Be careful this Holiday Season, stay alert.

Criminals, love those of us that don’t pay attention to our surroundings while out shopping. People preoccupied with a smartphone, as they walk to or from their vehicle. They look for the inattentive person that they can get to without being seen. Then they snatch whatever you may have, or worse, enter your vehicle as you do. As you park, take a moment to look around before getting out. Criminals will notice you being alert, and are less likely to choose you, as a target.

As you come and go at home, make sure you look around, to notice anything that is out of the ordinary. A person walking or standing nearby that you don’t know. Or vehicles, driving slowly, that are unusual for your neighborhood. A person that appears alert and aware of their surroundings, is a less desirable target. We hope you stay safe and healthy as the New Year ends for all of us. Here are a couple of things that happened in the last week, in my neighborhood.

The Lone Rider

With the attitude towards police these days, criminals are feeling emboldened. In our capital city, located 20 miles south of us, they have nearly the same crime rate as Chicago. One of its denizens apparently came to case out the neighborhood just before Christmas.

I was in the office here around midnight, just finishing an old black and white western. I noticed out the window a vehicle coming “very” slowly down the street. It stopped and after a few moments, it moved on down to the place directly across from us. It backed into that driveway, and slowly went back the way it had come. Then stopped just beyond our fence, and next to an empty lot.

It sat there about 5 mins, then turned off its lights. I saw someone get out of the car, wearing a hoodie, and they walked back down past our house on foot. Then they crossed the street that our street dead ends at, and stood on the side of the road, near the bushy area next to the pond. Then they walked back to the vehicle, turned around and drove to our intersection. They turned left towards the main road, sat a few moments, then went out into the main road and did a U-turn slowly. They then drove slowly past our house out front.

I had called the police and gave them a description of the vehicle and the hoodie, I couldn’t tell if they were black or white. The police were there very quickly. Two units turned onto our street, just as the car, which had circled our area, was returning. They stopped him up the street, just out of sight. The vehicle was registered to someone from the capital city, Montgomery.

I have no doubt, that he was casing the houses. The place, right across the street, sits in total darkness, as does the old place next to us, where an elderly man lives alone. We have a bright streetlight that we lease from the power company that shines on our property really well.

Random yard work?

A knock on the door around noon, would see a black male standing there. Wearing a backpack and a beanie type wool cap, a bicycle parked not far from him in our yard. He started giving a story that he lives in a house way down the road, he had 5 brothers, they live with him in the house he owns. Yea, right. He continued on how he just kicked out 3 of them, because they don’t work and pay their share. His sister and mother just died from covid. He was $22 short of keeping his lights on. That was the jest of the conversation.

Meanwhile, Max is just behind my leg looking at the guy, with every hair standing up on his back. Dogs, can sense bad people. The guy, said he was looking for yard work. My first thought, this is the end of December, there hasn’t been any grass that needed mowing in over two months. 

I told him, that we were so broke, I couldn’t “pay attention”. Wish I could help, but things are tight. So he left on his bicycle and headed down the road, to his next attempt. 

They just seem to come out of the woodwork with pitiful stories around this time of year. His Nike Airs, and the pristine looking bike, didn’t help his story, either.

So, be careful, keep your eyes open, and be aware of unusual things around you. People coming to your door, if they are up to no good, will notice things behind you, and your demeanor, to size up whether there may be things worth risking a break in, or forced entry.

Stay safe and healthy. Comments always welcome.

It’s “Safe” to say, I’m getting started on a new day.

It’s almost 6 am here, and still dark, compliments of the crazy time change. Just when I was getting used to the old time, we go and change. Such is life.

Today, will be a standard Fall day here in the South. Morning sees you wearing a hoodie, so you can sip coffee on the patio outside, by this afternoon, you have to get the sunscreen out of your pocket, or wherever you could put it. You almost need to carry it around your neck, on a lanyard, during this part of the year.

The last two mornings, I have noticed the house down the street didn’t have the Christmas lights/security lights on, after about 5:30 am. He must have put them on a timer. Getting bad these days, when a redneck has to ration the use of Christmas lights. First light is appearing now, so the world is waking up.

Annabelle asleep.

