Minutia IV

During the recent Provincial election, I saw two high school students vandalizing an election sign at the side of the road. I know they were high school students because they were wearing the red plaid kilts of the nearby Catholic school.  That’s right ladies and germs, two teenage, female, Catholic students, kicking the shit out of a sign of some candidate who they, and presumably their parents, disapprove of.

Defacing election signs is a federal offence! That’s how Charley Manson got his start.  He obtained a blank Department of Interior check, and made it out to himself for $5, and did time in a federal prison.  Once released, he broke into a Post Office and stole the “leave a penny” tray, netting 98 cents, and did time in a federal prison.

Released again, he convinced a young female to “work” for him, transported her across a State line to provide her services, ran right into the Mann Act, and did more time in a federal prison.  So, if you’d like your Good Christian daughter to be Charley’s girlfriend in prison, send her to a Catholic School and urge her to freely express her political opinions.

We used to hang a bird feeder on the fence near the back of the property. The birds we attracted would eat seeds like sunflower, but would throw on the ground, all the millet.  As a result, I have about 200 square feet of lawn that’s millet plants.  It’s soft, it’s green, it covers, but it’s not grass!

The wife planted a couple of chive plants in a small bed just beyond. Over the years, the chive has seeded itself further and further into this bed of millet. I mowed the lawn the other day, and when I reached this area, it smelled like I had a gasoline-powered salad shooter.

I have found two new ways to irritate telemarketers. They’re easy to identify.  The phone rings, I pick it up and say Hello, nothing happens for a second or two, then suddenly the line opens on their end and you can hear30 or 40 voices babbling in the background, and somebody starts to say, Hello, Hello??, usually in a Paki accent.

Previously, when this happens, I just say nothing and make a game of how many desperate Hellos I get before they finally hang up.  Recently, two cats climbed into my recliner and poured a bucket of soporific on me, and we all had an hour’s nap.  I awoke, partly because I had to pee, but more urgently, because the plate of nachos I had for lunch, c/w refried beans, was starting to rock and roll in my digestive tract.

Just as I decided I could extend the nap another half hour, the phone rang, and I got to hear “Kevin” (Gupta) babble. Too tired to even reach to hang the phone up, I just laid it face down on my stomach, and let him talk to my borborygmus – Hello? (rumble, rumble) Hello? (gurgle, gurgle).  After a while he went away, and I pushed Off.  Now I worry that my stomach may have ordered something from him in Paki, and I’ll receive a lifetime supply of curried chicken and basmati rice.

More recently, I was in the kitchen, trying to accomplish two simultaneous chores and arguing with a cat who wanted to drink from the filtered faucet, Meow, Meow, Meow. In the midst of all this, suddenly the phone rang, and I was treated to “Kevin’s” brother “David” (Sanjit).  As soon as Mr. Hello came on the line, I laid the phone, face-up on the table in front of the thirsty cat and let him explain, Hello….Meow, Meow, Hello??….Meow, Meow!  Let Paki “David” figure out how the cat answered the phone.

There is a shortage of doctors in Ontario. Most doctors are turning away potential patients.  Recently, I heard the female brains behind the Money Mill,  advertising on the radio.  Here, slightly paraphrased, is what I heard.

“Hello, I’m Doctor Packrat. I operate a cosmetic clinic in Cambridge.  Other clinics have estheticians and technicians.  If you’d like to safely increase your beauty, please come to our clinic.  We have only doctors and nurses.  None of them is actually trained in cosmetology.

We have Internists with queasy stomachs, Pediatricians unable to treat children any longer because of convictions and restraining orders, and Ob/Gyns who were too lazy to get out of bed to deliver babies. You are guaranteed to lose weight because all of them have been extensively trained in surgically extracting every last dollar from your wallet.”

We recently attended the Free Thinkers meeting at the new venue. While the food, choices, price and access are all good, I am not thrilled with the room.  It’s all flat, hard, walls and windows.  The reverberations quickly raise the noise level to intolerable.  I took along the son, daughter, grandson and fiancée.

Since I can talk to any of them, any time I want, when I entered, I quickly sat on the far side of the table next to a new female. It turned out that the reason she had attended was that she was angling for the Liberal nomination in the next Provincial election, and was out shaking babies and kissing hands, as well as taking the measure of various local groups.

Perhaps because it was me sitting beside her, but she was surprised and impressed at the depth and breadth of knowledge of politics, history, psychology, sociology and religion. This was not a group that she could bullshit to.

She wants to work to oust the Federal Conservatives, “Because they’ve had their time.” without offering any other reason or alternative. Like the Religionists, it’s because, “We’re entitled – and they’re not.”

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Sunshine And Lollipops

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In my 300 post, I mentioned, again, the fact that some of the long-established bloggers are disappearing, or cutting back on their volume of posting, due to life changes. I thought by now, that just about everybody had a blog, except perhaps, coots even older than me – and yet, new ones keep popping up.

One such new one is Cordelia’s Mom. She must be the youngest retiree ever. Such a lovely lady can’t possibly be almost as old as I am. I know she’s not as surly. Cordelia doesn’t have much to say, but her Mom is full of wit and wisdom. Click on the link above to go have a look for yourself.

