Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Closing the Pool for the Winter.

It's late September and that means only one thing: it's past time to close up the pool for the winter. Now, one might think that with the heat and humidity of the South that the winters wouldn't be so bad.  Far from it.  We get lots of rain, some snow and most assuredly ice.  Closing up a pool, especially an above ground pool takes a special knack.

So, I was drafted into helping to close the pool at my neighbor's house.  Now when I owned a pool, it was as simple matter of removing a little water and adding the cover. With him, well, he has this plan to keep the water from collecting on top of the cover.  I am intrigued.  So, in no time I'm pulling that big pile of milk jugs out of the storage and filling them with water.  They will be weights when were done.  
The next step is to create a little pyramid of air pillows for the center which will create an apex and allow the water to run off.  Lots of planning and tying of ropes and re-thinking and only one of us had to get into the COLD COLD water!  (It wasn't me.)

When it was all done, the cover is held firmly in place by the jugs and (hopefully) the water will run off and not collect in little puddles. Little Puddles means stagnant water and stagnant water means mosquitoes next spring so, of course, little puddles are not desired.

It took us 3 hours. We're waiting for the first rain so we can see how well the water runs off.  We may find ourselves out here in a month or two reworking it.  So, anyway....that was my weekend. the you didn't know....

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Say What?

I've had a couple of emails about Southern Speaking, and I have to take this moment and point out that how you pronounce a word is not as important as how you use it. As an example, I've had many people tell me that 'Etlanna' (pronounced 'et-LAN-uh') is Southern for the capital of the State of Georgia.  This is not so much an idiom as a way of speaking.  An idiom is a word or group of words that mean more than the individual words may indicate.  (Brother Bubba the Retired English Teacher is gonna enjoy that!) 

So, with the above in mind, "Ahm gohn to Etlanna, thet citeh down in Jowja." is just a Southern way of speaking. It's that famous Southern accent everyone knows about.  (For those who need a translation: 'I am going to Atlanta, that city down in Georgia."

So, what about word usage? Southerners don't just pronounce words different, they also use words a might differently than the rest of the world.  This week, I'd like to introduce you to 'Airish' which, to be sure, is not the mention of people from the country known as Ireland.  Airish ('AIR-ish') speaks to the air about you, as in too drafty or cool.  "Pa said to shut dem winduhs, Bubba, it's a might airish in hee-ah." (Again, the translation: "Father has asked that we close the windows as it is getting rather drafty and cold in here.")

My office gets a might airish, but that's due to the air conditioner being left set on Arctic Freeze even when the rain is soaking the streets or snow is covering the sidewalks.  That's when I have to put on a heavy sweater and gloves just to work or maybe I'm not using the word right.  

Living and working in the south is nothing if not adventurous. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Slicing And Dicing in the South.

Every Southerner, it seems, owns a pocket knife and yes, I carry a pocket knife with me where ever I go (except to the Airport, I've had to throw out two good pocket knives right there at the TSA Pat-Down Area and I'm not going to do it again!) A pocket knife is always good to have in my line of work. It's good for opening boxes, or tightening screws on the back of computers.

Most Southerners keep a pocket knife around for one of two reasons.  The first is cleaning the gunk out from under their fingernails, and the second is whittling. When you drive into a small town, into the town square you'll always see a group of guys sitting outside the general store either whittling or a chewing a few ears with stories of yore.  (Yes, yore.  Stories of yore is what we all go to small towns for, right?)  What most Southerners carry is what is referred to as a "Pen Knife," which, oddly, is not for the carving of pens.  Go figure.  (A Pen Knife is usually defined as a knife with only one blade which folds into the handle.  It does not mean it has a pen built in - but it gets its name from the fact that originally, pen knives were used to cut and adjust the point on a quill pen.  I am nothing if not well informed!)

So, anyway, I've been looking for the quintessential pocket knife for some time and the collection you see above is mine, even missing a few.  I seem to find pocket knives in every drawer when I'm looking for something else.  I've had my friends and family give me pocket knives and most ended up being tossed in a drawer (not counting the two that ended up in the trash just outside the TSA pat-down area at the Nashville Airport.) I'd carry them for a while only to find some reason that they didn't really work for me and then I'd stash them someplace for 'later use' which, of course, never came.

Then I came upon a nifty utilitarian pocket knife in a dollar bin in a local craft store.  I loved that knife.  It had a couple of blades, a flat screwdriver and Phillips, nail file, an awl, can opener, bottle opener and even a pair of tweezers and toothpick -and a cork screw. Yes, a corkscrew.  It was a copy of a Victorinox pocket knife (you know, the old 'Swiss Army Knife?') and it did everything I needed, except of course, keep a sharp edge.  I had to sharpen it almost daily. I nearly wore out one sharpening stone.  Then, one day, I lost it.  (No, it's not one of those at the airport, I lost it on the bus - I think.)

I hoped to find another, so I haunted the dollar bins in the store where I originally found it, but to no avail. I had to go without for several months. I felt almost naked with no pocket knife in my Southern Pocket. Then, my lovely wife gave me the perfect gift.  The REAL Victorinox pocket knife - even better than the one I lost!

It has two blades, a file, a saw, fish hook extractor and scale remover (really? for work?) scissors, several flat screwdrivers and Phillips, nail file, an awl, can opener, bottle opener and even a pair of tweezers and toothpick.  It's got a magnifying glass, a corkscrew and then it also has a couple of things I have no idea what they are for, and a little bitty pen (blue ink...I have no idea where I would go for a refill, but it's neat to have.)  Oh and it holds an edge for weeks! I carry it everywhere and I check for it before I get off the bus too. 

I may not yet be a good old boy, but I do have a pocket knife. But I don't know how to whittle. 
More's the pity. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Escaping to the South

Just the other morning, I took this picture on my early morning walk from the bus to my office in downtown Nashville.  On the ground was this bright  yellow sack, from a nice Southern company known as Dollar General. Though it sounds like some sort of Official Military position in a bank, the name is rather easy to understand.

And Now:Your Daily or maybe Weekly Dose of Southern Knowledge: Headquartered here in Nashville, Dollar General has over 10,000 stores in 40 states.  Even though it has 'dollar' in the title, the stores are not 'Dollar' stores. Many of its offerings are priced at more than one dollar. However, goods are usually sold at set price points of penny items and up to the range of 50 to 60 dollars, not counting phone cards and loadable store gift cards.

 Besides all that, the store is known for it's big bright yellow signs with the black letters -  AND, getting back to my photo, bright yellow merchandise bags. The reason I took to this situation is also the fact that the plants growing there beside the road are almost the same shade of yellow! At first glance, it almost looked like one of the plants had tried to escape!

Ok, so it was a nice morning, no rain and I had to take the pic.