An accounting of some ventures in the life of grandma and grandpa for the kids, grandkids, friends and those who drop by for a visit.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

You have got to be kidding me! #2

Ohhhh, man! I certainly did not want to start out another blog entitled "You have got to be kidding me!" so soon. Maybe once a month would be really bad. The good news is that J is cooking on the new stove (see first picture) and, yep, there is bad news. After taking apart the outlet to see what prong would be served by the red wire, and carefully calculating how I would need to wire the stove (red on one side, black on the other and white in the middle--not too complicated, Dudley, right?) I proceeded to wire the stove backwards. I forgot that the 220 plugin is upside down. (At least from my perspective). Good news is scarce around here, but I did notice my mistake before throwing the breaker switch. I have to tell you it was with much trepidation when I finally did get around to throwing the breaker switch. I have been startled when the breaker snapped back at me on a 15 amp 110 circuit. I really don't want to experience the snap back on a 50 amp 220 circuit. That may make good blog material--for somebody else. I would read that, but don't want to write it.

After noticing the mistake and calmly (really) rewiring the stove (by this time I am getting reasonably efficient at the process, but my legs are killing me in that cramped position), J and I decide to have another go at the leveling process. After five minutes of that folly, we shove the stove back up against the wall. (note second picture) Oh, the stove still is not level. This is ridiculous. Having shoved the stove as far back as it will go, J asks me a few minutes later if I would shove the stove flush against the wall because the lower cupboard door will not open and one drawer cannot be opened. Oooooops. Uhhh, the stove is as far back as it will go. Of course, the plug is in the way, but J queries why the other stove could fit flush against the wall and this one can't. Hmmm, maybe this stove does not have any concave areas on its back that will allow room for the plug and cord? J's turn for You have got to be kidding me!

We pull the stove out to assess the scope of the problem. There is a concave area that extends up from the floor about nine inches. The plugin is about twelve inches above the floor. The positioning of the plugin was fine for the first two stoves we had, but evidently convection ovens require plugins to be installed closer to the floor. J says that she can live with it for awhile, but she does want her stove to be flush to the wall, not sticking three inches into the kitchen blocking access to a cupboard and a drawer. Unfortunately, her position has an air of reasonableness to it. My thought of calling a contractor, unfortunately, is so unreasonable that I did not even express it being that Uncle Sam thinks we need to pay him another $3450 by the middle of April. (Oh, I am just loving that Bush Tax Break since our taxes jumped about $3500 with the new tax structure, but that is good fodder for another blog sometime.)

I flash back to the time we made the decision to buy a new stove. Armed with Consumer Report data and (did we ever think we were smart) a measurement of the width of the space the stove would have to fit into, we drive off to Sears in Ontario. When I mention our width requirements to the sales lady, she shoots me down with, "Oh, all stoves are of the same width." Now I know that I should have been measuring the heighth of our plugin. I am feeling like a Seattle Mariner--"Born to Lose!"

Thinking of born to lose, I would be fishing today on the Owyhee River, but I read the weather report yesterday calling for rain, possible snow, windy and temps in the forties. At the moment I am typing this it is 10:04 am and as I look out the window, I see a sunny, blue-sky day, no wind and appears to be a very nice day. You have got to be kidding me!

I had a thought awhile back that possibly I could save money, or at least get better value for my money, by having a lawn service do the fertilization, and spraying for critters and weeds. When I call for an estimate the first thing I am asked, "How long does it take to mow your lawn?" And my answer, "I never have timed it. I don't know, maybe a half hour, maybe an hour." Next question is, "How much square footage is your lawn?" "I don't know, maybe 3 or 4 thousand square feet. I usually have some fertilizer left over when I buy a bag that is suppose to cover 5,000 sq. ft." Then I get a quote. Scott Lawn Service gave me a quote, but after going up the chain of command, three links up, I got, "Weiser!" "Yes, I have told you from the time I talked to your sales manager that I live in Weiser." "We don't go to Weiser." Sad to say, that was the best quote. They give senior citizens discount.

My former student, Randy Howard, sent his salesperson out in person to measure the lawn. I have 7,800 sq. ft. of lawn. Almost wish I did not know that, but I liked their offer and will give it a try for a year.

I have already put one application of fertilizer and crab grass killer on so don't have to pay for that application. On Monday we got a free application of fertilizer. At least, I am hoping it is fertilizer. The crop dusting plane flew over and unloaded a load of white pellets all over our house ,yard, and (I am definitely not happy about this) our pond. Ponds don't need fertilizers. It makes the algae grow and I don't need that!

