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Archive for October, 2011

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Till Death do us Part?

After taking the gamble(s) and losing dearly, we are now faced with losing our home and moving into a smaller rental that we have leased. It’s been tough, but we don’t blame anybody or the economy, even though my business came to an end in late 08. We just didn’t play our cards right!

 

We are now faced with letting go of many a saved treasure from a 40 year old marriage, but it also brings up many a discussion on almost every item that’s facing either the charity box or be loaded on the moving truck. One has to consider the male idea of being ready to lift off at any minute or your counterpart’s idea of being well situated with all of their creature comforts, a very difficult balance to achieve. 

I know we have had a great time building up a nest egg, not of cash or investments, never could get behind that idea for some reason. This is more about  one of memorabilia, things that money can’t buy, that’s according to one source I know, Hmm?  Every-thing’s a collectible if you can find the right collector and we both are that, but of different persuasions.

Memories are a precious thing if they are about good childhood experiences or that special pet, many of you may look back and feel like you’ve had a passel of those, or  maybe a book you so dearly love?  But this collecting stuff can border on hoarding. Here’s some interesting facts that link the whole activity to us and the animal kingdom as well. Let’s let my friend Wiki tell us some of the facts.

“Hoarding and caching are common behaviors in many bird species as well as in rodents. Most animal caches are of food. However, some birds will also stingily collect other items, especially if the birds are pets. Magpies are famous for hoarding items such as money and jewelry, although research suggests they are no more attracted to shiny things than other kinds of items”.

I know you may think those birds and rodents have some strange habits, but some of us humans do too, please read on.

“While there is no clear definition of compulsive hoarding in accepted diagnostic criteria (such as the current DSM), Frost and Hartl (1996) provide the following defining features:[3]

  • The acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value
  • Living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed
  • Significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding
  • Reluctance or inability to return borrowed items; as boundaries blur, impulsive acquisitiveness could sometimes lead to stealing or kleptomania. The hoarder may believe that the hoarded items are very valuable, or know that the accumulated items are useless but keep them anyway, or attach a strong personal value to items which other people claim would have little or no value. A hoarder of the first kind may show off a cutlery set claiming it to be made of silver and mother-of-pearl, disregarding the fact that the packaging clearly states the cutlery is made of steel and plastic.A hoarder of the second type may have a refrigerator filled with uneaten food items months past their expiration dates, but in some cases vehemently resists any attempts by relatives to dispose of the unusable food. In other cases, the hoarder will recognize the need to clean the refrigerator but due (in part) to feelings that doing so would be an exercise in futility, and overwhelmed by the similar condition of the rest of their living space, fails to do so.Hoarders of the third type often keep “collections” as a hobby. Dolls, toy soldiers, obsolete road maps, clothes, rusty tools, non-functional sewing machines.
    I don’t know about you, but I sure am happy I don’t have their problem? Though , I do have peculiar issues, I must admit. While I spend these days boxing up stuff, I do have to wonder, will she ever use this stuff up and will I ever let go of this junk I’ve drug around with us for the last 40 years?

 

 The upside is the “Tantalizing Goodies” one can find when forgotten stuff is unearthed. I could have sworn some of it has been drug from the original location we started out together to each of the 11 or 12 places we have lived. That’s somewhat sick! I’ve even found myself taking charge and making deals like, “You can keep that one, if you give up two of those.” Like I have room to dictate, with my garage full of multiples of the same tools and not 1-5 gallon bucket of thisnthat, but maybe 10 or more!

 

I know, I know, I am one sick puppy.

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Obsession?

 

I hope the rest of the world is not as obsessed with choices like we are here in America.

I’m sure on a whole, they’re not when you consider the conditions of poverty and food shortages in so many parts of the world. It’s all the more guilt laden one feels walking through a typical grocery store.

