Monthly Archives: June 2011

A busy weekend!

Our weekend got an early start when the power went out at my work. Without electrical power, I am useless. No power? Friday afternoon in the summer? Time to hit the bricks.

We had a mini-party going on at our house when I arrived home. Several of Mrs. Poolman’s friends had the afternoon free and decided to start the weekend part early by floating in our pool and working out with some weight lifting — 12-ounce curls in sets of six. Fortunately, one of the “girls” was able to walk home, and one of the others brought her daughter as the DD.

You know what they say, “no pain, no gain.” Neither  pain nor gain were present here Friday afternoon.

On Saturday, we cleaned up around the house and yard and took care of some errands, like a run to the recycling center (See paragraph above.)

I read at 5:30 mass on Saturday evening and that was a busy experience We had a visiting priest who wasn’t totally up to speed on the local protocol. Also, my reading partner was brand new – a recent graduate of the 8th grade who needed a little guidance and support. Really, just a little. She did great. I also had two additional readings thrown my way, without any time to prepare. It was a busy time.

That evening, we went to see “Midnight in Paris,” the Woody Allen movie starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. Ever since my trip to Europe earlier this spring, I have been intrigued (Mrs. Poolman would say “obsessed.”) with anything having to do with Paris. So I really wanted to see this movie, even though it was playing in just one theater, all the way across town.

I enjoyed the movie a lot. Mrs. P and our friends enjoyed it also, just not as much as I did. It makes abundant use of the Paris scenery. Mrs. P became a little annoyed because I kept poking her in the arm and saying “There is another place I was!”

Even without the scene-spotting, it is a good movie. Owen Wilson does a great job portraying a very likeable character. You can see the plot synopsis here.

Today is Poolboy’s birthday, but yesterday was his “beach day.” We headed out to Tybee with Writer Princess around 11 am, early enough to get a parking spot. The rest of our group didn’t show up for several hours. It was actually about the time I was starting to feel like toast. We stuck it out a couple more hours and had a good time. One of Poolboy’s old friends is married and has two small children – a girl who is almost one and a four-year old boy. We had a fun-time playing with the kids.

The little girl did enjoy eating sand, however.

"That sand is salty. Yum, yum!"

We have had no reports on the status of diaper changes later in the evening.

They all should be over here shortly. We are taking them out to dinner for the b-day. Should be fun.

John Sandford’s latest a winner of a summer read

John Sandford is one of my favorite authors. He has several series of cop/crime fiction going and they are all great.

I just finished the latest in his “Prey” series – Buried Prey. It’s slightly different than many of his previous novels, but very good. It is an excellent summer read.

The main character in the “Prey” series is Lucas Davenport. When the series started, nearly 20 years ago, Lucas was a homicide detective in the Minneapolis Police Department. Lucas is smart, urbane, quick-witted and rich. (Not a bad combination. I want to be Lucas when I grow up.) He got all the tough cases. At the present point in the series, Lucas is the head of the Minnesota “Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.” And again, he gets all the tough cases.

In Buried Prey, building excavators unearth the bodies of two young girls, dead for a quarter century. It is a kidnap-murder case that Lucas worked as a young cop. Much of the book is a flash-back, as Lucas recalls the details of the summer the girls disappeared. Lucas is besieged by guilt over the case. The police were quick to close the case and pinned the murders on a homeless man who was killed by the police during his arrest. Lucas knows deep in his heart that the homeless man was innocent, but being a young cop, he went along with his bosses and “caved in.”

Sandford brings out some of Lucas’s personality characteristics that remain hidden in most of his books, including self-doubt, a sense of guilt, and a near-pathological drive for revenge.

As with nearly all of Sandford’s books, Buried Prey gets a thumbs-up. Very good!

A ‘manly job’

We had a nice heavy overnight rain a couple of nights ago – only the second rain to speak of in our neighborhood since March. The storm pulled down branches and trees all over the area. I slept right through the whole thing, including the fall of a couple of seriously large sweet gum tree branches in our back yard – right outside our bedroom window.The branch missed Poolboy’s boat, which is parked there, by only about three feet. He would have been quite upset. Lucky.

I was left with the job to cut up the branch and haul it out to the street for the weekly yard-trash pick-up. We don’t own a chain saw, but for some reason we do have possession of one of our friend’s battery powered chainsaw. I was eager to take it out for a spin.

I’m pretty much a desk-sitter, so I view working with a chain saw is a very “manly” job–even if the battery-powered saw is really one designed for girls.

I got the branches limbed up right down to the “trunks” (without cutting off a foot or hand, a major accomplishment in itself) and hauled the trash out to the curb. The only real problem was the heat. The work wasn’t that physically difficult, but it felt like I was working in a sauna.

I was left with two logs of 10-12 feet long and 6-8 inches thick at the base. They were just too thick to handle with my “girl-saw.” Fortunately, my friend Birdie (of Europe trip fame), lives for this kind of opportunity. He has spent his entire adult life in the forest industry and handles a real chain saw like the rest of us handle a knife and fork. He is more than happy to bring one of his real chain saws down and cut up my logs.

