Monday, May 30, 2005

121 and 122

Don and Leota Buch have had an antiques dealership at their farm near Keystone, IA for, oh, probably a bizillion years. However, their age and health has (very unfortunately) slowed them down considerably, so they sold out of the antiques business by having a two day auction. Mom and I went, both days, and had a BLAST. On the first day they sold the "small stuff" like glassware, toys and collectibles, and on the second day they sold tools and furniture. I bought a bunch of stuff, and so did Mom, but I definitely bought more than Mom. But it was great, especially on the second day, because Mom and I both got the furniture pieces we wanted at less than what we'd budgeted for it. I got a dresser for Mary's room, a "commode" (an old fashioned style of wash stand) for the dining room, and a three drawer night stand for Carl, which I plan to refinish because I only spent five bucks for it. Mom got a really nice short cabinet which is very much (if not exactly) like one she and Dad had years ago. She plans to put it in her bedroom, somewhere. And of course I got stuff to paint on: three milk cans and an old glass canister set. I also bought (for my shop) a 9.6 volt cordless drill with charger for five bucks. The drill was practically new, still in the case, but missing the bits that came with it. No problem. Dad gave Carl countless sets of Harbor Freight drill bits, so I'll just mooch one of those.

But even better than getting great deals at the sales, Mom and I had a good time. The auctioneers were really funny, and by mid-day Saturday they had Mom's (122) and my (121) numbers memorized. They also had the "dealers" numbers memorized: actually, they knew most of the dealers by name already. "Dealers" are people who own antique and resale shops and show up at these auctions looking for good deals. They got them at this auction. Everything went cheap, and everyone I talked to said that they'd have gotten 10% more per item if they'd taken a day and cleaned the bugs, dust and cobwebs out of the furniture. When Mom and I got back Sunday afternoon, we took all the furnture off the pickup, spread it out on the driveway, and cleaned it up before we took it inside. Thank goodness for Murphy's Oil SoapWipes.

So the next time a good auction comes up, I'll call Mom and if we can go, we'll go. If you want to join us, you'll have to comment to this blog so I'll know to call you, too. I even have an extra commode now, so you'll have a place to wash up.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Angels and Others

The yard really needed mowing last night. The back yard was already done, but the front yard needed to be finished, and I was worn out from mowing the back yard and tilling the garden and planting new seed. (How did this end up as my garden, anyway?) I e-mailed Carl and asked him if he'd finish the mowing while I took Mary to T-ball practice, but he called home and said that his evil slave-driving bosses were making him stay late. (Maybe he had to write "I will not throw spitballs during teleconferences" 1000 times on a white board or something.) Anyway, so after supper it fell to me to finish the mowing. So I asked Hannah if she would help Mary take a quick bath, and I asked both girls that, if I wasn't back in by 8 pm, would they put themselves to bed? No problem, they said. So I finished the mowing. I came in around 8:20 - the house was quiet, so I washed my hands and went upstairs to check on the girls. As they'd promised, they were both in bed, and Hannah had helped Mary with her bath. My little angels, every once in a while they really come through for me. As a reward, I gave them both money so they could buy juice from the school's vending machine. They deserved it.

Well, my girls good behaviour was the angel part. The males of the Bode household, however, are the Others. They've not been bad or anything (at least, not that I know of) but they keep racking up doctor bills. Carl (poor, suffering, overworked Carl) has his Hernia Trio, and now Judah has a tumor on his eye that's gonna cost a couple Franklins to have removed. He needs to be to the vet's by 7 am (Thursday) and he'll stay all day because after they "burn" the tumor off, he'll have to recover from the effects of anesthesia. The vet's assistant told me that when we pick him up, he'll be a little "dopey", to which I replied, "He's always dopey!" I was, of course, kidding. They'll send the tumor to the vet labs at Iowa State University for a biopsy - hopefully this thing is benign. I can't afford the alternative.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but Carl will have his hernia surgery on June 21st. So keep him in your prayers. This tummyache is gonna last a looooonng time.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Greetings from Grinderswitch

Thanks for the link to the picture, Bob. What a hoot! How-deeee! I'm just so proud to be here!