Jees, what in the world is happening to us? I’m talking into my recorder as I walked the grocery store this week and did  double takes on so many of the areas where my list led me.  Do we become privileged and spoiled once we enter a modern grocery store? The abundance is down right embarrassing! Don’t get me wrong, I like choice as much as the next person, but some of this borders on super-indulgence, doesn’t it? Well, we only have so much time and soo much to take a look at, so let’s get started. Hmm, faced with a choice right off the bat, is it small cart, basket or biggum cart? I usually go small, it’s subliminal by them to give us the idea we’re downsizing and buying a little less, but once past the checkout stand and even when approaching it, we know, uh huh, uh huh, we should have just used the big one, quit fooling ourselves. I like to start in the produce section, very little there that needs refrigeration, so let’s take a  look. MY God, I think we’re somehow in the Garden of Eden. Screw the list, this is going to be fun! I do have to ask myself though, do I really need this many decisions facing me every foot of the way? This could take a good hour to shop, is that what they’re hoping for too? I like apples, but don’t need 7 or more varieties. I’m looking over this area and it’s beautiful, but there are fruits from places in the world I have never even heard of. Focus man, Focus on what you need! This brings up a major question in my mind, this orgasm, I mean organic fetish that is going on, Why do I feel like our non-organic produce is so bad. If it’s not good for us, then why is a good 90% of this section of the store selling it? What is in or not in the non stuff that the other has, and then I wonder if it’s just dribble, another way to get us to spend more. Someone knows! Well, I got to get what I needed and have to keep moving. Rounding the corner is the milk area against the wall, Oh no, another organic funk is coming, some of the milk is either that or not, and the price for organic in either glass or cardboard cartons  is $3 bucks for a 1/2 gal or 2 bucks for a gallon of the non. C’mon $6 bucks a gallon for milk, no way?

 

Eggs, same gig, a crazy egg of all things. this can’t be. I’m gonna close my eyes and just grab a dozen and hope for the best come breakfast time. Chips and cookies and crackers, wow nothing but a bunch of different kinds, shapes and sizes, too much for me. I can pass this aisle easily.

I will go get me some toothpaste and shampoo and then onto the other needed stuff on my list. Hmm again, can teeth need all of this attention? I just want to get the goobers out of them after eating, don’t think that much about  sparkles or tar beaters, hell, just grab one. Well, here we go again, moisture adding shampoo, for dry hair shampoo, for colored hair. This is really nutty and   probably very little difference from one to the next. Better grab a toothbrush while I’m in this aisle, no-no-no!!, close your eyes and just grab, feeling pretty stupid on this whole shopping thing.

  Got to get butt-wipe and some paper towels.Huh? A  single, a 4- pack, 6-pack or a 12-pack, cuddly or mega-roll, Charming or King Charles, my my, I never. Who thinks this stuff up, move on man!

 

I don’t eat dry cereal, unless oatmeal is considered one? Of course it is, but regardless, something is out of whack or we are out to lunch, take your pick. Here’s some facts for you to think about.

Location as irony — Battle Creek, Michigan-based Kellogg Company is in a constant battle for the #1 spot in the US cereal market with its main rival, General Mills. (General Mills’ fiscal 2010 sales totaled about $14.8 billion, compared to Kellogg’s second place $12.4 billion.) But Kellogg boasts many a familiar brand name, including Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops, and Rice Krispies. And while the company fills many a cereal bowl every morning, it puffs up its bottom line with snacks and cookies (Keebler, Cheez-It, and Famous Amos), along with convenience foods such as Eggo waffles and Nutri-Grain and Bear Naked cereal bars. Its products are sold in more than 180 countries worldwide.

.I don’t have small children and hope to God no one eats that crap, it’s a pathetic waste of space and also a waste of the food reserves in my opinion, even though I ate it religiously up till a few years ago. So I better settle my jets before I get on my soapbox.

