The Useful Duck!

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

The funeral is over, I break my phone, I fix the roof, I find an excellent place for Pizza

My father's funeral was Saturday. I took me much longer than you would expect to do a 2:34 minute powerpoint slide presentation. There were no Ken Burns effects. But the pictures were two small to see properly.
Actually, I talk my wife into doing it but she doesn't have a lot of experience with it. Various major events happened and it takes a lot of time to scan photos and put them into PowerPoint. We should have used Google Docs and my daughters netbook. Apple and Microsoft have really embraced bloatware.
The funeral was nice. There was pie afterwards. People respected my father.
We have my wife's father living with us. He tends to not sleep all night. This results in chronic sleep deprivation on my wife's part.
This was a big problem when my father lived with my brother. I knew it was coming but it is still hard to deal with.
Today home healthcare came to see us again. There are a lot of programs available for elderly living with family. It sounds like someone is coming in once a week to give him a bath. That will be a relief.
Today it rained.
I woke in a panic. There were straw stacks still outside and the porch leaks like a sieve onto the dog's bed. This really upsets Stanley and his plan is to avoid the rain by moving into the house.
I couldn't find tarps, the owner of the machine that puts the stacks in the barn was at Church and I dropped my phone.
I went to the Verizon store where the helpful sales representative verified that the phone was dead called the insurance company. This took an hour.
I found out that iPhone have a $100 deductible.
There is no point in having insurance on you phone past one year.
I hate Verizon, their insurance company, and iPhones.
The salesperson was nice.
He showed me how to remove the simcard and I am now attempting to set up a different phone. The iPhone setup just has random settings thrown around where people with short attention spans cannot find things.
I used to love technology. Now, using my MacBook Pro and my iPhone is just a pain in the arse. Technology should be fun.
However, in honor of my wedding anniversary and the anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade I went to Mikey's Pizza to bring home a pizza for my wife. Since she can't get more the twenty feet away from her father as he tends to get up unexpectedly and then fall over.
Mikey's Pizza has pinball games. I had an enjoyable twenty minutes waiting for the pizza. By then I so hungry I had to try it.
It was excellent. I am so tired to bread crust thick pizza with that disgustingly sweet tomato sauce you can by the drum from the ACME restaurant supply company. Meaning, Dominos, Figaros, Pizza Hut, and 90 percent of the other pizza companies. Mikey's has a crisp thin crust, a spicy tomato sauce, a good range of toppings, it was not terribly greasy, it was just good old fashioned pizza.
The bright spot of the day.
I came home and worked on the car port roof. I managed to slip and fall and put my hand through the cheap clear roofing which was leaking anyway. I kind of think the carport is actually going to collapse in the next hard wind. But I peeled off the clear sections and replaced it with metal. Managed to get a fair amount of blood over everything but it was raining anyway.
I came back in, had more pizza, and have been attempting to set up my phone.
I would really like to take my MacBook Pro and my iPhone out to the woodshed, set them on the splitting block, and pound them into a million tiny shards with the eight pound splitting maul.
Just saying...
Might not buy a new or used MacBook Air. Kind of stepping back from that purchase after two new operating systems which steadily get worse...

Friday, October 23, 2015

A random post after a bit of a break, or Why I have not made pig feed in three months

