Bastille Day at Murfreesboro

All I’d wanted to do Saturday morning, 7/14/12, was get a new set of tires for Thursday, see about trading my wife’s Electra Townie for a Trek 700 at MOAB, and see about warranty replacing the wankelmütig Blackburn Flea bike lights I bought there last September.  Before I left the house, my wife gave me another mission to accomplish at Murfreesboro – go to Hobby Lobby and buy her some scrapbooking paper that looked like a dirty brown covered with soggy Fruity Pebbles kids’ cereal.  I asked her to write down what I was supposed to be looking for because I knew I would not retain the instruction-set.  She did, and asked me to call her from the paper aisle.


I got out of the house about 7:00 a.m., later than I wanted to leave, but early enough to enjoy a beautify sky on the drive from Stepford to the tire store at Pixley.  Also drove past some cornfields that looked a little better for the rain we had the previous week.  At the tire-store, I tried to read a book while I waited, but was distracted by the waiting area’s television that’d been tuned to The Rifleman episodes playing back to back on a cable channel, the volume set un-ignorably high.  Some of those story-lines are pretty harsh by the standards of today’s programming.  My car’s new tires, Yokohama Avid Ascends, are louder than Michelin Harmony’s I’d worn out driving the past four or five years, but grip well, improve handling (over the worn Michelins), and hold air pretty good.  Also, I didn’t have to drive an hour to get them like I would have had to have done in order to get a new set of Michelins.

At Murfreesboro, I found Hobby Lobby on Old Fort Parkway was closed when I arrived.  Instead of waiting around in the parking lot for the kryptonite store to open, I went over to Northern Tools, which had been open since about seven or eight.  I was glad and surprised the store’s bathroom was clean.  I looked at some clear 3M metallic safety glasses that don’t look like the safety goggles I had to wear in Seventh Grade shop-class, thinking they’d be good protection from gnats while riding in the evenings.  I also looked for a bike repair stand, but they had none in stock.  I priced what they could order and ship to my door, so I could compare prices with what M.O.A.B. was selling.

By the time I got done looking around at Northern Tools, Hobby Lobby was open for business.  I still got a parking place close to the door because most of the regular Hobby Lobby shoppers were probably still at Starbucks or eating cinnamon rolls or other sweet, baked things at home.  I went into the store.  I’ve been in this Hobby Lobby store two or three times previously and had each time felt my manly strength quickly sapped away, felt very tired and wanted to lay my head down and sleep for a long time in dreamless oblivion.  That can’t be healthy.  In the past, I tried to buoy my spirits by imagining the container loads of cheaply made Chinese decorative wares as pistol targets, but that didn’t help for long because what right-thinking man would spend a penny of hard-earned money on any of those gimcracks, much less put them in his car and carry them off to some clean, healthful outdoor place shoot them to bits?  Better to leave those horrors in the big-box store and occupy oneself with meaningful pursuits.

Anyway, on Bastille Day I hit upon unintentionally a strategy for coping with effect of kryptonite.  It is this, and I share it with you, brother man, because you need to know it – have a mission, a goal.  Get in and get out, early in the day and quickly, before the store is filled with patchouli oil miasma of two or more hundred artistic women of all ages meandering slowly through the aisles with looks of alert wonder on their pert dials.  At the front desk, I asked a woman in manager’s togs where to find scrapbooking paper. I made my way diagonally and to my right across the store to the far corner in which I’d been told scrapbooking (and, it turns out, stamping) materials had been displayed for purchase.  I passed a normal-seeming, trim woman in yellow T-shirt and blue jeans pushing a shopping cart who appeared to be alert, happy, and at peace in an environment clearly to her liking.

