Wednesday, May 28, 2014

When Fate Deals you a Losing Hand!

thCAX1APTE It simply would not be right if I did not blog about this.  The LOANER car that the Landlords graciously offered to us while we wait for the Subie to get fixed….DROPPED IT’S TRANSMISSION!   In Iowa City!  In the Middle of the Intersection of 6 lane Boulevard!  pushin' the van


Ok,  Breath Deep.   Think happy thoughts…..and rub toes on carpeting. 




Now.    What do you do when two vehicles decide to leave you stranded within a three day period? untitled  I guess we should have rented a car after all.  I guess the landlords are not going to be happy finding out that their vehicle is broke after they loaned it to us.  I guess we did have to pay to have a vehicle towed down highway 1 after all!  I guess there is no reason to continue being heroic trying to get to the job for the remainder of the week.    I’m not sure just how much more “bad” luck I can handle.  OR Afford! 


Ok,  I feel better now.   Tomorrow is a new day and perhaps maybe the clouds will clear ever so briefly to allow us  the opportunity to get back to our totally normal boring life.   Seriously!  Who needs this much drama? ( or comedy…depending on how you look at it)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Subaru Woes! Front Control Arm Failure!

DSC_4660It happened while parking in our driveway.   A quick “pop!” and that was that.   DSC_4661I inspected the tire or the location of the pop at least, and could find nothing wrong with anything.  And then there was this morning.  


A quick trip to the store and I barely made it to the high school before the car began rattling off the road.  “Ball Joint” was the first thing that came to my mind.  This has happened to me before when I had the old jeep.  Not too big of a deal, but I know the vehicle is not drivable.DSC_4662

DSC_4667Then I look “under the hood”  so to say.   More like: “behind the wheel”.   The Front passenger side control arm was completely rusted through! 

This poses quite the dilemma as we now have to get to work and get this thing fixed at the same time.   Luckily, we have another vehicle at our disposal temporarily, but that still makes for playing phone tag with the folks at the repair shop.   OH! The Humanity! 

 subaru_impreza_front_lower_suspension_diagramMostly I’m upset that our lovely Subaru has a boo boo!   We wash it religiously just so the salt will not build up and cause such problems.   mainHopefully things will all work out as we now have a few plans in motion at the moment.   But for now, we just have to wait until the STUPID HOLIDAY WEEKEND is over.    Ever notice that MOST disasters happen on holidays when NO ONE is open?   Ah well,  whatever does not kill you makes you angry….or something like that. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Ordinary Life Anime


[animepaper_net]picture-standard-anime-nichijou-nichijou-picture-174143-hyde333-preview-ac37a5b2    Another great anime found on Crunchyroll.   This is a mis-mash Comedy that has very random events mixed with sometimes peaceful moments and cultural puns that are quite entertaining.  Cheryl was not as enchanted as I was.  I guess I’m a easy crowd for situation comedy.  nichijou The Vice Principal wrestles a deer in the middle of the school court yard and only the “trouble maker” girl witnesses it….and is unable to tell anyone because of her “compromised position. “ 



A stray cat that is able to talk because of a bandana around his neck.  4758-1746929403


A robot girl with a little girl professor that built her. thCAXJ5C3J 


A girl who is an awesome artist, but draws yaoi manga…and thus can never show anyone how good she can draw.  You really have to know a bit more of the culture and pick up te little nichijou-1-bannerthings to make this anime worth while.   I rewatch scenes over and over because they hit the humor button on so many levels.  

Anyway,  give it a try Here:

The English Sub is not too difficult to navgate, so I’m sure even the slowest reader will be ok.   Enjoy!551498-nichijou4_super


Monday, May 19, 2014

Origami Black Beetles!

Finally!   Finished folding 10 beetles.   First I forgot how I initially folded them…Then they folding part took much longer than first expected.   Ah well,  They are done and up for sale.   Just thought I would publish a quick post before I retire for the evening.  Enjoy The pics. 


Monday, May 12, 2014

Cookies for the SAT Scoring Crew

DSC_4635 They were such a hit last week, DSC_4628 Cheryl wanted to make more!   This time we decided to shake things up a bit and try a different cookie with a new combination. 



At the very least, we did not have to make them from scratch.   As you may have noticed by now,  we don’t have much energy after work, so baking pre-made dough is about all we can handle.  However, we still have to let a little artistry seep in.DSC_4632








So, enter the Heath Bar and BINGO!   Heath Bar Oatmeal Scotcheroo Cookies!








They are quite addictive!   I’m sure the folks will be pleased to have  them with coffee tomorrow.  We shall see.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Cool weekend With Cheryl and Ethan

DSC_4621 Finally!  A little bit of a break…for Cheryl!  She has been scoring at the SAT job for 8 hours then scores at home for Pearson for 2-3 hours!   IT is finally taken a toll on her and she decided to take a weekend mostly off.   I say mostly because she still scored a little on Saturday and today, but we managed to enjoy most of Friday and Saturday by ourselves.   

In addition to cooler weather and some rain,  we managed to go shopping a bit, and have a romantic evening with some wine and cheese.   The greedy paws you see there are not mine….they are the cat’s!   Hiro loved to steal our cheese as we are enjoying the tasting event.   

Anyway,  I finished a few origami beetles this weekend despite the short time I found myself having to fold.DSC_4613  And even now,  Cheryl wants to take some time to watch shows, so I should try to keep this posting brief.  HopefullyDSC_4615 I will have more time to post things later this week.  Lately, I have had very little energy to post anything after work.   Perhaps now that the chapters are all on, I can stick to these little blurbs once again.   We shall see.  Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Chapter 18 One September Night…..Fin’

I hope you enjoyed this little story, that is if you started it from the beginning.   I can’t believe I squeezed 18 chapters out of a simple thought.     I had fun writing it several years ago and perhaps I will start another one.   I have several ideas floating around in my head.  But that is for another time.  In the mean time,  enjoy the final chapter. 



