Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A brief post. It's like a star cluster, to let people know I'm still here.

This has not been a great week so far.  Yesterday the gas truck came out, and they had a rookie driver.  He backed over my satellite dish.   Not that this is hard to do, you have to back up a steep slope, on a narrow concrete path not quite as wide as your gas truck, and park nose down at a very steep angle. I have enough spare parts salvaged from an older dish to fix the dish.  Don't want to get the driver in trouble, and it's hard enough on those guys to come up here.

Got a package from a friend, and it had a note taped to it that said "ok to leave at gate". On the note, the driver had written THANK YOU!!! with a big smiley face. They hate coming up to the mountain top and I hate having them come because then it's a nightmare getting them back down.

My wife toppled down the stairs that run from the middle level to the lower level of the house. She was carrying laundry, and she said her knee just quit working.  Couldn't get her to the doctor until tomorrow, so she's taking OTC pain killers and I'm playing Stephen Fetchit since she can't walk. She got bored and wanted to go to Walmart, she said she would ride around in the Cripple Cart. I said "not only no, but HELL no." We are not ready for the knackers yard yet.

  Read a great book.  People forget that for a long time, the war in Afghanistan had troops from a lot of the NATO countries in it.

  The Brits were there, and this book is about a fellow who flew Apache gunships.  It was really interesting, things have changed a whole lot since my day, but I'm still fascinated with flying helicopters.

The best part of the book deals with an incident most of us have never heard of.  The British were clearing a village, and ran into heavy resistance. They had to pull back and regroup, but they accidentally left a man behind.

The two Apaches supporting them landed, picked up four British Marines who hung on to the side of the helicopters on the pylons, then flew back to the village and landed under fire. They found the missing Marine and got him back, but he was already KIA.  Didn't detract from the incident, though.  Below is a painting done by a military artist of the event.

The air crew fellow out in front blasting away at the Jihadi's with his Browning High Power is Ed Macey, the author of the book and one of the pilots of the Apaches.

The British, Canadians, Australians, Germans, French and a lot of other NATO troops, especially the old Eastern Block guys, did good work over there. Even though they had to deal with the same idiotic rules of engagement.

And another good book:

Sebastian Junger is a journalist.  He also wrote " The Perfect Storm" and a few other books, but "War" has to be the best. Because it couldn't be any better.  He was embedded with troops at an isolated outpost in Afghanistan, and unlike most journalists who are prissy little twits, the guy fit in and was accepted by the troops.  Some of his observations about soldiers are so well put and so accurate that I don't think I've heard them better expressed anywhere.  If your library can get it for you, it's worth a read. One of those you stay up late reading because you can't stop.  Doesn't matter if  you are a veteran or not, it's enthralling.

Restrepo is the documentary made from films Junger took when he was out with the troops in the bush.  I haven't seen it yet but I'm going to buy a copy if I can.


Between fixing the  roof, fixing the satellite dish, and doing my work and my wife's work, I'm getting pretty ragged.  Be glad when she's 100% again, both because I want her to feel better and because I can barely keep juggling everything that has to be done, by myself.  I see now the wisdom of having more than one wife, though I can see the drawbacks as well.

I know this is just a "down and dirty" post, but I wanted to let people know I am still in the game. Just a lot going on here at the moment. Seems like the last month or so has been that way.

Thought for the day:

Taking care of my wife's cats!

Music to calm your nerves.


  1. Part of me, the smartass, looked at the picture of the Brit with the L85A1 and I thought "Hmm... must be artistic license because that gun appears to actually be working."

    I don't know if youre a YouTube kind of guy, but if you havent found him, Ian over at Forgotten Weapons does amazing videos on guns that you and I would find fascinating. Case in point - the L85A1 :

    Best wished to your wife for a speedy recovery.

    1. The original version of the L85 was a catastrophe, but I have read that the current model works "alright." I wouldn't want one. I don't like bullpup designs, anyway.

