Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Madness in the Fire

Chapter 7
...and the earth shall burn
"The discovery of nuclear reactions need not bring about the destruction of mankind any more than the discovery of matches"
-Albert Einstein

The minutes passed ever so slowly as she huddled in the corner of the living room in the old, rotting abandoned house.  Her son lay curled in a tight ball with his head in her lap.  She gently stroked his hair.  It was long and it needed to be cut.  It had been weeks since she the old pair of kitchen scissors had broke.  She made a mental note to keep an eye out for a new pair.  She laughed at the thought of how many pairs of scissors she had at home.  Who knew that they would become such an important tool in these harsh days.
Danny moved slightly, he murmured something softly and she realized she had stopped stroking his hair.  It was how she got him to sleep when he was a baby and it seemed that it still worked.

What a change their life had made.  They had been living in a safe, secure neighborhood on a quiet little street, both had maintained good jobs, Danny had attended a nice school and it seemed all was perfect.
Now they were on the move, never stopping for more than a day or two.  Living in tents or run down houses, eating whatever they could salvage or catch.

It had started slowly.  Danny was born a few years after the first power plant went down.  The stories spread about the poisoning of the oceans and at the time it didn't seem as if that one plant would have much effect on the ecosystem of the ocean.  Life went on as normal until the second one went down.  This one was wiped out by a hurricane.  Still it didn't seem that bad.  Local fish kills and quarantines.  By this time however, the radiation at the first plant had begun to unleash its power upon the people that were in the area and they began to die at an alarming rate.  Yet it still did not affect her or her family.  It was in another country and although she felt bad for them it was their problem not hers.  Wasn't much she could do anyways.
When the third one went down a few months after the second the world began to get nervous.  The third one was triggered by another tsunami just like the first.  The affected countries began to beg for help from the U.S. as the cost of containment and cleanup began to reach the billions.  Officials in Washington DC declined, the cost of carrying the worlds troubles was taking its toll on home soil and the good 'ol US of A just couldn't keep it up.  This infuriated many throughout the world.  Those who thought it was the responsibility of the greatest country in the world to pay for everything.
The door opened for an entire new class of terrorism.  Revenge based attacks.  Out of the 104 operating nuclear plants in the U.S. 23 of the largest were attacked.  Most by hijacked aircraft that were flown into the structure just like the Twin Towers of 911.  These attacks were much easier because they used smaller planes that were locally hangered. Some used guerilla tactics and simply over ran the security at the plants and then planted demolition charges at precise locations.  It was simple, quick and easy.  It didn't take much to knock out a nuclear power plant.  They were bombs just waiting to go off if you could just light the right fuse.  Later on the remaining plants, abandoned at some point or another, melted as their automated cooling systems went offline.

This force the power companies to produce more coal based power and they just couldn't keep up.  The populations affected by the attacks began to slowly migrate to other areas of the country.  Ghost towns began to pop up everywhere.  This led to more unemployment, crime and poverty.  The government was forced to hand out more and more money to those displaced.  They took their time, neglected a good portion of those people and it was politics as usual.  This turned out to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

Many activists and hardcore private militia types began small scale attacks on local power companies.  Setting explosives in the coal fired power plants and knocking them offline.  Then sending demands to the government which asked for  payment, jobs and housing for those affected by the nuke plant terrorism.
The government initially began paying these claims which turned out to be the worst decision ever because it opened the door for every Tom, Dick and Harry to start blowing up the local power companies, which they did.
It wasn't long before the country was in chaos.  Martial law was put into effect.  Curfews were set.  Anybody caught outside after 10pm was shot on site.  No questions asked.  You were an assumed terrorist.  With the chaos at hand the government began calling all its troops home to deal with homeland security issues.  This in turn led to a worldwide free for all.  Russia began to reclaim all of its prior territories such as Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Armenia, Georgia, Latvia and the list went on.  China began bolstering it's forces as if on the brink of war and North Korea invaded South Korea almost immediately after US troops left and within a month had gained control of the entire southern peninsula.  Without the aid of the US the United Nations had shut down.  Effectively endangering the entire world.

