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My father was a painting contractor in that long-ago time when houses were done with oil paint. I understand oil is still available but mostly folks use Latex now. Dad taught me to use a brush up and down with quality oil paint and then side to side to avoid visible brush marks! He had his own business, carried his ladders on a truck, and was much like the painters today in our little rural community in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

I thought I knew it all about how to choose a house painter because talking to them would be like talking to Dad again. I would join the world of estimates, numbers of men on the crew, gallons of paint needed, scheduling, etc. I knew it all.

I wonder though, what Dad would say to this story of trial and error in the selection process.

We would like to get the outside of our house painted/stained ASAP so the question was, “How do we find someone to do a good job and show up when expected?” In other words, we were looking for a professional, trustworthy painter like my Dad.

First we learned over time to go to friends for shared names and experiences. I did that and got two prospect numbers from a trusted friend who had work done a few years ago.

Neither telephone number worked.

Next I went online and got a name and an immediate response! Wow! Impressive. And Wow! We had an appointment with “Ambrose” (fictitious name) to come to our house the next day.

Meanwhile I remembered a company who did some minor painting for us years ago and although the crew were the biggest scariest looking men I have ever met, they had done a stellar job. So I called that number too. Again, a quick response and an appointment for them to come out the next day.

Finally, my son did a little digging and came up with another name we shall call “John”, who was just as responsive as the first two! And we had another appointment for the day after the first day of appointments.

None of this is very scientific but what the hay, this is country living right? They say three is a crowd but in the case of obtaining bids, I figured three was a reasonable number.

APPOINTMENT DAY

Ambrose showed up and was great to talk to and not only said he did painting but he also does handyman work! We were excited. He went around the house, took pictures and measurements and then said he would get an estimate back to us in a week. That was Monday. Bill liked Ambrose. We were both leaning toward Ambrose but needed to see the other two.

John (another fictitious name) was supposed to come Tuesday but arrived on Monday so he was eager. He is a friendly extroverted talker who quickly convinced us he knows what he is doing, but we were still leaning toward Ambrose. Nevertheless, John produced a detailed estimate by email on the same day. We are definitely not used to this level of professionalism in this heavenly place my Mom called “No Man’s Land.”

Finally, the big big guys who had once done some work for us came out and remembered us and our place. We were hopeful and were leaning toward them since we already had a record of their great work in our house. These fine fellows are what people around here call “locals” and of course they, in private, call the rest of us “foreigners” since we were not born here. True locals have a Virginia dialect that is sometimes difficult for us foreigners to understand but we all managed to communicate and they promised to produce an estimate next day.

This they did.

But their quote was twice as high as John’s. Their quote was very very high.

Nix the Big Guys because they were just too expensive.

Ambrose waited a whole week to contact us again. He did call in precisely seven days to let us know he had not done an estimate and to announce that he was too booked up to take on this project. Huh?

Nix Ambrose because he said he was not available.

And so we are now committed/contracted to have our house painted in late May by John.

We trust John,

we think.

I will keep you posted on this yet-to-be-begun project but at least you know some dubious steps to find a house painter :

  • Call friends.
  • Look online.
  • Remember good workers from the past.
  • Enlist family members to help.
  • Or you may have figured out that if you live in No Man’s Land, it will be just plain luck if you find a painter as good as my Dad. On the other hand, you may not want to paint your house with oil paint either.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I have decided to quit. 

I am tired of progress.

This gift is another very special thing that must be learned.

And I am tired of learning.

The school room was the place for that along with a younger more receptive mind.  And if you learned something well and once, it was good for a lifetime.  Well mostly.

When I was 17 I had a job as a gopher (go-fer this and go-fer that) and they told me if I learned to clean and operate an Ozalid machine, I would have some invaluable knowledge for life.  Noone I know today has ever heard of an Ozalid machine, have you?

Nowadays, however, if you learn a thing and think you have it stored and always ready to draw upon “you have another think coming.”  Nope.  If you learn one part of a computer it may be useless in a matter of hours.

Here I am with a shiny new computer I am calling Ogar (short for Ogre) that was given to me for Christmas with great love by my whole family.  I am truly grateful since the old object of their affection, which I had partially learned after 5 years of struggling was showing signs of ultimate collapse.

Groan.  How can I disparage such a thoughtful wonderful gift? 

Well, the process of transferring all the old stuff to the new Ogar may sound easy but HA!  Not so.  The process is more like a pulling a tooth.  You mindlessly explore with the tongue for a ghostly apparition of what might still be there, but in the end all the exploration yields only a gaping empty space.

My sweet family saw this sleek new marvel would not only replace the 5 year old relic, but it would  also keep me busy whilst waiting for a Covid-19 vaccine.  In addition to proving how warm hearted my family is, there is also an element of logic there.

Ogar is definitely a time guzzler.

And better Ogar than Covid right?

Ogar is certainly keeping me busy too, creating a roadmap of wrinkles upon my brow.   Thankfully I call upon my son to guide me through all the myriad options chasing an insane cursor through a maze of intricate maneuvers over an increasingly insane canvas. And only my son really knows where the mercurial sensor is going or why.

