Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Red Bird

Cardinals in the green spruce with folk art "uncommon crow"
Yes, I took this shot through the kitchen window. No,  I'm not using the "snow' setting on my digital camera. Gawd knows what that would do.  Hand held, weird light, through a dirty window.  Could be the title of a B movie. I am truly sorry for the quality. The alternative would have been to traipse outside in my carpet slippers. That would cause the cardinals to scatter. The purpose of the photograph is to document an absurd number of red birds in the spruce tree next to the feeder. It's an all time record.  Whadda do on a snow filled winter day? I add the 17 cardinals to my list of awards.  Someday, I list all the dufus awards I give myself. 

Actually there's lots and lots of work. 

Enough to make me feel guilty about being at the keyboard.  I finally got my truck running.  Dawn drives me to the bank to withdraw a wad of cash to pay for a new clutch and ball joint.  When we pull into the drive-thru  there are five cars waiting in all three lanes.  Weird for a Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 pm in a town of 4,000.  Mandy, my dog, is bummed. We usually go to the window with the drawer.  She knows the teller by sight and climbs in my lap, sticks her head out the window and does a doggie version of "Where's the biscuit?" We're in the far lane hidden by a monster red pick-up.  The mic says "hello".  Then, "Are you Laura?"  Dawn says, "No I'm Dawn."  The check is drawn on my account.  Dawn points this out to the teller.  "He writes his 'R's' in a weird way," she says.  When the pneumatic tube shoots my cash back, she gives me $680 in small bills.  "Jeez," I utter.

It's a short drive to the mechanic.   After getting Ms.Mandy into the truck , I walk into the office where my mechanic sits behind his counter.  To add insult to injury he tells me that my clutch came apart in pieces.  His son shows me the damage.  I'd been driving the truck in deep snow between the house and wood shed.  Yes, I rode the clutch too hard.  No, it wasn't my fault.  In the short span of thirty yards letting the clutch out fully means crashing into A. the maple tree B. the woodshed or C. the woodshed.  Besides, the clutch actually went out after a sixteen mile round trip to Viroqua. 

This is suspicious.  Another chapter in  Tales of Woo Woo.  Why would the clutch give out after I drove it down highway 131 and US highway 14 ?  Supposedly, I overheated the clutch( 400 degrees F) and the steam from the deep snow caused it to shatter.  When I get to the entrance of our driveway, a dead-end town road, it won't do into gear.  I coast down the slight hill and drift into a spot in front of the barn. I thank my guardians and power animals for the close call.

The truck's in the garage. I have to remove the old tonneau cover hardware so that I can install a barrier behind the rear window.  Yes, that was $227 for a new window, after an errant piece of firewood hits the right corner and turns the window into snowflakes.  The insurance covers anything above $250.  Then there was the bill for four new tires, four used rims because the old rims rusted out.  ...And the brakes. Yeah, that was another Woo Woo event.  We're hauling an empty 200 gallon oil tank to the dump at the top of Freymiller's Hill when the brakes give out.

I'm still in the basement waterproofing.  After I empty the wood bin, I can seal that wall and finish the basement floor.  In the afternoon, I work at the library culling books.  My library angel tells me that there are 24 sections to examine and discard.  We do one per afternoon.  In between helping patrons with computer problems, answering the phone, wiping up the floors from drift tracked in, my 80+ year old angel keeps up a steady stream of verbiage about each and every book. The person designated to succeed her in less than two years prints off a 27 page list of criteria.  My list is as follows. If the pages are yellow, and the book is over 30 years old, never been taken out, a steamy romance novel with a muscular man naked from the waist up holding a woman swooning with ample exposed bosom and  paperback-out it goes.

With every comment, my library angel keeps up a steady hum of no particular tune to fill in the spaces.  A month of this could be worse than Dubya's water-boarding torture. It's like driving with Jorge when he clicks his cell phone belt clip repeatedly.


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