Sunday, June 28, 2015

The 65 Truck is Officially Handed Over

Daniel and Luis worked on the old Ford pickup today.  They replaced a battery, some belts and a few other things.  It runs great!

Here are some photos from the day.  You can click on photos to see them larger.

What needs to be done?

Time to begin

First Time Sitting in the Driver's Seat


Luis - "Head Mechanic"

The Audience

It runs!  

Runs Great, But Boy is it Dirty!

Cleaning Off Years of Dirt

It's Looking So Much Better!

Isn't She Beautiful!?!?!?!?

A Proud New Owner

Even the Dash is Incredible

It Was a Fun Day

Want to hear the engine purr?  Click on this video -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Office Fireworks

Talk about a close call...

I was upstairs looking through decor, because that's the kind of thing I do when I really should be getting serious about cleaning.  Suddenly there was a mini explosion downstairs, followed quickly by the sound of breaking glass.

I was certain that one of my fur babies was about to be in big trouble.  When I came to the bottom of the steps, my cat, Cindy, gave me a superior look and if she could have talked, she would have said, "You can't blame this one on me."

Some of those globe shards look pretty lethal!

When I looked into the office I saw glass shards all over the floor.  Some were really big and sharp.  All around my chair.  The ceiling globe had fallen or exploded.  Had I been in my chair...  ooohhh. And if I had been in my chair, my sweet dog, Annie, would have been right where the most lethal shards had landed.   I'm glad I was wasting time upstairs.  Even worse, if this had happened a few months ago, Rudy might have been sitting in the line of fire.  Just the thought of that makes my stomach flip.

The light fixture that failed is the type where the globe goes right to the rim.  There's no real space for hot air to exit.  The shards on the floor were VERY hot even though it was a few minutes before I gathered everything I need for cleanup. The heat may have caused the fail.  It's also possible that the screw thingie could have given.  I don't think the bulbs have been changed since we moved in (2008).  The bulbs that came with the fixtures have been super long-lasting.  Unfortunately, I have fixtures just like that in many rooms in the house. Regardless of why it failed, I'd like to replace them all with fixtures that feel a little less threatening.

The one on the left is the one that exploded.
The one on the right is an identical fixture in the foyer.
When we first moved in this house, I didn't spend much on light fixtures.  I wanted to find unique ones I really liked at a leisurely pace.  That was in 2008.  I haven't replaced any of them. Obviously, I put that little detail on the back burner.  There was always something higher on my list.  Lately, I've been thinking about replacing a few, especially the ones in the kitchen, which are the ones that annoy me the most.  I'm even thinking about learning to do it myself.  I've seen plenty of gals on blogs who install new light fixtures and they act like it's pretty easy.  I wasn't going to rush out looking for fixtures.  Instead, I hoped to come across some pretty 2nd hand ones I liked. With medical bills still coming in, I don't really want to spend much money right now, so I wasn't in a hurry.  HOWEVER, now that I have the possibility of future explosions,  replacing fixtures has suddenly moved way up the list.  Meanwhile, I won't be leaving my overhead lights on for any length of time.  Whew!

If anyone comes across any 2nd hand awesome light fixtures you think I need to know about, let me know.  I have lots of fixtures to replace!  I'm thinking about a chandelier or two, some pendant lights and who knows what else.

PS - Please don't anyone worry that I want 2nd hand because I am at the edge of financial doom.  I prefer 2nd hand because it's way more fun to decorate that way.  That's just me.  And if anyone out there has experience with installing fixtures, I'd love a hands on lesson after I've learned a thing or two online.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

We've Been Duped!

Ladies, if your husband spends hours cutting grass and he let's you feel sorry for him, you've been duped!  Cutting grass on a riding mower is FUN!

I have two riding mowers.

I love my John Deere.  It's a "regular" riding mower.  Riding on it is pretty much a time for relaxation and meditation.  I put on a wide-brimmed hat and take along a glass of something cold.  It's really nice.

I have also fallen in love with the Skag mower, which is the one Rudy always used.  It's a zero-turn mower.  It's in a whole other league!  Forget meditation.  This one is like a cross between a go-cart and a video game.  It's FUN!