Papa Coyote needs to go out and get some yard work done since it is such a nice day (If I ever see that weatherman, I am going to snip all the barbs off his fishing hooks) and begin to get psychologically prepared to move the outlet for the stove down three inches. This means messing with the wall board and I don't like that job.

Yeeeeeeoooooooowww, Love you all,
Papa Coyote

Monday, March 24, 2008

You have got to be kidding me! #1

I wrestled the old stove out of the house and to the recycling center in Fruitland while J was in Newberg. (Can you believe grand kid G sneaked up behind J when she was bent over and took a picture of her behind? If that picture ever gets published--oh, G, that would be real stupid,) I Talked them into 2 cents a pound and collected $6.50 from them. I had a bag of aluminum cans and a box of papers to go with the stove. Only one little problem in the process. I got the stove onto the dolly and after jerking the handle off the stove (it was going to be recycled so why be delicate), I steered successfully out the back door without taking off any of the molding or scratching the new washer. Whew! Going down the back porch stairs worked the leg muscles real well. Kind of got things lined up and made a rush. Worked. Then I got the pickup lined up and the ramp leaned against the tailgate and pushed the stove (still on the dolly) up the ramp. Ramp is narrow--about four inches wider than the wheels of the dolly. I could not walk the stove up the steep slant of ramp without causing my feet to slip out and crash onto my belly and have the stove fly back down the ramp with me still on the ramp. I was really trying hard to keep that vision from turning into reality. I got the wheels of the dolly finally over the lip of the ramp and onto the tailgate. Laid the dolly and washer down while I rested and began the deliberation of how to get the stove fully onto the pickup. During my deliberations the wheels of the dolly jumped the lip and the whole darn load came crashing down the ramp and fell off in a metallic thump onto the concrete apron of the garage. Dirty Rack of Bricks! I said something like that. Good news is that I was off the ramp while doing my deliberations. Pretty smart, huh? On the second try I succeeded because whereas on the first attempt I stopped to deliberate, this time I did not deliberate or stop for that matter either. Just bulled the thing up the ramp and while laying almost on my belly gave one final, mighty shove and succeeded in pushing stove and dolly onto the truck. Oh, My, was I glad that that worked. It works alot better not to have the wife around when I do things like that.

Now, I tell you that to set the scene for J and I picking up the stove from Sears in Ontario. We start off civilized enough with a lunch at Wingers. That is the good part of the day. Just wanted you to know that there was a good part. Got the stove. Sears puts it on the truck and even strapped it secure with my ratched strap. Nicely done. We are driving into Payette deliberating how we are going to get the stove off the pickup in one piece. I like to deliberate on these matters before starting the actual task now. Seems to work better. While driving into Payette in full deliberative mode, I was doing 50 in a 35 mph zone. Jane says slow down. I see the cop, who as he passes, is turning into a parking lot to turn around and come in our direction. I hit the brakes so that he can see those brake lights are on. He seemed to be satisfied with my belated attempt to follow the law. A Real Big Whew~!

Get to the house. Backing up to the front porch to unload as we did with the washing machine is not a good option. Even though the planter was cleared out of the way with the delivery of the washer, the ground is no longer frozen and I did not want to deal with the ruts my pickup would leave in the soft front yard. So J and I pushed the Toyota out of the way. (Battery is dead). I steered while J pushed. She said she hardly had to push at all. Much to be said about marrying a strong woman! We lined up the pickup to the side of the driveway over near the wood pile and set the ramp up on the tailgate so we could unload the stove onto the driveway where we turn the cars around after backing up out of the garage. Brilliant. Ramp slope was minimal and the stove rolled, under control, down the ramp with not even getting close to falling off. Wheeled the stove to the back stairs and decided to measure openings of the boxed stove before entering the back door. Oh, very good decision. J gets a serated butcher knife and we cut the box apart. Sorry, grandchildren. Now here is a vision for you. I am up and pulling the stove up the stairs. J is on the bottom pushing the stove up the stairs. (Oh, we did strap the load securely to the dolly before starting this task.) She pushes up the first step and keeps pushing. I am about to be ran over and have to yell, "One step at a time." Darn, strong women. I have to rest and gather strength for each step. Success, we are through the door. Wouldn't you know it, but the handle of the stove wants to rip off the handle of the sauna. Let the stove down and we scoot the now lower stove handle pass the sauna. Oh, yeah! How sweet it is. Get to the living room door and while I am trying to steer a tight turn, J is pushing us right on through and with me pulling we make it with just a little of the door jam ripped off. Dang it. If it is not a planter it is a door jam.

