Monday, September 24, 2018

Big Dog - Cane Corso

The Big Guys
My son asked if I could look after his dog, a Cane Corso, while he was on vacation. He said he knew it was a lot to ask but he was in a bind. I was glad to do it though I was a bit worried that the dog might not mind me. I was also worried that he might drag me down the front steps. He weighs over 130 pounds. I could certainly hold him on his leash, having a few pounds on him, but navigating the front steps could be a disaster. He was a great dog and obediently agreed to everything. (I wish my own dogs would mind as well!) And, as if he knew I had trouble with the stairs, Big Dog patiently waited for me on each step. (I call him Big Dog, but that is not his name).

He is such a good dog! He has an awareness that no dog I have ever known possessed. I told my son that the dog must surely be an old soul, a buddha.

On the second night, the big dog was very depressed, realizing his human was not coming back right away. I suppose to a dog it might seem as if their human is gone forever. They have no way to be assured a situation is temporary.

I enjoyed that big goof ball so much! He carefully agreed to everything at first but after a few days he realized he could get away with a thing or two, especially if he was acting goofy! He liked to sit with his back to me then try to look at me by lifting his head up and back. I guess simply turning his head was too mundane!

I had two big kennels in the house so I could sleep at night - Mattie in one and Big Dog in the other. After a couple of nights, Big Dog was allowed to sleep beside my bed. I knew he would not chew up anything while I was sleeping... the way a certain female German Shepherd would do! The last night he felt comfortable enough to buck the rules entirely. He carefully threaded his big, 130 pound bulk between the sofa and the small table loaded with all the paints and brushes including a big cup of dirty water, to sleep on the couch. Since he was so careful to not disturb anything on that table, amazingly, I did not say anything. After all, he was a guest - a very beloved guest - a beloved, well behaved guest.

My son has done an excellent job socializing and teaching his dog manners. When my son came home and Big Dog realized who was coming up the steps, he excitedly jumped against the glass in the front door! I was horrified he was going to break the glass and cut himself to ribbons so I shouted for the dog to get down - the only time the entire week I raised my voice to him. My son did not like that I yelled at his dog - duly noted in case of future grandchildren. (As if I would EVER shout at my grandchildren!)

I missed the big goof ball for a few days after he had gone back to the city. He also missed me and the farm and his two dog buddies. My son said he moped around for a couple of days after they were home. When I next visited them, the big dog almost knocked me down in his enthusiasm to see me again. We are buds now, too.

After he realized Ian wasn't coming back for him immediately. He rested his big head on the chair and stared at me, the saddest sad sack in the world!

He had his own bed in the middle of the living room so he could chill while I was painting.  He fell asleep watching tv upside down and chewing on a dog toy.  My own dogs do not have it this good!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

My Daughter is Iron Woman!

My daughter's account of her long-distance bicycling adventures, in her own words - published on Facebook, 2018 

Coulee Challenge 1200K - August 2018

“90% of Life is Showing Up”

