ivman's blague rotating header image loading ... please wait....

Posts Tagged ‘gardens’

Job description: Dad

As Father's Day approaches I want to post one or two things about dads. Today's is a job description for the position of "Dad." Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Position: DAD

Long-term team players needed for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in faraway cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

Must provide on-site training in basic life skills, such as nose blowing.

Must have strong skills in negotiating, conflict resolution and crisis management.

Ability to suture flesh wounds a plus.

Must be able to think out of the box but not lose track of the box, because you most likely will need it for a school project.

Must reconcile petty cash disbursements and be proficient in managing budgets and resources fairly, unless you want to hear, "He got more than me!" for the rest of your life.

Must be able to drive motor vehicles safely under loud and adverse conditions while simultaneously practicing above mentioned skills in conflict resolution.

Must be able to choose your battles wisely and then stick to your guns.

Must be able to withstand criticism, such as "You don't know anything."

Must be willing to be hated at least temporarily, until someone needs $5 to go skating.

Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.

Must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat, in case this time the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.

Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.

Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys and battery-operated devices.

Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.

Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.

Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.

Must have a highly energetic entrepreneurial spirit, because fund-raiser will be your middle name.

Must have a diverse knowledge base, so as to answer questions on the fly such as "What makes the wind move?" or "Why can't we just stop all wars?"

Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.

Other responsibilities include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you. One possible promotion is to "Grandpa," but that's really a totally different job.

None required, unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

You pay them, offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered, the job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life, if you play your cards right.


Since the blog post earlier this week, seedlings are already beginning to appear in the flower box! Cool! More updates as they develop (we hope).

Three weeks from today is our son's wedding. Time is flying by!


"There are almost always human causes for what happens in history, but there are also hidden, divine causes working in it all." - Andrew Franseen

=^..^= =^..^=

It rarely occurs to young people that the day will come when they'll know as little as their parents.

Print This Post Print This Post
E-mail this post to a friend
Share this post on Facebook


With all the handyman type stuff I've been doing (see the end of this blog post) and with Father's Day coming up, I decided to post some interesting facts about the one of the essentials in any handyman's arsenal - WD-40. I don't remember where I got what I'm posting, and therefore I don't know who the "I" is in the personal references in it. The list on snopes.com has some not on the list I received and some of mine aren't on theirs.


picture of WD-40

The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts. WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. It's name comes from the project that was to find a "water displacement" compound. They were successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40.

The Corvair Company bought it in bulk to protect their Atlas missile parts. The workers were so pleased with the product, they began smuggling (also known as "shrinkage" or "stealing") it out to use at home. The executives decided there might be a consumer market for it and put it in aerosol cans. The rest, as they say, is history.

It is a carefully guarded recipe known only to four people. Only one of them is the "brew master." There are about 2.5 million gallons of the stuff manufactured each year. It gets it's distinctive smell from a fragrance that is added to the brew. Ken East says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you.

Here are some of the uses:

Protects silver from tarnishing

Cleans and lubricates guitar strings

Gets oil spots off concrete driveways

Gives floors that 'just-waxed' sheen without making it slippery

Keeps flies off cows

Restores and cleans chalkboards

Removes lipstick stains

Loosens stubborn zippers

Untangles jewelry chains

Removes stains from stainless steel sinks

Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill

Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing

Removes tomato stains from clothing (not sure I'd do this since it contains oil)

Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots

Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors

Keeps scissors working smoothly

Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes

Gives a children's play gym slide a shine for a super fast slide

Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers

Rids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises

Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open

Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close

Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers

Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles

Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans

Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons and bicycles for easy handling

Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly

Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools

Removes splattered grease on stove

Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging

Lubricates prosthetic limbs

Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell)

Removes all traces of duct tape

I have even heard of folks spraying it on their arms, hands, knees, etc., to relieve arthritis pain.

One fellow claims spraying it on fishing lures attracts fish.

WD-40 has been designated the "official multipurpose problem-solver of NASCAR," a ringing endorsement if there ever was one. I told my NASCAR loving sons about this and they said they couldn't imagine how WD-40 can solve the Jeff Gordon problem.

In 2003, in celebration of their 50th year, the company conducted a contest to learn the favorite uses of its customers and fan club members, (Yes, there is a WD-40 Fan Club).