Well, me and my hat (and Carl and Mary) did get some gardening done yesterday. I've now discovered a total of seven asparagus plants, and I'm thrilled. My onions are at "green" stage, so some of them can be harvested and eaten. The rest will grow to full size and will be harvested later. I have no idea what I'm going to do with all those onions. Nor do I have any idea of what I'm going to do with the radishes I harvested yesterday. I pulled out the big ones (and thus finally thinned the patch) and I've got, like, maybe forty or so. We also have a big bowl of leaf lettuce, and lots more to come. I need to thin that patch, and I think I'll just dump the leaves in the back yard (a person can only eat so much salad) and let the rabbits have it. Hmmm, let the rabbits have it....sic 'em, Judah! Kill the wabbit!

But I digress. Yesterday, with Mary's help, I planted six tomato and four green pepper plants. It was really windy, so I built a short chicken wire fence and tied the tomato plants to that. I also tied the pepper plants to stakes, so hopefully they'll get nice and strong. But I need to get some more seed in, and I wasn't relishing the idea of turning the soil over manually, so I asked Carl if I could rent the cultivator-thingy again. I said, "It would help get rid of these weeds, too." He said that rather than rent a cultivator (and keep renting it) I should just get one and be done with it. So today I went shopping and found a nice one - a Troy-Built 26cc four-cycle gas cultivator-edger. (insert Tim Taylor grunt here) It came assembled, but I haven't done anything with it yet because the instructions say you need "gas stabilizer" and I don't have any. At least not the internal-combustion engine type - Maalox Max doesn't count. So instead of tilling the garden, I gave the dog a bath. He needed it. He really stank.

So tonight, hopefully, after Carl gets home (and also after supper) I'll get out and till the garden up. Then I'll hoe around the tomato and pepper plants, and I'll probably plant seed tomorrow. I think I'm turning into my Mom...but that's not a bad thing, is it?

Here, have a radish.....

Friday, May 20, 2005

Unfortunately, I Was Right

In my last posting, I said that Carl might nix the idea of building a house on a saddleback ridge, and therefore we wouldn't make an offer on the land for sale. I was right. Last night we went out there (in our pickup) with the girls and the dog (girls in the cab, dog in the truckbed) and drove around the site. At one point, Carl got out and measured the width of the ridge, which was narrower than I'd thought. When he got back in the truck, I asked him what he thought of the place. He wasn't impressed, and given the way he said it I knew it was futile to even consider the place. But I know that when (and if) God wants us to have a farm, He'll show us the right one. Until then, hard as it is, I shall be patient.

Also in the meantime I shall continue my attempt at micro-farming in our garden. Of all the things I've planted, only the onions are doing well. The lettuce and radishes were planted too close together, and I haven't had time to thin them out. Plus, bird-seed grass is taking over a section of the lettuce-and-radish patch, and I have no desire to pull those weeds. I may have said "my attempt at micro-farming" but it's still not my garden. However, despite my best attempts at failure, five of my twelve asparagus plants survived and are now slowly growing. And since I don't have enough sense to quit, I plan on working tomorrow in the garden planting green beans, tomatoes and green bell peppers. To that end, I purchased a wide-brimmed straw hat to protect my ears and neck whilst I am kneeling in the dirt. I look like Minnie Pearl.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Pullin' a "Britney"

Pullin' a "Britney" - definition: succumbing to the urge to say "Oops! I did it again."

Well...Oops! I did it again.

Did what?

