Paddy’s Fall MI-5

Paddy says: “Ahhh, the first few days of Fall. One of my favorite times of the year, every year … so this week’s 5 is of an autumnal nature.”

1. Describe your single fondest childhood memory of the fall season.

It’s hard for me to pick one! Fall is my favorite time of year. I guess I would have to say Halloween, but I couldn’t narrow it down to just one particular year.

2. What are your two favorite things to eat that are specific to this time of year?

Apple cider and roasted squash. I’m not really a huge squash fan, but I really like roasted squash. I like my squash really dry–more like the consistency of mashed potatoes. Butternut squash with brown sugar and cinnamon is a new favorite here in the Batty household.

3. Name three items that you dig out of the closet and wear now that the weather is turning.

There’s a particular sweater I love that has a tiny hole in the front. I love it too much to retire it. My barn coat that Paddy gave me will come out soon, as will my favorite toggle coat.

4. Tell us your four favorite activities that you enjoy between the Autumnal Equinox and Halloween (November AIN’T Fall here in Maine folks!).

Walking in the cool air, apple picking, going to the farm market, and reading spooky stories!

5. Finally, what are the top five things that you need to get done before the winter hits?

Winterize the basement, rake the leaves, trim the back hedge, wash the windows, and mow the lawn one last time. (I hope it’s the last time!)

The Scooter!

I’ve been watching the scooter market for some time. It’s been close to two years, I would bet. With gas prices going up, up, up, and with a lot of my driving being in town, I thought a scooter would be perfect. This year, though, used scooter prices are through the roof! Last year, the $800 scooter was easy to come by. This year? No way. Even Chinese scooters were selling for $1800 at the dealership 1/2 hour from here. In fact, I was bemoaning that fact just this Monday at my Kiwanis meeting.

Today, though, one of the Kiwanians I was talking to at lunch called me. She said she saw a scooter for sale (two actually) just a few miles away. I took a little ride with JP this afternoon to take a look at it.

It was a 2007 blue and white Honda Metropolitan. I called the number on the sign. The guy said that, though it was unregistered, I could take it for a test drive if I wanted. The scooter was parked at a friends house that had good visibility to the road, and that friend had the keys. I went up and knocked.

After a two mile jaunt, I knew I really needed (!) one of these scooters. It was fun, economical, and still could travel 35 mph, even with big ol’ me on it. I talked to friend who was “selling” the bike for the owner. He told me the scooter had been on his lawn since 4pm yesterday. He said he had 4-5 people look at it yesterday, and 7 people look at it today. It had nine miles on it. It seems the lady who owned the scooter crashed it on mile two. When she did, she broke her arm and wrist. Her husband, who was on the other scooter, saw the whole thing happen. After that they decided scooters were not for them. So she had a brand new scooter, just repaired, with a total of nine miles on it.

On the ride back to the office, JP and I talked. He mentioned at the price the guy was asking, if I didn’t like it, I could sell it again and get my money back. And, since it was a Honda, it would be reliable, and parts and service should be easy to come by. I called Susan, and spoke with her. She agreed that it was a good price, it was the style I liked, and since it was local, perhaps I should spring for it.

So I did!

Even though it wasn’t registered, I drove it home. I had so much fun, it was crazy! It would maintain 30mph just about everywhere, and could get up to 40mph with a slight downhill run. There was one big hill on the way home, and it slowed down predictably then, but it was quite a big hill.

Of course, now I’ve bought a scooter, and it’s almost winter, and it’ll be raining the next two days! 🙁

Another Crazy Dream

This one is kinda disjointed. It seems it was all in one dream, but the parts don’t seem to fit together.

Part the first: Susan and I are driving on a very rutted, muddy, dirt road in the countryside. There’s a farm to our left. Behind us are a bunch of military types, complete with tanks. I come to a very rutted part of the road. I decide to go off towards the right ditch in an effort to keep my wheels out of the rut. Instead, the rut is so big, I end up gettting the entire car in the rut. The Army is a little mad we’re holding them up. I decide rather than push forward, to back out, and let the Army go around us.

Next, Susan and I are at a party. She mentions to me she’s just noticed a beetle enter my right ear. She just happens to have a pair of forceps, and she starts digging around in my ear, trying to get the beetle. As you can imagine, it’s quite painful. I can feel she’s latching onto something, but she isn’t strong enough to pull it out. I eventually (and forcefully) take the forceps away from her, and proceed to get the bug myself. I eventually latch onto about three cotton balls worth of lint, hair, and cotton. Also inside is a small, see-through, blue beetle, about the color of an original iMac.