All these years, when we divided chores around the house, I had things like cooking, doing dishes and cleaning toilets.  Rudy cut the grass.  He spent hours doing it.  Without complaint.  Now I know why.  Dangit.  He got me.  I'll bet he's up there laughing at me right now.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Daniel - 65 Ford + Musical Message

Clyne's 65 Ford will now be lovingly cared for by Daniel Byrd.  I have been meaning to post about this for a bit.  There were 4 Veal relatives in the drawing and one honorary family member - Luis.  Two of them dropped out after finding out Daniel and Abby were interested.  Mostly, everyone wanted to make sure that the truck stayed in the family.  I think that has more to do with their love of Clyne than the fact that the truck is really amazing.  However, it's a pretty fine truck.  I'm going to miss it.

Daniel and Luis will be looking it over this weekend and starting the process of seeing what needs to be done.  That should be fun.

Daniel sent me a check in this wonderful card along with a great background story...  Rudy has apparently been sending musical messages again.  He's really staying busy up there!  I've written about one or two, but truly, these crazy music stories are popping up all over.

Daniel's wife, Denise, bought this card several weeks ago even though she had no idea who she'd send it to.  She just knew she liked it.  This week Daniel asked her if she had any cards around because he wanted to send me a check, even though I said he could wait til he saw me.  She gave him the card.  The reference to music brought up the strange things that have been happening lately to so many people - it's like Rudy is playing music for lots of us.  Daniel and Denise had the TV on during this conversation.  It was the Braves pre-game and the players were all warming up.  As Daniel and Denise were discussing music and Rudy, Daniel suddenly noticed a song that started playing at the stadium - Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  This song was one of the songs on the fabulous photo video Denise Wilcox made for Rudy's farewell get-together.  Often, only snippets of stadium songs are played at games, but Daniel said the entire song was played... right when Denise and Daniel were discussing musical messages from Rudy.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Messages on the Radio

It's amazing how often a song comes on the radio that seems like a direct message.  It seems to happen to me mostly in the car. Today, as I was doing a number of errands, my mind was wandering all over the place, mostly missing Rudy and feeling real sorry for myself.  In the midst of it all a song came on I'd never heard before, with words I feel sure I was meant to hear.

There were several parts of the song that I found especially meaningful -

...I don't take my life for granted
I'm gonna hold on tight
To what I've been handed

...I'll try not to complain
About the things I have lost
Cause when you have something great
That just means there's a greater loss

...So when you look at yourself
Tell me who do you see
Is it the person you've been
Or the person you're gonna be

...Why don't you hold on tight
To what you've been handed
Cause you just don't know how long you will have it.

That song was big nudge to me to stop thinking the way I have been thinking lately.  I seem to be stuck in a dark place where I honestly can't picture what my life could possibly be like without Rudy.  The song didn't take that feeling away, but it at least nudged me to try.

Once the song was over, I immediately questioned myself.  Was this song really a sign?  Or am I just so crazy that I'm seeing signs everywhere?  Maybe I'm just grasping for something.  If that's the case, then the very next song that played knocked me right over the edge.

There's a John Prine song that always gave Rudy a big chuckle.  He always said he wanted it played at his funeral.  We actually considered doing just that and most people who knew Rudy well would have gotten a kick out of it, but it wouldn't exactly have been in good taste.  It's on one of Rudy's CDs, but hearing it on the radio is a pretty rare occurrence.  It was the very next song that played.  OMG.

So.... do I believe in signs?  Yes I do.  Call me crazy.  I don't care.  Rudy continues to make me laugh.   Between tears.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Thankful for Our Fur Babies

Our six dogs and three cats have been through a lot of changes these last 7 months. Rudy was their pack leader.

Annie seems to be taking his loss the hardest. When I'm home, she's my shadow. She even follows me to the bathroom. She's decided she needs to sleep with me, too. She's actually a really great bed partner and I'm happy for the company.

On the one hand, if it weren't for all of our pets, I'd be able to move to a place with far less upkeep. On the other hand, if it weren't for them, I'd be so lonesome I might not make it. They all give so much love.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

One Month

It has been one month since Rudy died.  It's not getting better.  It's getting worse.  I have read a little about grief and, apparently, I am at the stage where the numbness is wearing off.   Last night was one of the worst yet.

I still can't believe he's gone.  It seems like yesterday I thought he was incredibly strong and healthy.  And so funny and full of life.  How on earth can he be gone?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Who's Afraid of a Haircut?

