Tuesday, August 7, 2007

the latest update

Okay, so I have discovered something interesting about having a blog that family checks: when I don't keep it up, they actually write to me! Well I have found that, in my silence--and by their own admission--they can't be trusted!

It looks like Mom & Rick have two new puppies--and it looks like they're making themselves right at home on the dog-bed, too. Now, you must understand (for those of you that haven't seen the aforementioned dog bed), that to the average person, this piece of cushiony furniture might look like a rather comfy leather couch, suitable for snuggling with your sweetheart, watching movies or taking naps on (all of which I have done on said piece of furniture). You would be mistaken, however, if you called it a couch--just ask the dogs! They have clearly marked their territory, and as Mr. T would say to those who think otherwise, I pity the fool!

Well, life is, as I mentioned to Pops, like a soap opera. For those of you that have never "followed" one, you won't know what I'm talking about. For those of you that were ever involved in GH when Luke & Laura were getting married, or any one of them when somebody died and mysteriously came back to the show, you'll know what I mean when I say you can miss a day and miss entire episodes of drama, excitement, and death, or you can miss a month and not much has happened. Well, such is life in our household, and so here's a (not-so-) quick and dirty since the last update:
  • Dear Husband has been working in the prescripted SuperK store, trying to put the people, procedures and training in place to help the sales and service turn around in the various grocery departments. People have been on vacation, and the hiring/ training procedures can be arduous, so it has been an uphill battle, but he's fighting the good fight, and winning. Team members are now in place, and improvements will continue to happen as training and oversight continue to improve.
  • Meanwhile, he was also shipped back out to Chicago for a week (7/30 thru 8/3) for Super K specific training. The previous 7 weeks were for Kmart general training--learning the corporate philosophy, some systems training, meeting all the right people, etc. Trouble is, it's now monsoon season in Colorado, so his flight was diverted to Colorado Springs thanks to the storm cell sitting right over DIA. I'm telling you, building an airport in a part of the state that has historically been called "tornado alley" is not a smart thing to do... But then, they didn't ask me for my opinion. Oh, and just heard that they're going to be doing a $250 million improvement project to the airport (excuse me, is it even 10 years old yet? Oh, it is? Well, then, it is certainly past due for a major overhaul and redecoration!), and that they'll be budgeting $30 million for a new luggage system. For those of you that weren't in CO when this airport was being built, we're SICK of hearing about the problems with the luggage transportation in the airport itself--the first one was doomed before the airport even opened. Okay! Onward and upward...
  • Princess #2 has had a birthday--15 now! Lord help us, she'll be wanting to get her permit soon... She also has expressed herself and is thinking about going to live with her mom full-time. Please pray for us in this area--she needs her father's influence more than ever, as well as some consistent discipline in her life.
  • Princess #3 helped put on a garage sale last weekend. Okay, now let me not downplay this at all. We had a TON of work to do to get ready, and because the girls were at their mom's, I was trying all week to get ready for the garage sale as best I could by myself. I was planning on picking her up and having her help me price some stuff, then take Friday off so we could have the garage sale, but work dictated otherwise. Since the neighbors were planning a block sale, we hated to miss the opportunity of someone else paying for the ad and putting up signs, so we planned to still "open shop" on Saturday--but with Dad's flight being diverted, we were several hours behind and he was in no mood to play in the garage on Friday night. She and I worked until about 1 a.m., got back up at 6 and were at it again. After a couple of early sales, we were getting somewhat organized and beginning to price things when the waves of people started coming in. I was instructed by a well-meaning customer that I needed to have Princess #3 running the cash so she could learn how to do it, and we ended up being so busy that we ALL were running cash before we were finished! Anyway, I have been trying to teach her how to count cash back the real way without doing the math--her math is a little shaky after a summer of watching Disney channel reruns. She doesn't understand it yet, but at least now it's not a foreign concept, and she knows how to hold the money so that someone doesn't claim, "Hey, I gave you a $50!" and get away with it. So much work, and by far the most successful garage sale I've ever seen. More than once I would be standing in an area where I could see most of the garage and driveway, and be overcome with the idea that there are about 35 people pawing through our stuff at that very moment. Sold a lot, but not nearly enough--and hardly any furniture, which is weird because in my experience, furniture is the first thing to go (and the thing that draws people in), but then, most of my garage sale experience is in a college-town, where a glass-topped hardwood table for $5 will fit into any decor. It's amazing how much of a throwaway society we live in these days.
  • Gardening in our parts is interesting. We are trying container-gardening, because there really isn't a place in our yard that would be suitable for permanently converting to a garden unless we did some serious landscaping--for which we do NOT have the time. Anyway, I was saving some seeds from some store-bought roma tomatoes this spring (which involves them soaking in water for several days while allowing a film to grow--a fungus, actually--and kill off any bad bacteria that would inhibit the plant's natural growth, when the seeds all sprouted!! Well, I can't let anything die intentionally, so I put them in some soil, and we now have a plethora of tomato plants. Never mind that I had purchased some heirloom tomato seeds on Ebay, and so had a couple others, to boot... Anyway, you'll notice my earlier comment was regarding tomato plants, and there's a good reason for that. We currently have about 14 plants, all of which have tomatoes on them--not one of which has even begun to show a hint of color that might indicate an intention to ripen anytime soon. Lord have mercy if they all ripen at once--it's gonna be crazy! This is where we get to the "death" part of the soap opera; in the parts where we live, the winds can sure kick up and knock a plant over, or cause other problems. Personally, I have never grown any squash plants, but this year we have zucchini (whoa, did I spell that right?) and spaghetti squash, as well as cucumbers. Now, cucumbers don't usually get lumped into the squash family (or DO they?), but they grow on a similar vine, and are susceptible to the same problems, including powdery mildew. We nearly lost our entire spaghetti squash plant a while back--it creeps up fast, and if you don't treat it right away, it will take over your whole plant and affected areas don't recover well--at least, not when you're using organic treatments, as I insist on doing. Did you know that a mixture of 1 part skim milk (any milk will do, but the lesser the fat, the lesser the stink later) and 9 parts water, sprayed on the tops and bottoms of leaves at the first sign of this pesky problem will not only treat the problem, but strengthen the plant against further outbreak? I spent a good hour last night, culling the dead leaves and flowers off of the vines (quite a bit of work, since they had "gone crazy" growing well before being affected by the offending "Douie" I have named it --think Hewey, Louie & Dewey, only "Dewey" was too cute and Douie reminded me more of "doozy"). The poor plants now look nearly dead--all the original leaves are long gone and nothing is left but the new growth on the ends of the vines, which has been treated several times with this cat-attracting milk potion and is even bearing new male AND female flowers! Maybe we'll get a couple more "spaghetti" dinners out of the plants yet!
Okay, well, that's enough of an update for now (that's Dani-speak for my lunch is over, now I have to get back to work) so I'll have to fill more in later.