It’s hard to find the “theme” of this 755 mile bike ride from Apple Valley, Minnesota through the North Western sections of Wisconsin in 88 hours. So much content, such beautiful landscapes, and amazing people. So, I’ll begin at the beginning and end, at the end perhaps the golden nuggets will appear.
Disclaimer: What I’m about to write is not to brag or boast by any means, but hopefully to inspire. I may one day not be able to bike or ride, but for the here and now I’ve been blessed to be of sound mind, body, and spirit and Cycling has become such a wonderful gift in my life in the here and now, that I like to share it with you. When my insides don’t’ always feel so great or my heart is broken, I’ve been given the gift to be able to ride my bike and for that I’m eternally grateful, and met such wonderful, amazing, and beautiful human beings that enjoy the simplicity of riding a bicycle under the sun and the moon too.
Before we get on the Coulee Route, I must share how I came into Randonneuring in the first place to then arrive at this juncture in the Coulee’s Minnesota.
Background: I decided to ride through the Florida Keys alone, last year. But, before I set sail alone a series of events happened: the stars aligned, a handful of people were met, to include two Randonneurs from Florida (Jackie Shellow and Rudy) in which a 3,000 mile round-trip (via car), and 5 of us road 400k through the Florida Keys and a Baby Randonneur was born.
Dec 30, 2017: 200k from Florida City to Florida Keys.
Jan 1, 2018: 200k from Florida Keys to Florida City.
Feb 3, 2018: 300k Austin, Texas Brevet
Mar 17, 2018: 200k Springfield, Missouri
Apr 14, 2018: 300k Pomona Lake (only 130 miles completed) due to rain, sleet, snow, & wind.
Apr 28, 2018: 200k Leawood, Kansas Perm
May 5, 2018: 400k Grain Valley, Missouri Brevet
May 19, 2018: 600k Grain Valley, Missouri to Paris Brevet
May 26, 2018: 200k St. Joe Crank
May 31, 2018: 1000k Nebraska Sandhills (only 473 miles due to Achilles and tremendous wind)
Jul 7, 2018: 200k Princeton Roundabout
Aug 13, 2018: 1200k Coulee Challenge Grand Brevet
It was not my intention initially to complete the whole SR Series in one year, but one thing sort of led to the next ride. As for the month of May…well, I thought if I can do a 400k, why not try a 600k, and then the 1000 and then the Big Kahuna, 1200k! Encouragement has come from various seasoned and experienced Rando’s along the way. One of which was Michael Turek in Florida, Wayne Dunlap in Texas, and our very own Rodney Geisert, David Mathews, and Gary DelNero in Missouri. Because of a few words they’ve said, I’ve pushed myself to the next rung.
I’ve also been inspired by some amazing cyclists, one of which is Superman, although he likes to keep himself anonymous, Spencer Klaassen and Joe Edwards. To be able to ride alongside these Big Rando Dude’s, an honor for sure. Wow. (Of which I’d like to tell each of their stories, they’ve been on one epic adventure after another over the years, and often times together.)
Through all of the Big Rides, my thoughts have been, “keep up, keep up….and for God’s sakes, keep on their wheel and then I just might make it.” Through all of these rides, I’ve learned how to navigate by reading a Cue Sheet and the use of a GPS system. This has been super empowering.
Nutrition has continuously evolved and changed over time and I imagine will continue to improve. For the Coulee’s I packed Hammer Ultra Fuel in baggies, drank one water bottle full per hour (give or take), it’s never exact for me, but I try to stay on target. Hammer electrolyte pills, I took 2 per hour (or so), plus one water bottle of water every 1.5 hours or so, sometimes more, sometimes less. Hammer Gue Gel (with Caffeine I saved for the late night riding, which is always the most challenging for me, when I tend to bonk or have tough time staying awake. This really helps).
In addition to these supplements what’s been of utmost importance, second only to hydration is FOOD, REAL FOOD! Although I’ve been Vegetarian and Pescatarian over the years, on ultra-distance bike rides, I eat whatever it takes to get the job done. Whatever I’m hungry for, I eat and eat often. I’ve learned if I can stay fed and watered, I’m golden on long rides. At Control’s, usually a Kwick Shop or Casey’s, the food can look pretty bad, but there are some nice options like an Apple, Lunch Meat, and a half a cup of Coke or an egg salad, crackers and a Sweet Tea or Grapes and Slim Jim and Cheese. Just little combo’s of proteins and carbs. These items have sustained me to the next control.
Bike Fit has helped immensely to avoid injury. I had an Achilles tendon flare up on the 1,000k in which I made worse by a piss-poor wrap job and adjusting my own cleats while on route! Big no-go. I really tweaked myself. Thus after a DNF on Day two, I was determined to get those dialed in. Going to a Bike-Fit-Person who you trust and have good experience with is ideal. And I’ve found my Golden Bike-Fit-Guy. Thus before the 1200k I had him look at me and bike on trainer one last time. We made one tiny adjustment, raising the saddle 1/8th of inch and marking the old and new seat position with a Sharpie. This paid off, zero knee and/or Achilles trouble. (Well, there were normal aches and pains of endurance cycling, but no injury). Also, flat-pedaling when conscious and aware to avoid injury helped.
Physical Therapy: I did have 6-weeks of PT after the 1,000k to ensure my Achilles healed properly and faster and I believe I DID recover faster working with the PT by stretching and one deep needling treatment. I also wore compression socks before and during the 1200k. Next big ride I may consider wearing the compression socks to bed too (but would need a clean pair) don’t want to be the stinky girl on the route.
Mind Set: It is scary to be staring down the barrel of a 1200k bike-ride at 33,000 ft of climb. The old tapes of “can I do this” are there. This is a valid question. And my honest answer at the start was, “I don’t know but let’s see if I can.” 90% of life is showing up, the rest will come. And here is the Golden Nugget.
That is precisely what I’ve done on each and every big ride, showed up. I’ve not allowed my own or others’ fears hold me back. Yes, I’ve been nervous and afraid, but I’ve shown up anyway. These rides I’ve had to dig deep and of the two that I DNF’d on, I didn’t dig quit deep enough, which bothered me a lot. Thus, I’ve been driven to go back and try again until I’ve gotten it right. Which is what we’re doing here in Earth School anyway right? Showing up and trying our best and when we fail, we learn lessons, it hurts a lot, and then we’ve really learned something of value, then thankfully, we get to try it again and this time, hopefully with success. Which has been my experience, thus far.
Mental and Emotional: Staying positive on these long rides is essential. There are many highs but some occasional lows and when I’m there, I tend to keep quiet. There is no one coddling one another on these Rando events, so if feeling blue, it’s a time of reflection for me and creating an inner fortitude to get through to the next control and as Aaron Russell in Texas said, “get fixed up.” Boy was he right! It’s important to keep yourself “fixed up” with food, mental or emotional wellness. Not an easy balance always, especially if in physical pain. Like I was on this 1200k.
Physical Discomfort: Saddle Soars for two days were the most formable for me during this ride. Although I used Butt Butter, it wasn’t enough. Along the route I picked up and used Bag Balm and Vagisil that helped save the day. It didn’t completely heal the troubled areas on route but it did relive some pain and suffering. Any tiny bit of relief was welcomed, less pain is always better than more pain.
This Mammoth Ride is a challenge to write about and to find that inner voice that was there all along the route. Hope that voice has not gone dormant, thus this ride report is more technical and physical. There was much on the inside though, as there always is for all of us I’m sure.
Day One 236.3 Miles: Apple Valley to Black River Falls One hour of sleep
Day Two 180.2 Miles: Black River Falls to Reedsburg One hour of sleep
Day Three 197 Miles: Reedsburg to Winona One point Five hours of sleep
Day Four 141.8 Miles: Winona to Apple Valley Slept good in hotel after this ride!
Lessons Learned: Bring Ear Plugs! This will help with sleeping. Get a back bag so not have to wear string bag and carry all “extras’ on my back”. Get a plastic rain jacket that balls up nice and tiny to keep onboard, just in case it rains.
There is more to unpack with this ride. But, I think the inner lessons were mine to keep and to not share at this time.
In the meantime. Thanks for reading and your support. What a great adventure this has been thus far. More to come readers. Until the next Big Deal, just keep Showing Up! Its 90% of life, right?! Tschuss! ☺