Chapter 18

    It had been a little over a week since the whole adventure with the Great Ethan Allen had  unleashed a chain of events that had thrown the entire Noorman family into chaos.  David thought upon the events that had unraveled to get them to this point.   For a brief moment, Tracy had thought that her husband was an accomplice in a bank robbery,  Daniel and Whitney thought that David had buried a body,  Sam was upset because her popularity had been ruined. And worst of all, David had blown his precious three day weekend digging up a rusty refrigerator and almost getting a ticket for littering in the process.  
2013-12-14-wco-holiday-party-54     It had been a quiet day at the station.  The only call they got was from a nice old lady who thought she had seen smoke in her house.  When the firemen got there she carefully walked them through each room  asking if they could see the billowing smoke along the ceiling.   After a thorough search.  No one could detect any smoke or flames.   The smoke detector was fully operational and there was no steam or cooking smoke that had set it off.   One of the firemen noticed that the lady had poor eyesight and that she was possibly seeing clouds of smoke through here smoky lenses.
    It was calls like that that David enjoyed.   Leave the real fire and destruction to the younger guys.  David was like that once,  but now he would rather help out little old ladies than go toe to toe with a raging fire.   Tracy was grateful too.   She was to the point now where she did not worry about David getting hurt  or maimed because he was  trying to be a hero where there was no hero needed.  socialism-washing-fire-truck1
    The clock was rolling around quickly now and in a few hours his shift would end.  The rest of the crew was out killing time washing off the trucks.  They always washed the trucks to pass time and to keep their image squeaky clean.  
    David had told several guys about the weekend adventure.   Several of them did not believe him.  They  figuring it was all made up or that David was going to spring a punch line on them at any second.  Even after he insisted that it was all true.  They all had to comment on how they would have played out the scenario differently. 
    “After that cop would have left,  I would have turned around an reburied it.” 
    “Oh yeah?  Well I would not have went out there with my family and dug it up in the first place.” 
    “Well,  I would have hung up on the ‘friend’  and went right to bed.  That would have prevented it from happening all together! “
    David reasoned that that did seem like the best coarse of action.  If he had just hung up that phone, he could have gained several hours of sleep and a full weekend all to himself with no other pressing issues.   Then again,  he would not have been able to catch up with his old friend after a long separation.  It was true that Ethan had gotten him into some interesting situations.  But David had reciprocated  them several times himself.  It was good to relive some of the old times and after that night was over.  They now, unwittingly, had another story to add to their basket. 
    Before long the time had walked around another hour and David shift had ended.   He grabbed his gear and clocked out,  waving to the rest of the crew as he pushed through the door.   He walked over to his truck and could still smell some residual aroma left over from the most recent cargo.   A fragrance of lemon scent car wash and decomposing fish bait.  He smiled at the thought while opening the door and climbing inside.  He bucked up his seat belt then turned the key.   The truck started with a strong roar and he shifted it in gear and backed out,  Heading home.
  2786f-tuckeranddale  It was one of those trips where everything goes by in a blur.   David’s mind was on auto pilot as he drove the familiar roads home.   He allowed his brain to wander at the weekend and he could not help but smile at every event.   Like the time they he and Ethan had went on that infamous camping trip.  They never made it to their destination and everything that could go wrong, did.   It was a story right out of the pages of hellish vacations.   David  had told the story many times to his kids and, as with all stories,  the embellishments kept getting bigger and grander after every telling.  Before long, David and Ethan were running naked through some forgotten campground with a bear chasing them.   None of that was true.   But it was a great story to tell the kids. 2007-11-29-chainsaw-bear     
    This new story had it’s moments.  And with a little imagination, I could prove to be quite a tale to tell some grand kids some day.   The kids were getting up there in years now. And telling them bed time stories were quickly becoming a thing of the past.   Daniel might still have a few years left.   Whitney maybe less.  But Samantha had already outgrown the magic and had begun to take control of her own reigns.  It was soon to be the end of an era. 
    When it was all said and done, the family was not that much worse for ware.  They had survived the endeavor and had actually gained some quality family time without having to spend a fortune on hotels, gas and entrance fees.    David looked back and could still see little Daniels face, covered with dirt and grime, smiling as if he were playing with his best friends in the back yard. 
    The miles faded away and a twenty minute commute had seemed like it had taken only a few moments.  Before David knew it,  He was pulling into the familiar driveway that he called home.  He pulled in and turned off the engine.   He looked up to see the shovel rack in the daylight with all the tools neatly hanging in their proper place.   Tracy finally had her shovel back.  All of the shovels still had some residual dirt clinging to their blades; a  token reminder.   David scanned around looking for the blue shovel he had purchased as a substitute.      
    He found it,  but it was not hanging in the small open shed next to the house.  Instead, it was being used by Whitney in the yard.  David unbuckled his seat belt and opened the door.  He climbed out, grabbing his lunch and jacket.
  20120113_017smallWM   “Hey kid!  What you doing?”  He called to Whitney as she stepped on the small shovel sinking it into the earth.
    “Hi Daddy!  I’m digging!”  Whitney shouted back.
    “Digging what”  
    “Digging holes!  Duh!”   Whitney turned over the small clump and started the process again. 