I need to cut this trip short and get me some hamburger and beer, then get the heck out of here. I am better off letting the old lady do this like usual. Are you serious! This is amazing! This must be a little slice of Heaven! Every conceivable kind of alcohol know to mankind, sure wish they had a tasting room with a big-screen TV playing the games. I know it seemed crazy back there, but when you get to thinking about it, we work hard, well some do, and we deserve to have choices! I think I’ve seen the light!

I know I can rant and  rave, make little sense in between, I know all of that. Do we need all the choices that we seem to be faced with. It’s just not groceries, it’s everything we consume. I used to tell My wife to just look at me as if I was a “cow in the field” after she had just cooked a great meal and was looking for, Hmm, maybe a compliment. What a thick headed boot I can be. I know we all have our likes and dislikes, right down to the nitty gritties of grocery shopping. When though is enough, enough? Sure am glad I found me beers!.

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Reminders…

 

     Let’s start with just a little history to get our feet wet here. In the old days people would put cloth over an injured part of the body to make it better by keeping the spirit in and prevent the pain from spreading to another part of the body. You think about that for a second or two!

Fast forward a bit further, in my mother’s day a string was tied around your finger to keep the “thought” alive until it was needed for you to remember.

Another belief is called “rubyrikki”, the concept of a string around the index  finger is for luck. Regardless, I know that at some time in our lives each one of us forgets something. Forgetting to do what is right or just forgetting to take out the garbage, we can all use a reminder about those things.

Some of you have busy lives and find it tough to remember all the things you need to get done; pick up the stuff from the dry cleaners, don’t forget to get the car serviced, my nails need paint and don’t forget to pick up the kids,  Oh My!

My hats off to those of you with such busy lives. I have issues that some men and possibly a lady or two deal with every stinking day of their lives. For right now I’ll try and deal with my issues and then I’ll let you come in to my party later.

I know I’m a bit slow on things and I also know it takes me a long time to learn a lesson in life. Why, you might ask? Damn good question, glad you asked! I think it has to do with not paying attention to “the little things” in life for one. For instance the queerish look I get from my wife when I’m doing something I know I shouldn’t, or that all too common aggravated look from her and others when I’m doing something very stupid. A little message is being sent, why don’t………. I  GET IT?

I can’t help but think I need to be reminded way too often concerning things that have plagued me most of my adult life, most likely way earlier. I need to actively impress upon myself the need to change my ways. In those”good old days” it was an accepted practice to tie a small string around a finger, maybe two?  I know it would look silly, but someone low on the uptake,  has to start from 
somewhere.

It won’t make any fashion statement to go around with some stupid string around a few fingers either. I know, I know, one or two has now grown to a few, How stupid is this guy you might wonder? Well I’m not as sharp as I thought I was, to be sure, but I think I’m onto something big here, so quit picking on me!

If I start off my day with, yes, multiple reminders like; before getting on the road in “My Car”, remember that you are not the only vehicle on the road. Yes, someone will get behind you impatiently following too close or will cut in front of you, may honk their horn, might even use one of those finger gestures,, Good grief!

I think you get the picture, once in a vehicle so many things can happen that will piss us off. Well, move onto the waiting line for your first cup of whatever, they’re slow, they’re talking with the customer too much, on and on it can go and I’m starting to    –   STOP!    Take a good look at myself and how I’m acting. What’s the ultimate reminder? I am not the “only person” on planet Earth. Another one is:.   Get over Thyself!  Yep, it’s scripture!

Our time on earth is relatively short when you stop and consider how it all typically works out. Is getting our panties in a bunch over the drillions of scenarios worth all the energy and drama? I’m including you in this picture too, unless you’ve reached enlightenment or nirvana recently, you’re in the mix. You might be  miles past my present state, but I’m sure you might need a string on a finger or two or more?

The great thing about this concept is, first you will humble yourself with the strings. Lord knows we don’t like to look stupid. Second and this is important because it takes longer for some of us (me) to GET IT,  Once you get things implemented in your daily life, lose the string and give yourself Kudos! That earlier behavior is now in the past, history, finito!

