Sunday, March 23, 2014

Where Has Grayquill Musings Been

If  you have tried to view my blog lately, you probably have been confused. As they say a machine is only as good as it operator. >GOOD....Grayquill>not so good.
Here is the last post you might have missed. Baby Cradle

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Baby Cradle

I heard the other day that 80 percent of all baby cradles made in the United States are made by Grandpa’s. Well you know me I like being normal so here it is.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Another Grayquill Moment

I was so hoping my Grayquill moments might be taking a turn toward more favorable results.

For months when I leave work, I see a young lady standing in the reception area of a technical high school waiting to be picked up. She always stands in the same place and it is easy to see her.

The school day ends early. By the time I leave, I know this poor girl has been waiting to be picked up for several hours.  It really bugs me seeing her standing there alone in a now empty building. Her posture communicates to me fear and sadness. I can only imagine the tension the young lady must feel waiting for hours in an empty building.  With the heat off, the building cools. Imagine the creaks, the groans she hears the building make, and what horrors must run through her mind as she waits alone.  Standing there she is at the mercy of anyone who comes into the building. As you might guess, night after night my feelings of pity for the young lady spring up and as a result my irritation toward her parents enlarges with each passing day.  

Last week, Tuesday, I left work later than usual. There she was still waiting to be picked up. Now I am angry. Who are these parent? Thoughts flashed through my mind of what I needed to do to correct this injustice. My first thought was, I am going to hang out and when that parent shows up, I will let Grayquill do his Jujitsu barn dance.  The main problem with that is, Grayquill doesn’t know Jujitsu. Rational thought prevailed and the next morning my first phone call was to the vice principal.  As I explained the reason for my call, I was encouraged to hear her shocked disdain for the plight of the young lady. The principal patiently listened to my passionate venting and assured me she would get to the bottom of this! She quizzed me with several questions and then she asked me, “Grayquill, where exactly does this young lady stand.”

“She is always in the same place, right on the right hand side in the entry way.”

There was a long pause, “Grayquill, that is a manikin.”
“Uhhh…what? Huh?” confusion….Grayquill could hear a large volume of laughter coming back through the telephone.  I hung up. My foolishness scored my pride but then I began to laugh. You gotta admit that’s funny.  

That night when I headed home I nodded to my favorite manikin knowing she was well protected under Grayquill’s watchful eye.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Grayquill has been warned…

I will warn you right now – if you have a tendency toward bad dreams and your creep meter pegs easily.
STOP reading NOW! This is your last warning and your last chance to save yourself.

Some might say this story is proof positive that I am being warned by our creator to stop killing His small creatures – I mean rats!
It was late. Dinner with my wife at our favorite diner was now over. She was headed to the store and I headed home.  As usual I drove on automatic and I let my mind run through the tasks ahead of me. I needed to start a load of laundry, maybe type out a blog post, and a must was to fill my birdfeeder, I mean rat feeder.

I arrived to a dark house and as is my usual routine I entered through the garage. Flipping on the light I then filled a container with bird seed. I headed into the house, flipped on the outside lights, slid the slider open, and went straight out into the back yard.  The birdfeeder could not be seen clearly. The light faded away into the darkness of the surrounding trees and only one side of the feeder was dimly lit. 

As we all know we are often held accountable for our choices.  That said, some of my blogger buddies might be saying, "tut tut and this serves you right for what is to come -Your recent choices involving rat killing was ill advised." With that fact only as a side note and that no real cause and effect has been proven; I throw out that tid bit of information only in passing, as that information might be deemed important to at least one reader. Okay, maybe two.

With not an inkling of the horror awaiting me, I headed into the shadows of the dimly lit birdfeeder.  I was now nearing the feeder and what I could not see on the back side in the darkness was a nasty long tailed rat stuffing his fat jowls on the remnants of my bird seed. In addition, I guess because of my uncommonly pudgy stealth, the rat was equally unaware of my approach. In blissful ignorance I began to lift my hand toward the feeder.  There was no warning, no inner sense that danger was only inches away. I enclosed my hand around the bottom of the feeder. At the same instant my thumb pinched a plump incredibly alive rat. The contrast of soft fur and a horrible scratching sensation hit my thumb all in the same instant. Tearing my hand away I jumped back from the feeder. To my great shame, an incredibly loud little girl scream passed over my lips that even the neighbors heard.

Traumatized, I headed toward my house doing the Grayquill high kick dance and screaming all the way. As I looked over my shoulder I could see the demon himself on top of my birdfeeder giving me his beady eyed stare. IT WAS HORRIBLE!!!  The last I saw of him as I entered the house, he was headed across the rope away from the birdfeeder. 

