The Useful Duck!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

A day in the life... Groundskeeper Chronicles

Today I went to the Sports Turf Managers Association seminar at the Nike World Headquarters located near me.
We were warned in advance not to wear any non-swooshy brands.
I was much gratified to see the featured speaker was sponsored by UnderArmor.
It is also a nonsmoking campus. This really made me want to smoke but I am a nonsmoker so I had no cigars.
I was absolutely amazed at the size and scale of the place. It is completely shocking to see such a gratuitous display of conspicuous consumption in a day when the buzzword is sustainability.
Bread and circuses I suppose...
Nike uses fake wolves to scare Canada Geese off their pristine playing surfaces. They also use lasers which unfortunately do not disintegrate the geese or even teleport them back to the land of Ralph Goff. The lasers just annoy them.

I needed to come up with my favorite athlete. This was especially important since I am a Sports Turf Professional. I said Pele' is the greatest athlete of all time! I said this with much conviction. This got me into a heathy discussion about the state of Argentine and Brazilian soccer of which I had no clue. I was going to say something about Manchester United but thought I should keep quiet. My knowledge of soccer comes from listening to British Ska from the 1980's, Benny Hill, and "Are you being Served?"
(Sort of like the time I got into a heated discussion about the Mexican Revolution and my knowledge of the revolution came from The Ballad of Poncho and Lefty and an old Will James novel.)
Speaking of getting into bad situations there was also the time I went to a bar and my knowledge of drinking came from old Country-Western songs and Raymond Chandler novels and for some odd and misdirected reasoning I ordered a Gimlet. That nearly got me a boyfriend.
But, I digress.
Today I learned that I was correct in my assessment of the under fertilizing and overwatering tendencies of my department. I was also correct in using an electronic moisture tester, I read it correctly, and yes there are amazing new varieties of grass seed which are drought tolerant and grow really fast and types of fescue that are fine stemmed like perennial ryegrass but are hardy and.. and.. oh well... Also, while I was criticized in my recent employee evaluation for this very thing, I struck up conversations which provided important resources for the grounds department of my college.
For a few hours I thought about how much I loved my job.
But then I remembered I work for a bureaucracy and as soon as I start to love my job I will be cut down to size for some stupid minutiae for the sake of putting me back in my place.
So tomorrow it is back to work and I can only image how the important and useful information will be reimagined into a useless and misguided project that will bring annoyance and frustration to myself until I realize that it all pays the same and I'll go back to finding satisfaction in making the perfectly straight lawnmower trail, when I achieve that I shall retire.
Speaking of straight lawnmower trails I was able to make a trail of hydraulic oil nearly all the way around the baseball field when the main drive for the reels ruptured under the center of the mower. I can't see directly behind me so I didn't find it till the second round.
Surprisingly, the baseball coach sent an email defending me and praising my efforts at cleanup and thanking me for my sincere apology, to my supervisor. Not the email I expected I can tell you that.
I did get right on the mess with peat moss to soak up the oil, and a good dose of dawn dishwasher detergent. If it works on oily ducks why wouldn't it work on a baseball field?
Then I came home and set the no-till drill up to plant two rows of oats and one row of fescue for us only to get a call from someone wanting me to plant radish on every other row spacing. I hate planting radish...
And there you have it... The life of the lazy groundskeeper. Not so much different than the life of the lazy farmer.

Monday, March 5, 2018

A long winter

I've neglected my loyal readers.
I apologize.
Shortly after Christmas we took our bathroom apart. It has been a long process.
The MacBook Pro I use to blog with keeps dying.
Blogging with a LG-6 is not as easy as blogging with an iPhone.
I can't write what I want to write about my job.
Here is a glimpse of my life.
I have things to blog about. Like blowing out a hydraulic hose in the middle of the baseball field. Or frying the main drive belt on the Mule climbing a hill. Or planting oats at night and getting lost in the field because I can't follow little glowing GPS arrows or the fascinating details of my ongoing attempt be an audiophile and my obsession with the Rek-o-kut 120 tonearm. Or how I got my MacBook Pro to work again. Or my compelling and insightful views on politics. Or my worry that girls at my college will get a terrible draft in cold weather due to their poor choices in clothing... I'm sure these are all great blog posts and I owe it to the world of blogger to report on aforementioned events.
But, I'm lazy...

