Saturday, May 14, 2011

I HAD to save that dime

Once upon a time I had a car for sale. I sold the car. The nice lady paid me with a cashier's check for $1500.00. Very nice of her, I thought, because everyone knows you can cash a cashier's check just like cash. Apparently, that is, everyone besides the bank where I banked at the time.

I went to cash the check and the teller informed me that there would be a 6 week hold on the check. "Oh no," I argued, cashier's checks are just like cash. In spite of my pleas she insisted that, indeed, there would be a 6 week hold on the said check.

"Give me the check back," I told her. The bank where the woman had drawn the check was in Gilbert, WV. Only about 30 miles of the curviest roads that God ever put on earth but within an hour I would have my money. I took off to Gilbert. It was a beautiful, sun shiney day and one of my stepdaughters was with me.

We were coming down Horsepen Mountain when all of a sudden a car hauler rounds the curve coming up the mountain. He was completely on my side of the road and there was not an inch of highway for me to use! There was no way he could get over on his side and to the right of me was several hundred feet of a dropoff over the side of the mountain! My heart sunk to my knees and terror filled my entire body as I realized my stepdaughter was with me and we were going to die!

(Ever notice how much more intense the fear is when a child you are in charge of is in danger?)

Fortunately it was the ONLY curve on the mountain with a little pull off spot beside of the road. I shot the car forward and swerved onto the berm just as the car hauler replaced me on my section of the road. The scare was so bad that even my stepdaughter was in tears because she saw how close we came to dying. I had to sit there for several minutes before I had calmed myself and her enough to continue to the bank.

We got our money that day. If I had known what it was going to cost me, I would have waited the 6 weeks.

What's in your purse?

The ONLY reason I carry a purse is to hold the 2 remotes I need to operate the television in the community room.

I have everything I need in my bulging, purple billfold that will fit in my pockets.

cellphone for emergencies - I HATE to talk on the phone. I say what I need to and I'm done!

eyeglasses in a case (I switch from regular to sunglasses)

tissues, pen, eye drops, chapstick, certs, ponytail holder, inhaler, pretty pink mace

MIO - new no calorie water flavoring and a roll of medical tape (I keep meaning to get that stuff out and I keep forgetting to do it)

I can only guess how Tupper's Creek, WV got it's name

According to the Scrabble Player's Dictionary the definition for the word "tup" is "to copulate with an ewe".

It gives a whole new meaning to the word "tupperware" as well...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fire in the Kennel!

It was a normal day and I was doing a normal second turnout. I was working in the kennel while Richard was in the pens with the dogs. I smelled smoke. I looked around and I couldn't find anything amiss so I walked to the door. The smell was stronger. I still didn't see anything but I thought there must be a small forest fire near by and I went back into the kennel.

A few minutes later I noticed the smell again and once again I walked to the door. Again the smell was stronger even though I couldn't see anything wrong. I asked Richard if he could smell smoke and he told me "no". I dismissed it again as just being my imagination.

I walked back into the kennel, still looking around and then I saw it. There was smoke swirling around the eaves of the kennel. I looked over at the dividing wall between the kennel next door and ourselves and I could see smoke pouring through the cracks! The fire was in the kennel next door. No wonder I couldn't see anything wrong! Thankfully all but a couple of our dogs were already outside. I ran out to see my husband coming out from the kennel across the street.

I told him to go to the guardshack and notify the guard that there was a fire in the building and to get help back here fast! Bobby jumped into the car while I desperately tried to figure out what to do next. I had almost 100 dogs in the turnout pen. I couldn't leave them because I knew all hell was going to break loose in minutes. I didn't know exactly where the fire was because each building was divided into 4 kennels. I tried to bang on Jimmy's wall to the kennel on my back wall but nobody was in there. Potentially there were 3 other kennels full of dogs which were on fire!

Then the guard pulled up and raced to Liberty Kennel which was the kennel I saw the smoke coming from. People were already running from all over the compound. My dogs were starting to mill about restlessly because of the out of the ordinary activity going on. I couldn't leave them. Thankfully the guard had a master key! When he opened the door there were at least 2 other trainers with him and black smoke billowed from the door. It was so thick they couldn't see inside the kennel.

The trainers raced inside and started to open crate doors to let the dogs out while the guard went into the kitchen and found the source of the fire. A hot plate had fallen off the counter and landed on a pile of feed that was stacked there. The bags had smoldered until they had burst into flame! Thankfully the fire was small but it produced tons of smoke. The guard had no problem putting it out before the fire department even got to the compound.

As the trainers let all the dogs out they raced outside where other trainers were guiding them into the pens and filling water buckets. The poor greyhounds had inhaled so much smoke that many of them were throwing up in the turnout pen! The poor things looked like they had major bout of kennel sickness or something. Thankfully there was no permanent damage.