Safe in my house, my first stop was the disinfectant. I gave my hands a good scrubbing while inspecting my thumb for any broken skin. To my relief I was uninjured except for maybe my heart and a few vocal cords. The washing time was needed to begin the recovery of my manhood. Upon the completion of the scouring my courage was back and I headed straight into the back room for my Gamo rat killer. With flash light in hand, pellet gun cocked and loaded of rat, I began the Grayquill rat stalk into the back yard. Knees bent, toe to heel steps, flash light sweeping the parameter of the darkness, I searched intently for the illusive prey.  I eased along slowly, toe to heel, toe to heel. My eyes glued to the end of the light beam from my 190 lumens bulb as it coated the underbrush. I really did not expect to see much but there is something within this man that needed to show the world and one particular rat that I cannot and will not be scared into a wimpy prisoner in my own house.

My journey of much stealth once again had brought me back to within inches of the first incident – the birdfeeder. To my mortification which I can only blame on my masterful intense search for the terrible little creature, I had failed to look up. Now to my complete and utter ignorance the rat had returned and was perched back on the feeder only inches from my face. Time was at a stand still. I stood there motionless scanning the dark green salal that filled the area.  I cannot say it was a true feeling but a change was happening in my inner being. I know not if it was my soul, my spirit, a sixth sense, or some other outer force tying to protect or warn me. But suddenly I turned my head to the right. At that moment the rat made his move. It was a blur of gray flying fur. As I jumped, I swear that the vermin's tail flicked the edge of my beard as he passed in the shadows. At the same moment that little girl’s scream once again echoed throughout the neighborhood. It was terrible, humiliating, and worst of all emasculating. I checked my pants for wetness and it would be to embarrassing to admit my findings.

I must end my story as I think I am beginning to make myself look bad. All in all, the rat escaped, and I was yet to prove my superiority to the hideous little vermin.

That night as my head hit the pillow I could only say to myself, "this was a terrible, no good, very bad night. Tomorrow will be a new day and redemption will be possible –maybe." 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Really??? They Listened?

This week I had the privilege to talk with a bunch of middle schoolers. The night before I was to face these small monsters I was filled with terror. Scheming for any possible way to get out of it, I thought about feigning sickness. That lie would not have been too far off course noting the way my stomach was feeling. My biggest concern was based simply on my fear for survival. I was worried that a classroom full of middle schoolers would eat me for lunch. My assignment was to speak to 20 – 30 little people at 25 minute intervals nine times throughout the day. The eight graders came first and to my great delight when I looked up, they were listening and full of questions.  
After my introduction, I wanted them to get to know me a bit, so I ask them some true or false questions. I had several outlandish false claims but the true ones seemed to cause their heads to tilt in wonder.  
Which is true or false? (all true)
·  As a boy I was shot in the head with an arrow?
·  I was born into a Mennonite farm community and lived on a potato farm until I was six years old.
·  As a youngster our family did not have enough beds so I slept in the bottom drawer of a chest of drawers until I was four years old.
·  When I was your age I would not kiss a girl because I was afraid the girl would laugh at how silly my kiss was?
·  I have had 20 car accidents, two motorcycle accidents and two of my car accidents happened on the same day fifteen minutes apart.
·  I barely graduated from High School and swore I would never go to college.
I knew I had little to offer the brainiacs in the room. My hope was to offer encouragement to the kids where school came hard. That is a story I know well, even with nearly 50 years separating me from those days the feelings are as close as yesterday. My story, Angel with Wrinkles I hoped would give them a window into the beginning of my story and it did wake up most of the kids.
The crux of my talk laid out a few simple principles I have learned along the way.
o   Everyone is smart at something. Maybe it isn’t school work but that is not evidence you are not smart at something.
o   80% of success is showing up ( I know not very original but still true)
o   Fear is part of the process but push through it and take advantage of scary opportunities.
Who knows if anything said made a difference but I said what I know and I am hopeful. All in all I had more fun than I thought possible and I feel honored that I was allowed to share a bit of myself with some young people.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

