Monday, March 23, 2020

Sleepless in ....Texas

Well....It's been a slow week here at Rancho Juvat. 
Which is not to say we had NO progress.  Framing supplies were delivered.

The foreman had told me on his last visit that the framing crew was one week behind on another project due to weather "issues" down here.  We've had several inches of rain over the past couple of weeks, probably nearing double digits.  Which may not seem to be a lot for some, but with the hard soil around here, it tends to pile up fairly quickly.  However, last week's weather was reasonable, so hopefully we'll see some progress "soon".  (Fingers crossed for what has been the foreman's interpretation of the word.)


Update:  Seems he's pretty good with the word.  Framing crew showed up after lunch and began work.  Woo Hoo!
Checked on the project today.  Not TOO bad.

Looking in what will be the front door.  Master suite to the left right. Kitchen & Living room straight ahead and left right rear.  Sarge's Bedroom (if he EVER comes to visit) is front left. (I blame dyslexia.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it)
Master Suite in foreground.  juvat's throne will be on the left.


Had a little excitement Friday night.  I had hired our "next door" (1.5 miles as the crow flies) neighbor's son to shred my field in prep for Spring.  (My tractor is down for the count and requires much more than my mechanical skills to repair. )  He did a great job and the "yard" looks pretty good.  In one of the sections, there was an old wood pile with Mesquite branches from when we cleared a section of the property, probably 15 years ago.  He asked if he could burn that for us.

I asked him if he'd done this before.  He said he had.  I had seen several burns on their property over the years, so I asked him how he planned to do it.  He said he'd wait til we'd had a rainy spell, then use diesel to get the fire started and he'd tend it until it burned out. Sounded good to me, although I had some misgivings.

So...There I was*.  It's Friday night, Mrs J and I have finished dinner and are reading.  (Yes, Beans, we live an extremely exciting lifestyle.)  My phone rings and it's the Grandmother, who also lives on their property.

She's a little upset, mumbling something about a fire.

Well....THAT got my attention!

After a bit of questioning,  I determined that it was the planned burn. It's noteworthy to say, we had not set a date for the burn, nor had I been informed it was about to happen.

Further questioning revealed that the young man had been burned while starting the fire and had been taken to the ER.

As I'm heading out the door, I asked whether I needed to call the Fire Department.  She said no, that it appeared to be under control.

So, Mrs J and I head out to that section of the property and see that, indeed, the fire is under control. But nobody is watching it.  Mrs J heads back to the house, while I settle in for a long night.

Later, the Grandmother drives by and says that the young man and mom are being airlifted to San Antonio.

Perfect!  I ask what had happened, but she didn't know.

Still later, I see the father driving by.  He stops and we chat.  I ask about his son, he says he's got burns on his arms, legs and stomach.  The local hospital was not well equipped to deal with that type injury, so he was med-evac'd.

He then pulled out the membership card for LifeFlight and said "Best $X/month I ever spent".  I asked him what had happened.  He said that somehow, the diesel fuel can had had gasoline poured into it.  His son, evidently, didn't realize that had happened and was expecting the slow light that igniting diesel would give.

Unfortunately, gasoline doesn't react the same.  It was still light when he ignited the pile and must have gotten some fuel on his arms and legs.  He didn't realize it ignited with the fire.  Very fortunately, his twin brother was out there with him and saw what happened, threw him to the ground and started rolling him over to smother the flames.  Then, got him into the farm jeep they'd driven over in, and drove him to the ER.  (He doesn't have a license yet.)

The Czechoslovakian Judge gave him a "10",  nice save by the brother!

Turned out to be a long night for all.  They called the next morning saying the young man was being released from the hospital and while there would probably be some scarring, none of it should be too noticeable and no complications were expected.

So...Thank you, Lord!  (Beans, see what I mean about our exciting life?)

I took a long nap on Saturday.  Completely slept through another 3" of rain.



Which, when I checked Sunday, had effectively put out any smoldering embers.


And...just because...I, truthfully, found it humorous...and truthful. Not that I've EVER been in a situation like this before!








*SJC

55 comments:

  1. I'm glad he's okay.

    Mr. Sharp got a fuel delivery to his store in New Deal, back in the day. The fumes wandered over to his water heater and he was out of business. My dad found a ton of wasps in the woodpile one winter. He took a little cup of gas and doused them. He wound up on fire, and had a burned arm and got the helicopter ride to TT Med Center. I used to burn red ant beds in the yard with gas. That whoosh will let you know your are working with liquid dynamite.