I went out and looked at another piece of farmland, with the idea that Carl and I might be able to scrape together enough money to buy it. It's approximately 22 acres, all pasture, with one small pond on it. That's the good news. The bad news is, the level spot I thought was available isn't. What's for sale is the pasture that has the 14 - 18% grade slope on it, and the sellers want way too much for it. They want $4000 per acre, and it's barely worth $2500. So, if God opens the proper doors for us to make an offer, I'll start at $2000 and then negotiate via counter offers. Another bit of bad news is Carl hasn't seen it yet, and he may nix the whole idea of building a house on a saddleback ridge. There are pros and cons to doing so, and its something we'll have to discuss.

Speaking of Carl, I want everyone to pray for him. He pulled a "Britney" too. Prologue: back when Carl was in sixth grade, he had a hernia. It apparently was pretty bad, and required surgery and several weeks of recovery. Well, oops! he did it again, but this time he has three!! My poor baby! (insert sniffle here) The doctor has scheduled him for surgery in mid-June because he (the doctor) wants him (Carl) to wait until we (the family) get back from South Dakota before going under the knife. Meanwhile, I plan on not letting him carry anything heavier than a full pop can.

So I guess the Bode's need prayers all around: for Carl and his Hernia Trio, and for the opportunity to move to the country, if it be God's will. I'll keep you informed, of course, as to what happens next.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of ... what's the name of this show, again?

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Blissful Eighteen

Today is my wedding anniversary. My wonderful hubby and I have been married for 18 years. That sounds like a long time, but it doesn't feel like it. I guess the old saying is true: Time flies when you're having fun!

We're not doing anything special for our anniversary, and that's fine with me. Carl did say that, on our 20th anniversary, we'd go on an Alaskan cruise, so I'm looking forward to that. Meanwhile, he did go with me to a retirement "party" for my favorite high school teacher, Judith Jacobs, and they catered in Olive Garden lasagna, so I guess that counts as "going out to dinner". The retirement thing was pretty cool, too. They held it in the auditorium, and a bunch of former students (including myself) got up on stage and gave tributes to Judy. I (of course) gave her a painting. Between the tribute presentation and the dinner, I got a chance to talk with some former schoolmates. I graduated a year earlier than they did, so that made me the oldest alumni in the place, which was fine because even though I was the oldest, I wasn't the fattest. Heh heh heh.

So we had a good weekend, and I've had a great married life, so what else is there to say?

How about -- Happy Anniversary, honey. I Love You!!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Blatherskite Threads

I've been chatting online (via a blog thread) with a lady who's marrying a computer engineer. When she found out that my wonderful husband is also an engineer, she asked me about his wardrobe. It seems her fiance wears nothing but "plaid shirts with khaki or black pants" and she wondered if this lack of fashion sense was intrinsic amongst engineer-types. I assured her that yes, it is. Not only do engineers have little or no fashion sense, they rely heavily on the women in their lives to make sure that their outfits are reasonably color coordinated. Engineers with fashion sense are called Graphic Designers.

Now you make think I'm exaggerating, but I have proof. No. 1 - There are four guys in our church congregation, including Carl, who work for Rockwell-Collins. Yesterday morning, three of the four (including Carl) were wearing plaid shirts with either khaki or black/dark grey pants. The fourth guy was wearing a plain white short sleeve shirt and dark pants. The computer sales guy in our church was also wearing dark pants, but with a very colorful tropical print shirt. I think this is because engineer-type guys aren't trying to sell anything to anybody, so they don't wear clothes that (on purpose) draw attention to themselves. The computer sales guy, on the other hand, is trying to impress customers, so his wardrobe is a little more flamboyant. And if I was a customer, I'd be impressed. Really. For a tropical print shirt, it was very tasteful. No. 2 - when Carl went to Brazil (I think I mentioned this before) I helped him lay out all of his outfits before he packed them, and I made him a list of what to wear with what and on what day to wear it. And Carl wasn't the only one with a list. There were other guys in the group whose wives laid out their clothes and sent along lists, too. That's what we engineer wives are for.