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling better already and I haven’t done squat yet!

 

 

 

“Love all, Trust a few, Do Wrong to None”~William Shakespeare

 

 

 

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What Is a Shimjockey?

 

I know what you’re wondering. What in the Wide World of Sports is a “Shimjockey”?  Many years ago my wife caught me in the garage unloading a pallet of shims that were delivered in our driveway.

They happen to be an integral part of installing doors&cabinets as well as many other uses in getting things true, plumb and level. And you thought those were a “state of mind”, but when used correctly they keep your doors shutting tight and your cabinets from settling.

While unloading the shims she exited with this parting shot, “You are such a Shimjockey”. It stuck and won’t let go of me. Many of you might use cedar panels in your closets for the scent or your drawers have a cedar lining, but we settled for a fragrant cedar smelling garage..

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Are Barking Dogs a Problem?

I prefer to be just as tolerant and law-abiding as the next person, but there comes a time when being law abiding and tolerant just plain doesn’t cut it. I love dogs and neighbors, just about equally and I hate barking dogs and neighbors who own barking dogs, just about the same. Hate might be a bit harsh because I love dogs and my neighbors, but since there seems to be some parity in these equations, a simple answer should be available?

    I’ve spoke to both neighbors twice and my wife has done the same, we’ve even notched it back a generation and I’ve spoken to  her dad, hoping he might be able to talk his time-earned wisdom into the situation, each time to no avail. I have noticed a temp dog-muzzle, but it soon disappeared and we were back to the inevitable barking.
   The toughest part of this to my way of  thinking, at least once I’ve cooled down is,  that the animal is absolutely innocent and the owner is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. So do I pick up the weapon/temper and go and give them a piece of my mind or try and think of some other way to solve what has become the never-ending problem?
    In life we have many crossroads and this appears to be one for me. Why is this barking such a issue for me? I can see one reason, I’m home too much, if I did a better job of occupying myself with things to do outside of the home, I might not notice the large dog next door barking his damn fool head off. Oh My, I must be running down on my medications, excuse me for a minute.
  Ok, back, I do notice that my neighbors both are gone from early in the morning until early evening, they are able to miss the whole thing. I do notice that sometimes it takes very little to set me off and I become awfully close to getting down right nasty to not just my wife, my daughter, the lady at the grocery store last week, that crazy guy cutting in front of my car yesterday, the kids playing loudly outside when I was trying to read, the person way up the street running his power-washer on a Saturday morning, those stupid birds singing so early this morning, the guy who I just hung up on the phone to.
   Hmmm, Don’t tell me I’m part of the solution?
   

Common reasons why dogs bark:

 

 

 

  • Lack of exercise
  • Inadequate yard space
  • Boredom/frustration
  • Not enough human companionship/loneliness
  • Inadequate shelter from weather conditions
  • Hungry or thirsty
  • Medical conditions or separation anxiety
  • Provocation
  • Disturbances
  • Change to family structure
  • Change of territory
    While I am trying to make a valid point, I also see myself as having a responsibility to not over- react to whatever comes my way. Step back from the issue, compose myself and try and talk in a reasonable respectful way. Sometimes when done, a fair outcome may result.

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Give Space

 

Do Bike Cyclist  belong on the Road?

 

