Thursday, May 21, 2015

Neighbor Bubba and Facebook

Throughout the many years I've lived at my current house here in The South, I've known my neighbor, Bubba.  He has lived in the South his whole life and much of what I ascribe to 'being southern' I get from knowing him and being in such a long friendship.  Bubba is not one to follow fashion (he wears overalls most days,) is not into gourmet food (his idea of gourmet food is delivered pizza,) and, which has amazed me more times than not, he does not use a lot of modern day technology.  

Oh don't get me wrong.  He's got a cell phone and a computer in his house, but where other people find solace in them, he considers them a 'necessary nuisance.' Where other people use their cell phone for the Internet, special apps, games and social media, I am pretty sure Bubba uses his just for checking the time and making phone calls. 

It was  his birthday the other day and I asked him if he got a lot of birthday greetings on Facebook. He looked at me like I had cast aspersions on his mother and said, "Facebook?"  He took a minute to spit on the ground and rubbed it in with the heel of his boot and continued.  "No, that face place is not for birthday greetings.  My boys know that and they know I didn't raise them that way." 

Bubba went on to express his feelings about all of social media as nothing more than a repository for dancing cats and baby pictures and though it's always nice to see pictures of his cousins and his grand-babies it's not for special day greetings.  In anticipation of my next comment, it stated flatly, "No, not even through the private messaging." He did not comment further on the dancing cats. 

"Y'see, " says Bubba, "When it's some one's  birthday, or Father's day, or Mother's day or any other day you want to HONOR someone, sitting down 'atcher keyboard and typing a line or two is nothing. That's not honoring them. That's getting an obligation out of the way. That's for you, not them. You want to honor someone, you get your keister (yes, he said keister) up offa that couch, you go to the Card Store or Dollar Store or wherever you can find the right card and  you buy that card - or mebbe (yes, he pronounced it meh-bee) you MAKE a card. And then you hand write a note inside the card and mail the card. Or, better yet, you take that card over and hand present it to them mebbe along with a proper gift to show that person how much they truly mean to you. That's how you honor someone on a special day. Even a gift card that you chose and purchased online and had delivered in their electronical (Bubba pronunciation guide: E-lec-TRON-ical) email is better'n just a Facebook greeting."

(Yes, he said both 'electronical' and 'email.'  Bubba is not fluent in techno-speak.)

"Facebook?" he ranted, "That's for those borderline people where you want to say 'Hey!*' but you don't want to say 'I just saved $5 by sending you a birthday greeting on Facebook.' For your cousin, your college room-mate or those guys you play Call of Duty with, yeah, I can see that; but for important people, people that mean something in your life? No, not Facebook.  And not Tweeter or Grouple any of them other thangs. (Yes, he said 'thangs.') I am sure my Momma raised me better and I hope I passed that on to my boys, too!"  

True to his word (or his rant,) later that day, Bubba's two boys showed up with their entire families in tow along with gifts, take out pizzas and a case (or two) of non-light beer (just sodas for the kids.) They spent the early evening in celebration and then they packed said family, sleeping children and all back to their homes.  Bubba had been properly honored on his day.

Now I have a whole new Southern Perspective on Social Media and Honoring Someone Special on a special day. You want to send greetings, that's fine. But to really honor someone takes more than social media. It takes more than a keyboard. It takes something special to honor someone special.

*'Hey' is a Southern Greeting, much like 'Hi.'  It is considered to be a shortening of the phrase "Hey, there!"

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What's That Smell?

My wife and I were out perusing the local shops this last weekend when I came upon the display above and I nearly choked on my own tongue. Ok, I'm not a stranger to Duck Tape (Yes, Duck, not Duct!) and in fact, I keep a roll of the Silver Savior in my tool shed, another on the back porch and yet a third in the car. (There might be one in my night stand, but I'm not admitting to anything.) Duck Tape is almost a requirement for a suthun man to keep handy - but this was something totally unexpected. 

It wasn't that long ago when found that Duck Tape had come out with such wonderful things as colored Duck Tape, both solid colors and playful patterns. Though a Justin Bieber Duck Tape leaves me rather cool I can totally understand zebra stripes, polka dots and camouflage.

This, though... it's like something in Denmark: it smells. (I'll give you a moment to catch that Shakespearean reference. Got it? Good, let's move on.)

Seriously, it does indeed smell. Look closely (if you haven't already) and you'll see that this Duck Tape display is full of SCENTED Duck Tape. Scented. Sort of like Scratch 'N Sniff for Adults.

There are currently 6 'flavors' in 6 colors. Pink smells like Bubble Gum. Fuscia smells like cup cakes. Purple smells like grapes. Yellow smells like sugared lemons. Green smells like mint. And, lastly, Orange smells like Orange Creme. I would imagine these are best used in crafts, as using a Pink, Bubble Gum scented duck tape to repair your seat covers may not quite be what you're looking for. 