Finally, we are into the kitchen. We try to level the stove and after ten minutes of that horse pooey, give up and decide we can compensate while cooking.

Ah, now for the big moment. I get in back of the stove and look for the cord to plug into the socket. (Oh, by the way I cut a quarter inch piece of hard board to fit around the socket, so there is no more big hole around the socket left by our last contractors who remodeled the kitchen.) I am looking for the cord. "J, is there a cord in the oven or with the directions?" "No, I don't see a cord," she replies. After a few more minutes of searching, we conclude that the stove comes without a power cord. You have got to be kidding me! Nine hundred dollars and you don't get a power cord?

For $16.95 I bought a cord at Clausen's Hardware, came home (after forgetting my wallet which I had take out of my pants pocket because it hurt my butt while sitting on the floor waiting for Jane to find the blankety, blank cord causing for a second trip to town at these blankety, blank gas prices which the President was surprised to hear that they were so high, GEEZ!!) and decided that I had enough of stove for a day so spent the next three hours pruning shrubbery and rose bushes. J cooked dinner on the griddle and I posted the day's adventure and am planning to tie flies for the rest of the evening. Stove, what stove!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dead! Gone in a Blaze of Glory

It is said that all good things must come to an end. As I write this I am pondering what was good about the stove. Well, it did last a long time. J said the oven never heated correctly. Judging on how hard a time I had trying to regulate the temperature to cook my elk sausage, I would agree with J. The second batch of elk salami just plain got solidified. But this stove did boil water like a champ.
The right front burner often had to be jostled to cause contact. On March 13, J jostled and the stove just decided that it was not going to take being jostled and jolted any longer and fought back. J encountered a shower of sparks. She went ahead and jostled the stove again and this time a shower of sparks came out of the back burner. You can see it laying to the side after the battle. J won and the stove lost. J pulled the stove from the wall and pulled the plug. End of battle. Oh, the front burner is welded to the contact now.
Since we have subscribed to Consumers' Report our appliances have begun to mysteriously malfunction. Coincidently, you say? Well, why does it just happen to be that the appliances featured in the latest CR are the ones that are dying? Could J be sabotaging these appliances so that she can have brand new Big Girl toys? Could it be that the washing machine was 32 years old and the stove is in its mid-20's? My daughter quickly comes to the defense of her mother, Of Course, and cites the age of the applieances.
It really is getting to be hard to get some Big Boy toys collected when we keep going out and buying Big Girl toys. I will have to admit that I do like my clothes clean and my physique will attest to my love of J's creations hot off the stove. The bad news is that the new stove has a convection oven and by all accounts the cinammon rolls will be even better from this oven. Oh, My, My!
I talked to my sister and her husband this weekend. R had brought a rotisseried chicken at Safeways in Casa Grande. He and my sister ate it and by 10:00 pm were violently sick. He is 67 and she is 73. By 3:00 am R calls 911 and they are hauled to the hospital by ambulance. After a two day stay, they are back home. I asked R if he had words with Safeway yet. He says he intends to, but he was so sick from the food poisoning that now he can hardly walk from bed to the kitchen. He got an infection to go along with the food poisoning and had to have a heavy dose of antibiotics. He says that he had a really bad nightmare at the hospital. He dreamed that the gsoline prices were going up alot. When he got out and saw the gas price, he wished he was back in his nightmare. The nightmare was not as bad as real life!
I need to go tie some #18's and #20 flies for the next foray to the Owyhee River to attempt to catch those big brown trout the river is becoming so famous for.
Papa Coyote wishing that all your trails be slightly downhill and the smoke blows into the other guys face and you can continue to fantasize about doing in all the mosquitos.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Time Does Fly--Here it is almost Christmas

It seems like we just had Christmas and the school year is not even completed and I hear Christmas. You don't believe me? Let me explain. Around here a few weeks before Christmas the sewing machine (hmmmm, more accurately, the sewing machines) hum for hours. J is busy creating and sewing for Christmas. Sewing machine hum is the sound of Christmas in this household. Well, the sewing machines have been humming and humming the past few weeks, so Christmas must be just up ahead. That is how I have been conditioned over the past 40+ years. J has been sewing for the grandsons. J has been sewing tutus. Oh, not for the grandboys. Whew, relax M and G! Tutus to sell in area stores. And little girl dresses to sell in area stores. J made a sell yesterday at the House of Art in Ontario. I am so proud of her. She is very good at creating and sewing cute outfits.