As more and more lawlessness spread people began to abandon urban areas.  The crime rate was so high that 2 out of every 10 people were mugged, raped or beaten.  It just wasn't safe to live in the city.  Entire metropolis's began to shut down.  The first to go were the ones that were oceanside.  With the world in turmoil the shipping industry fell flat.  No longer was it safe to travel the worlds oceans and with the demise of the shipping jobs many port based cities collapsed rapidly.  Unable to maintain the unemployment and police the crime.

They had left after she had been attacked.  In a normal world not filled with chaos and death she would have taken the bus to and from work.  The bus would stop at Danny's school and together they would walk the three blocks home.  In this new world the transit system was no longer operational, she no longer had a job and she had to walk to pick Danny up.
In broad daylight two men grabbed her off the sidewalk, drug her down an alleyway and beat and raped her behind a stinking garbage container.  They stole what little she had and left her in a heap on the cold concrete.  Eventually she gathered herself up, there were no police around to help anymore, limped to the school and retrieved Danny and headed home where she cleaned up as best she could.  Danny was too young to know any better but when Jimmy got home from work she told him she was mugged.  She did not tell him about the rape.  He was infuriated but knew there was nothing that could be done.  It was then he decided to leave.

Three months later here they were in an abandoned city.  90 days was all it took. The country and the world had simply fell apart.  60% of the country was now without power, China and Russia had declared war on each other and it quickly went to a nuclear disaster.  Most of the entire Eastern world lay in a radioactive cloud of dust.  The middle east was quickly going up in flames too as the muslim world laid waste to Israel and systematically began eradicating the Jews reminiscent of World War II Nazi Germany.  Then they began to war with each other.  What little exportation of oil was happening ceased entirely.  The European power houses began to feel the pinch as they quickly lost power and oil and soon began crossing each other's borders in search of natural resources.  It wasn't long before the tanks rolled out and soon the entire European land mass was at war.  It seemed as if the floodwaters were rising and there was no Ark this time.
Everything and everybody was sick and dying.  The entire world had just fell off the brink and was hurtling into a new age.  The age of death and fire.

She looked down at Danny, a tear slipped down her cheek.  Jimmy was off checking on the bridge crossing and he should have been back by now.  She was getting nervous. She gently repositioned Danny's head off the swell in her mid section.  She had known for awhile but Jimmy was not aware.  She had been hiding it.  It wasn't his.  She didn't know how to tell him.  He had believed her when she told him she was only mugged not raped in the alley.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I don't Have Time to Have Time!

What a pleasant morning it has been.  Coffee, a book, a little internet browsing and peace and quiet.
Then I decided I had better make a list of things that need to be done around here so I can get the ball rolling.  Our last minute rush of winter chores has been stalemated for a bit now.  I confess I lose interest in things real fast.  My wife says it's ADD.  I call it slow multi-tasking.  If I have many projects to choose from then once I grow bored with one I simply move to another.  So on and so forth and eventually I return to the original project.  However this time I may have overdone it a bit.  Now that the weather is in the air I have to add the outdoor projects to the indoor projects list  Spring is in the air and before long the grass will be growing.  After making the list I was already tired.  Damn how did so many things pile up on me?

On a brighter note we added some new furnishings to the house.  A new living room ensemble and finally after many years of agitated and painful sleep... a new bed.  I haven't slept so good in a long, long time.  We picked up a memory foam mattress and it is wonderful.  The living room is half furnished right now while we wait for the remaining pieces to get shipped in.  Gone is the microfiber sectional couch that was worn and lumpy.  Now we are equipped with a new leather sofa, love seat, tables and lamps.  Well almost.  Still waiting on the loveseat and lamps.  In the mean time I have moved most of the old furniture into the garage until I finish the downstairs where it can be re-purposed.  Then I'll have to find a place for the futon that is sitting in the den.  Couldn't pass up the deal we were offered.  We had looked last year but it didn't fit in the budget but after our tax return and some of momma's hard work at her second job and some intense budgeting we pulled the trigger.

