Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shopping the Roadside

One of the things I enjoy about the south is the way that Southerners dispose of unwanted but usable items. (Though I'm not entirely sure that this is a Southern thing; but let's get past that and enjoy my amazing writing skills, shall we?)

Every so often I'll be driving down the street and see things sitting by the roadside.  TVs, shelves, even exercise equipment just sitting there.  Sometimes they will have a hand written sign saying "FREE" or "TAKE ME" and always I slow down to see what it might be. The objects in the picture above turned out to be a bin of silk flowers.  I'd like to have kept the bin, but didn't want the flowers.  I'll pass.
A couple of days later, on the same road, here's a line up of three TVs and a couple of mattresses. I can tell by the design that these are older style 'non-digital' TVs and as I don't really need any more TVs; again - I'll pass.  

In all this passing up of roadside shopping, the thing to note is that these things DO disappear. People pick them up, take them home and fix them, clean them and end up with some usable item for their home.  

In fact, I've done it myself!  In my work area right now are two chairs we 'rescued' from the side of the road, which my wife and I will refinish when the living room is done.  (Oh there I go again, mentioning that dang living room project and I said I wasn't going to go there.  But at least I'm digressing again which is always a good sign.)  

I also once picked up a nice Gun Cabinet. (Yes, Bubba, capitalized.) Now, every southerner with a gun has a special place to put them and a gun cabinet seemed the ideal solution to my storage needs.  Load it up and take it home!  The front glass door was cracked but I planned on covering that for more security.  To make a long story short, my projects (read: living room) never included the cabinet, and it ended up by the side of the road in front of my house along with an old mirror, an old vacuum cleaner and a TV (I guess there must always be a TV).  They were gone in no time.  

When I'm considering getting rid of things I no longer want or need, it's amazing to me that there is someone else that would overlook the mouse droppings in the bottom or the spider webs on the back and (hopefully) get some use out of it.  If not, they are probably like me, and will place it back on the side of the road.  

Now I'm wondering how many times that gun cabinet has been passed along by the road side.  Life here in the south sure can be thought provoking.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pretty as a Pitcher

Not too long ago I put up a very popular post about mason jars as drinking glasses.  Ever since that time I keep my eye out for those handled mugs and I even update the post from time to time.  Today, I surprised myself. What you see above is the pitcher to go with those mugs.

Made by Alladin and not Mason, this big two-quart pitcher is made of thick polystyrene and is light as a feather! (Ok, so maybe slightly heavier than a feather, but much lighter than glass would be in the same size!  Am! I! using! enough! exclamation! points?)  Made to resemble a big canning jar, it has both the Aladdin and Mason names formed into its side.  I'm figuring it for about a two quart pitcher (just right for Kool Aid!) and I wonder at the nifty effect of putting black cherry Kool Aid into that Blue Pitcher.

I looked around for the matching mugs to go with this pitcher, but all I found were cups with caps and straws. It would seem to me that this should be a set: 1 handled pitcher and 4 matching handled glasses.   Must I think of Everything?  A stylish way to drink your favorite beverage and the plastic won't break easily.

Maybe I just need to look around a bit more.  The South Hides Things Very Well!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chalk it up to the South

"I Believe In You!"
Every morning, I get off the bus for work and walk down one block to enjoy the city.  I get a snootful from the place that's cooking bacon and I get a few minutes to relax and look at the art on the walls of the Art Galleries (4 of them) along this street.  

Monday, I had a bit of a surprise, as you see there at the top.  Someone had left a nice thought in multi-colored chalk on the sidewalk right outside the bacon place.  It made me smile to such a degree I had to stop and take a picture.  Then I headed on. 

Only a few steps further, and I found another drawing.
Happy Day
And yet another.  Then I saw that they continued all the way down this one block.  There was barely enough light from the art galleries to take the pics, but my flash made sure I didn't miss any of it. 
"You Are Loved"
When I got to work I showed the collection of shots to a couple of people and we endeavored to figure out what was the motivation behind this Chalk Mural.
"Dream Big"
One person thought it might have something to do with the monthly First Saturday Art Crawl here in Downtown Nashville. Near 100 people attend every month and enjoy art openings and special receptions. 
"The World Is Beautiful"
Could this be the work of the Downtown Partnership as part of the Art Crawl? 
"If you want to live low, live low.
If you want to live high, live high."

The second person I showed the shots to thought it might have been the work of one or two people for someone else.  Someone with a special interview, perhaps, starting a new job or even new in town. 
The last idea was that it was the work of a couple of college students high on life and with more chalk than things to do on a Weekend. 
'I believe in you! You can do the thing! :)
The drawings were just amateur enough to make this more plausible, but there just doesn't seem to be a cohesive agreement here at the office nor enough evidence for anyone to guess one way or the other.  .
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who
mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind"
"Positive Mind Positive Life" - "Follow your Bliss"

"Imagination is more important than knowledge - Albert Einstein"
The most interesting part of this is that 15 minutes after I took these pictures and was at work, it started to rain, washing away the mural in a matter of minutes.  I may have been one of the few people who saw it in its original state.
"As long as humans live, happiness is possible."
I'm glad I got the pics, first because I really doubt anyone at work would have believed me.  So it's nice to have 'evidence.'
"You can be anything you ewant to be when you grow up"
And second because I'm happy to have them all to put here for your enjoyment. 
"Make today the best day of your life"
So, if you're looking for a way to spread a little joy, and don't have plans this evening, pick up a package of colored chalk and decorate a sidewalk for someone in your life.

