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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1921220
Rated: 13+ · Book · Personal · #1921220
My thoughts released; a mind set free
These pages contain my thoughts, from meandering ideas and persuasions to deep cerebrations and serious mentations.

Why, for what purpose? To release my mind and set creativity free. Somewhere inside the constraints of my mind dwells a writer, a poet, an artist who paints with words. In here I release those constraints and set the artist free.

Perhaps, lost somewhere in the depths of thought, is a story or a poem, waiting to be written.

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January 17, 2018 at 4:03pm
January 17, 2018 at 4:03pm
#927276
I recently started a goal to get more active in WdC with reading and reviewing, as well as to get motivated in my writing. Things were going pretty good, I did get some reading in and reviewed a few items. I also was getting my motivation going towards some writing. The idea was, if I had nothing much to add as a blog entry, I would find a prompt and write in here a short item about it.

Just when it looked like things were going to work out, things fell apart at work; someone quit. He did give two weeks notice, but also took his vacation time during the two weeks he had left, which kind of messed things up right after his notice. To understand how much, a breif description of my job. I'm a security guard for an out of state company, and I'm also the site supervisor. My job is to ensure things are working correctly and all shifts are covered, as well as all the little things that go along with supervising.

Our work dictates one person on per shift, so there are no extra people to call in to cover if someone is gone; it's up to the rest to cover the open shift until someone gets hired, trained, and into the open position. This resulted in me having less time off, and a lot more to do during that time off. So much for more time to spend in WdC. Even worse, all the added work outside of my working hours has had a very negative impact on my newly found motivation to write; my mind is very preoccupied with looking, interviewing, and hiring a new guard.

Just when I thought I had it going, it fell apart. It's kind of like getting all ones shit together in a big paper bag and having the bottom tear open, quite a distracting mess. But, I'm going to stay optimistic about things, we will get someone hired soon and everything will go back to normal.

Oh, I should also add that even as wee need everyone to pick up some extra hours, one of the other guards decided to take some short cuts and now I get to go in today and give him the riot act. One day off this week and I end up having to go in and find out what's going on with this person and try and get things corrected or we will be hiring two instead of just one...

Wish me luck.
January 12, 2018 at 5:48pm
January 12, 2018 at 5:48pm
#926922
It's been about a week since I've written in here; it's been quite a week.

My position as a site supervisor puts a burden on my free time, but usually it's not a lot. One time it piles up is after the end of the month and I have additional duties to take care of, but even then, it's usually just a few hours of my time. I should add that my type of work makes it difficult to sometimes impossible to do all my supervisory functions while on the job, therefor I'm required to do them outside of regular work hours.

The other big impact on the amount of work I have to do outside of my regular hours is if someone terminates and I have to rehire to fill a position. That's what happened this last week. I knew the person would be looking for another job within his actual career field, but neither of us knew when that would be. We also thought, and hoped, that the work hours wouldn't conflict and we could work around the new job. That was not the case, and he had to choose one job or the other, which means we will be short one person.

Because of the nature of the job, we have just enough people to provide work coverage and cannot carry another until someone quits and creates a new opening, Therefore, until the position is filled, it's an added burden on everyone else, but especially on me to provide extra coverage. It's also an added burden on my time to go through applicants and do interviews until someone is hired, trained, and can start working alone. So much for any free time for a while; it's going to take a least two weeks to get things covered, possibly longer.

Even so, I'm going to try and get into WdC as much as I can, and while here, I will keep as active in reading and reviewing as time permits. I also plan on trying to keep my blog entries fairly regular...
January 6, 2018 at 3:23pm
January 6, 2018 at 3:23pm
#926499
How's that for creating a new term? Mojo Interruptus; at least I think I coined a new term.

I discovered this condition earlier today when I logged into WdC. I had found a few reviews in my email on an item that had been showcased in Newsfeed Highlights, thank you for the honor. I was replying to one of the reviews and feeling quite motivated to reply to the reviews, then do some reading and reviewing.

Just as I was getting a good start, I heard my cell go off, "...Chimes... You have a text message."

That was all it took, my concentration was interrupted and I had lost my mojo. I stopped my reply and looked to see what the message was. A text from my beloved asking me to cook her up a couple of chicken breasts. "Mojo Interruptus!"

It was all innocent, no harm meant, but the damage is done, the mojo is gone and my intentions of reading and reviewing are scattered through the cosmos. I did finish that reply, then took out some chicken breasts and started them cooking. I did the next reply and then checked on the chicken, and now am in here to write about my Mojo Interruptus as I wait for it to cook, then put it in a container and into the fridge for her.

For other's, this is likely no problem, but for me, it's disaster. When my creativity is flowing, my mojo, I need to stay focused only on my mojo. Interruptions draw me back out of that place I go when I'm creative. Yes, I get completely lost in my creativity; when I'm writing, I forget to eat, sleep, and function outside of writing. I can handle some interruptions, if they are light and far between. But, one that dashes my mojo to thousands of little pieces is the phone.

It's nothing new, I have never liked to be interrupted, especially by the phone. I reckon if ever I had a pet peeve, this would be it. I don't mind talking on the phone, or even texting, for that matter, when it's the point of focus. But when my focus is elsewhere, it's nothing short of an immediate shut off to my mojo.

So,m turn the damn thing off! Right? I wish I could, but my position as a site supervisor means I need to be able to be contacted if there are any problems on site. I can live with that, it's my job. Unfortunately, most of the texts that come in are non-work related. For most, the cell phone is a wonderful way to stay in contact, but for me, it's Mojo Interruptus. Being the introvert that I am, I turned inward and enjoy peaceful, quiet alone time. I thrive on it; it's where my mojo resides. But that damn phone...
January 5, 2018 at 5:54pm
January 5, 2018 at 5:54pm
#926443
It's that time when we work at undoing all the Christmas decorating we did after Thanksgiving. In the process, I'm filled with thoughts and images of my wife bustling around the house putting up garland and decorations to the festive sound of holiday music. I help out a little, but I enjoy watching her too much to get very involved in the decorating myself. Christmas is her favorite time of the year, and seeing her youthful excitement as she fills each room with holiday decorations fills my heart and soul with warmth and holiday cheer.

