More happening in and around Prince George

Vicissitudes of country life …

One might argue that I don’t really live in the country.  I have a Food Lion about 5 miles away, a Starbucks about 10 miles away, Comcast cable (now Xfinity), and excellent cellular coverage.  But, in defense my self-proclaimed avatar as a rural warrior princess … I do have well water and a septic tank.

Well, no pun intended, I awoke to absolutely no water on Monday.  For some reason my well pump and/or pressure tank of 36 years had mysteriously died.  Mind you Monday was Martin Luther King Day.  Finding a plumber or well service open on such a day was a tall order.  Finding a plumber that dealt with well systems was even taller order.  Fortunately, our neighbor across the road is a great networker, keeps his home in good nick, and is a go-to resource in such situations.

Steve recommended Charles McCann of Done Right Enterprise as the man for the job.  He took the additional step of encouraging Charles to take care of us on as timely a basis as he could.  I am not sure Charles would have appeared later in the day with his wife and partner, Marie, without the recommendation and endorsement from Steve. Charles assessed the situation, provided his licenses, and gave us the estimate of cost and the promise that we would have water the next day.

The next day he appeared as promised with crew and equipment, new pump and pressure tank and encouragement that all would be well.  Again, no pun intended.

Tuesday, late afternoon, we had water and a promise from Charles and Marie that they would reappear on Wednesday to install the pressure tank.

Awaking Wednesday I jumped into the shower to clean up for my Rotary meeting … low and behold, I had failed to turn the breaker back on for the hot water heater.  It was a very cold and very short shower.

pressure-tank-2017Fortunately, Charles is a master electrician as well as a master plumber so he could install all the switches and connectors necessary for the new pressure tank. Finishing around 8 pm with the installation of the pressure tank, Charles and Marie climbed wearily into their work truck and in short order had texted copies of our warranties, pictures of the job, and copies of the paid invoice. Our water adventure was over.

Now, I think I am going to have our septic tank pumped and checked.  I am not up for another adventure of a mechanical nature.

There were other less noteworthy adventures …

The Prince George Board of Supervisors had tied votes on the two nominees to serve as Chairman of the Board.  One member was absent due to a workplace accident. The next meeting should result in one of the two being elected … more about that next time.

A Petersburg citizens group called Clean Sweep filed petitions to have the Mayor and Vice Mayor removed from the city council.  That should have an expedited fuse.  It is an uphill battle, but at least the citizens are involved.

The City of Hopewell continues to recruit for a Finance Director as the last one abruptly resigned a couple of months ago.

These matters pale in comparison to my own personal dramas.

 

 

 

 

Not much happening in Prince George

That really isn’t true.  About as much is happening here as anywhere else. We have a twice weekly newspaper, a weekly newspaper, a daily local newspaper, and a daily newspaper out of Richmond, VA, the Times-Dispatch aka, the RTD.  So we can be as up to date as we want to be.

In Prince George, some of us have high-speed broadband. Others rely on cellular broadband or satellite broadband, so we have some connectivity.  So most of us have access to the great journalist platform Facebook and, better yet, Twitter.  Most of us have some idea what is going on, though it is not as momentous as what is happening in Trump Tower or at 30 Rock.

We are rural enough that part of our county is covered by the local electric co-op,  which is installing fiber optic cable in its substations and is about to launch a 78 home pilot project to test the commercial feasibility of providing lower cost, higher data to its rural customers.  That might get Comcast (rather xfinity)  off its ass to provide wider access to its broadband service and to restructure its prices.  The underserved rural broadband population in the United States is estimated at 80 million households by the co-ops so they may have something there.

A neighbor had a young lab come onto her property with no ID but with a shock collar (probably for an electronic fence because every country person knows that you don’t train a lab with a shock collar) so after a few phone calls, a posting on Facebook, and chats with the Animal Adoption Services Center (no longer the “dog pound”) the lab was reunited with its family.  Pro tip … be wary of electronic fences.  An excited dog will charge out, but an unexcited dog will not charge back in.

Yes, we uncharacteristically received about 10 inches of snow and temps down around 1 degree for a couple of days.  Let’s see, I believe this is Storm Helene.  Gotta love those weather marketers for naming rain and snow events.  So, every four wheel drive yahoo on the wood had to rev his or her stuff at breakneck speeds to show they can conquer the elements.  Me, I stayed home: read, cooked, watched TV, coaxed my Aussie outside to do the right thing, and enjoyed the lay-by.  Oh yes, got to nurse a stomach bug for a couple of days, but who’s counting.

