12-5-2014 2-30-07 PM

Below is a poem my dad wrote for me when I graduated from Mississippi State back in, I don’t know, 2000, or so. This writing thing, it’s hereditary. :)

Cheryl’s Graduation Poem

You have spent years to pursue a college degree’

You have finally finished and don’t know what you will be.

Now you could go back and study some more,

And learn just enough to be a big bore.

You have studied and studied as you come and you go,

But do you really understand all that you know?

You have now graduated and think you are smart,

But believe it or not you are still a big Fart!

When asked as a child, “What will you be?”

You said, “Dog catcher, Daddy, that’s the job for me.”

After all of the schooling in your intellectual pursuit,

You are now qualified for that job that will suit.

Dogcatchers are good and a job of your own,

But it won’t make enough to pay back the loan.

All kidding around and joking aside,

We’re happy for you, Baby and brimming with pride.

Congratulations, we love you, Mama and Daddy.

By: Richard E. Campbell

 

True story! When Dad told me how long Veterinarians went to college, I told him I’d instead be a dog catcher.

Poem copyright Richard E Campbell, Sr, 2000. Don’t go stealin’ my dad’s stuff!

Image from sxc.hu

11-24-2014 12-24-23 PM

In keeping with the winter theme and living in the northeast, here are a few things you should know about owning and operating a snow blower before you get one. I haven’t actually read the user manual on mine, but I don’t think these tidbits are mentioned…at least not specifically. Still, they are important to note, so here ya go:

  • Frozen dog turds DO go through the snow blower.
  • Frozen dog turds are hard as rocks. They can chip paint and put eyes out when ejected from the snow blower.
  • The dog’s tennis ball left out in the snow will ALSO go through the snow blower. This is hilarious, and I highly recommend doing it at least once a month.
  • The dog’s hard chew bone toy will likely go through the snow blower…and come out in pieces if it doesn’t jam up the works. This is not as funny and not recommended at all.
  • Pointing the snow blower chute at things it shouldn’t be pointed at (like windows) will result in much swearing and cold drafts.
  • The snow blower ONLY runs out of gas at the farthest point away from the gas can. It will never ever run out next to the gas can.

 

Image from homedepot.com. Beautiful Toro model. My Toro is similar though not as fancy, so yes, I’m drooling.

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Those silly warning labels on products such as “Do not use iron on clothes while they are on your body” and “Do not close your head inside the oven while baking a cake” are the best. Those warnings are there because some doofus did just that. One would think common sense would prevent such blunders, but clearly there is a knowledge gap…between the ears of such blunderers.

Having moved from the deep south to the frozen tundra of the northeast, I quickly became a firm believer that New England should require an entry exam for southerners BEFORE they are allowed to relocate. They should also require a second and more extensive exam prior to owning a home in New England if that southerner has lived in the northeast for oh, say, less than a few decades.

Life is full of in the moment learning experiences, but a “Handbook for Doofuses Moving from the South to the North” and “How to Pass the Nonexistent New England Entrance Exam” would be great additions to anyone’s collection, particularly mine.

I’m coming up on the 15 year mark of living in Maine, so I have learned by trial and LOTS of error. I do believe that my errors would have been lessened with proper training and instruction ahead of time. However, by not having prior training, I know I entertained the hell out of my neighbors in my myriad of attempts to be a Maine homeowner.

Here are some rules that should be in such a handbook for other southerners considering a move north (assuming said southerner is insane enough to pull this relocation stunt) that is guaranteed to produce culture, climate, and sanity shock.

Rule #1: Whatever you think you know about the north, forget it.

Example:

If you grew up in the south, then that means there will be cold weather in the north, right? No. There will be #$*$&@! FRIGID weather in the north at times. I didn’t know gasoline, while still IN your car, can freeze inside the fuel lines. Guess what? It can and does!

Rule #2: If you can’t already laugh at yourself, learn or don’t bother moving. Rules 1 and 2 are probably interchangeable in rank at this point, but you get the idea.

Example:

Roof rake? Really? If you have never SEEN one of these things before, you should NOT be allowed to use it unsupervised. I was smart enough to keep the rake out of the power lines, but not smart enough to realize I should not stand directly under the spot I was raking. Several pounds of snow landing on top of your head, embarrassing yet entertaining for all. I think even my dogs laughed at me for that one. At least I learned quickly and only dumped the snow from the roof on my head once.

Make a major move across climates at least once in your life. It’s wicked fun, and, who knows, it may end up being less temporary than you originally planned. Or you may dart back south with your tail tucked between your legs. I ended up staying… after I unfroze my gas line in the truck and got the snow off my head. :)

 

Photo by me. Dec 2013. Maine

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I’ve mentioned in other posts some of the rewards program bennies offered by airlines and such. One treat you get where airline status means absolutely nothing, is stellar sunrises and sunsets from the air.

This photo above is one I took from the plane a couple of weeks ago when landing in Portland, ME. The east coast had been thoroughly drenched by rain for days on end. You can still see the rain in the distance in the photo. In this shot the clouds were starting to break up, and some sun was poking through. This was a fantastic view as we made our final descent. I didn’t want to look like a tourist taking pics from the airplane window, but I decided to screw it and take the pics anyway because the scenery was breathtaking.

Others were taking pictures too. I imagined we looked like a tour bus of kids at Disney with our faces smashed against the glass as we looked out. As we were almost on the ground I spotted the fattest rainbow ever. We touched down the rainbow was somehow even bigger. A murmur arose within the plane and camera phones started going crazy. One lady in the front of the plane got super excited, announcing that the rainbow was for her. Maybe it was for her. Maybe it was for all of us.

I don’t get too giddy over rainbows, but this one was dang impressive. I was more enamored with the people on the plane and the unified response to the big, honking rainbow than I was with the rainbow itself. I deliberately did not take a picture of the rainbow since a camera phone photo could never capture the essence of delight by many on the plane. Either way, it was a memorable landing that day. Can’t buy that with airline status, first class seating, or no baggage fees. Can’t buy that, period.

 

Photo by me. Portland, ME, October 2014

 

ice

 

Winter approaches rapidly for Maine residents. In fact, some could argue that it has already arrived given the massive dump of snow we received over the weekend.

Here are a few things to keep in mind this winter with some lesser known factoids about the fantastic folks that live in this gorgeous state.

Mainers are more daunted by the endless political ads this time of year than the thought of ice and snow.

Of the 0.1% of the Maine population that actually LIKES political ads (which are usually the politicians), the other 99.9% prays those folks are eaten first by the zombies.

Those percentages are completely made up, but I’m sure if a study was done, they would be proven as fact. Go Zombies!

For Maine dog owners, those little (and some not so little) land mines may be buried by the snow now, but never fear, they will still be waiting for you in the spring. Your best bet is to use the snowblower to chop them up and toss them into the woods, or your neighbor’s yard. Your choice.

Next time you’re putting on your winter coat and can’t find one of the arm holes, stop and have a laugh. I did this the yesterday, spinning and fishing for the elusive arm sleeve hole. Finally I stopped and laughed at myself for looking like a moron in the parking lot. By laughing, I at least made myself a happy moron. :)

Enjoy this year’s winter. It’s only going to last, oh, I don’t know, at least 6 months. Get out and play. If nothing else, start a snowball fight with a tree. You’re guaranteed to win…maybe. Trees can be sneaky in a snowball fight. Better bring a shovel.

 

Photo by me, Dec 2013, Leeds, Maine