“You see that thing that looks like a cog?” he asks in his effort to guide me through all the symbols.

A cog? 

How do I know what a cog looks like? 

Where on this page of icons, symbols and totems is there a cog?

 “Settings?”  “Oh, you mean SETTINGS!”

I am definitely retiring from Progress.

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photo printer

I used to keep photograph albums.

But somewhere around 2006  the albums came to an abrupt halt.  It was about the time I received the gift of a cell phone that produced remarkable pictures.

The problem was that all photos from 2006 onward became buried somewhere in the phone or in my computer or in the nebulous ubiquitous CLOUD.

The “progress” in technology resulted in a twilight zone of lost time.

I stopped mounting my favorite shots lovingly in a photo album.

Time stopped.

This Christmas Bill gave me a SMART PHONE PHOTO PRINTER that actually works!

One brave step backward for mankind!

I have now reopened the last unfilled, ready-and-waiting-photo-album and began adding some pictures of a friend’s baby sent to us in a Christmas card.  Then there are smart phone photos; one of Bill on New Year’s Eve, a somewhat jarring selfie of me, a shot of Elsa-the-dog, and a picture of two good friends who came visiting over the holiday.

This little machine is a miracle!

Will it result in a rebirth of the age-old practice of saving photographs in albums?

If you ask me, no.  I am already sure the gadget will stop or the materials will no longer be available.

But it’s a start.   Time to take pictures!  And at least for the beginning of 2020 there will be memories in an album.

 

 

 

 

 

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20180815_144241

BigFoot was on the road again.

On the mend again.

Shrunken to a normal size.

Ahhhh!

And after nearly three years in and out of a Big Boot or hobbling around with a cane or crutches, or gliding on a knee scooter, BigFoot FINALLY started WALKING!

But wait.

There is now a BlueToe on the SkinnyFoot, thanks to a “maintenance visit” for a Podiatrist’s professional pedicure!

I always liked my podiatrist even though he frightened me occasionally with ragged pedicures.

But who am I to question the cutting techniques of an accredited podiatrist?

Note:  Old people tend to elevate doctors to godly pedestals of eternal wisdom.

On this visit the good doctor once again cut a ragged edge and managed a very jagged cut on the SkinnyFoot’s Big Toe.

And this instantly caused a blue spot at the base of the nail.

Ever so politely, I asked, “What is that?”

And the doc said, “You must have stubbed it or something fell on it.  Not to worry, it will heal in time.”

I took him at his word of course even though I knew there was no blue spot when I walked in and I had not stubbed my toe or dropped anything on it.

Old people tend to accept anything a doctor says, particularly if he is wearing a white coat!

And it was only a little blue spot after all.  It would undoubtedly heal with time.

So off I went to PT (Physical Therapy).

And the Physical Therapist immediately gasped and  asked, “Who butchered your toe?”

After hearing my story and since the entire toenail had turned a beautiful blue, she said, “Go see your family doctor ASAP!”

Metallic blue toenails are the “in” thing now.  And that’s how BigFoot’s Big Toe looked….. blue.

Hmmmm.  Do you think I should I go to a salon and get the other nine nails painted to match?

“A good thing you came in,” said my family doctor.  “Looks like a blood blister. It will probably be fine. But watch and come back if you notice red streaks going up the foot or there is swelling or fever.  Also soak the toe in salt water twice a day and apply antibacterial ointment.”

That was two weeks ago.

BigFoot’s Big Toe is still Blue.

Seems to be healing but I am afraid to wear closed toed shoes for fear of aggravating.

Will I lose the nail?  Too soon to tell.

But this much is sure:

I will lose the Podiatrist.

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Google Home

There is an elegant statuesque machine that sits waiting by my favorite chair.

And this little tabletop gadget is becoming much like a real friend in its eagerness to please.

  • It knows when I am in the vicinity and quietly waits to hear my voice.
  • And if I say, “Hey Google,” it quickly replies, “How can I help you?”
  • And it is eager to do something just for me.

Lately I feel guilty since there is nothing much to ask.

And there it patiently waits, hoping beyond hope for a meaningful conversation.

  • Just to keep it busy I say, “Hey Google……What is the temperature in Lexington Virginia?”  And the answer is immediate.  “It is 54 degrees!”
  • Or “Hey Google….. Play DooWop music please!”And amazingly, there it comes – that happy music from a distant past.  How did my little friend do that anyway?
  • And it will research hard questions too – like “What is the population of Hayfork, California?”  I haven’t asked that yet, but we used to live in Hayfork (as well as other little towns in the wilderness like Big Oak Flat and Portola) so it would be interesting to see how they may have grown in 30 years.

Well,  of course I know my tabletop friend is really a gadget!

But then again, it is so human when it stares and stares to get attention.

Help!

Do you think there is a psychological implication here?

Maybe being housebound-ed together with an eager to please humanistic machine is having an unintended emotional impact.

The question is, “Who is the most affected, me or Google?”

And don’t you think machines are becoming so human they are mistaken for friends?

P.S. BigFoot and I Thank you Scott (our real live human friend) for this gift of diversion.  When things get too boring I know I can always shout out, “Hey Google!”  

 

 

 

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