Complex Tales Or Flip The Switch Henry! ~ Early Evening Thoughts

The finals of the “it was a dark and stormy night” for this year have been announced and will be posted tomorrow night probably… (thanks EB for the heads-up)…Today was my own “dark and stormy”, or so I thought. Along with the usual phones, people, a boss wanting to micro-manage, demands on time and energy – I had my personal SWAT team here today (again with the vice-grip handshake!).

They really worked very hard to get a lot of things accomplished. There was much noise of maintenance happening ~ a lovely sound I haven’t been able to hear for awhile! I also went with them (at their invitation since I was the one with petty cash!) to purchase some of the needed materials.

While on the way back from the trip/expedition I got a phone call from a restricted number. When I answered it, a woman simply started the conversation with: “This IS the ________ apartments, right?” I answered in the affirmative. “And you DO have an apartment XXX, right?” Again, I answered in the affirmative. “And you ARE at __________________, right?” Once more (with little feeling) I answered in the affirmative. “We’ll be out,” was her response as she hung up.

I have to admit there was a sinking feeling of my heart heading for my shoes, and my stomach heading out my back. In all honesty, I inherited a complex (as I’ve indicated) that has suffered from severe managerial neglect (for lack of a better or more politically correct term) ~ and by taking on this inheritance, I also have inherited the possibility of some consequences from the city. I now made the assumption that the call was from one of the city departments (correct assumption) about to do an inspection (wrong assumption).

By the time we arrived back at the complex, I had developed a somewhat plausible plan of action. However, when I sat down at my desk, the phone rang again. This time it was a person who nicely identified themselves as someone from CPS (child protective services) who wanted to know if I had received a call from a parole officer about one of my apartments. Now, I know the person who lives in the apartment in question ~ which is directly above mine. The thought that they might be on parole was indeed laughable. Then ~ as Paul Harvey would say: “The rest of the story…”

It seems this “lady” with six (yes, six!!!) children had given her parole officer my complex and one of my apartment numbers as her address. This “lady” was on the “run” and they were trying to find her. At the end of what I would call a good bridge building conversation, the person made the statement: “Aren’t you glad we called rather than just showing up with police and all?” To which I had to agree. What I didn’t tell them was the image that ran through my mind at that moment, was a montage from several silent movies … that was best left unsaid.

The day carried on from there ~ and made me think my mind was beginning to turn to mush by about 4pm. And it was around that time I heard someone else’s mind beginning to turn to mush ~ or close to it. My vice-grip handshake friend was having real difficulty with something that should have been simple…even for me. (No snickering or sniggering behind your hands, please!!) The light fixture in the laundry room needed to be changed out. A new, improved one had just been purchased and was being installed.

I was watching the miracle of electricity being installed when I was interrupted by a tenant who took literally five minutes to tell me someone needed to clean up in parking slot 5. (Clean up in aisle four!) I kid you not — FIVE minutes. I had to interrupt watching to go on poop detail in front of the complex. All I will say, that was one healthy dog!

I thought when I got back, I would see the wonder of light in the laundry room ~ which had been absent for awhile. Unfortunately, there was no power to the light or the light switch. Everything else in the room was working as it should. My vice-grip handshake friend was reduced to vague mutters about ~ well, I’m not sure what they were about, but I have a feeling various people’s (possibly mine) ancestries were being called into question.

The two of us went through various scenarios, ideas and thoughts. We both prodded, poked and twisted various things to see if they would work. At one point, vice-grip handshake went and purchased a new circle fluorescent bulb to see if that was the problem.

Finally, about the third time we were tearing apart the light switch, it hit me. The breakers. Off to the electrical box ~ some choice words on my part now and definitely an ancestry called into question. I had posted about the maintenance man who is no longer here due to getting in between two people who were arguing – and both people turned on him. He had the key to the locks on those boxes.

