Thursday, March 20, 2008

Reacquainted Relatives

Imagine my surprise upon getting a letter from my cousin. Well, second cousin. A cousin I haven't seen in about 24 years. That would have made him about 13 years old then. Now I was meeting a grown man! I was going to clean house before they arrive and make myself presentable , but have been resting and relaxing (spell that tractor seat time) for the weekend. My cousin, Clay and his partner, was suppose to come out Easter Sunday. I thought they would show up in the afternoon. So on Saturday I emailed him. I never got a response. Easter morning I got up at 10 and checked email. No reply from Clay. So I went back to bed. About 10:58 I heard a knock on the door and Luke stating, "Your cousin is here"! Talk about having egg on my face. First time I meet my cousin in 24 years and I am wearing a bath robe! Gosh, can it get any worse? It didn't. We talked for hours and went out to eat. We decided on Chili's. We both had baby back ribs. It was a good first (again) meeting. I learned some neat stuff about his Mom, Jackie. She used to stay with us for weeks at a time when we were little. Talking about her brought back fond memories.

I had all this typed and saved, I thought. I just rewrote it as we had a power failure and when I started typing tonight..........I found nothing I had wrote a week ago. Oh well, onward and upward!

I got over Mom and Dad's house on Good Friday to mow. When I got there, I saw I had my brother's mess to clean up. He seems to think the house is his to do as he pleases, so he trashes the yard up. I never have figured that one out. Anyway, between this trash and picking up the limbs that fell this winter, I made a nice fire on the stump I dug up last August with the Big Red Beast. You can check out photos of this huge stump on my photo page here. Check out 8-5-07 on page 6. Look at the photo titled Profile Stump vs. Big Red Beast and you can get an idea of what I have been burning. Anyway, it took several hours to clean up the yard and mow the grass. When I got home I had enough daylight left to mow the yard. Saturday morning I finished mowing the "pasture". It wasn't quite dry in the low areas, so I had the Big Red Beast stand by for towing duty while I mowed. I got stuck three times and needed a tow from the Mahindra.

I thought it was suppose to rain all weekend the last of March. Imagine my amusement when I lite the burn pile thinking it would rain later in the day and not a drop fell all weekend. I almost got the pile burned all up. I went out at 2 this morning and condensed it with the 6520's loader bucket. Then I went to bed. Around noon I went back out and used the 511 backhoe and thumb to stack partially burnt logs and stumps up into a pile. It is kind of like stacking building blocks, but really big burning blocks. After that all is a blur because, well, I am embarrassed to say this, but I got the Big Red Beast stuck up to her axles. Between the backhoe and loader and my two good neighbors, Lori and Von, we got the 6520 out of the mud after two hours of hard labor. We ran out of boards, so we cut up small trees into 2 foot lengths and use them under the tires. After we got the Mahindra out of the mud, I realized I had the camera hanging from the ROPS under the canopy and didn't even think to get a photo of the stuck Beast. I only got a photo of the "sink hole" after the fact! After they helped me get the 6520 out of the mud, Von and Lori went back to their fence building. While I was washing the Big Red Beast off, they turned their horses out on their entirely wooded acreage. The horses went straight to grazing on the the hi-line by my driveway. Talk about a beautiful sight!

After I ate a late lunch, I planned on greasing the Mahindra. But my brother came over to introduce his new wife to us. Mom came along. Then I found out they want to get my blessing so they can move into Mom and Dad's house to "take care" of them. As I have power of attorney for Mom and Dad, they are asking me also. Knowing my brother, I don't like it. But it would answer a short term prayer about Mom's care while I get Mom on Medicaid and into a nursing home. I will have to sleep on it and pray about it. I told them I need to talk to Dad about it. Mom seemed to like the idea. I talked with my friend, Josephine, and we talked about lawyer's and I mentioned something like a rental agreement. Josephine mentioned I should talk to an attorney about a legal agreement. I did recall my brother's new wife commenting about wanting to move in on the first of April, which is two days away. Now I am thinking.........why so fast? I will take my time and talk to my attorney before I answer them.

Booger isn't singing yet, but he has been up to mischief. Two weeks ago he caught a full grown cotton tail rabbit. Last weekend he got into the neighbor's yard behind me and caught a chicken. We took the chicken away from him before he could taste blood. Yesterday while on the Big Red Beast, I saw what looked like a mole in his mouth. I was curious, so I approached him and saw little ears sticking up. Booger had caught a baby rabbit. He hadn't hurt it yet, and let me take it from him. I bought the little furry rabbit into the house. It seen to be okay and hopped a little. I got the ferrets carrying cage out and added water and some fresh grass. When I was little I raised rabbits. The little guy seemed about the size of my litters when they just start eating. But I drove to town and bought some goat's milk for him (her?) and some KFC chicken for Luke and I. While waiting in the drive thru line, Luke called and said it was too late. I came home to a stiff little friend. I cried as I drove the Mahindra out into the pasture to dig a hole in the dark. Imagine, it was the first time to dig after dark with the new canopy work lights I installed last month. I will always remember this first time using them. They work well and I can actually see where I am digging. The little guy will always be remembered when I use those lights. Stop back later to hear more about Booger and I, along with the Big Red Beast.

hugs, Brandi

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is Spring here?

