About Country Bumpkin

I am an independent thinker. I write about my life, my thoughts and people that I know; I may love those that I write about too. I have grown up kids and an ornery cat - I may write about them or not. No promises on this blog. I write how I feel and I am one who does not sugar coat reality.

So sorry

that I haven’t been on here to post lately.

Been just a little bit busy with life and all things Mimi related.   I have started a post about Mimi, who has been my “grandma”, my “mom” and my very bestest friend for over 3 decades; pretty sure without her in my life I wouldn’t still be here.   It is just an intensely personal relationship to write about and with her recently passing away it has been hard to put it all down.  I may just serve it up to you a section at a time.

In other areas sweet hubby and I are taking CERT classes, so I am sure there will be blogs about those from time to time.  We had an immense amount of fun tonight in class which I am sure will be in an upcoming post.

So keep checking in Dear Reader, I promise there are more posts coming!!

The One From Hell………

One of my new friends was telling me about her recent trip to Boston and how they started staying at Bed & Breakfasts while on their trip and how much they enjoyed staying in them.  I told her that I had always thought about how nice it would be stay at one till we stayed at the one I have affectionately dubbed, “The One From Hell”.

The oldest was going off to college and we had to go up to do orientation.  Waited just a bit too long to get into a decent hotel in the area so we opted to stay in a Bed & Breakfast that we had found online.  The pictures looked good, the description read well and there was a refund guarantee if you didn’t enjoy your stay.  We were hooked.

Driving up there we were all excited, and even though they had a “policy” about not accepting late arrivals we had called the owner and made arrangements with her.  We got there after dark and after unloading by the back porch,the vehicle had to be pulled around to the parking area by the barn.  Since sweet hubby had just gotten out of the hospital I was driving and wasn’t too happy about walking back to the house from the barn in the dark.

When I got back to the house, we met the owner and encountered our first problem.  We were supposed to have the rooms on the ground floor since sweet hubby couldn’t do the stairs easily and was lugging an oxygen tank.  She had switched our rooms out for ones on the second floor.  Fortunately there was a bathroom on the second floor which only our family would be using as, according to the owner, we were the only ones up on there.

Going up the stairs was hard as the railing kept getting lower and lower and totally disappeared by the time you reached the second floor.  Made it very hard for someone who was having a hard time breathing and needed the railing to go up the stairs.  I asked the owner if she was planning on getting it replaced to a full railing and she said no as she was trying to keep the house as original as possible.

Our girls were sleeping in the first room at the top of the stairs.  It had a nice queen sized bed in it, a comfy chair and a medium sized color TV that we were assured worked and was hooked up via a satellite so had plenty of channels.  I had noticed that the hallway outside of the bedroom had some dead flies and mentioned it to the owner. She said that there had been quite a few of them up there that afternoon but that she had vacuumed them up.

Continue reading

“I AM…..”

One of my friends and I were talking the other day about jobs we’ve had and co-workers we’ve had and other people at work that we have had to interact with and it reminded me of a particular incident a long time ago when I was working at a company we will call the blue oval.

At that time I was doing an IT job (works with computers) and one of my duties was to grant access to various groups that were on the LAN (Local Area Network). Just about every time the user was in a different building, and sometimes in a different city entirely.

One day I processed a request for a new user to be added to many different groups and when I was finished I sent out the standard email telling him what had been done and that his next step was to contact his local help desk so that they could complete the connections on his end, as this was a two part process.

The next morning I received an email from that user saying that he couldn’t access what he was supposed to access and could I please give him the permissions so that he could work.  Again I sent them the email stating that it was now up to their local help desk so that the local IT guys could do the last part of the hook-up.

By afternoon I had yet another email from him stating that he still didn’t have access. I wrote him again and said that he needed to contact the local help desk (providing numbers and email addresses) to help him, as it could only be done in his building

The next morning and afternoon was a repeat of the day before.  So I called his local help desk and asked if they had been contacted with the request; I was told no.  I asked if I could place the request for him as there seemed to be a bit of a misunderstanding with what he needed to do next.  Of course I couldn’t, that wouldn’t be following protocol and might get the guy to the top of the queue, which wouldn’t be fair to others.

