Thanks to all of you who've taken the trouble to find me again. And thanks to those who passed the word along. Last year I decided to clean out some unused email addresses I'd accumulated; unfortunately one of those was the address I'd used to register my domain name. When it came time to renew, of course they couldn't tell me -- the email address was gone.
By the way, the family reunion for Mom's birthday was a roaring success.
We repainted the interior of Mom's house, had new carpet installed and did the Spring cleaning along the way.
In between we didn't let our social lives suffer as we consumed mass quantities of adult beverages, kept the local bars, restaurants and pizzerias in business -- and (most fun of all in a small town) gave the neighbors something to talk about what with all the rental cars in the driveway, piles of trash at the curb and loud noises emanating from the otherwise-quiet house until about 4 am each morning.
As the Howard family reunion is ongoing, I thought it fitting to post a couple images from the old snapshot albums on which sister Kris (that's sister with a small "s") has labored to scan onto CD over the last couple years.
This is Easter 1960 at Grandma's (we called her Muma -- Grandma was too stressful -- for her.) She and Grandpa, um, Roger lived in Pompano Beach Florida (thus the palm trees.) Ya gotta love the gloves on the women (even little sister Kris) and Muma's mink stole. It was probably around 87 degrees.
And we won't even talk about the short pants Mom loved to put me in back then.
This, of course, is your humble correspondent's Pine Valley Central School Class of 1971 graduation picture. I don't know why but I thought that the black shirt and white tie didn't look Mafia-esque.
Now, Mom's family (the Florida branch) had a few bucks. Dad's was more, shall we say down to earth. This is a reunion in Conewango, New York in 1963. From left to right: second to youngest sibling Kevin, Dad with the flat-top, Mom in her Jackie Kennedy phase, Aunt Charlotte, Grandma Ruby, and Uncle Marion.
Of interest to me is our 1961 Ford Galaxie 500 2 door hardtop in the background. Nice car -- complete with clear plastic seatcovers festooned with tiny gold stars.
That came to mind because youngest kid-brother flew into town tonight from aforementioned southern city. Other kid-brother and both kid-sisters (yeah, I'm the oldest) will be arriving tomorrow (two from Tennessee -- one lives in Jamestown) to spend the week celebrating the BuffaMom's 82nd birthday down in the old hometown, South Dayton, NY.
Activities will include the obligatory Friday night fish-fry which -- I'm told -- doesn't exist south of Erie, Pa. but to this day tantalizes the palates of my southern kin. If Buffalo could export beer-batter, our economic woes would be over.
Mass quantities of adult beverages will be quaffed -- sufficient to put South Dayton's sole liquor store in the black for the year (the "store" is actually a few shelves in the corner of the bar at the South Dayton Hotel.) Now, American retailers celebrate "Black Friday," that day just after Thanksgiving when shoppers put them into the profit-column for the year.
In South Dayton, anyone who sells booze eagerly awaits the Howard family reunion.
And the stated purpose of the week is to rip up Mom's carpet and have a new one installed as a birthday present. As I write, the plan involves the three brothers (and perhaps the lonely brother-in-law who will be in attendance) ripping up the old and moving furniture to save money. As the week goes on, I suspect that budgets will be examined and bankcard balances perused to justify hiring the whole job out because we're just too damned old, lazy and hung-over.
At any rate, View From the North Coast will temporarily relocate to, as Eliot Spitzer might put it, deep Appalachia. Posting during this time may be light to non-existent to unintelligible -- yes, even moreso than is usually the case. If that's possible.
Hannah (formerly referred to as Hannah the BuffaDog) began behaving strangely this morning. Usually, on my days off, I'll sit at the computer and she'll expect some attention. I'll pet her and tell her to "go lie down," which she does dutifully for 15 minutes or so. But today she just began walking aimlessly about the apartment ignoring my orders to lie down. And at one point she just stood in the middle of the floor uncertain of what to do at all.
She just seemed "out of it." I eventually grew alarmed over this aimless pacing and put her on my bed (her favorite spot) and hoped maybe she could get some rest. In the meantime I dived onto the Internet looking up the symptoms for "canine flu" -- nope, no cough, "ear infection" -- might be. But when I looked in on her and found her walking in circles around the bed in a sort of desperate manner, I picked her up and set her on the floor where she proceeded to (no lie) walk backwards into the wall.
And all the while acting as if I wasn't even there.
So, long story short. Emergency trip to the vet at 5pm and during the trip down she seemed to recover. He thinks she may have had a seizure. He says it won't kill her and asked me to keep a log of similar behavior. And by the time we got home she was fine, had a nice pee in the yard, ate dinner, and barked like mad when I left to go to the grocery store.
But by the time I got back, she had regressed into semi-awareness again and tonight is sleeping on the sofa in the next room with periodic bouts of what, in a human, we might call "panic attacks." She gets up and seems alarmed and shivers. So I pet her and hold her and she gradually calms down, but I'm a real wuss when it comes to illness. Can anyone MAKE IT STOP?
OK, just to bring you up to date on the status of my dear old (paid-for) F-150 -- did I tell you it has 4 wheel drive?
So, last night Pep Boys calls me up to inform me that since the computer won't "report" the status of my emissions-control system (NYS now requires that we not only buy them but that we maintain them,) they can't complete my NYS inspection. So, I must head off to a Ford dealership (minus the inspection sticker) to complete the transaction. I spent the morning calling local Ford dealers only to find out that no one is accepting appointments until at least Monday.
Now I'm sure that's not a black-eye for Ford; it's not that their cars require so much maintenance that you need a friend in City Hall to get an inspection, it's just, I'm sure, that everyone else in Buffalo practices "preventive maintenance" and doesn't wait until something actually breaks. Oh no.
So, as the day goes on, I get more and more annoyed at Pep Boys. After all, I've left my car there. The inspection sticker has been removed quite properly. But now they tell me that they can't diagnose the problem. Can you really be authorized to perform NYS inspections if you can't analyze the problem, let alone fix it? After all, when I dropped the truck off at the Elmwood Avenue location there was no cautionary advice to me that -- under some circumstances -- we might not be able to complete the inspection. Oh, no.
So I called them back this afternoon and asked if there were perhaps "something" they might do. Like "fix" the computer or even replace the damned catalytic convertor -- I'll pay for it. It's 10 years old, replace it! The young man on the phone was sympathetic and said he'd consult with his "master tech" and call me back in a few minutes. That was five hours ago.
Do you think that Pep Boys management actually pays attention to posts like this?
I wouldn't be averse to a little local google-bombing.
That's just a little carpenter lingo to introduce Jag Skamtar's thoughts at Home Depot. Jag even misses the bad parts of being in love.
Tonight I walked the aisles of Home Depot. Waiting for quarts of paint to get
mixed. Husbands and wives were arguing. It sounded so good.
See, I have
been alone now for about two months. When people are married and fighting they
inevitably imagine how nice it might be to be alone. Alone is ok. You are never
wrong, you never look bad, you never burn the food or leave the house a mess.
Well, you might do or be all those things, but it is kind of a tree falls in the
woods circumstance. Tonight when a squat impatient man trailed behind his squat
impatient wife reciting the list of things she must have said he did wrong, it
sounded like salt on steak: the essence of life. If I reached out, I could
almost remember how nice it felt, this interaction. Being alone to fend for the
family for awhile has left me contemplating just how hard it cannot possibly be
to replace the upstairs windows myself. Measure, glue and put in place.
From this squat impatient bloggerwho's almost convinced himself that being alone is good -- well said. Actually,very well said.