The downstairs bathroom remodel still needs a few things.  I have one set of shelves installed over the commode.  I found some budget shelves for under $2 each at the big box store.  They didn't have finished edges so we picked up some decorative moulding and I will use my brad nailer to attach it to the face of the shelves and paint it white.  A few more corner shelves and it will be done!

So you want to see the list do you?

Finish moving table and hutch downstairs
Caulk and paint trim in stairwell
Paint upstairs bathroom
Caulk and paint trim in downstairs den and hall
Paint trim in downstairs bath
Finish shelves in downstairs bath
Touch up grout under door in downstairs bath
Seal grout in downstairs bath
Finish brick behind wood stove in den

Re-pot tomato seedlings
Mulch and de-winterize chicken coop yard
Finish cleaning yard (front and sides)
split and stack remaining wood
Split and stack new wood pile in front yard
Repair garden fence
Cut down dead trees on back property line
Clean up ice storm debris on south side
Burn all the brush collected from ice storm
De-winterize lawn tractor/change oil
Roll lawn
Repair gutters on back of garage (ice storm/terrible winter)
Install all the mini hoop houses in garden
Catch that damn mole that is terrorizing my yard
Change oil in truck
Fix or sell daughters old car
Prep snowmobile for summer storage

There is probably more that I am forgetting but that should keep me busy for a few days.
I'd much rather sit here and sip coffee and work on my book but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

I almost forgot (see I told you)  that wood pile in the front yard?  Yeah that is where I got stuck last Friday.  I had left in the morning to go pick up a load of free firewood from a lady that had a giant sugar maple cut down and was giving away the wood.  When I showed up it started raining and it didn't quit so I loaded in the rain and on the way home I had a blowout on the trailer so I had to change the tire, in the rain, and when I got home I tried to drive up to the wood pile and only made it about 25 feet off the driveway before the truck and trailer sank into the lawn.  I had to unload all of the wood in the front yard to lighten the load.  Then when I unhooked the trailer and turned it to pull it out of the way of the truck the trailer tire sank into the yard and I couldn't budge it.  I had to get the floor jack out, jack up the trailer and put boards under the tires and then pull it out of the way.  Then I had to do the same with the truck.  The wheels were buried about half way.  Once everything was unstuck I spent some time filling in the ruts and tamping the lawn back down.  All this in the pouring rain.  So that is why there is a pile of wood in the front yard that needs to be taken care of and you can also add lawn repair to the list!

I had better get busy!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Springing Into a New Beginning

Spring is here, the snow has almost departed completely.  A few piles remain steadfast but their existence is futile.  My backyard is almost entirely clear.  The wretched winter has left the yard war torn and in shambles.  The ice storm has littered the ground with every shape and size stick or branch possible and in one case an entire limb.  The grass has been pummeled by the thick slabs of packed snow which over winter formed a mini glacier across my one acre.  Frequent galavanting on the snowmobile hardened it even more.
But alas it has released its grip.  Soon the cleanup will begin.
The one thing about spring that I don't like is how soft the ground is.  The dogs, if let be, will run around and tear chunks of sod up with every step so there is no chasing the ball or frisbee.  Poor Remmi has been hounding me every minute.  His expression is priceless. "Please Papa just throw the ball ONE time, just once Papa!"

Planting is just a mere 6 or 7 weeks away and I have already started my seeds indoors.  I made a quick and simple little starting house in the downstairs den.  I chose this location because it is the same room with the woodstove.  Keeps them nice and warm.  I started them Sunday night.  I used mostly leftover seeds from what I purchased last year and a few from new seed packets this year.  Currently I have 72 cells which I have planted seeds in.  Almost half of them have already germinated.  Tomatoes mostly.  That is a new record for me.  Thursday morning I noticed them before I went to work.  Not even 4 full days after sowing!

I will not be doing as many vegetable starts as I did last year.  I have enough planted to cover my garden, a backup for everything I do plant in my garden and then a few leftover that I can pick and choose from when selecting so I get the healthiest plants.  Whatever is leftover I will most likely give to my friends who have helped me or loaned me things in the past year.  Not too many people borrow things from me but I am an avid borrower so it's nice to give back a little.  Last year I grew a lot of plants and sold them to offset the cost of my new garden, the seeds, soil etc..  This year the costs of gardening will be minimal and I can give them away.  Money is nice but the feeling you get from giving is way better than the feeling you get from getting!