I emailed the user and explained again that he needed to contact his local help desk, provided all the contact information and even sent along the supervisor’s name and number for that area.

The next morning I received another email from him that was worded pretty sternly and talked about how I was personally responsible for him not being able to do his job.  At this I saw red as I had done everything that I was required to do and had even done a little extra trying to get him up and running.

So I sat down and wrote back, as civilly as I could, telling him that he needed to please contact his local help desk at the number provided and that they would put him in the queue so that his access could be completed.  Then I wrote the following including the one sentence that I probably shouldn’t have written, but just couldn’t stop myself and I paraphrase for you:

I have done all that I can do at this end.  You need to contact your local help desk at the phone number that I have provided you numerous times.  This is the ONLY way that you will receive access to the groups that you need as your local help desk must do this step; I can not.   If you can not understand that this is what you must do, please contact your supervisor and have them read this note and explain it to you.  Have a nice day.

After that, I went to lunch and hoped that I wouldn’t hear from him again.  The joke was soon to be on me!

When I returned to my desk, I was only there a few minutes when I received an email from my supervisor asking for details about the situation and did I write the email referenced below his email.  I sent him back a short email that said yes, I had sent that email.  He sent a reply that the person had contacted our department manager, who contacted my supervisor and my supervisor now wanted all the correspondence.  I replied that I would do that and set about printing out all the emails.

No sooner than I had taken the print outs from the tray and walked back into my cubicle, my supervisor was there and told me I was in a bit of trouble with our department manager.  I handed him the print outs and then held out my hands and said you better smack them good because I wasn’t wrong on this one.

We went into his office where he proceeded to read each letter out loud. By the time that he had read the 4th email exchange he looked at me and said I can understand why you wrote that final note.  Then he showed me the email that the user had sent to our department manager.  I will paraphrase again.

Dear *********

Recently I have been in contact with *************** in your department regarding getting access to (names of several groups here).   She keeps stating that this is not her job and in her last note suggested that since I couldn’t understand her correspondence I should take it to my supervisor and have it read to me.



Between the misspellings in the letter and the definite vibe of  this dude thinking he was way more important than the rest of us and had a better pedigree obviously, my supervisor just started laughing.   (So did I)

After we quit laughing, he called our department manager and explained the situation to him.  The department manger told me that if this type of situation were to ever happen again that I was to turn it over to the supervisor and not try to handle it on my own.   Of course I agreed to that; would’ve been dumb not to.

As to the user who thought he was super important, he finally got connected; it just took another whole week.


Mine, mine, mine………

I was having a bit of a problem thinking of what to write about and so I decided I would go back and read some old posts for inspiration; it worked and here is what I was reminded about.

I have a thing about sea gulls.  Ever since I was a small child I have not liked them, not one bit.   I remember that as a child we would go to Florida to visit our old neighbors who stayed down there in the winter.  (Same people who had cabin in Mio, MI) Often they would accompany us to the beach and feed the gulls.  They would hold up pieces of bread in their hand and the gulls would swoop down and grab it.

The husband was doing this once to show me how close they would come; he was in awful pain moments later when the gull hit him in the eye with a load of poop.  After that I would just stay in or near the car whenever anyone wanted to feed the gulls.

Shortly after that occurred, I happened to catch the old Hitchcock movie “The Birds” and after watching gulls attacking people and other scary scenes about birds I didn’t even want to be in the same air space as gulls.  They creep me out and I absolutely do not like to be near them.

Fast forward to being married and having children of my own and also living out on Long Island.  There are hundreds of gulls occupying the air space there; landing in droves in any parking area where there is fast food.  I have seen them try to follow people into grocery stores in search of their next snack.

On the particular day that I am thinking of, the gulls were at one end of the parking lot; and our family was at the other end getting food from Checker’s, clearly the kids’ choice.  We went into Checker’s, ordered and received our food and headed outside to eat at one of their picnic tables.