I got a real haircut today.  I had a trim at one of those quickie places a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn't enough.  I haven't had a real haircut in about 8 months.  Today, I decided that was long enough.

I purposely went to a new stylist.  It was good to talk to someone who had no idea who I was or what my life was like.  She didn't ask me how I was doing.  She didn't have that, "I have no idea what to say to you" look of concern on her face.  I didn't have to tell her I was OK, when actually I don't even know what OK is anymore.  Sometimes it's nice to be anonymous.

We discussed hairstyles.  I showed her a picture of what I had in mind.  She asked if I afraid to cut that much.  That stopped me. She probably wondered why I took so long to answer.  For the last 7 months, I have been looking at lots and lots of people with no hair.  No hair is the least of their problems.

Finally, I told her, "I'm not afraid of a haircut.  It's only hair."  If I was going to be anonymous, I didn't need to open up a cancer dialogue.

I used to think haircuts were important.  Now, a good haircut is nice, but it's not all that important.  In fact, now I'm tempted to take some risks.  I know for a fact that life can be short.  Today, my haircut was fairly safe, but one day I may turn up with blue hair or a buzz cut or one of those crazy asymmetrical do's.  Because I am afraid of some things - like cancer - but I am not afraid of a haircut.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sold the Challenger

The Challenger was sold yesterday.  It was very bittersweet.

There was never a question of keeping it.  I wanted to sell it fast rather than watch it sit unused.  Still, I was fighting through emotions the whole day.

I had some wonderful help with the sale.  Barry (Shirley's wonderful hubby) did all sorts of research and then put the info to use to negotiate a better price for me.  Linda and I had gone to the dealer and gotten their "top price".  We were assured that price wasn't negotiable.  Turns out the "girl price" was different from the Barry price.  A good bit different.  I have a business idea - RENT A GUY.  The company would offer imposing males to go along with single females when purchasing "guy things" like cars or lawn mowers or having "guy services" done like automobile services.  Don't those guys know that when they mess with a female, she will tell all her friends?

My wonderful brother-in-law, Carl, was my imposing male of the day in person and Barry was my imposing male on the phone.  It was pretty clear that Barry was the guy who'd have the last word on the financial end of this deal and that made the whole process much less tortuous.  Carl would have been a good negotiator as well (as would my dad) , but Barry was the one who did the research and he had already started the conversation with the dealership.  He put in several days of conversation, so that when I went in, it was a pretty fast process.  THANK YOU, BARRY!

The dealership was very nice and they definitely wanted the car.  It was pretty obvious they already had a buyer for it.  I'm thrilled about that.  I have no idea who the buyer will be, but I'm telling myself it's someone who will truly enjoy the car.  I'm also thinking that the new buyer may have an unseen rider with them from time to time.  They also may have unexplained impulses to periodically go a tad faster than they should.  They'll hear Rudy whispering in their ears, "Punch it!"

Speaking of punching it, Carl is the one who drove the Challenger over to the dealership.  He followed behind my car for most of the way, but then he had an opportunity to pass and he zipped around me in a way that would have made Rudy smile.  Carl also stopped by and got the Challenger cleaned before taking it to the dealership.  It sure did look nice.

Letting Things Go

Before Rudy got sick, I was already working towards reducing clutter and simplifying our lives.  I had read lots of motivational articles and books and had been making slow but steady progress.  I still have those dreams of living simpler, so letting go of things is probably not quite as hard as it might have been.  My dreams have been significantly altered, and I haven't even begun to figure out what to aim towards, other than just paring down to what I really need.

It's amazing how many quotes I come across
that help me deal with rough patches.
Letting go of Rudy's things is necessary, but not without sadness.  I have to push myself through each time I let go.  I'm pretty good at staying chirpy and not allowing myself to fall apart or act too sad around others.  When I'm by myself, it's not quite as easy.  Selling the Challenger yesterday was a bit rough.  My brain is happy to have one less thing to worry about.  My heart is not as practical.  The Challenger was something Rudy only had while he was sick.  Every time I saw it, I was reminded of how it helped him escape during some pretty rough times.  I am thankful it brought him so much joy.  But seeing it go was hard.  Real hard.  I need to stop thinking about it.   I want to hold onto memories of happier times.