‘Heroes or villains’

The nature of picking a savior,

is always an arbitrary event.

What may be a hero to some;

others shall come to resent.

We can’t reach an agreement

on the best criteria for saints.

This discrepancy due in part,

to the way we see their traits.

The formula for good or evil;

is in the eye of the beholder.

How we mix the ingredients

just makes the recipe bolder.

Champion, defender, guardian.

Holy angel, protector or divine.

All of these shiny descriptions

are likely to tarnish over time.

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‘How NOT to install an appliance’

Once I got home last night, I had two new appliances waiting on me to be installed. The dryer was the easier of the two and so I tackled it first. Even that didn't go without a hitch (first I failed to thread the 220 line through the provided port opening beneath the circuit box connector) but eventually I got it connected the right way.

The proverbial 800 pound gorilla in the room was the new dishwasher. The delivery crew had taken it out of the box and unwrapped it so we placed it on its side on the styrofoam packing forms (to protect the floor). Before I could get too comfortable, I forced myself to 'get it done'. It would seem that the dishwasher wasn't privy to my eroding motivation (or maybe it was and wanted to work against me). The old dishwasher had its tube hookups in a different place (and the fittings were a different size). Nothing wanted to line up. Gretchen made a 9:30 pm dash to Home Depot to get the fitting adaptor and another piece we needed but didn't have. I connected the drain tube and tried to prepare myself for the upcoming technical battle.

You see, we now have laminate floor in the kitchen and that made the whole dishwasher bay smaller but 3/8" of an inch. (In an area that was already too small.) Our fear was that the new dishwasher might be the same size (or even a tad larger). As it turns out, it was significantly taller. It wasn't even close to fitting. The countertop is not removable so we were in for a real challenge. What followed was 2+ hours of grief, profuse sweating, blood loss, cursing, squeezing, twisting and ugly contorting.

After tilting the back of the unit downward and systematically working it in a millimeter at a time, we managed to get it past a number of bottlenecks and could get the 'feet' past the last laminate plank so it dropped down and was closer to fitting the space. It was still too big mind you, but the part we wedged in before defied all known laws of physics. The remainder was 'merely' just too big to fit. That amount of 'impossible' we could work with.

With a few more curses and mashed fingers, the beleaguered unit dropped into its (final) resting place. I say final because it'll never leave in one piece. The whole process took a couple hours to wedge it into position and there is zero chance of us taking it back out. Ever.

It was then that we realized that the pressurized water hookup line (already connected to the unit and threaded through a hole to connect with the sink line, would NOT reach. It was a foot short. This was partially because of the different design of where it connected, and partially because the gods are totally against us. There was no chance of pulling the dishwasher back out. None. I'd burn the house down and play a fiddle as it went up in flames while laughing maniacally. (And I'm no Nero on the violin).

I realized the line was connected to the unit in the front. Threaded to the back and around the left side of the dishwasher. Then it ran alongside (and toward the front of the unit) between the dishwasher and the wall. Then it went through a hole in the wall (near the front of the cabinet) and had to reach the sink (in back). It wouldn't reach. Not even close and there was no way to shorten its path because the dishwasher was designed like a sleigh. It had solid 'feet' on the left and right which the water line couldn't pass through or underneath. The only thing I could do, was to unscrew it from the front of the dishwasher, pull it through the original hole in the front of the sink cabinet, drill a new hole in the back of the sink cabinet (closer to the sink hook up line to avoid the obstruction.) All of that and then reattach it in reverse order (without pulling the dishwasher out of its bay).

Easy, right? Imagine threading your arm underneath an apparatus with three inches of clearance, through countless wires, tubes and motors. Then around snake like hoses and sharp torture devices (as you fumble blindly) for the other end of a pressure hose, two feet away. I had to use a yard stick, a back scratcher and a trained Serbian weasel on a string to retrieve it. Then I reattached the whole mess from the front (it barely reached (but barely counts!) and we turned it on to test it for leaks.