    “Huh!”  David looked after her.   She seemed lost in her own little world.   Luckily the shovel was too small to do any permanent damage to the lawn.  And there were no pipes of wires that traversed their lawn that could be in danger of being accidentally found.  The yard maintenance was really Tracy’s field, and unless he wanted to take up mowing the lawn again,  he preferred it that way.  He waved at her as he walked up the sidewalk to the door. 
    David opened the door and was greeted by the cat as he flopped his jacket over the chair and empty lunch bucket  on the table.  Tracy was busy reading the paper. 
    “Hi hon! “  She spoke to the room as David entered. 
    David could hear the sounds of laser fire and explosions coming from Daniels room.   He picked up the cat and stroked it  as he pulled back a chair to sit down.  He placed the cat on the table and the cat responded by walking in small figure eights,  brushing back and forth against David’s hands. 
    “Did you know that Whitney was digging holes in the yard?”   David asked still petting the cat.
    “Yeah,  She’s been doing ever since she got that new shovel.  It’s like she is possessed!” 
    “Aren’t you afraid she is going to turn the yard into a moonscape?” 
    “No, She fills the holes back in after she digs them.   It aerates the soil.”
    “Have you asked her why she is doing it?”   David asked mundanely.
    Tracy lowered the paper and smiled at David  “She says she’s practicing for spring.”  Tracy let out a laugh
    David followed almost giddy from lack of sleep and the thought that his Daughter had fallen in love with digging.   He picked up the rag doll cat with his two front hands.  “So you’re name is Eliot?  I’m sorry to hear that kitty.   I would have called you a cool name.   A real cat name,  Like….Fluffy!” 
    The cat continued to purr indifferent to the name.   Tracy and David both laughed. “Fluffy?”  Tracy giggled
    “What’s wrong with that? “
    “I don’t know….Fluffy?  Of all the names.  Fluffy?”
    “It’s better than Eliot.”
    “Maybe slightly.  But not enough to change it now.”  
    David looked around the kitchen.  Samantha was not yet home and there was no food on the stove.  He sniffed the air hoping to catch a whiff of some seasoned aroma that might give a hint as to what was for dinner. 
    “What we eating?”   David grunted in the primal caveman style.
    “Pizza!  I didn’t feel like cooking,   I ordered out. It should be here right as Sam gets home.   If I timed it right.”  Tracy continued to read her paper.   There were more mysteries to be solved today.   Someone had found a car that had been reported stolen.   It was parked along the river with the keys still in the ignition.  The police had no suspects at this time,  but there was a theory that it was possibly some kids on a joy ride. 
thCAF3TSS3     Tracy glanced through several pages in the back.   The newest headline caught her eye that a white fallow deer was spotted close to Grand Haven walking around the roads along the Grand River.  Tracy’s mind began to race wondering if it was an escaped deer from someone’s private herd or if it was a mutant albino deer.   She had never heard of a fallow deer before.   Was this a breed of deer or a rare deformity in white tail.   She read the article that was sketchy at best on the details.   She decided to clip it out and do some research later online after dinner. 
    David got up and walked over to the Daniel’s door.   He could hear Danny talking to someone as they played their video game.  Between the laser blasts and rocket launches,  He could faintly hear their conversation.   They were talking about the weekend’s adventure.   David stood by  to listen for more details but after a while decided to head back to the kitchen. 
    “Who’s in there with Danny?”  David asked. 
    “Mark from across the street.”
    “They are talking about the weekend.”
    “Oh yeah,  Danny’s become quite the story teller.   Much like his father I would guess.”  Tracy raised an eyebrow.  Looking up at David
    “Well where is this food?  I’m starving!”  David opened the fridge looking for some fast consumables. 
    The roar of the bus announced to everyone that Samantha had arrived.   Daniels door flung open as Mark ran out the back door.   Daniel came in the living room and turned on the television to catch the last few minutes of his favorite cartoon.   Whitney came running in,  Kicking off her shoes and garden gloves that she had borrowed from Tracy.   Everyone looked out the door.  
    Sam climbed off and skipped down the sidewalk to the front door.   Behind her, a pizza delivery car pulled in the driveway. 
    Tracy reached for a twenty dollar bill and handed it to David.
   pizza_delivery “Why me?”   He asked
    “Because you are the man.”   She answered swiftly. 
    David grabbed the money and walked over to the door.   He opened it just in time for Samantha to come skipping in.  She was followed closely by the pizza delivery driver. 
    “Hello my wonderful family!”  Sam greeted with a musical voice. 
    Everyone stopped to look at her.  Tracy stopped reading to stare.  Whitney and Daniel looked as if hypnotized.  David blindly reached for the pizza and handed the delivery guy the money without waiting for change.  Even the cat froze in his tracks to look ad Samantha.
    “What!”   She asked, pulling off her backpack and hooking it on the peg. 
    Everyone snapped out of their trance and continued on with their previous errands.  David carried the pizza boxes over to the dinning room table and opened them for display.  
    “Pizza is served!  Grab your plates and let’s eat!”  David commanded. 
    Daniel was the first up with plate in hand.  He nimbly grabbed a slice of the everything pizza and pulled the stringy mozzarella cheese on to his plate.   David also grabbed a piece before he had a plate.   He took a bite of the dangling tip before it dripped off onto the floor.  Tracy and the girls soon followed, carrying their plates in hand. 
    “Great!  I’m Starving!”  Sam blurted out.
    Once again, Everyone stopped and looked at Sam.  Sam became immediately aware that she was the focus of everyone’s attention. 
    “What?”  She asked defiantly.
    “Ok Sam,  What happened to make you so happy this fine evening?”  Tracy asked.  “Did a cheerleader break her leg today?” 
    Sam grinned evilly instantly.  “No,”   She started.  “This is way better.  The best looking boy in the whole school sat with me for lunch!  And when his girlfriend came over, He totally told her to get lost!  And she was the most popular sophomore in school!”  Samantha beamed!  She looked like she was about to float away. 
    “What boy is this?”   David asked aggressively.