They compiled the information to identify the favorite use in each of the 50 states. Naturally I was curious about Georgia and Alabama and found the favorite use in both states was that it "penetrates stuck bolts, lug nuts, and hose ends." Florida's favorite use was "cleans and removes lovebugs from grills and bumpers."

California's favorite use was penetrating the bolts on the Golden Gate Bridge. The favorite use in the State of New York... WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements!

No wonder they have had over 50 successful years!

I (Rob) have not personally tried many of these, so I'm hoping some of you readers may give the rest of us your insights in some comments.


This past Saturday I embarked on a fun little project - building a flower box. I'll start off by giving a little history. When we moved into this subdivision 3 years ago this month, we were impressed by the fact that there were flower boxes atop some of the cement drain covers, including a pretty little box right in front of our house. In the past few months, that box has simply fallen apart. I decided to build a new one this past weekend. I bought the wood at "Home Despot" (my name for this great store), and I had them cut it for me to my dimensions since their saws are so much better and faster than mine. Below are several pictures of various stages of the project.

the cement drain cover after I removed the old box...

picture of drain cover

the finished box with five drain holes cut in the middle...

picture of box done

the box refilled with the dirt I'd removed from the old box and sifted...

picture of box filled

Becka and I decided to drive around the neighborhood to see what others had planted in their boxes. We were surprised and a bit disappointed to find only 3 other such boxes in the entire subdivision! I guess as new members of the neighborhood, we saw things a little idealistically. Two of the boxes we found on our drive had either nothing or almost nothing planted in them! One had some nice petunias. We decided to plant in our box a perennial lantana called "Miss Huff" which will eventually fill much of the center of the box. I planted also a trailing petunia and around the edges of the box I've planted seeds of Johnny Jump-Ups, some historic pansies from Seed Savers Exchange, and towards the back some zinnias. Below is a picture of the two plants I bought. After the other stuff comes up and gets established, I'll try to remember to post an updated picture.

picture of box planted

I found a nice picture online of what the lantana will look like when it's mature. I'm putting that picture below....

picture of Lantana Miss Huff


At the cathedral in Lubeck, Germany there is an inscription that reads, "Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us - You call Me master and obey Me not; you call Me light and see Me not; you call Me the way and walk in Me not; you call Me life and live Me not; you call Me wise and follow Me not; you call Me fair and love Me not; you call Me rich and ask Me not; you call Me eternal and seek Me not. If I condemn thee, blame Me not." - Author unknown

=^..^= =^..^=

You really need only two tools - WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use duct tape.

Print This Post Print This Post
E-mail this post to a friend
Share this post on Facebook

Prison vs. Work

Many thanks to those who pray for Drew, and even more thanks to the One who answers prayer. Drew went for a check up today, and he's gained 9 ounces in the past week! So things are definitely going in the right direction now. That little 5 lb. 8 oz. magnet has such a strong pull that two weeks from now I'll be posting a blog entry from his parents' house, the dust having settled from graduation on May 5th.

This past Saturday our neighbor Brian and I spent the better part of the day loading and unloading free rocks (two truckloads full) from a construction site (with the construction company's blessings, of course) and rebuilding parts of the drainage ditch that runs between our properties. It was a ton of work (at least a ton, literally!), but the ditch looks much better now! We're eager for the next heavy rainfall to see how the water runs through it! Below are several pictures of my truck and the ditch with the new rocks in place.

one of the truckloads of rocks...

the drainage ditch towards our house...

the drainage ditch towards Brian's house...

Brian and I joked about how we seem to be prisoners to the ditch, and like prisoners, we seem to be working on a rock pile. Brian's a young dentist, and I'm a not-so-young French teacher. So did we spent our weekend relaxing from work? This all reminded me of something in my files that compares and contrasts prison and work.

Prison vs Work

In prison, you spend a majority of time in an 8x10 cell.
At work you spend most of your time in an 8x10 cubicle.

In prison you get three meals a day.
At work you get a break for one meal, and you have to pay for that one.

In prison you get time off for good behavior.
At work you get rewarded for good behavior with more work.

In prison you can watch TV and play games.
At work you get fired for watching TV and playing games.

