Stormy Weather…


Stormy Sky

I was out for a drive today
something I like to do
and as usual along the way
I listen to stories on Audiobooks
as I try to guess which of the crooks
will get shot or some other terrible fate
as the good guy wins as they usually do
for I have yet to hear a story that tells
of the bad guys winning the thought repels.
as the good guy always gets the girls
and is the hero and here to stay
as the bad guys are dropped along the way.

I noticed as I drove along
the dark clouds forming in the sky
and wondered if it would rain
something that would be our gain
as rain in the Summer in Texas is rare
the lack of which we often despair
before long the wind started to blow
and raindrops on the windshield fell
so that driving I would have a clue
to turn on the wipers just to view
the road in front of me that I could drive
in order to just stay alive.

Pretty soon the lightning started to flash
and the thunder followed with a loud clash
and the noise of the rain as it beat on the roof
made it hard to hear the story in truth
I was more concerned with driving straight
than what was happening with the books
so I really started to concentrate
and turned off the device to keep a look
at the road in the storm as I made my way home
arriving safely and making sure to atone
by listening on a different day
when the weather is better to drive and play.

Written 7/8/2018

Back at my Ford Dealer – 2


Audiobooks-Webinar-LOGOHere I am as I sit and wait
yet one more time at the place
that lately has been my home
even though I would rather roam
than be sitting here writing these words
to fill the time that I have on my hands
although I really do understand.

Two weeks ago when I was here
they took a look and as I feared
said that it would take some time
to order the part by going on line
and that I should wait for their call
before bringing back the truck
and so with these words I was stuck.

This time the unit that lets me hear
Audiobooks or shows me a map
decided that it would not work
leaving me to listen to my phone
to hear the story as I drive alone
which although not very loud
did the trick with limited sound.

I settled down expecting a wait
and it wasn’t long as I started to write
that my service lady came to me
and told me that I was free
to go as the truck was fixed
and everything should be just like new
as I shook her hand and said Thank You.

I tuned in the unit so I  would hear
the story from the speakers instead of the phone
as I took the highway home
along with the traffic jamming the roads
I did not really mind the slow drive
as from all around loud and clear
came the voice of the storyteller in my ear.

Written 7/12/2018

This and That…


child_games_in_wonderful_soccer_dreams

I commented in the last couple of blogs just how hot it is here in my part of  Central Texas. It is like this every year with some years worse than others. The record was set in 2011 when Austin at Camp Mabry, one of the weather recording centers, registered 83 consecutive days with the temperatures 100 degrees or more. It doesn’t matter what way you look at it, that was a bloody hot summer. Luckily, the humidity was low which made it a little more bearable.

We have just had our first 100 degree days this past week with the thermometer reaching 100 on three consecutive days. There are thunderstorms forecast for the next couple of days which will bring some welcome relief. Along with the high temperatures there are all sort of bye products caused by the heat. Things like high electric bills with the A/C units at full blast and in many cases, replacement units due to the older models breaking down. Try to imagine what the inside of a house is like with no A/C when the outside temperature is 100 degrees or higher. Fans are a big help but they only move the hot air around as they don’t cool it.

If you are an avid gardener, it is a heartbreaking struggle to keep your precious plants alive especially if you are on city water and there are watering restrictions. Austin gets most of its water from the Highland Lakes which is a chain of six freshwater lakes in Central Texas formed by six dams on the lower Colorado River. A heat wave like the one in 2011 actually lowered the lake water quite considerably as the water evaporates along with the demands from all of the Municipalities downstream. It took several years for the lake levels to return to normal after that and it was officially declared a drought.

In my younger days, thirty or so years ago, I was still an avid soccer player at the top Amateur level. The teams I played with would often go away to Tournaments in Dallas or Houston or sometimes even further afield to New Orleans or Florida. These Tournaments were nearly always in the summer, again the hottest time of the year but although they were competitive, it was only for fun. Apart from getting to play several games over a weekend, we went for the company and camaraderie that belonging to a team brings. And the beer of course, lots of beer. I remember on two separate occasions, one in Dallas and the other in Houston when the heat got to us more than usual.

The Dallas Tournament was played on a large soccer complex which like all such complexes was built with very little shade around the fields. Our particular field had Flood Lights surrounding the field mounted on six, sixty foot metal poles. This was the only shade close to the field and spectators and players not in the game were all standing in a line in the shadow of the poles with a larger group at the end where the bank of lights projected a bigger shadow. It was pretty funny. The actual temperature that day was 108 degrees, the hottest that I have ever played in. The game itself was played in slow motion with the players trying to conserve as much energy as possible and when they wanted to sub out, they had the greatest difficulty in finding someone to take their place.  Usually, subs are lined up just waiting to get into the game but not on that particular day. I can’t remember much about the game or even if we won as the heat was the overriding factor for all of us.