    “Brian Jacobs!”  She swooned.  “He is so sweet and nice and hot and popular and everything…”
    “Well, you’re too young to date him.  And I want to meet this guy so he knows the rules before you do so much as study together.”   David shot out.
    “Daddy!  This is so yesterday.   I can’t possibly hook up with any boy now.   It will ruin everything!”
    Tracy looked up between bites at the sparing that David and Samantha usually did at the dinner table.   “So how did you meet this guy?”
006_low1     Sam took a deep breath.  “Well,  When everyone thought that Dad had killed Andy because dad thought that Andy was my boyfriend, the news spread real fast and before I knew it I was the girl that no one could have because my Dad was a psycho. So Friday this guy Brian sits with me because he was sitting with this boy that I wanted to talk to and the boy I wanted to talk to had to leave because he didn’t want Dad to kill him And that left me with Brian. Then Christy comes and tells Brian that Dad will kill him if he is seen talking to me and he had to leave but secretly he told me today that he was getting sick of Christy telling him what to do and he really liked talking to me.   So today he sat with me because some guys dared him to because they still think that Dad is psycho even though everyone knows that Andy showed up at his grandmothers house Monday and that Dad really didn’t kill him.  But that doesn’t matter  ever boy still thinks I’m the touch of death and that it is the ultimate sign of bravery if they talk to me.  Well, Brian came over and Christy told him to leave me alone but he told Christy that they were over and he told me all about it.   Now everyone is talking about me and Brian and if we are going to get together for the next dance.” 
    David’s head spun as Samantha rapidly shot out the details of the high school drama.   “What was that about a dance, again? “
    “Don’t worry Dad,  I’m not going to the dance.”  Sam looked at the pizza and selected one of the biggest pieces from the cheese only one. 
    “So they found Andy alive and well then?”  Tracy asked
    “Hmm?  Oh yeah!  I don’t think he is not  going to be in school for a while though.   He is probably going to live with his grandmother or something. “
    “Why aren’t you going to go to the dance?”  Whitney asked.
    “Because she knows I won’t let her!”   David offered.
    “Dad! “ Sam shot a defiant glance over at David.  “That’s not why!   I can’t go to the dance because I don’t want to only be the known as the girl who is Brian’s girlfriend,  I have to be known as the untouchable girl in school.  Not attached to anyone ever.”  She announced proudly.
    “And this is a good thing?” Tracy asked.
    “It sounds good to me!”  David applauded. 
 32LGL_B5187   Sam looked over at David with a sinister grin.   She didn’t mind if he took credit for her new found niche of popularity in the high school social circles.  She was no longer a nobody.   She was one of those rare individuals that could travel among the levels sitting and talking with whom ever she wished.   It was a very special niche  that few could aspire too.  It was better than being homecoming queen,  better than being class president,  Better than being the most popular girl in school.   Because, everyone of those titles had their limits.  With Sam’s title,  She had the potential of being the most wanted girl in school and could achieve all those other titles as long as she didn’t blow it and choose a boyfriend.   It was only a small positive side effect that her position would also fit nicely with what her father wants. 
    Soon the pizza was all but gone and David and Tracy cleaned up the greasy boxes  from the table.   The kids all ran into the living room to watch a movie they had been waiting for for several days now.   David sat in his chair and Tracy sat on the couch next to him.   The kids were reclined on the floor in various positions that most adults would cringe over merely at the thought of attempting.  David thought back the consequences of that one September Evening and how the results were not as bad as first imagined.   Whitney had found a new hobby and possibly a passion once Tracy introduced her to the ancient art of planting.   Daniel was becoming quite the story teller in his own right and Tracy had solved all the mysteries she had set before herself.  The final mystery being what befell Andy Jaltima:  The missing neighbor.
     And then there was Sam.   Her once purgatory of humiliation and isolation had now become her salvation.  She was becoming the most popular girl in school.  And best of all, She could remain sweet and innocent ‘till she got married,   At least David hoped that would be the case.  demotivation_us_My-girlfriends-father-The-way-I-see-him-before-even-meeting-him_130679477276
    And then there was David.   Although one might question the positives that come from being known as a psychotic killer of your daughter’s boyfriends at the local high school.  David actually took comfort in the new found fame and title.   There was a certain mystique in knowing that the biggest, baddest football players were scared of you and terrified to date your daughter.  Nope, David was sure he would grow to enjoy the designation.  
    Before long the movie was over and the kids were milling around the living room flipping through channels.   Tracy picked up her paper again and started reading while David rocked back and forth in his chair petting the cat.   Daniel looked up at his parents.
    “Dad, are you going to do anything with the Great Ethan Allen ever again?” 
    David looked up and thought about the question,  rubbing his chin with his free hand.  
    “Hopefully not for a very long time!”  Tracy interrupted.  Looking over at David with a doubting look. 
    David nodded,  “Yeah Danny,  Probably not for a very long time.”
    Daniel lowered his head in disappointment  that was obviously not the answer he was looking for.  Just then the phone rang.
    Everyone looked up as Samantha ran for the phone.  Whitney raced her for a bit but Sam was faster reaching the phone several seconds before Whitney had the  chance. 
  stm4ea9b7266aa6b20111027   “Hello?”   Sam answered.  “Ah  Just a minute.”   She covered the receiver end with her hand and jumped up and down.   “Dad!   Ethan Allen is on the phone!  Or should I say:  ‘ Great Ethan Allen’.”
    David got up to take the phone.   The entire family followed him.   Whitney and Sam were jumping up and down and smiling as if it were a call from Santa Clause or the President.  David reached for the phone and held it to his ear.

