Girl’s night out

A couple of days ago, my dear bride decided that the care of our 4-year old granddaughter would be left to me so that she could have something called a “girl’s night out.” This particular event and my expected support for it were presented to me as a fact of life that I should have known from birth. I confess here and now that, until the present, I was unaware that “girl’s night out” was as sacred an event as there ever could or would be. My wife tells me that the ritual is most likely contained in Holy Writ and I had no right to contest its requirement or procedure. I dare not ask or attempt to spy on such an affair, she further told me, the penalty being some sort of unspoken punishment in the afterlife.

I have learned a few things. The affairs are usually, but not always, at a personal residence and invariably require spending money on stuff only a woman would want or need. The particular event that my wife intended to go to involved jewelry I think and, yes, I was required in accordance with the aforementioned Holy Writ to come up with the necessary credit card(s) or cash as a token of some sort of blind loyalty. Of course, I surrendered my card (it might have been two) and cash in view of the fact that I prefer her cooking to anybody else’s and did not want to offend the ancient rites. I was, however, determined to know what took place at these usually nocturnal female festivals.

I dare not actually go to one! First, it is patently illegal and, second, there are some things that men do not need to know. I did do some research and found out enough to know that this affair is called “girls’ night out” for a very good reason. It is a concentrated, estrogen-charged, jewelry / makeup, kitchen stuff and who knows what all extravaganza meant to allow a large group of women to spend money on stuff that is intended to make their lives more fabulous, glamorous, easy, accessorized, and turn an otherwise mundane life into a feast extraordinaire of bling, eye shadow and chrome plated garlic presses (did I just write that?). I am sure there are also things done and bought at these affairs that are intended to control one’s husband or boyfriend, hence the reason why men are not allowed to attend. Given what my research has revealed, I can state with absolute confidence that I will never attend one. The fact that my wife said I can’t go to one either is an added incentive.

Now, it is left for me to pay the bill. I want a man’s night out.

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Stanley

My wife and I have always enjoyed a little bit of wildlife in our yard. To that end, we have multiple bird feeders and several plants that are known to attract native wildlife to our home.  Thus far, we have seen several species of bird including even the occasional hawk. We have also seen an opossum at least twice and a few chipmunks. We really enjoy the visitors.

Then there’s Stanley.

Stanley is a Sciurus carolinensis. His better known name is an Eastern Gray Squirrel. He has been with us for a couple of years now. I think he has a place under our mini-barn. My first experience with Stanley was awhile back when he destroyed a bird feeder in his quest for dinner. Squirrels are messy eaters and Stanley is no exception. Well, really, he’s just a slob.

What began after this episode was a mini-war with Stanley. He does his best to destroy my bird feeders and I do my best to thwart him. Let’s see how that’s going, shall we? I put a plastic bird feeder on a five foot steel poll. He crawled straight up the pole and ripped the plastic right off, spilling all of the sunflower seed on the ground. He took what he wanted and left the rest. The “rest” attracted the entire western hemisphere’s population of Starlings. Starlings are not native to Indiana and I did not want them in my yard. I scooped up what I could and they departed, but only after leaving a yard full of seed shells.

I was thinking that a bird feeder that was inaccessible to Stanley would be the ticket. I bought another plastic bird feeder and hung it on a hangar attached to the gazebo. He destroyed that one too.

On the front of my house, there is a peak on the roof line. On two occasions, I have seen Stanley sitting on that peak. He sits there chirping and barking. He does it for a long time too and it seems that he is staring at me the entire time he is up there and out of my reach. I have decided he is either trolling for a lady squirrel or (more probably) he is mocking me and telling the animal kingdom that his human is not very smart.

“Well, by golly, I’ll show him”, I thought to myself. I went and bought two bird feeders. One is advertised as being “squirrel proof” with a cage surrounding the seed container so that Stanley can’t get to the seed. The second one is a standard floor feeder but on a six foot pole with an “anti-squirrel” baffle on it. Both have, thus far, worked. I have observed Stanley on the ground, picking up dropped seeds from the floor feeder. He has attempted to get past both feeders to no avail. He actually fell off of the baffle. Hopefully, that taught him a lesson. I’ve not seen him on the peak of the house as of late.

My wife put out a plastic feeder on a tree limb that he made short work of.  That little victory will bring him up to the peak again I suspect. You know, he really is a pest but I like him and will probably put out some dried corn for him. Maybe then he will leave my feeders alone.

