Friday, November 14, 2014

You could get shocked from a power pole, manhole cover!

Now this is scary — seeping electricity from old underground wiring that is losing its insulation is creeping up to the surface and electrifying things like power poles, bus stop signs, manhole covers and even sidewalks. Step on one of these electrified objects on a rainy day, in some instances you could get a fatal shock. Watch this segment from the Today Show. This is hard to believe, but it's true! A 15-second commercial will play ahead of the story, but stick around. This is worth seeing.

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My brain is tricking me to believe my parents are still alive

I'm writing to you from a campground just off I-5 in Red Bluff, California. My parents lived not far from here, in the small Sierra foothill town of Grass Valley. I'd often drive from Seattle to see them, typically twice a year. It's about 750 miles. I'll visit them this trip, too, but, sadly, it will be in the cemetery where they rest. They both died in 2008.

It's a funny thing how our minds operate. Driving yesterday down I-5, as I have so many times before enroute to Grass Valley, I would feel at times like I was on my way to visit my parents who in my mind were somehow still alive. Of course I knew better. Crazy!

My visits always started the same. My father would keep his eye out for me as I got closer to his home. If I were in my motorhome he would direct me into a parking spot he had proudly created in his back yard. Then we would go into the house, where he, my mother and I would visit in the living room. My mother would always sit on the big couch and my father to her side in a blue, reclining easy chair. I would sit across the room on a smaller couch. It was special being with them. I could assume my role as "son." I know it made them happy to have me there.

As you know if you have lost your parents, their passing leaves a big void in your life that cannot be filled.

Yesterday, my mind kept tricking me, making me feel sort of warm and fuzzy at the idea of being with my folks. Maybe, even after six years, I am still in denial about them being gone. Perhaps you know the feeling.

In a couple of hours I will head back down I-5 to Sacramento to visit with friends from when I lived there. I'll drive to Grass Valley two or three days later to visit my parents' graves. I'll drive by their house, too, where there will be a strange vehicle in the driveway. My father's yard, which he would spend every spare minute tending to, will look run down compared to when he was there to tend it. I always drive away feeling a little sad, but I always drive by the house anyway.

You are lucky if you still have your parents. Treasure them. Have them tell you family stories. I have so many questions these days about my past that only my mother or father could answer. Sometimes I get mad at myself for not asking them more questions. But then I guess you can't think of everything, can you?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Santa is at the mall, but too early

I'm in Sacramento, California for a few days in my motorhome before heading off elsewhere. I goofed when I left home a week ago by forgetting to bring along some shirts. There were three in my closet from my last trip, all of which have done two-day duty now. So I headed to the mall to pick up a few more.

It's Nov. 13. Christmas songs were playing in most of the stores. In the middle of the mall, Santa was pacing in his make believe North Pole, looking quite bored. His elves, who doubled as sales people — $29.95 for a photo package of baby Ethan or Emma with Santa — were also milling about, all appearing bored as well. I wondered who would bring their kid to Santa six weeks before Christmas. Don't you think that's too early?