An Awesome Saturday

It has been almost two months since my last post. I could make some kind of excuse up but I hate people that do that. I do have some good news. NOOOO….I have great news. Dullsville left the Grayquill property Saturday morning and it was better than great.
There I was sitting drinking my one cup of coffee. Yes, I am now down to one cup of coffee. I know it is very very very sad. I mourn it every morning. I was nearing the half way mark of my one cup and a movement caught my eye. It was a different kind of movement, not like the small birds that gather under my bird feeder to clean up the fallen seed. It was slinky, almost like the ground its self was moving. Raising my gaze it all came into focus. There to my hateful delight was a rat. A rat right there in broad day light. Well you know what that means don’t you? Yip, the hunt is on.   
Heading into my back room, I rummaged around and finally found my old pellet gun. Next, where did I put those pellets? I think they are in the garage. After a few minutes of moving pile A to where pile Z was, and then pile B to where pile A was, it took some doing but I finally came across them under pile T. Soon I was back to my kitchen table where I carefully laid out my battle wares.
In a ghost rat like fashion I smoothly crossed the room and slowly slide the slider open until an eight inch gap appeared. With elegance my sylphlike limbs floated me back to my chair. There I settled down to wait. It wasn’t long before my first shot opportunity raised its self.  Pling…I heard the sound of my pellet whip through the underbrush as the creepy critter skedaddled away to who knows where.  I reloaded but realized my cheap pellet gun with its archaic sights needed a tune up. Out came the felt pen and I soon had three targets made on bright purple paper. Placing them out in the yard about the same distance as my bird feeder; I began what Grayquill would describe as an excellent gun sighting experience.  My first shot did not even hit the target. After way to many shots I had the gun hitting the target but my grouping was less than desirable. Urgency to get back to the hunt helped me decide to stop the adjusting and get back to the whole point of this exercise – KILL A RAT!
Back at the kitchen table, the slider again open to about 8 inches, a perfect view of the ground under my bird feeder in my sight, my gun loaded, I waited. I was hopeful I might now actually hit something. Fifteen minutes went by, nothing.  Twenty minutes went by nothing.  Time for breakfast!
Soon two eggs with two slices of toast were made.  Dipping my toast into the yoke I ate silently, watching, waiting. After my third bite I looked up and there right in my line of sight were two rats that seemed to have just appeared. One was directly under the bird feeder and the other was back by the edge of the brush.  Where did they come from? Moving slowly and quietly as I could I laid my fork down and picked up my gun. The adrenalin was now beginning to pump. My breaths were beginning to come a bit faster helping my vision crisp up. Maybe I should have ordered those eye glasses the doctor thinks I need. Oh well, too late now. Looking down the barrel the rat seemed so much smaller and I kept losing him in the sights. After several checks I had him. Exhaling, I held my breath and slowly squeezed off. Pling….I heard the pellet whip through the underbrush and both rats disappeared – Dang!
Not to be a quitter I sat there most of the day taking a total of nine shots. At the end of the day I could only conclude I was a horrible shot or I had a horrible gun. I did not have a single dead rat to show for my efforts. Darkness was beginning to close in on me and shooting became an impossibility. Putting my gun back into its corner I felt frustrated and the old saying, ‘a machine is only as good as its operator’ haunted me.
Not wanting to accept I am a horrible operator. Straight away I was on my computer searching for a real pellet gun. I soon found out why I had this stupid gun with sights that moved every time you bumped it. The good guns seemed to start at around $250.00. Wow! That’s a lot of money just to shoot a couple of rats. After a brief education and not discouraged, I headed to Craig’s List to see if possibly a used gun was for sale. Sure as shooting I found a Gamo Whisper. Retail price $345.00. The pellet leaves the barrel of this baby at 1100 feet per second, and to top it off it had a scope. That would be perfect to help my stigmatism. My email was soon constructed and off it went to the seller. I waited. I have often wondered why one would put something on line to sell if they weren’t committed to getting back to a prospective buyer? The long and the short of my search three days later I successful acquired the almost new Gamo Whisper for a fraction of the retail price.  
Wednesday, as quitting time drew close. I found myself watching the clock. The feeling was reminiscent of a time that reached back to a 10 year old with his first BB gun. What havoc a young Grayquill could have done with a Gamo Whisper pellet gun instead of that wimpy lever action Daisy BB gun that you could see the BB leave the barrel. It was probably a good thing young Grayquill only had the Daisy because one day he decided he would shoot his brother in the butt. That night my dad took that gun away from me and I never saw it again. That still seems like an overreaction by my father. I will admit I did hit that left butt check dead center and that I am still a bit proud about.
Oh how I digress… The time finally came for work to be over for the day and I rushed to my car. Twenty minutes later with maybe two hours of daylight left the hunt was back on! I felt it, tonight would be awesome. If that furry critter came back into view….well I think you get the idea.
The slider was slid open about eight inches. My view under the bird feeder was unobstructed. My new Gamo was loaded and ready. My wife was working late and I had the house to myself. Distractions always get in the way for this type for work. My dinner sat in front of me and I settled in. I was getting worried as the sun set behind the Olympic Mountains and evening began its journey toward darkness. The beauty of a scope, it seems to make objects lighten up at dusk. It was maybe fate or just luck but with the ability to still see, an unlucky rat came out for an evening snack.  
Yip I was right – it was a great night.