Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fire Damage

Pictures of our friend Jan's house in Virginia, or what is left of it. This is what $600,000 worth of damage looks like.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You Just Never Know

We have been getting ready to have a visit from our poker friend who lives in Virginia. We have stocked up on good old Texas style food. We also have been thinking of places to show her and things to do. She bought bought us all Astros baseball tickets for Jimmy's birthday.

Jimmy did not play poker much this week-end. When he got on the computer yesterday there was an IM from Jan. Now she won't be able to come visit us because her house burned down Saturday. She and her mother had gone shopping so Jan was not home at the time. The house was a total loss, including her two cats. Six fire-fiighters were hurt fighting the blaze. They were hospitalized, but will be ok. Apparently the fire had started on the patio from a cigarette in an ash tray.The Fire Chief ruled it an accident. She was well insured so everything will be replaced by insurance. She had recently, after tax season bought several hundred dollars in clothes as well as new furniture including patio furniture. All of that was destroyed. Even her plane ticket and the baseball tickets were destroyed.

It just proves that we think we can make plans but you never know how they will work out. Sometimes fate has a hand in our plans. I have been thinking about this ever since we found out.
What if that was our home? You just don't know how fast life can change. One day you are working for a big CPA firm near Washington,DC and living in a beautiful house. You think you have a good life. Then without warning something happens to change your outlook on life. You just never know, you just hope it doesn't happen to you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nutty People

I sometimes wonder why people do things. Then again, do they even think about what they do? We have a friend who is a successful CPA near Washington, DC. She and another friend of ours who lives in Alabama decided to take a cruise together. So, while our CPA friend is a single woman, our male friend has a girl friend. Of course as things go, while on the cruise they got drunk one night and well, you know the rest. But wait, it gets worse. After our gal-pal got home she decided to hire a private detective to find the girl friend of the guy! She fully intends to confront the girl friend with the news that the guy hooked up with her while away from his own girl friend! When I heard this, all I could think to say was "aw,come on! Grow up!" I just find it hard to believe that a smart, intelligent woman over 40 would stoop to this. Jeez! Somebody needs to have a chat with this woman.

Then I have to wonder what is up with some of our neighbors.First, I wish I knew which one keeps putting their garbage bags out days before the garbage truck is due to come. Do they really think that animals will not get into those cheap plastic bags? And of course they never pick up the scattered trash. Oh, and then there are a couple of neighbors in the other buildings who have apparently forgotten where the lines are in the parking lots. I went out to walk Daisy this morning and saw three vehicles parked cross-wise across the parking slots. What's up with that? I know that one has recently gotten an SUV so maybe they have not learned to park very well since they back that big thing in, But that doesn't explain the other cars and why they are taking up extra spaces. Maybe someone should tell them?

And the really funny, sort of, thing is that apparently our landlady sent someone out to trim some of the shrubs. While that is good, they left all the cut off branches right where they fell. They did not pick them up. Plus they did not even trim all the shrubs and only did a half ass job on others. Who is going to clean up that mess? I guess some people need constant supervision or training. I wonder how long those branches will stay where they are? Maybe they think the guy who mows and weed-eats will pick up the mess. Ha! Not gonna happen. They don't pick up their mess either!

I sure hope the Jehovah's Witnesses who descended on the neighborhood this morning enjoy walking in this heat. I ran into them before 9:00 am and it was already hot and humid. Maybe I should offer them a shower with a hose?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Gotta Love A Prodigal Son

As soap operas go the misled character returns to the family after discovering he was mis-led. So enters my son, home again, a little worse for wear. After getting a transfer to Odessa and moving all his worldly possessions there to be with the mother of the "child", he discovered the plot. Just imagine the crushing blow when he discovered there would be no child. Pack up the truck and get the Hell out of Odessa! Ten miles to the gallon? Talk about a long trip. Now on the way back, he has to think about where he will work when he gets back. At least he was assured of a home with Amanda.

We all had dinner together Sunday. Looking a little worse for the wear and tear of frustration, I had to give him a hug. Then I could not resist giving him a smack on the back of the head ala Jethro Gibbs to Tony DiNozzo on "NCIS". Did he learn anything? He says he did. He also described how Heather's son acted while he was there. That boy will end up being a problem for a lot of people in the future. But hopefully that soap opera will be on another channel.

Timing is everything so I have heard. Now that Pat is back in town, he could not wait to go see the girl he was with after he broke up with Heather the first time. Scorecard anyone? Pat & Heather, Pat & the new girl, then back to Heather, now back to the new girl. While do I feel dizzy? Well, at least he got a job with a company who wanted to hire him away from his old job a long time ago.

