Biff Rambles On About … Full Fall Falderal, Hawking Down the Bunny Trail, and Ladder Day Feints

I haven’t been for a ramble in quite a while, so I thought it was a good time to rectify that situation.

Others would beg to differ, but really, there’s no need to beg. 

Differ away!

It’s a free country.  Or, at least, it used to be.

September is Busting Out All Over

Fall is in full swing here in Dallas.  I went for a walk this morning and actually had to wear a light jacket.  The slight breeze felt a bit crisp.  The leaves up in the trees, though still green, were rattling and rustling, whispering that soon they would be falling.  Apparently, they have had quite enough.

In fact, everything is still green here.  The leaves are green.  The grass is green.  The bushes are green.  Things are blooming like crazy.  I have blooms on my pomegranate tree.  The crepe myrtles have burst forth with their … um … crepe-y  … er … myrtles.  The lantana is ablaze.

It is all so beautiful.  One would think spring is just arriving, rather than departing.  But isn’t that the way?  If you were at the airport, could you tell if a gate is set for an arrival or a departure?  You wouldn’t know until you looked out the window and saw a plane either pulling up to the gate, or pulling away from it.

So that is where we are in the seasons.  We are betwixt and between.  Not quite summer, not quite fall.  

But either way, it is beautiful and lovely and I’m enjoying the heck out of it, for I know it will not last.

Red Hawk Up

Yesterday I glanced out my front window and there, just above the bird feeder I put up last year, I saw a red-tailed hawk sitting on a branch.

At first I was thrilled.  As an amateur birder (which means I get excited when I see a bird of any description at my bird feeders, even though I usually have no idea what it is), I was very excited to see such an exotic bird visiting my humble little crepe myrtle.  

On the other hand, as long as there was a hawk lurking about the premises, no matter how regal he looked, my regular customers were not likely to come ’round.  There would be no robins, no mockingbirds, no cardinals, no blue jays, or even those little brown things that always show up in such abundance.

Worse still, I fretted for the general welfare of the bunny I know who regularly hangs out underneath the bird-feeder, feasting upon all the seeds that the birds inexplicably rake out on the ground.   I suspect they are just raking away all of the dollar-menu seeds so they can get to the sunflower seeds, which are sort of like the free prizes in the oat-bran-cluster cereal box).

So you can imagine my chagrin when I was out walking today and saw an essential component of an Ikea rabbit that had somehow been separated from the rest of the kit.  True, it was a good two blocks away from my house, and so not likely to be my own bunny.   But suffice it to say, it obviously had brought no luck to its previous owner.

Still …  it was sobering for me to witness the forensic evidence of the mercilessness of the natural world.  

I can only imagine how the bunny felt, though I chose not to.

It is no Disney movie out there.  There are no singing and dancing animals in the real world.

A Leaner Ladder Lighter Loader Level Leaver

This past weekend I decided to do something that goes against my better judgement.  

I am not particularly afraid of heights, though I do have a healthy respect for them.  Consequently, I think nothing of climbing up a eight-foot stepladder to change a light bulb or clean out a gutter or get something off a shelf.  

However, there is something about extension ladders that make me quail.  

Perhaps it is because they are so much taller than an ordinary step ladder.  Or because they are inherently unstable.

But whatever it is, I just don’t like them.

However, there is a pendulum light in my 2-story tall portico that needed repair.  There is a wire that threads through the lamp and is secured on both sides of the portico.  The wire keeps the lamp from swinging in high winds and smacking against the large plate glass window the lamp is right next to.

Well, that wire, after 20-some-odd years decided to become disconnected from the walls and so my lamp is now swinging freely.  Since the weather service was predicting high winds this past Sunday, I thought the time had come to crawl up there and fix it.

The problem is, the lamp is a good 12 feet off the ground, and so my 15-foot step-ladder just barely reaches it.

But it had to be done. 

So I got a pair of needle-nose pliers and made my way up the shaking, rattling, rickety ladder.  In order to work on the lamp and the two ends of the wire, I had to be up near the very top of the ladder.  Worse still, I had to take both hands off of the ladder so that I could thread the wire through the lamp and then afix it to the two masonry bolts that were screwed into the mortar of the bricks on either side of the lamp.  Worse still, because of the orientation of the ladder, the lamp was behind me, requiring me to twist around on the ladder.

But, after about 10 minutes of intense sweating, shaking, and acrobatics, I finally got it done.  I hope it holds up for another 20 years, because I have no intention of getting back up there and doing THAT again!

Dancing On Air

I think where my fear of extension ladders began was when I worked as an apprentice for a paint contractor when I was in high school.  He painted a lot of commercial property and one time we were working on painting a soon-to-be opened Chess King clothing store in a mall.  Remember those?

Though the store itself was only one story, the little room in the back where all of the electrical and mechanical facilities were for the store, as well as rear door to the store where shipping/receiving was done, was actually two stories tall.  Actually, it was more like 2.5 stories tall, if I remember.

Anyway, my boss told me to get up on the extension ladder and get up there and paint an electrical transformer that was a good 20 feet off the ground.

I was young and stupid, so I extended the 25 foot ladder out as far as it would go, and up the ladder I went with a paintbrush in one hand and a bucket of paint in the other.

So there I was, painting away, 20 feet off the ground.

When suddenly, an oblivious carpeting contractor came in the back door pushing a hand cart with a giant roll of carpet on it.  The carpet caught the ladder with enough force that it shifted the bottom of the ladder significantly and — I kid you not — the ladder pivoted on just one “foot”.   So there I was, 20 feet off the ground, on a ladder that was doing a crazy dance in this two-story-tall room.

Luckily, the room was too small in area for the ladder to actually fall, so it just came to rest, leaning against a different part of the wall from where had been 20 seconds before.  And somehow I had miraculously not dropped either the bucket or the brush.  I think I had just instinctively hugged the ladder and so managed to hold on to both.  The carpet guy just went on through into the store without so much as a “pardon me”.

I calmly descended the ladder.  I set the bucket of paint down and my brush on top of it.  And I went to my boss and told him that if we wanted that %#*^#@ transformer painted, he could do it himself.

So … yeah … not a big fan of extension ladders.

The Dismount

Well, that’s enough rambling for one day.  I’m sure most of you have already rambled off after mumbling “tl;dr” to yourself under your breath.

Hey, that’s fine.  I don’t like reading long, rambling posts any more than you do.

Which makes you wonder why I have a series of posts literally called “rambling” posts.

Well, I guess rambling posts are kind of like extension ladders.  They are inherently bulky, awkward, and unstable, but sometimes nothing else will do.

Thanks for stopping by.  Remember to reach for the stars, but be sure to keep both feet on the ground!




  1. I’m with you on extension ladders. Especially if there’s any chance of sideways slippage. Ours is just a bit too heavy for me to carry and maneuver. Just reading your account of the dancing ladder made me queasy (but I did enjoy this post).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Audrey! I have never liked extension ladders. They seem like a disaster just waiting to happen. I know they have new designs of extension ladders with things to give them more stability, but I don’t use them enough to justify spending a few hundred dollars on one. Something tells me I may regret that decision someday. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am always envious of the fall colors enjoyed by those in the northeast US. We get a brief window of colorful trees, but they are just as likely to go from green to brown in 24 hours and then fall off in a clump.

      I have a love-hate relationship with ladders. They are essential for many things around the house … but I sure don’t trust them!

      I hope you had a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

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