Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Wheelchair lady

We were coming home from the grocery store the other day- he goes with me on the "big shop" on the last day of the month. The route home takes us across a shopping center's car park. It's got one store in it now (a dollar store of some kind, I don't remember which chain) and a hospital's "this-side-of-town clinic" and that's it, just a vast expanse of sparsely-used parking lot. It is also within view of a couple apartment complexes that are for seniors. By "seniors", I speak of our elders, not the hyperactive teens in their last year of high school (or is mine the only one that seems hyperactive?). Not a nursing home, but an actual apartment complex that caters to the older generation and has activities but everyone lives in their own flat. My grandmother lived in one and it was quite nice.

Anyway, we're shooting across this car park- and it was windy that day, and it was starting to sprinkle- and there's an older woman in one of those electric wheelchair/scooter things. She had an umbrella tilted against the wind and was obviously heading toward the grocery store. She's one of a handful you can see on a regular basis. What they usually do is leave their electric scooter at the grocery store's cart section, plugged in, and use the store's electric cart. Which is kinda cool, because the store could totally be jerks about it, but they're not.

DG looks at her and says something along the lines of how much that has to suck. So, I point out the elderly-living complex and say she's probably from there, so it isn't a biggie.

DG: "What if she breaks down?"

Me: "You mean, what if her battery dies?"

DG: "Okay, that then."

Me: "You don't think she knows if her battery is fully charged or not? I think she'd take care of it before leaving, but okay."

DG: "So she'd get stuck out here, in the rain!"

Me: "You don't think someone would stop and offer to help? Or at least stop and offer the use of a cell phone if she didn't have one?"

DG: "No, people are jerks."

Me: "I'm not. I'd stop and offer a ride or at least my cell phone."

DG: "You're not normal. Normal people wouldn't stop. She'd be stuck there all night."

Me: "It's noon. You don't think in the eight hours between now and 'dark' she'd not get help?"

DG: "Let's say she left in the dark."

Me: "But she didn't, she left in the daytime. It's NOON, she'll be fine, even if she loses her battery power."

DG: "Let's say she leaves at like four o'clock..."

Me: "It doesn't get dark till around eight, she's got four hours. I think she'd be fine."

DG: "Let's say she leaves at four o'clock in the winter and then she has a blowout!"

Me: "Now she's having a blowout? A second ago her battery died."

DG: "She's stuck there and nobody will help her because you're not there and then the thugs come out."

Me: "The thugs only come out at night?"

DG: "You didn't know? So they put her up on blocks and steal her tires! They got rims on those, you know."

Me: "So, you're saying that she would leave her house an hour from darkness and her battery would die-"

DG: "Or she'd blowout."

Me: "Or she'd have a blowout and then nobody would help her. Nobody would help a woman in an electric wheelchair in the middle of a parking lot, just stranded? They'd just leave her there?"

DG: "People are jerks, man."

And then we got home and he dropped the entire subject, fast. It was as if, once home, the poor, stranded wheelchair lady was of no consequence. We can only assume she made it back to her home, unscathed. I mean, there was nothing in the news about a wheelchair lady, put up on blocks and wheel-less till morning.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rebuilding the deck and such...

Years ago... years and years... I'd say, 2003? I'm not sure exactly, but it was before Shawn came to visit in 2004... but back then, DG built the deck on the back of the house. A few years later (after 2006- I know this because I have photos), he added an extension to the deck because "the swing was tearing up" the grass. It wasn't the swing, it was the kids' feet, but back to the moment at hand.

I must warn you now. I'm going to show some photos. In a few of these photos, DG is shirtless. Please, contain yourselves.

Here are some photos of DG building the deck. These were mostly taken with a webcam, because that's all I had back then. So it HAD to be around 2003.

Me, starting the deck

Me again

The deck

And here, he's almost done.

me finishing the deck

The finished deck.

The deck.

