what it is I do for a living.

Back to my story.  Part of the process of manufacturing these coils is to test them for leaks.  The coils in our plant go through two separate leak testing processes.  The first method of leak testing is to dunk pressurized coils into a big tank of water and check for air bubbles escaping.  This big tank of water is known in the plant vernacular as The Test Tank.  The people who work on The Test Tank are known as The Test Tank Operators. 

The way it happens is this:  the coils are rolled down the conveyor and up onto the test tank.  The test tank operators attach an air hose to the coil at the header assembly-- that part of the copper tube sticking out in the illustration above.  The operator then lowers the coil into the water and increases the air pressure to a specific psi.  He observes the coil for a specific amount of time, and if no bubbles are spotted, the coil is leak free, and he sends it down to the second leak testing procedure.    I won't go into that here, because it's irrelevant to this story.

What the test tank operator connects the air hose to the coil with is something called a chuck.  Some of you probably already know that, but for those of you who don't, the air hose is attached to the header with something called a chuck, though what that has to do with men named Charles is beyond me.

Charles...Chuck...never mind...

As it happens, every so often, due to the chuck not being connected properly, or flawed copper, or any number of reasons unbeknownst to me, as the air pressure builds inside the coil, the chuck comes flying off of the header.  In the plant vernacular, this is known as blowing a chuck. When a test tank operator blows a chuck, it makes a very distinctive whump sound.  Followed by water shooting into the air.  Followed by screaming and running.  Followed by raucous laughter from those who didn't just get an unexpected shower. 

It's all very entertaining.

Hey, I work in a factory.  You take your fun where you can.  Like making fart noises with your purge gas, something which I can neither confirm nor deny that I may or may not have recently figured out  how to do.  Fifth Amendment.   You know the drill.

OK, moving right along...

As I said, when the test tank operator blows a chuck, it makes a very distinctive whump sound, upon which everyone in the plant looks around to try to spot who it was that blew said chuck.  We've done this for as long as I've worked there.  And pretty much everybody is going to look.  It's the entertainment value, you know. 

A couple of nights ago, I was laying in bed, all snuggled down under my blanket, just about to drift off to sleep, when Rylea sneezed.  But it wasn't just any old sneeze.  It was a sneeze with a very distinctive whump sound.

We humans are creatures of habit.  Seriously, creatures of habit.  I kid you not, laying there in my bed, in my house, nowhere near the factory, when I heard that distinctive whump sound,

I rolled over and looked to see who had blown the chuck.

And Rylea just rolled her eyes, and said, "Sometimes, I jes' don' know 'bout that woman".

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Houston, We Have A Problem

There I was on Amazon, always a dangerous place to be.  But there I was anyway.  I wanted another fountain pen.  My sister gave me one for Christmas, and I liked it so much, I wanted another one.  Or two.

Or five.

I hadn't planned on getting five new fountain pens.  I'd originally ordered one, but then on the order confirmation page, there is that "Customers Also Bought" section.  That is a very, very dangerous section to have on a page.

In that "Customers Also Bought" section was this set of four.  And the "Buy with 1 click" button right next to it.  (The one on the right is the one my sister got me for Christmas.)

Before I knew what was going on, my cursor had moved itself over to the aforementioned "Buy with 1 click" button and...um...clicked it.  Aren't they beautiful?  BTW, the one on the far left is a very dark red.  And just look at this nib! 

Gorgeous.  Simply gorgeous!  Funny thing is, the original pen I'd ordered was delayed, because it got misdirected or something.  So I still have one more to look forward to!

And then, there is the ink...bottles and bottles of ink...

Houston, we have a problem.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Slow Progress

Slow progress is still progress, though.  Isn't it?  So, it counts, right?  I'm counting it anyway. 

And what progress did I make? 

I got up in the top of Cody's closet and found those paintings that were up there.  I was right, I think they'll work very nicely in this room.  The two on the wall will probably stay where they are, but I will rehang them so that they are even.  I'd just stuck them on screws that were already in the wall. 

Or maybe not.  I'll know more when I find some other things to hang in there.  It'll be a while, though.  Money is an issue right now.   That's part of the reason things have really slowed down here.  But with the overtime starting back up, hopefully, I can get back in the swing of things. 

