Thursday, June 26, 2014

A fine flock of summertime squirbs

Believe it or not, once in awhile, I think about what I'm going to write about in these pages.
I must have been noodling on the subject in the back of my mind one day as she dictated a shopping list to me.
"Good idea."
So that's what I'm gonna do this week...try and CATCH UP (get it?) with a few squirbs, that infamous combination of squibs and blurbs I occasionally resort to when it seems necessary to complete some of the unfinished tales from prior columns.
Here goes.

Speedy Delivery.
My recent column regarding the supposed effectiveness of Absorbine Jr. on the plague of gnats we've been enduring--along with my inability to find any of the darn stuff--generated a fair amount of sympathetic response. I received copious advice on other bug-chasers I might try. Best of all the alternates was a bottle of stuff from a midwest-based company that a kind friend gave me. It actually smells good and seems to work.
But the most spectacular response came via a college friend named Doc, who lives in Burlington, Iowa. Doc saw a hand-printed sign at a drugstore the day before I posted my column on my blog. When he read of my Absorbine-less plight, he returned to the store, bought a bottle and set about establishing an elaborate hoax. His wife called me, claiming to be from a company called "Speedy Delivery" and wishing to set up a drop-off at my home in Galva. I hadn't ordered anything, so I was feeling a bit skeptical.  I said I wouldn't be there, as my grandsons had ball games, so I was surprised when an insistent Speedy Delivery employee called me from my front porch. I told him he'd have to come out to the Galva Park District if he wanted to make the drop, and figured that would be that.
But it wasn't. He showed up.
And I was totally surprised when the delivery man turned out to be Doc himself, who had ridden his beloved Royal Enfield motorcycle all the way from Iowa to deliver the magic elixir.
Good one, Doc

An unnatural disaster.
Some say the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was the world's greatest disaster, while others claim it was the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79, or even Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
But as far as I'm concerned, it is--hands down--the Great Sloan Home Improvement Project of 2014.
Imagine this.
-A whole new roof.
-A new garage and driveway.
-A replaced shower.
-8 new windows.
-A major interior painting project.
-Refinished hardwood floors.
Now imagine the utter foolishness of trying to get them all done at approximately the same time.  Luckily the happy pair of painters who helped get a major portion of one project done last week managed to avoid running headlong into the guys who were tearing off a roof dating back, we suspect, to the original structure as built back in the 1860s.
It ain't over yet.

The dog is on vacation, too.
If, by some wild chance, you were paying attention to my story about our recent Minnesota trip, you might recall that a dog was listed among the group of happy family travelers.
Arf. Arf.
She's my older son's family pet, and will be staying with us while Colin and his spouse, the college professor, travel to Norway, where she will be teaching a study abroad class starting next year.
For some reason, the dog wasn't invited, despite the fact that she speaks fluent Dogwegian and likes a spot of lutefisk with her Kibbles and Bits.  I was a trifle concerned about her visit to our house, because she is, above all, an incessant barker, who yelps, moans, snarls, growls and howls at everyone and everything that dares to move a muscle in and around their home in northern Minnesota.
"Oh, joy,"  I thought, as I imagined her loud, adverse reaction to the steady stream of painters, carpenters, plumbers and other helpful folks who have been parading in, around and on top of our abode.
But no.
Apparently she has decided that she's on vacation, and not responsible for providing security services in Galva. In addition, despite the fact that she probably outweighs him by a cool 50 pounds at least, she's afraid of Max the cat, who sends her scrambling with a low, fearsome growl whenever she's not where he thinks she should be.
In any case, all is (mostly) quiet on the dog front. And that most certainly works for me.

Not so fast, Baldy.
And the not-so-great news is that the experimental treatment plan I was looking forward to trying has not yet come to fruition, due, mostly, I guess, to the bales of paperwork needed to make anything happen in the complex world of hospitals, doctors, scientists, pharmaceutical companies and foundations.
Meanwhile, my crazy-cancer has begun to grow and spread while I've been off treatment, so, it's back to the chemo club starting today. This is, of course, nothing I can't handle, and I retain high hopes that the promised clinical trial will eventually become available.
In the meantime, It may affect the timing and outcome of the "What's He Gonna Grow Up There?" contest I've been running recently. Zillions and billions of you have placed your wagers regarding the possibly interesting varieties of color, texture and curl in the fine new crop of hair that had begun to sprout on my fine, smooth dome.
Oh, well. Easy come, easy go.
I will, by the way, be keeping your entry fees.
Stay tuned.

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