    I sure hope he learns a good lesson, and doesn't develop a phobia about it. Dad was pretty strict with a "git back in the saddle after you've been thrown" mindset. I've been hurt doing things before, but there is a pathway in the wetware that respect but not fear will prevail. The default is to slow down. Extra care is taken to ensure it won't happen again.

    One of the amazing gifts that dad gave me. A gift that has freed me to keep going even after bad things have happened. I've seen parents lose their composure and act like a toddler. That won't help the kid when he's an adult.

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    1. I don't think a phobia will be a problem. Their pretty tough kids. Long distance runners for the track team as well as soccer. The whole family is pretty tough, Father's hispanic, mother is from early German settlers. Been here a long time. I spoke with him on his way home from the hospital. Seemed pretty upbeat. We'll see.

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  2. Good to hear the young man is OK, something something gang aft agley regards plans. Don't see too many slabs in our neck of the woods, full basements are the norm in this climate. Looking forward to progress on Rancho Juvat. Overnight gave us an inch of the white stuff outside......everywhere.....on....everything.....(sigh) Figures, put all the shovels back in the garage yesterday. That's a good commercial juvat, needed a chuckle this morning.

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    1. Yeah, we'd been in the high 70's last week, had to break out the light coats again as Saturday was wet, windy and low 40's. Forecast for this week is to hit 90 by mid week. Wish Mom Nature would make up her mind.

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  3. Diesel vs gas safety mishap. Ugh, I feel sorry for the young man. Sounds like the Class B will be downgraded in time. Happy healing. Good thing you're not California or you would be sued for faulty wood.

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    1. Yeah, fortunately, as I mentioned earlier, the family is long time Texan and not recent imports. Otherwise....

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  4. I went through Navy firefighting school a couple of times and right at the top of my list of "Things I don't Ever Want To Do!" is to be a firefighter. Good wishes to the young man and his family.

    About the new house. I looked up the Navy tradition of placing a coin under the mast and found the practice has also been used for buildings.
    I know that a coin under the mast wouldn't be an Air Force tradition, but why not tilt the cards in your favor.
    https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2013/01/25/mast-stepping-a-mariners-tradition/
    I'd read somewhere that the tolerances on modern shipbuilding are so tight that paper money has to be substituted for the coin.

    I've watched the other videos in the Southern Thing series, and yes they get it.


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    1. Did not know that, John. And, you're right, no sense in tempting fate.

      Wish I could get my woodworking skills down to that tolerance level. Practice, Practice, Practice.

      Yeah, I'm working my way through the series. Some are humorous, all, so far, have been pretty accurate.

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    2. They used to put a silver dollar under a tower as it's being built. I dimly remember that being a Navy tradition on the sailing ships. Tradition....

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    3. I'm good with tradition.

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  5. Ow, ow, ow. I've always been especially cautious around things that go boom, burst into flames, or otherwise have the potential to kill, maim, or hurt me (doors having the ability to hurt me is still a surprise). All it takes is a moment's inattention, then wham, you're in the hospital. Glad the young fellow is okay.

    What, I get my own room? Cool.

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    1. it will be the room with the padding on the interior walls! :-)

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    2. That will be completely up to The Missus.

      I'm not sure it was inattention, although it could be. I think it was one of those ticking time bomb things. Somebody had got the containers mixed up at some point in the past and all that was needed after that was a source of ignition. I'm sure the family has undertaken an extensive post accident investigation.

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    3. Tom,
      Under no circumstances am I giving up my office!

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  6. Sorry to hear about the wood burning mishap - wonder if whoever put gasoline in the diesel container will fess up to it? Very glad his brother was on scene! None of the treatments for burn victims are patient friendly, and all are really uncomfortable/painful.
    I thought the story was headed toward snakes exiting the woodpile once it was lit off... a friend killed a good sized copperhead which was crossing his driveway the other day.
    My dad used gasoline to start charcoal for the grill - soak the briquettes, stand back and throw a match into the grill. The "Whoosh!" was kinda satisfying, but it was stressed early on the a) move the gas container far away and get the heck back; b) don't wait too long since fumes build up; and c) don't put more gas on the fire if it starts to burn out.
    I also used to use gas to burn out the nests of large red ants in north Texas. There are a couple of good videos on the webz showing people blowing up their yards by having a bit too much gas in fire ant mounds.
    Also had a lab teacher who impressed us with a demonstration about how far ether fumes could travel before igniting. Took a long (10-12 feet) metal angle iron oriented in a "V", raised one end about two feet, put a lit candle at the lower end, then took a cotton ball and soaked it in ether. The cotton ball was placed at the upper end of the angle iron. It didn't take too long for the fumes (not any liquid) to travel down to the candle, as evidenced by the whoosh of flame that traveled back up the angle iron to the cotton ball.
    Respect volatile liquids and the gases they produce!
    Hope the construction starts again soon!