And, after a few years, he built the swing. And that's when he had to put the extension onto the deck. I asked him why he didn't just make the second part of the deck the same height and he can't answer me. Seriously, I just asked him. He said, "I dunno... the deck with the two levels... *mumble-mumble*... kinda cool... I wasn't thinking..." and he trailed off (see, NASCAR is on, he's distracted).

Some of these were done with a better-than-webcam camera, because by then, one of my online friends had given me a Polaroid digital camera.

Deck extension



The deck

the back of the deck-

So, you see the deck and how he built it all by himself. It's a damn fine deck too. Great place for photo set-ups and we don't use it nearly enough. Well, it's old now. Almost ten years old. And he never treated it with anything, so he's just going to rebuild the whole thing. And he decided he would build the whole deck, all one height. So I had some questions.

Obviously, I wanted to know why he was going to leave the steps in the same spot.

He said because he didn't want to build a new brick walkway, and he'd have to move a bunch of shrubbery.

Very well then.

If you look at the photo of the deck, you can see how only a small corner matches up to a small corner of the other part of the deck. Why not just extend the upper deck a little and make the whole thing one big deck at that end?

He said because he'd have to dig up six or seven shrubs and "find new places" for them. He doesn't want to do this. He just now tried to tell me he'd have to get more shrubs. Or he'd need less and would have leftover shrubs. So, I used an Australian Cadbury bar to represent the deck against the house and a greeting card to represent the extended part and explained it to him. But for you, I'll show you in MS Paint. The black part represents the deck (for the most part, I didn't add the part that goes around the corner to our door). The green part- those are the shrubs... the number is approximate. The red square indicates what I think he should do for the deck, moving those shrubs to the outer edge of it.

So, I asked him- why not do this? I showed him several times, using my props and explaining how it would just be all one open deck at the end instead of a whole separate room-like thing. And he can keep the steps where they are (his original plan).

He said, "But it won't work." And I showed him again. "I'd need more shrubs!" then it was, "I'd have extra shrubs."

So I said, "You don't want to do it that way because it'd be more work?"

DG: "Yes! NO! Stop it!"

Me: "Stop what?"

DG: "Making sense. We'll have to talk about it later!" and he was quiet for a moment. "Stop trying to fuse me with logic."

Me: "Fuse you?"

DG: "Yeah. Stop trying to infuse your logic on me! It won't work!"

But it looks like when he rebuilds the deck, he's going to extend it about five feet and join the two levels into one deck. Now, the reason he's not just going to make one giant deck, in one huge rectangle is- we have that shrubbery, but also, some flowers. AND, he parks his truck at an angle there. A full rectangle in that size would make us lose one of our parking spaces.

Speaking of parking spaces, before this discussion of the extension and such, I asked him why he didn't put the steps by the door, actually by the door. They're sort of off-center. His excuse was because of how we park our vehicles now. We have a single-wide driveway and six years ago, we put gravel up to the house so we could park there too. His excuse for the steps was because of this. I said, "But we didn't all drive back then. In fact, till two years ago, it was just you and me."

So he said, "I didn't want to walk out the door and BOOM right into the steps!"

Except that's how it was before. Literally. We opened the door and the three steps down were RIGHT there.

He told me I needed to stop showing my brain and using all this logic on him. Because it's a bad thing.

In completely unrelated news, I opened an etsy shop to continue to sell my photos. We still have thirteen birdhouses leftover from the etsy shop for the NYC trip. If you want one, let me know, we can do a paypal kind of thing without the etsy involvement. Here's the link to "Pahz Photography" on etsy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Disaster Movies and Mouses

I was supposed to do this blog a few days ago, but I got sidetracked by things like "real life" and an actual gig this weekend where I had to do some maintenance before I set out for it. (the "gig" is one of my hobbies- I used to try and make money at it, but turns out, there's not much of a market for it around here unless you're able to network in the real live world and for four years, I wasn't able. But I do it whenever this place calls me and they called. I'm doing it again next month at the local two-day ren faire. What is it? I do psychic and tarot card readings).