I had some time to think about a few off the wall things like … my cell phone spies on me enough.  I don’t think I want my fridge, a robot floor sweeper, or one of those Echo things spying on me too.  Had never thought too much about the Internet of Things, but I don’t think I want to be held hostage by a driverless car either.  Maybe the stomach bug is invading my thought processes.  I have always wanted a cook and chauffeur.

Sadly, in the past month or so … two relatively young professionals have committed suicide.  This kind of thing really shakes any community, but in a community like Prince George the ripples are gut-punch strong and lingering. So being this bucolic, rural habitat doesn’t protect us from pain, depression, illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, or any of the human ailments that plague modern society.

What is going on in your bailiwick?

 

as resolutions go …

I really didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions this year … other than I wanted to write more, write better, and underlying that, to be more perceptive and to be more conscious of events and topics that excite my interest.

patscat0001The proposition occurred to me that I should write daily, and perhaps I should, but that seems a bit more contrived that I wanted.  I know that advice to would-be writers by writers is to write, write, write.  And I get that.  Practice may not make perfect but it does give one more experience expressing precisely what is intended.

I do write almost daily … mostly newsletters and blogs from some of my volunteer organizations … not creative, though I try to be creative enough to invite interest.  I know … no one reads newsletters.  But by Jove … there must be newsletters.

So, I am resolved to write more, more frequently, more intensely, more personally.

And yes, I do plan to exercise more.

a different world before daybreak

Jack and I walked a bit earlier this Sunday morning than usual.  It was the approximately the same time we had walked just a few weeks ago before the time change, but now with the legislated time change it  was just before sunrise.  In keeping with the clock or rather my iphone I had walked at our usual time the last couple of weeks, hence in the daylight.

We stepped out into the 32 degree Fahrenheit morning with just a last gasp of moon overhead. Yes, chilly and dark.  We only walk a mile plus or so when Jack and I walk. At age 9 or 10 he is becoming a stiff Australian Shepherd and I am fairing only slightly better so we take only leisurely, sniffing, and listening walks.

Immediately, I became aware of how quiet it was — no sound of traffic from the major roadways a few miles from my place.  At least it seemed quiet for a while.  Behind the Woith’s place came the startling sound of an owl, taking just a moment for me to realize it was an owl’s screech, not a woman screaming. About a half mile or so down the road a rooster began his morning concert.  And then there was the clomph-clomph-clumph sound behind me which I recognized immediately.

Mr. Ed (that is my name for a neighbor’s white horse) and Chester had come to the fence line to say good morning and see if I had any nibbles for them.  I don’t feed my neighbor’s animals. but horses can be demanding and forgetful.  We are pretty tame in my area. Horses, a pot bellied pig who caused considerable excitement on one of our walks, roosters and hens, goats, dogs both big and small, and the odd horse or two are our only population of critters to be encountered on our walks … if you don’t count the wildlife … possums, raccoons, deer, turkeys, snakes (not so much this time of year).

I did say hello to Mr. Ed.  He is always a gentlemen and I rubbed his muzzle and spoke softly to him.  Chester … well, Chester is a nibbler.  Maybe they are love bites, but they hurt so I give Chester, the Scotland Pony, a wide berth.

Jack and I continued down the road, made our turn at Route 10 and began our return. Chester and Mr. Ed had moved on into the darkness of their pasture.  The rooster and the owl had obviously gone back to sleep.  Jack and I were rewarded with a glorious sunrise as we made the turn and headed east toward home.

 

 

 

things of the past … stick shifts and cursive writing

I awoke to the news that Fidel Castro had passed away.  Another event that seemingly is sharing the arc of my life.  I was only 9 or 10 when he ‘liberated’ Cuba and subsequently visited the UN.  Huntley and Brinkley covered him on the evening news and my memory is that he was impressive in his beard and fatique-green uniform. Other things that have disappeared … Huntley – Brinkley (both long passed) and fatigues. … all tactical military uniforms now are black, desert sand, or some variation of cammo.  We won’t even address the Eisenhower jacket.