      I have seen the forgotten weapons video page, I forget who it was recommended it but it was interesting. I haven't seen the one on the L85A1. I'll swing by there and see what all he's been working on.

      Someone sent me a picture of an old gun that he was challenging people to identify , turned out to be an old Belgian rifle, if it's the same guy.

      We are leaving in a few minutes for the doctors office. I expect that will lead to visits to a specialist. They never miss a chance to bleed you dry.

    2. The local coin shop sometimes takes in guns. We have a game where I'll show up and they'll hand me a gun in a soft gun case and I have to figure out what it is only by sticking my hand blindly in the case and going by feel. So far they have yet to stump me. I love ID'ing guns for people.

    3. We don't have any coin shops here. But we do have these little hole in the wall "Patriot Gun Shops" that sell guns, ammo, accessories, and patriot literature. I like to drop by those but they always want more for their guns than they are worth, and lots of time they are selling really old ammo. I enjoy talking about guns, and I like answering questions for people who email me about them, though I always caveat my replies by saying I'm really living 30 years in the past with my "gun likes" and modern, younger guys may not share all my opinions.

  2. Damn those stairs to the laundry! -sigh- REally very sorry for her, as I am intimately familiar with knee trouble and not being able to walk. It-is-not-nice!

    Now my Dear, you will survive doing her chores too. >,-))) But I am sorry for you, too. REally I am!!!!!!!! >,-)

    That satellite dish wipe out sounds as if it came out of an old tv sitcom!!!! Oh mercy!!!! He probably couldn't do it a second time, if he wanted to.

    You say a lot of stuff has been happening for the last month. Guess my suggesting the latest things, are due to the Dark of the Moon, on Feb. 15th... Guess that won't work. All I know is, "the excrumentum has been colliding with the rotating air device", for me, and I'm blaming it on The New Moon.

    Take care! Both can't be down, at the same time. First Rule of Marriage!

    1. The stairs are one of the worst features of our place. The others include a shake roof, and because we are built into the side of a mountain, one side of the house is three stories tall. Working on that is no fun. :-(

      The big gas truck has to back up to the tank, and the dish is right by the little paved track, on the side he can't see. It was the only place that would work. I doubt the guy even realized he hit it. I used to have bright orange surveyors tape draped on it, but it rotted off. I guess I will put some more on it.

      We both stay pretty busy up here, and a lot of the work is taking care of different animals. Also my wife does most of the cooking. But now I am picking up that too until she is better. If I were a follower of the prophet, I would have three other wives to take up the slack! Maybe I will convert....

      Between the weather and all this other unexpected stuff, it really has been "challenging." I'm as ready to blame it on the moon as anything else... ;-)

      We'll get through it, we always seem to muddle through somehow.

  3. You really need to get an apartment over-under washer and dryer and put it somewhere on the living level. Stairs kill, man. Stairs kill. If you can't do that, maybe look into retrofitting a dumbwaiter using a cheap hoist from Harborfright or something.

    Always wondered about those who advocated multi-level bug-out cabins. And you and your wife have pretty much answered that (and that one-legged crazy hermit named Joel.)

    Hope your lady gets better soonest. Having 'one' down sucks. Good call on keeping her home and away from WallyWorld.

    1. The problem was, I was 32 when we moved up here. The world is much different when you are 65. If I were doing it again, I would not build a three level house, even if I had to build some more "outbuildings" to make it work. I would still build with cedar log, if I could find them, but I would have a metal roof. Back in 1986, that hadn't really caught on yet.

      Joel is a hoot. I like his blog. I'm interested in life in the desert, and I have always found it amazing that a guy with one leg could make a go of it out there.

      I hate the Cripple Carts, they kind of symbolize the end of the road for me. She can live without going to town for awhile....

      We are headed to the doctors in just a few minutes. I am only expecting to be shuffled off to a specialist. We'll see.