The End

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chapter 17 One September Night.

Ah,  Finally getting there.   This was how I imagined My real father would have reacted to this scenario.   It’s mostly right.  Things like this DID happen ( people showing up at odd hours) and Dad thought it was totally normal.  My father was also Color blind.  And Old.  

   I guess there is a protocol that is set whenever you reach a certain age.  Old men tend to wear the same thing.  Usually a mish mash of clothes from casual jeans with  a Sunday dress coat.   With bathrobe and slippers to match it all up.  And they think they are “fashionable!”   Well,  never mind the things that old men become when they become old.   I though this was a cool way to voice my observation without being too rude about the many “quirks” my Dad developed after he retired.   ( along with many other Old men I have watched over the years)   Enjoy Chapter 17…

Chapter 17

    It was a cool morning and the sun was already illuminating the landscape as Ethan Drove the familiar route to visit his father.  He enjoyed these mornings.   He was usually a night person,  but on this one day each week, he would get up,  drink some coffee, and drive a pleasant drive up to see his Dad.   It was the best way to keep in touch.  Since his Mother died,  his Dad was all alone and his brother lived even further from his Dad’s house then he did.  He felt better checking up on the old man,   even if he could be grumpy or stubborn from time to time.  
mocassin-lake_22     On these little visit days,  It was essential to do something when he was there.  Something that  his Dad usually didn’t or couldn’t do himself.   Sometimes he would help his Dad cut and load up firewood for the long Manistee winter.  Other times they would fix something at the property that required two people.   But most of the time,   Ethan would help the old man clean up and organize his house.  
    Ethan always felt more of an urgency to work on this job than his Father.   Dad’s reason was that Ethan was throwing away his entire life.   Ethan’s thought was that his Dad should not have to hang on to old useless ( i.e. Broken)  furniture and appliances.  Either way, it was typical that little ever got accomplished. 
    Ethan would beg and plead and sometimes force his Dad to part with some broken chair or old separated can of paint.   But sometimes, Dad would change his mind at the last moment or go back through the garbage and reclaim what had been thrown away.   It was usually an uphill battle. 
    The miles drifted away as Ethan listened to the local morning news shows that gave weather and traffic reports every 10 minutes.   Not that that was required traveling up north.   The roads were usually clear of traffic and the weather seldom changed along the lake shore.   If it was raining or snowing, you would know about it well before the news told you .  
    Regardless,  Today was going to be sunny and possibly warm.  September was a great time of year to go up north.   The fall colors were in full swing and the seasonal temperature was still mild.   Hunting season had just started and perhaps they would go walk around on the property and kick up some game  if they got bored.   
    As he traveled along the highway,  He smiled at his great conspired scheme to help his Dad finally get rid of that big stinky refrigerator.  It had gone exactly as planned.   In fact,  Better!   He actually thought that he would have to dispose of it totally solo.  The pure blind luck and fortune that David Noorman would not only be home, AND awake at that late hour,  AND willing to help him bury it,  was a blessing from heaven.   It was like God had sent some divine guidance showing him the way and helping him in the process.  It was after it was finally in the ground that Ethan had Truly thought that he had finally done the right thing.  
    It was difficult trying to help Dad clean up his house.  The house itself really was not dirty so much as cluttered.  Cluttered with old newspapers, and mail and nick knacks that took up every bit of counter space.  Not to mention the old furniture crammed into the living room and bedroom.   As much as he begged and pleaded with his dad to get new furniture he always got the same responses:   The old stuff is still good,  there is no room for the new stuff,   I plan on fixing that broken stuff,  Or best of all,  That was your mother’s favorite plant stand.  There was always a reason to keep the clutter where it was.   If he complained about how there was no walking room,  Ethan would point out that there could be if he got rid of some furniture that was not used. 
    None of the furniture actually matched.  It was a patch job of old hand me downs, unfinished sets and gifts from friends and family.   Dad would always reason that there never was enough seating for company.   But Ethan could not remember the last time dad entertained over 20 people!  This mattered little.   The fact was,  that Dad wanted more room and a cleaner house but would refuse to recognize that it was the clutter that was the real issue.  
    Even with all these arguments,  Ethan had scored some minor victories.   He had gotten his Dad to burn up there old tattered room rug that had been rolled up in the barn for several years.   It had thankfully gotten some mice to set up home in it and even to dad was now useless.   Ethan had thought it useless for years even before the mice had tore it up.   Even then Dad did not want to burn it up.   He thought they should take it to the dump.  A clever ploy to put it off and ultimately, never get rid of it. 
    Then there as the time he had gotten rid of the old blue Buddha lamps.  A horrifically tasteless find Ethan’s mother had scored at some garage sale.  They were the blight and eyesore of the house furnishings for nearly 20 years!  When offered better lighting,  Mom had set the Buddhas up so they could still be seen.  They clashed with everything,  the paneling, the floor, the other lights.  After Mom died,  Ethan thought he could finally get rid of them as a matter of principle.   Even Dad agreed on that one.  He also  secretly hated them in silence for years,  but never dared to voice his opinion to Mom.   Even then, Ethan had to tell him that he might be able to sell them online or give them to good will.  
    The sun was fully over the horizon now and the light set the entire landscape with a fiery glow.    Ethan would be there soon.  He wondered if Dad had even noticed that the Refrigerator was gone.  He never used it, no matter what he had said before.  If his dad had not unplugged it inside on his carpeting to defrost it, it might still be there  taking up way too much space.   After they moved it outside,  Dad was the first to comment on how much roomier the living room felt.  Ethan volunteered to take it out to the property but Dad refused saying they would take it to the dump later.   When later finally came,  They both called around and found out that the land fills no longer take refrigerators because of the environmental impact they have.  It was then that Ethan had hatched his plan. 
    He came up to Manistee with the truck on a day he knew his dad would be in elsewhere.   He tipped it over till it was in the back of the truck and bungeed a blue tarp over it to conceal it from any snooping neighbors.   He then planned on burying it on state land. thCAN60DPH
    Ethan had worked for the DNR for several summers  while he was in college.  One of their daily duties was to drive around state land and parks and help clean up the dump sites.   People would select local parking places to dump their garbage all the time.   Garbage ranged from bags of trash to sofas and old dryers and washing machines.  Of coarse there was a fine,  But without any eye witnesses or identification on the garbage, there was no way to fine the perpetrator.
    The plan still had its bumps.  It had to be done before hunting season.  And had to be done under cover of darkness.   These were major hurdles and he would have to find a place that was relatively easy to dig.  Another person would be most helpful when it came down to the digging.   But he had to be prepared to do it solo if he had to.  
    Luckily,  David and Ethan were reunited one last time to pull off the caper.   It had gone so flawless,  Ethan suspected no one would ever know what had transpired.   And with the refrigerator out of site,  He suspected that his father would never know it was missing.  And even if he did miss it,  he would never know where to find it so he could dig it back up.  The entire operation was so flawless,  Ethan secretly wished he could tell someone just to brag about it.  
    He pulled into Manistee and would soon be pulling into Dad’s driveway.   The traffic was slowly picking up as people began their daily routines.  He passed by the market, then the restaurant where he and dad would usually go out to breakfast.  He turned at the burger king and headed down the  road.   HE was mindful to watch his speed through the local speed trap as he completed the final leg of his journey.   Dad lived rather close to the lake Michigan lakeshore.   Ethan stared out over the glistening waves as they rolled in.  It looked like it was going to be a calm day. 
    He turned at the next right and slowed to the residential 25 MPH.  People were already up and walking their dogs or by themselves soaking in the cool fall air.   He slowly approached his Dad’s house.  The house was fairly conspicuous.  It had a boat in the front yard with a small wooden windmill  as lawn decoration.  It was located at a corner and down a slight hill.   He pulled into the driveway and glanced up and the garage,  expecting to feel a small sense of pride and possibly a slight pang of regret as to the secret operation that would never be known.  Operation: Bury Smelly Fridge would go down in the annuls of history as the best kept secret operation that Ethan and David had pulled off and no one would  ever know about it.   No witnesses, no evidence, nothing but a glorious memory. 

  Instead,  Ethan glanced up  to not see a empty space as the only testament to the undertaking.

