Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Miss Them

I never thought the day would come that I would ever say that I miss my father and mother. If you knew the story of my childhood you would probably understand my statement. I grew up in a very unhappy dysfunctional family. Most of us kids couldn't wait until we could leave home without having dad call the police to have us brought back. In fact, Dad kicked me out of the house, so I packed my suitcase and was on my way out the door when he said that if I left he would call the police. So, instead, that night he beat me and bounced my head off a block wall. That is the only time I ever hit my dad, and it was in self defense.

Others of my siblings may have their own stories. I know my sister has a story that is worse than mine. So, when I left home, I never looked back. But I carried the scars of this relationship into my adult life. Today I have a light beard to cover my face because I fear that I look a little too much like my dad.

Of course, my dad and mom never got along very well either. Their marriage ended in divorce after they had left Minnesota for Texas. What they saw in Texas I'll never know, but Texas is where mom lived until she died. I was by her bedside. Dad died in Minnesota and I am not sure of the cause of his death. Both were miserable until the day they died. I have no reason to miss them, except today I do.

I don't know why, perhaps it is roots (or maybe the lack of roots). Just recently I have begun to get re-acquainted with family members, aunts, cousins, etc. that I have lost contact with 40 years ago. I don't know them and they don't know me. Pretty sad, isn't it?

If my parents could suddenly be alive today, I would have a totally different attitude toward them. Time does not change the memories but it does have a way of healing the heart. If they had not died, I don't know that I would feel this way because they did live miserable lives and that would have continued. But if they could suddenly live again I believe I could love them and handle the conflicts that arise differently.

I am only sad now that we could not have been better friends when they were alive. I guess right now I am crying over spilt milk, or toothpaste already squeezed out of the tube. I guess I just wish the glass was at least half full or their was still some toothpaste left to use.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No Number

As of late my business has really picked up as it usually does this time of year. What people should have had done in May and June, they are now trying to get done before the winter sets in. Therefore the home repair business has its best months a August through November. Because of this I have been considering hiring more sub-contractors.

One guy impressed me. He wanted part time work. He shared his experience. He said he had tools and a truck. I was busy when he called and said I would call him back. I assumed his number would just show up on my phone. But, alas! When I tried to call him back I discovered that his phone numbers was one of those that is restricted. So I thought I might find it through the white pages...., but no, I couldn't get it there either. I called 411.... no luck there, either.

So I am wondering why anyone who is looking for work would make his phone number unavailable. Isn't part of the idea of looking for work is to actually have employers call you? In this case I think we both lost.

Speaking of no phone numbers, what about those solicitors who constantly call, from a restricted number. They don't want you to know who they are. There's just something shady about these people. I will never buy anything from a restricted phone number. After you buy, how do you call them for customer service?

Anyway, if you are calling me, I only think it is fair that I know who it is. It is just ethically wrong. And in my mind.... sinful.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tin Man

North Dakota has its own tin man. In fact he is the largest tin man in the world that is made out of, not tin, but scrap metal including oil tanks and watering troughs. The tin man's wife is a tin woman and his son is a tin son. They live along the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota. Like the tin man of Oz, this tin man also has no heart. And like the scarecrow he also has no brain. But unlike the lion he does have courage. It takes courage to stand out in the prairies of North Dakota in the winter. You might say he is "a little under the weather."

If you travel to Regent, North Dakota, (that is if you are hard up for a vacation destination) you can get your picture taken with your face in place of the tin man's face. It might be worth the drive (that is if you are on your way to Devils Lake to do some fishing). In Regent you might be lucky enough to meet the sculptor of these sculptures. He might even dish up some ice cream for you or pour you a cup of coffee (I guarantee you it is not Starbucks). Hey, you are in Regent, North Dakota. Yes, it is part of the United States that don't seem so united nowadays. Anyway, these sculptors are the best sites you will see in that part of the state, excepting oil well pumps. I love oil well pumps. I forgot to take pictures of them, though.

If you drive your Prius up there you will get 48 miles per gallon round trip. You might get more if you don't mind impeding traffic and never have a head wind. I'm still trying to figure out how to drive down hill both ways. Speaking of that my wife got 99 miles per gallon the other day on a 40 mile drive. Of course she was coasting down the mountain.

I guess I got a little off the subject, but remember, Rod's Blogs is basically about nothing, and some people find that interesting.

So, I actually enjoyed looking at the sculptures along the enchanted highway. I understand there is an ice cream shop in Regent, too. Real ice cream. I wonder if North Dakota's Chamber of Commerce, or Department of Commerce will hire me. I think I plug them pretty good. I could take pictures of the world's largest Cow, and write an article and get you to drive over there. Perhaps I could convince Starbucks to set up a shop so when you get there you could feel more civilized. Their big glass windows could face the big Holstein, and you could sit there with a latte admiring it. Cool, huh?