Mom has been blogging for about six months. We often use the same tags on our posts, so I kept running into her, and began commenting. Perhaps intrigued by the lack of references to psychiatric treatment, she started visiting my site.

I received my first blog award when I had only published 14 posts, and didn’t really know what to do about it. Similarly, Cordelia’s Mom recently received two awards. One was the Sisterhood of The World Bloggers Award, welcoming her to the distaff side of writing and soul-baring. The other was The Sunshine Award.

Since I don’t qualify for the “Sisters” award, she kindly passed on a version of the Sunshine Award to me. To prove how well she knows me already, in her nomination post, she lists me as Grumpy Old Dude – Archon’s Den. She sent a big chunk of Sunshine my way. I’ll just have to reflect it on you as best I can.

This is my kind of award. Other than acknowledging receipt of it, there are no rules. It’s just a way of showing that other bloggers are aware of and appreciate you, and perhaps bring a few more readers to your site, by being part of an ever-widening circle of writers.

By begging and whining to the wife, but without actually tripping over my ego, I managed to get a copy of the Sunshine Award graphic installed at the top of this post, just to prove that I’m not hallucinating (again). I thank Cordelia’s Mom effusively for including me in her group of worthy recipients.

I don’t have to answer any questions, or make up new ones. I don’t have to reveal even more about myself, which is good. There’s only so much toilet paper on a roll. Once it’s empty, it’s empty.

My co-defendant buddy, Oscar the Grouch, tells me that I can take The Fifth – even though we don’t have it here in Canada – and not actually nominate anybody else for this award, to protect my persona. He and I are going to do some tequila shots, put a big platter of nachos out of our misery, and watch the Die Hard marathon. If anybody wants to make something out of that, just knock on the garbage can lid.

Strange To Be Headed Home

No-one can sleep late in a motel.  All the early risers wake those who wish to sleep-in a bit.  On the morning of our third and last day in Detroit, the son and I had juice and pills, packed our stuff, double-checked the room, loaded the car and checked out by 11 AM.

Normally, we would have returned the plastic pass-keys.  The electronic code on the door is changed, so you can’t use them to get back in later, and they cost the motel less than a dollar to replace.  This time however, instead of two white cards, with “Red Roof Inn” imprinted on them, we got one advertising Hungry Howie’s restaurant chain, with the telephone number of the new one up the street near the Tim Hortons.  I’ve seen them in Florida, but I guess they’re moving north.

Corporate America never misses a chance to promote itself.  Recently someone commented that, soon, they’ll have advertising in washrooms.  Sorry old fellow.  Even out here in the boonies, I’ve seen ads above urinals for twenty years.  Some of the newer places have even installed flat-screen monitors above, beside, or even in, washroom mirrors.

After we ate our bacon breakfasts, and watched the floor show at Denny’s, we drove a couple of miles up the side road to gas the car up, ready for the trip home.  Here in Canada, it’s unusual to see even two-tenths of a cent/liter difference in price between nearby stations.  In Detroit, we saved 9 cents/Am. gal. by driving two miles off the interstate.

The Gibraltar Trade Center sits right beside I-75.  We returned and went in.  The son hasn’t been there for ten years, so he was more interested than I was.  He found, and I purchased, the last pancake batter pitcher they had, that the wife told us to keep an eye out for.

I’ve been through the place maybe twenty times.  I’m getting bored with it.  I saw a TV ad for another Trade Center, further north, that we may try next time the wife and I go down.  It also has a Red Roof nearby, I-94 access, and less driving south, then north, to get to the knife show.

We wandered the main floor for a couple of hours, then had some late lunch.  Sadly, my lack of physical labor in retirement has cut down the amount I can eat.  All I had room for was a plate of chilli-cheese nachos.  All that great food available, and nowhere to put it.  The bridge said “Thanks!”

We paid our way into the gun and knife show in the show area and looked at some interesting firearms.  We each were allowed to handle a “Dirty Harry” .44 Magnum pistol, and a huge .50 caliber handgun.  Special note to RCMP officer’s wives who might read this; none of them managed to follow us home, and we left all anti-social tendencies at the border, for the Americans.

At both shows, all entrants were given a half-sheet printed notice which read; ATTENTION CUSTOMERS: When bringing firearms into a Gun and Knife Show, please follow these simple steps:  Bring firearm in with no ammo in firearm (no exceptions). Have firearm inspected and safety-strapped by security at entrance.  We will not allow firearms to be unloaded at door.  They must be unloaded prior to entering the facility.  There simply is no room for error in a show of this size.  This policy is for the safety of all.

Finally, about 4 o’clock, we climbed into the car, got our snacks and drinks for the drive arranged, dug out American money for bridge-fare, and our passports, and headed back to the sane side of the river.  Late Sunday afternoon, the bridge didn’t seem busy, but when we exited to the customs plaza, all 18 lanes were backed up.  Still, the lines moved well.  We didn’t creep forward for more than ten minutes.

