fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Students - Three, Teacher - Nil

School has begun yet again. The work days leading up to the students arrival were uneventful. I actually got to bed on time. Everything was going smoothly until I woke up and -- BAM!

I had stepped in the shower, which is the first thing I do upon waking. That's when I dropped a new, full bottle of shampoo. I managed to hit only one of my ten toes. I went through my day believing piggie R4 (right foot, fourth toe) to be broken.

As the week progressed, I discovered the toe was not broken. Sore and swollen with an infection, but not broken.

As of this writing, it's already been an interesting week, and it's not even over yet! One of our twins mouthed off at me in the hallway.

Now, don't get me wrong, she wasn't 'mouthing off' at me in a bad way. To the contrary, she was silently enunciating each word carefully, as if to quietly warn me there was a guy with a hockey puck mask and machete right behind me. There wasn't, obviously, but she was clearly trying to tell me something. 

And then there was the kindergartner. I don't usually deal with kindergartners, unless they're in my car rider line at the end of the day.

I won't say who won, but we went about three rounds. He cheated. When the bell sounded to end the rounds, he did NOT go to his corner! And he hit below the belt, figuratively speaking, of course.

There is to be no solace in the cafeteria line for this little ole' teachers assistant. That was where one of my girls looked at my name tag and asked me who was in the picture on my name tag. Then she scrutinized it a bit longer, noting every detail and looked up at me again.
"Hey," she said, finally. "Is that YOU in that picture, Mr. Haworth?!"
I wasn't sure how to interpret the incredulity that I noted in her voice.

I either look a lot better than I do in that ID, or else I look a lot worse. Could I have aged that much in three years? Don't tell me. I don't want to know.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Griswolds Make Grizzly Neighbors

I've lived at my little corner now for approximately seven years. In all that time, I've only recently discovered that Clark W. Griswold, the fictional character from the movie "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," lives directly behind me!

The poor guy recently fell off his roof. It happened around 10pm one evening, several weeks back. Thankfully, he did survive the approximate 25-foot fall. Sadly, he didn't escape injury.

He could've been stringing Christmas lights, though I heard he was cleaning out his gutters when it happened. That late at night, both stories sound dubious, if you ask me.

Regardless, it wasn't until a week ago that I finally made the connection between the neighbor and his similarity to Chevy Chase's movie character. A week ago was when Cousin Eddie moved in.

I must have been at work when the RV first rolled into place. Now the view out my kitchen window consists of Eddie's RV in the road in front of their house, yellow and orange power cords racing between the house and the mobile, silver living quarters. 

I find it strange that I didn't make the connection earlier. When we first moved in, he introduced himself in my back yard in the dark to my mother-in-law. He was barefoot, wearing a t-shirt and underwear, and sporting a steaming cup of coffee. He informed her that he was an insomniac.

For approximately three years, he woke my wife and me up every weekend in the Spring and Fall. During those seasons, every Saturday without fail, he cranked up a bulldozer at 6am in order to grade his back yard. 

That's a whole lot of grading! One would think he was building a pool.

Turns out it took three years of grading in order to make his man cave! The back yard 'storage shed' he built covers more square footage than my house! The two-story structure is replete with electricity, AC and running water. So that's all the other noises we heard...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Driving Miss Daisy?

I got the phone call early, or late by my mother's standards, Wednesday night. Apparently, her Mobile Meals partner had ditched her and Mom was in need of a replacement.

Seeing as how I generally work at the drugstore in the evenings, my wife volunteered me for the position. She said it would give me something productive to do. I already had something to do. And productive is a relative term.

So I found myself driving Mom around in what is to be my son's car, should he survive to be 16.

"You're speeding," my mother said, for the third time.
"I haven't left the driveway, Mom," I said.

I made a beeline for the school that serves as headquarters for Mobile Meals. We got the car loaded up. We got our directions and headed out.

I knew we were in trouble when she started flapping her arms, telling me turn right. She had told me to "head to Lexington Street." That WAS where I was going. She never said which part. Lexington is a long one.

Whew... First house, check. As I backed out, she informed me we would be heading right. I began turning the wheels and backing out, angling the car to the right.

"No," she yelled. "The other way! The other way!"
I felt the need to inform her that we were both facing the same direction.
"That was your right, too, you know, Mom," I said carefully. I started to think I might know why her usual partner had failed to come through for her today.

Another house later, I received the "you're speeding" comment for, perhaps, the sixth time. Strange the way her comment caused me to swerve somewhat erratically.

"My usual partner and I don't drive anything like this," she complained.
"Think it was a badger," I said. "Crazy badgers! Did you see it? No? Really? Must have been a badger in the road... Or a real ugly dog. Maybe. Kinda."

She gave me 'the look.' You know that look that mothers give you when they think you're up to no good. I suspect she didn't believe me.

We were about five houses into our little sojourn when I realized one bag of food wasn't tied. I tried not to notice the peanut butter crackers as I picked up the bag to tie it.
"Get out of that bag!" she said, sneaking up behind me. "If you're THAT hungry, at least wait until the next house. He's blind and probably won't notice."

I glanced back at her over that comment. Did I detect sarcasm? Possibly. Was I being tested? Most certainly.

The climax of our delivery experience came toward the end when she told me to "turn right up here. Head toward Eastchester." I started the turn at a subdued pace.
"Oh... Shoot," she exclaimed. "We're going in the wrong direction. Turn around."
My right turn turned into a rather large counter clockwise circle in the middle of a four-way stop. I had just reached the end of my circle and was about to head back in the opposite direction.
"Oh. That WAS the right direction after all," she said.
I continued on my circle, finally heading the car in the right direction.