Friday, December 22, 2017

I pass my test, build things, get sick

Monday I took my Turf herbicide license test so I can get a commerical pesticide applicators license. I passed with an 87% which is pretty good considering I was convinced of failure. Strangely enough, it was not my lack of mathematical skills that was the problem. I did find on the math. However, there were a lot of trick questions (in my opinion) and I forgot to study one section.
I was about the have a great week at work.
The shop guy wanted me to work on the leaf pickup machine. We put a different engine on it. Replaced a 40 year old Clinton (I think) that kept breaking the starter with a Harbor Freight Predator.
Controls had to be moved and changed.
This beats the heck out of blowing leaves in the cold and rain.
Tuesday I started feeling a bit off. My wife has decided to do some painting and caulking. Monday night we used a rather stinky product which is not labeled for indoor use, then the dog barked every two hours and I could sleep.
So I didn't think much about feeling like crap Tuesday morning. But around midmorning I realized something was wrong.
I had trouble thinking, my brain started attempting to crawl out of my right eyesocket. This is even more uncomfortable when you are running a grinder and the stereo in the shop is blaring hard rock with the occasional speed metal thrown in for torture.
Fortunately my supervisor was gone and the Shop Guy sent me on a 20 mile parts run.
I started noticing that I was having trouble driving straight. Also, I was a little dizzy. I figured it was a bit of an inner ear infection and if you are going to crash you might as well make it worthwhile so I just went faster.
I got the wrong parts... Well, one of the parts was wrong. However, I was kind of wiped out and I went and watered plants in the greenhouse. It was warm and quiet there.
Then I got a text from my missing supervisor to put out rat traps for him. I think that is a mark of responsiblity. I tried to do a good job.
When 4:20 p.m. arrived I headed for the office and I was out the door before 4:30. But then I remembered I had promised my daughter to pick up some artistic stuff for her mother for Christmas. So I went downtown and bought a really cool Japanese made pen that is like a paintbrush and you can do lettering or calligraphy. Not that she does calligraphy but it had really cool Japanese writing on the pen. Then I spied a basement tea shop which I'd never seen before and the owner looked like Yoda so I bought my daughter some tea.
Then I went home and crashed on the couch.
I think I was able to expose a large number of people in several different social setting to plague and disease in the week before Christmas.
The family was taking my daughter's foreign exchange student friend to Seattle and would be gone for three days. They stocked me up with wood for the fire and gave me lots of Ritz crackers and they bailed the next day.
Interesting illness.
As I noted earlier I have once again popped a rib out of place. I usually ignore this until my wife forces me to go to the Chiropractor.
So I had a severe headache, deep coughing, I found blood in my snot but (not being delicate) the stuff that came out of my lungs, the stuff that was up in my head. I could not stay warm, (but it is cold and damp out), every muscle connected with coughing hurts. I have no appetite but am not nauseous. I'm tired but can't sleep, my right ear starts hurting from time to time.
I thought I was well this morning till I got out of bed and had to cough. It hurt so bad I just went back to bed. As of this moment I figure I am mostly well but I'm still cold and have no energy.
It was a strange illness and I don't wish it on anyone else.
I have not finished my Christmas shopping and I really don't feel like it.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Muddy Valley back in the day...

I hate tests

The GRE test is my excuse for not going to grad school. Stupid reason, I'd probably still not have a real job anyway.
I fell off the forklift yesterday trying to change the yard light. Took Teddy and I all day. Ended up installing a new fixture. I wanted to go LED but didn't have $150. Got the cheapo $75 mercury vapor one.
Tomorrow I take my commercial applicator exam. I'm going to fail it. I can't concentrate.
I think I am mental.
Daughter is sick. Skipped church and I'm hoping hot water jets on my back will make me feel better. Not sure what to do about my knee.
Am trying my favorite brand of muscle relaxant.
We shall see...

Monday, December 11, 2017

Meanwhile in California... I can see if he was going to eat it...

Second man comes forward to claim he was the heroic bunny rescuer via

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