We each delivered our well-rehearsed lines about how long we’d been gone, and how much we were bringing back, to a happy, overly-polite Canadian Customs official, and were soon on the highway heading home.

If all goes well, with the wife’s assistance, I’m including some photos, and possibly a video of the big wind-turbines we took last October, as well as a shot of what Heaven looks like from the Canadian side.

Wind Turbine

 

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Trippin’

Last Friday, as the sun disappeared south of the equator for the winter, I wished that I could follow it.  On that day, I reached my best-before-date of 68 years old.  The decrepitude is decreeping up on me.

I was allowed to choose a supper menu for my actual birthday meal, and decided on chicken schnitzel with fries and gravy.  We have schnitzel about once a month, but it’s usually pork schnitzel, purchased over at Eurofoods.  Chicken is a bit more labor to prepare, but nice to have once in a while.  Saturday night, when the son’s taste buds were more awake, we had bacon-wrapped filets with baked potatoes and fried zucchini.

Friday for lunch, I made myself another platter of nacho chips.  The son works a midnight shift and is done Saturday morning at 7 AM.  As sometimes happens, the joy of weekend freedom kept him awake.  Instead of going to bed around 10 AM, he was still awake when I finally rolled out about noon.  Since he doesn’t get Tex-Mex as often as I do, he suggested going to Taco Bell for lunch, while we were doing some shopping.  I should have been eating up leftovers to clean out the fridge, but couldn’t resist some face-time with him.

When we got home and admitted what we’d done, the wife asked if I’d forgotten what I’d had for lunch the day before.  I asked her if she’d forgotten what we’d planned for supper on Sunday, when the daughter, grandson and fiancée came over.  The stuff we picked up while we were out was for beef fajitas.  Tex-Mex three days in a row!  Am I happy?  Si, senor!  Muy bueno!

The loot presents I received on Sunday for my birthday included an Esso gift card that I can use for gas this coming weekend, and a Chapters bookstore gift card that will continue to come in handy anytime.  My grandson and his fiancée presented me with a lovely carved letter opener.  When I slid it out of its holder I thought that it was ivory, because I saw off-white, but when I turned it over, I saw amber/honey color, and realized it was banded agate.  The end of the hilt is a Scottish thistle, to commemorate my heritage.

The wife and I got me a coin for my birthday.  Since the Canadian Mint no longer stamps out pennies, they are offering a twenty-dollar, 99.99 fine, silver coin.  It has three Maple leaves as the penny did.  When I ordered it, I thought it was penny-sized, but when it arrived I found that it’s as big as a quarter.

We’re off to metro Detroit for the weekend.  I have to remember to add the “metro”, lest someone think I’m entering the war-zone.  I made a mis-turn one time, and wound up right down-town.  Ours were the only white faces, and none of the well-tanned ones looked too welcoming.  We stay at a motel 20 miles down I-75.  It’s down the street from a big Meijer store, where we plan to do some shopping, and right across the street from the Gibraltar Trade Center, a gigantic flea-market/food-court/display arena, where you can lose an afternoon, and we plan to.

Not that we need one, but the excuse for the trip is a knife show.  We’ve been down for spring shows several times, but this is the first time we’ve come down in the fall.  We’ve never had a problem getting our choice of room type.  It may have to do with college football, but when I reserved the room a week ago, all the ones with king-size beds were taken.  The wife and I have trouble fitting in a standard double after years of a king-size.  I once missed an exit in Pennsylvania, coming home from Charleston, and drove from Pittsburgh, almost to Buffalo, before we found an officially un-open motel with a vacancy at two in the morning, because of college football.

We’ve offered to take the grandson and his fiancée with us.  She politely declined because her job includes weekend work.  If we’d got a king room, we could have got a cot for him.  He’s spent a year out of high school thinking about a career.  He wondered about horticulture, working one summer at a greenhouse, but jobs in that area are scarce (aren’t they everywhere?), the pay is poor, and the work is seasonal.  He currently has a half-day job at a transport depot.

He has decided to go back to school for a year to train for welding.  His schedule will be; walk to school for two hours of class, bus to co-op placement for four hours of training, bus to part-time job for four hours of work, then bus home after a 12/14 hour day.  It’ll be a killer schedule but the job prospects for a welder are fairly good, and the pay is decent too.  His co-op hasn’t kicked in yet and he’s booked the evening off at work.  By the time you read this, we should be on our merry way to the Motor City.

His Mom had to put a rush on his passport.  We provided a copy of our reservation to justify the hurry.  All goes well, he will have picked it up at the local passport office Thursday afternoon.  As partial justification of an earlier claim, we will be taking some orphans back to the U. S. with us.  In just over two years I have accumulated 36 American quarters, 36 dimes, 25 nickels and eight rolls of pennies, for a total of $17.85.  The daughter is sending the grandson with a roll of quarters, six rolls of pennies and a handful of assorted change about half as large as mine.

We’ll wave at Chatham for KayJai as we pass.  We will enjoy the knife show on Saturday, do some shopping, including some beet sugar at Meijer’s Sunday morning, roam the flea market in the afternoon and just generally enjoy the trip and the change of routine and scenery.  Blog to you early next week.