Tag Archives: summer

Pictures of us

Yesterday was Mrs. Poolman’s and my 36th anniversary. I wrote a post remembering the truly bizarre circumstances surrounding our wedding in 1976. However, in the spirit of maintaining peace in the family, I had second thoughts about actually posting it. Normally, I don’t worry about offending the guilty parties,but it has been 36 years. Sorry ’bout that.

Meanwhile, I ran across this really cool collection of satellite images that are worth a glance.

Enjoy and Happy Summer!

 

Gettin’ ready for some football…

It’s been pretty slow here in my world for the last couple of weeks. However, one of our favorite past times is right around the corner — college football.

My friend, Neil, sent me a link to a new Web site,  and this article on why everyone else in the country hates the Southeastern Conference. I thought it was hysterical…and right on target.

Sometimes it is great to be hated.

 

Ode to a swimming pool

I have often thought of our swimming pool, which we had installed in 1994, as our 7th child (after two natural children, two dogs and two cats) because of the amount of care and attention it requires. I ran across this description of a pool today. I can relate.

“Swimming pools need things. It isn’t enough to invest in the pool, the pool will require constant care, a cover, extra lounge chairs, extra towels, and plenty of poolside umbrellas. As soon as you think it is all taken care of, a storm will blow the umbrellas into the pool and rip the liner. You’ll replace the liner just in time for your children to have parties that you will get to cater. Afterwards you can spend the evening laundering your towels. Then the pool will want toys – slides, floating chairs, LED lights. You’ll want the pool to have self-cleaning robots that you just toss in…”

There is a great deal of truth in that paragraph. However, we still love ours .

 

Love that ‘beer butt chicken’

We had some folks over for a “float-in” Sunday afternoon. I cooked some “Beer Butt Chicken.” If you have never tried this, it is worth a shot.

1.) Mrs. P put together an herb rub which she applied to the birds the night before and sealed them in plastic bags in the refrigerator overnight.

2.) You take one can of beer for each bird, and after draining some of the beer (either in the sink or down your throat, as you will), you stick the can of beer into the large cavity of the chicken.

3.) We have some wire frames designed to hold the beer and the chicken, but supposedly you can use the drumsticks to form a tripod and keep the bird-beer combination vertical.

4.) I cooked it slowly on a covered gas grill. It took about an hour and a half, but it doesn’t require a lot of attention. As a matter of fact, I imagine the fewer times you open the grill, the better.

The end result was very tasty and very, very moist and tender chicken. Our company sure seemed to like it. If not, they sure faked it well.

What summer vacation?

A summer vacation from school is a long tradition dating back to the days when the kids were needed to help on the family farm. In just the past couple of days, I have run across two articles discussing the concept.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution interviewed people who think school starts too early and the kids and the tourism industries need a longer summer break.

On the other hand, Time Magazine has an article in this week’s issue that partially blames the summer vacation for lagging performance by American students, particularly those from lower income families. .

There was never any question when I was younger; summer vacation was clearly my favorite time of year. As an adult, however, I have had reason to question why the school systems sit idle for so much of the year. Putting student performance aside for a moment, because I have no experience or expertise in that area, just look at the typical school calendar from an efficiency standpoint.

School systems spend millions on buildings, books, supplies, computers, etc., but only use them for 70% of the time. (A typical school is open for 180 days. There are approximately 260 workdays in a year.) What kind of business could afford to compete if it allowed its facilities and equipment sit idle for 30% of the year?

The same concept can be applied to teachers. They are underpaid on an annual basis, although less so if you consider their pay and workload on a per-day basis. A typical young worker in another field may work roughly 245 days per year, allowing for two weeks vacation and five holidays. A typical teacher contract is for 185-190 days. Looked at on an annual basis, teaching is really a part-time job.

While there are some really great teachers out there, overall the teaching profession does not attract the “best and the brightest.” One reason for this is pay; young adults who are looking at careers know they can make a heck of a lot more money in fields like medicine, law, engineering, finance, business, and so on. Society could easily justify giving teachers a 29% annual pay increase, if the educational system allowed them to work the same number of days as most of the rest of the full-time world.

We have a good friend who is a teacher. She complains about her low pay. However, we don’t hear complaining about her fall break, spring break, Christmas break or more than two months of vacation during the summer.

