My Mother is Funny and Carved Bear

Not really ha-ha funny, but she does have a sense of humor.  We visited again today, bringing over several items she asked me to order online for her.  I already had one thing in reserve for her, for a stocking stuffer, so I told her “No, don’t pay me back for that, because I was going to give them to you anyway.”  She stuffed an extra $10 in cash in the envelope for me above what I said the other items cost.  I took it out, left it on the counter; she told me that’s your money, and reiterated that she only owed me $30, for the other two items, not $40.  She didn’t complain.

Then, she put another item on my list to order for her.  She can’t use a computer to order stuff online for herself.  She can barely use an ancient iPad to read her email.  These are Snoozies brand house slipper with non-slip soles.  The soles are thin, but they have little polyurethane dots on the bottom.

I bought her a pair several years ago, on a lark, and she loved them so much that since then, I’ve bought her a few more pairs at her request.  They don’t last that long before the soles wear out (maybe a year), but she can walk in them in the house using her Rollator.  She now wants two or three more pairs.  No problem.  I have to order them online, since I can’t just walk into any gift store and find them.  She wants to pay me for them, but I want to give them to her as a Christmas present.

She’ll get her slippers, and I don’t want cash back for them.  She got a box of grapes from her “canteen,” today and gave them to us as a treat.  They call it The Bistro there, but it’s basically a cafeteria/canteen with a fancy name.  This year, the grapes have been soooooo good, and we like them better than a slice of cake or a brownie, anyway.  That was so thoughtful of her.

Also, she did mange to get my email, and see the attached picture of the black bear wood carving I commissioned from a very talented neighbor.  We sourced a 4′ long, 18″ diameter maple log from our own property, so he didn’t have to find one elsewhere and charge us extra for it.  The artist had to have a friend come by with a flatbed truck to haul off the log, and it was interesting watching the loading procedure.  Anyway, the artist sent me a sketch, of what he thought we had in mind, beforehand, we agreed to that, then he came by with a contract for us both to sign (very fair terms), when the maple log got hauled off.

He started off with a chainsaw to rough it out, then did the detail work with some Dremel tools.  All the while, he sent me progress pictures.  We were unable to stop by his place to discuss staining options as he suggested, because we were away, but I asked for black bear colors.  He did such a good job.  As part of our contract, he asked for the right to take a picture of it to use for promotional purposes.  I thought that was fair.  I had the right of refusal if I didn’t like the finished product, and would have lost my deposit on it if I had refused to take delivery, but this bear is so fantastic!

AFAIK, he’s gotten a lot more commissions since then to do wood carving for other people.  His wife told me he went to art school.  It shows.  He’s retired now, but if he can earn some extra bucks on this avocation of his, good for him!  He’s got talent!

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Commissioned an Artwork

Someone posted a picture of her husband’s chainsaw log carving of a bear on Nextdoor.  Wow.  The guy has talent.  He wasn’t willing to sell me that one, but he was willing to carve another smaller one for me on commission.

The guy came by this afternoon to look over our selection of logs to pick one out that he thought would work.  Who knows whether it will or not, but we did sign a contract, and if that log is usable, it’ll leave me with just paying for his labor to do the carving.

We need to haul it out, and get it ready for him to load whenever he’s ready to come fetch it.  One of our tractors could do that.  When he hauls it off is when he gets his 50% upfront.

At least he showed up at the appointed time, and we got down to business pretty quickly.

This is going to be so awesome when he’s done.  The guy has mad skills.

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Car Inspection Sucks

We can renew our registration for two years, but still have to get vehicle inspection done every year.  My car dealer doesn’t charge any more than a local garage would, so I have them do it, especially since they offer a free valet service and loaner vehicle.

I always write out a checklist of things to do, and tell them to call me to authorize any work that’s not on my list.  For instance, nobody does a tire rotation after a measly 1500 miles since the last one, so don’t stick me with that bill.  The dealer is really good about following my instructions.

That said, whenever my car goes in for service, whether I drop it off myself, or use the valet service, they give me a loaner, whether I want or need one, or not.  The one loaner I liked, pre-covid was an S-90.  Suspension was a little loose for my preference, but I only had to drive it for ~20 miles.  After that, they always bring over brand new XC-60, as if to tempt me to trade in my car for one of those.  Not happening.  No flippin’ way would I want to drive an SUV.  As much as I love my midsize sedan, I’d drive a pickup before I’d drive an SUV.

So, the damn thing sits in my driveway, unused, until the guy delivers my car and picks up that thing he left in my driveway.  I had to sign papers to accept the loaner, but the funniest thing is that they had my year of birth

This time, it’s simply:

  • inspection
  • emissions
  • inspection stickers
  • clear out whatever drain(s) are leaking rainwater onto the driver’s seat floor
  • replace the windshield wipers
  • replace the batteries in the keys that are dying
  • oil change, even though all synthetic doesn’t gum up like ordinary motor oil

Can’t wait to see what this bill is going to come to.  The car keys each take two batteries, at $13 apiece.  But without functional keys, the car can’t be driven.