As soon as we sat down and started unwrapping our food, the gulls started coming towards us.  I was not going to sit out there unprotected from the gulls, so I took my food and went and sat in our van.  Soon my girls and sweet hubby followed suit and the gulls started milling around the van.

I was almost finished with my meal, as were the girls, when suddenly the gulls started attacking the top of the van and each other.  The more I heard them on the roof and saw how many were circling around the van and walking up to the van, the more creeped out I became.

I kept asking the kids to hurry up and finish so that we could leave the parking lot and all the gulls.  I was trying hard to keep the terror out of my voice too as I kept an eye on more than 100 gulls that had surrounded the van.

It was then that I noticed sweet hubby was quietly chuckling to himself.  He knew how much those damn birds bugged me.  So I asked him what he found so funny.  That was when he confessed that he had ordered extra fries and had dropped them in the parking lot on his way back to the van, as well as, put some on the roof of our vehicle. I wanted to throw him out of the van.   Here I was sitting there getting terrified because of my totally irrational fear of those birds only to find out that they were basically attacking our van because of him.

I told the kids to buckle up and grab onto their drinks as we were leaving – RIGHT NOW!!!  As I drove out of that parking lot, I was yelling at him about his insensitivity and he was chuckling about my “irrational fear” of gulls; when lo and behold a rather large gull landed on the mirror right outside of his window and just seemed to stare at him with pure malice.  This caused me to really hit the gas and head for the road.

The canoe trip

A few of you may have heard me talk about going canoeing as a kid, sometimes with family, most often with the youth group from church.

I was either between grades 8 and 9 or between grades 9 and 10 when this particular trip happened.  Our church’s youth group would go camping up near Mio, MI for a weekend and go canoeing down the Au Sable River.   Good family friends had a cabin up near Mio and I was often allowed to spend a couple of weeks with them after the canoe trip was over.

This particular year one of the youth leaders, Steve, had a younger brother, “Lyn”, who had come up from Florida to go on the trip. He was tall and cute, a life guard and also a certified scuba diver; most of the girls were trying to get his attention.  My older sister had dated Steve, so it would of been weird for me to think of him as anything but just another guy on the trip.  We got along alright, just kept a healthy distance between us.

Also on the trip were two girls who I had never gotten along with and my friend, “Veronica”, had always been the butt of their jokes.  We will call them “Renee” and “Peggy”.  There was also the female leader, Lisa, and about 10 other kids.

Friday, we arrived at the campground and set up camp.  Veronica and I pitched my little orange two man tent as far from the leaders’ tents as possible and still be in our camping area.  There was the usual cook-out, followed by a sing-a-long and s’mores; then it was time for sleep.

Saturday, dawned bright and early and after eating breakfast and packing certain items in water proof bags we left to go to the canoe place and spend a day on the Au Sable River.

When we got there, Veronica and I loaded our things into our canoe and prepared to launch it.  There was only one problem.  I had been canoeing several times and Veronica had never been in one.  It would’ve been natural for me to sit in the back to steer the canoe and let her be in front where she would be paddling only when necessary.   She begged me to let her sit in the rear of the canoe; I wouldn’t let her.   I kept that resolve until after lunch when she finally wore me down to the point that it was easier to let her try to steer than to keep listening to her.

On our way after lunch, things were going along really well until we rounded a bend in the river and there were Renee, Peggy and a fallen tree blocking the river.  Those two had managed to get their canoe sideways across the river and Renee had hooked her paddle into some bushes growing out from the shore.  They weren’t going anywhere fast and here we were coming at them.  I told Veronica how to steer toward them and hopefully we could just knock into the end of their canoe that was closest to the shore, doing minimal damage; as in maybe we wouldn’t tip them over.

We couldn’t go toward the other bank as that is where the tree had fallen from and it blocked over half of the river.  You could see the river just rushing under it and I knew if we got much closer that we would be sucked under it too. The leaders were standing up on a hill on the other side of the tree yelling at Renee and Peggy to start moving.  I was already starting to paddle backwards to give them time to move out of the way.