Sunday, September 2, 2018

You and Your Mama

I ran across an internet video of a talking head passing judgment on fat people. I know it is hard to believe that anyone would take to social media to make fun of fat people, but yes, it certainly happens. Being fat and being old are the last two hold outs for socially acceptable buffoonery and bullying. I said "socially acceptable" - not that those two states of being are the only thing that people are targeted with shaming and criticism and intolerance. Basically, everyone is the butt of someone's joke these days.

I could only think of one thing to say to the arrogant, uneducated videographer: "Fuck you. And probably your mama, too." People are so damned ignorant that they believe obesity is as simple as eating too much, or eating the wrong thing. If you are fat, it is believed to absolutely be your fault which therefore makes you fair game for the collective shaming, jokes, and all manner of other insulting behavior.

Of course, every fat person feels as if becoming fat was in his or her control but actual scientific studies show that science honestly does not understand all the causes of obesity. It certainly does not know how to help people without also subjecting them to risky, incredibly unnatural surgical methods or dangerous medications that often ultimately cause heart failure. Of course a person bears some responsibility, but if losing weight and keeping it off was easy, there would not be a fat man, woman or child on this planet. - never, ever in the history of human beings. No one WANTS to be fat - except sumo wrestlers.

I was not fat when I was young. My metabolism was normal. Even after the birth of my first child I was able to lose weight relatively easily. But sometime in my later twenties, something changed. The genes I inherited from my maternal grandmother kicked in, and what I was used to normally eating suddenly went straight to excess pounds. I have tried a dozen fad diets, exercise regimens, diet supplements and support groups. I am able to maintain whatever regimen until I have lost around thirty pounds. For whatever reason, I begin to falter at that point and soon I am back in my normal routine. The weight comes back plus some, and after 40 years of this, here I am - the object of fat shaming and jokes from a particularly ignorant asshole on the internet sharing his pseudo-expertise. If I knew where he lived I would egg his house every week for as long as I could get away with it. Then I would pay someone to egg his house.