Good quality Duck Tape, now in Scents. 
It makes Cents.
And that joke doesn't make Sense.   
Ok, I'll stop with the puns now. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Plastic Project - Plastic Paradise

In preparation for the Plastic Project, I've needed to collected a lot of plastic containers.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I could easily go to the store and purchase a large number of identical plastic containers and spend a lot  of money, but I realized that I didn't want to have to put out a lot of money on things which would spend a lot of time out in the shed. (Spending time with the spiders.)  In addition, if one broke, I didn't want to have to purchase more in order to replace it so, although I posted the thrift store as a good source of plastic containers, I chose a different route for this project.

The Plastic Project is all about recycling, reusing and renewing. So I began in earnest saving suitable plastic containers for use in my shed.  Wide mouth plastic jars like Mayonnaise jars were perfect, soda bottles, not so much. I became especially interested in such things as Rx Bottles and special small containers that came with such things as spices, vitamins and chewing gum.  (Yes, a small 60 piece container of chewing gum!)

These would be the 'small end' of the spectrum, holding such things as nails, washers and screws.  At the other end, and much more difficult to save out of the household trash, are the containers big enough  to hold tools or even other containers which may be rust-able.  (Is that a word, Bubba?  Able to become rusty?)  But as much as this began as a good idea, it is a slow and somewhat unsteady process. I had a nifty tub full of small plastic containers gleaned from the trash but very few big enough for tools.

It was then that I discovered Plastic Paradise.

  Near my home, is a large set of metal recycling containers where people can bring their recyclables.  Each large container (see above) is set aside for plastic in one, metal in another and cardboard in another.  There are about a dozen of these behemoths sitting beside the local thrift shop (the irony is not lost on me.)

One day I happened across the Plastic Recycle Bin and noticed that someone had tossed a large yellow bucket on top.  Not a bucket per se, but a big empty Kitty Litter container.  It even had the lid!  I grabbed it before it would be covered in sticky soda or orange  juice and took it home to wash out.  In recent weeks, I've 'saved' several more. 

After carefully cleaning them out, I know they can be used for large tools, collections of sandpaper, even a small corner wastebasket (with lid!)  With the addition of these big containers (as well as an easy resource for more) I'm about ready to complete the Plastic Project.  (With pictures!)

Stay tuned for more Southern...stuff...... In plastic! 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I Didn't See You There - Jewelry Dept.

Camouflage is a Southern Staple, much like fried chicken and waffles (maybe even camouflaged chicken and waffles?)  I've found it on clothing and cars, household siding and even a wallet made for me out of duck tape.  Even with all that, I could not hide my surprise at finding this new trend: Camouflage wedding rings.  Yes, you got that right, wedding rings with a camouflage design on them.  AND, these are not the only ones out there.  I found an amazing array of similar camouflage selections doing a simple search online.

Now, the non-southerner in me saw this and said "Oh, you have got to be kidding!" and the joker in me immediately though about how you won't be able to see the wedding rings because 'they're camouflaged' (cue laughter, har har har.) But the long time southern resident in me responded. "Yeah, anything is possible here in the south" - maybe even "The South."  (With requisite capital letters.)

You can find wedding rings with mickey mouse and probably even wedding rings with Dr. Who and there are all manner of wedding rings that resemble all manner of toys, hobbies, logos,  animals, planes, trains and automobiles.  It's a way to share part of your life in the design of the one thing that sets your marriage out in front of everyone.  The rings.  (My wedding ring resembles a Rolex Watch.  I have no idea why I put that in there, but it seemed like the place to put it.)

To the average person (read: Yankee) the inclusion of camo on a wedding ring may be somewhat against the traditions of the ceremony. To that I say...well, I'd like to say some things which are known to be used by  longshoremen and truckers but are best left out of blogs like this.

The South is known for traditions, but it is also known for breaking traditions and this is just that. It really doesn't matter what anyone wants on their rings (heck, I've seen marriages where they didn't even exchange rings) just as it doesn't matter their age, ethnic background or (yeah, I'm going there) their sexual identity.  Live and let be. probably can't see it anyway, cuz it's.....camouflaged! 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

That Ever So Southern Magnolia Tree

All over the south, you can find the illustrious Magnolia Tree.  Some consider it the essential southern plant, and a requisite for a southern plantation appeal. The Magnolia is an ancient tree, appearing long before bees. (Yes, that's what they say!) They are a hearty tree, with large waxy leaves and a huge flower.  I've seen the flower itself as large as a dinner plate! 

Throughout the south there are restaurants, gift shops, hotels, art museums and I'm sure a lot of other businesses I've not mentioned who use the name Magnolia. It is synonymous with the South and southern gentility. I even know of one woman with the name Magnolia.  (Only one? I'm' sure there are others, I just haven't met them, though I am surprised there aren't a lot more.) 

When I began to write this article, I knew it would be short.  I knew I wanted to mention a few things, Magnolia names: check; older than bees: check; the one person I knew named Magnolia: also check. Knowing I had little more than a passing understanding of the noble plant, I turned to that tried and true center of all knowledge: Wikipedia.  