Part 3: Now it’s winter. Again, Susan and I are in the car. We are traveling on Old County Rd, heading towards Thomaston. There is so much snow, the road crews have decided not to remove it. Instead, they push the snow from one lane over onto the other lane. The result is one lane is at its normal grade. The other side is a road made of snow, several feet higher than the other side. At one point, the snow is so deep, the south bound lane starts going up-hill. The top of the hill is the height of a telephone pole! Again, this is just a giant mound of snow, compacted down. There is no type of barier or railing on the edge, just a telephone height drop onto the other lane below. I start up the hill, and I’m almost to the top, when I turn to Susan and say “I’m not entirely comfortable up here. What if we start to skid, and go over the edge? What if the compacted snow gives way, and the road collapses? I’m going to back down the hill.” There are people behind me, and they’re a little mad they have to slow down, pull over to the edge as much as they can, and let me by.

Then I woke up.

There are  two things I notice about these dream sequences. In all three, Susan is with me. In parts one and three, I’m in a vehicle that needs to back up, and people are behind me getting angry. What’s that all about?

Crazy Christmas Carol Dream

Last night, I had this crazy dream. Dwane (my sister’s husband) and I were leading a church service. Dwane is one of the music leaders at our church, and he was performing that function in the dream. We were singing “The First Noel.” After a few verses, Dwane asked me to come up and sing a solo. Here’s some background information…

1. While in a church service, it’s not good form to not comply with a request from the pulpit.
2. I don’t sing very well.
3. I like to sing, but I sing the bass part. I’ve sung bass so long (since high school), it’s very hard for me to sing melodies. My ear, and thus my voice, wants to sing the bass part. So, I’m not a great choice to sing lead melodies.

So, like a dutiful church go-er, I go up to the pulpit as Dwane requested. There in front of me is a book. It’s a book of “mis-heard Christmas carol lyrics.” Yup, not the real lyrics, but specifically wrong lyrics. The book is also printed in a “Ye Olde English” font. So now I have to sing the melody to words that aren’t correct, and words I can hardly even read!

Of course, the result is awful. I can’t sing the right melody, and keep drifting into the bass part. I can’t read some of the words, so I’m making some of them up. Sometimes, I’m skiping words altogehter in an effort to keep up with the music. Finally, I decide to sing all the chorus as “Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel.” (In the book, there are different words for each chorus. I figured “The congregation can’t see the words, so they won’t know if I’m singing the written chorus or not.”)

Then I woke up.

Friday Fill-Ins #90

1. There is no need to get so testy so quickly.

2. Where in the heck did the boys drag my shotgun off to?

3. Making a gigantic mess out of the whole thing is all I managed to do.

4. Prospects for investing aren’t looking so hot right now.

5.“Feel the funk, y’all; have a good time!”  is the message.

6. Simplicity and tranquility are elusive.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to supper out with the family, tomorrow my plans include playing a gig in Brunswick,  and Sunday, I want to enjoy the company picnic!

My Life of Luxury

On the way to work this morning, I was listening to the news on NPR as I usually do. It seems they’re running some features on living in Maine, and the costs of doing so. Yesterday, they had some admitted left wing economist (yes, the NPR reporter said his guest was left of center) say that the average Maine household earned $45k a year, and it it took, on average, $50k to live in this state. I mumbled something at the radio, and went about my day.

Now, this morning, I yelled at the radio. This morning’s economist was talking about the price of health care and day care. He mentioned something about how some people have the “luxury” of having one parent stay at home full time with their children.

Listen, buddy: It’s a choice, not a luxury.

There’s nothing luxurious about working your regular day job, and then going home and working on your home computer, designing web sites for extra scratch. There’s nothing luxurious about spending your Friday and Saturday nights miles away from home and family so you can earn money to take the kids out for a donut on Sunday morning. Sure, my ’95 Ford Taurus wagon has leather seats and air conditioning. And hey, I’m not knocking it. I wouldn’t consider it luxury.