Speaking of money, I'm dreading my taxes this year.  It'll be the first time in a long, long time I won't be able to file Head of Household and claim Cody as a dependent.  I know I won't get much back.   I'm just hoping I don't have to pay out. 

Anyway, back to Cody's room...

That small drawing in his headboard is one I made several years ago.  It was a really fun technique in which you cover an entire piece of drawing paper in charcoal, then use a kneaded eraser to pick out the shapes, and finally use a graphite pencil to add details.  Cody'd wanted one for Christmas, so I drew him one.  (Click the link.  He was so little back then!)

Also part of the plan is to clean off the top of this dresser and use the birch bark candles as the base for some sort of decoration there.  I'm thinking maybe a deer statue or something. 

This set of white drawers will be moved into the craft room as soon as I get a place cleared out for it.

I'm going to move that bookshelf out, too and put Cody's gun cabinet where it sets.  Yes, Cody has a gun cabinet.  He doesn't have any guns in it, but he has a cabinet. 

While I was rummaging around in the top of the closet, I found this  print of a lighthouse. 

It was my 15 year anniversary gift from the plant.  I'd forgotten I had it.  I think it'll go pretty well in my bedroom, as soon as I figure out where I want to put it.

Last, but certainly not least, I got my flag pole fixed.  You may recall it got bent in a bad windstorm last fall.  I got my little hacksaw and cut the bent part off, then hung it back up.

Old Glory is at last back where she belongs. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


I have daffodils!!

You know what that means!  Spring is not far away. 

Soon, I'll be digging in the dirt and spending way too much money and planting bunches and bunches of flowers. 

I can't wait!!

Monday, February 13, 2017

And Away We Go

I hadn't intended to buy any plants yet.  I was just going to go into the garden center to look.  To see what they had.  Not to buy.  Just to look. 

If you know me at all, you know that I have no will power.  Not when it comes to plants.  None whatsoever. 

These two followed me home.

The yellow one is a Gerbera Daisy, and the other is a trailing pansy.  I put the trailing pansy into a hanging pot right outside my back door.  I'm going to put the daisy on my front porch.

I've been itching to get my hands in the dirt again, but it's too early in the year to plant anything just yet.  So, I did the next best thing.  Remember how I'd sprayed weed killer on my front yard a week or so ago? 

Over the last few days, I've been getting out there and just pulling them up by hand.

I've still got a lot of yard to go, but maybe it'll hold me until I can get my flower beds going. 


Friday, February 10, 2017

Eye Candy Friday

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts, but here you go. 

Supervisor Ronny has to pass by the lake on his way to work.  No, I don't know where he lives, and I wouldn't tell you if I did.  I'm already invading his privacy enough just by sharing this. 

Anyway, he drives by the lake on his way to work, and every so often, he'll stop and take a picture of the sunrise.  This is the one he posted yesterday, which I shamelessly stole from his Facebook page.  

My apologies, Ronny, but this one was too beautiful not to share. 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Chicken Hawk

A couple of days ago, Beverly sent me this picture of my dad doing a little target practice with his trusty cap gun.

My first thought was, "Awww, Dad with his cap gun."  My second thought was, "What's up with those pants?"  Seriously, who dressed him in dad pants as a little boy?  Almost every picture I have of him as a youth shows him wearing dad pants. 

Almost every picture I have of him as a dad shows him wearing dad pants. 

Maybe he was just very long waisted.  Or high waisted.  Or whatever.  He always wore the dad pants.  When he wasn't wearing boxer shorts, that is.   Which is also a very dad thing to do. 

Anyway, back to my story.  This is my dad as a boy doing a little target practice with his trusty cap gun. 

When my dad died back in 1995, my sister was home on leave from the Navy, and my brother came home on emergency leave from the Army.  I had three days of funeral leave from work, but I took a couple more days off.  I'd have loved to take things a bit more slowly, but due to time constraints, we kind of had to sort through his things in a hurry. Before we started, my aunt cautioned us not to fight over his stuff.

"Stuff is just stuff," she said.

And we didn't.  We didn't fight over anything.  A few weeks later, when we got his life insurance payout, it ended up being a bit more than we expected.  I was telling a coworker about it, and she asked, "Who got the money?"  I told her we'd split it four ways, and she acted like she'd never heard of such a thing.   But why wouldn't we?  I can't imagine not splitting it evenly amongst us.  Is my brother less my dad's child than I am?   Is my sister more my dad's child then my other brother?  Why then would only one of us get all the money?