Of course, taking things down always is less festive, but I can't say either of us feel depressed by the end of the holiday season; I know some who are. We enjoy our Christmas and New Years celebrating and once they have past, we start looking forward to the next holiday we can celebrate together. Since neither of us are of Irish heritage, we don't do much for St. Patrick's Day except enjoy the festiveness of other's who do celebrate.

For us, the next celebration is February 8 and 9. This is the anniversary of our meeting. We met, for the first time on the 8, so that would be our official anniversary, but it was nothing more than an introduction that afternoon. The following day, however, we spent most of the evening and night talking, lost in conversation. Therefore, the 9th is actually the first day we spent together. Well, actually we spent the evening of the 9th and it carried right on into the morning hours of the 10th, lost in conversation with each other. We've been lost in each other since.

Of course, there's plenty of other special days, holidays, and birthdays for us to celebrate. For that matter, we don't need a special day or a holiday, each and every day we spend together is wonderful. Of course, some days are just typical days, others are spent doing something memorable. Soon enough, we will be back to putting up Christmas decorations and I will watch this wonderful lady filled with youthful excitement and think, "Another year passing way too fast, but another year about to start; another year of celebrating life with my best friend, my lover, my wife, my partner and soul-mate.
January 3, 2018 at 5:56pm
January 3, 2018 at 5:56pm
#926262
Back from our winter vacation and time to get back into WdC... it's been way too long since I was very active in here. Where to start? Well, I've done well at getting in here to check through my mail and look at some of the daily activities, but my reviewing is almost non existent. I did one review last month, and that was an improvement. Just one review, and I ranked in at 99 and got a merit badge. I like getting them, but I don't feel this one was really earned. Still, I ranked high enough to get one, which indicates I'm not the only one not doing many reviews; all the more reason to get back into doing some reviews for my fellow writers. Of course, I also need to get some writing done; where of where has my mojo gone?

One place to start is in here, in my blog. I kind of add entries haphazardly instead of trying to write on a regular basis. The problem is my mojo, again. I mean, what the hell do I write about? There's usually something work related I could share, but who the hell cares? Besides, why should I be spending my time off thinking about work? I need my mojo to get something going, and just an idea would help. I'm thinking of trying something different, when I can't think of anything to enter here. I'll look for some prompt on the site and see what I can come up with to kind of jump start the old mojo.

Today, I do have something to share, the results of our vacation. We headed over to my mother-in-laws Christmas day. We had a late start, but not too bad. The weather was good except for the extreme cold and wind. If you consider the old vehicle we drive, it's easy to understand how the wind whipped right through the doors and windows. Of course, a good heater would counter act the frigid cold, but we don't have that, either. After the water pump was changed, we lost most of the heat in the thing. Luckily it was only a four hour drive or I think we would have suffered hypothermia; the ambient temperature was a minus sixteen with a stiff wind gusting to nearly twenty miles per hour.

We made it no problems, well except for being mighty chilled. Normally, it's so stuffy and hot at my mother-in-laws that it's almost unbearable with all the people packed in. This time, however, it felt good and helped to warm us back up. The visit was short, just the afternoon, evening and then off again the next morning, but the time there was well worth the cold drive.

We left a bit late again the following morning, to head farther north to my daughter's house to spend a day with her and her family. It was another cold day, but sunny and mild winds. Another four hour drive, but not as cold as the previous day, thanks to no gusting winds. Even so, we were well chilled by the time we got there. Another afternoon and evening with family, good times and then off the next morning to my wife's sister to see some grand children that are in foster care.

It was minus thirty when we got up, very cold. We left a bit late so we would have a little warmer drive back, since my sister-in-law lives close to my mother-in-law. Again, no wind, so it didn't blow through the old truck as bad, but still mighty cold. Once we arrived, we were greeted by two dogs who just refused to get along with our dog. In fact, the entire time we were there, they continued to bark and get out of the front room to attack our dog.

No serious injuries, but quite an ordeal for the few hours we were there. To add to the discomfort, she has cats, lots of them. Our dog doesn't like cats so when we weren't protecting her from the other dogs, we were restraining her from going after one cat or another, since they had free run of the house. I should also add that even though I like cats alright, I can't be around them, they trigger my asthma, I break out in miserable rash, and I get genuinely sick. Yes, I'm allergic to cats. My daughter has two, but did a good job to keep them away from me. My sister-in-law did nothing to restrain them and I got a terrible case of cat-fever.

The visit with the grandchildren was pretty good considering everything, but by the time we left my eyes were itching, watering, and nearly swelled shut. I was suffering from constricted breathing, coughing, and hacking. I itched all over and knew I had a hell of a rash starting, and I felt like crap.

After leaving there, we headed over to St. Cloud to visit my son and his family for the evening and then head home the next day. It was a cold drive and it didn't take long once we reached the metropolis to remember why I don't like big cities. Luckily, just as we entered the hectic mass of buildings and people, we stopped at a gas station to call him and get directions. He had an escort come and show us how to get to his apartment, only about four or five blocks away.

They have a dog, and of course our dog and his didn't want to get along, although they didn't actually fight, they just grumbled a lot. Well, except for a few times when they forgot their differences and seemed to buddy up only to return to some grumbling and mumbling moments after. It was a good visit and we had a terrific evening and stayed until afternoon the next day before finishing our vacation and taking the long, cold drive home.

All in all, it was a terrific time and spent with wonderful people. My only complaints would be the extreme frigid temperatures we had through the whole time, and after we returned, and the time spent at my sister-in-laws. We enjoyed the visit, but she was not a host at all; it was as if she really didn't want us there, even though it was her idea to have the get-together at her house. In fact, the last time we had been over to my mother-in-laws, she had wanted us to come over and see her house and visit. Now, we do, and she makes it as uncomfortable as she can for us? All I can say is, it's just the way she is, nothing meant by it, she just doesn't have the hospitality thing.