The Tournament in Houston was very much the same with very high temperatures. The difference was that in Houston, being close to the sea, the humidity was through the roof which made it appear to be much hotter than it really was. Humidity saps the strength right out of you whether you are used to it or not. The same thing happened as in the Dallas Tournament except there were no floodlights to provide shade. In the second half players were subbing in and out at a tremendous rate as in these Amateur games, subs are unlimited. In the end, it got to where you couldn’t find anyone willing to go back in which meant that you had to stay on the field or if you came off anyway, the team had to play short. That game was truly a miserable experience for both teams. I can’t remember who won and in truth, really didn’t care.

On the home front with all of my ponds, I have to be very careful to make sure that there is no water wastage from anywhere. As it is, keeping the water cool enough for the Koi and Goldfish during these periods of high temperatures is a difficult task. The only real way is to keep the water moving with waterfalls and water features and plant lots of Lilies and water shading plants. The other big problem it to maintain the oxygen levels in the water as the heat tends to deplete the amount of oxygen. I have separate bubblers in all of my ponds which this time of the year are running non stop and even with these precautions, it not a bit unusual to find fish floating on the top.

I have all native plants in my garden which I tend to let grow wild only trimming them where my pathways are or maybe to keep them from crowding out the other growth. If I  have to water them to keep them alive I have installed an underground soaker hose system which if absolutely necessary, will run at night on timers. This is enough to keep the plants alive without wasting too much water in overspill. My garden is really a jungle in disguise which makes it much easier to maintain.

The one redeeming factor is that we can look forward to the Hurricane Season and since 80% of the North Atlantic Hurricanes form from June through October, hurricane season is declared from June 1 to November 30. The months when storms are most frequent on the Texas coast are August and September. If we do get any at all and that is not a certainty, we will probably get cooler temperatures and rain which if it is in excessive amounts will bring its own problems.

Texas has a saying, “If you don’t like the Texas weather, just wait five minutes and it will change”. This saying is also credited to many other States to which it can apply.

Written on another hot day in Texas.
7/3/2018

 

Summertime


west_tx_summer_sky

Summer is here with all that it brings
as the temperature climbs as though it has wings
going higher and higher with each passing day
topping out around a hundred too hot to stay
outside in the heat for long and instead
stay where cool air blows overhead
keeping us cool the dogs and me
as we each do our thing quite comfortably
the dogs are quiet each with their spot
it must be nice to sleep such a lot
and its instant the minute their head hits the floor
except when I get up to go out the door
they are awake  and right by my feet
in case they miss something maybe a treat
I have learned here in Texas a long time ago
that the heat from the Sun will make your skin glow
and sunburn is the most painful thing
when all it takes is a hat and to cover the skin
with lotion especially made for the task
without it your life will surely not last
Texans are pretty tough more than most
we’re used to the heat is something they boast
as the summers are not for the faint of heart
as A/C and cool drinks each play their part
around the end of September it will start to cool down
by then the Sun will have parched the ground
unless we are lucky and had some rain
which sometimes happen when a hurricane
moves in from the sea and onto the shore
and we get rain lots of rain sometimes more
than we need as it floods the rivers and lakes
and then it is gone which is all it takes
to make things grow the following spring
as Natures design covers everything
it may be hot more hot than I like
but I would not change it for a cooler life
instead of the heat the frosts I can’t stand
and the snow and the ice which covers the land
in winter making six months obsolete
to me is far worse than the Texas heat.

Written 7/1/2018

 

One of Those Days


DSC_2687
Have you ever had one of those days
when the brain doesn’t work in so many ways
to go outside to work in the yard
but the brain tells you that it is hard
as the temperature is a hundred degrees
and no comfort found even under the trees
so you try to think of things to do
and your brain will not work like it hasn’t a clue
you stare at the screen hoping words will appear
that will tell you that the time is near
and your brain will start working and words you will write
but nothing appears on the screen in your sight
you try to think of other things to do
but your brain is acting like it hasn’t a clue
maybe go for a drive in my wonderful truck
with an Audiobook as my brain runs amok
as I try to figure the story ahead
but fooled by the ending as the hero is dead
my eyes are heavy so maybe a nap
but when I awake I will feel like crap
for having wasted such a beautiful day
when I should be outside at play
I think and think but nothing appears
I hate to waste a day of the years
of the few that are remaining to me
on this earth in this life my time foreseen.
the dogs are asleep in their usual place
each has a spot so as not to displace
each other or me as they snore away
content in their world no fears to allay
sometimes I wish that I were a dog
a beautiful life to sleep like a log
whenever the urge creeps up on me
safe in the arms of my family
Alas, for I have no such luck
and my brain is still not running amok
with ideas for me to do today
so inside writing poetry I will stay
and tonight later on I will spring back to life
and my brain will lose the anger and strife
that seems to have bothered me
as my brain does not work consistently
tomorrow is another day
and my brain will switch on and I will play
out in the woods along the trails
taking pictures of whatever Nature avails
something that I love to do
I think of yesterday and I haven’t a clue….