So, on he goes to the next chapter. Wonder what the writers have in store for this part of the never ending soap opera? Stay tuned, next week, next month, next year? After all, soap operas never die,but the ratings might. For now to quote Ty Pennington at the end of each "Extreme Makeover-Home Edition" Welcome Home Pat, welcome home.

Friday, May 16, 2008

As My Stomach Churns, Churns On

When last we left the family soap opera, we had discovered that Pat was planning a move to Odessa to be with his "pregnant" ex-girlfriend. We are doing this for the sake of the baby. Ok, have a nice life but we don't have a good feeling about this. We don't support this decision. Of course, as soaps go, this split the family. All our children could not understand our feelings.

I continued to have conflicting feelings about not only the move to Odessa but the whole situation. I kept thinking something was a little off. A ghostly voice kept trying to get my attention. Like Adam's struggle with the ghost of Dixie on "All My Children" my instinct kept waving a red flag in my mind. I had always thought things just seemed wrong. My thoughts and prayers were always with Pat. I knew this would not end well. Staying together for the sake of children is not always a good idea. I know this from personal experience.

Yet I continued to think about them, hoping that he would be ok. Earlier this week, in the middle of my morning shower, I had a strange thought go through my mind. I could not explain this with any kind of logic. I was thinking about Pat's girlfriend's pregnancy. I thought about how far along she might be, then poof. Something told me "not going to happen". It was an odd feeling which I could not shake.

Yesterday Amanda called me. The first words out of her mouth were"Are you sitting down?" My mind's eye saw another bomb about to drop. Then she told me the news that Pat was going to come back to Houston because he had been misled. There was no pregnancy. Just as in a soap opera, the girlfriend had fabricated the pregnancy. Where have I seen this story line before? Amanda told me that she had called Heather to find out how she was doing and if she had found out what the sex of the baby was. As the conversation continued, Amanda soon figured out that something was not ringing true. First there had not been any doctor visits. No doctor visits mean no sonograms either. Then as the story went, Heather explained that she miscarried. Once again, no medical check. At the approximate number of weeks pregnancy she would have been, a doctor would have to have been consulted. So as the warning bells began to go off in Amanda's head, she figured out the plot.

So now Pat is planning to move back here, probably this week-end. Will he be able to get his old job back? Probably not. Thanks Heather. I wonder how much time and money he had to invest in this move to Odessa and the presumed baby, only to discover this fraud. And so the Young and Restless must wrestle with more of the Days of Our Lives. I knew that the hour glass would run out of sand soon. And so it goes, yet another chapter...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Protecting Worship

There was a seminar here in Houston the other day which discussed security issues. This was not a police department or retail company seminar. This seminar was about security for churches and pastors. I found this a little disturbing. To think that when we go to a place of worship we have to worry that someone may try to harm the people attending a service or the minister is sad.

The people attending the seminar talked about the different layers of protection now in use at churches. Most of us will never see the layers of protection. There are security people undercover in plain clothes outside and inside. Some carry guns and others don't. Some pastors, especially high profile ones, have body guards. This is something we did not have in the past. But apparently these days with some many ministers having televised church services virtually worldwide and many writing books, they need protection. Along with this come the need to keep the worshipers safe too. Going to a place of worship once was a source of comfort. Now in some places we may wonder where is the security detail?

There once was a time when you might drop by a church and say hello to a caretaker or maybe a guard walking the parking lot. Some times you could walk inside, sit down and be alone with your thoughts and God. In some places the doors are locked. You can still worship at the regular scheduled times. Just say a prayer for the security team.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wearing Armour, Ready to Support the Quest

I think I am ready. Let's see, I have my armour and my defenses set. This is going to be a diffficult quest. It is not the first time we have sought this Grail and it may not be the last. But we are going to try again. Friday Jimmy bought some anti-smoking lozenges. Saturday he began this long difficult journey to fight the good fight and become smoke free.

Today is the start of the fourth day. Yesterday was a fight. According to the directions he should only need nine lozenges but he used ten. I don't know how the day went, but with the enemies all around, he fought hard. It doesn't help when people who work around him are sometimes idiots who do stupid things.

So far I have stayed out of the line of fire for the most part. I had to put my shield up a couple of times Sunday. I had to remember the point of the quest. Help Jimmy stop smoking. He seemed a little down last night, but he did not smoke. So far so good.

Only time will tell. With all the obstacles standing in the way Jimmy will have a tough fight ahead. It is too soon to even be able to see the Grail in the distance. Fog still shrouds the path. But I have my armour ready to ward off the arrows of failure. Each day will be another battle. Onward to the quest for the Grail of a smoke free life.