At work you must carry a security card to unlock and open all the doors yourself.
In prison a guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.

In prison you get your own toilet.
At work you have to share.

In prison they let your family and friends come and visit.
At work you're not even supposed to speak to your family and friends.

In prison all expenses are paid by taxpayers with no work required.
At work you get to pay all the expenses to go to work, and they deduct taxes from your salary, partially to help pay for prisoners.

In prison there are sadistic wardens.
At work you have managers.

At work you can go to your own home at the end of the day where you're free to do what you want.
In prison you stay put, with others making almost all your decisions for you.

At work if you decide you change jobs, you give your two weeks notice and then move on.
In prison *they* tell *you* when you can finally leave.

This is Rob again...
I'll still opt for work, thanks! 😎


"'Give us this day our daily bread' is asking Him to provide for our need, not our greed." - Dr. Stephen Jones

=^..^= =^..^=

Should Superman wear a Jack Bauer shirt? (talk about all in a "day's" work!)

Enough frivolity ... back to work!!! 😎

Print This Post Print This Post
E-mail this post to a friend
Share this post on Facebook

Drew, Pudge, and irises

We received a few new pictures of Drew last evening. Since some of you have been clamoring for more recent pictures, here are several...

Earlier I posted a picture of a trial run on the carseat when Drew was still in the NICU. Below is a picture of him when he was in the carseat to go home...

picture of Drew in his carseat

Drew meets the family terrier, Pudge...

picture of Drew meeting Pudge

Here's a picture of Drew in one of his preemie outfits, eyes wide open...

picture of Drew with eyes wide open

Last fall we redid the beds by our front porch, pulling up 10 big, ugly Boxwood globes and putting in more colorful and varied bushes and plants. Here's a shot of some of the plants "waking up" this spring...

picture of the bed on one side of our front porch

Here's a close up of several of the Sapphire Beauty Dutch irises in the picture above...

picture of sapphire beauty irises

Back at you soon...


Print This Post Print This Post
E-mail this post to a friend
Share this post on Facebook

Day in Hong Kong

Monday morning, 1 August, we flew from Haikou to Hong Kong where we had reservations for a hotel in the Kowloon part of town. We were very glad that our teacher friend James went as far through airport checkin as possible since we hit a few snags with people who did not speak English. After taking care of several things at the Hong Kong airport, which bills itself as the "Best Airport in the World" and, from what we saw, it deserves that title, we took the fast train into the city, then a shuttle bus to very near our hotel. Below is a picture of the street where we descended from the shuttle bus.

After freshening up in our room, we set off to visit some of the city. As we strolled to the subway station, we spotted another street sign that reminded us that where we were now was very different from where we had been.

We took the subway just one stop away to stroll through Hong Kong Park. It was a beautiful area, full of free things to visit and enjoy. The park is apparently a popular place for weddings. Here's a bride we saw posing for some pictures.

We saw many more birds here. Below is the picture of one funny looking bird.

We saw some interesting trees and couldn't tell if it was all one tree or several grown together.

And there were several ponds with fish, turtles, and a variety of different lily pads. Below is a beautiful shot of some water plants.

A short walk from Hong Kong Park was the Peak Tram. The trip up and later back down was really neat and afforded some great views of the city. Below are two shots - one from inside the tram showing the angle at which we were climbing and one of the city from "up there."

After we were back down, we took a bus to ride the ferry back to the Kowloon district. Here's a beautiful sunset scene from the ferry.

In the afternoon as we walked to our hotel, we saw a restaurant where some young men were making "pulled noodles" in the front window. We decided then that, unless we saw something more interesting, we'd eat our last dinner in China in that restaurant. Below is a picture of the noodle pulling process.

Below is a picture of the noodles we enjoyed - noodles and pork meatballs with the first cheese we had been served during our entire time in China.

I will leave the "Asia" category "out there" for people to enjoy, but I foresee no updates until we go to Asia again. I'll let people know of any further updates to that category through my weekly iv's.

Thanks for your interest!

BTW, if you'd like to see it, I've put a video clip from a taxi ride out on my website. It's found at http://www.ivman.com/taxiride.html

Print This Post Print This Post
E-mail this post to a friend
Share this post on Facebook

Page 3 of 3123