   But rather a tall rusty Blue Refrigerator,  A Blue Refrigerator that should no longer occupy that specific spot along side the garage.  A Blue Refrigerator that should have been rusting 4 feet below the ground somewhere in Yankee Springs roughly 200 miles from here.  A Blue Refrigerator that was the entire reason Ethan had rousted David to help him dispose of it.  The very same Blue Refrigerator that should not be there.

    Ethan unclicked his seatbelt and walked up to the garage.   It certainly looked like the same refrigerator.   He opened the door and inspected the insides for the sure unique fingerprints that set this refrigerator apart from every other one on the planet.   There was a stain on the bottom inside with drips down the door.   And there was no mistaking the smell.   A smell that was also unique to this refrigerator.   A smell that was mingled with something else.  Car soap?  It didn’t matter.  The fact was that this refrigerator should not be here.   It was not a dream that transpired that evening just five nights ago.  It was real and Ethan had the gas bill and sore back the next day to prove it.   He turned back toward the house and walked up to the door.   Dad was sure to be up by now and was most likely waiting for him.  He had some questions to answer.
    Ethan knocked on the door then opened it.   Dad’s white cat took the opportunity to bolt out before Ethan had the chance to close it. 
    “Snowball!   Baaa  you bad cat!”   Mr. Allen called out after her. 
    “Hey pop!  You’re up!”  Ethan came in  closing the door behind him. 
    “Waiting for you.”  He took a sip of his coffee  “Want some coffee?”  He lifted his cup in a hospitable gesture. 
    “What’s the deal with the fridge?”   Ethan asked still standing by the door.
    Mr. Allen shuffled over to the window facing the garage. “What fridge?” jajaja_bmp46c84ab1-0145-4de1-902d-02e7125c2f84Larger
    “That fridge!”  Ethan pointed to the blue refrigerator standing at attention by the garage. 
    “Oh that!  I was thinking about switching that one with the one inside” . Mr. Allen beamed a smile and lifted his coffee to his lips. “It’s new! “  
    “It’s NOT new!  It’s the same old refrigerator that was there before!”  Ethan declared. 
    “No it’s not.  The old one was older.   I think it was blue.”  
    “That one IS blue!   Can’t you tell?   Come out here and look.”  He opened the door and the two walked over to the aged  appliance.
    “Ok, It’s blue,  I guess  I never could tell colors very well.   So it’s blue.  They make lots of blue refrigerators.” 
  lemon   “It smells!”
    “Yeah,  Like lemons!”  Mr. Allen shot back.
    “Like lemons and rotten fish bait!  Dad!  This is the same refrigerator!  This is not a new one.  It’s not even different!  It has the same stain in the bottom!”   He opened the door to show off the discoloration permanently bonded with the yellowed plastic.
    Mr. Allen looked that the door and the stain and sipped his coffee  He turned to Ethan after swallowing  and looked up. 
    “Ok then,  Let’s just say for arguments sake that this IS, in fact, the same old refrigerator.   So what?  What’s the big deal?”   He shrugged his shoulders.
    “Because five days ago, while you were out,  I came up here, loaded it up in my truck and buried it in Yankee Springs!”   Ethan blurted out. 
    Mr. Allen paused for a moment to let the statement sink in.  He looked at the refrigerator and touched its outside handle.   The cat came running up and brushed up against his pant leg. 

   “Let me get this straight,   You came up here,”  He paused “ Five days ago. “

    Ethan nodded his head.  “You loaded up this very refrigerator here up on your jeep.”

    Ethan crossed his arms and continued to nod. “And drove all the way to Yankee Springs ….And buried it.  In the ground.”   Ethan continued to nod.

  “So.  If all that what you say is true.   Then what is this clean refrigerator that now smells like lemons,  the SAME refrigerator that you buried down in Yankee Springs, doing here?”

    Ethan could barely control himself, convulsing with his head and legs.   “THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO KNOW!”   He yelled out. “What did you do?  Follow me there and dig it back up?  Couldn’t stand to be without the old Stink cube?”
    Mr. Allen  was now laughing.   He was laughing so hard he was spilling his coffee.   He waved his hands trying to speak between laughter.   Ethan stood  tapping his toe with impatiens waiting for his father’s reply. 
    “No No,  He started than had to pause to catch his breath.   “David and Tracy came and dropped it off.”
    Ethan’s eyes widened.  “David!”   He burst out.  “David?”  He paused a moment, thinking about the possibilities.  “David.”  He whispered knowing that although the path might not be known,  David was the only answer.  He looked over at his Dad who was still smiling with that Cheshire  cat grin. 
    “Yep David and Tracy came up and dropped it off.”
    “I don’t know,  I guess around midnight.” 
    “And that didn’t seem odd to you?”
    Mr. Allen paused a moment.   “Nope.”
    “So two people you have not seen in a while, come up here in the middle of the night and drop off a refrigerator, and you don’t find that the least bit odd?” 
    “Not at all.”  He said affirmatively. 
    He perked up as a new thought entered his head.  “Does it work?
    “I’m sure it does. If it is the same one as before,   it should.”
    “Let’s find out! “  He ran over to the extension cord that powered the Christmas lights that were permanently hung in the bushes.  Ethan detached it and ran it over to the outside outlet.  He plugged it in and then connected it to the cord of the refrigerator.  The compressor clanked on with a screeching chug then settled into a loud hum that was familiar to both.  The fridge rattled as it clicked on the condenser.
    “Ha Haaaaa! It still works!”  Mr. Allen jumped in celebration.  “ I told you!”
    “You are one strange old man, Dad.”  Ethan shook his head. 
    “At least I don’t go around swiping refrigerators.”  He gulped down the last sip of his coffee.   “Come on!  Let’s go eat.  I’ll buy you breakfast.”  He beckoned with his hand as he walked toward the house.  The white cat followed close to his feet. 
    Ethan looked after him and shook his head.  He glanced back at the refrigerator for one last moment then surrendered the idea all together.  If it was meant that Dad was to have a useless refrigerator rusting next to his garage for the remainder of his days,  who was he to say otherwise.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

Chapter 16 One September Night, How to Unload a Refrigerator.

Chapter 16 already?  I actually felt a little strange about this part because the Mr Allen in the story and my real Dad are not very much alike.  Oh,  Dad has his moments,  ( well….had them anyway)  but I tried to make this one a little more  “colorful”.  Everyone loved grumpy old men right?  ( except little kids)  Anyway,  Enjoy Chapter 16…It’s all fiction after all. 