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    1. Sound like we had similar experiences growing up in Texas. Mr Lawrence was my high school chemistry teacher. He would do similar demo's. He also was a pretty good ventriloquist. He was known to observe student's sleeping in class, throw his voice towards the front of the room while slipping up to the kid, lighting a firecracker and putting it under the seat. It's been 50 years or so, but that's one of the few memories I have of High School.

      The workers haven't shown up yet. Still a bit muddy on the site, and they may not have finished the other framing job. Mrs J said she thought she'd heard a truck go there while I was in the shower, but nobody around when we went to feed the horses.

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    2. I had a chemistry teacher that would smack the snot out of you with a slip-stick if you dozed off.

      Just drifting off would merit a chalkboard eraser. He pitched college ball in his day.

      That, and if anybody got inattentive during lab, he'd open up a gas-tap, just enough to release more of the smell than the actual gas. He kind of hated me, though, as I can, even with snotted up nose, taste that smell from across the room.

      He also had 80lbs of Sodium on a shelf over a sink, Phosphorus in jars, and tons of other toxic or dangerous chemicals in his storeroom. That the school district never ever checked. Until he got a job in the real world. And the interim chemistry teacher walked into said storeroom and suddenly the school's closed for a day (on a Friday) while the semi-local (across the Banana and Indian 'rivers') FD's hazmat team was busy unhazmatting the place.

      What is it with chemistry teachers? Fume poisoning? Toxic absorption?

      The teacher above also was missing the index and middle finger, due to, as he said it, grinding chemicals while inebriated. So, of course, we called him Mr. Callahan to his face, or Claw Callahan behind his back. He could lift football players out of their seats with his claw...

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    3. Sounds like Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Callahan went to the same teacher college.

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    4. Seventh grade science teacher gave us a demonstration of Willie Peter self-igniting which elicited several inquiries of "Where can we get some of that?". Five years later the high school chemistry teacher was demonstrating the reaction between sodium and water in a glass fronted sink when a piece about the size of a marble went down the drain. I took advantage of the forthcoming reaction by attempting to shield the body of the young lady in the adjacent seat (we were immediately in front of the sink). The explosion blew a section of pipe through the glass. No casualties to personnel. No evacuation. The teacher in charge of the study hall in the next classroom came in dragging the firehose from the cabinet in the hall. I got a date with the aforementioned young lady. Old Guns

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    5. Some folks will do anything for a date with a fetching young Lady. Good on ya' Mate!

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    6. I saved some dimwit wanna-be blond bimbette from getting chomped on by a moray eel that she provoked to jump out of the fish tank. I got bit, and I did not get a date with said dimwit wanna-be. Which, considering my opinion of her went from 'cute but dumb' to 'dumber than a box of rocks and not worth spending the time on,' well, it was probably for the better.

      Did she thank me? Kiss on cheek for saving her worthless animated carcass? Nope. Instead she and her friends grabbed all my books the next day (which I couldn't carry very well because my right hand was looking like a giant q-tip,) and threw them off the 2nd story balcony in front of science class, over the open courtyard below, and onto the roof of the cafeteria.

      Which then required me to go over to the roof of the cafeteria, by walking on top of the covered walkway, with no help from the school custodian because he was pissed at me from bleeding a rather disturbingly large amount of blood from the science classroom, down the stairs, to the admin building, to the nurse's station where finally someone (me) ran said mangled hand under a serious amount of water while the nurse looked green in the face and was busy calling my dad to come pick me up and take me to Patrick AFB hospital forthwith.

      No...

      I'm not still bitter, nahhhhhh.....

      (And, no, ladies. Most women, girls, ladies are not bimbos or bimbettes. It is a derogatory term used to describe dim-brained wanna-be-floozies who use their physical charms to get somethings for nothings.) (Just like there are man-tramps and manbos and manbettes, which do not reflect the way most men act.)

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    7. There is a girl out there that made it through fish history by copying my homework. And no, not even a smooch. Gold digger no doubt.

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  7. Oh, yeah - I avoided the southern woman stare by marrying a Yankee, who is VERY direct in her letting me know when I've messed up. But I am very familiar with the other type, and I really get a kick out of the videos that group puts out.

