Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

There's Gold in Them Thar Hills

One of those half-finished thoughts from my last dream this morning was about opening a second-hand shop on the rocky hill where my mom's sister scratched out a living.  (You wouldn't think it would work, but haven't you ever passed a store like that in some out-of-the-way place and wondered how they could keep going?)  I would name it Aunt Eke's Tor.

Yeah, I know, it would be a lot better joke if I had named it after the mom's sister:  Ann Teak's Tor.

Incidentally, wouldn't Rocky Promontory be a great name for an Italian-American boxer?

Monday, February 20, 2017

It's in Owlbuquerque, of Course!

My mom and I ate lunch at the Owl Cafe this weekend.  I may have mentioned before that this is one of my favorite restaurants, not least because of its theme.  We went because I was wearing one of my myriad of Owl Cafe T-shirts.

"Oh, look," I pointed out to my mom, "They have a new T-shirt design."  Since a friend in high school dubbed me "the man with a T-shirt from everywhere"*, and since it's an owl T-shirt, how could I resist?  (I really need to gather all my owl shirts, count them, and photograph them, to see if there are any the restaurant has which I missed.)

While we were there, our waitress commented that she had never seen the design of the shirt I was wearing.  Nor had any of the other waitresses, the hostess, nor even the manager.  (To be fair, the manager hasn't worked there all that many years.)

I started pondering how long we've been going to that restaurant.  Well, I moved to ABQ...  Oh, dear God, has it been that many years ago?  Let's see, my dad discovered the place when he went to ABQ for his job interview back in the fall of 1987.  Yes, that was 29.5 years ago.  (Ouch!)  The shirt isn't older than any of the restaurant staff (at least on that shift), but I can't be surprised that they've never seen it.

Along those lines, I have to confess an incident that occurred at work earlier last week.  A salesman stopped by with some information, and a coworker asked me what company he represented.  "He's with [Z], which used to be [Y].  Before that, it was [X]."  I paused, then added, "Have I been in the business that long?"

* I had (and still have) so many T-shirts from other places (London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Hawaii, etc.) because my dad often traveled on business, and he always brought me back a T-shirt.  (To be honest, I can't remember at all what he might have brought my brothers.)  I think it started when I was very young, and he came back from Las Vegas, NV with a T-shirt which read, "My dad went to Las Vegas, and all he brought me was this lousy T-shirt."  (This should also clue you in that I came by my sense of humor naturally.)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Aren't We All?

One of the other tabs open in my web browser is for a plant search that I did at one of our nurseries.  I was looking for the availability & price of Pink Delight Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii 'Pink Delight').  "Butterfly bush" and "pink" are too broad for search terms, so I simply searched for "delight".  (It was the first plant on the resulting list, of course.)

The browser tab tells me, "Searching for delight".

It's to Grow a Field of Mongeese, of Course!

Before clocking out for lunch, I left myself a note to remember what I want to look into when I clock back in.

Mongoose seed

We have a bag of it here in our office.  Specifically, it is a cultivar of Kentucky Bluegrass, named Mongoose.  What I don't remember, and what I need to determine, is which of our customers we had ordered it for, and why we haven't sown it yet.

The Best Policy

A potential customer phoned for an estimate to repair a part of his property which was damaged by another person's vehicle.  We prepared & sent the estimate.  The customer called to say, "What about this or this?"  All three of us in the office agreed that we would create a second estimate as an "add-on" but that we wouldn't combine the two because the second group of items were not existing to be damaged by the vehicle.

The customer phoned today to say that the insurance company denied the customer's claim for the additional items.  The person who took the call didn't say this to the customer, but we all thought, "I told you so."

It's comforting to know that I'm not the last honest person in the world.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Won't You Do My Neighbor?

It snowed in ABQ last Friday.  I usually have every Friday off in winter, so I didn't worry about getting to work.  Still, I woke up at my usual time and went outside to shovel off our driveway and sidewalks.  (I didn't beat one dog walker, darn it!  It's always tougher to shovel off compacted footyprints -- and your little dog, too!)

