MUSHY'S MOOCHINGS: February 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012


This is a followup to "Never Use Wallpaper Border" that was posted on February 8th!  

Well, today is the 22nd, and the painting was completed today.  It was actually a good news, bad news, situation for Judy and me.  The good news is that we think we had the best people and the best home interior painters in all of Roane County.  The bad news, we enjoyed Ruth and Kenneth Whittenbarger so much, that we were sad to see it end.

From the 8th to the 22nd sounds like a long time, but it was only around 7 days of work.  The work included painting all the ceilings, including inside the closets.  All the walls, including inside the closets, and painting a lot of trim.  That all happened only after a large amount of time was spent removing old wallpaper and border.

Now Judy did a huge portion of the wallpaper and border, saving us some money.  I commend her for the hard work she expended during this time.  She was also pretty sick during the first couple of days, but hung in there.  It involved standing on a step-ladder, spraying Diff, and scrapping with a 1" putty-knife, all with her arms high above her head!

I just couldn't hold out long enough, having had a couple of shoulder surgeries, but I busied myself picking up, sweeping up, and vacuuming what she torn off!

We both worked hard at unloading and then restocking our closets, moving furniture, getting supplies, cleaning up floors and windows, and wiping off the tops of everything in our house.

I then had the job of putting back up the curtains, and the new wood venetian blinds, in several rooms.  All-in-all, it was a very busy two weeks, plus weekends!

Ruth is the best too.  No one I've seen can match her dexterity with a paint brush, her endurance, and skill!  She never stopped, except to give Judy fresh new interior design ideas to spend more of my money!  She is a wonderful person, and we could tell, one of the best grandmothers going!  She loves her babies!

Ruth is also blessed to be married to Kenneth.  I don't think there is anything that Kenneth can't do when it comes to home building and repair.  What he don't know, he's just forgot!

Once we pulled off some wallpaper next to the fireplace, and there was a horrible sight!  There was rotten wood with mold!  Luckily, if there is any good part to that scenario, the wood was dry, which meant that it had received the damage prior to the new metal roof installation.  

We had no idea, and had this work not been done, we may have never known, or our fireplace would have fallen, either into the living room, or out into the backyard!

I thought all was lost...especially my billfold!

However, Ken just looked at it and said, "No problem, I think I can fix it."  No explanation point, just a matter-of-fact tone that eased my mine almost immediately.

I scrounged up some 2X4s and a 2X12 from the basement, some sheet rock I had gotten to patch up the old 1978 intercom holes, and took off to Christmas Lumber for a couple more 2X4s and some R11 installation.  

By the next afternoon, Ken had dung out all the old stuff and put in all the new stuff, and sealed the plywood!  The next morning Ruth covered everything up with paintable wallpaper and applied the first coat!

They are good!

If you live locally (Roane County, Tennessee) and want their information, just send me an email and I'll send it to you...or you can look them up yourself!

So, today was a little bitter-sweet, but it is good to have the house back to ourselves, but we will miss our new friends.  We intend to get together at KFC one day for lunch and make some more memories!

All that's left is for us to get new doors for six closets, and cut, stain, and nail in floor molding in three rooms!  Will it stop there...nope!  She wants the screened-porch made into a sun room.  Luckily that just involves sliding windows, but I still have to deal with installers!

Wish me luck...and send money!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I don't know why functions insist on scheduling things early in the morning, especially when they involve retired grandparents!  Don't they know we need our rest?!

Nah, it didn't matter, it was Grandparent/Special Friend Day at one of my granddaughter's school.  I would have been there at 6AM, if need be!

She was a special child in her class.  She had six grandparents following her around, like follow the leader!  Her dad's mom and I divorced years ago, but we have since grown to be close friends, and my wife and I enjoy Connie and her husband Gary's company.  We often visit and and break bread together, but usually it has something to do with one or both of our grandchildren.  Besides, we have lots in common, like our son, the grand kids, and her family, especially her dad, who has been like a father to me through it all.

But today we roamed the halls of the Christian school, getting stares from people wondering why so many people were following this little girl, who was on a mission to show us her school.
Me, Judy, Dwight, Joyce, Gary, and Connie on Grandparents Day!
She loves school and is disappointed when classes are suspended for snow or holidays.  She loves her friends, and she certainly seems to have lots of them.  She often tells me their names and what they did in school that day...talking about them as if she was much older than her five years.