    I don’t think this is going to score points with a few of you, but hear me out first! I  don’t feel bicyclist belong on our streets for several reasons, they are not compatible with vehicles because, they don’t use enough of our fossil fuels. Aren’t they aware of our total dependency on oil products and how our wealthiest corporations depend on us to use it not only for transportation, but for recreation, lawn care. Hell it’s got so many uses, I can’t think of anything that isn’t using a fossil fuel, except one in mind, Bikes!
     Here we are in American struggling with an economy that is stalled and needs everyones participation to get it up and running like before. Then I see these bicyclist on our roads riding for free, not helping the huge corporations get their needed profits and I think to myself, we need to tax the hell out of ’em’!  But there’s no way to tax them enough to justify their existence on the roads we use with ALL of our fossil fuel using vehicles, because there isn’t enough of them.
   Another reason is, they are so distracting! Have you ever seen the asses on those bike riders, I mean the bodies of those bicyclist are worrisome to me. They’re too  damn svelte for their own good, and they know it. Realistically,  it’s very un-American too. They know the trends we are setting here for common calorie counts, higher than it’s ever been before and no other country comes close to our record breaking accomplishments! Someone on a bike, so different looking, it could cause a gosh darn accident!
 When we get back on our feet with the new economy that many feel will be led by the Right, we need to consider how dangerous it will be to have bicyclist on the road. In our near not too distant future I’m imagining a vehicle,  way larger than my current full size Hummer hammering down the road, doing the All-American  thing, fuel using, and here comes one of those free wheeling cute little bicyclist, weaving in and out of traffic like they knew what they were doing and……..CRASH!!!
  Yep, that sexy looking chick on a bike distracted me in my new Hummer and I hit a dang tree!
Now she’s giving me the nasty looks?  Go figure
Makes my blood boil!!
I really think we need more bike lanes and more driver’s education, let alone good old fashion tolerance . We have to remind ourselves there are cyclist on the road.
It’s difficult to see them when we’re in our “hurry up mode”, But it’s better to double check before merging,turning or any maneuver.
The possibility of hitting one, would change two lives,
Forever!

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Decisions of a Teenager

I have nothing but respect for the men and women who serve in the armed forces, regardless of the war. There have  have been many times when I wished that I had done something different, but I can’t turn back the clock. To quote a very influential philosopher from our era, “It is what it is”.

