Monthly Archives: June 2009

When the mice are away

For the next 4 days, both kids are out of town enjoying their summer, which means that momma and daddy have the house alone—a very rare event in the last 14 years. Brett is on his yearly “visit Paco and Magoo” trip and Brittany is attending Camp Electric, her very first ever I-don’t-know-anybody camp. Last week I didn’t blog as we were on a “staycation” and I tried my best to “stay” away from the computer—for the most part anyway. Actually, it was BJ’s vacation, but the rest of it enjoyed it with her, especially the swimming and homemade ice cream.

Brett has come to really love going to Arkansas so that he can be “Paco’s shadow.” He absolutely loves going everywhere my Dad does, and will actually help Dad work! I need to figure out how to get him to do that here, too!

While Brittany has been to “camp” before, it’s always been with a group of kids she knew, or at least knew some of them. Camp Electric is a camp she wanted to attend because of the music emphasis, but as time drew near she realized she was going and didn’t know anyone else going…and was going to be rooming with girls she didn’t know. So she got nervous. She was very nervous when we actually arrived to drop her off in Nashville. I talked to her tonight, though, and she’s already made a small group of “friends.”

We had some sad news last week: Goldy, our part-lab dog died. We got him with his sister Blackie back in the summer of 2005. He was hit a car and broke his bottom jaw in summer 2006…then Blackie disappeared. While we have no idea what happened to her, I think someone took her (more on that at a later date). Anyway, we don’t know why Goldy died, but the family is sad.

A bit of good news for me: I’ve been accepted into the MLA in Creative Writing program at Spalding University in Kentucky. It is a low-residency program which means that I’ll go once per semester and spend a week or so on campus while completing the rest of my semester work from home. It’s a program tailor-made for folks like me! Of course, my dissertation work will be a book length work! I’m very excited.

I’d been accepted into the PhD program in Creative Writing at USM. It’s a very good program and one that I was very interested in. However, after digging deeper into it, I realized I was going to have to spend the next 3 years AWAY from my family. Since the kids are 8 and 14, that would put them at 11 and 17 by the time I finish. I just wasn’t prepared to miss that much and that part of their lives!

Off to work!


Filed under family

Do Not Call!

For years the jokes have always rang out with the truths of the phone ringing just as you sit down to supper with the family. As you think twice about answering (we no longer answer the phone at mealtime unless we’re expecting a call) you pick it up only to discover someone wants to sell you something…and they won’t let you off the phone!

I’ve loved the “Do Not Call” list since day 1; thought it was a fantastic idea. We signed up for it immediately and our solicitation calls went from about 3 per week to about 2 per year. Each time we’ve moved—and those of you who know us know that we’ve done it more times that we wish the last few years—we’ve immediately put our new number on the DNC list…wait, I’d better write that out before my Democrat friends get the wrong idea!

So why is it that the Mississippi Highway Order of the Fraternal Police can continue to call me over and over and over again even though my telephone number has been on the DO NOT CALL list for months? Why are they exempt from solicitation calls? “This is not a solicitation call,” said the voice on the other end when I asked that same question. Excuse me? You just asked for a donation—isn’t that what a solicitation call is?

Once the solicitor asked me if I liked feeling safe. What? Gee, but that sure sounded like a threat to me! I told him I had my own gun, thank you very much! It actually made me quite mad that a police solicitor would use a tactic like that. And I like the keepers of the law! I have several good friends who are lawmen and I hold them in high regard and on the list of my very best friends. I know they wouldn’t use tactics like that, so why should the Fraternal Order of the MHP?

I really did tell the solicitor I had my own gun. Back before the calls stopped, I used to like to talk to the solicitors. BJ would just say no and hang up. You could hear their voices talking until the click of the receiver. But I liked talking to them. Well, not really, but I figured if they were going to waste my time then I was going to waste theirs.

Once a solicitor called and told me about some vacation. He asked me if I thought it sounded good. I told him it did. He proceeded to tell me more and asked me if I thought it sounded like a good deal. I assured him it did. He asked for my credit card number and I refused. Surprised, he mentioned something else and I asked him to explain it. He did, and then asked if I didn’t think that sounded good. I assured him that I thought it sounded wonderful. He asked for my credit card number again. I refused. He asked me why I wouldn’t give him the number so I told him I didn’t want him having my credit card number. He assured me it was only to hold whatever it was he was trying to sell me. I responded that I understood and he asked again. I refused again.

HE hung up!


Filed under Columns

That little contraption

I’ve got this little tray-contraption chock full of nuts and bolts and screws. It’s something I got several years ago when I realized that tossing every little piece into a Tupperware bowl just wasn’t working. Plus, the bowl couldn’t hold them all anymore. One of the trays has so many screws in it that it’s hard to open. So why is it that when I need a certain sized bolt or screw I don’t have the size I need?

It’s true. Just this last week I was re-attaching bathroom cabinet doors, drawer knobs, and the hardware that goes along with them. Without getting into my wife’s method of UN-attaching them, I discovered I needed 10 screws to reattach the doors. I could put the hinges back on the doors, but couldn’t attach the hinges to the cabinets themselves.

So I went to visit my little contraption.

Notice the duct tape at the bottom and the plastic "hand cuffs" holding the handles together.

Notice the duct tape at the bottom and the plastic "hand cuffs" holding the handles together.

It’s not that big; about 18 inches tall. There are 3 “doors” across and 4 down, giving me a total of 12 doors (see Mom, I can do math!). One latch at the top releases all the doors so that they fold down opening the trays up to me so that I can remove the necessary piece and then close it back. I’ve got an exact duplicate attached to back of it, making the contraption seem 2-sided.

Which reminds me of a time my Dad asked me about my little contraption. Once on the phone shortly after I’d purchased the contraption, Dad asked me where I got it. He said he’d seen it during his last visit and wanted something similar for himself. I told him I’d purchased it at Sam’s and it wasn’t one, but was two. He insisted that it was not. He had seen it very closely and examined it and it was one solid piece which had trays and opened up on both sides. I assured him he was wrong…but he’s my Dad.

During his next visit, he wanted to see it. I took him to the shed, showed him the plastic “handcuffs” that still held the handles together…and then pointed out the duct tape across the bottom. I had to promise him that I had indeed added the duct tape after the bottom “handcuffs” broke and that the tape didn’t come as part of the purchase. I offered to buy him 2 contraptions and tape them for him.

He returned to the house.

Anyway, I had one screw the size that I needed. I rifled through for a minute but couldn’t find any because they’re so small. So I dumped them all out…on the ground. In over 100 screws, not one…NOT ONE…was the size I needed. That’s just hard to believe. What in the world, then, do all those 100+ screws I have go to? Why do I have them?

I didn’t want to go to the store, so I did was all good Southerners did.

I used duct tape.

No, not really…I got the next size up, but I sure thought about using duct tape!


Filed under Columns