Anyway, enough about the vacation. We had a fun time, survived the cold, the dogs, and the cats. We got home late Thursday, enjoyed a quiet day Friday before returning to work on Saturday. The cold continues, but at least it got above zero the last two days. Yesterday it was a balmy sixteen degrees when I got off work and today hit a high of six. By the weekend, we may be at a tropical twenty five degrees and out sunbathing.
December 24, 2017 at 12:37pm
December 24, 2017 at 12:37pm
#925744
Looks like everything is set for our Christmas vacation, we will head out tomorrow morning and spend most of the week traveling and visiting. It would have been nice to head out today, but both my wife and I have to work. However, we do get to close up early tonight, and I should be home by six.

I can understand the store being open, last minute shoppers and all, I've been there and done that myself. But to have the yard open really doesn't make a lot of sense. Who is going to be picking up lumber and building materials on Christmas Eve?

You would think that it would be dead back in the yard today, with everyone spending Christmas Eve with family and friends, but I've heard it's been a bit busy so far. Of course, that's typical anymore. Working evenings, I would anticipate things to be pretty slow at work, but that's not the case at all. It seems to be even busier in the evenings now.

I think a lot of the people who come through are just trying to avoid spending time at home with family. Some even comment something on this order. It's as if they need to have something to do; time at home with family is boring. It's a sad situation, indeed. I know it's not true of everyone, but I see a lot of people come through for whom it is true. they cannot understand why a person would want to get things closed up and go home, after all, they are there to avoid having to be at home.

Of course, it comes down to the fact that many people just need to have something going on to stimulate them, or they are bored and miserable. I tend to be just the opposite, I love my time at home with my wife, and we can find all sorts of way to spend our time and enjoy it. For that matter, I'm perfectly content and enjoy my time at home alone, as well. It's not a matter of finding something to entertain me, it's a matter of finding enough time alone and with my wife outside of work and things going on.

Oh well, maybe I'm the strange one in all of this. After all, I'm the one being a bit comprehensive about all this traveling and visiting. Sure, I know it will be good times and fond memories, I have no doubt. Yet, at the same time, it means a busy schedule and very little time to spend quietly with my wife and alone, and I'm going to miss that.
December 22, 2017 at 6:33pm
December 22, 2017 at 6:33pm
#925694
The weekend before Christmas and all through our home, we were getting things ready to travel and roam.

Yes, for the first time in about five years we have more than just Christmas day off. Things worked out for us to take the day after Christmas off in conjunction with our regular days off for a nice little winter vacation. Not only a nice change for us, but a nice little winter break and time to do a bit of traveling and visiting.

The last few years we did manage to get over to my mother-in-law's house for Christmas day, leaving early that morning and then returning home the following day. This year will be about the same, we will make our four hour drive over Christmas morning, spend the day and night, then travel another four hours to northern Minnesota to visit more family for a day and a night. Then we drive back south to my sister-in-laws, who lives close to my mother-in-law for a few hours before driving over to St. Cloud to visit more family that evening and a bit the following morning before returning home.

A lot of driving and kind of a full schedule, but it will be nice to make these long over due visits and spend a little time with family. What makes this trip even more special? We will get to spend time with some grandchildren in foster care that we don't get to see very often. Yes, a very wonderful Christmas gift for us.
December 16, 2017 at 2:39pm
December 16, 2017 at 2:39pm
#925402
Wow! Has it been over a week already?

It's been a bit busy with work and getting things ready for Christmas, but it's also been enjoyable. The work schedule is still a bit out of wack with people taking time off and having to fill in, but it's finally slowed down a bit at work.

We have the Christmas decorations all up, and have since shortly after Thanksgiving, our cards are all mailed and hopefully have already been delivered. Much of the Christmas shopping is finished, except for gift-cards for the other guards, but that will be done soon. Our time off for Christmas has been approved and it's looking like we will have a nice Christmas vacation this year.

The only thing that really needs more attention is my time in here, at WdC. Well, that and my writing in general, I really need to get motivated and get some writing done. I do have a couple ideas for some poetry that I have a crude start on, but haven't done anything more than some rough draft notes on the first two verses. I may need Santa to slip on my Christmas stocking and give me a swift kick in the rump to get me moving!

Ah, but perhaps that's the problem, waiting for someone or something to motivate me. Yes, I need to give myself that swift boot to the gluteus maximus and get it into gear.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, no matter what your beliefs, may the holiday season bring you joy and peace.
December 8, 2017 at 6:05pm
December 8, 2017 at 6:05pm
#925082
Still struggling along with an old laptop and a new Windows update. The display is messed up, many of my preferred settings changed, but the computer is working a bit faster.

Since I use my computer for work as well as personal use, it's important for me to have something reliable. I also use it for writing, so it's even more important to have reliability, I would be devastated to lose anything. This site is a nice place to store items as well as just a super-terrific site, and I do use cloud back-up for my writing and work. I really should use it for photographs as well, but haven't gotten to them yet.

Backed up or not, they are useless if I cannot rely on this computer, so it's just common sense to upgrade to something newer and more reliable. The problem, as many of you will know, is money. Especially this time of the year, with Christmas right around the corner, and winter utility bills climbing steadily up. Also, we have old vehicles that require a lot of upkeep, and the cold weather brings higher costs there, too.

In time, I will get this old laptop replaced, but another question has come up; what operating system should I go with? I've almost always had Windows, except for a short time a long time ago. My first computer was a Mac, used, and already outdated when I got it, yet it served it's purpose well, I liked the operating platform, and it did not have the issues I've had with Windows.

Of course, all of my pc's since then have been Windows, and I haven't had much for complaint there, either. The one I have had over and over again, is the constant updates. I start out with a new computer, a new version of Windows, and everything is fine. But, as time passes and more and more updates install, more and more of my system is used up for Windows itself.