It’s nice to have friends with both the equipment and the skills to put them to use.

A generous offer

A woman offer me her child at the grocery store yesterday.

It all started as I was walking out of Publix. There was a woman, pushing a cart, and her 18-24 month old daughter in front of me. As the pair went through the sliding door, the little girl started to take off towards the parking lot. “Mom” grabbed her and placed her in the cart’s child-seat. The little girl started to scream in protest.

“Mom” turned towards me and saw I was laughing. I said, “The great escape has been foiled again.” She shrugged and smiled.

I encounted them again a few minutes later, when I returned my cart to the “cart corral.” “Mom” was strapping the little girl into the back seat of her SUV in the space next to the corral. The little girl was still screaming with an impressive amount of energy and vocal range.

“Mom” shut the door and turned towards me, made a face and put both hands over her ears.

“She is very determined,” I said.

“You want her? You can have her — right here and right now. You can have the car and all the groceries too.”

I thought about it for a second, but I really figured that Mrs. Poolman wouldn’t approve.

Maybe I should have considered it more seriously. Her car was much nicer than mine.

 

Avoiding road rage

I think I’m beginning to understand road rage. That’s not good. I actually yelled at someone yesterday and they heard me. That was just the first encounter on my drive home. It’s time to back down.

Most of the island on which I work is occupied with a 4,000-home gated golf community. Golf carts are a very common means of non-golfing transportation. The residents drive them on the roads and cart paths alongside the public roads, even outside of the gates. It has been a pet peeve of mine for some time that the golf cart “drivers” don’t seem to believe that traffic laws apply to them. There I one traffic light I pass through at least twice a day where two four-lane roads intersect. Nearly every time I pass through this intersection, especially in the afternoon, I see golf carts zipping across the intersection without regard to the traffic signal.

A few days ago, I stopped for a red light at the intersection and signaled to make a right turn on red. A golf cart pulled up on the golf cart beside me. As I began to move into my turn, the golf cart driver “floored it” and drove across the street against the red light. (I had the right to make a right hand turn. He did not have the right to continue straight.) I slammed on the brakes and laid on the horn. He turned around and gave me a look as if he were Robert DeNiro saying “Ya talkin’ to me?”

Yesterday, a woman on a golf cart zipped across the intersection in front of me against the light. I rolled down my window and called “Hey, that was a red light.” She looked at me as if I were an alien from outer space and gave me a one-arm shoulder shrug, as if to say “And your point is?”

My second encounter of the afternoon drive involved another long-standing annoyance that occurs when a two-lane road narrows to one lane for construction, an accident, or whatever. Traffic lines up in the open lane. However, there are always some people who think they are too special to wait in line and drive past the line of waiting cars, and then try to bully themselves into the head of the line. Usually, I am one of the most courteous drivers you will ever meet. In most situations, I will gladly give way and allow someone to pull in front of me – but not in this case. I will attach my car to the rear bumper of the car ahead to keep one of those jerks from cutting in. They can just turn around and go back to the end of the line as far as I am concerned. Unfortunately, the guy behind me usually isn’t as strong, so they let them in.

No solidarity. Too bad. Sigh.

An “attaboy” to AAA!

Hats off the the folks at AAA. They deserve props for help I received yesterday.

I had an off-campus lunch meeting. When I tried to start my car after lunch, it chirped a little and died. I looked at my headlight switch. Nope! I hadn’t left my lights on. I could have begged someone for a jump start, but I suspected there was something more wrong than just a drained battery.

We have had AAA service for several years, and I can only recall calling them on one other occasion. On that occasion, Mrs. Poolman and I had left a hospital in Atlanta where I had undergone a one-day procedure involving general anesthesia. I was still pretty groggy, but we stopped to get something to eat all the same. When we came out of the restaurant (What is it about restaurants?), we saw she had left the lights on and the battery was dead. She was very upset, but I wasn’t. She called AAA for a jump, while I just cranked back the passenger’s seat and went back to sleep. No big deal.

Jump forward to yesterday. I called AAA and they had someone there in a little over a half hour. The guy was fully equipped. He ascertained that my battery was not just drained; it was fully dead and ready for burial. He had a battery in his truck and had me fixed up and ready to go in around 15 minutes.

The price for the battery was a little more than I might have paid at an auto parts store, but not exceptionally so. It was worth a few extra dollars to have it done right there and not have to spend half the afternoon sitting around a repair shop waiting room.

Good job!

This is rich!

I ran across this little news tidbit earlier today. It seems a state prisoner in Virginia has filed a lawsuit to force the state to pay for a sex change operation. This comes after he/she tried to perform the surgery him/herself with a pair of scissors.

I guess he/she must be motivated. According to the article…

“By 17, she was robbing banks with the hopes of getting enough money to have a sex change operation. By 18, she was in prison, sentenced to more than 70 years for robbery, drugs, weapons and other charges.”

Seems to me that if he/she had gone out and gotten a job rather than robbing banks and getting thrown into prison, he/she could have paid for the operation him/herself.

Bad choices. Too bad.