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Friday, August 18, 2017


John McCain: “It’s like a game of Whack-a-Mole.” That was a long time ago, when GW was still in charge of the war in Iraq. The metaphor never goes away. This started out to be a not too serious piece, about disappearing statues. I was going to toss in the stock market and Durham, North Carolina, although the last could be more serious than an impromptu dance party. I tabbed over to Google news to check up on Durham, and the headliner is Steve Bannon, shown the door. Talk about Whack-A-Mole.

Back at home, we have our own clear and hold strategy under question. I went to lunch today, a perk of being old and unemployed, and willing to confront the vagaries of the stock market. We went to another branch of the same chain as yesterday, and I was momentarily puzzled by the same menu as yesterday in what was a different city. Strange pictures pass through a traumatic bran injury.

Deb got iced coffee, with milk. When the waiter set it on the table, I was fascinated by the color of white milk descending through black coffee. “Don’t touch that,” I admonished her while I reached for my camera. But she did, and the colors muddied a little. Never mind; it’s still pretty.

Then I learned the eclipse glasses we turned up, after diligent searching, have been recalled. It was in the local newspaper, and already emailed to all Acme card holders. I bought four pair at a buck ninety nine each, so it will behoove me to fish the receipt from the unbalanced receipt glass and go to Acme this weekend.  That’s like another lunch with someone I like.

The eclipse itself has been recalled in part of the Hudson School District. I realized Laura would be in school on a historic day, and suggested she ask if they would be allowed to go look, with approved glasses. Yesterday she reported No, the students would not be permitted to view any part of the eclipse during school hours. However, the middle and elementary grades would be permitted, she reported. Considering we no longer have authentic glasses, I suppose I can wait out the truth of this information with careless confidence.

On the way home I saw the scene below, except with the workman’s boots extended from the back of the van. It was a wonderful scene, and I wanted it captured for my repertoire. Being in federal offense country, I opted to turn around in the Boy Scout property and come back for the picture. When I pulled in, the poor fellow flew out of the truck and dropped his cigarette. “I wish you were still sitting in the back of the van with only your boots sticking out.”

“No, m’am.  I could be in trouble for that.”

This is a helluva mess some misguided voters got us into. Go to the polls in November!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Four way stops and other discrepancies

Do you take those tests on Facebook? I am addicted. “Only 5% can correctly spell these top misspelled words. Can you?” I take the test. I can spell the top misspelled words. Frankly, I’ve always considered the tests fake, because I pass them.

The other day I took a driver’s test. I’m zipping along on those nice, green “Correct Answer” and clicking on “Next Question”, when I got one wrong. I do that occasionally. But how to proceed at a four way stop?  Hello. Everyone knows you keep pulling away in rotation. Everyone who stopped ahead of you goes, then you go, and so on, forever and ever at the four way stop by my house.

Not so. This is the Federal, US of A Law: everyone stops. Everyone leaves, in order. But, if two cars stop simultaneously, the car to the left yields to the car to the right. This is not the law at my four way stop, that controls plant traffic from the west, two high schools from the south, and regular people from the north and east. Everyone always knows who stopped before them, and we just go on, so we can go home. And I got it wrong because two cars might stop at the same time. Impossible. Rational people always work out this stuff.

I must look at the doodads on my phone for the microphone for recording. Today I worked my way into high cotton country to have lunch with Ruth. I was listening to an incredible discussion on PRI on the week’s events. All I had to take notes, while navigating the twists and turns of the Adirondack foothills, was the little scrap of paper with the restaurant’s address.

Perusing the notes this afternoon, I spent far too much time translating “listop” into “dystopian.” I must look into this. I recall Hamilton and Emily read nothing else, though I migrated Emily into decent biographies and autobiographies around her senior year. Laura’s genre is dystopian, and I didn’t make a dent in ninth grade. Maybe this year. Maybe it’s a phase. There’s more world to look forward to as each year of high school is in the rear view mirror.

And, I read our side of the aisle is drafting articles of impeachment over Trump’s lack of morality in handling of Charlottesville. That’s like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it sticks. I wish they’d wait for a much more substantial issue. Russia, for instance. It’s not that much longer.

You know I like pictures with posts. I thought I'd ask the wait person to take a picture of Ruth and me, at lunch. But, my parking meter was running dry, and Chagrin Falls has police on scooters who do nothing but monitor meters. Just so no one is confused over who is who, I'm on the left and Ruth on the right in the top picture on my side bar.

Finally, it’s raining, and my rain barrel has a wide open mouth and an empty belly.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I’ll be damned

I’ve never treated my cars lightly, except the Nissan my husband left me, with no further instruction. I drove it, until it quit. My brothers took pity, rebuilt the engine and instructed me firmly in car maintenance. Every since I’ve told every vehicle, “I’ll take care of you and you take care of me.” And so we’ve gone on together, very well, for forty five years.

Last weekend I drove my  Dodge Caliber out to the farm, on my sort of road. Here are Deb’s instructions: take 303 west out of the Village and through Richfield. You’ll go up a big hill and down a couple of camel back hills. My kinda road. I’ve driven it a few times, and, in fact, it’s the road where Jan and I nearly cashed out.

The tree crews were out, decimating trees that might drop a limb and black out the east coast again. The “big hill” was one lane, and we were flagged to a stop at the bottom. The uphill lane was closed by those monster chipper machines. When the lane of traffic cleared downhill, the flagger at the top turned his flag to “stop” for his traffic, and our guy at the bottom signaled “slow.”

I was half way up the “down” lane when a panel truck came out of the lane stopped at the top, swerved around the flagger and started down the hill, hell bent for extinction. I considered my options, decided I could just fit my extended van between two parking pads of the next chipper, and swung in, to the rush of wind from the out of control truck. Our mirrors cleared by inches. When I could, I pulled out and finished going up the hill. I do not know what happened behind me. I only worried my sister would be half way through a classic panic attack.

To my surprise, she was simply unfazed. “I knew you’d save us,” and on we went, to a farm in Medina to buy fleece. She had the panic attack the next day, with covers over her head all day. That van, Sarah, saved me in many ways. All her break downs were convenient, and saving our lives was above and beyond.

Going up that big hill to Deb’s last Sunday, of course my foot was on the accelerator. Cresting that kind of hill at a fair amount of speed is certainly worth the gas. But, my transmission was talking back. It gave a couple of starts when shifting. “Oh Dear,” said the driver, and eased up a tad. The same behavior on the saddleback hills, then I was at the farm and forgot, until I came home to the same reactions from my car.

Today was my first opportunity to get to the garage. Randy, the guy at the desk said, “Hmm. It’s a CVT you know, but we’ll take a look.” I came straight home and looked up “CVT.” One auto magazine summarized my vehicle well:

“In summary, there are a few advantages to getting a vehicle with a CVT: It’s good on gas, gives a relatively smooth ride, and is versatile enough for daily driving. It also has a few drawbacks. It’s nowhere near as fun or engaging as a dual clutch automatic or manual transmission. It can also make quite a racket when accelerating hard. Keep these points in mind when looking at your next car.”

Now I know not to worry. Continuous vehicle transmission. A continuous chain that runs on a whole lot of gears. I asked them to change the oil, and brought it home.

School starts tomorrow.