Also, each update costs a lot of time, restarts, and adjusting to all the changes, only to find in a few years, I should upgrade to the newer version of Windows and start it all over again.

I was shopping at Walmart a couple of days ago and as we stood in line, waiting to get checked out, I commented to my wife that the only thing that takes more time than waiting in line in the stores is waiting for Windows to update. I sometimes wonder if this is not a personal joke incorporated into Windows by Bill Gates; please wait while Windows updates, and of course, please wait while Windows restarts. Is there really anything happening, or like I stated, is it just a cruel practical joke.

Anyway, the question now is do I want to continue to wait for Windows to do it's thing, over and over, until it's time to install a newer version and find myself without enough memory to run it? Or, should I look into purchasing an Apple computer?

I have not kept myself informed on Apple products and I do not know if they also have all these constant updates and newer versions. I do know that everything I have is for the Windows operating system and I'm not sure how many are available with Apple.

It will be a while before I can afford to upgrade my laptop so I will have ample time to research my choices. Then, I reckon the deciding factor will be which is more affordable in the long run.

Of course, if anyone happens to read through this and has any suggestions, I would be thrilled to hear from you. Thank you in advance, for both your insight and for reading through my blog post.
December 3, 2017 at 3:54pm
December 3, 2017 at 3:54pm
#924869
Eight days since my last entry, what can I say? More computer problems. Yes, Windows did it again.

I had just gotten things working right when what to my wondering eyes should appear, another Windows Update I fear.

Okay, enough with rhyming, It's fun and entertaining, but I have no time to entertain; I need to get ready to leave for work.

Anyway, I downloaded and installed the update and now I have the same problems as before. My display is stretched, but this time I cannot roll back to a previous driver, there isn't one on my system to roll back to.

I looked online but had no luck, Windows insists this is the best driver for my display. The manufacturer, you say? Yes, I checked there too, but my machine is too old, they don't have a driver compatible with my laptop running Windows 10. I could download the one for version 7, but Windows support says that won't work with version 10.

It looks like I'll be writing to Santa and asking for a new laptop. Well, we'll see how that goes.
November 25, 2017 at 4:05pm
November 25, 2017 at 4:05pm
#924353
As the title suggests, I just went through a phase of Windows madness. Yesterday, I turned on my laptop and everything was fine. Off to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and when I return, my display is only showing in the center of my screen. No problem, just go in and tinker with the settings and apply the changes. Yes, the display covers the entire screen again. Only, everything is stretched and out of proportion, it looks terrible. After tinkering with things for about an hour and no success, I go to the only logical solution and restor my system back a couple of days, when it was working right. Problem solved.

Well, for a few minutes anyway, then the display again centers on the screen with black edges on both sides. We've already been down this road with no success, time to try something more drastic. Since it's been running slow and having memory problems, I trouble shoot possible fixes. After a long, in-depth scan of my system, no viruses are found. System diagnostics report everything is fine after the latest Windows update. Next, contact Windows and try and get some answers there. Yes, there is an answer, reinstall Windows, there may be something corrupted. Two choices, complete re-installation and lose everything, or reinstall with personal data saved, but lose all apps and programs. I do have most of my things backed up in the clouds, but not everything, so I choose the latter.

By now, half a day has passed. I click the mouse and start the process and once again, find myself waiting for Windows to do it's thing. eventually, a couple of hours later, the system is back online and running great. Running great, but not looking great, the display is still stretched and out of proportion. Everything else is working great, the computer starts faster and programs run quicker, so not a total loss. Now, it's time to start downloading apps and programs again.

Only one problem, the apps are taking forever to download. This happens from time to time if there are a lot of people using the internet server here in our small town. Eventually, I just give up for the night. I have about half the items put back on my computer and will do the rest later. That was yesterday, even though I did get some other things done while waiting for Windows.

Today I attack the problem with a fresh outlook and things are going better. Eventually I get everything back on my computer that I need and I'm ready to use it. Like I had said, everything is working terrific, almost like having a new computer again, except for the messed up display. I figure I'll just have to use it as is, even though everything is a bit out of sorts for my preferences. I can adjust and get by, at least it's working again.

Then, I get a message that my issues have been resolved. Just go into the display settings, find the driver and make sure it's the current version. So, it's back to working on my computer, find the right place, check the driver and guess what? There is no driver installed, Windows is using a basic driver to compensate. Now, it's time to find the correct driver and download and install it. More time waiting for Windows to do it's thing. Being an older computer, I don't find the right driver; The driver is there, but it's not compatible with Windows 10. What?

I had had enough. The computer is old, no sense in spending money taking it in to get it fixed, we want to replace it with a new laptop when we can afford one, so it will have to do as is. One last thing I need to do, download the drivers and app for my Epson printer/scanner, then I'm done and am going into WdC no matter how it looks. The download completes relatively quickly, but the install and setup take a bit of time. Then I'm done, but I have to restart my computer for the changes. I click restart and wouldn't you just know it, Windows has to update.

Almost an hour for the download and update to complete as well as a few restarts, then finally, the system comes on, the update is complete and all I have to do is sign in. The computer runs great and my display is finally back to normal; part of the upgrade was to address a problem with some of the older display drivers. Why didn't Microsoft just say to download and install the latest updates in the first place? Oh well, with the reinstall of Windows 10 things are working better, I guess in the long run, and I do mean long, it was worth the frustration and the time.
November 21, 2017 at 3:17pm
November 21, 2017 at 3:17pm
#924146
I feel I'm finally recovering from Saturdays adventure. My wife and I had taken the day off to visit a friend and help celebrate his birthday. It was a three and a half hour drive, but the weather was nice and we enjoyed the scenery along the way, arrived a little early, and had a wonderful evening, then called it a night and headed for home. We almost made it before things turned bad.