In the corner, I only found packages of paper and other packaged items.  Ranging back a little more, I found the paper aisle, itself.  Along one side, nothing that I can recall beyond racks of paper sold as single sheets.  I was able to find something that approximated the dark brown Fruity Pebbles (see that picture, above, that I linked to on somebody else’s blog), but was not exactly what Caution-Lady had shown me earlier on an Internet scrapbooking paper website.  I telephoned to her, explaining that, instead of random blobs of color, the sheet of paper before me had colored dots arranged in an orderly, grid-like pattern, and that I couldn’t tell whether the background was dark brown or black.  I asked my wife to hold on a second and asked the opinion of the woman in the yellow shirt, who, to my surprise, was also looking at sheets of paper.  She thought the background was black.  I eventually found and bought between 17 and 25 sheets of different patterned and colored paper.  Because it was on sale, it cost maybe $10.37.  Having accomplished my mission, I got out and drove to bike store feeling a lot more like myself than at any other time after having been exposed to the Hobby Lobby environment.


M.O.A.B. was closed when I got there, so I parked in front and walked over to the square because I was getting pretty hungry, and I remember the last time I was at the square on a Saturday morning, there’d been a farmers market where I’d been able to sample cooked food and buy a snack.  I walked straight on from whatever street M.O.A.B.’s on to the square, then followed the smell of cooking meat so I could get some to eat (that rhyme was unintentional, but the statement so true that I left it even though it annoys).  In the photo above, Main Street’s the one that connects with the one I walked in on.


On the way to cooked food, I saw a busker.  I don’t think I’ve seen one since Pioneer Square, Portland, Oregon, during my many recreational visits to the downtown area to buy comic books, used books, and just walk about.  Noah Flanders, pictured with violin beside his father, Robert Flanders, didn’t know Funny Valentine, but at his father’s suggestion played something as well worth hearing.  To the best of my recall, Noah is saving for a trip to Italy in pursuit of his musical interests and studies. 



The meat that was cooking came from the Batey Farms booth where a man and woman were cooking bits of pork sausage for samples and selling frozen packages of same.  The samples were excellent.  On my way back to the car, I bought the last package of Italian sausage they had in stock.  Here’s the farmer’s contact information:

Batey Farms

5104 Baker Road

Murfreesboro, TN 37129

I took a lot of pictures on the square – a couple of other activities were scheduled:  Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA) had a reenactment of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s raid, which is something I know I should look up understand before mentioning it here on my blog, but I haven’t the time this morning; And some kind of Mule Team parade or equestrian show was happening.  I know it was SCA because those’re the initials that were printed on the sleeves of the orange t-shirts of the people cordoning off space needed for the reenactment.

While on a recent Indiana vacation, I photographed a huge and elaborate Civil War memorial.  While on the square at Murfreesboro, I photographed a humbler monument dedicated to the soldiers of the Confederacy.  As with most of the photographs posted here, click on the image in order to view it at full-size.  The people seated around the monument’s base were watching the historical reenactment.


Here are a couple of photos from the reenactment – I didn’t get any good pictures of the cavalry – just these tableaux:


Here are a number of photos from the parade of mule teams and equestrians:




The folks at M.O.A.B. were only willing to give me $150.00 in trade for a bike that cost about $375.00 new at the end of last August, 2011, and now has less than a hundred miles on it.  I called my wife and we decided to keep the bike.  Maybe we’ll sell it someone else for more than M.O.A.B. offered, and maybe we’ll get her a Fuji women’s Absolute (because she prefers the step-through frame).  I did leave the Blackburn Flea lights for warranty replacement.  When I called the store this week, the employee with whom I spoke said the company would replace them, so this coming Saturday, I’ll have to head up there and pick up the new lights.

Boat Day 2010

Canoes and Kayaks

Image cadged from SRWA Boat Day 2010 page. Photo looks more like Stewart Creek in Smyrna than Manson Pike Trailhead, but I could be wrong. It sometimes happens.

At Manson Pike Trailhead in Murfreesboro this Saturday 26 June 2010 from 8:00 am until 12:00 anyone who wants to can borrow kayaks, canoes, pfds and paddle an easy, roped-off stretch of the Stones River.  Various organizations will be present with booths.  According to what I’ve seen at Stones River Watershed Association, Dick’s Sporting Goods will give away by drawing a kayak and a paddle.

