Friday, March 20, 2009

Arsenic Spangled Asparagus

**Poppin Purple Petals

Friday was the first official day of spring, according to the calendar. While looking out the window into the front yard, I just happened to notice a purple crocus that had managed to pop up out of the yard. It was a pleasant surprise after after a very cold night and a near endless winter. I think that same, single lonely crocus comes up every year, despite a summer's worth of beheadings by the lawn mower. Had I actually intentionally planted it there, I could take credit for it being my first bloom of the season. But, since no one is any the wiser as to the exact origins of said flower; Gaze in wonder, all ye people, upon my first bloom of the year!

**What Did You Have To Show To Get Those??
How seriously can you take someone who has sparkly green shamrock deelybobbers on their head? Congrats, Victoria, you may have found something that actually cools my wanton animal lust for you. I find it very difficult to be aroused while laughing uncontrollably. Not completely impossible, mind you, just highly difficult.

**No, The White Ones Are Yours...
Well, Samantha was the only one who showed for the St Pat's Game Day. A small part of that may have had to do with trying to assemble a group in a matter of hours instead of days. No matter. I managed to satisfy my game jones while simultaneously annoying a bunch of people in Borders. Double bonus! Even though I had trucked in enough games to satisfy a group 10 times the size of the one that was there, all that hit the table was Dominique, Hey! That's My Fish, and Hoppers. Made a damn fine way to spend a sunny, but windy, afternoon.

**Is That A Tree Trunk, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?
Sunday turned out to be a pretty nice day, so I intended to head up to within spitting distance of the state line and take Stacy up on her offer to pick through some of the downed trees on her property. The big prize for the day was an uncut maple(?) tree that was down, freshly cut, and in the range of 25' long. The small end measured in at 16", so after a little planning I opted to cut four 4' sections out of it. With Rob's help, I lashed the two 8' sections with a chain and dragged them out of the forested area and into a clearing using their Jeep. Once I had them there, I cut them each in half again. That left me with the four 4' sections I had wanted. Then came the ridiculously strenuous job of getting them into the back of the Tribute. Ladies and Gentlemen, let it be officially known that I now completely understand that I am not quite what I once was physically. Not that I think I could have ever deadlifted a 500+ pound log by myself, but even with three of us, wrestling these monsters into the Tribute was a hernia waiting to happen. In the end, we got two of them loaded, and had no practical or sensible way to get a third one in. There was no physical way to get all four of them into the Tribute, even if we had some way to lift them without killing ourselves. So, I filed in the space not occupied by these massive logs with assorted other pieces of varying diameters. Unfortunately, the majority of the trees that were down had already been cut into firplace sized sections by Rob. That mostly killed my idea of finding a stockpile of 3, 4, and 5:1 sized logs. After a couple hours of tromping around in the mud and brush, we said our goodbyes and headed for home. I was already feeling what the strain of loading the truck had done to me, so the wife was kind enough to stop by her office on the way home and give me a nice half hour massage to try and get ahead of all the stiffness that was setting in already. After that, the other stop on the way home was to Menard's, where I picked up a 2 ton capacity ratchet winch. This ridiculously simple device allowed me to unload the two beasts from the truck by myself with minimal effort and no further physical damage to any of my body parts. I am hoping it will also allow me to make another trip and pick up the two I couldn't load up this time around. After all that, the question becomes what is it that I intend to do with this quartet of logs? Haven't got the faintest idea.

**Low Enough To Jump?
Rates on 30 year fixed mortgages were at 4 7/8% when I checked this morning. A quick call to the bank, and I found out that for a cost of around $700 we could refinance the mortgage and knock $200 bucks a month off of what we're paying now. I'm waiting until after I do all the paperwork this weekend to make a decision. Of course, by that time, rates will have no doubt climbed to the level where they are easily viewed from the International Space Station.

**Wood Chips And Pedicures
Carving continues on Jo's dragon. The floor and work benches continue to slowly disappear under mounds of chips and shavings. I'm working on getting the feet/toes done, and then I'll go back and finish up the wings. Then comes the body and arms, and last the head. Then comes more sanding than I am comfortable thinking about right now.

**Nice Day For A Walk
People seem to have a compulsion to want to park as close to any given building as is allowed by the laws of physics. I don't tend to. I have found the walk in from the edges of the parking lot to be a good time to reflect on the ability I have to walk. Tend to take that for granted, among a great many other things. I also like to think that when I pass on taking a parking space really close to the building, it may just be that the person who gets it sees that as a really good note in their day, and they go on to have a better day than they may normally have had otherwise. Plus nobody has ever dented my car way out in the boonies.

**Amaryllis Round 2
The amaryllis Deb gave me for Christmas is putting up another flower stalk. Looks like I'm gonna get three more of these 6" flowers before it's all done. Then the question becomes whether or not I can keep the bulb alive and do it all again next year. This of course goes against my normal distaste for bulb type plants, but these are exotic enough in appearance to hold my interest. May even have to see if I can find some more intensely colored ones.

**Blood Drive Cheapskates
Time was, if you worked for the hospital and you donated during one of their blood drives, you would get a certificate good for a free meal in the cafeteria. Not they even served filet mingon or anything, but you could get yourself a nice complete meal. I found it handy to keep one of these certificates in my locker for the odd days when I didn't have time to make my lunch at home. Then we moved to the new building, and they made a little change. No longer was the certificate good for a free meal, it was only good for a free entre. It was fine with me, I actually haven't had to eat in the cafeteria yet anyway. Plus they shortened to expiration time to like two moths from the issue date. Oh, well. This time around, they showed that they intend to cut costs wherever they can. As a way of saying thanks for being part of their blood drive, KHS gave me a certificate good for a free beverage OR a free dessert. Pretty cheap, in my opinion. The ironic part is, a drink and a dessert is basically what Heartland Blood Center already gives you after you donate. Again, not that I really care, but it just really stands out as a way someone is trying to save a few pennies wherever they can. It also really sucks the hope out of the idea that I could actually get a raise this year.

**At Least It Wasn't Egg Haven....
Mike, one of Sheri's cousins (the son of a parent's sibling would be a cousin, right?) was in town Saturday morning on his way through to Michigan. I find myself highly jealous of how much he really loves his work, and at the same time highly unimpressed with the biscuits and gravy at the Lincoln Inn.

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