Of course, fat people (plus immigrants and poor people in general) have been blamed for the skyrocketing cost of health care. Fat people have been villainized as the lazy, irresponsible lard asses causing everyone to pay more for health care. What about fat people who are healthy otherwise? Perfectly healthy? I have arthritis in my knees - which is not caused by being fat. Arthritis is exacerbated by being overweight but does not cause it. I know perfectly healthy-looking people who are diabetic, have heart problems, high blood pressure and all manner of other ill health. I am not diabetic, do not have high blood pressure, and though there is some weakness in my heart, it is not heart disease. I also know "normal" people who have never been overweight who need their hips, knees or shoulders replaced. But, go right ahead and blame the overweight folks. We have broad shoulders. We can take it.

I have spent too many years being ashamed and feeling as if I should have been able to avoid being fat. After all, I am not a stupid person. I am not a genius but I am also not a Forest Gump. I know all the currently accepted reasons and failings for why I am fat. I was looking through old photos one day and found a picture of my grandmother and all her sisters. And yes indeed, there in black and white was the proof of my genetic inheritance. These were women who never even had the opportunity to eat fast foods, not until very late in their lives. If they wanted food, they had to either grow it or raise it, preserve it, or buy ingredients from the store. Then they had to laboriously combine these whole food ingredients into consumable food, which took a LOT of time and effort and burned a lot of calories. Hard to overeat in those conditions yet, there they were, all of my female kin, overweight, some more than others, but certainly fat.

Of course I wish I was slender! No one wants to be fat! No one appreciates the judgmental looks if you happen to use an electric cart in the grocery store. "Why are you even in here buying food?" If my grocery cart was full of sugar, potato chips, slabs of bacon and cases of soft drinks, then you have my permission to glare at me. Otherwise, you know what you can do... and probably your mama, too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Moonrise at the Kansas River

Looking west from bridge over the Kansas River

What is it about the full moon that draws us to its magic all the days of our lives? If you have seen one full moon you have seen them all - literally. Yet, every full moon appears as beautiful as if we have never experienced one before. The measure of scale afforded by the horizon at moonrise and moonset is my favorite. Why doesn't that illusion hold later, when the moon is overhead and seen through trees, close by buildings? It is only on the earth's horizons that the moon appears enormous. The moon seems ordinary when it is directly overhead in the night sky. I consider it is surrounded by physical infinity and I excuse it for appearing so small and far away. Everything dwarfs in comparison to infinity.

Our little planet has one moon. Jupiter's latest moon count is 79, as of July, 2018. Saturn has 62. Even the dwarf planet Pluto has five moons. Imagine if we could see dozens of moon in the sky. Imagine the myths.

Our moon is tidally locked, meaning it spins on its axis at the exact rate so that one side only ever faces the earth. Charon, the largest of the five moons, is also tidally locked with Pluto. I am sure there are natural laws governing such a thing as tidal lock but it seems like magic to me, magic that takes unimaginable time to happen.

We are tiny bits of carbon-based physical life spinning on a tiny planet with blue oceans in an endless universe where the burning stars are round, and the inert planets are round, and everything - the moons, planets, stars move in round orbits. Who designed the natural laws to make this so? What else is available if we had more senses to perceive? Quantum theory says there are 10 dimensions plus time. Some theories say 13. According to the first string theory, there are 25, and that number is the limit for the most creative minds at this time. Not bad considering we have 3 dimensional minds and have to simply make stuff up. What is the nature of consciousness that we (the royal "we") can actually imagine the possibility of 25 dimensions with our 3 dimensional brain  (4 if you include time)? That is genuine magic.

Looking east from bridge over Kansas River

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

You Are Never Too Old To Be Scared

A few years ago, my oldest and dearest friends came to stay overnight with me, four generations of women. They were on their way to visit schools offering basketball scholarships to the fourth generation young lady in that family. When bedtime came there was an inflatable mattress, a couch, and the bed on the back porch. The little basketball player was too afraid of the woods on the other side of the screens and the perceived isolation of my house. We all gently teased her, and I assured her that we were safer here than in the city. She was not buying it.  Some weeks later I told her grandmother, "Tell M. I would come to visit but I am too afraid to stay in town."

The first night my son and I spent here was uneasy. It was early spring and the prairie had not warmed up to make any noise. When we turned the lights out it was vastly silent and dark. The absence of the enormous and constant city noise was most disturbing. In the almost twenty years since there have been so few times when I had genuine reason to be afraid, all of which were revealed to be reasonable people or situations. I can confidently boast I am unafraid to live in the country.. EXCEPT when my imagination runs amok.

