Sunday, March 28, 2010

Really Big Weighty News

Big news! I am serious! Weighty – Heavy – Really big news…I no longer weigh 100 lbs. more than I did when I got married. As of this morning I have lost 13 pounds.
Everyone celebrate, it’s a miracle!
To you cynics - that is a lot of water weight, approximately 1.6 gallons of water if you were curious. – Hah!
I realize this is a bit premature to be celebrating but sometimes that’s just what I do.
Family tranquility exercises have kept me away from my blog the last few days. No I am not in trouble with Mrs. Grayquill again. Now be nice, and listen up to all that I have done: Vacuumed twice, washed all the outside windows, mopped the hardwood, finished digging a stump out of the side yard, glued a table top together, re-upholstered six dining room chairs, mowed the front and back grass, blew off the drive way, did some outside burning, repaired a loose clothing rack in the guest bedroom, and tied some flies for my upcoming fishing trip. Why all the activity you ask? My wife and daughter had a wedding shower at the house this evening – need I say more –they are women.
You might think all this productivity caused my weight loss and I am sure it contributed, but nope, I actually ate less – I am sure there is some law of physics that applies here. Where’s a smart person when I need one? Sigh…
It all started a few weeks back when my wife was terribly sick with some odd stomach illness. Because I am such a compassionate guy, I must have had sympathy pains and began feeling a bit nauseous myself. This resulted in a lack of appetite, and some special golden moments in the throne room. Since then I have been holding back on the calorie intake and shazzam 13 pounds pooffed away – I will keep you posted on my progress.
As you can well imagine out of self preservation I lite a shuck before the stampede of females came swooping down upon the Grayquill household this afternoon,and headed out to watch my son-in-law play in a racketball tournament.
The consequences of a minimal calorie intake seemed to be taking a toll on my energy. The drive to the tournament was plagued with a bobbing head and lane weaving. Upon arriving safely a few minutes early and avoiding accident #19, the rare Seattle sun was warming the truck cab. Taking full advantage of the warmth, the time, and the place I took a short nap before heading into the club.
Upon entering the club a nice lady directed me to the courts but something seemed out of place – there was not a soul at the courts, hmmm….. After a little thinking time and a few questions, it was obvious I had listened poorly and ended up at the wrong club.
What to do? I couldn’t go home. A haunting feeling began crawling up my back. It was that, you are homeless feeling. Do you ever have unfounded fears? This one every now and then comes knocking at my door and scaring me. I guess it is good because it always reminds me of the growing need in our cities, and of course it motivates me to get up each morning and go to work.
I had a free movie pass in my pocket, so off I headed to the theater. This drive up the freeway was reasonably free of weaving and I arrived twenty minutes later at the theater. Nothing interested me. So I did the next best thing. I ate the snack my wife had made for my son in law.
From there I headed to the second hand store – bought a Dale Brown book and settled into my little truck in an effort to let the next two hours slip by. I got through the first page of the forward and woke up two hours later with a crick in my neck but at least now enough time had passed and I could head home – I am so glad I am not homeless.
Is there a lesson in this pathetic tale? Of course there is, why wouldn’t there be? If you are ever find yourself homeless and you are blessed to have a vehicle. Make it a big truck, little trucks are way uncomfortable.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Max Aswell here...