I throw a blanket over the whole thing to hold the heat and also have a heating pad under the tray.  The dome keeps the moisture in while the seeds germinate.  Now that some have germinated and others have not I need to remove the new seedlings and place them on the first shelf without a dome otherwise they will dampen off and die.  Once the rest germinate then the domes will be used for the next round of germination which will be a couple flats of flowers.

I have a digital thermometer placed on the soil.  Many seeds need warm soil to germinate as in the case of peppers.  75-80 degrees.  The heating pad helps with that.

If you compare the two pics you will notice that I have elevated the original flat off of the heat pad.  After a day or so I noticed that the soil temps were too high sitting directly on the heat pad so I inverted an empty flat and placed that on the pad and then the vegetable flat on top of that.  The empty, upside down flat now acts as an air insulated warmer for the upper flat.  The pad heats the air in between instead of the soil directly.  This picture has the temp reading 81 degrees on top of the soil.  Almost perfect.  Once the seedlings grow a little more I will drop the heat down to 70-75.

I also did something a bit different this year with my seed starting mix.  Last year I used a straight seed starting mix which has virtually no nutrients whatsoever.  I found last year that the seedlings struggled a bit while trying to establish in the seed starting medium.  Traditionally the starting mix is only used to start the seeds and get them to their first set of real leaves.  Then you are supposed to transplant them to a larger container with better soil.  I found that the seedlings just weren't strong enough to transplant as suggested so I had to coax them along in the sterile seed starting mix until I felt they were strong enough to survive transplant.  It was frustrating and I was a bit concerned on their survivability at all.

So this year I decided to use a pre-fertilized potting mix and a seed starting medium.  What I did  was take a bag of potting mix, the one that says 'will feed for up to 3 months' on the side and I filled my trays with it.  I wet them down and then pressed the soil with my finger to remove air pockets.  Then I dropped my seeds on top of that and then covered them with 1/4" to 1/2" of the seed starting mix.  I needed the seed mix to let the seeds germinate in the right environment with all the air, light and heat that the seed starting mix allows the seed to receive.  However once the seed germinates and begins sending out roots it will hit that potting soil blend and have all the nutrients it needs to promote a healthy growth.  Soon after I will be able to transplant into a larger container with all potting soil.  I hope it works.
I did pick up a few new tomato blends this year.  The peppers I kept the same as last year as they were such a beautiful crop.  Best peppers I have ever grown!  here is a pic to prove it!

Here are the flowers I will be growing again.  Zinnias.  Last year they were so awesome.  I did save a lot of the seeds from the heads of these flowers and I scattered them around the property last fall.  It will be amazing if they come up this year.  I hope so!

Earth laughs in flowers-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy sunshine,

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Madness in the Fire

Chapter 6
The Solitude of Death

"Beneath the skin crawled such hours, waiting to be released.  Itching and burning, the mindless minutes spent scratching, releasing.
And when the hours were released from the fat, plump skin, it fell back on itself in sheets of wrinkles and the flesh began to weaken.  So much so as the wind passed over the fine wisps of hair, the goslings they did not raise.
Clouded eyes once bright with sunshine dulled with the ticking of the clock.  The Great Grandfather booming out the hours while the pendulum of time swung relenting of none.
The steps grew shorter, the fingers more slender and the  breaths of younger days grew raspy with antique.
The time of plenty had passed and the future was now short and bitter with the coldness of departure."

- J.W. Bushman, The Book of Sadness

It was in these days the old man took comfort in death.  To live and suffer was a far worse punishment than death.  Atonement in all its forms was never kind but he relished the thought of a long and peaceful sleep. His days were numbered.  He knew it.  The boy that delivered his groceries every week knew it and he tipped him more and more as each week went by.  He watched how the boy looked at him on delivery day.  The curious look, darting glances around the room, his uncomfortable stance.  Almost apologetic in his attitude but lacking sincerity.
The deliverer would arrive one day to a lifeless body, wrapped in the same worn shawl and tucked into his rocker or perhaps never risen from the lumpy mattress he was so well acquainted with these days.

