Friday Frivolity: Alabama Adventure

I truly enjoy my time with my brother, ‘Bama Bob.  Just visiting with him and his wife in Alabama is good, but the real fun…if not funny time is accomplishing a “project” with him.  Last summer was one of those times.

The project was replacing a broken roof beam supporting a tool & implement shed.  This project also entailed re-setting one of the posts beneath the busted beam.  Consequently, we had to remove the broken concrete foundation beneath the old post.  Necessarily, we needed a pick-ax to dig through rock-hard clay.  Unfortunately we needed to kneel to hand chisel out pieces of concrete.  Regrettably, we hand-chiseled into an ant colony. Incidentally, we is a generic pronoun more precisely, ME.

In a flash they were all over me like ants on honey.  Oh, wait, they were ants.  Ahhh, they were all over me like flies on fresh…never mind.  Let’s just say there were lots of them and none of them happy.

But, I needed to dig the hole still deeper and could not accomplish that standing up.  To protect me while kneeling, I asked.  “Hey, Bob.  Do you have some ant spray?”

“Sure do.”   Came his assurance and off he went.

I wiped the sweat from my brow along with the ants from my pants.  And a few under my pants too.

I walked over to get a drink of water.

I walked back.

I could have taken a nap before he returned.

I was well rested when he returned.  “Gee, the spray wasn’t where I thought it was.”

He handed me the can.  I took dead aim at the heart of the ant population and pressed the atomizer trigger.  Pfst.

Please take note.  That was a 4 letter pfst.  Not the extended pfssssst I was anticipating.  There were a couple ants that looked up at me wondering if I was blowing a cool breeze their way.  I shook the can vigorously and pressed the atomizer button with all the force my forefinger could muster.  Pft

Please note, 3 letters…no s… Just a puff of exhaust from the can.

Bob quickly exclaimed; “Hmmm, I thought it had more in it than that.”

“I don’t suppose you have a new can somewhere.” I doubtfully queried.

“For an old guy, you’re darned good at supposing.”  He countered

The ants had calmed considerably by this time.  I took several new pick-ax pokes into the hole.  Oh, yeah, that got into the heart of the colony.  I exclaimed; “Break time.  We’ll get the loose dirt out after they go in for the night.”

In the meantime, we decided to go to up the hill to the woodshed for the needed piece of lumber.  The beam we had to replace was quite long.  At the woodshed, I pulled out an identically dimensioned beam.  Identical in width and thickness but was its length sufficient for our need.  So, I asked the logical questioned.  “How long a piece do we need, Bob.”

“That one is long enough.”

“How do you know, you haven’t measured it yet?”

“I know it’s long enough because we don’t have any that are any longer.”

Let me just say that “any longer” we might have gone that day would have been a bumpy ride downhill.  Did I mention that the woodshed is atop a fairly steep rocky hill.

Friday Frivolity: Sign Language

Summer is fast approaching.  That is a time when we spend a lot of time “on the road”.  Here’s a Frivolity I wrote a few years ago about a trip “out east.”

There’s so much to see while driving. Even though I keep close watch of traffic, many highways are divided so I can also gaze a bit at the scenery without much risk of weaving into oncoming traffic.  On a trip to Eastern PA, I discovered that Ohio and Pennsylvania highways are divided not only between east and westbound lanes, it is also divided into toll segments.

I guess I’m really getting old and my memory chip needs an upgrade.  As we approached the first toll booth, I told Sue to get the change out of the glove compartment.  She responded, “Ed, you don’t use change for tolls any more.  Give me your wallet.”  You no longer need a bag of coins for tolls.  You need a credit card.

In addition to divided roads to protect sight-seeing drivers from head-on crashes, they now have washboard strips along the road almost everywhere.  I suppose they are intended to alert a driver when they cross over onto the shoulder.  No doubt you’ve rolled over such wrinkles in the road.  But, did you know that in some locales the highway department actually formed the strips to play a short ditty tune?  I have not yet experienced any noticeable tune, yet I think Pennsylvania’s rumble strips have the mellowest tone.

Pennsylvania is also exciting to drive in for other reasons.  If you happen to be a Demolition Derby fan, Pennsylvania actually puts signs up in good viewing zones.  At least I interpret a sign denoting a “High Crash Area” as a good place to pull off the road, get a good seat and wait for the next Derby to begin.  Pennsylvania also alerts you when you are about to enter an area where reckless driving is rampant…”Beware of Aggressive Drivers“.   Yeah, that’s actually a PennDOT sign.

On one occasion, just after one of those Beware…signs, I came upon a sign alerting drivers of a Duck Crossing Zone.  I was on the alert for ducks yet my mind did wonder if there PennDOT would caution the ducks…Beware of Aggressive Drivers — fly you dumb ducks.  Then I realized such a sign would be wasted.  With aggressive drivers in the area, just how many ducks could there be left to cross the road?

There was another sign which caused me considerable wonderment.  “Targeted Enforcement Area“.   If the sign was indeed true and there was such an area,  why warn drivers.  Wouldn’t that be self defeating for any Sheriff’s department in dire need of cash flow.  Moreover, it wasn’t working as a deterrent.  I was ten over and at high risk of getting rear ended.  The sign was worthless.

Another sign that isn’t worth the money to erect: “Speed Enforced by Aircraft“.  Who’s kidding who?  Enforce the law by aircraft?  What are they going to do, send up Cobra Gunship Helicopters to strafe offending drivers.  And even if the choppers only gun is of the radar variety, how many tickets would it take to pay for an hours worth of aviation fuel.  Once again, the idea of such a sign being a deterrent is faulty.  I’m thinking the warning sign needs to be augmented.  How about hiring a few kids to sit on the mountainside remotely flying drones to buzz speeding drivers.

Regardless of whether the signs are worth the tin and paint, I hope they don’t take them down.  After all, they provide me with many miles of entertaining wonderment.