Saturday, February 28, 2004

Up On the Roof

Got up to a whopping 62 degrees today. Just the day I needed to go up and paint the siding around the chimney before all the wood rots away.

Now, here's the thing... by the time you're 40, which I am, you're supposed to be smarter than to let your brain get away with the following type of rationalization:

"Hmmm, the ladder slips on the deck some. But.. they're rubber feet, they should hold. Let's try it." So, I made an attempt up to the roof. Sure enough, my weight seemed to combine with the coefficient of friction between the feet of the ladder and the deck and I got to the top. As I stepped off, it started to slide. Oops.

I painted the chimney cap to keep it from rusting further. Then came carefully back down the ladder. And once again, I thought to myself... "hey, you'd feel REALLY stupid, not to mention be in a lot of pain and possibly medical expense... if that ladder slipped. You should really get some rubber matting." I briefly looked around to see if there was any of that no-slip rubber matting around I could use. It didn't come out and bite me in the nose, so I stopped looking. The rationalizing Phil said "ah, we'll get by."

Had to go back up and paint the siding itself. Found the old can of siding stain left by the remodelers last summer. Took it up to the roof, thinking -- "well, hey, a few times up and a few times down, I'll just be very careful." Went up... forgot the brush. Went back down. Got the brush, backup again. About 2/3 of the way up, sure enough, the ladder slipped. Now I knew ahead of time that if this happened, there wouldn't be a hell of a lot I could do about it, and that there would likely be bone breakage involved what with legs and ladders tangling all that slipping and sliding and flailing. Somehow, I had the presence of mind to step through the ladder on the way down and try to land on my feet, albeit with a ladder around one of them. Fortunately, it worked. Sort of.

I am a very lucky man not to have a broken leg right now, I must keep telling myself. I must keep telling myself that for two reasons. One, so I don't pull a stunt like that again, and two -- my left knee and ankle are killing me. They just started a little over an hour ago.

I had walked it off and it didn't seem to hurt much. The stain was dried to rubber anyway, so I took it to Sherwin Williams to have it matched. Little did I know that unlike Lowe's, they typically require 24 hours to match paint -- instead of 5 minutes. However, the boy assured me that nobody was ahead of me so he could have it done by 3:00. Good, I thought. It'll still be warm out and I can get it done.

So, I went to the International Grocery and bought some brown rice and sweet rice (I'm going to try the sweet rice for "popcorn rice" in some gumbo tomorrow -- after beignets and chickory coffee in the morning... mmmmmm) -- then I went to Circuit City and bought a 256 MB stick of memory to set my poor computer free from swapping so much. Then I went to HyVee and bought some shrimp and ham and other stuff for gumbo, and came home about 2:20. Vicki had just gotten back from lunch with Connie, and said the paint people called and the paint was ready. Put the groceries away. Went out and got the paint and went back up on the roof ... this time on the STEP LADDER.... see, I DO learn -- (but still, that whole wisdom thing was supposed to kick in BEFORE I did something stupid). Painted the chimney. Came down and put my memory in the computer (it's much happier now).

So, that's pretty much been my day. Vicki went to feed Connie's dad dinner at the hospital, I went back to the grocery store and got some potatoes to make that potato-green bean-polish sausage dish. Yep, that's the ingredients. Dump, cook, and it's sooooo good. Filled up the bird feeders and bird bath. Made dinner. Now I'm waiting for Vicki to get back.

Oh, about the leg. Right before I went back to the grocery store (remember all that running around in the afternoon?) my knee and ankle decided they were going to let me know just how stupid I'd been. I guess they were afraid I'd forget. Well I'll be reminded when I have to go out and replace the screen I ripped on the way down anyway, (thank you very much mister knee...)

Aren't you so glad you read this now? An exciting day in the life of Phil. Anyway, I popped 4 ibuprofen, and my knee feels better, but I need to stay off it all the same.

We went out to "Dinner and a Show" last night at the Artisan. Jane (Ida Jane, that is) is unhappy with them. Says that they don't treat artists well... especially female ones. I believe her. I don't go there a lot because of that. But, that's where everyone wanted to go and it sounded like fun. So Jorgies, Dourty's, Us & Kevin, Walkers, and Alex and Myla (Alex works with me -- he's Ukranian -- Myla's his wife). Myla is very bright and charming. Interesting couple to be around. We all had a good time. Some local dude was playing light jazz piano.

Well, I oughta wrap up.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Needles and pins-ah

Thus endeth the acupuncture experiment. After about a dozen sessions and wondering if maybe there might be some possible noticeable benefit.... well, if you have to spend that much time to try to rationalize that there might possibly be some benefit, there can't be enough to justify the $200 a month bill.

Or even $100. If progress was infinitesimal at once a week, imagine halving that at twice a month.