Veronica had other ideas.  She decided to paddle against me and move the canoe toward where the branches of the tree almost touched Peggy & Renee’s canoe.  She figured (she told me later) that going through those branches would be less painful then our lives would be if we rammed their canoe and they tipped over.

The river was higher than normal and also moving fast, add to that the suction under the tree and you know that you have a disaster just waiting to happen.  And it happened!!   I was yelling at Veronica to back paddle, Peggy & Renee were yelling at us to not hit them, and the leaders were yelling to not go near the tree.

I remember turning slightly to yell again at Veronica when we were sucked under that tree.  I felt some awful hard bumps when the canoe started going under that tree with me in front and then the last thing I saw was Veronica’s hands clutching at a big limb so she didn’t go under the tree and then the canoe came down on my head.

The next thing I knew I was laying on the shore and everyone was ringed around me.  I truly felt that I had died or something.  Once I could sit up Steve and Lisa started asking me questions.  My head was killing me, and I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I asked what had happened as my arm was killing me and it even hurt to move my mouth to talk.

This is what I was told.  Our canoe got sucked under the tree.  Veronica managed to hang onto the tree so only had some scratches on her.  I went under the tree in the canoe.  The canoe hit me in the head and knocked me out.  The water was over 10 feet deep and Lyn had jumped in to get me.  Between the current, the tree and the canoe I ended up with a concussion, a dislocated shoulder and a dislocated jaw. We didn’t lose any of our stuff that was in the canoe; it just had to be fished out of the water.

I was in agony but we still had to make it to the canoe pick up.  This was back in the days before cell phones so I just had to tough it out. Lisa fashioned a sling out of a beach towel to help with my shoulder, there wasn’t much else she could do for me.  Lyn took over the paddling of my canoe and Veronica had to go in Steve’s.  I pretty much laid in the bottom of the canoe and tried not to move as moving made me want to puke.

We put in at the canoe pick up spot and just walking up to bus that would take us back to our cars made my world spin.  Steve and Lisa wanted to call my parents to pick me up but I convinced them that since the lady I was staying with was a nurse I would be alright.   They called my friends and once I let them know what happened they said that they would come early on Sunday to pick me up.  I only had to tough it out for 15 hours.

Back at camp, I was given spare pillows to try to use so that I could be comfortable laying on the ground and I also didn’t have to do any “chores” as I was injured.  Lyn and Lisa were always close by in case I needed anything.

On Sunday morning, everyone helped to pack up my tent and other things.  My friends showed up and took me back to their cabin where she managed to pop my shoulder and my jaw back in place. (Not something I would recommend being done outside of an ER)  I was given plenty of rest and love for the next few days as I recuperated from that traumatic experience.   It was also my last canoe trip with that group; canoeing just didn’t seem so fun anymore.

But you accepted the pig!!!

Digging through my ring box the other day I came across a ring that is a turtle shape.  It is turquoise, some red stone and sterling silver; two of my favorite things are in that ring.  Upon seeing it, I was instantly brought back to those days in 9th grade when I had the unwanted attention from an underclassman.

He was in a couple of my classes, would always try to sit by me or get into conversations with me.  He was an okay person, just a wee bit strange and kind of clingy for a guy.  I had already told him several times that he wasn’t my type and to back off.  You think he would’ve gotten the message when I didn’t ask him to the Sadie Hawkins Dance!!

It was Christmas time and he followed me to my bus on that last day of school.  I can still see it as if it had happened yesterday.  His dark red hair, blue eyes, pale white face and holding out a wrapped present.  He assured me that it was for me and he didn’t expect one in return.  “Go on take it.  I got it just for you.”  Okay………….

Got it home and waited to open it till the 26th of Dec.  The box contained a cute, stuffed pig – cute if you like that sort of animal, and attached around it’s neck with ribbon were two rings.  I can’t remember what the one ring looked like but the other was the turtle one.  I cut the ribbon and tried on the rings; only the turtle one fit.

Returning back to school after the holiday, he was waiting for me as I stepped off the bus and tried his usual tactics to start a conversation.  I was my usual monosyllable self and tried to lose him in the hallway.  All too soon it was time for chorus, one of the couple of classes we were in together, and he was waiting at the door.  He got all excited when he noticed that I was wearing the turtle ring on my RIGHT hand.  I managed to get him to sit in his seat and leave me be till the end of class, when he insisted on walking me to my next one.

