A Resourceful Man

Studly Doright is a resourceful man. In fact, if I hadn’t been inspired to call him Studly Doright I’d have dubbed him “Macgyver” or “Mr. Fixit.”

There were many lean years during which his ingenuity and ability to solve problems of a mechanical nature kept us out of the proverbial poorhouse.

Nowadays we don’t have to rely on Studly’s resourcefulness to keep life flowing smoothly. If something breaks and needs fixing we can call a repairman. If that something cannot be fixed we can replace it. Being poor was exhausting. Those who’ve never been there can’t even fathom the energy it takes just to keep afloat.

However, just because we can afford to hire a repairman doesn’t necessarily mean we will. Yesterday I posted about a water leak that manifested itself as soggy carpet and moldy baseboards in one of our guest bedrooms at Doright Manor. Knowing there was a leak was easy. Finding the source of the leak was a bit trickier, but we finally traced it to the water heater in our garage. We were relieved. A water heater is easy to replace.

When Studly was able to get away from work yesterday afternoon he turned off the water to the house, shut off the electricity to the water heater, and began the process of draining it. The folks who’d built our home had installed a massive 80 gallon water heater, so while we waited for it to drain Studly drove into Tallahassee to purchase a new one.

He’d done his research and learned all about high efficiency water heaters. The only thing he hadn’t foreseen was that the existing water heater was wider than the door of the closet in which it had been installed.

So, here we were on a Friday night with no hot water and no energy remaining to take apart the framing of the door. Did Studly give up? No way.

Of course it’s a temporary fix, but allowed for the taking of showers and a good night’s rest so he can tackle the door frame after golf today. I insisted on the golf–better he hit a ball than a wall.

Could Studly have called a repairman to tackle this whole job? Could he have saved himself a lot of aggravation and labor? Yes and yes. But that’s not how men like Studly get things done.

When it comes to replacing the carpeting and repainting the guest bedroom, though, I’m going to insist on a professional.

Peace, people.

Just for the Record

I was searching for something; although, I can no longer remember what that was. I’d looked in my closet, and I’d searched the master bedroom. I looked in the Texas bedroom (so called because I’ve got lots of kitschy Texas stuff displayed there). I searched the office with its multitude of drawers and cabinets.

Having failed to find whatever the heck it was I was searching for in any of the places mentioned above, I opened the door to the antique bedroom. It’s a rather small room and crowded with antique furnishings, so I don’t have much room to store things in there. Surely whatever the heck I’d been searching for wasn’t in there, but I should at least check before ruling it out.

As soon as I entered the room a horrible smell akin to that of a bundle of athletic socks that had been worn through eighteen consecutive sweaty workouts and then stuffed into a green duffel bag and stored in a musty locker greeted me.

I found the problem immediately. Just for the record the carpet in the antique bedroom is not supposed to look like this.

Mold shouldn’t be growing on the baseboard, and the carpet really shouldn’t make “squish, squish” sounds when one walks from point A to point B. I’m not a plumber, but I know a problem when I step in it.

Studly Doright arrived home soon after my discovery. With little fanfare I led him to the room where he immediately did what guys like Studly do:

After much cutting and cursing, grunting and grumbling, Studly determined absolutely nothing beyond the need to call a plumber.

Now there are two boxes of family keepsakes that had been stored on the floor in the closet of the antique bedroom drying on various surfaces in the kitchen.

Fortunately I don’t think anything important was ruined, but it was a near thing. So even though I never found whatever the hell it was I’d been searching for, my search did prevent a catastrophe. As my friend Hunny says, “I’m a lucky, lucky girl.”

Peace, people.

Turning the Other Cheek

I heard him before I saw him

Loud pipes announced his impending arrival

As I angled into the left turn lane

He came up on my right side

Big truck with bigger tires

A veritable fortune invested in chrome

Two flags waving proudly from the truck’s bed

Two expressions of his rights

One flag displayed the Stars and Stripes, a noble symbol.

The other, the Gadsden Flag: “Don’t Tread on Me!”

The flag hoisted by the alt right.

What an overcompensating loser, I thought.

Mouth breathing, Neanderthal, I added for good measure.

But even in that moment I acknowledged his right to express his feelings.

Was he offensive? To me, most definitely.

But did he have the right to offend?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Protest should make us squirm.

Otherwise, it’s merely the status quo.

Musical Musings

Dissonance, we’re told, followed by harmonic resolution, heightens emotions, takes us beyond the ordinary.

One chord away from our comfort zones, straining our understanding, challenging our deepest beliefs.

Every piece worth keeping keels on an edge of unease, hiding a slip of protest between the lines, so we may join the refrain.

Wide Awake

I slept for forty years

My eyes closed to injustice

But I’m awake now

Patriotism

Might mean kneeling in protest

Soldiers bought that right

We might not condone

The paths these protesters trod

But their rights remain

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A black man and a white man kneeling

Absolutely spot on piece by nonsmokingladybug.wordpress.com.