She, if I may brag, and who doesn't when it comes to grandchildren, is beautiful, the image of her mom in looks and actions, according to her dad, and she is very intelligent, which is something she gets from both her parents.  The children all seem much smarter than when I was at that age.  They even put up the words to their songs on a monitor so they can read the words!  Heck, I had trouble with Dick and Jane when I was a year older than she is now!

The church welcomed us old folks with name tags, an orientation, and later a catered lunch of fired chicken.  You know you're in a Baptist church when there's fired chicken around!

The old people departed the orientation to head to the appropriate class presentations in different areas of the complex.  I was amazed at how huge the church was, and was glad there were 8th graders at every door to direct us during our morning tour of the school and church.

In her program room, Lily was seated in the middle of several kindergarten children, flanked by first and second graders, seated on a raised bleacher.  They recited scripture and sang songs of welcome and praise to us, while we sat focused on Lily...barely seeing the other children!  

She read and sang every word, rarely looking out into the audience, but she did playfully poke and touch a young boy seated next to her.  Later she confessed he was her boyfriend, and even ran over to him and pulled him in front of my camera.  She's not shy!

After the singing, the children were asked to find their grandparents and visit with them for a short time.  Lily had already spotted and waved at us earlier, so she immediately ran to us.  We took turns hugging and holding her on our laps.  She was so blessed to have so many people there that love her.

Later we visited Lily in her room, where she continued to talk to her classmates, sometimes ignoring us as if it were a normal class day.

It was a great morning filled with warm friendship and love.  Judy and I really enjoyed the other grandparents and look forward to the next opportunity to be together.

Dwight and Joyce have been my friends long before our children married.  We shared Sunday School rooms and fellowships long ago in another church.  They have recently retired from over thirty years of missionary work in Africa.  They are salt of the earth folks, with many a wonderful story to tell.  No wonder I love being around them too.

Looking forward to next year's "old folks day"!  By then, we'll have another grandchild in the same school.  Wow, then we'll have to decide who is going to which class presentation first!

I guess that's why you have to get there so early...there are lots of decisions to be made when you are sharing special moments in your grand children's lives. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


It's been quite some time since Ron, Steve, and I took to the range, but this past Saturday we again had the opportunity.

Ron, you know Ron, he's one of the Knights, recently bought himself a new carry.  A Kimber Ultra TLE II, that made Steve and I very jealous!  It's beautiful!
Ron seated...Steve getting ready!
Anyway, he needed occasion to shoot it, so Steve, having the best range, about 18 acres of East Tennessee rolling hills, with lots of trees decided to have the meet.  Steve, probably Terri, truth be known, invited Ron and Neena out to shoot and eat.  Well, Neena tells Judy, so Judy invites us over too!  That's the way the Dragons operate...if one gets something up, then they all have to be there!  
This arrangement sometimes makes me uneasy.  I like a firm invitation, and I have to bring something, or I feel like I'm imposing.  They never miss an opportunity to have their fun with me over this insecurity, by not telling me the full truth of the situation!
Ron...looking the part!

It was a great time for several reasons; one being the opportunity to shoot, but the best was seeing Ron out doing what he's always enjoyed doing.  He is battling some health issues right now, least of which is a mending hip and wrist he broke a few months ago.  But, there he was, walking carefully through the woods to the targets, steadying himself on a cane.

What can I say?
We fired his Kimber 1911, then my Springfield 1911, then Steve's Glock .45.  It was good to be back shooting with the other Knights again.  Unfortunately, for both of the other shooters, I had some of the best target patterns!  Oh, well, the shaky old man lucked out on some better trigger pulls...what can I say!

We all agreed that we aren't what we used to be, but the thing to remember, should you think about doing us wrong, is that all the shots hit the center mass...may not have been bulls, but they would do considerable damage in a draw down!

The Dragons later, after all their loud cackling, called us in to eat some fried chicken tenders, potatoes, peppers, and onions, pinto beans, and great cornbread!  It was delicious!
Part of the Knights...Steve, me, and Ron relaxing after eating.

Neena laughing at Steve struggling with cellphone.
Between bites we talked and laughed and mostly poked fun at Steve, as usual!  Yes, we're a happy bunch, and take every opportunity to get together, even when some of the others aren't there.  Gary and Charlotte are in Florida camping at different spots, and Noel and Linda had a previous date in Gatlinburg.  We'll have to have another gathering as soon as everyone gets back home!

It's good to be back on the range with Ron.  Love ya' man!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Friendships made in the work place rarely stand the test of time.  People have their own families and other friends they see more often, and once someone leaves/retires, they get invited back for a party or two, but after a couple years you stop wanting to go as much, or you stop being remembered.  However, the real reason is turnover.  Faces where you used to work continue to change until there are only one or two you even know, and the once fun experience becomes uncomfortable.  So, you (me) basically stop going on your own!
Robert is second from the right end!
There are the exceptions in these friendships.  Case in point, the relationship I've had with Patti Pitts and Robert (Bobby) Ridenour.  