   Growing up in the 60’s a young man could not ignore the war in Viet Nam, how could anyone, it was on B&W TV every night. Thank God it wasn’t in color, but the fear and horror it put in you was impossible to shake. As I entered into my teen years and being influenced by the hippie movement, it only seemed natural to be against the war. By the time I had reached 15 my ear was leaning always in the direction of anti-war discussions and participated in the marches against it. I got to go to a SDS (Student  for a Democratic Society) meeting with a classmate, under the guise of something more innocent to our parents. Unfortunately they  (our parents) communicated with each other and I was accosted when I came in the front door, all the literature was confiscated and burned in the fireplace. My dad was a ex-Marine, he had no time for me back then and especially shit like that,  plain pissed him off!!
   In Yakima in the late 60’s on North 7th ave. ( I think) was “The Open Door”, a drug, draft and vocational counseling center, sounds pretty high- falootin, for an old house filled with hippies, but it was a great place to get info in perilous times. And living in a place where alternative ideas were not common, it felt like you had left it all behind. Soon after  I began scheming up an idea of trying to run away to Canada with a classmate who was a dual citizen from there. Being only 15 required more organization than I possessed, but the gears were turning. Walking back and forth from the guys home I spotted the get-a-way car! There it was, in all it’s glory, a 1953 Austin of England, very similar to a miniature Bonny and Clyde car, with the rumble seat protrusion in the rear, turn signals in the side of the car that extended out and blinked when turning a corner. It was a very cool car! Price $35.00! Sold! I had the money and bought it the next day.
   Being a poor sleeper afforded  me extra scheming time, so I schemed and remembered that Sidnie and Lauri  pastured horses not far from where the car was. me not knowing how to drive yet,  let alone something with a manual transmission, I had to talk them into allowing me to store the vehicle in their pasture and to also get Sidnie to get it there. They agreed! I was set. That day I was downtown with a friend when on the way back I see my car over on the side of T.H. Drive Drive. I get out and look in the car and it’s  Barrie  with Lauri and Sidnie, the car had broken down and they had a ride coming to take them to parts unknown. I was crushed.
    While sitting at home trying to figure out what to do, being of limited means, then the phone rings and my mom all of a sudden asks me, “You bought a car?” This lady wants to talk with you”, I get on the phone and the lady I bought the car from tells me she saw the car on the side of the road and told me she felt bad and was willing to give me my money back and she would just have the car hauled to the wrecking yard, I took the offer. Then lied through my teeth about the whole thing. Time for plan “B” I guess?
    Having done the minimum of growing up and also being immature, as you well know, I struggled through the next 2 1/2 years, but it did solidify my stance on being a part of the anti-war effort. My newest scheme was to become a CO, “conscientious objectoræ, I wouldn’t fight or kill another person,  something I have had to realize later on that I would, if it was to defend someone I cared about. Throughout all of this, there was a strong feeling that I was a coward, never has gone away either. By the time I was 18 I received my CO status and by June 25th I was married of all things! While getting married at a young age and with all of it’s pressures to make a living or at least squeak by, I never forgot about the war going on. After having a couple short lived jobs after getting married, both Joan and I became teacher’s aides. We never talked much about having jobs before we got married and didn’t bother to look until after,  those were the days!
    Having a friend who was serving a 2 year alternative service stint as part of being a “CO”, I had a pretty good idea that being a CO was like the equivalent of “scum of the earth”. He blazed trails in an area to become a park, it was not a fun job, living in barracks and he was not a happy camper, Myself being recently married began to think, I remembered the Barrie  guy in the Austin of England. He was also someone i grew up with until 4th grade started. I found out that he had gone in for induction to the army and answered all the questions wrong in the mental test as well as acted as looney as possible through the whole process, at least that’s what I had heard, it sounded good to me!
   While working in the Franklin JR. High Library as a teacher’s aide one of the more challenging parts of the job was to put the different newspapers onto the bamboo rods. I enjoyed that part till a day early that year when I looked on the front page. There listed were the lottery/draft date numbers, mine was there in all it’s splendor, March 6th, 1953—–#1. what the #@&**@??!!!, I had to do a double take, this can’t be, but it was. Shortly after that I received my letter, I was sick, it was notifying me I was being drafted. It gave me the time and date for the physical in Seattle on Admiral Way. It was time for more scheming and it had to be good!
    That day came faster than I wanted, but in the meantime I had gotten down to 112 pounds, below the minimum weight for my height according to military standards, I was loaded for bear now!  Joan and I made our trek to Seattle the day before, spent the night getting as stoned as possible, hoping to look as burned out as possible, all for one purpose, I am not what they are looking for! The appointment time for me and all the other guys being inducted was 7am, I was there early and met a wild looking young man who schemed like I had, but came up with possibly a better idea? He had burned in to the side of his saluting hand, FUCK YOU, it looked like a mess, but maybe he knew something I didn’t?
   The mental test was a breeze, trying to answer as many wrong as possible, I think I did a good job, but myself and about 15 guys were all called out by name and told to follow a serviceman down a long hallway, I was getting nervous for sure. The serviceman yelled out “You guys with a letter from your doctor wait over here, the rest of you strip down to your shorts and line up behind the scale!”.
    While scheming and thinking of any possible thing, I went to my doctor in Yakima that treated me for allergies when I was 6-12 years old, I asked for a letter stating that information,which they did. I waited with the letter, thinking about the guys down to their shorts and wondered, where will all of this take me? I was called  into an office with another serviceman who looked more important than the other one. He stamped my letter without really giving it much of a look and said “Get the hell out of here!”, I was stunned, looking just as stoned and confused as I had trained myself,  he said to me “IF you don’t like it, I can change it real quick!”. I made for the door as fast as I could and out of the building!!
They wanted a few good men and damn, I wasn’t one of  them!!
  I was given a 4-F classification, unfit for military service.
 I was fortunate that the war was winding down because had it been a few years earlier, the excuses I used would have never had held up.
There’s some shame and some relief.

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Video

Pug Head Tilt

My daughter’s favorite Youtube pug video!.