His life was unimportant now.  His few friends had all passed, his family, disowned or neglected had given up years ago.  His only acquaintance now was this boy.  Once a week, every Wednesday he would arrive precisely at 4 pm.  The same bag of groceries, the same nod, the same look.  It was hardly anything at all but the man looked forward to it anyways.  Humans after all craved interaction with others and he was no different except he took his in small doses.
Never one to be part of the crowd he kept to the sidelines preferring to live alone, out of touch and almost out of reality.  His younger days while in college were not too different.  Studying, working as a dishwasher at the diner to help pay for expenses his scholarship didn't cover.  He did not indulge in frequent college parties or go to the frat houses like the other boys.  After his shift ended at the diner he would open his books and sip strong coffee until closing time.  It was his world and albeit a lonely one he liked it that way.

The diner was where he had met her.  Studying late one night she had come in with some friends and as they passed by his table she accidentally caught one of his many books with her hip and sent the pile cascading to the floor along with a cup of coffee.  Apologizing profusely she helped pick them up and promised to replace the coffee covered chemistry book.  They exchanged numbers and when they met eye to eye their fate was intertwined and destiny set in motion.
Soon thereafter they were studying together on a regular basis and a relationship began to grow..  Even being a shy young  man, a recluse or an introvert as some would say his body still yearned for the the pleasures of a female companion and late one night after their usual study session they had made love in the backseat of her car down by the river where the trees blocked the view from the road.  A few short weeks later she broke it off.  No explanation, no Dear John letter, not even a "it's me, not you" excuse.
Brokenhearted he retreated even further into his own self.  Almost never leaving his dorm unless working and avoiding any contact with others that wasn't necessary. A week before graduation he caught a glimpse of her leaving the administration building and his heart jumped and his throat closed.  She was pregnant.  The swell under her baggy sweatshirt was undeniable.  He tried to talk to her but she just asked him to leave.  She said it wasn't his fault and and he shouldn't have to bear the burden of her stupidity.  Nothing he could do or say would change her mind and she vanished into life as if never there to begin with.  He never saw her again after that.

Graduation came and went.  He accepted a position at a leading pharmaceutical company and climbed to the top of the ladder in a few short years while on a team that developed several well known drugs.  Investing everything he earned and living the solitary lifestyle he soon amassed a small fortune in stocks, bonds and real -estate.  He was never truly happy.
Once a month he would mail a letter to the girl he had met in college.  The letters always came back but somehow it made him feel better to write them anyways.  He spent countless hours trying to track her down and more importantly find the child that she had carried in her womb in the last year of her college education.  After many years he finally found her and with much pleading she had allowed him to write to her son, his son. They exchanged letters for awhile and the young man soon agreed to meet.  He was in college, studying anthropology and had a girlfriend who he adored.  They were going to get married after graduation.  They met often and developed a pleasant father and son bond.

The son moved away and though they still spoke it was reduced to short phone calls on the holidays or a birthday.  The man grew quiet again and soon retired.  Buying a small cottage deep in the hills outside of Calgary he spent his days sipping coffee and staring at the birds outside his window.  He grew old, his hair turned grey than white and then began to fall out.  His bones abandoned him and left him weak and scared to venture too far from the warmth of his cottage.  His only company were the birds flitting around the many feeders in the yard and the weekly delivery boy.
Winter was just weeks away and he scribbled out a check to give to the delivery boy for the local firewood cutter.  He would need several cord to make it through these bitter Canadian winters.  The cold was worth the peace and solitude of living here.  The city was just a 45 minute drive down the hill but here in this tiny cottage he felt like an only soul.  A lonely soul.
A rap at the door brought him from his daydreams.  The boy came in and set the groceries on the table.  He slid two checks across the table at the boy and politely nodded his head.  The boy scooped up the checks and turned for the door.  Just as he was at the threshold the old man with the faded shawl draped over his slumped shoulders called out," Young man."
The boy stopped dead in his track slowly turned and eyed the old man.
"Would you drop this at the post office for me", he asked, waving a letter in the air.
"Sure", the boy stammered, unaccustomed to hearing the old man speak.
He crossed the floor, retrieving the letter and quickly scooted back out the door leaving the old man with his birds.
He watched the boy walk down the drive to the waiting car and as they drove down the long gravel drive he turned back to watch the sun begin its descent towards the distant mountain tops.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Madness in the Fire chapter 5 "It will be fine"

Hello fellow readers.  Haven't had an installment in a while so here ya go.
These aren't actual chapters only the beginnings of them.  Sort of a trailer if you will!

