HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Today is the day of reckoning. Today is the day I have dreaded all week. Today is the day that we put up the 3M plastic window insulation, working together, hopefully, as a team to hold down our electric and fuel bills over the coming months. And it won't be a moment too soon! We just opened our October electric bill and for the first time since we moved into this house it is OVER TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!

I emphasized the word team because there are times when the wife and I try doing tasks together and invariably, tempers flare as patience wanes. It is one of the reasons that we stopped going out to Christmas tree lots to pick out a tree together. Ah, yes, the joys of joint marital decision making.

Last year my pal Blinky and I put up the plastic wrap and someone wasn't happy with the way it was installed. Too many wrinkles and creases. I can feel my bp rising just writing this. But one mustn't go onto the task with this state of mind. Think positively! Think positively!


I don't need anybody to tell me that next tuesday is election day. My e mail box is full of every manner of political entity asking for contributions. Obviously they are unaware of my electric bill!


Our house is a modified A frame which means that there are five wooden beams that run the width of the front of the house for support. I am estimating that they are about 12 feet above the floor below. The cats that preceded Hammy and Stella used to make us extremely nervous by climbing out on those beams, which at the most are four inches wide.
They would walk out there like tight rope artists and smile down upon us.

So when Hammy and Stella began doing the same trick we were already used to the routine but it still made us nervous. Then about two months ago, Hammy was executing a turn around on the beam just above the refrigerator when he lost has balance and fell with a glancing blow off the refrigerator - to the floor. He came up holding his right up in the air and we were at first afraid that he had probably broken it. I checked it over by feeling the entire length of his leg and he did not react in pain so i knew it was not broken. He favored it for a couple of days and then seemed to be okay.

But Kim noticed that if he tore after his sister during play, occasionally he would again start lifting the paw as if it was bothering him so we took him to the vet who after examining him thoroughly, declared that he had nothing noticeably wrong with the leg.

Then just two days ago, while both Kim and I were in the loft reading and watching TV, we heard the sound of claws scritching and then the sickening thud of a cat hitting the floor. We knew instantly which one it was because Hammy was stretched out on the love seat upstairs with us.

So I ran downstairs to find Stella looking somewhat dazed and holding a paw up in the air as Hammy had. After holding her for a while I checked the leg and again there was no sign of her being in great pain. In no time she was carrying on as usual. We have discussed putting up screening on the upstairs railings where they make their entrance onto the beams, but even with screening, there is no way we could stop them from leaping up onto the railing itself and then jumping down to the kitchen cupboard on the other side, so all we can do is hope for the best.


Yesterday we took in a matinee of "This Is It" the film of Michael Jackson's rehearsals for the tour that was never to come to fruition. I must admit that I have never really been a Michael Jackson fan but after watching the film I came away with a whole new perspective on him.
He really was a greatly talented man! Here he was, at 50 years of age, and spending long grueling days teaching the dancers all the steps and moves. i don't think that any of the dancers were even half his age.
i admire the way he was "hands on" in all aspects of the show and he projected a brilliance in showmanship that I had not seen. I came away with a feeling of awe at what I had witnessed and this was just rehearsals.
The musicians in the band were the cream of the crop from all over the world - and I mean that was just one hell of a band!
All the way through the screening I kept thinking about how awful the news of his death must have been for those who had worked so hard to prepare for the tour.

I heartily recommend that you get out to see the film before it is gone. it is only going to be shown for two weeks, so don't put it off.


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