And Mom, what ARE their names???

Strange Notes from World War II

In honor of my Grandfather, Colonel Jack Blanchard, U.S. Airforce, now gone for three years. We miss you, Grandpa, and can't wait to see you again on the flip side!

1. The first German serviceman killed in the war was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937), the first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland 1940), the highest ranking American killed was Lt.Gen.Lesley McNair, killed by the US Army Air Corps.

2. The youngest US serviceman was 12 year old Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. (His benefits were later restored by act of Congress)

3. At the time of Pearl Harbor the top US Navy command was Called CINCUS (pronounced "sink us"), the shoulder patch of the US Army's 45th Infantry division was the Swastika, and Hitler's private train was named "Amerika".  All three were soon changed for PR purposes.

4. More US servicemen died in the Air Corps than the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions your chance of being killed was 71%.

5. Generally speaking there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot.  You were either an ace or a target. For instance Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down over 80 planes. He died while a passenger on a cargo plane.

6. It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th round with a tracer round to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. Tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. This was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy.  Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.

7. German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City but it wasn't worth the effort.

8. German submarine U-120 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet.

9. Among the first "Germans" captured at Normandy were several Koreans.
They had been forced to fight for the Japanese Army until they were captured by the Russians and forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were captured by the Germans and forced to fight for the German Army until they were captured by the US Army.

10. Following a massive naval bombardment 35,000 US and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska. 21 troops were killed in the firefight. It would have been worse if there had been any Japanese on the island.