No, instead, my wife and I made a choice. We decided we wanted to raise our kids with one parent at home. In my case, Susan felt lead to be the one to stay home, but it doesn’t have to be a “mommy only” thing. So she stays home. I go to the office. We both work hard–just at different things. Our home is modest; buying a new couch is something that requires some thrifty shopping. Our cars, though not heaps, are both over 10 years old. Our vacations don’t require plane flights to anywhere. Our last meal in a “fancy” restaurant was paid for with $50 worth of gift certificates that I bartered for with web design work.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not claiming poverty–far from it, in fact. But very often, things need to be put in perspective. My family has a full time parent at home. Though we’re not poor, we’re a mighty long way from Obama’s $250k rich, and a mighty long way from McCain’s five mil rich. And yet, we somehow figured out how to be able to keep Mom home with the kids. It’s far from a “luxury.” It’s a choice, a decision. If you really want to do it–if you really believe it’s the right thing to do–you can make it happen.

Make My Day

So Jack over at Slightly Off Center gave me the “Make My Day” award. Here are the rules:

(1) give this to people whose blogs mean something special to you – or give it to the blogs whose persons mean something special to you
(2) leave a comment on their blog so they know they got it
(3) you get to pick the number of times you give it

Jack gave her award to three blogs, so I shall do the same. These awards go to:

1) My beloved wife. She makes my day, every day. (In case you haven’t seen it, I did “Reasons For Love” a few years ago. For 52 weeks I listed 3-4 reason why I love Susan. Then, when it was all done, I made a page of those reasons, which you can go read. I actually get quite a few hits here from Google for “reasons to love someone.”)

2) My sister.

3) Amy and her Badgroove. There’s almost always something new over there every day. Go check it out, especially if you’re into NASCAR. (I don’t go there for that part.)

Now, if you look over in my blog roll, you’ll see many other of my friends. I encourage you to visit each one. If you’re a friend in the the blog roll, and didn’t receive this prestigious award, odds are it’s because you’re not posting much. C’mon Jim, put up something fresh!

One Word

Answer the questions using only one word.

1. Where is your cell phone? Pocket
2. Your significant other? Curvy!
3. Your hair? Brown
4. Your mother? Mom
5. Your father? Dad
6. Your favorite thing? Drums. (No, chocolate! No, Susan! This is too hard!)
7. Your dream last night? Forgettable
8. Your favorite drink? Milk
9. Your dream/goal? Doctorate
10. The room you’re in? Living
11. Your fear? Dis-eyeball-ment
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Older
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you’re not? Skinny
15. Muffins? Blueberry
16. One of your wish list items? Book
17. Where you grew up ? Maine
18. The last thing you did? Youtube
19. What are you wearing? Clothes.
20. Your TV? CRT
21. Your pet? Cat
22. Your computer? Running
23. Your life? Happy
25. Missing someone? No
26. Your car? Taurus
27. Something you’re not wearing? Bra
28. Favorite Store? NKM
29. Your summer? Over
30. Your favorite color? Purple
31. When is the last time you laughed? Today
32. Last time you cried? Past

Susan’s MI-5

1. Would you rather have one great friend or 5 pals?

One great friend.

2. Are you better at remembering names or faces?

Faces, but there’s a funny story here. Yesterday, I was coming into the office. A customer was coming out. He said “Hi Bill.” I didn’t recognize him. I said “I’m really sorry–do we know each other?” He said “It’s me, Jim K.” Well, I’ve made changes to Jim’s website for the last couple of years! The difference? “You don’t have a hat on!” I said. “I didn’t recognize you without it!” He admitted it was very rare for him to be without a hat.

3. What books on your shelf are begging to be read?

My Bible is on my desk. I read through it, then start again at the beginning. I’ve decided that every time I do it, I’ll pick a new translation.  I’m currently in Proverbs of the NIV. I’m also 2/3 of the way through a cookbook my sister gave me almost two years ago, and a non-fiction account of the “Paul is Dead” scandal Susan bought me for Christmas last year.

4. Will the world be better or worse in 100 years?

Doesn’t thermodynamics declare that it will be worse?

5. Is your best friend now anything like your best friend from childhood?

No. My best friend now is a 36 year old mother of three. My best friend then was a 10 year old boy!

Friday Fill-Ins #89

1. I enjoy breakfast.

2. The housing market is something I wonder about often lately.

3. In your heart, you knew I was the one for you, even as I passed you quickly, you kneeling at the milk cooler.

4. Take cheap chicken fingers, add a little Frank’s hot sauce and you end up with a kicked up kids meal you can actually (almost) enjoy.

5. Life has gifted me with a wonderful family.

6. Having the kids go to Grandma’s house is an instant vacation.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to possibly watching a movie with Susan, tomorrow my plans include house cleaning and a trip to Bar Harbor (a gig) and Sunday, I want to see what happens, as I have no real plans!