Monday, August 23, 2010

World's Largest Sculpture

When I was pastoring the church at Emerado, North Dakota, I served mostly the military community that existed at Grand Forks Air Force Base. People came here from all parts of the country and it definitely was a little melting pot. Many of the servicemen and servicewomen who resided there said to me that they "didn't even know there was a North Dakota." They had to find a USA map and find out where it was. They likened it to Abraham being "on the backside of the desert."

Indeed, most have never been to North Dakota and the population of that state is a little over 750,000, which is about one-fourth the size of the Denver metro area. The reason there are so few people there is that they have all moved out. It can't be because they are not reproducing.... my wife is one of 10 kids, but only three of them stayed on North Dakota. They move out for college, jobs, and, well warmer climate. Winter in North Dakota is brutal. Your tears freeze in your eyes and your snot freezes in your nose. Your fingers freeze in your mittens and your toes in your boots.

Can you think of anyone famous who came from North Dakota? Probably not, but there are a few. Ever heard of Lawrence Welk, Angie Dickinson, Bobby Vinton, Roger Maris, and that Laker's coach, what's his name. Shucks, his name eludes me, but he coached the Chicago Bulls before that.... like when Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman were on the team.

But there are other things that come out of North Dakota, too. Things like grain, sunflower seeds, canola oil, snow melt, and interstate 94. But there are also some interesting things in North Dakota as well, like the world's largest cow and the world's largest scrap metal sculpture. The largest cow is along interstate 94 as is the sculpture. I didn't slow down for the cow but I did for the sculpture. Geese in flight is the beginning of the "Enchanted Highway" which runs south from I94 to Regent, ND. As you travel south there are also other huge scrap metal sculptures such as a grasshopper, fish, pheasants, tin man family and deer jumping over a fence. These sculptures are enormous in size.

My wife and I and my grand daughter took this road to Regent. There we met the guy who actually makes all these sculptures. He also runs a little gift shop. I have posted a couple of pics to pique your interest.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I want to say "Welcome" to all of my new followers. In the past week my followers have increased by 150%. Wow! Thanks!. Now I have a total of five readers. I'm overwhelmed. Now I feel like I really need to bear down and write good blogs, if that's possible.

Too Tired to Blog

In case you haven't noticed lately, I've been too tire to blog. Heck, I can't even stay awake to watch a Colorado Rockies game. Of course it would help if they actually scored a run once in a while. Well, actually, that is what they do. One run about every other game. Anyway, when I'm already tired it doesn't help me stay awake.

That reminds me when I was a kid. My dad would watch TV at night (black and white) and he'd balance this cup of coffee on his knee while he had one leg folded over the other. I don't know how he did it, but he'd fall asleep watching TV and never spill his coffee. So my brother and I got the idea that we would make some loud noise. And sure enough he'd jump awake and coffee would go all over the place. Mom got a big kick out of this until she realized that her furniture started smelling like sour cream.

Anyway, when you get up at 5:15 AM, work in the heat all day fixing and building things, around 9:00 PM the eyelids magically get heavy. Of course I have to stay up an watch the rest of the game or the news, weather, and sports. Did you see Miguel Olivo slam his bat down in front of the umpire when he was called out on strikes. He was also ejected out of the game. I saw that pitch.... it was a strike. I guess he was just tired and lost it! Believe me, when you are really tired you do things you wouldn't normally do. Going to bed early wouldn't be a bad idea, though.

Of course, when you reach my age you realize that the old clock on life is ticking down. The bad knees and white whiskers kind of tell a guy the same thing. So you realize that there is only so much gas left in the tank and why spend the rest of your life sleeping. So stay awake and make the most of what you have left. I did this the other day. I sat up and watched the Rockies game until late in the night (west coast game). And when I woke up something else was on. That's okay 'cause I got the score the next morning anyway. The score told me I didn't miss much.

So the reason you haven't gotten many blogs from me lately is that the Rockies haven't made my life very exciting and I get so tired that I can't even think to blog. Like this morning, you probably think I'm still too tired to blog and wish I hadn't. At least you wish you hadn't read it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Out of Order

Recently I had a long run with finding things "out of order." It began while we were in North Dakota and we had to do laundry. We drove over to this little town called Leeds because a friend of my wife said that she does her laundry there. We drove all through town looking for this Laundry and found none. So Audrey went into the grocery store to ask. Well it has just recently closed. So we drove on to Rugby, ND.

At Rugby we found a laundry on the highway frontage road, so in we went. The first thing we noticed is that the change machine was out of order. So this meant we had to go to different stores to get quarters. The second thing at the laundry that was annoying is that 25% of their machines were out of order. Audrey sent me across the highway to get her a latte at the coffee shop. Well, the latte machine was out of order... so it was plain coffee.

