Archive | April, 2019

Breaking and Entering

27 Apr

Today’s Calvin and Hobbes cartoon starts an arc in which their house is broken into while the family was out of town. I know the feeling.

My grandmother died Christmas of 1976, and because her house was fairly isolated, my parents decided to stay there for a few days to keep an eye on things.  While they were away, some of the local hoodlums decided to break into their house! My parents lived in a development, but this happened on New Year’s Eve, so nobody paid much attention to any sort of noise or lights. Neighbors discovered the damage in the morning and had called the police.

The “perps” broke through the picture window in the living room, knocking over the Christmas tree in the process. They dumped all of Mum’s cookbooks on the floor, and threw clothes all over the laundry room. They couldn’t figure out how the pocket door between the foyer and the study worked, and had thrown a chair and a foot stool against it, trying to break it down. They’d flipped all of the mattresses off the beds, and rummaged through Mum’s closet, but hadn’t taken any of her jewelry. In an effort to keep the bedroom door from swinging shut, they’d stomped on a beverage can and used it as a doorstop. Ironically, my dad used that can (it was covered with Contact® paper) as a Mite Box, and it held whatever money they were looking for. Mostly, it looked as if they were more interested in making a mess than anything else. Mum was a schoolteacher at the time, and the police thought it might be a  “revenge” thing.

Our house was broken into three times in one season!

I had retired in March of 1983, but my company had called me back for the summer. Eldest daughter was getting married, so the extra money came in handy.  Youngest daughter had come home from school in early September to find the back door wide open. Again, call the police. Other than the open door, we couldn’t see any sign of breaking in, but all of the drawers had been pulled out of the silver chest, and all of our sterling was gone. I had a service for twelve, and when my grandmother died my sister and I had split her silver, so I had a good bit of it.  This was not too long after the Hunt brothers had cornered the silver market, so it was fairly valuable. The girls had a schoolmate who showed up in our house – uninvited and unexpected – fairly often, and we suggested they look into Eddy’s whereabouts on the day of the robbery. Nothing ever came of it.  Our silver chest resembles a small buffet; most people wouldn’t recognize it as anything but a side table, which is why we fingered that young man. He’d been here often enough to know what it was.

Later in the fall,  we were hit twice in less than ten days. My sister had come up to visit for the day, so we could drop off a small mountain things at a local thrift shop and have lunch together. I’ve called The Squire every day at 1:00 since our first date, so I gave him a buzz and Lynn called her husband. We piled all of our donations in my car and set off. When we came home, the door was open and the dog was running around.  Once again, my silver was gone (the insurance company had paid to have it replaced), as well as both my jewelry box and The Squire’s. I lost everything but my wedding band. They also taken all of The Squire’s computer set up. This was in the early 80s, and that Atari had set him back $1,300! He’d been on jury duty and the bank had let him keep the money.

The worst of it was that they’d broken into a locked cabinet, and used his hack saw to cut through the chain that secured three long guns. One was simply a BB gun, but the other two had more oomph. About six months later, one of those guns was used to kill a neighbor. (  We now have a real “thing” about people who keep guns.

They came back a few days later and took a few things they’d missed, and stayed long enough to fix themselves a sandwich!

Now, we have an alarm system, monitored by the local police department. And observant neighbors.

A Fate Worse Than Death

21 Apr

I am becoming my mother.

There. I said it out loud. I am becoming my mother.  Every year, my Lenten discipline is to try to be less judgmental, but I’m not only not making any progress, but I’m steadily losing ground.

We all have things that drive us nuts, but most people can bite their tongue and keep on going. Not I. Our parish is buying about twenty new prayer books – at $15 a pop – to replace those with pages that are falling out. Several years ago, one of our morning groups – the purpose changes, but the membership seems to remain steady – made bookmarks for every hymnal and prayer book in the racks. They are probably more important for the prayer books, as you must flip back and forth between the service, the psalm, the collect, and the Prayers of the People. Three of these change every week, and there are four ribbons, so you can find your place again quickly. Half of the time, people jam the open book into the rack, just about guaranteeing that the pages will fall out.  When I’m ushering with The Squire I will reach into the pew, close the offending books and put them on the seat. Shape up, folks!

We used to have one member who always pulled the bookmarks and tossed them aside. When I asked him why he did it, he replied they were never in the right place. “Herb, do you honestly think we have a team of pixies that come in every Saturday to mark the books?”

During Lent we have soup suppers every Wednesday night, with two kinds of soup, great chunks of Italian bread, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dessert. Every blessed week, there are about twice as many PBJ sandwiches as needed, and they get tossed in the trash. I dig them out and throw them into the yard for the wild life, but it is still a monumental waste of food. How about fixing only half as much?