I am late getting this out to all you good folks who tolerate Grayquill’s writing. I can understand you coming here to read my entries because I know how interesting they are. Even though I know in people world it is uncouth to toot your own horn, so to speak. In dog world there are no such rules. Facts are just facts, there are no hidden meanings in our words, no manipulation, no flattery, we say what we mean and mean what we say. We always tell the truth and life is simple. But, you humans are pretty messed up creatures, and that’s all I am going to say about that.
A couple of weeks back Abe, my master, took me and Buster to the dog park. BTW - My personal favorite place to go. It was all great, except Abe kind of ruined it by asking Grayquill if he wanted to come along. Didn’t Grayquill know Abe was just being polite? This is one of those examples where humans are just plain stupid – this never would have happened in dog world.
Grayquill tagging along is like having that little brother who always wants to be included. Since I didn’t really have a choice in the matter, I did the next best thing and took a nap on the way there. This was mainly done so I could avoid listening to Grayquill’s irritating voice.
Since I am the king dog, Buster was stuck ridding next to Grayquill. I was real proud of Buster though because he slobbered all over Grayquill’s sweat shirt – I wish I had thought of that. I felt kind of mean sticking Buster next to Grayquill, seeing how he was stuck being so close to that continual drippy nasal twang; but rank has it’s privileges.
Abe has taken us to the dog park many times. You would think Grayquill would know that, and be a bit smarter. But nooooo, he continually inserted directions, driving advice and car questions at Abe. “Hey, Abe, how long has your truck been making that noise?” or “You know if you had taken a right back there, we would have already been there.” Or “Abe how do you stand these dogs in the cab with you…the smell. Have you ever thought of putting them in the back?” Lucky for Grayquill, we got there about then because that last comment came real close to Grayquill losing some blood from my canines.
I thought I would share a few pictures of our trip - they are below. Thank goodness there are no pictures of Grayquill in that mess; I didn’t want him to ruin everything.

Loading Up

We arrive and Buster is saying Hi

Buster is sill afraid of the water

Back Home - Time for a Rest

Monday, March 15, 2010

Milk Those Cows

In the following story, I have taken a degree of writer’s privilege, adding specific details that may or may not be true. In fact, I am pretty sure they are not true, seeing how I was only 5 or 6 years old. Who can really remember specific details from that age? So, please, just go with it… Thanks.
The early morning Idaho cold bit hard at my tender face as my oldest brother, RC and I made that walk to the barn. Two more hours before sunup, but the yard light from a high pole illuminated the way. Once inside the barn, there came some relief from the cold; at least there was no wind. I was young maybe 6 years old, and I remember that walk seemed to so long.
This morning we had 12 cows to milk, and 4 would be milked at a time. My body shivered and teeth chattered from the cold. I could see my hand shack as it poured a coffee can of oats into the trough for each of the first four cows. No sooner was the oats in the trough and RC let in the first group. “Grayquill get those udders wipe down.”
I worked my way from cow to cow doing my best to break off the dried cow dung from the teats while RC started the milking.
This memory I am sure would be long forgotten except for what was soon to happen. A memory is interesting that way. The regular mundane elements of life slip seamlessly out of the memory banks. Does it not take something out of the ordinary, something painful or shocking to keep a memory attached to those crooked lines within our brains?
Most farms have their fair share of barn cats, and when the milking begins they start showing up. If this did not actually happen on this particular morning it certainly did several other mornings, and it was a sheer delight for a six year old boy to watch. One gray cat began her begging mew. And my brother while doing a cleaning of Nancy’s utters, squirted that cat right in the face with milk straight from the teat. That cat could lick milk off her face mighty fast. In seconds there were one or two other cats at the ready to step in and help with the cleaning. When my brother stopped the milk bath the cat’s expression seemed to say, more, more.
With the game over, Nancy was soon milked and I needed to be quick because it was Horrible Sally who would be coming to take her place. Even as a youngster I was amazed how those cows knew which stall was theirs. A coffee can of grain for each, my brother yelling at me to hurry up. No sooner had I dumped the grain in the trough, and here came Sally. I jumped out of her way real quick like, saving my own life. You think I’m exaggerating? Just wait you will see Sally was just plain mean. Wiping the sweat from my upper lip before it froze; I now had the task of cleaning off Horrible S A L L Y ‘ S utters – Yikes! First off why would a six year old be expected to clean a cows utters? Think about it, how good of a job can a six year old do? Well, maybe I was in training.
Right off, Horrible Sally tried to kick me when I went to touch her utters. I was expecting it, and to my credit I was quick as a gun fighter getting out of her way. Hah! That gun fighter business I had practiced often, so I am sure the learned quickness is what saved me. Horrible Sally did not give up easily and she was determined to not be denied her evil way. She must have known my toes were already totally numb from that cold winter morning and decided to do something a youngster would not really be expecting. Horrible Sally placed her right rear foot square on top of my small size 1 foot. Okay I don’t know if it was a size 1 – do you really care? I needed a size for the story – stop bugging me! And, yes it hurt. I let out a holler that seemed to make old Sally smile. She looked back at my tear filled eyes and said to herself, I wonder how the little brat would like my full weight, and she gave it to me full out.
My brother soon determined my anguish and pushed, then pulled and eventually grabbed stubborn Sally’s tail and threw his full 120 pound force against her 1400 pounds. Finally he freed me and Sally looked over and smiled – I win you lose. Well, my little foot hurt while I half hopped and half crawled looking for my revenge. I saw it in the corner, there was with four nice sharp prongs. RC caught me before I could impale the beast. Sally smiled – I win you lose.
I know this story is a little anti-climatic but seriously what did you expect. It came from the life of a six year old – Duuuuuhhhh!!! Thank you very muuuch!
Is there a lesson here? Absolutely! Why wouldn’t there be? The lesson is obvious - do not ever name your daughter Sally.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mow Your Own Grass