The next time I had to do laundry, which was the next day, I drove into Devils Lake. Well, their change machine was not exactly out of order, but it wouldn't take five dollar bills either. So I was off to change my five for ones at the gas station.

On the way home from North Dakota we stopped at a Hardees to get a meal. Audrey would have liked a latte. But guess what? Their machine was also "out of order."

Well, we are home again. I am hoping that this will bring some order back to our lives.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Roof

Yesterday's job should have been so easy. I've done this type of roof repair a zillion times.... but not at this pitch.

The insurance company denied the lady's claim for wind damage. Wind damage includes shingles that get blown off the roof and other shingles where the tabs are bent upward and therefore badly cracked. I replace these shingles and seal down others that are loose. It is usually a nice paying job for the amount of time spent. And yesterday I had help.

This roof, however, is one of those that when you stand on the peak and look down you think you are standing on a mountain ledge. So, out came the ropes and we tied ourselves to the roof incase we started sliding. Thank God for the ropes because we never stopped sliding. The loose granules on the shingles acted something like snow so we were constantly skiing down hill. We became one-armed workers. We hung onto the ropes with one hand and worked with the other.

It was one of the most exhausting jobs I have done this year. We had to hoist ourselves to the peak to grab shingles and sealant. So up and down we went like yo-yos. It was about 95 degrees on the roof so we constantly sucked water. By noon we were both exhausted. The good thing is that by noon we were also finished.

Roof repairs is one of my highest paying jobs and nobody has yet complained about what they pay me. About 80 percent of the population has never been on their own roof. Even people who are not afraid of heights don't like being on the roof. There's just something about the roof. They are willing to pay me for the risk.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'm Bored....

I had the grandkids over night last night and it was a lot fun. They are great kids.... and good kids, too. But I did find out one thing; they are always hungry and they are always thirsty, and being bored is a way of life with them.

As a kid (which was a long time ago) I can remember being hungry and thirsty, but I don't ever remember being bored. In the winter there was always sledding, ice skating, and black and white TV to watch. I glued model cars and painted them. I also played board games (not bored games). And, o yes, there was always the water to sweep of the flat roof.

In the spring there was marbles to play, the excitement of the snow melting, and.... o yes, the flat roof to sweep off.

Summer brought bike riding, fishing, going to the park, swimming, lawn mowing, baseball, softball, and sweeping the water off the flat roof. If I ever said I was bored I'm sure there were dishes to do and a house to clean. I stayed away from home as much as possible and always had something to do.

The fall took me back to school, football games, gardens to raid, apple trees to climb, hay rides, county fair, hunting, fishing, black and white TV and a flat roof to sweep the water off.

I just don't get this bored stuff with kids today. When Julia told me she was bore today I said, "you are always bored." She said, "true."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Up the Up Staircase

I was going to title this "Up the Down Staircase" but I know that that title has already been used by some famous writer whom I no longer remember his name. His theme was about racial matters but my theme is about hard work and finding good help.

I recently did a tiling job in a second floor bathroom. When I say second floor, I mean, in through the door, down a hall, up the stairs, and down another hall to the bathroom. The first 20 trips up and down weren't too bad, but by the end of the you feel like you have been on a stair stepper for about an hour.... or longer. You don't want too many dry runs up or down. The help I had certainly didn't help out with that aspect of the job.

So I needed to put this vanity top together and install the faucet and drain. I wanted to do that in the garage where there was room and where I had all the parts. I had to go upstairs to take some measurements. When I got back down to the garage, the vanity top had disappeared. So did my help. I ran back upstairs to find him and when I did I also found the vanity top. So, of course, I had to carry it back down. I put my help to work patching drywall and painting.

The next thing I needed to do was modify the back of the vanity to allow for the water supply and drain. For some reason I couldn't find the vanity. So back up stairs I went. Sure enough my help had carried it up. So, of course I had to carry it back down. I needed certain tools to work on the vanity, couldn't find those either. My help carried those upstairs and I carried them down.

The other thing my help is good at is losing tools. I would use a tool and put it back in the tool zone. When I wanted to use it again I'd go to the tool zone and the tool would be missing. So now I had to search. I'd ask him if he used the tool and where did he put it. Well, he couldn't exactly remember. Oh, he took it down to the garage to open a can of paint. So down stairs I went.

He is also good at stacking things in doorways. Go into the bathroom to work, turn around to leave and trip over something he set in the doorway. Pretty soon stuff is piled high in the door way. So I move the stuff and organize. But before long there are more lost tools and more blocked doorways. I bet he's one of those guys that parks as close as he can to the door at the super market, too.

I wish I could calculate the lost time spent looking for tools, parts, and stepping over piles of stuff. I'm sure it makes no difference to him.... my loss is his gain. Well, not totally. I will avoid using him on my next jobs.

But, man, I'm tired.