Daytime temperatures in the 70s. Night time temperatures in the 40s and 50s. Clear sunny skies. It sure seems like spring is here. I almost put on shorts last weekend while out working on the barn. Booger has been laying in the sun soaking up the rays, while I labor away on the barn. I finally installed all the roof trim on the back side and just today finished the front roof trim. This makes me feel good as I can now take the platform off the Big Red Beast's bucket and get busy grading the driveway. With all the rains we have been having, the driveway has added some washboard ridges to it. It was raining hard when I came home from work the other morning and I saw the culprit. Since I am at the end of the street and at the bottom of the hill, water was washing right down the street into my driveway and washing all the dirt and even the gravel! I usually have a hump built up at the start of the drive to direct that water into the ditch. But with working every weekend on the barn, the driveway was neglected, along with house cleaning. My three Dogwood trees are blooming. Yesterday, I noticed two more across the gully where I had cleared last December. Now I can see them. So I grabbed my construction pink ribbon and flagged them so I would see them while playing on the Mahindra. This morning I saw three small Dogwood's on the other side of the neighbor's fence line. I flagged those also and told my neighbor, Lori, that I flagged them with pink ribbon. She was glad I did and was wondering what the blooming trees were. So now I have three and she has three blooming Dogwood trees. Lori and Von have been busy putting up their new fences! They had their youngest dog, Kodiak, with them today while building fence. Kodiak is one of Booger's offspring. But Booger just doesn't know how to act around his son. It is so funny to watch them together.

I received a letter the other day from my cousin's son. I haven't talked to him in years. Now he wants to come visit. So where will I get time to clean the house before he comes? Should I just not worry about it and explain to him I either can clean house or work outside, but not both? I guess I could explain I take care of the outside stuff and Luke takes care of the inside stuff. Maybe I could get away with that excuse! With getting the barn finished for horses and trying to get Mom in a nursing home, I just don't have the time to clean house, much less clean Luke's bathroom. That is a major.....don't go there.

I was suppose to go to Austin today so Rebecca and I could go to the Livestock show. Rebecca called Thursday night and mentioned since I was tired from the work week and would come over Saturday, maybe I wanted to stay home and rest. Then she mentioned Drake asked her to go to Six Flags in San Antonio with him. I gave in to her wish of having fun with Drake, while in reality I looked forward to a weekend at home and lots of rest. Which I am totally enjoying after the week at work. It wasn't a bad week, just very hectic with not much down time. Southwest grounded a lot of planes for inspections this week. Since I do sheet metal, I was busy repairing the planes. Us employees were asked not to talk about what was happening, but I can at least write about how I felt working those repairs. For years folks would tell me how great a company Southwest is. I would agree as they said positive things about Southwest. But to see your company on the news (and hearing about it on the radio) all day and night, it gets to you. Especially if your company is under investigation by the U.S. Congress. The last two weeks had me feeling like I had a target on my back. I felt exposed and vulnerable from all the news exposure. It is very sobering to see the airplanes you work on being shown on TV and absolutely nothing positive is being said, unlike the pass praises for Southwest. It is like a bad dream that is out of control. But we took care of what we are paid to do. Make the airplanes safe.

After a week of hectic work, I looked forward to the weekend to relax. I got my 6520 out and loaded up the platform with tools to finish installing the barn's roof trim. This was a real easy job made difficult by the fact the roof is not quite square. This all goes back to saving some money on not buying 6x6 treated timbers, but instead using 6 inch diameter treated poles. The poles are not true all the way up. I plumbed the portion near the ground and adjusted the barn building as I went, as the tops bow or taper different directions! On the roof, that meant cutting the metal near the edge and splicing in another piece so the ridges would mate with the edge trim.

This entailed dragging the skil saw with it's metal cutting blade up on the roof and making a bunch of noise and sparks! I had to do this on three of the four corner edges. My extra roofing metal was stacked under my gooseneck trailer. So I had to get the truck backed up and hitched up to move the trailer. Normally the 6520 would do it, but the receiver hitch was holding the work platform in place. This process was further slowed down by Booger wanting attention every time I came inside the barn to cut some trim or cut a roof metal sheet down to splicing size. Now, the roof trim is finally all installed.

Which gives me time to change the fuel filters on the 6520, along with greasing it and the loader and backhoe and replace the blades on the lawn mower. Then clean up and go visit Mom and Dad. I have talked to an attorney of a nursing home in Conroe and he told me some things I need to take care of while getting Mom on Medicaid. Some of the items could cost thousands of dollars if Dad or I screwed up and did the paperwork or even some basic estate planning wrong. So it looks like we will pay the $2500 to $3500 to retain the attorney to help us do that.
Now to relax and get ready for next week. Stop back again to see if Booger sings!

hugs, Brandi