Falling Short in the Expectations

A person holding a string in their hand.

I believe there are times when all of us fall short in the expectations we have for ourselves.  The current brouhaha about Tiger Woods comes to mind.   I have fallen short on several occasions, most of them are on a deeply personal level and involved the way I treated, or mistreated, someone I cared about.   An example would be that many years ago, when my two children were under 5 years old, my ex-wife and I asked our next door neighbors to look after them while we went  shopping.  They agreed, but insisted that we return early because they wanted to go to Easter Sunday Sunrise Service the next morning.   For whatever reason, we picked our children up after midnight.  I remember being so ashamed as I knocked on their door.  My friend and his wife were justifiably angry and told me so.  I remember making myself a promise to never allow  something like that to happen again.  I was 22 years old then and in all the years since that time, to my knowledge, I have never broken a promise.  So, I do not assume that Tiger Woods cannot change his behavior.  That change will happen, in my opinion, not because he let someone else down, it will be because he let himself down. 

Jerilyn’s mother, Gladys, recently underwent back surgery.  It seems, at her age (91), the vertebrae keep fracturing, requiring the doctor to make 2 small holes in her back, inject some type of glue, and then send her home to recover.   It is fast becoming apparent to us that her days of visiting on Sunday are over.  She seems determined on staying in the Health Care section of her retirement community and not going back to her apartment in the Independent Living section, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

I recently discovered that Jerilyn’s oldest son, Dean, was in need of a pair of car ramps.   I did the necessary research online and in the local paper and soon realized the price for that item really increased from way back when I bought mine.  Craigslist online revealed that a fellow in a town close to us (Smithfield) had a pair he wanted to sell cheaply.  So within a few days, his old rusty ramps were setting in my shed, awaiting the necessary sanding and painting.  It is never a good thing for me to get involved in a project like this.   Seems like it takes forever for me to finish it.  The sanding wasn’t a problem, but the weather failed to cooperate temperature wise.   All spray paint cans will tell you not to paint unless the temp is at least 60°.   I don’t worry about it very much if I can get temps close to that and the sun is shining.  I finally got tired of waiting and waded into the painting thing, ignoring the temp.  What I found out was the paint would appear dry after several hours, but would not harden.  Even the slightest trauma to its surface would result in missing paint.  The project is on hold until the weather changes.  It may be spring before Dean gets his ramps.  Hopefully, he will not need them until then.

I have been searching for a way to transmit the music from my PC to my stero system.  I found a unit that does that, made in China.  They have several models, ranging from .5 watts to 10 watts.  A lot of AM stations used to transmit at 50 watts, so 10 watts was out of the question.  The .5 watts had a range of 1600 feet, which was more than I needed, but the specs said the power could be reduced.  The FCC gets upset when your signal reaches other homes, so I knew I had to be careful.  Well, in about 10 days the unit arrives to a tickled-to-death guy at 49 Carriage Hill Drive.  I open it up and the package contains absolutely no instructions.  “Wellâ€, says I, “it doesn’t seem to have that many buttons and places to plug things in, I should be able to figure this thing outâ€.   So off I go, merrily plugging things in and getting ready to go on “The Airâ€.  Aaah! The sweet sound of music coming out of my stero was great, and clear as a bell, no hum, or crackling at all.   I go out, get in the car and tune it to 87.5 on the FM dial (the transmitting frequency I set my unit to).   I commence driving around the area to see how far the signal is traveling.  A half mile away and the signal is still strong.   “Manâ€, says I, “this could land me in jail.  I gotta do something about thisâ€.  I get back home, examine my transmitter closely and there is no way to reduce the signal strength.  Finally, it comes to me, remove part of the antenna.  It comes in 3 sections, currently I am down to 1 section and the signal stops at our front yard.  Prison time avoided yet again!

A few days ago I exchanged letters with a lady that, unknowingly, had a big impact on my life.  It was the summer of 1951 and I was 10 years old.  The Page coal camp was home to about 20 families, whose fathers worked for the Page Coal company.  None of the families owned a TV and the only telephone was a company system that identified you by the number of rings (to the best of my knowledge only the important people-bosses- had telephones).  There was very little contact with the world outside that small coal camp.  That summer, Gwen Mullins began reading a novel to her 5 children on her front porch.  The reading session lasted an hour and took place every day, except Sunday, rain or shine.  She was kind enough to let other children become fascinated listeners.   It was amazing to me how she could change her voice to become the character speaking and draw me into the world of that story.  To this very day, I do most of my traveling through books and I know that my fondness of them stems from the delight derived from listening to Gwen Mullins read.  She is probably close to 90 years old now, but, I’ll bet good money she still reads and I hope her grandchildren/great-grandchildren had the opportunity to enjoy novels read by such a wonderful person.

As most of you know, each year I give you a chance to opt out of receiving this missive.  To continue receiving it just click on the reply button and send this back to me.  I will make note of your name and include you on next year’s distribution list.  By not replying, I will assume that you really do not have the time to read it and your name will be removed.   If you receive this via regular mail, you can call me (757-868-4369) or send me a note (49 Carriage Hill Drive, Poquoson, VA 23662).   Please know that I will not be disappointed if you chose not to continue receiving it. 

I hope you’re enjoying whatever season it is in your part of the world.  Thanks for reading my monthly missive.

You can find my blog at:   http://tommyhale.blogspot.com/

  or my pictures at:  http://bipolar66.smugmug.com