Other things are disappearing … cursive writing, multiplication tables, parsing and diagramming sentences. Door keys, hardcopy receipts at stores (“we’ll email your receipt”), irons (I don’t know where mine is), wrinkles in clothing for that matter, toll takers at toll booths, parking lot attendants, cars that need drivers … all of these things or people are gone or quickly disappearing.

This morning the paper reported that for cars that still require drivers, the manual or stick shift transmission is a thing of the past.  Most manufacturers don’t even offer the option of a stick shift, not even Ferrari.

jack-and-hidden-hills-lane

Fall, however, is still with us every year, at least until the tipping point of climate change.  Jack and I enjoyed a bit of chill in the air this morning on our walk and the stiff breeze has quickly dislodged bushels of the fading leaves.

a persimmon mini adventure

“Do you like persimmons?”

There are many food adventures in Prince George.  Our fair consists of vinegar based barbecue, pizza, subs, and other Americanized Italian cuisine. You know, heavy on pasta and light on roasted veggies and meat.  Yes, here and there is fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and collards.

To date, my only food mystery occurred one Fall morning on Old Stage Road.  Ahead I noticed something on the center line.  I feared it was an injured animal.  As I approached it didn’t move and as I drew closer, I realized it was a rotisserie chicken still in its domed supermarket container. Hmmm. Lots of interesting questions there.

15241200_1460097260667878_8456797020690587720_nThis week I have had another questionable food adventure.  Approaching Ft. Lee via the Golf Course gate, I noticed that the guard was rubbing something against his vest.  I handed him my military ID through the card window and noticed that the orange thing in his hand was not an orange.  He looked at my ID, then at me, asked whether I liked persimmons.  I told him I didn’t know.  So he handed me what I now know is a persimmon and said Happy Thanksgiving.

I am contemplating the persimmon and the possible reason he would have for holding a persimmon while on duty.

notes from an urban effete … not

Many of my facebook and twitter ‘friends’ are reposting articles written from the purported perspective of the stereotypical Trump supporter.  You know most of their adjectives …

rural, religious, unemployed, employed but insecure, limited education, limited transferable skills, religious, middle American, white,  male, real-men loving women with similar adjectives, outsiders, now former outsiders, residents of fly-over country, racist

Many of these articles or opinions are lambasting ‘us’ for ‘them’ having to vote for “a Donald Trump”.  Their adjectives for ‘us’  … those who supported Hillary Clinton you probably also know …

urban, irreligious, or contemptuous of religion, wealthy, over-educated, well-employed, stably employed, elite, coastal, insiders, now out-siders, multicultural

So in blaming us for them voting for and electing Trump we are apprised of their revenge vote to show us their contempt … for us.

So yes, the religious right has elected the penultimate east coast, irreligious, serial adulteror, all money is green, insider to be the President of the United States.  Well done, my vindictive countrymen and women.

And thank you for helping me understand less than ever about the American psyche because …

I supported Hillary Clinton.  I am from a rural, working class family in middle America.  I determined early in life that if I wanted options in my life, I needed an education.  I needed an education and skills so that I could always support myself and to help me grasp the world at large.  I worked my way through college and a few scholarships and stipends helped with that.

My husband and I met and married while still in college.  He also is from a working class family in middle America.

We finished college, had our daughter, and he, an Army ROTC scholarship recipient, went into the Army during the Viet Nam era.  During his military career, I worked in various professional level jobs as we traveled from one Army posting to another.  During those years I continued to work on graduate level degrees until finally receiving a law degree.

After my husband’s retirement from the Army he also updated his graduate level education and,  while building a career  in the IT field,  he continually upgraded his certifications and education, often at our own expense so he could stay flexible and current in his professional role.  This helped him survive many corporate reorganizations and downsizings.

I have been self-employed for almost all of my legal career and had to face the ups and downs of a small business in changing economic times.

While we do live in Virginia, I would not consider us coastal.  We live in a bucolic, mostly rural and somewhat agricultural county.  We are certainly not urban, nor elite.

The only adjective described by the ‘them’ that I proudly wear is that of irreligious.  I am a proud atheist, but I don’t think anyone who knows me would label me as immoral or unworthy of respect.

So, ‘them’, throw any mud you wish.  I accept responsibility for my place in life, in the world. I choose not to blame others for my choices. I certainly don’t blame you for the fact that I am not wealthy, worldly, or elite.