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    1. Mrs J is from Wisconsin, but most of our stateside assignments have been in the southern half of the country. So...She oscillates between directly telling me how badly I've messed up and doing it the subtle way. In either case, I know I'm screwed.

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  8. Accidents happen. Hope the young man recovers with no complications.

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  9. I hope the young feller feels better soon. Burns are hard to live with. I've had too many of them over the years. I finally learned to use alternative accelerators that I could manage. Lucky for me (and those around me) they don't allow open flames here in the condo. No grilling, except with electricity (which NEVER gets hot enough). I use "sous vide" and a plumber's torch to give steaks a nice finish (don't tell anyone).

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    1. Desperate times call for desperate measures, Dave! (But I'll keep the torch thing in my clue book, just in case.)

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  10. Flames. Flames suck. Especially when things go sideways.

    Was at an event one time when someone decided to light the fire for the camp sing-along. The fire being a huge pile of brush, which was covering mattresses, spraypaint cans, and other non-fire objects. He added about a gallon of go-juice. The resulting fireball was... energetic. The fire department responded because they could see the fireball climb into the air. From 10 miles away, behind two ridgelines of stumpy hills. Nobody injured, except for a certain someone's pride, since we would never let him forget it...

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    1. I can see why you would never let him forget it...Or let him be the fire starter...ever again.

      Just one question. Did the sing-along proceed as scheduled? ;-)

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    2. Just one answer: No. The explosion kind of blew our chances of having the sing-along.

      Though we didn't get kicked off the site, because the FD did kind of point out to the camp director that if he hadn't put all that semi- and fully-explosive materials under all the brush, then fireball would not have happened, and at least is happened around a bunch of drunken adults rather than a bunch of drunken teenagers (it was a nominally a Christian camp, so that assured that we regularly found caches and cases of booze and beer buried in the woods, hidden in the rafters, under slabs, in playground equipment, under the stage and so forth and so on. Which our more alcoholic members proceeded to drink along with what they had already brought, to a supposedly dry campground, because, well, it's supposed to be a dry campground and they were aiding in drying it out.)

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  11. As to the Southern women videos, between these and the "Things Southern Women Say" videos, yeah, people think they're funny. Until they actually have experienced and understood the wrath of a southern woman.

    As to the fabric scissors... well... that made my wedding tackle retract like landing gear. Whomever is writing and producing these is wicked smart.

    There's nothing worse than a seething Southern woman. You don't have to worry about losing your truck. You may have to worry about waking up with it painted pink.

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    1. You're right about seething Southern women. What's amazing is how well they camouflage the "seething" part. If you're not paying complete attention, you could be lulled into a state of complacency from which it is impossible to react fast enough when the seething is released. DAMHIK. Oh, so many times. If I had a dollar for each, I could reimburse Bloomberg for his campaign expenses.

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    2. There is nothing camouflaged about a Southern woman seething. You just have to have remembered precisely where every slight crease and line on a Southern woman's face are, and do a rapid mental photo-comparison. It's why Southern women also tend to use a pound of pancake makeup to hide said lines. It's a reason so many southern men are so good at photo-recon interpretation. After growing up with a Southern mother and southern sisters and southern women and southern girls, photo analysis of a blurry photo of a section of jungle, well, easy peasy.

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    3. Southern Male Hunters camouflage their faces when hunting tending towards greens, browns and blacks. Southern Women just use different colors. But your technique of spotting them is valid. I sometimes get lucky with Mrs J (mind out of the gutter now, Beans!) and am able to read her in time. Doesn't usually avoid the issue, just reduces the impact crater.

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    4. Bwahahahahahahaha!!

      Good thing I had just swallowed that bite of supper before I read the above comments!! Another keyboard/monitor saved!!

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    5. (Don McCollor)...there is a fictional story about a man dating a young, very attractive woman (who was also an army sgt and an expert pistol shot). She noted that she was a widow, and that her late husband had died of gonorrhea. "You don't die of that!". She smiled sweetly and said "You do when you give it to me"...

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    6. Suz, happy to help, proud to serve.

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    7. Don, Now that's funny, and almost certainly true, I don't care who you are! :-)

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  12. I went to Navy firefighting school, too.
    That happens when a command has to find something for a sailor to do.
    Besides, onboard a ship, everyone is a firefighter.
    They wouldn’t even use gasoline to demonstrate a gasoline fire.
    We had to watch a movie.
    For live demos the burned NSFO, which was only a little more refined than crude oil.
    Occasionally, I have used diesel to enhance a burn pile, but it has bee a long time ago.
    There’s some charcoal starter out in the shed, but my preference is to use one of those chimney things, stuffed with newspaper in the bottom, to start my charcoal.
    Somebody told me once that it isn’t necessary to light the gas on hornet nest to eliminate them.