Brief Respite

Poster from Spiders:  The Golden Sea

I have been enjoying lurid entertainments

My brief respite from deadline related activity comes to an end Monday, and all I’ve done with the spare time is watch silent films on Netflix (currently Fritz Lang’s 1919 adventure serial Spiders) and had Thursday in for a 70,000 mile service that involved timing and serpentine belts, water pump, a hydraulic tensioner, and a problem with the circuit-board that controls the operation of the overhead interior lights.  That’s the most money we’ve spent on the 850 car since we got it in ’05 or ’06.

Cossentino's Figure 1 - Montessorian path to normalization. Cadged from COSSENTINO, J. (2006). Big Work: Goodness, Vocation, and Engagement in the Montessori Method. Curriculum Inquiry, 36(1), 63-92. doi:10.1111/j.1467-873X.2006.00346.x.

That’s not completely true – the other thing I’ve done during this deadline hiatus has been to spend every spare minute after work playing outside with Seventy-Six, or playing inside with him and his new tipi, as well as counting, singing, jumping, and reading books.  Outside activities include running around trees in the yard yelling “Oogah-Boogah,” blowing and chasing soap-bubbles, shooting baskets, playing catch, playing a game involving chasing the ball that is either kicked or thrown, running for the shear pleasure of running in the yard, drawing with chalk on the driveway, experimenting with very basic Montessorian activities like walking around a large chalk circle or on a long chalk line, various small child-powered vehicles, counting, and singing.

The mosquitoes are biting.

Thus, most of the time was well spent and may be considered redeemed to the extent that such can be said of ordinary human activity.

My mechanic has a 2000 Volvo Cross Country on his yard that a customer dropped off to sell.  We were interested in the car for Caution-Lady, but the owners are, according to Mr. Jim, insistent upon or “stuck at” their beyond Edmunds valuation asking price of $7,000.00.  I’d say the car’s worth closer to $5,500.00, so we’ll just keep the ’93 940T for a while longer.  We’ve had the 940 since 2002, and it has been a great car and a sold daily-driver.  It’s due for an oil service and needs sunroof adjusted, new driver-side carpet, and front brakes, but all that will come in at considerably less than $7k.

At work, two of my coworkers – one in my own office and one in another part of the state – have lost their spouses suddenly and unexpectedly.  It has been a sad time.  Last week, I returned to Cannon County on official business after an absence of about five years, on a hot day driving a car with no useful air-conditioner.  At Murfreesboro, I met the new hire who is replacing an old friend who tendered resignation last month.

In the electronic world, I’ve discovered that extreme privacy settings on Facebook are preventing people I actually like from “friending” me.  I’m going to have to monkey with that to see if the thing can be corrected.

A Maddeningly Busy Week

Tuesday, or was it Monday, I drove to Murfreesboro early, then back to the office by one.

Seen Thursday morning - looks like my wife's not the only one

Seen Thursday morning - looks like my wife's not the only one

Thursday early I looked at a foreclosure in the same neighborhood as the house upon which we’d made an offer a month or two back.

House stank. Huge house, four bedrooms, two baths, attached garage with big workshop, bonus room, big attached storage building. Built on a slab. Three really ugly and large 1960s sliding glass doors. Maybe 2200 square feet. All the floor covering must go. All the wallpaper must go. Everything must be repainted. Possibly a shower pan in one of the bathrooms must be replaced. Kitchen cabinets are ugly, but can be tolerated because they can probably be cleaned. Appears structurally sound. Exterior looks okay. Three layers, at least, of shingles on the roof, so plan on another. Puny cooling unit, so plan to replace.

