Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cliff's Household Hints

Okay Men, let's say you're thinking of fixing that hole in the drywall and since your wife is away you've decided to surprise her by having it all done when she returns. Let me interject here that jumping on the project after only 2 and 1/2 years should be enough of a thrill.
Now let's say you've got the drywall piece you need and the mud and and the screws and all that is left to find is something to spread the drywall mud with.
The tool doesn't need to say Sears Craftsman or Stanley on the handle. Anything will work, especially if the trowels are out in the shed and it's raining.
Well I found a new, cute little trowel that my bride had purchased and I used it. It was perfect. The problem is that when she returned she didn't notice the patch job. She did however notice the trowel I had used. She wasn't happy. So here's the hint. It IS important that it says Craftsman or Stanley on it. AND it's important where you find the tools. If it's in with all of the other kichen utensils and it says Pampered could be a 'frosting knife.'
Just so ya know.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

February 19th View From The Porch

Wishing you and yours a Blessed Easter.
We will be attending church services and then hosting sixteen people consisting of family and friends.
We will be counting our blessings and giving thanks to God for the sunrise that has been bursting over that horizon since time immemorial.
"He is Risen!"

Monday, March 17, 2008

I like to dream about 'what if . . .'

The following is my current column in the Midwest Producer. It can also be seen at :

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 Edition

I like to dream about what if. What if I were to win the lottery? What would I do with all of that money? I know I would give a lot of it away and build a house. Then what would I do? Would I move? Where could I move to that would appeal to me 12 months a year. The fact is that when I go on a vacation to fish, it becomes like any other job after about four days of it in a row. When I go somewhere to play golf it is a lot of fun until I get there and write down two double bogies in a row. Then I again begin to dream. Like what a set of Ping golf clubs will look like after being run over by a tractor trailer on I-80. Lately I dream about what if we had really nice winter weather. Now this part I'm not serious about because I don't want to live in a 'destination' state. If Kansas and Nebraska had great winter weather, then we'd become what we despise when we go to the big city. I like looking out of my front door and looking at dirt, not people. Dirt with grass, dirt with corn or beans growing on it, or in today's case, dirt with snow on top of it. I like the fact that if someone drives by my house this time of year that I must get up to see who that was. For crying out loud, that's the second car this week. We may need to do something about it.
What we do and who we are usually depends on who our folks were. My dad was a farmer on the Missouri River bottom 50 miles north of Omaha. So am I. He raised corn and beans. So do I. Dad started out farming with horses but got rid of them as soon as the tractors took over. As for me, I don't remember a time we didn't have tractors but I have horses anyway. Yes, Dad was smarter than me in a lot of ways. But in this regard there is a good explanation. Mom didn't like horses and wouldn't ride one. My wife does.
What if Dad had been a greens keeper in Hawaii? Today I could be mowing grass, raking sand and taking orders from a Polynesian who is even larger than me. (Not likely on the last part)I could be greeting mainlanders with a big smile and inviting them to play golf. "Why yes of course we take Visa," I would say to them, and then I'd put my arm around their shoulder and quietly say, "Wait until you see the girls running the beverage cart." Wink, Wink.Then I am brought back to reality in the most brutal of ways. My doorbell rings and some guy dressed for a trip to the North Pole asks if it's okay if he does some deer hunting. He has on one of those Russian style hats, a camo coat and he has tobacco juice running down his uncut beard and I'll not even describe his smile. I say "yeah, go ahead and hunt all you want." Then, as he turns and starts to walk away, I say, "Wait until you see the girls running our beverage cart." Wink, Wink. He stops, then turns and stares at me and says "Huh?"

"Ah, never mind, I didn't say anything, I've got something in my eye."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Birthday

An update! "Beware the Ides of March are upon us." This ominous warning is brought to you by Ralph's wife Char. Ralph came home sick from work yesterday and as Char and I visited on the phone about it I asked her if he was "Cliffing." As we laughed about that I could hear him in the background with a raspy voice saying, "I'm really glad you guys are having a good laugh over me being sick." I could tell she was treating him tenderly when I heard her say as an aside to Ralph, "Get your own phone if you want to talk to Cliff, you're not contaminating this one." So say a little prayer for Char. She's the one who must live with him. Now back to this post.
This sweet young thing is my bride of 36 and 1/2 years. Today is her Birthday.
She celebrated by getting ready and leaving the house at 6:20 this morning and traveled to Blair, Ne to pick up a van load of dogs. She brought them home, groomed all eleven of them, with some help, and is now on the way to deliver them. Our daughter went along this time. I'm keeping the kids while they deliver the dogs and then they plan to go to dinner and a movie. The kids and I are going to a fish fry at the local Catholic church.
I usually go with Marilyn because she'd rather take me along so she doesn't have to give me a kiss goodbye.
I smoked a half rack of baby backs for her at noon and we also had cheese cake with strawberries.
No regular birthday cake. There are so many things I could say, and indeed want to say about the tradition of spanking on birthdays. But I'll wisely leave mention of that alone. For now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Productive Cough