My Mom was an engineer's wife, too, but for a long time she had it easy. I mean, in the wardrobe matching department. For years the standard engineer's work "uniform" was a dark suit and tie with a white shirt. The worst thing for Mom was ironing all those shirts. But then along came Permanent Press, so Mom didn't have to iron anymore, and putting together Dad's wardrobe was pretty simple. Somewhere, though, engineers started wearing colored shirts and non-black suits and ties (I think that was the 70's) and suddenly women were rushing about, making sure that engineer-type guys weren't wearing green-and-purple striped disco shirts with burgundy bell bottom polyester pants. I really can't remember Mom having too much trouble with Dad's outfits. I think he was pretty easy to please. But I know that later, after Dad retired, his outfit of choice was dark blue jeans and a plaid shirt. Hmmm....that sounds familiar. I really think there must be some kind of genetic link between engineering abilities and the desire to wear plaid shirts with dark pants.

By the way, today Carl wore a brown plaid shirt and dark slacks to work. I rest my case.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Iowa Blatherskite

You just gotta love Iowa. The temperature at 6:30 am today was the same as the temperature on Monday at 3:30 pm. From March to June in just five days.

Now, since it's warmed up, I kept a promise to Mary that I'd made a long time ago: on the first really nice day we'd ride bikes to school. It was cloudy and slightly muggy, but that was no problem. It's only about one mile to school and if you stick to the sidewalks and residential streets you'll avoid most of the traffic. Mary did a great job of balancing, avoiding sidewalk obstacles, and of stopping at main intersections. It took us about 15 minutes to get to school, and we had fun.

However, riding back home after leaving Mary at school presented some difficulty. The school is to the north and west of our house, so we had a tail wind all the way there. Coming home I had a headwind, plus a couple of steep uphills, and my knees felt it. I did shift to relieve some of the pressure on my knees, but I felt it just the same.

I really like my bike, though. It's a 15 year old Trek street/trail hybrid, and it's perfect for riding around town. Riding through Atkins takes me back to when I was a kid, riding around Maysville. I wish I was that young again, and I'd feel that young if it wasn't for my knees. And my hips. And my butt. And my grey hair. And my.............

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Ahhhh! Finally, the weather is beginning to warm up. We had some really nice days in early April, but then it got cold, as in put-the-shorts-back-and-get-out-the-sweaters cold. Monday and Tuesday the girls had to wear their winter coats to school, and we had freeze warnings both nights. I hope my trees can recover from their frostbite.

Speaking of Tuesday: we were watching the ABC Evening News while I was making supper, and a segment about corporal punishment came on. I admit I spank my girls OCCASIONALLY, but I cringed when they showed some guy holding a belt that he used as a spanking tool. Hannah noticed my reaction and was curious, so I asked her - "When I spank you, what do I use?" She held up her hand, pointed to it, and said "Your hand." Then I held my hand out and said "Slap my hand, really hard." She did, then I asked her "Did you feel how it stings when you hit my hand?" She said "Yeah" and I said, "Well, my hand stings too, and when I spank you, it makes my hand hurt. That way I won't spank you too much or too hard because I don't want my hand to hurt." She looked at me kind of funny, so I asked her "Do you think I want my hand to hurt?" and she said, "Well, it better hurt!" I almost dropped the dish I was holding, I was laughing so hard. And Carl, who was in the next room, heard what she said and burst out laughing, too. What made it so funny was the fact that she said it with such innocence. My daughter - what a wit!

I'm looking forward to Saturday. Not just because its the weekend, but its Carl's last day of school until August. Finally he'll have the time to do the things he wants to do, like helping Mary practice baseball and working in the garden. His garden, which, by the way, has grown nothing but grass in this cold weather. He'll also have time to do some projects that he's had to put off doing. Poor guy - so much to do and so little time.

And I must be off myself. I also need to be going. I have a project of my own that I need to get done before next Saturday, and it ain't gonna get done by itself. 'Bye!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

This Post is for Gals Only

WARNING TO GUYS: What follows is blatherskite about certain feminine health issues. I don't think you'll find it very interesting, and I'm not writing this for you, anyway. I'm writing this to get sympathy from my fellow females. Read it if you must, but remember: YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!!