Speaking of waking up. Our Great Dane is sound asleep on the couch, where she isn’t supposed to be. I sure wish I could sleep like that. There are times, when I think she was born, boneless. At least, she doesn’t snore. I have the corner on that activity, at least that’s what Michelle says.

Finally, managed to reorganize the main outside shop, during the last two days. We decided, since the move last year, that driving eight miles each way, just to hope what we were looking for was there, was just too much. Not to mention, I can use that $45 a month on something else, like me! We moved the contents here in a hurry, some of the days it rained, so we had to rush. Boxes, were stacked willy-nilly (is that a phrase?). I felt like I needed a hard hat just to enter it. As the picture shows, you couldn’t walk more than about six feet in. Now, it is stacked as neatly as possible against the far end of the shop wall. We are going through it about four to five boxes a day. Sorting, and taking a lot of it to the thrift stores for others to use, and hoard.

The junky wood to the right? Is an old bed frame I tore apart, or as we say around here, “Energetically, disassembled”. With wood selling by the ounce these days, it never hurts to have some scrap lying around. Lord knows, you sure can’t afford the real stuff from the stores right now. Won’t be long, and some old dog houses, will become prime material for many.

I suppose today, I will start back on the safe restoration. A friend gave me a safe since they were moving, and no place to put it. Super heavy, it has been through one fire, so I am stripping the paint and cleaning up the dial in preparation for restoring the dial and freshening up the paint for the numbers.

The thing weighs a ton! It was all two large men could do, to pick it up and place on a wheeled dolly, to get it over the door jamb. It is a Hall-Herring-Marvin fire-rated floor safe. From research, it is about 100 years old. 26 inches tall and 28 inches deep. Still works fine. It was left to the lady by her father, who passed on at the ripe age of 83. She couldn’t get it open with the instructions he left her.

The combination numbers were correct, but the method of using the numbers was wrong. I managed after looking up various information on that safe to figure out the correct method. She was happy, to get some old mementos from her father out of the safe. In the picture, the dial appears gold, it is actually brass. I had cleaned it up before the picture, as it was all black with white numbers, and I didn’t like the way it blended into the front so much. I will repaint the main dial black, and the numbers white, but leave the brass ring around it natural. Not only that, but I need to sand blast the skirting along the bottom of it, to remove age-old rust. The heavy metal wheels on the bottom still function.

On a side note, you never know what you will find from the past. She was shocked, to see two satanic ritual books inside the safe. He was a devout churchgoer. I’m thinking maybe I need to call in a priest, to bless the thing. Especially, since I opened it on Halloween!

That’s about it here, for my life in the fast lane. I hope you’re enjoying this Wednesday.

Reflections of a Weird Wednesday.

I’m trying to get back into the swing of blogging. I’ve been gone for a couple of months, and have missed everyone. Not only that, but I feel better health wise, and that has kept me occupied with projects around the home. Now that I am caught up, I can see more things around me.

I have stopped watching the news, just too much craziness, and stupidity, which I have never had a tolerance for. I keep up with just enough news to be informed, but not overloaded. For this weird Wednesday I’ll share a couple of crazy things I have noticed.

1. Since moving here, the neighbor two doors down, and on the opposite side of the street, are apparently true Southerners. If you’ve ever heard the comments by comedians about people in the south leaving up Christmas lights year round, then this is it. Their front porch is adorned with multicolored lights around the top and down the main front porch supports. They even flash. One has to wonder if this is a new version of security lights. Perhaps a would be intruder might think twice about breaking into, or messing around, a house where the occupants run Christmas lights year round. It’s the only house on the entire street with flashing Christmas lights.

2. It came to my attention this morning, that D.C. Comics has gone full “Woke”, Their new Superman character, will be “Bi-Sexual” and feature a scene of kissing his new “friend” who is a male reporter. There are times, lately, where one has to wonder if it’s safe to leave the house.

3. 150 miles to our south, in the Mobile, Alabama area. Recent heavy rain and flooding has driven alligators from the swamps into the nearby towns. They are reportedly wandering through yards, city streets and parking lots. A public warning has been issued in that area. Imagine going out to get the morning paper, and having to beat an alligator with a stick, to get there and back.