NOT a paid political announcement

(NOTE: This is not a paid political announcement. It was not paid for by any committee to elect or re-elect anybody for any office anywhere around here. Campaign contributions are limited to $2,400.00 per individuals, per election cycle. Further, they are not tax deductible for income tax purposes. Contributions from corporations and foreign nationals are not allowed. There’s nowhere to send it to anyway.  Finally, nobody approved of this message).

It is primary election time here in the great state of Indiana. Of course, you know what that means. Everybody who is anybody comes out of the woodwork to run for everything from a seat in Congress to the local trustee of something or other. They used to elect the dog catcher too but they quit that some years ago. With so many people running for office (there are 13 alone running for our local Congressional seat), there is a sea of yard signs up and down practically every street in the county. It’s a wonder anybody can see where they’re going with all the signs.

Well, I was driving down Main Street the other day. Anyplace on Main that has an accessible patch of grass has a yard sign stuck in it. Such is the competition for space that there are rumors of certain “parties” going about late at night and moving signs around and sometimes even throwing them out altogether. It’s very sad. Like I said, I was driving along and looking at signs when one of the names on a sign jumped out at me. It was a fellow named John (last name omitted on the idea he may not want his name attached to this website). John was running for a position on a local board. I wasn’t real sure it was the John that I knew so I just figured I would call him direct and ask him. That’s just what I did too. “John” I said when he answered his phone, “I saw a yard sign that said that you are running for the board. Is that true, John?” He was quick to reply, “Why, yes, it is me and I would appreciate your vote on May 4th.” I thought about it for a minute and said, “John, you can’t run for office.” Upon hearing this, John launched into his “campaign speech” complete with all of his qualifications and reasons why he needs and should be on the board. He ended up asking why I thought he should not run for office. “Well, John, you’re not corrupt,” I said. “It’ll ruin you but, if you really want to run for the board, of course, I’ll vote for you and I’ll talk to my family about voting for you too.” He chuckled and thanked me for the support.

You know, he didn’t offer to pay me or anything. That’s a good sign. You know what else? I’m not going to charge him either.

Spider Hit!

I went to my bank the other day. Nichole, Alyssa, and Sheila were there as they always seemed to be. On this particular day, though, the atmosphere was different as Nichole and Alyssa were visibly shaken. It seemed odd to me considering that they and I were the only ones there. I wondered had I upset their routine by coming in on a Thursday instead of my normal Friday? Putting aside my vanity, I inquired what it might be that had left them in such a state of anxiety and stress. What followed was a tale of anguish and dismay told with all the animation and excitement that only abject fear for one’s life and limb can produce. It seems that a spider of enormous size and ferociousness had been found in the bank. It was unknown how he had gotten in though there seemed to be some suspicion that it might have been an inside job. One report had the beast the size of a small dog and another the size of a quarter. I never did get an exact description of the creature but his intention was clear to all who saw him. He had been contracted and sent by some dark, nefarious organization (the Illuminati perhaps or maybe the IRS) to inflict a dreadfully painful bite on Nichole and perhaps even hasten her demise. I was informed that her fear was such that she risked unemployment by sitting on the counter top. I was also told that Alyssa had the same fear and had also jumped onto the counter top. She didn’t want to admit to it though. Had Alyssa read her biology in school, she would not have had to fear because she would know that spiders never bite red-heads such as she is. They know better.

I asked where the brute was. Sheila said that he had been captured and thrown out of the building in a most violent and unpleasant fashion. “Who was the hero here today?” I inquired. All the time that Nichole and Alyssa had been telling their deadly tale, Sheila was in the background shaking her head and rolling her eyes. It seems that Sheila herself had wrapped this purveyor of evil and doom in a paper napkin and deposited him out in the grass in front of the building. This announcement brought several protestations from Nichole and Alyssa regarding the certainty that this monster had, in fact, been sent with the singular mission to inflict great pain and suffering upon Nichole. Alyssa would certainly had been next had it not been for Sheila’s heroic efforts.

I found it rather odd that during all the time that this crisis was occurring, there were two men in the offices on the other side of the building (it’s a real small building). They knew nothing (so they said) of any hit planned by a spider and were completely unaware of any activity in the teller’s area. I am sure they were too busy with work to realize that death stalked their office that day. One is left to wonder….

Even now as I write two days after the event, one fact remains clear: the Arachne is out there. Waiting, watching, plotting. I have it on good authority that Nichole and Alyssa have hired a couple of Praying Mantises to guard the place. They are known to be very good at eating spiders. One question begs still to be answered. Who was the inside contact that let this spider in and why was he sent?