A year-round school calendar doesn’t necessarily mean that every student would need to be in class for the entire year. Although I suspect some expansion of the number of classroom days wouldn’t hurt performance any. Many colleges solve this problem with summer terms during which the classes meet for fewer days, but for longer time periods each day.

Here is one idea.

A school year of 180 days equals 36 weeks. Add five holidays, two weeks for the December holidays and a week’s worth of annual preparation time for teachers and you come to 40 weeks. That leaves 12 weeks of idle time. Divide those 12 weeks into three 4-week, or two 6-week summer terms. Require students to attend one or two of the 4-week terms or one of the 6-week terms. You would also need to build-in flexibility for siblings to enroll in the same summer terms to allow for summer vacations.  This would:

  • Expand the students’ classroom time and increase learning;
  • Allow teachers the opportunity to work for an entire year and be paid accordingly;
  • Make more efficient use of facilities and equipment;
  • And still allow time for family vacations.

It’s just a thought.

Monday thoughts

It’s summer.  It’s hot and humid. We love it. Thank God, Mr. Carrier invented AC. I cannot imagine what this part of the country must have been like before it. That probably explains the short life spans.

Mrs. Poolman and I did the minimum amount of routine maintenance and spent the rest of the weekend socializing.

A big congratulations to my SIL, who got a big promotion to manage one of his company’s busiest stores in town. Until this promotion, he has been driving over an hour each way to his store in another town. Based on my experience with a long commute, I know this move will save them about $300 a month in gas alone.

We got a call from daughter, Writer Princess, Friday night around 8 o’clock. It seems they were up at their favorite watering hole with their group of friends to celebrate the promotion, and asked us to join them. We were tired and already settled into “kick back mode” so we passed on the invite.

We watched a movie on the Lifetime Network instead. (I know. Lifetime? You can just take away my membership card to the male gender now. However, I did watch some of the Band of Brothers on Spike TV Sunday night to make up for it.)

In any case, the movie was Rumor Has It with Jennifer Anniston, Kevin Costner and Shirley MacLaine. It wasn’t a great movie, but it was amusing. It was mostly a vehicle for Jennifer Anniston to be cute, and Kevin Costner to be cool. The basic plot is that Jennifer discovers the book and movie The Graduate was not entirely fiction and the family involved was actually hers.

The best part of the movie was Shirley MacLaine. When she first came on the screen, Mrs. P and I both looked at each other and said, “Oh my God, that is our friend Dana in 20 years!” The look, the mannerisms and the “kiss my a__” attitude added up to a near perfect portrait of our friend. It was hysterical!

After running some errands in the first half of the day, we had a float-in-the-pool day on Saturday.

On Sunday we were back to the beach. It was Poolboy’s 30th birthday. His GF planned his second, third and fourth favorite activities for him, the three Bs — beach, beer and bocce. Lots of his friends showed up and a good time was had by all.

My cousin-in-law and her two children are driving down from Atlanta today to spend the week with us. Her husband, my cousin, will be flying in on Friday to spend the weekend, and then they will all drive back on Monday. We’re looking forward to it. We like the adults, but we also really like the kids, a boy and girl, ages 9 and 7. Their parents have done a great job with them. They are a pleasure to have around.

Should be a fun week!

Thanks to my wonderful dogs — not!

My hat goes off to all those people who work construction during the summer. I was out in the sun for several hours today, repairing the gate on our wooden privacy fence. The heat just about knocked me out. I am definitely glad I don’t have to do that every day.

The repair work was needed because of our escape-artist dogs, especially the little one, Sammie.

The culprits

Actually Sammie doesn’t have the size to do all the work herself. I think she enlists her big brother, Casey, but there is little doubt that Sammie is the brains behind the caper. Casey does not have the initiative to plan something like this on his own.

My previous work has foiled their efforts to escape to the outside world. They have been concentrating on the double gate in our back yard privacy fence. I stopped them from being able to dig under it. Instead they have been working like little beavers – literally – and have tried to chew their way through the gate. This is the result.

When you have dogs who think they are beavers

Before you start feeling too sorry for the mutts, please understand they are not closely confined. They have the run of a very large backyard, lots of shade and water, and access to the garage through a pet door. Aside from the fact they don’t have air conditioning, they don’t have it very tough. The alternative would be to keep them crated in the house for ten and a half hours a day, and I suspect they wouldn’t like that very much either. They are relegated to the yard only the three days a week that Mrs. Poolman works. Otherwise they are house-dogs, spoiled brat house-dogs at that.

