Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Garden Snakes can be Dangerous

Stolen from Melissa Bratton

Snakes also known as Garter Snakes (Thamnophissirtalis) can be dangerous. Yes, grass snakes, not rattlesnakes. Here's why.

A couple in Sweetwater , Texas , had a lot of potted plants. During a recent cold spell, the wife was bringing a lot of them indoors to protect them from a possible freeze. It turned out that a little green garden grass snake was hidden in one of the plants. When it had warmed up, it slithered out and the wife saw it go under the sofa.

She let out a very loud scream. The husband (who was taking a shower) ran out into the living room naked to see what was the problem. She told him there was a snake under the sofa.

He got down on the floor on his hands and knees to look for it. About that time the family dog came and cold-nosed him on the behind. He thought the snake had bitten him, so he screamed and fell over on the floor.

His wife thought he had had a heart attack, so she covered him up, told him to lie still and called an ambulance. The attendants rushed in, would not listen to his protests, loaded him on the stretcher, and started carrying him out.

About that time, the snake came out from under the sofa and the Emergency Medical Technician saw it and dropped his end of the stretcher. That's when the man broke his leg and why he is went to the hospital.

The wife still had the problem of the snake in the house, so she called on a neighbor who volunteered to capture the snake. He armed himself with a rolled-up newspaper and began poking under the couch. Soon he decided it was gone and told the woman, who sat down on the sofa in relief. But while relaxing, her hand dangled in between the cushions, where she felt the snake wriggling around. She screamed and fainted, the snake rushed back under the sofa.

The neighbor man, seeing her lying there passed out, tried to use CPR to revive her. The neighbor's wife, who had just returned from shopping at the grocery store, saw her husband's mouth on the woman's mouth and slammed her husband in the back of the head with a bag of canned goods, knocking him out and cutting his scalp to a point where it needed stitches.

The noise woke the woman from her dead faint and she saw her neighbor lying on the floor with his wife bending over him, so she assumed that the snake had bitten him. She went to the kitchen and got a small bottle of whiskey, and began pouring it down the man's throat. By now, the police had arrived.

Breathe here...

They saw the unconscious man, smelled the whiskey, and assumed that a drunken fight had occurred. They were about to arrest them all, when the women tried to explain how it all happened over a little garden snake! The police called an ambulance, which took away the neighbor and his sobbing wife.

Now, the little snake again crawled out from under the sofa and one of the policemen drew his gun and fired at it. He missed the snake and hit the leg of the end table. The table fell over, the lamp on it shattered and, as the bulb broke, it started a fire in the drapes. The other policeman tried to beat out the flames, and fell through the window into the yard on top of the family dog who, startled, jumped out and raced into the street, where an oncoming car swerved to avoid it and smashed into the parked police car.

Meanwhile, neighbors saw the burning drapes and called in the fire department. The firemen had started raising the fire ladder when they were halfway down the street. The rising ladder tore out the overhead wires, put out the power, and disconnected the telephones in a ten-square city block area (but they did get the house fire out).

Time passed! Both men were discharged from the hospital, the house was repaired, the dog came home, the police acquired a new car and all was right with their world. A while later they were watching TV and the weatherman announced a cold snap for that night. The wife asked her husband if he thought they should bring in their plants for the night.

And that's when he shot her.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It Just Looks So Wrong

It was one of those "suped" up motorcycles...the front wheel was stretched out about 12 feet from the seat. He actually managed to get a piece of two spots and the area with the yellow diagonal lines.  I did not hang around to see the disabled person retrieve it, I doubt he was...at least physically.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Caught in the Act...

It all started out innocently enough; I thought I would go and get gas for the lawn mower, since I would be needing it soon and also get some onions for the chicken and dumplings I planned on making.  That was it, just a quick loop with two stops I should have been back in a jiffy.

I got to the new Walmart Market and got my onions, and some nice romaine lettuce for a salad.  A quick turn around and I was at the gas station, but the place was packed.  Sometimes that happens, but certainly not at the more expensive place in town.  OK, two pumps are down and the rest (8) seem to be occupied.  Two loops around looking for anyone leaving soon and I found my spot.  Red can in hand I make friends with the pump, at least I tried to.

But that pump wasn't having any of it!  It licked my credit card, winked at me, offered me several types of gas, but when I squeezed the pump so gently...nothing happened.  That continued for several minutes.  A new guy pulled in on the other side of the pump and I wished him luck getting any gas for HIS red can.  He said the pumps had been slow several days ago; it took five minutes or so.  With that he took his can and walked to other pumps hoping for better luck!  I told him this wasn't the only game in town, and took off for another station.

So three minutes later I had my red can full and saved a big 3 cents a gallon in the process.  Got in the car and decided to take the back roads home instead of the busier main road.  That is when it happened.  Turtle.

Right there in the road a turtle not going very far or fast.  Argh...I hate that.  I took a chance and stopped the car right there in the middle of the road, got out and picked up the little guy and placed him on the other side (the direction he was heading) and quickly got back in the car...no traffic yet! 

As I was getting in, I spotted a couple walking toward me in the street.  He said "I'm glad you did that", yes I said, I hate when I see turtles in the street.  His friend said what?  he explained and by then they were next to Mr. Turtle, he said "poor guy".

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Briar Rose Cafe, Farmington, Arkansas

Never let it be said that God doesn't hear and answer your prayers.   In case you are not from here...(OMG I am starting to sound like the natives!!!) I should tell you first that it has been hot. REALLY HOT!!!! FOR A LONG TIME!!!!