I was happy to see how the emergency was handled. While they were emptying Liberty Kennel there were also other trainers ready to evacuate the other 2 kennels in the building. My kennel was already out so that was not a problem.

It turned out that when I sent Bobby to the guardshack to notify the guard that just as he walked into the shack the smoke alarm had gone off. Just as the guard turned to look at the source of the alarm, Bobby was telling him where the fire was.

A potentially catastrophic event had been averted. When Bobby McD swooped into the compound. (Liberty Kennel Trainer) He was out of his mind with worry. He had left rice cooking on the hotplate while he went to breakfast. This was normal procedure in most kennels because it usually took hours for the rice to even come to a boil because of the mass quantities needed to mix in the food everyday. Apparently the pot had fallen off the hotplate and caused it to slide off the counter onto the feed.

Bobby NEVER left a hotplate unattended again.

The Backbone Trail

I grew up very close to Chief Logan State Park in Logan, West Virginia. When I was a kid we went on a few of the trails. A couple of times we would start on the backbone trail but we would turn around usually at the big tree that was in the way on the steepest part of the trail near the ranger station. Essentially that means we never walked the trail but it was always a goal of mine.

We walked other trails that were miles easier. Actually they weren't much harder than walking on your typical city street. One day my friend, Jessica, and I decided that we were going to do it. We met after school and praised ourselves silly when we made it past that first major obstacle. We ooohed and ahhed over a herd of dear that we watch race through the hollow below us. We kept going further than we had ever been, that is until darkness struck. We realized we were in trouble when we peaked the mountain and couldn't follow the trail another inch. It was past dusk by this time and it was just plain dark.

Jessica started to panic. So I started to lie to her and tell her that I could tell where we were going just to keep her calm. We had to backtrack even though we knew we were well over an hour on that trail but we didn't know how much further it went. I guessed my way through the woods while she whined the whole way, but we made it safely home eventually. We didn't try that again.

I did complete that trail many times though. I did it with my ex husband who thought nothing of traipsing over the mountain and even though he tried to be considerate of my less than adequate knowledge of the woods it was still hard to keep up with him. He taught me much on those walks through the woods.

I hope to complete that trail again sometime.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm...

but so do the rest of them. Sometimes they even get fatter worms than the early bird did.

Just another one of my nature observations. The first bird out in our garden is a robin. It is out just before the break of dawn every morning. The old adage refers to the fact that if you are first you will generally get more. Even in nature that is not the case. None of the birds that come later every morning are any hungrier than that robin.

I wish I would have learned that lesson earlier in life. I would have gotten much more sleep.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Trifecta

That's what they called us. There was Roberto and David and I working in a kennel. David was the trainer and Roberto was his brother. They were Nicaraguan. They told me they walked all the way from Nicaragua to the US when David was 5 years old. (that would have been about the time of the Iran-Contra debacle)

The only time they spoke English was when they were speaking directly to me, the rest of the time they spoke Spanish. I got pretty good at understanding what they were saying - sometimes much to their surprise. I never did get good at speaking Spanish though even though Roberto tried to teach me.

They called us "The Trifecta" because when we would ride around in the dog truck I would be sitting between Roberto and David and they were huge and dark while I was blonde and female in the middle. We had a good time even thought they were sexist pigs - they didn't mind when I would call them on it (not that I would have cared). We had a winning kennel.

One time I walked out to find Roberto trying to sell his car to someone for $400.00. When I saw the guy hesitate I stepped in to tell Roberto I would buy the car. He told me he was making a deal with the other guy and then, right in front of me, dropped the price to $300.00 after I told him I would give him $400.00. I stood there because I knew the guy wasn't going to buy the car. He didn't.

Roberto then turned to me and told me he would sell me the car. I said OK. I said I will bring you your $300.00. He said no, you said $400.00. I informed him that was before he offered it to the other guy for $300.00 right in front of me. "$300.00 take it or leave it," I said.

"I'll take it," he said, "but it's not right." he sulked away hiding a smile on his face.

Once again I am the bearer of the key

1. I took back the key to the computer room today. I don't want it but there was nobody else to do it. I haven't been spending much time here for the last month or so because I am trying to get stronger and build my endurance again. You can't do that sitting at the computer.

2. I got a sticker for my truck today. I think my mechanic wants to buy my truck. That is a testament to the good shape it is in.

3. I have been getting stronger since I stopped the two heart meds last month. I still have a long way to go but I haven't had a relapse yet, so cross your fingers for me. I would cross mine but that would inhibit my activities.

4. Thanks to my friend Betsy, she bought me some chinese the other day.

5. I took a little drive today. I saw a trailer that in the old days I would have stomped on the brakes and rented it on the spot. It was a little run down trailer way out in the country that would have been in my price range. I would have been a happy camper. Who knows if I get strong again and become a normal working person instead of a part time one then I can do such things again. That's the goal anyway.

Monday, May 9, 2011