One of the chief disappointments a man has to face when his kids grow up and leave home – he once again has to mow his own grass.
What can be said about this? Can’t think of much, except, get up off that chair and go mow the grass. D’OH! There are a few benefits,such as when I sharpen my lawn mower blade it stays pretty sharp all season, and my lawnmower gets the oil checked with each use – I guess that is a bonus.
My old lawn mower, I bought five or eight years ago at a garage sale for $25.00. The outside cage is now beginning to rust through, the right rear wheel is about to fall off, but the little rascal starts always on the first pull. In fact all my gas powered implements start easily. I discovered the secret a few years back. You would like me to share this secret with you, wouldn’t you? I might, we will have to see how charitable I am feeling toward the end of this writing.
If my nephew had known this secret, I might not have read on his Facebook page how he had three lawn mowers in his shed that did not run. He is a pastor – hasn’t he read the scripture verse, “For the lack of knowledge the lawnmowers perish?” Well, I think he should memorize that bit of scripture.
Enough about nephews – let’s talk garage sales. Spring is here and that means garage sales are beginning to bloom. I bet in a few weeks, I will be able to find two or three good used lawn mowers for sale within a five mile radius. Considering inflation I guess I should expect to pay $35.00, regardless my limit is $50.00, and I won’t pay a penny more. So, if you have a good used lawn mower for sale and you think it is worth more than $50.00 - don’t call me, I know there is a good one just around the corner.
Garage sales have rewarded me greatly in the past. All my present vehicles have been purchased at garage sales – well my wife’s car I bought at an auction – doesn’t that almost count? My little truck showed up at a garage sale a few years ago. Some scoff at me for driving such a truck. It doesn’t have a bumper, the AM on the radio no longer works but the FM does. The windshield wipers work great, as long as you know where the added toggle switch is to bypasses the broken factory switch. I have installed a secret anti-theft device. I guess I can share this secret since you seem to be the trustworthy type. This little truck will be 25 years old this year and so things break now and then. I figured when my emergency brake cable broke it was an excellent opportunity to improve on the original design and also install a anti-theft device. Hanging a bit off to the left is a bright green nylon cord. Pull the cord and chazam the parking brake is released and you can steal my truck. Please don’t I only have liability insurance. Another great thing about my truck; when I finish fishing and need to dry out my flies, the cloth along the roof inside the cab is a great place to hook these little beauties. I think it is getting quite attractive if I do say so myself; an array of Wolly Buggers, Grayquills, and Zugbugs. I could go on about my truck but I think I might be boring you.
For my lady readers check this out.
Nice right? $35.00 at an Estate Sale. This piece hangs 24 x 36 inches. It was hand crocheted by an African American Grandma whose family thought $35.00 was more important than a family heirloom. This might be my favorite find. When this article appeared in the house, my wife immediately thought I bought it for her –Hah! I let her think that.
I guess I could tell you about some of my other garage sale finds but that would just be bragging.
So, is there is a lesson in this? Of course there is. If my nephew is reading this it is time to pay attention. Always add fuel stabilizer to your small gas engines. I know, I know….You are welcome.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tell Me Everything

