Coping: Grandpa George & Chicken Shock

(Tacoma, WA)  Being a grandparent is maybe not something I am  cut out for, and entertaining a three-year old may not seem like an UrbanSurvival skill, but I suppose now it is.

So there we were on the kid’s patio and the grandchild (almost 3) was playing with chalk that the other grandparents had picked up at a dollar-store on sale.

It made me crazy.  Ever watch a 3-year old with chalk?

I don’t do well with random noise.  A compulsion to sort things out – figure out where things are going, anticipate, predict, and profit.


You can’t do that with a 3-year old.

After about 15-minutes of coffee, it was making me nuts.

So I asked the son-in-law if he had a small piece of wood in his shop.  Bingo!

With three holes, two-seconds on the chop saw, and a drywall-screw, I had a  compass.

No more of those free-ham circles that never worked out.

As a bonus, I also had a pretty good straight-edge, too.  Left over from the chop saw cut.

Within no time, I was teaching her how to draw circles, how to use the straight edge to draw proper lines, and even how to make a bull’s eye so she could start working on fine large muscle hand-eye coordination.

Better yet:  How to draw two arcs on a line and draw a perpendicular line.  The a perfect square, and so forth…

Oh, yeah, used to be simple “toss” games with a taw (pet whatever), a beanbag, or whatever was handy when we were kids..

The taw in this case was a blue plastic jar top.

After a 10-minute  course in drawing, we have a Euclidian (Ureclidean?) three-year old in the family.

But the point isn’t about the three-year old.  It’s about all of us.  It’s about play.

It’s about our innate ability to see ideas where others may not.  To seek out resource, make tools, and then develop some art with them.  (Or design bombs, which we do well, too.)

After an entire holiday weekend, the simple question is this:  Did you unplug for a while?  Make a tool of any kind, and experience the joy of tool making and sharing?

We’re all children, just some of us have more time on the meter than others.  And it’s in how we occupy ourselves  that we develop and maintain our “sense of play.”

E and I may be aging, but we are still playful.

It’s a thing to be honored and I think oftentimes, people miss the point of living.  Which is to find (or make) toys and play as much as we can.   I’ve seen it turn a bitter life to wine.

When I was a kid, I used to make “hydroplanes” with my friend the retired Major.  We’d put nylon fishing line on them and play with them either in a bath tub, wading pool at the park, or sometimes towed behind our bikes.

Nowadays, the “Toys I’ve played with” list is getting pretty long.  Sailboats, sports cars, currently the airplane, but there’s the shop and the recording studio at home, the ham radio gear…

We only age on the outside, but inside we’re all still kids.  Thing is, once you run out of the sense play there’s not much left except dead.

A more dangerous toy, that one, and it sure doesn’t compete with other still-available tools and toys.

So if you want to extend the weekend by another day so you can play more, you have our permission and blessing.

Now:  About that Chicken Shock

We don’t eat a lot of Tennessee, or any other neighboring state’s fried chicken.

We also don’t lick our fingers, either.  Kids, or not.

But, about 9:30 last night, after the son-in-law worked 85-thousand pieces of mail through the post office (he’s one of the team that makes sure the bills get through, lol), we went on a fried chicken hunt.  Pizza would have been OK but taken longer.

We pull into the drive-through and OMG!

Hand me a nitro cap!  A 20-piece chicken bucket would be over $56 bucks!  And that’s before almost $5 bucks in tax which would have pushed it way past $60-bucks.

In fairness, we could have skipped the four sides.  Which, in the end we did. 

Downsized to a 16-piece, chicken-only and one tub of mashed potatoes for $35.

Down on the ranch, we don’t do much if anything in the way of convenience foods.  An  organic ready to bake pizza with add-on’s now and then.  But if we shopped specials, I’m thinking that $56-bucks could have purchased about 30 breasts, and who knows how much else.

Yeah…line up of cars full of people who don’t seem to be able to cook whole, fresh food.

Apparently, whatever is in the chicken makes people immune to cost-accounting disease and chicken shock.

Playing the Weather

We will leave Washington state either tomorrow, Wednesday, or Thursday morning in the old Beechcrate for our flight home, Washington to Texas.  If I can find an audio plug for the GoPro I will record it..

The chief pilot of Ure International Airways is not too happy with the prospect of a delay.  But it all comes down to how showers and t-storms develop in the forecast model later on today.

Meantime, if we stay, there’s the running around extending the rental car, yada yada.

Oh, and a trip to the UPS store because (again) we terribly over-packed.

We could have gotten along with 3-shirts/tops, three changes of underwear, and 2-3 pairs of cut-offs.

Instead, E packed half of Dillard’s, Marshalls, and Ross. but that cost airplane performance.

Nothing that a 75-foot a minute climb rate toward mountainous terrain, didn’t resolve, however.

Meanwhile, temps up here in the Seattle area are setting records.

The few people that we’ve talked to, if we mention we’re from Texas, promptly ask us to leave and take the hot weather with us.

We’re trying, we’re trying…

Write when you break-even or when the sunburn heals…


15 thoughts on “Coping: Grandpa George & Chicken Shock”

  1. You’re missing your chance to be “equal opportunity” by attacking the global warming skeptics. Or does hot weather prove nothing but cold weather does?

  2. “If I were running Greece – I would re-submit the last compromise they offered which is I believe a 75% haircut and….”

    75% off and RUOOYFM???


    why stoop at 75% ? why not just lop it all off?? duh…

  3. Saw on the news this am someone had invented a glow-in-the dark toilet seat. Most toilet seats nowadays are thin white plastic. Why not impregnate it with glow-in-the dark stuff? Simple genius. Like putting little wheels on luggage. One of those ideas and we could be set for life.