But, I didn't get around to doing a blog post, so this will be spotty. I took notes, but I also take lots of pain killers and well, memory and bad handwriting are even worse on pain killers. I don't recall exactly how this discussion started, but our son was involved.

I came downstairs on this particular morning and saw that DG was watching "Airport '75" on cable. For you kids who don't know what it is, it's a disaster movie with Charlton Heston and George Kennedy- oh, you don't know who those guys are? Well, in the Seventies, there were a lot of disaster movies made and there was some kind of contractual obligation that the actor named George Kennedy had to be in as many of them as possible.

The gist of the story (for those who don't know) is that a passenger airliner is clipped by a small airplane and the person left at the controls is a stewardess. Heston and his gang of save-the-day-ers do some amazing feats of engineering and air travel to land the plane. His character gets on this jetliner and is trying to determine the amount of damage before he attempts to land it. He says something like, "[complicated-looking shit with a button] is destroyed! I can't tell if it's working or not!"

DG said, "I'll tell you how you know: You push the button and if it works, it works; if it don't, then you'll know!"

Good advice. If you don't know if something will work, just push the button. Then you'll know.

Now about the mouses. I'm not sure exactly how this one got rolling. I get the feeling it had something to do with our son's snake and his feeding of the snake. He feeds it live feeder mice (called "pinks" or "pinkies"). I posted a snippet of video the other day. Apparently, had those mice been wearing shoes, like the rats, they could have gotten away. I asked how he knew this. He said they talked to him.

I asked, "Those little bitty mice talked to you?"

DG: "Not them. Don't be ridiculous. The mouse- the mouses in charge. They told me because they know these things."

Me: "Wouldn't a mouse need two pairs of shoes?"

DG: "No. Why would they?"

Me: "Because they have four feet."

DG: "Not when they put on the shoes they don't! Gawd! They got feet and hands. With hands, you don't need shoes."

Jase started in on something with the mice and two pairs of shoes and asked if they'd have some kind of fundraiser (because sometimes, to keep his stories going, we bring up an older story). Apparently, the "mouses will wear T-shirts" and something with their names being on the shirt. When I asked him why, he exclaimed, "You guys don't you understand!?"

No... not really.

DG: "Mouses ain't got no money so they don't buy shoes anyway."

I asked how they got shoes in the first place (and reminded him of those dear, sad, flea-infested plague rats) and he said, "They evolved!"

Mouses evolved into wearing shoes. And T-shirts. But they ain't got no money to buy shoes. So from what I understand, they distract us by wearing T-shirts and steal our shoes.

For some reason, I have the words "frog's ass-end" on my paper with the conversation notes. None of us can remember what it was about. We know DG said it and he denies saying it. Then he said, "That sounds like something I'd say."

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A video...

Our son has a baby corn snake that he named "Chuck Norris". He feeds it every few days. And he has to feed it a "pinky mouse" which is, sadly, a baby mouse only a few days old. When he gets bigger, he'll be fed (thawed) frozen mice. When Jase fed the snake the last time, he asked if I'd do a video for him to post on a forum for "Herps/inverts". He's been a member for years, having had various lizards as pets.

So, I did. It wasn't really gross and I've seen it happen in the wild (not to a mouse, but I've seen snakes eat spiders/eggs/other things that don't make noise). But, at the end of the video, I got a text message. Jase said, "Every time..." because nearly every time I've done a video for him, I get a text alert. Then the disabled guy came into the room.

Now, he saw it get fed a few days earlier. And apparently, it was much noisier than the day I did this video.

I've edited it down to just the ending and I added a bunch of text to explain what I did and why. So, read on, you have plenty of warning. And if you don't want to read it- basically I tell you there's nothing gross going on and aside from seeing the snake barely moving, there's nothing... But if you don't want to watch it or see the snake, but you want to hear it, then go ahead and push play and minimize the browser (or go to a new tab- you know what to do). When the weird versions of Mozart end is when the video starts.

See? That wasn't so bad. And you got to hear DG act like an idiot. And that's what counts.