Tag Archives: neighbors

The cat came back! Good luck?

We may have a new member of the Poolman family. It all started early last week when we heard a cat whining. Mrs. Poolman and I searched the house for one of our cats trapped in a closed bedroom or a closet but didn’t find one. But there on the front porch was this black cat crying to be fed.

Mystery Cat

Mystery Cat

Of course we fed the poor thing. We thought the cat must be “Sophia,” a stray that had taken up with our next-door neighbor. (I know this sounds politically incorrect, but let’s face it, one solid, jet black cat looks pretty much like the next one, especially if it isn’t your cat.) The neighbors had vetted her and fed her, but otherwise she was an outside cat. They neighbors were away for the holidays, so we figured we would feed her until they got back. We also placed a beach towel in a plastic box for her to sleep in and stay out of the wind.

Sophia stayed with us even after the neighbors returned which created some joking about us stealing their stray cat. Then the other night, Mr. Neighbor came over.

“Hey Poolman, that cat who is living on your front porch?”

“Yeah, so are you coming to take her home?”

“Ah, I hate to break this to you, but Sophia is asleep in our garage right now. YOUR cat is not OUR cat.”

Great! Just what we need — another cat. Upon closer examination, we also discovered that that cat we thought was “Sophia” was actually “Tom.”  We don’t know if he is lost or was dumped. He is a very nice, friendly feline. He loves attention and will actually come when you call him, especially if he thinks food is involved.

So we are looking for his real family. I have checked and posted “found cat” notices on several local pet sites. I think Mrs. P is going to take her to check on a microchip tomorrow.

If we don’t find his home, I guess we will have a new “outside cat.” He still has his front claws. That rules him out as an inside cat in the Poolman household. (We have donated too many couches and chairs to the scratching pleasure of cats over the years. We are done with that.) However, we won’t just take him to a shelter, since we know, although he is a very sweet, friendly cat, the chances of an adult cat being adopted are very slim.

I didn’t think we had a current job opening for a new cat, but I may have been wrong.


Prepping for St Patrick’s Day

It’s been a busy week, and it’s just getting busier.

Tomorrow, St. Patrick’s Day, is a major holiday here in Savannah. It is also one of the Poolman’s big social events. Since 2002, we have gone down to one of the downtown squares well before dawn and set up a tailgate party in one of the squares along the parade route. We plan to do the same tomorrow.

The day will start around 3:45 am when the alarm goes off. We will need to be downtown by around 5:30 am. The police and park service keep everyone out of the squares until 6 am. Then they blow a whistle and the stampede to get to the choice spots starts. Initially, we were in Chippewa Square (where bus-bench scenes from the movie Forest Gump were filmed). However, it just got to be too much of a madhouse, especially after the parade. We moved a few blocks away to a square very early on the parade route. There are still plenty of people, but it’s not crazy.

Mrs. Poolman and I will set up our canopy, tables and chairs and await the sunrise and our guests.

Our site in Chippewa Square before the parade 2008.

A couple of years ago, Mrs. P became disgusted with the condition of the public porta-potties that are placed around the historic district. She came up with Mrs. Poolman’s Personal Pick-Up Porta-Potty. She rents a port-potty and has it placed in the back of a pick up truck.

Mrs. Poolman's Personal Pick Up Porta-Potty

We park it on the street near our square and it remains a fairly clean source of relief for our family and friends. Mrs. P is famous and well appreciated in our limited circle for this concept.

The parade will run from a little after 10 am until around 1:00 or 1:30 pm.

Watching the parade in 2008.

We hang out and socialize for awhile, but we are usually home and recovering by around 3 or 3:30 pm.

All told, it is a good day. We see a bunch of friends and neighbors who stop by for either a short visit or the entire day. Our two grown children are usually part of the crowd (if they are not working) with some of their friends.

It should be fun. I’ll report on the outcome later.

Feeling beat up today

I’m disappointed and discouraged this morning. I hate to admit that I am being bested by a group of ten and eleven year-olds, but it is happening.

I teach a 5th grade religion class (CCD) on Wednesday nights at our church. Classroom “crowd control” has been an issue with this particular group of students since we began last September. Early on, I had to miss one class, and they brought the substitute teacher to tears.

Last night was a rowdy and difficult class. My helper was hung up in traffic due to a traffic accident on one of the nearby bridges. She did not arrive until class was nearly over, so I had the class to myself. Initially, I was not concerned. We had only nine or ten students and the lesson was one that, in the past, has been interesting and engaging for the students (and me.) I was overly optimistic.