The good news is, (so far) there are no leaks that we can see and it powered up. The bad news is that the controls are on top of the door (which is completely underneath the countertop). 😫

Gretchen said that she thinks that's part of the design aesthetic (to be hidden from view) but part of me suspects she's just trying to stop me from losing my mind any further. There is enough slack in the line to expose the controls (with the door closed) but it has to be anchored to the underside of the countertop so it doesn't shake or come unbalanced. This should prove an engineering feat to solve. I guess I know what I'll be doing tonight.

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‘View of the eagle’

Soaring upon thermal currents
with a breathtaking view of all.
A majestic, taloned bird of prey
screeches out its warning call.

With mighty six foot wingspan
and razor sharp sense of sight;
the eagle glides over the valley.
Her feathers gilded by sunlight.

Movement is detected far below
but unsuspected on the ground.
Death soars down from above,
snatched away without a sound.

The prey struggles in its clutch;
it wriggles but can't break free.
The hatchlings are eager to feed.
Mama brings another meal to be.

Posted in Children's Stories, Different Perspectives, Fiction Stories, Inspirational, Poetry, Recollections, Thought provoking, Thriller, True Stories, Uncategorized, Whimsical | Leave a comment

‘Undressed’

Two lonely souls on a communal quest. To be stripped of pride and it's prejudice. Once reduced to the barest essence; they stand before each other, spirituality undressed.

Time erodes false bravado and it's pretense. The unencumbered are left alone without defense. Spirits in a vacuum rarely straddle the fence. A soul laid bare only seeks its success.

No one ever weds without chancing a kiss. Risk favors optimists and the foolish. Whatever the heart knows it must insist. In the purest form they'll be joined in bliss.

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‘Sha1na2’

Nearing its destination, the deep space vessel 'Santini' slowed down and awakened it's hibernating crew. They had been in suspended animation for more than eleven years as they traveled far outside the solar system for the first time. The exploratory ship prepared to orbit the mysterious Earth-like planet while collecting atmospheric samples for biological analysis.

The crew struggled to awaken from their long-term stasis as the Santini's computers performed its automated functions. Naturally they were anxious to view transmission logs from Earth to find out what had happened during their extended absence. Once sensors confirmed that the new planet had conditions suitable for human life, the crew scanned the surface for signs of intelligence.

A long range message of unknown origin came from this 'neighboring' planet fifteen years earlier and set the world on its proverbial ear. While scientists were unable to decipher it's cryptic meaning, the repeating broadcast succeeded in confirming that there was other intelligent life in the universe. It wasn't just naturally occurring radio waves bouncing around in space. The organized pattern was almost musical in its composition and originated from a medium-sized planet in the Canis Major 'dog star' constellation.

It was dubbed 'Sha1Na2' by the governing body of the International Astronomical Association. Although nervously apprehensive, scientists and world leaders felt compelled to investigate the mysterious call from deep space. What ensued was the most ambitious 'road trip' the Earth had ever known. Volunteers were selected from among thousands of potential candidates who had few biological ties they would be leaving behind. Eleven years later, the bold explorers of 'Santini' approached the final destination of their quest near the brightest star in the sky, Sirius.

Almost immediately they picked up the same cryptic transmission that had drawn them so far away from home. It seemed to repeat itself on a constant, predictable loop. The scientists aboard hoped that didn't mean the civilization that created the message was extinct. They began broadcasting their own non-threatening message greeting in dozens of languages and universal communication methods. What happened next could either cement an intergalactic friendship or doom the human race. If the beings who sent the message to Earth were still alive, peaceful and were able to understand their simple greeting, then all would possibly be well. If not, it would be the most disastrous miscalculation in human history. Fortunately, they didn't have to wait long to find out.

Their 'Rosetta Stone' message definitely caught the attention of the beings who inhabited the 'Dog star' planet. The crew affectionately nicknamed it 'Bowseria' since it was easier to pronounce than 'Sha1Na2'. A previously unheard message began broadcasting on the same frequency bandwidth as theirs. The changed message strongly implied that someone or something had adapted their earlier message to reflect the Santini's presence in orbit around their equator. The crew were breathless as the implications sank in. They were about to meet another race of beings! Their eleven year odyssey had all led up to this.

