Saturday, September 29, 2012

Random thoughts

I've never done a "random thoughts" blog before so to celebrate that fact, I decided to use a larger font.  How do you like it?

We've been home 5 days now from our car trip.  I believe I can honestly evaluate my feelings about the distance we traveled.  I'm glad we did it and I don't want to ever do to it again.

I was going to write something about the Beecher Bible and Rifle Church in Kansas but I researched it first.  I'm glad I did because it has a pretty cool story behind it.  Being a sarcastic kind of gal and also a non-believer, you can imagine what I was going to say.  I mean, when I saw it on the map I was like "bible and rifle"?  Really?  Then Mr.Google told me that way back when the people in that church were anti-slavery and had rifles shipped to them in boxes marked "bibles" so they could give them to people to defend themselves against the pro-slavery gang.  Cool, eh?  That was the only interesting thing Kansas had to offer - in my opinion.

We moved our bedroom downstairs and I love, love, love it.  In a one-bathroom house (it's downstairs and our bedroom was upstairs) being fewer steps from the john is wonderful.

When September cooperates, it is my favorite month of the year.  Unless October out-does it.  The cool mornings and evenings and the bright, dry days feed me.

As I listened to my sister, Lisa, talk about the spiritualist that was in town last weekend it made me wish that I believed.  Not in a higher power but that people are still hanging around after they die.  That would be very comforting.

My mom's 90th birthday is next month.  Family is coming in and we're going to have a celebration.  She really didn't want a big shebang so we're keeping it small.  90.  If I could do 90 like mom I guess I'd be ok with it.  Longevity makes me shutter, though, because very few people are as lucky as mom has been.  I'm thrilled for her.

Apparently my "random" bank does not have a large reserve.  I've run out of thoughts but at least I didn't let my blog go stale.

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The long, long car trip

I've been referring to this trip as the "car"-vation.  Boy, howdy, it was a long one.  Not so much in time; we did it in 8 days but the miles and miles and miles.  Wowzer!
You're getting the condensed version.
First stop was Boonville, MO.  Peter's alma mater, Kemper Military School.  This is where we met all those many years ago.  It is no longer being used although some of the buildings had something going on in them.

Here's Peter outside his old barracks/dorm.

Next stop - the Rockies.

They're hard to capture - at least for me they were.  They go on for ever and ever.

I'm hungry - let's eat!

Here comes our first national park - Arches.

After Arches we headed to Bryce.  There were hundreds (that's what it felt like anyway) of miles in between these two parks with ab-so-lute-ly nothing to see but mountains and more mountains.  It was daunting.

The plan was to see Zion the next day but we decided to broom it and chose . . .

Yes, he's still there - on every street corner.

We didn't even gamble!  We were busy walking, walking and walking.  And it was hot.  My favorite part of Vegas was the musical fountain (after dark) at the Bellagio.  I got teary-eyed.

And now, the reason we went west.  The "big hole."  The Grand Canyon.

 Peter took all these pictures.  Turns out you really need to walk to the edge for the good shots and turns out I just could not do that.  I tried, I really did but it was a "no go" for me.

That brown strip in the middle of the photo is the Colorado River.  Gives you a little perspective.

This was a "once in a lifetime" trip for us.  For one thing, neither one of us ever wants to spend that much time in a car again. Long days and a different motel every night just isn't our thing.

I'm glad we went.  We saw incredible sights.  Mother Nature at her best (except for the whole Elvis thing) and we can now cross it off our bucket list.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fair "left-overs"

 This is the "chicken" at the main gate.  Everyone calls it a chicken.  When people are paged to meet someone, often they are directed to go to the "chicken."  It wasn't until this year when I told someone to exit via the "chicken" that he said to me, "What chicken?"  I replied, "What do you mean what chicken - that thing at the front gate."  His response was, "Lady, that's not a chicken, it's a rooster."  Well, I'll be.  Wouldn't you think since we're a county fair (agricultural) that we'd know the difference?

 This is where I spent 3 of my 6 work days - at the main drive-in gate.

This is the booth next to the one I work in - Hi, Deb.  Hi, Marianne.

This is Judy.  She works the walk-in gate.  The "chicken" sits on top of her.

 I didn't get many animal pictures; I just didn't get around to it.  This guy refused to stand up for me.  I asked politely a few times and then he gave me the "fish eye" and I was afraid he was going to spit at me.  Camels spit, ya know.

Elephant ears are typical fair food.  I've only tasted one once.  Not my thing.