Problems began before we really got started. I had to remove one student from the class, when, after two direct warnings about his behavior, he walked across the room to hassle another student during our opening prayer! His removal made an impression on the class that lasted for about ten minutes. The rest of the class session was a struggle against a tide of side-talk, cutting up and a lack of focus or attention span.

I have to accept partial blame for this problem. If I had better classroom management skills, I would probably do a better job controlling the mayhem. However, I’m not a professional teacher, and I can only use the skills I possess. In my defense, I have been teaching 5th grade CCD for six years, and this is the first class with whom I’ve had a problem anywhere close to this.

The sad part is that this makes the class sessions considerably less interesting and compelling for the students. I’m sure that, when asked, many would say that their CCD classes are boring and they get nothing out of them. I understand. The kind of questioning, open-discussion format that works well with religion classes does not work when the class cannot or will not focus on and participate in the group discussion.

It’s really too bad, because the last night’s lesson, as well as the last couple of weeks, contained lots of interesting questions for thought and discussion. Here are some of the points we tried to discuss last week and last night.

–The first commandment warns us to not worship false gods. Here in the 21st century, what are some of the false gods that some people worship? (ie: money, celebrities, fame, drugs, alcohol, etc.)

–What does it mean to take the Lord’s name in vain?

–Why do Catholics celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday rather than Saturday?

–What are Catholics’ obligations to honor the Sabbath?

–Why do most Protestant religions count the commandments differently than Catholics?

–Why would God make it a commandment to honor your parents?

–Regarding the commandment “Thou shall not kill”, what about war, self defense, accidents, negligence, mental illness, etc?

–What is adultery? Does it also apply to boyfriends and girlfriends?

–What does it mean to “bear false witness? Does it mean any lie?

–Who are the “neighbors” it refers to?

–What does “covet” mean? What is the difference between admiring something that your friend owns, and coveting it?

–What is our conscience?

— How do we know what is right?

–What is the difference between a mortal sin and a venial sin?

We got through all those, but it was a struggle. And I suspect very little of it “stuck” with the kids.

I really hate to lecture or just read from the text book. I much prefer to ask questions; get the students to think and brainstorm; and try to guide them to their own answers. Unfortunately, this really isn’t working well with this particular group. Starting next week, I am going to have to reconsider my approach. We have just a few weeks left in the season. If it means reverting to a more boring lecture-read-written exercises format, in order to get through the year, then that’s what we’ll have to do.


How I spent New Years Eve…daytime

Have I mentioned how much I love to rake leaves?

Mrs. Poolman is working back-to-back 12-hour shifts New Years Eve and New Years Day. Looks like a quiet evening of watching bowl games. My next-door-neighbor will probably shoot off some fireworks at midnight. If I’m awake, I’ll go out and socialize. I hope he doesn’t wake Mrs. P.

We are just so exciting!

Good neighbors…whoever they are

The folks who live on our street have always been good about looking out for each other.  We watch each other’s houses when a neighbor is out of town, and so on. We had a great, but somewhat embarrassing example of this good-neighbor ethic in action yesterday.

The story started a couple of months ago when we were talking with our son-in-law’s brother and his wife about our hot tub. We had purchased the hot tub from a friend several years ago, and really never used it that much. We really didn’t have much invested in it, so we decided that if someone wanted it, we would give it to them. They just had to disconnect the power and take care of the actual move. R and B were all over the idea. It would be a perfect addition to a new deck they are building. Their plan was to hire a local moving company to actually transport the tub.

The pick-up date kept getting postponed, until finally R called me on my way to work yesterday to ask if they could pick up the hot tub that morning. Both Mrs. Poolman and I were going to be at work, so there would be no one home except for the pets, but I said “Sure.” I gave her the code to the garage door opener and instructions on dealing with the mutts.

After lunch, I called R back to ask how the move had gone. She said it went just fine “…except for when the police came. One of your neighbors called the cops on us.”

Apparently one of my neighbors thought they were burglars cleaning out the house and called 911.  R had  tried to call me in the midst of all that, but I must have been in a cell dead zone (Happens all the time on our campus.). She was able to convince the local gendarmerie that they were legitimate and had permission to be removing the hot tub so no one went to jail.

When I heard the story, I immediately thought of my neighbor across the street. We keep an eye on her house when she is traveling and vice versa. I have often joked with her that “If you see some guys and a truck hauling stuff out of my house, feel free to call 911.”

Far from being upset, I was extremely happy that someone would think enough to take that kind of action. When I got home from work, I took her a bottle of wine as a way of saying “thanks.”

She said she wasn’t the caller, but thanked me for the wine just the same. I let her keep it. It’s a good advance payment for protection against the next would-be burglar.