Monday, September 27, 2010

Skunked Once Again


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The skies finally cleared late this afternoon following another soggy weekend.  On a whim, I decided to take a drive to the beach and see what the setting sun had to offer.  Upon leaving the house, I discovered that a thick bank of fog was quickly moving in so time was of the essence.  Sadly, the fog hit the beach before my arrival, so plan B was to walk along the banks of Trestle Bay.

Well, a least for those of you who unable to  make the trip with me, you now know how Trestle Bay appeared on a foggy evening in September 2010.  My friends, that’s as good as it gets!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Visit To The Estuary

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While on my way to meet my “biking buddy” for a ride into the woods, I had a little time to kill and decided to take a short hike into the Nechacium River estuary.  As the sun was just rising, the colors were incredible!  The hike was short but the sights and sounds were priceless!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Government and Statistics

While watching the Ken Burns documentary, The Civil War, I was reminded of two things governments do exceedingly well.  They collect nearly endless amounts of information and generate statistics.  During the program, the following statistics were put forth:  for both the north and the south, the average height of a solider was five feet eight inches and they weighed one-hundred and forty-three pounds.  Their odds of dying in combat were 1 in 65, they stood a 1 in 10 chance of being wounded, and a 1 in 13 chance of dying from disease.   The minimum enlistment age was eighteen; the average age of a solider was twenty-five. 

The recruitment officers were extremely flexible and allowed drummer boys as young as nine to serve.  By the war’s end, 100,000 soldiers, not yet fifteen years of age served in the Union army.  It is believed that private William Black of the Union army  was the youngest solider wounded; he was not ever twelve years of age.  Astounding!

As a former government employee, one of my most dreaded duties was to compile several separate annual accomplishment reports.  I learned at a very early age that governmental agencies lived and died by their annual accomplishments!  Seldom did anyone question the outcome of a task; most of the questions centered on the amount accomplished.

My least favorite report was titled “the pesticide clearinghouse report”; a lengthy document sent to the department of agriculture which summarized our plans for the application of pesticides to the forest.  This one report took the better part of a day to compile and in the early days was typed prior to submission.  In the twenty plus years we prepared the document, only twice did someone from the department of agriculture ever call with a question about our report.  That fact alone always left me wondering!

The answer to me wondering came one morning in the early 2000s when I received a call from a sectary from the department of agriculture.  She explained that she was new to the job and having recently received our report she was uncertain what to do with it!  After getting over my initial shock, I asked her if someone actually reviewed the document to which she responded no.  Apparently the person who did that job had retired several years ago and no one else assumed that task.  As far as she could tell, our report was the only one that had been received annually for the past several years!  I quickly told her that I would make her life my pleasant in the coming years by never submitting the report again.  Government statistics, you have to love them!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Painting This Old House

Anyone who has ever owned a home knows there are few task more daunting than painting the exterior of a big old house.  At the onset the project seems so simple, choose appropriate paint colors, purchase the paint, power wash the structure, than spread the paint.  If the project was only that simple!

Although our house is not the city’s oldest, it’s birth dates back to the late 1800’s.  It therefore comes as no surprise that before the painting can begin several sections of siding will need repair or replacement.  Over the past one hundred years of its  life, the house has also developed more than a few cracks cracks.  If previously caulked, all cracks must be inspected and recaulked as necessary.

When I began the project on July 1st, I estimated that the job would be completed in less than four weeks.  Even though the two sides to be painted were the highest, what could possible keep me from accomplishing my goal?  Apparently the weather failed to understand my plan as much of July and August we were shrouded in constant fog and drizzle both of which make painting a challenge. 

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Painting a tall house requires several ladders of various lengths.  If you ever need a ladder, give me a call because I have four and they range in length between eight and thirty-two feet.  My assistance is however not included in this offer!


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This is the view of Astoria I enjoyed while painting the peak of our house.


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A view of the nearly completed job taken between rain showers the last week of August.

At times it seems as if the work of a home owner never ends!