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I enjoy words.  How words mean something.  How hard they are to take back.  The impression they make on people.  The impression you make on people using your words.  Often one hears the expression, ‘Actions speak louder than words’ the problem is there is usually more words than action (which says something in and of itself) but often times words are all a person has to judge by.

Here are some interesting words or expressions I have come across since moving to Central Pennsylvania.  I’m not saying that they are exclusive to Central Pa or even originated here.  I’m saying that this is where I’ve heard them.  Don’t judge my spelling I’m sounding them out so if you are reading them out loud the pronunciations should be correct.  My spell check is going to have a cow!

REDUP:

 A co-worker at the bank said to me, “I’ve got things to do, I really have to redup”

“Excuse me?” I said.

 “I’ve got things to do” She replied. 

“No, I understood that, it is the other part.”

“Redup?”

“That would be the part”

Redup equals get ready.

Yes, that day I hugged my Canadian citizenship.

LEFT:

Left, what is so odd about the word ‘left’?  Well, try this on for size;

“I caught a rabbit, but I left it go.”

GUYSES:

“Excuse me, I found this, does it belong to one of your guyses?”

BORROWED:

Nice normal word, usually.

“He didn’t have a drill, so I borrowed him mine.” 

Yes, I still cling to my Canadian citizenship, eh.

Heard this on the local news:

A tanker truck turned over, the newscaster looked into the camera and said: “Hazmat has been called because the roads are very slippy.”

Youins:

Texas has ya’ll but we have Youins.

Anyway I have a busy night. I have to left the dog out but I have to be careful because the driveway is awful slippy and I borrowed my flashlight to my neighbour.   I hope youins is enjoying my blog, but now I gotta go and redup.  Oh I found a set of keys the other day, does it belong to any of you guyses?

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This should probably have been titled Street Urchins Part Four, but it is not. It is titled, So You Had a Bad Day.

Saturdays at the bank were particularly slow, as a result we had one desk person (who takes on a supervisory role) and two tellers.  Check cashing at the bank was very strict, we had to be connected to the person cashing the check or the check itself, meaning the check either had to be drawn on the bank from an account in good standing, or the person had to be a customer in good standing.  The following happened on a Saturday and started about 11:30 and lasted an agonizing 20 minutes.

 The Painter:

I have decided to leave out the colorful swearing that the Painter liberally infused in his speech.  Suffice it to say that every second word was not pleasant.  He was loud, he smelled and his breath was horrific.

The painter handed me the check he wanted cashed.  The second thing I noticed about the check was that it was not drawn on our bank; The first thing I noticed was that it was written in crayon:

 “Sir,” I asked, knowing the answer, ‘Do you happen to have an account with us?”

“No, but you have to cash this check”

 ‘Sir, I am very sorry but I cannot cash this check…”

“You have to THIS IS AMERICA”

Obviously he knew by my ever present Canadian accent that I was not from America.

“Sir, please let me explain the probl…”

“THIS IS AMERICA! You have to cash my check, I worked for it, I deserve it that money belongs to me!  You cash it right now!”

“Sir I…”

“You cash the check! Are you an idiot? What don’t you understand?”

Here I have to point out, bank tellers don’t make a lot of money, certainly not enough to tolerate abuse.

“listen to me for jus…”

“American Money!  This is legal tender it is as good as cash, now cash the check now”

“Sir, if you interrupt me again I’m calling the police, plain and simple, a check is not as good as cash, the only thing as good as cash is cash,  it is not legal tender it is a check.  Legal documents such as a check must be signed in ink not crayon.  I can’t make out the signature, the check is not from our bank, and you are not a customer here….”

“I worked for that, hard-earned money!”

“I understand, I suggest you go back to the employer and get cash, or a check drawn fro…”

“Why?  Just cash my check now”

At this point the desk person, Kim, had come up behind the teller line and was standing at the teller window next to mine, phone in hand, giving me the questioning look.

Sir, it is enough, one of two things are going to happen, you are either going to leave on your own, or I’m calling the police.”

“Why can’t you cash it? You can cash it, you have to cash it, it is the law”

“Sir, I have tried to explain why, and you keep interrupting, you can explain the law to the police when they arrive.”

At which point he glanced over at Kim who started to dial.  For some odd reason he decided to show Kim and I his middle finger, and if you ask me there was nothing special about his finger, except it had paint on it.  And with that, he left the bank.

The following Monday he walked back into the bank and waited for me to finish with my customer. As he walked over I picked up the phone.  It was Monday, Monday’s are my, ‘I don’t have any patience for crap’ days, (so are Tuesday through Friday):

“Sorry about Saturday it was a bad day and I wasn’t thinking.” 