The Madness in the Fire
Chapter 5
'It Will Be Fine'

"Hey babe?", a voice from the living room carried down the hall.
"I'm folding laundry what do you want?", a crispness in her voice said leave me alone but this was important.  This was a little frightening.

"You need to come see this"
"I told you I ......", he cut her off in mid sentence.  "Now please"!

She shuffled down the hall carrying an empty basket on her hip.  The new and improved laundry basket with a concave side that fit the contours of her hip just right.  The person that had tweaked the original design just a bit and made the basket much more user friendly was probably in the Caribbean sipping mimosas right now while he sat on an old worn out plaid couch sipping cheap generic coffee.
She was a striking woman.  Tall and slender but with just the right amount of curves to accent her slim frame.  Her cheeks were a pale pink and he knew he had irritated her slightly.  It was a familiar scene which usually ended in him chasing her down the hall while she scolded him and then eventually into the still unmade bed of the morning.
This morning was different. He wasn't staring at her as he usually does but was fixated on the television.
"What is it?", she asked.  "The Giants won the pennant or some other amazing news like the Russian contortionist that I just had to see last time?".
He ignored her snide comment and just pointed at the screen.

The television screen showed a man standing in a boat next to a large wall of ice.  The caption at the bottom of the screen read 'Greenland's ice is in danger'.
He turned up the volume...

"Scientists report that the glacier may have lost upwards of 37 feet of ice in the last two years alone.  Evidence points towards global warming but the traditional trend of ice loss has been much lower.  Greenland's massive sheets of ice are a scientist most effective way of measuring global warming and over the last 40 years or so they have kept an eye on Greenland.  It acts as a catalyst for other glaciers and ice caps.  What happens to Greenland happens everywhere.
Typical ice losses are around 6 inches up to 12 inches every 20 years.
Estimates suggest that the glacier has lost a total of 50 feet of ice over the last 4 years and measurements point towards an ever increasing trend.
Researchers are still trying to fathom the amount of fresh water being released into the oceans from this massive meltdown.

Fingers are being pointed at the cataclysmic meltdowns of nuclear power plants in several countries in the Asian Pacific countries.  The failures of these plants and their corresponding meltdowns have decimated the areas around them and the inability to contain them has led to a massive amount of radioactive leakage into our oceans.
Findings by IFML or Institute for Marine Life suggest that this radiation is being carried on our oceans currents and is traveling around the globe at an alarming rate.
While the contaminants in the water don't appear to have a direct effect on the ice they do suggest that the massive amount of aquatic life being lost such as kelp beds and coral reefs are contributing to the increasing water temperatures akin to a drought in the middle of the United States.  Without this all important structure of plants and animals the sun is allowed to scorch the sea and the ever rising water temperatures are evidence to this fact.
Rising coastal waters have attributed to massive evacuations along many coastal towns and villages throughout the world.  It just isn't safe to live by the sea anymore.
For news 10, I'm Patricia Dunbar."