Marilyn was driving as we went hammer down through Kansas City and on to Omaha. Our home was just about 3 hours ahead. We decided to stop for a late lunch at a truck stop 45 minutes out of K.C. We had found what seemed like the last parking spot and settled into a booth. I ordered the special of sloppy joes with fries and cole slaw while Marilyn opted for a salad. We visited about whether it was smart to have stopped or if we should have kept going. Getting us home earlier would have been nice and the incessant coughing of a trucker in the booth behind Marilyn cemented our thinking that we should have kept pounding the pavement. The man alternated sucking on a cigarette with bites of food and talk with another trucker. They were both loud, opinionated, and like some drivers I've known, (yes I've done that for a living for a while) not terribly well spoken.
A waitress came to their table mid way through lunch with a full pot of fresh coffee. She had the look of a tough old bird who had been serving truckers all of her life. She was about to ask the man with the 'shipping fever' if he would like his cup topped off when he began to cough. The first few coughs expelled some smoke and part of his lunch. He then continued to cough. This was no ordinary cough. It made all the patrons in the whole area freeze. We all wanted to watch the outcome of this spell. It's the same instinct that makes one look at the bad accident on the other side of the Interstate. It really doesn't concern you but you must look. I'm also sure everyone was thinking like Marilyn and I, 'can this man survive this or will his life be snuffed out right before our eyes.' We should watch just in case they need to take testimony from eye witnesses.
I looked at Marilyn. She had her napkin over her mouth and kept it there. The look on her face told me we should probably make a run for the pickup before we also came down with the plague.
I looked at the waitress who had her head cocked to one side. She stared at the side of the mans head as he fought for his life. She was motionless for a full thirty seconds. There was nary a ripple in her coffee pot. She was obviously even more interested in the outcome than most of us in that eatery.
The man finally stopped coughing. I leaned to my left a bit so as to see around Marilyn. I could see the man had a napkin held over his mouth with his right hand, tears running down his face and a cigarette still burning in his left hand. He wiped his mouth and eyes and then noticed the expressionless, motionless waitress at his side and turned to look at her. With a firm authoritative voice she announced, "Well...Damitalltohell...winter's gone, springs on the way, and now you're gonna die!"
What goes around comes around. It was our turn to fight for air.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Flying Low

As I write this we are on our way home from a whirlwind tour. Our problem has been that between my board meetings and hauling corn, and Marilyn's kennel business we have such a short time that we can be gone. The down side has been that we went right by bloggers I would like to have visited. Some in the middle of the night. John and Terah might not have appreciated a midnight visit with a 6:00 am start so we didn't call. Next time we will stop.
We visited one of my brothers in New Mexico. He is a very busy small animal Veterinarian. We were fortunate enough to have him block out enough time to play a round of golf. They have a beautiful home and the food and hospitality is always good down there whether we eat at home or go out to a Mexican restaurant.
I have another brother wintering in Corpus Christi so we rifled down there. The trip was into the teeth of a 40 mph wind. The wind coupled with the 80 mph speed limit meant that we quit bragging about the good mileage our pickup was getting.
We stayed in Corpus Sunday through Thursday and got in three rounds of golf. We also toured the area including a trip down to the King Ranch. My brother had just purchased a King Ranch Edition Ford F-150 so we needed to take it down home. I don't think the pickup cared.
On the way home we've had just enough time to visit Marilyns relatives in Houston and Dallas and one of my sisters in Tulsa. We are in the middle of those visits and know they will be great and of course way too brief. Then it will be back to the salt mines.
Next year I hope to do something similar but with another week added to it to allow a visit to Adi and Lucy and others.
In the "Well Duh" department: I used an ATM machine in a restaurant while in Corpus. It kicks out only $20 dollar bills. I had my choice of $20-$40-$60-$80-$100-or Other. Wanting $200 I clicked Other. I then typed in $200. The next screen said: Sorry, $100 is the maximum this machine will dispense. I simply stared at the machine over the top of my reading glasses the same as if it had been a human that had offered it.