So, we went back to the Western doctors to have a look at her nose. The primary doctor just shrugs and puts her on antihistamines and steroid spray again and sends us to the ENT. We did find out what we wanted to find out from the ENT. Her nose is fine. Septum healed well and is pretty straight. Turbinates look good, and she even has more air passage than a lot of people through that area. Tonsils are bigger than normal. The nighttime breathing problems (especially when she has a cold or something) are likely related to that. So they may have to come out.

So, it looks like it's not allergies causing her problems. The may exacerbate the problem somewhat when they flare up, but... and it isn't her nose.

Guitar is going pretty good. I'm slowly improving. Getting closer and closer to being able to land that barred-F in a playing situation... and the Bm is very similar. The pattern picking is getting pretty good on the 1-2-1 pattern. One down.... 26 to go. But there's progress every week and it is encouraging.

Went over to Connie's aunt Ruth's last Saturday night for a sing-a-long, where George, Sam, and I played guitars and we all sang songs -- mostly country and old rock and had a very good time. Nice people, those. I introduced them to "I'm Too Far Away From My Beer" -- heh-heh.... that's always a fun one to spring on people.

Got a subwoofer amp for the living room stereo. So now once again the sub is properly crossed over and independently amped. Balances the sound nicely. And only $36 from Ebay... hey, can't beat it.

Also had to clean Mom's computer -- XP was complaining about running low on disk space. It was down under 200MB on the system partition. Sure glad I put VNC on there as an afterthought when I couldn't get XP's terminal service working on it. Saves having to drive 500 miles every time there's a problem (and that's ONE WAY). I should have split the disk 4GB/2GB instead of 3GB/3GB (system/data), I guess. Well, we'll just bring Partition Magic up there when we go for Brian's graduation and fix that.

We re-did the bedroom, finally. I'll wait to post about that -- it turned out nice, though.

Well, later....

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


There's just a lot of stuff. Stuff everywhere. I've noticed it before, as in "yes, I like that bit of stuff, but I have no room for it in my house." Which has been a helpful attitude I've developed over the past two years or so. But more and more I see stuff for the sake of stuff. People want to sell you more stuff, all the time, everywhere. And people get more and more of it even when they have no place to.... well.... stuff it.

Perhaps watching "The Life Laundry" on BBCA a few times heightened my awareness. Some people have so much stuff you can't even see what any of it is. It's all just a big blurry jumble of stuff.

My house isn't like that. Probably mostly thanks to my wife. But I feel like I have too much stuff nonetheless. Stuff in the attic. Stuff in the garage. Stuff in boxes on my closet shelf. Stuff under the bed. Stuff in a junk drawer. Stuff in cabinets I bought specifically to hold stuff I have. I recently got rid of a bunch of stuff from my office. Well, I really haven't gotten "rid" of it yet. It's in my trunk. It's stuff I need to go through. Or do I? I couldn't tell you what much of it is. If I just tossed the box in a dumpster, would I ever miss any of it? Probalby not.

And that's what I'm talking about. I walked into the grocery store the other day to pick up, get this... "food", and started down the first aisle of produce.... produce on the right that is. On the left.... a bunch of shelves with .... stuff. Things. Knicknacks. Gadgets. Things with team logos. And all kinds of things on the packaging telling me why I need it.

Just because something is kind of neat or unique, or because it is associated with or reminds us of something we like doesn't mean we need to posess it. It won't make me "cool" if I have a Kansas City Chiefs paperweight that looks just like a regulation helmet.

I've become very stuff-conscious. I'm not anti-stuff. I'm no anti-capitalist. I just don't want more stuff. I want to get rid of stuff. And any new stuff I get I will be very selective about. And I'll have to keep reviewing the stuff I have, to see if it really has enough value for me to keep and add to the burden of stuff I own.

So that's today's rant on stuff.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Ass Storm

We were all geared up for another ass storm... oops, I mean ice storm, last night and today, but the warm air nudged far enough north that it's all rain until this afternoon.

The "ass" storm reference is to a time my inlaws were traveling through the bootheel on the way back from Texas. Stopped in Cairo, Mo where everyone was talking about a big "ass" storm that was a'comin'. It took them quite a while to figure out that that's just how southeast-Missourians say "ice". We had a good ass storm a little over a week ago followed by a little snow storm. Looks like we should have another here Wednesday. Snow. Not ass.

Just celebrated our 12th anniversary yesterday. An even dozen. Went out for lunch. By the time our anniversary rolls around, we're worn out from Brian's birthday, Thanksgiving, Vicki's birthday, Christmas, New Years, and my birthday. It really gets neglected. Then we went home and watched the new movie we bought, "Open Range". It's the movie I knew I had to see when in the previews I heard the phrases "rustle up some grub" and "sticks in my craw".