Larry the Lizard

Currently in recovery from my news junkie and politics addiction…  Secure in who I am.  Are you?

In July 99, Suzie-Q and I bought an old house.  One of the first projects was converting the back porch into a sunroom.  It was a concrete slab surrounded by a porch-rail height brick wall.  Brick columns supported the roof.  The prior owners left porch swing anchor bolts and roll-up shades hanging on the side facing the neighbors.  They took the swing.  The shades, I expect, were to hide from view of the neighbors otherwise it only blocked the afternoon sun.  We threw them out.  Not the neighbors, the shades.  Although it remains debatable about which was easier on the eyes.  These days, a nice lilac bush serves the same function as did the ugly shade.

The neighbor’s dog, the one that would chase a cloud’s shadow across the yard barking like he was possessed, liked to steal our flip flops.  The neighbor’s kid always returned them, each time having a few more chew marks.  Squirrels also liked the porch. It was their favorite place to gnaw through mounds of acorns that fell from a giant oak that leaned dangerously over the house.  The remnants of that potential house crusher produced aromatic smoke from the fire place chimney for a couple of winters.  When the leaves began to fall from the small forest that was allowed to grow up too near the house, the porch turned into a catch basket filling to the top of bricked porch rail.  Despite the charm of the little porch, it was not user friendly unless you were a no account flip flop chewing hound dog or a squirrel.

We enclosed it with windows all around and a full glass storm door.  We ripped out the natty indoor outdoor rug and replaced it with faux wood flooring, and added some wicker furniture.  We turned it into our own little Shangri-la where we could sit and enjoy the view of the back yard without concern for the critters, dogs, acorns, leaves, mosquitoes or the neighbors.  Or so we thought.

One day a concerned Suzie-Q called me out to the porch and pointed toward what appeared to be a trail of critter poop.  Now I am not an expert classifier of critter crap, but I do know that it did not resemble what deer leave in the yard nor did it look like a land mine from the neighbor’s dog.  Concerning the neighbor’s dog I can tell you that using a technique I perfected during the cow chip wars of my youth I can scoop his leavings up with my spade and chuck them a good thirty yards effectively airmailing them back to their rightful owner.  It is all in the wrist action and achieving the proper arch – according to my 6th grade basketball coach before the sport grew too tall for me.

I was assigned the duty of depoopafying the porch.  A couple of days later I was again summoned to the porch to view a new trail.  A critter invited him or herself into Shangri-la and then decided it was okay to crap all over it.  This newest poop trail was on the window ledge behind the wicker chairs.  I moved a chair and there sat one of those little blue tailed lizards that hide around the yard in the rock piles and crevices.  When you pursue one of them, he may jettison his wiggling blue tail to distract you while he bolts – if a lizard can indeed bolt.

I made a grab for Larry the lizard or it may have been Laura, but since I am not up on my lizard anatomy I cannot be certain.  Larry fled across the porch to the cover of the wicker couch.  When I moved the couch, he bolted again.  Before I could grab him (you see my intent was to capture Larry and return him to the back yard) he managed to get beneath the edge of the siding.  I could not get my fingers under there and every time I touched him he would skitter away.  Suzie-Q accused me of being afraid of him.  I assured her I was not and that I always wanted to put my hands on a slithering  miniature komodo dragon.  I finally forced him to leave the safety of his hiding spot. By now, Larry was tired.  He was not moving very fast so I knew I had him.  As I was lying out like the great second baseman I once was, it turned into a slow motion replay.  He was within my reach and destined for a return to the wild.  Then faster than Bruce Lee could yell nunchucks, Hiyeaaah Whack!  Suzie-Q ninjaed Larry with a flip-flop.  His jettisoned blue tail was flip flopping around like it had a purpose, but Larry look stunned.  I picked up him and his wiggling blue tail and chucked both into the yard.  Either he would recover or become crow food.

Since then, caulking has been squeezed into every crack and crevice that might permit lizard entry into Shangri-La.  Later I may add motion sensors, but for now we believe we are secure.  Larry and friends are free to roam and eat all the bugs they can find – on the other side of the wall.

The moral of this story is that if you make it into Shangri-la, do not crap all over the place.  Suzie-Q does not play.