She stood mute, staring at the tv which he had turned off.  The house was silent.  The ticking of the clock down the hallway was all that could be heard.
"This just keeps getting worse", she said softly.
"I know".
"What about Danny?  What do we tell him?  The world is falling apart just when he is beginning to be a part of it"
He could hear the distress in her voice.  It was the voice they all carried these days.  Pretending to be alright but knowing in the back of your head that it wasn't.
"Honey it will be fine.  The Oceans have a way of healing themselves.  It will just take more time".
"And what if one more nuke plant blows up?  Then what?  Not only are they poisining the oceans but now they are moving inland and killing off all the trees and grass and birds and....."
She began to whimper and he stood up, taking the basket from her and setting it down on the floor.  He wrapped her in his arms and pulled her close.  "It will be fine, I promise", he whispered into her neck.  He closed his eyes and held her tight.  He didn't know what else to tell her.  Only lies would comfort her.  She knew it just as much as he did but sometimes the lies helped them get through the day.
He opened his eyes and looked at his wife.  Tears coursed down her cheeks leaving clean streaks on her dirty cheeks.  Her hair was tangled and coarse and her body had lost all the curve and resembled nothing more than walking bones.  She opened her eyes and looked back at him.  The spark, the life that once shone brilliant in her eyes was almost gone.  He was running out of time.
"It will be fine", he said, "I promise".

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mousse Moose and bathroom pics

Spring has sprung, I guess.  You wouldn't really notice it around here too much.  Snow is still covering everything.  My yard is still a foot deep.  Everything is still locked in ice.  It is a treacherous journey just to get to the chicken coop.  The doors have been locked in an ice jam for several days now.
We get a few warm days that melt some snow and it runs downhill toward the coop, puddling around the doors and then at night it re-freezes.
When I am able to get in there, I fill my pockets with eggs.  Luckily I filled the feeder before the doors froze so they have food.  I have been letting them out in the yard in the afternoons so the ducks can play in the puddles next to the garage.  LuLu our female duck has been laying a lot of eggs lately.  Of course Peek and Boo were consistent all winter.  Brave little hens had a rough time but they pulled through.  They gave me an egg a day, 6 days a week almost all winter.  A few glitches when the lights and timers in the coop failed and they did not get their allotted hours of light or when the temps fell below zero but overall, stellar production.

Bathroom Renovation is almost done.



This last pic is where the closet used to be. See pic three.  

This is where I will build some curved shelves that will hold these cloth boxes.  The hamper (on the bottom) will slide under the bottom shelf so you won't see any laundry in it.  The other shelves will hold the cloth boxes which will contain certain sundries as well as towels, washcloths etc.  I will also be putting two shelves over the toilet for the skinny cloth boxes which will hold TP and other female products.  It is still K's bathroom for now!  She doesn't head to college until August!

I found this shower curtain that is hookless.  It is really nice.  It has a snap in liner on the inside that can be replaced when needed.  No more gangly looking hooks holding up the curtain.  It also has a sheer mesh type top to let more light in.  You can see the difference in materials if you look at the pic again.  This works out well because the vent/light is right next to it so the shower is well lit.  The old vent did not have a light and it was a plastic job that wasn't real aesthetically pleasing.  This light is a vent as well.  You wouldn't know it by looking at it but there is a gap between the glass dome and the ceiling which pulls the moist air up and in.  Of course the previous homeowner had placed this vent into the drop ceiling panels and never did vent it to the outside so I had to run ductwork and drill a 4" hole through the side of my house and install a louvre style vent cover.  The old vent simply vented up and into the drop ceiling.  NOT good at all!  

Two new recessed lights went into the new drywall ceiling.  Positioning of the lights was limited due to the HVAC trunkline running through the ceiling but it works just fine.  I wanted recessed because of the space limitations in the room.  The less stuff sticking into the room the bigger it feels.  It also shines the light down and away from your eyes when standing at the mirror.  Those hollywood style bulbs over mirrors are awful!  Not to mention they collect dust and hairspray like crazy!
Everything is trimmed in the antique bronze finish.  TP holder, towel holder, faucet, curtain rod, back of door towel hooks and even the shower caddy inside the shower.  The curtain rod is one of those bowed out styles that give more room in the shower. 

The tile is ceramic 12x12.  The color is 'Mesa Rust'.  The wall color is Valspar 'Mousse Moose' and the trim is plain white.  Grout color is mocha which is surprisingly well matched to the paint.  Lucky on that aspect!

Overall the project turned out pretty good for a small bathroom.  Now it's onto the rest of the house painting.

If I can get the rest of the painting done this weekend then maybe I'll have just enough time to get my indoor greenhouse built and get some seeds started for the garden this year!  It seems so distant when the snow is still piled everywhere but the calendar doesn't lie.  We are 7 weeks away from our average last frost date. 8 weeks away from normal garden planting time!  