Being my wife's cousin, she knew more of the people there than I did, at least on her side of the family. Since they had been out of touch until a couple years ago, there were also some she didn't know, and then there was his wife's side of the family as well. So, not only was it a fun time, but we also met quite a few people and hit off with them quite well.

Of course, there was beer and pop, as well as plenty of food and cake. Since we had a three and a half hour drive home after the party, we restrained from any heavy drinking, although I did have a two beers through the evening before switching over to coffee. He received a gift of moonshine, distilled in a micro distillery that was pretty good. It was only eighty proof, had a cinnamon and apple flavor, and of course, I had to have a couple of light shots with him for the occasion. I say light shots, it was likely two, one ounce shots, and sipped, not downed. This was still early in the evening, and after the second, I refrained from anything stronger than coffee for the last few hours.

If we had not had to work on Sunday, we could have stayed the night, but I doubt I would have drank much more, maybe another beer. But since Rhonda had arranged to be to work by eleven Sunday morning and I was scheduled to be in at four Sunday afternoon, we enjoyed the party, then helped clean up a little before leaving about nine-thirty for the drive home. This is where things went down hill for us.

Normally, we would have topped the gas tank off when we got there, or if time was running short for the occasion, before we left. In fact, the party was held right next door to a truck stop, so filling up would have been practically right as we exited. But, we were both talking and reliving the fun of the evening and drove right past without a thought.

Half way home, or there-a-bouts, we stopped at another gas station for something to drink and eat, as well as a bathroom break. We picked up some Piccadilly Pizza, some bottled water, and a bottle of Gatorade to share, then hit the road without a thought about gas, again. of course, the Jimmy's fuel gauge read just over a half a tank, so no problem. Wrong!

We passed through a few small towns were we could have filled up and paid at the pump, but never even thought about it. This in itself is strange. Of course, I did keep an eye on the gas gauge, but it was still just above half a tank. In fact, it stayed right there, just above half a tank the whole drive home. Again, it was strange that i never realized it wasn't moving.

Now, had I been drinking more, or even later into the evening, I could blame it on the booze, but two cans of beer spaced out over three hours, along with a couple ounces of eighty-proof during that same time frame really didn't get me buzzing at all. Then, I switched over to coffee and had a couple cups before we left. That was another three hours after I had stopped any intake of alcohol. I was doing fine, but caught up in the fun of the evening, the wonderful time spent with my wife, and a bit out of things because it was Saturday and I wasn't at work.

So, like I said, strange. Just as strange, my wife is always keeping an eye on things as well, even if she's not the driver herself. It would have been normal for her to suggest filling up when we stopped on the way down to the party, when we got to the party, and if we had not filled up by then, before we left the party. She would have also suggested we fill the tank when we stopped on the way home for a bathroom break, beverages, and pizza, just because we had to work Sunday and would want a full tank for driving to work. Very strange that neither of us thought anything about the fuel situation.

But we did not, and we made it with no problems most of the way home. In fact, we did not get a wake-up to the situation until we turned onto the highway that we live on. Upon turning, the engine died. Of course, it was now about one o'clock Sunday morning, so no traffic and we just coasted around the turn and stopped at the end of someone's drive way to ponder what could have possibly caused us to stall. Everything was fine, the fuel was still just above a half a tank; what could have gone wrong?

Yes, even at this point, neither of us gave any thought to the fact that we had just driven for six and a half hours without putting any gasoline in the tank! I shut down the ignition, put the vehicle in park, and then restarted the engine. It started right up and was running fine, but as it started, my eyes caught the dropping fuel gauge as it bottomed out on empty. Now, it finally hit, we were out of gas.

Of course, it died while turning, the little bit of fuel left in the tank had flowed to one side, but now that it was level again, it was running, so without hesitation I put it in drive and proceeded to drive the last thirteen miles home. We made it around the curves by the lake, one of the spots I anticipated problems and we made it up the hill past the lake, the other spot I thought it might stall out. From there, it was pretty much a straight line home with just gentle hills along the way.

I drove slower, to conserve the little fuel left, so I didn't need to slow down when we got to the only town along the way home. Not much of a town anymore, just a group of houses, no stores or gas stations, so no chance to stop and fill up. The only thing other than houses there is the community center and this is where we finally run out of luck and fuel. We were able to coast into the community center parking lot, and it did restart after we had stopped, but we both knew it would die before we went any distance at all.

Since we had a good spot to park it instead of being stalled on the side of the highway, we decided to shut it back off and leave it there for the rest of the night. We discussed options; who could we call? The only person to come to mind that I knew would bail us out of the situation was the same person who had to work right away Sunday morning for my wife. Since it was already after one in the morning, we decided not to call him. After all, we had already put him out by having him work for Rhonda Saturday afternoon so we could go the the party, and then he was opening for her Sunday morning so she wouldn't have to get up so early; we knew it would be late getting home.

There were a few other people we thought about calling, but knew they wouldn't even hear the phone at this time. Another person would have maybe heard the phone, but we decided that we didn't want to owe this person any favors, since it would come back and bite us in the ass later. We didn't have any roadside assistance, so that was out, only one choice left, hike it. Of course, we discussed the distance and thought it would be an easy hike, and since there tends to always be some traffic on this stretch of highway, it was likely someone would come along and give us a ride.

Being this late in the year, it can get pretty cold out, especially at night. We also tend to have wind blowing all the time. But, the forecast had been for a pretty nice day, not too cold out over night, and no wind. The moon wasn't out, but it was a clear night with lots of stars, and Rhonda had packed along warm hats and gloves, as well as a quilt, just in case. Now, if we had known how far of a walk it really was, we would have bundled up, snuggled up under that quilt, and napped the night away, then called for some help in the morning. But, since she had to be to work by eleven, and it wasn't that far, we should be able to hike it in a couple hours.

I will add here that we are both kind of let ourselves go a bit, but have stayed pretty active with camping, hiking, and kayaking. When we were still going out for walks, we averaged about three to four miles per hour and could do four miles with ease. Even hiking, we put on quite a few miles over uneven terrain and trails, so not a problem walking down a paved highway. We weren't certain on the distance, but knew it was about five or six miles, tops. Besides, it was likely we would catch a ride anyway.

