Friday, March 28, 2014

#187. or, Two Pair of Pants

  Contrary to any pre-conceived misconceptions you may have about me, let me set the record straight, once and for all. I am not the Batman.


  I am certainly not a billionaire, playboy philanthropist. I'm perhaps more accurately, lower-middle-classed income, over the hill, average Joe. But I'd like to think, if I had a billion dollars, that I'd be philanthropee-ing all over the damned place.

  And probably own a batmobile.

  Recently, I've made the switch from bib overalls for work, to my "work'in man pants". Which, in truth, are really only pants that are about 5 sizes too big, that I wear over my everyday pants when I do what I do. But I'd been wearing the bib overalls for at least a dozen years, and because I'm an agent of change, the pants seemed like a good way to mix things up. Unfortunately, one of the things I find I'm missing about the overalls, is that I had a lot of pockets to keep all of my crap in. My work pants, being a bit more than just your average run of the mill pants are designed with more pockets, but I've been relegated to carrying some of my gear on the belt I now need to keep pants, that are 5 sizes too big, up around my waist where they belong.

  Because farm/gangsta isn't really a thing.

  So it would seem that I have my own, farm version of The Batman's utility belt. And let me just say, utility belts, while being a cool idea, sort of suck in day to day functionality.

  At any given time, the items with my pants include, a folding Bear Grylls lock blade knife in a pouch on my belt. A Leatherman tool with an added tool attachment along with various tool attachment attachments, also in a pouch on my belt, and my phone, in an Otterbox case, which makes it too damned big, clipped to my belt as well. Not to mention the contents of my pockets, that as a rule, consist of a roll of electrical tape, a jet lighter, my 3x5 inch notebook, and a half a handful of screws, nuts, change, and an interesting stone I picked up somewhere along the way.

  Plus! In the day-to-day pants I wear, because they frown at you if you try to walk around without any pants on, I have a small Swiss Army knife, (lots of knives for some reason) a tin of lip balm, and a different jet lighter. So also redundant lighters for a guy who, aside from the occasional cigar, doesn't smoke.

  I'm finding, with all of this crap wrapped around my mid-section, I'm having a bit of a difficult time bending at the waist to tie up my boots.

  Now, I'm speculating that The Batman finds himself in quite a bit more precarious situations than I do, and that the batmobile is way more cockpity than my tractor seat. I don't know how he avoids stabbing himself in the appendix with a vessel of thermite while driving, or hooking his lock pics or fingerprint dusting kit on the edge of something while he's parkouring about Gotham.

  I can't even drive with my wallet in my back pocket, (and it's a thin wallet) because sitting on it shifts my spine out of alignment and I end up walking like, old farmer.

  Of course, The Batman is in a bit better shape than I am, and his bulges are more muscle, while I gravitate towards the pillowy soft body type. But you'd think soft tissue would be more forgiving at allowing for addition of belt utensils?

  Also, if the work pants end up not being the answer, there's always the Carhartt style work kilt, which I've only ever seen in pictures. But it's going to have to get a lot nicer outside before I drop my drawers and go free-balling it about in one of those. Not to mention, the ladder to my combine is pretty high, and I can't help but feel like I might be at a bit of a disadvantage if my tractor salesman caught me at the top of it, when he came to haggle on farm equipment.

  ...........Like The Batman, some things are better left mysterious, and to the imagination.

Friday, March 14, 2014

#186. or, Shoes.

  It occurred to me yesterday, or it might have been the day before, that it's been a little over a month since I've worn shoes.

  Now, when I say that, in my imagination you have a vision of me wandering about like some free spirit in bare feet and flowing robes, pondering the philosophies of life. Also, you're probably imagining me with better hair than I actually have.

  That's not what I meant.

  Yesterday. Or the day before, I had to go to town, or some place else relatively mundane, that constitutes the connect-a-dots of my uneventful life. Yet still being one of the high points of my day to day existence. And as I sat on the bench in our porch, for the first time in a little over a month, I had a third choice of footwear to decide from.

  I considered wearing my shoes.

  Because, for the last while, my primary choice of footwear has been slipping my feet into a layer of felt and rubber. Unless I've been going to town. Then it was felt and a layer of canvas, or Thinsulate, or some other man-made synthetic, created to look moderately fashionable, but still provide a modicum of warmth while negotiating the outdoors in sub-zero temperatures. And as I sat there, with the shoes tossed into the mix, complicating my decision, that's when it occurred to me that it has been a little over a month since I've worn shoes.

  It was a little over a month ago that I had to make a different footwear decision, which ended up being, I would wear my flip flops onto the plane, and switch to the shoes I had in my carry-on, when I arrived back in the airport on my way home from Cuba. Actually, that was a pretty easy choice to make, because, while I was on holidays, all of the decisions on jobs that I need to make on a daily basis stayed at home. Things like trying to get enough pens cleared of snow so I could bring in the cows and finally wean my calves. Actually wean those same calves, picking out heifers that I want to keep for replacement cows, and getting the rest sent to market, then getting the cows back to the field where they spend the winter. Dealing with frozen watering bowls, frozen toes, falling grain markets, and trying to get the addition to our barn completed so we can use that barn before we start calving in about a week. Plus attending the boy's hockey and basketball games we squeezed in, when we wrangled free time.

  All things I've been dealing with since we got home, and consequently, things that have kept me from writing a post about our trip to Cuba, and doing it the justice I felt it deserved.

  So here's the condensed version.

  Cuba is a really nice place to visit. You should go.

  .......unless you're a US citizen. Because while it's a nice place to go, I think you have to jump through a lot of hoops, if you're an American, to get there. But it's still nice. Nice enough to give it a try if you have the opportunity.

Here's a picture from our balcony

....and a beach,

....and an old fort,

....and a church,
....and a pink hotel.

   Actually, there's a room in this hotel that's preserved as a museum, because some writer guy named Hemingway stayed here. It was also pointed out to us, on at least three instances, bars at which this Hemingway fellow frequented. It would seem, that if you ever want to have some place preserved as a monument to having you stayed there, you should also mark that stay with copious amounts of drinking. At least if you want to be remembered as a writer of some renown.

  Also, if you're an old car enthusiast, Cuba is a place that seems to be frozen in time with all of the 50's and 60's era American cars.

Cars like this......

  Now granted, this one was pretty mint. And I'm not really certain on how they get the parts to keep them running. But there was a lot of them, in various states of repair, as well as a good deal of Soviet era cars and trucks. It's hard not to imagine KGB agents behind the wheel of an early 70's Russian sedan.

  Unfortunately, I neglected to take any pictures of my toes in the sand. That's one of the things I like about being on the beach. Sand between my toes, and the ocean lapping at my ankles. For now, or at least the next month or so, the only thing that's going to lapping at my ankles is the manure I'm slogging through as a winters worth of frozen cow pies and snow melt and combine into a brown/green slop, as I make my rounds checking the calves.

  But when I get the chance to go to town, you can bet I'll be trading in my rubber boots for less practical, and maybe a bit more fashionable footwear.

  .........hopefully shoes.