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Four-Footed Misery

Hope you never have gone through this, and I hope I never do again……

   Way back when the scare of Y2K was abounding throughout every doomsday believers world, just after Prince prompted us to party like it was 1999, I decided to take a 30″” x 21′ swath out of our family room downstairs, and then create a storage center for all the kinds of stuff/junk we humans love to save. All neatly hidden with bifold doors, three 5′ ones and one 3′. My wife quickly got the stuff out of the garage as well as every nook and cranny we might have stuffed these treasures in, to give them all another shot at life before the ultimate trip to the Goodwill, we don’t do garage sales anymore.
After purchasing the material, doing the needed layout, I was ready to don my nail-bags (some would call me a carpenter) and ready to frame up the wall that would free us at least in mind, from our inability to throw stuff away long after it had given all it could give. With the first 2×4 I started to nail to the wall I heard the weirdest sound, I thought cinders were drifting from the top to the bottom each time I hammered a nail home. Being somewhat of a thick skulled kind of guy, I ignored it and continued to build my wall up, I had work to do!!
After completing most of the wall, I was still intrigued with that sound, I continued to go over to that wall and hammer on the stud I had nailed and listened  to that weird sound, I finally figured it out, BEES!!    YEP,I went outside and now understanding a small about trees and bees I realized they had burrowed through the siding and made themselves a very cozy home, must have been hundreds of the little guys. This isn’t even what I’m hoping to write about, it just happened along the way!
    Now having our new storage area complete and quickly filling up with  Christmas stuff, Halloween stuff and lots of just plain old stuff, we could direct ourselves to the task really at hand, Y2K! I know we are  a few months  away from it, but all the more urgent to get with it and be prepared for the possible meltdown of our societies taken for granted, Abundance. To think of possibly having to go without anything, well, i think it’s downright un-American,  right? Damn straight!
    In our humble home lives one beautiful cat named, Mooty and one fine specimen of a Boston Terrier named, Paige. There’s ample room in the Y2K storage  closet to store their needed food, just in case, you understand! We were set like flint, ready for it all?
  Our home was built in the 60’s, and being a contractor and familiar with the tales of how our  forefathers built anything like no other could think of. I’ve heard the saying,”they sure don’t build them like they used to”, I have one thing to say about that. I’m glad of it too! Whoever the knuckleheads were that built our home went stupid when it came to putting fire=blocking over the wall of the garage that separate it from the house. It’s typically solid wood blocking, mandatory in all building practices, but not ours, not in 1960- whatever, you sense my frustration?
   Having pet food sacks, cardboard containers of Chicken broth, bags of flour, basically you can name just about anything a dirty stinkin’ varmint has the ability to get into and did! I am not experienced with RATS, only mice and had no problem taking care of them, it was a short-lived inconvenience. I immediately went and got some traps, then some poison, then more traps. I was catching  them, but it seemed like they were bringing in more replacements. I then remembered something our mechanic told me, Prestone antifreeze works wonders, but first I need to nail up some solid blocking to stop these critters from getting in the house!
   The bad part of blocking in the firewall is that with the possibility of  rats in the house, you’re trapping them inside, Yep!! We heard them at night running either overhead or on the ductwork underneath us. We found droppings downstairs, everywhere near their passageway to the Y2K storage, even though it had been emptied. Did I mention that they were large? They were, and some were small, damn,they were making stinkin’ babies!!
   We had a small/short getaway planned ahead and Lord knows we needed it from trying to work and  then come back home and work again, I guess there is a reason there are Pest companies out there, duh? When we got back home, surprise!, they had found a way up through the floor where I didn’t seal up the subfloor where the dishwater sits when we remodeled, those buggers fit through small spaces too! After they had increased the hole for the plastic drain pipe that hooks to the kitchen sink drain, then they found a plastic two drawer container that we kept Paige’s hardfood in, they broke in the back side, UNBELIEVABLE!!   I had to remove the dishwasher and fill in the space, ?@!%$!!?*&!!!
   Finally things started to pay dividends, no more rats inside and the Prestone left in a couple small dishes on the top shelf of the garage, were doing the trick! I eventually had a plastic enclosed diner for them outside,no return customers with that place!
   It was Hell, but we conquered it!