That of course means that I cannot make my own bread 'cause you'd have to be nuts to turn on the oven in this heat! But I really do like my own baked bread and I haven't been able to find a place that makes something close to mine. That is, until now. A friend just happened to mention this new bakery/deli in the town next to me.

A couple of weeks ago I went to check it out. My friend said that their Sourdough bread is very close to being in San Francisco. I had my doubts. But I went and looked and felt like a kid in a candy store! They have so much good stuff that I have to ration my visits; that, or seriously consider a new wardrobe!

They have so many kinds of bread, that I haven't yet gotten to the sourdough, since I have been trying all my other favorites. So I have purchased several kinds of bread and they were all fabulous

Like right here, I had a BLTA on a Cibiatta roll (bacon lettuce tomato and avocado) and as you can see a spare cibiatta loaf and a french loaf just in case I get hungry on the way home. Oh, this is bad...very, very, bad.

Oh, the name again is
Briar Rose Cafe
right there on main street in
Farmington, Arkansas

479 300 6027

Oh, they have fabulous desserts, sandwiches and chicken pot pies...did I mention I started a gym membership just to be able to go here often?  I did.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Doing Without

Last Thursday the morning seemed to slip away from me before I realized how late it was getting.  What drove that fact home was the fact that my morning shower was not as warm as usual...I waited too long and wound up taking my shower outside of the pre-selected "on times" for my water heater.  I learned soon after I moved here to put a timer on my water heater or pay dearly every month for hot water that I wasn't using.  So, I have learned to take care of certain things early in the day.

 I was out for the day so it wasn't until I started to clean my dinner dishes that I noticed, again, that the water wasn't very warm.  I went to check the water heater and the pilot light seemed to be out.  Finished up the dishes after heating some water and then I proceeded to read the manual on how to start the water heater.  Of course, I read the instructions right there in front of the water heater in the garage; it was only 98 degrees at the time.  Sweat was dripping down my face when, with my newly acquired water heater knowledge, I went through the process of turning off and then turning on, step by step, my water heater.  Nothing.

I tried it again...still nothing.  So now I have to find a ...well at that point I wasn't sure what I needed.  Did I need a heating and a/c guy or did I need a plumber, jeez this home ownership is not the fun it is cracked up to be!  OK, I decided I needed a plumber, at least in the telephone book plumbers advertise that they repair water heaters, so I went with that.  I wasn't getting any warm fuzzies from any of the ads though, so I decided to search for a plumber online.  I found a couple pretty quickly and then looked a little further for recommendations.  It didn't take long to zero in on what seemed to be a good one.   I  made the call and left a message and hoped I would hear back soon. 

I did and the plan was for him to stop by the next morning; he said he would have to rearrange his schedule though, so he would call me as he started the trip to my place.  I was feeling pretty good that I was able to put things together so quickly.  I got up early and quickly took a cold shower and waited for that call.  It came at 7:50 AM, I was pretty happy with the way things were coming together.

Tommy took the cover off the opening to the heater and doodled with the pilot light.  it didn't work for him either.  I was feeling a little satisfaction, at least I got that part right!  So he doodled some more and disassembled the auto pilot mechanism and said he would have to drive some 30 miles to a supplier to get the part. 

He assured me he could be back in time to fix it before I had to leave at 11:30. He said he had to get it done before I left because he was going away with his wife this weekend. So I was still feeling pretty good about the way things were going.

But about an hour later Tommy called and said "You sure aren't going to like what I am about to tell you"...he said the supply house did not have the part and would not have it till Monday.  Now under normal circumstances I would have said something to show my anger or dissatisfaction but surprisingly I responded "Well, there is only one thing I can say."  "Have a good weekend."  He chuckled a little and I could hear the sound of surprise in his voice when he said he would see me on Monday.

Saturday while I was making coffee and gazing out the kitchen window, it occurred to me that the garden hose had been sitting in the sun for several hours and the first couple of gallons of water would likely be hot or very warm.  I grabbed a couple of big bowls and filled them up with very nice warm water.  Took them into the shower and proceeded to take a makeshift shower that wasn't bad at all.  I was amazed that I could shower this way and use about a gallon of water.  This was decidedly better than using the cold water straight from the shower head.  Actually, my hot water needs are not so great and my work arounds  were more than adequate for what I needed to do.  Laundry was not on my schedule for a couple of more days.  I had the chance to reflect on  some ideas  that I read about in a book titled "A guide to the Good Life" by William Irvine.  This is a book about stoicism and among the principles that are discussed is deliberately doing without something, that we might normally take for granted.  For example, deliberately taking a cold shower, or walking to the store instead of driving or doing without some modern convenience by choice. The idea being, if one does this by choice and in enough instances, should a difficult time come to pass where our comforts are no longer available for us, it will have  less of an impact on our tranquility.

I think I actually experienced that this weekend.  The water heater was not fixed until Tuesday; it was five days without hot water, but using the idea of a makeshift shower and heating the water for washing dishes was really simple and easy to do.  It was not a big deal and now that it is fixed I feel a certain confidence in knowing that I am not as dependent  as I thought I was.  My tranquility was pretty much undisturbed for the whole five days.  I suppose when one can go through life facing the trials and tribulations without having tranquility disturbed, that would be called success.