“Yeah, we all have ’em.” I never did see him again.

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Picking up from my last post,  Vancouver, like everywhere else has its share of characters.

The Sweeper:  he was an odd dude, nobody was sure about him.  He would just stand there. Now and again he would put his hand out.  Occasionally he would get upset if you didn’t give him money,  I call him The Sweeper because I was in my office and I heard the manager of the video store ask him if he would like to earn a little cash by sweeping up the sidewalk in front of his shop.   “No” came his response, “I really don’t want to work”.  I guess begging pays.

Braveheart: I was in the shop one day cleaning the display cabinet and this guy walks in.  I knew he was schizophrenic the moment I saw him.  It was a cool cloudy day and he was wearing really dark wrap around shades, when he walked his knees hardly bent, his arms did not swing, his back ramrod straight.  Not only was he schizophrenic he was off his meds.  We had the following conversation:

Me: “Hey, how you doing?”
Him: “I am Braveheart and I’m afraid of no man”

 Shit

“Well Braveheart, that is good to know.  Can I help you with anything?”

All I could think of was my cousin who works with schizophrenics I really could have used a little help. I also remember the bandage on my cousins face when one of his patients punched him in the nose.

 “What type of magic do you have?”
“Magic tricks, for entertainment.  Here let me show you.”

I showed him a trick, there was no response his face never showed any emotion. He didn’t move, when he spoke only the lower part of his face moved. It was spooky.
 
“Is that a trick?”
“Yes, did you like it?”
“Has anyone been bothering you?”
“No, everything is fine.”
“Well if anybody does, I am braveheart and I am afraid of no man”
“Thanks”
“You do good magic”
“Thanks”

Months later this guy comes into the shop he introduces himself as Steve, he looks familiar, but not.  He tells me he just came in to say hello and to say he was sorry if he scared me.  He then explained that he came in earlier in the year calling himself Braveheart!

The Con:  Once again in the magic shop. This time there were two other magicians with me.  This scruffy guy who hangs around the mall comes in. 

“Do you have a fiver for five loonies?” 

Loonies, for my non-Canadian friends are Canadian dollar coins

“Yup” as I reached for the cash register I noticed he was holding his loonies like they were poker chips so I couldn’t really see them. I held out my hand for the loonies but he refused to part with them.

Him: “Give me the fiver and I’ll give you the loonies?”

“I don’t think so!” but I was curious, so I held the fiver just in front of him where he made a grab for it, at which time I pulled the fiver back and knocked his hand that held the loonies, four loonies and a washer fell to the counter. I looked at him, scooped up his money and his washer and handed it back to him while motioning him towards the door.  The other customers began to chuckle, “Dude, look around, you are in a magic shop!  Did you actually believe that was going to work?”

Of course I can’t leave good old State College out of the picture, after all, State College is called the Happy Valley.

Table Thrower:  Early in my short lived banking nightmare career I had to go stand outside the bank at a table we had set up with giveaways for returning students.  This greasy long haired freak of nature, complete with tattoos, bad body odour, scars and more than a few needle marks comes weaving up the street and of course he is heading straight for little ole’ me.

“Hey, you have to do this shit for your job?”
“Yeah pretty much”
“Wouldn’t catch me doing this shit!”
“Ahh, well, bills to pay family to feed, gotta do what I gotta do.”
“You get paid extra for standing out here with this shit, you should you know’
“Well, it just goes along with the territory, it is not so bad.”
“I’m telling you, this is just shit, shit work, shit pay, you should quit! Lets throw this table and all this shit into the street.”
“No really its fine thanks”
“Whatever but I’m telling you its shit!”

 In the end he was right.

Benny:  I know we already had a Benny, but this guys name was Benny. Everyone in downtown State College knows about Benny.  He has an orange jumper and is harmless, but crazy.  So he walks up to the teller next to me, “Miss, do you have 4 quarters?”  Katy, being new, young and naive gives Benny the quarters. Benny thanks her and walks out of the bank.  The rest of us are busy laughing.  Katy, looking at the empty lobby with that bewildered look in her eye, “But…b…but he didn’t give me a dollar!”  Yes Katy that’s why you get the money before you give the change, especially to the staggering, swill smelling homeless guy!

 And then there was David. David and I were buddies. David is also the topic of my next installment. Street Urchins: The Saga Continues.

 Thanks for reading.

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The players:

Farmer Bob. 

First, he is not a farmer, farmer Bob is a consultant for farmers in Tennessee. Here is a very brief and simplistic explanation of what farmer Bob does.

If farmer John’s crop is not quite right  he calls farmer Bob and sends him a plant or soil sample, farmer Bob can then possibly  tell Farmer John what he needs to do to grow a healthier crop.