© 2016 J. D Pendry

Rolling along

Suzie-Q and I are taking our second stab at retirement.  The first try came after the Army.  With an enlisted military pension and sparse savings that comes with a military career, retirement was not possible – actually not even a consideration.  So following 17 years of post-Army employment we talked about it, prayed about it and decided it was time.  I was told once by a dear friend who has gone on to her reward that the speed at which life passes by can be measured in miles per hour.  At 50, it goes by at 50 Mph.  At 60, 60 Mph and so on.  Since we are approaching Autobahn cruising speed, we decided that there is much we want to do and see that does not involve a schedule determined by anyone other than God.  We decided that passing of time is not going to slow just for us so we better get after those things we have always wanted to do, including some things we need to do, but for which life never provided the time.  Besides, according to one of the advice cards I have kept around for years, “If you wait, all you get is older.”  So for Suzie-Q and me it is full steam ahead toward life’s next adventure.  An adventure we can plan and fulfill as long as it is in accordance the Master’s plan for us.

We spent our first month of retirement in Korea.  A good place for us to return to the beginning for this new start.  We visited the Korean half of the family including the Han family farm that has been in the family for generations and the place where Suzie-Q (Chom Su Han) was born and raised.  Most importantly we spent as much time as possible with our Granddaughters.  These are the ones to whom we owe a future of freedom.  And eating, cannot forget the eating, and the extra passenger I brought back with me riding just above my beltline.

The second month has not been as pleasant.  Suzie-Q had a rotator cuff surgery and is trussed up in such a contraption that calling it a sling does not seem fitting.  Because of the extent of the tear, the doctor requires this contraption to remain on for three weeks, not to be removed for any reason during that time.  I have become the chief cook, housekeeper, and nurse neither of which I am very good at.  She was certainly better at it when I was dead lined for three months a few years back.  Just serves as a reminder for me of all she does for us each day that I take for granted.

On a tall day, Suzie-Q will top out about 4 feet 11.  I know it is not polite to discuss a lady’s weight, but she has put on some pounds since 1972.  She has ballooned all the way up to 120 pounds and some change and did not gain an ounce during our month long eating frenzy.  The contraption she is confined to is nearly as big as her.  I reckon they do not come in petite.  She is the toughest little woman I know.  Only 2 weeks post surgery I already have to rein her in to keep her from reinjuring herself.  She will get through this and bring me along for the trip.  We are determined to see those places and do those things.  Prayers are appreciated.

Her retirement list of things to do include going places and seeing things, so I expect to map out those trips for her soon and include some of the sights of our great country that are on my list.  Otherwise, my list is short consisting of one item.   It is a job I wanted to do for as long as I can recall – stretching back to my youth and for the record I do recall my youth minus the exaggerations and the borderline hippie years.  It is a job one might attempt if he has no obligations to support a family.  No matter how badly I wanted it, I could never bring myself to jeopardize my family’s security in pursuit of the feast or famine existence of fulltime writing.  Roll your eyes quietly please.  Whether we care to admit it or not, most of us have something we have always wanted to do and just needed to take that step forward.  That was demonstrated to me by First Sergeant (Retired) Steve Briscoe who I owe a long past due salute.  Steve had on his list the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge, a solitary ride covering more than 7000 miles, which he documented in his book, “Solitary – Without The Confinement.”  Give it a read maybe it will help you take that step.

I have kept a blog for many years, but have never tried to earn money with it.  My writing has gone from leadership topics, to everyday life topics, to social issues, and in recent years way too much politics.  So there will be some changes in the material that appears here and likely an extensive redesign of the blog itself.  I will get on with it before the Internet is turned over to the United Nations probably making it way too expensive for people like me.  At that point I expect I may take to nailing my thoughts to a tree, but I will continue writing.  After all, those who founded this country effectively communicated their thoughts without the benefit of an Internet.  I also have in mind some hefty and serious writing projects and Suzie-Q has agreed to give me a few morning hours in the bunker each day to work on all of that.

Over the years that I have been posting here – weekly and sometimes not that often -, I certainly appreciate the support and encouragement from subscribers and some dear friends and mentors (CG and C and Jehoiada – you all know who you are) who are my trusted and honest critics.  I will not take my eye from the social and political issues that drive the media these days because each of us must remain aware of what is happening to effect the trajectory and destiny of a great nation, but think I will write less about that and more about things that make me feel good that may not have much meaning for anyone but me (besides writing is little more than talking to yourself) and hopefully as I work through my time, I may create something my Granddaughters would be proud to say their Grandpa wrote.