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August 2011
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Daily Archives: August 29, 2011

The Newspaper

Not naming any names, but some have expressed a bit of friendly envy over the fact that my parents arent Fox News-watchin’ Retirees for Jesus. I admit I’m lucky in that regard. But that doesn’t necessarily make this temporary living situation with them completely sane.

A while back one morning after we had a big rain and windstorm, Mom brings in the newspaper which was like a wet log of paper maché. They have one of those receptacles by their mail box post for the newspaper, but somehow the wind must have blown it off its old hinges, so it was tipped and all the rain poured into it, completely soaking the newspaper.

She was giving me this helpless look: “Look what happened to the newspaper!” Instead of chucking the thing in the recycle bin and calling the paper to deliver a new one, she attempts the elderly parent newspaper resuscitation method. She tried peeling the wet pages apart from one another, and putting the paper out to dry on the kitchen and dining room tables while she was cooking eggs for breakfast.

Later, I’m outside working and come inside to go to the bathroom and smell something funny. Mom’s still messing with the paper, and I look on the stove and the eggs are burning. The newspaper situation had her so flustered that she had completely forgotten the eggs. The house could have gone up in flames from the burning eggs, and there Mom would be, trying to peel the pages of the precious newspaper apart from one another to dry them out. Firemen would appear, hoses in hand, putting out the flames and getting her newspaper wet, the very newspaper she was trying to dry out.

When I moved in, they didn’t have a computer or internet, but they would go over to Lamar’s and watch his family use it, and mom got a little addicted to using it to search for recipes, so they knew this thing called Teh Internets existed. Getting online was one of my first priorities for myself here, and I told them they were welcome to use my laptop to get news when I wasn’t using it. But they had none of it. They had to have their newspaper in the morning with coffee, and they had to have a week’s old stack laying around on the coffee table so they could say, “Leon, we saved an article for you on Randy Lee Mullet who died in a freak hunting accident—he was in your class, wasn’t he?”

So I lost my temper a little because of the burning eggs and told Mom, look, just call the damn paper and have them send out a new one! She told me it was a waste of gas and resources to have a new paper delivered, and this was a perfectly good paper, it just needed to dry out.

I had to drive the truck to Pueblo, and when I got back in the afternoon, there was Mom and Dad outside, both of them had gotten into the act this time, still working on drying out the paper, this time outside on the picnic table. But the wind would start blowing the paper around and then they got confused which sheet went with which section. They’d put jars and stones down on the corners of the paper to stop it from blowing, but not before some of it completely disappeared in a gust across the field too quickly for elderly people to chase after it.

THEY SPENT THEIR ENTIRE DAY TRYING TO DRY OUT A NEWSPAPER JUST BECAUSE IT WAS A WASTE OF ENERGY TO GET A NEW ONE. Who’s energy are they wasting? Certainly their own. Maybe some gasoline is saved. But they totally wasted their energy and mine. I think it took a few days off my life from the stress it caused me.

So there. No, they’re not right wing nut job old folks, but their senile leftie version of “let’s save the planet by not wasting gasoline to deliver a dry paper” is a little much for me. How about let’s save the planet by not printing newspapers in the first place, huh, Mom and Dad?

Reminder: Once the folks move out, remove any traces of newspaper receptacles from the mail post.

Orange and Yellow Coleus, Summer 2011

Coleus by ann-s-thesia
Coleus, a photo by ann-s-thesia on Flickr.

Yellow leaves have a random paint application of orange in a sort of uniform way. Continue reading

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