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Post

Oh Those Crows

 I’d like to give my thoughts on the overabundance of crows we have in the Seattle area. I know they’re birds and deserve their place, but what the Hell is going on? First I’ll give you some info on them, then blast away!

 

                Crows are large passerine birds that form the genus Corvus in the family Corvidae. Ranging in size from the relatively small pigeon-size jackdaws (Eurasian and Daurian) to the Common Raven of the Holarctic region and Thick-billed Raven of the highlands of Ethiopia, the 40 or so members of this genus occur on all temperate continents (except South America) and several offshore and oceanic islands (including Hawaii). In the United States and Canada, the word “crow” is used to refer to the American Crow.[citation needed]

The crow genus makes up a third of the species in the Corvidae family. Other corvids includerooks and jays. Crows appear to have evolved in Asia from the corvid stock, which had evolved in Australia. A group of crows is called a flock or a murder.[1]

Recent research has found some crow species capable not only of tool use but of tool construction as well.[2] Crows are now considered to be among the world’s most intelligent animals.[3] The Jackdaw and (along with its fellow corvid, the European Magpie) has been found to have a neostriatum approximately the same relative size as is found in chimpanzees and humans, and significantly larger than is found in the gibbon.[4]

 

*Well all of that is very interesting, the key thing i noticed is they are very smart, so smart they seemed to have chased away other kinds of birds from around where I have lived for the past 14 years. I have no scientific proof, if that’s what you’re hoping to hear, but it’s been a gradual kind of thing.


 

 

Robins are one that have diminished in numbers, but the most noticeable are the Bluejays, I haven’t seen one this year and saw  only one or two last year. Why you might wonder?  I do too and I still wonder, and would like to get to the bottom of this. They both have similar caws, a bit annoying at times, but the Jay is more pleasing to the sight. The Bluejays don’t do the “ugly” all over your car, your windshield or your whatever. It’s disgusting!

I am aware that Crows seem to not have much fear of humans or any other bird their size or smaller either. They are definitely  well fed, sure wish the neighbors would keep their lid on their garbage. Those things can make a pure mess while foraging for food in a trash receptacle, Yikes!

Well I hope this might help us understand why the population explosion of crows is happening. In fact it’s more common in the Pacific NW than anywhere else in the States, I might be embellishing that a bit, but it’s more dramatic that way. The cause is general urbanization, yep, while the rich keep getting richer, we keep having babies. We are actually feeding into the crows plan. Remember they are very intelligent!

From studies of crows and all of there breeding, bird people (that’s a technical term) have studied the nests. Crows  have more invertebrates and small invertebrates in their nests than any other bird in our area, not to mention they found our junk in them too! The disappearance or smaller number of the Bluejays I think can be partially explained by the fact that even though both are human commensals,that means they depend on you and I for their food sources, the crows are beating the others to it. For all I know they are robbing the Jays nests and eating their eggs or young. Downright  cannibals they could be.

But the crows do some good things too;

[A crow family can eat 40,000 grubs, caterpillars, army worms, and other insects in one nesting season. That’s a lot of insects many gardeners and farmers consider pests. These good environmental citizens also transport and store seeds, thus contributing to forest renewal. And their habit of eating carrion makes them part of nature’s cleanup crew.]

My friend Wiki wrote that for me, he knows way more about this than I ever wanted to!

So just get used to them, they’re going to hang close to wherever we and the grubs are. Get prepared for wearing gloves when you go out to start your car and possibly doing the car wash more often.

They aren’t so bad after all, but I sure miss seeing the Bluejays around here. Oh well, that’s survival of the fittest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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