ETA:  just heard back from the dealer’s service department.  Fixing the leak is the bulk of the bill.  Dayum!

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This Totally Sucks

My mother-in-law is in hospice.  My husband left at 2:30am on Tuesday, and drove 1200 miles straight through to get there.  It’s a 20 hour drive.  Last time he did that, it was on the way home, and I told him “we’re not doing that again.”  I understand the urgency to get there, though.

Both of my brothers and sisters in law are out there, too.  Two of them flew in from Tampa.  The other two live in the area.  One of them thinks she might not make it past Monday.  Anyway, she’s coherent, recognizes everyone, and is happy to have them there.  She also understands why I’m home looking after our dog and three cats.

You can’t just call a next door neighbor at 2:30am, and ask him to take in our dog for an unspecified number of days.  He’s taken him in before for four days, but we asked if they would be around to do it days ahead, and he agreed.  We chicken, dog, and goat sit for him when they’re gone, so it’s just trading favors.

I hope my mother in law lasts.  My aunt went into hospice years ago, and lasted there for three years.  My dad went into hospice, and died within two days.  You never know.

If it comes down to a funeral, damn right I’ll go out there for it.  She’s one of the nicest ladies I’ve ever met.

So far, my updates from my husband are “no change.”

Nothing any one of us can do about it, but at least she’s in St. Mary’s, which is part of Mayo Clinic.

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A couple of weeks ago, we won a $50 gift certificate to a fishmonger place not too far from us, from a radio station.  The show’s producer was away for a while preparing for his wedding, and honeymoon, but we finally got a call back from the station to get the name and address to send it to.  This is a fantastic fishmonger, and none of us are allergic to any sort of seafood, so, yeah, we will blow it on stuff like lobster bisque and crab cakes.

Other than that, I awarded a contract to a company to replace a sliding glass door.  I’ve hired them for for some jobs before, but this time their estimate seemed absurdly high, until the other two came in.  Anytime I’m looking at thousands for home repair, I’m going to get in several bids/estimates.  They know that.  Told them as much.  At least they can schedule the job within a few weeks, rather than months from now, and since I’ve been dealing with the owner for over a decade, I know that if there’s some problem, they’re good to their promise of a three year guarantee on workmanship.

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July 4th Complaints

No, not my complaints.  But every year, there are multiple people who do not like the noise of fireworks, and bitch about how they freak out not themselves, but neighbors’ dogs, people who have babies, people who go to bed early, or veterans with PTSD.  This is on Nextdoor.

Spare me the emotional drama.  These people simply don’t like the noise.  What pisses me off the most is that they just won’t come out and say it’s the noise that bothers them, even though it’s no louder than a cracking thunderstorm.  They use other people they don’t even know, except in theory, to advance their agenda.

State fireworks laws do exist, but they involve how far away from an occupied building they can be set off, but not the noise level, which never exceeds that of a good thunder crack from Mother Nature, anyway.

Instead of getting all whiny, and bitchy online about your neighbors, maybe report them to the police if they violate fireworks laws.  Don’t get all manipulative, yelling about what big bad meanie poopie-heads and Hard Hearted Hannah types we are, for not kowtowing to your desires for silence.  If the cops ignore your complaint, way out in the ‘burbs, and exurbs, whine harder, because that’s sure to bring them around to your side.  They probably have more important cases to deal with, than a noise ordinance violation.

I know all about manipulative people in real life.  Eventually, they know we’re onto their behavior.  Takes them a while, but they do finally stop with it.

Online peeps who start that crap, trying to get unsuspecting strangers to go along, have no sympathy from me.

We had a fantastic supper of ribs, smoked to perfection, coleslaw, and corn-on-the-cob.  We also shot off some some damn good fireworks, too.  We have enough acreage to do so, legally.

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We won a $50 Capt’n Chucky’s gift certificate from a local radio station.  The way this giveaway works is that you phone in to answer the question of the day, and if your answer gets chosen as that day’s winner, your name goes into a hat for a Friday drawing, with the rest from that week to see who gets the prize.

The Shaving Cream song won it for us this week.

Capt’n Chucky’s isn’t a restaurant, but it’s a small chain of fishmongers that specialize in crab cakes, but have other stuff, too.  I won a $50 gift certificate from the radio station last September.  We blew a little more than twice that much there on various things, so we now know what we want, and what’s merely so-so for the price.  We’ve also spent more than $50 there a couple of times since then.  Now, we’ll  get to blow another $50 on lobster bisque and crab cakes.  Woo-Hoo!