We worked together way back in the Lockheed Martin days at Oak Ridge, and I'm guessing, for somewhere around 12 to 13 years!  Our friendship has endured, although often a span of a few years pass before we get together again.  However, when we do, we pick right back up where we left off and immediately begin enjoying each others company.

Robert on left side, me on the right.
This past Thursday, Patti, Robert, and I met at Puleo's Grille in Knoxville, and spent a long lunch laughing and reminiscing.  It would have been longer, but Robert still works.  It was as though we were back sneaking away from the plant again, having lunch to relax and catch up.

We talked about the times I worked for Patti and she and I would go out to give Merlin telephone presentations to secretaries, and sometimes their bosses, telling them about the advantages the "then new" electronic "key system" had over the old 50s and 60s style "1A2" system, with its 6-button sets; each set wired via a 25-pair cable.

We met some characters in those days, like a nameless lawyer who once asked Patti if she knew where a certain candy store was in Knoxville.  Patti told him no, and asked him why he thought she should.  The lawyer, assuming since Patti was a little on the plump side then, said, "I would have thought you knew where every candy store in Knoxville was!"  

Patti was my boss, and I have always loved her, so I wasn't about to laugh in front of her, but believe me I nearly busted a gut holding it back.  I was also surprised Patti didn't rip him apart.  If you knew Patti, like we knew Patti, you knew she could probably hold her own with the old gray-haired man in the dark "lawyer" suit!  She never let a "man" get the upper hand, but, this time, she only let him know, in the kindest of ways, how out of place his comment was.

I remember when Patti first became my boss too.  She called the three of us guys into her office and flat out told us "sexual harassment" was mandatory!  Try that today!

You should have seen our faces!  However, right from the beginning, Patti let everyone know she was boss and didn't want any special treatment because she was a woman.  I don't think I've met too many women in my life that were as strong, resourceful, engaging, or as intelligent as she was.  She loved to laugh and have fun on the job, but business got done, or you explained why your part didn't meet her expectations.

Then there was Robert.  We kept each other laughing from the minute we met.  He'll always be special to me...almost like a son, or brother.  He was much younger than me, but even then we taught each other a lot about our business in telecommunications, and how to deal with clients.  The time at work just seemed to fly by...he made it fun.

Once we shared interviews for a new hire in our department.  We were looking for a well organized person to sort out our records and stock.  We sat around his unkempt desk, which was piled high with unrelated papers and pieces of electronic equipment, talking to the final applicant of the day.  

Robert was always the "messy" one, not caring how his desk, or his truck for that matter, looked.  He raised his boys to not care about things, and that family was all that was important.  However, that carefree attitude was foreign to me.  He knew it made me uneasy, but he loved to watch me look around his office, or move things off the seat or kick them out of my way in his truck!  

When he visited my "anal" office, he would keep talking but move something out of its place when I wasn't looking.  He would then grin when I couldn't stand it any longer and moved it back into its proper place!

Anyway, the interview went on and on until Robert finally asked me if I had any more questions.  I said yes, and turned to the young lady and said, "Does anything in this office bother you?"

She looked at me, then Robert, and then shyly said, "Yes, this desk.  It's killing me!

I wiped my hands, as if finished, and said, "You're hired!  It's has always killed me too, so I think you're just what this job needs!"

Robert looked shocked, but didn't say a word.  He just sat there with a big grin and agreed with me.

Ah, yes, and the road trips we took together were wonderful experiences!  
Robert on road trip to Huntsville!

Once several of us from IT went to Huntsville, AL to benchmark a project we had coming up.  It turned out that Robert and I road together in my '89 Mustang.

We didn't know each other very well at that time, but we got in and I pointed at the tape player and said, that's your responsibility...mine's to drive.

So off down the highway we roared, sunroof open, windows down, and Robert played every tape I had on volume 8 or 9!  I even introduced him to Lynyrd Skynyrd!   We had a ball singing along and playing air-guitar!

Patti looked wonderful Thursday.  She's lost a lot of weight since I had seen her last, and it was only then that I learned that she almost died in a nasty car accident last year.  It was the hard way to lose pounds, but she looked great and seems determined to keep it off.  

I was a little upset that I hadn't known about the accident before, but that's the way it is when you have a "working relationship" I guess.  But even though she doesn't look like the old Patti, she's still the Patti I love.