Fortunately, vice-grip handshake and those accompanying him have great experience in drilling locks – and in moments we were into the box and checking the breakers. There it was, the one switch on the top. A slight flick of the switch, and there was now power in the laundry room, joy in my heart and vice-grip handshake realized that I might be mature – but I’m NOT dead!!

All in all, a satisfying day.

As I was posting this tonight, I was reminded of a Lewis Carroll poem I once earned three dollars from my parents for memorizing at a very young age…

I’ll leave you with that poem tonight:

You Are Old, Father William

“You are old, father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head–
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

“In my youth,” father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
And you have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door–
Pray what is the reason for that?”

“In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
“I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment – one shilling a box–
Allow me to sell you a couple?”

“You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak–
Pray, how did you manage to do it?”

“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose–
What made you so awfully clever?”

“I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
Said his father. “Don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you down stairs.

—more tomorrow
should be able to post pictures this weekend!!!

The Spider To The Fly ~ Early Morning Thoughts

A very interesting conversation took place today about poetry, and the bits and pieces that are part of conversations. Of course, “The time has come, the Walrus said –” was mentioned. Another mentioned: Quoth the raven ~ Nevermore!” And there were many others. Part of the fun was trying to find out who had originally written the poem or quote.

The following generated the most discussion – and the most incorrect answers. As this has been a somewhat “silly” Saturday, I’m reprinting the poem – along with a non-companion, companion piece.

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the Spider to the Fly,
“‘Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show you when you are there.”
“Oh no, no,” said the Fly, “to ask me is in vain;
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”
“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the Spider to the Fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin;
And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in!”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “for I’ve often heard it said
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!”
Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, “Dear friend, what can I do
to prove that warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome – will you please take a slice?”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “kind sir, that cannot be,
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!”
“Sweet creature,” said the Spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise;
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf;
If you step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say;
And bidding good morning now, I’ll call another day.”
The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again;
So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the Fly.
then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple, there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are as dull as lead.”
Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew, –
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue;
Thinking only of her crested head – poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den
Within his little parlor – but she ne’er came out again!
And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne’er heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.
–Mary Howitt(1799-1888)

Now, for those of you who thought that Lewis Carroll had written the poem – Here is the parody he wrote of her poem.

The Lobster Quadrille

“Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail,
“There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle – will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
won’t you join the dance?”

“You can really have no notion how delightful it would be
When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters out to sea!”
But the snail replied “Too far, too far!”, and gave a look askance –
Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not,would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not,could not join the dance.

“What matters it how far we go?” his scaly friend replied.
“There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The farther off from England the nearer is to France –
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
won’t you join the dance?”
–Lewis Carroll(1832-1898)

–book cover “Spider and Fly” available for $2800

Early Morning Thoughts ~ A Childlike Poem

Today I went throught a lot of “stuff.” No, not head “stuff” … but as George Carlin would say “stuff-stuff.” I got into some boxes, notes and scribblings. I’m glad I did it, and not someone else. There was quite a bit in the “what on earth?” category. But I found some teaching notes on a children’s poem. I realized that I remembered bits and pieces of the poem, but not the beauty of the entire piece. So, I sat down a re-read it and realized that with all that’s going on in the world (and in my life)there really is relevance. (and yes, there are times I do feel like an oyster!!)

The Walrus and the Carpenter
by Lewis Carroll

`The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright–
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done–
“It’s very rude of him”, she said,
“To come and spoil the fun!”

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead–
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand:
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
“If this were only cleared away,”
They said, “it would be grand!”

“If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
“That they could get it clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head–
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat–
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more–
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
“Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed–
Now, if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.”

“But not on us!” the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
“After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!”
“The night is fine,” the Walrus said.
“Do you admire the view?

“It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“Cut us another slice.
I wish you were not quite so deaf–
I’ve had to ask you twice!”

“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
“To play them such a trick.
After we’ve brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“The butter’s spread too thick!”

“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,

Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?”
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.’

third illustration by Kevin Finney