What is it about a song that has the power to take one back in time….
Tonight a song began its melodious dance, the scores banged out from a strong baritone voice full and strong. The lyrics rushed me back to a time years ago when I sat writing a good bye letter to a friend, mentor, and spiritual leader of sixteen years.
I remember writing, “You didn’t have many answers, and at times I was extremely angry about that, but you were there – Thank you!” - Pretty powerful words if I do say so myself.
Week in and week out this man was faithfully there in his pulpit declaring God’s word to any who would listen. This man was there at the hospital when each of my three children were born. He always had time to be there I when needed a little extra life living wisdom. He was there the day my house burned and he was a great help.
Then one day, a tragedy struck my family that made a house burning seem trivial and I was shook to my core - he was there. I can still see the restaurant and the very booth we sat in and still here the words he spoke to me, “Tell me everything,” - I did, and he listened and he prayed for me and my family. He didn’t have any words of magic but he listened and after listening he didn’t leave me alone.

During the following months in one way or another he would say again, “Tell me everything,” and I did… and he listened. Often I was angry at him that he didn’t have those magic words that would fix me and my family but he continued to listen and he was there.
For the most part I took this man for granite, then one day I sat and listened as he told his congregation he would no longer be our pastor and that scared me. I had come to depend on him and his steady balance in my life.
He did leave and I have often wondered if he ever really grasped the extent he helped me and my family. So, here I sit once again much like I did so many years ago writing, blowing my nose, writing, wiping my eyes and writing some more. With the passing of time I now have the ability to reflect back on this man and I can see that listening and being there was just about right.
Thanks Pastor D.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Midlife Crisis

The Midlife Crisis… Is there really such a mystical condition? I think there must be, isn’t the fact the term exists proof enough that the condition is real?
If the condition does exist; I would argue that others might sink to such a demoralizing state, but not your favored Grayquill. Surely, he is above such nonsense.

Yes, I did buy a motorcycle when I was in my fifties but heck I bought it at a garage sale – does that really count? It shouldn’t because I paid cash and isn’t going into debt one of the requirements of a midlife crisis? It seems to me that since I did not go into debt, then the motorcycle shouldn’t count. That certainly seems reasonable and rational to me.
Mrs. GQ might argue that a short time later when I took my garage sale find off road, and I came to a place on the ride where it became necessary to bail off the bike into a ravine onto hard river rock breaking my arm, resulting in a three day hospital stay; was the result of a mid-life crisis. Well, she is just plain wrong. That was a simple accident, after all
vehicle accidents have been quite a common place in my life. Therefore that would just be a stupid argument with no merit or validity. I would have to say once again, “Not my problem.”
Later I was accused of being in a mid-life crisis when weeks before my dog died and the crows were eating his untouched dog food. I spent meticulous effort planning and setting up surprise moments when I could slay the thieving pests. Surely, this cannot be counted as part of a mid-life crisis. Sure it might have been a bit boyish but it was an all important and necessary step in keeping nature in balance. The laser scope, at-top a balanced 1,500 ft per second chrome plated pellet gun was required just to make it fair – Crows are smart. The gun is not part of the problem, thank you very much.
Now, I will give into one argument that there might be a slight indicator of this malady in myself. A couple of years back I began hiding my cookies. Just because they were not stored in the public, take what you want pantry, does not mean I have a problem. To break all myths of me hiding food I will tell all right here and right now - I keep my cookies in the bottom drawer of my night stand - No hiding! It is now all out in the open therefore that proves I don’t have a problem.
Some of you negative thinkers might be thinking, ‘Nope, Grayquill has a real problem.’ So, to assure the most critical reader there is no problem – the drawer is empty at this moment. Hah! That might mean I moved the cookies to a new hiding spot in the chance Mrs. Grayquill, my niece, or one of my adult children could read this post and go searching for my goodies. But, I want to assure all of you Grayquill does not have a problem. If you think I do, it is in your mind only, and therefore you are the one with the problem – are we clear?
So now that is all settled, is there a lesson here? Of course there is – this little discussion as hard as it was, was healthy and should now end all rumors that Grayquill is in or ever was in a mid-life crisis. I hope you all have learned your lesson.