With high hopes,

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Ides of March and Bum Fights

The ides of March are upon us.
Now I don't know if you know all about the Ides or not but what I can tell you is it doesn't have anything to do with basketball, thank heavens!

The ides are a  Roman thing.  The date (15th) is specific to the death of Julius Caesar.  Not Orange Julius or Caesar salad but the actual guy who those things are named after!
He must've been really famous like Paul Newman.  Paul has salad dressings but Julius, he has a bunch of food named after him!
You think if Julius came back we could get him to shoot a game of pool with Tom Cruise?

It would be a sweet remake of The Color of Money   Julius Caesar and Tom Cruise (lets use the crazy Tom of today for more fun) would do a Cannonball Run across the country playing air hockey (billiards has already been done) to make money to fund their quest of hunting down Brutus and Cassius who would be played by Mike Tyson and Zach Galifianakis. On the way they would come across a semi trailer full of electronic cigarettes (real ones are not politically correct anymore) and try and hustle them while being pursued by the local sheriff, who ironically could be played by Burt Reynolds (as long as he can still drive).  On the way they could pick up an Orangutan (played by Obama) and Rocky (played by Rush Limbaugh)
and they would have to arm wrestle while boxing to win a new food truck to finish their drive to Atlantic City where it is rumored that Brutus and Cassius have entered the air hockey tournament of death.  The pair set their sights on Atlantic City with vengeance in their eyes.

For gas money on their road trip they could swing by Georgia and pick up Paula Deen (played by Oprah...sorry had to do it) and she would make food in the food truck and would constantly fight with Obamagutan about getting his feces into everything he touches!  (see what I did there?  Damn I kill myself)

Halfway there the big orange monkey gets sick but the new healthcare system fails him and he ends up dying but they can't spend their precious gas money on a funeral so Oprah Deen slices and dices him into hors d' vouers and they kill two birds with one stone.

Yes I know they would have to make several detours to get the story line correct but Map Quest has actual driving directions for this.  Philly to New York to Atlanta to...well it sorta looks like a Florida voters ballot.

In the end they reach Atlantic City, defeat Brutus and Cassius, (not before Brutus rapes Oprah Deen and bites her ear off) and live happily ever after or at least until Mark Antony finds out and history again repeats itself.  Sly slinks off the screen with his giant right arm and goes off to be a hot dog vendor for Lincoln Financial Field where the Eagles play football.

I must say that wasn't where I wanted this post to end up but you know me and my demented brain!
I was shooting for a history lesson sort of Al Penwasser style and this is what I ended up with.  LOL
So here goes the original intent.....

If you were wondering about the ides of March you could always google it!  The ides were a way the Romans counted their days.  They didn't count the month out like we do.  The 1st through the 31st they had three times of the month and they counted backwards from them.  This really messed up the women and their birth control pills.
Now do I start in the middle of the pack or at the end and switch to the middle?

The Nones typically the 5th -7th.
The Ides which were around the 13th -15th
The Kalends bringing up the rear with the 1st of the following month
Can you really bring up the rear with the front?

Most ides were on the 15th except for March, May, July and October.
The March Ides was made famous by the assassination of Caesar.

The Ides were sacred to Jupiter the highest of the Roman gods and were celebrated with parades and drinking.  Which is why I am officially changing my heritage during the middle of the month.  I am now Italian on the Ides!  I even got this shirt to cover all of my heritages!

Well parades of sheep anyways which were sacrificed at the end but boy did it ever bring the rednecks out of hiding!

The Ides also were a celebration of the Goddess Anna Perrena.  Her Latin name was Annus.  Ummmm yep you guessed it....more rednecks!

The Ides were also an observance of Mamuralia. This was where they dressed an old man in animal skins and beat the crap out of him driving him out of the city.  We do that here with the bums on the corner!  Except we dress them up in Detroit Lion's uniforms.  Makes it easier to beat them.

So now you have good cause to celebrate today!
When the cops ask just tell 'em Bushman said so!

Happy Ides!