We watched this ride the other night.  I think it lasted all of 15 seconds.  We thought for sure we'd spotted a young man that was about hurl at the end but he seemed to be ok, although a little green around the gills.

 I did not get one of these cones filled with ice cream.

 I did, however, get a flurry one night and I might as well confess to getting a turtle sundae (ok, two) later on in the week.  I know my sister, Lisa, will tattle on me if I don't tell you right up front.

This is the hilltop gate.  I worked here 3 evenings; only one was rainy.

This was our bathroom.  I don't "do" porto-johns if I can help it.  They've come a long way over the years but I still held off and only used it once during my 3 nights on the hill.  I think that's a record.

 I don't know who these women are.  They stood like this forever until I finally caved and took their picture.  I think they were dating the guys that run the ferris wheel.

I'm not a fan of the cotton candy but people sure seem to love the stuff.

Never had these.

 I really don't know who these people are but the kids were so darned cute I just had to take their picture.

No clue on this game but the people were very intent.  Must have been for high stakes, eh?

And so another fair passes and we now get back to our "normal" lives.  Until next year.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Some "fair" thoughts.

So y'all know I love the fair and that I've been working at the entrance gates.  This is, in fact, my seventh year.  I love seeing all the people that come through whichever gate I'm working.  99.9% of them are a joy.  They're friendly and courteous and most of them "get" me.  Every now and then you get a grump, though.  I had one the other day and, honestly, I felt like leaning out of my booth and popping her in the nose.  But I didn't.

Yesterday was Veteran's Day.  It's my favorite day of the fair.  This year I really noticed the age range.  I adore the old duffers and I feel a kinship to the guys in their 60s.  The young ones all look twelve years old to me; it's hard to imagine them in a tank or flying a plane.  I appreciate them all.

As each vet went through my gate, no matter how busy I was, I looked them in the eye and thanked them for their service.  They all looked back (some of them surprised and some with emotion filled eyes) and thanked me for thanking them.  That's when my eyes welled up - every dang time.  Hang on . . . have to wipe another tear away.  I'm such a cry baby.

Yesterday I was getting my hair cut by that wacky Michelle (I showed you a picture of her in an earlier post) and she said she always goes through "fair let-down" when they pack up and leave.  I know she's not alone on that one.

I don't work today and there's an off chance that I might end up there tonight for something to eat.  Should I take a poll of my readers and see what they think the chances are?????

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The fair is in town!

The Allegan County Fair is here!!!  I love the fair.  As a kid I remember working like a dog all summer long (ok, a slight exaggeration) to earn $$$ for the fair.  As I recall, and we all know my recalling skills aren't as sharp as they used to be,  I shined dad's shoes, pulled weeds for mom and washed their cars - whether they needed it or not.

I also remember really hating to have to pay to get into the fair.  It was probably a quarter back then but, hey, every quarter counted so why give one to the gate, eh?  My grandparents lived on the river near the back of the fairgrounds then so we (probably my sister, Lisa and I) went to their house, slid down the very steep riverbank and climbed over the fence and slithered into the back of the fair.  I'd like to tell you that we did that all the time cuz we were kid- rebels but I'm thinking we only did it once; it was a strenuous and icky way to sneak into the fair.  Yuck!

My other memory and I assure you it's mine and not someone elses:  sitting in the Rocko Plane, stopped at the top while they continued to load that shaky thing with more unsuspecting kids, and looking down at the "girlie" tent.  As we watched the men saunter in for the show, we saw OUR DAD in line!!!

I was a fearless ride rider.  Nothing scared me.  Twirl, spin, swing - I was all over that.  What happened to me?  I can't even stand on the ground and look at that pirate ship swing back and forth now without getting all verpy.  You remember verps, right?  I explained them in a earlier blog.  Ok, you didn't read that one, I'll forgive you.  It's a combination of burping and vomiting.  Not a pleasant experience but it's better than tossing your cookies on your shoes.

Now, as an adult, a retired adult, my favorite thing about the fair is this:

Gibby's have been at the fair since Hector was a pup and they have maintained their reputation for "the best french fries in the universe."  There are several fries vendors at the fair but these guys make the best.  I promise.  I would have added a picture but I ate them so fast I didn't have time. 

I'm sure I'll be blogging a bit more about the fair so look for other pics and observations.  But for now . . .
think about a french fry with vinegar and salt.  Oh, baby!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I'm very "street name" oriented . . . . now.

When you were a kid did you know the names of the streets in your town?  I say "town" because I'm sure it's different for city slickers.  Never having been one I'm assuming they were a bit more savvy than us small town kids.

