March 2014

74 articles in March 2014

Ii consider myself technologically competent, or at least I used to! I am comfortable with a computer and I am able to use many of the new programs that have been developed at my home and at school.

However, shopping with my wife the other day clearly demonstrated that I am being left behind by many of the newest technological marvels. My wife and I had to stop at BJ’s Wholesale Club in Portsmouth, New Hampshire – actually, my wife had to stop so there was no choice in the matter. We wandered through a labyrinth of lanes between mountains of merchandise stacked to the rafters so the consumer can pluck out a case of this, a box of that, so I picked out a case of beer.

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Tthere is nothing nicer then sitting out on a deck at 6:00 in the morning enjoying the sunrise while soaking in all the fresh smells of a nearby ocean sipping on a cup of fresh brewed coffee. I did just that last Saturday as the morning sun felt warmer than it has since last summer.

Or it could have been the summer before that! Gazing out at my neighborhood I enjoyed the deep greens of the manicured lawns and the deeper emerald colors of the newly leaved trees and bushes that stood in their places as if they were meant to by some almighty force to do just that. Taking another sip out of my favorite coffee cup that was more like a pot then a cup, I slowly closed my eyes to soak in more of the scents the morning had to offer.

Then all of a sudden I felt an intense sting on the back of my neck. Since I was in an almost transcendental state I jumped up forgetting I was holding what used to be my favorite cup, spilled the contents on my bare legs and a lap that was covered only by my combination bathing suit, shorts, pajamas, and visiting garment. I don’t know which hurt worse; the sting on the back of my neck, the burning caused by the coffee soaking everything south of my waste, or the knowledge that my favorite coffee cup was now smashed across the base of my deck.

Trying to figure out which pain would cause the most chronic damage I reached out and grabbed what I hoped would be nothing from the back of my neck. Actually I hoped I did find something because if I didn’t I was destined to suffer through many tests at my doctor’s office but, I did find something. In fact, I found a big something. Ripping a pterodactyl sized monster off the back of my neck and foolishly holding it in my hand, at which time I now had another pain to worry about.

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Eevery year there seems to be a new form of pest that attempts to make the summer a little less enjoyable. A few years ago an army of Japanese beetles devoured everything that was green. Those ‘Sons of Beetles’ were a hearty bunch but with the help of chemical engineering I was able to beat them back.

Of course my skin now has the consistency and color of an old alligator, but what is progress without a little inconvenience? Then a plague of voles raised their furry little heads from out of the ground and made my yard look like a road map of Boston during The Big Dig. They were defeated with the assistance of some M-80’s and an old golf club.

What I did not know was that the latest pest would have neither a shell nor fur. This newest menace came in the form of a stupid bird. If I had to compare it to a person it would be a person who would rather drink a keg of beer than breathe. On top of this bowling ball body was a very small head, which, one would assume, would mean a very small brain. But, what they lacked in brainpower they made up for in numbers and, after a couple of months trying to outwit the little varmints, I discovered, collectively at least, pigeons were smarter than me.

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Iiwonder if, in my lifetime, the powers that be will come to their senses and leave our time alone. I also wonder if I am the only one in the nation who gets totally screwed up when they move the clocks ahead in the Spring.

The same thing happens when they move the clocks back in the Fall. Time is important, but it is only when they start shifting it around on us that we understand just how important. Now don’t get me wrong. I like sunshine. I would just like it better if they didn’t change it around on us twice a year. The days have been getting longer and I have enjoyed going to work in the morning light instead of putting on my headlights. I was just about used to this new, longer day when daylight savings time reared its ugly head again.

At least the people in charge of time make the change on a Sunday morning. That way most of us don’t have to worry about getting up for work at a new time the next day and have to rearrange our habits to adjust to the change, but Monday morning is a totally different story. Once again my alarm clock blasts its wake-up call in the dark. At first my body believes it’s some sort of joke because my biological clock has adjusted to starting the day with daylight shining in the windows.

Peering through the sudden return of winter darkness I see the glowing red numbers on they alarm clock telling me it’s no joke, it’s time to get up and face the world but, even though my mind is telling me to get up, my body is telling me I have another hour to stay in bed. Swinging my legs off the bed and rolling the rest of my body after them, using the force of gravity to get me rolling, I fumble my way blindly to the bathroom. Switching on the light is the first of many tortures I will suffer throughout the day because of this governmental change of time.

