Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Post 9.2.0.0 Beloved son's daughter makes an impression. There are faces.

There has been an addition to the family.  Beloved Son and his Beloved WifeI am adjusting to the smallness of newborns. She has that intent and slightly stunned look that all newborns have when their eyes are open, and has a calm and confident air when she sleeps.

She has a busy little face.  I don't remember seeing an infant less than a week old make so many faces, so constantly.  She just cycles through expressions.  Coy, slow smiles.  Clenched face-fists of disgust.  Rueful grimaces.  Considering eyebrow lifts.  Too many variations to name.  And she keeps it going even when she sleeps, which is pretty much all the time.

I'm guessing that she's dreaming.  It looks like she's having conversations or reminiscing with her eyes closed.  My son and I were sitting and watching

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Post 2.4.1.0 - First Job, Market, Penny

Does your first "real" job even exist anymore?  Someone asked that online, and my answer is below.  

Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha. My first job was working the counter at a 'neighborhood market', a sort of hybrid between a convenience store and a tiny burger joint. This was before franchised convenience stores and mini-marts. Convenience stores and burger joints seem to be doing well, so my first job exists and will probably exist for a while.

I think the thing that kept the little store in the black was the location, which was across the street from the junior high. During the rush before and after school, kids had to go to the outside window. Candy was kept behind the counter.

I don't know if this was before diet soda, or if we just didn't sell any at the fountain. I think the fountain taps were coke, root beer, cherry, and green. I think the green was lime, but it wasn't carbonated. The cherry would have been called red if it wasn't a standard thing to order a cherry coke. You can't make a cherry coke with red.


My boss called me over to act as a witness, once. He had been changing out the cash register and when he threw a handful of pennies on the counter to count, one of them had landed edge-up. I can testify. I saw him throw them and then step back, raising his hands. Then I leaned over and saw it sitting there. I can confirm: it happened.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Post 7.5.1.0 Flying Mattresses

People don't seem to realize how much lifting force gets put on a mattress or box springs when a pickup is driving at any kind of speed. Those things need to be tied securely. They're amazingly aerodynamic. And yet I keep seeing them being hauled with no tie-downs at all.

I started checking mattress tie-downs on pickups after one suddenly lost three mattresses right in front of me on I-5. They scattered suddenly from the truck bed, like blown-on dandelion fluff. One flew to the lane to the left of me and one flew to the lane to the right of me, but the third was 85% in my lane. Even if there hadn't been traffic right behind me, slamming on the brakes wouldn't have kept me from hitting it. I just slowed and gritted my teeth, wondering what it would do to the car.

Then a semi passed me in the right lane. Its wheels hit the corner of the mattress that was in its lane and flipped it like a tiddly-wink out of my lane and into the left one. The mattress that was fully in its lane turned out to be a box spring. It splintered and the bits bounced crazily.


I was saved. The semi and I drove on, with traffic coming to a standstill behind us.

The pickup slowed and got to the right, but there wasn't a good shoulder to pull off onto. So they just looked at the remains for a couple of beats and started driving again, with two unsecured mattresses (or box springs) still in the back. 


Watch out for pickups hauling mattresses.  

Friday, July 4, 2014

Post 4.0.0.1 More Grandpa Stories (well, songs)

Well, maybe it's only going to be one song.  We'll see how well the memory works.  (Mind like a steel sieve.)

Full disclosure on Grandpas.  Emotionally speaking, I only have one.  Technically, I have either two or none, depending on how you define 'have'.  My Father's father had died long before I was born.  No one ever talked about him in front of me except my Father, and he never said anything personal about him.  

My Mother's father, although dead now, lived two blocks away from the time I was born until just when I was entering Junior High.  That's when we moved two miles away.  But he and Grandma lived a block and a half from the Junior High, so I still saw them a lot.

I recreated a couple of the songs/poems he used to sing/recite in Post 4.0.0.0.  I've thought of a few more since then.  Post 4.0.0.0 included the Monkey Story and the Train Story.  I think they were poems, rather than songs, but with Grandpa it was sometimes hard to tell.  [Post 4.0.0.0 was updated today.  I found links to both of the stories online.  One is a poem by Kipling and the other is a folk song, sung by, among others, Cisco Houston in the sixties.  

He had a few other songs/poems for the entertainment of children.  One was the childhood classic:  Did you ever think when the hearse went by that someday you-ooo were going to die?

There was the short song (definitely a song - to the tune of My Bonnie).  

My Bonnie leaned over the gas tank,
The height of it's contents to see.
I lighted a match to assist her.
Oh, bring back My Bonnie to me.  

Then there was the Viaduct Song.  Or the Why-a-duct Song.  For some reason both viaduct and vinegar were pronounced with a W.  I only remember the chorus and snippets of verses.

Oh, I live under the viaduct
Down by the vinegar works.

They tie all the children to fences and logs
They do it to keep them from biting the dogs.

Oh, I live under the viaduct
Down by the vinegar works

They got me for murder, but I didn't care
They said they'd put me in a big 'lectric chair
They turned on the juice from my head to my shoes
But I was so tough that I blew out the fuse.

segue into

Oh, if I had the wings of an angel
Over these prison walls I'd fly
I'd fly to the house of my Grandma
And stuff up on blackberry pie

I've googled before, but googling again brings something up.  The Mudcat Cafe has a thread on it, complete with full lyrics.  Grandpa wasn't making up the double-yous, it was written in a Brooklyn accent.  Grandpa didn't come close to doing a Brooklyn accent.  He also never included anything like an intro.  

The original song doesn't include the murder and angel verses, although someone in the Mudcat thread remembers her mother singing the murder verse.  I don't know if the story evolved to add both of them or if Grandpa consolidated two songs.  I can't find the blackberry pie with the Google, though.  

First verse of the original lyrics:

I live over the wiaduct, down by the winegar woiks.
It's easy to find me; the street's full of shacks;
I live in the one that is right on the tracks.
Ev'ry night we go dancing down at O'Reilly's or Boiks.
We chains all the childrens to fences and logs
We do it to keep 'em from bitin' the dogs.
Say, I live over the wiaduct, down by the winegar woiks.

Now I wonder if he used the original melody, or something close to it, when he sang it.  There was a link to an mp3 in the Mudcats thread, but it's gone 404.  Fortunately, there are a few on YouTube, now.  That version also has variant verses.  

Here's another.  It inserts verse fragments the way Grandpa did.  Grandpa never did any side business, though.