But I digress.  We started sorting through his things, and the way we did it was this:

We'd pull out an item and if only one of us wanted it, then that person got it.  If only two of us were interested, those two would flip a coin.  For the things that held a lot of sentimental value that all of us might have wanted, we laid out a grid on the floor and numbered each square from one to four.  Because there are four of us.  We'd set one item in each square and then draw numbers from a hat.  Whatever number you got was the memento you received.  It was the fairest way we could think of to do it.

I didn't say anything at the time, but I really, really wanted that cap gun. 

During the round when said cap gun was laid out in the square, I reached into the hat, silently praying, "Please let me get the cap gun.  Please let me get the cap gun".  When the numbers had been revealed and the dust settled, I didn't get the cap gun.  I ended up with Dad's pipe stand.  Imagine Charlie Brown saying "I got a rock," and you will understand the tone and inflection I used when I said, "I got the pipe stand."  At almost the same time, my older brother --with the same tone and inflection --said, "I got the cap gun."

I looked at Russell.  He looked at me, and I said, "Want to trade?"  He did, so we did, and we were both happy.  It was then that I told my siblings the reason I wanted Dad's cap gun so badly. It was because of a story he'd told me once, and it is my favorite of the stories he told me about his childhood. 

That is the story I am going to tell you now.

When my dad was a boy, thirteen years old, he was out at his Aunt Annie's house.  I know they'd lived with Aunt Annie for a while, but I don't know if this was then, or if they were just visiting.  Dad was dressed up in his cowboy outfit, and had been playing in the front yard.  He sat down on the front steps and was watching the chickens scratching in the dirt.

Just then, out of the sky swooped a chicken hawk, talons extended, ready to grab a helpless hen.  Reacting swiftly, my dad whipped out his cap gun and shot the hawk.  Of course, being only a cap gun, the hawk was unharmed, but the noise frightened it away, and the chicken was saved.

Dad was so proud that he'd saved Aunt Annie's chicken.

My dad was born in 1926, and spent his formative years during the Great Depression.  He didn't have a lot of toys, so it's no wonder he took such good care of that cap gun, and the holster he carried it in.  I have it now, carefully packed away, and I'll always treasure it.

And my dad went by the nickname Cowboy for the rest of his life.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Muses And Mojo

I know, I know.  It's been a while.  Oh, I've had stuff to blog about, but when I sit down in front of the computer, Calliope deserts me.  Work has been difficult, and then all the nonsense that has been going on around the country.  It's tiresome, and I'm tired.  No, beyond tired.  Weary.  Tolkien would style this as a weariness of the world.  That deep set, down in your bones, soul crushing fatigue. 

I wasn't planning on blogging today, either, but there is that one crazy coworker who, if I go too long without blogging will chase me down, wring my neck, and say, "BLOG, darn it!!"  Wracking my brain, I finally thought of something to blog about, and spent all afternoon mentally composing what I hoped to be a fascinating post.

However, when I got home, all that went out the window, for there in my mailbox was a package.

"Ah," I said.  "It's my package from Amazon."  But when I pulled the package out of the aforementioned mailbox, turns out it wasn't from Amazon at all.  It was from my friend Lisa.  And what was in said package?  It was some yarn! 

Thank you, Lisa!  Mwaaa!

There looks to be enough of the pink to make myself a pair of socks, too.  The purple is just a bit too fuzzy for the blanket, so I might make a hat out of it.   There should be enough for a kid's hat at least.

Oh, but that wasn't all.  Hidden under the yarn was this:

Viking socks!  See the girl at the bottom with the long pigtails?  That's me.  When I was a girl, Laura Ingalls was my hero.  I wanted to be just like her.  I wore my hair in pigtails for years.  At one point, I even took to calling my parents Ma and Pa, until my mother made me quit.  "It makes us sound like hicks," she complained. 

Thank you again, Lisa.  That is the perfect little pick-me-up. 

As if that weren't enough, my knitting mojo has also deserted me, for the most part.  I managed to finish this scarf. 

It ended up being a little shorter than I normally like scarves to be, but it isn't for me anyway, so that doesn't matter.  It's going to end up in the charity box.  I really like the color changes on this one.  With it being finished, I went back and picked this one back up.