Secondly, his name is not Bob.

Lab technician Clarice.

Who is  really the Assistant supervisor in an environmental testing lab.  In brief, Clarice tests plants (and water) for a variety of chemicals for a variety of reasons mostly for the betterment of growers and researchers to produce better products.

Her name is not really Clarice, (but she is my wife).

So what in blue blazes is this post about?  It is about small worlds. 

Farmer John in Tennessee is having problems, so he calls farmer Bob, who gets plant samples which he sends to the lab (here in Pennsylvania) where my wife works.  There is a slight glitch and Bob calls Clarice, and as always happens with my wife, they get to talking.

Before Bob went to Tennessee he was in California.  My wife lived in California until she was 19.  Bob used to do consultant work in California one of his clients was a poinsettia farmer.  My wife used ride her horse on the same poinsettia farmers land.    Bob raced motorcycles, my wife was also involved in motorcycle racing, (see where this is going?) it turns out not only were they part of the same SCORE (International Off Road Racing) for the famous Baja races in mexico, they also raced at the same raceways in California. They clearly didn’t know each other back then, but chances are pretty good that they crossed paths, probably more than once.  Here they are 30 yrs later in different parts of the country doing business and sharing shared memories together they didn’t know they had. 

Kind of makes you wonder how the moron driver you flipped off on your way to work this morning is going to fit into your life 3o years from now.

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Friends of ours were having a yard sale in Milsburg so we loaded up the car with junk and headed on out in hopes to further our progress in getting rid of some crap good quality items that we don’t have any further use for.  And then there are the books. My wife manages to read about 2 or 3 books a week, so we always have a stockpile of books looking for a home.

Milesburg is one of those quaint little towns where everybody knows everybody. the church is located next to the gun shop, the houses are old and beautiful, and the volunteer fire department is the focal point of the town.   The annual yard sale is a community event that has more to do with the neighbours getting together then it does about getting rid of items and making money.  The people were very nice and if I had to move into a town,  it would be a town like Milesburg.  And while it was a long day with more physical labour then I’d normally like on a Saturday, we did have fun hanging out with our friends, meeting new people. 

Even though people kept asking me questions like ‘how are youins doin?’ and hearing an abundance of expressions like, ‘gorsh darn it’ we did manage to unload a mess of books and other assorted stuffs. 

I couldn’t help but walk around the town and look at other peoples wares, I was, to say the least, perplexed.  I found, (but did not buy).  One roller skate, broken and dirty toys, puzzles with missing box tops so there was no way to know what the picture was, a checker board without checkers, two basketballs (the inflated one was 2 dollars, broken Christmas decorations, a dog kennel without a door, a cane with the head of a snake in which the eyes lit up, oh and hidden inside the cane was a sword.  What made the sword cane interesting was the woman who purchased it for her 12-year-old boy who was tagging along behind, he also got a set of throwing knives.  Of course mom had a rather large and I’m assuming prison tattoo down her forearm.

There was a blanket on the ground with a bunch of stuffed animals on it.  They were free, many people let their dogs go through the pile and select a toy, it was really cute seeing the pit bull running down the sidewalk with the stuffed flower in its mouth that it had chosen.  The really cute puppy rottweiler had a hard time choosing but eventually settled on the purple bear.  Then there were the kids. I was horrified as parents watched these dogs, rooting around drooling over the toys and then letting their little kids play in the pile of stuffed animals and choose whatever they wanted.  You all know I’m all about animals, but this was a little much.

Both my wife and I had trouble talking to the guy with the black stumps in his mouth that we can only imagine were once teeth.  He was very nice and like us, he was remodeling his bedroom so we had a lot in common and had plenty to talk about.  Of course I couldn’t look at him.  I still see those little rotted black stumps when I close my eyes. 

Then again, who am I to judge?  I kind of wanted the sword cane.

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Pets don’t have many choices, they are completely at our mercy, I know it doesn’t always feel that way but they are, and we are responsible for them, every last one.  They are bred, for the most part, with little or no thought for the thousands of other dogs and cats who don’t have homes, don’t have anyone to look after them.  Most people don’t understand that when a dog is purchased from anywhere but a reputable breeder or some sort of humane society we are supporting puppy mills, supporting back yard breeders who out of ignorance are producing dogs that are probably going to end up with temperament or medical problems if not both, breeding dogs that are statistically going to end up on the loose living a miserable existence, or living in a shelter.  Either way it’s no way to live but at least at the shelter they have just that, shelter, food, people who care about them and with any luck, eventually a good home. 

Animals in our society don’t rate for much in any legal sense, they are simply property and not just property but the lowest sort of property.   In an emergency (such as a fire) the rule of thumb according to Emergency services is you save people, property and then animals (the last is usually optional).