So I spent about $60 at Home Depot on supplies and four hours in the hot sun today, replacing the chewed boards. The tough and time consuming part were the two boards on either side of the gate opening that hold the hardware.  It probably shouldn’t have taken that long, if I actually was good at doing this kind of thing. Plus, I had to take breaks to cool-off myself, and many of the tools that simply became too hot to handle when left in the sun.

I topped it off with my own touch, a pair of brackets and a 2×4 holding the gate shut from the outside.

I stacked concrete blocks on the inside to deny them access to the gate. They have been able to move the blocks in the past, but maybe two rows both vertically and horizontally will help thwart their escape attempts.

I spent the rest of the afternoon floating in the pool and relaxing on the patio. It was a rest well earned, thank you very much.

Let the summer begin!

We had a pretty slow, nothing-weekend, which was just great.

Both Mrs. Poolman and I had a four-day break –mine courtesy of two furlough days. The most exciting thing we did was to have some friends over on Monday for a pool-hamburger-and-brats “start of summer” party. We invited some folks who are not part of our usual group.  Mrs. P and I both agree we need to expand our social circle a little. We love our friends, but sometimes it seems we get into a rut.

I was talking with the husband of one of the “new” couples. His wife is another of our CCD teachers. They moved to Savannah two years ago and have not made friends as quickly as they would have liked.  We both agreed that it can be tough when you are our age (50s). In many cases, people who might seem like good prospects for friendship are already set in their social circle and aren’t really in the market for new friends. I seem to remember this being part of a Seinfeld routine at one point.

“Sorry, you seem like very nice people, but we really don’t have any current job openings for new friends.”

*    *    *    *

On Tuesday, we did our good-deed of the week. One of our neighbor’s father broke his hip and is hospitalized. As Mrs. P says, “In the South, when there is a problem, we take food.” So I made up a double batch of chicken enchiladas and we took one casserole over to their house.

This is a pretty good recipe I blatantly stole from a flier attached to a can of El Paso Chopped Green Chilis. Muy bueno! We are eating our casserole tonight, so I’ll have photos of the cooked and served product. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.

*    *    *    *

And, it looks like my tomatoes might do well this year. Last summer’s batch really didn’t thrive, because (I think) they didn’t get enough sun.

Just getting started...

This year, I planted them in containers and can move them around as needed. It’s still too early to be getting any fruit, but five of the six plants are growing and appear health.

Our fingers are crossed.

Feels like summer!

How did I spend an entire weekend, staying very busy, but still didn’t get the checkbook updated, the bills paid or my laundry washed? Oh well, I know what I’ll be doing this evening.

Saturday was the work-around-the-house day. I spent a couple of hours edging our yard. This is a bigger task than it may seem simply because we have a large corner-lot. It’s not just the edging, but also the clean-up.

I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the pool and bleaching the house. We live in the humid South. Although we have a brick house, the wood trim develops mildew and looks terrible. A bleach solution, a sprayer and the garden hose take care of it, but it is work.

I had to hurry to finish the pool work in time to shower and dress for 530 mass. It was my turn to lector, so there was no putting it off.

After mass, we linked up with our friends, the W’s for dinner. They treated us to dinner a couple of weeks ago, so it was our turn to return the favor. We went to the Crystal Beer Parlor in downtown Savannah. This is an old, historic restaurant that closed several years ago. A couple of brothers bought the property and resurrected it just a short while ago. I used to go to the original place fairly frequently, especially when I worked downtown, but I had not had the chance to visit the “new and improved” version until Saturday. Fortunately, the new owners stuck with the original concept – many brands of beer and a menu of burgers, salads, sandwiches and a few specialties. It looks like they have a winner.

I introduced Mrs. Poolman to a beer I first tried on a business trip — Sweetwater 420. This is a small brewery / brand out of Atlanta. She must have liked it since she had two glasses.

On Sunday, we had lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant, ran a few errands and then headed home to finish the preps for our first “open pool” of the season.

Mrs. Poolman reading the Sunday paper under the umbrella.

Daughter and son-in-law came over, along with a few other friends. We had a nice time sitting around and in the pool, and visiting. I tossed some burgers and brats on the grill. All told, it was nothing fancy, but it was a good start to the summer season.