This is the first ball of Scarfie that I'd bought -- the one with all the knots.   I'm going to put this one into the charity box, too.  I figured whoever gets it won't care that the color changes aren't as smooth.  It's still going to be warm, and that's what counts. 

My sock continues apace.  I've finished the leg and am ready to start the heel flap. 

I finally got around to watching Age of Ultron.  Civil War makes so much more sense now. 

OK, time for me to go do something about this weariness of the body, now that my soul has been restored. 


Friday, February 03, 2017

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like


Yeah, I know, I know.  It's still winter, and will be for some time yet, but spring is coming. 

I saw some daffodils blooming on the way home from work yesterday.   When I went to Wal-mart this evening, they are busy getting their garden center ready.  I feel like a kid with my nose pressed against the window of the toy store.  Only it's the plant store.  Watching.  Waiting...

Waiting for them to put the plants out. 

The nice thing about dealing with annuals is that I can try new things every year.  This year, it will be these. 

I've never grown freesias before, so this will be an adventure. 

I think I'm going to have to replace my gardenias that I planted last year.  I'm pretty sure I killed them with wasp spray in my never ending battle with those demons from Hell.  Now that, hopefully, I've got those holes plugged up, I won't be dealing with wasps this summer, and I won't be killing my plants with insecticide.   If, though, the wasps find a way back into that area, I'll deal with them first, so that I don't inadvertently kill more gardenias.

When I'm finally ready to plant again, I'm definitely going to do a better job of prepping the soil.  Last year, when I bought the gardenias, I had no idea I'd be planting them in a rock pile.  Next time, I'm going to dig good sized holes, sift all the rocks out, and add topsoil to that area.

The people who lived here before loved rocks.  I'm not kidding.  They are everywhere.  A couple of weeks ago, when I was moving my spider lilies, guess what I found.  That's right.  Rocks.  Out in the middle of the yard where no rocks ought to be. 

But there they were.  I'm beginning to think I should name my home Rockytop. 

Even though I'm not in Tennessee. 

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Dogs On Thursday

It's been a while since I've done a Dogs On Thursday, too, so here you go:

Yes, I've only got a picture of Rylea.  Even after 5 1/2 years, Jesse is still camera shy.  Even after 5 1/2 tears, I can't pet him without him ducking.  I can't put on my belt without him ducking, and heaven forbid he see me with a stick in my hand.  I just wonder what the poor feller went through before I adopted him. 

There's something I've been considering lately.  It's been just over 2 years since I changed my hair color.  It used to be medium ash blonde.  Now, it's dark auburn.  I like the color, but I'm considering going back to a lighter color.  The main reason for that is, my roots are almost completely gray now, and the darker my color is, the more my roots stand out between colorings.  I'm thinking if I lighten the color, they won't be so obvious.  Yes, I know they have that root stuff, but it costs almost as much as a regular bottle of dye. 

I'm kind of bummed that Walmart has stopped carrying my color.  I've been ordering it online -- along with my gel and conditioner and lactose enzyme supplements that Walmart no longer carries.  That entire sentence is kind of pointless, and I'm not sure why I even wrote it...

The question is, go to a lighter red, back to blonde, or more towards what used to me my natural color of brown?  What do you think? 

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Whiskers On Wednesday

It's been a long time since I've done a whiskers on Wednesday post, but it occurred to me this afternoon that I might not have too much longer.  Time is running out.  Squeaky is getting old, and I don't know how much longer we'll have her with us.  These days, she spends most of her time either sleeping, or doing this: 

Just looking out the window.  Watching the world go by. 

Oh, look, here is some knitting. 

My cousin has been going through some more of my Aunt's things, and today, she posted this.  It is a copy of my great-great grandfather's naturalization papers

It was pointed out that the typewriter wasn't invented until 1868, and this paper is dated 1851.  That is correct.  I imagine the original was written out in longhand.  I also imagine that once typewriters became widely available, old records were copied on them, much the way we are digitizing old records today. 

I apologize for my posts being so dull here lately.  Really, there just hasn't been anything going on that is worth writing about.  I go to work.  I come home.  I watch TV.  I go to bed.  The next day, I get up and do it all over again. 

Maybe something blogworthy will happen soon. 


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