Friday, July 3, 2020

Friday Funnies

All they need is a pole, and it's a party.

In honor of My Sister...The Devil who crocheted the world's longest scarf.
I'm pretty sure Mayhem took one look at 2020 and decided to go on vacation figuring all the stuff he had planned paled in comparison. 

It usually doesn't take that much.

Wiser words were never spoken.

Who you gonna call?

Even the murder hornets said "Bugger that!"

This is The Queen and I.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Burritos and Jews: A Memorial

It has been four months today since Oma passed away. I intended to write this and post it much sooner, but it got back burnered for a variety of reasons. My apologies. 

While I recognize that the title of this post may sound a tad insensitive and even offensive to the uninitiated, I assure you it is not. At least not intentionally so. The explanation will sort itself out as we go. I hope. I would encourage the easily offended to reserve judgment until the end. Or, better yet, take your judgment elsewhere.

So, who was Oma?

She was born in San Pedro, CA and was the younger of two children. She graduated from high school but did not pursue higher education. She lived for a few months in Hawaii. Sometime after her return from Hawaii, she met the young man who would eventually become Opa. According to family lore, Opa proposed to Oma three weeks after they met; Oma, having nothing better to do, accepted. 56 years ago, they eloped and went to Las Vegas to get married (a fact Oma desperately tried to hide from The Queen for years until a friend of the family innocently spilled the beans).

Oma was a homemaker and a stay at home mom who gave birth to three children at home from what I have been told. The oldest, a boy, died from the flu when he was only an infant. The Queen is the youngest. Between The Queen and her brother, there are four grandchildren (including The World's Cutest Little Girl M&M) and now two great grandchildren. The most recent great grandchild was just born a week before Oma's passing. Unfortunately, the littlest wasn't able to make it by the house to meet Oma as his momma hadn't fully recovered from giving birth yet. The older great grandchild was able to meet Oma briefly in January. He won't remember it, but we do have photos of the event.

I've shared a few snippets of life with Oma since the Alzheimer's. So, I won't spend too much time on that now.  It is kind of funny how some of the things which were seriously annoying in the moment (like the whistling, the drumming, the Sundowners, and the "S" word) are now almost fond memories compared to watching her waste away over the last month. Oma would have been mortified had she been in her right mind.

So, what was she like before Alzheimer's?

For starters, she was an indifferent cook if we are being generous. Oma herself said she was allergic to the kitchen although she was only too happen to clean up the kitchen for anyone willing to use their culinary efforts for her benefit. Oma would cook for sustenance, but there was no art to it. Spices were a foreign concept. If she roasted a chicken, it would behoove you to add a large helping of your favorite condiment to reconstitute some level of moisture to the bird and add a flavor...ANY the meat.

Strangely enough, that's not to say that people don't remember her cooking fondly. Ask anyone who knew her for any length of time what they remember most about Oma's cooking, and, invariably, they would say her "Bean Burritos". What do I mean by a bean burrito you ask? To answer that, I have to tell you this. Oma was a classic introvert to Opa's gregarious extrovert (though you would never have known she was an introvert if you met her at church). According to The Queen, Opa had a habit of inviting a number of people over to the house after church for dinner...and not telling Oma until they were in the car on their way home. Oma would blow a gasket, threaten Opa with bodily harm (occasionally inflicting some) and then set throwing together a meal with whatever was on hand which usually meant speed cooking a massive pot of pinto beans, mashing them up, heating up some tortillas and setting out the burrito fixings buffet style...complete with Mayonnaise. No joke. That family has kept Kraft and Hellmann's in business over the years.

Oma had one, to my eyes, very odd quirk in the kitchen. She would "dissect", as she would call it, her eggs. For reasons I could never get her to explain, she would crack eggs into a bowl and proceed to stick her fingers in the eggs to remove the white, stringy stuff next to the yolk (my quick Google Fu tells me this is the Chalaza which are spiral bands which hold the yolk in place in the egg whites). She would readily admit that she could not tell the difference of whether the Chalaza was in cooked eggs or not, but she would not cook an egg without removing it. Odd that. Go figure. 

Oma could also be quite resourceful. In true Scottish fashion, she was also a penny pincher and a bit of a hoarder. Anytime she was out walking in public, her eyes were fixed firmly on the ground in search of loose change, lost fasteners and other items. We would sometimes have a bit of fun with her and toss coins in her path. She would get so excited until she figured out what we were doing. When we cleaned out their house, there were stashes of coins and hardware everywhere. She was not above stopping the car to inspect items left on the curb by others and not a few items were deemed good enough to be salvaged and repaired. 

Oma was also somewhat mechanically inclined. Opa is a procrastinator of the highest order; and, as I have mentioned in other posts, he is the only man I know who is cursed with the "Anti-Midas" touch when it comes to mechanical objects. He would (and still does) put off preventative maintenance until well beyond it's due date. Oma would step in and change the oil on the cars or whatever needed doing. Opa tried to get the minister to tell her to stop doing that, and the minister told him to let her do it if she was good at it. 

