Sunday, January 02, 2011

What's been goin' on.

Had a busy few weeks, the end of 2010. While I've been getting ready to take my first high school certification exam (this next Saturday), I've also been tryin' to clean up the house, rearrange things and get rid of some stuff that's been cluttering up the house for a long time. I finally hooked up Denise's computer, which has been collecting dust on my floor ever since her house was burglarized earlier in the year and her monitor was stolen. She hasn't been able to do her online banking since then, so it was good the finally get it put together.

In rearranging my desk, moving some stuff to the desk in the bedroom, I started to go through the shelves and dust off some old models that had been damaged in a few moves, and from neglect.

I decided to get some glue, gather the spare parts and try to put humpty dumpty back together again. They all needed repairs. This one needed the tracks fixed, and a few parts glued back on here and there.

Some of these guys needed arms and helmets. You can see that one still needs a hand and an SMG. No tellin' where those go off to in the last few decades. When I find the rest of his parts I'll re-glue him to his spot on that sidewalk. The three dudes on the right belong to a tank that's sittin' in a box somewhere. I need to find it.

Voila! A late model T-34-76, representing the height of my model making skills, circa 1985 or so. It still needs a new antenna, but that'll have to wait. That tarp on the side of the vehicle is made from tissue paper that's been glued and painted. The tow cable is made from wire that's been twisted and painted. I used to get so much joy out of puttin' these things together. In hind sight, I guess I should have been getting the hell out of my room, going out and figuring out how to relate to other people. But that's old history.

By the time I got into grad school I really didn't have the time for this level of modeling, and I guess I lost the interest. Funny thing... In putting this one and a few others back together, the interest has kinda been rekindled. But Jesus, have you seen the price they charge for tank models these days? I can remember when cobbling together ten bucks for one took me a week or two of odd jobs and allowance. A $20 model, like the big towed 88mm gun with a full crew, was completely out of my price range. Today, a kit like this T-34 would probably cost me $45. I just don't have that kind of throw away cash any more, and I probably don't have the patience, or eyesight for it ether. Anyway, I have more important things to do.

Plus, you can go to a sight like this and buy the tank already put together, already painted and set up, for about the same amount of money as the kit. No need to take the time to build up the skills to make your own any more. It comes right out of the box like you spent years in your room learnin' how to build it. Oh well, times change.

While rummaging around the old desk, I found this little piece of history. My Junior College ID from about 1980. God, I'd love to be able to go back there. Since I'm being forced to start all over again, I might as well have my youth, right? Not to mention all that hair.

And I found this one, taken by someone in the guard office at the Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, about 1988 or 9. I was basically done with grad school here, chummin' the waters and waiting for the jobs to materialize. Within' year or so of this I was living and teaching on deployed navy ships, traveling the world and thinking that I had it made.

I've been spending a lot more time with mom these days, using my free time to try to help her out when she lets me.

I helped her take one of her cats to the vet about a month ago. Little Angel had been in a fight with another critter in the back yard and had a big gouge taken out of her ass. She didn't like it when I caught her and put here in the carrier, and she's still avoiding me now. But her ass is healing, and mom is happy, and I guess that's what matters.

I accompanied her to the commissary on base a few weeks ago (yea, I can get on the base. No problems). She goes about once a month and fills up two carts with a months worth of stuff. Dad used to go with her, but since he passed she's been goin' by herself, pushin' two friggin' carts around with a bad hip.

I beg her now to let me go with her, and recently she's let me help out. It's fun, makin' me feel like I'm about ten years old again as I follow slowly after her down the isles. But really, it makes me feel really good to help her out. I'll miss the hell out of things like this when the day comes, so I don't want to miss anything now.

A week or so ago, Denise and I drove to Kentucky to spend Christmas with her kids. We left here around noon-thirty on the 23rd. and drove all day, stopping in Jackson TN around midnight and spending the night in a dingy old La Quinta.

Here's our view of Nashville, which we zipped past after eating breakfast at a nice little Denny's on the outskirts of Jackson.

I found a new brand of jerky at a truck stop along the way. Pretty good stuff, but not as good as the stuff the kids make down in Florence.

We rolled into Bowling Green a little after noon, and settled in with Denise's daughter Lynn, her husband Dale, and their daughter Payton. It's always fun to see these folks, and to see Denise turn into a bubbling mass of quivering goo in the face of her precious little granddaughter.

By the time the sun went down it began to snow.

Yep, we had a white Christmas. It was awesome. They couldn't keep me from runnin' out there in my shorts and playin' in it.

Denise and I had a chance to spend Christmas morning with her new granddaughter, little Payton. You can see here that she's already learned to hold the cell phone up to her ear.

I also had a chance to introduce little Payton to the mountain man hat. She loved it.

After enjoying Christmas morning with Payton in Bowling Green, we drove in the snow up to Vine Grove and had another Christmas with Denise's other daughter Chantel, her fella John, and Denise's grandsons.

We also got the chance, later that day, to visit with John's family and enjoy yet another Christmas. Yep, that's three sets of presents. pretty good if you can get it.

And John's family laid out the Christmas dinner. We had a wonderful ham, dressing, and all the other fixin's. It was wonderful.

The next day, Lynn and Dale drove up to Vine Grove and we had yet another ham. I tell ya, I can't get enough of the pig.

After a few days in Vine Grove, during which we all made a fun trip up to Louisville (I'll tell you about that in the next post), Denise and I drove back down to Bowling Green.

After getting there, Denise and I drove over to the local liquor store, to restock the pantry, and picked up dinner at Jimbo's.

That's a double meat, bacon cheeseburger with pickles, jalapenos and all the other fixin's. Delish!

The next morning, this last Thursday morning, we slept in a bit, took a few more pictures of the little girl, and then began the long drive home.

We hit the road at about 11:30AM. Denise drove from Bowling Green to Little Rock, where we had dinner at a Cracker Barrel just west of town off I-30. First time I ever had dinner at a CB. Not bad. I took over the drivin' duties then and took us home. We drove up into the garage at about 2:30 in the morning, and hit the sack soon after that.

It was a wonderful trip. We both look forward to the day when the drive is much shorter. But there's no tellin' when that'll be. Too many unknown variables in my life now, but we'll work it out.

Anyway, Happy New Year to everyone. Let's hope 2011 turns out to be a much better year than 2010 ended up being. Cheers!


BRUNO said...

I said the same-thing, when 2009 turned into 2010---and wasn't a bit-surprised when it turned-out to "suck" just as much, if not worse. So I'm not even gonna plan for a better-year, in 2011.

And with THAT depressing-little line finished---I, too, once had a "hang-up" on models, especially WW2-era prop-planes. So when I finally bought and settled, I figgered I'd have all-sorts of FREE-time, to "play"---just like YOU!

Mere-words can't describe the shock that I experienced, when I learned how much actual WORK, and RESPONSIBILITY, was involved in owning your home, instead of renting-it!

It's just as well though, because like you stated---modeling just ain't the same as it was, "in the old-days"...!!!☺

FHB said...

I have to hope, but I don't have too much for 2011. I'll work at it.

Inflation sucks, but even if the models were still ten bucks, i don't have the time or skills any more. It just amazes me what's available now. i was lookin' online yesterday.

Tamiya has a T-55 model, and there are extra kits you can buy to put a dozer blade n the front, or turn it into an Israeli tank with a 105, or drop an engine in it and open the hatches. Shit you used to have to build from scratch yourself. Amazing.