Amelang Wheel Alignment

Amelang Wheel Alignment

Thursday I took Thursday, my silver 1997 Volvo 850, in to see Mr. Amelang for wheel alignment and balance. While I sat in a scuffed metal folding chair by the shop’s hot wood stove reading a model airplane hobbyist magazine, the quiet mechanical precisionist identified a goose-egg sized bulge in the inner side-wall of the car’s front right tire. At the same time, he mentioned to me that the tires were about worn out. I looked, and beheld wear-bars within a hair’s breadth of worn tread. That bulge looked pretty bad, too. I’d taken Thursday too close around a shoulderless right-hand turn dropping the doomed tire off the pavement’s edge. Plonk. Cussword. Steering had been pretty squirrelly for a week or so thereafter, which is what prompted me to have alignment seen to.

Thursday last Thursday

Thursday last Thursday

“Do you think it’ll be safe to driver over Monteagle to Chattanooga tomorrow?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t drive seventy,” Mr. Amelang replied, then, after a pause, “I’ll move it the back, that way if it blows out, it won’t do as much damage.

Radio controlled airplanes

Radio controlled airplanes



Mr. Amelang's most recent project

Mr. Amelang's most recent project

Drove 75 or 80 miles per hour, one on the Interstate, to Murfreesboro where I bought four Michelins to replace the 80,000 mile Yokohamas that’d given maybe 55,000 mile service. To be fair, I’ve always kept those tires close to maximum inflation for more precise steering and better mileage, which undoubtedly contributed to their early demise. Had the tire-shop fill the new Michelins with nitrogen which supposedly prolongs the life of the tire by remaining cool and neither expanding nor contracting during use or according to season.

On the way to town after work I stopped at Subway to pick up sandwiches, then met my wife and our realtor at barn of a 2600 square foot house located not far from where the Cautious One works. House has been on the market over a year, ridiculously overpriced for its location. Four bedrooms, two and half baths, large detached two-car garage.

We looked at two other houses, ate our supper in the car; returned home tired and well after dark.

Friday morning I arose at 4:45 am, pressed the button to make the coffee I’d prepared the night before, made and ate a bowl of oatmeal, made a lunch that included half of my previous night’s supper. Looked at the Internet. I was in the car driving a little after six. Stepford is on US Central Time, but Chattanooga is on Eastern Standard Time.

Those four new Michelins were a little mushy. Although I was only able to make them speak on one very tight freeway onramp (I think Exit 178 from I-24 East to 27 North), the tires at recommended inflation did not lend themselves to the rail-like tracking I have come to prefer. Both ways over Monteagle, the tires seemed to drift me centrifugally left or right as the road curved according to the hill’s topographic vagaries.

Only one of my appointments presented for testing as scheduled, and she arrived much too early. The scheduled interpreter arrived on time according to arrangements made several weeks ago. I administered fewer instruments than planned because more in-depth testing would have been inappropriate based upon observed behaviors and tested levels of academic achievement. The referring file contained nothing of use in preparing for the evaluation.

While I was busy getting to and working at Chattanooga, Caution-Lady and my mom took Seventy-Six to Nashville for CT scan to determine whether the apparently bone-covered cyst on his left brow extends its foul reach through the suture-line and into the infant boy’s skull. He did fine, although he had to have an IV to introduce some sort of dye into his system for imaging contrast.

On my way home, I got cheap gas at Manchester, and stopped at Jim Long Imports for Thursday’s 150,000 mile service. Ugh, another expense.

Back home, CL and 76 had arrived just a little before I did. We ate a quick supper, then had to enrobe our cranky baby (detoxing from the sedative given to induce stillness during the CT scan) in his green Godzilla costume to take him around to the homes of relatives and friends for his first ever Trick-or-Treat outing. He fussed horribly at the first stop. Was somewhat less angry by the time we got to my mom’s house, and after a short visit during which my wife and I ate cookies and candy on behalf of our son, we headed home without making the other intended stops. The kid just needed to be home. So did the parents.

Today, we accomplished nothing, but did look at some more houses. I am tired again.

11/2/08, 4:42 pm:  I’m trying to make this note update at Facebook.