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Darn It! Literary Also Ran

Our local talk radio station’s noon-3pm guy asks a question of the day, takes callers, and then rates the answers, to pick a winner at the end of the show.  The question of the day was “Who is so famous that he/she goes by one name?”

I was on hold for over an hour but finally got on the air with my answer:  Shakespeare.  My reasoning was that theaters still put on his plays, and that if I somehow got marooned on a desert island with only one book from my library, it would be “The Complete Works of Shakespeare.”

The show host used to teach high school English before he got into talk radio.  The producer started arguing with him that “nobody likes to read Shakespeare, and besides, it’s many books, not one.”  The show host refuted that, and even asked me for a Shakespeare quote.  God knows how this got on the air, without getting bleeped, but I replied “Out, out, damned spot.”  The host said “That’s a good one.”  I’ve got at least a dozen more, but something short from Macbeth is better than reciting the Hamlet soliloquy.  What’s even funnier is that the show host said tomorrow’s question of the day might be “What’s a good Shakespeare quote?”

The upshot is that my answer made it into the top three for consideration, but didn’t win.  *sad trombone*


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Good and Bad

We could use a slider replaced.  Got a hold of a contractor I’ve used for nearly 15 years.  He will come by later this week to take measurements, etc.  The guy is the son of the guy who started the business.  They’re good people.  I’ve been dealing with them for almost 15 years.  It’s probably going to cost a lot, but these guys are fair on the labor charges.  That’s the good.

The bad is that I had to plunk eight 3″ round chlorine tablets into the “turret” of my pool circulator/pump.  Not as bad as chipping/digging out a quart of cal-hypo crystals from what’s almost a 50 pound cement pail, thankfully.  I still reek of chlorine, though, even after washing my hands and arms twice.

After all this, it’s still too cold to go swimming, or floating around the pool.  The water looks great, but it’s still cold.  I’m not going in there yet.

On another note, we look after our neighbor’s chickens when they’re away.  Those girls are nice chickies.

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Minnesota and Back

The best states in which to buy gas between the northern East Coast and MN are Ohio and Iowa.  Hands down, at least 20-30 cents/gal. cheaper than the other intervening states.  Weather on the way out sucked; on the way back, it was glorious.

The family reunion went off without a hitch.  My M-I-L was happy to see all of us.  With her poor health, it might be the last time we get to see her.  We got home after being away for nearly six days, and the cats were fine.  Fetched the dog from our neighbor who agreed to take in in while we were gone, and all is well.  Our neighbor’s dog and our get along fine, plus we look after their chickens when they’re gone.  We just need to bring them a bottle of wine and a batch of freshly baked cookies with a Thank You note.  I’m not baking those cookies until tomorrow, though.  Forty hours round trip on the road, even w/o delays, takes more out of you than you’d think.  I need to decompress.

My B-I-L and I had a good discussion about rifles, and things that look like them, but aren’t.  He saw a raccoon out in broad daylight, acting really funny, so it probably was rabid.  He went into the house and came back out with is .22 LR.  I asked to see it, since it looked exactly like the ones I had used when I was a kid.  Looked like it was from the ’50s, and the ones I used as a kid were probably that old, too.  Bolt action, single load only.  Mine’s a LOT newer than that, but the main difference is that mine has a standard 10 round magazine, which I don’t have to use, if I don’t want to.  Then, when I handed it back to him, he went and picked off that problematic raccoon.I wasn’t trying to impress him

Then, we moved onto BB guns and CO2 pistols at a later discussion.  We both have some.  He got a nifty find at some yard sale that was a Crossman BB gun made to look like an M-1 carbine.  He got it for $2 because it had a broken stock, and the guy who tried to sell it for $5 didn’t know how to load it, either.  B-I-L snagged it for the $2, looked it up online for the owner’s manual, figured out how to load it, and knew he could make a new stock for it himself.  SCORE!  I asked him to send me a picture of it when he’s done repairing it.

I wasn’t trying to impress him, but I think he had no clue we have firearms, plus other things that look like them in our household, and that I know how to use them.  Nobody else there among their guests would have even been interested.

A few cribbage games broke out.  My M-I-L is the queen of those, but the rest of the family is pretty good, too.  I’ve never learned how to play, and have no desire to, but it’s still interesting to watch.

For a side trip on a free Saturday morning/afternoon, we went to Four Daughters Winery for brunch, and a couple of sampler flights.  One was mixed reds, whites, and rosés.  The other was of their various flavors of “Loon Juice” hard cider, which they only make using Honeycrisp apples.  Bought a 6-pack of our favorite Loon Juice, brought it over for the Sunday party, and it was a hit with people who knew what it was.  oh, and the food at Four Daughters was really good.  I was impressed.  The place is out in the middle of nowhere at the northern end of Spring Valley, as 63 does its zig-zag along 16.

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