i have been busy...
While I have had a lot to say, I have not had time or energy to get on my computer. Raking leaves is surprisingly hard work.
I have not been reading blogs, writing blogs, thinking about blogs...
I've have read all the comments and I thank you for continuing to comment.
Some absolutely hilarious things have happened with my new job. I am pretty sure I can't comment about them...
My father took a turn for the worse two weeks or so ago. I had been spending my lunch breaks sitting with him at the rest home.
It was a bit difficult as he seemed to have a disconnected circuit in his brain which prevented him from talking. He wanted to say something.
Hospice provided morphine and not a speech therapist.
Procedures were followed.
He died Sunday.
Our family mythology will be that he seemed relived after my brother explained to him that all the crops were planted. (I finished planting after dark Saturday evening) And thus, he died at 5 a.m. This was the time he liked to get up every morning.
He had read a number of self-help books as a youth. He was very much a proponent of self betterment and the power of one's mind over emotions. His theory was that one needed to "hit the deck running," every morning or else you would, "not be good for anything the rest of the day."
Thus, every morning at 5:30 a.m. Dad would leap from bed, sprint to the bathroom, slash cold water on his face, sprint back the bedroom, pull up his overalls, bound down the stairs and noisily start the fire. Every morning... Barefoot in a faded blue nightgown, (yes he wore a nightgown), I can still his his bare feet running past my room when it was so cold the bathroom pipes were frozen. (to which he said, "oh! for pity-sakes!" and charged down the stairs.
I've never really subscribed to that theory, perhaps this is why I'm not a successful businessman.
In other news...
My father-in-law returned home midweek. (he broke his leg near the hip)
He has had a bit of a personality change after a month in a skilled nursing facility. This is not for the better. I'm a little worried about my wife's sanity.
My supervisor told me I needed to take a couple days off. I went to HR and found I could take a week off and still be paid. I'm not actually taking a whole week off at once.
Then I got called back to HR to discuss work events that I really wish I could tell you.
We will go with what I said and not what I heard..
I explained that while I did not seek out gossip about coworkers and one of the reasons was that I have poor impulse control and tend to blurt out comments which I think are funny at the time. Because I recognize that failing I avoid knowing things which could lead me to those social gaffs and I apologized for making the social gaff that I assumed led me to HR.
I was told it was bigger than my one comment.
I asked if people had hobbies outside of work, there was a pause and I suddenly realized that I had illustrated my tendency towards blurting out things which should be filtered. It got a laugh. And probably a comment in my permanent record.

Here are things which I found in the flowerbeds on Monday. You never know what you will find Monday morning!
This is a padded woman's foundation garment, size 32B. Nice frilly lace on front and sides. A little mark mulch on it. Pictured with it is a broken ping-pong paddle. 

A full can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. I did not drink the beer, this a posed photography.

The human mind tends to make patterns out of random events. Please feel free. Found the items between the administration building and the another important building which I can never remember the name or purpose of. It is an imposing brick edifice from the original college.

Pictured below is my haul from the Previous Monday.
If you will look closely you will find the ratio of booze to mixer rather askew.


This is what it looks like when you are mowing a lawn in the rain.
Instead of "dig we must," for a motto, we have "mow we must."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I watch TV and make t-shirts.

My wife is watching "Million Dollar Listing" on direct TV.
I absolutely hate everyone who appears on the show. Except for the girl who was hired to be a mermaid in an inane stunt to distract buyers of a 3 million dollar house from the apartment building across the street that towers over the back yard.
I always thought I was a die hard capitalist but...
The show makes me want to grab a AK-47, a jug of gasoline, few empty vodka bottles, and do some wealth redistribution.
I watched the show while helping Lulu make t-shirts. She is running a marathon and we silk-screened t-shirts for her and her team.
It all turned out pretty well. I've been worried about getting this done for quite a while. The first two screens didn't work. It has been an education experience. It is a lot harder than it looks.
In the mean time...
TO THE BARICADES!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I learn things

My job continues.
And in the words of Benny Hill, "learning, always learning."
First of all I discovered that using a 1970 Triumph motorcycle as a commuter vehicle is a mistake. I forgot just how much effort I put into it before every Sunday ride. The tail light failed and I think I floated valve. If I have a bad day at work I tend to ride a little aggressively. I think I'm Gary Nixon i guess...
Secondly, I stopped by the Rest Home to feed Dad his supper and he is kind of in bad shape. He didn't have much to say. Just stared past me. He attempted to make commentary about planting annual ryegrass but the words didn't come out.
And the tail light on the trimph failed, but it was not quite dark. 
Yesterday I learned how to mow a lawn. You go twice round the outside and twice around the tree and the back and forth. Only farmers go in circles.
The mower has a bin on the back for the grass. It is hydrostatic and steers with two twitchy little levers. My line are pretty straight from end to end, but there is a little wiggle or three in the middle.
I drive down the hill to the dump yard to get rid of the grass. I discovered if you hit the patch of loose gravel and the pothole at full tilt you will tend to descend the hill in more of a spiral pattern.
I discovered if you wait for the full bin alarm and then just get to the end of the row you will plug up the bagging system so tight the it take 7.5 minutes to unplug and 10 minutes to discuss the issue.
And now I'm going to go to work.
It's raining...





Sunday, October 4, 2015

I have a good job...