Well, to wrap things up, we made the hike with only a little trouble. A couple of vehicles did drive passed us, but neither stopped to help or even see if we needed help. the wind had picked up a bit, but was relatively calm, maybe five to ten miles per hour. But, it had switched to the north and was bringing colder weather in. It stayed clear, but the temperature dropped through the early morning hours, down to a teeth chattering nineteen degrees when we got home.

Of course, having a light jacket on, I had brought a sweatshirt as well, Rhonda had a light coat, and had brought a sweater along. We dressed warm, put on warm hats and gloves, grabbed a bottle of water and headed out. It seemed to take forever to get to some of the markers we watched for, one of which was a sign that we thought was half way. By five o'clock Sunday morning we finally reached the house. It had taken four and a half hours of walking to get home.

Rhonda was dressed warmer and did pretty well, I had light pants on and my legs were pretty cold. My gloves helped, but they were not enough to keep my fingers warm. No frost bite, but cold and sore. The biggest problem was Rhonda just running out of steam the last few miles home. Of course, at the time, we thought it was just a mile left, but after getting home, and getting warmed up some, I looked online at Google maps to see why it took us so long to walk five, maybe six miles.

Turns out, it was over nine miles, closer to ten. No wonder Rhonda was running out of steam after hiking approximately eight miles in below freezing weather. Like I said, we had misjudged the distance, and when we started out, it was still pretty nice out for this time of year. By the weather app on my phone, it was just a little below forty degrees. Once we were underway, however, we both noticed the temperature was dropping. Still, with walking a brisk pace we stayed pretty warm most of the way.

No harm done except some sore muscles and very little sleep before Rhonda had to go to work and I had to get the Jimmy back home. I got up at the same time she did, we had a bit of coffee, texted the guy at work to let him know we had some vehicle problems and would likely be a little late getting Rhonda to work. I grabbed a couple of gas cans an we took the car to the Jimmy, put gas in the tank and I headed for home while Rhonda took the car to work. I created a sore on the bottom of one foot walking that far, even though I had good walking shoes on. I also, since I carry a few too many pounds, suffered some sever chafing on the insides of my legs, kind of rubbed them raw, but they are doing much better now.

All in all, a little stiff and sore yet, but not bad. It was a good wake-up call for both of us to get back in shape, lose some weight, and get some damn roadside assistance again.
November 18, 2017 at 2:26pm
November 18, 2017 at 2:26pm
#923995
It feels strange not having to go into work on a Saturday, I have not had many off over the last five years. I have taken a Saturday off a couple of times, and earlier this fall I took a whole weekend off, but it still feels strange not getting ready for work.

Today we are off to southern Minnesota, about a four hour drive, to visit a friend and celebrate his sixtieth birthday; a surprise, or at least, it's planned to be. We have a pretty nice day for travelling, sunny and almost forty degrees, dry roads, and no reason to hurry there or back. Rhonda, my wife, usually has to be at work to open at six in the morning on Sundays, but we have, in addition to taking today off, arranged for someone else to open, so she does not have to be there so early.

Another change that's taking some time to get used to is the new beard. I have not shaved or trimmed my facial hair for two months until earlier this week. I have been using beard balm and beard oil daily to condition and help train the hair and soften it. I also, with my wife's aid, looked at some different beard styles and together we picked one we liked. With her assistance, we trimmed and shaped the growth to something similar. Of course, there were a few things we wanted different from the style we picked, but it's similar. The changes account for individual characteristics of my facial hair.

It still needs to grow longer, but the general shape and style are there. We are both happy with the new look, as well as some friends and family who have commented and liked the image after I put it up on Facebook. I have also changed my profile picture here to show the new look, since the previous profile picture was a few years old and needed updating anyway.

Now, it's time to get ready to go enjoy a birthday party. Since I have today off, I also want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Saturday and a wonderful weekend.
November 15, 2017 at 8:21pm
November 15, 2017 at 8:21pm
#923877
I should be at work, but here I am, playing hooky. I was scheduled to work tonight since I'm taking Saturday off, but last week I ended up picking up a day for someone who had rolled his car. No serious injuries, but a few stitches and the day off. At least he timed it pretty well, since it was his last evening to work until tomorrow; plenty of time to rest up and get feeling better.

In turn, my lovely wife told me to take the day off, she would cover my shift for me, since I had put in a long week already. Then, tomorrow through Saturday, we both will be off work and have some time to enjoy together, with the highlight being on Saturday when we get to help a friend celebrate; he is so far, unaware of this surprise party.

Instead of a rushed day before going in to work, I had a relaxing day. I spent a great deal of it in WdC doing some reading and catching up, had a nice dinner of my own creation, and am now getting ready to relax for the evening and wait for my Sweetheart to get home.
November 13, 2017 at 3:13pm
November 13, 2017 at 3:13pm
#923758
I was a bit disappointed when I logged in here today to not see any comments or gestures in my notifications. I thought I wrote a great item for Suddenly Sunday yesterday and expected to see something, but alas, nothing. Oh well, that's the way the things go sometimes. It was a bit long, which may have deterred others from reading it through, and the task is to complete the sentence, not write a short story. I reckon I'll have to create a new story in my portfolio from it and see how it goes there; I still think it's a great idea for a longer story.

Besides not having any feedback, it's been a somewhat trying day anyway. I wrote a while back about a plumbing leak, which is never any fun. Today I found out that we had another. The outside spigot for the hose has needed to be replaced for some time, since it's almost impossible to get it to shut off completely. I did a quick fix for it by putting a valved hose-splitter on it so we could shut off the water.

Being made out of brass, it didn't handle the cold temperatures and froze enough to crack, creating another leak. I tried to get the spigot shut off, but it just would not seal anymore. I did get it down to a fast drip, but with it being next to the sidewalk, this would have created a lot of ice right were everyone walks to the back door, not to mention creating a higher water bill for us.

