Mud, Mower, Dog

The ground is thawing. There was an abundance of yard work from last Fall that I never completed. This weekend’s temperatures made it into the 40’s and that was good enough to make some headway. For those of you who don’t know, I spent a lot of time last year trying to hire a landscaper that could come bi-weekly to mow my lawn, they were all too busy and no one would do it. Finally, some guy would come over and do it as needed for a ridiculous amount of money. It was not a sustainable situation, plus when the leaves started to fall, we raked over fifty huge leaf disposal bags and didn’t finish our entire yard. My neighbor had a fancy lawnmower with a bagger on the back and he would just suck up the leaves and dump them in the back. I resolved to adopt this method. I now have a lawnmower with baggers on the back, it was delivered a couple weeks ago, but I finally put the bagging system together (very easy), had to hook up the battery (which worried me, but I managed to do it without blowing anything up), and fuel up the beast. Once those steps were completed, I fired her up and sucked up a bunch of leaves, two things prevented me from finishing the project:

1. The leaves were wet, which resulted in occasional clogging. This wasn’t a big deal, I had completed more in 30 minutes than two hours of raking would have done.

2. I got my lawnmower stuck in a muddy dry creek bed, the depth of the ravine was misleading since it was filled with leaves. After a bunch of pushing and pulling, I managed to extract the tractor. However, I was covered in mud from head to toe.

This problem created another, I needed to construct a bridge that would allow my lawnmower to cross the dry creek bed. There are bridges on my property already, but too small for my new mower. After a lot of consultation from Jaclyn, I realized that the existing bridge would work just fine if we changes its orientation from “portrait” to “landscape”, instead of a long narrow bridge, we now have a wider shorter bridge. I needed to dig out some earth so it would fit properly, it was so muddy and heavy, totally exhausting, I got halfway through and called it quits. Maybe Jaclyn can finish it.

I made a totally irrational decision and decided to get a new dog. I called a breeder who had some black lab puppies and sent in a deposit. This weekend, we were allowed to pick one out, but we cannot take him home until mid April. We met the mom and Grandfather, very sweet dogs and it was surprising how nice they were to total strangers. We loved all the puppies and we couldn’t have picked out a bad one, but one dog sought out Winston and they bonded quickly. Dalia approved and Jaclyn got it to fall asleep in her arms. I inspected the animal and he had the makings of a good fishing dog, we picked out the dog with the green collar. I am reading a book on puppy training (and a book on guerrilla warfare) and learning a lot of things that make total sense, but I would not have thought about doing. I am optimistic that this will be a wonderful addition to our family.

Needle Hopping

It bothers me when I don’t write more frequently, but my end game is 70 years from now, and if I make it that long, if I go without writing for a couple weeks, it will not be too big of a deal. There will be plenty of stuff to sift through.

Winter has begun to release its grasp of Pittsburgh, the past two weeks have broken into the 50’s and snow has turned into a soggy brown landscape. Robins chirp and grocery stores are selling all the Spring flowers that haven’t yet sprouted on their own.

I’m preparing for Spring with my desire to clean (throw stuff away) and buy fishing accessories. Jaclyn plans to dig a pond in our backyard this year, I have total confidence that she will make a good one.

The other night, Dalia and I danced to Paul Simon’s Graceland, we literally danced to the entire album, both sides of the record. We were hopping all around and it caused the needle to bounce and we transitioned into dance moves which caused less disturbance…like the twist.

Work has gone very well, one year down and all the reviews/bonus were good. So good, I purchased a nice gift card to LL Bean for Jaclyn so she could get herself a treat. Unfortunately, I was confused and was informed that she much preferred Lands End. She gave the gift card back to me and I used it for fishing stuff.

Next week I have to make a couple quick trips, heading to NYC and then Nashville. I think that’s the last of my travel for a long time.

Winston & Dalia are excited for fishing too, I plan on teaching them to cast in the back yard on Saturday by hooking up a bobber and seeing who can get it closest to the tree.

I want to extend an invite to all of you to come out and visit us in the Spring/Summer, we will show you lots of fun.

Canoes And Other Stuff

The dog saga continues, nearing conclusion, will provide update when all is said & done.

On a happier note, I have taken important steps towards a summer of fun on lakes & rivers. Through the magic of Craigslist, I have purchased a kayak trailer and kayak for about 50% retail (which my wife would point out is still too much!).  My Jeep did not have a trailer hitch, so I had to get one installed with the corresponding electrical work. Everything is now installed, I picked up the trailer + kayak from Austintown, Ohio and drove it home through a snow storm. Others driving through the storm must of wondered where I planned to go kayaking in a snow storm.

Now I am in the market for a canoe that can fit 3 people comfortably. I was evaluating models from Field & Stream in their enormous store in Washington, PA when my son notified me of his urgent need to throw up. I scanned the store and saw the restrooms way on the other side of the store, probably a 100 yards from where we stood. I grabbed his arm and we walked briskly in that direction. The situation’s urgency rapidly escalated as I looked down to see Winston place an arm in front of his mouth and his cheeks enlarge. We are still about 50 yards from the restroom and standing now dead center in the middle of the store.

The next thing I know, projectile vomit is shooting from Winston’s mouth onto the laminate tile flooring. A family of four looking at camouflage sweatshirts looked up to see the action. Now we had a predicament, on one hand, I wanted to rush Winston to the restroom so he could continue to throw up in a more secluded area. On the other hand, I wanted to notify someone in the store so no one accidentally stepped in it and slipped into a pile of vomit.

I looked in every direction and saw an employee folding t-shirts about 20 yards away. Winston ejects another couple of liters onto the floor while the shoppers observe with mouths agape. I run to the woman folding t-shirts and apprise her of the situation. She saunters over and stands guard by the pile of regurgitation, while I whisk Win away to the restroom. Poor kid had puke all over his jacket and face, he spent some time hovering over the toilet getting out his sickness and then we had to make the walk back to my family. I considered taking a long way back to the front of the store to circumvent the poor store employee guarding the vomit, but it was important to check in and let her know how sorry we were. As we approached, the employee was on the walkie talkie urgently requesting backup support from maintenance. We apologized and she said with a smile, “Don’t you worry about it, I hope you feel better little guy!” while giving Winston a wave. There are so many good people in this world.

I’m really liking the Mad River Adventure 14 foot canoe.