Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tree Frog

We are going to redo the lighting in the Kitchen this winter. The ceiling is one of those "Hanging ceilings" that is suspended about four inches below the real ceiling.
Lighting is provided by three four foot long florescent fixtures that are just laying on top of the framing. Pretty cheap and cheesy.
The setup was already there when I bought the house, and it was never worth the amount of work required to switch them out.
Problem one is that they go through florescent bulbs like crazy. Way sooner than they should. It is because the fixtures themselves are the cheapest you can possibly buy.
And they are now failing. Two of the spots will now not work at all. So we have decided it is time to do something about them.
We went down to Lowes Hardware to check out the stock and look for new ideas. I found some oak cased lights with a wooden gridwork that will match the kitchen cabinets, and they take four florescent bulbs each, so they ought to provide plenty of light.
While we were wandering around the middle f the store looking at lights, I caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye.
There, on the cement floor, a hundred yards from any exit, was a tree frog.
He was covered in dust bunnies.
So I went and caught him, and cleaned him up by taking the dust bunnies off of him. A couple of employees were walking bu so I asked them "How much for the tree frogs?"
Of course they looked at me like I had lost my mind. "Huh?"
I cracked my hand open enough that they could see the frog. They were all fascinated. One announced that it was a Spring Peeper, but as spring peepers, also known as green tree frogs, live only in the southeastern U.S., that was pretty unlikely.
When I checking out I showed him to the clerk and she wanted to touch him, but couldn't quite bring herself to do so.
What to do?
I went to the (outdoor) Garden Center and asked them if the had a home for the frog, but they said they were in the process of shutting down for the winter. There were no woods near, only the planter strips in the parking lot. I didn't give him much chance of survival if I just dumped him off there. So I stored him temporarily in an old empty Cassette case. He rode in the storage area below the radio, peering out the whole way home.
I let him go in the Tibetan Magnolia in the front yard.
But how the hell does a tree frog get out in the middle of a warehouse hundreds of yards from the nearest tree?

Friday, October 21, 2011


A while back I related the story of Earl Pleasant, and several people made the comment that what I had done was brave.
I disagree.
I did what was necessary to save someones life. I did not at any time consider what I was doing or why I was doing it, or the possible consequences.
To me, Bravery is when you are scared as hell, and go ahead and do the right thing, fully knowing it might have severe consequences.
Which brings up the following:
We had a patient in the Psychiatric ward at Camp Kue. He was Paranoid Schizophrenic. He was in the Air Force. Because he was a troubled person, he caused a lot of problems in his unit. The answer for this was to give him a weapon and have him patrol the perimeter of the base at night. He ended up unloading a clip in the jungle at imaginary people.
He came to visit us, and was still suffering from paranoid delusions.
He decided that he wanted to go play pool in the open part of the hospital, and was told that he was not ready to go out among the general population.
His reply was to go get a chair and throw it through the window. He then loudly asked "Can I go play pool NOW?
Same answer, so he threw another piece of furniture. Same answer.
Then he ran back to his bunk and pulled out a 12" diving knife and asked "CAN I GO TO THE DAY ROOM AND PLAY POOL NOW?.
Same answer.
We called down to the Emergency room for the "Goon Squad" who were supposed to take care of any such situations.
They came up to the ward, Looked into the common area where the patient was menacing the other patient and staff with his knife, took one look and said "Hell no", turned around and left. That left a couple of us enlisted guys.
We looked at each other, and someone said "Well. we got this to do before he hurts someone. Who's got a plan?"
We decided on our plan. We would slide around the outside of the common area and get a mattress of of the nearest bed, then rush him and keep pushing until we had him pinned against the wall. One of us would go for the knife and another other would get him in a choke hold. We could control him until until a nurse or doctor could get in and give him a shot.
Knowing fully well that if things did not go well, these might be our last moments alive, or that we could be permanently maimed, we grabbed the mattress and went for it.
The plan was executed perfectly. The one guy got the patient in a choke hold, and cut off the blood supply to his brain, while I immobilized the knife hand.
We choked him until he passed out, then yelled for the doc to get in here. We would let up until he began to struggle, then put him back under. After all we didn't want to harm him, just control him until he could be sedated. Eventually a doctor gave him a tranquilizer and he went under.
This was a defining moment for me. A lot of people wonder how they would hold up in a situation when they are faced with possible death or injury, and most. thankfully never have to find out.
If I have ever done anything brave in my life it was that moment.
But I was still just doing what was necessary even though I was scared to death.

Friday, October 14, 2011


When I went in to renew the tabs for the Westy, the clerk said that they couldn't do it because it had been sold.
It seems it had been reported as sold. As I was standing there with the registration showing myself as the legal owner, as well as a current insurance card and drivers license, they let me fill out an affidavit stating I had never sold the car. I guess that was why I never received notification that the tabs were expired.
Oh well, it's taken care of now.
The new locking gas cap came in and works just fine.
I ordered a new drivers side rear view mirror, but haven't gotten it in yet, despite a couple of e-mails to the vendor, despite the fact that I TYPED IN CAPITOL LETTERS.
What a joke.
We took the Westy out for a drive up Snoqualmie Pass last Saturday to look at the fall leaves and stomp around in the woods looking for mushrooms. The fall leaves at the falls on Box Canyon were magnificent. I really regretted not bringing along the camera.
I paid off the car and the Visa bill this week, so we are going out tomorrow and splurge on dinner. The Red Lobster beckons.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


When we got home from our trip, I was unloading and straightening out the Westy. I went to close the back hatch, I glanced down and saw that the license tabs expired last March!
That's right, over six months ago.
A good bit of that time it was in the shop, but still. Five states, six National Parks, and about 3500 miles, and no one noticed that the tabs were expired.
Guess I'd better take care of that.