Hell of a Guy
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it - Henry David Thoreau

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Delicate Matter…


I believe I have the perfect marriage and the perfect wife.  My wife and I have a partnership, and that, I believe, is what constitutes the perfect marriage.  It is all about respect and sharing.

I have read, and I believe it, that “Unconditional Love” can only be given to another if one has no need of that person and no expectation of that person.  The need part confused me, at first, but as I thought about it over and over, and what it means, very simply, is that The Nancy doesn’t have to do anything for me for me to love her unconditionally (otherwise the relationship we have would be conditional, right?).  The other part of the equation is “expectation.”  I do not have any expectation of The Nancy.  All she has to do is be The Nancy…a part she plays very well.  Neat, eh?

The Nancy allows me to have all the fun, or at least a large part of it.  I get to do most of the cooking at home.  I like it, and she just doesn’t catch any wood at all in the kitchen.  The Nancy allows me to do most of the ironing.  Most mornings before she exercises or hits the shower, she is nice enough to lay out her outfit of the day for me to press for her.  Having lived alone for a time, ironing ain’t no big deal, in fact, it is therapeutic.  I do most of the laundry most of the time, mainly because I am at home more than she – I go home for lunch.  I say most of the laundry because I am not allowed to do her “delicates,” mainly, I think, though she has not said it, because she doesn’t trust me to do them to her satisfaction, and she has no expectations of me.

I am not exactly sure what “delicates” totally consist of, but I know when The Nancy does launder “delicates,” they usually end up hanging from every door frame, closet frame, shower rod and towel rod in our bedroom.  They must be very, very special.  They have their own laundry basket.

It doesn’t really matter to me I am not allowed do her “delicates.”  I would not mind doing them for her, should she want me to.  She doesn’t mind asking me to remove polish from her toenails, or even to pluck hairs from her chin, though I have always refused that request.  It is all part of the partnership, I suppose - we share.  I think she is trying to protect me, and just proves how unconditionally she loves me.

Just so you know, I would let her do my delicates, anytime!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Relocating My Office…


Inasmuch as I am on a countdown to retirement (fellow Virco workers don’t get excited, I still have a year plus) I have decided to move my office from Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, population 711 to The Farm, population 2.  The Farm is located just about seven miles from where my office is now.  The move is not entirely selfish, though it is my idea, but it will save my company about $5000 to $7000 over the time I have left until they fire me or I retire, and it will allow me a little latitude with my work hours.  It won’t take a lot of work get this accomplished, after all, I only have to move my office stuff and get the phone lines transferred from here to there.

Bingo!  “Houston, we’ve got a problem.”

This is a good idea gone haywire.  I called Verizon on a Monday to inquire about moving my phone lines, thinking this will be the easy part.  I was told the charge was $120.00 for the service call plus an hourly rate of something exorbitantly absurd.  My question was, what if it cannot be done, will I still be charged a service call fee?  The reply was - if the work couldn’t be completed, there would be no charges to me.  This past Thursday a Verizon technician came to The Farm but couldn’t move my phone lines until a new cable is run from the hard-surfaced road to my house (about a half mile).  The line running to the house supports just one phone line, and I need the one we have plus three.  So, the install had to be rescheduled, no problem, I am not in any real hurry, but, alas, there is a problem.  Verizon’s records show the transfer was completed so the lines into my office in town were turned off and will not be reactivated until they are hooked up in my home on August 4th.  The phone company works about as well as the post office.  Two of my office lines that are supposedly shut off are still very much turned on, the third – my fax and DSL line is not, making it nearly impossible to get any work done. This is a problem.  I need my DSL and am begging Verizon to turn it on.  Apparently I am asking for a miracle, Verizon is not all that flexible.  So far I have spoken to at least ten different people with Verizon, most of whom only know how to tell me “this is not the office you need to speak to.”  I don’t know what they call it in your neck of the woods, but here in West Virginia we call that passing the buck. 

And that is all I have to say about that…

Friday, July 24, 2009

Inundated With Squash…


I have a garden.  It is the first one I have had in probably thirty years, and also probably twenty times as big as my last one.  My first attempts at gardening were of the salad variety – you know lettuce, radishes, cucumber and tomato.  I had varying success from year to year, but never really a lot of it.

Here we are, The Nancy and I, living in West Virginia on an old farm that has near the house what was an obvious garden plot about 30’ X 60’ with fairly good soil.  It just beckons planting, so this year I tilled a small section of it 16’ X 26’ and planted a salad garden plus. 

It is the plus that is overwhelming us with yellow summer squash and zucchini.  The dam stuff grows overnight, or at least doubles in size.  I bet thus far I have taken close to fifty pounds of yellow squash and ten of zucchini out of our garden.  I have sautéed it, fried it, steamed it, made soup and casseroles of it, and still have given away most of it.  I went up to the garden yesterday and harvested ten yellow and two green.  I looked this morning and I swear I could easily get ten more.  I have eaten so much of it already I am beginning to look jaundiced. 

We have not harvested but one tomato, and only because I knocked it off the plant, but when they ripen we will have tomatoes coming out of our ears.  The same goes for peppers.  We have green ones, hot ones, red ones, banana shaped ones.  We have two kinds of cucumbers that are just beginning to fruit.  If the flowers on the plants are any indication of the number of cukes we will harvest, we will be in pickles for life.

This garden is an experiment.  I know next year to spread out the plants, cut down on the number of them and never to use Miracle Grow on anything.  I am planning on doing the whole plot next year, and will probably end up in a mental ward of some obscure hospital, if it doesn’t kill me.  Farming is hard work.  God, do I miss my condo.

Add that is all I have to say about that… 

Monday, July 13, 2009

October Sky…


“October Sky” was a 1999 movie based on the book “Rocket Boys” by Homer Hickam who grew up in the coal mining country, namely McDowell County, West Virginia.  Homer became fascinated with rocketry after the 1957 launch of Sputnik, the first Russian satellite. 

I was doing my hour treadmill routine yesterday and watched the last half hour of this movie.  I have seen this one a couple of times and fell in love with the story.  I, too, have had a fascination with all things connected to Space Exploration.  The difference being, Homer did something with his, even though his father thought it a complete waste of time, and I did nothing.

Most young men growing up back in the 50s and 60s in coal mining country ended up in the mines, and that is where John Hickam, Homer’s dad, worked as a mine boss.  It was, and probably still is in some places, a way of life people in this state understand, and it is generational.  Homer was different; he believed he could make it above ground, and followed his dream.

Homer and his buddies entered their rocket in a science fair and moved along to a national level – cutting to the chase.  I began watching at the scene where Homer is at wherever the fair took place.  He is called up to the stage completely shocked he and his buddies won first place.  On his way back to his seat after collecting the First Place medal he is congratulated by some college people offering him scholarships and others.  A reporter asks him, “What did he say to you?”  Homer says, “Who?”  And the reporter says “Werner Von Braun!”  Homer turned around to see Von Braun, but he was gone.

The very next scene is the one that got me.  Homer is going home through the mine area where his dad works.  He asks his mother to stop the car when he sees his father.  His dad tells Homer at least Homer got to meet his hero – Von Braun.  Homer says, “He is not my hero,” and goes on to tell his dad he wants to be the man his father is – his dad being his true hero.

As I write this it just doesn’t feel the same as when I watched it with tears rolling down my cheeks, if you can imagine a 65-year old man on a treadmill sweating up a storm choking back tears.  I am a sucker for all things sentimental, and especially those reminding me of my own dad, who I would be more than happy if I were just half the man he was.

And that is all I have to say about that…

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