Chapter 16

    The drive was peaceful.   There are not many people on the road up north after 9 P.M.  Every now and then a few cars would venture out onto the highway, blinding David as he drove.   Tracy searched for music to try to pass the time.   The trip would take about 2 hours,  if there were no construction or accidents to negotiate.   David had been up to Manistee several times and he knew where the Mr. and Mrs. Allen lived.   Right near a state campground where David brought the family several years ago.   It had been a while,  but Mr. Allen’s address was still the same and David guessed that he could find it even at this late hour.  
  map_of_cadillac_mi   Tracy had settled on a radio station that she found tolerable.  It was difficult to find any good music at this day in age.  The kids always seem to find music that makes their parents hair stand up.  The music that David and Tracy grew up with was now found on the “oldies” stations.    It was funny that they thought their music would never be vintage, but now you have to listen through several bad outdated songs to find one that was from your time period. 
    They had just passed Cadillac city when the station that had been listening too for the last hour faded to static.   Tracy had to find another one and the choices were becoming less and less as they moved further up north.   Finally she found a station that was from Manistee.  The music was a mixture of top forty and late nineties,  but they reasoned it was a good gauge for detecting how close they were getting to the final destination.   The station also had traffic, weather, and news  to it’s credit.  Tracy personally would have preferred talk radio, but all the A.M. stations were gone this late at night.  As they drove through Cadillac,  David started to recall some of the adventures he and Ethan had when they were younger. 
    “See that Burger king?   Ethan and I got stranded there once  when we got a flat tire.   We had push the car into the parking lot to get it out of traffic.   Our jack was froze up so we had no way to lift the car.   It was crazy.”
    “What did you do?”   Tracy asked between laughs. 
    “Oh, Luckily we got an employee to come out and loan us his so we could get the spare on.  We were back on the road.”
    “Didn’t you get the tire fixed right away?”
    “It’s funny you should ask that because,  no,  we didn’t.   We spent the entire weekend with a spare tire on out rear end.   No safety net.  Just traveling by the seat of our pants.”
    They turned down M 55 to Manistee.  They should be there within the hour.   David remembered the time when they went hunting up here.  And reminisced the time they brought Tracy.   map_of_manistee_mi
    “Remember that?   I don’t think Ethan was too happy about tagging along on that one.” 
    “That was when we were dating.  We couldn’t keep our hands off of each other.   I think it made him a little uncomfortable.”  Tracy smiled at the thought. 
    “Remember when we took him to Big Rapids to go shoot clays on my Mom and Dad’s property?”  
    “Oh yeah!”  Tracy nodded
    “Was that the first time you shot a 12 gauge?” 
    “Oh no,  My Dad showed me how to shoot one,  but he never really took me out to hit anything with it.  We just pointed it in a safe direction and shot it off.  It was loud.” 
    “Ethan was afraid you were going to hit one of us.   Especially that time you loaded the clays in the flinger and they came zipping at us.”  David  chuckled.   It had been a while since he even thought of those stories. 
    “So where did you and Ethan have that great adventure that you always tell the kids about?  I always thought it was around here.” 
   sunset-ludington-michigan-1 “Nope, that was up north. In the upper peninsula.   I have not been there since that disaster.   The second part, After Mom and Dad rescued us from up there,  Took place around Big Rapids.  That was the infamous “forced march on a hot summer night.”  With the rain and the dogs and the cold porch of some strange house.” 
    “And the crazy tow truck guy,  I know, I remember, you must have told the kids a hundred times.  And the miles keep getting longer, the dogs bigger, the rain and lightning more violent.”  Tracy was nodding her head  at the thought.
     “I’m telling you Tracy,  it was really raining!  And those dogs DID look big.   I retraced the path and it was actually only 10 miles.   But it seemed like 20 when it was all said and done.”   David said earnestly.8cd558128f707b8aee0e913ae93405d8  
    It was not long before they passed by the local tribal casino when they knew that Manistee was getting close.   The radio station, turned down so they could talk over it,  was almost perfectly clear now.   David guessed that they were 10 minutes out. 
    “You think he will be up at this time of night?”   Tracy asked.
    “I don’t think so.  It’s almost 11:30!  I was hoping we could just go, quietly slip it off the back and drive away.” 
    “What if he IS still up?”  Tracy asked nervously.
    “I hope not,   I have not thought that far ahead.   We should have a plan of action.”
    Tracy and David talked for  the last few minutes on what would happen if Mr. Allen suddenly came out of his house.   They talked about shoving off the fridge onto his driveway and driving off. To trying to make up a really elaborate story.   They both agreed that the truth, in this situation, was far less believable than anything they could make up.  Hopefully, Mr. Allen would not think they were taking anything and greet them with a shotgun.  What ever the plan was going to be,   David and Tracy concluded that they would have to play it by ear because they were pulling down Mr. Allen’s street and would be there in mere moments.
    David pulled up and into the driveway.  There were lights on in the house,  not a good sign.  He looked at Tracy and thought for a moment what would happen if they just drove past it.   They would have driven all this way and still be holding on to the fridge.   Bad idea.  At this point, David told Tracy that one way or another, they were not going to be taking this fridge back home with them tonight.  Tracy agreed.  They entered the driveway and turned off the engine. 
    Both sat in the cab, waiting for their next move.  Should they start to unload it or should they knock on the door and see if Mr. Allen was home.  David unhooked his seat belt and opened his door.   Almost immediately the flood light lit up the driveway.  The door to the house opened and Mr. Allen emerged.  He was dressed in old jeans and a sweatshirt.   He was wearing slippers.  
    “Who’s there?” He asked as he stood in the door way. 
    David cleared his throat.  “Hey Mr. Allen!  It’s Me, David and Tracy.” 
  untitled   “Oh Hi!”  Mr. Allen’s voice became welcoming. “Come in! Come in!”  He waved his hand.  “What brings you out here at this late hour?  You folks hunting up here?  Or camping again?”
    “Oh no.   We were about to make a delivery.”   David motioned with his hand toward the back of his truck.  “We have a little surprise for you.”
    Mr. Allen came out and looked in the back.  “What is it?  And what is that smell?”
    David winced momentarily, then perked up. “ It’s a refrigerator.  Your refrigerator! “ Tracy clicked on the outside cab light to illuminate the area.
    Mr. Allen produced a flashlight from his pocket and shone it up and down the refridge.   “That’s not my fridge.”   He declared.
    “What?  Are you sure?  What makes you say that?”   David began to sweat.   “You said you were missing one the other day.”
    “This one is new.  Oh,  You mean you folks got me a brand new one? Oh isn’t that nice?”
    David looked around in confusion. “You mean this doesn’t look like your old refrigerator?”  He worded the question cautiously.
    “Doesn’t look like mine,  Mine was old, and dirty.   And it smelled terrible.”    He took a sniff around the fridge.   “This one smells like lemons  or something.” 
    “Oh that,  We cleaned it off both inside and out.   What do you think?”  
    “The kids worked on it all afternoon.”  Tracy added.
    “Well,  I’m still not sure its mine.  Does it work?”  
    “Of Coarse it works!”  David exclaimed, without really knowing if it did.  “Where do you want it?” 
    Mr. Allen looked around for a suitable spot.  “It looks kind of heavy,  I imagine we can put in here next to the garage  on the driveway where the last one was.  By the way, How did you guys get it?” 
    David looked at Tracy,   This was the question they had been dreading.  “Well, That is a very long story.”   David began.
    “Good, You can tell me over coffee after we unload it!”  Mr. Allen exclaimed. 
    Tracy jumped out of the truck and into the back.  It was obvious that this response was acceptable.   Mr. Allen was willing to take it back and they were going home without it.  All for the small price of a visit.   Coffee and stories were David specialty.  And what ever facts got in the way of the story,  David would just omit them or make them up.   “I’ll shove it off if you guys want to pull it!”   She smiled. article-new-thumbnail_ehow_images_a07_74_m8_remove-rust-blacktop-driveway-800x800
    Before long David and Mr. Allen slipped it off the truck and stood it on the paved driveway.   They rolled it back to the original spot next to the garage.  David even noticed that the rust spots of the cement matched the location of the wheels perfectly.   If Mr. Allen was uncertain  about  owning the refrigerator ,  David was positive.   
    “That will do it,  I now have a place to put my bait.”  Mr. Allen  dusted off his hands. 
    “Bait?  Hey! That is a great idea.”  David stood up stretching his back. chum-salmon-roe-fishing-bait-rmd_7337743
     “Yeah,  I’ll be a little more careful with this new one.  The last one I had,  Ethan got me about 10 lbs. Of trout spawn, from when he was working at the fish hatchery.  Anyway, the thing was frosting up cause it was one of those old models,  So I decide to defrost it.  Low and behold, I forgot that the eggs were in there.   And a couple dozen crawlers from that summer.   Man, did it smell bad.”  
    David and Tracy were careful to conceal  their  emotion at the final mystery being solved.   David nodded his head while stroking his chin, and Tracy shook her head in mock disbelief.  ‘”That must have been Awful!”  Tracy acknowledged.
    “Oh yeah,  I got Ethan to help me move it outside so it would not stink up the house  so much.  He has been bugging me to get rid of that thing  ever since.   Now that I have this new one,   I won’t be needing that smelly thing anymore.”
    “Well, I hope you like it.”  David and Tracy smiled. 