It wasn’t till the last hour of my day that I found out he had been running around school telling people that we were going steady.  I was like, “What??  Oh HELL NO!!!”  When I saw him after school I asked him what was going on with telling people that we were going steady.  He said, “Well we are!!”  And even tried to move in for a kiss; I was having none of that action.  I demanded an answer.  He said, “Well you came back to school wearing the ring I gave you for Christmas. And you accepted the pig it was attached to.”   I stood there with my mouth open in surprise as he hurried away to his bus.

The next day in chorus, he was given his stuffed pig back with both rings attached.  They made a nice clinking noise as it sailed through the air towards his head.   I told him to consider us broken up.  After that he was horribly obnoxious and crude to me for the rest of the year.  I did my best to ignore him because it didn’t sit well with the principal if I pulverized boys who were shorter than me, and underclassmen to boot.

I found the turtle ring in my backpack over the summer when I was giving it a deep clean before a canoe trip.  I don’t know when that little red haired twerp put it in there, or how he did it without being seen.   Now it sits in a little box with other rings that I don’t wear, but can’t seem to get rid of either.

It’s my electric personality

Well, today I was playing around with some small electrics and through no fault of my own, got a bit of shock and oh was that a bit painful.  It reminded me of the other times that I have been poked by electricity in my life.

The very first time was when I was helping my friend move out during her divorce.  She had a clock hung over the stove and it was plugged in behind the stove.  No problem, I’m tall; let’s pull out the stove a little bit and I can just reach that plug.

Well, in pulling out the stove that little bit, a little bit of the plug for the stove came out so that there was just a bit of the prongs exposed while the rest stayed in the outlet.  Of course, I had no way of knowing that; I only knew that the plug for that clock was next to the 220 line for the stove.

Something told me not to be touching the stove so I leaned over balancing on my toes and reached behind it.  I felt an awful cold bite on my hand and then there I was sitting in the middle of my friend’s kitchen floor with a horrible taste in my mouth.   My friend was yelling “Are you all right?” and I just sat there looking at her thinking, what the hell just happened?   My hubby at the time came over as soon as she called him and he said it looked like I had hit the plug for the stove, all I know is it scared the hell out of me.  An electrician friend later told me that it was lucky I wasn’t touching the stove and that I didn’t grab onto it fully; we all think my hand didn’t grab it fully which is why I could let go of it.  (I think I make my guardian angels work overtime)

The next time I had a brush with electricity was when I moved into a different house and was painting a bedroom for my daughter.  Wanting to paint the outlet covers separately so that they weren’t painted onto the walls, I took a screw driver and went to pop it off the wall.  Found out the hard way the the previous owner had left some wires bare and close to the edge of the outlet.  Insert screwdriver and suddenly I wasn’t by the wall anymore, but back into the room with flames coming out of the holes for the plug.   Had to have the person helping me run downstairs and throw the circuit breaker, grab a fire extinguisher and put out the flames.   Had to call an electrician friend to come repair that mess.  He marveled that it wasn’t worse and checked all the other outlets and switches for me.

So, from now on this gal is really going to think two or three times before she plays with things that have any electrical impulses.

Sept. 11

It is that day again.  The day that I am usually holed up in my home; the day that I barely go outside; not a day that I look forward to every year.  This year I will be spending it with Mimi in her room at the nursing home and for once I won’t even watch TV.

Today is the day we remember Ronald George Hoerner, the husband of sweet hubby’s boss, one of the people that we knew that were lost when the towers fell. (Memorial Link)

I hope that everyone takes a moment today to bow their head or pause during their day to remember all the lives lost on that day; all the victims and the heroes who rushed in to help and those that lost their lives doing so.  Remember where you were, and what you were doing when you heard about it on the radio or TV or from a neighbor or co-worker.

If you lost someone on that day, you have my deepest sympathies as it is a loss that is not easily gotten over.

