Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I Would Like To Say.................

...............that today has been a wonderful day. Vacation at home? Freaking awesome. I'm not making that up or being sarcastic. Who cares if you can't go anywhere? I'm not going to work, that's the point!!

Yes, I spent 2 hours in the AZ heat/direct sunlight pruning plants - pulling weeds - and making it look normal out front again. I noticed other things that need to be done, no biggies, I got the most important stuff done, including watering the entire property.

It's nice to water a few hundred plants by simply turning on and off valves versus walking around to every single plant with a water hose.

The mailbox also provided a much-needed stipend: the check. Thank you, dad. It is going to the water bill. Oh, yes, I thank my dad in email or on the phone, the thanks here is simply a statement of thanks to an awesome father - whether my brothers agree with that or not. Note that this money doesn't come out of his savings, it comes out of his monthly stipends from various retirement incomes. It IS a sacrifice for him. which, well it just shows the kind of dad I have, regardless of what my brothers say.

If I received nothing from my dad, I would still think just as highly of him. Let's put the little blip to rest that says that the money is the only thing that makes you say that. NOT AT ALL. I don't HAVE the memories of my father is a kid that my brothers do. I am not going into all of that again on my journal - my brothers are good with their decision to totally negate my dad out of their lives - I doubt they will think such when he passes and - then - what kind of thoughts will pervade them? Regret, remorse, a longing to connect that will never happen on this earth.

No, I am quite proud of my dad who is a renowned minister in the area he lives in and is a humanitarian. People love him because he loves the people that God puts before him to minister to. It has always been this way, my brothers simply don't get it. He has sacrificed his entire life, perhaps that's their problem with him - to the point that the family suffered when we were children. Yet, as a child, I was quite happy. My parents didn't tell me how bad we had it, I did not, therefore, "learn" how bad life is in not having "things". I was not materialistic as a child, I didn't care, really. If I had a tonka toy, great, if I didn't, there were always the tall trees in the forest behind our house that fascinated me to NO end and was FREE of charge to my parents. That love of trees and dense, thick forests has never left me.

No, as a child, I was the easiest maintenance, I didn't complain about having this,that and the other thing. I endured an entire childhood of not being able to consume ANY dairy products, chocolate and other foods, I was extremely allergic (think: GIANT hives all over your body). I just immersed myself in the world that was around me and I loved it. Oh, there were bad times, yes, not saying there weren't, but most of my childhood memories are very good.

Oh, and speaking of forests - I have these Australian Bottle Tree seeds sitting here in front of me. I have read ample material about them. No, I didn't pay a fortune for these seeds, but there are only 10 of them and I want to make it work. Oh yes, I do. These trees are drought resistant and do well in this area. I am going to go out and plant one of them in the ground in the front of my house after I finish this entry. I am in no hurry, it would be years before they would be anything "formidable" as a tree.

I was watching with no small amount of entertainment my rather large goldfish earlier. There is a big, fat pig in there. He (or she) eats and eats and eats. You would think I never feed the blooming thing for the amount of hunger it exhibits, as if it were starving. But, it's body tells a different story. It is a FAT fish. I would feed them less, but the other 3 wouldn't get enough. The fat one is a bully, really, but only at feeding time - which seems to be 24 hours a day for that friggin' thing. That big one is about 10 inches long and 2 inches (at least) wide. I was wondering if possibly it's a she and is eating for want of on the verge of laying eggs, but I believe the thing is just a pig. The only way to cut back it's food intake would be to isolate it to another pond. I don't think it a good idea, so I'm not.

Done.

ben

Tuesday

I have done my version of absolutely nothing today. I have zero motivation, I don't care, really. I put my mind into vacation mode and decided - for today anyway - that I would enjoy a nothing existence for a spec of time, if only a spec.

Does it set well with me? Well, when it's 107 degrees outside it's easier to do nothing than to go out and start sweating. You know the problem with me writing posts like this? I'll sit here and read what I just wrote and then something will spark inside of me, suddenly, I find myself outside, digging, weeding, whatever.

I know, it's crazy but that's the way it seems to work. It just popped into my mind that I wanted to put another dose of Dawn dishwashing liquid on the plants - yes the stuff works, you just need enough of it and you apparently need to do it several times if the "invasion" is severe enough. I also just remembered that I was going to to out front and trim several plants out there.

So, who knows. Maybe a little later on I will be out there doing some of this stuff.

I haven't decided, now that time has passed, whether to engage in a time of casino activity with my change money or not. I'm now leaning towards not. If I lost the money and had nothing to show for it, I would hurt myself. I could go buy that giant pond with it's accompying feeder pond and all the hardware for that money, have something to show for it and have a GREAT pond setup. Or, I could pay bills. Or, I could use it towards fixing the car's AC. Or a lot of things, really.

Better to nothing in this particular case. Time gives me the opportunity to figure out whether I need the money for daily bill activity or can waste it as it was intended over the year plus I have been dumping change in there.

One thing for sure, I don't want to get "used" to doing nothing. That is not a great life, I am sure. I wouldn't know, but - obesity, diseases and illness, lethary, sluggardishness, sloth, nothing good can come of it for an extended period. I do not, however, have any problem with doing it for a day or two during a planned, nothing, vacation. The boys - all of them - a whole slew of them now that summer is on and school is off - have no understanding of how a person can take a vacation and go - nowhere.