Friday, May 09, 2008


Sunday is Mother's Day. Do mothers really pay attention to all those commercials?The commercials are so annoying. How is a one year old going to pay for a diamond necklace? Why do the "mothers" look so beautiful? Try being beautiful when your kid has been throwing up all night. Or when you have been up late waiting for your teen to come home late again. Rather than all the stuff the commercials are pushing I liked the little things my kids made or bought without a commercial suggestion.I used to love the creations that my kids made in grammer school. I often wondered what their teachers got from their kids. We, as children, don't always appreciate our parents. I can't even count the times I heard my kids bemoan their fate by saying "Aw, Mom..." Sometimes we, as mothers, wonder will they ever grow up? Or we find ourselves saying that famous Erma Bombeck line, "Just wait till you have kids of your own!"

Motherhood is not easy. I have heard it said that it is punishment for a few minutes of "pleasure". After that, it is a life long struggle. We watch children grow and learn. We hope that we have been good examples for them. I've heard them say "Thanks Mom" or "I hate you" so many times. Occasionally I even heard "I'm sorry" or "You were right". At that point I wondered who those kids were, cause they could not be mine. Jimmy's Aunt Pat once said that when they are little, they walk on your feet, when they are older they walk on your heart. I have always thought that was a very insightful statement.

I always felt that I never measured up to my mother's standards. She had a very high IQ but she never finished college. What ever she tried seemed to be perfect, at least to me. She made most of my clothes from the time I was little to high school. I was one of the best dressed girls in high school thanks to her. She sang with Les Brown in the early 1940's. I can't sing. When I was in grammer school she to up art to help her quit smoking. Her paintings hang on my walls. Too bad my son who inherited her artistic talent, never uses it. In her mid forties she and my Dad decided to take up golf. She was pretty good. I enjoyed playing with both of them. She was a forward thinking woman, always ahead of her time. I often wonder what she would have thought of her grandchildren had she met them.

I was 22 years old when my mother died of ovarian cancer. For several years we had not really agreed on much. But we made our peace. Funny how teens or young adults would rather not discuss anything with their mother. It's always a fight. She doesn't like anything I do, we think. It is often later when we look back and wish we could talk to her. Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I miss you.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Is Texas Sinking?

Look out below! Part of Texas is sinking! Well, not exactly but there is a massive sinkhole which is causing some excitment and concern in Daisetta, Tx, a small town about 60 miles northeast of Houston. Over night it has swallowed oilfield equipment, telephone poles and even a tractor. So far it has not threatened the town however. Officials are trying to figure out how it happened. It may have been caused becaus of an old salt dome where oil brine and natural gas are stored underground. The town of Daisetta sits on top of a salt dome which is common trap for oil. Sink holes are supposed to be rare but geologists from are studying the situation. Tv stations from various cities have come to the small town of about 1,000 people to keep watch over the sink hole as it continues to expand. So much for the once booming oil industry in Daisetta. Every few hours the local authorites hold press conferences to talk about it. Even CNN has picked up the feed showing the hole getting bigger. So far it has continued to grow and get bigger. Just wait until it starts swallowing barns, reporters, helicopters and what ever it wants to eat.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I thought this was supposed to be the spring season. We finally got a good rain the other day. Our area had very little rain for a while. Now the flowers and plants have perked up. I like springtime. It is a kind of a renewal ritual. Everything starts blooming and turning green. The again the grass, or in our case, the weeds go wild. We have nice temperatures so we don't have to use the heater or air conditioner too much. Sadly, I think spring is just about to leave here. All the local weather forcasters have dire predictions for this weekend. The last couple of days the humidity has returned. If you life in Houston, humidity is always a problem. Bad hair days are a problem. But now we hear that by this Thursday, Friday and Saturday we will flirt with record high temperatures. The record temperatures for these upcoming dates are from 92 to 94. Add the heat index to those and we could be feeling like it is over 100 degrees. Ugh! What happened to spring?? It is not summer yet, right? Well, there goes the nice cool breeze. Anyone for a little sauna time? Ah yes, here we go again, say goodby to spring and hello to summer. It is not even June yet.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Park That Call

Have you ever tried to park a phone call? Is it as much trouble as it is for some people to parallel park a car? I have heard a lot of operators answer the phone. Most of the time I hear them say, "How may I direct your call". That is a lot to say when someone is in a hurry. But I have never heard anyone direct a call by announcing, "Mr. Smith, you have a call parked on 101". Why would someone want their operators to say that? Would it not be easier to say"Mr. Smith, line 101" or "Mr. Smith, you have a call on line 101"? Even in airports you can hear an operator tell someone to "Please pick up the white courtesy phone for a call". In the really old days hotels would have people announce "Paging Mr. Smith". Mr. Smith was usually having dinner in the dining room. When he answered his page, someone would bring him a phone. At least that is what we always see in the old movies.