In Memory of Those We Have Lost

Can’t shake

this feeling that I have had since 5 a.m.  (Pretty sure you were thinking I was going to start singing)  I am not in the mood to sing.  If I was the only song that would fit right now would be Bad Moon Rising 


Ever since I was awoken out of a dead sleep at 4 a.m. this morning and then again about 6:30 a.m. and then again at 8:00 a.m. I have had a restless, unsettled day.  I have checked on the girls; they are fine.   The in-laws are alright; I think.   Haven’t had any news of any other family member who is not doing well.  Checked on a few friends, saw who was posting on Facebook, waiting for a couple to still check in – so the jury is still out on this bad feeling.

Last time I had a feeling like this was the night that Tara died – and for those of you that are new to reading me, here is the blog that dealt with that.  http://toomuchtosay.com/2009/12/farewell-to-tara-druyor-11-19-88-to-12-13-09/

It isn’t often when I am hit with this feeling and since it isn’t going away and there isn’t any news; I am just a little spooked.   The night Tara died I actually texted both my girls right away because I had this same feeling and I knew that something had happened to someone I deeply cared about.   It was hard to sleep that night and all day I was jittery.  Sweet hubby thought that it had something to do with a big program I was heading up at church that night; I kept telling him, No not it.  We got the call from Tara’s mom on our way to that program.  She wanted me to be the one to tell my own daughter that her best friend had died.

So, if you were one of the ones I texted or messaged today or one of the ones that I was a tad sarcastic with when you finally responded to me, I will apologize but will also say – don’t scare me like that.

In my family I have often been called fey (British definition) and while it is a gift that most of the time I don’t mind, it is a time like this that I really hate it.   I am hoping that I am way off this time, way, way off.


Updated: Friend’s daughter’s car – she is, amazingly, perfectly fine.  (Sorry, family requested picture be removed)


And my pet was…..

Talking about the backyard reminds me of a couple of things – one of them is the comedy team “The Smothers Brothers”.  I was pretty sure that they were the funniest duo on vinyl at that time.  One of my favorite bits that they did was about Tommy having a pet chicken.   If you have never heard them, here is that skit.


I thought that they were pretty funny stuff back then and my oldest sister and I would sit in her room listening to that record and laugh and laugh.   At least it was funny til it wasn’t!!

I had been begging for a pet for awhile so to shut me up and avoid the kind of pet that one must keep in the house my father decided that I should have chickens and a rooster.  Well, mostly the rooster was just mine; my sisters did not like him at all.  Suddenly I was Tommy Smothers and I had a pet chicken!!

One rainy morning Pops went out to check for eggs and feed the chickens before leaving for his job.  He had on his suit, overcoat and galoshes because it was really muddy out there.  The chicken coop was on the far side of the garden and I could watch him from his bedroom window.  So my sisters, brother and I trooped into the room to watch him feed the chickens.

Somehow Red, my name for the rooster, was out of the chicken yard and Pops had to get him back inside so he wouldn’t be a meal for a stray dog or other critter.  Pops threw down feed for the chickens and hoped that would make Red come back inside.  No dice.

So Pops decides that he can herd this rooster back into the chicken yard by opening his top coat and chasing behind Red and yelling.  What a spectacle that was!!  We were all cheering on Red, of course, and whooping it up inside the house.  Suddenly Red turned around and charged at Pops.  He was trying to attack Pops with his spurs!!  Pops went from being the pursuer to be being the pursued!!

Then it happened….. Pops got too close to one of the ditches and down he went!!  He went sliding down  the embankment and into that nasty, muddy water!! When he finally crawled out he was covered in mud and water was running off his clothes; not to mention that his galoshes were filled with water. Red was back in the chicken yard eating breakfast like nothing had happened.

Pops came back up to the house and had to change his entire outfit so he could go to work.  He was not happy!! He was loudly cursing that rooster and saying that Red wasn’t going to be with us much longer.  I pleaded for my rooster till Pops left for work.

Fast forward to the weekend and we were served chicken soup……… chicken soup that contained my rooster.  I would not, could not eat that chicken soup.