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Eevery so often there comes a spring on the southern coast of Maine that does not resemble any definition of what Spring should be; the air never warms past 50 degrees and rainy days vastly outnumber the sunny days.

The air stays damp and our spirits mirror the gray, depressing days of a Spring that wasn’t meant to be. This is the kind of Spring we are suffering through this year. My brother-in-law, who has been visiting from upstate New York, told me this was the type of Spring they were used to. In fact, he told me that because the weather pattern made our spring almost unbearable, his weather was remarkably sunny and warm this year.

I then told him he could buy the next couple of rounds. What makes things even worse during this time of year is that our lawns grow at a pretty good rate. Throw in rainy conditions and the lawns that surround our homes explode into hay fields that are impossible to control. However, control them we must, even though a trek through our backyards on our lawnmowers becomes an adventure in itself.

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Jjim Walsh and his wife had just been transported by holiday flight from Lancashire to Hollywood, thanks to winning a competition held by his local travel agent. Excited at wanting to see everything about the place, he left his wife to unpack, whilst he trod light heartedly along one avenue after another until he finally discovered that he was lost.

“Oh heck! I wished that I’d waited until tomorrow, to find out about the place,” he said to himself. Further along the road he noticed a handyman mending a dry stone wall. “Hey, thee,” he uttered before realising that these Yanks wouldn’t know what ‘thee’ meant. “Er, excuse me.” He offered in his telephone English.

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Tthe drops were smacking onto the cold stone floor with monotonous regularity, echoing sonorously in the stillness of the room. She finally woke, and lay still in the downy bed, watching the falling drops as they formed a puddle on the floor. The raindrop drumbeat began to pound in her a brain and slowly lulled her off to sleep again.

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Oour story unfolds in a small Derbyshire village town. The rain had stopped beating down to wash away any grime that had persisted in clinging to the windows, of the quaint looking shops and there was one shop that seemed to stand out from the rest.

Perhaps not because of its medieval look but because of its interesting nature of trade. The sign above the shop read ‘Peter Harris, Antiques,’ and underneath, ‘For Centuries’.  The bell of the shop door rang and the 62 year-old antique dealer took one step outside, thrust out his hand to test the weather, then made a hasty retreat back into the shop. ‘Not much dealing today’, he told the pet parrot, that he kept on the premises as an excuse for someone to talk to – and to stop himself going insane.

The rain restarted and beat heavier upon the window, this caused Mr Harris to give a deep intake of breath and exclaim, ‘damn it!’ The rumble of thunder could now be heard in the distance, then as if from nowhere, a blinding flash of lightening disturbed the air and made the lights dip. You could tell that the parrot didn’t like it, by the dreadful noise that it made and Mr Harris hoped that the noise wouldn’t be heard next door.

He tinkered about with small objects, dusting some by rubbing them on his waistcoat and moving others to make a better display. His true love in the antique business was his fascination for old goblets and wineglasses, and his collection was varied. He knew that some were only worth a pound or two but he also knew that at the extreme end of the market a real rarity could be worth £5000 or more.

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Pphineas wanted to go fishing! The sun shone brightly and he could see the river shimmering in the heat. He wanted to fish! The trouble was that he could not find his rod.

He had safely put it away, in the kitchen cupboard, after he had last he used it. He searched in all the likely places and then looked in the unlikely ones too; under the beds; above the chimney; in the bathroom; under the bath; but it was nowhere to be found. He was fed up! Who could have taken it?

Phineas wandered outside and sat down on a low wall, at a loss as to what to do next. Just then his dog Roger came bounding up, mud on his front paws and dust on his nose. He had obviously been digging and had dragged some fishing line along for Phineas’ inspection. He was very pleased with himself but wanted Phineas to follow him. He kept trotting off a short distance, then turning his head and barking, to call his master. The boy looked at the tangled mass of line, it looked quite new so he decided to humour his dog and follow him.

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Wwe gaze above to study why
the stars bewitch and twinkle high.
Above, the moon, where man first trod,
almost seems to smile and nod.
Storm winds howl and blow, but clear,
then downy puffball clouds appear.

How poor we’d be not to behold
an evening sunset, red and gold,
a rainbow decked with every hue
and summer sky of cornflower blue.
Now is the time to plan and see
the World remain for you and me.

Let not our greed destroy for ever
this endless store of priceless treasure.
And then, perhaps, as time slips by
we’ll sit and paint the evening sky.

© Coprights reserved Wendy Chapman 2001