    2. Harry this year I had to use the "cripple carts" a few times. They are kinda fun !!! I had to keep repeating its not a bumper car its not a bumper car :).

    3. Gary, I have a real horror of those things. I know you've been through an awful lot this past year, and if I had to experience what you have, riding in the cripple cart would be the least of my worries. Don't know why the idea puts me off, other than I worry if I get to that point, I'll never come back. From the context of your comment, I gather you did make it back. I'm glad to hear it, too. ;-)

  4. Oh Jeez, Harry....sorry about your missus. Hope she is just bruised up a bit and nothing more serious. Knees are painful parts to fall on. Had to laugh about the gas man....poor guy. We kind of have the same problem here and our tractor is always ready to pull a new driver out of a ditch or whatever. Cripple cart, lol...never heard that one before. Too bad most of the Walmart people are able bodied that use them. Chin up; things will be better, soon...and spring is coming, right?

    1. Tewshooz, we leave for the doctor's office in a few minutes. It's a nice drive through the mountains because we go to a doctor in a different county. I'll know more about what's going on with the wife then.

      I got a package here recently, and the fellow who sent it put "can be left at gate" on it. The delivery driver wrote THANK YOU!! on the package. Maybe I can get my stuff by drone, I hear Amazon is doing that now! ;-)

  5. You have had a really bad week. I hope M is ok and will soon be up and going again. We also have stairs and I just hate them. But, I don't plan on moving anytime soon, so I just have to deal with them.
    I have been reading on the net about the Florida school shooting. The whole thing is just terrifying. I went to my grandchild's school Valentine's party yesterday. I walked right in the door and back to the classroom. There was no one to stop me or question me. Oh yes-there was a sign that advised visitors to stop by the office before going any further into the school. I am sure that a shooter would be sure and stop by the office to announce his intentions. Our school security is nonexistent. It scares me to think that my grandchildren and others are just sitting ducks. Jana

    1. Jana, it turns out there's more to the story than I knew. My wife had gone down stairs and spent TWO HOURS on her elliptical workout machine. Then she tried to carry a basket of laundry up stairs and something in her knee gave out.

      I asked her what possessed her to do something like that. I can work on that thing for half an hour and then I'm about sick and have to go lay down. She said she was reading her book and didn't realize she was on it that long. I don't believe that, she gets these weird ideas and just acts them out. I bet anything she wanted to see if she could do it.

      The doctor had us go buy a kind of brace for her knee and she is supposed to take it easy now. I am so aggravated >:-(

      Other than putting up a barbed wire fence and running everybody through a scanner, I don't know how you keep crazies out of any place. If they had limited access to the school, that would have helped, but I wonder if it's practical. Anybody who has tried to get into a school at "parent pickup time" knows what I am talking about.

      I favor the Israeli tactic of arming teachers and having security on the access points to the school. That seems to work.

  6. Harry,
    Ouch, your poor wife dealing with a bum knee and falling down steps. Ice, is a good friend in this situation for the pain along with OTC Advil, Motrin, Tylenol (which ever one works for you). I hope the doctors visit works out well.
    Don't kill yourself trying to do all the work on the homestead.

    Thanks for the book referrals!

    1. Sandy, she's feeling better today. We went into town for breakfast. I'm keeping things squared away here, but it's harder without her being able to help.

      Those are good books, might be hard to find as they are both old, but our library had them on a back shelf in the place where books go to die.

  7. I hope your wife is back to her normal activity level or close to it by now! It's tricky carrying a laundry basket down stairs. I have two flights to go down with my laundry. I don't suppose this will work so well after a certain age.

    1. Lisa, she's better but we aren't doing our normal walking routine right now, even though the weather is nicer. It will take awhile.

      The stars from the middle level to the lower level have always been a bit of a worry. Once you get in your mid sixties and the knee joints start creaking, they present a definite challenge when you are carrying laundry and trying to hang on to the rail.