Just another way to bring a piece of the South into your own area. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Invention Intervention - Foam It Up!

This is an invention to be shared. It's one I came up with myself and I encourage you to try it.  I'm sure you recognize the can of stuff pictured above.  It's a can of spray foam, used to fill in cracks and openings to keep out critters and drafts. The hard plastic tube allows you to aim the foam into even the smallest cracks and crevices. I use it EVERYWHERE I can! 

The problem?  To use the can of foam properly, you turn it upside down.  This means it's difficult to use the spray foam in ceilings or when you're crawling around under the house foaming spots above you. Oh sure, you can use it upright for the first few squirts, but you run out of usable foam quickly and it's best when inverted...even says so on the can. So, what do you do?

Just the other day, an idea came to me while wandering around the big hardware store.  Over in plumbing I picked up a 20' roll of polyvinyl tubing for a  mere $2.99

I took the roll home and cut off about 12-18 inches, leaving one end flat cut and the other with an angle about 45 degrees.  The straight part of the can of foam pops right off and the flat cut end of the tubing fits right on in its place. The other end accepts the straight stick with a nice tight fit. (The angle cut helps here...)
The Result: Now you can invert the can and yet hold the stick UP to spray the foam up into whatever you like! (For one handed operation I attach the stick near the bottom of the can with a strip of duck tape.)  When done, the vinyl tubing pops right off and can be discarded. (Total cost about 50¢.)  Run a pipe cleaner into the two plastic ends and they can be reused again and again!

When you show this off to your neighbors (and I'm sure you will) you can take all the credit you want, but be sure to say that it's Southern Thinking at Its Best!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Urban Greenery

It's a truly amazing place I live in.  I mean that. I discover more to enjoy every day.  Take today for instance. Every morning, I get off the bus for work a block early, just so I can walk by one restaurant where they are already cooking (read: bacon) and then walk by the art galleries (four of them!)  It relaxes me and reaffirms my love of this wonderful place. (Mmmm, bacon...!)

You can imagine my surprise when I come across the above.  Yes, you see it right; that is a stretch of green grass sod laid out carefully in the parking lane of the downtown two lane street.  A couple of us stood there and wondered about it for a while.  Art Installation? It is right in front of one of the art galleries.  Picnic Area? Hmm not really wide enough for a good picnic.  There is no fence around it, so it's there for some obvious reason.  AND the nifty red cones indicate that there may be more sod by the end of the day.  It's a conundrum of sorts that's for sure.

But all in all, this is one of the reasons I so enjoy living and working in the South - in Nashville in particular. It shows the constant energy of the people around you every day.  How many people came downtown today and didn't see this?  No one from my office saw it and were amazed when I showed them the photo. So, it's there only for the finite fortunate few who venture out enough to see the city.  

Ya gotta just love that about your city or town. I sure do.
Maybe there will be something in the paper later to explain this.


As it turns out, it was part of a downtown company's employee appreciation day.  Not sure how the grass played in, but it's nice to know.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Marv Returns to Write Another Day

12 ft. Sheets of drywall, not as easy as it sounds...
I'm getting to the point where I hate to go home.  I'm having to work on the house every free moment and when I'm not working on the house, I'm thinking about working on the house, thinking about the next part of the project, thinking about the cost, planning what tools I will need (and where I might have left them) along with the ever present "Did I get THEM all?"

As you can see, the floor has been replaced, along with 10 of the floor joists. (My neighbor, the retired construction worker helped with all that.) I've replaced many of the wall studs, and replaced the insulation.  I've added a couple of new outlets, fixed the outside walls and am beginning work on the drywall.  The work is getting done, but it's really taking a toll.

Such a toll, in fact, that I ended up spending the night in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer.  Not fun, and it also forced me to spend a couple of weeks not doing anything on the house. I just sit here staring at the plastic covering the room, remembering the half done drywall and trying not to think of all the little things that are not getting done. Double Not Fun.

So, to keep myself from ending up in the hospital again, or from slamming my head face first into the side of the bus on the way home from work, I've decided that I will (read: must) get back to The Marvinators Place and put down some decidedly non-termite related blog posts, digressions and all. 

I can tell that this puts you all in a quiver.
I promise not to digress (much) and give my retired English-teacher brother Bubba some much needed practice in correcting my Its and It's.  See you next week!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Life in the South- Taking a Break

This termite thing has been a wild wild ride and it's not over.  My emotions are gone.  I'm pretty much numb from it all. I encourage you all, if you own a home to have it inspected for termites on a regular basis, or learn how to do it yourself.  If you have a giving heart, please click the GOFUNDME link at the top right and give a little to help.  Every dollar will get my own personal Southern Thank you in reply!

I love the south. I love blogging and I like writing for those few who stop by regularly and read.   Please don't let my emotional setbacks deter you from reading some (or all) of my other posts on life in the south. If you scroll down on the right, you'll find the archive, and down further, some of the more popular posts this month.

I will return, but I'm just not sure how soon.