Written 6/30/2016

The News is Bad…


redwolf1

Red Wolf

It seems to me like every day
when I check the mail in my usual way
to see what has changed in this ongoing fight
to prevent this world from disappearing from sight
at least the contents of the world
the animals and birds whose fate is unfurled
as day by day something else is news
and another species lives are reviewed
as being dispensable in the name of greed
as someone figures that to succeed
they must change the land that has been decreed
to protect an endangered species whose needs
have already been put on the list
that without protection they will not exist
and yet even though they will be gone
greed for many is very strong
and to take the land to make a buck
leaves the animals and birds out of luck
the almighty dollar rules this land
to amass a fortune things are planned
that do not consider the impact they say
too bad for the wildlife that gets in the way
and the fact that extinction for many is real
these people for animals do not relate
any empathy and they may even hate
the fact that the species was already aligned
for thousands of years in the annals of time
long before man walked on this earth
to spread his will on the land and make it his worth
Man will destroy the very world that he claims
too late will he realize that to further his aims
as he poisons the air and water and land
at the end of it all what will he have planned
what good will money and gold be then
as the Earth will be just a desolate waste
and Man a memory just drifting in space.

Prompted by the news that there are only 40 Red Wolves left in the wild in Eastern Carolina and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a 90 percent reduction in the land available for red wolf recovery in eastern North Carolina. This area supports the last wild population of red wolves. And worse, the proposal would allow private landowners free reign to shoot any red wolves that wander across their property.

Sometimes, I am truly ashamed to be born a human.

Written 6/28/2018

 

 

Back at My Ford Dealer-1


bluetooth-logo

Well, I am sitting in the waiting room at my Ford Dealer and this time, they are taking a look at my truck to see why the Bluetooth and GPS System only works spasmodically. As I have mentioned many times in previous blogs, listening to Audiobooks is one of my favorite pastimes. I always use the Bluetooth system to have my I-Phone play through the speaker system on the truck and usually, the system works very well.

A couple of weeks ago, the level of consistency dropped considerably and the Bluetooth started to lose signals causing a very disjointed playback. At first I thought that it might be the I-Phone as mine is an older model even though it is loaded with the latest software but it suits my needs very well. I took it to my ATT store and they ran a few checks and told me the phone is just fine. Back in the truck, I began to have problems with the GPS system as well as in just making the Audiobook connections and so I knew it was time to make yet another trip to Covert Ford which is located a little over 20 miles from my house. To get to it means travelling up a super highway affectionately known as Mopac to the locals, which during regular daytime hours is the second most heavily traveled road in Austin with IH35 as the busiest. During rush hour, this road is bumper to bumper with the traffic crawling along at a stop and go rate.If ever there is a wreck, then you can almost guarantee lots of sitting in place in the middle of hundreds of vehicles all with their engines running  and polluting the atmosphere. Not a great place to be. Mopac, also known as Loop 1, connects the North end of town to the South end and has just undergone a major rebuilding from Town Lake almost all the way to West Anderson Lane. This has improved the situation dramatically.

Monday morning rolled around as if by clockwork and I made a big effort and got up at 6:00 am which to me is an ungodly and unhealthy hour to be awake. I was out of the house by 6:30 am and on the road. To my surprise, there was hardly any traffic on the road compared to later in the day and I made the trip to Covert in no time flat and was fifth in line. They open at 7:00 am and are usually very busy almost all day long in their service areas.

My Service Adviser is a young lady who goes by the name of Whitney and she took down all of the details. I thought that I would be leaving the truck with them while I waited in the Lounge Area writing this blog but it turned out that because it is a Factory Warranty Item, Whitney had to wait for paperwork to come through before going forward with the repair and that she would call me as soon as it does.

So, I drove home and was going in the opposite direction to the early morning rush hour traffic and made good time. I was greeted at the door by two very excited little dogs with the third one out in the yard who also made a big fuss of me when I went out to check the ponds. Now if only my wives had been this affectionate…

The following day, Whitney called and we set up an appointment for the next day which was a Wednesday. Again, I made the tremendous effort and dragged myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 6:00 am and was back up at Covert Ford by 7:00 am. I handed the truck keys over to Whitney and settled in with my Surface Tablet to write this blog. Since my last trip, Covert has installed a new fancy coffee machine that dispenses all kids of coffee drinks. I went with my usual Latte as I settled down to write this blog.

An hour later, Whitney walked in and said that “They have finished on the “discovery” part of the work and that they were going to have to order the part which would take a couple of days and I will call you to set up the next appointment”. She also explained that the next part of the work to actually install the part would only take 45 minutes which was good news. I have never been to Covert Ford and been in and out in 45 minutes so I am a little dubious that it will be that short.

I packed up all of my stuff and made the journey back home and again and as I was going in the opposite direction to the rush hour, made good time. Again, I was greeted at the door by the same little dogs as before only this time all three of them gave me a cheerful welcome home.

So here I am at home continuing to work on the the most recent events with the ongoing saga of “Me and Life at Covert Ford”.