I also shoveled the front walk for our next door neighbor, who is unable to do it himself.  (The snow usually melts by the end of the day, but our country is so litigious, it's better to head off a lawsuit than to expect people to be careful how they walk in winter.)  Before I could finish my good deed & escape, my neighbor's sister (who picks up his daily paper and takes out his trash & recycling every week) caught me and was effusive with her thanks.  (She was on the verge of tears.)  She asked if I wanted anything for my effort, and I replied, "No, thanks.  This is just what neighbors do."

Well, it used to be what neighbors do.  When I was growing up, one of my older brothers & other neighborhood boys would walk the neighborhood, asking neighbors if they wanted their driveways shoveled, and picking up some pocket money at the same time.  Does that happen now?  Absolutely not.

My mother is a senior citizen.  She has been widowed for ten years.  I've lived with her for just two years.  Do you think anyone rang her doorbell and asked if she wanted them to shovel for her?  That's a big, fat no.  Whatever happened to kids trying to make a bit of money?  Whatever happened to helping your neighbors?  Whatever happened to doing unto others?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Whither Canada?

Now that it's winter, our workload is greatly reduced, and I try to fill my workday with other things to keep me occupied.  (It's more of a challenge this year than last, since our office manager moved desks and now sits behind me and could see what's on my computer screen.)  The other day, I wasted time on Google Earth.  I was inspired by a news story about warm arctic temperatures, and I pondered what far northern Canada looks like.

Well, seen from above, it's a mass of white.  Then, I rotated the Earth to look at Antarctica.  It, too, is a mass of white, but I learned that it reaches an elevation of just over 12,000 feet above sea level.  Then I started pondering the elevation of other areas.  I know that the Sandia Mountains on the east side of Albuquerque, NM top 10,000 feet, but what about my house?

The driveway (I chose the driveway as a uniform point for multiple sites) is at 5,963 feet, which just goes to prove that Denver might be a mile-high city, but it isn't the only mile-high city.  My friend in Socorro, NM (hi, Betty!) is at 4,603 feet, and my condominium parking lot in Las Cruces, NM is at 3,895 feet.

We've dropped 2,000 feet so far, and I'm not done.  I looked for where I last lived, in Tulsa, OK.  It's only 730 feet above sea level.  How low can we go?  The driveway of my childhood home in Cherry Hill, NJ is at just 38 feet.  (If the world floods, bye-bye childhood.)

Would anything else flood?  I've frequently wondered why, if my condominium is in the Chihuahuan Desert, and on the second floor to boot, I have to have flood insurance.  According to Google Earth (and this is just scratching the surface of what I could learn), it's just 1,300 feet to the railroad tracks (after two or three days, the trains won't wake you up any more).  That's about three (American) football fields, including the end zones.  However, it's 13,600 feet (2.5 miles) to the river.  Aha!  The elevation of the river is 3,893 feet, just two feet lower than my parking lot.  I could see then (at least in calculations) how the parking lot could flood if the river rose.  Still, in reality, for the river to rise two feet and stretch 2.5 miles to the east would require a Biblical amount of water.  (I suppose I could calculate how much water that would be, and then compare it to the water held in Elephant Butte and Caballo Reservoirs upstream, but I don't want to bother with that much effort.  Just coming up with this blog post was enough.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

This Isn't My Fault

Technically, it is my fault, since I am sharing it with you.  I am not the originator, however.  For that, you will need to blame the author Leslie Meier for including this in her book British Manor Murder.

"'A horrible fellow, by all accounts.  He was killed in Canada in the Seven Years War, and they sent his body home in a barrel of rum,' said Perry.  'People at the time said he came home in better spirits than he left.'"

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Where Am I?

People think differently in NM than they do in the rest of the USA.  To us, "L.A." and "S.F." don't mean Los Angeles and San Francisco.  They refer to Los Alamos and Santa Fe.  We have a Las Vegas that is older than the city in Nevada that is more famous, for some reason, even though our Las Vegas is known for the Rough Riders Museum and where they filmed the (original) movie Red Dawn.  Speaking of famous, would you rather go to the Riverwalk in Texas or visit the Owl Bar and the hometown of Conrad Hilton in San Antonio, NM?

Who Am I?

In our office, we've remarked lightly on our employees' names.  For some reason, many of them begin with the letter "J".  Our roster currently includes the following:  Jose, Juan, Javier, Joaquin, Jaime, Jesus, and Jacobo (several of these more than once).