One of my favorite things is to wander in the middle of winter nights. Once my eyes adjust, I can see perfectly well to safely hike in the moonlight. Living in the country, as we say in Kansas, I realized that the moon is not in the night sky most of the time but even just a slice of moon is enough to see well enough to walk to the barn. On a clear, moonless night the starlight is enough to safely walk my property. Starlight can be bright enough to cast faint shadows. If I take a flashlight, I am effectively blind without it, limited to the little cone of light it produces. For anything I must do outside at night in the summer I use a flashlight because there are snakes. Otherwise, my eyes are perfectly suited to seeing in the dark, just not seeing snakes.

For the most part, being outdoors alone at night is fine. I enjoy myself immensely ... until... a scene from a horrible movie flashes into my head. If I am not disciplined with my thoughts, I will soon be sprinting for the house, dogs wondering why we are all running. Scenes of The Blair Witch Project (the little stick structures) flash into my mind's eye and suddenly the shadows are full of creeping ghouls. Sometimes the demon shouting the priest's name as he entered the house in The Exorcist rolls up in the old memory bank and I am done for - the devil now looms behind every tree and bush. This is the reason I stopped watching frightening movies long ago. Some of those scenes stay with me. They scared the bejeezus out of me then and they can scare the bejeezus out of me now, decades later.

I do not have to be outside to scare myself, either. Sometimes I will be in bed enjoying the cool breeze from the open window when my mind turns on me. Involuntary images of a shadow man just outside the screen slowly rises into view. The top of his black, featureless head appears and if I do not stop my imagination immediately he will continue to rise, a looming black menace inches away. This is not fun.

My son has the same afflicted imagination. He once lived in a house with a piano in the basement. A few times when he was home alone he heard a single loud note from the piano. Why that would be so terrifying I cannot say but he and I both find that intolerably scary. He told me he was not sure if he actually heard a sound or just the thought of a single note in the empty basement scared him. I understand because that is how the shadow man is born - I merely have a lightning thought of how damn scary that would be, and voila, shadow man rising!

I can be parked on an isolated country road alone for the sole purpose of stargazing, thoroughly enjoying life when all it takes is imagining a beam of light descending from the sky. No one would ever know what the hell happened to me. Even if they knew, nothing could be done about it, (though perhaps the new Space Force would be a resource). I could be mercilessly tortured in a horrible laboratory cage on an alien spacecraft but my kids would never know.

None of these things are anywhere nearly as frightening as growing too old and moving to the "rest" home.

(Image from Shutterstock - royalty free)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Some More Mildly Interesting Mail Box Drama

In the last episode of The Rural Mailbox Drama, the mailbox had fallen into disrepair, taking a dramatic fall into the dust along a little-known country road.

It took several days and two trips to the hardware store before the mailbox was back in service. The cordless drill's rechargeable batteries, possibly ten years old, would no longer take a charge, necessitating purchase of new batteries - to the tune of $149 at the local hardware store! (People advised simply buying a new mailbox and I should have listened.) I am sure the batteries would have been less expensive at a big box store, but I would rather spend my money locally and deal with people who value me as a customer - people who will actually walk with me to the location of the needed items in their store - people who actually say thank you. Not to mention, I divided the cost by 10 (years) and decided they were worth $15 per year to have a very good cordless drill whenever I need it.

While the USPS mail receptacle was out of commission, the address numbers needed to be replaced. It was so much work to scrape off the old letters and numbers. They were reflective letters and the adhesive was excellent. It was space age adhesive, the best adhesive the world has ever known, apparently. It withstood the extreme Kansas weather for years and never peeled, cracked or loosened. The numbers just faded away. It took two days of dedicated effort and elbow grease plus the help of a solvent to remove them. It made an enormous mess. I only replaced the house number because eventually they will need to be scraped off, too. They are vinyl and I am guessing they will not last very long. They should be much easier to remove. Indeed, they will likely peel off in a year or two on their own.

The long and short of it is that I did not get any mail for almost a week. When I finally checked for incoming mail on Sunday night, someone had left an ambiguous and rather threatening handwritten note taped to the door. I am an opinionated and passionate anti-Trump person living smack in the middle of Trump country. My first thought was "They've found me!" I called the sheriff. I did not touch the note or the mailbox.

The note read: "NO Time for Games! Obey these Omni laws signed 3/23 by POTUS or Else!"