Robert, well, Robert has become me.  The me I was about 20 years ago.  I little gray around the edges, and his edges are a little rounder than they were then.  But, he's still my Robert...has the laugh and smile, I always liked!  The young Robert inside is still there and that's his best quality.

I say all this...and I could tell so much more...just to say thanks guys for being my friend.  I love you both and enjoy you so much.  Let's not let too much time pass before getting together again.  Life is short and we only have a few years left to build up even more memories to sustain us through those coming winter days of age.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Over the last two weeks, and it looks as though there will be a week three, we have been having our house interior painted.  If you've ever done that, not just a room at a time, but a project that begins with the intention of not stopping until it is all painted, including the ceiling, then you know the pressure, back pain, sleepless nights, second guessing, and the joy of knowing your house, closets and all, are truly clean and freshly painted!

We up at 8 each day, waiting for Ruth and Ken to arrive at 9 with the paint and eager to begin.  Judy and I sit finishing our breakfast watching them scurry in and out getting their gear ready, and dreading getting started ourselves.

We naturally have to work ahead of them, getting each room ready for painting.  One of the first acts we did, ended in a small disaster.  The cheap plastic framed garment rack broke under the weight of my clothes.  Luckily Judy's bed caught them and held them there for two days until we got a stronger steel rack and transferred the clothes.

All the light and plug plates have to be removed.  All the furniture has to be moved to the center of the rooms.  All the curtains and hardware have to be taken down, and all the dusty junk hiding on the shelves in the closets have to be moved to a staging area.  I was amazed that I threw away three 39 gal. bags full of clothes and shoes!  Goodwill will love me!

Then all that stuff has be put back in its original place so there will be room in the rooms to be painted next.

Right now they are about half finished, having moved into the living room, heading for the dinning room, kitchen, and laundry rooms!

My back is killing me from bending over so much picking up the wallpaper border, and now wallpaper, that Judy is slowly peeling off the walls.  Our lesson learned is to never use wallpaper border again.  The removal process isn't as easy as the Diff instructions let on it is!  It is coming off in small strips the size of a putty knife blade.  It drops wet and sticky to the floor where I sweep it into large piles and put into a garbage bag.  We've filled four now, and, like I said, we're about half way!

There was border in every room of our house, with the exception of Judy's bathroom.  I even had a "car" border in mine, if you remember this post!  It all had to come down!

Judy had to say goodbye to her "pink" living/dinning room color.  She called it something else fancy, but it's pink...that's all it could be!

Anyway, I apologize to people I had promised to things for this week; people like Randy and Pam, but as you can see, I was trapped here in the rubble that was once a comfy home!

So, let me sign off, take some back pain meds, and get some rest.  It's not long until 8AM!

Just remember...never, never, ever use wallpaper border.  For that matter, never use wallpaper!  It will break your back one day and laugh at you all the way to the dump!

Saturday, February 04, 2012


Let's talk weapon carry for a minute or two.  

I have three firearms that I like to carry, but most of the time I have a Ruger LCP on my hip, wrapped in a leather "wallet holster" that makes it feel just like a billfold when I have it in my jeans.  It weighs less than 10oz. empty, so I sometimes even forget I have it with me.  Truth be told, it lays in the driver-side door well most of the time, but I'm not usually far from it, or my Bersa .380, or my favorite, the Springfield Champion 1911.

But anyway, what I wanted to tell you was that a couple of weeks ago, Steve and I were at Academy Sports where he discovered the ProMag 10 round magazine for the LCP!  Naturally, I had to have it, even though I'll never "carry" with the extended mag in the LCP.  It would make it a much harder to conceal and more uncomfortable; but for target practice, or if I should ever get caught up in a firefight with a drug cartel, I'll at least have 17 rounds; the extended clip, the regular 6 clip, and 1 in the chamber, to sling back in their direction!

Seriously, I just wanted the clip to make backyard/range shooting much more enjoyable.  Besides, it was under $20 at Academy, whereas others are asking $25 or more!

I've included some photos to better show you what I'm talking about.

You can see that the extended magazine provides a lot more gun to grasp, whereas, with the stock 6-round mag I have to wrap my pinkie neatly under the magazine!  

Also, the wallet holster also beefs up the grip somewhat.  You don't even have to remove the gun from the holster to jack-a-round, or pull the trigger.  Just remove it from your back pocket (where I prefer it, and in the pocket that matches your shooting hand) and fire away!

Just food for thought guys.  Shooting and self-preservation are two more of my favorite subjects!