Archive for May, 2016

Cereal (Again)

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Like many people, I have to watch what I eat (why does food have to taste so darn good?) I’d gotten into a habit of having a plate of homemade hashbrowns, onions, and eggs several times each week. And I’m not talking about a cup of hashbrowns, two tastefully displayed eggs, and a sprig of parsley. Oh no. I made myself a plateful, sometimes heaping, with the sauteed onions and eggs all mixed in, and a liberal dose of Cholula ™ (I’m salivating as I write this.)

Since we’re retired and don’t have to rush off to work in the morning, I found I rather enjoyed washing and peeling the potatoes, chopping the onions, piling the whole thing in the frying pan (non-stick is a relative term.) When it was all done and piled steaming on the plate, I’d pour myself a glass of homemade iced tea (sugared and lemoned to taste,) sit in front of my computer, and before you knew it my fork was poking at an empty plate. Somehow, this habit netted me several extra pounds around my midsection.

So the new habit is to have cereal or oatmeal most mornings of the week. It surely is a quicker breakfast. Then I’m out the door working on the days projects. When I feel the familiar twinge in my stomach, thinking “it must be getting to be lunch time,” I’m often surprised to see it is 10:00! Cereal just doesn’t stick with me. Not like that steaming plate of Cholula ™ infused heaven I used to be able to eat.

Why am I writing this? I’m killing time. My rule is no moves toward lunch until at least 11:00. I’d been out in the garden this morning rapidly consuming the bowl of cereal and non-fat yogurt I’d eaten for breakfast, came in, and looked at the clock. Shoot. What can I do to occupy myself for a half hour so I cam make myself some lunch. I’d love to stay and chat, but it is 11:11 and I’m hungry.

What Things Cost

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

whatthingscostMy trusty Troy Bilt ™ rototiller is about 25 years old. It has always started for me, and taken some pretty inhospitable soil and transformed it into chocolate cake mix for years and years. For the past few years, I’ve made a mental note that there is a bit of green left in the rows I till. I wrote it off to sloppiness on my part. This year especially the garden should have been ready after the number of tillings, but there was still grass showing. So I took a closer look.

I concluded that the blades on the tiller might just need to be replaced after all these years. So I placed an order on the Troy Bilt ™ web page. Sticker Shock! $238.72! What I ordered was 16 bars of steel that had some bends in them and 2 holes drilled on one end. I would guess that any blacksmith’s shop 100 years ago could have made these tines in a few hours given the proper plans.

During this same time, I was assisting my neighbors in setting up an old laser printer I gave them. The project was going so poorly (they are running Windows 10, and it was offended by the age and weakness of this old printer) that I looked into a replacement printer for them just in case. On Amazon ™ if found an all-in-one Dell ™ color laser printer for around $200, including shipping. I would guess that even with the proper plans, a blacksmith of 100 years ago could not build a functional Dell ™ laser printer.

Why is it that some simple things are so expensive and some complicated things are so cheap. I suspect it is competition and volume. If you are Dell ™ and you are going to compete with HP ™ in the printer market, you are going to have to watch your profit margin pretty carefully. If you are, however, the sole part supplier for a 25 year-old piece of gardening equipment, you can pretty much charge whatever you like. If your customers don’t like it, they can junk their tiller. So I paid it, got them in the mail yesterday, and bolted them on today. What a difference it made! Our gardens are now back to chocolate cake mix.

Long Hallways

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Alice and I were at the hospital this morning for a brief consultation, and between us came up with a system that will revolutionize health care in Michigan, the United States, and the World!

Here is the way things currently work. You show up at the appointed time, walk from your car to the front desk (this is good), where you sit with an agent to be sure your insurance is up to snuff. Then you walk to the waiting room for your doctor, check in, and sit in a chair until you are called. An added bonus to the time you sit in the waiting room is the TV is on very loud, and is repeating the important news that Paul Ryan and Donald Trump are meeting at this very moment!

If you can roll with me on this, I’d like you to share my belief that most of us can use more exercise. Back in my hippie days, I was “into” R. Buckminister Fuller, who once said, “The flow of energy through a system tends to organize that system.” When we go the hospital, it is probably because things are not going perfectly health-wise. That besides seeing the doctor about whatever is ailing you, if you could come home with a better habit and some additional exercise, that would add to the experience. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Some restaurants have a system where you order your food, and they give you a pager. When the pager goes off, you take it to the window, return the pager, and take your food away. It tends to keep the area in front of the food window less cluttered. What if, when you check in at the doctor’s office window, instead of having a seat, you are given a pager and a pedometer. The hallways in the hospital are long and mostly deserted. You are encouraged to stay near the office, but to add some steps to the pedometer. The more steps you are able to do, the better.

Or maybe the old system is the best, where we sit on our butts and watch TV, while listening to the people all around us talking about how sick they are.

Stupid Birds

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

To give you some idea of how far back 64 years of life will take you, I can remember taking our old rotary phone apart and seeing some bells inside, with a small clapper between them. When the phone rang, it actually rang. Alarm clocks had bells inside. or sometimes outside. Clocks had chimes for their on-the-hour notifications. Pianos plucked strings, and organs required pumping up so the air could blow across tubes of air.

One hardly sees a bell anymore. The sounds that notify us of important events are all electronic. For me the one that tends to get my attention is my fire department pager, which I carry all the time, and is on the dresser at night while I’m asleep. In the years I’ve been doing the fire department work, my body has entered into a symbiotic relationship with the electronic beeps the pager makes. Regardless of what I’m doing at the time, the page gets my heart rate up, the adrenaline going, and I’m out the door and on the road before I really even know what I’m doing.

Add to the pager the kitchen timers that beep, cell phones, ipods, etc. etc. No more rings, but lots and lots of beeps.

The other morning, a spring bird was messing with me with its song. I was fast asleep when my eyes snapped open and the blood was roaring in my ears. I was subconsciously listening for the officials at our dispatch to explain where the fire department run was, the nature of the run, etc. But no voice came on. Puzzled I sat up and listened harder. Then I heard a faint bird call off in the distance that one could confuse with the sound my pager makes. I was able to go to sleep again, but my last thoughts were, “stupid bird!”