While waiting for the sheriff, I researched the omnibus law referred to by date. It is essentially a bill Trump signed to prevent a shutdown of the government last year - ironically the one thing he has done that I certainly agree with. I also looked up the and found a web page. If that site is what the note refers to, I think it is a sketchy scam asking for donations for Puerto Rico. As I considered this information, I decided the note was likely not aimed at me personally, though I have only been able to confirm with one neighbor so far that they did not get a similar note. I told the sheriff he did not need to come out when he finally called. Just to be safe, I put a dog leash on the mailbox door, then took cover behind my SUV when I pulled it open, in case some nut job had rigged my restored mailbox to explode - or some noxious substance billowed out once the door was opened, both things have happened more than once in our country.

Something a bit curious on the note is that the tape was apparently in place before the note was written. Who puts a piece of tape on a scrap of paper first, then writes the note? Were they stopped on the road while they were writing? Would they have left the note on my door if my mailbox had been on the ground?

The note makes no sense to me whatsoever. What is it this anonymous person wants? What is going to happen if I/we do not obey the law? How the hell can I personally obey the law? I am not in control of Trump nor the Congress. No one is! I will be as angry over a government shut down (threatened by Trump, not me!) as the mysterious author will apparently be. I firmly believe we should be helping Puerto Rico instead of building a wall, holding a military parade, or creating a Space Force, or any number of other incredibly stupid things Donald Trump has proposed. I THINK I am on the same side as the person(s) who left the note, so hopefully I will not suffer whatever consequence the "OR ELSE" refers to.

Before this, the worst thing that ever appeared anonymously around here was Jehovah's Witnesses literature. I never considered calling the sheriff, though.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Mail Box Maintenance

The post holding up the mailbox fell apart this morning. This is the second time it has happened in 19 years and I must say I grow weary of the intensive maintenance required! The first time it happened, I did not have time to fix it for a couple of days. I was working, and my son was in school and playing sports, and there was simply no extra time. I left it lay where it fell for a few days. When I discovered that the faithful US Postman delivered my mail even though the box was on the ground, I laughed. I still smile when I think of finding the mail in the downed mail box.

When I moved here, the mailbox was too small. It also had a big dent in it, making it even smaller inside. I lived with that for several years until I had enough energy to fix it. I pounded out the huge dent and covered the rusting old thing with a pristine coat of white Rust-Oleum. It looked brand new. I admired it each time I came home. I took great satisfaction in a job well done. (Small minds...)

The address when I first moved here was literally RR# 2. Mail would be delivered even if there was no box number included. When the County finally assigned a real address for my house, I was supposed to put that address on the mailbox. Of course I did not get that done but it turned out to be a good thing. The company hired to assign addresses messed up all the numbering. Some folks not plagued with procrastination woes had their new addresses carved into limestone posts and set them permanently in their yards. No one was happy when the County assigned new, corrected addresses. No one. Even then I did not get the address on my box until long after the deadline had passed. I still received mail.

Eventually the pristine white paint flaked away and the bright red flag had faded to a rusty brown, both victims of the Kansas sunlight and the second law of thermodynamics. It was difficult to get to the post office in town whenever there was a package that could not be left in the mailbox. I at last decided to buy a new mailbox. I spent a lot of time trying to find a larger white mailbox. Everyone buys the large white mailboxes in the big box stores in Topeka. The size I wanted was only available in black and I did not want a black mailbox. Finally, I settled for a smaller white mailbox one day, the only white one available I had seen in almost a year of sporadic looking. (I could have ordered one but that would have required far too much effort!)

So, I was thinking my mailbox woes were settled - maybe forever - until this morning when the brace fell off into my hands! It needs to be fixed because I do not want to inconvenience the mail carrier, who may or may not still deliver mail to a box on the ground. I rarely get anything important in the mail anymore - no money and certainly no letters! No one writes letters but I still love checking the mail. I always hope someone sent a letter. I am not disappointed when there is no letter but I am so happy on those very rare occasions when I do get a card or a note from someone!

The temperature today has been about 100 degrees - far too hot to try to fix it. I do not want to take the post out of the ground so trying to repair it will require a inordinate amount of cussing. As far as repairs go, this is a professional level cussing job - an iron worker level cussing - a biker level. It needs two pairs of hands but since I only have one pair, it will require sooooo many twelve letter obscenities. I can do it. Jake will look at me from under his eyebrows and Mattie will tilt her head, one ear then the other, trying to understand what that mailbox is doing to the human.