So, once again, it was down into the cellar to shut the water off, since nothing has a secondary shut off on it, only to discover that I had now caused the main water shut-off to start leaking as well. Also, it did not shut off the water completely, so I ended up working on the outside spigot with a bit of water trickling out. Normally that wouldn't be too bad, but it did make it more difficult to repair and it also made for freezing fingers since it's only forty degrees out and windy.

My first couple attempts at stopping the leak failed, but I did manage the third time to get it sealed. I had taken the valve out, made a rubber gasket and sealed it off,m but now there will be no turning it back on. It's past time to replace it, but I fear doing so will only create another leak further up the line. Of course, with the last leak I had determined it was time to replace all the old pipes anyway, which means we will have a new outside spigot anyway.

The main shut-off was leaking pretty bad, but I was able to tighten it up a tad and it stopped, but since it doesn't completely shut off the water, that will also have to be replaced. I will have to contact the water supplier and see if it's there responsibility or ours, but either way, we will have to have the water for the house shut off to replace it.

Moneys tight, so for the time being, we will have to get by with the existing plumbing while i purchase pipes, fittings, and valves as we can afford them. Once we have everything, I can run the pipes and get everything ready to switch over, then contact the water company and have them shut it down while I finish the job. After, they can inspect everything and hopefully we will be done with plumbing problems for awhile.
November 12, 2017 at 3:53pm
November 12, 2017 at 3:53pm
#923709
Not much time to write here today, but since it's been five days, I suppose I should get something down. I would have had a little more time, but I got distracted by Suddenly Sunday; I always enjoy writing something for the prompt. This time the prompt took me to an idea I have for a short story that came to me while camping. Because of the type of activity, I had to write it as a super short story and it's not nearly as detailed as it should be. But, the idea is out and I should get a chance to see if it delights any readers.

My beard growing is going along fine, but I'm getting to the stage of itching and looking pretty gruff and fuzzy. I have been using the beard oil to keep the facial hair soft and conditioned, it's working great. I also have some beard balm that helps with the itching and helps to control the wild hairs. My biggest problem right now is it's too short to style, but too long to just leave. Like I said, the beard balm helps as does brushing it regularly.

My mustache, on the other hand, is not cooperating at all. Like my beard, it's too short to style, but it's long enough now to cover the upper lip. the beard balm helps, but it does not give enough control to hold the hair off the lip. I went back to Walmart, where I purchased the beard oil and balm, to get a container of mustache wax; they had some there when I purchased the other items, and had I been thinking, I would have gotten it at the same time. However, I didn't think about it at the time and so had to go back to get some. Unfortunately, they didn't' have it anymore. In fact, the space reserved for it was gone and another item had taken it's place.

So, now I wait for the mustache wax to arrive by mail. On the up side, it gave me time to do some research for the better choices to fit my needs, and it also offered me quite a bit of variety to pick from. After researching the different types I had found listed as some of the best choices, I made my purchase through Amazon and should be able to tame my stache by mid week. Until then, I guess I just go with the wild man look and do the best I can with the beard balm.
November 7, 2017 at 2:41pm
November 7, 2017 at 2:41pm
#923452
My blog entry today is based upon the image for Two Word Tuesday; if you haven't seen it, the image depicts a person outside at a picnic table with their phone in hand, likely texting, their tablet and glasses on the table by a cup. My caption was, "Missing out."

The first impression of the image was of someone out camping but missing out on the beauty around them because they are focused on their phone. Also, they are likely camping with someone but instead of hiking or enjoying outdoor activities with the other person, they are engrossed in the electronics of the day.

First, let me say, I'm not against technology or the wonderful electronics we have in this day and age. I love my smart phone, I have a tablet, a laptop, and a desk computer; they are great. I remember watching our black and white television, trying to get the image sharp enough to see by adjusting the rabbit-eared antennae. Then, with awe and wonder, we got a color television and an antennae on the roof. Wow, living color and three channels, life was good. Add to that, calculators and digital watches -- yes the red, LED watch that only displayed the current time.

Life was good, and with some of the more popular television shows, it was difficult to decide if a person wanted to stay inside and watch them or go outside and engage in activities with friends. Most times, outside won out, but if the weather was crappy, there was the television. Homework was easier thanks to the calculator, even though most of the time, the teachers wanted us to show our work. I even got home on time thanks to the LED watch, or if I really wanted to see a specific show or movie, I knew what time it was.

Of course, with time I grew more interested in girls. I say more interested since I've enjoyed the girls since I was little; my first kiss was with the girl down the street, in her brother's tent the summer before kindergarten. But I digress, the point in context is how girls distracted me from television, using a calculator (why punch in buttons when you can lean in close and show her how to multiply and divide), and even from getting myself home on time because I was so focused on her instead of the LED readout of my watch.

In time we also entered the age of electronic games, most of which were pretty lame, but got better with time. Again, they were fun, but not as fun as spending time with friends, outdoor activities, and girls. But all that has changed now.

People are so absorbed in digital games, cell phones, and television that they seldom interact even close to how we used to. I know, it's not everyone, but it's the majority. For example, one person I know engages in online games with others from around the world. They are his friends, and gaming is his social interaction; outside of this, he really doesn't have any close friends or social life. Well, except doing a bit of snowmobiling with his cousin on Sundays, if the weather permits.

I also see families in the stores, the kids running wild, the parents absorbed in their phones. I see couples and families out dining, all engrossed in their phones instead of conversation. During the nice weather we often go to the lake kayaking, there at the beach, people sunning while the kids swim and play, but they don't notice them, they are glued to their phones. We get together with our own children, who don't come to visit, they spend the majority of their time on their phones, texting someone else. Even at work, break time now is a phone break. In fact, I have noticed when waiting for the store to close, if one person takes out their phone, everyone else soon follows suit.

