Monday, March 28, 2011

Hitting The Wall

I knew it would happen sooner or later, that is, a bad case of writers block!
To see what other people Blog about I have been hitting the "next blog" on the header. Amazed, is the best word to describe all that I have found. Stories about family pets abound, in your face religious blogs, politics out the wazoo and a zillion family day to day events! I have been intrigued by some sites that are intelligently written and thought provoking regarding life events, and other sights that are a total turn off with cat pictures and narrative on kitty's life! Sorry, no cat lover am I. Cooking sites also get a mention, especially the ones with pictures that makes the gravy appear purple...plop that one down in front of your family sometime!
I am especially fond of the blogs that I follow on a regular basis. I think I have found the cream of the crop, and enjoy every one of them,  as many times they make my day.
Back to the writers block, I have many stories to tell after fourty four years as a funeral director, man,  I am chock full of stories! Many are hilarious, many not so much, but all deal with the human condition. I have had many friends tell me I should write a book, but who would believe it! To post a blog about these things I have seen and been a part of,  would not be in the traditions of the profession. So here I am stuck with just day to day events, and for a retired old geezer, that doesn't leave much!
From time to time I might throw in a post about flying, the second love of my life. There was nothing more exciting after your pre-flight check of the plane, than to get in, buckle up, yell clear prop, and hit the starter and watch that big prop start to turn and the engine cough and finally catch and smooth out. Just you and the plane, it gets no better than that!
I'll come up with something to post about eventually, meantime, I'll just enjoy reading what others are writing. about

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hammer and Nails

The past several days, we have had the best weather yet for some of those projects I have been putting on the back burner. Our "shed house" or storage building, in the back yard has needed a lot of repairs since we bought our home, one heart attack and two years ago. It's one of those things that you have to force yourself to get started on, like any project around the house, where a small project turns into a big one. Well, that's what happened. Come to find out the trim work was full of carpenter ants, because the yahoo's who built it didn't use pressure treated wood. Long story short, after four days work and several trips to the lumber yard it is finished. Now, I know Norm  from "This Old House" would be rolling with laughter at my handy work, but for an old worn out undertaker,  I think it looks pretty good!  I've got to give a little praise to my Michigan wife for staying right in there with me until the last nail was pounded in. Do you remember when library ladies were tough a a nickle steak when you got too loud, well, you ought to see this one with hammer and nails, makes you want to do the "get back!"
I'm contemplating what the next project will be, might take a week or more in the recliner just to give it enough thought. I'm sure something will come to mind, it always does when you are a "happy homeowner."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Electric Hooptie

The local news tonight was telling us how Pub lix grocery stores are going to install electric charging stations at their stores. The first of these will be in the silk stocking area of Nashville. I wonder who the marketing brainiac was that got an "Attaboy" from his boss for this brain fart! Who is going to want to shop at Pub lix for from one to four hours while the electric hooptie slurps up a charge to get the caviar home. Now folks, this is middle Tennessee, not the west coast where I'm sure there are many electric/gas combo cars. This is the land of the pick up truck. No self respecting redneck would be caught dead in any thing other than his pick up to take his bride to the nearest Motel 6 for an elegant honeymoon.
The old pick up would "Get 'er done, the electric tinymobile, maybe not!
I'm sure it will be years before we see a charging station here on the ridge. It's hard to put a good set of loud pipes on a Chevy Jolt, and there is no place to throw your "Bud" cans!
Just think about electric hearse that poops out half way to the cemetery, but,  that's a no brainer, just use the ministers pick up to go the rest of the way!
I guess my age is showing, but where is the economy when you have to replace the worn out batteries,
and they WILL wear out eventually, for thousands of dollars in an electric.
I know we have to make changes in our transportation modes for obvious reasons, but it's fun seeing what will come along next. MoPed anyone?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Working On The Railroad