    They all went inside for the coffee Mr. Allen had offered.   David noticed that the house was pretty much like the old one when they lived in Grand Rapids, but it was smaller.   Regardless,  It looked like the Allens had kept all their original furniture and tried to cram it all into their living room.   There was barely room to walk through.  
     They sat at the kitchen table while Mr. Allen put on a fresh pot of water.  He had to push off stacks of old papers, mail and a number of medicine carousels  to clear some space for his company.  He broke out some Oreos as a supplement to the coffee.  CRISCO_Coffee-Spice-Cookies-MEDIUM David looked around and could see why Ethan was clearing stuff out of his Dad’s home.   There was so much clutter that no one could walk through it.  By the look on Tracy’s face,  She must have had the same thought. 
     Soon the coffee pot was screaming and they all had a cup of hot instant coffee with their cookies. David started telling the story how they had gotten this refrigerator, but then quickly changed the subject to talking about the kids and the fire department.  It appeared that Mr. Allen barely noticed that the subject changed and was listening and laughing  as they reminisced about the good old days.  Tracy smiled at David’s ability to entertain with stories that were half real mixed with half elaboration.   She was careful not to interrupt him. 
    “So why are you up so late anyway?  I half expected we would end up leaving the fridge for you to find it in the morning.”  David said
    “Oh,  I usually stay awake late on Saturdays.  I don’t know  why  but I have been taking long naps in the afternoons lately.   I get up early in the morning,  take my medicine and do some chores around the house.   Then I settle in with one of my books.   I read till I get sleepy then I take a nap.   By the time I get up,  It’s usually supper time.   I like taking naps, but I usually end up staying up later than I planned.
    David and Tracy nodded.  “So when was the last time you heard from Ethan?”  Tracy asked. 
    “A week ago I think,  As a matter of fact,  He is coming up tomorrow.  It’s too bad you didn’t drop that thing off a day later, you could have caught him.” 
    David and Tracy looked at each other.  Both looking relieved that they had chose to bring the refrigerator tonight.   Tracy looked at her watch.   They had spent well over an hour there.  “Oh my ! Look at the time!  David we had better get back to the kids.”  She looked at David with the eye signal that it was time to go. 
    “Oh yeah,  it’s getting pretty late.”   David stood up and pushed the chair back under the table.   “Well thanks for the coffee,   and we hope we didn’t keep you up too late.” 
  378797_1304077885623   “Oh not at all,  I don’t get a chance to talk to many people anymore.   It was fun seeing a familiar face.  Hey!  You should bring up the kids one of these days and go fishing.   I still fish with your uncle ya know.  He lives just down the road.  Don’t be a stranger.”  
    He walked them out to the driveway and continued to talk till they climbed into the truck and started it up.   David and Tracy waved as they backed up into the road and flicked on the lights.   It was still a long way back home and they had had a very full day. Mr. Allen waved back until he could no longer see the truck lights.   The  night air was quiet once again.


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