Sunday, September 8, 2013

Missing My Dagney

Sunday, September 08, 2013
             I was holding Daggy on my lap loving her down when the phone rang about 4:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon. It was the Vet. He told me he could stop by after he closed up. Originally it was planned on him stopping by Sunday morning to put my Dagney "to sleep".  As much as I wanted some more time with my cat I told him that it would be best to get the deed over with.
Immediately I took Daggy into the kitchen and opened up a can of tuna fish. I drained out the water into her bowl. This would be her second bowl of “tuna fish water” for the day. How she loved that special treat. I then laid down on the bed with her on my chest. I made a triangle with my thumbs and index fingers which she rubbed with her face. This was one of her favourite interactions to do with me. Her whiskers were fully extended meaning she was content and safe in “cat language”.
This picture is from September 2006 showing Daggy in one of her favourite spots: on my chest giving me kisses.

How my heart was breaking. My poor little girl. She had been incontinent for about a month. I could live changing out the dog training pads, but there was more. She no longer climbed the stairs to her “kingdom” on the second floor. That was her domain. She seldom ventured into the backyard, driveway, or front porch on her own anymore. It did not seem right to be weeding and not have Daggy “helping” me by demanding love and attention. There were a few spots in the bedroom she now claimed being pretty much inactive 24/7. I could tell she was having difficulty walking. She no longer stood for very long. Her joints must have been aching.
The door to the driveway was open so I was able to meet the Doctor and his assistant when they arrived, holding Daggy to my chest. They came into the bedroom. Daggy was very docile as I held her on my lap, sitting on the edge of the bed. Under normal circumstances she would flee with any stranger entering the house. I stroked, talked, and loved on her as the sleeping injection was given to her. When her tongue slipped out, I knew she was under. The Doctor laid her out on the bed and she was given the injection to stop her heart. It was painless and she died in familiar surrounding. I just hope I’m as lucky when my time comes….
It has been very dry here for the past few weeks. I had to use the pick axe to break open the ground where Daggy was to be buried. She had a spot she loved to lounge and soak up the sun. That is where I laid her to rest. She was placed in a linen pillowcase that was handed down from mom’s first cousin, Elsie. There was a monogrammed “E” just under the hem stitching. She was then placed inside another flannel pillowcase that had been my mom’s. I gently lowered her into the ground. I had a pile of loose topsoil nearby I used to fill in her grave. The hard lumpy clay would not do.
I keep looking for my little girl in her favourite spots as I walk around the house. She is out of her pain…it will take a while for me….

My Dagney:  1998-2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Brick Swap: Friday 5/31

             Finally things are returning to my old routine after the madness of the brick swap. Let me just say it was an overwhelming experience. Hopefully once I return from the road Monday my life will return to my comfortable rut......
        The little kitten has moved on. I’m afraid the little guy will be feral. I was never able to get close at all. He had been living under my house being able to squeeze in between small “vent holes” formed by brick spacing. Once I was able to get these holes plugged up this kitten left and has never returned. A student on the next block over told me there was a feral black cat that was famous for having litters located by them. Surely this kitten came from there. I wish it well.
This is as close I was ever able to get to the kitten. Shot through the back door with Stumpy looking on:
        I was in panic mode doing up the house cleaning and last minute preparations. I cooked up three pork butts for pulled pork sandwiches, made two bowls of cole slaw, and obsessively tweaked the spread sheets.
Thursday evening the club president and his wife stopped by to pick up the ballots I had for the election of the new board. They promised to stop by early Friday to help me prepare for the open house Friday afternoon.
Friday morning I ran out to first get the coffee urn from the rental place. Then, I looped over to Walmart for just a few things. Sam’s Club is right next door. My Sam’s membership through Joe is a Business membership so I’m able to get in early. Five boxes of cookies, a huge cookie tray, buns, and four bags of ice were my purchases. My brick friends were waiting for me as I pulled in the driveway.
        The truck was unloaded and I parked into the street away from the house. I had a sign fabricated to show the house location which I placed right in the middle of the driveway to keep people from driving in.
Everything came together and the afternoon was just a blur as I acted as host. Usually at meetings like this the host house is off limits as bricks are displayed outside in sheds, patios, and walls. I showed some main people how to operate the simplest music boxes so I did not have to be present for the demonstration. The Encore Banjo was the real hit.
Scenes from the open house:

        We were all laughing when I told the members to just enter the house through the side driveway entrance. One lady said, “But, that is your bedroom!” I told her it was fine, there was nothing to worry about. The bed was not exactly made up which got them laughing. This woman said it was evident I was a bachelor not worrying about how the bed was made! Truer words were never spoken. In hindsight, if I only had another day to fine tune cleaning wise the house would have been a bit more presentable. In the grand scheme of things those small annoyances never amounted to much.
        Everyone had such a good time swapping stories and visiting. The weather held beautifully. The sun was brilliant, but it was not all that hot. These people have such varied talents. One member from Texas presented me with a brick wearing a Utilikilt! On the front flap it was embroidered: IBCA BAMA BRICK BASH 2013. I was so thrilled.
        Things really did progress pretty smoothly. I was so flattered on the positive feedback I got on my printed directions and hotel selections. It was the Tuscaloosa tourism director who worked with me blocking out the rooms and doing the bidding. I learned from working the run set up for the past six years the importance of being clear, concise, and always expect the worst. I printed out maps from Google with the routes outlined along with printed directions. The club has a Facebook page, where I had these maps also posted.
        The afternoon really flew by. I was afraid that having the only open house people would get bored. Far from it: it was hard to get people to leave for the dinner which was held at Wintzell’s Oyster House. I was a bit worried. I had a reserve for 35 people and would be responsible for a 28 minimum. There were 35 on my spread sheet for the dinner. For a group this size I worked with the restaurant and decided upon a buffet with entries of: fried shrimp, fried & baked chicken pieces, and pot roast. Sides were Cajun rice and cole slaw. Desert was bread pudding. A beverage was included along with a cash bar. 
        Back to the present: Billy arrived here Monday. We are going to convoy to the phonograph show in Illinois. He ended up not driving his truck towing a trailer. He can pack his wife’s Honda Element to within an inch of its life!
       For the road trip I have our overnight stop all picked out in Seymour, IN. This is the Travel Lodge using the cheap coupon in the discount walk in book. Right next door is Brewski’s: the dive with the great hamburgers.          This will work out to about a seven hour drive on Wednesday and a five hour drive on Thursday.
        Must get to work on building the brace for the back of my truck. I’ll be returning with another heavy treasure, a cast iron lamp post that originally saw service in Chicago! This will be installed in my back yard where I now have the plain 3” pipe light that used to be in my front yard. Redoing all these jobs has me thinking so much of Ron and how he used to describe me as: “That Jimmy, he is like a squirrel in a cage that keeps going round and round and round!!!”

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Brick Swap Saturday June 1st

             I’ve got to take a break after unloading the lamppost. Using my 2x6’s and other lumber I was able to get that heavy hunk of cast iron safely off the truck bed single-handed.  What a beast,,, those old boards were creaking and groaning. That wood was salvaged back in the late 1970’s from an old house that was being demolished. They have supported more heavy loads out of my truck over the years!
        Let me get the Saturday June first Brick Swap all wrapped up. I was up very early to get everything together. The park where the swap was to be held opened at 7:00 and the actual swap would be at 9:00.
These pictures arrived in the mail yesterday. The Encore Banjo stole the show!
        First off I was not sure about water, so I had the 100 cup coffee urn filled and in the back of the truck. Then I went to Krispy Kreme for 3 dozen donuts. This was the first time I have been here since it was rebuilt after the tornado. The total for the donuts came to $25.50. I don’t know what the cashier did but the receipt showed in the thousands! It must have been screwed up as an hourly reading or whatever. Driving down 15th St I heard a noise. Looked out the window and saw the lid of the coffee pot in the middle of the road. Quickly pulled over and was able to get it. Mercifully there was little traffic so it did not get run over. There were a couple Mexican workers at this construction site giving me the strangest looks… I guess it is not everyday you see a guy in a Utilikilt chasing a coffee pot lid on a busy street!
        I had to stop back home to get the special tablecloths that get put out at the swaps. They have a brick pattern and each swap is recorded in magic marker upon them. I refilled the pot with fresh water and duct taped the lid down! I was able to pull the truck right up to the shelter and unload everything. Got the coffee going right away. I was so glad to hear that water perking through! The morning was gray and overcast with a few “spits of rain” now and then. There was a wonderful breeze and rain never materialized. In all actuality it was a perfect morning for a swap.
        Got the truck in position and unloaded my trader bricks. I was bending over into the truck cab and said a little bit too loud…”Oh SHIT!” I apologized to the people near-by. I had just realized I had left the “take-a-way” coasters in the dining room. Time to make another trip home! It was not far and it was plenty of time before the swap.
Brick swap coasters:
        I was so glad to have coffee to calm my nerves. The only thing I had to worry about was the sandwich delivery. At five minutes to nine I gave a five minute warning, and then a one minute warning before sounding the truck horn right at 9:00 a.m.
Examining and staking out coveted bricks:

        As usual it was mayhem! Unfortunately I was not able to get the one brick I really wanted, but I did get a lot of other bricks… We had the swap itself all finished up by 10:00. All the bricks were off the parking lot and packed away. A park ranger showed up while all this was going on. I had to sign off on the rental form and he wanted us to know there was a party right behind us for the shelter at 2:00 p.m. He was fascinated when I explained to him what was happening. I assured him the shelter would be clean and empty well before the 2:00 p.m. deadline.
I called Firehouse Subs and was assured the sub order was all set for delivery before 11:00 a.m. Everything just pretty much fell into place. All that early planning eliminated so many last minute headaches.
        We had a great stock of items for the auction. All the monies collected go directly to the club to offset the publication of the Brick Journal and sponsoring the swaps. I got two great decorative building pieces and a very readable “DON’T SPIT ON SIDEWALK” brick. So many times the lettering on these bricks is difficult to read. These bricks were incorporated into sidewalks back in the early 1900’s to raise awareness to Tuberculosis which can be spread by spitting.
Brick installed into the front walk:
        The auction was just about over when the subs were delivered. I offered a choice of Ham, Turkey, and Roast Beef. I kept track of who ordered what on an Excel Spread Sheet. I printed up a sheet in very large type to remind everyone who ordered what and arranged the subs by the meat. I had a chuckle as one of the ham subs was labeled “Hamlet”!   The subs were supplemented with cookies for desert from Sam’s Club. The subs were my last real worry of a “disaster”.
        The IBCA enjoyed one of the most successful auctions ever. We raised over $1,600.00. I know I overspend at these auctions, but knowing the money all goes to the club I don’t care.
        Everyone got to take a coaster home as a remembrance of the event. I insisted on doing the clean up. There was not that much to do. The food went well; there was only a case of water and some assorted sodas left. I dumped out the coffee and I’m glad to say the shelter was left in better condition than we found it.
        I was home at a little after 1:00 p.m. The last job I had to do to finish out the swap was to get the aluminum coffee pot lid fixed up. Using an old chisel I was able to get the dents out of the edge. Carefully using the ball of my hand against a piece of wood I was able to get the depressions out of the top of the lid and bring back the right contours. The plastic handle was shattered. I lucked out in the plastic lid on my double boiler was just about an exact fit. The scratches polished out with 4 0 steel wool. Unless you actually looked for particular damage, the remains of the “crash” were pretty undetectable. I returned the coffee maker to the rental place. It passed inspection and I got my deposit back!
        I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders once I returned home. I was elected to the Board of Directors. Things are pretty laid back so hopefully there will not be much drama associated with the position. I’m not into politics, all I want to do is to help advance and improve the club.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why My House Is A Mess


   There is a reason my house is such a mess. In preparation for hosting the brick swap, I had the Tuscaloosa tourism director over to iron out some details last November. She raved over the upstairs living area of my house and explained how I could clean up game day weekends renting that area out. After giving the matter much thought I realized I could easily cover the taxes and house insurance in one football season. That space has just been collecting dust so I have been cleaning out boxes that have been packed since I moved my belongings here in 1996. I kill so much time getting lost in the family stuff I have packed away. There are boxes of letters I have I'm afraid to open for the time I will spend..
Here is a fast picture taken before starting this entry showing what I'm up against!

These past few weeks have seen me listing things on E-bay to move out. At this point in time the money is really secondary. It makes me glad to know this stuff will be appreciated.
One project I have been mulling over is a journal entry on mom and dad’s courtship and marriage before shipping overseas during WWII. That project got put on hold. Going through old suitcases this morning I discovered papers describing the troop trains my dad manned in the early days of the war.
This copy I have looks to be the original typed copy. I don’t know if this was ever published or run off as a stencil.
My dad seldom talked of his experiences during the war. Like so many men of his generation, he was tight lipped on his personal experiences. To read about what his life was like in 1944 brings him back to life to me.
It is times like this I’m in such awe of present day technology. I know for kids who have grown up with computers, what still impresses me so much is mundane and routine to them. It is mind boggling to me to be able to scan papers from 1944 and upload them to a website and then share with people from the all over the world.
Dad died in 1985. I don’t think he would mind me sharing his life this way. He loved meeting people. He never met a stranger. I also like to think that in sharing this information a better understanding of the war can be had. It is through the everyday people a greater sense of history can be learned.
My Dad:

 This paper was not a standard size so some overlap occurred. I went through and blanked out the repeated text which makes reading much easier.


About Me

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Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Retired auto worker who can now spend too much time restoring his 1922 Bungalow Home. I'm involved in a number of varied activities from collecting bricks to rowing with a masters rowing group. This blog is to share different aspects of my life on my Facebook page. I've kept an on-line journal for eight years.