Shortly after getting out of high school, I had the opportunity to work for the I. C.  Railroad.
The job was nothing glorious like an engineer or brakeman, but was a job working at night in the switch yard, humping and tagging rail cars, so that they could be made up into out going trains. This was a dangerous job then, and still is today, someone still has to cut the cars loose, in all but the biggest switch yards The job of the switch man.  I found out later that the guy I replaced had lost a leg. It was a pitch black night and he thought he was between sets of tracks, but was standing right in the middle, when a loose gondola car got him. The yard was black except for your lantern and I could easily see how this could happen. You had to really pay attention, as a heavily loaded freight car, rolling by itself is almost silent! I had been warned to watch out for any freight car with the door open, as a bum could jump you and steal your money, or if you found a bum sleeping in a car, you let the railroad "Bulls" handle them. After witnessing the "Bulls" in action, I decided that if the bums left me alone, I'd do the same.
Back in the 60's, many of the older, grizzled steam locomotive engineers were transitioning in diesel electrics.
These old guys would argue steam vs. electric for hours, the steam guys usually coming out on top, because they knew steam would out pull the electrics all day long, unit for unit.
About the best thing I can say about working for the railroad, was that the money was fantastic for an 18 year old kid!  You grew up quick, you were given a job and no one was going to hold your hand, the money was so good, you didn't want to mess up.
Every job on the railroad is based on seniority, so with this in mind, I had a hard time realizing that being a "Yard Bird" could be my job for the next ten years. My mothers family all worked for the railroad, so I had no illusions from listening to those folks that it would be a long time,  for a better slot came open.  I was told that I could have been put on a track crew, "Gandy Dancing" my way through the MS. delta! So I should be happy.
After 6 months went past, I knew the job was not for me, and it was time to get some more education and look for a college to attend.
So I left the railroad and some great money behind. I admire the railroad folks here in the U.S.,
because it is a hard, dirty and dangerous job for the most part. Even for an engineer!
Looking back now, it was a great experience.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Once is Enough!!

Every one needs to buy and restore a home built in 1865 at least ONCE!
In the mid '70's we had been transferred from Nashville to Charlotte N.C. Not wanting to live in Charlotte, we looked at all of the little towns close by for a home. After an exhaustive search, with various real estate agents we were about to give up. The evening before we were to fly back to Nashville, we were driving around the little town of Mt. Holly, and Bam, there it was! We called the listing agent the next morning and found out the home was being sold by the relatives of the original owner, and very little had been changed since it was built! We met him at the house about noon.
The place was single story and huge. The central hallway was 18' X 50', looked like a bowling alley.
The bathrooms and kitchen were added in the '30's, after the detached kitchen caught on fire and burned up not only the kitchen, but the smoke house and outhouse as well. Every room had a fireplace with an attached woodbox closet. The porch went around two sides of the house. The place had good bones, but the 50 year old paint job on the whole outside, was a little faded or missing! The owner was with the agent and gave us the history of the house. The place was at a give away price so we bought it!! The movers saw what we left in Nashville and couldn't believe what they were moving us into! It was rough, but all I could see was dollar signs after we would eventually fix it up. The neighbors were very supportive of our efforts in fixing up the neighborhood eye sore.  The well over 60 gallons of exterior paint made it go from "Faded Glory" to a show stopper! The 1920's wiring blew fuses on a regular basis, and the plumbing was unreliable at best. We were there for two years when we were transferred back to Nashville! When we put it on the market we got lucky in that the folks that bought it had just finished restoring an old home in N.Y. state and understood the work that yet had to be done on the house. We made a huge profit on the home, despite the money pit it turned out to be. I had the opportunity to go back to Charlotte on business a few years later and made a point to see the old house. The people had done a fantastic job on it!
Every one who gets inspiration from the TV show "This Old House", needs to think again! It was fun once, but never again!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scooney's Big Adventure

Yesterday was a big day here on the ridge!
I had been putting off getting those few shingles on the roof replaced,  that were blown off in the "Breeze" we had last week. So I got started by calling a few roofing companies in the local phone book. This was a futile exercise, as most of them said they could not help me, or they had a minimum charge of $250.00 to do roof repairs, even with me furnishing the shingles and nails!!!
Well, now what am I going to do. We have only lived here for two years, and not knowing folks that might tack up three shingles was going to be a challenge. I'm sitting in my recliner trying to figure it out and there on the end table is the latest copy of the local advertiser. I swear it had an aura around it, like some Davine magnet drawing me to it!  I located the best ad I could find that suited my situation, and called the number.
Bubba, answered the phone! I had some misgivings right away, but went on to tell Bubba my problem.
"Sure, he could help, soon as he was done movin this frigerator, he'd head on over air". He arrived in full Camo from "hog huntin" and a ladder tied to the top of the cab of an old Toyota pick up. His partner,
looked like he had escaped from the set of "Deliverance", boy, now I'm really apprehensive about the outcome of this! They went right to work, did the repairs and checked out the rest of the roof as well.
It was pretty obvious they knew what they were doing. So now, I have someone I can call if I need any repairs. The best part was the check I wrote for $60.00!!! I guess the old adage about not judging a book by it's cover holds true here on the ridge.