Factoid Lady

I was in the mall the other day with the wife. She had seen an advertisement for a sale and asked me to go along. I don’t really know why she would need me unless it was for protection. Have you ever seen women in full shopping mode? It’s downright dangerous. That’s all I am going to say about that. Anyway…she was buying clothes on this day so I knew I would be hanging out in front of the dressing rooms.

I really wish the powers that be would put a little waiting room nearby the dressing rooms for the herds of men who are out doing what I was doing that day. Actually, a few of them do but that was not the case at the store we were at. I was compelled to wander aimlessly through the aisles. Please bear in mind that I was carrying her coat AND her purse while she was in the dressing room. The things I do for my woman.

There are some stores that like to announce stuff on the speaker for the benefit of all. You’ll hear pronouncements like “Attention, ____shoppers! Check out aisle 16 where we have cherry flavored children’s cough drops priced two for one!” You get the picture. Upscale stores like to announce factoids to entice their moneyed clientele to consider some offer or another. We were in one of those stores. I was wandering the aisles near the dressing rooms while awaiting my wife’s appearance in yet another outfit the likes of which I had to pronounce judgment on. (You know, I wish the stores would put a magazine rack or something useful around these dressing rooms. Next time you’re out, take a look at the number of men wandering aimlessly around dressing rooms. They’re the ones carrying purses and looking lost – very sad).

Just as I was standing at the edge of one of the main aisles, “factoid lady” announced the following over the intercom for all creation to know and benefit: “Good morning shoppers. Did you know that 42% of all women are wearing an ill-fitting bra?” I got off the main aisle as fast as I could in the suspicion that once that fact sank in, there would be a stampede of women towards that section of the store where they sell these things. What a dangerous thing to announce to the world, I thought to myself. Further, how in the world did they figure that one out? Is there an agency of government who is responsible for this sort of thing? I finally decided that this was knowledge that I did not need to know and resolved right there that I was going to complain to store management about announcing this kind of stuff. Think of the men who would be hurt irreparably in the knowledge that their wives, daughters, or girlfriends could very well be suffering an ill-fitting bra. Furthermore, the stampede that might result from such public knowledge would certainly be a safety hazard to other innocent shoppers.

I think I will make a fan page on the internet so this crisis can be addressed and solved quickly. It’s no wonder women can be so hard to get along with. Near half of them are “ill-fitted.”

Pulled over

This week I  experienced a couple of odd events. None of them on their own are important enough to create an entire column so let’s just call it a minor rant, shall we? Wait, I think I’ll just stick with the oddest one this week.

I got pulled over by a Greenwood cop at the corner of Greenbriar and Meadowview this past week. I was driving 37 mph in a 25 zone. I was driving the old “family beater” at the time (this mini-van has been with the family fourteen plus years now and has been relegated to the youngest of the household). The windows don’t roll down anymore so I opened the door to let the policeman know that fact so he would not be offended. In a booming and commanding voice that was surely a precursor to seeing the business end of  a gun in my face, he let me know that I was not to open my door for any reason. Such was the volume and hostility in his voice that it resulted in the entire neighborhood coming out to view this officer of the law exact swift justice on yet another miscreant bent on subverting the law. I shut my door as quick as I could and awaited the swift arm of the law. I expected him to swing open the door and snatch me out like they do on the police shows you see on TV. He did not, to my visible relief. He informed me that I had been clocked doing 37 in a 25 zone and instructed me to hand over my license and registration. He left me to await my fate.

Now, do you recall that I told you earlier that I was driving the family beater? Good. It really is what one calls a “beater.” Nothing works anymore save the motor and the radio. It does help, though, in certain situations like the one I now found myself in. People tend to feel sorry for a guy in his mid fifties driving a beater. I know this because three weeks earlier at the exact same corner I now found myself in I had been pulled over for running a stop sign. At that incident, the policeman on duty felt sorry for me and gave me a warning. I was and am eternally grateful for the kindness of the officer that day. I held no illusion that I would gain this new policeman’s favor being as how I had already offended him by opening the door. Surely this time, I would receive neither quarter nor mercy.

The officer came back after leaving me sitting for five minutes or so. He then proceeded to tell me how best to deal with a policeman when one’s window won’t roll down. Then he reminded me that I had just been pulled over at this same spot a few weeks ago and, gee, don’t you know we’re here buddy? He handed me a warning ticket and told me that three would not be a charm.

I have been avoiding that corner ever since.