A while back, a young couple drove to the yard, two attractive people, a young man and his gal. As they pulled up to the guardhouse I noticed them sitting next to each other, snuggled close and both looking at their phones. As I waited for them to produce their paperwork to enter, they were both texting. Were they communicating with each other? Not likely. Even as guests exit the yard, they cannot get their phones out soon enough, and they often look irritated when asked to sign for their items because it interrupts their texting. Yes, they are their with their partners, but neither is engaged with the other, they are both engaged with texting someone else.

It's a sad thing to see this change and know that they are missing out on life around them. It does explain why it's always so busy at night at work, no one wants to go home and interact with their families anymore, it interrupts them from their phones. They are bored if they aren't texting or absorbed with their phones!

They say chivalry is all but dead. Sexting has replaced a romantic evening, couples interact with each other by spending their time texting others and sharing information from others, and intimacy is sharing your texts with your partner. Chivalry isn't just dying out, it's being killed by smartphones. Perhaps there is still hope; perhaps before chivalry dies completely someone will make a chivalry app for our phones...
November 5, 2017 at 3:16pm
November 5, 2017 at 3:16pm
#923338
Yes, we did remember to set the clocks back last night, we usually do. It was a bit rough on my wife who had to work this morning, early, but it went better than the last time we changed them for Daylight Savings Time. Jumping ahead one hour seems to always mess us up, and I suffer a form of jet-lag as a result. It takes me a few weeks to adjust to the change. This going back, however, seems to fit right in with my internal clock, indicating that perhaps I never fully adjust to the spring time change.

Even the terminology of the change makes sense, fall back. Yes, we fall back into real time as well as turning the clocks back or falling back. I tend to see less griping and complaining with the fall change, too. In fact, I only am aware of one person who gripes about it. She usually states something like, "I like setting the clocks back so it gets dark one hour sooner, said no one ever."

But, little does she know, I do like setting them back; back to normal. In argument of her statement, I could say, "Yeah but it's light out one hour earlier." Or, "The clock isn't responsible for the shorter hours of daylight, the season is."

I like the saying about Daylight Savings Time that states that it's like cutting a foot off the bottom of your blanket and sewing it to the top to make it longer. It fits the situation accurately in that it does not make the blanket any longer, it just frays the edges like the time change frays my nerves. In the fall, we just start over with a new blanket that is not frayed or cut up yet. Wait till spring to ruin another perfectly good blanket.

Perhaps it's just me who enjoys going back to real time and giving up on the idea that changing the clock actually saves me any time. Seriously, I can do just fine with the time left alone. If I want to take advantage of the longer summer days and more hours of sunlight, I can set my alarm and get up earlier without any help from a bureaucracy. In fact, if they left the damn clock alone, I could get up earlier in the summer and enjoy that extra daylight before having to go to work instead of messing up Father Time and ensuring that we are all up early and working earlier.

Perhaps, like I said, I am the only one who likes getting back to real time, but then again, since there is so little griping during the fall time change, we are the majority. Perhaps you say, who gives a rat's ass about it? Well, I think I just said... "I do, and I'm glad we fell back."
November 4, 2017 at 3:51pm
November 4, 2017 at 3:51pm
#923271
I went down into the basement, which is more a half basement half old root cellar, to read the water meter for the monthly billing. As I was reading the meter, I thought I could hear water running, so I looked around and yes, there was water running down there. No faucet left on, in fact, there are no faucets in our basement. Instead, I find a leaking pipe, spraying water out under the kitchen.

A while back, I had the same problem, but was able to make a temporary patch with a hose clam and a junk of rubber. This plan worked again, a chunk of rubber and a hose clamp over the leaking pipe seemed to fix the problem.

The pipes are copper, some soldered, some flared fittings, and some are pressure fittings, a little of everything. Also, there are two different sizes of pipe in use; areas of past repairs before I started my own. The leaks are not at areas that are soldered, not at fittings, but in the pipe itself. Apparently, over time, the copper pipes become thinner and develop pinholes in them. I say pipes, but in fact it's copper tubing, but that's beside the point.

The point is, since most of the pipes are old, except for areas that have been repaired, I suspect that more holes are likely to develop. In other words, it's time to tear out the old plumbing and start over with new, from the water meter to the various faucets and fixtures. Not quite the project I had planned to start this fall.
November 3, 2017 at 3:25pm
November 3, 2017 at 3:25pm
#923205
Yes, we have snow. This is not the first snow of the season, we have had snow twice already. But, the past two snows were light and melted as soon as they hit the ground except in a few shaded areas, where the snow lasted a few hours longer. Today, however, the snow came down hard and fast, big fluffy flakes fluttering, and smaller flakes blanketing the ground.

It's suppose to snow all day, but right now, as i look out the window, I see it has stopped. There is still grass pushing up out of the blanket of white, and of course, the fall leaves are also still showing some. The birds are gathered at the feeder, taking turns eating the free food my wife put out.

The doves come in and eat for a little while, not bothered by the little birds gathering around them. then the blue-jays stop by and the others move off to let them stab at the suet and pick out the sunflower sees. Once they leave, the little birds return to their pickings until the squirrel shows up, then off they go. For a short time, we had one black bird tearing into the suet and picking through the seeds.

That would be Peg-leg. he showed up a few years ago with an injured leg and wing, unable to fly with the rest of the flock. He found shelter in the pine trees and fed daily at the feeders. Soon enough he was right in with the little birds, they didn't seem to mind him and he appeared to enjoy the company. He has returned every spring and again every fall; he stays throughout the winters now. He is easy to identify with his one stiff leg protruding outward, but the wing healed nicely and he could easily fly south if he wanted.

All that's missing are the Cardinals, hopefully we will get a few of them to visit as well. That would complete the Christmas scene we now have with the snow. Will the snow stay? That's difficult to say, it could melt away or it could be here till spring. We are suppose to have more snow this year, and the temperature have been cold enough. It's still early enough for us to get some pretty nice fall days as well, so we will have to just wait and see if winter is here to stay or just visiting.

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