I've been telling people about my new job.
I made it three days without getting fired so I might as well "own it."
Usually there is quite a bit of shock when I tell them I'm now a groundskeeper.
However, almost everyone has been encouraging. There are three things about my job which appeal to everyone in my peer group.
1. Free tuition for family at a good private college...
2. Non Obama-care insurance
3. Retirement.
The order of importance of these issues depends upon the age of the person I talk to and the number of kids in the family.
No one asks about the pay...
It is an interesting job. I'm not really qualified for the job. I'm not all that excited about working outside in the rain. But, it is a fun place to work, everyone is nice, and there is quite a bit of humor in my situation. I swear, I have NEVER been hired for a job which I knew how to do. AND, I have never (yet) been fired.
I will say that after a long and tiring summer I was looking forward to time spent talking to random farmers who stop by the shop for coffee.
But on the other hand, I get to drive an old Gator around campus and it is beautiful weather and beautiful girls wave at me. Guys do not wave. It is kind of funny.
I suspect that as I learn how to do my job there will be more time for hanging out and drinking coffee with the Hispanic guys.
I am supposed to be completing my sexual harassment seminar online. I have several training courses to do on my own. This has proved to be difficult as I need to work with the school email. It is quite annoying. Has a complicated security password which I have already forgotten.
I took the sexual harassment seminar one already, but didn't have the password to record the training so I have to take it again.
The attractive 20-something fellow employee said it was ok to take it multiple times should I fail the first time. This was a joke! I was quite thrilled to be interacting with someone on the job! I laughed politely appreciating the irony of a slightly suggestive comment about sexual harassment training, but also cataloguing the comment in case she will be Sexually Harassment-ing me.
"Oh dear, it made me sooooooo uncomfortable and I felt just a touch of humiliation," says I to the HR person. And then I'm fired.... Kind of like the hyena's saying "Mufasa," in "Lion King."
All jokes aside, this sexual harassment deal is kind of scary. If someone wants to target you for something they can certainly nail you.
But Friday was a good day. I trimmed some shrubbery.  Jose' was showing me how to trim a fern when there was a strange gurgling croaking noise and he jumped back. He had almost clipped a frog with his clippers. The frog was quite upset, (it was the frog who made the noise.)
Jose' got out his phone and photographed the frog. Then he made a little nest for the frog under the fern. The frog's attitude did not improve. But, it was five minutes till break time and we did need to drive across campus to the break room.
When we returned the frog had vanished. Jose' was quite disappointed. He had come to like the frog.

Here are some bushes that I trimmed.

They are a bit ragged. This is very first shrubbery trimming experience of my life. Jose' said I did a good job and then he fixed it all in two minutes. I was really impressed. Sort of in awe of his shrub sculpting skills.

When I left Friday evening the boss asked me if I was returning Monday. I told him I had to return to work off all the shirts I had been given as the nice work-study girl at the supply department told me I had to cut school logo off it I quit within 90 days. (more humor on the job!)
He thanked me for working so hard and told me I was doing a good job. I told him it was all Jose' who was a groundskeeping genius and I enjoyed learning from him.
He stressed that I was doing well and thanked me again for my hard work.
I suspect they say that to everyone....

Saturday I spent all day putting the duals on tractors for planting and farming.
Today I'm going to see my father.
Monday, I'm back to wage slavery. I wonder if instead of doing the, "Job Safety" seminar online I can just watch Caddy Shack again... I think it is on Amazon Prime.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Day 3

There are three reasons people work here.
1. Insurance
2. Free tuition
4. Retirement

They claim to like their jobs but they don't love ther jobs.
The problem is that the school is run by the Human Resources department who all appear to be super nice people but...
There has been a huge turnover in long term employees in the last few years.
Benefits have changed, the insurance is not that good, pay is not that great for anyone who does real work.
Supposedly an effencency expert was hired in upper management to "improve" things and of course the "old hairs had to go."
I also got the lowdown on office politics today. And I discovered I just don't care. Eating lunch alone today.
Think I'll now go hang out with the Hispanics. They are happy.
Gonna get the one talking about the Pope visit.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A lunch break and a new job

Today is my second day as a groundskeeper at a local private college.
This may or may not have been a really wise career move.
I have developed a mantra, insurance, retirement free, tuition.
The main problem is that I'm in charge of a section. 
The fellow training me today said he didn't understand how there could be 30 applicants but none with Groundskeeping experience.
I was up against someone who said he was really qualified. But they didn't hire him.
I said, I know nothing and I never claimed to be qualified. 
Guy just laughed and shrugged.
After that we got along great.
We shall see what happens.
Of course after taking job I have had opportunities to make more money farming, or lose it, roll of the dice.