I knew the name of the street I lived on but that was pretty much it.

There was the street my dad's office was on but that's how I referred to it, not Trowbridge Street.

I still call Western Avenue "water tower hill."

Giving directions to a local was always easy:  go down the block toward the fire station and turn right at Peg Allen's house.  Now, Peg, has been dead for a number of years but none of us know name of the people that live there now.  You can always tell how long someone has lived here by the look on their face when you give them the landmark.  If it's blank, you might have to back up a few decades or move forward five or six years.

Earlier today I was telling someone that the person they were talking about lives in Cinderella Lawson's house.  Yes, that was her name - Cinderella.  She died many, many years ago but who's going to forget that name, eh?

My sister, Lisa, lives in the old Mae Tripp house or the Melissa Warner house if you're new to town - although she hasn't lived in it for 20 years or so.

I don't feel sorry for the people new to town - I feel sorry for myself having to give them all those specific details with approximate distances and names, names, names.

I need to go do some couch time, I'm exhausted.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Painting woodwork with creeky knees and bifocals.

We are in the midst of converting our computer/TV room into a bedroom.  We've been talking about it for a few years.  We've thrown all kinds of ideas and configurations around and then just gave up and decided we'd wait until one of us broke a hip.

Then last week the bedroom bug bit us again and we dashed off to buy a mattress and box springs, sheets and a quilt a JCPenney.  We also ordered a headboard and bed frame from their web site.
The next day we had the cable guy come over to move things around a bit.  The computer is now in the living room.

Then we had our pal, Doug, the guy who can do anything and everything, come over and he's going to turn our little laundry room (at the rear of our house, behind the new bedroom) into a walk-in closet.

I needed to set the stage so you'd understand the title for this blog entry.

Silly me - I thought we'd just move the old stuff out and move the new stuff into the bedroom.  Oh, hell no.  The woodwork needs cleaning up = painting the ceiling molding, one window, two doors with woodwork around each and a doorway.

Up and down the ladder 8 million times.  Down onto the knees 400 times.  Leaning left and right and torquing upward - I've lost count.  All the while looking through and over the frigging bifocals.

We're both feeling the results of all this painting.  Oh, I forgot, Petey has been doing some exterior painting as well - in the heat!

It's hell to get old.

But in another week or so we'll be sleeping downstairs, near the bathroom, and the laundry and fresh clothes will be but a few steps away.

We'll be livin' like the rich folks!!! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Making plans for the next 25 years.

The fact that there are so many decisions to be made during this time of my life has come as a surprise to me.  I didn't expect it would be so.

When I retired from public education in '06 I knew I would continue to work as an interpreter - freelancing.  After all, I worked my backside off getting my license and all those CEUs every dang year so I was set to hang in there for some years to come.  But how many? 

My license was renewed a year ago (after struggling through the new state test) and it will stay valid for the next three years as long as I get my 20 hours per year of CEUs.  Then what?  I know I don't have to make a decision right now but I start wondering if I'll want to keep throwing my hands into the air when I'm 66.  hmmmm

Probably the biggest question hanging over our heads is:  will we stay in this house?  Maybe we'll look for another house here in town without stairs.  Or - maybe a condo.  Or should we move to Kalamazoo or Holland?

The big one (to us, anyway) that we've been mulling over for a few years now is - can we make a bedroom downstairs? 

We have but one bathroom in this old house and it's on the ground floor.  Our laundry is down here as well.  Our house doesn't have an attic and there's a tin roof overhead so it's gets a bit toasty up there even with the central AC going.

I'll shorten this story up for you because it's boring even for me and ya'll know how much I love to talk about my life. ha!

WE'RE MOVING DOWNSTAIRS!!!  We ordered a new bed, we bought a new mattress set with sheets and a quilt and the cable dude was here yesterday to move things around so that what used to be our computer room will soon be the downstairs boudoir.

We were tossing different ideas around regarding the total lack of closet space but that problem was solved by our "he can do everything" guy yesterday afternoon.

So we're planning on sleeping in our new digs by the end of the fair.  For those of you who don't know what the heck I'm talking about - everything revolves around our county fair which starts on Friday and runs for 9 days.  Petey and I both work up there.  Our "guy" will be doing his thing while we're toiling away taking entrance fees and parking cars.

Yeehaw!  No more stumbling up and down the stairs in the night. I'm the stumbler not Petey.  Every single frigging night I need to get up and see if the toilet still works.  It's a drag, I tell ya.