  4. From my Aol site it listed six food item that we should see price raises. chicken and eggs were two but so was beef, and fresh food from Cal. I forgot the fifth and six one but the only cheaper item was pork.

  5. At most Walmart stores that have a deli they sell those rotisserie chickens for $5.
    Ya, it’s not “fried chicken” but it is finger licking good!
    Just a thought….

  6. Good post today…except for the part about Trump and Cruz as the GOP ticket…Please tell me that was a tongue in cheek comment…please…Those two are the wackiest in the GOP whack a mole candidate game. Trumps announcement “speech” was stream of consciousness, unintelligible garble. Do we really want a president that wings it at important news conferences? That’s the guy you WANT the teleprompter in front of. The thing is, it is almost as if he is purposefully trying to sabotage his own campaign…because nobody that rich can be really that stupid can they?

    And Cruz is just an angry, paranoid wing nut… characterized him perfectly in this snippet from an April 2015 article..

    “If you’ll recall, the last debt limit fight happened in February 2014. After several failed attempts to use the threat of default to try and force concessions from the Democrats and the White House, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner were prepared to let a “clean” debt limit increase pass Congress, partly because they didn’t want any drama heading into the midterm elections, but mainly because Republicans couldn’t agree on which hostage to take.

    Conservatives were upset, but the leadership had its strategy and (with Democratic support) the votes to make it happen. Then Ted Cruz, the man who chafes at being portrayed as a suicide bomber, stepped in at the last minute and tried to blow everything up. Cruz announced that he would filibuster the Senate’s debt limit legislation, thereby forcing Republicans to help carry it to the finish line. “I will insist instead on a 60-vote threshold,” Cruz said in a statement, “and if Republicans stand together we can demand meaningful spending restraint to help pull our nation back from the fiscal and economic cliff.” Republicans had to scramble to corral the necessary votes to invoke cloture and prevent a default, which would have carried with it dire economic consequences.

    But here’s the thing: Cruz had no plan for actually getting to the point of attaching spending cuts to a debt limit increase. He never identified which spending areas he wanted to see cut, and his strategy for forcing the White House’s hand never progressed beyond “if Republicans stand together.” Sure, he demanded “spending restraint,” but that was secondary to his primary aim of derailing the process and shaming Republican leaders. His approach to the debt limit fight wasn’t to actually cut spending – it was to cause a scene at the precise moment when causing that scene would provoke the most drama.

    Now he’s acting hurt and put-out and suggesting that people are deliberately scandalizing his unremarkable policy position in order to make him out to be an idiot or a lunatic. Ted Cruz isn’t crazy and he’s certainly not stupid. No, he has far greater character flaws. He’s reckless and self-absorbed, and when confronted with his reckless self-absorption, he treats the rest of us like we’re stupid.”

  7. KFC in Ecuador is a buck a piece. My wife gets two pieces and a side of lentils for $3. Chicken is actually cheaper at the local joints. It’s called overhead for you Americans.

    I have a friend, fluent in Japanese, who was approached by usa citrus growers after they saw the $7 price tag for an orange in a Japanese supermarket. They failed to understand the culture even after my friend explained to them that there were SEVEN layers of wholesalers involved in getting that orange to the public. These seven layers are a major form of employment for the Japanese economy, and these jobs allow people to live a life with an honorable occupation. The Americans attempted to circumvent this and failed miserably, guess there are no Walmart’s in Japan.

    America is in the same boat, with 70% of the economy based on services, as compared to based on production. When this overhead, which drives up the chicken price to $60, are eliminated, it sends hordes into the unemployment office.

    And btw, most of these services are simply not available in Ecuador, we would not use most of them if they were here, and more interestingly, we don’t even miss them.

    The service we like is our cleaning girl who comes six hours a week, cleans our apartment and all common areas of the apartment building for $17. Not having a cleaning girl every week is considered spousal abuse among the expats here.

  8. Your 666 problem with credit card.

    V I S A

    VI=5+1+6 Romano

    S=6 Greco Egyptian

    A=6 Bablonico Sanskrit


  9. Loved your geometry class with your granddaughter! I hate to admit that I wouldn’t have thought of doing that, even though I love geometry and am a former math teacher.

  10. As a long time reader of (pre 2000), I always appreciate your perspective on the world, economy and life, in general. Your point about maintaining playfulness into old age especially resonated with me.

    Like you said, learning new things and exploring new hobbies is really the adult version of play that keeps life interesting.

    How many of us first got into prepping, etc as an adult version of playtime where we can use new tools to create and/or destroy ‘stuff’? It just so happens that many of our newly acquired hobbies could be useful in facing a changing world.

    Anyway, I just wanted to leave a comment to thank you George for being a lighthouse that has guided me away from the rocks on more than one occasion. Thanks for your wisdom and hard work!

  11. My sympathy to you dealing with a three year old. I’ve gotten better and can almost handle being with a six year old, if she’s Asian, female, quiet, and disciplined. Dealing with the random squeals is too much for my ears. I don’t have grandkids yet, and it’s unknown whether I ever will.

    I was strongly tempted to join you and Elaine on your cruise this September, but chose otherwise since it seems like a terrible place to be without a significant other. Since I’m still seeking that girl, I’ll pass for now. I really do appreciate the offer and would enjoy the discourse, but it’s just not fun socializing alone.

  12. A few weeks ago I purchased 40 lbs of quality chicken legs from Cash & Carry, Burlington WA, for $22.00. It’s a bit of work to portion and vacuum seal but well worth it. Having a commercial grade vacuum sealer is a must and with bulk meat prices the way they are the sealer pays for itself quickly. We make our own “frozen dinners”.

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