As we approached our final destination, I had my epiphany.
"Ya know, Mom," I said, "maybe you should lighten up... You can't afford to lose another driving partner."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Goodbye, Summer!

News flash: school is right around the corner. As a teachers assistant who is nearly staring at three brand new classes of first-graders, I can't help but contemplate over the past summer. No matter how you dice it, this summer has been a rough one.

We didn't even make it to the pool this summer! Of course, that's probably because we didn't even join the pool this summer. With the increased membership cost, I thought it might be more economical to install an in-ground pool in my back yard! Perhaps I'll start digging next May, weather permitting...

This summer hasn't really been a complete bust. The family Kiawah vacation went smoothly, I can add alligators to my unusual list of fishing catches and I seem to have significantly reduced the population of fleas currently cohabitating in my home!

And, happily... No. I mean sadly... Wait, whatever. As of this writing, I have not yet kicked my dependency problem and, because of that, pizza remains a constant staple in my diet.

And then add to that the fact that I got an iPhone. That, actually, could be taken either way. I'm still in the process of getting the hang of this thing. I've just discovered you can change fonts in the notebook! Nifty!

The 'mustard bandits' struck again early this summer. It seems that they have upgraded to grocery carts, though. After sporting a caved in door nearly the whole summer, it took me and my son all of 45 seconds to fix it with a wet, soapy toilet plunger.

And I thought the neighbor who told me about the plunger was crazy for suggesting it. Who knew?

Sadly enough, the freeze pop diet still remains a work in progress, along with all the other potential diets. Also, my back deck remains hot tub-less.

Good news, though! There's always next summer...

Monday, August 5, 2013

New Technology... Is That an App?

I'm currently fighting a battle. You could call it a battle of good versus evil, but that might be laying it on a little thick. No, it's more like a battle of old school sensibility versus new age thought processes.

Loosely translated -- technology is kicking my butt!
I am the proud, new owner of a previously gently used iPhone. I'm discovering that there are many, many things that this phone is capable of doing. That list also includes many things I don't think I am capable of doing, iPhone or not!

Just when I was getting the hang of my iPod, technology throws me a knuckle sandwich, so to speak. My last blog post was written and posted on this strange device. Notice the change in font and photograph that doesn't seem to be there.

It has a camera on it. I actually have a rudimentary knowledge of how to use the camera and have taken numerous photos. The photos impress me when my wife has a moment to pull them up to show me.

Here is a photograph of my foot. For some reason, those come quick and easy for me! I'll share this one before it gets deleted, like all the others.

This thing even takes video! We haven't ventured into those waters, yet. Patience and time... We're taking this one step at a time.

I thought I had the calculator figured out until I turned my phone sideways. Holy *bleeeep*!! Trig kicked my butt in high school! Is this an app? Lord, tell me it's not so!

I have a stocks function on this iPhone. As of this writing, NASDAQ is -1.61, whatever that means. When I can afford to have my dogs groomed, perhaps I'll invest in stocks. But not the NASDAQ. I'll only invest in things with positive numbers.

Get this... I can even surf the Internet! Except, for me, it's more like getting ploughed over by a tsunami.

I've been informed by a trusted source (my 15 year old) that touch screen technology is not new. It's fun, but you have to be careful what you touch and how you touch it.

I started out in Yahoo! news. I tried to scroll down, but a new page came up. Since I didn't need the hair growth formula, I hit the back button. It seems I have wide, or fat (or whatever!), fingers and a dating site for lonely Asian women came up. Big button. Do over.

My second time around, I started with Google. I was attempting to get a business phone number and address. Let's just say that you also have to watch what you search for. I won't say what came up. I will tell you that typos in the search line can be disastrous.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bumps Make Vacations Great!

Normally, during our yearly Kiawah Island vacations, something goes awry, amiss or just plain askew. This years trip, it seems, went exceedingly well. I even got along we'll with the rest of my family!

Don't get me wrong, though. Every good trip has its bumps, however minor.

Take the fishing, for example. My nephew caught several grunts, and I don't mean little kids. I caught bluefish, shark and a sting ray. Sadly, none of what was caught was cooked or eaten.

I also fished with my nephew in one of the ponds that litter the island. I caught tree branches, the bridge we were fishing on and no fish. I did, however, manage to hook an alligator.

This, incidentally, is the gator a mere moment before he attacked my fishing lure!

Go figure, right? Now, everyone knows that you're not supposed to mess with the gators. I didn't really mess with him, per se, but I certainly didn't think he'd take my fishing lure! He took two lures, in fact! I had to cut my line twice simply because I didn't think I stood much of a chance at landing a four foot gator.

And then there was the bike ride. Instead of being chased by the tide (like last year), this time around we were chased by a storm. One family member in particular felt certain we could outrun the storm. That prediction proved slightly erroneous.

As luck would have it, we found a large metal tunnel to keep us dry and safe while it lightninged and thundered. My son and I joined my father, older sister and nephew, who were already huddled inside! After five long minutes, my 15 year old decided to take his chances playing out in the rain.

The only other 'bump' would be the bike ride back in the driving rain. The fact that one member of our little group was grossly out of shape, whined, moaned and complained the rest of the way didn't make the ride any easier. But at least it gave me something to do!