I know that this is not of any earth shattering importance but I just found the thought of parking a phone call a little funny. I hope the operator remembered to put the "parking brake" on. Does someone have to put change in the meter? If Mr. Smith does not answer the call parked on line 101 within a certain amount of time, does he get a parking ticket? What happens if the caller gets tired of being "parked", hang up?

Friday, May 02, 2008

What's That? A White Convertible?

Ah, just the sight of it sitting in the parking lot brings a smile to my face. Too bad it is now really dirty and even has some grease on the sides. How am I going to get that off? That car really needs a bath or two. After over two months of being car-less, just the fact that it sits there at my disposal makes me feel better. Now I guess I will have to get the oil changed since it has been driven all over Houston. Jimmy is very happy to have his truck back. I have never seen a person crawl into a car, but that is how he gets in. At least I won't have to listen to him complain anymore.

I guess his buddies will be glad they don't have to listen to him complain, either. For weeks they have been trying to get it repaired. When the bracket that holds the power steering pump broke. they had to weld it back together. He was lucky that he was near a parking lot when it broke. They were able to spot weld it together so that he could get back to the office. Then the fun began. They had to take off just about everything from the air filter, to the power steering, alternator, a/c and all the belts to get to the bracket to repair it. That was a major operation. Bolts, nuts, hoses, and other stuff everywhere. Somethings were easy to take off but others were a real pain. Then who knew how hard it would be to get it back together. Getting together at the same time on the weekends was the hard part. Marvin would tell Jimmy to call him, then he would not answer the phone. Or Jimmy would be busy. Then it would rain. Finally, crunch time. The truck was due for inspection at the end of April and needed at least two tires. So, they finally got it back together late Wednesday, but it was too late to get tires or an inspection. So yesterday he got home early enough to get tires and the inspection. Yipee! I don't know who is happier. Our poor car had tools and stuff in the trunk and stuff inside the car. What a mess. So this morning we got all his stuff out of the car and threw it into the truck. My baby is back! Poor thing, a Trans Am is just not a good work truck.

Now I can run my errands early in the day instead of having to wait until late afternoon when the traffic is a mess. I hate standing in line for things. Now if we can just get it cleaned up. I wonder what would be good to get the grease off the sides. Now I am going to have to find some kind of white or clear tape to hold together the edges of the convertible top to keep them from tearing more than they already have. That has been a problem since we don't have covered parking. Oh well. At least I have transportation again. On the other hand there is still one mystery. When they finished putting things back together, one long bolt is left over. They have no idea where it was supposed to go. Hum...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Roger, Roger, Roger Tisk, Tisk

Some people just don't know when to quit. They say something and before they know it things have gotten out of hand. Well, why didn't Rusty Hardin, Roger Clemens attorney, tell him to shut up? Of course Roger has an ego the size of Texas so I guess it is hard to tell him anything.

Of course he had a bad case of foot in mouth disease when the steroid use story came out. Even his best buddy Andy Pettite has distanced himself from Roger. Yet Clemens is still pursuing a defamation suit against his former trainer Brian McNamee. I have to wonder how Roger's wife Debbie must have felt when he said she used HGH for a photo shoot. I know what I would have said. It would not be pretty.

Now the saga is getting even more muddy. The New York Daily News reported that Clemens had a long time affair with country singer Mindy McCready. She says it was a decade long affair. Clemens' mouth piece, I mean lawyer, says nothing happened. The Clemens family has been friends with the singer for years. Uh, Debbie? Uh...anything you want to say?

Satchel Paige once said, "Don't look back, something might be gaining on you." Well, does Roger hear footsteps? Now there is a story linking Clemens with golfer John Daly's ex-wife Paulette. She says the two have been long time friends and did not deny any allegations. Hey Debbie, are you hiding under a rock? What about the kids?

How many more people (women) will hop on the beat up Clemens bandwagon? I don't really care. I just hate to see this happen. No body really cares about the fall from grace of Barry Bonds who is one of , if not the greatest hitter of this era, but some baseball fans are shaking their heads when they look at how far and fast Roger Clemens has fallen. I guess that"something" Satchel Paige talked about caught up to Clemens. That spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame is fading fast. Run for cover Debbie, it might get ugly out there.