The happy Quitter!

One man is kneeling in silent protest during the anthem, the other one is kneeling for a private prayer -even though nothing is private when millions are watching.

Until yesterday, my opinion about Colin Kaepernick was pretty clear. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

View original post 621 more words

First Amendment Blues

First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I would ask every American to read the amendment. Take it in. Understand its ramifications. Then try to tell me that Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have the right to take a knee during the national anthem.

You might not like that he does it. You might believe he’s disrespecting the flag. But the truth is, Mr. Kaepernick is exercising his rights as a citizen under the First Amendment.

Now, our president has called Kaepernick and other athletes who have chosen to sit or kneel rather that stand at attention during the anthem “sons of bitches.” Trump did this at a rally of his followers in Alabama. No doubt there was much celebration when he chose those words: Sons of bitches. Not only has trump cast aspersions on these athletes, but on their mothers, as well.

Does the president also have the right to free speech? Indeed, he does. And what did he do with that right? He just insulted a good portion of the American populace and those of us who stand with them.

So, who is the real son of a bitch?

The Assignment

Once upon a time I was a teacher. I wasn’t a great teacher, nor was I an awful one. I loved being with young people all day long, but I am a woman of little patience, and that is not a good thing when working with active children.

While I taught students in grades three through seven at various times in my career, by far my favorite years were those I spent teaching English to middle schoolers. I know what you’re thinking, “How’d someone with Leslie’s blatant disregard for the rules of grammar ever teach English?”

Shucks, y’all. I had a teaching manual. Duh. Seriously, though, before I began blogging I was much more cognizant of, and adherent to, those pesky rules. Now it’s “Rules, Shmules” most days. But this post really isn’t about me. Gasp!

One of the first assignments I gave as a seventh grade English teacher was for students to write about something important that had happened in their lives. It could be something funny or frightening, happy, or sad. I’m not even sure I placed a word count requirement on this paper, I just wanted to get to know the students better and to get a feel for their individual writing abilities.

I was shocked and pleased that those seventh graders went immediately to work, and after I’d read their rough drafts I knew that the students who wanted to share their stories with their classmates should have the opportunity to do so. Much of what they’d handed in was so honest that it had to be worth more than just a grade.

After making some editing and proofreading suggestions on each of the ninety or so papers (I taught four sections of English), I handed back the papers and told my students how proud I was to have them in my class, and that once they’d written their final copy I’d open up the floor for anyone who chose to share.

Now seventh graders are an interesting lot. I figured I’d have perhaps twenty percent of each class volunteer to read their papers. Instead, every single student shared their stories. And what an experience that became! I’m sure we spent way too much time on this activity, but my students and I bonded over these stories.

One athletic young man had us all in stitches as he told of the time he and his buddies got into his older sister’s closet and put on various pieces of her clothing, including tutus and swimsuits. and wore them to dinner, much to the horror of his sister and the amusement of his parents.

A shy young woman told of being chased by a vicious dog while riding her bike and being rescued by another dog at the last minute! By the end of the story her classmates were on the edges of their seats, cheering her on.

The story I remember having the most impact, though, was the story a quiet young man told about his mother’s illness. He and his father and sister were at the hospital visiting his mom who had been diagnosed with cancer. As the boy walked down the hospital hallway, he turned to his sister and asked, “Is Mom going to die?”

His sister became angry and told him that he just killed their mom because it’s bad luck to mention dying in the hospital. Their mother did die later that week, and the child blamed himself. The class sat silently when he finished, many were in tears. I was in tears, and I’d read the story.

The love that then surrounded that young man was amazing. Other students made a point to tell him he wasn’t to blame for his mom’s death. He knew that deep down, but hearing those words from his peers seemed to turn a light on in this child. I watched him blossom that year.

When we finished sharing, more than one child thanked me for allowing them to write about themselves. While I’d just been trying to help myself get a feel for their abilities, I got a good deal more. Extras like that are what make the profession unlike any other.

Peace, people.

Hurricane Cat

We adopted our precious cat, Scout, after Hurricane Charley in 2004. We lived in Melbourne, Florida, at the time, and Scout along with her brother had been found wandering alone once the storm passed through our area. I wrote a story about her adoption, and it never fails to make me cry. That’s like laughing at one’s own joke, I suppose.

https://nananoyz5formewordpress.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/the-rescue-of-scout/

Scout is now around fourteen years old. She’s still playful and likes to play fetch. She sleeps more than she once did, but she’s still a sweet cat who loves to snuggle. Some day we’ll have to say goodbye to our Scout, but we hope we’ll be graced with her presence for many more years.

I found her snoozing on a fresh from the dryer towel one afternoon. That’s my girl.

Peace, people.