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On track

It was almost twilight this past Sunday when I noticed the footprints.

As I was getting in my car, I spied a couple of sets of animal tracks in the almost dry dirt between my house and the hill.

I hadn’t seen them there two hours before when I got home from the store.

My mind started working out the possibilities. I got out of the car.

I pulled out my Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass (my smartphone’s camera) and took a closer look.

Definitely two different animals.

Did I mention that I used to be a Boy Scout? I wish I still had my old Boy Scout manual.

No cleft in the track, so it wasn’t from the doe and her fawn that I have startled in the yard several times in the past few weeks.

Too compact to be a rabbit. Too small to be a bear. Too big to be a possum or raccoon. Definitely a mammal, though, which eliminated the turkey family that hangs out on Collier Bend Road.

“What’s left?” I said to no one in particular.

Coyotes and bobcats, my mind replied. Maybe a panther.

I consulted my esteemed colleague, Mr. Google.

“Dog,” Google said.

“Dog?” I scoffed. “Dogs bark. How in the hell do two dogs walk between the hill and the house with me inside watching TV and not bark?”

I asked Mr. Google to double-check coyote tracks.

He did. “Dog,” was still his answer.

“Can’t be a dog,” I said. “There hasn’t been a dog here since …”

I paused. I do that sometimes when my memory wakes up from a nap.

“… John and Kathy were here with their two dogs yesterday.”

Old age is not going to be kind to me.

dogtracks

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Logistics

When I was in my early 20s, working offshore with lots of time to read, I read General Omar Bradley’s biography. General Bradley pointed out that wars were won through logistics — getting the right equipment to the right people at the right time.

In my 40s, working as an automotive writer for The Tennessean, I listened to a vice president of Toyota explain at the Detroit Auto Show that Toyota wasn’t a car manufacturer, it was a logistics company that made cars.

Now close to being 60, and being my own general contractor on what should be my last home, I’m reminded how important logistics is and how I didn’t learn a darn thing about logistics despite my exposure to it for the past 40 years.

I’m just lousy with logistics.

The house couldn’t be delivered on time because I couldn’t get the septic tank and land work done in time.

Once the house was delivered, it took two months to get the electrical lines, plumbing and gas lines roughed in and the house’s frame inspected, because I didn’t get the timing right.

And once I got the interior walls done, it took another month to get the electricity final and HVAC installed so I could get the flooring installed.

As I sit in the hotel room that has been home for the past 3 months since my apartment lease expired, I have to wait almost 3 weeks to get the last of the work finished on the house so I can get final inspection and my certificate of occupancy.

Why? Because I was focused on getting the plumbing finished and the kitchen and bathroom working that I waited until they were almost done and inspected before calling the insulator, who it turns out is booked solid until two and a half weeks from now.

I still haven’t found a company to install the skirting, but I have 3 weeks to find one now.

Hopefully, my logistical ability is improving. I have two out-of-town trips scheduled this month and they’ll allow me to finally check out of this hotel. But there’s some logistics involved in that too, and more hotel and motel stays ahead.

When I get back to town after my trip to Atlanta next weekend, I’m checking into a Bed and Breakfast (which doesn’t offer breakfast) that’s closer to my house. I’ll stay there 10 days, during which time the insulation should get done.

I have to head to Thibodaux for my grandniece’s wedding around the time the skirting needs to get installed and hopefully, I can get the final inspection scheduled then, too.

When I began this journey, I thought I would be in the house by Thanksgiving. Then Christmas, Groundhog’s Day, Mardi Gras, then Easter and April Fool’s Day.

I’m shooting for May Day now. I wonder if I should have been saying “may day” all along.

 

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Home Sweet Home, one of these days …

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Yeah, though I walk …

This Virginia Tech fan is my new hero …

 

Virginia Tech wins at Ohio State

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This is art:

Howick, South Africa

This ain’t:

Riverside Park, Nashville, Tenn. (proposed)

 It’s a twisted piece of metal that Nashville will pay $350,000 for (the equivalent of the cost to build 7 houses for the homeless).

This is art:

Bank of America Building, Nashville, Tenn.

Chet Atkins. Nuff said.

This ain’t:

Music City Roundabout, Nashville, Tenn.

They’re painted poles stuck randomly in the ground at a cost of $750,000. (That’s equivalent to 15 houses for the homeless).

This is art:

Riverside Village, Nashville, Tenn.

This ain’t:

City Hall, Nashville, Tenn.

 I have no idea what this is, but the city paid $308,000 for it. (There’s a matching piece to this on the other side of the park.) That’s the equivalent of 6 homes for the homeless, which anyone could look at and not ask what they are.

I have a simple rule. If you have to ask, it ain’t art.

So you tell me, art or a rock on bent pipe?

Edmondson Park, Nashville

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Plenty of 20s

I bought a flag to hang at the property tonight. It cost $20.

Looking at shovels in hardware stores this week. Know what they cost? $20.

Axe to cut firewood? $20.

Garbage can? $20.

Rakes? $20.

The scythe I bought day before yesterday cost $20 when you added in the new mailbox letters I bought while I was there.

Speaking of the mailbox, you’ll never guess what it cost after taxes — $20.

Padlocks for the door and gate? $20 apiece.

Nail puller/pry bar with a box of roofing nails and a pack of brass screws for the mailbox? $20.

New rain barrel. $40 (That’s $20 x 2).

Lunch today? $20.

So tonight, when I opened the birthday card from my mother, what do I find? A $20 bill.

Thanks mom. Whatever I buy tomorrow is covered.

 

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Now cut that out

Dear Sure Deodorant,

Enough already with the rebranding.

I’ve been using your product since the early 1970s, after you employed actress Glynnis O’Connor as your spokesmodel for a series of commercials. I had a major crush on her at the time and the thought of her bumping into me and a) detecting the scent of Sure regular on me or b) actually seeing me pick Sure out from among the dozens of other choices in the supermarket and smiling at me could trigger daydreams that lasted most of Algebra II class.

Glynnis O’Connor

Though Glynnis stopped being your spokesmodel after a short while and took up with that awful Robby Benson, I held out hope. Whenever I ran low on deodorant, my spirits were lifted as I spied your familiar white can with the wavy blue shield and bright orange bar that contained the word REGULAR in bold white letters.

Imagine my chagrin last week, when I looked for the wavy blue logo and could not find it among the ever dwindling number of brands of aerosol deodorants that super markets carry these days.

“How could they not carry Sure any more?” I asked to no one in particular. “Right there,” a lady said, pointing to a row of cans with translucent purple tops.

Gone were the cans with clear tops and wavy blue lines, replaced by purple-topped cans with a purple and blue X. Not a lick of orange to be found on the darn thing.

Here’s the deal. I haven’t given up on Glynnis. And I fear that if you keep changing the way your can looks, she may walk up to me in the store when I have my perplexed, “WTF did they do with the can now?” look rather than the confident look that comes with scooping up that can with blue waves and an orange bar as I stroll through the personal care aisle.

You started this thing. I need you to stick with me.

Sincerely,

A loyal customer

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Shower problem solved

Between vacation in July, my parents’ accident and trying to monitor Hurricane Issac from afar, I haven’t had much time to blog, but I ran across this gem from a tiny house blogger and thought I’d share.

Water is always a challenge for people who want to live off the grid. Running water can be even more so. But this couple solved the shower issue using a chemical sprayer easily found in any home and garden center. Warm the water to whatever temperature you’d like, pour it in the sprayer bottle, pump it up and enjoy a hot shower.

This could work for camping, too.

I’m glad they thought of it because I never would have.

You can read more about how they did it at this link.

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