Wikipedia has a veritable gold mine of information on just about any subject under the sun. Magnolia trees included.  So, I looked, and I found what I needed.  Now, here comes the shocker.  Magnolia Trees are found more in Asia than in the US.  Yep, the main center of Magnolia trees can be found in east and southeast Asia with only a secondary center in eastern North America.  This also includes Central America, the West Indies, and some species in South America.

Well, at least we're 2nd on the list.  And now that I think on it, I bet they weren't counting the gift shops or people named Magnolia.  Yeah, that has to be it.  

I feel better now.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Head for Southern Decorating?

I've said it time and time again, I love the south.  I love the weather, the food, the people and the odd quirky things they do like wearing camouflage to a wedding.  After 20 years, I think I know the folks in the south. (They don't know me that well, but I'm working on it.) Now, that said, let's turn our Southern eye to the photo above.  I found it on 'another site' heading an articled on 'Southern Decorating.'

Now, when I first saw this, I said to myself, that ain't Southern. The color scheme seems more coastal Florida than anywhere in the south (and no, Florida is not really 'The South.")  But more than that, the chair should be camouflaged and those flowers should be magnolia blossoms.  I won't even address the cracked white washed dresser and the rattan carpet.  (Though someone close to me says that the whitewashed dresser is very southern, I'm still not convinced.) 

Even if all that were actually something a tried and true southerner could ascribe to, there is one thing in that photo which grates on my adopted Southern nerves. It's that deer head - or rather, the embroidered deer head. (Nicely placed with the flowers partially obscuring the neck...why? I have no idea.) Ok, so it's possible that southern men (and many southern women) enjoy hunting and might thereby put a stuffed deer or deer head on their wall, why does that mean that ANY deer head is therefore Southern?  I've seen more deer heads on walls of hotels in the west than I've seen in the south, which might seem to state that the embroidered southern deer head above is, in fact, not southern at all.  It's merely some way for some Nawthenuh to put a pedigree to the design they have cobbled together. 

Cracked white washed dresser aside, we got a plaid couch (no camo!) and embroidered deer head.  No, not southern. At least by my Southern experience.  And that's mighty extensive, even if it's not GOB Certified.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

That Quick 'n' Simple Repair

Southerners are very adept at making repairs. I've pointed out many of these repairs and southern ingenuity in making repairs before in my writings and I'm always amazed at the displayed ability in the doing. Myself?  Not so much.

I do a lot around the house, don't get me wrong. If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know of the massive repair I've undertaken in the living room as just a sample.  I've got a long list of "Honey-Dos" that cover every end of the house and then some. Most take a lot of planning and more than a day or two in the completion.  But then I come upon one or two little jobs that I think, "Gee, this won't take long..."  and then I suffer. It's not my ability, it's the "didn't think this through" that gets to me.  

Case in point:  That picture up there.  See it?  It's a window in my laundry room, which used to be the garage and therefore has a high ceiling. The original owner (read: massive idiot) put in a hanging ceiling, much like you'd find in an office.  Two big 4 foot fluorescent light fixtures make the little laundry room nice and bright. But the previous owner (read: massive idiot) did only a half way job in closing it up.  This means that my cats love to get up in the drop ceiling by means of the folding table - to the dryer top - to the window sill - to the open end of the drop ceiling.  

Can't have that.  Time to close it up. I've got wood, I've got drywall and I've got drywall screws. It's about an hour's worth of work in total, so of course I think:
This won't take long!

It only takes a few minutes to cut the drywall and the small piece of wood I need and soon I've pulled up the ceiling tiles and am positioning the drywall for screwing it into place.  I've measured the drywall well but didn't take into account how the support (from the drop ceiling) would come into play.  The drywall pushes the support to the side.  I am careful to note this and quickly grab the support and move it back into posi -

This is the point at which almost the entire ceiling drops down on my head.  It turns out that neither of the big lights were properly installed (tied into the ceiling with eyes/hooks and steel wire) and the small movement of the support caused them to move just enough to fall through and since they were tied together, one pulled the other down.  It was loud and heavy when it hit my head and the laundry room was a disaster zone.  I cursed the previous owner (read: massive idiot) and then turned to cleaning up and fixing the dropped (literally) ceiling.

After a trip to the big hardware store, a small purchase of hooks, steel wire and a package of ceiling tiles, the lights were installed (and done properly, because I am not a massive idiot,) the drywall pieces blocked up the cat-access, and the ceiling tiles were in place.  Total time: about 6 hours.

If I had remembered that the previous owner (read: massive idiot) was, indeed, a massive idiot, I might have checked around up there in the drop ceiling more carefully, looking at the supports and layout, perhaps even cursing when I realized things were done poorly.  Instead, I had to clean the laundry room of broken glass and fallen lights.

I won't even go into the piece of the water heater which had to be replaced the next day, which, of course, took way longer than it should have.

Such is Life in the South.  Normally without massive idiots, but ...well, welcome to my world.