Happy New Year all:

Weekly wisdom:

“The Past, Present, Future walk in to a bar. It was Tense.” ~ anonymous

The caption for this post does not make any reference to the recent “Fiscal Cliff” vote, let me explain what it does reference. My morning coffee hadn’t quite finished perking, it was calm throughout the house. These are the times when lads begin to think, and that is where the danger lies. Given enough quiet time and young men, men in their prime and those beyond, all begin to think and act alike; and it’s not pretty. In fact it can get pretty tense; details further on.

My own Fiscal Cliff – Have you ever been caught up in the ‘spider’s web’ of internet site security? Earlier this week I wanted to move some money about and went on to the proper site. Quickly I entered the user name and passwords. After a few seconds verifying I entered the site and was greeted by a message stating that my computer was not recognized and I needed to answer three security questions. Five years ago I had set this stuff up; so, do you remember the name of your elementary school?

The next question was a no brainer. It was the final one that stumped me when asked the name of the hospital I was born in. One, I was very young, and two, I was born at home—was it home, Home, Living Room (it was February, wartime, and no central heat), bedroom, none; I had no clue.

That is when I also found out that answering a financial institution’s three security questions is not anything like a game of twenty questions. Nobody yells “hot” or “cold”. I tried twice before I was locked out of the system.

The next morning, a fight to the death in phone hell is what I expected. I did not appreciate the twenty or so minute wait as punishment for hitting the ‘O’ button seventeen times over as a secret escape route to get to a live person. Once I was finally performing phone-schmaltz with Ms. Gracious she brought quick relief. Some very thorough written instructions have now been added to the manila folder stuck in my file cabinet.

Water safety – The other morning was one of those silent occasions referenced in the opening; it was a perfect time to test something. Creating a tense moment was not at all on my mind.

Over Christmas we spent a few great days with Paul and Dia and the rest of the family. During the visit Paul took me to see his new boat, a stunning, vintage, Chris Craft. Anyway, that is not the story. The story is that with the boat he received a quantity of life preservers (PFDs). Two of these were designed specifically for sailing and paddling – size “Adult Small.” With a pair of Kayaks at the cabin an extra pair of PFDs is always useful.

Now, what exactly does “Adult Small” mean? Could it fit a Marcia or are they really meant for a ten year old? What is not listed on the label is any form of a guide—a base-line.

Here is where the magic of “men-allowed-to-think-and-plan-while-it-is-still-deathly-quiet-time happens. Just two sips into my coffee and I had the answer. See if or if not the PFD would fit or not, and if not, how close to not. I’d establish a base-line. First every strap was loosened to the max—I realize I am not truly “Adult Small”. Next, my arms were inserted through the arm openings. A little stuffy trying to breathe with my head inside the contraption, so like a coyote in a trap, I just pushed deeper.

Seconds later I could again breathe freely as my nose sniffed fresh air, but could do little else. DO NO PANIC! My head could go no further. My chin was caught. My arms wouldn’t bend enough to reach the shoulder straps. OK, time for just a little panic—and no, I am not normally claustrophobic.

I heard Marcia turn on the TV and made my way downstairs to sheepishly ask her for; “just a little tug?” One look and Marcia was one gale of laughter away from peeing. Then, between bouts of laughter, I heard these spiteful words; “you got yourself into that mess, now get yourself out of it.”

Did she really think that if I could get out of this on my own that I’d parade around looking like a Polish sausage posing as a ripe banana?

Now that it’s off, we know that it fits Marin and Derek loosely and someone half my size perfectly. See how well this type of thinking works?

Lincoln – Some weeks just slide by into the muddle of the past. Some weeks stand out for one reason or other. This week, as you can tell by my previous tales is of the second variety.

Wednesday became the perfect time to take in the matinee showing of Lincoln. Marcia, Adrianne who had the day off, and I went. I got a little ribbing from the ladies for taking one of my famous, back road, jaunts to Mariemont and it’s historic Mariemont Theater arriving three minutes late for the 11:40 AM showing of Spielberg’s Lincoln. The theater staff was busily scrubbing the confection stand and took a few moments to sell us the tickets.

Moments later we were seated in the very best of the theater’s seats. That was possible since we were the ONLY people in the theater.

Some talk and an occasional look at one of the on screen ads as the minutes ticked on by. It was nearly 11:55 when Adrianne suggested a quick run next door to the deli for a take-out sandwich.

I have no idea how or when or who it was, that at that very moment, discovered that our showing really started at 12:40 PM.

A minute later we awkwardly pranced on out and by the theater crew mumbling something like “we’ll be back shortly.”

When we finally did see Lincoln we loved it!

Fini – Make it a great week. Happy birthday to the second baby born in Chicago in the New Year of 1944. Now do yourself a favor and join me by getting your very own flu shot.

Cheers,
Dirk

From the Archives
Saturday, January 03, 2004
Morning all:

I have been home all week on vacation – Marcia is desperate. Something about being “underfoot”, she says. Of course I have no clue as to what she is talking about. My life has continued on the same little predictable path as when I am home and not traveling. I still make the morning coffee, just as always. I still moan and groan over television shows she watches in the evening, just as always. Oh well, Monday this fine time will be history as I head off for work again.

Yesterday Marcia climbed on to life’s next plateau as she celebrated one of those milestone birthdays. You know, the kind of birthday that has a zero on the trailing end. Originally I had planned a series of gag gifts, i.e. a walker, or arthritis salve, or something such as that. Then it crossed my mind that we’d make a day trip out of it and visit a series of retirement villages with a nice lunch in between – possibly at one of these places to really test their capabilities – she does love to travel. In the end it got a bit more boring as I settled on the replacement of our old living room and family room furniture. She did the selection and since this is something she has wanted for a long time, is absolutely thrilled. In retrospect I think that the furniture thing went over better than my ‘day-trip’ plans would have. Yesterday, we watched as very ceremonially, the worst of two couches was properly chewed up and then disappeared into the hopper of the garbage truck.

Last night all the local Pastoor clan took her out for a memorable dinner. We are fortunate to live where we do since there are such a wide variety of wonderful eateries. We ended up at Sturkey’s where husband and wife are the owners-chefs. The wife is a world-class pastry chef and some of the gang ended up eating a piece of cake that won USA-Today’s ‘Best in the Nation’ award last year. Others in our group had a bit more sense. No names please. Marin sat in a high chair for the first time and thought he was big stuff as he was a perfect addition to our group over a meal that went from 7:30 till a little after 10:00; sorry about the chewed up menu Sturkey’s.

Have a great week.
Cheers,
Dirk

One Response to “Tense moments”
  1. Pieter pastoor Says:

    All I can say is that you looked like “BIG BIRD”

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