Finally, the last tidbit I intend to share. Oma was convinced that everyone is a Jew. Everyone. No exceptions. Bear in mind that Oma was raised as a Christian; and, to my knowledge, never set foot in a synagogue or had any Jewish ancestry whatsoever. I didn't matter what your ancestry is, what you looked like, skin color, you name it, she didn't care. She was insistent that you were a Jew. You can imagine some of the looks she got with that one. It was downright comical when she said that to one of African American brethren in the Church. I'm pretty sure they got whiplash when the cocked their head to the side trying to make sure they heard her right. 

So, there you have it. A brief memorial to The Queen Mum, Oma, and some of her more endearing qualities and quirks. May she rest in peace. The next time you eat a bean burrito, think of her. 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Friday Funnies

Pinterest find stolen off My Sister....The Devils Pins. You really need to keep an eye on the writers in your family.

The moonshine wasn't half bad. It'll be a while before we see how the single malt turned out.

This seemed like a joke right up until the protests started less than 100 yards from my front door.

This is so true. 

I take 10 sprays, 3 times a day per my doctor's orders. Honest.

Stole this one off a nurse friend on Facebook. She has no filter.

Ain't that the truth. My father in law is even worse. 

I'm just waiting for the meteor to hit (inside joke to NOF "Meteors!! Duh!!!).

I need me some of these since Costco requires me to wear one to come in.

The 2020 scented candle

I will fear no evil because God and Gaston protect me (or similar words to that effect)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Further Adventures in Car Repair - Update

So, once upon a time (just a few short years ago), I had the transmission on my truck professionally rebuilt by a reputable shop. Everything worked fine right up until I had to park it a while back to take care of a pair of recalcitrant fuel pumps and assorted other maintenance tasks that needed doing. As such, this is not a post in which I will be bagging on the transmission shop. Their workmanship is not in question here. 

Having said that, never assume that a shop did their work correctly. They offer warranties for a reason. As Reagan said, "Trust, but verify."

As mentioned in a previous post, the most recent test drive efforts revealed the transmission pan was leaking automatic transmission fluid (ATF - the stuff that looks like cherry koolaid when it's new and day old coffee when it's neglected) like a medicated St. Bernard. Now, there is no good reason for a freshly and professionally rebuilt transmission to be leaking after less than 10,000 miles of driving. Unfortunately, it has taken far longer than I would have liked to find time to go tracking down the source of the leak. 

The first thing you need to do when investigating an automotive problem is to try an figure out the source and/or cause of said problem. Examination of the transmission filler tube/dipstick holder showed no visible evidence of cracks or leaks. Ditto for the transmission cooler lines. That's a plus. Looking at what was sitting directly above the large pool of what used to be ATF on the driveway pointed me squarely at the transmission pan. The pan on my truck is held on by 14 bolts which sandwiches a gasket between the pan and body of the transmission. The bolts are supposed to be torqued to 168 inch pounds (roughly 14 foot pounds). The pan and bolts were suspiciously coated in ATF. 

So, having localized the source to the pan and knowing the torque specs for the bolts, I finally got a chance to crawl under the truck earlier today with torque wrench in hand and discovered, much to my dismay, that all 14 bolts were not only not torqued to spec but barely finger tight. I am exceedingly thankful that all 14 bolts were still attached to the transmission. 

After giving each bolt a proper torqueing and wiping down the pan and bolts of excess ATF, I set about trying to refill the lost ATF into the transmission. Only to discover that I did not have enough ATF on hand to completely refill the transmission. The good news is  that  no further ATF was seen escaping the pan and its bolts.  So, I think that leak in the dike was plugged. 

Grumbles and cursings at the inevitable delays and a trip to the auto parts store later, I now have enough (hopefully) ATF on hand to finish replenishing. 

But wait, there's more. While doing the ATF refill kabuki dance, I discovered that the transmission cooler lines were drooling a little ATF at the fittings to the radiator (which also acts as a transmission cooler). OH COME ON ALREADY!!! 

If it ain't one thing, it's another. 

So, assuming the weather cooperates, my morning tomorrow will involve tightening transmission cooler lines, refilling ATF and hopefully dropping the truck at the muffler shop. Wish me luck and no more surprises. 

Monday, May 18, 2020


I have absolutely no need for an Short Barrel Shotgun, and I have issues with paying Uncle Sam $200 for the privilege of a "mother may I?" tax stamp, but that just looks super cool to me. It appears to be a Remington 870 cut down to about 12 inches with ghost ring sights and a ported barrel. 

Black Aces Tactical does something similar for the Mossberg Shockwave 12 gauge pistols. I'm not sure I'm quite mental enough to touch one of those off with 00 Buck self defense loads, but I could see carrying the SBS in a over the shoulder scabbard a la Ash from Evil Dead / Army of Darkness.

I could walk around yelling "THIS IS MY BOOMSTICK!!!" This is Texas. It's legal. It'd be great times.