Our pets give us so much otherwise why would there be so many of them?  No matter what we do to them they love us unconditionally, they help us in so many ways. How many times on the news do we hear about the pets that alert their owners to a fire and end up saving the family?  They are our constant companions, they are our eyes, there are alert dogs, rescue dogs, dogs that help us find criminals, find mines for soldiers and the list goes on.  

clicking on this link will enable you to donate to the Clearfield County SPCA where every bit helps.  Plus if Sequoia is one of the top donation earners she will be featured on their 2011 calendar.  Raising money is not really what my blog is about and I promise this won’t be a regular theme, but every once in a while you have to give back.  So thanks in advance, thanks to those that have already given. 

As always thanks for reading, and next post we will be back to our regularly scheduled programing.

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My last post got me to thinking about good old INS.  I had one unpleasant experience with them, I won’t go into details but lets just say I paid for a travel visa which they never gave me, and they never give money back, it is simply chalked up to a ‘processing fee’.  Eventually I did get a travel visa but that was part of a whole other process. 

I like INS they are a major player in keeping this country as safe as it is from countries that really don’t like the USA.  obviously I don’t know the inner workings but from what I’ve learned and observed  they have incredibly difficult jobs with limited resources (although they do wield a ridiculous amount of power) they seem to do their jobs well and have always been polite and courteous to me.

As in my last post about INS, this post is not really about INS and it’s not about Sequoia, it’s not even about animals.  It’s about stupid people.

To get the full impact I have to guide you through some of the steps involved with going to an INS services building.  You just don’t ‘show up’  You go online with your issue and fill out the proper forms you find out exactly what documentation you will be needing and you hit send.  Then you wait, and when you are done waiting you wait a little more.  Eventually, in the mail you will get a letter telling you exactly when and where your appointment is and a reminder of what documents you will need and how much it is all going to cost. 

For those of you going through this, or may be going through this in the future here is a tip.  Make an INS file and keep up with it, and bring it every time you go to INS,  even though you may have submitted everything, and they acknowledge that they have it, if you get there and they don’t have it you are screwed.  Doesn’t matter why or who, simple fact is if for any reason it’s not in the file it is your problem not theirs.

If you show up at the INS office without the appointment letter you are not getting in the front door.   I’ve been there in the cold and they don’t care.  You wait in a line outside and they walk down the line and ask to see id and the letter.   They let a few people at a time into the front lobby where you empty your pockets take off your jacket and head through the scanners.  No backpacks, strollers, food nothing extra. 

Once inside you hand your letter to the check in person and they hand you a number and point you to the chairs where all the other cattle sit.  And sit is what you do.  So you may have number 17 and they call 15, alright two away you can already smell home but surprise the next number called is 125. WTF? so you go to the little window woman and before you even open your mouth she says,

“Was your number called”

“No but…”

“Please sit in the chairs till your number is called”

“But they called number 15 and….”

“Please Sir, sit down and wait until your number is called”

“but…”

“Sir, we are doing everything we can to move this along, now please sit down and wait for your number to be called”

“Bu…”

“Sir!”  At this time one usually notices at least one the two officer’s  easing over to you from opposite directions with their gun hand resting on the butt of their pistol.  Most people manage to sit down without any further problems, most people.

The thing is,  while they give out the numbers sequentially in order of arrival, each number is then registered with the department  you need to see.  So you may have number 17 you don’t know which department the other numbers are for. The guy holding  15 may be in for green card renewal, but lets say the 17th guy through the door is in for a travel visa and the 125th person through the door is also in for a green card renewal.  Well  they may be done with 15 so that department has a space open now so 125 gets called before 17.   INS doesn’t tell you this, but it doesn’t take long to figure out and when you do its clear as mud.

Keep in mind if an INS agent thinks for any reason that you are a threat of any kind they can make your life miserable, they can make it so deportation is the least of your problems. 

So there I sat counting the ceiling tiles when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a gentleman stand up and walk towards the counter, but no number had been called, collective gasp!  We watched as he made his way to the check in clerk.  unfortunately I have to say this was after 9/11 and this gentleman happen to be from the middle east, complete with turban.  I couldn’t hear what he was saying but I have a pretty good idea as the check in woman said, ‘Sir, please take your seat” he didn’t, instead he started to argue, again I heard the check in woman “Sir take a seat and wait for your number to be called”  Again this guy argued, clearly he was not about to sit down.  I don’t know if he saw the agents approaching,   I don’t know if he saw two more coming through the door with their fingers wrapped around their holstered pistols.  What I do know is that in less than a minute he was quietly being ushered through some heavy doors and nobody involved looked very happy.

So I ask, how stupid do you really need to be?

 

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