But, their minds don't quite wrap around the stark reality of the current economy, or, in my personal situation, lost hours and having tenants. All they understand is that I have a house with a refrigerator full of food, a Playstation III which they dearly love (and I could care less about), Direct TV and lots of soda. The mind of a child. Okay, these are teenagers, hardly an innocent 8 year old mind. Still, a person has no real concept of what it's like to live on your own, pay your own way and face the reality of life until- they do it. I'm still quite impressed with Michael and his desire to make his own money. I suppose I should save my delight until I see whether he can stick with it. Same with my son - though I suspect he will have a bit easier time with it, he has never had a problem with the extensive amount of requests I make for getting things done around here. JR ROTC has also instilled some very interesting - realistic - and GOOD ideals in him.

Wait and see.

Oh, hey, I have something to do, I must walk out front and get the mail!! Hard work, I'm sure. Unfortunately, I can feel the call of the plants out front. If I'm going out there, why not spend and hour or 2 tending to them, even if it is 105 degrees out there right now? Oh, those people on the east coast. If you are not accustomed to 100 plus temperatures, you are in for a hellish experience. I do feel for them. I remember the house I grew up in Pittsburgh didn't have AC. No duct work, open the windows and put in a dual window fan, that's what my parents did for me during the summer. I honestly don't know what my brothers got. I think my parents had a window unit AC in their bedroom, I am, just now, after 46 years of life, remembering, if correctly, that I was the only one in the house that had to endure summers with only a fan to cool me.

You know what? I didn't care then, I don't care now. I remember thinking it perfectly normal at the time. I imagine some "counsellor" somewhere would try to tell me that I was neglected and abused because of it - they got the good stuff, I got the shaft. Yes, if that's the way you want to look at things, be my guest and carry it on your back for decades. Surely THAT will help you in life. No, I actually remember our years in Pittsburgh as both fun and very scary for a little boy. Fun - there were woods in the back of my house to play in and lots of friends to play with. Or not. I was able to have a great time whether playing with other kids or totally alone. Scary - bad part of town. Always looking behind your back. Always having to fight or get beaten up. Definitely a factor in my mentality today, some of it negative. I don't like being jerked around and I don't tolerate people mouthing off to me. My natural instinct - which surely came from a childhood of beat the s*** out of the other kid or get beaten up - is to land my fist squarely in their jaw, break their nose and knock them out with a blow or several blows to the head.

I fight that sometimes. I never carry those thoughts out - but they do rise their ugly little heads sometimes. Especially with punk 18 to 20 somethings that think that I'm an "old man" and start mouthing off over something very petty that they have started. Yeah, when I'm 60 or 70, I'm in my 40's and can outwork many people 20 years my younger. Will that last forever? Obviously not. I will enjoy it while it lasts.

If you're a person on the east coast and you are experiencing that heat right now - totally changing the subject, here a few tips from a dude that works outside in 110 - 115 degree heat on a daily basis both at work and at home:
1. WATER. WATER WATER WATER. I have a giant, plastic cup I fill with ice and water. I drink it all day long whether I am thirsty or not.
2. Just because you are not yet thirsty does not mean you shouldn't be hydrating. Drink, drink, drink. All day long. I can do that in this heat and not go to the bathroom all day long - sweating it out, not peeing it out.
3. If you are drinking a LOT of water, make sure to get a dose of Gatorade or some other drink that replenishes electrolytes. Water does not do that and if you are really sweating a lot and drinking a LOT of water, yes, you need to periodically replenish the electrolytes.
4. Hat. Wear a large brimmed hat if the heat inludes direct exposure to the sun's rays.
5. Umbrella. Yes, lots of people around these parts carry umbrellas to keep off the sun, not the rain. It makes a HUGE difference if you are standing or walking in the direct sunlight.
6. Some people carry water bottles with them and spray mist in their faces to keep them cool.
7. Wet rag. Put it around your neck, the difference it will make will be palpable.
8. Shade. As often as possible, get in the shade.
9. MORE WATER!!!
Those are tips for being outdoors, the best tip, of course, is to be indoors in the AC and you will suffer no consequences of heat related illnesses at all.
10. If you see a person that is failing and succumbing to the effects of heat, ie: heat stroke, get them in the shade immediately. Take off their clothing. Pack them in ice. I know, it sounds crazy, but I have heard this over and over again from the experts, there IS no down side to packing a person in ice that is suffering from the effects of a heat stroke - which can and will kill you if left untreated. You MUST bring the body core temperature down immediately. Call 911, the first thing they're going to do on-scene is put a needle in them and start administering fluids through an IV.
Now, what do I do? Those are just some of the things above that I have heard that others do. Me? Water. Ice water to be precise. I drink it all day long. I don't do the electrolytes - well very rarely. If you are sweating profusely and drinking large quantities of water, well, yes, I will drink a half a Gatorade. Otherwise, I have learned how to deal with the heat. I'm driving around in a car that is much hotter inside of it than the ambient temp outside.

It's more in the mind, folks, than anything. If I don't sit there feeling sorry for myself because of how hot it is, I therefore don't think that it's so terribly bad. I think: Yeaaah, I started sweating, now it's cooling off in here! Really, that's what I do. Outside? I have a huge brimmed hat on that keeps the sun off my head and a very large glass of ice water and sometimes, yes a beer. Oh, yes, I know what the experts say about alcohol and heat. I've lived in this stuff since 1974, I've learned how to deal with it, what to do and what not to do. I didn't say I'm getting DRUNK, I just said a beer. WITH water.

It sounds all so easy, in reality, I remember my first days in AZ heat, my first years, really, it took some getting used to.

Anyway, I have now talked myself into going out front, with a glass of water of course, and trimming some bushes. I am just not an inside person, I can only take so much of it.

G'day.

ben

Sunday night. A bit after 10 pm I don't have an ultra early start tomorrow, so I am staying up a bit later than I normally would on su...