Anyway, I’m trying to swing back into the blogging saddle and visit everyone again. Now, I plan to paint this small house on the outside. Anyone that can paint a straight line is invited to come on down to the deep south, and help me. We’ll have BBQ on the grill!

That’s all for this morning, time to start a pot of tea, and then get on with the day.

Any Christmas lights in your neighborhood?

Like a hospital scene from an apocalyptic movie.

Tuesday around 1pm I cut a small area of grass, perhaps 25foot long and 2 foot wide, it was humid. My pulse had gone to 88bpm, and I felt a bit weak and shaky. My pulse seldom gets above 60-70. I decided to lay down for a short nap and still felt bad when I got up.   After the feeling didn’t pass, I discovered my pulse was now at 125bpm and BP was 190/111. I had her call the paramedics, and they determined I was in afib. So off to the big city. There they found the bpm at 152 and pressure slightly higher than a few minutes before.

I got placed in a holding room in the ER, and attended to by the cardiac team. The hospital was over capacity due to Covid restrictions. There were no rooms available, so the ER was catching the overflow with some patients on beds in the hall of the ER unit. A room was assigned to me due to it being a cardiac event. The next 26 hours would be spent on a bed made for a torture dungeon. The mattress was only about two inches thick, just under those two inches felt like a set of monkey bars from a playground. One was situated across the lower back where my back is damaged. Another was in my mid-cervical region, right below the discs in my neck that are ruptured. The bed felt like it was only about 2 feet wide, with rails that might bend over if you looked at them hard.

Fewer amenities than a prison cell

This was the emergency room part of the large hospital. They really aren’t set up for patients to be held there. The work flow of the staff is geared towards trauma, not daily care. Short staffed, and overworked. Day staff members were wonderful, the night shift couldn’t care less. In this room where I would spend 26 hours of my life, I had fewer amenities than a prison cell. No bathroom, no table, no water, and a good one to 1.5 hour wait if you called for any non-emergency help, like water. No pillow until 9 hours later, and never got a blanket until 30 mins before discharge.

A bed, a sink, various medical monitors, that no one seemed to monitor. The monitor was even turned off/muted at one point due to it alarming so often from my pulse and blood pressure. There was a 14-inch TV mounted to the wall, but it was askew to my plane of vision, so it could hardly be watched comfortably. No remote and just on one channel. Reality TV and infomercials. Karma, it would seem, felt I needed a lesson of some sort, I hate reality TV. When I first arrived, I had to request one of those plastic urinals. 26 hours later, as I left, it was still sitting on the floor nearly full.

That’s how crazy things were there. The doctor, on the night shift, forgot to start my aFib medicine after the IV bottle ran out, so I had to stay an extra length of time. I only got one dose of BP medicine, none of my usual pain medicine for my back and neck, so the BP stayed pretty high the entire time. I swear it was a nightmare. It was more like an apocalyptic movie. People screaming, someone coughing their lungs out. A poor elderly woman was in a bed just outside my door in the hallway.

Lord help me, it’s Adam and Eve tonight.

At one point around 3am, after having waited an hour to get someone to unhook me, so I could get out of bed to use the urinal, I finally took it upon myself and just stretched the wires and tubes, so I could exit the bed and get back in it. Of course, that set off all kinds of blaring alarms on the monitors. Upon crawling/ flopping back onto the torture bed, I noticed an infomercial coming on for “Adam and Eve”. You just can’t make this stuff up! They were starting a review of their top nine (count’em NINE) vibrating sex toys. I had no way to change the channel, reach the power cord, or anything to throw at the TV. I just knew the cute little nurses were going to arrive for that call I had put in over an hour ago, and would walk in with that stuff playing. Not only that, but I lay there for 30 minutes, holding my breath hoping the door would not pop open, while witnessing some of the most bizarre things people can think of that have high hormone levels. Thankfully, no one came in during the very detailed review of the merchandise.

Michelle arrived around 8 am. When I started complaining about the last few hours, she says, “My, your grumpy this morning.”

But I’m home now, trying to un-kink my back and neck from the torture bed. All is well in the kingdom again.

How was your last trip to the hospital?