    Enjoying the progress reports on Chateau Juvat.

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    1. I use a chimney also, Skip.

      Mrs J and I were enjoying the nice weather last week with a bit of wine on the front porch. Got up to refresh the drinks when I felt a stinging sensation on my ankle. First thought was scorpion. Nope, a red wasp flew out, but not before getting me on the other side of the ankle. Man! Those suckers hurt. Took a couple of days before I could get any kind of real shoe on it. Given that...the gas is definitely going to be lit when I find that sucker's nest! ;-)

      Thanks

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    2. I have just poured gas--unlite--down the hole for ground bees and for white faced hornets. Just the fumes get them. Ya do want to do it after dark, so all the little suckers are home. Not as dramatic as lighting it up, but not as painful to the pourer either...

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    3. Yeah, I know. And I won't. But...it was fun to think about. The red wasps down here run about an 1 1/2" length with a proportional width. Swatting them doesn't work, just knocks them down. But....They do have a very satisfying crunch when you step on them. :-)

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  13. Oy vey.....was there a sequel to the scissor incident, or is it part of a homicide investigation? Mmmmm......fire. Hope the lad gets through it, and learns to check twice, light once. Also, to recognise the differing smells and appearances of popular accelerants. Sometimes, one doesn't even need them, like the time we almost burnt down the Archbishop of Brisbane's house, along with about a dozen other multimillion mansions and a few hectares of heritage listed rainforest. A skidmark day if there ever was one.

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    1. I'm pretty sure he's going to pay a LOT more attention next time, even if he happened to be paying attention this time. Archbishop of Brisbane's house? Hmmm, sounds like a story there!

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    2. And explaining to a Southern Woman why you, the man, are assembling some mechanical do-hickey in HER LIVING ROOOM!!!! To the Garage! Or the Porch! Or at your lame-assed friend's house! And wash your filthy hands!!!!!

      All said by translating the tick in the corner of the right eye using advanced southern morse code...

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    3. Morse code I might be able to handle. I think that code is super encrypted, even the NSA hasn't been able to decrypt.

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  14. Next time your friendly neighborhood kid offers to burn your piles, ask that he bring a fire extinguisher along with him in addition to his twin brother. Faster than a drop and roll. But the drop and roll does work too. Good on the twin for not losing his stuff and acting appropriately.

    Some silvadine cream and non-stick telfa pads with some kling wrap and about a month should put everything back to right again. He will remember to be more careful--burns hurt like a sonofagun, especially the first few dressing changes.

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    1. Well we WILL do things a bit differently next time. Like letting me know he's about to start. I don't think my presence would have made much difference given the circumstances, but...

      Concur on "Burns hurt". My only experience is grabbing the metal handle of a fresh from a 420 degree oven pan. That was enough to earn a trip to the ER and the "Good stuff". As well as a week of viewing Mrs J's "you dumass!" expression.

      Latest report is he's doing fine and in good spirits, so we've got that going for us.

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  15. Glad the boy will be okay. That is a HARD way to learn a lesson, but thankfully it wasn't terminal. Things are moving, which is good! Now the issue is checking to make sure they 'are' building to plan... NOT fun...

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    1. Yeah, we achieved verticality this morning. This evening's inspection kit will include tape measure and blue print.

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  16. Retired enlisted naval aviation tree farmer blew himself up near Oceana one day while using gasoline to light off a pile of deadwood on his tree lot. Walked into the clinic wearing nothing but a belt, a few shreds of jeans, and a tee shirt collar with one intact sleeve. Oh, also cheap navy exchange plastic sneakers which had partially melted to his feet. Bad second degree burns to the feet, lots of first degree flash burns on "this side toward enemy," and loss of all head hair. Good thing he was drunk, he might have really been hurt!

    Great video! Lorena Bobbitt was a southern girl, wasn't she?

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    1. I know it isn't funny, but the mental picture of the walk in to the clinic is good for a chuckle this morning.

      Lorena Bobbitt? Why yes...I believe she is. And there you have it. I wonder if the Troupe will do a video on that?

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  17. Sorry to hear about your young help. We have a similar work situation with a young man from my mother-in-law's church so I can understand.

    Wow! That is a big shower you are getting next to your throne. I do recognize that feature from our house. Have them put cable in your throne room; my son-in-law talked about putting a tv in his so he could have some private time to watch.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)