25 June 2007

In Other Words

Anent the high humidity in our house since we turned on the swamp cooler:

"Holy humidity, Batman", exclaimed Robin.

"Leapin' lizards, Sandy, it sure is muggy in here", said Little Orphan Annie to her dog.

"I believe it is rather watery in these parts", said Tom Swift fluidly.

"Everyding is thamp", said Professor Spooner.

And so it goes.

Anyone care to contribute?

24 June 2007

Leapin' Lizards, Sandy, It Sure Is Muggy

Friday evening, there was a power outage, and when the power came back on, our air conditioner didn't. By Saturday morning when a repair crew could get here, they discovered one of the control modules was shot. Since they couldn't get repair parts or a new AC unit until Monday, they helped me get the swamp cooler up and running. I hadn't turned it on since about 2000, but it started right up. A while later, I noticed the air was hot and a lot of water was pouring off the roof, so I went up to take a look. Seems that the water pan had corroded and water was leaking out the bottom as fast as it was coming in. So I spent the next 2 or 3 hours trying to get it repaired well enough too hold water at least until Monday. Grandma went to the local Home Depot for me and brought back some roofing cement to plaster on the bottom, but it didn't hold up. The next step was to seal a piece of plastic in the tray, which worked. All of this while working on the roof in the hot sun with a temperature in the 100s. Not something I'd recommend to anyone. So this morning we woke up to 73 degrees in the house and enough humidity to make puddles. But at least we're not baking, and the swamp cooler is still working.

21 June 2007

Hot Enough For Ya?

According to my physical, blood work and dental cleaning this week, I'm in great shape, but last night almost did me in. Walt Whitman wrote "Out of the cradle endlessly rocking...", but here it was "Into the inferno endlessly turning" as our air conditioner had quit on us after bringing the temperature UP to 85. We called a repair service and they came right out to get it going, and when the repairman left, all was in working order. HOWEVER, a while after he left (around 8 or 9), the unit stopped bringing in the cold and brought in the warm. So we tossed and turned all night, catching the sandman for a few (darned few) winks. The great part was that the repair company was here before 7 this morning to find the true cause - a bad fan motor. Right now, all is well and the temperature is slowly dropping into the comfortable range. Yesterday, the official temperature was over 110, and today it's forecast to reach within a degree or two of the record of 115. So we count as one of our blessings the repair company - aptly named Cold Blue.

They're Engaged!

Congratulations to Jeanna and Chris on the announcement of their engagement! We'll pack our bags as soon as we know where and when the wedding will be.

16 June 2007

Happy Birthday, Unc

Happy birthday, Uncle Henry. 96 and still going strong! Congratulations.

15 June 2007

Working, Part 1


Fred, my brother, took a job in Batavia, NY selling the Saturday Evening Post from door to door. He received about 5 cents for each issue sold. The magazine was published weekly. The profit picture was so enticing I decided to begin my career as a door-to-door salesman also. That was in the winter of 1940-41 when I was 9 years old. There were no child labor laws that could keep me off the streets and away from those 5 cent profits. As I recall, winter set in shortly after the beginning of my career, and the ensuing cold weather and snow put an end to it, quite abruptly. What the labor laws couldn’t do, the weather did.

Working, Part 2


While attending Monroe High School in Rochester, NY, I found employment at Bowker’s Dairy on South Clinton Avenue, near the corner of Meigs Street. My brother, Fred, also worked there. Bowkers made their own ice cream and sold it in bulk as well as across the counter in an ice cream parlor. That’s where we labored. It was probably the best place I could ever have dreamed of working, especially when the manager told us we could eat as much ice cream as we wanted. He didn’t know our capacity. Some days we would stand by the ice cream machine and eat as fast as it would be poured into dixie cups. Many times we were told to go back out front and wait for customers so they could make dixie cups instead of just feeding us. I still remember how good that ice cream tasted fresh from the mixer.

I worked at the counter first. It is quite a trick to hold four cones and fill them with single or double dips without crushing one or two cones. It’s also quite a trick to keep customers happy when they have to wait their turn and you have to remember who came in ahead of who. After serving my apprenticeship at the cone counter, I was moved to the soda and sundae counter, where I had to learn all the recipes. “A Black and White Sundae is 1 scoop vanilla, 1 scoop chocolate, 1 squeeze chocolate syrup on the vanilla, 1 spoon of marshmallow cream on the chocolate, topped with whipped cream.” “A Cherry Soda is 1 scoop vanilla, 3 squeezes cherry syrup, fill the glass with soda water while stirring with a spoon.” That sort of thing. If we made a mistake, we would set it aside and eat it later when there were no orders waiting to be made up.

Most of us were High School students working after school and on weekends, but we always wanted time off for certain things like an important basketball game or to take a girl to the movies. That cost 25 cents at the Clinton Theater just down the street.

One time, Fred and his friend, Doug, and I picked up our pay, then headed to Batavia Downs to watch the horse races. The manager wanted us to work, but we refused. I think that was the beginning of the end of our employment at Bowkers. It had been fun. Many of our classmates hung out there after school. There was a juke box and we played our favorite songs, like “Music, Maestro, Please” or “Ahab the Arab” or “Moon Over Miami.” Great songs. And only a nickel per.

06 June 2007


Now that the morning temperatures are in the 70s, we have a new routine. After feeding the girls, Grandma and I go for our walk, then home for breakfast and the morning news. We were waiting until we had devoured the news and our gruel before venturing out. Summer is nice but it's difficult to think about walking any other time than first thing.

I have my annual physical this month, so I told our Doctor I'd try to get into shape by then. That means doing nothing different, because I think I'm in good shape now considering the shape I'm in. My weight is fairly steady, moving up and down within a 2 or 3 pound range. Grandma is a good cook, so our diet is sound. And walking is good for the cardiovascular system. The only problem is that my cataracts are beginning to come out of hibernation; I was told over 35 years ago that they were starting. Probably by this autumn I'll need to have them checked for surgery. All in all, not bad for a guy about to become 76 years old.

04 June 2007

Today's Quote

"A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships."

~ Helen Keller

03 June 2007


We are just recovering from the news about the tainted pet food coming from China when this story appeared in the morning paper:

"Chinese firms cornering global market for vitamins
"If you pop a vitamin C tablet in your mouth, it's a good bet it came from China. Indeed, many of the world's vitamins are now made in China.
"In less than a decade, China has captured 90 percent of the U.S. market for vitamin C, driving almost everyone else out of business.
"Chinese pharmaceutical companies also have taken over much of the world market in the production of antibodies, analgesics, enzymes and primary amino acids. According to an industry group, China makes 70 percent of the world's penicillin, 50 percent of its aspirin and 35 percent of its acetaminophen (often sold under the brand name Tylenol), as well as the bulk of vitamins A, B12, C and E."

The article goes on to report some of the suppliers are "sloppy bucket shops" with no oversight. Sure is scary news.