When Mom and Uncle Bob were here Saturday, we had sandwiches for lunch, and we put some of Carl's homemade (machine made) bread out on the table. I told Uncle Bob that Carl makes the bread because, for some weird reason, I can't get yeast to rise in bread. No matter how hard I try, I just can't do it. Mom says its because I don't get the water temperature right, but I don't agree. I think I must have some chemical in my skin that seeps out through pores in my hands and that chemical kills the yeast. I mean, I can grow fungus just about anywhere: I have toadstool rings in my yard, and I can grow regular mold on already baked bread, but I can't get yeast to grow. In bread, that is.

Which brings me to my next topic: the only place I can grow yeast, and it's not pleasant. I wasn't sure, but I thought I felt an itch growing in that place and I thought "Oh, it's probably just irritation from wiping too hard or something" so I got some generic Vagisil to take care of it. But Sunday I woke up in real pain. I hurt. So on the way to church I picked up a package of Monistat 3, the kit that heals you in three days. I figured that would take care of my (in case you haven't figured out what's wrong) yeast infection. But I couldn't sit for very long, so we left church early. I used the first tube when we got home, and laid in bed, waiting for it to take effect. That was at 10:30 am. Around 5 pm I was crying in pain, so Carl (bless his fuzzy little heart) went back to Wal-Mart and got the stronger stuff, Monistat 1. I used that, and it helped, a little. I was able to sleep through the night, and the next morning I used the second tube of M3 because the M1 hadn't taken care of the problem. That made me think "Hey, if I use two tubes of M3 and a M1 and I'm still not better, I should call the doctor." I did, and he gave me a prescription for generic Diflucan. I took one yesterday, and I'll take the second one in about an hour. I hope this takes care of it. Last night, as a precaution, I used the last tube of M3 and it sent me into itchy pain spasms, so if this second dose doesn't kill those rotten little yeastie beasties, I'll have to call him back. So please, ladies (and those of you gentlemen who didn't heed my warning) please pray for me, that this will heal without any more trouble.

Thank you.

This Blatherskite Is Late

I had a very nice day Saturday. Yeah, sure, it was cold, windy and it rained occasionally, but it was still a nice day because my Mom and Uncle Bob came up to visit. Uncle Bob is a retired drywaller (an expert drywall specialist) and he showed Carl how to repair damaged areas in preparation for painting. It is my desire to repaint the entire interior of my house before Christmas, and now that Carl has had expert instruction in drywall repair, I can get going just about any time.

The other thing Uncle Bob did while he was here was to go metal detecting around the abandoned railroad foundations north of town. I think I've mentioned this before, but Atkins used to be a railway hub with a roundhouse and railyard. The old railroad tracks have been turned into hiking trails, and you can see the foundations of abandoned buildings off to the sides of the trail, half hidden in brush. These types of things intrigue me - I love a good mystery, and I also love learning about history as long as I don't have to memorize dates and places. So Uncle Bob and I took Judah and the detecting equipment up to the trails (I had permission from the City, Mike specifically) and went nosing around. We didn't find anything really: some old spikes and chunks of metal, and an old wagon handle. But we did find something large, buried fairly deep, that Uncle Bob couldn't dig out. He wasn't too worried about it and said it was probably an old bucket or something. But I'm incurably curious, so today I took a shovel and the dog and went back for a second look. (I figured no one would ask about the shovel since I was walking a moose sized dog.) But the deeply buried object looked like an old paint can: it was pretty eaten up with rust, but the outside of the can appeared to be blue, and only part of it was there. I wasn't disappointed because I'd satisfied my curiosity, plus it was nice out today and both Judah and I got good exercise. But I left an open invitation for Uncle Bob to come back and detect around more buildings (we only did two out of the four) plus I promised him I'd check into more places. Like I said, I love a good mystery.