After church today, the friendly neighbor came over and saved the fascia on our rafters. The save was simple. The problem was that the 2×4 making up the fascia was bowed, often the case with wood. Turning the board over so the bow put it closer to the rafters made it possible to attach the screws.

Mrs. Random and I gratefully said, “Duh.”

I am at the library at the moment, working on materials for my next Driver Safety Program classes next week. An intense young lady sat at the compute next to me. She looked 18, but  after conversation, I suspect she is older in chronological years.

She began to tell me that her partner is being held captive by a cult and has been a captive for four years.

Carefully, I asked, “Can law enforcement do anything about this?”

She indicated they are working on it, but very slowly. Local law enforcement is not able to handle this; it has to go the the “highest” levels.

The cult members follow each of them around town and keep them separated from each other. “This drives us crazy, do you understand?” she told me earnestly. In the meantime, the “highest level” law enforcement people are tracking everybody involved all around town.

I suspect (but don’t know), that the other person and this young lady are being kept separated from each other, perhaps by parents. I am hoping never to know any more about this than I learned today.

Carefully, I expressed understanding. I did not offer to help with the rescue.

She told me that I am a very understanding person.

I fairly often met people such as this when in libraries and riding public transport. Is there an invisible sign over my head that displays: THIS PERSON  SEEKS THE COMPANY OF CRAZY PEOPLE?

As I rush into senility, I have bunbled the last blog post, intended to show our construction incompetence.

Yesterday (Saturday) we worked energetically and incompetently at building the chicken house. We are attaching rafters for the roof. The Friendly Neighbor helped us attach the first rafter and left us to complete the others.

The next step was to attach the fascia, which runs along the rafters. First, most of the rafters did not reach far enough for the fascia to be attached properly. Then as we were contemplating the mess with despair, and wondering if we should pull out the screws that attached two the two rafters at the ends, we realized that we had somehow built the ladder into the chicken house. Somewhere, Escher is cackling with glee.

David is very busy, but I hope he will take a look. I am sure even he wll be impressed by our incompetence. I am going to print a copy of the picture and show the friendly neighbor. He supervises Habitat for Humanity construction project;  perhaps he can use our photo as a training aid.

Haste MakesBungled ladder built into chicken coop

Building an escape ladder into the chicken coop

Chicken House Under Construction

If our current project were a film, it would probably be called, “Laurel and Hardy Build a Chicken House. Nevertheless, much of the frame is now up. The baby chicks arrive at the end of April.


As I mentioned in my last blog post, my daughter was very sweet and kindly as a child. Her mother pretended to be a “land shark” when she was three years old and scared the poor child half to death.

As a small child, Random Daughter, could not bear to kill a spider. Before her mom could destroy a reckless arachnid in the house, she would put it in a jar, take it outside, and gently explain to it that if it wanted to live to a ripe old eight-legged life, it should stay outdoors.

However, genetics has triumphed in the long run. Now that she is an adult, when my daughter finds a spider in her house, she promptly smashes it.

When Random Granddaughter was going through her initial potty training, as she was making progress, she had a mysterious set back, suddenly refusing to use the toilet. Eventually Mommy (her birth mother, my daughter’s partner) figured out the problem had to do with the children’s song that describes how a spider goes up the water spout. She had seen Mommy flush a large spider down the toilet and imagined the spider coming back up while she was sitting on her potty seat.

A few weeks ago, we visited the Barely Extended Family, shortly after RG had turned six years of age.

After a trip to the bathroom she mentioned there had been a spider in the bathroom. “I took care of it,” RG told us in a matter of fact manner. Grandma was filled with admiration. As we drove home, “I took care of it,” Grandma repeated with satisfaction several times.

Most of the time, my wife is a very sober, serious, responsible and compassionate person.

I don’t know whether what I am about to describe is an “alter” like the facets of David’s personality, but within her psyche is an extremely wicked person with a very sadistic sense of humor.

When our daughter was in high school, which was 30 years ago or so, one day she came home and casually told us about a science experiment gone awry at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Some how some mice had been placed in a centrifuge and mistakenly whirled at ten times the speed intended, and were essentially liquified. (I don’t know what the original goal was — perhaps to make them dizzy.) My wife started laughing hysterically, completely overcome at the image of the mice whirling madly to their death. My daughter, a gentle, kindly child, was horrified at her mother’s fiendish delight.

This aspect of Mrs. Random’s personality rarely emerges, but last night it leaped to the fore. I am reading a book about the history of The American Museum of Natural History to her. In a chapter about one of the greatest taxidermists, animal collectors, and exhibit creators in the museum’s history, Carl Akeley, it mentions that he first rose to prominence, when at the age of 19, he helped stuff and mount the remains of Jumbo, one of the largest elephants ever kept in captivity.

Jumbo had been kept in a zoo in England, but he was so large and formidable that the keepers became frightened of him. They sold him to P. T. Barnum, the great American circus impresario. (Jumbo’s relocation to the United States caused great uproar and outrage in England.)

Barnum exhibited Jumbo (with great success) for three years, but then the huge elephant was hit by a train in Canada and killed.

For reasons I can’t fathom, my wife (who actually loves elephants) was amused beyond belief by the idea of an elephant being struck by a train. As I read the one sentence summary of Jumbo’s end in the book, my wife was completely overcome with paroxysms of hysterical laughter. Something about an elephant being run over by a train struck her as unspeakably funny, starting with, “How can you miss an elephant on the railroad tracks?”

From there, she was on a roll. “How could they mount an elephant after it was run over by a train?” she managed to gasp. “It was probably flatter than a pancake. What was there left to exhibit?”

The actual story of Jumbo’s spectacular life and death (which I looked up today) is moving, unclear, and complex.