The rural subdivision that I live in, does not have paved roads. Our roads are hard packed clay, with a layer of crushed granite gravel on top. The road had not been properly maintained for several years. When it rains, the clay gets soft, and the weight of the vehicles traveling over it, pushes the gravel down into the clay. After several years of this, we essentially had a mud road every time it rained. Then last winter when the snows came, my good and industrious neighbor to the east, used his John Deer tractor with a blade attached, to clear the road so we could all drive out to the highway, which is kept clear by the state Department Of Transportation. This scraping of the road, pushed what little gravel that was left on the surface, onto the grass at the sides of the road. This had to be done for three heavy snows last winter. The first two snow storms were bad, but they were just snow. The third storm was a bear, dumping copious amounts of extremely wet heavy snow, that broke down trees, knocked out power and generally made the neighborhood look like a disaster area.
The scene in the picture above was repeated throughout the neighborhood, with trees downed across roads and power lines. Naturally, the power company had to send in men in trucks to clear the fallen trees. They would drive to a fallen tree, then stop and get out to cut up the tree. Then they they would get back in their truck, gun their engines and spin their wheels, taking off to the next downed tree. Each time they did this of course, their spinning wheels left a small pot hole in the wet clay road. If you are familiar with the anatomy and life of a pot holes, you know that they never get smaller. Every time a tire sinks down into one, it scours out more material. By spring, our road looked like it had been cluster bombed. Trying to drive out to the highway without jarring your fillings loose, was like trying to negotiate the gates of a slalom. It took real skill, and even the best of slalom drivers couldn't avoid them all. Additionally, if had rained for a day or two, just driving the quarter mile out to the highway, would leave your tires, undercarriage, and fenders coated in an unsightly splattering of gray mud. Obviously something had to be done.
We contracted the services of a road grader to come in and fix our roads. He had to wait until we had at least two consecutive days of rain, to make sure the road was soft enough, so his blade could dig deep enough to not leave a washboard effect. In the past, my neighbor tried to grade the road with his tractor blade when the road was merely damp, and it didn't have the requisite weight, so it bounced and left a washboard surface, that was worse than negotiating the potholes. After a few days of rain, our contracted help came in with his massive yellow industrial size road grader, just like the type you see on new highway construction, and in a days time he had plowed up decades of gravel that had been compressed down into the clay. When he was done, our roads looked better than they have at anytime since I moved here over 17 years ago. Still, it's a clay and gravel road, and when it gets dry, it gets dusty. If it hasn't rained in a few days, driving over 10 MPH will raise a rooster tail of dust behind your vehicle.
Free Car Wash
Keeping a car clean when living on a dirt and gravel road, is virtually impossible, unless you wash it every day, so imagine my delight, when on the way to my mother's in Richmond for Monday night supper, I ran through not one, but two very heavy downpours! I'm talking about the kind of rain that requires you to turn your wipers up on high, and slow down to 45 MPH, lest you slam into the invisible car ahead, who's driver hasn't thought to turn on his lights.
My truck had been covered in dust, and the windshield was splattered with the aftermath of hundreds of head on collisions with flying insects. It really was a disgrace, but by the time I pulled into the parking lot of my mother's high rise apartment building in Richmond, save for it's interior which could stand a good vacuuming, it was spic-and-span! So much easier than spending an hour with a bucket, rag, garden hose and chamois.
Playing People For Suckers
My mother baked salmon fillets tonight, accompanied by Lima beans, baked potatoes, and a tossed green salad of Romaine, cucumbers, baby carrots, sliced purple onion, grape tomatoes, and crumbled Feta cheese. Butter pecan ice cream topped it all off. Living by myself, I tend to do quick and easy microwave meals, so it's nice to get a meal outside of my normal routine once a week.
My beloved sister and niece arrived after me, so until they got there, I had to try and make pleasant small talk with my bro-in-law. Imagine trying to have a pleasant discussion with a surly troll. Ask him a question about any subject that he hasn't brought up, and all you get are indifferent one syllable answers. He is a sexist pig, who only comes to supper for a free meal, and to try and impress my sister and niece with what a man he thinks he is.
Tonight, he bragged about how he set up a professor of business administration, who happens to frequent a local eatery that he goes to a lot. He hates the guy, because he thinks he's a pedant. The irony of him thinking the proffesor is bag of wind, is totally lost on this consummate braggart.
It just happens that his daughter-in-law's brother is living with him, and he happens to be a young executive and rising star, in a large energy company. The young exec is taking a non-resident course in business administration to advance his career, so my bro-in-law decides to use him to set up the professor of business admin, by goading him into pontificating about getting a degree in business administration. He tells him his daughter-in-law's brother is working on his degree in business admin, so the prof asks the young man where, and what course he's taking, and the young exec replies that he's in a non-resident program at X University. The prof, who doesn't know the young guy is highly paid business executive, takes the bait and says, he shouldn't be wasting his time on the non-resident course, since the better programs are the resident ones. The young exec then says he doesn't have the time to do that, because he has a job and can't take too much time away from it, and the prof says, well most people quit their jobs to attend the resident program if they want to succeed. So then the my bro-in-law's roommate delivers the coup de grâce by saying, "Yes, well I don't want to sacrifice a quarter of a million dollar a year executive job with XXXXXX Energy, to get my degree."
Of course my bro-in-law is just gloating over this great coup he pulled on the hated professor.
I looked across the table at my brother-in law, and I was actually ashamed of him. Believe it or not, he is a retired Lt. Col. in the US Army Reserves. You would think he would have more class than that. I said, why in the world would you ever want to do something that mean to someone? He said, because he didn't like the guy. I said I don't care how much you don't like him. Not liking someone, is not a justification to deliberately set them up to demean them. He just didn't get it. I've know him for thirty years, and the more I see of him, less I respect him.
I know women can be catty when they don't like someone, but this level of meanness seems to be a guy thing. I don't like it. I don't like it at all.