Me--I have been out grubbing in the dirt cleaning up leaves and dead grass around the pond. I am going to have to wade into the pond this year and take out all the pots holding the water grass, water irisis, and the lily pads. They all need dividing and transplanting. That is a major yucky, cold, wet, and muddy job. Yuck. I think I am also going to have to clean the bottom of the pond out this year. Major yuck,

I reached down into the trap of the skimmer box to clean out the leaves before lifting the screens to clean today and got a hold of a big hunk of cold, slimey flesh. Gaaaaaaddddddsssss!! Geez! I about jumped from my knees. I threw the cold, wet, slimey flesh into the pond. Kind of a knee jerk reaction if you know what I mean. At first I had no thought, but as I released it I am thinking someone cut off somebody's hand and threw it in our pond and it ended up in the skimmer box. Yikes! Turned out to be the big old bull frog. He was sound asleep, deep in hibernation. I don't know how he got into the skimmer in his condition. I put him on a rock in the hot sun (well, it was almost 50 today), but he did not wake up. Well, he did open an eye and I think he was winking as if to say, "Haha. Got you old man." I slipped him back into the pond, which is seriously cold, to continue his winter's sleep.

Perry and I have been building set and furnishings for the theater. We about have it done. You can see the barbecue that we built of styrofoam. We also get off task sometimes and Perry has to teach me to tie a fly or three.

By the way do you know what an intelligent, good-looking, sensitive man is called?

A. a rumor


Got to go to bed, this daylight saving time is a killer!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

WARNING: Papa Coyote Knows Dangerous Stuff!!

An old friend and one of J's first 4-H'ers gave me a call last weekend and said, "Mr. Bill, there is a class on mushroom identification in Boise that we need to take." Reta and I needed some credits for re-certification 3 years ago so we thought that a class on wild flower identification and their uses (ethnobotany) would be pretty cool. We loved the class and shared the rides back and forth to Boise. Reta and her husband are part owners of 40 acres five miles back in the high country on Boulder Creek. The road to their place is private, so they pretty much have a huge slug of real estate to themselves. Reta went crazy identifying wildflowers and taking pictures. Last August a guest found morel mushrooms in a glen near their cabin. Needless, to say, Reta was excited. Pictures were taken and when the mushroom class came up, she was on it like M on sorghum cookies.

Class was at the Idaho Fish and Game trophy room on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. Not a problem, yeah right. That was the weekend of the State BB tournament and Fruitland was 20-2 with a good chance to win it all (They did!!) Luck was with us. FHS drew the afternoon bracket on Thursday. Game in Meridian on Friday ended at 7:30. Class started at 7:30. We were only 20 minutes late. One of Reta's high school classmates saved our two seats. (He is an interesting story. He is planting 6,000 trees this spring with a plan to grow truffles in Idaho. Like they sell for $120 a pound!!)

Now what did I learn? Oh my. I can make hydrazine. Reta's high school buddy baby sat hydrazine as a colonel in the USAF in the missile program. This is some serious chemical. Hydrazine can kill a person. This mushroom stuff is kind of like a kid playing with his chemistry kit that he got for Christmas at the age of eight.

I know a very edible and safe mushroom, but if it is eaten with alcohol as in a glass of wine with dinner. Bye Bye baby. Nature's ultimate antibuse!

Having taken the class I can't wait to get out looking for mushrooms. I learned to take a spore sample and how to use that sample to start keying out the types of mushrooms I find. I learned a lot of good stuff so as to be able to identify mushrooms. I even joined the Southern Idaho Mycological Association (SIMA). I can't wait for the spring foray and the national mycological (gads, why can't they just use "mushroom"? Now I have to remember how to spell this word) association is coming to Idaho in September for their big national meeting. I got to go. Won't be teaching next year so I will have more time for this kind of adventure.
Okay, the first mushroom pictured will kill a person when alcohol is added to dinner. Reta and I agree that we should not serve that to our friends while at their place at Boulder Creek. We would kill them all!! The second mushroom is just plain deadly.
In the next edition of Papa Coyote's Journey I will disclose how to make hydrazine--a key component in rocket fuel and a deadly poison. Be watching.
Oh, the best thing about this class was that it was free. The instructors hoped for twenty people, thirty-seven signed up and about fifty showed up. We filled that trophy room.
Yeeeeeooooooowwwwwww!!! Spring is springing and Papa Coyote is loving being outdoors. Baseball season starts next Saturday for the high school team. I can't wait.