Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Nathan!

Three years old already.  Time flies!

Fun Spiderman party with Grandpa Joe, Uncle Frank, Aunt Beverly, Pop-pop, Grammy, Mommy and Daddy.  Lots of fun and look at him eat cake!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Men and their Toys

Our downspout drain stopped draining.  Many years ago, Bill, Dann, Bryan, Steve and David (I think I have the players right) dug a trench with a ditch witch from the house to someplace near the edge of our yard.  A pipe was laid to carry the water from the downspouts and it has worked very well until this year.  The problem:  Now that it was clogged, we couldn't find the end of the pipe.  The stones marking the end must have been eaten up by the yard.  Bill dug random holes where he thought the end should be to no avail.

Finally, one bright Saturday - our neighbor Bill Smith rented a backhoe for moving rock on his property.  So the two Bills started poking around, found and dug up the piping. It became a neighborhood event - all the men gather.
They found the middle of the pipe first.  And were able to trace it to the outlet. 
Imagine their surprise when they finally found the pipe end and dug this up.
The lovely maple tree at the edge of our property found the end of the pipe and shot a root right up there.  As they uncovered more pipe, they still had not come to the end of the roots.  The men were concerned the roots had found their way up the downspout.  Finally they got to the end of the root ball.  It was about 30 feet of clogged pipe, and here is a picture of the snaky looking tree roots pulled from the pipe.

Even though there will be significant work cleaning up the holes and replacing and burying the pipes a good time was had by all.  After all, every man wants eventually to operate and use a backhoe.  Don't they?

Friday, September 17, 2010

September Sightings

Since Homer died, we have been experiencing an abundance of critters.  From spiders and moths to chipmunks and birds, who knew the little guy was patrolling the outside from inside.  This morning we saw "new" wildlife, at least it is new for us.  This is the PA state bird, the ruffed grouse.
No kidding, there were at least 15 of them feeding and traveling through our front yard.  So I discovered two very funny things.  First there is a ruffed grouse society (!) and second a group of three or more ruffed grouse is called a Thunder (!!).

Now here is the best one.

We came home from about 6 hours of errands.  We opened my garage door and Bill ran in to answer the phone.  As I began to unload the groceries, what do I see coming out of the garage but a big brownish cat!  He ran low and quick as though he were stalking prey in a field.  The poor thing.  I guess he recognized a cat friendly house and decided to take refuge in this decidedly doggy neighborhood. The garage door was open for half an hour various times during the day today.  At some point, he sneaked in and hid under my car only to be stuck!  I'll have to keep my eye out for him :)

I wonder whether we'll see the wild turkeys tomorrow, or maybe deer, or groundhog, or if we're lucky we'll see that fox everyone is talking about.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


We (Bill) bought a 2010 Jeep after about 15 years and 230,000+ miles with a Pathfinder.  The transition has mixed reviews.

There is a certain freedom that comes with a car that has so many miles on it that you only carry liability insurance.  Other drivers can see that in your eyes (and probably in your paint job) and are careful not to cross you.  You never know what that crazy driver might do.  I had an old car with few miles on it while I was still working for ALPO.  I was coming home from the advertising agency in Phila. when I got stuck in one of those nasty construction-merge traffic jams.  I had been sitting in unmoving traffic for at least 30 minutes then was merged out one too many times and was fuming! I was actually borderline psychotic.  The next car attempting to cut me off was a nice new sports car.  I jerked my wheel in his direction and he backed off so quick I had to laugh.  Nobody bothered me after that.  I'm still not sure if people actually stayed away or if my actions freed my anger.  But I digress.

Since our cars were old, we didn't look for bumps and scratches anymore.  I still watch out for bird droppings on my old car 'cause that can be like acid on any paint job.  In all those miles, we never had a failure (unless you count rust - which was minor)

Now that we have the Jeep, Bill inspects it for dings, scratches and I don't know what else.  And since we had the Jeep, we had a tire blow-out and now the bumper is loose.  He had to pitch a fit at the car dealer today to get it fixed.  The dealer claimed that Bill must have hit something.  Uh - the bumper wasn't dented - it was loose!

Don't get me wrong.  The car is really great.  I love the navigation system and all the stereo bells and whistles.  It can tell you if you have a tire going down, but it can't tell you that running over a rock will split the tire from inside rim to outside rim.

All the things you expect to be great, are great.  However, now we have to inspect the car for shopping cart attacks and manufacturing flaws - at least once a week. 

I wonder how long that will last?