"Greetings Earth people. We bid youze all peace. This is the voice of the ruler of the planet which youze guys all decided to call 'Bowseria'. As I represent all th' livin' bein's here, youze may call me 'Bowser'. We'd very much like to entertain youze guys as our guests. What'd ya say?"

The captain was taken aback by the almost Bronx-like heavy slang and accent of their extraterrestrial host. He assumed the aliens may have learned to speak English from monitoring old Earth broadcasts. It was all very surreal but the things were only about to get more bizarre. The crew were picked up in flying space vessels that bore a striking similarity to 1950's era Chevrolet Belair automobiles. The shark-finned spaceships took them down to the planet surface to meet with 'Bowser' and his staff. Remarkably, to their eyes at least, all of the inhabitants of 'Bowseria' appeared to look just like their greaser 'king'. He was human in appearance with tall, lanky features and slicked back hair. He wore a white tee shirt and kept making very odd, ritualistic mannerisms with his head and arms. All while chanting; "Do do doo de do". His cabinet would immediately follow his mantra with "Good night sweetheart, its time to go."

The crew looked at each other in disbelief and bewilderment. The original deep space message that called them light years from home was now clear. It was a symphonic rendition of King Bowser's chant! As a matter of fact, the entire population of the strange planet seemed fascinated with 1950's Earth. They performed countless musical numbers for the crew in the flamboyant style of that era. The king continued to make exaggerated gestures with his lower jaw while flexing his biceps and singing his deep 'doo wop' melody. It was so distracting that the captain wasn't able to conduct any real diplomacy. At the end of their meal of cheeseburgers, fries and Coca Cola, the king's cabinet serenaded all of them and bid them goodbye for the evening. The 1957 style Chevy spaceships returned them to the Santini.

The entire crew had a meeting to discuss the strange turn of events. The science officer offered his take on the odd Bowserian eccentricities.

"Clearly they have modeled their entire society after observing the Earth from such a great distance. Even at the speed of light, there is a significant lag in time as a telescope would retrieve footage of our past culture. It would appear 'current' to the ones that observe it. That would explain their fixation on imitating Earth events from 80 years ago."

"Very interesting!"; Declared the captain. "Do you think that could explain how they look so much like human beings?"

"Whether they are really humanoid or just presenting themselves that way for our benefit remains to be seen. We can all agree that despite the strange fixation with our past history and imitating us, theirs is an incredibly advanced, far superior culture to our own. Last night while they were doing a dance routine, I did some unauthorized exploring and witnessed incredible weaponry and scientific advances in medicine that we haven't even begun to touch. It would be easy to dismiss them as childlike but I think that is just to lull us into a false sense of calm. The Bowserians could crush us like a bug and then go and destroy Earth."

The captain's face turned as while as a sheet by the startling revelations. He made a mental note to not underestimate them again and thanked the science officer for his unofficial investigation and insight.

The science officer nodded at the recognition but held up his hand to indicate that there was more bad news. "We have a bigger problem. I've been going through the log updates that mission control sent us as we slept. It's taken a while to get through eleven years of monthly reports but I just finished them. About three years ago, the I.A.A. scientists deciphered King Bowser's mysterious chant and warned us to abort the mission. According to their top linguists, it's a mating call. The Bowserians are VERY lonely."

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‘Something greater’

They sought a mentor. A noble guide. A spirit force to curb their pride. They looked beyond their fellow man. For a superior being, with a sacred plan. It gave them strength to trust and hope. For a boundless wisdom, a way to cope.

They built up temples and hallowed shrines. For something greater than human minds. Faith heals their weary wounds, resurrection requested at loved-one's tombs. Although silent, they still hear replies. This greater soul is conscience in disguise.

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‘If only’

If only there was a solution to all of this fat. I'll just sit here overeating; There's nothing wrong with that.

Portion control is merely how much I choose to eat. How absurd to think I could just walk it off with my feet.

All the delicious food is tempting. It calls to me at night. It challenges my will power and leads to an internal fight.

My motivation is lost. Is there nothing for me to do? Denial is very low in calories. (This I already knew.)

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