This morning – Easter Sunday, mind you! – Mac was wearing a huge fuzzy top hat, complete with white ears. While the rest of us were waiting in silence for the service to start, he pushed some button, and the ears began to waggle back and forth in time to “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”. In church. I gave him my best Audrey Parker glare and he turned it off. That or the death rays broke to fool thing!

I’ve turned into my mother! Pray for me!

A “Turn” for the Worse

17 Apr

This morning, the Squire and I were waiting to make a left turn, watching for an opening in the traffic in the on-coming lane.

A box truck was second in line to come toward us, with a yellow car directly behind him. The first car came through the intersection, with the truck behind it. The yellow car suddenly pulled into the left turn lane;  we simply figured the driver had realized they were in the wrong lane. But No! The car pulled around the box truck – passing it on the wrong side! – and then zipped in front of it. The driver of the yellow car was heading straight toward us, and then squeezed between us and the truck, honking her horn madly, as if she though the truck was in the wrong!  She was close enough to our van we could count her freckles!

It is a wonder we weren’t involved in a horrible accident! If the car could have hit us head-on, which is what we were bracing for, or she would have side-swiped us, possibly pushing us into traffic in the right-hand lane. She could have caused the truck driver to swerve, throwing him into the ditch or the farmer’s field.

I don’t care where you were going, lady. Nothing is so important that you had to risk getting three vehicles involved in a major crash, possibly ending up seriously injured herself.


Is Paris Burning?

15 Apr

We’ve been glued to the TV most of the afternoon, watching and listening as Notre Dame de Paris burns.

In many ways it is an eerie replay of 9/11, seeing the structure crumble, but this time there seems to have been no loss of life, and it doesn’t seem to have been arson.  The first reports are that the fire began in the attic, which gave visitors and workmen time to evacuate. One person they interviewed said he and his family were just inside, and as other people left hurriedly they were asked to leave, too. At that time, they did not know what the problem was – they simply thought it was closing time – but it very quickly became obvious that the cathedral was on fire.

At the moment – 6PM – the fire is “under control” but there is a lot of concern about the two towers on the front of the building. The fire is so hot that they don’t want to spray too much water for fear of cracking the stone, but there is a real danger that the bells – which are massive – might fall, which would cause a total disaster.

Authorities have been trying to rescue the many, many precious works of art, as well as the relics housed in the cathedral. The crowds outside are massive, but very quiet. They have been singing hymns all through the evening. The fire broke out around 5 PM local time, and it is now pushing midnight, and many people look as if they are in for the long haul.

9:30 here, and things seem to be settling a bit in Paris. There are still some hot spots, but the fire is pretty much out. The organ and most of the stained glass windows survived, and the bell towers did not collapse. That was a real concern, as those bells crashing to the ground would have caused a monumental amount of damage. President Macron has spoken to the French people, and expressed his gratitude to the fire fighters and other emergency responders, there were no casualties, and the fire seems to have been an accident.

All is not well in the world, but it could have been infinitely worse. Bad enough, heaven knows, but it could have been even worse.



Culture Shock

11 Apr

I stopped in Target today to grab some pantyhose and watched a young woman near me select several very nice bras. Real Victoria’s Secret sort of items. I probably wouldn’t have noticed if it hadn’t been for her hijab.

You just never know about these things.

Something is Rotten in Bradshaw

10 Apr

Something has died in the woods behind us. We’ve had our share of deer that have been hit by car, as well as the usual assortment of smaller critters. I don’t know what’s back there, but from the size of the stench, it has to be an elephant.  (And no, I’m not going back there to look!)


What a Good Idea!

5 Apr

Last night I stopped at a library in an adjacent county to grab I book I had requested. I stood in front of the reserved shelves for quite a while, looking for the “R” section. A librarian wandered past and I asked her to help me.

“The ‘M’s’ are there, so the ‘R’s’ ought to be here” I waved my arms at the shelves, “but I just don’t see them What am I missing?”

“Oh, they’re right here”, she replied, and bent over to indicate a shelf near the floor. “They are listed this way”, and she pointed up and down.

A-B                         G-H

C-D                         I-J

E-F                         L-M, etc.

I thanked her and remarked that the books in my county are arranged straight across the shelf, “the way you do with Dewey numbers.”

“Oh! That’s a good idea! I’ll have to suggest that”, and she zipped off into the office.

To quote the Late and Unlamented, I never heard of such a thing.